Germans from Russia Far Outliers

by Nathan Hamm on 12/24/2003

Germans from Russia

Far Outliers has an interesting little post on Germans from Russia,
a group of people that have always fascinated me and illustrated how
weak my connection to Germany is despite my “blood ties” (they must be
strong, we’ve got a whole damned city that bears our name). Anyway, here’s a collection of stories
on Germans in Russia.
I met a couple of these “Germans” in Uzbekistan (most were deported to
Central Asia during WWII and many still live in Kyrgyzstan) and
realized that for some reason, Germans in Germany feel this strong need
to “call home” the Germans who have had little contact with the country
for hundreds of years. Central Asian Germans just looked at Germany as
a place to make money and have a better life, no misty-eyed dreams of
the Fatherland.
Another German story relating to Central Asia is when I was in
Kyrgyzstan at a village near the confluence of the branches of the
Naryn River (you’d never have any real reason to go there, and I took
the hard way, over the Tien Shan mountains from Issyk-Kul) and saw the
swastika of pine trees planted above the towns. POWs built a lot of
things in Central Asia as “reparations” to the Soviet Union, and this
enormous swastika made of trees was one of the things they left that no
one’s seen fit to cut down. Weird, but Central Asians don’t really get
WWII, Nazis, and whatnot (my students knew nothing of the Holocaust,
they’d heard that Jews got “a little rough treatment,” but nothing

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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