Remembering Pastor Heinrich Römmich and Theodor Römmich
Däs, Nelly and Huber, Philipp. "Remembering Pastor Heinrich Römmich and Theodor Römmich." Volk auf dem Weg, May 2012, 21.
Translation from the original German-language text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, CO. Editorial assistance from Dr. Nancy Herzog.
Nelly Däs of Waiblingen wrote the following:
The Easter issue of VadW contained an article about Pastor Heinrich Römmich. I was pleased to see it because our older Germans from Russia will in time be totally forgotten. I met Pastor Römmich on several occasions.
While the German troops were occupying Ukraine in 1942, Pastor Römmich came to the Ev.-Lutheran church of Prishib and conducted a prayer worship there. Twelve years old at the time, I was allowed to ride to church along with my mother, my grandfather, and my Uncle Alexander, who was teaching in Andrenburg [Nelly’s home village – Tr.].
This was something really special for me. After all, until recently the Communists had often used the churches mostly for grain storage. Immediately after the start of the occupation of Prishib by the Germans, our Lutheran faithful had begun to renovate the church.
We started the drive of eighteen kilometers [ca. eleven miles] from Andrenburg to Prishib very early to make sure that we would get a seat in church. People were coming from far and near.
Because the greater part of the population had been deported to Siberia in 1941, most German villages around Prishib were nearly empty. The Priship parish included the villages Grüntal, Altmontal and Rosental in addition to Andrenburg.
Then I saw Pastor Römmich in the pulpit. He was speaking about God and Jesus. For me this was not a new thing, because Uncle Alexander had been conducting two prayer services a week in the school, and one every Sunday for the grown-ups.
Following his sermon, Pastor Römmich mingled with the congregation, and that gave my grandfather and my uncle the opportunity to have a conversation with him.
Eighteen years later – I was part of the leadership in the Stuttgart chapter of the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland [Association of Germans from Russia] -- a pastor was leading the prayer service for our Christmas celebration, and as soon as I saw him, he seemed somehow familiar.
Suddenly in my mind’s eye I saw the pulpit in Prishib, and I knew this must be the same man who had come to Prishib in 1942, namely, Pastor Römmich! During a break I approached him and asked him whether he had been in Prishib in 1942. He confirmed it.
Our joy was mutual. I then told him about our flight that had begun in September, 1943 and had finally ended in 1945 in Swäbisch Gmünd, Baden-Württemberg. We kept talking, and after a bit, when Dr. Karl Stumpp joined us, both encouraged me to write down my story, and it was these two who always received my books as gifts.
I am certain that others of our elder members were also pleased about the article by Daniel Ressler. I thank the young man for it and hope to read more by him in VadW.
Philipp Huber wrote the following:
On the last page of the April, 2012 issue of our newspaper Volk auf dem Weg, Daniel Ressler writes of his relatives, among them the founder of the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland (at the time it was called Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Ostumsiedler [Work Group for Eastern Resettlers], Pastor Heinrich Römmich,
The names of the men and women who after the war raised their voices for us Germans from Russia so that we might be acknowledged as true Germans, these people, whom we owe the fact that we are now German citizens, must never be forgotten.
At this point I wish to write about another Römmich, one who helped our family in a major way to make it here. I mean thereby Pastor Römmich’s cousin, Theodor Römmich
The latter’s son, my brother-in-law Viktor Römmich, died in Stuttgart on November 11, 2011. In his personal archives we discovered many documents dealing with the successful search by Theodor Römmich for his roots here in Germany. We also found a supplementary report on the history of the German colonies in South Russia (Ukraine). Using official documents, he had composed an especially large and important piece of work on the colony of Worms, Russia, which must also not recede into oblivion.
In addition, we found a letter of congratulations from Pastor Heinrich Römmich on the occasion of Theodor Römmich’s 70th birthday on November 21, 1969. Among other matters in the letter, we read that the pastor thanked Theodor for his dependable and trustworthy work as bookkeeper for the Landsmannschaft.
We all sometimes take for granted the things the German government does for us, but at the same time we also often forget all too easily what the Landsmannschaft has done for us. These accomplishments must never be forgotten.