(Regensburger Hefte ...; 5) ISSN 1613-5601

Jew from the Soviet Union/Russia in Germany 1989-2000.
Legal status and general situation


This paper investigates the historical and political conditions that made it possible for Soviet/Russian Jews to immigrate to Germany between 1989 and 2000. During the Cold War, Soviet/Russian Jews became their government's plaything. The tensions between the USSR and the USA determined directly the exit permits of these people. Different reasons for emigration - religious or economical ones - influenced the choice of the favoured immigration country - Israel or the USA. Zvi Gitelman describes the conduct of the emigrants in his "3-waves-theory". The "first wave" between 1971 and 1974 was influenced by religious reasons, therefore the Jews emigrated to Israel. The "second wave" was determined by economical reasons thus the Soviet/Russian Jews left the USSR for the USA. 1989 the direction of the wave has changed and the Jews preffered Israel again, the "third wave". But from 1989 on another immigration destination emerged - Germany, where, unlike the USA and Israel, no more than 30000 Jews lived. The last Government of the GDR saw the reception of the Soviet/Russian Jews as historical responsibility and as a sign of reconciliation. The reception of the Soviet/Russian Jews led to domestic difficulties after the reunification of Germany. The German government had to prescribe uniform regulations for the whole country. This domestic procedure is analysed more detailed in this study. The "fourth wave" of Soviet Russian Jews is emigrating to Germany - an important thesis for a future research.