[KS] Re: Koreans in the GDR

Yong-ho Choe choeyh at hawaii.edu
Fri Jun 25 15:39:44 EDT 1999

For those who may be interested in a similar topic, I remember listening to National Public Radio (NPR) some months ago interviewing an American historian Stephen Ambrose, who said, if my memory is correct, that a number of ethnic Koreans had participated as a part of the Red Army in the war against the Nazi Germany.  Perhaps, there may be some who may want to pursue this issue.

At 03:10 AM 6/24/1999 -1000, you wrote:
>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
Yong-ho Choe, Professor
Department of History
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Honolulu, HI  96822

Tel: 808 956-6762
Fax: 808 956-9600
E-mail: choeyh at hawaii.edu


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