The truth is few people in the world today know what a Danube Swabian is - or more correctly, what a Danube Swabian was. As far as being a distinctive ethnic subgroup with its own culture and customs, Danube Swabians very much exist in the past tense.
Tracing the tragic circumstances of her own family, Ms. Andor's book provides a few insights as to why the ethnic cleaning of the Danube Swabians has never been, and will most likely never be, front page news or silver screen material.
As a source of information about a virtually unknown chapter of the twentieth-century, Bread On My Mother's Table is extremely valuable. As is the case with Holocaust survivors, survivors of the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Europe's ethnic Germans in Yugoslavia, Romania, and Hungary are dying off. Another decade, and there won't be any left; unlike the Holocaust, the memories and events of the Danube Swabian experience do not exist in hundreds of films, documentaries, museums, books, novels, memoirs, etc. In this context, Ms. Andor's memoir serves an important purpose - documenting and keeping alive a memory of which the world is largely ignorant.
As a memoir, Bread On My Mother's Table is an engaging read. At times the prose is immensely vivid and moving. Having said this, I found the last two chapters, where the author infuses her own personal philosophy of life and war and death and everything else under the sun - somewhat annoying. Ms. Andor aims to leave us with profound words of hope at the end of the book; what she leaves us with instead is a vision that barely rises above the message of the "It's A Small World After All" ride at Disney World.
Despite these shortcomings, Bread On My Mother's Table is a powerful and much-needed book - both as a memoir and as an historical document. Hopefully it will help make the world more aware of Danube Swabians and their tragic history, because for the Swabians and their descendents (yours truly among them) history is all that is left. As the subtitle suggests, all most Danube Swabians or their descendents can do is remember. For most of us, nothing else exists.