Die schwäbisch-pfälzische Bauernsiedlung
von ihrer Gründung bis zur Umsiedlung 1789-1940
by Wilhelm Messner;
translated by Irmgard Hein
Posted on the World-Wide Web with
permission of the translator
by the Bukovina Society of the Americas,
February 16, 2003
When I attended the 1989 meeting of the Landsmannschaft
der Buchenlanddeutschen (Bukowina) e.V., I met Wilhelm Messner, a retired
Tereblestie school teacher and author of Die schwäbische-pfälzerische
Bauernsiedlung Tereblestie von ihrer Gründung bis zur Umsiedlung 1789-1940 [the
Swabian-Palatinate farm settlement Tereblestie from its establishment until the
resettlement,1789-1940]. The book, which had been published in 1985 by the
Kaindl-Archiv, a research group affiliated with the Landsmannschaft,
was sold out but he kindly located one for me. The following excerpts provide an
overview of the village, area history, and the religious life, homes, and
clothing of the people.
Introduction and History
Pages 19, 153, 15, 10
The village Tereblestie, once Telebecinze, Tiriplesj, or
Tereblecea, called Triwlescht in Swabian dialect, and now called Porubnoe
[translator’s note: now Porubne in the Chernivtsy oblast of Ukraine],
lies on the plain on the left bank of the Sereth River. The word Tereblestie
is most likely of Tatar or Turkish origin, and the village could once have been
a Tatar or Turkish settlement. The name could derive from the Tatar word
tebletsch referring to a Tatarenschanze, a Tatar entrenchment, which
was reportedly located east of Romanian-Tereblestie at the edge of the forest,
or from the Turkish word telebi, which is said to mean beautiful.
At the time that the Moldavian principality was established,
Bukovina was occupied by the Cumanen or Kumanen whose name is
retained in the name of the village Komanestie, Tatars (the name Tereblestie,
earlier Tatarescheny, refers to them), Ruthenians (the Ukrainians whose
language is evident in the names Bukovina, Czernowitz, Sereth, and Suczawa), and
Wallachians (Romanians). Germans and Hungarians (Magyars) came from neighboring
Transylvania, as did Gypsies who were assimilated with the Cumans and Tatars,
Armenians, Poles, Jews, Turks, Greeks, and Lippowaners (Great Russians).
Later came the Germans from Germany, the Bohemian Forest, and the Zips as well
as Slovaks, Czechs, Slovenes, Serbo-Croatians, and Italians. All these peoples
contributed to the fact that Bukovina became known as a multi-ethnic land.
On 31 August 1774, three Austrian regiments and five infantry
battalions crossed the Galician frontier at Sniatyn into the land that only
later was given the name Bukovina. It was then a narrow line of military
outposts established during the Russian-Turkish war, stretching from Hotin
(Chotin) on the Dnjestr River and east of Czernowitz through Sereth, Suczawa and
Gurahumora, then over the Carpathian pass at Dorna on the Transylvanian border.
This was the situation in our
homeland, this land on the eastern curve of the Carpathians. There was no road,
only riding paths and cart tracks. There was not one bridge over the rivers and
streams. Aside from a cloister school for Greek Orthodox priests in Putna, there
was not one school and of course no teachers. The population, which in the north
consisted of Ukrainians (Ruthenians) and in the south of Romanians, was 100%
illiterate. There was no doctor, no apothecary, and no hospital in the entire
area. There was nothing with which one could begin to organize a governmental
administration and a corresponding police force. There was no mail service, no
artisan trades were being practiced, naturally there was no industry, not even
the most primitive form of water power was utilized for logging and mills, and
finally there was not one locale in the entire region that could be called a
city. Czernowitz was an impoverished village of only about 1000 residents and
the suburb Rosch had about 1600.
The Germans differed most evidently from their
non-German neighbors in terms of their manner of settlement and clothing.
At the time of the resettlement to the German Reich in
1940, only one house dating from the earliest time of settlement in 1789 still
existed in Tereblestie. This was a wood frame structure with a plastered chimney
flue in the block house style with exposed beams, no cellar, and the gable
facing the street. The simple entry door to the central room, which served as
entrance hall and kitchen, had an overhead window. This room had a chimney and
cook stove. The baking oven built on from the outside was accessed through an
opening in the back wall of the chimney. In this central room were the stairs.
To the right was the living room with three square windows; to the left was a
room with one window and a winter heating stove. The house was covered with
wooden shingles; the wood walls were plastered with clay and then whitewashed.
Each room had clay floors and exposed rafters. The structure joined to the barn.
The new houses were very spacious and not as simple.
The well-being of the owner was reflected in his home. The big farm buildings,
barns, granaries and sheds usually enclosed the large farm yard on three sides.
