Dr. Mieste Hotopp-Riecke
Perspectives and Potentials of Crimean Tatar studies in Germany
Abstract. The article presents briefly some recent and upcoming projects in context of Crimean Tatar studies in Germany, which are currently under construction. First, an Internet toponymical platform. Secondly, a regional initiative on onomastics and biography work. Third, planned research projects/dissertations. Fourth, current exhibitions, conferences, publications.
Keywords: Crimean Tatar history, Toponomy, recent research, cooperation, Crimean Tatar diaspora.
Here only follows a brief overview regarding new research projects in the context of Crimean Tatar studies in Germany. The recent situation characterized by difficulties of equal access to resources. Neither Crimean scientists from the Crimea have the opportunity to research freely in Germany, Ukraine and Russia, nor do German colleagues have access to the Crimea. The colleagues from the Crimea must decide either to do research in Russia or in Ukraine. If they travel to Germany, they are undesirable in the Ukraine when they enter EU by the Russian visa, and when they travel westwards via the mainland Ukraine, they get trouble with Russia. An example can illustrate in small what juridical difficulties one has to face besides the problems just described concerning logistics and technology: When I stated at a conference in Istanbul in 2015, that we wanted to cooperate with Crimean institutions, I earned boisterous criticism and scornful remarks by Ukrainian scientists. As soon as our institute would enter into cooperations with institutes in the Crimea, I would be included on a blacklist of Ukraine[i]. Another example is certainly the instrumentalisation of the Eurovision Song Contest, both last year after the victory of the Crimean Tatar singer Jamala and this year with the deliberate nomination of Yuliya Samoylova[ii]. To avoid such difficulties and still be able to carry out common projects, ways such as WeTransfer, Skype, e-mail and other Internet-based communication platforms are the adequate corridors that we need to use, beyond the political issues such as how the current status Quo of Crimea is to evaluate. This does not mean that we scientists in Germany, for example, have no opinion on the current situation[iii]. But it is most likely to help our common research object if we are looking for ways to collaborate together, rather than analyzing or changing geopolitical circumstances. Instead of trying to analyze evaluations with very little historical distance, which protagonist did what, when and why, I would like to call my approach here solidary disregardful pragmatism: In solidarity with the Crimean Tartar colleagues, ignoring the new meta level of power structures, pragmatically focused on Crimean Tatar research objects[iv].
Therefore, here will be presented briefly some projects in context of Crimean Tatar studies in Germany, which are currently under construction. First, an Internet toponymy platform. Secondly, a regional initiative on onomastics and biography work. Third, planned research projects. Fourth, current exhibitions, conferences, publications.
1) The Internet toponymy platform «Crimean Native Names».
Our colleague Roman Alieiev[v] and his friends from the initiative «Qırımlı»[vi] in Germany have done a fantastic job and made a collection of more than 2900 villages and cities, around 600 names of valleys, rivers, lakes and related historical facts[vii]. His motivation and experience Alieiev described as following: “Most of people either in Crimea or in Germany know nothing about true history of Crimea and its culture. As I figured out while creating the map I am not an exception”. On their web map one can find, besides the Russian and Ukrainian names, the current or former Crimean Tatar or Turkic names. These include, for example, all the mosques of the Crimea as well as micro-toponyms such as mausoleums/türbe, springs/fountains, cemeteries, rivers, bays, historical buildings and mountains. In addition, one can also get to know travel routes and travelers diaries of travelers of the last centuries, which have researched the northern Black Sea and the Crimea. The map is provided by the different layers like «Crimean Native Names on the Territory of Qirim Yurt» one and two as well as with a layer for «Other Crimean Historic Names» which depicts historic names used by Crimeans for «Qırım Yurt»[viii].
- issue: Regional platform Mirror of Names. Under this label «Namen-Spiegel» (isim aynası), we offer events in Saxony-Anhalt in various formats, where people are dealing with history through onomastics, toponymical issues, biographies and name changes. For this purpose, the local German population, together with migrants, uses the Internet platform described above, as well as books, anecdotes, their own life-ways and tales of experiences, encouragement, success and suffering stories. We therefore take instruments from science and approach the population to promote understanding and integration in our society. We invite Crimean musicians, poets and scholars to present their work, their biography and their names, the names of their families, the names of their places of origin, stories related to their new homes, and the names of their places of yearning. Beside the effect of discovering interesting stories and supporting tolerance and common understanding the German people learn much about Crimean Tatar culture and history.
