Unlimited Belief in Germany

Reiss, Alois. "Unlimited Belief in Germany." Volk auf dem Weg, July 1994, 7.

Alois Reiss
The National Chairman of the Landsmannschaft of the Germans from Russia, Alois Reiss, devoted the greater part of his speech to the actual problems with which our countrymen, those who are ready to leave the country, will be confronted both before and after the trip. They look upon Germany as their home and expect from the Federal Republic of Germany, as legal successor of the Third Reich, that carries a considerable measure of blame for the fate of the Russian-Germans, reparations through inclusion, recognition, and integration.

The motto of the National Convention: “Our Homeland Germany" was consciously chosen. Alois Reiss said it in these words: "We have very consciously chosen this central theme. It is the expression of our unlimited belief in this Germany. It, however, raises the demand for inclusion in this homeland, Germany."

In the face of the political realities he defended the War Consequences Settlement Act that took effect on 1/1/1993: "Particularly in basic affairs it has brought many positive settlements for the Russian-Germans. First of all, in #4 of the War Consequences Settlement Act, the Russian-Germans have finally been considered as a group and spared the disadvantages suffered by others. Secondly, Article 116 of the basic law has been
maintained. It guarantees us the status of German citizens, something we have always valued highly.”

With praise for the responsible representatives in Bonn and Stuttgart Alois Reiss stressed the emigration, figures that have risen further in the past years. After 197,000 in 1992 and
207,000 in 1993, the first months of 1994 point to an at least similar rise this year.

In contrast, the federal government is concerned and the Landsmannschaft does not deny, that because of present acceptance procedures both at the administrative and legal levels, the family composition of the Russian-Germans now entering the country has changed compared with the former situation. To say it another way: The number of mixed marriages has risen appreciably.

Alois Reiss vehemently represented the point of view of those Russian-Germans and their friends that are turning against an "over-simplification of the acceptance method in using an examination that, stereotypically, restricts itself to the language." He suggested to the deciding officials that they not be satisfied with doubtful acceptances, rather that they concern themselves with the concepts of culture and upbringing.

These are his words: "In the case of Russian-German resettlers, it is shown that the value- and goal orientation of a typical German way of living, a typical German life-style and typical German behaviors have been essentially maintained. They have been maintained because they were primarily promoted through example. “ And further: "Dispossession, transportation, banning, internment, the much too strong Russification- and assimilation pressures have led to a typical we-attitude, that has strengthened the consciousness and subjective personal feeling of being German.

And finally to sum up: "Among those living here in Germany and perhaps among those Russian-Germans present here many still wait for the emigration of their daughters and sons. Because of insufficient knowledge of the language, in spite of their personal feeling that they are German, in spite of their German way of life, life-style, the organization of their lives, in spite of their German behavior, these daughters and sons will be refused recognition as late resettlers and thereby denied acceptance. This injustice must absolutely be set aside. This can only happen if the criterion, language is not overvalued."

Concerning the theme "Integration -social turning point [decisive event]" Alois Reiss refrained from a recital of the restrictions to which the Russian-Germans are disproportionately subjected, and pointed out as an example the difficulties that are connected with the fact, that drivers' licenses from the CIS-countries are not recognized here. In the meantime it has gone so far, that the reissue of a driver's license after an examination is more expensive than a new one.

At that one too easily forgets that, because of their favorable age-range, the Russian-German resettlers are also a financial asset for the Federal Republic of Germany. The working generation of Russian-Germans easily earns the pensions for their parents, and "for these reasons we can also make demands on them with a clear conscience.”

The national head of our Landsmannschaft further regrets the reductions in the means for personal consultation and social services for the resettlers through the federal family ministry. He did not forget to add: "During the past year the support of the state of Baden-Württemberg has helped us through the worst of the budget problems."

In the relatively terse "foreign policy" part of his speech, Alois Reiss emphasized our interest in those countrymen, that have decided to remain in the CIS: "With great interest we follow . . . what financial means the federal government and the individual states are using for the support of the main settlements and in what manner they contribute to the complete restoration of the German identity.”

He closed his speech with the appeal: "Think of our countrymen that are still over there and want to come to us! All of them need our help! Strengthen this Landsmannschaft that you may work still harder in their interest! You can strengthen your Landsmannschaft by joining it. Become a member!”

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