Michael Wanner on His 60th Birthday
Obholz, Albert, Volk auf dem Weg, October, 2013, 38-39.
Translation from the original German-language text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, CO. With editorial assistance from Dr. Nancy Herzog.
Michael Wanner was born on October 3, 1953 in Stepnyak (Kazakhstan), where his parents had been deported to in 1941 from Landau (Odessa region).
After completing the village school in 1968, he moved to Zelinograd to acquire a mechanic’s diploma at the Technical Vocational School. After initially working as a locksmith and driver, he was employed for many years as a mechanic at a repair shop. In 1989 he and his family emigrated to Germany.
Even as a school boy he had developed a preference for the subject of history, and he has remained true to this passion to this day. Several years ago he researched the Wanner family tree stretching back ten generations and became particularly interested in why his ancestors moved from the Palatinate to South Russia two hundred years ago, and under what circumstances his relatives landed in Kazakhstan. He has supported many countrymen in their search for [genealogical] documentation and has assisted a great number of them in putting together their own family trees.
Michael Wanner is a co-founder of the Historischer Forschungsverein der Deutschen aus Russland e.V. (HFDR) [Historical Research Association of the Germans from Russia. The abbreviation “e.V”.means “officially registered organization”]. During family research he came upon the topic “Repression by the Stalinist Government” and devoted much effort to it. He established contacts with people at archives and research sites in Germany and in the CIS [successor to the former Soviet Union], he corresponds with historians in the US, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Russia, and he collaborates successfully with them.
Early on, he began to collect books by German Russian authors on the history of our ethnic group. Today he writes his own books on his favorite subjects, including personalities in the former USSR. With Dr. Viktor Bruhl he co-authored the Gedenkbuch Altai und Omsk [Memorial Book of Altai and Omsk]. He often contributes articles to the [HRDR] annual calendar and to Volk auf dem Weg. On his desk there is a nearly completed manuscript on victims of Stalinism in Kazakhstan.
Michael Wanner has frequently traveled to Ukraine, Moldova and Eastern Europe, bringing humanitarian assistance to local residents. Currently he is working in the technical department of the Red Cross of Regensburg and directs the HFDR on a volunteer basis.
As the chairman of the HFDR, he does whatever he can to make sure that the work of the Association will continue in the tradition of its founders. He focuses on recruiting new, younger members, because our history of the last hundred years remains full of gaps.
Our birthday celebrant, whose family includes his wife, two children, and four grandchildren, makes his home in Regenstauf (Bavaria). On behalf of the HFDR members I wish him good health, happiness, and many more years of creative activity to the benefit of our history and our Association.
Prof. Albert Obholz
The Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland [Association of Germans from Russia] joins in these good wishes, including continued success for the celebrant and his Association.
Our appreciation is extended to Dr. Nancy Herzog for editorial assistance, and to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.