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 Estonia: 1,945 Historically Terra Mariana, Governorate of Courland, Governorate of Estonia, Governorate of Livonia Since 1945 virtually assimilated into post-war Germany, Canada, small numbers in Latvia
Latvia
and Estonia.

Languages

High German, Low German

Religion

Lutheran
Lutheran
majority Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
minority[1][2]

Related ethnic groups

Germans, Germans
Germans
in Russia, Estonians, Latvians, Lietuvininks, Estonian Swedes

Part of a series on the

History of Latvia

Ancient Latvia

Kunda culture Narva
Narva
culture Corded Ware culture Amber Road
Amber Road
/ Aesti Baltic Finns
Baltic Finns
(Livonians, Vends) Balts Latgalians Curonians Selonians Semigallians

Middle Ages

Principality of Jersika Principality of Koknese Tālava Livonian Crusade Livonian Brothers of the Sword Livonian Order Archbishopric of Riga Bishopric of Courland Terra Mariana Baltic Germans

Early modern period

Livonian War Kingdom of Livonia Duchy of Livonia Inflanty Voivodeship Swedish Livonia Polish–Swedish Wars (1600–1629) Second Northern War Great Northern War Duchy of Courland
Courland
and Semigallia Couronian colonization

National Awakening

Governorate of Livonia Courland
Courland
Governorate Vitebsk Governorate The First Latvian National Awakening New Current

Modern Latvia

Latvian Riflemen German occupation United Baltic Duchy Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic War of Independence 1934 Latvian coup d'état 1940 Soviet occupation Nazi occupation The Holocaust in Latvia 1944 Soviet re-occupation Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic Popular Front of Latvia Singing Revolution Restoration of Independence 2008 Latvian financial crisis

Chronology

Latvia
Latvia
portal

v t e

Part of a series on the

History of Estonia

Ancient Estonia

Kunda culture Narva
Narva
culture Aesti Chudes Baltic Finns

Viking and Middle ages

Oeselians Livonian Crusade Danish Estonia Old Livonia Baltic Germans

Swedish Estonia

Livonian War Duchy of Estonia
Estonia
(1561–1721) Polish Estonia Swedish Livonia Great Northern War

Modern Estonia

National awakening German occupation Declaration of Independence War of Independence Interwar period World War II Soviet occupation Contemporary Estonia

Chronology

Estonia
Estonia
portal

v t e

Baltic German stained glass

The Baltic Germans
Germans
(German: Deutsch-Balten or Deutschbalten, later Baltendeutsche) are ethnic German inhabitants of the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, in what today are Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia. Since their expulsion from Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia
Latvia
and resettlement during the upheavals and aftermath of the Second World War, Baltic Germans
Germans
have markedly declined as a geographically determined ethnic group.[3] The largest groups of present-day descendants of the Baltic Germans
Germans
are found in Germany and Canada.[citation needed] It is estimated that several thousand still reside in Latvia
Latvia
and Estonia. For centuries Baltic Germans
Germans
and the Baltic nobility
Baltic nobility
constituted a ruling class over native non-German serfs. The emerging Baltic-German middle class was mostly urban and professional. In the 12th and 13th centuries Catholic Germans, both traders and crusaders (see Ostsiedlung), began settling in the eastern Baltic territories.[4] After the Livonian Crusade, they assumed control of government, politics, economics, education and culture of these lands, ruling for more than 700 years until 1918 - usually in alliance with Polish, Swedish or Russian overlords[citation needed]. With the decline of Latin, German became the language of all official documents, commerce, education and government. At first the majority of German settlers lived in small cities and military castles. Their elite formed the Baltic nobility, acquiring large rural estates and comprising the social, commercial, political and cultural elite of Latvia
Latvia
and Estonia
Estonia
for several centuries. After 1710 many of these men increasingly took high positions in the military, political and civilian life of the Russian Empire, particularly in Saint Petersburg. Baltic Germans
Germans
held citizenship in the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
until the Revolution of 1918. They then held Estonian or Latvian citizenship until the invasion of these areas by Nazi German forces in 1939–1940. The Baltic German population never surpassed more than 10% of the total population.[5] In 1881 there were 180,000 Baltic Germans
Germans
in Russia's Baltic provinces, but by 1914 this number had declined to 162,000.[6] In 1881 there were approximately 46,700 Germans
Germans
in Estonia (5.3% of the population).[7] According to the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
Census of 1897, there were 120,191 Germans
Germans
in Latvia, or 6.2% of the population.[8] Baltic German history and presence in the Baltics came to an end in late 1939, following the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
and the subsequent Nazi-Soviet population transfers. Almost all the Baltic Germans
Germans
were resettled by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
under the Heim ins Reich program into the newly formed Reichsgaue Wartheland
Wartheland
and Danzig-West Prussia (on the territory of the occupied Second Polish Republic). In 1945, most ethnic Germans
Germans
were expelled from these lands by the Soviet army. Resettlement was planned for the territory remaining to Germany under terms of the border changes promulgated at the Potsdam Conference, i.e. west of the Oder–Neisse line, or elsewhere in the world. Ethnic Germans
Germans
from East Prussia
East Prussia
and Lithuania
Lithuania
are sometimes incorrectly considered Baltic Germans
Germans
for reasons of cultural, linguistic, and historical affinities. But the Germans
Germans
of East Prussia held Prussian, and after 1871, German citizenship, because the territory they lived in was part of Kingdom of Prussia.

