The Evacuation of the Children of Alt-Futok


  The following is the translation of an article of the same title in German that appeared in the Donautal magazine.  Atl-Futok was a community in the Batschka.


  Romania’s capitulation on August 23, 1944 finally awakened the Swabian community leaders in the Batschka to the danger approaching and initiated what would become  “The Great Escape” of the German population of Yugoslavia in October 1944.


  It was Saturday, September 30, 1944 and at ten o’clock in the morning the sound of salvos of artillery fire began and lasted for half an hour coming from the direction of Novi Sad (Neusatz) and could be heard from a distance.  The population assumed that German troops were dealing with a Partisan attack or military manoeuvres were taking place in Peterwardein.  The firing started up again on the morning of October 3rd…a Tuesday.  The population knew nothing of what was occurring nor were they aware of the threatening danger they were in because they had no news of what was happening on the Eastern Front.  For the inhabitants of the village of Alt-Futok the battlefield was still somewhere way out there far to the east of them.  The German Army was retreating for tactical reasons they were told.  Yet despite that, Swabian refugee treks from the Banat had passed through the village on September 3rd.


  On the day of the great fire when sixty houses had gone up in flames, the Banat refugees challenged the villagers asking, “What are you waiting for?  Get going!  The Russians are already in Romania.”  Few people took them seriously.


  Two days later on October 5th the community officials had the drums beaten on the street corners and the town crier read out the last official decision of the Alt-Futok village Council.  All children between the ages of six to fifteen were to be prepared for an emergency evacuation to be set in motion on Sunday, October 8th.  They were all to assemble next to the inn in upper Alt-Futok and every child was to bring sufficient food to last for ten days.  By noon most of the wagons were already crowded with children.  The convoy of wagons and trucks headed out for Palanka at three in the afternoon.  The evacuation of the  184 children was now in the hands of a group of women from Futok.  The leader of these care givers was 23 year old, Käthe Einz from Torschau, who was the Kindergarten teacher.


  The convoy consisted of two groups.  A motorized bus group with 40 children led by Eva Mülbi and the wagon trek with Käthe Einz with her 145 children.  They also had a military escort.  The men were from Neutsatz (Novi Sad) and other parts of Hungary and  had been billeted in Futok.  The wagons that transported the children to Palanka had been requisitioned from the Serbian inhabitants of Futok.  The children were unloaded in Palanka and boarded ships and barges while the military returned with the wagons back to Futok.  Palanka was already evacuated and the two barges the children boarded had been meant for 200 children from Bulkes.  They arrived too late.  The ships and barges had left with their jam packed cargo.  The children of Bulkes had to return home where disaster awaited them.  Almost all of them died in the death camp in Jarek.

10 Responses to “ The Evacuation of the Children of Alt-Futok ”

  1. Erica says:

    I read your article “evacuation of the children of Alt Futok” and I am interested if you have any other names. This very much reminds me of a story that my father told me about his childhood. He spoke very little of the events of his youth, as this was a time of hardship for his family. My father’s name was Lorenz and his brother Adam Hermann. My father was born in 1936 in Alt-Futok. If you have any records or know of any way I can research my family history that would be wonderful. My grandmother’s maiden name was Csepi.

  2. stefan zivkowitz says:

    Perhaps i can help erica to know a little bit from her family. My grandma is born 1925 in futok. She is still alive. I found a old book were i found the name hermann in altfutok, frühlingsgasse. Hermann maria born 1910 gone to usa, hermann josef 1908 fallen in russia, hermann lorenz 1932 usa, hermann lorenz 1935 fallen, hermann anna maria 1943 usa. If this is your family, contact me perhaps i can help you further… but there were a lot of hermanns in futok…
    Schönen gruss aus deutschland,

    Stefan Zivkowitz

  3. stefan zivkowitz says:

    My adress is
    perhaps you can write in german, my english isnt the best…

  4. Pene says:

    I believe my father was one of these children from Alt Futok. Do any lists of names exist? My father is gone now, but my siblings and I would very much like to know.

  5. Pene says:

    My apologies, I should add that his surname was Mihajlowitsch. His mother’s maiden name was Bodi. Any information would be gratefully received! Thank you.

  6. Kelley (Einz) says:

    My grandmother Is Katherine Einz — she is still alive —
    She would be thrilled to know that life went on generations partially because of her bravery.
    She spoke very little about this understandably but in the late part of her life, memories are reappearing.
    and we are finding out more & more…

  7. Donna Holseth says:

    There is a book called Futok. Author Josef Klinger, published 1958. Out of print, but you get access to a copy via inter-library book loan. There is a diagram on the inside cover showing the layout of the town.

    Your ancestors lived at 975 Fruhlingsgasse in Alt Futok. Adam was born in 1932, Lawrence born in 1935, and a sister Anna-Maria born in 1943 all immigrated to the US. The mother Maria (maiden name Esafra according to the book – which does have some mistakes, by the way) also emmigrated and she was born in 1910. The father, Josef passed away, he was born in 1908, does not say he emmigrated, so he probably died over there.

  8. Frank Herdt says:

    My mother is Josephine Berg she was one of the children evacuated. Later reunited with family. Married into the Herdt family the HAT makers in Futok and Palnka Trying to retrieve the futok book spoke about above

  9. Ashley says:

    I have been looking for information on the Zetsch family for decades and have found a but here and there but not much. Josef Zetsch escaped in 1944, but is reported killed in 1945. If anyone has any information on the Zetsch family, any of the Zetsch family please let me know!

  10. Lillian Markind says:

    My mother and her family were all from Futok. Tittl, Tschetsch, Kopp, Thiel, Biberline, and Seitz were family names. I can be reached at and would love to find more information! I grew up with my great grandparents Anna Thiel Tschetsch (born 1898) and Franz Tschetsch (born 1894).

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