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October November December 2011 Volume 6 Number 4





Jugendgruppe Leaders

Travel to Hungary

By: Maria Toth

Heim der Donauschwaben


Forwarded by Chicago Donauschwaben


          Jugendleiterin Rose Hauer and I departed Chicago on June 13 to attend the second Donauschwaben Welttreffen (World Conference).  Individuals and groups from throughout Europe, Brazil, Canada, and the USA (Chicago Donauschwaben, Chicago American Aid Society, Cincinnati, Detroit, St. Louis) would meet in Harkány, Hungary from June 16 through June 28.  We attended workshops, lectures, and toured southern Hungary (Baranya County) in order to learn more about our Donauschwaben heritage and preserve our unique traditions for future generations.  Along the way, we built friendships and experienced moments that we would never forget.


          Rose and I arrived in Harkány, Hungary on June 16, after a three and a half hour bus ride by coach bus from the Budapest airport.  We met Stefan Ihas, the representative for the Donauschwaben youth groups in Europe, as well as other individuals from all over the world who had come to represent their clubs and take part in this second World Conference.  Our group numbered about 65.


          While in Harkány, Rose and I stayed at “Pension Otto” a charming bed and breakfast located in the heart of town.  We were within walking distance of the famous mineral spa and pools, small cafés, restaurants, ice cream shops, and the flea market.  Harkány is a small town of about 4,000, located in southern Transdanubia, in Baranya County (“Branau” in German).  Baranya County has the largest number of minorities in Hungary (more than twice the country average) – 34% of the German minority lives there.  We were able to speak German in many of the shops and restaurants.  While in Hungary, we were videotaped and some members of our group were interviewed by a Hungarian television station (MTV videótár).  Each week, this station produces half-hour “video magazine” programs in the German language for its viewers.   The programs are close-captioned in Hungarian as well.  To view the program about our trip, see: Unser_Bildschirm_2011_julius_19_.aspx


          We were taught traditional folk dances in dance workshops led by Judit Mausz, Eva Treitz from the Babarc Tanzgruppe, and Peter Schweininger from the Saar Tanzgruppe.  In addition, we sang and learned new songs from the Wemender Quartett.


          One of our group’s first outings was to the Schwabenball in Görcsöndoboka, also known by its German name of Ketsching.  After a meeting and photo opportunity with the town’s Mayor, we strolled around the streets of this small farming community before returning for dinner, various singing and dancing performances, and a night of dancing to a German Blaskapelle (brass band).  Many of the local women were dressed in their finest Trachten (traditional costumes).  They wore long-sleeved white embroidered blouses topped with black vests and red fringed Halstücher (shawls).  Their knife-pleated silk skirts reached down to their mid-calves and were worn over four very stiffly starched Unterröcke (petticoats).  A few of the older women wore black hand-knit Patschker (slippers) which were embroidered with small flowers and red trim.


          We also drove to Mohács (Mohatsch) on the Danube River.  Our group of Donauschwaben sent its greetings to the “alte Heimat” as a wreath was lowered into the Danube.  We all watched as it floated downstream.  From there, we drove on to Babarc.  Our group was invited to the 30th Anniversary celebration of the Babarc (Bawarz) Tanzgruppe.  We attended Mass in the town’s church, celebrated by Pfarrer Peter Zillich.  The members of the choir were occasionally accompanied by Pfarrer Zillich on his accordion.  Under the direction of Eva Treitz, the Babarc Tanzgruppe performed their most popular folk dances for the large crowd.


          We attended lectures on the history of the Donauschwaben by Franz Heilig and the Memorial Monuments Erected in the Extermination Camps of the Former Yugoslavia by Josef Jerger.  Herr Jerger reminded us that the importance of these monuments is two-fold:  to honor those who died in the camps; and to raise awareness of the current residents of those towns so that they know that the Donauschwaben once inhabited their lands and of the atrocities that took place against them.  We learned that the memorial monuments were built solely with private funds, costing between $14,000 and $17,000 to erect each one.


          Each morning, one of the organizers, Anna Fernbach, would read her Wort des Tages to get the group in the proper mind-set for the day’s activities.  On the morning of June 22, Anna read a poem about the Heimat and the unspeakable tragedies that occurred to the Donauschwaben in the labor camps.  We then boarded our bus and drove from Hungary through a portion of Croatia into Serbia until we reached the Massenfriedhof (mass graves) in Gakowa, Serbia.  This was one of Tito’s worst concentration camps; over 8,000 innocent men, women, and children lost their lives in this forced labor camp and are buried together in a mass grave.  This part of our journey had particular meaning for me.  My father was held in this camp as a young boy along with his Oma and Opa.  His grandparents died of starvation and are among the thousands buried there.  Our Donauschwaben group placed a wreath at the foot of the towering memorial cross and recited prayers in German for those who lost their lives at this camp. 