Contents

1 Ethnic composition 2 Territories 3 Conquering the Baltics 4 Polish-Lithuanian and Swedish rule 5 Russia's Baltic governorates
Baltic governorates
(1710–1917)

5.1 Autonomy 5.2 Rise of native peoples

6 World War I

6.1 United Baltic Duchy

7 Independent Baltic states

7.1 Agrarian reforms 7.2 Estonia 7.3 Latvia

8 Resettlement of all Baltic Germans
Germans
(1939–1944)

8.1 1939–1940 8.2 Spring 1941 resettlement 8.3 1941–1944 8.4 "Second resettlement" 1945 8.5 Canada

9 Destruction of cultural heritage in the Soviet Baltics (1945–1989) 10 1989 to present 11 Notable Baltic Germans 12 See also 13 References 14 Further reading 15 External links

Ethnic composition[edit] Baltic Germans
Germans
were not a purely German ethnic group. The early crusaders, tradesmen and craftsmen often married local women, as there were no German women available. Some noble families, such as the Lievens, claimed descent through such women from native chieftains. Many of the German Livonian Order
Livonian Order
soldiers died during the Livonian War. New German arrivals came to the area. During this time the Low German (Plattdeutsch) of the original settlers was gradually replaced by the High German (Hochdeutsch) of the new settlers. In the course of their 700-year history, Baltic German families had ethnic German roots, but also had extensive intermarriage with Estonians, Livonians and Latvians, as well as with other Northern or Central European people, such as Danes, Swedes, Irish, English, Scots, Poles, Hungarians and Dutch. In cases where intermarriage occurred, members of the other ethnic groups frequently assimilated into German culture, adopting language, customs, and German family names. They were then considered Germans, leading to the ethnogenesis of the Baltic Germans. Barclay de Tolly
Barclay de Tolly
and George Armitstead, who emigrated from the British Isles, married into and became part of the Baltic-German community.[9] Territories[edit] Baltic German settlements in the Baltic area consisted of the following territories:

Estland (Latin: Estonia; Estonian: Eestimaa), roughly the northern half of present-day Estonia; major towns: Reval (Tallinn), Narva (Narva), Wesenberg (Rakvere), Weissenstein (Paide), Hapsal (Haapsalu). Livland (Latin: Livonia; Estonian: Liivimaa; Latvian: Vidzeme), roughly the southern half of present-day Estonia
Estonia
and the northern and eastern part of today's Latvia
Latvia
(Vidzeme); major towns: Riga, Wenden (Cēsis), Wolmar (Valmiera), Walk (Valga and Valka), Dorpat (Tartu), Pernau (Pärnu), Fellin (Viljandi). Kurland (Latin: Curonia; also English: Courland; Latvian: Kurzeme), roughly the western half of present-day Latvia
Latvia
(Kurzeme and Zemgale); major towns: Mitau (Jelgava), Windau (Ventspils), Libau (Liepāja). Ösel (the island of Saaremaa) belonging to present-day Estonia; major town: Arensburg (Kuressaare).

Conquering the Baltics[edit] Main articles: Livonian Crusade
Livonian Crusade
and Terra Mariana

Map of Terra Mariana
Terra Mariana
in 1260.

Citizens (upper panel) and commoners (lower panel) in medieval Livonia, 16th century

Small numbers of Ethnic Germans
Germans
began to settle in the area in the late 12th century when traders and Christian missionaries began to visit the coastal lands inhabited by tribes who spoke Finnic and Baltic languages. Systematic conquest and settlement of these lands was completed during the Northern Crusades
Northern Crusades
of the 12th and 13th centuries which resulted in creation of the Terra Mariana confederation, under the protection of Roman Popes and Holy Roman Empire. After the heavy defeat in the 1236 Battle of Saule
Battle of Saule
the Livonian Brothers of the Sword
Livonian Brothers of the Sword
became a part of the Teutonic Order. During the next three centuries German-speaking soldiers, clergymen, merchants and craftsmen constituted the majority of the quickly growing urban population, as the native inhabitants usually were prohibited from settling there. Membership in the Hanseatic League
Hanseatic League
and active trade links with Russia and Europe increased wealth of Baltic German traders. Polish-Lithuanian and Swedish rule[edit] Main articles: Estonia
Estonia
under Swedish rule and Duchy of Courland
Courland
and Semigallia

