Bessarabia Germans

The Bessarabia Germans (German: Bessarabiendeutsche, Romanian: Germani basarabeni) are an ethnic group who lived in Bessarabia (today part of Moldova and Ukraine) between 1814 and 1940. Between 1814 and 1842, 9000 of them immigrated from the German areas Baden, Württemberg, Alsace, Bavaria and some Prussian areas of modern-day Poland, to the Russian government of Bessarabia at the Black Sea. The area, bordering on the Black Sea, was part of the Russian Empire, in the form of Novorossiya; it later became the Bessarabia Governorate. In their 125-year history, the Bessarabia Germans were an overwhelmingly rural population. Until their moving to the Greater Germany (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact), they were a minority consisting of 93,000 people who made up some 3% of the population. They are distinguished from the Black Sea Germans who settled to the east of Odessa.

The most prominent person of Bessarabian ancestry is the former German President Horst Köhler. Before emigrating in 1940, his parents lived in the German colony Rîşcani in Northern Bessarabia, being moved to Poland, which was by that time occupied by Germany, where Köhler was born.

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