Volume #12 - 217.|
IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES
President, Initiative Group for the Emigration to Canada of Baltic-Germans from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania,|
to Government of Canada
January 5th, 1946|
As representatives of the Baltic-German group of the inhabitants of the former independent states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania we apply to you with the request to permit our emigration to your country and our colonization there. In the years 1939-1940 we left on Germany's invitation our native country which had already been inhabited by our ancestors for 700 years and emigrated to Germany in order to contribute on our pa rt to the peace among nations in the East of Europe.
Our people which is of German-Danish-Swedish-Norwegian-Finnish-Russian origin, living at the borders, has suffered much in the course of his long history through continuous wars amongst neighbouring Great Powers, but in spite of this we have preserved our culture and nationality.
Through great activity and vitality we succeeded to overcome all difficulties. We belonged to the richest of the Nordic-German nations.
In the years 1939-1940 about 120,000 Baltic-Germans emigrated to Ger many. They had to transfer to the German state the right to dispose of their property, as fixtures, factories, estates and other values, for which they had to be indemnified advantageously in Germany. The German State on his part has made arrangements with the governments of the Baltic States and with Russia for the settlement of the accounts for the properties of the emigrants.
The properties left by us in the Baltic States, for which Germany is responsible, amounts to about 300,000,000 dollars. We want to transfer to your Government all our claims to Germany on the basis of this arrangement for the purpose to ensure the final settlement with Germany.
We trust that meantime it will be possible with your mediation to finance the emigration and the colonization in Canada through an English-American Bank.
We presume that about 80,000-90,000 Baltic-Germans will have survived this war and will be willing to emigrate.
Among us being representatives of all professions from the university professor and manufacturer to the workman and farmer, we think that our
colonization and the building up of our new existence in Canada would be an extensive one embracing all branches of business.
The organization of the works with regard to the cultural and economical sections will be guided and promoted by ourselves in accordance with the needs of our people.
We beg to point out that all of us shall be responsible for the credits obtained in Canada for our colonization. The amounts obtained from Germany shall be credited to these accounts and shall serve as securities.
Our idea is that the colonization would be a closed one, i.e. round several small towns which should be erected 5,000-6,000 farms would be founded. For this purpose we need good, for agricultural purposes suitable soil, if possible near railways, waterways a.s.o.
The colonization should be organized with the help of Canadian firms and with our own forces. All shall be arranged in accordance with the demands of the present time by means of mutual help.
In the beginning the emigrants should be placed in great barracks if possible in the vicinity of the territory allotted for the colonization, where they should be nourished in community.
In case you should agree to this scheme we should like to hear on what help we could count on the part of your Government, particularly as to the allotment of ground, building of roads, traffic, electrification, for the colonization in towns: calculation of the amount of ground for the constructions in the small towns which should be erected, taxes and duties.
We are interested to become soon subjects of Canada and we beg to re quest, in case an emigration should be at all possible, to take us already in Germany under your protection and to give us corresponding passports which would serve as an authorization for the emigration.
In completion we beg to say that until the years 1939-1940 we have been subjects of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and since 1940-1941 we have become subjects of Germany.
We are etc.
1L. S. St. Laurent.