Polish and Swedish lands in the Baltics

As the military power of the Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
weakened during the 15th century wars with Kingdom of Poland, Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
and Grand Duchy of Moscow, the Livonian branch in the north began to pursue its own policies. When the Prussian branch of the Order secularized in 1525 and became the Polish vassal state as the Duchy of Prussia, the Livonian branch remained independent while searching for a similar way to secularize. Livonia
Livonia
became mostly Protestant during the Reformation. In 1558, the Tsardom of Russia
Tsardom of Russia
began the Livonian War
Livonian War
against Terra Mariana which soon involved Kingdoms of Poland, Sweden, and Denmark and lasted for 20 years. In 1561, Terra Mariana
Terra Mariana
ceased to exist and was divided among Denmark (which took the island of Ösel), Sweden (which took northern Estonia) and Poland, which annexed the newly created Duchy of Livonia, and granted the Duchy of Courland
Courland
and Semigallia, a vassal state of Poland-Lithuania, to the last Master of the Livonian Order
Livonian Order
Gotthard Kettler. The secularized land was divided among the remaining knights who formed the basis of Baltic nobility. Duchy of Courland and Semigallia
Duchy of Courland and Semigallia
existed as a German-speaking country until 1795, while northern part of Duchy of Livonia
Duchy of Livonia
was conquered by Sweden which controlled parts of Estonia
Estonia
between 1561 and 1710 and Swedish Livonia between 1621 and 1710, having signed an agreement with the local Baltic German nobles not to undermine their political rights and autonomy. The Academia Gustaviana (now University of Tartu) was founded in 1632 by King Gustavus II Adolphus
Gustavus II Adolphus
of Sweden. It remained the only institution of the higher education in the former Livonian territories and became the intellectual focus of the Baltic Germans. At the end of the 17th century Sweden introduced the land reduction in its Baltic provinces and properties held by German nobility became the property of the Crown. That effectively turned serfs into free peasants, but it would be overturned when Russia conquered these territories in 1710 and restored the rights of German landowners under the Treaty of Nystad. Russia's Baltic governorates
Baltic governorates
(1710–1917)[edit] Main article: Baltic governorates

Russian Baltic governorates

Duke's Rundāle Palace

The many manors in Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia
Latvia
testify to the former splendor of the Baltic German landowning class. Pictured: Vääna
Vääna
manor, Estonia.

