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Dr. Horst Waffenschmidt Answers Questions From the German Eastern Services (DOD)

Dr. Waffenschmidt Antwortet auf Fragen de Deutschen Ostdiennst (DOD)

Waffenschmidt, Dr. Horst. "Dr. Horst Waffenschmidt Answers Questions From the German Eastern Services (DOD)." Volk auf dem Weg, November 1993, 2-3.

Translation from German to English by Ingeborg Wallner Smith, Western Springs, Illinois


Dr. Horst Waffenschmidt, Government Representative for Emigration
Question: Why is the support for the Germans in Poland so much less compared with the efforts for the Russian-Germans, in spite of the fact that the relevant government means would be more easily monitored there and could also more surely be put into action for the long term, while the on-going political development in the CIS cannot be monitored?

Waffenschmidt: Aid to the Germans in Poland cannot be compared with the help we have given the Russian-Germans. The results to date are too different. In Poland one can demonstrate to the German minority that they have better prospects for themselves and their children in their hereditary homeland.

In large areas of the CIS, due to political, ethnic and religious tensions, many of the Russian-Germans living there can no longer look forward to any sufficient prospects for a better life. This is particularly true in the central Asiatic republics of the CIS. In order to be able to provide these people with a homeland in their traditional settlement areas in the Volga region, the West Siberian region and in southern Ukraine, stronger measures must be taken in these places. Tens of thousands wish to settle in these settlement centers; these are unambiguous figures.

Question: How can the demonstrably greatly diminishing life prospects of the German-Russian in central Asia be ensured solely be means of the settlement of some 10,000 Germans instead of through resettlement in the Altai region and some thousands of Germans near Saratow, and do not the 100,000 pending emigration application from the area under Polis control combined with a very high proportion of rejections , show that the Germans there also see their life prospects as critical?

Waffenschmidt: In your question you misjudge the great importance of the main centers of the German settlements in the Omsk area, in the Altai and on the Volga. At the present time about 100,000 applications of Russian-Germans for settlement there have been submitted and the number is rising. These main centers were set up with the consent of the Russian-Germans, with Dr. Heinrich Groth a their head! Besides that Russian-German organizations in the CIS speak of five to six million Russian-Germans, including mixed marriages.

The application from Poland being considered federally and in the states for approximately 75,000 people (not 100,000) have been mainly taken care of in the part years. While about 67,000 people submitted application in 1991, in 1992, only 29,000 and in the first eight months of this year only 7,801 persons did so. The percentage of rejections derives from the fact that, in particular, the countries with jurisdiction, in accordance with the law concerning the German expellees, no longer recognize a fate caused by the war.

Question: Is there not a danger, that because of a further escalation of at the present over 60 conflicts in the area of the former Soviet Union, suddenly a large number of several thousand or even tens of thousands of Russian-Germans must be evacuated into Germany, and is the government actually prepared for those sorts of measures?

Waffenschmidt: Basically one cannot avoid, according to the law concerning expellees and refugees (BVFG) an examination of the local conditions. At the present time applications from the civil war areas of the CIS are being quickly dealt with by both the federal government and the states. The federal office has even installed subject areas for applicants from crisis areas, in which these applications are immediately attended to. Furthermore, the BVFG offers the possibility of acceptance in hardship cases in accordance with #27 P.2 BVFG, for applicants that find themselves in Germany. It would also be possible, in cases of particular need, for employees of the federal administrative office on the spot to undertake the necessary examinations in order to accept the applicants on the basis of previous decisions by the states. In addition, for example, the German circles in West Siberia are prepared to take up tens of thousands of Germans.

Question: In the politics of the federal government regarding the Russian-Germans, what role does the point of view play that Germany with at present a dwindling German population is oriented to a particularly large immigration of Russian-German compatriots?

Waffenscmidt: The German government accepts those of German blood from the areas of emigration because these people have suffered from the results of the war in a particular manner and some of them are still suffering. In the law concerning the expellees it is stated, that each year up to about 225,000 emigrants may be taken in if they fulfill the legal requirements. The belated emigrants with their overwhelmingly young families and children contribute to a more even population structure in Germany. The proportion of those over 65 year old is considerably smaller in the case of the resettlers than in the general population. Also from a demographic point of view the belated emigrants are most certainly an asset to our people.

Question: Considering the civil wars and persecutions in the former Soviet Union and the instability in the Polish sphere, is the contingent number sufficient, without the persecuted having to wait yet another several years for their emigration?

Waffenschmidt: Yes. The regulations of #27 P.3 of the law concerning expellees are the result of a substantial compromise that is above party. The present development of the entry of evacuees and the receipt of entrance applications, keenly followed by BMI and the federal administration, does not lead one to expect that the number of belated emigrants, spouses and descendants to be admitted, named in the above-mentioned regulation, would even be reach. In addition, the strong reduction in applications, even from the CIS, is particularly noteworthy.

Question: How does the Federal Government judge and support the settlement of Russian-Germans in northern East Prussia?

Waffenschmidt: In the matter of the aid for the Kaliningrad/ East Prussia it is a question of an expanded humanitarian aid. This encompasses in essence medical support of individual hospitals, agricultural support in the development of machinery – and consultation – communities as well as community-furthering measures, in which these should not only benefit the Russian-Germans but also the rest of the population.

So, for example, the German Red Cross implemented with means provided by the Ministry of the Interior, a medical emergency relief system, in which 45 hospitals were equipped. Further, using means provided by the government, the Foundation Königsberg (Essen) built the central meeting place “German-Russian House” in the city area Kalingrad/ Königsberg for the Russian-German cultural society “Eintracht”. This meeting place was dedicated on March 12, 1993 and is meant to provide opportunities for cultural organizations, educational and continuing education seminars, as well as language courses for the Russian-German living in the area and for their Russian neighbors.

In addition the German Agricultural Society in cooperation with the Rural Adult Education Department in Lower Saxony, using local funds, is providing agricultural emergency assistance in the Rayons Nesterov, Ozersk, Cernjachovsk and Bagratinovsk with the aim of supporting the establishment of private family businesses in machinery – and consultation – communities by providing agricultural technical information and seed in addition to supporting consultation on the spot.

At the third session of the German-Russian Governing Committee in Bonn, April 5th and 6th, it was agreed with the Russian government to continue this medical, agricultural and community-strengthening aid.

The influx of Russian-Germans into this area can develop in the framework of the laws and freedom of domicile governing all Russian citizens. Prof. Matatschkin, the present Russian head of the territory and member of the Russian Constitutional Convention, described the situation in a German television interview on June 20, 1993 as follows: “They can come as ordinary citizens. And I repeat immediately, that we are against an organized mass resettlement.” I mean, for this countryside of Europe, rich in opportunity, the German-Russia cooperation should be particularly fruitful. For this reason I am emphatically in favor of the speedy provision of a German Consulate there.

Question: Of these means, how many flow exclusively to what number of Germans for their personal use, for gaining livelihood, for acquiring assets, for speed, for providing their own shelter, and also for legal help against widespread attempts at confiscation?

Waffenschmidt: In accordance with the arrangements of the German-Russian Government Commission, in the region Kaliningrad (East Prussia) the federal government supports agricultural businesses that are mainly carried on by German families, with seed and with agricultural equipment. The value of this expanded humanitarian aid for the year 1992 and 1993 consists of in round numbers 5.6 million DM.

Our appreciation is extended to Ingeborg Smith for translation of this article.

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