Dobrujan Germans

The Dobrujan Germans (German: Dobrudschadeutsche) were an ethnic German group, within the larger category of Black Sea Germans, for over one hundred years. German-speaking colonists entered the approximately 23,000 km² area of Dobruja around 1840 and left during the relocation of 1940. Dobruja is a historic territory on the west coast of the Black Sea.


German colonies in Dobruja

The first of these German settlers came between 1841 and 1856 from the Russian Empire. They were farming families from the neighboring areas of Bessarabia and Cherson, who immigrated because of an economic recession in their home territories. Thirty years later colonists from Swabia also moved into the region. During this period, Dobruja still belonged to the Ottoman Empire and the colonists were subject to colonization regulations from Turkey. Consequently, the Dobrujan Germans were the only ethnic Germans to ever be Turkish subjects without actually moving to Turkey (as did the Bosporus Germans). They contributed to the agricultural development of the fertile steppes.


In the first years of World War II, the majority of the 16,000 Dobrujan Germans, as well as the Bessarabian and Bukovina Germans, were relocated into Germany. This was done under the motto: Heim ins Reich (Home into the Empire). The refugees lived temporarily in relocation camps in Austria, but in 1941/1942 they resettled the German occupied eastern territories in Bohemia, Moravia and Poland. At the end of the war, they fled west, and were found as refugees in all four occupation zones in Germany.


See also

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