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The new film everyone is talking about . . .

Published at DVHH.org by Jody McKim Pharr, January 17, 2012.

"Danube Swabians"
(Podunavske Švabe)
A Documentary Film, Written & Directed by Marko Cvejić
Mandragora Films, Serbia

This is a documentary drama about The Danube Swabians, descendants of the youngest German tribes who, moved to the territory of Vojvodina in the eighteenth century looking for a better life. The story follows their destiny from the very beginnings of their settlement in this region, through their situation during the Second World War and to the present time. The film tells the story of Maria, a girl who is a descendant of The Danube Swabians. She comes to Vojvodina to find the old house of her grandfather, who was exiled after the War. There she meets a local guy named Misha who helps her in her journey. Together they travel throughout Vojvodina meeting witnesses of traumatic post-war events who have survived the communist camps. During their adventure, they discover completely new facts about The Danube Swabians that have been hidden from the public for decades.

Ordering Information

Directly from Marko Cvej at Mandragorafilm@gmail.com
or contact Joseph Psotka for assistance [psotka@msn.com]

The price of the DVD is 15 EUR
(=$22 USD) > this includes postage.

NOTE: Language: Serbian, with subtitles.
Please specify if you want German or English subtitles.

Payment Options:

Direct Bank Wire (cost of transfer could be $35 to $45 per transaction) both EUR and USD acceptable)

Banca Intesa A.D. Beograd
IBAN: RS35160373020004749363

Direct Bank Wire Payment with the reference: “DVD - Danube Swabians”

MoneyGram (available at WalMart and other places) is less expensive, about $10.00 US

Marko Cvej
Barnic Nedeljka 2
23000 Zrenjanin  Serbia

Direct MoneyGram Payment with the reference: “DVD - Danube Swabians”

One of the best web sites I've seen!
-Jody McKim Pharr, 28 Jan 2012

Podunavske Švabe

Premiered in Belgrade Wednesday, December 07th 2011,

The featured documentary “The Danube Swabians” was for the first time presented to the public. It’s a testimony of the fate of the Swabians who are disappearing from our territory. Free entrance!

After the screening, a panel was be held on the film topic. Speakers will include prof. dr Zoran Ziletic, head of the society for Serbian-German cooperation, Werner Harasym, head of the Cultural Fund of the Danube Swabians (Die Donauschwäbische Kulturstiftung) from Munich, and Marko Cvej, director and screenwriter of the film.




DVD Back Cover

Marko Cvejić

The screenplay, directing and editing the film signed by Marko Cvejic, a young director who has behind him over ten short films of which won awards at numerous film festivals. Born in 1978, in Zrenjanin, a graduate of the University of Novi Sad, department of film and theater director. MA in Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. President of the independent film production Mandragora Film.

The people we met during the filming and whose testimonies are recorded, survived concentration camps that were organized by the communist regime for local Germans. Some of them are for the first time in my life talked about. Before the Second World War in Serbia there lived more than half a million Germans, and today there are less than five thousand. People who speak in this film are the last representatives of a people whose roots date back to ancient history of these territories,
- said director and screenwriter Marko Cvej

Serbian Film: Successful premiere in Novi Sad

A great response and a very positive response, the film "The Danube Swabians" sponsored by the Kulturstiftung Donauschwaben came's premiere on 15 June 2011 in Neusatz (Novi Sad/Bačka). In the wake of the bilingual film was (German/Serbian) with English subtitles of the curator of the Museum of Vojvodina in detail about the content as well as discussed the history of the Danube Swabians under presence of Serbian Director Marko Cvej and Dr. Agnes Ozer. In September 2011, there will be more demonstrations in Neusatz. Also, the film shows of Vojvodina in the fall at several locations before he will be seen in Germany and Austria.

In the full hall of the Cultural Center of Novi Sad, on the 15th of June 2011. premier screening of a documentary film "Danube Swabians" was held. Screening was attended by the entire film crew, and after the screening, large number of audience was attended the conversation about the film in the club "Tribina mladih" CCNS. Dragan Gmizic, moderator, Dr. Agnes Ozer, curator of the Museum of Vojvodina, film-maker Marko Cvejic and Boris Masic, president of the German association "Adam Berenc" from Apatin, were talking about the film and the topic it treats.

