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An Interview with Heinrich Siemens on Background and Scores (Part One)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/07/01


Heinrich Siemens was born as a member of a Low German community in Latvia, or the former Soviet Union. His family spoke Plautdietsch and read the Luther Bible in High German. He has performed very well on HRIQ tests of Ronald K. Hoeflin, Paul Cooijmans, Jonathan Wai, Theodosis Prousalis, and others. Some results have been above 5 sigma or 5 standard deviations. He developed the Three Sonnets Test ( A lot of his life resolves around Plautdietsch language. He is the president of the international association of speakers of the language. He founded a publishing house devoted to this Siemens enjoys the philosophy of Wittgenstein in particular and the philosophy of language in general. He has a film interest directors including Bergman, Kubrick, Melville, Tarr, Tarkovsky, Tarr, von Trier. If in Plautdietsch, he enjoys films by Alexandra Kulak & Ruslan Fedotov, Carlos Reygadas, Nora Fingscheidt, and others. He discusses: Germany; Plautdietsch, German, and Russian; the origin of Plautdietsch; the Mennonite religion; family life; giftedness; Ronald K. Hoeflin, Paul Cooijmans, Jonathan Wai, Theodosis Prousalis, and some others; and Tweeback Verlag.

Keywords: Heinrich Siemens, Jonathan Wai, Luther Bible, Paul Cooijmans, Plautdietsch, Ronald K. Hoeflin, Theodosis Prousalis, Tweeback Verlag.

An Interview with Heinrich Siemens on Background and Scores (Part One)[1],[2]*

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: In Latvia, what is the cultural and socioeconomic meaning of the “Low German community”?

Heinrich Siemens: In the second half of the 18th century, when the German-born Catherine II. was Tsarina, many people from (High and Low) German-speaking countries (Germany did not yet exist) emigrated to the Russian Empire. My parents grew up in Siberia, but in the 1960s when the opportunity arose, they moved to Latvia, now part of the EU, but then part of the Soviet Union.

In our community we spoke Plautdietsch, the variety of Low German that was common in the former Soviet Union. But the Luther Bible was read in High German, the school was in Latvian and the lingua franca of the Soviet Union was Russian. I grew up with these languages. When I was 11, we emigrated to Germany.

2. Jacobsen: Why did you emigrate to Germany?

Siemens: As a German minority and as part of a religious community, we suffered great restrictions in the Soviet Union. I could not have become an academic, for example, and there was even the danger of being locked up in prison.

In the 1970s the cold war thawed a little and the possibility of emigration arose in the context of the Helsinki Accords. Many families could be reunited who had been separated for decades by the iron curtain.

3. Jacobsen: Are you trilingual now with Plautdietsch, German, and Russian?

Siemens: Yes, I feel most comfortable in these languages. There are a few more languages (including English) in which I read books or have simple conversations, but when it comes to in-depth conversations I quickly reach my limits.

4. Jacobsen: What is the origin of Plautdietsch?

Siemens: In contrast to High German, Low German has preserved the old consonants /p, t, k/ and the old monophthongs /i:, u:/, so it has not gone through the High German consonant shift and diphthongization (Pepa, Tiet, Wota, koake, Hus vs. Pfeffer, Zeit, Wasser, kochen, Haus). Consonantism is thus similar in Low German, Dutch, and English, while the long vowels /i:, u:/ are preserved only in Low German, while English, High German, and Dutch have diphthongs.

Plautdietsch is the Low German variety that was spoken between the Vistula and Nogat rivers in Poland. At that time, the Baltic Prussians (now extinct), the Slavic Kashubs and German settlers lived in this area, they all formed a Sprachbund and thus Plautdietsch was also influenced by Baltic and Slavic.

Now there are only a few Plautdietsch speakers left in Siberia, most of them have emigrated to Germany (about 200,000). There have been overseas emigrations since the 19th century, so that now there are about 100,000 speakers in North America and about 250,000 speakers in Latin America. In Europe the number of speakers is decreasing, in Latin America it is growing thanks to large families.

For about 100 years there has been a Plautdietsch literature, there are grammars and dictionaries, so that today it is a fully developed written language.

5. Jacobsen: Does the Mennonite religion still influence you? If not, why not? If so, how?

Siemens: Because my name is Heinrich, I naturally expected this Gretchenfrage 😉 (cf. Faust I by Goethe).

Mennonites differ from the other Christian religions in that they only baptize adults. I consider this principle to be very important, because everyone should decide for himself whether he wants to belong and to which religion he wants to belong. Theologically, pacifism is crucial for Mennonites, and this was also the reason for the many migrations of Mennonites: Whenever the young men were to become soldiers, the Mennonites emigrated to another country where they didn’t have to do army service.

I still share these religious principles, but I personally decided against being baptized. I belong to the cultural community of Mennonites, but not to a congregation. After careful consideration I have come to the conclusion that I want to live my life without God, maybe because of Ockham’s razor. When I see what the Bible (or other holy scriptures) and faith are misused for, I don’t want to be a part of it.

6. Jacobsen: How was family life for you? Was this reflective of many families of the time in Latvia?

Siemens: A childhood in the late 1960s and 1970s was very different from now. We played outside a lot, had no electronic gadgets yet, we lived in a three-generation household. My parents worked, we children were with the grandmother. The other families lived similarly, not only in our Low German community, but also the Latvians in our small town.

7. Jacobsen: Was giftedness noticed early for you?

Siemens: Giftedness was never an issue. Although I have always found cognitive challenges easier than many of my fellow human beings, I did not take my first test until I was 45. Today I know the international high range IQ community, but I didn’t know about it before.

8. Jacobsen: What were some of the tests by Ronald K. Hoeflin, Paul Cooijmans, Jonathan Wai, Theodosis Prousalis, and some others taken by you? What has been the full range of scores on S.D. 15? What test was the highest score for you?

Siemens: My most successful test results include the Titan test by Ronald K. Hoeflin (raw score 45/48), the Test of the Beheaded Man (33/40), the Marathon Test (108/111), both by Paul Cooijmans, many different tests and some won contests by Theodosis Prousalis, SLSE 48 (30/48) by Jonathan Wai, etc. Usually the results were beyond 5 standard deviations. The highest score was the verbal section of the Marathon Test with IQ 180 S.D. 15.

In this context, let me draw your attention to the only test I have designed: Three Sonnets ( It takes some time to get into it, but if you consider that the test was published on Towel day, you have a clue. I am waiting for your submission. Have fun and dopamine release.

9. Jacobsen: Why found the publishing house Tweeback Verlag?

Siemens: The Tweeback Verlag has literature on and about Plautdietsch as its main focus. I founded it because there was no publisher in this niche yet and there were some books that needed to be published.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] 45/48 on the Titan Test by Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin.

[2] Individual Publication Date: July 1, 2020:; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020:


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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