"To Be or Not to Be" and the Emigration Question: The Ethnic-German Emigration Movement in the USSR and Post-Soviet Dilemmas, 1972-1990s.
Eric J. Schmaltz
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Northern Great Plains History Conference
Bismarck, North Dakota
Until the Gorbachev era, only a trickle of Soviet Germans refusing to accommodate the Soviet-communist system was able to migrate to the so-called “historical homeland” in West Germany. After Gorbachev’s institution of emigration reform in early 1987, the German stream soon became a flood. As early as the late 1960s, a succession of failures in convincing Moscow to provide some form of autonomy already resulted in the desire among many Soviet Germans to emigrate. The group remained unable to reclaim their various scattered national districts and Volga German republic that had been liquidated by Stalin between 1938 and 1941.
Today, this paper looks at the emigration phenomenon as a complex historical development and suggests that it is a manifestation of economic nationalism. The more general features of this complex contemporary phenomenon are discernable, and accordingly, three basic themes about the ethnic-German emigration in the former USSR receive our attention today: first, some important remarks about the close connection between economic and national identities, or self-interests and affective ties; second, a short examination of the Soviet-German emigration movement’s founding in the early 1970s; and third, a brief look at how emigration patterns have evolved in roughly the last two generations, along with a short description of the demographic extent of the German exodus and how the Bonn government has responded to the mass emigration problem.
That is, how can we begin to make larger sense of this recent phenomenon among ethnic Germans, of whom about 1.5 million left the former USSR for Germany after 1986? Let us first define the basic idea of “nationalism,” although we must immediately concede that the idea and its social consequences are a complex product of historical development and represent only one ideal form of human community. Nationalism as a phenomenon was not inevitable in outcome, but it continues to be a powerful and unpredictable force in contemporary human behavior. If we consider Hans Kohn’s classic, but still useful, formulation of the idea of nationalism, nationalism, then, is a state of mind permeating a large majority of people—an abstract sense of community. Such a community embodies the “nation,” and the “nation” acts as the source of economic well-being and cultural creativity. More specifically, the “nation-state,” in the form of a fixed territorial and political unit, represents the best expression of a particular people and functions as the chief agent of modernization.1
Regarding the ethnic Germans of the former USSR, we must also understand the idea of “ethnicity,” sometimes referred to as “nationality” or “ethno-nation.” In this case, “ethnicity [involves] an ascriptive, genetically self-perpetuating mode of social relations treated as an alternative to, or complement of, other forms of social organization, in the context of a larger society [in other words, a community that is sustained by social and biological propagation]. . . . [E]thnicity usually connotes a fragment, a partial, subordinated, or encapsulated portion of a larger whole. It may also suggest fragmentation from a parent social body . . .”2
Keeping these ideas about nationality and ethnicity in mind, we also can begin to discern that the German mass migration appears to be an expression of economic nationalism. It is, however, intimately associated with a unique variety of other historical considerations, particularly including the Stalin persecutions, Soviet socio-economic modernization and nationalities policies, and the belief in a “historical homeland” in Germany. To help explain what economic nationalism means, let us refer to a famous American sociologist by the name of Daniel Bell. Long before writing about the “end of ideology” in 1960, Bell made the following brilliant observation about the power of ethnicity in the modern world fifty years ago: “Ethnicity has become more salient [than class] because it can combine an interest with an affective [or emotional] tie.”3 Bell’s comment signified not a celebration of ethnicity, but a realistic acknowledgment of this persistent phenomenon, for good or ill. The noted United States Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan elaborated on this point when he wrote, “A perception which endures is that while ethnic attachments are surely pre-modern and universal, it is the modern state that seems most eager to reward ethnicity.”4
Not surprisingly, class and ethnicity are often complexly intertwined, resulting from social stratification and differentiation in diverse societies. During the 1930s collectivization era, for example, the word “German” under Stalin could mean “foreigner” and “kulak” in the same breath. In the 1940s, during World War II, Stalin also applied the “fascist” label to the Germans. Without denying the Russian people’s and Communist Party’s own persecution suffered under Stalin, sometimes Soviet governmental actions taken against the “class enemy” assumed ethnic, national, or even racial overtones; World War II or Russia’s “Great Patriotic War” serves as a prime example of such manifestations. Then in the 1960s, on a more positive note, the Soviet regime viewed its “rehabilitated” Germans more or less as a crucial economic component of Central Asian collectives—as a productive economic group who just happened to be of German nationality and would ultimately become acculturated and even “Russified.” Reminiscent of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s famous expression about the ethnic Germans’ tenacity in Russia, the terms “thrift” and “German” often went hand in hand, a positive stereotype that at other times bred non-German resentment.5
On this issue of class and ethnicity, in 1947 Bell went on to distinguish between “positional goods” and “distributional goods.” The former are incessantly in high demand, and these status symbols are more readily available through ethnic organization. Bell also noted that lower-class groups more often instinctively seek status gains by oppressing one another, rather than through a joint attack on higher-status groups.6 Such competition among the post-Soviet nationalities is now occurring. In view of this “geography of nationalism” as he calls it, Robert J. Kaiser recognized in 1994 that more than a matter of boundary disputes is taking place now between the post-Soviet republics. The problem encompasses the status of ethnic minorities within these republics as well.7 Sociologist Rasma Karklins already made the observation in 1986 that without a union or autonomous republic to call their own, the Germans in the former USSR were unable to define clearly their identities and self-interests since 1941.8 The ethnic Germans of the former Soviet Union have constituted one part of this complex nationality puzzle.
