"Historical return trip 60 years after the FLIGHT and EXPULSION"
by 200 Donauschwaben by ship from Passau to Novi Sad (Neusatz) and back
from the 22nd to the 31st of October 2004.

Travel arrangements: Chairmen: Hildegard Gutekunst and Herbert Schön Reiseveranstalter:
Help committee for the German Evangelical Church from the former Yugoslavia e.V.
Chairmen: Hildegard Gutekunst and Herbert Schön

Travel-notices in words and pictures

Thank God service on the last day on the ship on 10/31/04.

"For DIALOGUE, PEACE, and RECONCILIATION, the motto for which our trip stands."
the motto for which our trip stands."

Said at the beginning
of the last church service on the ship
on the return trip between Vienna and Passau.

Manfred Wagner,
prelate pastor and partnership commission
for Eastern Europe
for the Evangelical church in Württemburg Service for mission ecumenical Christianity and development.

For the church service he chose
Psalm 51:
" a broken and contrite heart,
wirst du, Gott, nicht verachten. O God, thou wilt not despise."

(Translation: Bradley Schwebler)

First Day, 10/22/04

In the morning, before our departure, this article was in the daily newspaper "Badische Neueste Nachrichten" (Baden's Newest News):

"The End of Mutual Hiding"
The Evangelical church organized a "reunion trip" for the Donauschwaben in their former homeland.

They came from Alsace and Lorraine, the Pfalz (Palatinate) and the electoral Palatinate, from Hesse, Baden, and Württemberg and had a common goal: the need to escape the epidemics and the compulsory denominations of the princes and build a new homeland in the distance - independent, subject only to the emperor.
It is a moving part of European history of the 20th century - the fate of the Donauschwaben. In the 18th century they left their homeland, not knowing what was waiting for them in the Pannonian plain in central Danube in present day Hungary, Romania, and former Yugoslavia. Recruited by the rulers of the Hapsburg Danube monarchy they soon brought competent farmers and craftsmen to modest prosperity and made their settlement region the bread basket of Europe. In the beginning only Catholic emigrants were tolerated, so Joseph the II granted the first settlement for Protestants.
(Translation: Bradley Schwebler)

SWR Radio Landau

The reporter Helga GNÄGY(on the right in the picture speaking with Ingeborg Stephan, born Sander) , questioned the travel participant about her experiences at the war's end in 1944-45 in the Batschka.
The interview was broadcasted several times from 10/22/04 on - during the ship's travel - from the SDR1 and SWR4 / Baden Radio (frequency 97 UKW/FM).

