The Germandom Prize

BERLIN/STOCKHOLM | | rumaenien

BERLIN/STOCKHOLM (Own report) - Berlin's "Germandom" organizations are cheering the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to the "Romanian-German" author Herta Mueller. As the President of the League of Expellees (BdV), Erika Steinbach, CDU declared this award is an indication of "how precious the Germans' cultural heritage is in the East". "It means this heritage must be maintained and promoted." The BdV has recently launched an exhibit of the "German Eastern Settlements" throughout the centuries, with the intention of drawing new public attention. This project is patterned after the "Center against Expulsions" and is centered on the German speaking minorities of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, exploited by Germany's politicians and businessmen as bridgeheads for Berlin's expansionism. The Nobel Prize Committee has bestowed an exemplary popularity upon one of these minorities, the "Banat Swabians," of which Herta Mueller is a member. The political intentions of the committee in Stockholm, whose decisions are supported by foreign interests, are helping the BdV and giving a boost to the "Germandom" policy. Criticism of the Nobel Prize choice is being heard in countries, for example in Poland, affected by "Germandom's" interference.

German Heritage

Organizations of Berlin's "Germandom" policy received the news of Herta Mueller being granted the Nobel Prize in Literature with great satisfaction. Mueller comes from Banat, a region of western Romania around Timişoara, where numerous German speaking migrants had settled since the 18th century. Today they are known as the Banat Swabians. This minority, of which Mueller is a member, lives, still today, in Romania. The author has "given the small Banat, its people and their history a great name" summarized the "Banat Swabian Homeland Association".[1] Her work is a "contribution to a better understanding of the fate and existence of our community," writes the German-Romanian journal, the "Siebenbürgische Zeitung".[2] Granting the Nobel Prize makes it "clear, how precious the Germans' cultural heritage is in the East," declared Erika Steinbach, President of The League of Expellees (BdV). "It means this heritage must be maintained and promoted."[3]

"Expellees" Project

As a matter of fact, by granting this Prize to Herta Mueller, the Nobel Prize Committee has promoted the political cause of Berlin's "Germandom's" organizations. The BdV, which is accomplishing its last major project, the "Center Against Expulsions" in Berlin, with government assistance,[4] has recently launched a new project: "The Called,"[5] is an exhibit on the history of Eastern and Southeastern European "Germandom", dealing with all European regions, in which German speaking migrants had settled in significant numbers, outside the borders of the former German Empire. This includes, for example, areas of Romania, also the region where Herta Mueller lived her first 34 years, and an area to which she has dedicated the most important segment of her literary work. With the new exhibit project, the BdV is seeking to draw more public attention to the Eastern and Southeastern European German speaking minorities.

Apparent

The Nobel Prize Committee has provided an apparently unexpected publicity to the cause of the German minority policy to an extent that the BdV could hardly have accomplished for eastern "Germandom". But there are doubts as to whether the Nobel Prize decision was spontaneous. At least in the past, the Committee has had ties to foreign interests, who had sought to promote particular candidates and block others because of political consequences. A cultural section of the CIA boasts of having the secretary of the Nobel Prize Committee thwart the awarding of the prize to the Chilean Poet, Pablo Neruda. Money was used to lubricate the works of this lobbying, according to CIA documents brought to light in 1999 by the British author, Frances Stonor Saunders.[6]

German or Romanian?

Since the announcement of the literature prize in Stockholm, the mass media inside Germany and abroad has been discovering western Romania's Banat region and its ethnic German minority. Reports focus on the German language Nikolaus Lenau School in Timişoara ("Temeschburg"), that Herta Mueller had attended, as well as on the German minority and its social particularity in Banat. Speculations, as to whether Herta Mueller is a "German" or a "Romanian author," are beginning to be heard as well as the question whether "the discussion should be revived on the status of Transylvanian Saxons or Banat Swabians."[7] The German speaking minority of Romania has already been recognized as a national minority, but ethnic oriented "Germandom" organizations occasionally raise more far-reaching demands.[8]

"Germandom's" Islands

"Germandom's" islands in Eastern and Southeastern Europe have always enjoyed particular attention in German foreign policy. The minority's knowledge of the German language and the wide spread "Germandom" loyalty are instrumental to German politicians and entrepreneurs, who use members of this minority as influence agents. The Romanian town Sibiu ("Hermannstadt") has become a prominent contact point for German interests. The city's mayor is a member of the minority organization "Demokratisches Forum der Deutschen in Rumänien", DFDR (Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania). The city not only benefits from subventions for the German speaking minority in Romania, but also from "development aid". In the late 90s, the German Association for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) was commissioned by the German Ministry for Development to renovate the historic district of Sibiu. . Hinting at the fact that German settlers founded the city 800 years ago, the media describes the "medieval architecture as appearing quite German".[9] GTZ investments, but particularly investments by German enterprises over the past decade, facilitated the city's considerable boom. "There is definitely a difference, if you need a translator in the discussion with a foreman or if you can discuss with him directly," declares the German speaking mayor as he describes the advantages presented by the German speaking minorities for the German industry (Siemens, ThyssenKrupp, Continental and others who produce in Sibiu's vicinity) in their expansion into cheap labor countries in Southeast Europe.[10]

National Pride

The political consequences of this literature award are hardly being criticized in Germany. Whereas US media - even those sympathetic to the current US administration - are criticizing the Nobel Peace Prize award to US President Barack Obama as cheap flattery, the German public is proud of the literature award and is applauding the Nobel Committee's gratuitous "Germandom" PR for Berlin. But criticism can be heard in East European countries that are particularly affected by "Germandom" interventions, such as Poland. According to the prestigious Polish daily Rzeczpospolita, "not only anti-communists and victims of communist persecution" will be delighted about this literature prize, "but also functionaries of the German League of Expellees".[11]

[1] Nobelpreis für Literatur an Herta Müller; www.banater-schwaben.de
[2] Literaturnobelpreis für Herta Müller; www.siebenbuerger.de 08.10.2009
[3] Gratulation zum Nobelpreis für Literatur; Pressemitteilung des Bundes der Vertriebenen 09.10.2009
[4] see also Bundestag: Mehrheit für "Zentrum gegen Vertreibung", The Culprits' Perspective, Revisionsoffensive and 60 Jahre Aggressionen
[5] see also German Settlements in the East
[6] Frances Stonor Saunders: Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War, London 1999
[7] Herta Müller ist eine deutsche Schriftstellerin; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 10.10.2009
[8] see also Cultivating Relationships, Schwelende Konflikte and Hintergrundbericht: Die Föderalistische Union Europäischer Volksgruppen
[9] Tritt auf die Verkehrsbremse; Akzente 01/2005
[10] see also Übernahme and German Settlements in the East
[11] "Die Feministinnen freuen sich"; Spiegel Online 09.10.2009