The Board of Directors and the International Board have set the dates for next year’s Bukovina Society convention for September 19-22. In order to afford our members and guests a broader cultural experience, we will again meet jointly with another organization. The convention will open at Society headquarters in Ellis, KS with presentations and exhibits unique to the Bukovinian heritage. This will include a fashion show and a display of the clothing worn by early settlers, a presentation on early correspondence between families in the New World and Bukovina, and a discussion of on-line computer services available those interested in the Bukovinian legacy. The next day (Saturday) we will join the Midwest Deutsche Oktoberfest organization in Hays for a program of cultural demonstrations, musical renditions, and social activities to include dancing and dining. For Sunday the Society has planned a Polka Mass at the Oktoberfest grounds followed by further social functions. A number of Board and International Board members participated in the 2002 Oktoberfest opening ceremonies and feel it was a quality event that will complement our Bukovinafest. Large indoor facilities, ample parking, and spacious fair grounds between Ellis and Hays provided a congenial atmosphere. So mark your calendars for September 19-22, 2003!
An envelope for the remission of annual dues is enclosed with this mailing. For $150 (U.S. funds) you may exercise the first option of joining the over 100 members of the Life Club who, in addition to receiving the Newsletter, are honored by the inclusion of their names on a plaque at the entrance to the Society’s museum and headquarters. We also appreciate the many $15 annual memberships as well as the contributions to help support our projects and services. Note that there is also an option for a donation to our web site fund. Contributions to the Society are tax deductible.Werner Zoglauer compiled information as of November 13, 2002 on the new web site, which was announced in May of this year. There have been 7,039 user visits to the site, an average of 35 hits per day. This daily average continues to climb with an average in October of 64 daily hits and 87 hits per day average as of his report. The one-day high of 240 hits occurred in October during the time a German Genealogy class used the site for a research project. Donations to the web site fund will be put to good use.
Visitors by country of origin:
WEDDING DRESS DONATED TO SOCIETY
This information was
provided by Mrs.Julia Honas on the occasion of the donation by the
extended Honas family of an old wedding dress. The family wishes the Bukovina
Society to preserve and display at the museum the dress as well as the
bride’s shawl and the blanket, which swaddled the infant son John during his
voyage across the Atlantic in 1901. These articles will be featured in a
program on early fashions at Bukovinafest 03.
The little village of Pojana
Mikuli was the site of the wedding on November 5, 1893 of Catherine Flachs,
daughter of Joseph and Marie (Sipkovinck) Flachs and Joseph Hones,
son of Johann and Elizabeth (Lang) Hones (upon immigration to the
United States, Hones became Honas). Catherine brought her treasured wedding
dress to Ellis, Kansas where through the years it was lovingly preserved by
her daughters, Rose (Honas) Riedel and Elizabeth (Honas) Golvert.
The Honas family has sponsored several reunions, some in conjunction with the
Bukovinafests. The first public showing of the wedding dress occurred at the
first Honas reunion July 18-19, 1992, when it was modeled by Bertha (Honas)
Catherine and Joseph had
eighteen children: Paul, Anna, Edward, Mary, Regina, Carrie, Josephine,
John , Frank, Frances, Joseph, William, Clara, Elizabeth, Ignatius, Rosa,
Bertha, and Frank, of whom the first eight were born in Bukovina. Three
sons, the first Frank, Joseph and Ignatius, died in infancy. After the birth
of son John, the family departed for Bremen, Germany, where they boarded the
ship Kaiser Wilhelm II on July 16, 1901, which nine days later brought them to
After registering at Ellis
Island, the family booked the cheapest train accommodations to Ellis, Kansas
with $75 in pocket and the few meager possessions the children could carry.
Their first six months were spent with Catherine‘s brother, Frank Flax and
his large family. Joseph rented farms south of Ellis as well as in Graham and
Trego counties before being able to purchase his own land. After many years of
farming, Joseph and Catherine moved into the town of Ellis.
Catherine, who never learned
to speak English, had a busy life with child rearing and household chores.
