Trommler Georg Will beim
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Visits to Danube-Swabian Places of Interest in Wuerttemberg 1785

Visits to Danube-Swabian Places of Interest in Wuerttemberg Wuerttemberg, the homeland of most of the German settlers of Central and Eastern Europe, has not forgotten its sons and daughters. Through the tireless efforts of many people, several museums, organizations and research foundations attempt to capture the often difficult and tragic life of these brave settlers. In March 2006 we had the privilege to visit several of these institutions and were hosted by an array of friendly and helpful people we have come to love. Our journey had a two-fold nature: on the one hand, we were driven by curiosity and academic interest, wanting to find out about this part of history that has mostly been avoided over the past 60 years in Serbia (and in other countries, too). At the same time our motivation was very personal: we worship every Sunday in a former German Lutheran church in the heart of the Zemun district in Belgrade (Luka is the minister and Angela is the organist). We first visited the House of the Danube-Swabians in Sindelfingen. Aside from the rich collection of artifacts and photographs from all corners of once German-populated Eastern Europe, there is also a library containing hundreds of volumes documenting the life and traditions of the Danube-Swabians. In the courtyard of the large building there is a somber reminder to the many lives lost in the horrors of World War II. Tiles with the names of each town and village also indicate the number of Germans murdered or disappeared. The Neu-Pasua Museum in Reutlingen with its detailed depiction of life in this all-German village outside of Belgrade proved to be especially delightful. Through the professional guiding of Hans Lederer we learned many new facts about this place. A special highlight on that Sunday was meeting Hildegard Strobl-Schaz, a one-time member of the German Lutheran congregation in Zemun. This 86-year-old lady still spoke very good Serbian, even though she left the country in October 1944! Luka interviewed her concerning the church-life in Zemun during the time that she and her family used to attend the congregation. It was a remarkable experience to find out more about the way of life and worship in that community. Our travels next took us to the Danube-Swabian Central Museum in Ulm, where we were guided through the fascinating exhibition by Herr Hans Supritz, federal president for the Danube-Swabians in Germany. The museum is very visitor-friendly and using the latest technologies, it provides an interactive experience, while also exhibiting (often rare) objects and photographs from German settlements all over Eastern Europe. After our tour of the museum we took a walk to the Donau-Swabian central monument on the bank of the river Danube. We also received a warm welcome by Dr. Matthias Beer and Mr. Wolf at the Institute for Danube-Swabian History in Tübingen. We were impressed by their knowledge, as well as by their archival collection of books and periodicals, all dealing with the life of Danube-Swabians in the past and today. The Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa) in Stuttgart also proved to be a goldmine of information for us. We found several numbers of the Belgrade Lutheran community’s newsletter from the 1920s and ‘30s and other important publications regarding Germans in Serbia. Another impressive place that we visited in Stuttgart is the Archives and Library of the Lutheran Church, where we were able to see many original birth and baptism registers from Vojvodina. We are indebted to Dr. Hermann Ehmer, the director of the Archive, who took us down to the vault to show us those valuable books. All of the above visits were immensely valuable for the research Luka has been conducting on “The history and church life of the Belgrade and Zemun German Lutheran congregations until 1945”. He will be giving a public lecture on that topic at the Goethe Institute of Belgrade in June. Since eventually Luka is hoping to write a book he would be very grateful for any information or material that you might still have. If you do, please contact him through this e-mail address: lukailic@yahoo.com At the end of this report we also want to mention that mr. George Jentz drove us to almost all of the places that we visited and arranged for us to meet up with many people. We are very grateful for his unselfish efforts to help us and for his wonderful company. During our visit to the Province of Wuerttemberg we also had opportunities to try several Swabian specialities, such as Spätzle, Pasteten, Kartoffeln-Salat and other culinary wonders, which made our trip even more memorable!
Luka and Angela Ilic

 



v.l. n.rechts: Georg Jentz, Hans Supritz, Luka Ilic


Freundliche Grüße an alle Neu-Pasuaer Landsleute in der ganzen Welt



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