Remembering Our
Danube Swabian Ancestors

Donauschwaben Villages

"Helping Hands"

“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world.
In fact, it is the only thing that ever has." ~Margaret Mead


Brad Schwebler
New York, USA

Village Coordinator for:

Feketitsch, Batschka

Beschka, Syrmia


The Collected Works of Brad Schwebler


“Not everything that is faced can be changed,
but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Mover & Shaker
Interview by Rose Mary Keller Hughes
Published at 01 Dec 2004 by Jody McKim Pharr

Welcome, Brad, the first of the list of Shakers and Movers.

It is always tough to be the first of any new project, but Brad very graciously agreed to go under the microscope so that we might have the opportunity to know him better. 

Brad was born in Catskill, New York in 1954.  He attended Coxsackie-Athens Central School and then went on to college and received a BA in psychology from the State University of New York (SUNY) New Paltz in 1976.  Then Brad joined the United States Air Force as a medic; he was stationed in North Carolina, England and later in California.  In 1977, Brad married Donna and their daughter, Kristy, was born while Brad was stationed in England—he was working in Labor and Delivery!  Their son, Shawn, was born two years later.

Following his armed service stint, Brad was in the Air Force Reserves and the New York Air National Guard.  While with them he flew as an aero-medical service specialist in the C-130 Hercules around the United States as well as other parts of the world including Germany, Hungary, England again during Desert Storm, Korea, Hawaii, New Zealand, Antarctica, and the Azores.  Now he is retired from the military but he is still busy working as a counselor for the New York State Department of Corrections in the local prison.

Brad is quite busy and multi-faceted as his hobbies are quite varied!   They include traveling, exploring, studying nature, painting, stamp collecting and translating German—especially Donauschwaben literature.  Aha! We all exclaim as we read this—someone to turn to when we can’t decipher some document or other!

Brad was asked how he came to be doing research on his family?

He replied, “While I was growing up, I knew my grandparents came from a village called Feketic somewhere in Yugoslavia.  But that is about all I knew and they didn’t talk much about it.  Then as if by fate, I had the opportunity to be deployed to Hungary in support of the operation in Bosnia.  While I was there, my father sent me addresses of German Schwebler families.  I wrote to many of them and received a few responses.  I visited two of the families when I went up to Germany.  They treated me like family and the mother of the second family I visited showed me a book all about the village my grandparents came from.  I was thrilled and asked her for a copy of it.  A few months later I received it in the mail.  That was in 1996 and I have been translating ever since, learning so much, not just about my family and Feketic but about other villages and the Donauschwaben in general.  Then more fate happened when Jody found me on the Internet and asked me to join them on DVHH.  My world has opened up tremendously.  I haven’t made it to Feketic (Feketitsch) yet, but I was quite close.   When I looked at the map when I was in the beautiful city of Pecs in Hungary it looked so close, but I couldn’t go there.”

Brad was asked who his ancestral heroes were?

He told us that somehow he is related to Teddy Roosevelt on his mother’s side and that his wife’s ancestors are related to Kit Carson.  We can certainly understand why he chose these two men—one a man of action and the other an adventurer—both legends in history.

Brad’s Motto:

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

What advice might you give to family tree researchers?

“My advice is to be as helpful as you can and people will reciprocate.  People have been so generous to me in providing books and literature in helping me with my research.”

Thank you, Brad, for being so open in response to the many questions posed you.  Thank you as well for being our first interviewee—you are an interesting, smart, resourceful and generous person and we are lucky to call you our Donauschwaben friend!

Brad & the DVHH . . .

Thank you Brad for your contributions to the DS community and the DVHH Project!

Brad has been a part of the DVHH since it began! Brad is fluent in English and German; and has translated and contributed an enormous amount of cultural and historical works for the DVHH.

See: The Collected Works of Brad Schwebler

[Published at 30 Sep 2020 by Jody McKim Pharr]

Last updated: 31 Oct 2020