Upon retirement she was able to enjoy fishing on Big Creek, which runs through
the town. After Catherine’s death in 1947, Joseph remarried a widow, Otillia
(Weber) Augustine. He died in 1954. Grandson Ralph Honas, a member
of the Board of the Bukovina Society, recalls that his grandmother gave
nicknames to all the children. His was “mod heise,” the meaning of which
he never discerned. His grandmother always teased him for a kiss. Shy and
reserved, he even cried at this gesture. In a moment of daring he let her kiss
him, and after that she never teased him again.
BUKOVINIAN FINDS THE HOMETOWN OF HIS ANCESTORS*
By Wenzel Hoffmann
It was August 1917. I was sent from the field to the [military] relief unit in Lemberg [Lvov, Galicia]. There I received the order to escort twelve men to the cement factory in Floridsdorf near Vienna. At the Lemberg railroad station I asked a commanding officer, a Polish first lieutenant, where Floridsdorf was located. He thought it must be in Bohemia. The railroad conductor, with whom I talked in the train, was also of the opinion that Floridsdorf lay somewhere in Bohemia. So shortly after my arrival in Vienna I asked when the next train departed for Prague and traveled on with my twelve men. After several hours a conductor appeared and asked about our destination. I replied "Floridsdorf." The conductor, a Czech who did not know German well, replied that he did not know of such a place, but it must lie in the Bohemian Forest, where all villages and cities are German. We then traveled on for many hours.
A new conductor came on board, a German Bohemian. He also inquired about our destination. When I told him Floridsdorf and detailed our previous route, he called me an idiot and said I have already passed Floridsdorf. I then told him what the first lieutenant and the various conductors had said, who all had advised this route. Thereupon he roundly berated the first lieutenant and the conductors, calling them asses.
We got off at the next station, Hirschberg, to await the next train back to Vienna and thus to Floridsdorf.
In order to kill time and assuage the frustration, we went to the closest restaurant. Soon thereafterwe entered into a conversation with the waiter. Since I remembered that my grandparents had immigrated to Bukovina from this region of Bohemia, I asked the waiter if here in the vicinity there are people with the surname of Hoffmann. He himself was named Hoffmann, he replied. He also had a 200-year-old family chronicle, which perhaps could yield some information. To my delight and amazement I found that according to this old book my grandfather with two brothers and several others had emigrated from there to Bukovina via Galicia in 1831.After about four months a letter from my grandfather had arrived from Radautz in which he complained that after so much stress and strain they had arrived in Bukovina but that they [the authorities] had still not allotted them the land which had been promised for settlement. After a year they received another letter with the news that one brother had stayed in Radautz and the others had relocated to Gura Humora. In 1841 my grandfather then relocated to Schwarzthal.
This big old
restaurant was in the hometown of my ancestors, and the waiter was my
relative. Naturally all my men and I dined well and also imbibed at bit to
quench our thirst. The hours, which I had earlier thought would be boring,
passed far too quickly. After hearty farewells we boarded the train and after
a twenty-hour delay, I delivered my twelve men to Floridsdorf before returning
Bukowiner findet die Heimat seiner Ahnen," Katholischer Volks- und
Hauskalender für die Bukowina, trans. and ed. By Dr. Sophie A. Welisch (Czernowitz,
6/1939), pp. 61-62.
A COIN’S STORY
By Rebecca Hageman (Wichita, KS)
Ferdinand stood anxiously in the line at Ellis Island, his wife and seven children by his side. He and his sons were finally reunited with his wife and daughters after three long days of separation. A minor skeletal problem and an eye infection acquired during the arduous seven-day journey spent in the steerage of the Kaiser Wilhelm II might have meant that one of the children would be denied entrance to this country and sent back. The wait was long. The children were fidgety. He reached into his pocket and fiddled with a large coin, turning it over and over in his callused hands as he had so many times since they had left their beloved homeland. The food they had brought with them was gone. How long would his money last? Would he get a fair exchange for his Austrian currency? Ferdinand nervously removed the coin from his pocket, gazed at it intently, and replaced it as he had done a hundred times in the past. His wife wearily smiled at him, shifting their infant son onto her shoulder as the lined inched slowly forward.
