The Germans of Kyrgyzstan, 1




ethnic dominate short/shorter/shortest
deport relative (2) drive/drove/driven
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settle collapse speak/spoke/spoken
among wife/wives child/children
group handful pass through
agenda maintain run/ran/run (3)
inhabit homeland leave/left/left
remain memory send/sent/sent
pass identity begin/began/begun
dilute sense (3) the passing of time
union thing (2) take/took/taken
mark try/tried make/made/made
dwindle chancellor assimilation
fade tenuous Soviet Union
link (2) increase






A short drive from the Kyrgyz capital is the village of Lyuksemburg, a small community that was once dominated by ethnic Germans.

Felix Lytal was deported from Crimea during the Second World War. He passed through several labor camps before settling here.

But he’s one of the few Germans who now remain.

Felix Lytal, Ethnic German Kyrgyz: “Why didn’t I go? Because I don’t know the language. My wife is Russian, and our children speak Russian. I didn’t go there; all of my relatives are there, in Germany.

I didn’t go. I didn’t like it there.”

Also among the handful of remaining Germans is Anatoly Koenig, who runs a small community group trying to maintain language and culture.

Anatoly Koenig, Lyuksemburg Resident: “Lyuksemburg was mostly inhabited by deported Germans. They were deported from the Volga, from Kazakhstan, the Caucasus, Crimea.

They were sent here during the war, and after it. That’s why they have all left. Some have returned to their original homelands; others to Germany.”

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

After the war there were a hundred thousand Germans in Kyrgyzstan. They began leaving after the collapse of the Soviet Union and there are only around ten thousand today.

But many do not speak German, and the passing of time has diluted their sense of identity.

Margarita Kopteva, National Union of Germans in Kyrgyzstan: “Living here, we took on many things from the Kyrgyz, just as those who lived in Uzbekistan took things from the Uzbek. It makes its mark on you, and there’s also assimilation.

I know people who consider themselves German, their roots are German, but they look like a Georgian or an Uzbek.”

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

A visit to Lyuksemburg is not on the agenda for German Chancellor Angela Merkel who’s making her first visit to Kyrgyzstan.

This dwindling community of Germans forms an increasingly tenuous link to a past that is fading from memory.

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Kyrgyzstan. The ethnic Germans in the video live in their own quarter in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. True or false?

Kazakhstan. Was Felix born in Kyrgyzstan? Did he have an easy, uneventful life?

Tajikistan. Do Felix, his family and everyone in his community only speak German? Does he live with his children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces and nephews?

Uzbekistan. All the ethnic Germans in Kyrgyzstan had migrated there from Saxony, Germany in the 1700s. Is this right or wrong?

Has the German-Kyrgyz population been increasing? Is the German-Kyrgyz population increasing in size?

Mongolia. The ethnic Germans only stick to themselves. They are very ethnocentric and 100% German. Is this correct or incorrect?

Russia, Siberia. Will the German Chancellor pay a visit to Lyuksemburg?

Afghanistan. What is future of the German-Kyrgyz? Will the German language become dominant in Kyrgyzstan?
Xinjiang, East Turkestan. There are different ethnic groups in my country. Yes or no?

Iran, Persia. Are different groups assimilating or maintaining their own language, traditions and customs?

Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan. My country has ties with Germany.

Turkey. What might happen in the future?

Tatarstan, Chuvashia, Bashkirstan. What could or should people do?

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