The project is sponsored by the German Ministry of the Interior in the program «Living Democracy» and is a cooperation between the ICATAT and the «Qirimli» initiative with the Association for the Cultural Education of Children and Young People in Saxony-Anhalt.
- issue. At the University Magdeburg named Otto von Guericke will start in September 2017 a young Crimean Tatar woman, collaborator of ICATAT, a PhD-project concerning Crimean Tatar movement in recent situation. Our colleague Dzhemile Umerova-Ibragimova[ix] has moved with her family from the Crimea to Kharkiv and now lives in Magdeburg. In the next years, she will write her dissertation on the following topics: Crimean Tatar migration and migratory movements since 2014 in Ukraine and outside Ukraine. Potentials and losses of artistic skills, scientific knowhow. Possibilities of consolidation and focusing of forces for the maintenance, networking and strengthening of Crimean Tatar communities in the mainland Ukraine, at Crimea and in the disapora (example Germany). The work moves between the fields of sociology, Turkology, history and migration research. Our institute together with the associaton “Tatarlar Deutschland”[x] is supporting this project by organizing housing, travel grants, connecting publishing houses and relevant institutes in other cities of Germany.
Another PhD-project of another Crimean Tatar young woman will deal with the history of the Crimean Tatar Association of Germany[xi], who was the first official Association of Muslims in Western Germany after the Second World War at all. The founders of this association were former members of Crimean Tatar military legions of the German Wehrmacht in Second World War, whom were able to remain in Germany and were not delivered to the Soviet Gulags. There are only a few living old citizens and our colleague would like to take advantage of the limited time available for interviews. The association decided last year to dissolve, because the second to fourth generation of Crimean Tatar people from this time in Germany is now completely integrated or assimilated. It is therefore necessary to document, publish and archive the unique and symptomatic history of the association and its protagonists[xii].
- issue: New publications, exhibitions
As a cooperation of the ICATAT with the Center for Islamic Law at the University of Nuremberg and the Eastern Europe Institute of the University of Vienna, was a collection volume on Crimean Tatar history published, which appears in german language in june 2017[xiii]. This anthology contains articles, which were written in an elaborate double-blind-peer-review-method. This means that the quality standard of the texts is highly and neutrally assessed. Authors are for instance Prof. Dr. Kerstin Jobst, Prof. Dr. Augustinowicz, Dr. Zaur Gasimov, Dr. Mieste Hotopp-Riecke, Prof. Dr. Andreas Kappeler and other colleagues. We also try to send copies to the Crimea to the Gasprinski Library and to the KIPU-Library. However, the sending of mail packages from Western Europe to the Crimea alone is a problem that is probably unique in Europe right now[xiv]. Already in the inventory of these libraries would have to be my last book: «The construction of the education system of the Crimean Tatars after the return from the deportation 1990-2005»[xv].
Currently, the Museum of Islamic cultures in the Qul Sharif Mosque in Kazan is showing our exhibition from Germany under the title «Islam in Brandenburg-Prussia / 600 years of Tataric-German cultural contacts». This is a cooperation between the Brandenburg-Prussia-Museum, the ICATAT and the Mardshany-Institute for History of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan. I think because everyone knows what efforts it is necessary to initiate and carry out such a project and, of course, because the theme of the exhibition is unique — both in Germany and in Russia — this joint venture project has received an immense media response. From regional radio stations to Tatarian and German television as well as largest German daily newspapers reports about this exhibition, which was also planed for the Crimea, were published[xvi]. In this exhibition, not only are exhibits on Islam in general displayed in Germany, but many Crimean Tatar and Volga-Tatar exhibits from German archives were sent to Tatarstan. For legal reasons, a show of the exhibition in the Crimea is unfortunately not possible at the moment. The exhibition is open until 24 July 2017.
Перспективы и потенциал исследований истории крымских татар в Германии
Аннотация. В статье кратко представлены некоторые недавние и предстоящие проекты в контексте крымскотатарских исследований в Германии, которые в настоящее время реализуются. Во-первых, интернет-топонимическая платформа. Во-вторых, работает региональная инициатива по ономастике и биографии. В-третьих, запланированы исследовательские проекты и диссертации. В-четвертых, текущие выставки, конференции, публикации.
Ключевые слова: крымскотатарская история, топонимика, недавние исследования сотрудничество, крымскотатарская диаспора.