In addition, the Ministry of Culture and Science has reappointed him as Chairman of the State Advisory Council for Expellees, Repatriates and Late Repatriates. 56-year-old Heiko Hendriks has held the two positions since February 2018.
German expellees, repatriates and late repatriates as well as repatriates and refugees from the former GDR are an important part of our society and are involved in many ways in North Rhine-Westphalia. The state government wants to pay special tribute to this and provide a contact person for this target group.
Gonca Türkeli-Dehnert, State Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and Science: “Heiko Hendriks has proven in recent years that the function of the Commissioner makes it possible to represent the interests of the groups in a targeted manner and to make their voices heard. The renewed appointment thus expresses appreciation not only for the work he has done, but also for immigrant people, their concerns as well as their specific life paths.“
“I am delighted about the renewed appointment and thank you very much for the trust you have placed in me. I pledge that I will continue to devote myself to the task area with great commitment.”Heiko Hendriks
In a phase in which it is also important for displaced persons to shape the transition from the generation of experience to subsequent generations, the war of aggression on Ukraine has once again made clear how closely the concerns of German expellees, repatriates and ethnic German immigrants are related to current social challenges. It is important to make clear what similarities exist between this group of people in terms of giving up their previous lives and arriving in a new society with people who are now coming to us.
Until 1989, more than 2.4 million German expellees and refugees from the former German eastern territories (approx. 1.35 million) and from the former SBZ/DDR (approx. 1.1 million) came to North Rhine-Westphalia. Furthermore, North Rhine-Westphalia has taken in around 700,000 ethnic German repatriates, the largest group being the so-called Germans from Russia, followed by Germans from Poland and Romania.