The Soviet Union was the factory, prison, and even sometimes the destroyer of nations. Upon a closer observation, many of the champions and supporters of Soviet-German emigration and political autonomy were in fact the children and grandchildren of ethnic-German peasants, if they were not former peasants themselves. In 1914, only a few percent of Germans in the Russian Empire lived in cities. Today, more than 50 percent are urbanites.9 Alexander J. Moytl observed that, by and large, Soviet dissenters were first-generation peasants; they were socially mobile persons who moved into the cities. This process is still taking place among the ethnic Germans, signifying a persistent rural-urban migration. According to Moytl, these dissenters were also most aware of the threat to traditional institutions and culture. Thus, the problem stemmed from the “peasant roots of successful competitors” and rising expectations; Soviet society’s “trouble-makers” actually represented Soviet success stories.10
Representing the first significant generation that was increasingly urbanized, integrated, and better educated, many of these Soviet Germans were already a relatively successful and socially mobile people by the 1960s and 1970s. Many of them, however, desired to achieve some form of national independence and further social improvement specifically as Germans. Nor could they entirely forget the Stalin years and their former precarious position in Soviet society. In any event, precious few Germans living in the various Soviet republics were counted among those in the prestigious professions like higher education, the sciences, and law.11 Faced with the prospect of “Russification,” as well as encountering other nationality groups in urban centers, the Germans found themselves caught squarely between traditional and modern worlds—between the familiar and the unfamiliar. Depending on the circumstances, they sometimes responded passively, aggressively or not at all. While some Germans chose assimilation in order to raise their social status, others struggled to make compromises; still others resisted the steady erosion of their old identities. In retrospect, the last two generations proved pivotal ones, and their hurried and determined political activities during perestroika and glasnost suggested that they were already highly conscious of their new special role and opportunity to work on behalf of their ethnic group, in either the autonomy or emigration movement. In the case of the former USSR’s Germans, emigration and autonomy had long been two sides of the same coin.
At best, the assimilation or acculturation of the ethnic Germans would have translated into a long-term solution in the USSR, but as things turned out, German ethnicity just managed to survive the Soviet experiment, and, in some respects, it fared better than other “extra-territorial” nationalities. Decades earlier, ethnicity was deeply interwoven into the fabric of Soviet political and economic politics.12 It only took Gorbachev’s “revolution from above” to open the lid of this ethnic can of worms. With the collapse of the Party and Communism, the Soviet peoples turned ever more hopefully and decisively to the only remaining and relatively intact and familiar civil institution available to them: the ethnic or national community.13 For many Soviet Germans, this community was embodied not solely in their ethnic-community, but also in the “historical homeland” to the West. More importantly, the German government seemed most eager to “reward” German ethnicity outside of its own borders.
Ironically, as late as 1989, typical Soviet Germans were living as well economically as, if not better than, many of their Soviet-ethnic neighbors.14 Of course, the worsening economic condition of the former USSR must be acknowledged,15 but Anthony D. Smith correctly argued that economic problems only exacerbated pre-existing ethnic tensions.16 Indeed, mass emigration also signified something more than cultural autonomy. In any event, the Soviet Germans’ desire to emigrate and achieve some form of independence occurred a full generation before the economic and political collapse of the USSR. Such a long-held sentiment dispels the assumption that German emigration resulted directly from recent political developments, socio-economic problems, and liberal emigration reforms. To be more accurate, important short-term factors gave further impetus to the old demands of national self-determination, including cultural and economic concerns as an ethnic group. The issue of national self-determination, with all its inherent political, economic, and territorial implications, was a festering problem for the Germans and other Soviet nationality groups. In short, a powerful combination of emotional and economic ties pervaded the Soviet Germans’ emigration phenomenon, challenging traditional Marxist, liberal, and conservative assumptions about ethnic identities and motivations, not to mention the (West) German public’s understandably less than receptive attitude today toward the immigrants who are known as Spätaussiedler (or “late out-settlers”) and, more disparagingly, as nothing more than “economic refugees.”17
Such arguments and observations at least enjoy the advantage of hindsight. Whatever their ideological shortcomings or inconsistencies were, Soviet nationality policy-makers never had such luxury when contending with a multi-national region; nationalism, ethnicity, and human motivations are a bit unpredictable, to say the least. Consequently, Soviet nationality policies in the heat of the moment could become most tragic. Policy successes were mixed with failures, and more importantly, many unintended consequences are now more readily apparent.
Let us turn our attention to the more concrete aspects of the emigration phenomenon, first to the beginnings of the Soviet-German autonomy movement nearly a quarter century ago. The Soviet Germans, representing a scattered people living outside of a “historical homeland” (Germany), found particular inspiration from the Soviet-Jewish mass emigration movement of the 1960s.18 A loosely organized German-emigration protest movement or network appeared by no later than 1972, when the Soviet Germans illegally established the Vereinigung der auswanderungswilligen Deutschen (the Association of German Emigration Supporters). According to historian Alfred Eisfeld, a home-base for this emigration protest movement was located in Estonia, a traditional hotbed of Soviet political dissent, and it made contacts with German emigration supporters in Lithuania, Moldavia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, and elsewhere.19
That same year, Soviet-German activists circulated a samizdat manifesto and mass petition with 40,000 signatures by the heads of each family, calling for the right to emigrate to East or West Germany.20 Sent to the Soviet government and the West, it skillfully manipulated Marxist-
Leninist ideology and religious allusions from the Old Testament Bible about a self-aware people whose voice called out for justice in the Soviet “wilderness.”21 Toward the end of the document, the Soviet Germans posed a question reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, when they asked themselves what they were or were not to be.22 What was the solution? They subsequently declared: “We are Germans, we want to remain Germans, we want to live among Germans, and we want our descendants to remain Germans.”23 Emigration was the “logical consequence” in view of the government’s refusal to hear their demands as a “conscious people.” Reflecting on the past two centuries, they concluded that their oppression “definitely shook their faith in the Soviet legal system.” Indeed, Marx’s notion that “being determines consciousness” applied to the Soviet-Germans’ “awareness that to be (i.e., to continue to exist) means emigrating from all the horrors over us.”24
This sense of frustration, as well as the emigration and autonomy demands, was apparent in the ethnic-German community of the USSR by the 1970s. In a different context, the movement of a later generation reiterated these themes and expressed a similar sense of anger and dismay. Significantly, the 1972 samizdatka partly articulated the Soviet-German autonomy demands of the mid-1960s and suggested the future direction taken by the Wiedergeburt (“Rebirth Society”) and other better organized Soviet-German groups in the late 1980s and early 1990s.25
Generally, their growing frustration with policy contradictions in matters of ethnic survival fit in the wider context of the Soviet dissident movement.26 Though we have no time to recount them at length here, suffice it to say that, during the 1970s and early 1980s, a number of Soviet-German protests and public incidents took place.27 Despite increased government repression, there were occasions in which Germans chained themselves to embassies, held demonstrations in Red Square, conducted illegal news conferences in the presence of foreign journalists, and, in one case, even carried out an airplane hijacking in Turkey. Though only a few Germans acted so boldly, countless others most probably sympathized with them.28 More importantly, the emigration movement and such sentiments appeared long before the Gorbachev reform crisis.
