Georg Hildebrandt autographs the English edition of his book at his Heidelberg home, May 30, 2003.

Order of Merit Awarded to Georg Hildebrandt

Verdienstorden Fuer Georg Hildebrandt

"Order of Merit Awarded to Georg Hildebrandt." Volk auf dem Weg, May 2003, 21.

Translation from German to English by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado

Note: The book in the English language, Why are you still alive?: A German in the Gulag, is available from the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection at this website page:

Shortly before Easter, rather joyous news reached Georg Hildebrandt, one of the most outstanding representatives of our ethnic group. Erwin Teufel, Head of Government of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, was writing to him as follows:

"Esteemed Mr. Hildebrandt, in countless ways, you have been rendering outstanding services to the public welfare. For that reason, I requested that the President of Germany recognize your contributions by granting you the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. Today I am happy to inform you that the President has indeed conferred upon you the Order of Merit.

I would like personally to congratulate you on this distinct honor. At the same time, I wish to thank you for the great work you perform for the benefit of our State. With all the best wishes and friendliest greetings, I remain yours, Erwin Teufel."

The editors, along with a countless number of Georg Hildebrandt's friends, rejoice in this award, especially because it has been granted to a Landsmann who, perhaps like none other, for nearly a century has been identified with the fate of our ethnic group and, with his book "Wieso lebst du noch? [Why are you still alive?]," has created a memorial for all Germans in the former Soviet Union.

Georg Hildebrandt was born in 1911 in Kondratyevka in the Don region and lived through a long odyssee of the rigors of Soviet life, with especially tough experiences in prisons and GULAGs. Since his arrival in Germany in 1974, he has consistently dedicated himself to matters of human rights and all things affecting his ethnic group.

By now a widower, Georg Hildebrandt is approaching his 92nd birthday on July 19, 2003 with remarkably good health and vigor. He keeps good contacts with old and new citizens of Germany. His address at the Heidelberg Ebert-Center is as follows: Buchwaldweg 17, 69126 Heidelberg. A paperback edition of his most important book, entitled "Wieso lebst du noch?" [see above], is available via the Landsmannschaft at the cost of 6 euros.

Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.

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