Die alte und de neue Heimat der Bessarabien-Deutschen:
eien Dokumentation, 1920-1980 (The Old and the New Homeland of the
Bessarabian Germans: a Documentation 1920-1980)
Review by Barbara Kremer Bruzelius, Fargo, ND and Marion Mertz,
Die alte und de neue Heimat der Bessarabien-Deutschen: eien Dokumentation, 1920-1980 (The Old and the New Homeland of the Bessarabian Germans: a Documentation 1920-1980). Edited by Richard Heer. Bietigheim-Bissingen, West Germany: Eine Dokumentation, 1920-1980.
Richard Heer follows the lives of those German who, seeking freedom
from dictatorship, emigrated in the 19th century from Schwaben in
German to Bessarabia in Russia. While the lived in Bessarabia they
became followers of the Skythen, the Turkish nomads of Skythien.
When the Reich called these Germans back home again these wanderers
returned to Warthegau in Germany. Borders shifted, and part of Poland
came under German rule. Foremost in their wanderings was the thought
that freedom and peace were worth any sacrifice.
Heer gives authenticated accounts of the leaders and the individuals
who were an influence during this period while the adventurers adjusted
to their lives in a changing environment. Readers of this book would
be interested in seeking out trustworthy information of their forefathers
who struggled constantly to protect their precious freedom.
Published in the German language, the book contains passages written
in Old German. Reference is made to historic events: growth of Hitler’s
power; World War II; the position of the Church at that time; a
copy of the 1763 Manifesto of Empress Catherine II of Russia and
the countries under her control; and a copy of the Manifesto of
Alexander I, Emperor of Russia, decreed on February 20, 1804.
The book also contains well-illustrated maps; graphic color plates;
a table of ruler, both Russian and German, from 1250 to 1918; and
photographs of persons prominent in this chronicle. Mentioned, among
others are: Dr. Hans Otto Roth, who was instrumental in acquiring
financing for the settlers; Rudolf Brandsch, a State Secretary,
who influenced politics; and Pastor Daniel Haase, a prelate, who
used his influence to preserve German heritage and culture.
Somewhat disappointing is the physical layout of the book. The
printing is crowded and in some cases difficult to read. Better
quality paper would have improved the readability. However the book
is still a reliable source for serious research on the Germans from
Russia. One should note that there has been a controversial reaction
to its content.
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