Our next concern deals with the ethnic Germans’ geographical location historically in order to get an impression of the patterns and magnitude of Soviet-German emigration. According to the 1989 Soviet census, the ethnic Germans numbered more than two million persons, constituting the fifteenth-largest Soviet nationality group, if one counts the Russians. For generations, most ethnic-German communities were situated in the Baltic regions, Volhynia, Ukraine, the Crimea, the Caucasus, and along the Volga.29
Deported to eastern slave labor camps under Stalin and persecuted from the early 1930s until the mid-1950s, they still represented a diverse and an “extra-territorial” people in 1989. The Soviet Germans were widely dispersed in communities located primarily in western Siberia (Russia) and in the Central Asian republics, mostly in Kazakhstan. Thus, the 1989 census reported the largest official German population figures as follows: in the Kazakh SSR (957,518); in the Russian SFSR (842,033); and in the Kirghiz SSR (101,309). Other substantial German minorities, moreover, lived in the Uzbek SSR (39,809), Ukraine SSR (37,849), and the Tadjik SSR (32,671). Population centers with large German communities included Orenburg, Novosibirsk, and Omsk (in eastern Russia), as well as Karaganda, Kustanai, Alma-Ata, and Tselingograd (in Kazakhstan).30
Keeping this wide, but significant, population distribution in mind, it is also constructive to distinguish between “internal” and “external” migrations among the Germans. Emphasized is the plural “migrations,” or a series of them that occurred. Generally, the external migrations—that is, emigration out of the USSR and CIS—involve a long and varied history and persist to this day. Setting aside the smaller, natural migrations out of Siberia after the mid-1950s, which often had to do with reasons for finding better employment, living in warmer climates or moving in proximity of former homelands and other Germans, the internal migrations include those within the former USSR. Specifically, mass emigration out of the Central Asian republics into European regions of the former USSR began effectively after 1990. For thousands of ethnic Germans, their newfound, or at least temporary, refuge lies in western Siberia. This internal migration of ethnic “refugees,” which also includes ethnic Russians and others, was aggravated by political and armed conflicts in areas ranging from the North Caucasus to Tajikistan.31
For the most part, the “external” emigration question took center stage for the Germans in the 1970s in the wake of improved East-West relations.32 Through the mid-1980s, Soviet-German emigration figures corresponded directly with the climate of East-West relations.33 After a marked decrease in the late 1960s due to Soviet actions in Eastern Europe, the Cold War emigration of ethnic Germans achieved measurable success in the era of Brandt’s Ostpolitik, only to decrease dramatically after the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.34 The number of Soviet Germans migrating to West Germany from 1955 to 1986 totaled 93,305. For all that, however, the Gorbachev era witnessed an unprecedented flood of ethnic Germans to the West as a result of Soviet emigration reform in 1987,35 growing socio-economic instability and lacking guarantees of autonomy in the East. Between 1987 and 1996, about 1.4 million ethnic Germans from the former USSR resettled in what is now the united Germany. Another 150,000 to 200,000 are expected to leave in 1997, thus bringing the total to at least 1.6 million. In other words, one half to two-thirds of the Soviet Germans listed in the 1989 census have emigrated,36 a most contagious development affecting dramatically and irreversibly the remainder of the increasingly “Russified” ethnic-German community in the East.37
The impression should not be that all Soviet-German emigrants arrived in West Germany after the 1960s. Indeed, a smaller share went to communist East Germany where German-language institutions were available, along with some employment opportunities as Germans, chances for professional advancement as Germans, and a relatively familiar social safety-net as Germans.38 Few Soviet-Germans had relatives in the East Germany, and most requests to emigrate were intended for West Germany. But when prospects to move to the West seemed dim, the alternative was to apply for emigration to East Germany.39
Between 1965 and 1970, only about six hundred Soviet Germans migrated to East Germany, while one thousand made the trek from 1971 to 1979. Then in the first half of the 1980s, about 10,000 of them went there. This increase in the number of émigrés challenges the Western assumption that Soviet-German emigration was at a near standstill in the early 1980s. Apparently, Moscow attempted to divert the Soviet-German migration to East Germany, as well as reunite Soviet-German families there. In any event, some Soviet Germans seriously considered finding “refuge” on either side of the Iron Curtain.40
One important aspect of the ethnic Germans’ more recent “internal” migration from Central Asia to other regions, namely to western Siberia, deserves brief attention. Since 1991, the Bonn government has assumed an active and supportive role in the resettlement of ethnic Germans. Various sources indicate that nearly half of Kazakhstan’s nearly one million ethnic Germans have left for either the Russian Federation or Germany in recent years. Some evidence indicates that a sizeable minority of ethnic Germans was still willing to stay and resettle in western Siberia. For the most part, however, these Germans are using Siberia as a temporary stopping point until they can get legal permission to migrate to Germany. In mid-1993, Germany—though still accepting applicants possessing well-documented ethnic-German family histories—finally enacted an annual quota of approximately 200,000 immigrants.41
Bonn turned to alternative remedies by providing economic assistance to new German “national districts” in West Siberia and “container” or “magnet” communities in Ukraine, the former East Prussia, and St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad).44 Although keeping its “door open” to the Aussiedler—indicating the government’s commitment to principle and its response to pro-émigré domestic pressures 45—Germany was desperately hoping to stem the tide of emigration and seek some form of socio-economic cooperation between the ethnic Germans and their CIS neighbors. In 1991 and 1992, the German government, with some assistance provided by the Russians, founded two “national districts” (deutsche Nationalkreise)—near Halbstadt in the Altai Region and another at Asovo in the Omsk Region.46 The idea was also to create employment opportunities for Germans no longer experienced in agriculture. Calling its program “The Islands of Hope” (Inseln der Hoffnung), the German government desired to secure housing, jobs, economic and cultural institutions, and an infrastructure (phone lines, water systems, electrical facilities, radio and television stations, and transportation networks) necessary in keeping Germans in these districts. Much of the assistance went into schools, hospitals, and businesses in areas where the Germans lived.47 Although intending preserve German culture in the East, as well as minimize the exodus to Germany, this program might represent—and perhaps unintentionally—an initial step in “re-Germanizing” and “re-training” a large number of potential émigrés and workers while they are still living in the East.48 One prominent ethnic-German source in the former USSR indicates that emigration to Germany is guaranteed by the German government until 2011.49
The German Interior Ministry had in fact established ten such strategically located “islands” across the former USSR by 1994, besides the three districts near Altai (Asovo), Omsk (Halbstadt), and the Volga (Saratov).50 By the mid-1990s, the German government had invested the equivalent of a few billion DM in the massive community recreation project, locally and regionally assisting Germans and their non-German relatives.51
According to emigration supporters since the 1960s, Germany was and still is the only practical alternative for preserving what remains of the ethnic-German heritage. If Lenin’s territorial and administrative policies had provided “national containers” for ethnic groups, it was reasonable to regard today’s united Germany as the one “repository” for post-Soviet Germans. After the late 1980s, the West also seemed to provide a safer haven for those wishing to live as “Germans among Germans” (Deutsche unter Deutschen). Stalin’s ghost still casts a long shadow over the East. New dilemmas in matters of ethnic survival have arisen with the new freedoms coming out of the post-Soviet era. Ironically, at the very moment the ethnic Germans organized politically by the late 1980s, their community was disintegrating because of “Russification,” and, not least of all, because of mass emigration to the West.
