The Full Wiki

Bund der Vertriebenen: Wikis

Advertisements

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

Advertisements
(Redirected to Federation of Expellees article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Federation of Expellees or Bund der Vertriebenen (BdV) is a non-profit organization formed to represent the interests of Germans who either fled their homes in parts of Central and Eastern Europe, or were expelled following World War II.

Contents

Historical background

It is estimated that in the aftermath of World War II between 13 and 16 million ethnic Germans were expelled from the territories of Eastern Germany (present-day part of Poland), the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia (mostly from the Vojvodina region), the Kaliningrad Oblast (formerly northern part of East Prussia) area of Russia, Lithuania, Romania and other East European countries. The first president of the federation was a former Nazi judge and activist Hans Krüger. Today, the position is held by a CDU politician Erika Steinbach. The federation claims to represent the diaspora of ethnic Germans and their families.

German laws concerning the expellees

Between 1953 and 1991 the West German government passed several laws dealing with German expellees. The most notable of these laws is the "Law of Return" which granted West German citizenship to any ethnic German. Several additions were later made to these laws.

A central issue addressed by the Law of Return is the inheritability of refugee status. According to the Federal Expellee Law[2] Par. 7/2, "the spouse and the descendants" of an expellee are to be treated as if they were expellees themselves, regardless whether they have been personally displaced. The Federation of Expellees has steadily lobbied to preserve the inheritability clause, as a change might deeply affect its ability to recruit new members from the post-WWII generations.

Recent developments

Under previous governments, especially those led by the CDU, the West German government had shown more rhetorical support for German refugees and expellees. Although the Social Democrats showed strong support for the expellees especially under Kurt Schumacher and Erich Ollenhauer, social democrats in more recent decades have traditionally been less supportive — and it was under Willy Brandt that West Germany controversially recognized the Oder-Neisse line as factual as part of his Ostpolitik.

In 1989-1990 the German government realized they had an opportunity to remove the division between the Federal Republic of Germany and Soviet created German Democratic Republic. However, it was believed that if this was to be realized it had to be done quickly. One of the potential complications were the claims to historical eastern Germany, since unless these were renounced, some foreign governments might not agree to German reunification. The Federal German government thus agreed to the 1990 Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany (Two Plus Four Agreement), which officially re-established both German states' sovereignty. A condition of this agreement was that Germany accept the post-World War II frontiers created by the victors. Upon reunification in 1990, the constitution was amended to state that Germany's territory had reached its full extent. Article 146 was amended so that Article 23 of the current constitution could be used for reunification. Once the five "reestablished federal states" in the east had been united with the west, the Basic Law was amended again to show that there were no other parts of Germany, which existed outside of the unified territory, that had not acceded.

The federation today

When in charge of government, both CDU and SPD have tended to favor improved relations with Central and Eastern Europe, even when this conflicts with the interests of the displaced people. The issue of the eastern border and the return of the Heimatvertriebene to their ancestral homes are matters which the current German government, German constitutional arrangements and German treaty obligations have virtually closed.

The refugees' claims were unanimously rejected by the affected countries and became a source of mistrust between Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. These governments argue that the expulsion of Germans and related border changes were not enacted by the Polish or Czech governments, but rather were ordered by the Potsdam Conference. Furthermore, the nationalization of private property by Poland's former communist government did not apply only to Germans but was enforced on all people, regardless of ethnic background. The situation is further complicated by the fact that parts of the current Polish population in historical eastern Germany are themselves expellees (or descendants of expellees) who were expelled from Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union and were forced to leave their homes and property behind as well.

The fact that some Germans settled in Poland after 1939 and the treatment under German law of these ex-colonists as expellees are issues which add to the controversy. However, the majority of expelled Germans had lived in Eastern Europe for many centuries, and the majority of German colonists in Nazi-occupied Poland were Baltic and other East European Germans themselves displaced by the Nazi-Soviet population transfers.[citation needed]

In 2000 the Federation of Expellees also initiated the formation of the Center Against Expulsions (German: Zentrum gegen Vertreibungen). Chairwoman of this Center is Erika Steinbach, who headed it together with former SPD politician Prof. Dr. Peter Glotz (†2005).

In February 2009, the Polish paper Polska wrote that over one third of the Federation top officials were former Nazi activists, and based this on an article published by the German magazine Der Spiegel in 2006.[1] The German paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote that Der Spiegel said this not in respect to the Federation of Expellees, but in respect to a predecessor organization that was dissolved in 1957.[1][2]

Recently Erika Steinbach, the chair of the Federation of Expellees has rejected any compensation claims.[citation needed] The vice president of the Federation Rudi Pawelka is however a chairman of the supervisory board of the Prussian Trust.

