What is the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen
aus Russland e.V.?
What is their purpose?
What have they accomplished?
Translation from German to English from the
publication Information für Spätaussiedler aus der ehemaligen
Sowjetunion published by the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen
aus Russland, Stuttgart, Germany, 1998.
The Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland
e.V. was founded by German Russians in 1950. Financially and in
its working methods, it is independent of governments, administrative
bodies and political parties. It is not bound by religious affiliations
but open to members of all religions. The Landsmannschaft is set
up democratically: Countrymen in local chapters elect delegates;
the delegates elect regional and national chairmen. The advisory
board with representatives of various denominations and specialists
advise the national chairman.
The Landsmannschaft pursues only charitable projects,
i.e., its work is not set on financial gain. Any profits are used
in accordance with statutes. The coworkers of the Landsmannschaft
in the national, regional and local chapters basically work in
a volunteer capacity. Financial resources come almost exclusively
from membership dues and donations of members.
The Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland
e.V. stands by the Charta der deutschen Heimatvertriebenen
of August 5, 1950.
Excerpt from the Charta der deutschen Heimatvertriebenen
After careful consideration and examination of
their conscience, the chosen representatives of millions of displaced
persons conscious of their responsibility before God and people,
conscious of their affiliation with a Christian-occidental society,
conscious of their German origin and recognizing the common task
of all European people have decided to make a solemn statement
which lays down responsibilities and rights which German displaced
persons consider as their basic law and as absolutely essential
for bringing about a free and united Europe. They made this statement
to the German people and to the whole world.
1. We displaced persons renounce revenge and retribution.
We are serious about this decision and consider it sacred in memory
of the continuous suffering which the last century in particular
has brought on humanity.
2. We will support with full effort every beginning
which is set on creating a better Europe where people can live
without fear and constraint.
3. We will participate in rebuilding Germany and
Europe through hard, incessant work...
We feel called to demand that the right for a homeland
as one of the fundamental rights to humanity given by God is recognized
and realized... The peoples in the world are to feel jointly responsible
for the fate of displaced persons as one of the worst affected
by the suffering in this era. The people are to act according
to their Christian duties and according to their conscience...
We call on all peoples and people who are willing to lend a hand
so that for all of us the way for a better future out of guilt,
misfortune, suffering, poverty and misery is found.
Since its founding, the Landsmannschaft sees itself
as the representative of interests, as a relief organization and
as a cultural society of all German Russians in the whole world.
Germans who live in the former Soviet Union and who are denied
national representation are included. As long as they don't have
this opportunity, the Landsmannschaft will speak for them and
intercede on their behalf especially regarding the right to free
departure, to exercise their religion, free use of their mother
tongue, to cultural autonomy and to right the wrongs suffered
in 1941 and later.
Excerpt of the statutes of the Landsmannschaft
der Deutschen aus Russland e.V.
§ 3 section 2. Goal and purpose of the Landsmannschaft
a) Promoting unification of families, and departure
and admission of all Germans and their family members who want
to leave the former Soviet Union;
b) Advising and serving ethnic German emigrants,
late ethnic German emigrants, displaced persons, prisoners of
war, war victims and surviving dependents of the former Soviet
Union in all aspects of legal, social and economic integration;
c) Promoting linguistic, cultural-ethnic and religious
identity of Germans in the former Soviet republics;
d) Supporting youths through linguistic, educational,
occupational, social and cultural integration;
e) Promoting the unity of the Landsmannschaft nationally
and abroad, and strengthening a shared identity with all social
classes of the Federal Republic of Germany;
f) Spreading and deepening knowledge about the
former areas of origin;
g) Supporting research projects in the areas of
science, ethnography and culture;
h) Speaking out for the attainment of human rights
and the right for self determination of all peoples
3. The statutory purpose is attained especially
a) Protecting and representing social, economic
and home-political interests of members and countrymen within
the framework of the law in view of the government and legislative
authorities, authorities, courts and the public, if the society
considers it necessary;
b) Collaborating with all appropriate authorities
and other institutions on a national, regional and local level
c) Collaborating with all German Russian societies
nationally and abroad, and with the Kulturrat der Deutschen aus
Russland (KDR) e.V. in Stuttgart;
d) Collaborating with appropriate teaching and
e) Realization of travel exhibits to present culture
and history especially the fate of all German Russians during
war and as a result of war;
f) Publishing to record, secure and care for the
German Russian heritage;
g) Erecting and maintaining monuments and commemorative
The society succeeded through unrelenting efforts
of its many members in integrating materially, culturally and
socially German Russians who had arrived during the war. The Landsmannschaft,
through numerous petitions, letters, telephone calls, auditions
with authorities and government departments, contacts to politicians,
journalists, national and international organizations and also
by taking legal actions, contributed in creating a social framework
that offers much assistance with integrating and settling early
displaced persons, late ethnic German emigrants and countrymen
who hopefully will still be allowed to immigrate. The Landsmannschaft
is now working through increased efforts on keeping this framework
open to all countrymen. To receive your rights and to be right
are two different things. The Landsmannschaft has already helped
thousands of countrymen to solve their personal problems, to assert
their rights. The Landsmannschaft has created important pre-conditions
for the unification of families; it has informed the German public
as well as the public at large concerning the political existence
and the bad situation of the German ethnic group in the former
Soviet Union and continuously pressed on to intercede on their
Is it worthwhile to become a member of the Landsmannschaft?
It is worthwhile in any case not only because,
as a member, you receive the monthly paper of the society Volk
auf dem Weg free of charge but you are also entitled to advisory
service and support in all aspects of society: assistance with
integration according to BVFG, income support, pensions, questions
concerning citizenship, problems with authorities, acceptance
of credentials and much more.
Above all, it is actually a moral obligation to
become a member in order to support the representation of interests
of all German Russians at least through the membership fee of
DM 54.00 a year (in one month DM 4.50), new states DM 42.00 (DM
3.50/month). We can very effectively help ourselves and our relatives
and friends, when we join the Landsmannschaft. Note that the
Landsmannschaft membership costs are for persons living in Germany.
In the former Soviet Union, our fellow men and
women as individuals can hardly do anything on their own to assert
their rights. Here, relatives can do only little for them. If
therefore we take advantage of the numerous contacts of the Landsmannschaft,
we then take advantage of decades of experience and respect; we
take advantage of the idealistic volunteer work of its coworkers.
The more countrymen join the Landsmannschaft, the better it can
accomplish its tasks and take on new tasks for the well being
of the whole ethnic group.
For persons living outside Germany, contact
the Landsmannschaft for membership and subscription. Write to:
Landmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland, Raitelsbergstrasse
49, 70188 Stuttgart, Germany.
Translation from German to English by Brigitte
von Budde, Fargo, North Dakota.