are Ringing Again in Omsk, Western Siberia
Volk auf dem Weg: Deutsche in Rußland und in der GUS:
1763 - 1997
"Bells are Ringing Again in Omsk, Western Siberia." Volk auf dem Weg, 1997.
Translation from German to English by Ingeborg W. Smith,
Western Springs, Illinois
People on the Move: Germans in Russia and in the Fomer Soviet
Union: 1763 - 1997
the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of 8/28/1941
of Catherine, The Great
Areas for Germans on the Volga Identified
To my Mother
The first new Lutheran church in Russia is dedicated/For
160,000 Germans in 82 "deeply religious" congregations.
German HANNOVER, November 7. The first new construction of an
Evangelical-Lutheran church in the area of the former Soviet Union
stands on the shore of the Irtysch in Omsk, a city; of a million
people. For the approximately 160,000 Germans who live in the
region, 2,700 kilometers east of Moscow, it is a sign that they
have a future here. This hope also links the German Ministry of
the interior and the federal official in charge of emigrants,
Dr. Waffenschmidt, with the 4.3 million mark financing of the
community center. The Lutheran Church in Germany is defraying
one-tenth of the costs.
The still uncompleted Christus Church in Omsk was dedicated on
Reformation Sunday, in the presence of the Hannoverian state bishop,
Hirschler. This weekend in Hannover, Hirschler described the moving
moment, when the bells, poured in sections by a Hessian foundry
and brought to the site at the last minute, proclaimed the official
opening. Omsk Superintendent Schneider seized the initiative for
the new construction in 1989, after the city had decided to demolish
the old structure. A project was started in cooperation with the
Hannoverian state church, which would appeal, in addition to the
82 Lutheran congregations in the Omsk region, to the far-flung
Diaspora in Siberia. Under the supervision of the chief master-builder
of the state church of Hannover, Elgeti, the plan of a Göttingen
architect was carried out by a local contractor using mostly Russian-German
workers. The complex consists of, in addition to the church, with
a capacity of 700, seminary rooms for the education of preachers,
community shelter for 40 persons, two residences and four guest-apartments.
Hirschler acknowledged the support of the city of Omsk, which
had made an attractive building-site in the city center available
to the German community. The construction, of brick and wooden
headers, unusual for Russian circumstances, presented plenty of
difficulties. Therefore, the festival celebrating, the completion
of the complex had to be postponed until the summer of 1994.
The villages in the Omsk region have been in part settled by
Germans for centuries. There were several additional waves of
those resettled by force. Thousands died of starvation or were
shot by commandos. Organized religion was banned for
decades; it was also only partly tolerated after de-Stalinisation.
During the persecution, in Hirschler's words, an unusual religiosity
appeared among the Germans, which to this day shapes their feeling
of belonging together and for many of them is a substantial
reason for not leaving Siberia. He pleaded that these ties should
be supported. To this end, those staying must be guaranteed the
right to resettle in Germany at any time, if their existence in
their present home should be threatened. Hirschler described pastoral
care for youth as "greatly in need of development".
Until very recently, this kind of activity was absolutely forbidden.
The young Germans speak almost nothing but Russian.
Russian-German discuss self-rule
MOSCOW, November 7. (dpa). On Sunday delegates of the Russian-German
movement "wiedergeburt" came together in a two-day
congress in the Siberian city, Novosibirsk, to discuss questions
of self-rule. Chairman Jakob Maurer said that many Russian-Germans
had not yet decided whether they wished to emigrate to Germany
or to stay in Russia. He informed them that 196.000 Russian-Germans
had left in 1992; in the first ten months of this year the number
was 170,000. A scant 170,000 Germans had resettled
to Russia from the politically unstable central Asian republics.
Our appreciation is extended to Ingeborg W. Smith for translation of this article.