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Thread: The Germans from Russia

  1. #11
    Senior Member Aragorn's Avatar
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    Germans in Russia

    Area showing where Germans where living.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Re: Wolga-Deutsche karte/Volga-German map

    Worth the wait!

    Has anyone ever seen a map of the autonomous region that the Soviets created for the Volga Germans, for a brief period between the Wars?

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    Re: Wolga-Deutsche karte/Volga-German map


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    Re: Wolga-Deutsche karte/Volga-German map





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    Re: Wolga-Deutsche karte/Volga-German map

    And for completion's sake;

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    Question Volga Germans

    Hi. Does anyone know who are in fact Volga germans? To which race and/or tribe do they belong? In the place where i'm from, they settled and formed big colonies, in general they have little contact with the rest of society. They say they are germans that following Catherine the Great went to Russia and settled there, by the Volga river. They don't speak german, but it isn't russian. Some of them ressemble germans, and others seem to have russian heritage (those big, rounded and "flat" faces). If someone can tell me more about them, I would thank him/her.

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    Re: AW: The Germans from Russia

    Maybe Zyklop can find the old maps again?

    In the meantime, I made this

    from the map of the Autonomous SSR of the 1920s, found in a gallery thread here;
    http://forums.skadi.net/wolga_deutsc...ighlight=volga
    It gives a better sense of the scale. Almost as big as Lithuania.

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    The Germans from Russia

    The Volga Germans (German: Wolgadeutsche or Russlanddeutsche) were ethnic Germans living along the Volga River in the region of southern European Russia around Saratov and to the south. They maintained German culture, language, traditions and churches: Lutherans, Reformed, Roman Catholics, and Mennonites. Many Volga Germans immigrated to the Midwestern United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and other countries in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In the late 20th century, many of the remaining ethnic Germans moved to Germany.

    More information:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volga_German

    A Volga German page:
    http://www.volgagermans.net

    Also see:


    Volga German pioneer family commemorative statue in Victoria, Kansas, USA.


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    Suffering in a Province of Asia: The Russian-German Diaspora in Kazakhstan

    Diaspora Experiences: German-Speaking Immigrants and their Descendants
    Waterloo Centre for German Studies, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    24-27 August 2006

    By 1989, nearly a million Russian-Germans lived in Kazakhstan. They constituted the third largest nationality in the territory after Russians and Kazakhs. At almost 6% of the population, the Russian-Germans formed the largest and most important diaspora nationality in the Kazakh SSR. The Russian-Germans played an important role in Kazakhstan’s economic development in the years after World War II.

    The origins of the Russian-Germans in Kazakhstan are mixed. Russian-German colonists from other regions of the Russian Empire first settled there in 1882. By 1926, Kazakhstan had over 50,000 Russian-Germans. Deportations during the collectivization of agriculture in 1930-1931 further increased this population. In 1936, the Soviet government exiled the Russian-German population near the Polish border to Kazakhstan. On the eve of World War II the Russian German population numbered over 90,000 due to these deportations and natural growth. The events of 1941 increased this number by a factor of five. By 1942, over half a million Russian-Germans found themselves confined to Kazakhstan.

    The vast majority of Russian-Germans from Kazakhstan are the descendents of deportees during World War II. During the fall of 1941, the Stalin regime deported more than 850,000 Russian-Germans eastward. Close to 400,000 of these deportees ended up in Kazakhstan. Here the Soviet government subjected them to inhumane living conditions of severe material poverty and denial of basic human rights. Only in the mid-1950s, after Stalin’s death, did their status improve significantly.

    Despite these improvements, the Russian-Germans continued to suffer from official discrimination. They could not return to their former places of residence, they only had access to a few token German language publications and they remained largely excluded from receiving higher education and white collar jobs. This discrimination made it impossible for the Russian-Germans to adopt Kazakhstan as a new homeland. It continued to be a land of involuntary exile and suffering.

    I intend to submit a paper on the history of the Russian-Germans in Kazakhstan. The paper covers the various waves of migration to Kazakhstan with a special emphasis on the mass forced resettlements during World War II. It then deals with the legal and material conditions endured by the Russian-Germans in Kazakhstan during the 1940s and 1950s. Finally, it addresses the problems of acculturation, continued discrimination, lack of cultural autonomy and the desire to immigrate to Germany that concerned the diaspora in subsequent decades. The paper draws upon a large variety of published primary source material from the archives in Moscow and Almaty. It also makes use of recently published memoirs written by Russian-Germans from Kazakhstan now living in Germany. The paper seeks to synthesize these sources to provide a more thorough historical account of the diaspora than previously possible.

