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My Family: Being German Didn't Mean You Were Safe

Lori Beckett wants to create her own Web site to commemorate her family.

Email Lori Beckett if you'd like to help or talk. Or visit her Web site (not in the Cybrary, so make a bookmark to get back here) at: http://www.pinn.net/~stevep12.

I remember when I was growing up and learning about World War II. I wasashamed that I was of 'German' heritage. Better to claim Yugoslavian, theydidn't kill the Jews! Truth is, my ancestors were German. Germans that werepromised a better life and land, a new beginning. Under the Habsbergs,hundreds of thousands of Germans were promised land and a new beginning, ifthey would only reclaim the land from the Turks. My ancestors were amongthem. They settled in the area known as Vojvodina, in Serbia, and were simplefarmers, and they built the area up, with others, until it became strong andextremely fruitful, 90+ percent the income of the area. These were VERY hardworking people, and very proud! And they started at a very young age.

My grandmother was brought to this country by her father in 1904, when shewas 9. He returned home two years later, leaving her with a Jewish family inNew York City, never to know at least one brother and sister born after hisreturn. She worked hard and sent most of her money home, to buy additionalland for her family and herself.

It was all lost... In WWI & WWII. Our people were some of the first tovolunteer to defend their 'homeland' in WWII... and the first to be executedand persecuted because they spoke german, never mind some of them had beenthere for a few hundred years! They volunteered BEFORE most of the Serbs inthe area. What did they get? Their lands taken from them, their fathers,brothers and sons. Their mothers and sisters raped. Their people exiled fromthe land they fought so hard for!

I never knew any of this when I was growing up. Neither did my mother oraunt. Most of the world doesn't know about this. Germans that relocated toclaim land for the Habsbergs (Germany), who ended up being ethnically cleansedfor being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were damned from thegit-go in WWII!!! The Germans killed them because they were in Yugoslavia, yetexpected them to co-operate, because they were German! The Slavs expectedthem to fight, because they lived in their country, yet killed them, becausethey were German...and not to be trusted!

My grandparents lost touch with sisters and brothers, not to mentionthat their parents died during all of this, some in labor camps only to beburied in mass graves, still unidentified . My mother and aunt have cousinsthat they probably will never know, we have no idea where anyone went.

So, we are a small family that wonders. Where are the others? Didthey survive the atrocities? My grandfather was one of ten, I only know thefate of one other. My grandmother was one of, at least, seven. I know thefate of one. Abused so severely by her husband that she ended up in an insaneasylum.

Perhaps I have rattled on long enough. Perhaps. But I will continue tofight and talk about the fate of those my grandparents left behind.

What a messed up fate!!!


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