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Hundreds of Thousands of Ethnic Germans Expected in 1991

April 10, 1991

BONN, Germany (AP) _ More than 350,000 ethnic Germans are expected to immigrate from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe this year, officials said Wednesday.

Gebhard Glueck, the minister for social affairs in the southern state of Bavaria, said about 250,000 of the immigrants would come from the Soviet Union by the end of 1991, compared with 147,980 last year.

In addition, Glueck said about 50,000 Germans or people of German descent from Romania, about 40,000 from Poland and approximately 5,000 from Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were expected to immigrate.

Glueck’s estimated total corresponded with predictions from the federal Interior Ministry.

The predicted influx, following a similar one of about 400,000 last year, would add to the strains on Germany’s social services, which have been stretched by the economic problems of unification. It also could heighten tense relations between Germans and those considered outsiders.

Vicious attacks on foreigners are increasing in this nation of 77 million people, especially in the former East Germany, where sociologists fear worsening economic conditions will only exacerbate the problem. When visa-free travel between Poland and Germany began Monday, several Poles were stoned by young Germans.

Unemployment in the five new states that were East Germany surpassed 9 percent in March, while joblessness in the west decreased a half-percentage point to 6.5 percent, the government said last week.

Dieter Baigger of the Federal Labor Office said: ″Our experience has been that part of the people might be integrated quite easily, especially those with a good knowledge of German and younger people qualified in industrial professions. People like teachers, lawyers, public service workers might have big problems.″

But Glueck was upbeat. ″Experience and concrete figures show that the immigrants, after an initial burden, soon become longlasting cultural and material bonuses,″ he said.

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