Statement of the Deputy Commissioner for the Rights of National Minorities on the occasion of the Day of German Unity

Almost three decades have passed since, pressured by the East German demonstrators demanding freedom and democracy, and also as a result of the changes in the international political climate, the wall which separated the two parts of Berlin for 28 years was torn down. This made it clear, symbolically too, that it was not only the artificially divided Germany but also, Europe, which was divided on the basis of political ideologies and the interests of great powers, was ripe for change. The speeded-up historical events brought about such changes in a few months which were inconceivable before, or were only hoped for in the distant future. On August 31, 1990, the Treaty on the Reunification of Germany was signed, and Germany once again became one single country on October 3.

This day is an important event not only in the lives of the citizens of Germany but also, for the German national minority communities living in other countries of Europe. This holiday is one of high significance to the Germans living in Hungary too. Although the Germans living in our country could always count on the support of their mother country in preserving their national identity and cultivating their mother tongue and culture, the political, economic and cultural relations between Germany, which strengthened and indisputably became a leader in Europe after the reunification, and Hungary, which underwent a democratic change, became much more intensive than before, in the establishment and development of which the Germans living in Hungary played a key role.

On this day, we must also commemorate those deportees who were forced to live in the Soviet occupation zone of Germany and became the citizens of the newly established German Democratic Republic, and who made up one quarter of the Germans expelled from Hungary. They were not only deprived by history from their chosen Hungarian homeland but they were also forced to become the citizens of a dictatorial state, where they were treated as second-class citizens because of their ethnic origins. The new, unified Germany meant that a long-cherished dream of theirs had come true, as after living as refugees deprived of their rights and enduring several decades of oppression, they became the citizens of a democratic and free Germany firmly committed to human rights and European values.

This is why, on the Day of German Unity, I hereby greet all the citizens of Germany, including the deportees who were forced to leave Hungary, as well as their descendants, who continued to cultivate the friendship between the two nations, furthermore, our compatriots who cherish both their German and Hungarian identities.

 

Dr. Elisabeth Sándor-Szalay, Prof. HC

Deputy Ombudsman