A long time ago in May...

RACIBORZ/OPOLE (Own Report) |

RACIBORZ/OPOLE (Own Report) German fraternities are expanding into Eastern Europe to organize the German-speaking minorities. The ,,Verein Deutscher Hochschüler in Polen"(VDH - association of German students in Poland), which had been re-established in 1999 with the energetic participation of German citizens in Raciborz, opened a second local branch in Opole at the end of May. The organization specifically subscribes to the tradition of the VDH established in 1922 in the former Lwow. Polish authorities had prohibited the VDH in June of 1939 because of its nationalist-ethnic subversion.

German fraternities are life-time corporate associations, which received their definitive social character during the empire. Many of them still have solid roots in the traditions of the ,,Deutschtum"(Germanism) and its national-ethnic ideology. Even today they form influential bonds within the German elite. With the creation of branches outside of Germany these fraternities seek to establish bonds with the new generation of college students from the German-speaking minorities in order to strengthen their identity with the German ,,Vaterland"(fatherland) and lessen the influence of the Eastern European states on segments of their population.

Professing to be members of the German national-ethnic collectivity...

The ,,VDH Oppeln"(Opole) is the third student association founded in Poland along with the ,,VDH Ratibor"(Raciborz) and the ,,Akademische Verbindung Salia-Silesia zu Gleiwitz"(academic association Salia-Silesia in Gliwice) which is part of an umbrella organization of Catholic German student associations. All members must profess to be adherents of the ,,Deutschtum."Only an individual of German descent or one who professes to be part of the German language and cultural community can be admitted. An agreement of cooperation binds the VDH to the ,,Verband der Vereine Deutscher Studenten"(VVDSt - federation of associations of German students), which is an umbrella organization of student associations, which was established in 1881 as a collective organization of anti-Semitic activists and presently includes member organizations in Germany, Austria and Hungary,

... and specialists for ,,cleansing"

The current VDH refers expressively to the traditions of its precursor by the same name which, founded in Lwow in 1922, had opened local branches in several Polish university towns and had struggled for the ,,Deutschtum"on Polish territory. Polish authorities prohibited the VDH because of its nationalist-ethnic subversion in June of 1939. The new founding fathers intend to continue exactly where it left off: ,,Why should an association of German students, which has not existed in Poland since 1939, be re-established? The answer is very simple: with the establishment (...) the tradition (...) shall be resumed and continued."

National-ethnic subversion became unnecessary with the German occupation of Poland in WW II: ,,After the Polish campaign the VDH did not have to be resurrected", states the web site of the ,,VDH Ratibor". The activists of the organization found another purpose. For example, Kurt Lück, ,,researcher of nationalist-ethnic-racial traditions"who participated substantially in the organization of the former VDH, had been an activist in the VVDSt, was considered a specialist for the ,,cleansing"of ethnically mixed regions, functioned during the Nazi era as head of the ,,Office for Ethnic Germans"in occupied Poznan and was responsible for the issue of ,,certificates of national-ethnic identity."

The VDH was re-established in 1999. During previous years, the necessary contacts had been established by the former chairman of the VVDSt and specialist on Poland, Diethelm Keil, who earlier had worked as a member of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) for the ,,Association for Germanism (Deutschtum) Abroad."Among the activists of the VDH are members of the editorial staffs of German ,,expellee"publications and an assistant of the German ,,Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen"(Institute for Cultural Diplomacy) which functions as the liaison for German foreign cultural policies.