          Our group also went to visit a now-retired Meister Blaufärber (master blue fabric-dyeing craftsman).   János Sárdi lives in a town called Nagynyárád (Groβnarad).  He is known throughout southern Hungary for his beautiful fabrics which are used in many restaurants, wine cellars, and private homes.  Herr Sárdi is 91 years old and is one of a dying breed – his craft is no longer taught or practiced.  He welcomed us into his home studio where he explained the intricacies of his craft and led us on a tour of his shop.  He has a room filled with molds (copper pieces which he meticulously nailed and imbedded into a wooden base).  These molds were used in a fashion similar to rubber stamping.  He demonstrated by dipping the mold into a colored wax-based resin and then “stamped” the image onto white cotton fabric and allowed it to dry.  The fabric is then dipped numerous times into deep vats of indigo-blue liquid dye.  Once the fabric is dry, a chemical solution is used to remove the wax-based resin.  The area where the wax impression formerly was is now white against the dark blue fabric.  The yards of fabric that were dyed are stretched and heated on large roller machines, giving them a glossy finish.  This blue fabric was sewn into clothing, aprons, table coverings, napkins, curtains, and accent pieces.


          We also attended workshops on Donauschwaben healing methods and superstitions; learned to knot the silk fringe on the bottom of traditional shawls (Franzen knüpfen); and created Kukuruz Puppen (cornhusk dolls).


          My companions and I also witnessed a re-creation of a schwowische Hochzeit (Donauschwaben Wedding) as it would have taken place during my Oma’s time.  Our group watched older Donauschwaben ladies of the town of Véménd (Wemend) dress a young woman from the Wemend Tanzgruppe in a Hochzeitstracht (Wedding costume).  Accompanied by a brass band, we marched from the bride’s house to the town’s church and then to the dance hall, where we had a traditional dinner of Sarma (stuffed cabbage) and watched folk dancing and a demonstration of how the wedding gifts would have been presented to the newly married “couple”.


          One of our side trips took us to the city of Pécs (Fünfkirchen).  Pécs was designated Europe’s Cultural Capital for the year 2010.  We were fortunate to have a local serve as our tour guide; he took us on a walking tour of the city, sharing many interesting pieces of trivia and history with us.  We learned that the Ottoman Turks ruled Hungary for 150 years and that Pécs was one of their main cities.  There are still many remnants of the Turkish empire to be seen.  A former Moschee (mosque) has been renovated into a Christian church, with most of the Muslim architecture still visible.


          Another day trip took us to the town of Liptód.  We were greeted with Schnaps, wine, chamomile tea, and pans of freshly-baked Zwiebelbrot (onion bread).  Here, schwowisch-speaking men and women showed us how to make Saueres (a hearty soup using many different parts of the butchered pig), Ungarische Bratwurst (Hungarian sausage), Sarma, and three kinds of Strudel (apple, cheese, and cherry).  We were encouraged to help out in the kitchen, walk through the vineyards, explore the town, and climb up the steep hills to Herr Markesz’ private wine cellar (and sample some of the region’s finest wines).  The view from his wine cellar to the town below was breath-taking!


          This trip was an unforgettable learning experience for Rose and me.


          The culture and heritage of the Donauschwaben people is unique and I am proud of my ancestry.  The chance to step back in time and experience life as it was for my forebearers living in southern Hungary (the maternal side of my family are from Tolna County – Tolnau Bezirk) is one that I will always treasure.


          There was a nice balance to the amount of workshops, lectures, and tours.  The presenters at the dancing and singing workshops and the various lectures were outstanding!  They wholeheartedly shared their expertise with us, were enthusiastic, and always happy to answer any questions.


          The second World Conference was a success and helped me to very concretely visualize so many of the stories I have heard from my grandparents and parents over the years.  Stepping back in time to experience the old Heimat was a privilege.  I have personally shared my experiences with my three daughters and Rose and I have put together a visual presentation for our Vorstand, Jugendgruppe, and Frauengruppe.  Although they were not able to join us, we want them to be able to share in our multi-faceted experiences.


          Many thanks to our Vorstand  and the Frauengruppe for their financial support; and to the Donauschwaben Weltdachverband for encouraging members of their various cultural groups to partake of this second World Conference! 



Rose Hauer & Maria Toth

Rose Hauer, Stefan Ihas, and Maria Toth

Wreath placed at the Gakowa Massenfriedhof Memorial






Üdvözlet Harkany, Magyarorszag

Erinnerung aus Harkany, Ungarn

Forwarded by Carpathia Donauschwaben


          In June, Rob and I had the opportunity to attend the Welttreffen Donauschwäbischer Kulturgruppen, arranged by the Weltdachverband der Donauschwaben e.V. Under the motto: DONAUSCHWABEN Zukunft gestalten, Tradition gewahren, Weltweit zuhause Representatives from USA, Germany, Austria, Brazil, Canada, and Hungary, met to learn dances, songs, crafts, traditions, beliefs, and history - from the ‘Ulmer Schachtel’ up to the current, worldwide existence of the Donauschwaben.

