More than 300 Soviet citizens of German origin received permission to return to their homeland earlier this month.
More than 300 Soviet citizens of German origin received permission to return to their homeland earlier this month. So far this year, the weekly average of those allowed to rejoin their relatives in West Germany has been only 50 to 70, according to the Red Cross in Bonn.
Since World War II, about 26,000 Soviets of German origin have been repatriated. Between 1967 and 1970, only about 30 a month were allowed out. But the rate rose to about 100 a month last year. The subject of repatriation for those among the estimated 1.8 million Germans in the Soviet Union, who wish to rejoin their relatives, has repeatedly been raised by West German politicians in talks with the Kremlin.
For many of the 300 Germans granted permission to leave the Soviet Union this month, the news came as a surprise, but one for which they have waited many years. After they received their exit visas, the families went to Moscow to await transportation to Germany.
Many stayed at the West German embassy in Moscow before getting plane or train tickets. In Frankfurt on Tuesday (21 November), the latest group of repatriated Germans were greeted by the Red Cross. The families said they were allowed to bring very little in the way of belongings, and they were not allowed to cable families in Germany to inform them of their arrival.
The Red Cross assisted them in Frankfurt and arranged transport to an immigration camp at Friedland. It is there that relatives will be reunited, having lived apart for over twenty-five years.
SYNOPSIS: More Soviet citizens of German origin arrived in Frankfurt on Tuesday. Earlier this month, more than three-hundred had been granted permission to return to their homeland.
The subject of repatriation for those among the nearly two-million Germans in the Soviet Union, who wish to rejoin their relatives, has repeatedly been raised by West German officials in talks with the Kremlin.
The Germans Red Cross arranged to meet those arriving from Moscow, as many of the immigrants did not have time to cable relatives to inform them of their arrival. The immigrants said they were allowed to bring out virtually nothing of value, including watches and jewelry. They had spent their last few days in the Soviet Union at the West German embassy in Moscow.
From Frankfurt, the Red Cross has arranged transportation to an immigration camp at Friedland, where they will stay until they can be resettled. Most of these repatriated Germans are farmers and factory workers, and it is hoped that their relatives in Germany can help them find a new life.
Since World War Two, about twenty-six thousand Soviet citizens of German origin have been repatriated. The question of increasing the ???er of exist visas granted to those still in the Soviet Union was understood to have been broached by Bonn's special envoy, Dr. Egon Bahr, in his meeting with Soviet Communist Party Chief Leonid Brezhnev last month.