May 26, 2007: 29th Bundestreffen of the Germans From Russia - an Opportunity we Should Make use of!

26. Mai 2007: 29. Bundestreffen der Deutschen aus Russland - Eine Gelegenheit, die wir Nutzen Sollten!

"29th Bundestreffen of the Germans From Russia." Volk auf dem Weg, February 2007, 2.

Translation from the original German-langauge text to American English provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado

Hessian Social Minister, Silke Lautenschlaeger, will speak on behalf of her Land during the festive hour of the program for the Bundestreffen
Under the sponsorship of Roland Koch, Prime Minister of the Land Hesse, the 29th Bundestreffen of the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland will take place on May 26, 2007 in the Rhein-Main [Convention] Hall in Wiesbaden.

With its Bundestreffen, which take place every three years, the Landsmannschaft, representing 2.5 million Germans from Russia who by now have found a home here in the Federal Republic, will be able to provide an effective outreach that it might normally be denied. These conventions provide us with a forum to draw the attention of the broader public as much to the accomplishments of our countrymen as to the continuing problems associated with the immigration and integration of Germans from the successor states of the Soviet Union.

We hereby ask the members of the Landsmannschaft and all our countrymen to attend and thereby to allow the convention to become an impressive demonstration of the strength of our ethnic group. Please promote our Bundestreffen actively among your relatives, friends, neighbors and coworkers and, of course, among the members of your local chapters!

Integration of the Germans from Russia - a Success Story

Our 29th Bundestreffen is especially important at a time when acceptance of Germans from Russia in the Federal Republic has decreased without their own fault. Contributing to this situation are the increasingly economic conditions in this country and various media reports that all too often paint a one-sided negative picture of our countrymen.

For this reason alone, as an important part of this Bundestreffen, we must reemphasize that the integration of Germans from Russia as a whole can be viewed as a success story. Without false modesty, we should explain that, especially given the background history of decades of persecution in the former Soviet Union, it is astonishing and admirable how, with consistent effort and a goal-oriented manner, by far the majority of our countrymen have adapted to life here in Germany, and how high a degree of living standard and accomplishment levels they have attained by their very own power.

We must confront the negative statements about Germans from Russia with engaged efforts and with reliance on objective facts, which clearly demonstrate that the Germans from Russia in fact constitute a plus for the Federal Republic of Germany.

A plus because they are mostly young people, often with a number of children, who have a clear work ethic, and thereby they counteract the growing peril of Germany's aging population.

A plus because with their potential for achievement and willingness to work they need to hide behind no one. Quite the contrary, as demonstrated by our sports and artistic people, about whom we continue to report in the publications of our Landsmannschaft. They are people whose life style can be considered exemplary in many ways.

Putting Salt into the Wound

We should also not shrink from pointing out the things that are not as they should be.

For example, we should inquire into why there is no public protest when certain media continually report in an unqualified, unobjective manner that is in fact injurious to the reputation of Germans from Russia.

Moreover, we should inquire into why there is continued talk about, but not with, the Germans from Russia.

On the other hand, we must also urge our countrymen to increase their efforts in becoming active in local associations and organizations, and in taking advantage with increased self-confidence of the opportunities that German society offers them.

In subsequent issues, we will keep you informed in whatever detail necessary of the course of the Bundestreffen. Should you have questions or wish to send us your ideas, we will of course be gladly at your disposal.

Your Landsmannschaft

Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.

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