on the Charter of Germans Expelled from Their Homelands
from 5 August 1950 (Stuttgart, West Germany, 6 August
Revised translation by Eric J. Schmaltz, Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor of History, Department of Social
Sciences, Northwestern Oklahoma State University,
The original German source: “Deklaration
zur Charta der deutschen Heimatvertriebenen vom 5.
August 1950,” in F. Dörr and W. Kerl, Ostdeutschland
und die deutschen Siedlungsgebiete in Ost- und Südosteuropa:
in Karte, Bild und Wort (Munich: Südwest
Verlag, 1991), p. 65.
The English translation first appeared in Eric
J. Schmaltz, An
Expanded Bibliography and Reference Guide for the
Former Soviet Union’s Ethnic Germans: Issues
of Ethnic Autonomy, Group Repression, Cultural Assimilation,
and Mass Emigration in the Twentieth Century and Beyond
(Fargo, ND: Germans from Russia Heritage Collection,
North Dakota State University Libraries, 2003), pp.
Ten years ago, when still no one was able to foresee
what would become of Germany and us Germans expelled
from our homelands, we explained in our Charter before
God and the world—signed and announced by our
elected representatives—what we experienced, what
we thought, and what we strove for.
At this time, millions still had to fear and struggle
for the most essential, but decisive, things in life—for
a roof over one’s head, for work, for bread.
The spiritual and moral need since 1945, the social
and economic chaos into which we were driven, robbed
of our own wills, did not make us despair. We did
not become a social explosive in the politically strained
relations of Europe.
The trials and the suffering which we had to carry,
like millions in other nations today, laid the basic,
immovable foundations of our previous and present
attitude. We also now and in the future want to return
to the homelands as before. We see no reason to change
our position, so much the more as we believe to have
fulfilled most conscientiously the duties taken upon
ourselves in the Charter with the rebuilding of Germany
We stand indifferent toward the quite rapid economic
ascent of the Federal Republic [West Germany], which
we indeed deem worthy for the life chances of the
population, because we also clearly recognize its
The need of our day becomes especially clear in the
still highly wounding partition of Germany, in the
lack of freedom for our sisters and brothers on the
other side of the Iron Curtain, and in the fact that
still more than one hundred million in other nations
east of Germany’s borders are handed over defenseless
to a terror-regime [the Soviet Union].
In the Charter, we described a united Europe, in
which nations can live without fear and coercion,
as one of our fundamental goals. Today we know that
this goal can only be reached when the right to self-determination
without restrictions, as proclaimed in the by-laws
of the United Nations, is granted.
Today, therefore, we stand renewed and solemnly by
the principles set forth ten years ago in the Charter
of Germans expelled from their homelands.
In order to comply with its realization, we must
1. Self-determination, guaranteed by international
right and the by-laws of the United Nations, must
apply to all nations, thus also to the German people.
Its realization may not be sacrificed to the interests
of other states. Each nation in the world must have
the right to preserve and develop its own values in
complete freedom and thereby render its contribution
to the culture of humanity.
2. In spite of all inhibitions and all resistance,
to bring about the reunification of the two parts
of Germany, which were separated through arbitrariness
The Germans expelled from their homelands see in
these principles the most important provision for
a lasting and blessed peace in the world. Only the
freedom and dignity of humanity can maintain it. Our
sole duty is to serve it.