Mežotne Palace
Mežotne Palace
in Latvia

Between 1710 and 1795, following Russia's success in the Great Northern War and the three Partitions of Poland, the areas inhabited by Baltic Germans
Germans
eventually became Baltic governorates
Baltic governorates
of Russian Empire - Courland
Courland
Governorate, Governorate of Livonia
Governorate of Livonia
and Governorate of Estonia. Autonomy[edit] The Baltic provinces remained autonomous and were self-governed by the local Baltic nobility. Until the imperial reforms of 1880s local government was in the hands of the landtag of each province, in which only members of the matriculated Baltic nobility
Baltic nobility
held membership and cities were ruled by German burgomasters. Between 1710 and approximately 1880 Baltic German ruling class enjoyed great autonomy from the Imperial government and achieved great political influence in the Imperial court. Starting from the 18th century Baltic German nobility increasingly assumed leading posts in the Russian imperial government, after all, Russia was ruled by a German dynasty of Holstein-Gottorp, and Baltic Germans
Germans
provided a well-educated, Westernized elite. Germans, other than the local estate-owners, mainly lived in the cities, such as Riga, Reval, Dorpat, Pernau and Mittau. As late as the mid-19th century the population of many of these cities still had a German majority, with Estonian, Latvian or Jewish minorities. By 1867 Riga's population was 42.9% German.[10] Until the late 19th century most of the professional and learned classes in the region, the literati, were Germans. German political and cultural autonomy ceased in the 1880s, when Russification
Russification
replaced German administration and schooling with the usage of Russian. After 1885 provincial governors usually were Russians. Rise of native peoples[edit] Years of peace under Russian rule brought increasing prosperity and many new manor houses were built in country estates, but economic exploitation worsened situation of the native population.[11] The native Latvian and Estonian population enjoyed fewer rights under the Baltic German nobility compared to the farmers in Germany, Sweden, or Poland. In contrast to the Baltic Germans, Estonians
Estonians
and Latvians
Latvians
had restricted civil rights and resided mostly in rural areas as serfs, tradesmen, or as servants in manors and urban homes. They had no rights to leave their masters and no last names. This was in keeping with the social scheme of things in Russian Empire, and lasted until the 19th century, when emancipation from serfdom brought those inhabitants increased civil freedoms and some political rights. In 1804 Livonian peasant law was introduced by Imperial government, aimed at improving condition of serfs. Serfdom
Serfdom
was abolished in all Baltic provinces between 1816 and 1820, about half a century earlier than in Russia proper. For some time there was no outward tension between the German speakers and indigenous residents. If earlier any Latvian or Estonian who managed to rise above his class was expected to Germanize and to forget his roots, by the middle of 19th century German urban classes began to feel increasing competition from the natives, who after the First Latvian National Awakening and Estonian national awakening
Estonian national awakening
produced their own middle class and moved to German and Jewish dominated towns and cities in increasing numbers. The Revolution of 1905
Revolution of 1905
led to attacks against the Baltic German landowners, the burning of manors, and the torture and even killing of members of the nobility. During the 1905 Revolution groups of rebels burned over 400 manor houses and German owned buildings and killed 82 Germans. In response Cossack punitive expeditions aided by German nobles and officers burned down hundreds of farms, arrested and deported thousands and summarily executed at least 2,000 people. Reaction to 1905 Revolution included a scheme by Karl Baron von Manteuffel-Szoege and Silvio Broedrich-Kurmahlen to pacify the countryside by settling up to 20,000 ethnic German farmers, mostly from Volhynia, in Courland.[12] World War I[edit] Main articles: Ober Ost
Ober Ost
and United Baltic Duchy World War I brought the end of the alliance of the Baltic Germans
Germans
and Russian Tsarist government. German heritage made them to be seen as the enemy by Russians. They were seen also as traitors by the German Empire if they remained loyal to Russia. Their loyalty to the state was questioned and rumors of a German fifth column increased together with the defeats of Imperial army led by Paul von Rennenkampf. All German schools and societies were closed in Estonian Governorate and Germans
Germans
were ordered to leave the Courland Governorate
Courland Governorate
for inner Russia. Courland
Courland
was conquered by Germany in 1915 and included into military Ober Ost
Ober Ost
administration. After the Russian surrender at the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1917, the German Empire
German Empire
occupied the remaining Baltic provinces. Ober Ost
Ober Ost
military administration began plans for German colonization of Courland. On April 20, 1917 Commanded-in-Chief of the Eastern front announced that 1/3 or arable land there shall be reserved for settlement by German war veterans. This was approved by Courland’s German nobility on September 22, 1917.[13] United Baltic Duchy[edit] Livonian and Estonian nobles on January 28, 1918 delivered a note of independence to Soviet representative in Stockholm, announcing their intent to break away from Russia under the rights granted to them by the Treaty of Nystad
Treaty of Nystad
of 1721. In response Bolsheviks, who controlled Estonia, arrested 567 leading Germans
Germans
and deported them to Russia. After signing of Treaty of Brest-Litovsk they were allowed to return. Under German-Soviet treaties, Germany gained control over Courland, Riga, Saaremaa, Livonia
Livonia
and Estonia. In spring of 1918 Baltic Germans
Germans
announced restoration of independent Duchy of Courland and Semigallia
Duchy of Courland and Semigallia
and pursued plans for uniting it with the Kingdom of Prussia. On April 12, 1918 Baltic German representatives from all Baltic provinces met in Riga
Riga
and called on the German Emperor to annex Baltic lands. Later, instead of outright annexation, a plan for a United Baltic Duchy ruled by Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg
Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg
was developed. Its regency council met on November 9, 1918 but collapsed together with the German Empire. Independent Baltic states[edit] Main articles: Latvian War of Independence
Latvian War of Independence
and Baltische Landeswehr The Baltic Germans' rule and class privileges came to the end with the demise of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
(due to the Bolshevik revolution
Bolshevik revolution
of October 1917) and the independence of Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia
Latvia
in 1918–1919. Baltic Germans
Germans
greatly suffered under Bolshevik regimes in Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia. While short-lived, they pursued Red Terror against Germans, often killing them purely because of their nationality.[14] After the collapse of German Empire, Baltic Germans
Germans
in Estonia
Estonia
began forming volunteer units to defend against the Bolshevik threat. On November 27, 1918 this was authorized by Estonian government and the Volunteer Baltic Battalion (Freiwilligen Baltenbataillon) was formed under command of Colonel Constantin von Weiss (de). During the Estonian and Latvian independence wars of 1918–1920, many Baltic Germans
Germans
signed voluntarily into the newly formed Estonian and Latvian armies to help secure the independence of these countries from Russia. These Baltic German military units became known as the Baltische Landeswehr
Baltische Landeswehr
in Latvia
Latvia
and Baltenregiment (de) in Estonia. The State archives of Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia
Latvia
keep individual military records of each person who fought in this war. Baltische Landeswehr
Baltische Landeswehr
units took Riga
Riga
on May 22, 1919 which was followed by White Terror in which up to 2,000 people, mostly Latvians, were shot as suspected Bolshevik supporters. Baltic German outlying estates were frequent targets of local Bolsheviks (as portrayed in the film, Coup de Grâce) and the combination of local Bolsheviks and nationalists following independence brought about land nationalisations and a displacement of Baltic Germans
Germans
from positions of authority. Baltic Germans
Germans
of Livonian Governorate found themselves in two new countries, both of which introduced sweeping agrarian reforms aimed at the large land owners, absolute majority of whom were Germans. As a result of the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
and the subsequent Russian Civil War, many Baltic Germans
Germans
fled to Germany. After 1919, many Baltic Germans
Germans
felt obliged to depart the newly independent states for Germany, but many stayed as ordinary citizens.[15] In 1925 there were 70,964 Germans
Germans
in Latvia
Latvia
(3.6%) and 62,144 in 1935 (3.2% of population). Riga
Riga
remained by far the largest German center with 38,523 Germans
Germans
residing there in 1935, while Tallinn
Tallinn
then had 6,575 Germans.[16] While German landed class soon lost most of their lands after the agrarian reforms, they continued to work in their professions and to lead their companies. German cultural autonomy was respected. Committee of the German Baltic Parties
Committee of the German Baltic Parties
in Latvia
Latvia
and Deutsch-baltische Partei in Estland in Estonia
Estonia
participated in elections and won seats. At the same time, as both young states built their institutions this often reduced status of their minorities. In Latvia, children of mixed marriages were registered as Latvians
Latvians
while in Estonia
Estonia
they took nationality of fathers, who increasingly were Estonians, this quickly reduced number of German children. German place names were eliminated from public use. German congregations lost their churches. Tallinn Cathedral was given to Estonian congregation in 1927. After 1923 referendum St. James's Cathedral in Riga
Riga
was lost and Riga
Riga
Cathedral taken away after another referendum in 1931. Agrarian reforms[edit] At the start of independence Baltic Germans
Germans
owned 58% of land in Estonia
Estonia
and 48% in Latvia. Radical agrarian reforms were implemented in both countries to break German power and to distribute land to the veterans of independence wars and landless peasants. This largely destroyed the landed class of German noble families and their economic base. On October 10, 1919 Estonian parliament expropriated 1,065 estates (96.6% of all estates). March 1, 1926 law set the compensation to the former owners of arable land at about 3% of its market value and no compensation at all for the forests. This almost instantly bankrupted German noble class, even if they were allowed to keep some 50 ha of their lands.[17] On September 16, 1920 Constitutional Assembly of Latvia
Latvia
nationalized 1,300 estates with 3.7 million hectares of land. Former German owners were allowed to keep 50 ha of land and farm equipment. In 1924, Saeima decided that no compensation will be paid to former owners. In 1929, Saeima
Saeima
voted that veterans of the Baltische Landeswehr
Baltische Landeswehr
cannot receive any land.[18] Estonia[edit] In Estonia, there was only one German party, which from 1926 was led by Axel de Vries (de), editor of Revaler Bote. Their leading parliamentarian was Werner Hasselblatt (1890–1958). Germans
Germans
never received ministerial posts in governments. The three largest minorities Germans, Swedes and Russians
Russians
sometimes formed election coalitions. Deutsch-baltische Partei in Estland was established to defend the interests of German landowners, who wanted to receive compensation for their nationalized lands and properties. After land nationalization they received no compensation, but could keep plots up to 50 ha which could not support their manor houses. Germans
Germans
were banned from governmental positions and military. Many Germans
Germans
sold their properties and emigrated to Scandinavia or Western Europe. Most of the grand manor houses were taken over by schools, hospitals, local administration and museums. Estonia's Baltic German population was smaller, so as Estonians continued to fill professional positions such as law and medicine, there was less of a leadership role for the Baltic Germans. Baron Wilhelm Wrangell, leader of the Baltic German cultural association between 1933 and 1938 was included in the Estonian Council of State after 1937 as a token representative of minorities. The last leader of Baltic German Cultural administration was Hellmuth Weiss. On February 12, 1925 Estonia
Estonia
adapted the Cultural Autonomy and national Minorities act which provided for some cultural autonomy of Germans. Despite this, German community in Estonia
Estonia
continued to decline as majority of young people chose to emigrate. By 1934 there were 16,346 Baltic Germans
Germans
in Estonia, 1.5% of the total population.[19] Estonia
Estonia
allowed German schools in German language, they were overseen by Gesellschaft Deutsche Schulhilfe, which was part of the Union of German Societies in Estonia. After adoption of the Minority law of February 5, 1925 the Baltic German Cultural Council was created on November 1, 1925. In 1928, German schools were attended by 3,456 pupils.[20] Latvia[edit]