For those hopeful émigrés in the West, they will encounter and adjust to new dilemmas of their own, but that is another story. After so many generations of ethnic Germans living in the East, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which there would be no more Germans. But perhaps it was just as hard to imagine in early 1989 that there would be a united Germany. So it is with the possibility of no Germans in the East.
1. Hans Kohn, The Idea of Nationalism: A Study in Its Origins and Background, rev. ed. (New York: MacMillan Co., 1961) 10-20.
2. Fred W. Riggs, ed., Ethnicity Intercosta Glossary: Concepts and Terms Used in Ethnicity Research, pilot ed. (Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii, 1985) 4.
3. Daniel Bell quoted in Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Pandaemonium: Ethnicity in International Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993) 56. Cf. Daniel Bell, “Nationalism or Class?—Some Questions on the Potency of Political Symbols,” The Student Zionist [University of Chicago] (1947).
4. Moynihan, Pandaemonium, 55.
5. My colleague, Samuel D. Sinner, a graduate student of Volga-German descent in the Department of German at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, also suggests the close connection between ethnicity and class in the case of the Soviet Germans. Compiling an impressive array of primary sources in both German and Russian, Sinner’s thesis demonstrates that ethnic tensions in the Russian Empire persisted in the Soviet Union. Indeed, Marxist-Leninist ideology did not represent a clear break from Russia’s imperialist past. Sinner’s more original and compelling (if not controversial) idea is that the Soviet policies of “genocide” apply to the ethnic-German experience in the East from 1915 to 1955—that is, from the time of the mass deportations of Volhynian Germans in 1915 until the 1955 war amnesty in the post-Stalin era. Disputing previous estimates that about half a million ethnic Germans died between 1915 and 1955, Sinner proposes that about one million died during this forty-year period. See Sinner’s Die Vernichtung deutscher Minderheiten im Zarenreich und in der Sowjetunion, 1915-1955, M.A. Thesis (German), the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (a work in progress).
6. Moynihan, Pandaemonium, 58-60. Cf. Ernest Gellner, “Nationalism in the Vacuum,” Thinking Theoretically about Soviet Nationalities: History and Comparison in the Study of the USSR, ed. Alexander J. Moytl (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992) 243-54; Mark R. Beissinger, “Elites and Ethnic Identities in Soviet and Post Soviet Politics,” The Post-Soviet Nations: Perspectives on the Demise of the USSR, ed. Alexander J. Moytl (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992) 157-63.
7. Robert J. Kaiser, The Geography of Nationalism in Russia and the USSR (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1994) 190, 192, 248-49, 325, 342, 346, 376, 385, 406.
8. Rasma Karklins, Ethnic Relations in the USSR: The Perspective from Below (Boston: Allen and Unwin, 1986) 4-7, 206, 208-10, 213-22.
9. In 1914, only 4.4 percent of ethnic Germans in the Russian Empire lived in cities. In the course of this century, this figure rose dramatically: 15.4 percent in 1926; 19 percent in 1939; 27 percent in 1941; 39.3 percent in 1959; 45.4 percent in 1970; and 51 percent in 1979. The most recent statistical compilations (1989) report that 52.8 percent of Soviet Germans were urbanites. See Volk auf dem Weg: Deutsche in Rußland und in der GUS, 1763-1993, eds. Kulturrat der Deutschen aus Rußland und Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Rußland (Stuttgart: Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Rußland, 1993) 26.
10. This point is applicable to both the Soviet-German emigration and autonomy movements. Emigration and autonomy issues are closely related in this case. Alexander J. Moytl, Will the Non-Russians Rebel?: State, Ethnicity, and Stability in the USSR (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1987) 133-38, 166-70.
11. Sidney Heitman, The Soviet Germans in the USSR Today (Cologne: Bundesinstitut für ostwissenschaftliche und internationale Studien, 1980) 22.
12. Anthony D. Smith, “Ethnic Identity and Territorial Nationalism in Comparative Perspective,” Thinking Theoretically about Soviet Nationalities, ed. Alexander J. Moytl, 60-62; Bohdan Nahaylo and Victor Swoboda, Soviet Disunion: A History of the Nationalities Problem in the USSR (New York: The Free Press, 1990) 67-76, 79-80, 360-61, 364.
13. Beissinger, 141-69; Gellner, 243-54.
14. Barbara Dietz and Peter Hilkes, Rußlanddeutsche: Unbekannte im Osten: Geschichte, Situation, Zukunftsperspektiven (Munich: Olzog Verlag, 1992).
