Deutscher Bürgerverein Adam Berenz
German Citizens Association


Chairman: Boris Masic dentamed@eunet.yu

Deutscher Bürgerverein Adam Berenz

Zarko Zrenjanina 14
25260 Apatin
Tel. 00381 - 25 - 775792


The Bürgerverein Adam Berenz in Apatin
Excerpt taken

TRANS - Internet journal for cultural sciences, 14.4. Identitätsmanagement von Minderheiten im Alpen-Donau-Adria-Raum, Editor: Klaus-Jürgen Hermanik (University of Graz/Austria):

Das Identitätsmanagement der deutschen Kulturvereine in Slowenien, Slawonien und in der Vojvodina - Daten zum transnationalen Vergleich auf Grund einer im Sommer und Herbst 2005 durchgeführten Studie by Samo Kristen (INV, Ljubljana) 


The Bürgerverein Adam Berenz in Apatin has been founded in the year 2001 and has about 90 members. According to its head Boris Mašić there should be about 300 Germans left in Apatin; but there are only about 140 who avow themselves as such. The waves of colonisation after WWII have changed the ethnic appearance of the town thoroughly: before 1941 there were almost only Germans living there, today the Serbian population is in majority (Senz, 1966; Stefanović 1999), moreover there are Croatians, Hungarians and Roma. The Germans who didn’t dare to avow themselves as such after WWII have declared to be Hungarians mostly. This was a typical case of ethnic mimicry (…). 

The Bürgerverein Adam Berenz already relies in its name on the catholic priest who had been a strong objector to the Nazi-regime already in the thirties and who rebelled against the Erneuererbewegung (movement of renewing) in Vojvodina and finally became an important activist in resistance during German occupation. The Bürgerverein also considers itself as preserver of Berenz’ estate. The priest’s house has been changed to a cultural center and also holds his personal things, books and volumes of the magazine Donau that had been published by Adam Berenz. In front of the priest’s house there is a big church building which had been built just before WWII by a famous architect from Vienna but which has never been consecrated for its sacral function and is vacant ever since. 

It would be good to mention the fact that Berenz already previewed in 1942 (so only one year after the German Balkan campaign) the banishment and collective expulsion of the Danube Swabians and to warn of it. This prophecy unfortunately came true in the end of the bloody war. Today only the Danube Swabian memorials in the former camps Krndija and Gakovo in Vojvodina and Valpovo in East Slawonia remind of the tragic chapter of murder and forced evacuation of the resident Germans (Mirić, 2004; Stojković, 2004). 

The situation of the Bürgerverein, who was able to organise a big meeting of German Apatin people from all over the world two years ago, is rather diffuse now. Not only to mention that the German clubs in Vojvodina are divided between Subotica and Novi Sad. From Mašić’s point of view an antagonism between protestants and Catholics within the minority can still be felt. Another disadvantageous fact is the change of the local political power after the Serbian nationalists have won the elections and so Boris Mašić is now seriously worried about the future existence of the Bürgerverein


Original document:  

Translation: Annette Schwindt
[Published at 29 Apr 2008]

Apatin Village Coordinators: Beth Tolfree & Boris Masic

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Remembering Our Donauschwaben Ancestors