The granaries, wood structures with board walls, usually had a threshing floor
with a clay floor, a room on one side for the unthreshed grain and on the other
for the straw or hay, and a set of double doors with a smaller door set in one.
Most barns were wooden structures. The internal and external walls were
plastered with a clay emulsion and then whitewashed.
Each yard had a well with a wheel beneath its own
little roof. At each well, a trough made of a hardwood tree trunk provided water
for livestock year round.
The property was fenced. A board or picket fence, a
double gate, and a smaller courtyard gate faced the street. Fences facing the
neighbors were made of a combination of boards and barbed wire.
The houses of most of the Romanian farmers were small
wooden structures with clay-plastered, whitewashed walls. A house typically had
an entry room which also served as a place to store various tools and also one
or two rooms with clay floors. One room was used as a kitchen. Broad benches
were placed against the walls and these were covered with handmade wool blankets
and carpets made with beautiful designs and colors, with sheep pelts, and
cushions. The benches were used for seating and for sleeping. The top of the
oven, the cuptior, was also used as a place to sleep.
The furniture was limited: in addition to the benches,
there was a table and various trunks or chests but rarely a cabinet.
Benches were also placed along the outside walls of the
house. The yard was small; the drinking water was brought from the village well.
The houses and business places of the more prosperous
farmers and the Greek Orthodox priest were similar in size and furnishing to
those of the German settlers, but the lower edge of the shingled roof extended
far out beyond the house wall and was supported by narrow beams or rafters. The
ridge of the roof was decorated with wood carvings as was the chimney. Each
property had its own well. The influence of the German settlers was evident in
In Deutsch-Tereblestie, the men wore
fleece-lined boots, a black hat in summer and a fleece hat and a fleece-lined
knee-length coat in winter, and an Ulster on Sundays and holidays. Women were
diagonally-laced shoes, a small black fringed scarf, a large woolen shawl
instead of a coat, a black dress jacket fitted to the waist, and a black
gathered skirt. After World War I, the men’s and women’s clothing was
similar to that worn in towns and cities.
Many Romanians wore their homemade Nationaltracht,
or folk costume. The men wore white, snugly fitting linen or woolen trousers,
with white long linen shirts, broad leather belts with colorful decorations and
yellow nail heads or broad colorful woven sashes, black broad-brimmed hats or
fleece caps, short fleece vests, long fleece pelts extending below the knees or
brown, heavy woolen tailored farmers’ smocks, and their feet wrapped in linen or
wool and then placed in Opanken, a kind of sandal.
The few prosperous farmers in Romanian-Tereblestie wore
“German” clothes (haine nemtesti).
The dress of the Romanian women consisted of linen
blouses that extended practically to their knuckles with a wrap-around skirt
made of a length of black or red wool that was one to three meters long, and
embroidered on one side up to the belt. A woman’s belt or sash was smaller than
a man’s. They wore scarves for their head covering. On their feet they wore
Opanken but on Sundays, holidays, and festival days they wore leather shoes
or boots. The poorer girls went barefoot in summer. Vests, long fleece pelts,
and the brown woolen farmers’ smocks were also worn by women. The blouses that
women wore on Sundays, holidays, and festivals were embroidered on the
shoulders, sleeve, and bodice. For jewelry, women wore many strings of colorful
glass beads and imitation coral. Wealthier women wore chains made of coins.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tereblestie
In the year 1937, Deutsch (German)-Tereblestie had
1210 residents of whom 932 (77%) were Evangelical Lutheran, 269 (22%) Roman
Catholic, and nine of other faiths. In spite of these numbers, which show that
about 4/5 were Lutheran and 1/5 Catholic, one often had the impression that it
was a completely Lutheran community.
The Tereblestie Lutheran church was part of the Radautz
parish until 1906, when they obtained their own resident pastor who also served
the small congregation in Sereth.
The church building was completed in 1867 and dedicated
on 23 November. Until then services had been held in the school house. The
church construction cost 1100 Gulden, endowed by a gift from Johann
Hubich, according to a report of the Lemberg church superintendent on 7 July
1881 [translator’s note: this text is reproduced in an appendix in the book].
The church was demolished by the Russian military in 1917 and rebuilt in the
same place in 1920.
During the agricultural reforms after World War I, the
Lutheran parish received nine hectares of land in the neighboring community
The first and also the last Lutheran pastor in
Deutsch-Tereblestie was Rudolf Fischer. In about 1926, Pastor Fischer’s pay
was made commensurate with that of the Gymnasium, or secondary school,
teachers. This money was raised by the Evangelical Church in Deutsch-Tereblestie
by levying a church tax and by renting the church fields.
The election of Rudolf Fischer as Tereblestie’s
Lutheran pastor in 1906 exacerbated the conflict between supporters of the
Hubich faction and the so-called Sauer-Hehn faction. Pastor Fischer was the
candidate of the Hubich group.
The worship services were well attended. There were no
Bible studies or children’s services in the church.
Members of the last Evangelical Lutheran church board
in Deutsch-Tereblestie were curator Martin Hehn and council members Gustav
Engel, Franz Hubich, Friedrich Manz, Georg Manz, Hermann Massier, Johann Sauer,
Christian Wagner, and Friedrich Zachmann. The last sexton was Martin Sacher.
The local Gustav-Adolf Ladies Society
[translator’s note: a mission organization] in Deutsch-Tereblestie
provided various services to the community under the leadership of Pastor
Fischer’s wife Emilie and the teacher Martha Sauer. A hearse was obtained
through the society’s efforts and donations for church furnishings were
Pastor Rudolf Fischer was born 21 April 1874 in
Libochowitz, a little village close to Prague as the son of the attorney Rudolf
Fischer who was later the chairman of the district court in Reichenberg,
Bohemia. After completing high school in Reichenberg, he studied theology in
Leipzig and in Vienna. He then served as parish vicar in Radkersburg in
Steyermark, Trübau in Moravia, and Ölmütz. On 14 October 1899, he was united in
marriage with Emilie Eisinger, daughter of the head clerk of the Reichenberger
bank. They had four children: Rudolf (born 13 October 1900 and died 14 October
1900 in Reichenberg), Emilie (born 9 June 1902 in Trübäu, died 1983 in Backnang,
Württemberg), Margarethe (born 12 May 1904 in Ölmütz, died 9 February 1918 in
Linz), and Hildegard (born 22 August 1908 in Tereblestie).
The Fischer family moved to Deutsch-Tereblestie in
1906. Pastor Fischer was a military chaplain during World War I and in that
time, his family resided in Linz.
From 1932 to 1939, Pastor Fischer was the dean of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bukovina. After the 1940 resettlement, he
supplied parish service in Nikolai, Hindenburg, Beuthen, and Gleiwitz in Upper
Silesia. His wife died 1 February 1941 in Nikolai. He was remarried to Elli
Fritsch. Rudolf Fischer died 5 December 1953 at the age of 79 years in Radegast
Pastor Fischer was a very strong-willed, independent
man who was widely recognized for his outstanding efforts in youth work and in
the cultivation of German folk and church music. He organized a mixed choir
which sang not only sacred music, Christmas and Easter selections, and Luther’s
works but also folk songs and small theater pieces. The choir sang on every
festival day in the Lutheran church and at such events as the Julfest
(beginning in 1927) and the midsummer festival as well as on the occasions when
youth groups from Germany came to visit. Pastor Fischer had an extensive private
library and was happy to lend books to interested readers.
Mrs. Emilie Fischer, an outstanding pianist, often
played the organ in church until she was replaced by her son-in-law Jakob Rau.
She gave piano lessons to many girls.
The Catholic Church in Tereblestie
There were 269 Germans and about as many Slovaks who
were members of the Roman Catholic Church in Tereblestie in 1937. The Slovaks
had their own church or chapel, built in 1873, on the east edge of the village.
The community was served by the Catholic parish in Sereth. In the early years,
the Catholic priest was brought to town for church ceremonies and religious
instructions by Tereblestie villagers who owned teams of horses but later he
came in a rented carriage. The last priest before the 1940 resettlement was
Catholic services, which were also attended by Slovaks
in Tereblestie and the surrounding area, took place only once a month on the
second Sunday of the month. On the other Sundays, especially in the summer
months, people attended Mass in Sereth. The preaching was in German and in
Polish. The Mass was sung to the transubstantiation by the Slovaks and after
that by the Germans; the order was then changed in the next Mass. The usual
hymns were sung. There was not a single standardized hymnal such as the
Evangelical Lutherans had. The hymns were taught in private homes by teachers
such as Mr. Skihar but also by others who had some musical ability and could
play the violin.
On national holidays, at the beginning of the school
year, and at its end, the Catholic students took part in the Evangelical
Lutheran church services.
There was a Rosary Society in Tereblestie. The members
were ladies who regularly met in the Catholic Church on Sunday afternoons to
pray the Rosary. Each received a little picture with one of the fifteen secrets
of the Rosary. These pictures were exchanged at every meeting of the society so
that each member received a different secret for use in their daily prayers
during the week. The last leader of the group was Katharina Triffo, who was also
the prayer leader. At the close of the meditation, the hymn Der Engel des
Herrn, or The Angel of the Lord, was sung.
