Federal Cross of Merit With Ribbon for Ingo Rüdiger Isert

Hardtke, Birgit.  "Federal Cross of Merit With Ribbon for Ingo Rüdiger Isert." Mitteilungsblatt 64, no.1: January 2009.

This translation from the original German-language text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog

Heribert Rech, Minister of the Interior of the Land [State] of Baden-Württemberg, along with Ingo Rüdiger and Erika Isert

Bietigheim - Federal President Horst Köhler has awarded the Cross of Merit with Ribbon, an order of merit, to Ingo Rüdiger Isert. During a festive celebratory gathering on Thursday, November 27, 2008 in the Council Hall of the Rathaus of Isert’s hometown of  Bietigheim-Bissingen this significant award was presented to him by Heribert Rech, the Land’s [State’s] Minister of the Interior.

"The richness of a city lies hidden and usually rests on the civic engagement of its citizens. In our community, citizens’ engagement is consistently headlined with capital letters. Therefore we are especially delighted to be able to arrange this celebration for a particularly engaged citizen of our community," stressed grand-mayor Jürgen Kessing in his welcoming remarks.

The state’s representative for the displaced, refugees and Aussiedler, Minister of the Interior Heribert Rech, then delivered congratulations from the state’s Prime Minister and government. Rech commented: "We are pleased that this high recognition has been given to a citizen of our own state, Ingo Rüdiger Isert, who for decades has been personally engaged on behalf of the Bessarabia-Germans." He added that "Isert’s decades of voluntary effort for the Bessarabia-Germans demands the highest recognition and respect. As early as 1977 he became a member of the Landsmannschaft of Germans from Bessarabia and the Heimat-museum of Germans from Bessarabia. Since 2007 he has been national president of the newly established Bessarabia-German Association. Through his major participation subsequent to the purchase of the tract of land for the ‘House of Bessarabia-Germans,’ the Bessarabia-German Library, Homeland Archives, a Photo and Slide Archive, and a department for family research were established. Isert was the driving force behind the remodeling of exhibition rooms in the Heimat-museum. Also thanks to Isert’s negotiation skills, the Assistance Committee of the Ev-Lutheran Church from Bessarabia, the Landsmannschaft of Germans from Bessarabia, and the Heimat-museum of Germans from Bessarabia in 2005 were merged into a single organization."

"Via his many visits to the former Bessarabia, Isert kept up contacts with the local population there and with representatives of local authorities. Concurrently, reciprocating visits have occurred, for example, the 2006 visit by Vladimir Voronin, President of the Republic of Moldova. Though these contacts, you have made a major contribution to understanding between peoples," stressed the Minister. For preparations for the initial official visit to Stuttgart in 2004 by Federal President Horst Köhler, Isert expended all of his energies as well. By means of a document containing a comprehensive set of information, he provided Federal President Horst Köhler with the full history of the Bessarabia-Germans, and especially with the history of origin of the Köhler family. Köhler was especially delighted with this comprehensive history of his family.

"Through his decades of exemplary engagement on behalf of the Bessarabia-Germans, Isert has contributed significantly to the effort of documenting the history of this ethnic group and to maintaining in this country, their new homeland, the rich culture of the Germans from Bessarabia. Through his many travels to the homeland of his ancestors he has made many personal connections and has thereby built bridges for a new understanding between peoples. For your untiring engagement I would like to thank you sincerely in the name of the state government.," added Rech and then affixed the Federal Cross of Merit on Isert’s lapel.

(Left to right:) The Moldovan Ambassador Dr. Igor Corman and his Wife; Edwin and Olga Kelm; Pastor Arnulf Baumann; representatives of the Land [State] Legislature, Manfred Hollenbach (of the CDU Party) and Christine Rudolf (of the SPD Party) 

Next, Dr. h.c. Edwin Kelm, honorary national president, added warm and moving comments, reminiscing about many years of good and successful collaboration: "Together we were able to plan, work on, and succeed in many matters. I cannot imagine any work on behalf of our Landsmannschaft without there having been the Heimat-museum. Love of, connection with the old homeland of his parents – these are what drive Ingo  Rüdiger Isert. The fact that the Bessarabia-German Association from now on marches united into the future, that is our future direction," added Kelm. As a special recognition for Ingo Rüdiger Isert’s services, Edwin Kelm had reserved a major surprise: the mayor of the village of Tatarbunar, the birthplace of Isert’s father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, as well as the grand-mayor of the city of Belgorod-Dnyestrovskiy (formerly Akkerman), each presenting a certificate of recognition to Isert and congratulating him on the granting of the Federal Cross o Merit.

Next the ambassador of the Republic of Moldova, S.E. Dr. Igor Corman, expressed his own personal delight as well: "This year we have already met four times, first in Berlin, then in Leipzig, thereafter in Ludwigsburg on the occasion of the unforgettable Bundestreffen [national convention] and today here in Bietigheim, where Mr. Isert resides. For me my 'presence' is not only by official protocol, but a very special delight personally, because this truly concerns the Bessarabia-Germans. I have been ambassador since 2004, when Mr. Isert also became national chairman. But we’ve known each other much longer. Our first meeting took place in 1997 in the Heimat-museum in Stuttgart. At the time we were especially impressed with the warm welcome accorded to us. And throughout the years I have been very pleased with our close and friendly collaboration. I also think that this kind of good relationship is needed in the future as well," concluded the ambassador.

Pastor Arnulf Baumann then spoke: "Much has already been said about the merits and work of Ingo Rüdiger Isert, therefore I wish to go more deeply into the person, the way he is and performs his work," and added his own personal words of greeting, which characterized Isert’s nature, his work and actions, summarizing as follows: "Working with Ingo Isert is always a very good thing! What this means is that we can be especially thankful to God that we have Ingo Isert as our national chairman. May it be thus for a long time to come."

Finally, visibly touched, Ingo Rüdiger Isert thanked all participants for their presence and their words and contributions, "During this day of honoring, I want to thank also my three predecessors, whose merits and accomplishments continue to benefit us to this day: Christian Fieß, founder and for forty years the chairman of the Heimat-museum; Dr. Edwin Kelm, who was national chairman of the Landsmannschaft for twenty-two years, and who breathed life into the Association and continues to this day to act as our ambassador in Bessarabia; and Pastor Arnulf Baumann, for twenty-eight years the chairman of the Assistance Committee and under whose direction the Elder-Assistance-Home Alexander Stift in Rems-Murr-Kreis became the largest institution of its kind . And today we find special truth in the old saying that shared joy is double joy, for the recognition I received today applies not only to my person, but also to our Association. This success is based on the many, many active hands of the Board, of the delegates and our numerous colleagues. On this joyous occasion, I express my warmest thanks to all of you."

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

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