Building of the Large Guild in Riga, 1918

In Latvia, Baltic Germans
Germans
remained politically active and organized ethnic group, although they lost some influence after the 1934 Latvian coup d'état. A couple of times Germans
Germans
received ministerial posts in coalition governments. Commander of Latvia’s Navy between 1919 and 1931 was Admiral Archibald Count von Keyserling. Six, later seven, German parties existed and formed a coalition in Saeima. The leading politicians were Baron Wilhelm Friedrich Karl von Fircks, leader of the Baltic-German People’s Party and Paul Schiemann, editor in chief of Rigasche Rundschau newspaper and leader of Baltic-German Democratic Party. Increased activity of National Socialist supporters in German community led to the resignation of Schiemann from the Rigasche Rundschau in 1933. Minority cultural affairs were overseen by Ministry of Culture and German section was led by pastor Karl Keller (1868–1939) and later by Dr. Wolfgang Wachtsmuth. In 1923, there were 12,168 pupils in German schools. The Herder Institute, a private German university with three faculties – Theology, Jurisprudence and Political Science and Philosophy was established. In 1926, German community introduced voluntary self-taxation, asking all Germans
Germans
to contribute up to 3% of their monthly income to community activities. In 1928, Baltic German National Community was established as the central representative body of Baltic Germans
Germans
in Latvia.[21] Educational autonomy of Germans
Germans
was severely limited in 1931–1933, when Minister of Education Atis Ķeniņš introduced policy of latvianization in minority schools. On July 18, 1934 the autonomous German schools were brought under the complete control of Ministry of Education. After the May 15, 1934 coup all associations and independent business organizations had to shut down, this affected German community especially hard, as they lost their ancient communal centers – guilds, and all of their property was nationalized. Then followed a wave of takeovers of Jewish, Russian and German businesses – banks, factories and trading companies were purchased by state owned bank at set rates in order to reduce minority control over businesses. Resettlement of all Baltic Germans
Germans
(1939–1944)[edit]

