Fate of the Donauschwaben
'January 14, 1945'
by Alex Leeb
[Published at DVHH.org 2004 by Jody McKim Pharr]
Second World War didn't end until the spring of 1945, but the fate of
the Donauschwaben people already began on January 14, 1945. It was evident then already that Germany would lose the War. Most of the
younger Donauschwaben men were serving in either the German or the
Romanian Armies. Ninety nine percent of them never did return home to
their families. As soon as the Russian soldiers invaded Czechoslovakia, Josef Stalin,
leader of the Communist Party, ordered all the Donauschwaben men and
women between the ages of 16-35 to be send to Russia and help to rebuilt
On January 14th, some of the local communist people were celebrating
their victory and the defeat of the Donauschwaben people. You could see
it in their eyes, the enjoyment and pleasure they are going to have with
the Donauschwaben people.
The Donauschwaben people were put on freight trains and transported to
the Russian camps, where they worked underground in the coalmines. Some had to leave their little children, parents and grandparents
behind. Some of the children had nobody to turn to for protection.
Here is an example where fate hit families in this village. The village
is Gross-und-Deutschsanktnikolaus. This is just one of the many Donauschwaben villages where families
suffered deeply. In eight families, were two sons who died in the war. In one family, two
sons were deported to the Russians camps.
Family H. Filipp; sons Hans and Franz, died in the German Army.
Family M. Lawatowitsch; sons Karl and Michael, died in the German Army.
Family J. Oster; sons Hans and Martin in the German Army.
Family P. Roos; son Franz, in the Romanian Army, son Peter, in the
Family J. Schmidt; sons Jakob and Peter, in the German Army.
Family H. Schmidt; sons Hans and Jakob, in the Romanian Army.
Family F. Tinnes; sons Filipp and Franz, died in Russia in the coalmines.
Family J. Witte; sons Jakob and Josef in the German Army.
Family Hans Mueller, had five children: Hans; Elisabeth; Eva; Katharina
and Rosina. In January, 1945, four of their daughters were forced to the
coalmines in Russia. One of their son-in-law, died in the Romanian Army.
Six children, all under the age of five, were left to stay with their
grandparents. The daughter Elisabeth, married a Gerbl, she died in Russian and her
husband Gerbl, died in the Romanian Army. Their two little children were
left behind as orphans.
The family Jakob Schulde; had four children, the ages between 5-9, Jakob
Schulde, died in 1941, by Odessa, Russia, while serving in the Romanian
Army. His wife Anna was forced to the coalmines in Russian, in 1945. The
four children were left with their 73, year old grandparents at that
Family Jakob Witte; had six children, Elisabeth; Jakob; Anton; Hans;
Josef and Eve. They were a happy family until the fate struck them. The
sons Jakob and Josef died in the German Army. Hans and his wife
Elisabeth (nee, Kaufmann) both were forced to Russia and died in the
coalmines. The husband of Eva, died in the German Army. That's how fate
hit the Witte family, during the war and after the war.
January 14th, was not a jubilant day for the Donauschwaben. A day they
would rather forget, but for some, memory disappears slowly. To some of us, such incidents have no meaning, no feeling to us. To us,
they're just ordinary names which we might hear on a daily bases. To some of us, we feel the fate for the people and their families. For some of us, they were our relatives, - our grandparents, - our
parents and our children.