Ms. Gnägy:
Sixty years ago countless refugees set out from southeast Europe in the direction of Germany. One hundred thousand of the so-called "Donauschwaben" lost their homeland as the Russian front advanced in the Balkans. Well over 200 years ago the Danube Germans lived in present day Serbia, in Hungary, and Romania. At the time when the farmers and craftsmen were called up by the German-Austrian crown from Swabia, the Pfalz, and Alsace to cultivate this devastated stretch of land anew. In 1944 the descendants of these settlers must leave everything behind and start completely over.
In 1944 Herbert Schön was only five years old at the time - the flight from Yugoslavia was a great adventure for the child. He must have experienced much along the way which he still cannot forget today.
Herbert Schön:
In a refugee camp we were penned in together with other travelers overnight, a new group of people came in and a young woman began to cry - she had her baby wrapped up and it was freezing!
Ms. Gnägy:
For the family the flight was an odyssey. Over many stations the Schöns reached the Austrain-Slovenian border. Hope burned out - hope that they could turn back to Yugoslavia, to their homeland villages of Katsch. It turned out differently.
Herbert Schön:
After a few days the terrible news came that the English military administration would not allow us to cross the border. Then in between some trains drove over the border and were stopped on the Yugoslavian side. Their possessions were plundered and they were killed in the worst way.
Ms. Gnägy:
So the Schöns went back again. After a short in between stop in Upper Franconia they finally reached the southern Pfalz. They were allowed to remain and could build a new existence in the region where their ancestors once migrated from.
Herbert Schön:
My father had asked his three sonsif we wanted to be farmers. And as we told him no, we did not want to, he said, I was going to do everything for your training. What is on your mind, that one can never take away from you as one has taken from me my existence and certainty.
Ms. Gnägy:
One other fate is that of Ingeborg and Heinrich Stephan. Both also came from Vojvodina, from the exclusively Donauschwaben inhabited village of Bulkes. As the wave of refugees (losrollte) there, sixteen year old Heinrich Stephan saw his chance at that time.
Heinrich Stephan:
Anyway, I had to go to Germany to further my education. And actually wanted to travel out legally with my travel pass, but the Hungarians did not give me any pass. As the Russians came now I thought, thank God, now we finally get away from the "nest."
Ms. Gnägy:
With the horse wagons and only little property the Stephans made their way on the dangerous road in the direction of Silesia.
Heinrich Stephan:
So - from the dangerous road and as things got much worse, which I always read about how the wagon broke down, the horses were startled and jumped over the ferry into the Danube, or there were low air raids, non of which I have experienced.
Ms. Gnägy:
Over many detours he ended up in Karlsruhe at the end of the war, where he studied and was able to be an architect. Things went differently for his wife Ingeborg. The family of a girl 9 years old at the time decided against fleeing and remained in Bulkes.
Ingeborg Stephan:
My mother really did not want to flee. And then we just thought, we haven't done anything to anyone, so nobody will do anything to us.
Ms. Gnägy:
Yet that was not so. To a large extent the Russians had spared the little villages. But then came the Tito partisans. Ingeborg Stephan's father, the community doctor, was immediately killed.
Ingeborg Stephan:
My father had to go to a camp in Palanka. The pastor, the pharmacist, the teacher, and my father, the doctor, were brought out the first night. They sent the pastor back again. But my father, the pharmacist, and the teacher were killed the same night.
Ms. Gnägy:
The mother went to a work camp while the nine year old girl was carried off with her grandma and a brother to another camp (to Jarek) at the time. Not many people survived this time. Ingeborg Stephan was lucky. After the war she found a new homeland in Swabia with her mother and brother. In the meantime she was already with her man several times in the former Yugoslavia and they tried to work things out step by step during such a terrible time.
Ingeborg Stephan:
When we came in the first time the coffee was already made and Slivovic offered.
They were actually always very friendly and, nevertheless, because of that terrible time I also have this feeling of fear sometimes when I am there.
(Translation: Bradley Schwebler)

Fifth Day, 10/22/04


Am Morgen stand dieser Artikel in der ungarischen Tageszeitung:

"Magyar Szo" ("Ungarisches Wort")

Neusatz, Dienstag, 26. Oktober 2004
Aus dem Ungarischen übersetzt von Helmut Bischof
Für Dialog, für Versöhnung

Eine Gruppe von Deutschen, die einst hier lebten und ihre Nachkommen zu Besuch in der Vojvodina - die Gäste
Eine größere Gruppe von Deutschen, die einst hier lebten und ihre Nachkommen, kam nach 60 Jahren gestern zum ersten Mal nach Hause zu Besuch, in ihre ehemalige Heimat, die Vojvodina. Die zu einem dreitägigen freundschaftlichen Besuch eingetroffenen Gäste begrüßte auf dem bei Kamenica ankernden Schiff "Sofia" Sandor Egeresi, der Vizepräsident des Provinzparlaments. Das Programm ihres Aufenthalts hier dient Wegen, die zur Versöhnung führen und der Entwicklung der serbisch-deutschen Freundschaft. Unter der Last des Erbes der Vergangenheit kann auf Grund des Geschehenen nur das gegenseitige Sich-in-die-Augen-Sehen, die völlige Aufdeckung der Wahrheit, die Dinge lösen. Man muß die während der Diktatur, der Zeit der politischen Willkürherrschaft, der ersten Jahre der Nachkriegszeit erlittenen Vergeltungen aufhellen. Dies muß man tun um jedes Opfers willen, um ihrer Angehörigen willen, um der jetzigen und der kommenden Generationen willen.
Das Provinzparlament wird auch weiterhin den demokratischen Änderungen gegenüber offen sein, damit der Mensch, die Werte der Bürgermitte, zur Geltung kommen und in der Vojvodina allen ethnischen, sprachlichen und konfessionellen Gemeinschaften gesetzlich die Gewähr gegeben ist zur vollen Entfaltung, das Recht und die Möglichkeit auf Entwicklung, damit unser Gebiet das wahre Heim eines jeden Bürgers sein könne.