15. Barbara Dietz and Peter Hilkes compared their studies of hundreds of ethnic Germans between 1985 and 1991, and found that the main reasons and motives for emigrating had to do with relatives, ethnic concerns, and economic fears—in that order. Only a few of those interviewed reported that political or economic concerns figured predominantly in their decision to leave. Of course, a more “courteous” response was that the family was more important, and, to be sure, it probably was. Yet Dietz and Hilkes acknowledged that the émigrés’ expressed political and economic concerns were increasing after 1990. For example, 44 percent of interviewees during 1989 and 1990 answered that meeting separated relatives was most important, while 36 percent wanted to live among other Germans. The remaining 11 percent left for economic reasons. Little mention was given to ethnic anxiety in 1989, but 47.8 percent reported that ethnic tensions would have worsened had they stayed, suggesting that emigration was more than a cultural or family response. Dietz and Hilkes also concluded that Germans with spouses tended to emigrate more, and 80 percent of those willing to emigrate had relatives in Germany. The emigration process was a vicious circle, increasing in intensity as more relatives and friends left. Although expressing diverse views about their chances for autonomy in 1991 and as to where it should be established, a slim majority of respondents (51 percent) said that they would emigrate no matter what happened—disputing leading ethnic activist Dr. Heinrich Groth’s claim that 90 percent of Germans would emigrate. While 17 percent would stay in the East if a republic were established, 30 percent answered that they had not yet decided. Conducting interviews with 879 Aussiedler and more than 1,000 Germans still living in the East between 1989 and 1991, Dietz and Hilkes have worked in conjunction with the East European Studies Institute in Munich and the All-Union Institute of Public Opinion in Moscow. Dietz and Hilkes, Unbekannte im Osten, 104-20.
16. Smith, 60-62.
17. Also an ardent supporter of emigration to Germany, Dr. Heinrich Groth, the outspoken leader of the Soviet-German autonomy movement from 1989 to 1993, was interviewed as saying, “We aren’t asylum-seekers or economic refugees. We are Germans.” Heinrich Groth, “,Der Traum ist aus’: Interview mit dem Führer der Rußlanddeutschen,” interview by Der Spiegel, Neues Leben [Moscow] 11 Nov. 1992, no. 46: 4. See also the interesting article on the connection between ethnicity and language in Peter Rosenberg, “New Research on the Status of the German Language in the Soviet Union,” trans. Christine Clayton, AHSGR Journal 18, no. 1 (Spring 1995): 15-23.
18. See Stephen F. Cohen, ed., An End to Silence: Uncensored Opinion in the Soviet Union: From Roy Medvedev’s Underground Magazine ‘Political Diary,’ trans. George Saunders (New York and London: W. W. Norton and Co., 1982) 240-49; James S. Olson, ed., An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of the Russian and Soviet Empires (Westport, Conn., and London: Greenwood Press, 1994) 327-28.
19. In June 1972, for example, a twelve-member delegation wanted to speak directly with Nikolai Podgornyi, the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, on the matter of unhindered emigration. However, the delegation’s leaders were only able to speak with the desk clerk of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. Alfred Eisfeld, Die Rußlanddeutschen, vol. 2 (Munich: F. A. Herbig Verlag, 1992) 141.
20. Soviet Germans, seeking permission to emigrate, produced a three-part, Russian-language document believed to have been written in 1972 and smuggled to the West shortly thereafter. At least in North America, the historiography has virtually ignored this detailed and insightful several-page samizdatka. An anonymous handwritten note in Russian was attached to the first page, relating to the samizdatka’s controversial beginning: “To this petition was attached a list of 40,000 Germans, signed by the head of every family. Everything was deposited at the main post office in Moscow, 2 Kirov Street. But it did not reach the addressees, because the KGB seized it and destroyed the list. The material was taken with great difficulty from the archives of the Lenin Library in Moscow.” An anonymous Soviet German mailed the copy of the document to a member of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia. Marxist-Leninist ideology clearly influenced the samizdatka, which is now held at the AHSGR archives in Lincoln, Nebraska. It described the Soviet Germans’ plight and their desire for full human rights as defined by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. It also requested that the Soviet Germans be able to emigrate to West or East Germany in light of being refused these rights—namely, the right to self-determination and equality as a people. The samizdatka was a “plea” to the Soviet government and was actually composed of three documents: 1) a petition to the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Supreme Soviet of the USSR; 2) an appeal to the United Nations; and 3) a brief, interpretative historical summary of the Germans in Russia from the 1760s to the present. “The Desperate Struggle of the Soviet Germans for Their Human Rights and for Permission to Emigrate to Germany [consisting of three documents from ca. 1972],” trans. Alexander Dupper, AHSGR Journal 6, no. 1 (Spring 1983): 1-8.
21. Historically, only very few fervent Russian-German were in fact Marxists. Indeed, the implication was that the 1972 document was written in a way most acceptable to the regime and was not necessarily representative of most Soviet Germans. As true as that may be, the deeper meaning and significance contained within the samizdat document must be considered. The authors’ mature historical consciousness, political goals, and political determination elaborated on, and was firmly rooted in, the previous peasant generations’ emotional attachment to Heimat and unsere Leute. In the context of the Cold War, any “good” Marxist from the Soviet regime’s perspective would not have protested to Moscow so strongly—especially on the matter of emigration as political dissent. Regarding the legality of emigration and its relation to the regime’s notion of Soviet citizenship, see also Sidney Heitman, “Soviet Emigration Policies Toward Germans and Armenians,” Soviet Nationalities Policies: Ruling Ethnic Groups in the USSR, ed. Henry R. Huttenbach (New York and London: Mansell Publishing Limited, 1990) 237, 250-51.
22. “The Desperate Struggle,” 7.
23. “The Desperate Struggle,” 8.
24. “The Desperate Struggle,” 8.
25. Sidney Heitman noted that the German samizdatki (or dissident self-publications) coming out of the Soviet Union in the 1970s—the smuggled literature and petitions distributed to foreign visitors, reporters, the underground media and mailed to Soviet, West German, American, and United Nations leaders—pointed to an increasingly aggressiveandoutspoken ethnic minority group. See also appeals made by Germans from Russia in the United States on behalf of the Soviet Germans: Richard E. Combs, Office of Soviet Affairs, U.S. Department of State, letter to the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Greeley, Colorado, 23 Aug. 1973, AHSGR Work Paper No. 13 (Dec. 1973): 10; Emma S. Haynes, letter to Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, 2 Oct. 1973, AHSGR Work Paper No. 13 (Dec. 1973): 11; and “Telegram to the President of the United States [From the Members of the AHSGR],” 23 June 1973, AHSGR Work Paper No. 12 (Aug. 1973): 35-36.