I do not know if my great grandfather had such a coin in his pocket at Ellis Island in 1905, or if he did, what might have happened to it. But Fay Jordeans owns a very special coin, left behind by an unknown traveler. The history of her coin in unknown. Bearing a likeness of the Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph I, it is a mint high-grade gold ducat worth far more than the dollar she paid for it at a garage sale in her home state of New Jersey. She reports that one side bears the inscription: FRANC. 10S.1D.G.AUSTRIAE IMPERATOR [Emperor of Austria]; the other reads: HUNGAR.BOHEM.GAL.(4)LOD.ILL.REX A.A. 1915 [King of Hungary, Bohemia, Galicia, Lodomeria, Illyria]. Erich Slawski of Cologne, Germany helped her research its value and provided the picture from the Internet.
What did this coin represent to its owner? It might have meant countless hours, no, maybe years of hard-earned wages and sacrifices made while enduring many hardships. It might have recalled a generous farewell gift from a loved one left behind. It may have been exchanged for property, furnishings, and clothing sold to pay for the journey a quarter of the way around the world. It meant a bit of security in an uncertain future. The exchange of familiar currency for American money represented a more deeply-felt trade off, leaving behind a home, culture, friends and family never to be seen again and cutting all ties and allegiance to country and monarch for a completely new way of life. We can know the names of our ancestors by reading the genealogy charts and the church records, meticulously kept for centuries. We have tangible evidence of their existence: their signatures on documents, a few remaining treasured items brought with them from Bukovina as bits and pieces of their lives. But those few items cannot tell the stories of our ancestors, who they really were, their love for one another, their hopes and fears, and their experiences. Those few objects, like the coin, might have been with them during events both great and small: formalities of their courtships and weddings, births of children, weeks spent cutting wood in wintry forests or laboring in the intense heat of the glass factories, holiday festivities, and the routine of simple day-to-day activities. Just imagine if only they could speak, what stories they could tell!
TWENTY-FIFTH FÜRSTENTHALER REUNION IN OY
Brigitte Haas, Durach, (Allgäu, Germany)
As in the past twenty-five
years, the former residents of the German-Bohemian community of Fürstenthal
(Bukovina) held their annual reunion on the first weekend of August. The event
was organized by Norbert Dombrowski, who took over this task from his
father several years ago. For the past eleven years Fürstenthalers have
assembled in the spa hotel of Oy (Oberallgäu) for religious services and a
social gathering. Father Mathäus of the “Indian Brothers,” who for
years has performed meaningful and engaging religious services for the
Bukovina visitors in Oy, said mass.
Again this year Wolfgang
Hützler, the mayor of Oy, greeted the approximately seventy guests, who
had come from all of Germany, and as gifts from the community, he brought a
cow bell, a cider pitcher, a Käsespatzenschüssel (special bowl for a
traditional dish of noodles and cheese), and a watch with the Oy coat-of-arms.
The noodles-and-cheese bowl was presented to the longest married couple (Mr.
and Mrs. Schell, married fifty-five years), the cider pitcher to the
oldest participant (a seventy-year-old lady representing the Dombrowski clan),
the cow bell to the family with largest number of participants (Gaschler--
11 members), and the watch to a young person who has demonstrated interest in
the preservation of the history of the village and its people (Brigitte
Haas). Erstwhile Fürstenthal families represented at the Oy reunion
included among others: Aschenbrenner, Baumgartner, Dombrowski, Gaschler,
Geschwentner, Gnad, Haas, Schell, and Stadler.
Aside from the opportunity
to chat and reminisce, provisions had also been made for the visitors’
physical well-being as well as for dance music—both of which were zealously
exploited. The event concluded by 9:00 p.m. with a group circle and a song.
Many of the guests stayed in Oy until Sunday, since it was here that the consecration of the town’s fire department flag was scheduled to take place, or spent their vacation in the region, using the time for family visits or meetings with former school pals.
