The National Board Opts for a General Memorial Celebration in Berlin

Bundesvorstand Beschliesst Gemeinsame Gedenkfeier in Berlin

"The National Board Opts for a General Memorial Celebration in Berlin." Volk auf dem Weg, n.d.

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

During a memorial celebration in Berlin in 2001, Dietrich Kurz, representing the generation who experienced it all, reported on the years of Soviet forced labor camps and prisons.

For the first time since 2001, the memorial celebration of the “Landsmannschaft” on the occasion of the August 28, 1941 Deportation Edict by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR will once again occur in front of the” Reichstag” [Germany's Parliament] in Berlin.

That is the crux of a decision of the national board of the “Landsmannschaft”, which set the actual date for August 31, 2008. A key part of the decision was to hold this memorial celebration alongside the highest possible number of associations and initiatives representing the Germans from Russia, in order to make it a powerful demonstration of the unity of these ethnic groups, and to achieve a maximal outside impression. Conversations toward attaining this goal were held by representatives of the national board with the "Heimat" Association and with other associations which signaled their willingness to collaborate.

Following the past years' memorial celebrations by the Landsmannschaft at venues such as Stuttgart, Wiesbaden, Augsburg and at the border transition camp of Friedland, we once again return to Berlin, where seven years ago the area in front of the Reichstag was the site of a moving demonstration, attended by Erika Steinbach, the President of the Association of Refugees, and by Jochen Welt, the then representative of the Federal Republic for” Aussiedler” Affairs, as well as by numerous representatives of the generation that experienced it all and who reported of their fateful experiences.

That was a memorial celebration which has firmly remained in our memories, much like the celebration on the 65th anniversary of the deportation of Germans in Russia held two years ago in Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt, which by the attendance of Wolfgang Schaeuble, Federal Minister of the Interior, was accorded nation-wide importance. Here are his unforgettable words: "Although they lived in the areas farthest away from Germany, the Germans in the Soviet Union were affected for the longest time -- and overall, in the hardest manner -- by the consequences of the Second World War. Their long years of severely restricted freedom of movement, of reprisals in daily life, in education, and in occupation, were the decisive factors in their continual sufferings and deprivation."

In subsequent issues we shall provide you with more details on the memorial celebration in Berlin, but we ask you to take the time now to note the date in your calendars.

The Friedland memorial celebration announced in our previous issue is set for August 23. More details will follow in subsequent issues on this event as well.

The Editors of the “Landsmannschaft” der Deutschen aus Russland

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