|The Mack Family in Germany at their Golden Wedding Anniversary, May, 1999.|
Eduard Mack on his Book About Grossliebental
Eduard Mack über Sein Großliebental-Buch
Mack, Eduard. "Eduard Mack on his Book About Grossliebental." Volk auf dem Weg, December 2001, 34.
Translation from German to English by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado
[Bold emphasis, as always, is that of the publisher]
Many Germans from Russia value greatly the fact that memoirs about their old homeland are being written down in books.
Some of them take care of it on their own by publishing books with 20, 50, or a few hundred copies, just enough for their relatives and acquaintances. Others risk printing more. No one has become rich that way, but they certainly have received some satisfaction. And among German-Russian books on the old home country there are by no means few that are definitely nothing to sneeze at.
One of the best comes from Eduard Mack, born in 1918 in Alexanderhilf in the Odessa area. His book Erinnerungen an die deutschen Kolonien des Großliebentaler Rayons bei Odessa [Memories of the German Colonies in the Grossliebental Rayon near Odessa] has found quite a respectable readership. No wonder, after all Grossliebental was among the most important colonies in Ukraine, and most of the Grossliebental folks who are still alive are now living in Germany.
Rudolf Bischof, one of the oldest volunteer colleagues in our Landsmannschaft, has interviewed Eduard Mack on his book:
Bischof: How often did you go back to your old home to gather materials for your book?
Mack: Three times. I talked with the current residents, and also with the old residents who remained there during the wave of evacuations in February of 1944 and were able to live there all this time. Since then, a few former residents have been able to return to their villages, spent some of their working years there, and are now pensioners.
Bischof: How has your book fared with your own people [Landsleuten]?
Mack: Interest in the book has been unexpectedly strong. There have been three printings numbering 750, 1000, and 600 copies, respectively. We have our hands full with all the packaging, shipping, and so on.
Bischof: Has anyone helped you with this work?
Mack: In addition to members of my extended family, my cousin Emma Prägnitzer and former classmates and friends from my youth, such as Artur Lehr as well as Eugen Arnold, have been the best helpers.
Bischof: Which former residents of the villages have bought the most copies?
Mack: Those from the rayon center, Grossliebental. In second place: my own village of Alexanderhilf. Presumably because many of our own people [Landsleute] from there still know me.
Bischof: Has there been any criticism?
Mack: None at all of the negative sort. Many, many have simply expressed thanks. Messages of congratulations and praise continue to arrive. Positive reports have been printed in local papers, magazines, and in Volk auf dem Weg.
Bischof: Our people are dispersed across the whole world. Have there been orders from other countries?
Mack: Of course, most of the orders have come from Germany. However, there have also been some from Switzerland, Ukraine, Holland, Austria, and Russia. Fifty copies were shipped to the USA, where Prof. Michael M. Miller has been making inquiries concerning a translation.
Bischof: Have any native Germans ordered the book?
Mack: About 50 orders, from pastors, doctors, teachers of our children, and others. I have given some copies to, for example, the mayors of Ravensburg and of Weingarten, to the city library of Ravensburg, and to the Landesmuseum. It seems that word about the book has gotten around in our area, because one day I received an invitation to talk to a tenth-grade class. The interest level among the students was surprisingly high. Later I was invited by the school people to give a talk at an evening meeting of the teachers' union, and I received much applause.
Meetings of this kind, with native German residents, serve the cause of integrating our Aussiedler. It would be nice if the Landsmannschaft were able to train a number of speakers who, like Jakob Fischer, would go from town to town and represent our ethnic group in a worthy manner.
Bischof: Do you have enough copies of the book that might be ordered as gifts at this holiday time?
Mack: The supply is not sizable. But if people hurry, they might still be lucky.
Bischof: Will you have a fourth printing?
Mack: No. I am now 83 years old, and my health leaves a lot to be desired.
Bischof: We thank you very kindly, Landsmann Mack, and best wishes for your health.
Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.