Nazi plans to "resettle" Baltic Germans
Germans
in "Warthegau"

At the port

Baltic German resettlers disembark at the Port of Stettin
Stettin
from the ship "General Steuben"

Resettled Baltic Germans
Germans
take new home of expelled Poles in "Warthegau"

Newly built village in Reichsgau
Reichsgau
Wartheland

1939–1940[edit]

Boxed goods of leaving Germans, Riga
Riga
1939

As a result of the secret agreements of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in 1939, Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia were assigned to the "Soviet sphere of influence". One of the main conditions posed by Hitler to Stalin in August 1939 was the prior transfer of all ethnic Germans
Germans
living in Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia
Latvia
to areas under German military control. These became known as the Nazi–Soviet population transfers. Stalin proceeded to set up Soviet military bases in Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia
Latvia
in late 1939. In a speech to Reichstag on October 6, 1939 with was broadcast live on radio, Hitler announced that German minorities should be resettled in the Reich (Back home to Reich, heim ins Reich). Resettlement was overseen by Himmler who created a new Reich Commisariat for the Strengthening of Germandom for this purpose. Treaties were signed with Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia
Latvia
in 1939 and 1940 concerning the emigration of Baltic Germans
Germans
and the liquidation of their educational, cultural, and religious institutions. Nazi Germany succeeded in getting the Baltic Germans
Germans
to abandon their homes and homeland in haste. Due to the imposition of wartime rationing, Germans were banned from taking along any valuables, objects of historic value, fuels and even food. Massive sell-off of household items and small businesses followed. Larger properties, real estate and businesses were sold over a longer period of time by a special German commission to local governments.

Some 13,700 Baltic Germans
Germans
were resettled from Estonia
Estonia
by early 1940. Around 51,000 Baltic Germans
Germans
were resettled from Latvia
Latvia
by early 1940.

The Estonian and Latvian governments published books containing alphabetical lists of the names of resettled Baltic German adults together with their birthdate, birthplace and last address in the Baltics.[22] Baltic Germans
Germans
left by ships from the port cities of Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia
Latvia
to ports of Gotenhafen
Gotenhafen
and Stettin
Stettin
and then were tranported to Posen and Lodz
Lodz
in Reichsgau
Reichsgau
Wartheland
Wartheland
(sometimes called Warthegau) and other Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany. The "new" homes and farms they were given to live in had been owned and inhabited by Poles and Jews just a few months earlier who were executed or deported eastwards when Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
invaded Poland. The new arrivals fulfilled Nazi plans for ethnic Germanization of these lands. Spring 1941 resettlement[edit] In early 1941, the Nazi German government arranged another resettlement for all those who had refused to leave in 1939 or 1940. The action was called the Nachumsiedlung. This time around no compensation was offered for any property or belongings left behind and this group of resettlers were treated with intense suspicion or considered traitors because they had refused Hitler's first call to leave the Baltics in 1939. Most of these arrivals were first settled in filtration camps. Unknown to the general public, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
was only 2 to 4 months away, and this was Hitler's last chance to transfer these people in peacetime conditions. By this time, the remaining Baltic Germans
Germans
in Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia
Latvia
found themselves in a vastly different situation than in 1939. Their countries were now occupied by the Soviet Union, and intense pressure and intimidation had been put on anyone with a position of privilege or wealth before 1939. Mass arrests and some killings had taken place. Fearing a worsening of the situation, the vast majority of the remaining Baltic Germans
Germans
decided to leave. About 7,000 resettled from Estonia
Estonia
by late March 1941, and approximately 10,500 resettled from Latvia
Latvia
by late March 1941. No books were published listing those who resettled in 1941; however, the present-day archives of Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia
Latvia
still have the lists of all those who left in this year. 1941–1944[edit] A very small minority of Baltic Germans
Germans
refused again to be resettled and remained in the Baltics past March 1941. Some fell victim to the Soviet deportations
Soviet deportations
to Siberian gulags beginning in early June 1941. The names and data of those deported from Estonia
Estonia
from 1941 to 1953 have been published in books. Details are kept at the Museum of Occupations in Estonia. After the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and the conquering of Latvia and Estonia, a small number of Baltic Germans
Germans
were allowed to return in order to serve as translators, but requests of many resettled Germans
Germans
to be allowed to return to their homelands were denied by Himmler's SS. Many German Baltic men were mobilized in the occupied Warthegau and served in the German army. The resettled Germans
Germans
fled west with the retreating German army in 1944. No precise numbers or lists are available for them. However, several thousand Baltic Germans
Germans
remained in the Baltics after 1944, but they were subject to widespread discrimination (and possible deportation to Siberia until 1953) by the Soviet authorities ruling Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia. As a result of this, many hid or lied about their Baltic German origins. Most of those who stayed past 1944 were children of mixed ethnic marriages or themselves married to ethnic Estonians, Latvians
Latvians
or Russians
Russians
and their descendants no longer consider themselves German. "Second resettlement" 1945[edit] Main article: Evacuation of German civilians during the end of World War II The Soviet Union's advance into Poland and Germany in late 1944 and early 1945 resulted in the Baltic Germans
Germans
being evacuated by the German authorities (or simply fleeing) from their "new homes" to areas even further in the west to escape the advancing Red Army. Most of them settled in West Germany, some ended up in East Germany. In stark contrast to the resettlements in 1939–1941, this time around the evacuation in most of the areas was delayed until the last moment, when it was too late to conduct it in an orderly fashion, and practically all of them had to leave most of their belongings behind. Seeing as they had only been living in these "new" homes for only about five years, this was almost seen as a second forced resettlement for them, albeit under different circumstances.[citation needed] Many Baltic Germans
Germans
were on board the KdF Ship Wilhelm Gustloff
KdF Ship Wilhelm Gustloff
when it was sunk by a Soviet submarine on January 30, 1945. By one estimate,[23] 9,400 people on board died, which would make it the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking in history. Additionally, many Baltic Germans
Germans
died during the sinking of the SS General von Steuben on February 10, 1945. Two books listing the names and personal data of all Baltic Germans who died as a result of the resettlements and wartime conditions between 1939 and 1947 have been published by the Baltic German genealogical society: Deutsch-baltisches Gedenkbuch. Unsere Toten der Jahre 1939–1947 by Karin von Borbély, Darmstadt, 1991; and Nachtrag zum Deutsch-baltisches Gedenkbuch by Karin von Borbély, Darmstadt, 1995. Later, with Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia
Latvia
falling under Soviet rule after 1944, the Baltic Germans
Germans
did not return to Soviet occupied Baltics again. Canada[edit] Many thousands of Baltic Germans
Germans
emigrated to Canada
Canada
starting in 1948 with the support of Canadian Governor General The Earl Alexander of Tunis, who had known many Baltic Germans
Germans
when he had commanded the Baltic German Landeswehr for a short time in 1919. Initially only 12 Germans
Germans
were allowed to settle in 1948. Based on the good behavior of this group, many thousands of Baltic Germans
Germans
were soon allowed to immigrate during the following years.[24] Destruction of cultural heritage in the Soviet Baltics (1945–1989)[edit]

