|The Danube Swabian Foundation of the U.S.A., Inc.
Die Donauschwaebische Stiftung der USA, Inc.
|5th year's (2017) writing an essay was:
|What is the future of the Donauschwaben and what can
you do to ensure the continuation of the Donauschwaben
and the Donauschwaben Vereins?
|and the winners were:
Evan Sweeny & David O'Reilly
Maria Leonhardt Cincinnati Donauschwaben
What do I enjoy most about being Donauschwaben? To answer that question completely would take a
lifetime! However, when I think about my heritage and everything that comes with it, one experience sums up hat I
enjoy most...sausage making! This is probably a very typical German thing to say, but for me and my family there
is a little more background and meaning that makes it so special to my heart.
One of the reasons sausage making is so special to me is because, like most Schwob families, it is a
tradition that has been done by many of our ancestors for many generations. This is no different for my family. My
Mom tells me stories of how the whole family - all of the aunts, uncles, and cousins - would get together to make
sausage when she was growing up. It was an all day affair, and something the family did for many years.
Everyone would go over to my Great-Oma’s house, and everything was ready to go...the meat to be mixed with
spices in large tubs, the casings soaking in brine, and, of course, the cast iron sausage press. There were always
Krispy Kreme doughnuts to start the day...a staple in our family! Everybody in the family arrived early in the
morning to start making the sausage while eating doughnuts and, for the adults, drinking beer. Everyone would be
working at their stations, catching up with one another, laughing, and making jokes. After all the sausage was
made, the children could go in the backyard to play games, while the men prepared the smokehouse for half of the
sausage. Great-Oma would begin to fry the leftover sausage, and the women of the family would open jars of
homemade canned peppers, and bring out loaves of bread for lunch. Tables and chairs were set up so that the
whole family could sit together in the breezeway. When enough sausage was cooked, everyone sat down to say
grace together, and we finally got to dig in! The sausage smelled and tasted amazing, but there’s always
something about the food your Oma makes that makes it taste ten times better; probably because she puts so much
love in it! At these family get-togethers to make sausage, there would always be laughter, love, and good times! I
think that is why I will always remember it and hold it close to my heart! Unfortunately, my Great-Oma died April
12th, 2011 at 95 years old. When she died, it affected the entire family. After that, there were not as many family
gatherings, and sausage making, sadly, came to an end.
Fortunately, when our family joined a new club, Donauschwaben in Cincinnati, we discovered that they did
sausage making, and I fell in love with it all over again! I discovered that I had a new group to call family! I knew
it was home when I discovered the box of doughnuts sitting there on the day of my first sausage making with
everyone! I discovered that my family was not the only crazy Schwob family out there! I also found out, through
the Donauschwaben club, that there are many Oma’s that come with open arms to love and give your heart to. This
is what I enjoy most about being Donauschwaben! I absolutely love our Donauschwaben club, and I really do
think of everyone there as family! Everyone means so much to me, and they will forever and always have a special
place in my heart. They are a part of me...just as my Donauschwaben heritage is a part of me!
| Fellow Donauschwaben Family
Katrina Giannoni Chicago Donauschwaben
My favorite part about being Donauschwaben is being immersed in a culture where we can develop long
friendships of people of a common thread. We may not be the first generation, which just came to
America, however, we have been mentored so well by our parents, Grandparents, and Great
Grandparents that we live the Donauschwaben way. The Donauschwaben lifestyle has been so
influential in my life. The Donau lifestyle goes as follows:
Kinder, Kirche, Kueche
We begin as young children and now as Jugend, we get to mentor the next group of Kinder. We help to
keep them engaged, singing folk songs that our parents and grandparents taught us. Our parents took us to
German school to learn the language and keep it alive for future generations. Dancing at each of our club
events and even performing with other Donauschwaben clubs is always fun and exciting. It’s more than a
party we’re teaching our little Kinder members who we want the Donauschwaben community to be years
from now and teach them the Donauschwaben values that are important to us. Kirchweih, Schlachtfest,
Tag Der Donauschwaben and Landestreffen all remind us of how important it is to be Donauschwaben.
It’s not only celebrating your heritage but establishing a lifelong bond that will never be forgotten.
Our faith plays a substantial role in all we do. Events we host throughout the Donauschwaben community
such as Tag der Donauschwaben, Memorial Day Picnic and mass, Landestreffen all remind us that
although Schwobs do a lot of celebrating we always make time as a community for prayer and
reflection. Through our faith, we continue to stay mindful of where and how our history began. We are
thankful for all we are today and how far we’ve come.
In the kitchen (Kueche), our community thrives. A Schwob event isn’t a Schwob event without
food! We work together in the kitchen as a family to make wonderful meals that nourish our member and
maintain our Donauschwaben traditions. They put smiles on all of the faces of the Oma’s and Opa’s of
Another favorite part about being Donauschwaben is the ability to meet new people and connect on a
personal basis. I've had the pleasure of meeting many new people through my Donauschwaben heritage
and it has been nothing but pleasant. It has taught me so many valuable life lessons. I’ve learned how to
build a Schwob network that will carry me throughout a lifetime. Being immersed in the Donauschwaben
culture has taught me that no matter who you may run into you can always find something in common.
Being Donauschwaben is more than just wearing a dirndl and leiwl, it’s about living the
Donauschwaben lifestyle that our ancestors paved the way for us. We celebrate our heritage, but we
always know how and when to make time to be thankful and appreciate being Donauschwaben.
Kinder, Kirche, and Kuche are the building blocks of a Schwob.
Appreciate every day you have and live it to the fullest… that’s what being a Schwob is all about.