A Documentary Film, Written &
Directed by Marko Cvejić
Mandragora Films, Serbia
This is a documentary drama about The Danube
Swabians, descendants of the youngest German
tribes who, moved to the territory of
Vojvodina in the eighteenth century looking
for a better life. The story follows their
destiny from the very beginnings of their
settlement in this region, through their
situation during the Second World War and to
the present time. The film tells the story
of Maria, a girl who is a descendant of The
Danube Swabians. She comes to Vojvodina to
find the old house of her grandfather, who
was exiled after the War. There she meets a
local guy named Misha who helps her in her
journey. Together they travel throughout
Vojvodina meeting witnesses of traumatic
post-war events who have survived the
communist camps. During their adventure,
they discover completely new facts about The
Danube Swabians that have been hidden from
the public for decades.
Barnic Nedeljka 2
23000 Zrenjanin Serbia
One of the best web sites I've seen!
-Jody McKim Pharr, 28 Jan 2012
Premiered in Belgrade Wednesday, December 07th 2011,
The featured documentary “The Danube Swabians” was for the first time presented to the public. It’s a testimony of the fate of the Swabians who are disappearing from our territory. Free entrance!
After the screening, a panel was be held on the film topic. Speakers will include prof. dr Zoran Ziletic, head of the society for Serbian-German cooperation, Werner Harasym, head of the Cultural Fund of the Danube Swabians (Die Donauschwäbische Kulturstiftung) from Munich, and Marko Cvejić, director and screenwriter of the film.
The screenplay, directing and
editing the film signed by Marko Cvejic, a young
director who has behind him over ten short films of
which won awards at numerous film festivals. Born in
1978, in Zrenjanin, a graduate of the University of Novi
Sad, department of film and theater director. MA in
Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. President of the independent
film production Mandragora Film.
The people we met during the filming and whose testimonies are recorded, survived concentration camps that were organized by the communist regime for local Germans. Some of them are for the first time in my life talked about. Before the Second World War in Serbia there lived more than half a million Germans, and today there are less than five thousand. People who speak in this film are the last representatives of a people whose roots date back to ancient history of these territories,
- said director and screenwriter Marko Cvejić.
Serbian Film: Successful
premiere in Novi Sad
A great response and a very
positive response, the film "The Danube Swabians"
sponsored by the Kulturstiftung Donauschwaben came's
premiere on 15 June 2011 in Neusatz (Novi Sad/Bačka). In
the wake of the bilingual film was (German/Serbian) with
English subtitles of the curator of the Museum of
Vojvodina in detail about the content as well as
discussed the history of the Danube Swabians under
presence of Serbian Director Marko
and Dr. Agnes Ozer. In September 2011, there will be
more demonstrations in Neusatz. Also, the film shows of
Vojvodina in the fall at several locations before he
will be seen in Germany and Austria.
In the full hall of the Cultural
Center of Novi Sad, on the 15th of June 2011. premier
screening of a documentary film "Danube Swabians" was
held. Screening was attended by the entire film crew,
and after the screening, large number of audience was
attended the conversation about the film in the club "Tribina
mladih" CCNS. Dragan Gmizic, moderator, Dr. Agnes Ozer,
curator of the Museum of Vojvodina, film-maker Marko
Cvejic and Boris Masic, president of the German
association "Adam Berenc" from Apatin, were talking
about the film and the topic it treats.
Due to great interest in the
film and the subject which is dealt with in September
will be re-organized screenings in Novi Sad, as well as
the autumn tour of towns and villages around Vojvodina.
The film was supported by the
Provincial Secretariat for Culture, Novi Sad,
Donauschwäbische Kulturstiftung, Munich,
Donauschwäbisches Zentralmuseum, Ulm.
Review from: Donauschwäbische Kulturstiftung
"first started killing
them, and sent the survivors to the
"You can't imagine how
hungry we were.?
"My Grandfathers' leg
was missing because the rats already ate
by Joseph Psotka
January 17, 2012
I received the
CD yesterday and opened it with anticipation and a little dread. I really
hoped that it would be powerful and involving, and dreaded that it would be
uninteresting and even inaccurate and a continuation of the official lies of the
Serbian State. It was neither. It turned out to be a really good
documentary about the Danube Swabians’ history, with beautiful historical
photos, and carefully edited interviews with Shwoveh living in Serbia, all
speaking Serbian, with English subtitles. The interviews carefully tell
the complete story of the Shwoveh in Vojvodina, from the great treks in the 18th
Century to the expulsion and aftermath.
It is a swift
overview, but it lingers in greater depth on the years in the camps, and it is
photographed and edited in such a sympathetic way that these participants are
completely believable and authentic. I could detect no insincerity in
their presentations: these were not rehearsed, but completely spontaneous
comments from their lives and personal experience.
are perhaps not as graphic and dramatic as the interviews in Ann Morrison’s “
the Forgotten Genocide” but they have a unique power because these Shwoveh are
still living in Serbia, where the deliberate suppression of official records
promotes widespread ignorance about these events. Living daily with the
generations partly responsible and yet ignorant of the genocide, they have
an genuineness and believability that cannot be matched.
I found the
backdrop video footage and photos beautifully selected and matched to the story.
The opening video of a serene Danube in the mist evokes hauntingly the primal
land the settlers found 250 years ago, and hints at the love for this country
the Shwoveh developed. From harvesting hemp to the
shipbuilding yards in Apatin, a brief slide show focuses on the thriving
industry of the Shwoveh. Other pictures are used sparingly but effectively
throughout the movie.
has added a cover story to the movie that I find very effective and adds some
moving moments to the dramatic flow. This love story between a young
Shwovish woman and Serbian man provides a loose recap of the Danube Swabian
story at a personal level. The young woman represents the Shwoveh,
coming to the Batschka and Banat, finding the home they are looking for, and a
love of the land and its people; but being rejected as foreign, humiliated,
terrorized, imprisoned, and expelled. Her grandfather taught her Serbian
and about the land and has left her with a picture of his home that she seeks
and finds with the help of the Serb. She arrives in Perlez and there are
some fine shots of the decaying remains of Shwovish buildings that are lovingly
filmed. Their first night together is in very primitive circumstances,
paralleling the Tot,
Not, and Brot of
the early colonists. Then they drive through the towns, until they
find her grandfather’s house, rundown, falling apart. I found this
to be the most moving part of the film as they wander through the ruin, with a
strange power seen though her eyes. After they are driven out, they head
to Europe with relief and joy, and some regret, just as her Shwoveh ancestors
had. I recommend this particularly for generations who were not there, but a
small caution is in order: there is a hint of nudity and sexuality in
their relation that may offend some.
But of course,
the heart of the documentary is the interviews with the Shwoveh still living in
Serbia. And these are very good. Of course, many of them were
children during the internment, but they are thoughtful and convincing.
The most moving among them I found a woman who convincingly expressed her regret
that she and her family did not leave when she had the chance, and another
witness who repeated that he was not respected then and is still not. I think
that this film is worthwhile for all Shwoveh to see, but it is particularly
suited to Serbs who may be completely ignorant of this period in their history.
planning to tour many villages of the Vojvodina with this film to help educate
and inform his countrymen, if he can get the funding to support this effort.
We have much to gain if there is a groundswell calling for Serbia to bring
Serbia’s secret documents about this era into the open where historians can
study and analyze them. This film could be an effective instrument
to bring this about. This is an additional reason to support
Cvejic’s humanitarian purpose by buying this audacious film.