|Intensifying Cultural Activities for our Countrymen
Intensivierung der Landsmannschaftlichen Kulturarbeit
"Intensifying Cultural Activities for our Countrymen." Volk auf dem Weg, August/September 2007, 8-9.
This translation from the original German-language text to
American English is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado
In a series of talks with experts, patrons and the assistance
organizations for Germans from Russia, the national board of the
Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland has been discussing goals
for cultural activities in the coming years and has developed a
number of projects on that basis.
On May 27, 2007, [at the Bundestreffen] in Wiesbaden, these projects
were presented by the cultural consultant of the Landsmannschaft,
Dr. Alfred Eisfeld as part of the framework of the I. Partnership
Conference of representatives from societies of Germans from Russia
in the Russian Federation and the Ukraine as well as our countrymen
from the US (American Historical Society for Germans from Russia).
The Landsmannschaft will exercise oversight of the projects within
Germany, while the cultural organizations of German-Russians will
tend to projects within Ukraine and Russia. Of particular importance
in Germany is the establishment of a central museum for Germans from
Russia in Stuttgart and of a Volga-German House within the open-air
Hessenpark (in Neu-Aspach). Regional and local initiatives toward
creating exhibitions, particularly in Detmold and Berlin, will continue
to be supported as much as possible, even though the main interest
will be directed to the central museums.
|Dr. Alfred Eisfeld talking with
the Orthodox priest Ioann concerning the restoration of the
church in Karlsruhe
The State of Baden-Wuerttemberg has assumed sponsorship of all
Germans from Russia and has been supporting us for many years. The
establishment of the German-Russian Cultural Prize by the State
of Baden-Wuerttemberg provides a visible and unique signal. Consequently,
the central museum for Germans from Russia should take its rightful
place in the capital city of our sponsoring State. In all its efforts,
our national board relies heavily on the support from the government
of Baden-Wuerttemberg, and at its forefront, the prime minister
Guenter Ottinger, as well as support from the representative for
Aussiedler, Herbert Reich. The search for a suitable building continues.
A Volga-German House for the Hessenpark
The majority of Volga-Germans is of Hessian descent. The State of
Hessen has expressly signified this solidarity by assuming sponsorship
of the Volga-Germans. The open-air museum Hessenpark encompasses buildings
that are typically representative of the individual Hessian countryside.
The museum plays a significantly important role in strengthening the
communal spirit for all Hessians. A logical consequence of the declared
solidarity of Volga-Germans with Hessen and by Hessen with its Volga-German
countrymen is to erect in the Hessenpark a Volga-German House to contain
a Volga-German Museum. And it should not be a matter of creating a
new building or a copy of some building, rather a wooden house from
the Volga region should be brought to the Hessenpark and erected therein.
Technically it should not be a complex matter, since wooden structures
consist of separate parts that can be put back together without losing
their structural substance.
Inside the village museum
Even prior to the and during the 29th Bundestreffen in Wiesbaden
of the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland, Silke Launtenschlaeger,
Hessian Social Minister, and Rudolf Friedrich, the State's representative
for Aussiedler, reaffirmed the support of the Hessian government.
The governments of the Saratov and Volgograd regions are to be
persuaded to provide Volga-German structure for the Hessenpark in
a timely manner so that it can be erected and furnished as a museum
by the 250th anniversary (in 2014) of the immigration of Hessian
colonists to Russia. It would constitute a true sign of recognition
for the contributions by the Volga-Germans toward the opening up
and development of the Volga region.
Engels, Karlsruhe, Speyer
In the former settlement regions in the Volga area and near the Black
Sea, the relief organizations of German-Russians will work toward
building up the archives in Engels into a central archive and will
support the renovation of former Catholic churches in Karlsruhe and
Speyer in the Nikolayev region.
The Karlsruhe church,
The Karlsruhe church,
The archive in Engels is home to a large portion of the archival
objects of Volga-German colonies and their furnishings Others are
located in Volgograd and Samara and furnish archives along territorial
lines. Thanks to assistance from the German government, the Engels
archive has now been provided with a new building, which will make
it possible to bring together in one place all Volga-German archival
objects as originals or in copy form, for restoration, for study,
and for research.
The church buildings in Karlsruhe and Speyer are among the architecturally
most interesting structures still remaining. For decades, they and
all the other churches were used for entirely different and strange
purposes, and also damaged. Both of the structures under discussion
have been returned to Christian uses. No Germans or even Catholic
communities remain in the two locales, and Russian-Orthodox communities
of the Moscow Patriarchate are the new owners. Thereby these buildings
can once again become houses of worship.
With funds from its own poor community and with other contributions,
the church in Speyer has once again been reestablished as a house
of worship. Damages to the roof from a storm had to be repaired
this year. The church tower is to be rebuilt. The former cemetery
will be freed of its decade-long trash and as a green space will
serve as memorial to the former German residents.
The church building in Karlsurhe still stands without a roof. Construction
drawings and requisite building permits for renovating the building
are now available. What is lacking is money. In view of a third
straight year of drought, there will be no progress in the renovation
this year without direct assistance from the outside.
The fall of 2009 will mark the 200th anniversary of the founding
of the German colonies of Landau, Speyer and Rohrbach. The administration
of the Nikolayev region, the clergy and the communities in Karlsruhe
and in Speyer are fully aware of the necessity of the restoration
of the church structures as a significant part of the common heritage
of the former German and current Ukrainian and Russian residents
of these locales. And they are doing what is in their power to get
The Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland and the cultural
organizations of German-Russians wish to continue these efforts
and to do their part in promoting support for these projects among
their countrymen in Germany and overseas as well as in industry
and among foundations.
Photos of the churches in question, as well as other documentation,
may be viewed on the web pages of the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen
aus Russland, www.deutscheausrussland.de.
Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation
of this article.