Los Angeles Donauschwäbische Tanz Gruppe

Sharing Our Past With The Future

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This website is dedicated to promoting and perpetuating the story of the Danube Swabian people so that future generations can take pride in their heritage and pass it on to their children. Thank you for taking this opportunity to visit the Los Angeles site and learn more about our group and our activities. We invite you to visit each of our pages as well as the other Danube Swabian sister sites throughout the United States, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hungary and Yugoslavia.


Mary Glasser, born Maria Roethel, on May 8, 1945 in Matrei, Austria, passed away on February 28, 2021, peacefully at home.
Shortly before the end of World II, the Roethel family fled Yugoslavia and settled in Matrei, Austria. Mary grew up in the beautiful mountains of Tyrol until she was seven years old.
In 1952, Mary, her parents, brother Herman, and sister Heidi, emigrated to the United States, sponsored by St. Stephens Catholic Church, and settled in Los Angeles, California. The young family adapted well to their new surroundings.

After graduating from Bishop Conaty High School in 1963, Mary started her first job with Bank of America.  Shortly after, she met Frank Gerum and they were married in 1965. They had two sons Eric and Kurt. The new family moved to Huntington Beach, California.

Mary began working in the banking industry again, while raising the boys. They enjoyed many family adventures. She supported the boys’ interest in motorcycles, which led to racing. The family spent countless weekends in the desert and many nights around a campfire star gazing and enjoying each other’s company. Mary was a wonderful mother and encourager to the family. Some years later husband Frank began racing cars, which eventually led to his tragic death in a car race. The boys were now grown and Mary’s career at the FDIC kept her busy.

Mary met Donald Glasser in 1988, line dancing at a country western club. The couple were crazy about each other and were married in 1994. They worked together in Real Estate and eventually moved to Murrieta, CA, where they enjoyed retirement together.

Both of her sons were married. Eric and Tricia and Kurt and Cristen each have three children. Mary was a wonderful grandmother to them all. After retiring, Mary began painting watercolors. She was quite talented, won awards, and sold her work in the local art shops.
Mary Glasser was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend. Her life leaves a legacy of beauty and wonderful memories. Her paintings will always remind us of her creativity and love for her family and nature. She is survived by her loving husband Donald, her sons Eric and Kurt, their wives, six grandchildren, and her brother Herman, his wife, and her sister Heidi Cutter, as well as three nephews and one niece.



Just a quick note. If you would like to get information and news about the Danube Schwaben community and you have a Facebook account, you can join LA Donau. Just send me a note and I'll add you to the list of more than 190 members.





Dennis Glenn

Dennis Glenn
Terri Glenn's husband, Dennis, passed away last month. The funeral attendance was limited due to Covid limitations. Below is Terri's eulogy to Dennis.
All of us in our community, will remember Dennis as a loving husband, a great Dad and an "Honorary Schwob". Ruhe in Frieden Dennis.
Terri Glenn

Dennis Glenn’s Funeral was on 11-10-20. The service was private due to Covid-19. For those who were not able to attend and would like to view his service and a video in his memory, please go to:
Service and Video in his Memory. Stefan and Terri's Eulogy is posted on website.
Pictures from funeral by Maryann Brunasso
Honor Guard Perform 21-Gun Salute by Vince Brunasso
Dennis was waving goodbye and saying “thank you.” His Jeep was the only alarm and lights that went off after each round was fired.
Dennis Lee Glenn was born on February 20, 1946 in Vallejo, California. He was the second child born to John and Alyce Glenn. He has seven siblings: David, Danny, Susan, Marty, Elizabeth, Mary, and Matthew. Being the second oldest, Dennis spent a lot of time caring for his younger siblings.
Dennis served in the Navy as an electronics mechanic from 1966 to 1972. He received his Bachelor of Science with a major in Biology from UC Riverside in 1974 and then went on to pursue a Degree in Forestry from UC Berkeley in 1976. He owned and managed apartments from 1978 to 1996 and for three years served as President of the Moreno Valley Apartment Association. He then began his second career as a high school teacher for fourteen years at Moreno Valley High School. He retired in 2010.
In 1982, while coaching Little League Baseball, Dennis met Terri (the team mom). They were married in Lake Tahoe on July 27, 1983. From this union, a blended family was created to join their children from previous marriages; Stefan, Brian and Sandy.
Dennis enjoyed reading, traveling, camping, hiking, fishing and playing cards with family and friends. He was a lifelong San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Dodgers fan. He lived just long enough to see the Dodgers win the World Series after a 32-year drought.
On October 28, 2020, the Lord saw that Dennis had suffered long enough and called him home. Just like he dealt with all experiences in life, Dennis managed his illness with great strength and grace. His biggest joy in life was spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren. He will be sorely missed by all his family and friends.
Dennis is survived by his “best friend and wife”, Terri, children: Brian (Nichole), Stefan (Mitzi), Sandy (Ronny) and James; grandchildren: Kirsten, Jordan, Trevor, and Jaxson; and siblings: David, Susan, Elizabeth, Mary and Matthew. Dennis was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Marty and Danny.
Donations can be made in Memory of Dennis Glenn to: www.kidneyfund.org or any charity of your choice.



2020 Happy Father's Day

Although we don't normally get together for Father's Day, I thought only fair to give the dad's equal time to review past pictures of themselves and reminisce a little. As I was selecting pictures, I had a hard time deciding what to include and what to leave out ... so I just left all of them in! You may think to yourself that I couldn't possibly have a picture of your father, you would be wrong!

Now make yourself a large cup of coffee and enjoy. I hope it brings back many memories to all of you. I've also posted many of these pictures on the Facebook "LA Donau" group page. Let me know if you would like to be added to that group. You do need to have a Facebook account but they are free and easy to set up. Just drop me a line and I'll include you.