AUGUSTINE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
Juanita and Frank Augustine (Ellis, KS)
On August 3-4, 2002, the Augustine family celebrated the centennial of the immigration of Michael Augustine and his wife, Anna Adelsberger, to the United States. The event, held at the WaKeeney Fair Grounds in WaKeeney, KS, witnessed a reunion of 367 people from the United States, Canada and Germany.
In 1902 Michael and Anna
Augustine, with their five minor children, Ambros, Theresa (Weber),
Ignatz, John Michael and Mary, ventured forth from their south Bukovinian
village of Fürstenthal to seek their fortune in the New World. Much to the
family’s distress, Mary died en route and was later interred in New York.
Other children later born to this couple in the United States include Jacob,
Johanna (Gnad), Joseph, Rudolph, Florence (Flax), Barbara (Burns) Cameron, and
The plans for a family
reunion began as early as October 2001, with the selection of one member
descended from each of the immigrant couple’s children to serve on an
organizing committee. Those who so diligently gave of their time to make the
endeavor a success were Clarence, Denis, Frank and Gilbert Augustine, Ralph
Burns Jr., Katie Eberle, Adolph Flax, and Johanna Gnad.
The committee met for a
total of seven sessions at which time they fixed the date and place of the
event, the social activities, and the menu. Opting for some favorite
Bukovinian dishes such as Galuschki (stuffed cabbage), Kuchen (cake) and
“Schokle” (a pastry the children called “snowballs” because they were
covered with powered sugar), the committee sought to preserve some of the Old
World flavor. Bonnie Windholz, hired to prepare the meals including a
Saturday evening dinner and a Sunday morning breakfast followed by a noon
barbecue, did a suburb job in fulfilling culinary expectations.
In recognition of the Kansas
State flower and its staple food, the tables were decorated with sunflowers
and stalks of wheat arranged in vases in the red, white and blue national
colors. Thanks to the creativity of DeeDee Heronemus, each person
received an embroidered canvas map of the United States with “AUGUSTINE
1902-2002” attached to his/her nametag.
The committee designated
certain individuals as honored guests, among them: (1) Barbara (Burns)
Cameron, the only surviving child of the patriarch, Michael Augustine;
(2) Christina Augustine, wife of Michael Jr., whose
hospitalization precluded her attendance; and (3) Jean (Boyce) Augustine of
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, the widow of Joseph’s youngest son,
Jack. (Joseph, the patriarch of the Canadian Augustines, was Michael’s
brother.) Each honored guest received a red, white and blue corsage.
Displays consisting of
pictures, posters, genealogies, and photo albums were abundantly available.
But among the most spectacular was the six-generational genealogy spanning 200
years provided by Michael Augustin. Michael’s great-grandfather,
Josef Augustin, was a second cousin to the 1902 American immigrant,
Michael. Both shared a common descent from Johann Augustin (1779-1839),
who in 1802 emigrated from the Bohemian Forest to Bukovina. Taking this
broader perspective, the Kansas reunion may well be viewed as a celebration of
the “bicentennial” of Johann’s immigration to Bukovina.
Just prior to the Augustine
reunion in Kansas, Michael had attended the annual FEEFHS convention in
Regina, Saskatchewan, where he presented a paper on the Augustin family
entitled, “German-Bohemians in Bukovina.” His wife, Bärbel
and children Anja, Eva and Fabian from Leonberg, Germany joined
Michael in Kansas where families from both sides of the Atlantic were able to
share information and make new acquaintances. In addition, our German
relatives presented us with a greeting card, which many signed and all
The roster included
twenty-three guests from Canada, descendants of the immigrant Michael’s
brother Joseph. Also in attendance were members of collateral branches
of the Augustine family including Becky Hageman (Wichita, KS), Steve
Parke (Pueblo, CO), and Werner Zoglauer (Naperville, IL).
Although not an Augustine scion, Oren Windholz, President of the
Bukovina Society, stopped in to pay his respects and say “hello.”
On Saturday afternoon Father
Don Pfannenstiel celebrated mass at which a choir performed and sang the
liturgy accompanied by a guitarist. Our sincere thanks to Father
Pfannenstiel and the choir for this uplifting experience. Religious services
were followed by the evening meal, served to 357 people and by music provided
by the Dorzweiler Band.
