There is no Alternative to the Politics of the National Government

Waffenschmidt, Dr. Horst. "There is no Alternative to the Politics of the National Government." Volk auf dem Weg, July 1994.

Translation from German to English by Ingeborg W. Smith

Dr. Horst Waffenschmidt
The federal representative for resettler problems, the Parliamentary State Secretary Dr. Horst Waffenschmidt, in his usual manner, laid aside his written speech and gave an authentic extemporaneous speech. At the same time, however, he soothed the Press on the scene with the observation, that the text printed below could be considered as having been delivered.

This (the large number or participants at the national convention; comment or the editor) is an impressive sign or your feeling of belonging together, which you have preserved in spite of your dispersal after the beginning of the war into many parts of the immense former Soviet Union. I hope and wish for you that you will also preserve this solidarity into the next generation and the one following!

To all of you, those resettIers coming from the area of the former Soviet Union, the guests from the successor states of the USSR and the guests from Baden-Württemberg and from other parts of Germany, I bring greetings and best wishes from the federal government. Your chancellor, Helmut Kohl, sends particularly hearty greetings; in the almost twelve years of his tenure in office he has always shown an attentive interest in the Russian-Germans and has done a great deal for them!

A meeting such as this national convention makes one think: A backward look at that which was and a look ahead at that which lies before us.

In the Soviet census of April, 1989 more than two million citizens made themselves known as being of German descent. Today we know that many more would have done this, had not fear stemming from the decades of the war and postwar era been so
deeply rooted in the Germans, that even almost 45 years after the end of the war they would still be fearing serious drawbacks from an open admission of belonging to the German people.

But even the two million Germans of the most recent census constitute a large number: a larger number than have ever made themselves known as German in any census since the Russian Revolution of 1917.

This spring, we have taken in the millionth Russian-German resettler since the founding of the Bundesrepublic of Germany in 1949: during the past year alone over 200,000.

However, the destinies of the Russian-Germans are much more impressive than these figures. I know them not only since I became representative of the federal government for resettler affairs. Far more than a thousand Russian-Germans then lived in my little hometown in the Rhineland, almost one-tenth of the population! One would prefer to do justice to the destiny of each one, to try to smooth out one by one a bit of the sorrowful path of almost all families. But unfortunately, in view of the large numbers of resettlers and applicants in recent years, this is only marginally possibly.

Personally I regret this very much. But I think one must see the basics and parameters of our resettler politics, our politics for the Russian-Germans.

When Russian-Germans come to us in Germany, they need housing, jobs, training and many other things. At the moment, as you all know, housing and jobs are scarce, but all those responsible are striving for improvement. In spite of all the necessary economy measures, the integration of the resettlers will continue to be seen to. Because of leaner budgets the help for the individual is no longer as plentiful as it could be a few years ago. The state, like the private citizen, cannot spend more than it takes in. That is the truth.

The federal government, in spite of the expenses connected with unification, has consistently continued the essence of its policy of help for the Germans in their present home and the taking-in of resettlers, particularly with a view to the fate of the Russian-Germans. There is no alternative to this policy.

Concerning the policy for those Russian-Germans remaining in the CIS the Parliamentary State Secretary emphasized the responsibility of the German Republic for these people:

No group of expatriate Germans in the whole world had less to do with the National Socialist leadership in Germany, but no German group had to suffer so much, so long and with so many consequences from the results of the disastrous Second World War! Therefore, the main thrust of our help for the Germans in the former Eastern Bloc is towards the Russian-Germans, and here for obvious reasons towards the Germans in the Russian Federation. Here the first two national German Rayons originated, not by chance both in over one-hundred-year-old settlement areas in West Siberia- Halbstadt in the Altai region and Asowo in the Omsk area.

We need to catch our breath in our aid in the Volga region. In 1941 it required only two days for the brutal communist dictatorship to deport the Germans in the Volga Republic. The Russian-Germans have a moral right to this historic homeland, the land that they had settled for almost 200 years. But a resettlement is difficult. No Russian-German wishes to be responsible for a new unjust expulsion. The land of the former Volga Republic, that was clearly larger than the federal state of Hesse, is large enough for the approximately 600,000 present inhabitants and those willing to move there. Hesse has more than five million inhabitants. It only means that it will be necessary to provide housing and jobs for all of those who wish to move to the Volga Republic. From Germany one can only make models. We have begun this.

Let us go at it together, to make our Germany even more beautiful, more attractive. And while we are at it, let us not forget those who wish to improve their life in Russia,
Kasachstan, in the Ukraine, in Kirgistan or in some other place. They belong to our linguistic and cultural community as do the Germans in many other countries of the world. We remain tied to them and we will help them. We mean for this message to go out from this conference.

Let us go into the future together with a firm trust in God!

Our appreciation is extended to Ingeborg W. Smith for translation of this article.

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