A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

The Serbian-German Cultural Association

 by Peter Lang
Translation by Brad Schwebler

   The Swabian-German Cultural Association was established in Yugoslavia shortly after World War I.  It was an umbrella association for clubs of all kinds.  It was in local groups, under which the local group in Beschka belonged.  Its task consisted of the promotion of all cultural and social interests of the Germans in Yugoslavia.  Although to a considerable extent it brought about the re-Germanization of the Hungarianized Germans, the Yugoslavian government saw a danger in it whereas the cultural association was forbidden a few years after its establishment.  This ban, to my understanding, was not justified, because the Germans in their majority were against the Yugoslavian government infringing on it.  The cultural association was permitted again about 1930.  All Germans belonged to it as members.  Its seat and with it the central point of cultural life of the Germans was in Neusatz.  There the housing construction company built the so-called HABAG house.  It contained a very large festival hall, office rooms of the cultural association as well as the German cooperatives and the central loan treasury.

   In 1930 the cultural association established the German school foundation.  Although Beschka still did not have members in the cultural association at the time, the community donated several thousand Dinar to the school foundation.  The school foundation established several German citizen schools, several grammar schools, and a German teaching institute.  Shortly before World War II the good Cotek in Futag bought an agricultural school to furnish.

   In Beschka a youth group of the cultural association was established.  The group was especially concerned with sports and music, especially the singing.  The men of this group wore black uniforms at formal marches (Aufmärschen?).  The women organized many lectures of the general education sort, especially about infant care.

           After the Yugoslavian campaign, Croatia became an independent state, and the Germans in Yugoslavia were divided in three groups.  The Croatian Germans (schufen?) a new association for themselves as a substitute for the cultural association, which pursued the same goals as the cultural association.  The association called itself “The German Folk Group in Yugoslavia”.  Again it also established a school foundation which opened citizen schools in India and Neupasua, a grammar school in Ruma, and a teaching institute in Essegg.  Also central agricultural cooperatives, banks, and a central administration were established in Essegg.  The German folk group was very tightly organized.  Their orders followed government measures.  In each village there was a local leader.  He sheltered all office administrators in the economy, administration, and defense.  Appeals for donation were, for example, fulfilled by state tax contributions for social purposes.  Over the local groups stood the area leadership and over this was the folk group leadership.  The area leadership for Beschka was in India.  The seat of the folk group leadership was in Essegg.

[Published at 2005 by Jody McKim Pharr]