    The source:
    http://jpohl.blogspot.com/2006/05/ge...-abstract.html

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    Whenever I start speaking in German, it doesn’t take long for the person I’m conversing with to ask where I come from. This taxi driver was no different, but I was also pretty sure I could follow up with a “and where do you come from?” He had a strong Russian accent but he said he was German, Russian German. His family originally came from Germany but had lived in Russia for centuries. Now the German government was making it easier for these Russian Germans to come home.

    It all began in the 18th century when Russian Empress Catherine II began inviting Germans to settle the lower Volga, Black Sea, and Crimean Peninsula areas, with promises of religious freedom, no taxes, and an exemption from military service. These conditions were particularly attractive to the Mennonites, a pacifist Christian group persecuted under the Prussian Empire. Other Germans took advantage of the relatively open Russian lands as Western Europe became more crowded.

    The German colonies prospered and 1.79 million people reported German as their language in the 1897 census. The liberal immigration laws had been repealed, however, by Alexander II in 1871 and the Mennonites were only able to retain their exemption from military service after much discussion. The rise in Russian nationalism in the late 19th century was only a precursor to the difficulties that lay ahead.

    World War I and the Russian Revolution in 1917 tested the loyalties of the Russian Germans. Many were displaced or killed. When the German army invaded the USSR during World War II, Stalin deported the Russian Germans to labor camps in Siberia and Kazakhstan. By 1955 the banishment had been lifted, but few returned to the European half of the USSR, instead assimilating into the Russian communities in Kazakhstan.

    Since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, Russian Germans have resettled in Germany in massive numbers. Although there are some restrictions, including a language test, it is relatively easy to become a German citizen. The government also financially supports the Russian Germans’ resettlement, and provides German language and integration courses.

    Tatjana Rezer, a student of industrial engineering in Hamburg, is one the “resettlers.” She was born and raised in Kazakhstan, before leaving with her family in 1999. She has kindly offered to answer some questions about her experience.

    Holly: When did you decide you wanted to come to Germany?

    Tatjana: In 1993, when my aunt was leaving for Germany. Right before she left we visited her. It was always spontaneous and kept a secret because people knew that those who were leaving had sold everything and had lots of money. We finally left in 1999, after receiving the necessary invitation from Germany and waiting several years.

    Holly: Did you always know that you were German when you were growing up?

    Tatjana: I knew that I was German because my last name was so different, because of how peculiar it sounded. It doesn’t sound like a Russian name with an ending at the end. So my parents explained that my father was a German and that my mother had taken his name.

    Holly: Did the different ethnic groups get along well in Kazakhstan?

    Tatjana: I had lots of friends in Kazakhstan of different nationalities (Kazakh, Russian, Tatar, and Uzbekistani). But it wasn’t rare to come in contact with people who were against Germans because they or their relatives had experienced something in World War II, for example their grandfather was killed, or from the history of the war they had developed the opinion that all Germans were as horrible as the German soldiers were during the war.

    Holly: Can you tell us how your family ended up in Kazakhstan?

    Tatjana: Before being deported when World War II began, my grandfather’s parents lived in a village on the Volga River. They were assumed to be enemies and were sent, not to jails, but to villages they couldn’t leave. They were forced to work or had to check in daily. My grandfather could read and speak German, but not my father, because his parents divorced and he grew up with his mother in another village. When he was 20 and had found a job, he left the village and came to the city of Petropavlovsk, where he met my mother and where I was born.

    Holly: Were there certain German traditions kept by the Russian Germans?

    Tatiana: Not many that I know of, because my family wasn’t really a proper German family familiar with the proper traditions. The traditional songs, dances, and food were mostly kept up in the German villages. Sometimes they showed the German lifestyle and also the traditions on television programs (there was a special German program, but in Russian). But otherwise, the Russian Germans didn’t have any of the German characteristic traits or qualities. Except the German cleanliness. Their villages were very clean.

    Holly: What was it like when you first came to Germany?

    Tatjana: When we arrived we had to show our documents and they checked everything. Those who had relatives already living in Germany were sent to be near them. If not, they sent you to areas needing workers. We ended up in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. We were given temporary housing and food. I found an apartment for the family and eventually moved to Hamburg by myself where a foundation was offering free German classes for people who later wanted to study. I then completed my German high school diploma and started studying.

    Holly: Is it difficult to be here in Germany? The Germans must assume that you are Russian.

    Tatjana: You will always find people who think foreigners are enemies. You have to get through it. If I don’t have a real home then it’s my own fault. I can improve my German, make better decisions. I don’t feel pressured when someone calls me a Russian now. I’m here in Hamburg. I’m studying. I come in contact with all sorts of Germans and other international people, like you.

    Holly: Thank you, Tatjana, for sharing your experiences with us.

    The source:
    http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art51751.asp

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