Russian German News Summary

"Russian German News Summary." Volk auf dem Weg, November 1999.

Translation from German to English by Alice Morgenstern, Munich, Germany

Since 1989, about two million Aussiedler have come to Germany. During the first years they were welcomed and their integration caused no problems. Since the middle of the nineties, however, increasing difficulties can be noticed. The changes are due to the following developments:

  • The shortage of work is a disquieting factor in Germany.
  • The acceptance of people from other countries has decreased, they are often seen as rivals on the working market.
  • Russian Germans, especially young Russian Germans, are often rated as "aliens" because of their language deficiencies. Most of them speak Russian, especially when they come from families with one Russian parent. And the German language test, when they immigrated, does not really reveal proficiency in German.
  • Their disillusion, lack of orientation and frustration in Germany may lead to dangerous reactions: to alcoholism, hooliganism, vandalism, to taking drugs and committing crimes.
  • Conditions get worse, if they live crammed in certain surroundings, in parts of the city where they experience a sort of "ghetto situation."

It is necessary that measures have to be taken by combined efforts of the communities and various organizations, such as the Churches, institutions for social and educational work, sports clubs, etc. A network of supporters must be set up.

But first and foremost language courses with efficient teaching must be made available for families and specially for the young. The education at schools and in classes must be intensified and help to give perspectives to people who have lost their old German family culture in Russia.

The situation of the young Russian Germans is focused in their relations to the young Turks who form a considerable minority in German cities.

There are parallels between the two groups: Both feel that they are outsiders and not really accepted. Both realize that it is harder for them to find work than for the Germans. Both feel the need for a group identity and tend to turn up in gangs.

But the Turks have a definite identity, where as the young Russian Germans feel that they don't belong anywhere. In Russia the fact that they were Germans had to be concealed, but in Germany they are seen as Russians and often they consider themselves as such.

Most of the young Turks have grown up in Germany and speak German fluently. This advantage is made felt to the tongue-tied "Russians," when they are jeered by the Turks.

Fights between gangs are the consequence.

So ways must be found to deal successfully with this problem. A conference in Bonn in September with German, Turkish and Russian German representatives tried to find ways for more tolerance. Some helpful proposals have been made, e.g. for organized meetings of young Turks and young Russian Germans.

The Ukrainian German section of the society of "Wiedergeburt" ("rebirth") in Donezk, Ukraine, is described in it. Many young members of this society try to preserve their German heritage. They carry out plans with regard to this aim. There are eleven German Sunday schools in the Ukraine. Special groups have traveled to the Black Sea Region in order to find relics of the German past, they collect histories of Russian German during and after the Second World War. They practice German music and they are interested in German poetry.

Of, course, they need support and would be grateful for small donations.

The address is:

Dr Alexandr Dynges
Teatralny PR. 9
340055 Donezk, Ukraine

Our appreciation is extended to Alice Morgenstern for translation of this article.

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