Bessarabian-German Organizations Merge

Bessarabiendeutsche Vereine Fusionieren

Schaefer, Werner. "Bessarabian-German Organizations Merge." Volk auf dem Weg, April 2006 11.

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

The Societies of former Germans in Bessarabia that were formed during post-War times on behalf of the Germans from Bessarabia were on March 10 merged into a single one, which at a session in Stuttgart was named "Bessarabiendeutscher Verein" [Bessarabia-German Society].

After WW II, Germans formerly of Bessarabia formed three separate societies: the Landsmannschaft of Bessarabia-Germans with its seat in Stuttgart; the Assistance Committee of the Ev.-Luth. Church from Bessarabia, with its seat in Hannover; and the Heimatmuseum of Germans from Bessarabia, in Stuttgart.

These Societies successfully worked on behalf of the needs and integration of their members and, in our Heimatmuseum, preserved the culture and traditions of their ancestors in their various facets in order to be able to pass them on to coming generations.

The original Bessarabian-Germans consisted mainly of immigrants from Wuerttemberg, those who, following the Napoleonic wars, for economic and religious reasons, had emigrated to South Russia north of the Black Sea. For 126 years and in over 150 villages they lived there, mainly as farmers.

A provision of the Hitler-Stalin Pact caused almost all Germans in Bessarabia, 93.000 persons in all, to be resettled into German-occupied Poland in 1940. In 1945 they again fled, this time from the approaching Russian troops and, after a multitude of problems and much chaos, for the most part landed as refugees in their original home regions of Wuerttemberg. Over 50 years ago, the city of Stuttgart assumed official sponsorship of the Germans from Bessarabia. Note, for example, that the parents of Horst Koehler, the current German President, had been among those who come back from Bessarabia.

Since the Bessarabian-Germans integrated fully into society, many post-War problems no longer needed to be addressed for them. This is the main reason that moved the leaderships of the three Societies to create a single organization and to prepare for merger.

During the meeting of March 10, 2006, a large majority of the members approved the merger contract and the requisite bylaw changes.

The Bessarabiendeustche Verein has its headquarters at Florianstrasse 17 in Stuttgart, where the always well-attended Heimatmuseum, including its archives and library, is also housed. Hanover is the site for a branch office for the Northern and Eastern German regions.

The Alexander Foundation, part of the organization and located in Rems-Murr County, had already been separated into an autonomous society in December, 2005. It continues its work on behalf of the elderly and also its social work involving nine community care homes.

Added by election to the previous board members Ingo Ruediger Isert (national chair, Bietigheim-Bissingen), Pastor Arnulf Baumann (Wolfsburg), and Werner Schaefer (Bempflingen) were Erika Wiener (Hanover) and Dr. Hugo Knoell of Esslingen. Also, 15 further members were elected to an extended board.

On June 18, 2006, the 37th national conference of Bessarabia-Germans will be held at the Forum in Ludwigsburg -- with the motto "United we are stronger." Over 2,000 former Bessarabia-Germans and their descendants are expected to take part in the conference.

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