August 10-13 in Ellis and Hays, Kansas. All speakers, presenters and events have been confirmed for one of the best conventions of the Bukovina Society. Watch the next newsletter for the final program and registrations forms. See you then.
The first lifetime member in the new millennium is Patrick Deutscher of Toronto. Patrick attended our last Bukovinafest. His great grandparents, Friedrich and Julia (Schreier) Deutscher landed in Halifax in 1901 and went on to homestead in Southern Saskatchewan. Friedrich was from Alt Fratautz, a descendant of Konrad Martin Deutscher and Anna Eva Weber of Tereblestie. Julia was from St. Onuphry. Friedrich’s cousin Karl Deutscher migrated to Kansas at the same time.
Trude Eberwein of Arvada, Colorado became a life member. She also informed us of the death of her dear husband Ferd. Both natives of the Bukovina district, they were a delight each year at the Bukovinafest. They parked their RV in the Ellis City Park, enjoyed the events and made many new friends. Thanks to Trude for the fine memorial to Ferd.
Rep. Mike Jaros has been in Bosnia putting his language skills to work for the U.S. Army since July. Prior to that he spent four days in Poiana Micului in the Bukovina district, the home of his maternal great grandparents Dora and Tomas Neuburger before migrating to Celinovac, Bosnia. He also visited Lvov from which his grandparents Apolonia and Karl Jaros migrated to Bosnia. His wife joined him to teach at Tuzla University where they are desperate for English speaking professors. Mike attends the Bukovina Festival each year in Poland and extends to our members an invitation to make presentations. He will be taking the Bukovina Society pins there again this year.
The featured article in our last newsletter on cooking and eating in Bukovina by Renate Gschwendtner, translated by Dr. Sophie Welisch came to the attention of Betty Wray of the Galizien German Descendants. It will be reprinted in the next issue.
We receive frequent letters and e-mail requests from people who discover the Bukovina Society. One letter from Fr. Robert T. Comesky, who received our address while stationed in Germany as a Chaplain, requested information for his mother who came from Bukovina. Katrin Helbig wrote from Germany of having roots both in the Bohemian Forest and Schwabia. Her maternal ancestors were Gaschler from Fuerstenthal and paternal ancestors were Fries. She would be at home in Ellis.
Dr. Gabi Lunte and her associate Dr. Chris Johnson will be working to create a linguistic atlas of German dialects in Kansas. It will include the work Gabi did in Ellis on the Catholic Bohemian German dialects. The Bukovina Society is a sponsor for their work through a grant we received from the Kansas Humanities Council. A copy will be place in the society archives.
Martin Serkosky e-mailed me asking if the society could be of help in a puzzle in his family. His grandfather, Martin Cyca was born in Galicia and considered themselves German. He had many other questions, which were forwarded to Irmgard Hein Ellingson. Martin’s ancestors went through numerous marriages between faiths and nationalities along with several emigrations. Irmgard was able to answer questions that Martin thought his family “would take to their grave.”
Fay Jordaens sent us the address of the Romanian archives, Archivele Nationale ale Romaniei, Bdul Elisabeta Nr. 49, 70602 Bucuresti, Romania. Fay also watches for interesting websites and alerts us.
Ancestry.com , 266 West Center Street, Orem, UT 84057 sent the society a copy of Kevan Hansen’s new book, “Finding Your German Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide.”
We continue to be surprised by the people who discover us on the Internet. Two brothers, Ken and Richard Stillinger, new members, have been working on their ancestry from Bukovina. They have ties to the colony in Western Colorado (Yuma), and the Bukovina villages of Glitt, Solka, and Lichtenstein.
The 10th anniversary of the Romanian Revolution was marked in December. We all hope that the people of our former homeland can continue to grow in peace and freedom.
PICTURE OF FAMILY (sent by e-mail)Caption: This picture and story from Brazil thanks to Joao Nelson Hoffmann showing the family in Curitiba, Brazil circa 1900. L to R, Ignatz Hoffmann, Philomena “Minni” Hoffmann, Wenzel Hoffmann [Jr.], Philomena “Mina” Hoffmann and daughter Leopoldina Hoffmann, Julia Rankel, Anton Schuster, Franziska Hoffmann and Josef Hoffmann. The family arrived in May of 1888 with the second group of emigrants to Brazil. By the time they reached their destination in June, the patriarch Wenzel [not pictured] did not like the place and wanted to return, a story told for 110 years. He was very unhappy in Brazil because he missed his homeland, but did not want to leave his family alone for such a long journey back, particularly just after the birth of his daughter Leopoldina. Just six months after arrival, he held his nine-day-old baby and said, “If she smiles, I’ll leave, if she doesn’t, I’ll stay..” The child did smile so he went back with the intention to send back money and eventually bring the rest of the family back to Bukovina. It is not known if he ever returned to Bukovina, it is said by some that he died on the ship enroute and some say he died at the port of Paranagua before departure. “Fritz” Hoffmann, another of the sons is not pictured because he died while deer hunting when, tired, he stopped, rested his head on the shotgun, which accidentally discharged. The remaining family and Mina’s sister Leopoldina Schuster and husband Johann (leader of the second group) settled in Johannesdorf. The younger Wenzel was very dedicated to village church work. Leopoldina’s fate was unknown. It is said she was taken away by Indians and when found as an adult ran away. The family has hundreds of descendants now living in Brazil, many of them our cousins. More information on the settlement is contained in The Bori Story on sale from the Bukovina Society.
