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Type of publication: Straipsnis / Article
Author(s): Pocytė, Silva
Title: Prarastos tėvynės ir istorijos samprata Klaipėdos krašto išeivių klaipėdiškių (memelenderių) leidinyje „Memeler Dampfboot“ po Antrojo pasaulinio karo (nuo 1950 m.)
Other Title: Conceptions of lost motherland and history in the “Memeler Dampfboot” by emigrants from the Klaipėda region (the Memellanders) after World War II (since 1950)
Is part of: OIKOS: lietuvių migracijos ir diasporos studijos, 2010, nr. 1(9), p. 51-61
Date: 2010
Abstract: Memeler Dampfboot (Klaipėda Steamboat) was a newspaper published and edited in Klaipėda from July 3, 1849 until October 08, 1944. It was resuscitated in 1948-1949 under the slightly changed name of Memeler Rundbrief (Klaipeda Circular) by Friedrich Wilhelm Siebert and H. A . K urschat in Oldenburg, West Germany. The initial name of Memeler Dampfboot was given back to this newspaper on January 5, 1950. It is possible to define distinct stages in the post-war editions of the Memeler Dampfboot reflecting the changing ideological attitudes of its editors. During the first period, which ended in 1984, the long-time editor Heinrich Albert Kurschat upheld a conservative position opposed to Lithuania and all the Lithuanian episodes in the history of the Klaipėda region. After his death, the new editor Bernhard Maskallis (until 2000) adopted a more moderate approach including taking up contacts with Lithuania and the contemporary inhabitants of Klaipėda region. Since 1984 the Memeler Dampfboot has been published by Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Memellandkreise. This reflected the newspaper’s newly declared status as an official representative platform for all the Klaipėda region’s native people (Memellanders) who declared their German origin and lived in Germany. All territorial pretensions to take back previous regional lands lost their purpose after the German unification. Much more positive political aspirations for the Memellanders were upheld, and they were urged to replace confrontational and German revenge-oriented ideas by attitudes of tolerance, dialogue, and collaboration between previous and contemporary inhabitants of the Klaipėda city and region. In this paper articles published in the Memeler Dampfboot from 1950 to 1990 are analyzed. They reflect the predominance of regional Klaipėda history, shown through a German-oriented prism, emphasizing the “illegal” annexation of the Klaipėda region to Lithuania in 1923 and its “return to the Reich” in 1939. The articles on regional studies give us information about the history of particular villages, localities, churches, etc. in the Klaipėda region. Activities of local German culture personalities are presented here as well. Welcoming and congratulatory statements as well as obituary notices have positive and persistent value in helping us to reconstruct the local demographic situation, family histories, and what life in the region was like. A qualitative analysis of the Memeler Dampfboot articles shows us their priority for the German-oriented history of the Klaipėda region during all post-war times, when conceptions of a “lost motherland” and a “lost history” were continuously being formed and kept alive among the Memellanders.
Appears in Collections:OIKOS: lietuvių migracijos ir diasporos studijos 2010, nr. 1(9)

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