Batschka Donauschwaben Spokesperson
Wagner, Peter Max

Founder of Hilfswerk der Donauschwaben

Contributed by Richard Wagner

The Pannonian area between the Danube and the Theiß Rivers also stands for the many people and the many folds, that means accepting human rights, conceding the rights for minorities.  But these minority rights were not accepted at the time and they are also not accepted in this stretch of land today, Mayor Jakob remembered of the Kosovo War. And so it goes not only for the beauty of the Pannonian area, but also for the question of human rights and the rights of minorities.  In this context he saw Peter Max Wagner as a model that is still current today.  Please think of the stream of refugees from Kosovo or from Bosnia a few years ago and the wave of readiness to help which came in for it.

   In the case of the Donauschwaben it appears that the end of the cold war has served in a small way to also take advantage in a greater European escape and expulsion in a common fateful dimension.  For this reason Peter Jakob said, one should understand the Pannonian Fountain as well as Peter Max Square serve as reminders of responsible politics, which we have, and we have for the problems when responsible politics fails.

   The district chairman of the association of North Württemberg, Lorenz Baron, who welcomed the guests first, showed there that Peter Max Wagner, whose square together with the Pannonia memorial were consecrated on the 29th of August, 1964, would be 100 years old this past year.

   Hans Supritz, the chairman of the Donauschwaben team in Baden-Württemberg recognized the works of Peter Max Wagner 53 years ago as the disappearance of his people in Yugoslavia was very near.  In this time of greatest need and despair for the Donauschwaben, Wagner thought of his Pannonian origins (He came from Sekitsch in the Batschka), and he established Hilfswerk der Donauschwaben (Aid for the Donauschwaben) in Ridgewood, Brooklyn with countrymen and friends in May 1946.  Thousands of help packets found their way to the hungry children, mothers, and grandparents in the concentration camps, which the Tito partisans had erected for the ethnic cleansing of the German minority in the Pannonian region.  Bringing families together was organized and made possible the immigration of tens of thousands of Donauschwaben to the USA.

   Peter Max Wagner and his friends found people in the highest government circles in Washington at the time to listen to them about their humanitarian matters, but also in the American financial world that the chairman knew.  So support from US politics for the assistance work can be developed in peace and do its work.

   Many of the Donauschwaben living throughout the world forgot about Peter Max Wagner after the times of greatest need.  But the ones who did not forget him wanted to honor his work through a memorial and a square named after him, among them were men such as Lorenz Baron, Julius Kiltz, Franz Hoff, Michael Diener, and Franz Weber.  They wanted to see to it that the generous humanitarian achievement of Peter Max Wagner and his friends lived on in memory, just as now, where people in our former homeland are again being driven out because of their nationality and their beliefs. 

[Published at DVHH.org 2004]


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Last Updated: 01 May 2013
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