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Chapter 1 - Making Romanian Germans

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 December 2021

James Koranyi
Affiliation:
University of Durham
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Summary

Who are these Romanian Germans? This chapter maps out the materials from which Romanian Germans constructed their identity from the late nineteenth century into the interwar period. It starts with an overview of the history of Germans in the region before engaging in detail with three key identity myths that emerged from and around that history. The final section embeds those identity narratives in a transnational web of reception and affirmation spanning interwar Europe. In making sense of their experiences in the twentieth century, this chapter argues, Germans in Romania used long-standing narratives that had been important to the two communities of Saxons and Swabians, picking and choosing older ‘foundation myths’ from these groups according to the needs of the circumstances in which they found themselves. These myths were highly malleable and usable by a variety of actors in the community, not just elites. Romanian Germans thus returned to three key themes time and again: Saxon privilege and superiority, a sense of being under siege, and the Swabian path of ordeal.

Type
Chapter
Information
Migrating Memories
Romanian Germans in Modern Europe
, pp. 22 - 62
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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