Happy Father's Day from the Verinigung and the Dancegroup.

We won't forget you.


To view past Father's Days, please click here.





2020 Mother's Day - So Jung Kommen Wir Nicht Mehr Weider Zusammen

I, like so many of you, am disappointed that the St. Stephen's Mothers's Day celebration was cancelled. I'll miss the Schnitzel lunch, the children performing and old friends catching up on the latest family news.

But this is a time of hardship and isolation for many of us and also millions of others. The cancellation of a celebration is nothing in comparison. There will be other Mother's Days. We have been through more difficult times.

One lesson that we have learned is that we need each other and that our community is essential to who we are. If we are to come out of this pandemic stronger and more resilient, we must emerge from it more connected than ever before. Take the opportunity to call one another just to say "hello" or post something on this Facebook page. It doesn't have to be anything special. Show us a picture of your flowers, your garden, your freashly baked cake or even better ... those cute grandchildren of yours! I know we can count on the strength that our heritage has provided us. Let's stick together as a community and not fade away.

I look forward to seeing all of you at next year's Mother's Day.

Now for the good part. While I won't have the opportunity to say "smile" for this year's Mother's Day pictures, it does afford me another opportunity; a look back at previous Mother's Days. I hope it brings back many memories to all of you. I've also posted many of these pictures on our Facebook "LA Donau" page. Let me know if you would like to at be added to that group. Just drop me a line and I'll add you.

Happy Mothers Day! So Jung Kommen Wir Nicht Mehr Wieder Zusammen.

Happy Mother's Day from the Verinigung and the Dancegroup.

We won't forget you.


To view past Mother's Days, please click here.


2020 Gala Koenigsball

Koenigs Couple - Ben Mayer & Kirsten Kurz

Our Los Angeles Danube-Swabian community once again enthusiastically celebrated its Gala Koenigsball at the beautiful Phoenix Club in Anaheim last Saturday. Three hundred proud guests were entertained by traditional dances, all performed professionally and passionately by our “Youth” dance group. A special atmosphere prevailed in the hall, shown by the enthusiasm of the dance group, who proudly continue the tradition of the ancestors and contribute to the success of this 35 year old event. This was particularly evident when current and previous members took to the dance floor to perform “Das Fenster” dance, a must dance whenever we get together.

Our own Pastor, Herman Rettig, and President, Elisabeth Burmeister, also found fitting words of thanks to those present and those who preceded us who, with their efforts and memories, allow the heritage of the Danube Swabians to live on in us today.

The evening was further highlighted musically by the “The Express” that kept guests tapping their feet and on the dance floor until midnight. Each year they get better!

For pictures of the event, please click here.


Der traditionelle Königsball der Donauschwäbischen Volkstanzgruppe im Phoenix Club in Anaheim hat auch in diesem Jahr wieder für Begeisterung und Anerkennung gesorgt. 300 Gäste konnten die traditionellen Tänze aus der Heimat, die professionell und leidenschaftlich von der Jugend vorgetragen wurden, verfolgen. Im Saal herrschte eine besondere Atmosphäre, getragen vom Enthusiasmus der jungen Menschen, die die Tradition der Vorfahren mit Stolz weiterzuleben und in dem Geist der Ahnen, die mit ihren Geschichten und Gedanken an die vergangenenen Zeiten seit 35 Jahren zum Gelingen dieser Veranstaltung beitragen. Dies war besonders ersichtlich als “Jung und Alt “ gemeinsam ihre Tanzkünste   unter Beweis stellten.

Auch Pfarrer Rettig und Praesidentin Elisabeth Burmeister fanden treffende Worte des Dankes an die anwesenden Landsleute, die mit ihren Erinnerungen die Geschichte der Donauschwaben auch in der heutigen Zeit in uns weiterleben lassen.

Der Abend wurde von der Kapelle “The Express” musikalisch begleitet und zwar so, dass kaum jemand auf den Stühlen sitzen bleiben konnte und die Stimmung auch nach dem offiziellen Teil des Abends hervorragend war.

Unser Dank gilt allen, die zum Gelingen des Balls beigetragen haben, sowohl in der Vorbereitung als auch in der Umsetzung, im Besonderen den jungen Menschen, die durch ihre Tänze die Erinnerungen an die schönen Zeiten in uns aufleben lassen.

Wir gratulieren unserem neun Koenigspaar, Kirsten Kurz und Benjamin Mayer , sowie den Prinzen-paaren, Hannah Theer und Justin Lubetski, Jacquelyn Goldbach und Nicolas Mansir, Katharina Mayer und Grant Kerins, Calista Kerins und Christopher Schegetz.Die Jugendgruppe ist unter der Leitung von Frau Isabell Mayer Kerins.

Der Vorstand der Donauschwaebischen Tanzgruppe moechte sich bei allen Anwesenden fuer ihre Teilnahme herzlich bedanken.Wir hoffen auf ein Wiedersehen im naechsten Jahr!

Katherina Nysten


Frohe Weihnachten

We may not have snow on Christmas but Santa still slides down the chimney each year to visit the children of the Dancegroup. I well remember with fondness my Dancegroup Christmas celebrations in Father Lani Hall...homemade Christmas cookies, plays and the real Sankt Nikolaus! Now many of us get to reminisce watching grandchildren with the same anticipation. I particularly like reminding the kids that Nikolaus has two German reindeer pulling his sleigh (Donner & Blitzen) and of course his favorite meal and dessert (Schnitzel mit noodles and Apfel Strudel!)

Click here for pictures of the event.



