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The Forgotten Genocide Lecture Series
The Forgotten Genocide, a Documentary by Ann Morrison
St Louis Community College-Meramec, Kirkwood, MO
February 25-26, 2010

Report by Jody McKim

The Speakers | Thursday Conference | Friday Conference
Film Premier (Friday night) | Memorial Exhibit | Brewhouse Tour Saturday

This event was of a serious nature that brought interested folks from all over the country, mostly those of Donauschwaben descent and locals who never heard of the frightening stories of the ethnic Germans of Eastern Europe.  The documentary film and lectures began with Ann Morrison, who did a good job producing a community-service college level documentary and pulling it all together I congratulate Ann for taking the risk on such a sensitive subject matter.  I hope her endeavors prove to be beneficial and may she achieve her goals to inform the world of the atrocities committed to the ethnic Germans in Eastern Europe.

The survivors that Ann interviewed for the documentary shared their different yet similar stories of survival, as intense listens could not imagine walking in their footsteps. 

The interviews were conducted separately and in detail; but unfortunately due to restrains of film time, only portions of each interview were shown in the documentary. But luckily the two-day event afforded many of us the opportunity to hear additional details from some of the interviewees.  The line-up of outstanding speakers who generously traveled at their own expense to St. Louis to share their knowledge and heartfelt experiences in hope of educating the community; showed their dedication and desire to support the efforts put forth by Ann's documentary.  They were all an asset to the presentation. 

It was wonderful to visit with people we often chat and work with at the DVHH. Among the speakers and documentary interviewees were a few DVHH volunteers: Adam & Eva Martini, speaker & author of a memoir collection & member of Trenton Donauschwaben Club; and one of my favorite Donauschwaben couples!  One evening at dinner, Adam and Eva, Yvonne Juhl, my cousin Chris Deaton (of St Louis) and I had a memorable time together, and Adam expounded on his childhood story as a survivor; he also shared about moving beyond the past (as much as possible) and enjoying his life as it is now.  Katherine Flotz (survivor, speaker & author of Pebble in My Shoe) was there with husband George. Katherine was a big promoter in Ann's documentary and I enjoyed her interview; as I did with Elizabeth Walter (survivor, speaker & author of Barefoot in the Rubble), who attended with husband Mike. Elizabeth and Katherine were instrumental in the Memorial Exhibit.  Hans Kopp, of Cleveland, (Donauschwaben historian and author, and a camp survivor) After his escape in 1947, he fled via Hungary to Austria and from there he came to the United States in 1956.

Thank you all for keeping the Donauschwaben legacy alive! The event provided a time and place for DVHH folks to meet for the first time in person.  After many years at DVHH it was great to finally meet Yvonne Juhl, in person.  Yvonne lives in St Louis and I found her a very delightful woman!  Sophie Souza is a fun person and I look forward to getting to know her better and seeing her around at other DS events.  Sophie made arrangements for Elisabeth Walters to speak at her daughters school in the upcoming months. Frank Dohr, and his wife Marilyn joined us for dinner one night and we really all had a good time!  We learned Marilyn's maiden name is Silies and her mother, Helen Dressel, was born in Werschetz, Hungary in 1900 and came to the U.S. in 1912.  Her grandfather, Joseph Dressel, was born in Karlsdorf, Hungary.  Tina Leto, of Chicago, IL, photographer and Karlsdorf webmaster attended, positioned on the front line (I know Tina took some wonderful images of the event). 

It was a pleasure to make new acquaintances Lt. Col. Brian Landry Ph. D., who shared with me that when he began his thesis on the Donauschwaben that the DVHH was his first resource! Anita Paré, who an emissary for the now extinct village of Molidorf and currently assisting Ann Morrison in her continued future series of "The Forgotten Genocide."  Anita and I had a late night opportunity to spend time getting to know one another.  Rita Tomkins, who is writing a soon to be published book "From the Banat to Bailey Avenue."  Bonnie Olsen Krueger, of Manchester MO.  Bonnie, who's mother Hilda Dernetz, escaped the Gakowa camp in 1947, almost 9 years old and immigrated to the US in 1950, (more about Hilda). John Haas and his wife, who was one of Ann's interviewees in the documentary; joined our evening gatherings; and John shared many stories of his surviving the camp to his successful life in America. Helga Ruby, of Chicago, IL a camp survivor from Modosch in Banat. A short version of her experience is included in the book by Herbert Prokle "Weg der Deutschen Minderheit Jugoslawiens Nach der Aufloesung der Lager 1948," published in 2003. Mary Amschlinger Staub and daughter Christine Mogyorody, both from Windsor attended.  Mary was born in Molidorf and is a camp survivor, (more about Mary). Christine, who loves to shop, is a hoot of fun!

Time just seems to fly at these gatherings! But I am grateful we had an opportunity to meet up in supporting Ann and her efforts.

Photos of Thursday & Friday lectures and the Private Screening and who's who are posted at links  Thursday Conference, Friday Conference and Film Premier.  Don't forget to see the heartfelt Memorial Exhibit that was nicely displayed. I had to leave Saturday morning, so I did not attend the Brewhouse tour or the Saturday evening dinner.  If someone who attended would like to submit a review of either function, please write me.  Photos of the Brewhouse Tour were submitted by Eva Martini and are posted here for your viewing pleasure.  Thanks to all who provided photos.

Cheers to St Louis Community College-Meramec for providing the location and hospitality to all attending and mostly for supporting Ann's venture.  Your staff was most gracious.

Best of success Ann, from all the DVHH!

Jody McKim Pharr
DVHH President, 18 Sep 2010

[Published at DVHH.org 18 Sep 2010 by Jody McKim Pharr]

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