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German Russians in Germany Either Rears or an Ocean of Happiness

"German Russians in Germany Either Rears or an Ocean of Happiness." California Staats Zeitung, 23 February 1995.

Translation from German to English by Brigitte Von Budde


Unna-Massen. 80% of the 4,095 beds are taken up by women, men and children from Kazakhstan, Kirgistan and Usbekistan at the Nordrhein-Westphalian office for Aussiedler, immigrants and foreign refugees in Unna-Massen. In the last few years increasingly more German Russians turn their backs to their old homeland after a smaller wave of migration by Aussiedler from the area of the former Sowjet Union.

In the past year 222,591 Aussiedler came to Germany, the country of origin of their ancestors. They no longer want to be drift sand in history but rather put an end to their 50 year long road of misery from the Volga Republic to Siberia which ended in deportation to the Central Asian Sowjet Republics. They want to live as Germans among Germans.

68 year old widower, Robert Gleim of Akmola, complains in good German, "Peoples lives in Kazakhstan is getting worse and worse.” "Many are unemployed and those who do have work frequently have to wait for their wages for weeks. We went through a lot and endured much. Finally, we realized that there is no turn for the better... Three -and a half years ago we applied for emigration. "

Fatigue and bitterness shows in the faces of the siblings. Both had a house and together they had a farm and some land. Two years ago Robert and Elsa began the search for buyers of their property. They experienced a great disappointment. "Only few Germans are living in Kazakhstan. The others, supposedly, had no money", whines Elsa. "In the end we had to be glad to be able to sell the houses for DM 500 and DM 400. We had to give away the fields and the land".

The first days after arriving in the promised land were disillusion: the run through eleven offices within two weeks causes difficulties, the dropping of the welcome money disappoints them and the search for an apartment in Recklinghausen frightens them.

Valentina März and her three children: Tanja (20), Eugen (17) and Stefanie (13) from the town of Karatau in Kazakhstan (50,000 people) are, however, delighted and content. "We applied for emigration two years ago", says Tanja. "The relationship to the Russians was bad, unemployment high, welfare is not known. We decided for emigration also out of religious reasons.” The mother and her children are not afraid of unemployment, homelessness and language problems. Everybody knows that the integration is difficult but they are convinced of mastering the difficulties. Valentina and Tanja are thrilled with the stock and selection in the stores and Stefanie briefly remarks, "Everything like in a fairy tale".

However, the office for Aussiedler, immigrants and foreign refugees in Unna-Massen is no wonderland. It is crowded out by the old and the sick, by people filled with despair and by people filled with indignation, by the discouraged and the broken but also by courageous and strong willed people, by people full of hope and faith. Whoever cares for (these) people drowns in an ocean of tears and in the next moment heaven of happiness.

Our appreciation is extended to Brigitte von Budde for translation of this article.

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