26. Heitman, The Soviet Germans in the USSR Today, 14, 49, 74-81.
27. On 23 April 1972, for instance, a strike of thirty Germans, participants coming from Estonia and Lithuania and calling for emigration to the West, occurred at Moscow’s central telegraph office and lasted from nine in the morning until noon. The thirty Germans sat in front of the office and refused to move. On 16 May 1973, another similar strike was organized in a Moscow Intourist-Hotel. Two days later, on 18 May, a group of twelve arrived in Moscow, handing the Supreme Soviet of the USSR a memorandum concerning the condition of the German people, an appeal to United Nations Secretary Kurt Waldheim, and the signatures of seven thousand families (roughly thirty-five thousand persons) wishing to emigrate. A most dramatic incident occurred on 1 February 1973, when Ljudmila Oldenburger and her two sons chained themselves to the front of the offices of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Moscow, while twenty-four protestors carried signs. The Oldenburgers and their supporters demanded the right to move to West Germany. Immediately following the Oldenburger incident and in spite of the obstacles presented by the secret police apparatus, another German demonstration was conducted at the Intourist-Hotel at Tallinn, Estonia, in order to bring the Oldenburgers’ arrest to the attention of fellow Soviets and foreign observers. On 31 March 1980, a group of Russian-Germans carrying placards also demonstrated at Red Square for the right to migrate to their “homeland” in West Germany. In November 1982, German demonstrations at Red Square in front of the West German embassy, the return of several hundred Soviet-German “domestic” passports, attempted flights out of the country, hunger strikes, and even an airplane hijacking in Turkey happened simultaneously on behalf of the struggle to secure German emigration from the USSR. Even more potentially dangerous demonstrations concerning the Soviet Germans took place in Central Asia during the 1970s. For example, despite the government’s prior warnings given against demonstrations, a direct confrontation between about four hundred German emigration supporters and Soviet officials in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, resulted on 30 September 1973. Eyewitnesses reported that several hundred Soviet soldiers and militia were deployed to disperse the Germans. During the incident, Erich Adel and two other organizers were arrested. Consult Anton Bosch and Josef Lingor, Entstehung, Entwicklung und Auflösung der deutschen Kolonien am Schwarzen Meer: am Beispiel von Kandel von 1808 bis 1944 (Stuttgart: Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Rußland, 1990) 289; Eisfeld, Die Rußlanddeutschen, 141-45, 216.
28. Eisfeld, Die Rußlanddeutschen, 141-45; Heitman, The Soviet Germans in the USSR Today, 77-81.
29. See James W. Long, From Privileged to Dispossessed: The Volga Germans, 1860-1917 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988).
30. Eisfeld, Die Rußlanddeutschen, 158; Volk auf dem Weg: Deutsche in Rußland und in der GUS, 1763-1993, eds. Kulturrat der Deutschen aus Rußland e.V. und Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Rußland e.V. (Stuttgart: Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Rußland, 1993) 32.
31. See Timothy J. and Rosalinda Kloberdanz, Thunder on the Steppe: Volga German Folklife in a Changing Russia, 2d printing (Lincoln, Nebraska: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1993) 2-6; Lincoln Chapter of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia Newsletter, vol. 5, no. 5 (May 1997): 3.
32. Eisfeld, Die Rußlanddeutschen, 139-41; Heitman, “Soviet Emigration Policies Toward the Germans and Armenians,” 235-59.
33. Prior to 1956, Soviet-German emigration was practically non-existent. Significant gains were made in the late 1950s, however, as a result of Adenauer’s diplomatic visit to Moscow. Another increase in emigration occurred in the aftermath of the 1965 Vienna Agreement between West Germany and the Soviet Union. The issue of vital concern had to do with ethnic-German families separated by World War II. The Volga Germans had found it particularly difficult to emigrate in the postwar period, for they held fewer claims to family in Germany than did Black Sea Germans. Many Black Sea Germans had left the Soviet Union with the retreating Nazi armies between 1943 and 1945. Brandt’s Ostpolitik convinced the Soviet authorities to release about 64,000 Germans—mostly former Black Sea Germans—to the West German government between 1971 and 1980. See Heitman, “Soviet Emigration Policies Toward Germans and Armenians,” 246-47.
34. In the 1960s and 1970s, despite limited political and cultural concessions made by Moscow, dissatisfaction intensified as a result of other contradictory Soviet policies. For instance, when a cooling down period during détente and Ostpolitik took place, such as after 1980, the regime reduced émigré quotas, while actually increasing the official harassment of German activists through police, bureaucrats, employers, and school authorities. The government simultaneously practiced forms of political and social pressure. It was not uncommon for a number of outspoken dissidents to be dismissed from their jobs, evicted from their homes, deported from the country, given psychological treatment, or sentenced to long prison terms. German activists were imprisoned in the late 1970s. The government never practiced mass terror per se, and attempts at silencing the few activists never completely succeeded either. Although the Soviet Germans acted only spontaneously during the “rehabilitation era,” they found different ways in responding to outside threats through accommodation, dissent, or emigration. Indeed, as historian Sidney Heitman suggested, the Germans’ random and uncoordinated activities also seemed to claim a larger following. The Germans made some kind of effort in view of the numerous petitions that contained thousands of signatures. Acknowledging the Germans’ traditionally subtle, yet stubborn, persistence and adaptation in matters of survival, Heitman correctly concluded in 1980: “In these ways, the historically ingrained habits of submissiveness, resentment, feelings of inferiority-superiority, insecurity, fatalism, and retreat to spiritual compensation, all dating back to their origins in the eighteenth century as foreign colonists in a frontier country and nourished by 200 years of oppression, war, revolution, and persecution, are kept alive in contemporary Soviet society—together with the compensations that derive from the benefits of the Soviet system now available to the Soviet Germans” (p. 70). Heitman, The Soviet Germans in the USSR Today, 62-81.
35. At the Helsinki Conference of 1975, the Soviets promised ethnic Germans and other minorities, such as the Soviet Jews and Armenians, the right to migrate to their “historical homelands.” Seeking to ease East-West tensions, this conference proved significant because the Western nations, to the Soviet Union’s delight, essentially recognized Europe’s post-World War II boundaries and the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. However, the West stipulated that the Soviet Union must improve its human rights policies, including the issue of emigration. Prior to Gorbachev, the Soviet regime systematically tried to keep “assimilated” and productive Germans in the country when possible. Indeed, the regime found it difficult to part with its young, able-bodied citizens. The Soviet government looked upon emigration from a specific legal standpoint, when the policy did not serve its immediate interests. Consistently, the Soviet Union opposed emigration in principle. In fact, the legal right to emigrate never existed in the USSR. Historian Sidney Heitman best explained the Soviets’ reluctance to permit its citizens leave the country, especially those without family abroad: “. . . Until [the late 1980s], emigration has been permitted solely for the purpose of reuniting Soviet citizens with families abroad, not as a basic right or discretionary act. . . . Moreover, this privilege has been accorded only to certain categories of citizens based on their nationality, namely Jews, Germans and Armenians. . . . Another reason is that according to Communist doctrine, emigration is caused by the defects of capitalist society, which cannot provide regular employment for all its members and forces some to emigrate in order to survive. . . .” (p. 251). Moreover, the Soviet opposition to emigration stemmed from the USSR’s historical isolation and its sometimes justified paranoia about being besieged by external enemies. See Heitman, “Soviet Emigration Policies Toward Germans and Armenians,” 237, 251.
