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Conference recording part 2a
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Unknown speaker: Speaking about the contentions in someone’s paper about the status of Jews in the GDR. States that even in extremely religiously repressed countries, religious leaders will proclaim how great the religious freedom they feel is. The GDR, being like the Soviet Union, is not unique in this when it comes to their Jewish community. The GDR is anxious to keep up a good image, and the Jewish Community, being small, is very easy to finance. In West Germany compensation for victims of the Nazis was given, while in East Germany no such thing was offered. Thus the number of Jews in East Germany is not representative of the Jews who originated in East Germany that survived the Second World War. Speaker questions why, after the description of Pensions in East Germany, that Canadian and American Jews aren’t busting down the door of East Germany to live in “Honecker’s Paradise”. The recording cuts out.
Unknown speaker: Many of the Jews they’ve talked to report being economically and socially happier in East Germany as opposed to places like Riga or Warsaw. This applies particularly to Polish Jews. Jews would apply to the East German Ministry of the Interior and through their own nations to request to leave. Being in the same bloc this was not difficult. There are only about 800 registered members of the Jewish community in East Germany, but this number is more realistically over one thousand as non-registered members of Jewish descent. [There is an interruption in the tape.] Jewish citizens of the GDR feel fully committed and loyal as citizens of their state. Immigrants coming into a society are changed by that society.
Meeting that relates to University relations as it affects Eastern Europe. A speech about the importance on the stance of the University for talking about these topics which relate to a large portion of Northern Alberta’s population.
A change in the panel composition: the addition of Dr. Sukhoversky, who is well versed with the University Library, which has many volumes relating in foreign languages and in English, about Central and Eastern Europe. The deletion is Mr. Afigannus, who was to be here as an observer not a panelist.
Presentation by Mr. Kostash: Talks about the function of universities. Talks about how East European and Soviet Studies at the university follows the same functions. Mentions that one who takes particular focus on the East European courses offered by the University can find themselves being skilled and knowledgeable scholars. Initiatives by professors at the university to make sure students in the field go out to the ethnic communities to get a feel for how they are. Talks about the importance of community approval and funding for new programs. Stresses transparency of activities in programs as it relates to the community.
Presentation by Mr. Duruviches, a member of the Lithuanian community, and President of the Baltic Society: Discusses the contention with the label ‘Soviet’, coming from Lithuania, and the history Lithuania has with the Soviet Union. The importance of having a place such as a University to study one’s heritage. Expects from the University that it is kept in mind that although their issues are similar at the moment, that Baltic peoples are not Slavic peoples.
Presentation by Dr. Bergin from the Faculty of Education: has a strong interest in Mennonite culture. Difficulties because of mixed loyalties on representing different groups; particularly the Mennonites, who aren’t easily identified by typical visages. [The tape cuts out]