Coffee, tea, Schokle and Kuchen were available early Sunday morning. About 260 guests stayed on for the barbecue at noon after which the guests said their good-byes. The centennial celebration of the arrival in America of our forebears, Michael and Anna Augustine, concluded with tearful farewells but high expectations of continued contact and enduring friendships. The committee wishes to thank all who participated in making this affair such a memorable occasion.
BOHEMIAN FAMILIES FROM BUKOVINA IN RIO NEGRO AND MAFRA, BRAZIL
Ayrton Gonçalves Celestino (Curitiba, Brazil)
This is the first of two speeches on the Bukovina Germans in Brazil delivered by Ayrton Gonçalves Celestino at the FEEFHS convention hosted by the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society in Regina, Canada this past July. For the last decade Bukovinian circles both in the United States and Germany have benefited from Professor Celestino’s research, publications and lectures on the Bukovinian experience in Brazil. Through the Associação Alemã Bucovinos de Cultura – ABC (Bukovina-German Cultural Association), of which he was a co-founder and past president, the Bukovina Germans of Rio Negro and Mafra are experiencing a renewed interest in their ancestral roots which extends beyond their borders to sister organizations and long-lost kindred abroad.
My sincere thanks and
appreciation to Marge Thomas and Laura Hankowski of the
Saskatchewan Genealogical Society and also to Irmgard Hein Ellingson of
the Bukovina Society of the Americas for their kind invitation to attend this
conference. Six years ago I was here in Regina, but I never thought I would
return to present a speech to such an important gathering. For me it is a
great honor to be here. I am proud to represent the Bukovinians of Brazil at
this conference. My greetings to all.
If we were to turn the clock
back 115 years to 1887 we would see a little group of emigrants leaving the
small village of Buchenhain (also called Poiana Micului) in Bukovina for
distant Brazil. From their lips one might have heard them singing: "Jetzt
ist die Zeit und Stunde da, lieb Heimatland ade! Wir ziehen nach America, lieb
Heimatland ade! Der Wagen steht schon vor der Tür, mit Weib und Kinder ziehen
wir!" (Now the time and hour have come, beloved homeland, farewell! We
are going to America, beloved homeland, farewell! The wagon is already at the
door. With wife and children we depart. Beloved homeland, farewell!)
In this little group were my
grandfather, Ignatz Schödelbauer, his siblings Ambros, Josef,
Regina, Rosalia, and Wenzel, and his parents, Karl Schödelbauer
and Maria Schuster. Other families who undertook the journey included
those of Johann Baumgartner, Johann Neuburger, Jakob Rankl, Franz Schödelbauer,
and Josef Schödelbauer for a total of 41 persons, all pioneers and
Bukovinians destined for Rio
Negro in the state of Paraná traveled in two groups. The first, consisting
primarily of villagers from Poiana Micului, left Bukovina to find lands for
their children. They departed their homeland on May 16, 1887, traveling by
railway from Bukovina to Bremen in northern Germany. Here they boarded the SS
Ohio for Rio de Janeiro. From Rio they traveled via a small steamer to the
port city of Paranaguá and then by train to Curitiba, the capital of Paraná.
In Curitiba they were very well received.
The trip from Curitiba to Rio Negro in southern Paraná, a distance of 100 km., had to be undertaken on foot, which took four days. En route they had nothing to eat. When they arrived in Passa Três, they were tired and hungry. It was July 7, 1887. In the city the wagons, which had carried their luggage, had stopped in front of the church. They asked where Rio Negro was located. The reply: "You are precisely in the middle of the town!" To their astonishment they learned that this "little hole" was their destination. The men carried modern hunting weapons, which would be useful "in defending themselves against wild and dangerous animals, poisonous snakes, and savage Indians." But their only concern at that moment was to obtain food. They found only corn meal, "charque"(a kind of dried meat), and "rosca" (rolls).
