Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon Awarded to Dr. Anton Bosch 

Honoring of a multiplicity of efforts over the course of three decades  

Paulsen, Nina. "Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon Awarded to Dr. Anton Bosch." Volk auf dem Weg, August-September 2010, 12.

Translation from the Original German-language text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado

Dr. Markus Söder (left) presents the high decoration to Dr. Anton Bosch

On July 8 in the King’s Hall of the Justice Building in Nuremberg, Dr. Markus Söder, Bavarian State Minister for the Environment and Health, as official representative of the German President Horst Köhler, decorated seven highly engaged citizens from business, science, the health arena, culture and volunteerism with the Cross of Merit on Ribbon of the Federal Republic of Germany. One of these honorees was a German from Russia, Dr. Anton Bosch.

“In recognition of special achievements on behalf of the people and the nation,” reads the certificate accompanying the decoration, which was dated December 15, 2009. For over three decades he was engaged on behalf of the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland and working on political matters of the Association and in the cultural and historical arenas

“Himself a victim of persecution and displacement, even before his own immigration to Germany he worked on behalf of others who wished to do the same, as well as for the reunification of families,” remarked Markus Söder.

Anton Bosch was born in 1934 in Kandel, near Odessa, and in 1944 he and his parents came to the Warthegau/Poland, then to Pechstadt near Leipzig, and from there they were deported to a work camp in Udmurtia in the Western Urals.

After the war ended, he entered a career path involving electricity. Before retirement he had become director of an electric power plant and chief engineer for energy supply in Karaganda, Kazakhstan.  As early as the 1960s he became engaged in family reunification efforts of German Russians. In 1974 Bosch immigrated to Germany (Nuremberg) and worked there with the Siemens Company until 1997.

In his new homeland, family reunification and integration of his countrymen, in Bavaria and nation-wide, were priority items on his agenda in his honorary position at the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland. Between 1974 and 1978 he worked in being a social affairs advisor for the local and county chapter Nuremberg-Fürth, and between 1978 and 1982 he became their chairman. Subsequently he served for six years in the national leadership of the Landsmannschaft in the area of family reunification and from 1988 until 1992 as chairman of the Cultural Council of Germans from Russia. In 1996 he participated in the CSCE Conference in Vienna.

For his special achievements in the area of researching the history of the ethnic group, as well as in preserving the culture and traditions of German Russians, the Landsmannschaft in 2004 conferred on him its Golden Pin of Honor.

Following an interim post as deputy chair of the Union of Displaced People’s county and local chapter of Nuremberg-Ansbach, in 1996 he and others founded the Association “Haus der Heimat” in Nuremberg, dedicated to social, integrative and cultural areas of the Germans from Russia.

In 1999, he and friends of similar persuasion founded the “Hstorischer Forschungsverein der Deutschen asu Russland [Historical Research Association for Germans form Russia]” and led it until 2007 under the motto “Heimat ist Geschichte und Geschichte ist unser Auftrag [Home means History and History is our Task!”] Under his energetic leadership numerous projects were begun and realized, projects that would provide important impulses to the reconciliation of peoples and generations.

Anton Bosch is the author of numerous articles and co-author of books. He has caused a whole series of publications by the HFDR to be begun and produced, and he personally provided contributions to them. Several yearbooks and publications in the blue-and-yellow series “Russland-Deutsche Zeitgeschichte [Contemporary German Russian History]” have been published during that period of time.  Bosch is one of the authors of “Trauerbuch Odessa [Odessa Book of Mourning]” and “Trauerbuch Odessa 2 [Volume Two],” which were published as part of the series “Russland-Deutsche Zeitgeschichte” (volumes 5 and 6) and deal with Stalin’s State terror affecting Germans in the regions of Odessa, Nikolayev and Cherson in Ukraine within the time span of 1928 to 1953.

He never totally gave up on his dream of receiving a doctorate – it took around twenty-three years to get to a third attempt. After entering retirement Bosch studied history, Slavic Studies, Recent and Most Recent History at the Erlangen-Nuremberg University and successfully completed his formal requirements with a paper on the topic “Aloisius Kappes – Biography of a Contemporary Witness from the Volga. Founding, Development and Dissolution of his Birthplace, Mariental on the Greater Karaman.” In 2008 he received his doctorate from Erlangen-Nuremberg University, having written his thesis on the topic “The Downfall of the German Russians in the Settlement Area Odessa-Nikolayev under the Soviet System, to 1939.” This thesis laid the groundwork for his book”Stalins Farmer Victims on the Black Sea” (2010, appearing as part of the HFDR series “Russland-Deutsche Zeitgeschichte”).

Between 1994 and 2008 Bosch undertook six trips to Odessa and gathered from various archives more than 7,500 names of repressed German Russians. These became the foundation for his PhD thesis. His own guiding principles, “Writing history is a good way to get rid of personal problems” and “To thank is to compare” (Walther von Rathenau) stayed with him during his doctorate and in the book that followed: in other words, the history of one’s own ethnic group as well as the history of the two nations of Germany and Russia must be treated critically and without leaving out awkward aspects.

With painstaking effort, he crafted a work in which German farming life in the Black Sea and the downfall of German Russian in thirty-one “mother colonies” and in three “German National Rayons [Regions]” between Odessa and Nikolayev during the first half of the Twentieth Century are the central themes.     

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

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller