Last Waltz on the Danube
The 1944-1948 ethnic cleansing of East European Germans has long been shrouded in silence. Following the liberation of Hungary from the Ottoman Turks, the Habsburg Monarchy encouraged Swabians from Southwest Germany to settle in and rebuild the war-devastated province along the Danube River. With pioneer spirit and strength of will, the colonists turned the former wasteland into the 'Breadbasket of Europe.' For 300 years, the descendents of the original settlers lived peacefully among various ethnic groups while continuing to cherish and maintain the customs and traditions of their ancestors. In the aftermath of World War II following the Nazi Holocaust, these German speaking Danube Swabians were perceived as Nazi collaborators and, out of retaliation for war crimes they didn't commit, became Hitler's last victims, targets of Tito's barbarous genocide that resulted in the extermination and murder of some two million innocent men, women, and children and the displacement of another fifteen million. The meticulously researched historical section of the book is complimented by the remarkable story of Katharina Karl Marx who was a young girl in German Batschka when Tito's Army changed the idealistic pastoral life of this famer's daughter: Going to the movies with friends, dances, traditional festivals and Sunday walks along the banks of the Danube. In 1944, for Katharina and her family and friends, the music stopped. She was hidden, separated from her family and sent to a work camp. Through sheer faith and strength of will she eventually managed to escape over the border and reunite with her family. In the mid 1950s she and her family came to America where she married, raised a family. Included is an educator guide for teaching Holocaust and genocide awareness and a general discussion of genocide.
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