In Appreciation of Ingo Rüdiger Isert, now an Honorary National Chair of the Bessarabian German Association

Vossler, Günther. "In Appreciation of Ingo Rüdiger Isert, now an Honorary National Chair of the Bessarabian German Association." Mitteilungsblatt des Bessarabiendeutschen Vereins, August 2011, 3-4.

Translation from the original German-language text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, CO. Edited by Dr. Nancy A. Herzog.

The May 2011 issue of the Mitteilungsblatt des Bessarabiendeutschen Vereins reported in detail about the various honors handed out during the meeting of delegates. In that issue one could read that “the meeting reached a worthy conclusion with the announcement of several honors. The title of Honorary National Chair was conferred on the most recent national chair, Ingo Rüdiger Isert, as well as on the long-time chair of the Welfare Committee and most recent national vice-chair, Arnulf Baumann. Another outgoing national vice-chair, Dr. Hugo Knöll, was given the Golden Pin of Merit for his many years of service. All three honorees are ready to take on further tasks and thus to continue serving the Association.”

This article in this particular issue is dedicated entirely to my predecessor, the outgoing national chair Ingo Rüdiger Isert. Since his report was reprinted in its entirety in the above-mentioned issue of the Mitteilungsblatt, I do not need to reiterate how Isert established his first contact with the Association during his youth, how in 1981, at the age of 39, Christian Fiess called on him to serve as business manager of the Landsmannschaft der Bessarabiendeutschen, and how in that post and under the direction of the next national chair, Edwin Kelm, he participated in important decisions concerning the continuing development of the Landsmannschaft. As Isert detailed in his report, his main efforts were applied to the ongoing development of the Heimatmuseum der Bessarabiendeutschen. In 1992Isert took over the chairmanship of the Heimatmuseum (and shaed it and with Christian Fiess until 1995). In that capacity, he and others responsible for the leadership of the Heimatmuseum (also with the support of the Federal government and the State of Baden-Württemberg) worked with great endurance to expand the museum to one that is dedicated to German culture in the East. Especially noteworthy is the didactic conceptualization for our Heimatmuseum which Isert worked out in full cooperation with the Working Association for East German Museums and Collections.

On the occasion of the Heimatmuseum’s Fifty-Year Celebration that was held on November 22, 2002 in the Grand Assembly Hall of the Stuttgart Rathaus, the now deceased Prof. Dr. Paul Sauer, then Director of the State Archive in Stuttgart (now deceased), described our Heimatmuseum as follows (Source: “50 Jahre Heimatmuseum der Deutschen aus Bessarabien 1952-2002. Jubiläumsschrift [Fifty Years, 1952-2002 of the Heimatmuseum of the Germans from Bessarabia. A Celebratory Brochure],” Stuttgart 2002, pp. 47-52).

… the Heimatmuseum der Deutschen aus Bessarabien is not like ordinary folkloric and cultural-historically significant museums of German ethnic groups from abroad. It is much more than that--something that only few Stuttgart residents are aware of--namely, one of the academically high-ranking centers for documentation and research with a seat in Baden-Württemberg’s capital city. Here the history of German colonists in the former Russian Tsarist Empire is documented in an impressive manner and delivered via vivid and expert exhibits, even though most of the work is done by volunteers. But that is not all. Because of their intensive search and collecting activities, the installations associated with the museum, the archive and the library provide researchers with a steadily growing reservoir of historic sources and accessible resources. The incessant efforts of the small numbers of employees in identifying sources and expanding resources, the expertise and knowledge they have acquired, and their mutually encouraging idealism cannot be praised highly enough.

In 2004 Isert was elected to the chairmanship of the Landsmannschaft. We must not forget to mention the fusion of the three Bessarabian German groups into the Bessarabiendeustchen Verein [Bessarabian German Association] in 2006 as well as the fusion of the Association of Dobrudzha Germans with the Bessarabian German Association in 2009, both constituting decisive events that must be included in the great achievements of Ingo Isert for which he is honored. Special thanks should also go to Isert and his Board for the manner in which they succeeded in securing the financing for the overall renovation work of the Heimatmuseum in Stuttgart. The city of Stuttgart provided a grant totaling 220,000 Euros. The fact that we received this grant can be ascribed to the decades of an atmosphere of mutual trust in the Association’s cooperative work with the city of Stuttgart. Responsible for this trusting relationship are Christian Fiess, Dr. h.c. [a doctorate honoris causa, an honorary doctorate] Edwin Kelm and Ingo R. Isert.

The immense volunteer engagement demonstrated by Ingo Isert has also been noticed by the public, and thus it did not come as a surprise that the [then] German President, Horst Köhler, awarded Isert with the Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, a major decoration that the State’s Representative for Displaced persons, Refugees and Aussiedler, Minister of the Interior Heribert Rech, officially presented on Thursday, November 27, 2008 in Bietigheim-Bissingen. Minister Rech, conveying congratulations from the State’s Prime Minister and from the State government, stated: “We are happy that this high honor has been awarded to a citizen of our State, Ingo Isert, a man who for decades has been actively working on behalf of the Bessarabian Germans.”

Several other events that also signified true highlights for the entire ethnic group of Bessarabian Germans—all coming about under the leadership of Ingo Isert should be mentioned. These are as follows.

October 3, 2004: A festive celebration of fifty years of sponsorship by the city of Stuttgart.

November 29, 2004: Inaugural visit by Federal President, Horst Köhler. At the suggestion of a State ministry, Ingo Isert and the Heimatmuseum presented an exhibit on the personal history of President Köhler’s family [N.B. The President’s direct family roots are Bessarabian. – Tr.]

May 16, 2006. Official visit in the Heimatmuseum by Vladimir Voronin, President of the Republic of Moldova.

June 1, 2008: the 38th national convention, with prominent attendees such as Federal President Horst Köhler, State Bishop Frank O. Juli, and the Ambassadors from Ukraine and Moldova.

June 16, 2010: The heretofore unnamed plaza in front of the Heimathaus officially dedicated and named Bessarabian Plaza by Mayor Murawski.

Ingo Isert, in his decades of leadership work for the Bessarabian German Association and in the predecessor organizations, always understood how to “… keep the flame burning.” He was able to pass a lively, thriving organization on to the  new Board.

Thank you, Ingo Isert, for everything!

Our expression of gratitude also extends to his family, especially his wife Erika, who has always supported him actively. We are pleased that Ingo Isert will remain part of our Association in important roles such as delegate and Director of the Heimatmuseum and the Bessarabian Aid Committees, and that we will be able to profit in the future from his knowledge and experience.

Deacon Günther Vossler, National Chair

Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation, and to Dr. Nancy A. Herzog of editing of this article.

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