The last Catholic parish council before the
resettlement consisted of Ferdinand Hoffmann, Ferdinand Kozlowski, Adam Mayer,
Johann Mayer, Adam Tetiwa, Josef Tetiwa, and the Slovak Michael Kuczak
(Kutschak). Christian Zensner was sacristan.
There was a Catholic youth organization in Tereblestie.
The last chairperson before the resettlement was Edmund Ploskal. Die
Heimabende, or evening gatherings, took place in the residences of Josef
Tetiwa and Isidor Triffo. At the beginning of the 1930s, Father Gobel from
Czernowitz assigned Miss Hilde Punde from Beuthen, Upper Silesia, to serve as
spiritual caretaker for the Catholic youth in German Tereblestie. She gave
religious and German-language instruction to the youth, she led the parish
choir, and she prepared the little children to for their first Holy Communion.
Miss Punde boarded at the home of Isidor Triffo.
Father Gobel published a newspaper called
Katholische Volkswacht which had many subscribers in the Catholic community
Within each family, the mother was the one was
responsible for the religious training of the children and for the observance of
the church rules. She taught the daily prayers such as the Vaterunser
(Our Father), “Blessed are you, Mary,” the confession of faith, the Ten
Commandments, the seven hours, and the seven holy sacraments, and she encouraged
them to remain faithful in prayer.
In most Catholic families, morning and evening prayers
were a firmly established part of the day, either as individuals or as a family
unit. The morning prayer began:
The morning prayer:
O Gott, Du hast in dieser Nacht,
So väterlich für mich gewacht,
Ich lob und preise Dich dafür
Und dank für alles Gute Dir.
Bewahre mich auch diesen Tag
Vor Sünde, Tod und jeder Plag,
Versage Deinen Schutz mir nie
Und lege Deine Segenshand auf die
Auch, die mir sind verwandt.
Zumal der Eltern mein gedenk,
Uns allein Deinen Himmel schenk!
O God, you have in this night
watched over me in fatherly love.
For this I honor and praise you
and thank you for all things good.
Protect me also in this day
from sin, death, and every torment,
take not your protection from me
and rest your hand of blessing upon those
who are related to me.
Especially remember my parents
and grant us all your heaven.
The evening prayer:
O Gott, bevor zur Ruh ich geh,
Zu Dir hinauf ich nochmals seh,
Ich dank für alles Gute Dir,
Du Bester Vater gabst es mir.
Hab Böses heute ich verübt,
Dein liebevolles Herz betrübt,
Verzeih mir, es reut mich sehr,
Ich will Dich kränken nimmermehr.
Bleib nun die Nacht bei mir, o Gott,
Zu schützen mich, wenn Unheil droht.
Rufst Du mich ab, so flehe ich,
In Deiner Gnad lass sterben mich!
O God, before I go to sleep,
once again I turn to you.
I thank you for everything good
that you, the best Father, have given me.
If this day I have earned disfavor,
grieving your loving heart,
forgive me, I regret it,
I will trouble you never more.
Stay with me this night, O God,
To protect me when evil threatens.
If you call me, then will I fly,
and in your grace let me die.
The major event for the Tereblestie Catholics was
Kirchweih, the church festival held on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul on
June 29. Many guests from near and far came to the village on this day. Since
the church could not hold all the people, an altar was placed outdoors in the
shade of the nut trees on the south side of the church.
At Easter, it was the custom for Catholics to have the
priest come from Sereth to bless foods such as eggs, ham, butter, Gugelhupf
(a cake), and Rote-Rüben-Salat mit Kren (Meerrettich), beet salad
with horse radish, which was an indispensable part of the menu.
Pentecost was das grüne Fest, or the green
festival, for the Catholics. Each home was decorated with Pfingststräussen
or “Pentecost bouquets” made of green birch branches and twigs.
On Christmas Eve, although it was a day of abstinence,
the most generous meal of the year was served: thicker and thinner cakes,
cookies and small pastries, fresh bread, fish and fruit dishes. Kutya, or
cooked buckwheat, had to be part of the Christmas Eve meal. Weizenkörner
(wheat grains), symbols of life, were washed, soaked, and cooked during which
they had to remain whole, and then mixed with honey, ground poppy seed and
walnuts. This sweet dish was served as a dessert throughout the Christmas
Before Christmas, the sexton came from Sereth to
Tereblestie and distributed wafers called Oblaten which had been blessed
by the priest to all Catholic families. These were about the size of post cards
and only intended for Christmas Eve. Before the evening meal, the father as head
of the household, broke the Oblaten and offered a piece to every family
member as a symbol of community and belonging. The animals in the barn were not
forgotten: a bundle of hay was placed under the table which received the
blessing as well and after the meal, the father took it to the barn and divided
it between the animals.
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