29th Bundestreffen of the Germans From Russia,
May 26, Wiesbaden
29. Bundestreffen der Deutschen aus Russland am 26. Mai in Wiesbaden
"29th Bundestreffen of the Germans From Russia." Volk auf dem Weg, January 2007, 2-3.
Translation from the original German-language text to English by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado
Following a time gap of 15 years, the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen
aus Russland would like to invite you once again to Wiesbaden for
its 29th Bundestreffen. This event, the largest get-together of
new German residents who have come to Germany from the Soviet Union
or its successor states, will be held starting on May 26, 2007 (the
Saturday before Pentecost), in the
Rhein-Main-Halle [convention center] of the Hessian capital city.
|A view of the Rhein-Main-Hallen in Wiesbaden|
Conventions of Germans from Russia in Wiesbaden have a long-standing tradition: 240 years ago, the first Germans emigrated from Hesse in large groups, and between 1962 and 1990, no fewer than 16 Bundestreffen of the Germans from Russia were held in Wiesbaden, often in collaboration with work sessions of the Volga-Germans.
After years of separation, the Germans from Russia were seeking a place or haven in which they could come together a bit more closely. This haven has been (and is) Germany, and its guiding signpost has been the Landsmannschaft, which these Germans sought connection with and discovered during their hardest times
Next to Stuttgart, Wiesbaden has quietly been the main city for Germans from Russia. Therefore it was fairly logical that, following conventions in Stuttgart (1953), Hanover (1955), Frankfurt/Main (1956), Nuremberg (1957) and Ludwigsburg (1959), the national board eventually turned to Wiesbaden for its convention in 1962. The city had always had a well-functioning local chapter of the Landsmannschaft and, especially for traveling, is centrally situated in Germany.
Nothing has really changed in the last few years with regard to these factors. Another positive factor in [Wiesbaden's] favor is the simple fact that many more Germans from Russia live in the North and East of Germany these days than piror to the reunification [of Germany] and preceding the large stream of late Aussiedlern since the later 1980s. These countrymen will find it easier to come to Wiesbaden than to Germany's Southwest, say, to Stuttgart or Karlsruhe, where the most recent Bundestreffen have been held.
|The main hall was filled to the last seat during the festive session of the Bundestreffen in 1990 in Wiesbaden where the Federal Minister of the Interior, Dr. Wolfgang Schaeuble (front row, 2nd from the left) delivered the keynote speech.|
Wiesbaden was the city that even then provided full houses for the Landsmannschaft's organizers. During the unforgettable convention of June 23 and 24 in 1990 there were 20,000 visitors, who gave the then Federal Minister of the Interior, Dr. Wolfgang Schaeuble, an enthusiastic reception.
A few months prior to a fateful assassination attempt on Dr. Schaeuble, he explained to his audience with full clarity the position of the government regarding the problems faced by our ethnic compatriots -- whether they should stay or emigrate.
During the same year, at the Pentecost meeting of refugees, he had stated this position as follows: "All Germans who are still living in Eastern Europe, particularly in Romania, in Czechoslovakia, beyond the Oder and Neisse Rivers, as well as in the Soviet Union, must retain the opportunity to change their living conditions in their current home so that they are not forced to leave it. They should be able to shape their lives in such a way that it will be possible for them to remain there."
Fifteen hence, this particular question, even if formulated differently, still poses itself for many of our countrymen who are eager to emigrate but have little understanding for last year's dramatically reduced number of Aussiedlern.
The Bundestreffen of 2007
Even though some were persuaded to attend Bundestreffen of recent years by the presence of such keynote speakers as Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl and the Ministers of the Interior, Dr. Wolfgang Schaeuble and Otto Schily -- all of them federal political personalities of the first rank -- we have not yet determined who will take over this role this year.
However, it is quite certain that all the volunteers and elected officials of the Landsmannschaft will do everything in their power to organize the Bundestreffen of 2007 as an impressive demonstration of the unity and capabilities of our ethnic group. Of course, in subsequent issues we will keep you informed of all the remaining details, and we continue to appeal to all the local chapters to:
Please arrange for group travel to Wiesbaden, so that we will be able to demonstrate to the public, via large numbers, that the Germans from Russia are really capable of organizing a great event!
Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.