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

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors
Published at by Jody McKim Pharr

My great grandfather (Franz Strk) funeral procession, 1953, Outside their house at Kovin, Banat.
My great grandmother is at back all in black to the left.  ~ Elizabeth Renate Jenkin

Rosemary & Burials

          The rosemary plant also had a role as a sign of mourning. That is why the mourners and many members of the village community paid their last respects to the departed by dipping the rosemary branch available on site into holy water, and then sprinkle the body of the dead person in a cross-shaped motion. Sometimes a rosemary bush was planted on the grave, as a symbol of eternal life. (Rosemary in the Life of the Danube Swabians, by Hans Gehl)

Laying to Rest in Semlak
by Rose Mary Keller Hughes

At Funerals
by Peter Lang

Undertakers’ Association
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher

Life and Death
by Stefan Schmied

by Dr. Viktor Pratscher

Funeral Procession- in Neu-Passau

The Bell and the Tower Clock by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
For funerals the bells rang together for an hour and for half an hour beforehand the large bell rang first.  During the funeral procession to the cemetery the bells rang together and likewise from the cemetery to the church for the eulogy.)

My grandfather Peter Ochs and his wife, Katarina Stumpf, 3 months after arriving at Ellis Island on July 3, 1914 from Hrastovac and settling in Pennsylvania. Grandmother holds her eldest son, Peter. Her sister Anna, later Anna Naas, holds the younger boy John (Ivan). Their eldest daughter, Katarina, had just succumbed to measles. As was the custom, a funeral portrait was taken. An unhappy moment but iconic, I believe. Clearing out my mother's photos (she passed away in 2009) I find that her family continued the tradition of a funeral photo, although not a family portrait. Seems they always had to take a snap of the deceased in their coffin. ~ Pattie Hansen

I have several photos of dead family members. This tradition of photographing the dead even extends into modern times -- I had a Donauschwaben-born cousin in Chicago whose funeral I could not attend in the 90s, so the family sent me a thank you card for my sympathy card and included a picture of him lying in his casket as if it were no big deal. Was this tradition widespread in Europe or was it special to the Germans? Why did they do it? Anything you can share would be appreciated! ~Paula Schleis



Last Updated: 08 Aug 2020 2003 Donauschwaben Villages Helping Hands, a Nonprofit Corporation.
Webmaster: Jody McKim Pharr
Keeping the Danube Swabian legacy alive!