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Image of the Evacuees

"Image of the Evacuees." Volk auf dem Weg, June 1991, 16.

Translation from German to English by Alma M. Herman


The influx of evacuees of German origin from the Soviet Union and Poland has up to now caused fewer problems than the NRW government had predicted earlier. Examination by an Institute for Social Research presents a different picture of these people. They hold to the motto: “The main thing is work." They do not wait for help from the Labor Exchange or depend on the authorities.

"Surprisingly quickly,” says Labor Minister Hermann Heinemann, "most of them found places to live." And to think that these people, in spite of adversities, possess unshakable optimism is obvious to the state authorities, but not understandable is their belief that here everything is better than in their former homeland. Such an attitude does not coincide with the thorny spirit of the “Miesepeteerigkeit” (miserable age of separatism) in many parts of our land. But for the Russian Germans it is a fortunate fundamental experience for Germans to live among Germans and not have the burden of being set apart for their often strong religious attitudes.

Yet most of these people are nevertheless widely isolated from their German environment. Perhaps that explains the fact that in reality a positive Inquiry Report in Düsseldorf aroused such great astonishment. There are communocation difficulties and hostilities toward strangers who no longer want to make a difference between people of German descent and so-called "Asylanten" with self-interests in business. No wonder that many emigrants seek neighborly relations with each other and that the Russian Germans for decades have wanted to build up the German communities barred from Rumania.

Minister Heinemann said yesterday that he has to leave this problem to the planners. The emigrants leaving the UdSSR will hardly wait that long.

Yesterday the socalled "New Fugitive Politic" of the NRW government quietly collapsed in Düsseldorf. So Minister Heinemann sincerely declared that considering the deteriorated situation for Russian Germans, he can no longer try to induce them to remain in the Soviet Union. It is no longer a question of paying money to keep the people where they are. About half a million Russian Germans now have approval'-for departure; more may follow. The real problems still lie ahead.
Picture by J. Bayer -To the image of the emigrants belongs also their child kingdom -provision for the future of Germany.

Our appreciation is extended to Alma M. Herman for translation of this article.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller
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