The Impact of Germans in the East

SIBIU/BUKAREST (Own report) - The chairman of one of the "Germandom" organizations in the German foreign policy network is the focus of a Rumanian government crisis. The Rumanian opposition wants to name the mayor of Sibiu, Klaus Johannis, to fill the vacancy left by the prime minister, who was toppled by the opposition at the beginning of the week. Rumanian President, Traian Băsescu has rejected this plan and nominated a financial expert for prime minister. Johannis heads the "Democratic Forum of Germans in Rumania" (DFDR), an associated member of the "Federal Union of European Nationalities" (FUEN), which from its headquarters in Northern Germany also coordinates Europe's German language minorities - with government support. The FUEN, founded by former Nazi racists, is working with Johannis as well as with Germany's Hermann Niermann Foundation, which was the target of large protests in Eastern Belgium, because of its covert lobbying efforts for "Germandom" organizations. Johannis' nomination is the second exceptional step taken in behalf of Rumanian "Germandom" within a week. The first was the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to a "Rumanian German" author.

The Rumanian opposition parties, which toppled the Prime Minister with a no-confidence vote at the beginning of the week, have nominated the current mayor of Sibiu ("Hermannstadt"), Klaus Johannis, to fill the post of transitional prime minister. Rumanian President, Traian Băsescu has rejected this intention and named the financial expert, Lucian Croitoru, to be the new prime minister. Croitoru would have to be confirmed by parliament, which seems very unlikely, because the opposition has a majority and insists on its candidate, Johannis. The outcome is open.

Ethnic Policy

Klaus Johannis comes from the Rumanian "Germandom" milieu, to which he attests such secondary virtues "as correctness, reliability, pragmatism and efficiency."[1] He is the chairman of the local "Germandom" organization, the "Democratic Forum of Germans in Rumania" (DFDR), which, like many other associations of German language minorities in Eastern and Southeastern Europe, was founded in the immediate aftermath of the upheavals in 1989. The DFDR, like its chairman, Johannis, is closely associated with the networks of "Germandom" spread all over Europe. The DFDR is an associated member of the "Federal Union of European Nationalities" (FUEN), an organization, bringing together numerous European and Central Asian minorities, founded along the lines of the traditional German ethnic policy in the aftermath of World War II by ex-Nazi racists.[2] Within the FUEN, the DFDR, is also a member organization of the "Working Group of German Minorities" (AGDM), that stands in constant contact with the German Interior Ministry.[3] The party of Rumania's Hungarian speaking minority, the Uniunea Democrată Maghiară din România (UDMR) is also a FUEN member. It is one of the parliamentary parties proposing Johannis for the post of prime minister.


Currently Johannis has been known as the mayor of Sibiu ("Hermannstadt"). Since he took office in 2000, Sibiu, in fact, has made a name with one economic success story after the other. "The Old City is a jewel, the water supply functions and above all, there are only a few unemployed" according to a recent press report. Under the "German" Johannis, the town has become a "model of success."[4] In fact, Johannis cleverly administers the support his community receives from Germany; to create a model of an island of "Germandom" is Southeast Europe. Under contract of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development in Bonn, the German Association for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) had already begun the renovation of the Old City - which is commonly attributed to Johannis - before Johannis took office.[5] The German Agency for Technical Relief (THW) came to Johannis' aid to solve the water problem.[6] Other help is coming from "Germandom" organizations in Germany, for example, the DFDR and Johannis personally advised the Hermann Niermann Foundation in Dusseldorf on "questions of promoting cultural, academic and social projects" - also to the advantage of the German language minority of Rumania.[7] The Niermann Foundation became notorious years ago, through its exercising covert influence on the German language minority in Eastern Belgium - in cooperation with extreme rightwing ethnocentric forces. One can safely say that the chairman of the foundation had been "aware of a conspiracy" that was directed "against Belgium."[8]

Special Sponsorship

Johannis disposes also of the best contacts to government offices in Berlin and to leading German politicians. His "Germandom" organization, the DFDR, receives preferential promotion from the German Ministry of the Interior. From 1990 - 2004 88.33 million Euros were allocated for the "stabilization of the German minority in Rumania." When Berlin had to scale back budgetary allocations also for "Germans Abroad" due to economic difficulties, the Interior Minister at the time, Otto Schily, promised Klaus Johannis in November 2004, "preferential treatment" for the German language minority in Rumania. As a matter of fact, the allocations for the Rumanian "Germandom" were reduced only nine percent, while 23 percent was the average reduction. In this year alone, the German government has earmarked a sum of 1.6 million Euros for the promotion of the German language minority in Rumania.[9]

Impressive Balance Sheet

Klaus Johannis has personally welcomed a whole series of high-ranking German government representatives both from federal and regional state levels. The visitors to Johannis' hometown included the German government's Commissioner for Questions of Ethnic German Emigrants and National Minorities, Hans-Peter Kemper, the German Commissioner for Cultural Questions, Bernd Neumann and the Prime Ministers of Germany's regional states Thuringia (Dieter Althaus) and Saarland (Peter Mueller). President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering and the Parliamentary working group, "Expellees and Refugees" of the conservative CDU/CSU Caucus in the German Bundestag visited "Hermannstadt" as well. Erwin Marschewski, head of the working group's delegation, congratulated Johannis on his "impressive achievements."[10] German President, Horst Koehler allowed himself to be given a guided tour of the city by Mayor Johannis, personally and paid tribute to the "positive impact Germans are having in Eastern Europe, as exemplified by Hermannstadt."[11]

Merit Award

At the end of last year, alongside the German Minister of the Interior, Wolfgang Schaeuble, Johannis was given the Deutsche Gesellschaft's "Award of Merit for German-European Understanding." The laudation was held by ex-Interior Minister and Sibiu's citizen of honor, Otto Schily. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel is on the advisory board of this very influential association. Merkel, herself, had received the same award in 2005.

No Longer Sovereign

Klaus Johannis' nomination by Bucharest's parliamentary majority is the second exceptional step on behalf of Rumanian "Germandom" - following the award of the Nobel Prize in Literature to the "Rumanian-German" author, Herta Mueller - within one week.[12] Johannis' exceptionally close ties to Berlin could jeopardize Rumania's sovereignty, if he becomes Rumania's prime minister. Apparently the majority in Bucharest's parliament are prepared to take that step.

[1] Klaus Johannis; 01.11.2003
[2] see also Freund und Kollege, Schwelende Konflikte and Hintergrundbericht: Die Föderalistische Union Europäischer Volksgruppen
[3] see also Berlin organisiert seine "Volksgruppen", Aktionseinheiten and Cultivating Relationships
[4] Johannis, ein Deutscher für Bukarest; Financial Times Deutschland 14.10.2009
[5] see also The Germandom Prize
[6] Erfolgreiches Ende für Twinning-Projekt in Rumänien; 20.11.2008
[7] Partner;
[8] see also Fliehkräfte, Baldiger Anschluss and Ethno-Netzwerk
[9] Bundesregierung fördert deutsche Minderheit in Rumänien; 17.02.2009
[10] Aufbauleistung der deutschen Minderheit in Rumänien gewürdigt; 01.09.2005
[11] Horst Köhler würdigt Aussiedler als europäische Brückenbauer; 04.03.2009
[12] see also The Germandom Prize