Adolf Wolf, a German
colonist from Bohemia who had earlier moved to Rio Negro from São Paulo in
the federal state of Santa Catarina, welcomed the group. Adolf Wolf was
the cousin of the colonist, Franz Wolf. From Poiana Micului Karl Schödelbauer
had written to Adolf Wolf, asking him details about prospects in Brazil.
Adolf’s replies spoke of the wonders of the New World and invited Karl and
other villagers to immigrate to Rio Negro. Thus we see Adolf Wolf as the
person who promoted and encouraged the immigration of the Bukovinians to
The following year a second wave of Bukovinians, including Germans, Slovaks and Poles, departed for Rio Negro. This group consisted of 70 families encompassing 336 people who came from Bori, Gura Humorului, Poiana Micului, Schwarzthal and other villages in southern Bukovina. In my book, The Bukovinians of Brazil, I give details about these immigrants.
The earlier group had not found adequate accommodations. Through his friend, the mayor of Rio Negro, Adolf Wolf managed to put up some of the people in the local jail whose prisoners had escaped a few days earlier. Women and children were boarded in an old unoccupied house, which had fallen into ruins.
At first the residents of
Rio Negro viewed the newcomers with suspicion, since some earlier colonists in
São Paulo in Santa Catarina had been disorderly. When the Bukovinians opened
their trunks and bags, the people saw the rosaries and pictures of saints they
had brought along. This set their minds at rest. Aside from these religious
objects they had also brought tools for everyday use, which served as proof of
their origin in the Bohemian Forest.
Several immigrants, seeing how small and desolate Rio Negro was, wished to return to Bukovina. Karl Schödelbauer and Johann Baumgartner, the group’s leaders, urged them to remain a while longer to see how things would work out. So they decided to stay and to give it a try.
In a few weeks the prospects
seemed more hopeful. The colonists began to prepare the soil for cultivation
and to construct their houses. Those with a little money looked for houses
The Settlement in Rio Negro. The new settlers lived as well in Rio Negro as they had in Bukovina. Among them there were also some Slovak and Polish families, including among others: Drozdek, Juraszek, Mirek, Naidek, Pazdziora, Pieczarka, Reway, and Staschkowian. The diverse nationalities had lived on good terms with each other in Bukovina. In the beginning they resided in Rio Negro, but after a while they moved on to Lucena (today called Itaiópolis) in Santa Catarina, where they have fit in well with other Polish settlers.
The colonists purchased houses near the church and school and bought arable land for their agricultural pursuits. In Imbuial on the left bank of the Rio Negro River, Franz Schödelbauer and Jakob Rankl bought properties. Other families also acquired land in this area.
The Bukovinians began writing letters to their relatives in Bukovina, describing the good conditions they had found in Brazil. Moreover, they told their relatives to bring with them whatever they could, in particular plows, tools, and the like.
Among the second group, which arrived in Brazil on May 28, 1888, there were some that could not adjust to the difficulties of pioneering life. Others had come with the objective of becoming rich. These people were very disappointed and soon returned to Bukovina. Those who remained began working hard and with great zeal. The first years were difficult, giving rise to homesickness for Bukovina.
Unfortunately, the year 1888 was not a good one for the colonists. January and February witnessed a great drought. Seeds, which they had brought from Bukovina, yielded almost nothing. Moreover, an epidemic broke out in which many colonists died. Children found themselves orphaned. In October of 1888 Rio Negro experienced one of its greatest floods caused by the overflowing of the Rio Negro River. While some colonists returned to Bukovina, others began looking for work.
Because the soil of Rio Negro was not fertile, some Bukovinians, including Johann Schuster and the families of Bertel, Hoffmann, Maidl, and Petruck, looked for land in Johannesdorf and Marienthal in the vicinity of Lapa.
Johann Hartinger came
to Brazil with his family in 1897, followed after World War I by the Gura
Humorului families of Josef Kolb, Karl Kolb and Johann Koller. After
World War II they were joined by the family of Friedrich Teodorowitsch,
also from Gura Humorului.
The Activities of Bukovinians in Brazil: The First Tasks. In the early years our people endured hardships brought about by adjustments to climatic conditions; thick forests, which had to be cleared; and epidemics. They bought Swiss dairy cattle and built stables similar to the ones they had in Bukovina. Several families have continued in the dairy business including the Fuchs family. In Rio Negro the colonists sold vegetables, eggs, milk, butter and cheese. Adolescents sought work outside the colony.
Our settlers also brought the first wagons and rack-wagons to Rio Negro, which they used in their agricultural pursuits. Their haystacks, called Weizen Mäntel (wheat cloaks) or Meda in their German Bohemian dialect, could be seen in their fields. Their roofs were covered with small wooden shingles; wood was also utilized for plates and buckets. To their sawmills and gristmills, driven by hydroelectric power, the farmers brought their grain to be ground into flour, which was also used as payment for the service.
In the Passa Três colony of Rio Negro Bukovinians acquired large tracts of land on which they cultivated erva-mate, used to make tea. The first mills processed erva-mate. However, agriculture was not their most important economic pursuit: they were more involved with exploiting the forests for the lumber, which they needed for their houses, furniture and the necessities of daily life. Dairying and the processing of dairy products also ranked high on their list of occupations.
Rudolf Schaffhauser built the first hydroelectric gristmill in Rio Negro. He and his three sons were musicians. Johann Herzer worked as a blacksmith. Martin Hones built rack-wagons. Wenzel Maidl and Johann Rach were masons. Johann Rankl was an excellent builder of gristmills and sawmills. Franz Fuchs and Anton Hellinger made wooden buckets. Johann Hirt constructed the first sawmill, later bought by Ignatz Schödelbauer, my grandfather.
The Bukovinians built their
own houses. In the early days the wood for construction had to be sawed by
hand in a most primitive fashion.
The School. During the first years of their settlement in Brazil the children attended a public school. In 1892 the colonists, having decided to construct their own school in the Passa Três colony, established a School Society. Classes began that same year in Karl Schödelbauer’s house because the school building was not yet ready. Franz Myszkowski served as the first teacher. The children learned German, Portuguese, arithmetic, geography, history, science, Catholic religion, deportment, basic agriculture, writing and music. The School Society paid the teacher’s salary and all his expenses, even providing his clothing and shoes. The best teachers included: the German Friedrich Föllinger, who taught for 24 years; Robert Rüdigger, who was an excellent teacher but stayed only two years; and Oscar Henning, also an fine educator, who remained for 25 years. He also taught the children their catechism and prepared them for their first Holy Communion. The school in Passa Três served as an example for other schools. In time the School Society received funds from the Town Council of Rio Negro and from the German government. The German consul visited the school on several occasions.
The Bukovinians of the
Imbuial, São Lourenço and Vila Nova colonies, today incorporated into the
city of Mafra but part of Rio Negro in earlier times, also built a school for
their children in Vila Nova. They likewise received funds from Germany and
from the Town Council.
Religion. Our forebears were
a religious people and practiced a genuine Roman Catholicism. On Sundays their
first stop was at church to attend mass. They prayed and sang in German first
under the direction of Karl Schödelbauer and later under Adolf Wolf. Bukovina
Germans helped build the churches of Rio Negro, Mafra and eventually also of
Bairro Bom Jesus. In the hinterlands they also built chapels. Wherever
Bukovinians lived one could find a school and chapel.
Customs and Traditions. The Bukovinians were a very contented and happy people, who loved music and organized festivities of all sorts. Their sense of humor has remained one of their distinctive characteristics. Often they played pranks on one another. The family was their principal institution. Our settlers, in their great simplicity, held no great expectations. They lived close to each other, were always together, and came to each other’s assistance. When visiting, they reminisced about the old homeland of Bukovina, about the family, their work, and so forth.
Bukovinians brought their ethnic cuisine with them to Brazil. This included haluschki, mamaliga, mamalai and other typical foods, which are still consumed in Rio Negro on festive occasions as well as at daily family meals.
Festivities and celebrations were held for an individual on his/her name’s day (i.e., on the feast day of the saint for whom a person is named). On that occasion, sometimes a great surprise for the one to be honored, the guests drank beer and consumed Bukovianian foods. They danced the old dances and sang the old songs. A very well known song was the Schnadhüpfeln, with the refrain "Hola diri, hola diro." Nor did they neglect the religious hymns with origins in the Bohemian Forest. Their instruments of preference included accordions, harmonicas, Bohemian harmonicas, violins and wind instruments.
