Project of the Institute for Eastern European Studies and the City Archives of Regensburg Migration and remembrance: immigration to Regensburg since 1945

By migration we generally understand the movement of people within a regional and cross-border framework. A great number of scientific theories deal with this phenomenon. For example, the push-and-pull-model explains migration by means of positive and negative factors in the home countries and the destinations. The capital-orientated model of the centre-periphery approach focuses on the pull effect of the central region which creates new jobs in the periphery. Lastly, the model of chain migration describes the phenomenon of migration through the use of already existing networks as a dynamic process.
The explanation of immigration into a given region and the emigration from it can be viewed from a sociological, economic and historical perspective in a multi-disciplinary approach. In this project, migration movements to Regensburg which were to become characteristic of the life in the city after 1945 will be investigated by means of historiographical methods. Both permanent and temporary phenomena will be of crucial interest. The project hypothesizes that immigration from central and south-eastern Europe has been characteristic of Regensburg from the end of the Second World War up to the present day in many ways. As regards immigrant groups which manifested themselves in Regensburg, the following are to be distinguished: Firstly, the hard labourers from Russia, Belorussia, the Ukraine, Poland etc. who were deported during the Second World War. Some of them stayed in Regensburg after the end of the war for some time and returned to their native countries. Others, however, stayed permanently. Secondly, the Germans who were displaced from the Eastern territories and who found a new home in Regensburg. Thirdly, a small number of emigrants from communist countries after the Second World War who left their home countries during the Cold War for political reasons. The last group consists of guest workers from the former Yugoslavia, Turkey, Greece (just like from western countries), civil war refugees from south-eastern Europe, the Germans from Russia and Jewish quota immigrants.
There are a number of important questions which will be addressed in the project: a diachronically statistical investigation of migrants in Regensburg; the question of their social, economic and political integration; the question in how far the immigrants left their mark on the townscape - for example by building new housing estates, streets, companies, shops. Furthermore, the question of intercultural processes: Were there points of contact between immigrants from different countries and cultures, and did this have influence on urban life? How did immigrants perceive their new environment? All in all, the interaction between the city and the immigrants should be given priority in perspective. Conclusions will be drawn as to the dynamics of immigration and integration within the urban milieu as well as to the opportunities for orientation and action of an urban society with regard to different types of immigrants. Primary sources will be provided by the city archives of Regensburg, the state archives of Amberg, the Bavarian central state archives, but also by local papers and by the intended interviews of contemporary witnesses. This project builds on previous studies and on current research by the city archives that deal with the problems of National-Socialist hard labour and the so-called displaced foreigners as well as with the development of the city in the 1950s. In a comparison the research results from other cities will be presented, too.
Results obtained in the recent past enable to draw conclusions as to the socio-political every-day life and make the current discussion about integration of foreigners in Regensburg more scientific. At the centre there is the paradox of the modern world, namely that people should, on the one hand, be mobile and flexible, on the other hand migration is often considered a threat by the receptive society. Thus, migration is a process which is encountered permanently in modern history and always ambivalent in its perception.