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Gorky makes room for Goethe

The average Vladivostokian is far more likely to answer to "Konnichiwa" than "Guten Tag".
Nevertheless, Germany has opened a 4,000-book German-language library in Vladivostok's Gorky Public Library, complete with daily newspapers and audio tapes. The two-year-old Goethe Saal, the only such library in the Far East, is part of the German government's program to help people of German ancestry living abroad.

There are approximately 4,000 ethnic Germans living in Primorye, accordeng to Ludmila Klimenko, a senior German instructor at Eastern State University. That number is tiny compared to areas like Omsk and Kazakhstan, where Germany is providing funding for housing and other services for German descendants in those areas.

The most visible sumbol of Primorye's pre-Revolutionary German community is the crumbling, Gothic-style church in downtown Vladivostok. After 50 years of serving as a Pacific Fleet Museum, the church is being reclaimed by a fledgling Lutheran congregation.

The members have also established a German Cultural Center that hosts musical concerts and other events in Vladivostok and are studying the language under Doris Klauer, a volunteer with the Society for German Culture Abroad. Klauer, who is on a four-month assignment in Vladivostok, is teaching German at the library, the German Cultural Center and Gumnasium No. 2 in the city.

She worries that many of her students are more interested in emigrating to Germany than enjoying their culture in Vladivostok. "Nearly all of them want to go to Germany", she said, addingthat they will face stiff competition for jobs there.
But for Ulyana Velikanova, Klauer's lessons and the library feed a cultural thirst.
"My mother is a Gertman teacher and she went to Germany and told me a lot about it", said the 27-year-old political science student at FESU. "And I love the German poets and writers".

The Goethe Saal is at 59 Nekrasovskaya Street in the Gorky Public Library, open from
noon to 6 p.m. The library is closed on Friday and Sunday.

Karen Ogden
Vladivistok News 1996, 29 November, No. 19 (130)

подпись к фото: Many of the students lerning German at the cultural center want to emigrate.