Georgshausen/Velika Greda

 From Leidensweg der Deutschen im Kommunistischen Jugoslawien The Way of Sorrows of the Germans in Communist Yugoslavia 

  Georgshausen is a small village that until 1919 did not have a single Serbian inhabitant.  Alongside of the 650 Swabians there were around 250 Hungarians and 1 Slovak who lived there at that time.  This changed with the introduction of the Agricultural Reform Act of the Kingdom of Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia in the year 1919.  Around Georgshausen a landowner had large undeveloped estates.  As a result of the Reform these lands were confiscated and settled by a new and “foreign” population.

 

  A new village was established for these new inhabitants and was identified as a “colony”.  There was limited and only gradual contact with these inhabitants of the colony, some 850 persons from Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovnia and Lika.  There was some hesitation about interaction with them, and much of the contact was at the weekly market, the train station and the local pubs.  The relationship between the colony and its inhabitants and the Swabians was not of a personal nature.  They lived alongside of one another but not with one another although the local administration was a common one.    The Richter was always a Swabian and the Notary was always a Serb.

 

  Then came 1941 and the occupation by German troops.  The German soldiers were warmly welcomed by the Swabian population.  During the following years during the war there was no conflict among the inhabitants and up to 1944 the Swabians, Hungarians and Serbs were all on friendly terms and lived together in harmony.

 

  On October 1, 1944 the Swabians of the village handed over the administration to the inhabitants of the colony.  On October 2nd the Partisans came to the village.  They began to establish a local government of their own.  From the outset their regime was hostile towards the Swabians whom they saw as their enemies.  In the first days nothing happened.  Then the Swabians were ordered to surrender their bicycles, radios, sewing machines and watches.  In addition vehicles of transportation were requisitioned to bring supplies to the campaigning Russian army and Partisans.  In all other ways life went on and daily work proceeded to bring in the corn and harvest the sunflowers.

 

  Day by day, the Partisans became more cheeky and impudent and large numbers of the men from the colony joined them in this.  They conducted malicious house searches and took what they liked.  It was not long before they became violent.  The teacher, Karl Petri was killed by one of his former students from the colony and thrown into a ditch.  The father of the community’s first regional leader Jakob Johann (Schneider Hans) was killed and buried in a field.  Several men were taken to the community center and were beaten and tortured until they died.  The women and young girls had no peace either.  The Partisans brought more and more Russian troops to the village that both alarmed and frightened them.

 

  All of this was a prelude for what was to come.

 

  On November 1st the first twenty men were arrested, bound and transported off to Werschetz where they endured an unbelievable martyrdom and death.  None of the twenty men ever came back.

 

  The second action took place on November 3rd.  On this day all of the rest of the Swabian men of the village were arrested.  Even the youth who were only sixteen.  They were taken to the Stojkowitsch-Camp in Werschetz.  From this second group, three men came back to the village.  Four other men had been allowed to remain at home because they were involved in important work at the mill.  From this second group it was determined that with the exception of the sixteen year old none of the others would leave the camp in Werschetz alive.

 

  Before Christmas of 1944 the deportation of the Swabian women to forced labour in Russia was ordered and carried out in Georgshausen.

 

  In the spring of 1945 all of the remaining Swabian women, children and old men were driven out of their homes and sent to a labor camp.  At the end of that road there was Rudolfsgnad.  In many cases this became the way of the cross ending in death.

 

  Of the 668 Swabians who lived in the village in 1941 the following are the losses they experienced through violent death:

 

  In Werschetz in the Sojkowitsch Camp 46 men lost their lives following gruesome torture.  To this day nothing has been heard from any of them.

 

  The deportation to Russia included 31 women and 8 men from the village.  Five men and one woman did not return.  They died as a result of accidents, exhaustion or in the trains on their way home to freedom.  Many of the women who returned were terribly sick and broken physically until the end of their lives.

 

  In the labor camps and in the camp at Rudolfsgnad 77 persons perished.  The majority were elderly men and women and children under 13 years of age.

 

  All men of military age were called up to serve in the Yugoslavian Army at the outbreak of the war and then later served in units of the German Army.  As a result many of the young men of the village lost their lives.  The losses included one man in the Yugoslavian Army and 34 men in the German Army.

 

  Those are sizable losses for a community of this size with 668 inhabitants in 1941.

 

  The village still exists today.  It is called:  Velika Greda.  The one time colony is now joined to the old village physically and as a result the Swabian cemetery has been used for that purpose.  The houses of the former Danube Swabian inhabitants are now occupied by people from Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Lika who arrived here as settlers.  Nothing now could indicate that for over 90 years Swabians lived and worked here.

 

  The total number of those who died violently have been provided by former inhabitants of the village and are accurate.  They come from surviving family members.  However, the figure for those who died in the camps is certainly too low.  Not all of the victims could be identified because whole families were exterminated or simply disappeared.

One Response to “ Georgshausen in the Banat ”

  1. Peter G. Froh says:

    I am the grandson of Peter Froh, born Aug.27, 1892 in Georgshausen. He left the Banat for Canada in 1910 and remained there until his death in 1979. His father was Johann Froh. His mother was Elisabeth Shultz. Elisabeth died in Georgshausen in 1910. Johann remarried and remained in Georgshausen until his death sometime near or after the end of World War II. If any of these names are known to anyone who reads this please contact me at glennfroh@hotmail.com

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