Literature of the Germans From Russia
Helping in Defusing Prejudices
Literatur der Deutschen aus Russland Hilft Vorurteile zu Entkraeften
Paulsen, Nina. "Literature of the Germans From Russia Helping in Defusing Prejudices." Volk auf dem Weg, February 2005, 16.
Translation from German to American English by Alex Herzog,
Eugen Warkentin, Pastor Edgar Born and Maria Tews Promoting Improved
For some years now, German-Russian journalist Eugen Warkentin,
Born, Special Representative for Germans from Russia of the
Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Nordrhein-Westfalien, as well as
have been presenting readings of German-Russian literature in order
recent German immigrants and indigenous Germans closer together.
fifty times now they have crisscrossed Nordrhein-Westfalien and,
songs, prose excerpts, and historical insights, they have been promoting
understanding and communication.
During various occasions, such as meetings in Protestant education
and community houses, in literature cafes, and during the action
-- accepted" or the Ev. Church's project "House for Germans
they have presented the multifaceted nature of German-Russian literature.
Their enthusiastic engagement arose from seminars of the Ev. Church
the problems of recent German immigrants, to which Eugen Warkentin
been invited as a contemporary witness. Even before his own immigration,
journalist (who now lives in Dortmund and) worked several years
German-language newspapers in the Soviet Union and traveled throughout
always showed a very strong interest in the lives and works of German
He personally met and interviewed many of them.
Consistently placed at the center of these encounters between folks
CIS and indigenous people are benevolent inquiry, mutual understanding,
the search for that which can bind people together. Local Germans
to find out why their countrymen even ventured to come here and
tend to stick to themselves. Recent immigrants attempt to understand
country of their ancestors and their yearning has become so strange
and so cold
Texts of literature written in German in the Soviet Union often
understanding the people and their times. "The literature of
presents a contemporary witness for this ethnic group, which all
has become an object of contention between cultures," says
67-year-old author talks of the lives of authors -- each biography
personified history of the ethnic group. And he constantly emphasizes
preserving the German language was by no means a matter of course.
Edgar Born and
During an Evening for Literature
Edgar Born masterfully presents poetry and prose texts, and he
makes music. He presents authors spanning times and generations,
from the beginnings during prewar times up through the present.
"Always a hit are the poetry of Nora Pfeffer, particularly
her "Ballade vom Besen [Ballad of a Broom]," poems by
Wendelin Mangold and Lora Reimer, as well as the fables of Reinhard
Leis. Pastor Born is always trying to stir up enthusiasm for something
new," reports Warkentin.
Former teacher in the Siberian Altai region, Maria Tews, knows
provide interesting glimpses into the works of German authors of
that region and
into the significance of the German-language press there. Simply
literature and German texts were scarce, newspaper clippings and
sections from papers such as "Rote Fahne [Red Flag}" and
"Neues Leben [New Life"
tended to substitute for them.
These literary evenings tend to gather together a mixed audience
age groups -- usually up to about 30 locals and immigrants. Often
questions come from the ranks of the locals. "Among the Aussiedlern
it is not unusual to have contemporary witnesses report about, say,
personal meeting with Victor Klein, and a spontaneous recitation
of a poem by this
particular poet is recited from memory -- always a minor bit of
while German literature may have reached only a small portion of
group, it was definitely present."
Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation
of this article.