[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] English translation of Neutatz

Richard Benert benovich at live.com
Sat Aug 24 15:12:12 PDT 2013

For some time now I've been spreading the word that Dietmar Neutatz's "Die 'deutsche Frage' im Schwarzmeergebiet und in Wolhynien" would soon be translated into English.  Well, it is now an accomplished fact.  It was unveiled to the public at the AHSGR Convention in Fort Collins in July, with Mr. Neutatz himself in attendance.  I am told that 300 copies were quickly bought up.  I had hoped to induce Mr. Neutatz to attend our convention in Seattle, but he was unable to spend so much time away from his home near Freiburg.  

Copies of the book are available only from AHSGR Headquarters in Lincoln, NE, at $30 for AHSGR members and $40 for non-members.  It can be purchased on the AHSGR website, www.ahsgr.org. 

The book deals with important elements of the "German Question," with charges that were brought against the German colonists.  These included their insularity, their "land hunger" which caused them to buy up large amounts of land (allegedly to the detriment of Russian peasants), their alleged mistreatment of workers and servants, their alleged attachment to "Germanness" and loyalty to Germany, their failure to have the expected influence on the Russian peasantry.  For the Black Sea area, Neutatz looks into each of these (and other) areas at some length in order to assess the validity of the charges.  Volhynian colonists are not studied in such detail, but rather Neutatz shows how this influx of German settlers became perceived as a threat to Russian security along the western border, causing the government to pass laws restricting the purchase and rental of land by Germans.  He shows how what were essentially two separate "German questions" (Black Sea and Volhynian) became one, as both the government and the colonists began to see that the issues in each of the two areas, although not identical, became part of a larger whole.  In other words, what happened to the German colonists in the Southwest Provinces and in Poland can be understood more fully in the context of the "question" of the Black Sea colonists.

Needless to say, I think this book is a boon to our understanding of our history.  Buy it now and have it ready for wintertime reading!

Dick Benert

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