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. 3   -   Fall 1993

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Ralph Honas, President
Al Lang, 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


Each member, regular or lifetime, receives the Bulletin four times a year. We are sending this issue to all people on our mailing list as an incentive to join. Only paid members will receive subsequent publications.

Lifetime Members

The Bukovina Lifer Club received a big boost in membership through the convention and from the mail. New members since the last newsletter are:

  • 36. Raymond & Marian Manning, Scottsdale, AZ

  • 37. James & Rosemary (Aunt) Stuart, Seattle, WA

  • 38. Wilhelmina Haman Steininger, Naperville, IL

  • 39. John Fuerch, Hayward, CA

  • 40. Ralph & Julie Honas, Ellis, KS

  • 41. Francis (Buddy) & Marlene King, Ellis, KS

  • 42. Dennis & Genieve Massier, Ellis, KS

  • 43. Janet Jo Tauscher, Kansas City

  • 44. Gay & Fred Schuster, Denver, CO

  • 45. Pauline (Erbert) Windholz, Hays, KS

  • 46. Elsie Cantelon, Regina, Sask, Canada

The Lifer Club assures the future of the society with the funds placed in an endowment. Earnings from the fund help support the society. Thanks.


The Third Annual Ellis Oktoberfest is scheduled for Saturday, September 25th. The event will be in the park by the full flowing creek with opening ceremonies conducted by the Bukovina Society Board of Directors. The Hays Oktoberfest will be on Friday, October 8th in the Frontier Park, which becomes a little German city each year. At both events, the society will display the heritage of our ancestors and sell many Hemetschwangers.

Bukovina People

We are pleased with the networking that has resulted from the Bulletin. The editor receives requests for information and letters relating to membership experiences. We encourage letters to be shared with readers and members.

Aura Lee Furgason of Lincoln, Nebraska, knew of two uncles in her father's family (Irion) who went to South America but were never heard from again. After reading of the Bukovina organization in Brazil, she wrote to inquire and found that the two brothers indeed entered Brazil in 1888 and found the name of the ship and their sponsors. Aura Lee said a mystery of 105 years was solved with three letters. She now has a goal of tracking down the descendants through her new sources.

An avid reader of all publications of the Bukovina Society, Wilhelmina Steininger, wrote from Naperville, IL that she enjoys the Bulletin. She asked for a copy of the talk given to the Ellis County Historical Society. Mrs. Steininger attended several of our conventions, at quite an effort on her part. She became a life member as of this issue.

Wilf Uhren wrote that he and Paul Polansky did complete their planned trip to Bukovina this past spring. He was pleased to have visited his father's house in the Ukraine where he saw the school still in operation. The church had been lost in a fire and the cemetery was in bad shape. They visited Czernowitz and were able to stop at the University.

Irmgard Ellingson received a Master of Arts degree from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque in May. In between school obligations this past year, Irmgard was still able to prepare for her participation in the Bukovina Society Convention. She recently became the U.S. representative and co-editor of the Wandering Volhynians, a quarterly historical genealogical journal. Irmgard's book, The Bukovina Germans In Kansas; A 200 Year History of the Lutheran Schwabians, published in 1987, has been reprinted. Requests for purchase of the book can be directed to her at Box 97, Ossian, IA 52161.

Larry Jensen, Dr. Sophie Welisch, both of New York, and Ed and Maria (Lang) Becker of New Jersey, attended the 1993 Landsmannschaft der Buchenlanddeutschen in Augsburg. They also visited three towns in Bohemia (now apart of the Czech Republic) where many of the Catholic colonists of Bukovina originated. They then joined 14 other people from the United States, Canada and Germany to tour the Bukovina District in Romania.

Leadership Hays, a periodic seminar to familiarize leaders of the community with the history and resources of Ellis County, has asked the Bukovina Society to make a presentation. Oren Windholz will give a talk on the Bukovina Germans to the group on September 21st.

Paul Massier has completed three works which were donated to the society A Brief History of the Paul Massier Families and Their Descendants is a picture book on his ancestral line. Dr. Kurt Rein encouraged Paul to do two others, German Immigrants from Bukovina and Galicia and Their Descendants in the United States and Canada and Ferdinand Massier and the German Baptist Movement in Bukovina and Galicia.

President Ralph Honas is also serving as the society's resident carpenter. He made the oak book shelves for the museum and has just completed construction on the booth to be used at Oktoberfest im Ellis and Hays.


The new officers of the society for the coming year are:

  • Ralph Honas, President
  • Al Lang, Vice President
  • Joe Ebert, Secretary
  • Bennie Zerfas, Treasurer

Elected at the annual meeting to additional seats on the board are: Al Lang, Steve Parke, Van Massirer, Dr. Kurt Rein, Aura Lee Furgason and Doug Dale.

Bukovina District in Romania

Larry Jensen recorded the Bukovina trip on video tape, which he edited for use at the Fifth Bukovinafest. It was a great delight for members to see the results of the tour. Irmgard Ellingson gave a simultaneous translation to the audience of the German spoken by members of the tour. Larry sent a limited number of books and maps of the Suceava region for sale to benefit the society. Anyone proficient in the German language might find these useful and information is available from the secretary. Larry has contributed greatly to the Bukovina Society, which is appreciated. He will be writing articles on genealogy and research for future copies of the newsletter.