Organization

The expellees are organized in 21 regional associations (Landsmannschaften) according to the areas of origin of its members, 16 state organizations (Landesverbände) according to their current residence, and 5 associate member organizations. It is the single representative federation for the approximately 15 million Germans who after fleeing, being expelled, evacuated or emigrating, found refuge in the Federal Republic of Germany. The organizations have approximately 2 million members, and are a political force of some influence in Germany.

The current president of the federation is the German politician Erika Steinbach (CDU), who also is a member of the German Parliament.

The federation helps members to integrate into German society. Many of the members assist the societies of their place of birth.

Charter of the German Expellees

The Charter of the German Expellees (German: Charta der deutschen Heimatvertriebenen) of August 5, 1950 announced their belief in requiring that "the right to the homeland is recognized and carried out as one of the fundamental rights of mankind given by God", while renouncing revenge and retaliation in the face of the "unending suffering" (unendliche Leid) of the previous decade, and supporting the unified effort to rebuild Germany and Europe.

Criticism

The large Polish daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita reported that during BdV meetings in 2003, publications using hate-language to describe Poles butchering Germans were available for sale, as were recordings of Waffen SS marches on compact disks, including those glorifying the Invasion of Poland. Also, far right groups openly distributed their materials at BdV meetings. While the BdV officially denied responsibility for this, no steps were taken to address the concerns raised.[3]

Presidents

Member organizations

Regional

State

  • Landesverband Baden-Württemberg
  • Landesverband Bayern
  • Landesverband Berlin
  • Landesverband Brandenburg
  • Landesverband Bremen
  • Landesverband Hamburg
  • Landesverband Hessen
  • Landesverband Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
  • Landesverband Niedersachsen
  • Landesverband Nordrhein-Westfalen
  • Landesverband Rheinland-Pfalz
  • Landesverband Saar
  • Landesverband Sachsen / Schlesische Lausitz
  • Landesverband Sachsen-Anhalt
  • Landesverband Schleswig-Holstein
  • Landesverband Thüringen

See also

Further reading

  • Casualty of War: A Childhood Remembered (Eastern European Studies, 18) Luisa Lang Owen and Charles M. Barber, Texas A&M University Press, January, 2003, hardcover, 288 pages, ISBN 1-58544-212-7

References

  1. ^ a b Stefan Dietrich, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Erika Steinbach, Polnisches Feindbild, 16 March 2009 [1]
  2. ^ "Dafür fehlen uns die Mittel", Spiegel, 14.08.2006
  3. ^ "Odwetowcy czy ofiary historii?". http://rzeczpospolita.pl/dodatki/plus_minus_030920/plus_minus_a_6.html. Retrieved 2007-06-29. 
  4. ^ dw-world.de)

External links


The Federation of Expellees or Bund der Vertriebenen (BdV) is a non-profit organization formed to represent the interests of Germans who either fled their homes in parts of Central and Eastern Europe, or were expelled following World War II.

Contents

Historical background

It is estimated that in the aftermath of World War II between 13 and 16 million ethnic Germans were expelled from the territories of Eastern Germany (present-day part of Poland), the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia (mostly from the Vojvodina region), the Kaliningrad Oblast (formerly northern part of East Prussia) area of Russia, Lithuania, Romania and other East European countries. The first president of the federation was a former Nazi judge and activist Hans Krüger. Today, the position is held by a CDU politician Erika Steinbach. The federation claims to represent the diaspora of ethnic Germans and their families.

German laws concerning the expellees

Between 1953 and 1991 the West German government passed several laws dealing with German expellees. The most notable of these laws is the "Law of Return" which granted West German citizenship to any ethnic German. Several additions were later made to these laws.

A central issue addressed by the Law of Return is the inheritability of refugee status. According to the Federal Expellee Law[3] Par. 7/2, "the spouse and the descendants" of an expellee are to be treated as if they were expellees themselves, regardless whether they have been personally displaced. The Federation of Expellees has steadily lobbied to preserve the inheritability clause, as a change might deeply affect its ability to recruit new members from the post-WWII generations.

Recent developments

Under previous governments, especially those led by the CDU, the West German government had shown more rhetorical support for German refugees and expellees. Although the Social Democrats showed strong support for the expellees especially under Kurt Schumacher and Erich Ollenhauer, social democrats in more recent decades have traditionally been less supportive — and it was under Willy Brandt that West Germany recognized the Oder-Neisse line as factual as part of his Ostpolitik.