Text zum Foto aus "Mgyar Szo":

A group of Germans who lived in Vojvodina and their descendents in the Museum of Vojvodina.

With it this goal can be realized, one must establish the mistakes begun in the past and must take every precaution that nothing similar to this will ever happen again. The current visit of the Danube Germans and their descendents is an important step on the way to reconciliation in the process of general normalization of the political and business life in Vojvodina.

For dialogue, for peace, and for reconciliation under this description the guests organized their Vojvodina program. Yesterday they visited the Museum of Vojvodina and looked at the sights of Neusatz (Novi Sad). In the evening they received the secular and clerical heads and dignitaries on the ship. Today they visited in several groups Werbaß, Altker (Zmajevo), Kutzura, Tscherwenka, Siwatz, Sombor, Jarek, Titel, Schajkaschsentiwan, Budisava, Futok, Tscheb (Celarevo), Krtschedin, Pasua, Semlin, and Belgrad. On Wednesday they were given a reception in the provincial parliament. After the plans the guests and host also participated in an ecumenical church service in Neusatz (Novi Sad).
(Note to the translators: In the last paragraph the Hungarian village names were used by the editors in those places where they are commonly used by the Germans, the Donauschwaben.)
(Translation: Bradley Schwebler)


Greeting by Mayor Jozo Čičak in Kać

The following report was in the Novi Sad newspaper the other
day about the visit of the people
of Katsch and Werbaß in their birthplaces.

"DNEVNIK" ("daily newspaper")

Rare guests in Katsch and Werbaß
Expulsed Germans visited their former homes.

The largest group of Donauschwaben who were expulsed in the year 1944 visited Katsch yesterday and found their former neighbors. We are all from here and some come for the first time. We have received an invitation from the people who live in my birth home to visit them. I don't know the man's name. The house stands in the second row of the neighborhood of the Sveti Sava church (Holy Sava) - said Djarika Gevek Schön, while his sister Mathilde exerted the wish to do this and hoped that it would be possible.
This is not the first time I have been here, but it has never been as beautiful as today. My grandmother was buried here, but I have not found her grave. This has upset me deeply. I was born in Neusatz - said Jakob Heinz, who left the homeland as a 16 year old with the migration.
Also I met neighbors earlier and this time I made many books available from that time for them. They have a homeland museum in their village with a collection of objects which may be helpful to them. I also have some valuable pieces from the church that was demolished in the meantime which have been kept to the great joy of the visitors - said Vasa Cosic and added that his neighbor Franz Lasi (literally Ferenc in Hungarian), was especially pleased.
(Translation: Bradley Schwebler)

Bulkes Visitors

Besides the above named 16 villages in the Hungarian "Magyar Szo" we also visited the former Bulkes, to be sure without official announcement in city hall and only by 3 people. It was also only treated as a private visit by a few Serbian inhabitants who have maintained friendly contact over the years.
This website is particularly for the Bulkes visitor
Picture on the left:
Kullmann's former house, belonged to Martha Müller's grandparents until 1945 and is still today in the possession of the Serbian state, which is expensive to purchase for its size. It stands in the former Second Street house number 81 (today it is called Cirtano UI.) and is one of the few houses of the formerly pure German villages that is still maintained in the original condition in architecture and structure, - disregarding the loss of building techniques. One great granddaughter of the former Kullmann property owner, Henrietta Kullmann, born in Zrenjanin, lives in Belgrade and has a pharmacy there - like her grandfather before World War II in Kullmann's house. The entrance to the pharmacy was above the corner.
Picture on the right:
In Stephan's house, that is completely surrounded and was acquired by the Serbian family Milos Quero after the departure of the Greeks from the state.
In the right picture from left to right: Henrietta Kullamnn, Ingeborg Stephan, and Andja Quero.
(Translation: Bradley Schwebler)


The group from Altker with relatives

Reception in the city hall / community house by the mayor of Zmajevo and its representative, Mr. Pösutdragan;

Ms. Rosi Wagner thanked him in the name of the people of Altker for his cordial welcome and the friendly invitation to lunch.

In the kindergarten: The 20 people of Altker presented in the kindergarten a donation of 460 Euros. Beaming children thanked them with a merry song.