36. Heitman, “Soviet Emigration Policies Toward Germans and Armenians,” 235-59; Volk auf dem Weg, 1763-1993, 32. See also the German emigration figures in Timothy Garton Ash, In Europe’s Name: Germany and the Divided Continent, first edition (New York: Vintage Books, 1994) 216-311, 660-61.
37. The ethnic-German experience in their “ancestral homeland” is a complex subject in its own right. In 1989, Dr. Thomas Kussmann of Cologne put into perspective the ethnic Germans’ experiences in the West. The Soviet Germans were a conscious people in many respects, aware of their identity and traditions in a difficult environment. However, their perspectives on the meaning of identity differed in varying degrees from that of the West Germans. Freedom in the West brought new consequences to Germans from Russia. Not only were they free from repression, they were now also encountering a new socio-economic system. As Kussmann explained, different experiences and interpretations colored their view of the meaning of “freedom.” As a whole, the Aussiedler held particular understandings of freedom, personal integrity, and self-efficiency. See Thomas Kussmann, “Zur nationalen Identität der Deutschen aus der Sowjetunion,” Referate der Kulturtagung der Deutschen aus Rußland/UdSSR vom 20. bis 22. Oktober 1989 in Bad Herrenalb: ,,Erhaltung und Pflege nationaler Traditionen der deutschen Volksgruppe in der UdSSR und der Bundesrepublik Deutschland,” ed. Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Rußland e.V. (Stuttgart: Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Rußland e.V., 1989): 44-74. In 1994, scholar Barbara Dietz also noted the differences between current and previous émigrés. In matters of language and social expectations, assimilation had been easier before the late 1980s; the earlier generation of Aussiedler was more “German” (in speech and mannerisms) and usually consisted of individuals and dissidents instead of whole families and communities. With younger families coming to Germany, the “Russianized” youth who felt isolated were less likely to participate in Russian-German organizations. There also appeared to be more “personal circles” in churches, families, and Russian-German societies, and this tendency particularly applied to émigré women. Dietz also stated that the separation between personal and social spheres had become more pronounced among recent émigrés. Although the immigrants enjoyed socio-economic security in the West, they remained nonetheless isolated in a “pluralistic,” “liberal,” and “confrontational” modern society. Adjustment was especially hard for people over forty—people more set in their ways—for the older immigrants deeply appreciated their own personal, religious, and cultural freedoms and practices. See Dietz, “Rückzug oder Mitwirkung: Zur gesellschaftlichen Partizipation rußlanddeutscher Aussiedler in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland,” Referate der Kulturtagung der Deutschen aus Rußland vom 21. bis 23. Oktober 1994 in Würzburg: ,,Soziale und kulturelle Integration der Rußlanddeutschen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Möglichkeiten und Schwierigkeiten,” ed. Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Rußland e.V. (Stuttgart: Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Rußland e.V., 1994): 94-99. See also Dietz and Hilkes, Integriert oder isoliert? Zur Situation rußlanddeutscher Aussiedler in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Munich: Olzog Verlag, 1994)7-12, 34, 37-39, 41-43, 50-51, 53, 56-57, 59-60, 65, 67, 70-73, 77, 79, 81-89, 99, 105, 112, 117-20.
38. A number of leading 1960s Soviet-German activists, however, expressed a degree of ambivalence about emigration to East Germany. Although it was definitely “German,” it had once been part of the Third Reich. The Soviet Union had ignored East Germany’s past association with fascism and had embraced the East Germans as communist allies. To the Soviet Germans, the regime’s attitude toward East Germany seemed to be hypocritical. As Soviet-German activists noted, it was the Soviet-Germans who had to bear the “fascist” label in their Soviet homeland during the 1940s and 1950s. Eisfeld, Die Rußlanddeutschen, 171-73; Emma S. Haynes, “The Restoration of the Volga Republic,” AHSGR Work Paper No. 11 (Apr. 1973): 15.
39. In the 1970s, it was common for Soviet-German émigrés to pay a fee for permission to leave the Soviet Union. After arriving in East Germany, a few of them applied to the Bonn government for entry into the West. Reluctant to let their country become an open door to the West, annoyed East German officials began refusing such requests by the late 1970s. See Eisfeld, Die Rußlanddeutschen, 171-73.
40. Eisfeld, Die Rußlanddeutschen, 171-73. Cf. Benjamin Pinkus, “The Emigration of National Minorities from the USSR in the Post-Stalin Era,” Soviet Jewish Affairs 13, no. 1 (1983): 28-30. Although Soviet-German émigrés had personal dealings with East Germans at work and in private, the Soviet-Germans felt somewhat isolated in the country. The East Germans who did not know the history of the Germans in Russia briefly distrusted and misunderstood the newcomers. East Germans could not understand why the émigrés had left what was officially regarded as the “most progressive socialist nation in the world,” the Soviet Union.
41. Reymer Klüver, “Damit sie in Sibirien bleiben,” Süddeutsche Zeitung 10 Aug. 1994 [no no.]: 6; “Nach Westsibirien statt nach Deutschland: Immer mehr Rußlanddeutsche entscheiden sich gegen das Aussiedeln,” FAZ 5 Aug. 1994 [no no.]: 5; Andreas Thewalt, “Deutschland, nein danke: Sie wollen nach Sibirien,” Hamburger Abendblatt 26-7 Mar. 1994, no. 72: 4; Joseph Werth, The Church and the Russian-Germans in the Siberian Homeland Today: A Personal Interview with His Excellency, the Most Rev. Joseph Werth, Bishop of Siberia, interview and trans. by Eric J. Schmaltz (Fargo, North Dakota: Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North Dakota State University Libraries, 1996) 14.