In 1989-1990 the German government realized they had an opportunity to remove the division between the Federal Republic of Germany and Soviet created German Democratic Republic. However, it was believed that if this was to be realized it had to be done quickly. One of the potential complications were the claims to historical eastern Germany, since unless these were renounced, some foreign governments might not agree to German reunification. The Federal German government thus agreed to the 1990 Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany (Two Plus Four Agreement), which officially re-established both German states' sovereignty. A condition of this agreement was that Germany accept the post-World War II frontiers created by the victors. Upon reunification in 1990, the constitution was amended to state that Germany's territory had reached its full extent. Article 146 was amended so that Article 23 of the current constitution could be used for reunification. Once the five "reestablished federal states" in the east had been united with the west, the Basic Law was amended again to show that there were no other parts of Germany, which existed outside of the unified territory, that had not acceded.

The federation today

When in charge of government, both CDU and SPD have tended to favor improved relations with Central and Eastern Europe, even when this conflicts with the interests of the displaced people. The issue of the eastern border and the return of the Heimatvertriebene to their ancestral homes are matters which the current German government, German constitutional arrangements and German treaty obligations have virtually closed.

The refugees' claims were unanimously rejected by the affected countries and became a source of mistrust between Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. These governments argue that the expulsion of Germans and related border changes were not enacted by the Polish or Czech governments, but rather were ordered by the Potsdam Conference. Furthermore, the nationalization of private property by Poland's former communist government did not apply only to Germans but was enforced on all people, regardless of ethnic background. The situation is further complicated by the fact that parts of the current Polish population in historical eastern Germany are themselves expellees (or descendants of expellees) who were expelled from Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union and were forced to leave their homes and property behind as well.

The fact that some Germans settled in Poland after 1939 and the treatment under German law of these ex-colonists as expellees are issues which add to the controversy. However, the majority of expelled Germans had lived in Eastern Europe for many centuries, and the majority of German colonists in Nazi-occupied Poland were Baltic and other East European Germans themselves displaced by the Nazi-Soviet population transfers.[citation needed]

In 2000 the Federation of Expellees also initiated the formation of the Center Against Expulsions (German: Zentrum gegen Vertreibungen). Chairwoman of this Center is Erika Steinbach, who headed it together with former SPD politician Prof. Dr. Peter Glotz (†2005).

In February 2009, the Polish paper Polska wrote that over one third of the Federation top officials were former Nazi activists, and based this on an article published by the German magazine Der Spiegel in 2006.[1] The German paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote that Der Spiegel said this not in respect to the Federation of Expellees, but in respect to a predecessor organization that was dissolved in 1957.[1][2]

Recently Erika Steinbach, the chair of the Federation of Expellees has rejected any compensation claims.[citation needed] The vice president of the Federation Rudi Pawelka is however a chairman of the supervisory board of the Prussian Trust.

A European organisation for expellees has been formed - EUFV. Headquarter is Triest, Italy.[citation needed]

Organization

The expellees are organized in 21 regional associations (Landsmannschaften) according to the areas of origin of its members, 16 state organizations (Landesverbände) according to their current residence, and 5 associate member organizations. It is the single representative federation for the approximately 15 million Germans who after fleeing, being expelled, evacuated or emigrating, found refuge in the Federal Republic of Germany. The Federation claims that the organizations have reported approximately 2 million members, and are a political force of some influence in Germany.[3] This figure was disputed in January 2010 by the German news service DDP, which reported an actual membership of 550,000.[4] According to Erika Steinbach only 100,000 of the members contribute financially.[5].

The current president of the federation is the German politician Erika Steinbach (CDU), who also is a member of the German Parliament.

The federation helps members to integrate into German society. Many of the members assist the societies of their place of birth.

Charter of the German Expellees

The Charter of the German Expellees (German: Charta der deutschen Heimatvertriebenen) of August 5, 1950, announced their belief in requiring that "the right to the homeland is recognized and carried out as one of the fundamental rights of mankind given by God", while renouncing revenge and retaliation in the face of the "unending suffering" (unendliche Leid) of the previous decade, and supporting the unified effort to rebuild Germany and Europe. The charter has been criticised for avoiding mentioning Nazi atrocities of Second World War and Germans who were forced to emigrate due to Nazi repressions[6]. Critics argue that the Charter presents the history of German people as starting from the expulsions, while ignoring events like Holocaust:professor Micha Brumlik pointed out that one third of signatories were former devoted Nazis and many actively helped in realisation of Hitler's goals;Ralph Giordano wrote in "Hamburger Abendblatt"the Charter doesn't contain a word about Hitler, Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Not to mention any sign of apologies for the suffering of the murdered people" "avoids mentioning the reasons for expulsions" and called the document "example of German art of crowding out the truth(..)The fact that the charter completely ignores the reasons for the expulsions deprives it of any value" [7]

