Document justifying the proposed award
|Last name, first name:||Hildebrandt, Georg|
|Birth date:||07/19/1911, Kondratyevka (former Soviet Union)|
|Residence:||Buchwaldweg 17, 69126 Heidelberg, Germany|
|Award Level:||Medal of Merit|
Justification for the Proposed Award
Mr. Georg Hildebrandt, born in a Mennonite village in Eastern Ukraine, spent a large part of his life in Soviet punishment camps. He was only 17 years old when, in 1929, he was first arrested just as ethnic Germans as a group were severely impacted during the course of the destruction of the kulaki. During subsequent years he suffered several further arrests and prison sentences. Mr. Hildebrandt was sentenced to a total of twenty-three years in prison, which he eventually was forced to spend within seventeen separate punishment camps, among them the camp in the infamous Kolyma region in Northeast Siberia, where millions of people were killed. Nearly all of Mr. Hidlebrandt's relatives, among them his father and two brothers, were murdered or disappeared permanently after their arrests.
Mr. Hildebrandt, resident of Heidelberg since 1974, saw it as his natural responsibility, and as a task to be taken on gladly, to report about his fate, both as a reminder and as admonishment. He describes his experiences in his book "Wieso lebst du noch [Why are you still alive]?", first published in 1990 and, in a second edition in 1993, is deeply shocking, yet subsumed with Christian-humanistic trust. The Frankfurter Zeitung commented on the book as follows: "The author becomes the chronicler of those of his own kind, those millions of Germans in the Soviet Union who, mistreated as he was, during the past seventy years suffered nothing but degradation, ostracizing, banishment, and disaster."
Mr. Hildebrandt, who did not permit himself to be taken over by
hatred and, instead, has dedicated himself to this day to efforts
toward understanding and reconciliation between Russians and Germans,
reports on his experiences at many events and through numerous lectures
and speeches in schools of this state. Despite his advancing age
he continues to act on behalf of Aussiedlern of German descent arriving
from the Soviet Union, providing advice and action, ideas and materiel,
toward easing their integration into their new home.