Ten Years of Successful Work

Historischer Forschungverein der Deutschen aus Russland [Historic Research Association of Germans from Russia]

Schein, Nina, “Ten Years of Successful Work." Volk auf dem Weg, January 2010, 10.

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

Participants at the Anniversary Celebration of the Historic Research Association.

Anyone who does not know where he comes from also does not know where he is going.  The Historischer Forschungsverein der Deutschen aus Russland [Historic Research Association of Germans from Russia] (HFDR) has demonstrated special accomplishments in its ten years while striving to make known the hidden history of the Germans from Russia,” stressed Horst Göbbel, President of the Haus der Heimat [House of our Homeland] in Nuremberg in his welcoming remarks at the festive gathering of the Association on the occasion of its tenth anniversary.

The celebration took place in the comfortable surroundings of the guesthouse Birkenhain in Nuremberg, and it included guests from the metro region and from Bonn (Dr. Alexander Hoffmann, Visitator for the Catholic Germans from the CIS States).

The Research Association can look back on ten years of proud results that include eleven annual illustrated calendars, twelve published books, and various other projects. The latest volume in the series Russlanddeutsche Zeitgeschichte [Contemporary German Russian History], Gedenkbuch Altai und Omsk. Staatsterror an den Deutschen in den Regionen Altai und Omsk 1919-1953 [Memorial Volume Altai and Omsk: Memorial Book on the State-sponsored Terror Directed at Germans in the Altai and Omsk Regions] by Dr. Viktor Bruhl and Michael Wanner was published only recently.

During its very founding, the HFDR inscribed the motto “Heimat ist Geschichte und Geschichte ist Heimat” [“Your Home is Your History and Your History is Your Home”] on its pennant. Its members have continued ever since then to strive to adhere to this guideline. For many years, from 1999 until 2007) its first President, Anton Bosch, was the driving force for the Association and initiated several projects. For two years after, Michael Wanner has been directing the HFDR.

Books published thus far have dealt with various time spans of German Russian history. Ever since 2000 the Association has been publishing its annual illustrated calendar, which emphasizes events and personalities of German Russian history and builds cultural bridges.

Additionally, the HFDR has executed various plans and projects, e.g., a portrait gallery of significant German Russians (painted by the German Russian artist Johannes Niederhaus), and also the project “Traditional Costumes of the German Russians” by Association members Lilli and Reinhardt Uhlmann. Under the motto “200 Years of Immigration of Germans to the Black Sea Region,” various exhibits featuring German Russian personalities were organized in Nuremberg and Herzogenaurach, and many lectures have been provided.

One of the highlights of these ten years was the boundary-shattering project called “Gedenkstätte Friedhof Archangelsk” [“Memorial Site: The Cemetery of Archangelsk”] (2004), which was dedicated to the contributions made by the Germans of the region between the Sixteenth and Nineteenth Centuries and to the victims of political repression during the Twentieth Century. As a continuation of this project, the “Traeuerbuch Archangelsk” [“Archangelsk Book of Mourning”] was begun in collaboration with Lomonossov University (Prof. Dr. Michail Suprun) and with the DRK [German Red Cross], a project that is now in jeopardy following the arrest of Prof. Suprun (cf. VadW 12/2009). Between the 1930s and 1950s, exiled and otherwise mobilized German Russians and German POWs lost their lives on the infamous Solovki Islands in the Archangelsk region and in other GULAG camps.

Research and analysis of the dark or unfamiliar sides of German Russian history, which also includes delving into archives in the countries of origin, are to continue to be at the forefront of the Association’s work. Many projects have been supported by the Haus der Heimat of Nuremberg. Göbbel comments on this as follows: “The Historic Research Association is an important pillar of the Haus. During ten years, the Association has accomplished much, which has also been to the benefit of the Haus der Heimat.”

Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of these articles.

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