First visit to Transylvania of Natalie Pawlik, Member of the German Bundestag

Natalie Pawlik (SPD), the Federal Government Commissioner for Matters Related to Ethnic German Resettlers and National Minorities, visited Transylvania from 7 to 9 August 2023. In addition to meetings with representatives of the German Democratic Forum in Romania (DFDR), a visit to the Hărman fortified church was also on the programme of the visit.

During her stay in Sibiu, Ms Pawlik held talks with Mayor Astrid Fodor (DFDR), among others, and visited the Carl Wolff Senior Citizens’ Home and the centres for adults and children with cancer. In Șumuleu Ciuc the Federal Government Commissioner was able to attend the closing event of the ninth edition of the summer camp for German minorities, which brought together more than seventy young people of German origin from many European countries under the title “We live diversity”.

Meeting in the Fortified Church of Hărman

Dr. Ágnes Ziegler, Dr. Frank-Thomas Ziegler, Ruth István, Konsulin Kerstin Ursula Jahn, MdB Natalie Pawlik, Bischof Reinhart Guib, Unterstaatsekretär Dr. Thomas Șindilariu und Pfarrer Kurt Boltres (f.l.t.r.)

After a welcome by Bishop Reinhart Guib, pastor Kurt Boltres and Ruth István (Fortified Churches Foundation), art historian Dr. Frank-Thomas Ziegler guided the German delegation through the fortified church, which is maintained in an exemplary manner by the castle keeper couple Ilica-Popescu.

Natalie Pawlik was accompanied by Germany’s consul in Sibiu, Kerstin Ursula Jahn, and by Under-Secretary of State Dr Thomas Șindilariu (DFDR). The visit to Hărman was an initiative of the Fortified Churches Foundation. Ruth István presented the work of the foundation and described the overall situation of the architectural and religious heritage.

After interesting discussions about monument preservation, politics and culture of the German-speaking minorities in Romania, and a delicious snack in the fortified church, Ms Pawlik started her return journey to Germany in the early afternoon.

The Social Democrat Natalie Pawlik was born in Russia and came to Germany at the age of six as an ethnic German resettler. She has been a member of the 20th German Bundestag since the 2021 elections. After the formation of the new German Federal Government, she was appointed Federal Government Commissioner for Matters Related to Ethnic German Resettlers and National Minorities in 2022, succeeding Dr Bernd Fabritius, who is originally from Transylvania, making her the first woman to hold this position.

Text and photos: Stefan Bichler