42. Note that Soviet and CIS Aussiedler constituted a substantial fraction of the flood of German émigrés from Eastern Europe. For statistical compilations of German immigrants from other East European nations between 1950 and 1993, please consult Timothy Garton Ash’s In Europe’s Name: Germany and the Divided Continent, first edition (New York: Vintage Books, 1994) 224-43, 660-61. See also Sidney Heitman, “Soviet Emigration Policies Toward the Germans and Armenians,” 235-59; Hans W. Schoenberg, Germans from the East: A Study of Their Migration and Subsequent Group History Since 1945, Studies in Social Life, XV, ed. Gunter Beyer (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1970) vii-x, 159-242, 306-9.
43. Ash, 243.
44. LaVern J. Rippley, “Islands of Hope: Germans in Russia Today,” Heritage Review 26, no. 2 (June 1996): 4-8.
45. “Appell der Landsmannschaft an CDU/CSU, SPD und FDP: ,Die sozialen Einschnitte für rußlanddeutsche Aussiedler und Spätaussiedler haben die Zumutbarkeitsgrenze überschritten,” VadW Aug.-Sept. 1993, no. 8-9: 4-5; “Auf der Tagung der Landsmannschaft in Würzburg vom 10.-12. April 1992 dominierte die Kritik am Aussiedler- aufnahmgesetz,” VadW May 1992, no. 5: 5; “Aus dem Bericht der Bundesregierung zur Verbesserung derkulturellen Lage der Deutschen in Mittel- und Osteuropa,” VadW June 1992, no. 6: 10-11; “(Auszüge aus den Reden auf der 152. Sitzung des Deutschen Bundestages am 22. Juni 1989 zur Verbesserung der kulturellen Lage der Deutschen in der Sowjetunion): Beifall bei CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP, Grünen - und Rußland-Deutschen,”VadW Aug.-Sept. 1989, no. 8-9: 4-5; “Bayerns SPD-Chef Hiersemann zur Ausreise aus der UdSSR,” VadW May 1991, no. 5: 3; Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Rußland, “Resolution [12 Apr. 1992 in Würzburg],” VadW May 1992, no. 5: 2; Alois Reiss, “Appell des Bundesvorsitzenden der Landsmannschaft an alle Landsleute,” VadW Nov. 1993, no. 11: 5. Also consult additional articles in Volk auf dem Weg (published in Stuttgart) dating from the late 1980s and early 1990s.
46. Klüver, “Damit sie in Sibirien bleiben,” 6.
47. Info-Dienst Deutsche Aussiedler Heft Nr. 58 (Bonn: Bundesministerium des Innern, Sept. 1994); Rippley, “Islands of Hope: Germans in Russia Today,” 4-8. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, much discussion concerned free-trade zones near Kaliningrad (Königsberg) in the former East Prussia. However, plans for this economic “door to the west” for the benefit of ethnic Germans and Russians never enjoyed much success partly due to the indigenous Russians’ concerns about the “re-Germanization” of the Kaliningrad variant. For more information, please see the Works Consulted section at the back, specifically Neues Leben and Volk auf dem Weg articles between 1990 and 1993. See also Ash, 91, 105, 247, 405-6; Celestine Bohlen, “Kaliningrad Journal: Is the City Eerily Acquiring a German Accent?” New York Times 22 Apr. 1994, natl. ed.: A4; Darrell Delamaide, The New Superregions of Europe (New York: Penguin Books, 1994) 114-15, 275; Sylvia Greßler, “Ein Großprojekt, das Bonn und Kiew unterstützen wollen: Der Vorschlag Krawtschuks zur Ansiedlung von Deutschen im Süden der Ukraine auf dem Prüfstand,” VadW June 1992, no. 6: 12-13; Jochen Kummer, “Verstimmung zwischen Bonn und Moskau wegen eines deutschen Vertreters in Königsberg: Russen hielten Zusagen für Wolgadeutsche nicht ein,” [unidentified German newspaper] [early 1994]: n. pag.; “Raum für tausend Rußlanddeutsche bei St. Petersburg Ansiedlung Projekt ,Nasia’ so gut wie sicher,” St. Petersburgische Zeitung 34, no. 1 (Feb. 1994): 4; Manfred Schell, “Wird Industriepark Königsberg Heimat für Wolgadeutsche? Moskau denkt auch an große Freihandelszone in Leningrad und Odessa,” Die Welt 22 July 1989: n. pag.
48. Bonn directed a socio-economic development program for an efficient market economy, a most daunting task. Basically, this effort was “artificial community creation” in nearly every respect. Bonn drew up plans between 1990 and 1991, but the program began in earnest in 1992, with an initial 150 million DM going to Omsk and Altai. A similar program was implemented in the Saratov region along the Volga around the same time. See Info-Dienst Deutsche Aussiedler Heft Nr. 58.
49. This closing date came from Heinrich Groth, the ex-chairman of the “Rebirth” Society. Groth, “Zur Pressekonferenz von Dr. Heinrich Groth ansäßlich der Niederlegung seiner Vollmachten,” St. Petersburgische Zeiting 37, no. 1 (Feb. 1994): 1-3.
50. Reinhard Olt, “Zehn ,Inseln’ für Rußlanddeutsche: Waffenschmidt zieht Bilanz seiner Arbeit,” FAZ 29 Nov. 1993 [no no.]: 8; “Zehn ,Inseln der Hoffnung’ für Rußlanddeutsche in Rußland,” VadW Feb. 1994, no. 2: 2. Bonn erected an ecumenical church and cultural center in Omsk, as well as an economic center in Novosibirsk (where the Catholic Church also set up its new apostolic administration). In cooperation with the Russian authorities, Horst Waffenschmidt’s ministry established another church and cultural center in the city of Marx along the Volga, providing for the various denominations. The program also funded the construction of a cultural center, Lutheran churches, and educational facilities at St. Petersburg. Around the city of St. Petersburg, the German government also created a development region with German and Russian government aid. A national council of Russian-Germans was set up in Moscow, with new “Rebirth” chairman Jakob Maurer working with other regions through a joint Russo-German government commission. The German embassy offered additional support, with extension offices located in St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Saratov, and Novosibirsk.
51. Rippley, “Islands of Hope: Germans in Russia Today,” 4-5.