poppy image  A German Treasure At The poppy image
University Of Illinois At Chicago

As readers of the Eintracht (newspaper) probably know, in 1997 my master thesis in history was published by Picton Press as The Great Chicago Refugee Rescue, a book which was then serialized in the Eintracht over a period of several weeks.

This exposure finally led to the creation of German Chicago: The Danube Swabians and the American Aid Societies, and German Chicago Revisited, both in the Images of America Series by Arcadia Publishing.

Collectively these books begin to tell the story of the Danube Swabians of Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia during World War II and the rescue efforts of their landsleute in the United States.

What readers of the Eintracht may not know is what eventually happened to all of my research materials for these books. As my academic work progressed I was fortunate to receive hundreds of photographs, letters, documents, periodicals, books, heimatbücher, and other kinds of documents relating to the history of these people.

After finishing with these materials I was able to place all of them in the Special Collections of the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where I earned a Ph.D. in History in May 2007.
These Materials have been catalogued and are now available to the general public and scholars. But there is something else waiting in this collection, something which probably does not exist anywhere else in the world.

The Neuland is a Danube Swabian newspaper which Leopold Rohrbacher began in Salzburg, Austria in 1948. It lasted until 1979, and therefore represents the primary newspaper of the Donauschwaben.

It contains not only the history of their unique struggle after World War II, but also a goldmine of genealogical information as desperate people sent in messages to be printed in hopes of finding their missing relatives.
In that sense, Michael Stöckl, the genealogist who saved the complete run of the Neuland, has left his people a treasure which will only become more precious with time.

I have used only a small portion of this Neuland, opening it only until 1953, which represented the end of the United States Displaced Persons Act of 1948. From 1953 until 1979 this historical treasure chest has remained untouched.

I sincerely hope that the Donauschwaben will find their missing history in it, and that an enterprising young graduate student will discover a master's thesis or even a Ph.D. in its yellowed and musty pages.

Ray Lohne

Raymond Lohne Ph.D.
Columbia College
reprinted with permission from the author











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