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Game With the Fire: Convincing Ideas Instead of Scapegoats

Bode, Klaus J. "Game With the Fire: Convincing Ideas Instead of Scapegoats." Süddeutsche Zeitung, 29 February 1996.

German to English translation by Alice Morgenstern, Munich, Germany


1.6 million ethnic Germans from the former Soviet Union, so called Aussiedler, have come to Germany from 1951-1989. They were accepted and became integrated without noticeable problems. With the fall of the `iron curtain' their number increased considerably, in 1990 alone their number shot up to 397,073.

In the nineties their number dropped again and remained fairly at the same level of about 200,000.

This is mainly due to the following reasons:

  1. The German-Russian treaty of neighborhood, partnership and cooperation (9.11.1990) granted massive support for the Russian Germans in their Russian areas (resettling programs etc.)
  2. The promise: "The door remains open" is backed by two laws: The law of acception of the `Aussiedler' (1.7.1990) and the law intending to set right losses caused by war (1.1.1993) (=Kriegsfolgenbereinigungsgesetz).
  3. There is a retarding effect with regard to newcomers whose status as Germans has to be specially considered ( e.g. if they are partly Russian), and these investigations take their time.
  4. Beginning with 1993 the number of "Aussiedler" has been limited to approximately 225,000 a year.

These are the problems of today:

Legally it is not right to fix a quota for people who if "acknowledged" have rights to be treated as German citizens.

Whereas the number of Russian German immigrants has remained about the same for the last few years the means if supporting them have been cut: German language courses are only provided for 6 months (instead of 15 months as before). Only few of the young newcomers understood German. So their chances for employment are very dubious.

The communities will have to pay if the Aussiedler are to receive social support (=Sozialhilfe) after 6 months stay in Germany. These measures cause unrest and uncertainty among the Aussiedler and the communities.

Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
North Dakota State University Libraries
PO Box 5599
Fargo, ND 58105-5599

Our appreciation is extended to Alice Morgenstern for translation of this article.

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