Crimea Germans

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Crimea Germans (German: Krimdeutsche) were ethnic German settlers who were invited to settle in the Crimea as part of the East Colonization.

History

From 1783 onwards, there was a systematic settlement of Russians, Ukrainians, and Germans to the Crimean Peninsula (in what was then the Crimean Khanate) in order to weaken the Crimean Tatar population.

The first planned settlements of Germans in Crimea were founded over 1805-1810 with the support of Czar Alexander I. The first settlements were:

Friedental - in the district of Simferopol; formed in 1806 by Lutherans

Heilbrunn - in the district of Feodosiya; formed in 1809 by Lutherans

Kronental - in the district of Simferopol; formed in 1810 by Lutherans and Catholics

Neusatz - in the district of Simferopol; formed in 1806 by Lutherans

Rosental - in the district of Simferopol; formed in 1806 by Catholics

Staryj Krim (old Crimea)- in the district Feodosiya; formed in 1805 by Lutherans and Catholics

Sudak - in the district of Feodosiya; formed in 1805 by Lutherans

Zuerichtal - in the district of Feodosiya; formed in 1805 by Swiss and Lutherans

All of these early colonies were located in the Yayla-mountains of Crimea and were mostly Swabian wine-farmers. However over time only Sudak produced quality wine and the other settlements soon turned to agriculture. The second generation didn’t have enough land and soon young men started buying land from the Russian aristocracy and creating new ("daughter") colonies.

Historic German map of Crimea, 1888 November.

Later Mennonites began to move from Ukraine into Crimea.

Details are vague but during the 19th century a “German hospital” and dispensary arose in the Simferopol suburb of Nowyj gorod (called Neustadt or new city - now this is "Киевский район" of Simferopol).1

Soviet Persecution

On 18 October 1921 the so-called Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was created as part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (i.e. part of Russia). In place of today Krasnohvardiiske Raion there were created two national districts for Germans Biyuk-Onlar and Telman. Under the Soviet regime many Volksdeutsche were persecuted by gangs of Russian peasants as landowning Kulaks or class enemy bourgeoisie. In 1939, two years before their deportation to Central Asia, around 60,000 of the 1.1 million inhabitants of Crimea were German and "they had their own administrative raion in the Crimean Republic.".2citation needed

Exiles dispersed all over the world. In Canada, Reynold Rapp, a farmer and Lutheran immigrant from the Crimea, became a Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament. A strong supporter of the British heritage of freedom in his adoptive country, Rapp opposed the replacement of the Canadian Red Ensign with a new Maple leaf flag in 1964. He told reporters: “I may be the only man in this House who has lived under the Hammer & Sickle. A flag is not just a bunting: it represents so much more than that.”3

Nazi Invasion, Deportation and Exile

In late 1941, following the Nazi invasion of the western regions of the USSR, Soviet authorities forcibly removed the native German population of Crimea eastwards to Siberia and central Asia on entirely spurious allegations that they were spies for the Third Reich. Consequently many died in transit, although later they could not be seriously blamed for Nazi crimes in the region.

It is unclear whether any remained at all during the Nazi occupation as German policy was to evacuate all surviving Soviet Volksdeutsche to settlements in Poland.4 The Nazi Generalkommissar Alfred Frauenfeld toyed with the idea of resettling ethnic Germans (Volksdeutsche) here from Italian South Tyrol after the war and several cities were renamed with spurious German ones (Simferopol became Gotenburg and Sevastopol became Theodorichhafen for example).5

Perestroika

Crimean Germans were only allowed to return to the peninsula after Perestroika. Today, Crimea is merely seen as a way to get into Germany for young people of German ancestry. The German reunification brought a rebirth of Crimean-German culture and, since 1994, they have had a small representation in the Crimean Parliament.

Of the 2 million inhabitants of the now Russian Crimea, around 3,000 are of German ancestry.citation needed

References

  1. ^ ”Die deutschen Kolonien in der Krim” in the Heimutbuch der Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland (1960)
  2. ^ Valdis O. Lumans, Himmler's Auxiliaries: the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle and the German minorities of Europe, 1939-1945 (1993), page.128.
  3. ^ Globe and Mail, October 3, 1964
  4. ^ Valdis O. Lumans, Himmler's Auxiliaries: the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle and the German minorities of Europe, 1939-1945 (1993), page. 250.
  5. ^ Arnold Toynbee, Veronica Toynbee, et al., Hitler's Europe, Chapter VI "Ukraine, under German Occupation,1941-44", p. 316-337

Literature

  • Valdis O. Lumans, Himmler's Auxiliaries: the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle and the German minorities of Europe, 1939-1945 (1993)
  • Robert Conquest, The Nation Killers: The Soviet Deportation of Nationalities (1970)
  • ”Die deutschen Kolonien in der Krim” in the Heimutbuch der Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland (1960)
  • Arnold Toynbee, Veronica Toynbee, et al., Hitler's Europe, Chapter VI "Ukraine, under German Occupation,1941-44", p. 316-337.

See also








Creative Commons License