Some better preserved tombstones in Riga's Great Cemetery.

During the 50-year-long occupation of the Baltic states, Soviet occupation authorities governing the Estonian SSR
Estonian SSR
and the Latvian SSR, politically empowered by their victory in World War II, were keen to erase any traces of ethnic German rule in past centuries.[citation needed] Numerous statues, monuments, structures or landmarks with German writing were destroyed, vandalized or left to ruin.[citation needed] The largest Baltic German cemeteries in Estonia, Kopli cemetery
Kopli cemetery
and Mõigu cemetery, both standing since 1774, were completely destroyed by the Soviet authorities. The great cemetery of Riga, largest burial ground of Baltic Germans
Germans
in Latvia
Latvia
standing since 1773, also had the vast majority of its graves destroyed by the Soviets. 1989 to present[edit] Main articles: List of palaces and manor houses in Latvia
Latvia
and List of palaces and manor houses in Estonia The present-day governments of Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia, who regained their independence in 1991, generally take a positive, or sometimes neutral, view towards the contributions of the Baltic Germans
Germans
in the development of their cities and countries throughout their history. An occasional exception to this comes with some criticism in relation to the major landowners, who controlled most of the rural areas of the Baltics, and the ethnic Estonians
Estonians
and Latvians, until 1918. After Estonia
Estonia
regained independence from the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
on August 20, 1991, the exiled association of the German Baltic nobility
Baltic nobility
sent an official message to the president-to-be Lennart Meri
Lennart Meri
that no member of the association would claim proprietary rights to their former Estonian lands. This, and the fact that the first German ambassadors to Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia
Latvia
were both Baltic Germans, helped to further reconcile the Baltic Germans
Germans
with these two countries. Cooperation between Baltic German societies and the governments of Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia
Latvia
has made the restoration of many small Baltic German plaques and landmarks possible, such as monuments to those who fought in the 1918–1920 War of Independence. Since 1989, many elderly Baltic Germans, or their descendants, have taken holidays to Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia
Latvia
to look for traces of their own past, their ancestral homes, and their family histories. Most of the remaining manor houses have new owners, operate as hotels and are open to public. Notable Baltic Germans[edit] Main article: List of Baltic Germans

Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly. Russia postage stamp, 2011

Baltic Germans
Germans
played leading roles in the society of what are now Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia
Latvia
throughout most of the period from 13th to mid-20th century, with many of them becoming noted scientists or explorers. A number of Baltic Germans
Germans
served as ranking generals in the Russian Imperial Army and Navy, including Michael Barclay de Tolly, Adam von Krusenstern, Fabian von Bellingshausen, Friedrich von Buxhoeveden, Paul von Rennenkampf, Ivan Ivanovich Michelson
Ivan Ivanovich Michelson
and Eduard Totleben. Many Baltic Germans
Germans
(such as Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, Baron Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel, Yevgeny Miller, and Anatoly Lieven) sided with the Whites and related anti-Bolshevik forces (like the Baltische Landeswehr and the Freikorps movement) during the Russian Civil War. See also[edit]

