Nick Tullius   Jody McKim Pharr

Home of the Danube Swabian for over 200 years.



My journey from the Banat to Canada

by Nick Tullius
Published at 02 Feb 2012 by Jody McKim Pharr.

In the first part of this volume, the author describes life in a Banat-Swabian village during and after the Second World War. As a boy he witnessed the mobilization his father into the German army. After the war, the Romania-Germans were disenfranchised, dispossessed and deported. His mother died during forced labour in the USSR, while his father ended up in Canada. With a grandmother as the only support, he studied electrical engineering at the Technical University "Politehnica Timisoara" in Romania, where he obtained his engineering degree and and started working at the city enterprises of Arad.

The second part of the book deals with the migration of the author to join his father in Canada, and his integration into the new environment. Among the many initial difficulties he had to overcome were a different social order, a different language and different customs. He joined the then largest Canadian telecommunications company in Montreal, which later transferred him to its newly established Research and Development subsidiary in Ottawa. There he finally found the ideal job and started a family. He worked with newly-developed semiconductor devices and the application of software to telecommunication systems. Later he contributed to the development of Canadian, American and international standards in his field. He authored and co-authored more than twenty technical papers, and presented most of them at international conferences, thus obtaining the opportunity to visit many cities and countries of the world.

Since his retirement in 2000, the author's focus is on family research and the cultural tradition of his Danube-Swabian ancestors. He strives to make the history and culture of their ancestors accessible to English-speaking descendants of the Danube Swabians. Several of his translations and writings are published at  and (Review is a translation of the back of the book)

Review by Hans Gehl | Review by Jody McKim Pharr

Deutsche  Version


Von Banat Nach Kanada
Book Review by Hans Gehl

Between Maple and Poppy
Banat to Canada and back. An impressive life story

On the front cover two red poppies that develop at the bottom to three red maple leaves. And on the back cover of the book, a passport photograph of the author with his own presentation of the book, which - without comment - speaks for itself:





My journey from
the Banat to Canada

Vom Banat Nach Kanada

Din Banat în Canada - Cronica unei călătorii de-o viaţă

Publisher: Author House
(18 Aug 2011)
ISBN-10: 1463418353;
ISBN-13: 978-1463418359;
Hardcover: 204 pages; available in paperback and kindle.

Ordering information:

Go to:

1: On the top line, where it says “Title, Author, ISBN” enter: Tullius
2: Click “Search”;
3: Click on the desired book: Softcover ($9.80) or Hardcover (14.80);
4: On new page, click on ADD TO CART
5: On new page, click on Checkout
6: Proceed to payment by credit card (via secure connection) 

Book can be ordered from any bookstore or library or and

Publisher: Monsenstein und Vannerdat (April 2011)
212 Pages;
ISBN-10: 3869912642;
ISBN-13: 978-3869912646

Ordering information:

Ordering information: ISBN 978-3-86991-246-6, 19.50 Euros, from any bookstore or direct from the publisher at

Publisher: Orizonturi Universitare, Timisoara
ISBN: 9789736385209

29 May 2013 News:


Published in the Banater Post Nr. 13-14 ◊ 10 July 2011

Just as clearly and factually presented are all parts of the well-structured and executed volume. The first part: Adieu Banat begins with the observation: Our ancestors have been described as people with portable roots (...) Around the year 1940 they still lived in the Banat, a piece of land located between the rivers Danube, Theiss and Marosch. Today they are scattered over all continents of the earth. How this change happened, what people experienced, is complex and no single book can do it justice. 

And in the "Conclusion" of the second part:
A Life in Canada stands the beautiful picture:

There is very little sand left in the upper half of the hourglass of our life. Our time in this world is running out. Our role on the world stage is nearly played out and we are slowly leaving the stage. We were called the experience generation, because we experienced the disastrous war and had to bear its consequences. Too many of us had to endure the loss of our parents, siblings or other loved ones. In the end we even lost our ancestral homeland, the Banat. On the surface, these wounds appear healed, but deep down the pain persists until the day we die. 

