The Hays Daily News
July 21, 1996
8 sections, 74 pages
507 Main, Hays, Kansas
(Posted on the World-Wide Web by the
Bukovina Society of the Americas,
on April 25, 2002 with permission of the
Hays Daily News, Hays, KS)
Werner Zoglauer, Naperville, Ill. left, helps Martin Flax, Ellis, trace his
family history Saturday at the Bukovina Society of the Americas headquarters
in Ellis during the Eighth Annual Bukovinafest, which continue through
Bukovina Germans help
Ellis man wants to
keep 200 years of history alive for others
By LAURIE MCEWEN
Hays Daily News
Ray Schoenthaler doesn't mind talking about
his Bukovina German heritage.
In fact, he's a member of the Bukovina Society of the Americas in Ellis for
just that reason: He wants to preserve his heritage for future generations.
A 100 percent" Bukovina German and a board member of the society,
Schoenthaler eagerly thumbed through books loaded with information on his fore-bearers - German emigrants from Bukovina- Saturday afternoon during the
Bukovinafest in Ellis.
The annual festival ends today.
Schoenthaler said the Bukovina Germans aren't much different from the Volga
Germans - Germans who settled in Russia before coming to the U.S. The
Bukovina Germans also moved from Germany to another country - Bukovina - and
later left that country for America.
It started when Bukovina, located on the eastern slopes of the Carpathian
Mountains in the heart of what was once Austria, needed more people.
To encourage population of the sparse province in the 1770s, Austrian
emperors subsidized the emigration of colonists to Bukovina, Schoenthaler
People of many different ethnic groups took part in this emigration,
including Armenians, Hungarians, Jews, Poles, Romanians and Ukrainians.
German colonists came from three distinct areas, southwest Germany, the
Czech Republic and Slovakia, he added.
Later, as families grew, farmers no longer had enough land to divide among
their children, and industry in Bukovina did not grow to the extent it did
elsewhere in the Austrian empire.
When land agents in America enticed the Germans with free homestead land in
the 1880s, the settlers emigrated primarily to Ellis; Lewis County, Wash.;
Saskatchewan, Canada; and Rio Negro, Brazil. A second wave of emigration
took place after World Wars I and II.
Schoenthaler said while descendants of these settlers live in Ellis today,
many have lost their understanding of where they originated and what their
Elva Hillman, Yuma, Colo.,
came to her first Bukavinafest. She hit a gold mine of genealogical data and
found a picture of her mother in one of the Bukovina publications.
But Schoenthaler, a fifth-generation Bukovina German whose parents arrived
here when they were ages 4 and 8, said he's noticed that
interest is once again on the rise. "My main interest is in keeping the history
of 200 years alive for anyone who's interested in knowing about our heritage."
And Schoenthaler said
Ellis is a good place to do this. "We feel Ellis is one of the largest
collections of Bukovina Germans who came from Germany."
Chance encounter leads to information
on woman's family
By LAURIE MCEWEN
Hays Daily News
Yuma, Colo., resident Elva Hillman attended the Bukovinafest in Ellis this
weekend, she wanted to learn more about her Bukovina German heritage.
What she found was a
picture of her mother in a book on Bukovina Germans, a picture that
ultimately led her to some long lost relatives.
Hillman knew that when
her mother, Bertha (Hackl) Korf was 24, she traveled to Yuma from Bukovina.
Her mother's friends and relatives traveled to Ellis, while she stayed in
Yuma to work and eventually married.
While that was all Hillman really knew
about her Bukovina heritage, Hillman was no stranger to Ellis. She'd been to
there many times to visit friends of the family.
But on this particular trip
to the comfortable railroad town, Hillman also wanted to attend the
Bukovinafest, "never thinking about what was going to take place," she said.
It happened on Friday
when she met Illinois resident Werner Zoglauer, who was searching the
Internet for relatives of Bukovina Germans.
She asked him to do a
search for her on her mother's maiden name and found out she had many
relatives in the Ellis area.
"I was kind of neat
because I didn't know any of mom's relatives, although I did get in touch
with a nephew 10 years ago," she said.
But Hillman said an
even stranger event took place when she purchased a book on the Bukovina
Germans. As she thumbed through the pages, she saw a picture of her mother
standing with another woman and two men.
"And I said, `Oh,
that's my Mom' "
"I had seen that
(picture) years and years ago. I was so excited I could hardly even nibble
(dinner), and that's unusual for me with food," she said.
Hillman wiped a tear
from her eye as she recounted the story, adding that the circumstance has
motivated her and her husband, Freddie, to plan a trip to Germany soon.
Meanwhile, she said
with a smile as she mingled with others, "I've got to see who else we're
(The above article was printed on the front page of the
Hays Daily News, Sunday edition, July, 21, 1996.)
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