History of Estonia History of Latvia Freikorps in the Baltic Courland Livonia Livonian Confederation Northern Crusades Teutonic Knights History of Germans
Germans
in Russia and the Soviet Union Nazi-Soviet population transfers List of palaces and manor houses in Latvia Kopli cemetery Mõigu cemetery Great Cemetery
Great Cemetery
(Riga) Raadi cemetery Estonian Swedes Russian explorers Baltic nobility Deutsch-Baltische Gesellschaft Revalsche Zeitung Flight and expulsion of Germans
Germans
(1944–50)

References[edit]

^ According to Gerhard Reichling, out of 250,000 Germans
Germans
deported from the Baltic states in the Flight and expulsion of Germans
Germans
239,000 were Protestant and 8,000 were Catholic. ^ Gerhard Reichling, Die deutschen Vertriebenen in Zahlen, part 1, Bonn: 1995, pp. 8 ^ Miljan, Toivo (2004). Historical Dictionary of Estonia. Scarecrow Press. p. 121. ISBN 9780810865716.  ^ Christiansen, Eric (1980). The Northern Crusades: The Baltic and the Catholic Frontier 1100–1525. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 9780816609949. OCLC 6092550.  ^ Baltic states :: Gradual modernization ^ Die Geschichte der baltischen Staaten ^ Baltic Germans
Germans
in Estonia, Estonian Institute www.einst.ee ^ Latvia
Latvia
– Population ^ Deutschbalten, im 19.Jh. entstandene Bez. fÜr die dt. Bewohner der Ostseeprovinzen des Russ. Reiches, der spÄteren Staaten Estland und Lettland. Archived October 12, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. ^ National History Museum of Latvia ^ For examples, see List of palaces and manor houses in Latvia
Latvia
and List of palaces and manor houses in Estonia ^ Wolhynier im Baltikum ^ Die Geschichte der baltischen Staaten ^ The Estonians; The long road to independence ^ Hiden, John, The Baltic States and Weimar Ostpolitik, Cambridge University Press, 1987, ISBN 0-521-32037-2 ^ Die Geschichte der baltischen Staaten ^ Die Geschichte der baltischen Staaten ^ Die Geschichte der baltischen Staaten ^ The Estonians; The long road to independence ^ Die Geschichte der baltischen Staaten ^ Die Geschichte der baltischen Staaten ^ Eestist saksamaale ümberasunute nimestik/Verzeichnis der aus Estland nach Deutschland Umgesiedelten, Oskar Angelus, Tallinn
Tallinn
1939; "Izceļojušo vācu tautības pilsoņu saraksts" : "The list of resettled citizens of German ethnicity".1940 ^ "Wilhelm Gustloff: World's Deadliest Sea Disasters". Unsolved History, The Discovery Channel. Season 1, Episode 14. (Original air date: March 26, 2003) ^ The Estonians; The long road to independence

Further reading[edit]

Short history of Baltic Germans
Germans
from Berlin centre against expulsions Detailed history of the Baltic Germans
Germans
in Estonia Detailed history of the Baltic Germans
Germans
in Latvia Richards Olafs Plavnieks, 1939-1945 “WALL OF BLOOD”: THE BALTIC GERMAN CASE STUDY IN NATIONAL SOCIALIST WARTIME POPULATION POLICY European Population Transfers, 1939–1945 by Joseph B. Schechtman Eestist saksamaale ümberasunute nimestik : Verzeichnis der aus Estland nach Deutschland Umgesiedelten, Oskar Angelus, Tallinn
Tallinn
1939 "Izceļojušo vācu tautības pilsoņu saraksts" : "The list of resettled citizens of German ethnicity". 1940 THE "REPATRIATION" OF THE BALTIC GERMANS AFTER THE SIGNING OF THE PACTS International Affairs: The Return of the Baltic Germans, E. C. Helmreich, The American Political Science Review, Vol. 36, No. 4 (Aug., 1942), pp. 711–716 Helmreich E.C. (1942) The return of the Baltic Germans. The American Political Science Review 36.4, 711–716. Whelan, Heide W. (1999). Adapting to Modernity: Family, Caste and Capitalism among the Baltic German Nobility. Ostmitteleuropa in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart, vol. 22. Cologne: Böhlau Verlag, 1999. ISBN 3-412-10198-2 Hiden, John W. (1970). The Baltic Germans
Germans
and German policy towards Latvia
Latvia
after 1918. The Historical Journal 13.2, 295–317. Hiden, John (1987). The Baltic States and Weimar Ostpolitik. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Cambridge University
Press. ISBN 0-521-89325-9 Anders Henriksson (1983). The Tsar's Loyal Germans. The Riga Community: Social Change and the Nationality Question, 1855–1905. Boulder, CO: East European Monographs. ISBN 0-88033-020-1 Mikko Ketola (2000). The Nationality Question in the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran
Lutheran
Church, 1918–1939. Helsinki: Publications of the Finnish Society of Church History. ISBN 952-5031-17-9

External links[edit]

Baltic German community website, in German Baltic German museum, in German The association of German Baltic Nobility Estonian Manors Portal
Portal
the English version introduces 438 well-preserved manors historically owned by the Baltic Germans
Germans
(Baltic nobility)

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