After the visit of the homes - in the picture the former large business of Heinrich Bolz. of the cemetery and a walk through the village took us back to the bus again. (BILD) Happy waves, wistfulness,
it was a mixture of feelings at the farewell.
(Paola Theissmann, Translation: Bradley Schwebler)

Sixth Day, 10/27/04

Morning: Visit of Peterwardein

Afternoon: Ecumenical church service in the Serbian Orthodox Church in Novi Sad, at which the high clergy of the Christian denomination participated.

A writing of thanks

AK Orthodoxe Kirchen, Alteburgstr. 97, 72762 Reutlingen

His eminence
Bishop Irinej ( Mirko Bulovic
(right in the picture)

Backa Eparhia
Vladicanski dvor
Gimnazijska 2
21000 Novi Sad
Serbia and Montenegro,
reference 2004-11-26.
Highly revered eminence,
in Jesus Christ's beloved brother!
(Translation: Bradley Schwebler)

"DU bist der Gott, der Wunder tut!"

Mit diesem Wort aus Psalm 77,15 (westliche Zählung) grüße ich Sie sehr herzlich. Mit großer Dankbarkeit blicke ich zurück auf das gemeinsame Gebet in Ihrer Kathedrale am Mittwoch, den 27. Oktober, dem Tag der Heiligen Parascheva. Für Ihre außergewöhnlich freundlichen und liebenswürdigen Worte danke ich Ihnen sehr herzlich! Sie haben die Herzen der Menschen erreicht, sowohl Ihrer Gäste aus Deutschland als auch diejenigen Ihrer Gemeinde aus Novi Sad. Mit Ihren Worten haben Sie den Wunsch der Menschen nach versöhnter und friedlicher Gemeinschaft erfüllt und die aufgewühlten Herzen getröstet. Somit sind Sie ein Bischof für uns alle geworden, die wir an jenem Tag in Ihrer Kathedrale versammelt waren. Das haben viele als ein Wunder empfunden. Besonders ist es denjenigen so ergangen, die als Knaben das Serbische Gymnasium in Novi Sad besuchten und somit Ihre Kathedrale und Ihren damaligen Vorgänger im Amt gut kannten. Sie konnten sich eine so liebevolle Aufnahme Ihrerseits und eine geistliche Ansprache eines evangelischen Geistlichen in Ihrer Kathedrale nicht vorstellen. Was sie jetzt erlebten, bekannten sie als ein Wunder. Dafür danke ich unserem himmlischen Vater, von dem wir gemeinsam bekennen, dass ER Wunder tut.

Gerne möchte ich an das Wort erinnern, dass mich bei meiner Ansprache leitete. Es sind die Worte aus Psalm 51,19 (westliche Zählung - der vierte Bußpsalm):

"Ein geängstetes, zerschlagenes Herz wirst du, Gott , nicht verachten".

Mit diesem Wort im Gedächtnis können wir uns der Vergangenheit erinnern und gleichzeitig Hoffnung für die Zukunft schöpfen. Für die Zukunft erhoffen sich die Nachkommen der Donauschwaben in Deutschland Ihren Rat hinsichtlich der künftigen

Verwendung der ehemaligen deutschen Kirchen und die Gestaltung der verödeten Friedhöfe. Die Verantwortlichen des Hilfskomitees sind, das wurde mir immer wieder versichert, an einer freundschaftlichen und liebevollen Gemeinschaft mit Ihnen und Ihrer Kirche mit allen Ihren Gemeinden interessiert. Mit dieser Voraussetzung kann ein Weg für eine friedvolle Gestaltung der Verbindungen zwischen unseren Völkern und Kirchen gefunden werden.

Grüßen Sie alle Priester und Diakone sehr herzlich, die an dem gemeinsamen Gebet teilgenommen haben, grüßen Sie alle Ihre Mitarbeiter in Ihrer Residenz, die Brüder und Schwestern, sowie ganz besonders auch den verehrten Abt des Klosters Kovil und meinen verehrten und geliebten Freund und Bruder in Christo Andreas Cilerdic.

Sehr herzliche Grüße senden Ihnen in großer Dankbarkeit auch die beiden Vorsitzenden des Hilfskomitees, Frau Hildegard Gutekunst und Herr Herbert Schön.

In der Liebe Christ verbunden grüßt Sie in herzlicher Liebe und mit Segenswünschen
Manfred WAGNER

(End of ship-trip)