Crest of the Bukovina Society of the Americas The Bukovina Society of the Americas
P.O. Box 81, Ellis, KS 67637, USA 
Martha McClelland , President
Bukovina Society Headquarters & Museum, Ellis KS 67637

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Vol. 02, No. 1   -   January 1992

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Ernie Honas, President
Ray Haneke, Vice President
Joe Erbert, Secretary
Bernie Zerfas, Treasurer

(This copy of our Newsletter was called The BULLetin when originally published in paper form)

Oren Windholz, Editor
Editorial response to
P. O. Box 1083
Hays, KS 67601-1083

FOURTH ANNUAL BUKOVINA FEST as previously announced for July 17th through 19th, 1992 is taking shape. All meetings will be held in Ellis at a combination of facilities depending on the program. The headquarters and museum will be the main point of registration and focus. The Friday night German mixer will be back by popular request, located this year at the Ellis K of C Hall, just three blocks south of the headquarters. The banquet and dance will be in Hays at the American Legion Hall, 13th and Canterbury. The cost to participants will be the same as last year, $13.00 per person. This covers the main event on Saturday evening, social, German dinner, dance, beer and refreshments. Two family reunions for Honas and Fries are expected to bring over 200 people to our activities. Contact persons are Dorothy Honas Dechant, and Shirley Kroeger.

Though certain programs and speakers have been secured, this is a call to anyone who may want to provide a program, speech, or presentation. In a phone call to the editor this month, Paul Polansky confirmed his attendance again for our convention as a speaker and to assist members in genealogy searches. The programs will be open to all at no charge, and a reserve form will be mailed in about two months.

OKTOBERFESTS are history and the board was pleased with the results. The Ellis Oktoberfest will be held again next year with the Bukovina Society again providing program assistance. The Volga German Society were great hosts to us at the Hays Oktoberfest. We operated booth number 7, loaned to us by the Ellis Lanes/Depot restaurant. The Bukovina Society will also have a booth in Hays at the next Oktoberfest, October 18th, 1992.

The origin of Oktoberfest was in 1810, as a result of the Hochzeit (wedding) of a royal couple in Munich, in the heart of Bavaria, which exceeded anything ever seen before in Germany. The celebration involved the common people of the land and was such a joyous occasion, they marked the second anniversary of the wedding in October of 1812, thus preserving the tradition of Oktoberfest for 180 years. Except for several years of war time interruption, Munich has celebrated Oktoberfest each year, even moving the dates up to September on occasion to ensure fair weather.

Many cities in America have taken up the tradition of Oktoberfest to honor the heritage of the German pioneers, and to promote the good neighbor theme.  We expect our local Oktoberfests to still be going strong when the 200th anniversary is celebrated in Munich.

Future Bukovina Society projects have been identified by the board of directors. A slide presentation is being considered to enhance our story to schools, organizations, and interested groups. President Ernie Honas has a goal of reaching into all the schools in Western Kansas with talks on Bukovina and sale of books. A MEMORIAL feasibility study is being undertaken to honor the pioneer Bukovina settlers in Ellis. Several major monuments are now in the Ellis city park downtown, and a Bukovina memorial would add to it. The location is also historically significant, as it is the location where our ancestors stepped off the train. An Ellis Civic group is in the process of restoring and placing a UPRR caboose downtown. Along with the Chrysler boyhood home and the Bukovina Society, Ellis is an attractive stop.

THE FIRST BUKOVINA GERMAN REUNION in Olympia, Washington drew over 250 people originating from the Lewis County area. The organizer, Mary Lee Rose, said the people were enthusiastic and came from Florida, California, Oregon and all over Washington. The one day event on October 5, 1991 featured genealogy, slides of Bukovina, food, and good conversation. The Bukovina Society supplied brochures and information on the Fourth Annual Bukovina Fest, and, a number of them are planning to attend.

LOCAL VOLUNTEERS are needed this summer at the society headquarters and museum. The general duties would be to show visitors' and groups around. It is more interesting to work in pairs, so let Ray Schoenthaler or Ray Haneke in Ellis know of your interest.

BUKOVINA SOCIETY activities recently appeared in an issue of Curierul Romanesc in September of 1991 which brought our organization to the attention of the Danubian Academic Society of America in New York. They sent us their latest publication, available at headquarters.

THE SEMIANNUAL relief and research trip to Bukovina of September, 1991 led by Paul Polansky included two members of the society, Lee Schneller of Garden City, Ks., and Rev. Steve Parke of Colorado. In two vehicles, along with interpreter Erna Lederich of Germany, the group distributed donated supplies. Much more was donated than could be transported at this time. Lee was able to see the villages of his ancestors in Bukovina and watched the local farmers put up their hay by hand. He was also able to briefly see the villages in Bohemian forest on the way back home where his ancestors lived before moving to Bukovina. The area, once part of Austria, is now in Czechoslovakia and is very clean and scenic. The next trip is planned for May of 1992, during which time Paul Polansky will be setting up an office there. Many slides and stories will be available from these trips for the Annual Bukovinafest, and a comprehensive report of the trip prepared from Paul's log will be published in several of the area newspapers.

