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. 03, No. 1   -   Spring 1993

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Ray Haneke, President
Oren Windholz, 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

Proposed Bukovina Memorial

One of the goals set by the society has been to create a memorial in the city park at Ellis to the Bukovina settlers. The location as approved by the city is very near the place where our ancestors stepped off the train: The material is black granite 8 foot wide on a pedestal at the end of a walkway from the entrance to the park. The announcement and final approval of the plans were made at the society board of directors meeting on Monday, February 22nd. The artist rendering was drawn by Karen Sauer and will depict a church in Bukovina with the slopes of the Carpathian mountains in the background and the coat of arms. The inscriptions include a tribute to the settlers and the date of dedication which is scheduled for the opening of the Fifth Bukovinafest.

The park has memorials to the military veterans and the railroad, making this a fitting addition honoring the heritage of Ellis. The unveiling and dedication is scheduled to be apart of the Fifth Annual Bukovinafest in July of this year. Through the generosity, of the Wolf family the Bukovina Society dream came true early.

Donors To The Society

James C. and Alberta E. Wolf and their children Brian Wolf and Paula Wasinger have generously pledged to donate the memorial planned by the Bukovina Society honoring the pioneers from Bukovina, Austria who arrived in Ellis beginning in 1886. The Wolf family has operated Kansas Granite and Wolf Memorial Company in Ellis for many years. Jim's mother Katharina, daughter of Franz and Susanna Konig Sauer, was born in Illischestie in 1901. Jim proudly keeps a copy of her birth certificate from Bukovina in his office.

[Picture unavailable: Displaying the artist drawing of the Bukovina Memorial are Brian, Barb, Birdie, and Jim Wolf.]


The board has acted to establish a book to record memorial contributions to the Bukovina Society. The book, a permanent display in, the museum and headquarters, will reflect the contributions made by members to the Lifetime Membership category and the computer fund. It is through the generosity of your support that our future is secured.

Lifetime Members

In addition to the, memorial book at the society, a plaque will be installed in the vestibule of the museum listing life members. The following have joined since publication of the last newsletter:

  • 27. Paul and Dorothy Massier, Arcadia, California

  • 28. Helen R. Zerfas

  • 29. Jacob J. and DoRis V. Knieling, Turner, Oregon

Thanks for their support. A letter from the president of the society is enclosed on the LIFER program.


The board is assembling a program that should make this convention another good one. Anyone wishing to present a program please contact aboard member. The registration forms with detailed information will be mailed out with the next BULLetin in two months. A brief program outline is listed here to which additions and changes are anticipated. Those members with computer and file resources will be set up throughout the convention.

Friday, July 16, morning sessions
Video presentations by Dr. William Keel, Treasures of Germany, Lovely Lively Bavaria, and Bukovina today.

Afternoon sessions
Dedication of Bukovina Memorial
Panel of Historians and Researchers presentations: The Lutheran Swabians and the Bohemian Catholics

Evening sessions - Evening
Washington Bukovina settlements,
Tours of Bukovina in 1993,
German mixer, social and entertainment



Saturday, July 17, morning sessions
LDS Family History Center presentation,
Video on researching family history,
Slides of Bukovina today 

Afternoon sessions
Annual society meeting

  • Family reunions

  • Historical tour in Ellis County

  • Video-History and festivals of the Bukovina Society

  • Evening
    Annual social,
    German dinner, and dance

    Sunday, July 18
    Ecumenical Service


    Bucovinaer Cultural Society

    A group of Jewish immigrants from Bukovina established the Bucovinaer Cultural Society in New York in 1967. They established a German language publication, Bukowina" Bulletin, with the first issue dated April -1967- produced by Alfred Gong and Ed Arno. We have known of this society for some years but could not receive information because it went out of existence. It is intriguing that another Bukovina Society preceded us. Through the courtesy of Dr. Jerry Glenn of the German Department at the University of Cincinnati the issues number one through five have been copied for our archives.

     Bukovina People

    We received a letter from our supporter in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Fr. Chris Zugger. Fr. Chris has been working on a history of Catholicism in the Soviet Union and has formed a strong relationship with some of our members. His work has been published by the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, and more material has been submitted to them. Due to the annexation of Northern Bukovina by the Soviets, his research extended into Bukovina. He became very -interested in our former homeland, and has written papers on the Catholic Church in Bukovina, copies of which have been received for our library.

    Kannst du deitsch schwetze? This  question, in a German dialect, was used to begin the program given by Dr. William D. Keel at the society headquarters on Sunday, January 17th. We know many more members would like' to see his most interesting program. A video tape recording was made for use at the annual meeting. During Dr. Keel's time in the Ellis area, he was also able to interview and record people using the Swabian and Deutsch-Boemish dialects of the Bukovina Germans. Through the assistance of Ralph Bums, Dr. Keel was able  to visit with Joann Gnad, Katie Flax Dinkel, Bertha Flax Riedle, Barbara Augustine Burns, Martin Flax, Katie Honas Gnad, Anna Gnad Doerfler, Katie Weber Eberle, Adam and Anna Flax Geist,  Adolph Baumgartner, Marcella Flax Bollig, Mary Reitmeyer Ashenbrenner, Joe Schuster, Bertha Honas Flax, Clarence Deutscher, Bernie and-Irene Keller Zerfas and Ray Schoenthaler.

