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Book Image Not Available
Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:Europe / General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:154
  • eBook ISBN:9781935232612

Last Waltz on the Danube

The Ethnic German Genocide in History and Memory 1944-1948

by Ali Botein-Furrevig, Ph.D.

Book Image Not Available
Overview
The 1944-1948 ethnic cleansing of East European Germans has long been shrouded in silence. Following the liberation of Hungary from the Ottoman Turks, the Habsburg Monarchy encouraged Swabians from Southwest Germany to settle in and rebuild the war-devastated province along the Danube River. With pioneer spirit and strength of will, the colonists turned the former wasteland into the "Breadbasket of Europe." For 300 years, the descendents of the original settlers lived peacefully among various ethnic groups while continuing to cherish and maintain the customs and traditions of their ancestors. In the aftermath of World War II following the Nazi Holocaust, these German speaking Danube Swabians were perceived as Nazi collaborators and, out of retaliation for war crimes they didn't commit, became Hitler's last victims, targets of Tito’s barbarous genocide that resulted in the extermination and murder of some two million innocent men, women, and children and the displacement of another fifteen million. The meticulously researched historical section of the book is complimented by the remarkable story of Katharina Karl Marx who was a young girl in German Batschka when Tito's Army changed the idealistic pastoral life of this famer's daughter: Going to the movies with friends, dances, traditional festivals and Sunday walks along the banks of the Danube. In 1944, for Katharina and her family and friends, the music stopped. She was hidden, separated from her family and sent to a work camp. Through sheer faith and strength of will she eventually managed to escape over the border and reunite with her family. In the mid 1950s she and her family came to America where she married, raised a family. Included is an educator guide for teaching Holocaust and genocide awareness and a general discussion of genocide.
Description
The forgotten ethnic cleansing--the grand scale genocide--of some two million innocent ethnic German citizens living for over 400 years along the Danube River has been long shrouded in silence. Dr. Ali Botein first discusses the horrific story of Tito's 1944-1948 barbarous revenge against the Danube Swabians, most of whom had never even been to Germany. In the 18th century following the return of Hungary to the Austro-Hungarian Empire by the Ottoman Turks, The House of Habsburg encouraged and provided generous land and tax incentives to Swabians living in the Western lands of the Holy Roman Empire to immigrate to the Hungarian owned lands along the once picturesque Danube River area which now had been devastated by the years of wars. The Swabians settled mostly in the Batschka and Banat Provinces, and with true pioneer spirit and tenacity these hard working peaceful people built towns, churches, schools and turned the former wasteland into fertile land and what would become known as "The breadbasket of Europe." For over 300 years, though they lived and worked peacefully in a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual region comprised of Serbs, Croats, Swabians and Jews, they also continued to speak their native tongue and never stopped cherishing and maintaining the customs and traditions of their ancestors. Following WWI and the dismantling of the Habsburg Empire, the area was redistributed among Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Romania. The Danube Swabians in the Batschka found themselves involuntary citizens of the newly formed country of Yugoslavia. Though they were technically citizens of Hungary and their loyalties had always been to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, they faced animosity from the other ethnic groups because of their high economic and cultural status and the fact that they had succeeded in building prosperous settlements. But generally between the wars, life went on as usual. However, in the aftermath of WWII and under the dictatorship of Tito, things would drastically change and the fate of the Danube Swabians was sealed; they lost their property, their rights and were declared "enemies of the State." Even though they lived outside of the Riech, they were perceived as Nazi collaborators and accused of war crimes they never committed. They eventually became innocent victims of Tito's bloodlust and his barbarous and systematic program to eradicate all ethnic Germans. They were torn from their families, exiled, placed in work camps, concentration camps and deported to ancient Russian mines. Thousands perished from inhumane conditions, massacres, torture, hunger and disease. By the end of 1894, over 2 million had died because of Tito's revenge and his insatiable hate for anything German. The meticulously researched historical section of the book is complimented by the remarkable story of Katharina Karl Marx who was a young girl in German Batschka when Tito's Army changed the idealistic pastoral life of this famer's daughter: Going to the movies with friends, dances, traditional festivals and Sunday walks along the banks of the Danube. In 1944, for Katharina and her family and friends, the music stopped. She was hidden, separated from her family and sent to a work camp. Through sheer faith and strength of will she eventually managed to escape over the border and reunite with her family. In the mid 1950s she and her family came to America where she married, raised a family. Included is an educator guide for teaching Holocaust and genocide awareness and a general discussion of genocide. Jewish herself, Dr. Botein felt it important to include a chapter on the Jews of the Batschka area since many were living and working there and in Serbia and playing an active role. Botein sensitively and intelligently draws conclusions about the peaceful relationship between the Jews and ethnic German populations and on the incomprehensible fate shared by these two ethnic groups at the hands of Hitler.
About the author
Dr. Ali Botein-Furrevig is an English Professor at Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ where she also developed and teaches courses in Jewish and Holocaust Literature and the History of the Jewish People and Culture. Dr. Botein serves as Academic and Programming Director for the college’s Center for Peace, Genocide, and Holocaust Studies. She is the author of Heart of the Stranger: A Portrait of Lakewood's Orthodox Community, winner of the 2010 National Best Books Awards in the category of General Religion
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