2019 Father Lani Memorial

Father Lani 65th Year Memorial Celebration

The saying goes, “we all stand on the shoulders of giants.” It’s a way of saying that none of us achieve our life’s goals without the help of others along the way. Giants can be our parents, a close friend, a teacher or a stranger who briefly appears and changes the course of one’s life. We have all had them. If you’re a member of the Los Angeles Donau Swabian community, we had such a giant among us, Father Mathias Lani. His name runs through the history of thousands of families. He was a giant who lit the way out of World War II’s despair and hopelessness. His were the shoulders on which those who had lost everything built a new life.

After the war, millions of refuges were forced from ancestral homes, separated from loved ones and much worse. The world euphemistically called them “Displaced Persons”. They endured years of refugee camps, detention, hunger and want. Few heard the call of so many, but some did. Father Lani and his small staff, Father Nagy and the Sisters of Social Service took on their cause. Founded in 1928, his small Los Angeles neighborhood church (St. Stephen’s) heard their call. Together, they visited refugee camps in Austria, Hungary and Romania and saw a need that would result in his life’s work.  He had no exalted title, no staff and only meager funds. There was no thought or expectation of acclaim or reward. Nevertheless, he lobbied to ease immigration regulations, providing Germans and Hungarians a new life in Los Angeles. He arranged housing and jobs for those arriving by the hundreds on boats and trains. He cared for the sick and elderly. He founded clubs and associations and formed a community around his small church that lives on even today. In return, they remained faithful to St. Stephen's and embraced the American dream.

Recently, some of Father Lani’s parishioners gathered at Calvary Cemetery in a memorial ceremony to the 65th anniversary of his passing. Sixty-five years is a long time to still be remembered, but for good reason. He was lovingly eulogized at the memorial by Father Rettig, himself a past pastor at St. Stephen’s for 19 years  and one who would say Mass in English, German, Hungarian and Spanish each Sunday. (I believe that Father Lani continues to send wonderful priests to oversee his small church.) His last wish is inscribed on his small modest gravestone on a hillside, “Pray For Me”. Those gathered made sure that we honored that wish. As I stood at the grave, reading the inscription, one parishioner leaned over and said, “So Wie Es Kert.” (Meaning. “We honored his wish.”)

This Christmas season, former refugees and their now extended families will come together to celebrate the season at St. Stephen’s. It’s no irony that while Jesus was born in a manger, Father Lani’s refugees were reborn at St. Stephen’s. I frequently contemplate the neighborhood surrounding St. Stephen’s. The trees and church are still there as in Father Lani’s time. The trees are taller and the pavement a bit more worn. But I’m sure that if they could talk, they would tell stories of a giant of a man that once stood atop those church steps waiting to embrace the next group of refugees. I know, I was one of the many that stood on his shoulders.

For pictures of the memorial service please click here.


St. Stephen's Kirchweih

In 1928, Father Lani established his small church, St. Stephen's on Woodlawn Avenue. Over the many years his church has ministered to American, Spanish, Hungarian and Germans. It has been the community center for immigrants longing to make a new life. We continue to celebrate his church and vision each year with "Kirchweih", the church's dedication festival. German and Hungarian parishioners begin the day with Mass followed by a Schnitzel dinner and performances by all of our dance groups.

One of the traditions, is to raffle off a Kirchweih (Rosemary) Strauss. We congratulate Mr. & Mrs. Richard & Irene Rittner, the winners of this year's strauss. In the past, proceeds of the raffle were donated to our dance group for the benefit of our children. This year was different. Proceeds of the Kirchweih Strauss will be donated to Bernie Bischof for his medical expenses. Bernie, the owner of Old World in Huntington Beach, was seriously burned when a transformer exploded while he was evacuating guests during Oktoberfest. Bernie has for years always generously provided a welcome place at Old World for our dance group to practice and perform. He remains in the hospital and we pray for his speedy recovery.

For pictures of the Kirchweih, please click here.


Los Angeles Dance Group Celebrates A Double Wedding

Two of our past members tied the knot recently. We wish them all our best in their new lives together. (I'll have to check my etiquette book, but I'm pretty sure that if the weddings happen within a three week period, it's still considered a double wedding!) We all hope to see new little members in Dance Group Trachts very soon!


Presenting Eric and Chelsea (nee Boudreau) Ehrat. Eric's parents are Rudy & Gerti Ehrat and Chelsea's parents are Alan Boudreau and Mindy Leasure. Christian and Chelsea were married on September 18. Eric is employed by a plant based food company and Chelsea works for Van's shoes. They have started their lives together in Costa Mesa.

Pictures of the event to follow.


Andrew and Raquel (nee Ramos) Balogh were married on October 5. Andrew's parents are Frank and Chris Balogh while Raquel's parents are Art and Kathy Ramos. Raquel is an Occupational Therapist and Andrew is a Grammy winning musician and producer. They are starting their lives together in Belmont Shores.

Our own Father Rettig once again graciously officiated. For pictures of the event click here.


Leo & Anita Mayer 50th Wedding Anniversary

How quickly 50 years go by when you're having fun! Leo & Anita Mayer celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with family and close friends at The Phoenix Club. Their sons, Chris and Phil, as well as Leo's brother, Freddy, toasted the couple on their special day. Few couples have contributed more to the success of the Danube Schwabian community than they have. We congratulate them and wish them many more anniversaries to come. Oh, and for those who were at their wedding 50 years ago, you may recognize Leo's suit ... it's his original tuxedo from their wedding!

For pictures of the event, click here.


2019 Tag der Donauschwaben

Each year we get to celebrate our heritage with a gathering at The Phoenix Club for Tag der Donauschwaben. The Ballroom is a perfect site to sit with old friends, eat, drink and listen to the German-American Brass Band. Of course, the children, along with their Omas and Opas, are busy at the Tombala tables winning surprise gifts. My favorite though is the parade of the children of the Dancegroup. I think there are more children in the Little Dancegroup than ever before!