    Prof. Kurt Rein from the Bukowina Institut in Augsburg plans another trip to Kansas in March. He has been in touch with William Keel of Kansas University and Paul Massier, International Board member from California about his travel plans.

    Gay Schuster of Colorado has taken on the job of entering our mailing-list into the society computer. With the efficiency of the computer and our bulk mailing program, the society plans to publish additional issues of the BULLetin. Send information to the editor that you are interested in publishing for the benefit of other members.

    Association for Bukovina German Culture

    We received a letter from Ayrton Celestino from Curitiba, Brazil on December 12,1992. On behalf of his family and the members of their association, he thanked the Bukovina Society of the Americas for all the mementos and books sent to them. He said it gave them great pleasure to make such an acquaintance after over 100 years. The Bukovina people there had always heard of those who immigrated to the United States from Buchenhain (Poiana Micului), but did not know where they settled. From the works of his grandfather Ignatz Schelbauer over 50 years ago, Celestino plans to publish a book of over 400 pages in 1993. He will send a copy of the book to us when available.

    He sent to our society a Bukowinabier mug, a plate, a T-shirt and copies of published articles on their organization. A display on the ABC is being created at the headquarters museum in Ellis.

    The ABC hopes to acquire the first school built in 1892. for the Bukovina children for their culture center. It has been designated an historical landmark. They celebrated the Bukowinabier in October, and the second annual Bukowina Christmas festival on December 6th of 1992.

    Some of the pictures we sent were of unidentified people from Bukovina in the late 1800's believed to be related to the settlers around Ellis. In turn he sent a picture to us suggesting it may be some of our relatives. They will celebrate their annual Bukovina week in July of 1993. Most of their people live in Rio Negro and Mafra.

    They would like to receive additional materials on the history, of the people both in Bukovina and the United States and Canada as well as pictures, slides, or videos. Anyone willing to donate family histories or copies of publications, please let us know. The society will be sending additional materials to them.

    Christmas greetings were sent to all.

    Their brochure describes their migration to Bukovina during 1838 through 1840 to the village of Buchenhain (Poiana Micului), from the Bavarian and Bohemian Forests. They are Catholics who were also joined by Slovakian families who lived in the same village with them. Their foods are Haluschki, Mamaliga, Mamalai, Wackerla, Kropfa, Sauerkraut, Apfelstrudl, Krautstrudl, and Biersuppen.

    Bukovina Humor

    Bernie Zerfas suggested each issue contain one of the many stories passed down by our ancestors in the German language. We asked him to be the  first contributor, and members are welcome to send in their favorite story or joke.

    A seven year old Bukovina German girl, with her parents on a visit in the countryside, saw the name Haas on the mailbox, and was told that was the family name. Since that is the pronunciation of rabbit in her dialect, she later explained that, "Die Leut' hant net Hase, die schreiben nur so." They're not really rabbits, they just write it that way.

    Surname Exchange

    As a result of the latest letter from the ABC in Brazil, the following notice is quoted, with name spellings as written in the letter. "In Mafra, Brazil there is a family of Reitmeyers, descended from Josef Reitmeier, who was the son of Karl Reitmeier and Katharina Homolka, pioneers from Buchenhain (Poiana Micului). A brother of this Josef, Ferdinand Reitmeier, migrated to United States. The Reitmeyers from Mafra would like to contact their relation. They would like the address of John Reitmeier if possible."


    The newly established FEEFHS plans to publish a newsletter, develop a database, liaison with other societies, and conduct conferences among  other activities. Interested organizations and individuals are encouraged to write to:

    John C. Alleman
    377 N. 200 W.
    Salt Lake City, UT 84103

    Manitoba Genealogical Society

    The East European Branch of the MGS has introduced a new journal, East European Genealogist which will be published quarterly. Their first issue was sent to our library. They invite participation through membership and/or submission of articles for the journal.


    Denise Kolesar, Editor
    Manitoba Genealogical Society
     420-167 Lombard Avenue
    Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B OT6, Canada

    Czechoslovak  Genealogical Society

    Steve Parke wrote to let us know of the Czech group, a branch of the Minnesota Genealogical Society. The CGS is concerned with the ancestry of Bohemian, Moravian, Silesian, Rusin, Slovakian, German, Ruthenian, and Jewish people.

    Send SASE for information to them at:

    P.O.Box 16225
    St. Paul, MN 55116

    Bukovina Cooking

    Nice comments were received on the recipe for Hemetschwengers, which was published as part of our Oktoberfest story. The result was a new column for the newsletter. The following is another Bukovina favorite submitted by Pauline Erbert Windholz, and we welcome recipes from others. Perhaps we will end up with a cookbook.



    Drepferl Knoedel
    Potato Dumplings
    Submitted by Pauline Erbert Windholz

    • Grate raw potatoes,

    • put in cheese cloth and hang to dry.

    • Add flour sufficient to make sticky, and ball the size of lemons.

    • Boil in lightly salted water until done.


    Serve as a side dish to fried ham or other meat. After removing the meat from the pan, lay dumplings in drippings to absorb flavor.



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