Among the most talented musical families we find Hable, Herzer, Schaffhauser and Schödelbauer. They formed bands, orchestras and choral groups. Nowadays the Bukovinians in Brazil continue the instrumental and vocal musical traditions of their immigrant forebears.
"Boarisch" or"bairisch," (Bavarian), akin to the dialect spoken by the Germans of the Bohemian Forest, is still heard in some of the rural areas of Rio Negro in which Bukovinians reside.
In 1922 a select group of
Bukovinians of Rio Negro founded the Sociedade de Agricultura "União"
(Agricultural "Union" Society) to advance the agriculture,
entertainment and social life of the community.
The Bukovinians in Brazil. To improve their social status and economic opportunities the Bukovinians of Rio Negro and Mafra expanded into many towns in the states of Paraná and Santa Catarina. Some families lived in Bairro Bom Jesus, Campo do Gado, Fazendinha, Lageado dos Cordeiros, Lucena, Retiro, Rio da Varzea, Roseira, Sítio dos Rauen, Tijuco Preto and Volta Grande, all within Rio Negro. Others relocated to Johannesdorf, Marienthal and São Bento and Lapa, near Rio Negro.
In Mafra, on the other side of the Rio Negro River, we find Bukovinians in: Bela Vista, Butiá, Estiva, Fazenda Potreiro, Guabiroba, Imbuial, Lageado dos Mortos, Papanduva, Passo, Rio da Lança, Rio Preto, São Louerenço, Schafascheck, Tres Barras, Taquaral and Vila Nova. All these villages were settled by Bukovinian families. Others moved into the region of Contestado in the state of Santa Catarina, into the villages of Canoinhas Poço Preto, Timbó, and União da Vitória.
Extensive research carried
out by my grandfather, Ignatz Schödelbauer, shows that in 1937 the Bukovinians in this area of Brazil numbered 575 families with 3,687 persons.
The Contemporary Era. In 1937 the Bukovinians celebrated their 50th jubilee in commemoration of their arrival in Brazil. The festivities lasted for ten days. 1987 marked our 100th jubilee, in which we celebrated mass in the Catholic Church and heard an address by Dr. Fernando Reitmeyer. On another day I, too, addressed the group when we had assembled in front of the church.
From 1990 to the present I have published more than 200 articles and a book on the Bukovinian experience in Brazil, which was officially presented last April.
Since 1991 we have annually sponsored a Bukovina Fest in celebration of the arrival of our forebears in Brazil. This year will mark the 12th such occasion.
At the first Bukovina Fest we founded a choral group, and in October 1991 we added a dance group with the name Boarischer Wind (Bavarian Wind).
On December 6, the feast day of St. Nicholas, we celebrate a "Bukovina Christmas" with mass, lunch, festivities, and the giving of candies to the children, just as our ancestors did many years ago. During 1994’s "Bukovina Christmas" we unveiled the Bukovina Cross, located in the middle of Bukovina Square at the entrance of Rio Negro.
In 1992 we founded the Associação Alemã-Bucovina de Cultura –ABC (Bukovina-German Cultural Association). I served as its first president.
I am pleased to say that today we have established lines of communication with Bukovinians in Germany, Romania, and the United States. This meeting is the first step in making contact with Bukovinians from Canada. We are eager to expand these acquaintances and relationships.
The Bukovinians of Brazil, especially those in Rio Negro and Mafra, are presently experiencing a cultural renaissance. This can be evidenced by their interest and involvement with the history, customs and traditions of their ancestors, which have helped define their ethnicity.
I would like to take advantage of this time to invite all the Bukovinians and people interested in Bukovina to join us at the 13th Bukovina Fest next July in Rio Negro. We will be very pleased to welcome you to our country to celebrate with us. I hope this will be the beginning of a very fruitful and lasting relationship among our respective Bukovina communities.
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