          Our ‘home’ for 2 weeks was in the town of Harkany, south of Pecs (known to many of you as (Fünfkirchen) in southern Hungary – the Baranya region. The location was perfect to learn about and experience Donauschwaben life. The small towns we visited are still as they were 100 years ago... the layout of the town, houses, yards, and fields, but now they also have modern conveniences, including a satellite dish on the roof!

          Everyone spoke Schwowisch, they all have a clubhouse/hall for their dances, German school, and Jugend/Kulturgruppen like we do. Also, they are able to keep the old customs and practices better than we could; they did not have to move to new countries with different cultures and try to recreate ‘die Heimat’…it has been around them all along. That’s what made it so interesting to me.

          We spent an afternoon with the Babarc Tanzgruppe, celebrating their 30th Anniversary. The Kulturgruppe from the town of Wemend put on a traditional Schwowische Hochzeit (wedding) starting with dressing the bride, then the procession through the town from the groom’s house, to the bride’s and on to the church, all accompanied by the band. A lively reception in evening had more dancing.

          There was a Schwabenball; a visit to a wine cellar with wine tasting – it is the wine region of Hungary; a demonstration from the very last Blaufärber. I didn’t know what this was until I saw the designed blue cloth. This man was the last to dye the cloth by hand, he has now retired and the art has died out.

          The last Sunday was spent in the town of Liptod. When we arrived a fire was roaring out of the stone ovens. The morning began by butchering a pig, making wurst, Sarma, and our lunch – “Sau’res” (not 100% sure what all went in there, but it did taste good).

          The “gezogene Strudl” was made just like Oma used to make – the dough was pulled over the table - but these were baked in the stone ovens that had been cleaned of the ash and were hot enough to bake bread until the next morning. An afternoon walk took us up the hill behind the house to the family wine cellar. And for an old meets new scenario: in this building there were several computers from where I was able to send e mails to the Jugendgruppe!

           No Donauschwaben Treffen would be complete without a remembrance of those whose lives were lost. A commemorative wreath was placed in the Donau in the city of Mohacs and later in the week we visited the memorial marker (Denkmal) in the town of Gakowo. The memorial stands behind the current Serbien cemetery. It is a large metal cross with a few generic, politically correct phrases inscribed below. It may not mean much to the casual passer-by, but it does strike a chord in the heart of a Schwob. It’s been a part of our heritage starting with the generation that lived through it and will be for every generation thereafter.

          A farewell evening was held at the Fülemüle Csarda. We have many pictures of the trip and thanks to new friends and the internet, there are even more pictures. Look for some new dances and songs we will pass on to the Jugend and Kindergruppen. If I’ve sparked your interest or jogged a memory I’d be very happy to talk to you about it! It was truly a great and awesome experience!

Karin Schwalbe


Babarc Tanzgruppe with their church in background.

From the wedding

Dressing the bride, who is in black with the headpiece.

Rob & Karin Schwalbe in Pecs, Hungary

A church in Liptod






2012 Sechzig Jahre Donauschwaben in Brasilien

Heim der Donauschwaben


Forwarded by Chicago Donauschwaben



          Die Donauschwaben in Brasilien feiern im nächsten Jahr ihr sechzigjähriges Einwanderungsjubiläum nach Entre Rios. Dazu sind Landsleute, Verwandte und Bekannte herzlich eingeladen. Unter dem Motto „Innovation“ bieten die Landsleute in Entre Rios den Besuchern aus der ganzen Welt vom 4. bis 8. Januar 201 2 einFestprogramm. Das Festzelt wird vor dem Sitz der Genossenschaft Agraria in Vitoria in Entre Rios aufgebaut. Auf dem Programm stehen unter anderem kulturelle Darbietungen, eine Musikshow, kulinarische Spezialitäten, Tanzabende, ein Festumzug mit Maschinenausstellung und vieles mehr. Die Einladung zur Teilnahme am Jubiläum geht an alle Vereine mit der Bitte um Bekanntgabe unter ihren Mitgliedern. Die Einladung mit dem offiziellen Festprogramm folgt.Entre Rios freut sich mit Ihnen dieses Jubiläum feiern zu dürfen.

JORGE KARL, Präsident, PAUL ILLICH, Vizepräsident

Kontakt: Cooperativa Agraria Agroindustrial, Praca Nova Patria Vitoria Entre Rios, Guarapuava PR

Brasil 851 39-400, Fax 00 55 42 3625 8365,



Das Logo der "Cooperativa Agrária"

Das Wappen der Banater Schwaben

in Eintracht mit der brasilinischen Flagge










Forwarded From Trenton Donauschwaben



Trenton Club friend, Stefan Guzvica, of Backa Palanka, reports that the Palanka Donauschwaben Society recently held it‘s 3rd Annual Strudelfest (see pictures). They are also organizing a cleanup day in September to clean the entire yard of the former Burgerschule (where the City Museum is located today).

Danke, Stefan








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