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Last Revised: 09/25/13 09:14:23 PM

THE BUKOVINA INSTITUTE (AUGSBURG, GERMANY)

 ESTABLISHMENT, TASKS, RESEARCH EMPHASIS

 by Dr. Ortfried Kotzian

( Published in Jahresprogramm Bukowina-Institut 2000. Thematischer Jahresschwerpunkt: 60 Jahre Umsiedlung der Deutschen aus der Bukovina, pp. 5-6, translated by Dr. Sophie A. Welisch.)

 

After years of intensive preparation, the “Center for the Research of the History and Culture of Bukovina, the Bukovina Institute, Documentation and Research Center of the Bukovina Germans, Augsburg,” was founded on July 27, 1988 in the House of the District of Swabia, Hafnerberg 10 in Augsburg, the sponsoring institution. Presently affiliated with it, aside from Bukovinian and Swabian scholars, are also five institutions: the Alfred-Gong Society, the District of Swabia, the Association of Bukovina Germans, the Raimund Friedrich Kaindl Society, and the Swabian Research Community. The founding session determined the composition of the board and elected Professor Dr. Johannes Hampel, at that time deacon of the Department of Philosophy of the University of Augsburg, as chairperson of the affiliated associations.

 On November 2, 1988 space for the Bukovina Institute was rented at Alten Postweg 97a, quite near to the University of Augsburg; completion of the facilities took almost one year. The night before turning over the keys of the Bukovina Institute to the president of the Swabian parliament, Dr. Georg Simnacher, the world had changed. On November 9, 1989 the Berlin Wall came down and the revolt in central, east and southeast Europe entered its first stages. The Bukovina Institute now added a new dimension in its tasks. Suddenly its goals assumed completely new perspectives: “research and documentation of the history, and national customs and culture of Bukovina in international and interdisciplinary collaboration with spiritual and secular scholars, in particular with historians, literary and linguistic specialists, folklorists, geographers, sociologists, political scientists as well as theologians of all religious persuasions.”

 The Institute is independent of political or religious affiliations. The scholarly activities of the Bukovina Institute promote research and study with an emphasis on the development of specific aspects of the multi-ethnic and multi-confessional European region of Bukovina.

 In December 1988 the District of Swabia acquired for the Institute the only existing specialized library in the Federal Republic of Germany for the study of the national customs and literature of Bukovina, the so-called Beck Library, which constitutes the kernel of the “East German and East European Library of the Bukovina Institute.”

 Ten years ago, on February 13, 1990, the formal opening and dedication of the Bukovina Institute took place with Dr. Gebhard Glück, at that time the Bavarian  State Minister for Work and Social Order, giving the official speech.

 Because of the altered political and social atmosphere, it was possible in the ten years between 1989 and 1991 to research the topic of  “Bukovina” without problems and restraints. Shortly after the change in Europe the Bukovina Institute Augsburg took up contact with scholars and important personages in Bukovina, sought an exchange with them, and in 1991 sponsored a symposium entitled, “New Perspectives for Bukovina.” Out of this there developed in time an enthusiastic exchange and a fruitful collaboration. With the founding of Bukovina Institutes in Czernowitz and Radautz based on the Augsburg example, other centers for Bukovina research were established, now in Bukovina itself. We view them as our natural partners with which we can accomplish much in close collaboration.

 In the further course of its development the Institute was instrumental in the creation of the European Regional Partnership between the district of Swabia, the region of Czernowitz/Ukraine and the district of Suczawa/Romania, which on May 2, 1997 was ceremonially formalized in the Golden Room of the Augsburg Town Hall.

 In the more than ten years since its founding the Bukovina Institute has become a significant research center on questions pertaining to east central Europe, a center for research on integration and nationality questions, and a site for meeting and cooperation of West and East.

 

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