[KS] Koreans in the GDR

Rüdiger Frank h0727cej at rz.hu-berlin.de
Thu Jun 24 09:10:12 EDT 1999

Dear Dr. Armstrong,

there are at least two books I would like to recommend on the issue of the
GDR-DPRK relationship:

- Chon, Tuk Chu: Die Beziehungen zwischen der DDR und der Koreanischen
Demokratischen Volksrepublik (1947-1978) (The relationship between the GDR
and the DPRK), Muenchen 1982 (in German)

- Kim, Kie-Taek and Andis Kaulins (eds.): The Foreign Policies and the
Foreign Trade of the German Democratic Republic and the Korean Democratic
People's Republic, Kiel 1979

I agree that the GDR surely was not the only East block country to host
North Koreans after the outbreak of the Korean War, even though I don't
have exact numbers. In my book I have focussed mainly on the aid - in
roubles - for and in North Korea, but maybe with a little deduction... For
example: In cable No. 300 (May 31, 1956) the GDR ambassador to North Korea
informed Foreign Minister Fischer of a meeting in Moscow to co-ordinate the
aid for Korea. According to this, the total amount for 1956 was settled as
1 billion roubles. The USSR had to pay 500 million, China from 250 to 300
million, and GDR, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Rumania and Bulgaria had to pay
the remaining 200-300 million roubles. The ambassador expected a request
from Kim Il Sòng for 100 millions to be paid by the GDR. 

My impression from thousands of pages in the archives was that the question
of aid to North Korea was dealt with rather formalistically at the top
levels. If you look at the numbers above, the total sum has been divided
between the countries according to their importance and/or economical power
(btw, China later 'voluntarily' added 200 millions in order to be on equal
footing with the Soviet Union). This leads me to the assumption that the
number of North Korean orphans etc. must have beeen negotiated as well,
probably with the same result: All countries had to accept their share, the
numbers variying according to the above mentioned criteria. Please note,
that this is just a guess. And I should emphasize that we definitely must
make a difference between the rather cold and formalistic approach of many
bureaucrats (top level) and the warm and close relationship between the
orphans and their German hosts (micro level). I have met many people here
in Germany who told me about cruying heavy tears for weeks after their
'North Korean children' returned home, not to speak about those who left
Germany to build up a destroyed and completely unknown country thousands of
miles away from their homes, without caring too much about politcs.

Have you contacted Prof. Karoly Fendler in Hungary? He as a former diplomat
has deep and excellent knowledge on the whole issue. Prof. Fendler is
member of the AKSE, his adress must be contained somewhere in the AKSE
newsletter (which I just can't find; could anybody help?).



Ruediger FRANK
Humboldt-University Berlin
Korea Institute
Fon: +49-30-55 99 878
Fax: +49-30-2093-6666
e-mail: ruediger.frank at rz.hu-berlin.de
Web: http://www2.rz.hu-berlin.de/korea


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