Lee Schneller brought a copy of the Suceava phone directory for 1980, which includes a number of the villages of our ancestors. There are still a few German surnames listed. Among them are two surnamed Zachman and three Fuchs. This book is on loan to the society headquarters.

A recent package held a great surprise when four current issues of a German language newspaper Neuer Weg translated Newer (Modern) Times, arrived from Bucharest, Romania complements of Luise Schifkter-Popescu. One article in particular was on the meeting of Bukovinians from all over the world. The address Popescu used is the one published by the Bukovina Society in German, Landsmannschaft der Buchenlanddeutschen, which listed Oren Windholz as founding president of the society in North America.

The newspapers are printed on very yellowed, fragile stock with some issues featuring blue borders around major articles. The subheading under the title states, "a daily newspaper for politics, business, society, and culture." Another significant item noted was that Neuer Weg was in its 43rd year of publishing, the Bukovina story of August 21, 1991 being the Number 13,051 issue. It would seem contrary for an ethnic newspaper to have flourished during the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu. According to our friends at the Romanian Canadian Club in Regina, the remaining citizens of German descent received somewhat special treatment. It seems that as the then West German government sent economic aid to Romania, it came with orders to allow the ethnic Germans freedom of assembly and expression.

The Neuer Weg usually of six to eight pages daily contains comprehensive world news and coverage of Romanian and local matters.  An occasional insert is dedicated to lifestyles including cartoons, songs, and puzzles. The names of the persons involved in writing and publishing are a mixture of German and Romanian. It is likely that the Romanian names were those gained through marriage with the few Germans who stayed behind after 1940 when Hitler ordered them back to Germany.

The story on the Bukovina meeting came from Suceava, a large city very close to the ancestral villages of the Bukovina Germans of the Ellis, Kansas area. It reported that persons of Bukovina interest gathered from all over the world to meet and make plans for the future. One man came from the United States, Richard Warter of New York, a native of Gurahumora in the Bukovina. Others attending from Bukovina organizations in Germany included Frau Irma Bornemann, a board member of the Bukovina Society of the Americas and featured speaker at the First Annual Bukovina meetings.

FÜRSTENTHAL NATIVES AND DESCENDANTS met in Salzgitter, Germany in September of 1991. Thanks to word from Irmgard Ellingson who learned of the reunion, we sent a note of greetings and best wishes from our society and the Fürstenthalers here, and let them know about us. We received a nice Christmas card and note from Frau Paula Lohr who directed the reunion. Frau Lohr was in Fürstenthal, Bukovina, in June of 1991 and sent the picture shown here of a portion of the village on the pathway to the church. She also sent word of the location of our Weber ancestor home and asked about our relationship to Bishop Josef Weber, a native of Fürstenthal who later served in Chicago.

POJANA MIKULI descendants will be interested to know the book by Josef Neuburger is again available. The extensive volume, with many pictures, drawings, and family lists, is entitled Buchenhain: Die Heimat unserer Deutschböhmen.   Thanks to board member Sophie Welisch for writing to give us the information. The cost is 50 German marks plus postage of 20 German marks from Herr Neuburger at Kirchberg/Inn 38, 8346 Simbach am Inn, Germany.

LIFE MEMBERS enrolled since establishing the program have enhanced the society's future. A fund has been established with only the interest earned paid out for operations. Each issue of the BULLetin will list new lifers, and all will be honored at the annual convention. Additional donations to the computer fund were sent in by Ladin Kristol and Floyd Pierce, and a memorial in memory of Mary Aust given by Emma Holzhauer.

Bukovina Lifers to date and we hope to have many more to report in the next issue of the BULLetin:

  • 1. Pat and Oren Windholz
  • 2. Shirley Buehler
  • 3. Steve and Betty Augustine
  • 4. Lucille Dater.
  • 5. Darrell and Marilyn Seibel
  • 6. David and Connie Zerfas
  • 7. Raymond and Madeline Schoenthaler
  • 8. Robert and Althea Erbert


  • 9. August and Edna Schonthaler
  • 10. Bob and Edith Clark
  • 11. Marlys Bias
  • 12. Clyde and Agnes Schellhammer
  • 13. Agnes Wasinger
  • 14. Larry Jensen
  • 15. Raymond and Ethel Haneke

Regular Annual Memberships have been paid in at a good rate. This mailing is being sent only to paid members, and certain benefits at the annual Bukovinafest will be free for members only. A reminder card went to those not paid.

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