Due to great interest in the film and the subject which is dealt with in September will be re-organized screenings in Novi Sad, as well as the autumn tour of towns and villages around Vojvodina.

The film was supported by the Provincial Secretariat for Culture, Novi Sad, Donauschwäbische Kulturstiftung, Munich, Donauschwäbisches Zentralmuseum, Ulm.

Review from: Donauschwäbische Kulturstiftung





"first started killing them, and sent the survivors to the concentration camps.

"You can't imagine how
hungry we were.?

"My Grandfathers' leg was missing because the rats already ate it."

Film Review
by Joseph Psotka
January 17, 2012

I received the CD yesterday and opened it with anticipation and a little dread.  I really hoped that it would be powerful and involving, and dreaded that it would be uninteresting and even inaccurate and a continuation of the official lies of the Serbian State.  It was neither.  It turned out to be a really good documentary about the Danube Swabians’ history,  with beautiful historical photos,  and carefully edited interviews with Shwoveh living in Serbia, all speaking Serbian, with English subtitles.  The interviews carefully tell the complete story of the Shwoveh in Vojvodina, from the great treks in the 18th Century to the expulsion and aftermath.

It is a swift overview, but it lingers in greater depth on the years in the camps, and it is photographed and edited in such a sympathetic way that these participants are completely believable and authentic.  I could detect no insincerity in their presentations: these were not rehearsed, but completely spontaneous comments from their lives and personal experience.

Their comments are perhaps not as graphic and dramatic as the interviews in Ann Morrison’s “ the Forgotten Genocide” but they have a unique power because these Shwoveh are still living in Serbia, where the deliberate suppression of official records promotes widespread ignorance about these events.  Living daily with the generations partly responsible  and yet ignorant of the genocide, they have an genuineness and believability that cannot be matched. 

I found the backdrop video footage and photos beautifully selected and matched to the story.  The opening video of a serene Danube in the mist evokes hauntingly the primal land the settlers found 250 years ago, and hints at the love for this country the Shwoveh developed.    From harvesting hemp to the shipbuilding yards in Apatin, a brief slide show focuses on the thriving industry of the Shwoveh.  Other pictures are used sparingly but effectively throughout the movie.

Marko Cvej has added a cover story to the movie that I find very effective and adds some moving moments to the dramatic flow.  This love story between a young Shwovish woman and Serbian man provides a loose recap of the Danube Swabian story at a personal level.  The young woman represents the Shwoveh,  coming to the Batschka and Banat, finding the home they are looking for, and a love of the land and its people; but being rejected as foreign, humiliated, terrorized, imprisoned, and expelled.  Her grandfather taught her Serbian and about the land and has left her with a picture of his home that she seeks and finds with the help of the Serb.  She arrives in Perlez and there are some fine shots of the decaying remains of Shwovish buildings that are lovingly filmed.  Their first night together is in very primitive circumstances, paralleling the Tot,

Not, and Brot of the early colonists.   Then they drive through the towns, until they find her grandfather’s house,  rundown, falling apart.  I found this to be the most moving part of the film as they wander through the ruin, with a strange power seen though her eyes.  After they are driven out, they head to Europe with relief and joy, and some regret, just as her Shwoveh ancestors had.   I recommend this particularly for generations who were not there, but a small caution is in order:  there is a hint of nudity and sexuality in their relation that may offend some. 

But of course, the heart of the documentary is the interviews with the Shwoveh still living in Serbia.  And these are very good.  Of course, many of them were children during the internment, but they are thoughtful and convincing.  The most moving among them I found a woman who convincingly expressed her regret that she and her family did not leave when she had the chance, and another witness who repeated that he was not respected then and is still not.  I think that this film is worthwhile for all Shwoveh to see, but it is particularly suited to Serbs who may be completely ignorant of this period in their history.

Cvejic is planning to tour many villages of the Vojvodina with this film to help educate and inform his countrymen, if he can get the funding to support this effort.  We have much to gain if there is a groundswell calling for  Serbia to bring Serbia’s secret documents about this era into the open where historians can study and analyze them.  This film could be an effective instrument  to bring this about.   This is an additional reason to support  Cvejic’s humanitarian purpose by buying this audacious film.


Last Updated: 04 Feb 2020

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