Criticism

The large Polish daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita reported that during BdV meetings in 2003, publications using hate-language to describe Poles butchering Germans were available for sale, as were recordings of Waffen SS marches on compact disks, including those glorifying the Invasion of Poland. Also, far right groups openly distributed their materials at BdV meetings. While the BdV officially denied responsibility for this, no steps were taken to address the concerns raised.[8]

Presidents

Member organizations

Regional

  • Landsmannschaft Ostpreußen
  • Landsmannschaft Schlesien
  • Deutsch-Baltische Gesellschaft
  • Landsmannschaft der Banater Schwaben e.V.
  • Landsmannschaft Berlin-Mark Brandenburg
  • Landsmannschaft der Bessarabiendeutschen e.V.
  • Landsmannschaft der Buchenlanddeutschen (Bukowina) e.V.
  • Bund der Danziger e.V.
  • Landsmannschaft der Dobrudscha- und Bulgariendeutschen
  • Landsmannschaft der Donauschwaben, Bundesverband e.V.
  • Karpatendeutsche Landsmannschaft Slowakei e.V.
  • Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Litauen e.V.
  • Landsmannschaft der Oberschlesier e.V. - Bundesverband -
  • Pommersche Landsmannschaft - Zentralverband - e.V.
  • Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland e.V.
  • Landsmannschaft der Sathmarer Schwaben in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland e.V.
  • Landsmannschaft der Siebenbürger Sachsen in Deutschland e.V.
  • Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft Bundesverband e.V.
  • Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Ungarn
  • Landsmannschaft Weichsel-Warthe Bundesverband e.V.
  • Landsmannschaft Westpreußen e.V.

State

  • Landesverband Baden-Württemberg
  • Landesverband Bayern
  • Landesverband Berlin
  • Landesverband Brandenburg
  • Landesverband Bremen
  • Landesverband Hamburg
  • Landesverband Hessen
  • Landesverband Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
  • Landesverband Niedersachsen
  • Landesverband Nordrhein-Westfalen
  • Landesverband Rheinland-Pfalz
  • Landesverband Saar
  • Landesverband Sachsen / Schlesische Lausitz
  • Landesverband Sachsen-Anhalt
  • Landesverband Schleswig-Holstein
  • Landesverband Thüringen

See also

Further reading

  • Brumlik, Micha Wer Sturm sät. Die Vertreibung der Deutschen, 2005
  • Casualty of War: A Childhood Remembered (Eastern European Studies, 18) Luisa Lang Owen and Charles M. Barber, Texas A&M University Press, January, 2003, hardcover, 288 pages, ISBN 1-58544-212-7
  • Alfred M. de Zayas: A terrible Revenge. Palgrave/Macmillan, New York, 1994. ISBN 1-4039-7308-3.
  • Alfred M. de Zayas: Die deutschen Vertriebenen. Ares, Graz, 2006. ISBN 3-902475-15-3.
  • Alfred M. de Zayas: Heimatrecht ist Menschenrecht. Universitas, München, 20001. ISBN 3-8004-1416-3.
  • Norman Naimark: Fires of Hatred. Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth Century Europe. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2001.
  • Steffen Prauser and Arfon Rees: The Expulsion of the "German" Communities from Eastern Europe at the End of the Second World War. Florence, Italy, University Institute, 2004.

References

  1. ^ a b Stefan Dietrich, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Erika Steinbach, Polnisches Feindbild, 16 March 2009 [1]
  2. ^ "Dafür fehlen uns die Mittel", Spiegel, 14.08.2006
  3. ^ http://www.bund-der-vertriebenen.de/derbdv/struktur-1.php3
  4. ^ Reported by ARD News service in January 2010.(The figure of 550,000 does not include the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) The news report mentioned that an expert in the area of Expellees Prof. Matthias Stickler of the University Würzburg as saying that a decline in BdV membership is understandable because it “mirrors the death of the generation of that era"[2]
  5. ^ http://www.dradio.de/dlf/sendungen/hintergrundpolitik/1099348/
  6. ^ Związek Wypędzonych w systemie politycznym RFN i jego wpływ na stosunki polsko-niemieckie 1982-1992 Beata Ociepka page 235 Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, 1997
  7. ^ Karta Wypędzonych: pojednanie czy relatywizacja? Deutsche Welle
  8. ^ "Odwetowcy czy ofiary historii?". http://rzeczpospolita.pl/dodatki/plus_minus_030920/plus_minus_a_6.html. Retrieved 2007-06-29. 
  9. ^ dw-world.de)

External links


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message