This event was of a serious nature
that brought interested folks from all over the country, mostly those of
Donauschwaben descent and locals who never heard of the frightening stories of the
ethnic Germans of Eastern Europe. The documentary film and lectures began with
Ann Morrison, who did a good job
community-service college level documentary and pulling it all together.
I congratulate Ann for taking the
risk on such a sensitive subject matter. I hope her endeavors prove to be
beneficial and may she achieve her goals to inform the world of the atrocities
committed to the ethnic Germans in Eastern Europe.
The survivors that Ann interviewed for the documentary shared their different yet
similar stories of survival, as intense
listens could not imagine walking in their footsteps.
interviews were conducted separately and in detail; but unfortunately due to restrains of
film time, only portions of each interview were shown in the documentary. But luckily the two-day event
afforded many of us the opportunity to hear additional details from some of
The line-up of outstanding speakers who generously traveled at their own expense to
St. Louis to share their knowledge and heartfelt experiences in hope of educating
the community; showed their dedication and desire to support the efforts put forth
by Ann's documentary. They were all an asset to the presentation.
It was wonderful to visit with people we often chat
and work with at the DVHH. Among the
interviewees were a few DVHH
& Eva Martini, speaker & author of a memoir
collection & member of Trenton Donauschwaben Club; and
one of my favorite Donauschwaben couples!
One evening at dinner, Adam and Eva, Yvonne Juhl, my
cousin Chris Deaton (of St Louis) and I had a memorable time together,
and Adam expounded on his childhood story as a survivor;
he also shared about moving beyond the past (as much as
possible) and enjoying his life as it is now.
(survivor, speaker & author of
Pebble in My Shoe) was there
with husband George. Katherine was a big promoter in
Ann's documentary and I enjoyed her interview; as I did
(survivor, speaker &
author of Barefoot in the
Rubble), who attended with
husband Mike. Elizabeth and Katherine were instrumental
of Cleveland, (Donauschwaben historian and author, and a
camp survivor) After
his escape in 1947, he fled via Hungary to Austria and
from there he came to the United States in 1956.
Thank you all
for keeping the Donauschwaben legacy alive!
provided a time and place for DVHH folks to meet for the
first time in person. After many years at DVHH it
was great to finally meet Yvonne Juhl, in person.
Yvonne lives in St Louis and I found her a very delightful
woman! Sophie Souza is a fun person and I look forward to
getting to know her better and seeing her around at
other DS events. Sophie made arrangements for
Elisabeth Walters to speak at her daughters school in the upcoming
months. Frank Dohr, and his wife
us for dinner one night and we really all had a good time!
learned Marilyn's maiden name is Silies and her mother,
Helen Dressel, was born in Werschetz, Hungary in 1900
and came to the U.S. in 1912. Her grandfather, Joseph
Dressel, was born in Karlsdorf, Hungary.
of Chicago, IL, photographer and Karlsdorf webmaster
attended, positioned on the front line (I know Tina took
some wonderful images of the event).
It was a pleasure to make
Lt. Col. Brian Landry Ph. D.,
who shared with me that when he began his thesis on the
Donauschwaben that the DVHH was his first resource!
for the now extinct village of
Molidorf and currently assisting Ann Morrison in her
continued future series of "The Forgotten Genocide."
Anita and I had a late night opportunity to spend time getting to know
one another. Rita Tomkins, who is writing a
soon to be published book
"From the Banat to Bailey Avenue."
Olsen Krueger, of Manchester MO. Bonnie,
who's mother Hilda Dernetz, escaped the Gakowa camp in 1947,
almost 9 years old and immigrated to the US in 1950, (more
about Hilda). John Haas and his wife, who
was one of Ann's
interviewees in the documentary; joined our evening gatherings; and John shared many stories of his surviving the
camp to his successful life in America. Helga
Ruby, of Chicago, IL a camp survivor from Modosch in
Banat. A short version of her experience is
included in the book by
Herbert Prokle "Weg der Deutschen Minderheit
Jugoslawiens Nach der Aufloesung der Lager 1948,"
published in 2003. Mary Amschlinger Staub and daughter
Christine Mogyorody, both from
Windsor attended. Mary was born in Molidorf and is a camp
about Mary). Christine, who loves to shop, is a hoot of fun!
Time just seems to fly at these gatherings! But I am grateful we had an
opportunity to meet up in supporting Ann and her efforts.
Photos of Thursday &
Friday lectures and
the Private Screening and
are posted at
Don't forget to see the heartfelt
Exhibit that was nicely displayed.
I had to leave Saturday
morning, so I did not attend the Brewhouse tour or the
Saturday evening dinner. If someone who attended
would like to submit a review of either function, please
write me. Photos of the
were submitted by Eva Martini and are posted here for
your viewing pleasure. Thanks to all who provided
Community College-Meramec for providing the location and hospitality to
all attending and mostly for supporting Ann's venture. Your staff
was most gracious.
Best of success Ann, from all the DVHH!
Jody McKim Pharr
DVHH President, 18 Sep 2010