This last image is also presented to us in detail: In the end there will be no brass band to play the March of the Dead, that haunting melody of unspeakable sadness that once echoed across the village from the cemetery of Alexanderhausen. West of the city of Ottawa, almost in the small community of Carp, our last home awaits my family in a small cemetery. Only a modest grave stone of granite will bear witness that a journey that began in the Banat mere decades ago, has come here to its end.

Every Banater would describe it similarly. But in between stand the exemplary experiences of a long, fulfilling life, which every reader can understand very well, because they resemble his or her own experiences.  The past century was just an extraordinary one. The grandmother (Katharina Beitz from Neusiedel) and the grandfather from Alexanderhausen (Johann Lukas) immigrated in 1912 to America. There the mother was born in 1915, but in 1920 she returned with her parents to the Banat which was no longer in Hungary, but in Romania. And although she was an American citizen, the mother was deported in 1945 to forced labour in the Soviet Union, where she died among the first deportees. Her little son could not believe it, but it was true.

Henceforth, the grandmother had to care for the grandchild by herself. After saying goodbye to her unfortunate daughter at the concentration centre in Perjamosch, she made her way back to Alexanderhausen on foot during a blizzard. She slipped and broke her right foot and lay there helplessly until a farmer pulled her from the wind-blown snowdrift onto his horse-drawn carriage and brought her home. As there was no doctor in the village at that time, her foot did not heal properly. Nevertheless, the indefatigable woman kept her sewing machine going with her left foot, to provide food for what remained of her family. What memorable and iconic images, and everything has happened exactly as it can be read in this book.        

Nick lived through the unsuccessful attempt to escape to the West, and the passage of the battle front. Later on he completed high school in Temeswar/Timisoara by daily commute from Alexanderhausen. As a student of electrical engineering at the Technical University Politehnica, he experienced the student revolt of 1956. He had to subordinate friendships with girls to his goal of some day emigrating to his father. After the death of his grandmother, he intensified his efforts to join his father, who could finally welcome him at the airport of Montreal in 1961. But life with the new stepmother and her dependants was less harmonious, so that he often felt alone, until he found a foothold in the unfamiliar new world. The radical change and integration were hard, but life empowers and creates the necessary strength to persevere and move forward. The research engineer achieved recognition, worked his way up the social ladder, enjoyed a happy family, saw much of the world and was satisfied. As a pensioner, he took part in the 50-year anniversary of his graduation, during the summer of 2008. He experienced the changes in the capital city of the Banat and in the countryside, in Hatzfeld, Lenauheim, Billed and his native Alexanderhausen with the "Pension Schwabenhaus". Mulberry trees on the roadside, geese in the village pond and flowering poppies in the fields: All had long become history, only the memories remain indelible.

The mature author is now deliberating about the Danube Swabians in Canada and the United States, he is wondering about some developments in his ancestral regions of ​​Germany and Romania, and also about the many useless and senseless Anglicisms in today's German usage. The book is the outcome of a rich life, more a report than a novel, and yet a typical and vivid description. As an English-speaking Canadian, Nicholas Tullius has maintained, through his cultural interest, correspondence and the Internet, an exemplary use of German. Genealogy and personal relationships connect him to his background and to the Germans of Canada, and he endeavours to pass that interest on to his sons. His mother returned with her parents from America to the Banat. He went the opposite way and has now permanently settled in Canada; poppy flowers and maple leaf continue to live in a permanent symbiosis. Dr. Hans Gehl

Nikolaus Tullius: Vom Banat nach Kanada. Aus dem Leben eines Migranten. Münster: Edition Octopus 2011. ISBN 978-3-86991-246-6, 212 pages, 19.50 €. May be purchased through any bookstore, or directly from the publisher at tel. 0251/620650810 or at the price of 19.50 €, or on line from

[Published at 23 Jul 2011 by Jody McKim Pharr]


My Journey from the Banat to Canada

Book Review by Jody McKim Pharr – 22 Feb 2012

Dr. Hans Gehl is a hard act to follow in his Book Review, published in the Banater Post Nr. 13-14 ◊ 10 July 2011.    