We would like to thank all those volunteers for all their efforts to make the event a success.

For pictures of the event, please go to our website at www.donau.org or click here.



2019 St. Stephen's Frohnleichnam

For as long as I can remember, the parishioners of St. Stephen's have been celebrating the Feast of Corpus Christi or Frohnleichnam. Homes in the neighborhood are decorated with flowers and a procession of church members march from home to home following the Monstrance. It may not be the largest celebration but few others can say that it's celebrated in the Spanish, Hungarian, English and German languages. Not to mention that it's lead by the German-American Brass Band! We are grateful for all the priests that have participated, especially Monsignor Tim, Father Timothy and Father Fox. Their support for the smallest of their parishes is appreciated.

For pictures of the event, please "click here"



Father Rettig's Birthday Celebration

Another year has come and gone but Father continues to retain his boyish looks. Not one wrinkle! Usually, people say "not so close" when I'm taking their picture. Father says, "get closer!" Looking young does have its drawbacks though. I was talking to the Bishop the other night and I asked him why Father wasn't at least a Monseigneur yet? He said, "The guy's too young!" I guess everyone has his cross to bear.

For pictures of the birthday celebration, please click here.


Dancegroup Annual Picnic

Our annual picnic is always a time for the young and not so old to get together and spend a relaxing day visiting and exchanging stories. Leo donned his Alpine hat and Ron did his best impression of the Amish. There were also frogs to catch and burgers to fry. (We didn't fry the frogs!) Everyone had a good time.

For pictures of the picnic, please click here.

Jonah Hongola's Baptism
One of our future members, Jonah Hongola, was baptized on June 15th at our community church, St. Stephen's. Presiding was Father Rettig. Parents Scott and Nicole (Widak) watched as Godfather, Steve Hongola and Godmother, Nikki Seitz welcomed little Jonah into our church. Jonah actually loved the pouring of the water on his forehead. Father repeated it several times. I think Jonah was baptized 3 times!


St. Stephen's Mother's Day

Mother's Day is an opportunity for us all to celebrate our mothers and omas. At St. Stephen's it starts with Mass, followed by a luncheon and performances from all four of our dancegroups. But the hightlight of the afternoon is the Mother's Day play. We want to thank all the volunteers that helped produce the play as well as those that came very early to prepare lunch.

For pictures of the celebration please click here.


Phoenix Club's Maifest

One of the special events of the year is Maifest at the Phoenix Club. The Phoenix Club was established more than 50 years ago. It remains one of the premere German and Austrian meeting places and one of our favorite outings.

For pictures of the event, please click here.


Introducing Miss Kirra Eva Seitz. Born to Katrina and Karl A. Seitz on February 23rd. She was 7 pounds 10 oz and 20.5 inches tall. Mom and daughter are happy and well. Opa is already filling out her application to join the Dancegroup!


2019 Gala Koenigsball
This year the Koenigsball returned to The Phoenix Club to celebrate its formal gala. More than 250 guests attended and many were around at midnight when the band closed with Lilli Marlene. As has become customary, our Father Rettig gave a moving homily remembering those that went before us to make our lives better. And it wouldn't have been a celebration without The Express playing for us ... they were better than ever. The Dancegroup wishes to thank all those that spent countless hours producing the event. We also want to thank all those who so generously donated to support the dancegroup. Of course, the event was highlighted by the crowning of this year's King and Queen, Nick Goldbach & Elea Kerins. If you missed this year's event, then visit our website to see what you missed and save the date for next year's celebration. For pictures of the event click here.


2018 St. Stephen's Kirchweih Celebration
This year we celebrate the 90th anniversary of St. Stephen's Church's founding by Father Lani. The day started out with Mass officiated by Father Luke Dysinger of St. Andrew's Abbey. It is a great testament of its loyal parishioners to St. Stephen's for all that this church has contibuted to those in need. For many families, their start in a new homeland was founded upon this little church. So it is altogether fitting and right to celebrate its founding and those current members for its continued support. One of Kirchweih's traditions is the auctioning of the Kirchweih Strauss. Parishioners happily vei for the honor of winning the Strauss. All of the donations go to support the activities of the dance group members. Many have won the Strauss over the years but this year's winner was certainly the youngest. Making the last donation before Leo Mayer called a close to the auction was ..... 4 1/2 year old Karl Seitz V! His mom promised to plant the Strauss in the garden and have it ready for next year. We thank all of those who volunteered to make this year's event successful. For pictures of the event, please click here.


2018 St. Stephen's Oktoberfest
By the number of people that have asked when I was going to post pictures of our recent St. Stephen's Oktoberfest, it must have been quite a celebration ... and they are right! It was the best Oktoberfest ever! Both the church and the hall was full! The event started with Msgr. Dyer and Father Theodore celebrating Mass. Then our wonderful volunteer kitchen staff provided lunch. (Thank you for all your efforts.) And last, but not least, both the German and Hungarian dance groups entertained us. Everyone had a great time. For pictures of the event, click here.


