Marija Fischer’s Recollection
Godišnjak Podruznice za povijest
Slavonije, Srijema I Baranje
Hrvatskog institute za povijest
Translated by Rosina T. Schmidt
Up to the end of WWII most of the Yugoslavian
ethnic Germans fled or were thrown out of their homes due to the war situations to
Austria and Germany where they awaited the war end. Between them there was a large
number Slavonia’s Donauschwaben. The Allied occupying forces in Austria and
Germany urged and insisted that those refugees return to their homes in Yugoslavia
at war’s end.
However, the new Yugoslavian government was
strongly opposed to the return of ethnic Germans, whom they have thrown out in the
first place. On 22nd of May 1945 a decision was made to prevent the
return of all Yugoslavian ethnic Germans by the Yugoslavian Democratic Federal
government as well as by the Yugoslavian Army headquarters in Belgrade.
To most of those returning Yugoslavian citizen
of ethnic German minorities, who left the country at their own initiative or were
forced by the partisans to do so during the war, the return to Yugoslavia was
strongly prevented. They were stopped at the Austria-Yugoslavia border or
Hungary-Yugoslavia border. Most of them had to return to the refugee camps in
Austria or Germany.
Marija Fischer, nee Kalajkovic from Kula
vividly describes those times and events:
"Because my husband, Friedrich Fischer,
lost his life during one of the air bombings on Linz/Danube, I went to my parents
to Nussbach, county of Kirchdorf on the Krems (Austria), where they found refuge
after evacuation from Croatia. On 5th of July 1945 mayor Edlinger
visited us and said: All the Croats had to go home on the 6th and had
to assemble in front of the city hall at seven in the morning with their hand
luggage for repatriation to Yugoslavia.
After we assembled the next morning the city hall secretary told us, that we would
be transported directly to our homeland. With the cars of the American occupying
forces we were transported to the train station, embarked on the train and via
Linz, Salzburg, Marburg, Steinbrück we reached Zagreb on the 8th of
July 1945 at eight in the morning. Just prior to the Yugoslavian border we changed
into different train cars.
In Agram (Zagreb) we were sent with our
luggage to a close-by military barrack. Each person received a small loaf of bread
and SOME bean soup. In the afternoon we again received each a small loaf of bread.
Around 16h we were told to assemble in the yard, so a list of names could be made.
During the day an announcement through the loud speakers was made numerous times
that we were to give some cloths and other items as donations to the partisans.
Since all of us had only hand luggage with us, and no one had anything that they
could do without, no donations were made. The making of the name list was
interrupted quite a few times so there was already tension in the air, which
escalated with each interruption.
We were pushed back inside after the list
was completed and the guards were posted. Shortly thereafter an order was issued
that we were to pack some food and assemble in the yard again. Two hours later we
were brought once again to the train station and into the railway cars. Firmly
guarded we headed via Varaždin – Csakatornya towards the Hungarian border. At
Medjumurje prior to the boarder we had to leave the train and marched the 25
kilometers across the border.
Russians took us over in Hungary and
boarded us again into trains. We had to change the trains numerous times and
marched in between. The frustration grew and it became so unbearable that two men
cut their own throats. One of them was from Kula, one died and the other was sent
to a Hungarian hospital. During that trip between 8th of July to 13th
of July 1945 we received no food. We were also not able to purchase anything.
We had to leave our luggage in Zagreb behind.
On 13th of July at 11h in the
morning I fled from the transport in Ölenburg and arrived in Nussbach starving and
There were about 1700 persons in the
transport, all Danube Swabian refugees from Yugoslavia.