In his insightful review, Dr. Gehl eloquently touches upon Nick’s outstanding accomplishments and his success in reaching his goals despite adverse conditions.  As a young child I enjoyed reading biographies of former American presidents’ wives who lived in the 1800’s, mainly because their daily lives were so well depicted that I could visualize the setting.  Reading Nick’s book gave me that same perspective.   Dr. Gehl wrote, “The book is the outcome of a rich life, more a report than a novel, and yet a typical and vivid description.”  While I agree, I was more attuned to the day-to-day living experience and his thoughts about the world around him.

There are countless books written today by survivors of Tito’s starvation camps and the ethnic cleansing of the German populations in Eastern Europe after WW2.  Most of the authors were school-age children at that time, and their memoirs resonate in our souls, educating us about the horrid atrocities and crimes committed on the Donauschwaben.

Although they were spared from the crimes committed in the Yugoslavian Banat, Batschka and Syrmia, the people of the Romanian Banat had their own fair share of suffering, as Nick describes in his book about growing up during these years in his home village, Alexanderhausen.  Having known Nick for about 10 years, I assumed the book would be a predisposed repertoire of academic rhetoric, because I’ve always thought of Nick as a professor.  But I was pleasantly surprised to find his book absolutely endearing, allowing me to peek into another aspect of Nick, the child, and the romantic, yet apprehensive young man who learned how to attain tolerance in the face of calamity.

Nick begins the book by sharing background information on his grandparents and his parents, leading up to his birth (I noticed, he didn’t give the year ;-).  He tells of his kindergarten days, and it seems that even then Nick was destined to be a special person, as he was the only child allowed to play in the sand box while the other children had to take a nap.  Those memories quickly move to the burial of a classmate who had drowned in a town flood.  Sharing that experience brought tears to Nick’s eyes.

The story then turns to the time the Red Army enters their village, his mother is deported to the USSR and his father leaves for the army.  Neither of his parents returned to their home in Alexanderhausen.  It is heart-breaking to read that his mother died; his father, unable to return to the Banat after the war; eventually immigrated to Canada.  The task of raising Nick fell on his Oma, Katharina Lukas, nee Beitz.  There’s got to be a special place in heaven for all the Omas of Donauschwaben children. 

Nick excelled in academics all the way through university.  His high school and university education took place in Timisoara, and the daily commute by train provides some very interesting stories.  Yes, it is the everyday life of a Donauschwaben child that is a story unto itself.  From his grueling studies to the periodic separations from his Oma, Nick’s tenacity to stick to his goals was extraordinary.  I was very touched by his account of his grandmother’s death; she had devoted her life to her grandson and everything she had done was for him and his future.

Nick speaks of his Oma frequently throughout the book and also reminisces about his mother. Not often does he mention his father, who eventually immigrated to Canada; and not till near the end of the book he reveals that his father was remarried to a widow with a daughter. It was no surprise that when Nick finally arrived in Canada as an adult, the long-time father-son estrangement could have played a role in Nick being the strong, determined and independent man he was and which led to his ultimate life-long accomplishments – a satisfying, secure career, his soul mate Donna and two wonderful children.  If he owes anyone a thank-you, it's Oma.

The book is filled with wonderful stories and enchanting episodes of Nick’s life in the Banat and in Canada; in some cases we are left wanting to know more of what happened after that!  But how much can be written in one book?  It is excellent and you won’t want to put it down because Nick is absolutely a great storyteller.

There is one thing I would change about it though, the title.  It should read “From Banat to Canada – A Childhood Interrupted”.  Read the book and you’ll understand why.

Nick, my DVHH associate and my friend, thank you for writing your story. ~Jody McKim Pharr

More about Nick Tullius


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