The following two articles are a continuation of a series of translations by Dr. Sophie Welisch, Congers, NY. Many more can be expected in future issues of the newsletter on life in Bukovina and its villages. The stories of Augustendorf and Katharinendorf are of special interest to the Bukowina Institut sponsored “Excursion in the Bukowina” in 1996 for members of the Bukovina Society in the United States and Canada. These were among the first villages we visited, both in the Ukraine portion of the former Bukovina near Czernowitz, its former capital. The church in Augustendorf was in poor condition from neglect since the 1940 Umsiedlung. A new roof was recently installed to stem further deterioration by former residents or those with roots there now living in Germany. Two locals who saw us arrive opened the church and proudly showed us through. Several of us were taken to the attic where the old roof tiles, made in Czernowitz, were stored. The men presented one as a souvenir to the Bukovina Society (on display at the museum) and Bukowina Institut. By then a group of curious residents watched our every step. They were attractive in their native dress and please when we took the initiative to talk to them through our interpreters. We gave them all mementos. One on the tour group, Eleanor Schwartz, had heard much about the village from her immigrant father, Heinrich Gross. Her grandfather William Gross came from Galicia to Bukovina. She was saddened by the condition of the church and could not find traces of her family in the cemetery. The German portions of most cemeteries were also in poor condition. The church in Katharinendorf was nearly in ruins. The doors and windows were open or broken and years of trash littered the floor.
By Josef Talsky, "Augustendorf," in Bukowina: Heimat von Gestern, ed. by Erwin Massier, Josef Talsky and B. C. Grigorowicz, translated by Dr. Sophie A. Welisch (Karlsruhe: Selbstverlag "Arbeitskreis Bukowina Heimatbuch," 1956), pp. 148-49.
No single German-Bohemian village in Bukovina so artfully characterized the German settlements in the Bohemian Forest in layout and building style, as did charming Augustendorf, located at the spur of the Carpathians where the valley slopes into the Sereth River.
While other German settlements, with only few exceptions, usually had trees planted in a straight line along both sides of a wide street, attesting to the military hand which had created the colonies, Augustendorf, founded in 1838, developed in conformity to the lay of the land. With its narrow truncated roads flanked on both sides by trim farmsteads built closely together in the free style of the mountainous region and encompassed by fir and pine forests, the settlement is reminiscent of the modest yet tidy, exquisite villages in the Bohemian Forest, in particular those around the Osser and Arber [rivers].
Augustendorf owes its existence not to state planning but to the landed estate owner of Banila on the Sereth [River], Mrs. Augustine Gojan-Fedorowicz, after whom the village was named. As is well known, the colonies of Alexanderdorf, Katharinendorf and Nikolausdorf were established under similar circumstances.
The Augustendorfers were settled by Mrs. Gojan for the purpose of clearing the wild overgrown land and making it arable. Every colonist received for himself and his family eight Falschen [?] of newly reforested land and two Falschen of pasturage as well as right to three yokes of forest [for firewood]. In return each colonist had to render labor services to the estate.
At first only twenty families settled in Augustendorf, recruited from a group of immigrants who had come from the West to Radautz. Later they were joined by several other families moving on from the Hungarian Banat.
The oldest immigrant colonial families included Erl, Hasenkopf, Kampf and Mirwald. Georg Hebler, the eventual patriarch of a very prolific family in Augustendorf, joined latter.
After they had cleared the land allotted them and found they could not produce enough to sustain themselves and their ever-increasing families, most colonists turned to charcoal burning as a livelihood. Others sought employment in the glass works of Althütte and Neuhütte only a few kilometers away, while the rest earned their livelihood as carpenters. In the village there were few farmers in the true sense of the word.
While the wooden shoes [Holzpantoffel] which the settlers had brought with them from their old homeland continued to be worn until the  resettlement [to Germany], the characteristic male head covering, consisting of a felt cap with wide leather brim, had long since disappeared. As in all German communities every house, even that of the poorest had a small garden enclosed by a stockade fence in which all kinds of flowers were grown. It goes without saying that potted plants were not lacking on the windowsills.
The total population, about 700 souls, was exclusively Roman Catholic. Augustendorf belonged to the Roman Catholic parish of Althütte in whose cemetery its deceased were interred. In 1905 the Order of the Trinitarians established a religious house in Augustendorf. The German padres Anastasius Sonntag, Vinzent Mayerhofer and Valentin Probst, latter joined by Padre Felix Sollinger, erected a stately church on the site of the old wooden chapel with an attractive religious house, thus bringing new spiritual and ethnic life into the community. Under their direction the village soon witnessed a decided upward swing. Later only Padre Superior A. Sonntag remained in the community, which he served for three decades, and who was loved and respected by all. One of the most impressive achievements of Padre Sonntag was the construction of a roomy and well-equipped German Home [Volksheim]. In 1930 the Cultural Society [Deutscher Kulturverein für die Bukowina] built a children's convalescent home [in Augustendorf].
Because of its good location in a healthy mountainous region, its excellent beaches, the friendliness of its inhabitants, and its proximity to the provincial capital of Czernowitz, which could be reached by bus in about one hour, Augustendorf achieved popularity as a summer resort. Here German life and German songs were highly valued and respected.
For other monographs of
German-Bohemian villages in Bukovina see:
Welisch, Sophie A. Bukovina Villages/Towns/Cities and Their Germans. Ellis, KS: Bukovina Society of the Americas, 1990
Wild, Josef. Fürstenthal: Eine deutsch-böhmische Gemeinde in der Bukowina. Munich: Landsmannschaft der Buchenlanddeutschen, 1981. English translation by Sophie A. Welisch: Fürstenthal: A German Bohemian Community in Bukovina. Regina, Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Genealogical Society, 1993.