“I am a man without a country, that is what I am,” Joe said in a recent interview with the Bowling Green Times. According to Schmidt, his Danube Swabian heritage does not qualify him to be considered either German or Yugoslavian.
According to multiple online references, Danube Swabians are the descendants of German immigrants who left the German empire in the 12th-century. Initially, these immigrants would settle in the fertile river valley of Europe’s second-longest river, the Danube.
“If you have never heard of the Danube, it is like a big river, like the Mississippi River,” Joe said. “My family were Germans, and because of how poor they were, they would go down to the river valley and make the bricks for their home from the mud of the Danube River.”
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