2018 Kitchner, Canada Trachtenfest


More than 1,600 Donauschwabens gather in Kitchener, Canada

The Kitchener Schwaben Club hosted a family reunion of sorts over the long weekend.
More than 1,600 people from all over North America gathered at the club to celebrate their shared Donauschwaben heritage with traditional food, dress, music and dancing.
"It is really to establish relationships, but also to rekindle them," explained Anneliese Kraehling, an event co-ordinator.
Danube Swabians are ethnic Germans who settled in various countries of Europe along the Danube River valley. The Second World War in particular brought persecution and displacement, and many immigrated to other countries including Canada and the United States.
"Because of the displacement, a lot of people don't know about our heritage," Kraehling said.
The festivities officially kicked off on Saturday with the opening ceremonies including a traditional dress and folkloric parade held across the street in the Eastwood Collegiate soccer fields.
Performances continued through the weekend with youth and adult dancers from all over Canada and the United States as far away as Los Angeles.
Sunday's events included a service of remembrance conducted by a priest from Germany, a mass with a Hungarian brass band playing a hymn to honour ancestors, and the day wrapped up with a large dance party featuring a Kitchener Oktoberfest band.
This is the second time the Kitchener club has hosted the Landestreffen, meaning heritage gathering.
Debi Tullius travelled with a busload of more than 80 people from Cincinnati, where there's a local Schwaben club and she's a youth group leader.

"Joy. Pure joy," Tullius said of the event.
She said it was a chance to connect with friends from all over and celebrate a great culture. People won't just pop into the club like might happen at an Oktoberfest party.
"They'll be here both days, all day," said Tullius, wearing a traditional outfit including pleated skirt.

Most people at the club were outfitted in traditional dress. Generally for the men it's black pants and vest, and white shirt. The women's outfit varies depending on the region where they're from.
"We're very strict as to what our tracht is," said Barb Schlosser-Hill.
The Kitchener woman has been a member since she was a child. Her mother was an instructor for the club's dancing groups, and her daughter was dancing on the weekend wearing an heirloom shawl draped around her shoulders.
Katie Becker pointed out a picture in the club's museum taken in 1968 when she won a prize for her cherished burgundy skirt, pink blouse and apron, which is now worn by her granddaughter.
Her parents belonged to the club too, and Becker likes seeing the traditions celebrated and carried on at the gathering.
"It's nice to see people here from other places, and they're here from many places," Becker said.
Club president Monica Anstett said when Schwaben moved to new countries "they all found each other" and created new communities.
It's the same spirit at the weekend event that draws people together from all over to celebrate their shared heritage, including the youth.
"They're becoming friends and they're just enjoying their culture."

Written by Johanna Weidner for the Kitchner Record Newspaper

For pictures of the event, please click here.



Tag der Donauschwaben At The Phoenix Club

There is nothing better than a party to get Schwobs to get dressed in a Dirndl or Rock, and eat, drink and be very merry! For as long as I can remember, the mid-summer Tag der Donauschwaben event at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim was on the calendar. Whether it was watching the children play Tombola, listening to Ernie Star's German-American Brass Band, meeting friends at the bar or watching with pride as the children dance, everyone smiled ... all 250 of us ... especially if it's an Oma holding a grandchild! We may not be a large community but we are a fun community!

We'd like to thank all those that volunteered and those that continue to support our children with donations.

For pictures of 250 people smiling, click here.


Congratulations Mikael & Stefani Becker Wedding

We have a new Donau Couple!

Congratulations to Mikael & Stefani on their wedding. We all celebrated their happiness with good friends, music, dancing and of course homemade cookies! We wish them every happiness in their new lives together.

For pictures of the celebration please click here.



Annual Picnic

Last weekend, many of us enjoyed the rolling rural hillsides of Silverado Canyon for our annual summer picnic. We had a great time! Ernie Star and his band played all day ... thank you! The kids had a ball with their water toys and everyone got wet but no one minded. Friends got together to catch up on the latest news and of course our "Junior" grill masters learned from the old pros on just how to grill (and marinate) brats and burgers to perfection. There were games and even an usual competition ... who had the biggest hat. Leo won although Anita was heard to say "he's all hat and no cattle." You'll have to see the picture!


I'm sure that all those that came will attend next year. Those who couldn't attend should mark their calendar for 2019.


For pictures of the even, please click here.



St. Stephen's Church 90th Anniversary

In 1928, a young German - Hungarian priest founded a small church in Los Angeles. The church, St. Stephen's, and the priest, Father Lani, became a source of hope for local parishioners and immigrants seeking a new life. When the histories of many of our families are written, St. Stephen's and Father Lani hold a prominent place in them.

This morning, we celebrated 90 years of St. Stephen's place in our lives. Celebrants Fathers Tim, Kevin, Helmut & Theodore and more than 400 parishioners haven't forgotten. Germans, Hungarians, Latinos and L.A. natives celebrated and relived memories of earlier times when people placed their hope in a priest and a church. I've often said that although Father Lani is gone he continues to send St. Stephen's wonderful priests to look after his flock. Thank you, all of you.

The highlight was Monsignor Tim's announcement that he was starting the process of canonization for Father Lani. He asked that everyone send their stories and recollections of Father Lani to him. This deserves more space than I have here and I'll send out more on this in a follow-up e-mail.

Thank you to all of those that volunteered in the church, kitchen, bar and hall to make the event a success.

For pictures of the event please click here.


60th Anniversary - Danube Swabian Association of Southern California

Not many organizations make it to their 60th anniversary but we can be proud to say that the Danube Swabian Association of Southern California has served our community faithfully that entire period. In President Leo Mayer's comments he thanked past members and its accomplishments. He went on to comment that "it took vision, fortitude and courage to create an organization of this size, especailly with uncertainly and unfamiliar aspects looming on the horizons. The aim of our association's founders was to create and maintain a link to the old homeland, while building relationship and connection with other newly sprung Danube Swabian organizations in the United States. It also created a feeling of security and togetherness in our new homeland, with the opportunities to practice old customs and ways of life from happier times."

On a personal note, the evening at the Phoenix Club was a pure delight. More than 150 guests celebrated throughout the night, many just catching up on family and friends or dancing on a packed dance floor. The highlight had to be everyone spontaneously singing songs that everyone knew ... Seeman, Schneewaltzer and always my favorite Lilli Marleen. Leo, I don't think that we should have to wait another five years to get together. Let's do it again next year, after all So Jung Wie Heute Kommen Wir Nicht Mehr Zusammen!

