Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Email correspondence with Erdmann Tuemp

Hello there Erdmann

There is a good site that does research into this


The Baltic Germans - those from Latvia and Estonia - are a rather different group than the Germans elsewhere in the old Russian Empire. The Volga Germans (and other similar groups) were primarily peasant types that were encouraged to emigrate to Russia during the time of Catherine the Great (a German herself)

The Baltic Germans predate the entry of Estonia and Latvia into the Russian Empire and were the upper classes in those areas.

The Baltic Germans compiled a book of all the ethnic group that died between 1939 and 1947 - I have a copy in my home. The loss was roughly 1/10 of the total population. The Baltic Germans were expelled in 1939, though many had moved to Germany between 1919 and 1939 already. They were expelled to Germany as part of the Ribbentrop - Molotov Pact.

When the way ended in 1945, my father was his families only known survivor. He immediate family was all missing, his cousins were all dead as were his aunts and uncles. It is only 1956 that he found out his sister was still alive in a Soviet camp.

On my mother's side, the losses were quite small - though they lost everything they owned.

I am getting my mother to dictate her life to me and I am writing it down. I had meant to do this with my father, but he died before I started. Luckily I have about 2 hours of my grandmother on tape about her life - this comes from a an interview she gave as part of the Vancouver project in about 1973.

I would like to also get my aunt Sabine on tape sometime soon - she is the one that was in a Soviet camp for 12 years. She also has a some of the letters her mother wrote during the war - they are quite fascinating.

An interesting book to read on the Baltic Germans is A Baltic Odyssey. Though my mother's attitude about the book at the time was "Why did she write that? Her life was just like everyone else's?"

ciao for now


jade valley wrote:

I was looking for info about the fates of the Volga and Latvian, Estonian, and Lithuanian Germans during this dark period, and unfortunately this was the only site that offered some information, which is, I suspect, suspect because of the ideological motive of this extensive Australian site, perhaps supported by Mel's father-types down under, with a pro-Christian bent.

Nevertheless, given all the references found here, one must expect a small part of what this site says has some truth to it, although of course, only family history remembrances would be able to provide a proper testament of that 60 million mid-century pan-European tragic holocaust affecting so many millions of ordinary European lives of all affiliations.

I looked up Ilya Ehrenbug, Stalin's propagandist, and must say I was truly shocked at the virulent anti-German hate language that the Germans at the time must have also been reading, shaping their view that war was inevitable after the stories of what happened to the 3 million Volga Germans. The only other propaganda so virulent was British anti-'Hun' propaganda at the time leading up to the First WW, which I also looked up for comparative historiography. I looked for comparative Wilhelmian propaganda against the British, and could find no equivalent german animalization of British people comparative of the British images of Germans as beasts and 'Huns'. From the war preparation propaganda record extant, it seems that British anti-German hate propaganda and demonization was not responded to in kind by German ruling class propaganda during either the first or second world wars.

Re the seemingly idiotic invasion of Russia by the Germans, given that 3 million Volga Germans were killed under cover of the war against the Kulaks, and given similar stories coming back to Germany from refugeess fleeing the Baltic enclaves of Germans, lets transpose such events to the US under a leader like George Bush- let's say 'Brazil' had killed and expropriated millions of Americans owning land down there, would Bush be inclined to declare war on 'Brazil'?

My Father was the only one in his family to survive those times of great evil on all sides, and your family must have gone thru a lot on the other side. Much history has yet to be written, and this should happen before the passing of the survivers on all sides of this pan-European 60 million holocaust (80 million if you include the war communism period and the mass killings of the 'kulaks', including the Volga Germans).

It's a disturbing site because of its non-universalist ideology, but may yet contain some leads towards a more balanced universalist historiography.


Best regards, ET-M

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