Fifth Bukovinafest

The annual meeting was a great success again and many people traveled a great distance to join with the area Bukovina Society members to learn more of their heritage. The board of directors and the International board met several times during the convention to discuss the future of the society. The board is determined to continue providing an annual convention with a balance of historical, genealogical and social events. Persons with information, skills or programs to share with the society are encouraged to volunteer to be a part of the next Bukovinafest. Your letters and comments are also welcome.

[Picture unavailable:]
The new plaque, installed at the Fifth Bukovinafest, received a lot of attention at its place of prominence in the foyer of the headquarters. It was also displayed at the annual banquet where the secretary read the list of Lifetime Members. We hope to need a new plaque by next year.

  [Picture unavailable:]
State Rep. Carol Dawson and two society members admire the memorial in the Ellis City Park dedicated during the Fifth Bukovinafest. Master of Ceremonies, Oren Windholz, gave a tribute to the Wolf family, who donated the granite structure. As the family unveiled the monument, the crowd was visibly moved by the spectacular art work. (Photo-Hays Daily News)
[Picture unavailable:]
Marie (Geschwentner) Kastenbauer of Wisconsin, left, visited with Trudy and Ferdinand Eberwein from Colorado. They lived in Montreal, Canada for years in a colony of Bohemian Germans from Bukovina. Trudy's family is from Bori and Ferdinand was born in Romania.
  [Picture unavailable:]
The museum and chapel received a good cleaning prior to the Bukovinafest. Front row: Joann Schoenthaler, Ray Schoenthaler, Ethel Haneke, Shirley Kroeger and Irene Zerfas. Middle row: Pat Windholz, Sue Schonthaler, Ralph Honas, Ray Haneke and Bernie Zerfas. Top row: Oren Windholz and "Shorty" Kroeger.
[Picture unavailable:]
Janet Jo Tauscher and Al Lang dug into several family trees utilizing the book compiled by Al, Bukovina Families: 200 Years.
  [Picture unavailable:]
Van and Mary Massirer from Texas came to town and stayed from the early-bird get together through the end of the festival.
[Picture unavailable:]
A German buffet was enjoyed at the American Legion prior to the wedding march for Byron and Diane Schonthaler and dance.
  [Picture unavailable:]
The Honas brothers band reorganized and practiced up for the mixer on Friday evening. From left to right are Herman, Ralph, Norbert and John.

Sixth Bukovinafest

The dates have been set for July 15 through 17, 1994 as a result of action taken at the annual membership meeting. A planning committee will be at work on the program and events. All issues of the newsletter will have information and updates on the 1994 convention, so mark your calendar for another great gathering. Two reunions have been scheduled by families in conjunction with the annual meeting. The Honas and Aust (Ast) reunions were held two years ago and brought many people together to share their heritage. We look forward to their 1994 reunion.

Bukovina Humor

A young man planning marriage was being razzed by his friends that he would no longer have freedom, as his wife would be in charge. Soon after, in a squabble with his new bride, he was ordered to sit under the table. At this time, a few of his friends stopped by and questioned him on his predicament, to which he replied, "It's my house. I can sit anywhere I want".

Each issue contains one of the many stories passed down by our ancestors in the German language. Martin Flax told this one at the Bukovinafest.. Members are  welcome to send in their favorite story or joke.

Reunions 1994

The following was submitted to the editor:

Ast Reunion Members of the Ast (Aust) family are planning a reunion in conjunction with the 1994 Bukovina Festival, July 15, 16, and 17th. Any information as to names and addresses of this family will be appreciated.

Send information to:
Wahnetta (Hoffman) Mills 405 E. 15th
Ellis, KS 67637.

Jerold and Mary Ann Aust have already inquired from Placentia, CA about the reunion and plan to attend.

The Honas family will be celebrating their second reunion, the first being at the Third Bukovinafest. They have located Honas family in New York with origins in Bukovina, but not part of the Ellis settlement.

Bukovina Germans in the Northwest will be gathering for the third year at Baw Faw Grange near Chehalis, WA on October 2, 1993. The reunion will begin at 11:00 a.m. with a potluck at 1:00 p.m. and everyone will share food, fun, and photos and genealogy. Information is available at 352-5107 or 357-8563.


We received another letter from our good friend, Ayrton Goncalves Celestino, with the Association for Bucovina German, Culture in Brazil. He invited us to their Third Annual Semana Bucovina de Rio Negro/Mafra conducted July 3rd through the 11th, 1993. He sent along copies of the program as displayed at our museum. A feature on their program was photos, slides and video of the Bukovina District as taken by Steve Parke and Larry Jensen on their tours to the homeland.

Bukovina Cooking

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake
Submitted by Irene Zerfas

2 Cups sugar
2 Cups flour 
2 Tsp. soda

1/2 Tsp. salt
1/2 Cup cocoa
Mix and add 2 eggs beaten, 1 cup of cooking oil, 1 cup of buttermilk, 1 tsp. of vanilla and slowly add l- cup of hot water. Bake in 9 X 13 inch pan for about 30 minutes. (Test with toothpick.)


Frosting for Cake

1 Stick Oleo
6 Tbsp. buttermilk
4 Tbsp. cocoa

Bring to a boil and add 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla, l cup chopped walnuts, 4 cups powdered sugar.

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