The image of Germans on their Romanians neighbours

The image of Germans on their Romanians neighbours
This paper describes the inter-ethnic relations between populations of different language
groups in Eastern Europe. The transition fromthe initial separation to understanding
and coexistence is shown by the example of the Swabian colonists in the
18th century. Economic and social needs led to multilingualism, which is a prerequisite
for productive cooperation between ethnic groups, leading to the use of terms
like „Landsmann” (fellow-countryman; compatriot) and „prieten” (friend), by both
partners. Noteworthy are the adoption of the custom of the „Klack” from the Romanians,
the dissemination of economic innovations and linguistic interferences by
traveling craftsmen and through regional trade relations.
The external image of the Germans seen by their Romanians neighbours was
most often a friendly image, in which positive character traits were presented objectively,
and were accepted as such by the partner. This is shown by Hans Diplich (in
a fully quoted essay) for the Romanians.
The virtues of the colonists (industriousness, reliability and thriftiness) dominated
the image of the Germans seen by the Romanians in the 18th century, before
the effects of nationalismcreated and nurtured new hostile images. This is illustrated
by the positive meaning of the words borrowed from German, such as pauăr, maistur
or molar in Romanian (simultaneously also paor in Serbian).
It is only after the SecondWorldWar that ideologically-driven hostile images are
created throughout the world, by false reports and accusations, and through oftenrepeated
half-truths. These continue to affect the Germans even today, after sixty
years of lived democracy, and should be corrected in the common house of Europe.
History proves that friendly images are more durable than hostile images.
Translation: N. Tullius


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