For Pictures of the evening, click here.




2018 Koenigsball

Presenting the Los Angeles Danube Swabian Dance Group's 2018 King & Queen, Nicolas Mansir and Miss Hanna Theer. Completing their court are Princesses Elea Kerins, Heather Wagoner, Sienna Kerins and Stephanie Kolbusz. Congratulations to them and to all of the members of the Dance Group.

As is always the case, our annual gala Koenigsball is the social highlight of the year. While we congratulate the King and Queen and their court of princesses, we are equally proud of all the members for their dedication and efforts in taking pride in our heritage and traditions. Each year members of the Dance Group participate in German community functions and while it's the Jugend Dance Group that shine at Koenigsball we can't forget the Kinder, Middle and Kultur Groups activities.

We also wish to thank all those that worked tirelessly to make this event a continued success as well as our generous sponsors who make our events possible.


For pictures of the event, please click here.


Christmas Celebration

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Santa came again to all the "brave" Kinder this year. We checked the list and not one of them was on the "naughty" list. (I've been asked by a few of the parents to re-check the list!)

How could Santa not come without a sack full of presents, especially after the children's annual Christmas play?

For pictures of the celebration, please click here.


Cincinnati Trachtenfest

Each year, one of our Donau Swabian sister cities hosts the annual Trachtenfest. Groups from more than 20 cities get together to perform and share experiences. It's an event that all of the members of the Jugend Dance Group look forward to all year long.


For pictures of the event, please click here.


St. Stephen's Kirchweih

In 1938 a young priest started a small church in Los Angeles. Although small, it changed the world for thousands of Germans and Hungarians seeking a new beginning in the New World. The priest was Father Lani and the church was St. Stephen's. I'd like to think that Father Lani is still looking over his church by always sending new pastors to watch over his flock. We still remember.

Last Sunday we celebrated the founding of St. Stephen's with our yearly Kirchweih. Father Paolo officiated at German Mass. The kitchen staff arrived early to prepare a luncheon of Schnitzl, the Kirchen Chor sang and of course all four dance groups (founded by Father Lani) performed. As is traditional, a Rosemary bouquet was auctioned in support of the dance group. Matt and Heidi Kolbusz won. Congratulations to them and a grateful thank you for all those that supported the auction.

For pictures of the event, please click here.





Tag der Danube Schwabians

It's the day that Schwobs from all over Southern California gather at The Phoenix Club to renew relationships and take pride in their heritage. Ernie Star and his German-American Brass Band provided the music and all four of our dance groups performed. It was a real joy to see the hall absolutely filled to capacity, including the balcony. All I can say is that it was a good thing the Fire Marshall wasn't there!


The kids especially loved the Tombola gifts and the pinata event. We wish to thank all those that volunteered their time and efforts to make this year's event successful.


For pictures of the event, click here.



Happy Birthday Father Rettig!
Each year that I attend Father Rettig's birthday I wonder if we're going to fill the room at the resturant only to leave smiling and saying to myself - "we're going to have to get a bigger room next year"! It's a testament to what he means to our community. Father reminisced about coming to St. Stephen's 38 years ago; according to him, a meer teenager at the time. (I'm pretty sure that shaving a few years off ones age is only a venial sin.) He spent his best 19 years at St. Stephens. Anyway, we wish him another 38 years. And he has some good news to share with us. He's being relocated ... closer to us. His new parish is Holy Angels Church in Arcadia (379 Campus Ave., Arcadia 91007) effective July 1st. I know that it would make him smile to see a few of us in Tracht some Sunday.


Fronleichnam - The Feast of Corpus Christi

Traditions have a special meaning for members of St. Stephen's parish. Whether you are English, Spanish, Hungarian or German speaking the Feast of Corpus Christi or Fronleichnam celebrates the joy of the Eucharist being the body and blood of Jesus Christ. At the end of Mass, there is a procession of the Blessed Sacrament displayed in a monstrance. The procession is followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. For more than 50 years, St. Stephen's parishioners have decorated homes near the church for the procession.


For pictures of the event, please click here.




Our Annual Picnic!

If we had a "best dressed" contest, Elizabeth and Karl would have won!

We held our picnic this year at Old World in Huntington Beach. We thank them for the use of their hall. As usual, we were entertained by Ernie Star's German-American Blaskapelle. They are always a treat. There was plenty of food and drink and every opportunity to catch up on the latest community news.

For pictures of the even, please click here.



Happy Mother's Day

It takes a village of Oma's to raise children ... and a few Opa's as well. Although we're a small community, we certainly have some great Omas. At St. Stephen's this last Sunday, we took the time to tell them all how much they mean to us. From the "most experienced" to the "newcomers" like Frau Hess and Mitzi Kurz, we thank them all.

And speaking of thank you's, we can't forget Father Paolo's homily and all the volunteers that make the day special. Months ago, plays were being practiced, dances choreographed, meals planned, songs rehearsed, desserts prepared and it goes on and on. All to make the day a success. So to all our volunteers that selflessly take the time year-after-year to help out --- Thank you!

If you would like to see pictures of the event, just click here.





2017 Gala Koenigsball

The Dance Group's season was officially kicked-off with our annual Koenigsball. Father Rettig opened the evening giving thanks to the current and past generations for their devotion to the heritage of the Danube Schwabians.

It was heartening to see that even after more than 30 years, the attendance at the Ball remains enthusiastic and strong. The Dance Group thanks all the volunteers and sponsors for their continued support of our children.

Last but certainly not least was the crowning of the King and Queen and their court. We are pleased to present King Christopher Schegetz and Queen Calista Kerins for 2017. Their court is made up of Sienna Kerins, Elea Kerins, Stephanie Kolbusz and Eva Kerins. For pictures of the event please click here.


Presenting Mr. & Mrs. Alex & Lauren Hurtado

Our very own Lauren Weitmann married the love of her life Alex Hurtado, yesterday, November 5th in Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Downey. Afterward, the bridal couple, family and friends danced the night away at the Rio Hondo Country Club. Members of the Dancegroup celebrated the event with "Das Fenstl". The couple plan to honeymoon in Maui as they start their new life together.

We wish the new Lauren and Alex every happiness.


For pictures of the event, please click here.



2016 St. Stephen's Kirchweih

For nearly 90 years, there has been a Kirchweihfest at St. Stephen's Church celebrating its founding. It's a chance for all Donauschwaben to get together to celebrate Mass, eat, drink, dance and just to catch-up with old friends. We can't forget to thank all those that got up early to begin making the Schnitzl lunch and those who tended the bar.

It's also a fundraiser for our dance group in support of their activities. This year's Kirchweih Strauss was won by Liz Goldbach. Congratulations!

The dance group thanks all those that so graciously support our children. They always make us proud.

For pictures of the event, please click here.

( I just had to add Anya Wendel's picture. She's just so cute!)




Annual St. Stephen's Oktoberfest

The Oktoberfest season starts off each year with the St. Stephen's celebration. The dancegroups of both our Hungarian cousins and the Danube Schwabian dancegroups come together to perform. It's always a good time and the hall becomes standing room only.


For pictures of the event, please click here.



St. Stephen’s Schule Anfangs Messe
One of the tenants of our heritage is getting a good education. Many of us remember our parents and grandparents instilling upon us, “Get a good education. They can never take that away from you.” The importance of an education was once again highlighted with last Sunday’s St. Stephen’s annual Schule Anfangs Messe. Father Timothy celebrated the start of another school year along with our Kirchen Chor.  Nearly 40 of our children were in attendance.

After Mass, Elke (Schreiner) Czomiak treated the children to a reenactment of their forefather’s European migration. She explained that in the late 1700’s, people (later to become Donau Schwabians) were granted land by Maria Theresia of Austria to populate areas know as Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia. Many of those pioneers left from the Swabian city of Ulm. Many traveled on barges, known as Ulmer Schachteln (Ulmer Boxes), to the newly opened territories along the Donau. They were granted 160 acres if they developed the land by draining the marshes, building farms, and constructing roads and canals.
The highlight was when the children built their own Ulmer Schachteln. The Schachteln were inscribed with their family names and the towns in which their families originally settled. It was both an educational and moving moment as the children paid tribute to their forefathers. Thank you Elke!

And here’s the rest of the story. Maria Theresia’s settlement program was so successful that it was enacted one more time: in America! At high noon on April 22, 1889, the Homestead Act opened the Oklahoma territory for pioneer settlement. At the appointed hour, settlers raced over rough land for an opportunity to stake out their future homestead and make a new life. (Some of them jumped the noontime start and later became known a “Sooners”.) These settlers were once again offered 160 acres if they farmed the land. Now considering that one of the largest immigrant groups to settle in America in the 1850’s were German, you just know that one of those “Sooners” had to be a Schwob. Now you know why the University of Oklahoma’s football team is called “The Oklahoma Sooners”. Just one last thing, here are the names of some of the "Sooner" football players: Meier, Daimler, Mann, Mittermeier, Pfau, Seibert, Schafer, Wren, Bedenbaugh and Schmidt. Go Sooners! For pictures of the event, click here.


2016 Tag der Danube Schwabian

Each year, members of our community get together at The Phoenix Club to celebrate our heritage. Members from 4 years old to ... well more than 4 years old entertained the crowd. I don't know when we've had more dancegroup members dancing at the same time.

We would also like to thank all of the volunteers and generous supporters to the Dancegroup's Tombola raffle. It remains one of the largest fund raisers and of course all proceeds go to supporting our children. Thank you!

For pictures of the event, please click here.


It turns out that we have TWO birthdays to celebrate! Happy birthday Father Herman Rettig and introducing Fraulein Louisa Magdalena Ritter.

We celebrated Father's birthday last week and the overwhelming comment was "next year we're going to need a bigger room!" Father was touched by the outpouring of love from his former parishioners and in particular the Dancegroup's gift presented by Justin Lubetski, this year's Koenig. People from far and wide attended (his Dad, Eberhart always wins for the person who traveled the farthest - Arkansas!). In his prayer homily, he thanked all those in attendance and those that came before us. Please view the pictures of the event by "Clicking Here".

Speaking of birthdays, Father Rettig is thrilled to share his birthday wishes with our latest member, Miss Louisa Ritter. She was born on July 1 at 8:17 am, weight 8 pounds 13 oz., height 21 inches in Detroit. Mother and daughter are well and healthy. Her parents, Christoph and Karin (Schulz) and their parents and grandparents before them are life-long members of the Los Angeles Dancegroup and Detroit Danube Schwabian Community. I'm sure that the Omas are looking through their closets for a little Dancegroup Tracht as we speak. Congratulations from all of us.


Ella Duncan

Dancegroup's Annual Picnic

If you come to our picnic ... expect to get wet! You can also expect bratwurst, beer and lots of catching-up on the the latest news. The kids of course love the pinata, squirt guns and comradery. As in past years, we were entertained by Ernie Star and the German-American Blaskapelle. For pictures of the event, please "Click Here".

2016 St. Stephen's Church Fronleichnam

For decades, going back to Father Lani's founding of St. Stephen's, there has been a Fronleichnam procession through the streets neighboring the church. The German, Hungarian, American and Spanish communities decorated homes to honor the Feast of Corpus Christi. We were honored to have both Father Theodore and Father Paolo celebrate the event. As in past years. the Dance Group, the German American Blaskapelle and St. Stephen's Choir were in attendance. For pictures of the event, please click here.

Happy Mother's Day!

The Dance Group wishes all mothers a special day from those that count on them the most. We celebrated at St. Stephen's. As usual, the Mom's didn't have to cook thanks to our wonderful kitchen staff that woke early to make a wonderful Schnitzl lunch. All four dance groups performed with a special Mother's Day play. One of the highlights was Mass celebrated by both Father Ernie and Father Tim culminating with First Communion for Reily and Danielle Stabio.

Mitzi Kurz won this year's prize for the youngest mother while Frau Krispel won for the most "experienced" Mom! For pictures of the event, please click here.

2016 Gala Koenigsball

Congratulations to Koenig Justin Lubetski and Queen Heather Wagoner and their court.

For more pictures of the event, please click here.

Los Angeles Landestreffen

"So jung kommen wir nicht mehr zusammen"

Frs. Herman Rettig & Peter Zillich

The 2015 Landestreffen was our opportunity to host Donau Schwaben dance goups from throughout the United States and Canada to Los Angeles. Although there were many highlights throughout the weekend, the high point was easily Sunday's Mass officiated by Fathers Herman Rettig and Peter Zillich from Munch. I cannot remember a time when I've seen The Phoenix Club's Ballroom with so many people. (We're fortunate that the Fire Marshall wasn't in attendance.) Through both their sermons (and by song!) both encouraged the groups to dance and celebrate their heritage but to remember as well their roots and the sacrifices that their Großeltern and Urgroßeltern endured to make a better life for us all. They reminded us that "Landestreffen" is a celebration of of where our families began. Many endured to provide a better life for this generation. I'll let Father Rettig and Father Zillich say it better than I can. Click on the links below.

Father Rettig's Sermon

Father Zillich on the accordian

Pictures of the Landestreffen

Videos of the Landestreffen Dances

Lastly, we'd like to thank all those unsung volunteers for their countless hours of planning, late nights and efforts that made the event so successful. So "Thank You" for all those that serve in the kitchen, the bar, Tombola, Dance Group leaders, florests, venue hosts, And lastly, a special "Thank you" goes to Virgina and Albert Becker and their "Family Album Project". They spent the entire two days taking portrate pictures of our community. You may see all the pictures at www.Virginiabecker.Smugmug.com. To learn more about their efforts, please visit www.The FamilyAlbumProject.com.

Beach Party!
California Love!

Surf, sand, food and it seems California Love too, that's what makes the dance group's annual summer beach party memorable. But this year was even more special, since we got to share it with our sister dancegroup cities throughout the US and Canada. They got to experience a true beach party that we hope they never forget. And for those girls from all the groups that participated, you may know consider yourself a "California Girl"!

For pictures of the party, click here!

60th Commemoration of Father Lani's Death

It's been said that if all the Los Angeles Danube Schwabien families were to write their history, one name would be included in all of them; Father Lani. If there is a Danube Schwabian Guardian Angel, he surely is it. He took us in when few wanted us. He met refugees at the train station, found them a place to stay and workplaces to provide for themselves. He founded the St. Emmerich Society, the Danubia Soccer Club and the Donauschwaebische Tanzgruppe, among others. It was not uncommon for him to say German and Hungarian Mass in the morning, cheer Danubia on in the afternoon and join in a dance that same evening. He was there for weddings, baptisms and when we needed him most. He was always there for us. Where would we be today without him? He gave us a new life.

For pictures of the commemoration, please click here.

Mathias Lani

Father Rettig's Eulogy

Wir sind zusammengekommen, um unsres großen Wohltäters zu gedenken.  Das Gedächtnis Father Lanis lebt und brennt in unseren Herzen auch nach 60 Jahren, denn er war ein unvergesslicher Mensch.  Im Namen der deutschen Gemeinde, im Namen der vielen Flüchtlingen, denen er geholfen hat, im Namen der unzähligen Menschen, deren Leben er irgendwie berührt hat, sagen wir heute unseren Dank.  Wir geben ihm die Ehre; er hat uns weit mehr gegeben.  Er hat das Unmögliche getan und war für sein Volk in Wahrheit der Vater.  Arbeit, Wohnung, neuer Anfang und neue Heimat:  das alles bedeutete er, das alles hat er selber geschafft.  Und wegen ihm ist zu unserer Hass-erfüllten Welt ein Bisschen mehr Verständnis, ein Bisschen mehr Hoffnung, ein Bisschen mehr Liebe gekommen.  Er betet bestimmt noch für uns, wie er auch im Leben so viel getan hat:  er betet, dass wir noch zusammenhalten, als ein Volk, als sein Volk.  Er betet, dass wir den Weg gehen, den er uns gezeigt und vorbereitet hat.  Er betet, dass wir anderen helfen, wie er uns geholfen hat.  Wir beten für seine unsterbliche Seele:  Gott schenke unserem Father Lani den ewigen Lohn für seine heroischen Taten und für sein treues priesterliches Leben.

You can make a donation to the Tanzgruppe anytime! And it's so easy! Just click on the "donate" button below and make a pledge to the children. All of the proceeds go to supporting the children and their activities. Remember, "it's better to give than to receive". Trust me, you'll feel better knowing that you've helped to continue the heritage of the Tanzgruppe.

Please make comments and suggestions to our President

Elisabeth Burmeister

To be added to our mailing list, please send a note to karlseitz@hotmail.com

September 2, 2021

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