Declaration on the Charter of Germans Expelled from Their Homelands from 5 August 1950 (Stuttgart, West Germany, 6 August 1960)

Revised translation by Eric J. Schmaltz, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History, Department of Social Sciences, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Alva, Oklahoma.

The original German source: “Deklaration zur Charta der deutschen Heimatvertriebenen vom 5. August 1950,” in F. Dörr and W. Kerl, Ostdeutschland und die deutschen Siedlungsgebiete in Ost- und Südosteuropa: in Karte, Bild und Wort (Munich: Südwest Verlag, 1991), p. 65.

The English translation first appeared in Eric J. Schmaltz, An Expanded Bibliography and Reference Guide for the Former Soviet Union’s Ethnic Germans: Issues of Ethnic Autonomy, Group Repression, Cultural Assimilation, and Mass Emigration in the Twentieth Century and Beyond (Fargo, ND: Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North Dakota State University Libraries, 2003), pp. 209-210.

Ten years ago, when still no one was able to foresee what would become of Germany and us Germans expelled from our homelands, we explained in our Charter before God and the world—signed and announced by our elected representatives—what we experienced, what we thought, and what we strove for.

At this time, millions still had to fear and struggle for the most essential, but decisive, things in life—for a roof over one’s head, for work, for bread.

The spiritual and moral need since 1945, the social and economic chaos into which we were driven, robbed of our own wills, did not make us despair. We did not become a social explosive in the politically strained relations of Europe.

The trials and the suffering which we had to carry, like millions in other nations today, laid the basic, immovable foundations of our previous and present attitude. We also now and in the future want to return to the homelands as before. We see no reason to change our position, so much the more as we believe to have fulfilled most conscientiously the duties taken upon ourselves in the Charter with the rebuilding of Germany and Europe.

We stand indifferent toward the quite rapid economic ascent of the Federal Republic [West Germany], which we indeed deem worthy for the life chances of the population, because we also clearly recognize its dark side.

The need of our day becomes especially clear in the still highly wounding partition of Germany, in the lack of freedom for our sisters and brothers on the other side of the Iron Curtain, and in the fact that still more than one hundred million in other nations east of Germany’s borders are handed over defenseless to a terror-regime [the Soviet Union].

In the Charter, we described a united Europe, in which nations can live without fear and coercion, as one of our fundamental goals. Today we know that this goal can only be reached when the right to self-determination without restrictions, as proclaimed in the by-laws of the United Nations, is granted.

Today, therefore, we stand renewed and solemnly by the principles set forth ten years ago in the Charter of Germans expelled from their homelands.

In order to comply with its realization, we must demand today:

1. Self-determination, guaranteed by international right and the by-laws of the United Nations, must apply to all nations, thus also to the German people. Its realization may not be sacrificed to the interests of other states. Each nation in the world must have the right to preserve and develop its own values in complete freedom and thereby render its contribution to the culture of humanity.

2. In spite of all inhibitions and all resistance, to bring about the reunification of the two parts of Germany, which were separated through arbitrariness and force.

The Germans expelled from their homelands see in these principles the most important provision for a lasting and blessed peace in the world. Only the freedom and dignity of humanity can maintain it. Our sole duty is to serve it.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller