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.  9, No. 1   -   March 1999

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Board of Directors:

Oren Windholz, President

Mary Agnes Lang-Wagner, Vice President

Joe Erbert, Secretary

Bernie Zerfas, Treasurer

Raymond Haneke

Shirley Kroeger

Ralph Honas

Ray Schoenthaler

Don Schuster

Dennis Massier

Don Schuster

Darrell Seibel

Frank Augustine

International Board:

Irmgard Hein Ellingson

Aura Lee Furgason

Larry Jensen

Dr. Ortfried Kotzian

Edward Al Lang

Steve Parke

Paul Massier

Van Massirer

Prof. Dr. Kurt Rein

Werner Zoglauer




P.O. Box 81, Ellis, KS 67637 USA
Editorial response to
P. O. Box 1083
Hays, KS 67601-1083




Translated from the German by Dr. Sophie A. Welisch from
"Liebeserklärung an ein Forschungsobjekt: Bukowina-Institut feiert zehnjäriges Jubiläum," Ebbes 3 (1998): 15.

When he is asked if there are not more interesting lands and regions to explore, Dr. Ortfried Kotzian answers in a very relaxed manner. No, his scholarly drive for knowledge simply does not extend to the deciphering of the Inuit language of the Eskimos or to the customs of the Fireland Indians. "Why should I get involved in these topics if there is a Bukovina?" Kotzian asks in return. He is the Director of the Bukovina Institute in Augsburg, the only German research institution to concern itself with this Ukranian-Romanian region. That this establishment with an international tinge has its seat in Augsburg is not by chance. After World War II and the partition of the former Austrian crown land of Bukovina between Ukraine and Romania, many of the "Bukovina Germans," who had been [evacuated in 19401 or later expelled from their homeland, took up residence in Swabia. Because of the close links between the Association of Bukovina Germans [Landsmannschaft der Buchenlanddeutschen] and the district of Swabia, the research institute, which this year celebrates the tenth year of its establishment, came into existence.

Despite the relatively short time and limited financial resources, the co-workers at the Bukovina Institute can reflect on a proud record of achievement: international symposia with renowned speakers from Southeastern Europe are regularly held in the city of the Fuggers [i.e., in Augsburg, city of the medieval banking family, the Fuggers]; students and graduates find support, enabling them to carry out their research in the Southeastern European territory. In addition, one of the largest libraries specializing in East German and East European affairs has been established. It is, in fact, the only federal German library for the study of the national customs and literature of Bukovina, a region in which noteworthy authors, e.g., Rose Ausländer and Paul Celan, to mention only the two most significant once lived and worked.

The Institute saw itself not only as dedicated to the Muses and to scholarly research, with its center of gravity retrospectively focused on the maintenance, gathering and safeguarding of Bukovina's history, but from the very beginning it sought intensive contact with the people of Bukovina. This was simplified by the great political upheavals in the former German Democratic Republic, the Soviet Union and Romania. "It was almost like a fateful coincidence," according to District Assembly President Dr. Georg Simnacher, who essentially initiated the setting up of the Institute in 1988. "that scarcely one year after the founding of the Institute, the [Berlin] wall fell and the Iron Curtain to the East opened up." Through these events the Bukovina Institute gained an entirely new perspective. As Dr. Kotzian noted: "we could become internationally and inter-disciplinarily active." Accordingly, trips to Bukovina finally became possible; since 1995 an international youth exchange program, sponsored by the Robert Bosch Foundation, has been in place and further centers of Bukovinian research along the lines of the Swabian model have been set up in Ukrainian Czernowitz as well as in Romanian Radautz.

Above all, the opening [to the East] also facilitated the strengthening of contacts along political lines in which Kotzian and his collaborators at the Institute were actively involved. In 1997 this resulted in an official partnership between the district of Swabia and the two regions of Suceava (Romania) and Czernowitz (Ukraine), to which Bukovina belongs today. "Just ten years ago we could not even have imagined such possibilities," Dr. Ortfried Kotzian said. And District Assembly President Dr. Georg Simnacher, according to his own pronouncement "an avowed Bukovinian," even sees in the example of the Bukovina Institute the fulfillment of one of the "chief goals of scholarship." Ultimately, in the last analysis, scholarship should build bridges to a humanistic co-existence. "With its work, the Institute has substantially moved the district [of Swabia's] sponsorship of the Bukovina Germans to a genuine partnership with Bukovina." Dr. Ortfried Kotzian considers it one of the greatest achievements "and my declaration of love to a research object" that today his is rarely ever asked: Bukovina - where is that?". The Swabians, so he claims, "know where Bukovina lies."


Ayrton Goncalves Celestino wrote to the Bukovina Society with news of their organization. They conducted the 8th Annual BucovinaFest and a Christmas program during 1998. He writes and publishes a quarterly bulletin for members in Brazil. These publications and other memorabilia from 1998 activities were sent to the society. His son Fernando was married in October and helps him with the computer. Ayrton has been ill requiring 4 surgeries. As a result he has stepped down as president. He wrote that he will always remember his days in Hays/Ellis as a guest of the society and sends greetings to all once again. The new president is Joao Jaco Fuchs. Ayrton assures me that Mr. Fuchs has cousins in the Ellis area.

Pictures published in this newsletter:

Ferdinand-and Hedwig Baumgartner - of Kirchdorf, Germany, along with their Christmas Card, sent this photo of a recent religious occasion at the church in Poiana Micului in the Bukovina district. The men and their horses are in full Romanian dress. (photo not available)

A winter picture of the Carpathian Mountain home of Leonard Butucea near Cura-Humorului in the Bukovina district. (photo not available)

The wedding of the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lukasz Balak in the Bukovina village of Poiana Micului. Some of the 1996 Bukovina Tour group visited the Balak home. The picture was inscribed, "We are sending you as a remembrance a picture of our daughter." (Translation thanks to Alex Teller.) (photo not available)


BY: Johann Christian Dressler
(Excerpted from Chronik der Bukowiner Landegemeinde Illischestie and printed in Bukowina: Heimat von Gestern,
ed. By Erwin Massier, Josef Talsky and B. C. Grigorowicz,
translated by Sophie A. Welisch (Karlsruhe: Selbstverlag
"Arbeitskreis Bukowina Heimatbuch," 1956), pp. 132-137.

On approximately thirty square kilometers of land in the northeastern Carpathian hills of southern Bukovina lies the village of Illischestie. From prehistoric days the land was rich in forests and swamps but poor in firm terrain and good pasturage. Yet from the dawn of history, people lived in the area, as numerous excavations attest. The inhabitants were northern tribes and sedentary shepherds who worshipped their gods around a sacrificial table on which stood the so-called "Kirchehiwwel" (church cup). After most of the population converted to Christianity and had religious leaders (priests, popes), they also gathered for their services on the designated hill; they converted the pagan sacrificial table to an altar and on the north side erected a large cross of Sarmatian sandstone as a sign of their new faith.

Then came the Migration of Peoples [fifth century A. D.J bringing with it much misery and frequently death to the inhabitants of the region of Illischestie. Foreign peoples of different races and from other areas enslaved the survivors and their descendants. The longest to remain in and around Illischestie were the Tatars, which is not only corroborated historically but also transmitted through oral tradition even to the present time.

By about the mid-fourteenth century the Tatars were pushed to the southwest by the Transylvanian-Romanian military leaders Dragosch-Voda, Sas, and Bogdan, auguring in better times for the local inhabitants. The liberated land was divided into administrative districts, most in the form of strips running from the crest of the Carpathians to the southeast, and administered by a petty officer. By 1400, one such strip, that which lay between the Kortschin Hill (Corjan-) and the Budigan Hill, came under the administration of the feudal lord, Iliasch, the chief cupbearer of Alexander the Good. The descendants of this Iliasch later called themselves Ilischesku, and after them their fief was first called Ilisachi, then Iliaschinski, and finally Ilischeschti. And since a village arose on the fief of the Ilischesku, it was called Illischestie (Ilisesti) in the Austrian era.

By 1570 the boyar clan of the Ilischesku were out of the region and shareholders appeared, among the most significant the free farmers (Rezeschen) Isetscheskul and Kalmutzki.

The first reference to Illischestie is recorded in a bequest by Stephen the Great dated March 15, 1490. According to this document, "the church of Iliaschintzi with its pope" was conferred to the bishopric of Radautz. Based on this deed, one must conclude that at that time there was still no village called Illischestie in the later and present meaning of the term, but only a religious meeting place for the free and enserfed population of the region.

In 1709 Jonaschku Isetscheskul began construction of the monastery of Illischestie, which, however, because of warfare going on at that time, could not be consecrated until June 20, 1714; eventually the monastery acquired extensive landed estates plus the serfs living on them.

Meanwhile from 1476 the Turks began turning their attention to Moldavia. In 1513 they forced the Moldavian princes to acknowledge their sovereignty. For the people of Illischestie this began a time of misery and distress, for which Turkish mismanagement and arbitrariness is in particular responsible. Conditions did not improve until 1775 when, in accordance with the Treaty of Constantinople between Turkey and Austria, the Habsburgs annexed northern Moldavia, later to become the crown land of Bukovina.

The Austrians had gained a new province with fruitful land and rich mineral resources but no people to cultivate it systematically or retrieve the minerals from beneath the earth. The attempt to attract Romanian colonists from Transylvania failed, and the clans from there who did settle in Illischestie: Börgoan, Dobosch, Forgatsch, Rusu and Sönboan, were far from sufficient to carry out the tasks at hand.

In response to advice of the first provincial administrator of the new province and the Romanian boyar Balsch, the Emperor [Josef II] on August 6, 1778 directed that Bukovina also be settled by people from the western German states and that for this purpose one should look first to the excess colonists migrating to Galicia. It took almost another year until the first German settlers from Lemberg [today Lvov, Ukraine] could be directed to Bukovina and yet another year until they could be endowed with lands of the already-existing Romanian villages.

In the course of finally settling Germans in the territory, "according to a transfer list of July 14, 1788," first ten and later another two German families came to Illischestie from quarters in Lipoweni. Their names: Bock, Brenner, Clemens, Hassel, Haupt, Hunker (with the children of Otto Kipper, who had died in Lemberg), Irion, Kerth, Pelz, Theilmann and Zachmann. They totaled thirty-two males and thirty-seven females. These twelve families (the first "twelve," were settled on land confiscated from the monastery. Their houses and other buildings were constructed six on each side of a newly built road, the Zwölfergasse (Twelve Street). Every family received land measuring 51.7 Ar [ 1 Ar = 100 sq. meters] for house, courtyard and garden plot, and 14.5 hectares [ 1 hectare - 2.5 acres] of arable land, draft and horned animals, gardening implements and household goods such as free access to salt water and wood. In addition they enjoyed common use of pasturage, with farmland set aside for the teacher and minister, etc.

The first view, which the new colonists had of their settlement area, was indeed bleak. The northern and southern sections were marshland. In addition, the subsequent Erlengasse (Alder Street) was also swampy while rain and dew rendered paths to the neighboring villages of Braschka and Balatschana impassable. Moreover, there were no wells in the countryside. But the settlers went bravely about their task. Since they endured poor harvests and virulent epidemics, they were often not able to develop their farmsteads as rapidly as the authorities had anticipated.

The second group of "Twelve," which we note in the register of February 24, 1795, included: Armbrüster, Brenner, Bock, Friedge, Gassner, Irion, Hunker, Kerth, Müller, Mock, Wendling, and Zachmann. All these families were Lutherans with only the Müllers Catholic. After five years of hard pioneering work, the time had finally come when one could be satisfied with one's new village homeland. But in Illischestie there was still much useful, uncultivated land. For this reason the second "Twelve" wrote to their compatriots in Galicia, inviting them to Illischestie. Many of these accepted the invitation and additional German families migrated, who no longer came as "leaseholders" at state expense, but as "feudal subjects" (Untertanen) settled at their own expense. This, by and large, occurred between 1800 - 1835, since according to an extant list dated January 1, 1836, eighty-eight German families already lived in Illischestie at that time. Omitting the above-names "Twelve," these included: Ast, Bayer, Birkenmayer, Drummer, Eckardt, Ehresmann, the family of the forester Erzholz, Fries, Fritz, Gaube, Haas, Hofmann, Hornung, Janz, Karst, Keller, Kelsch, Kissinger, Klein, Knieling, König, Mai, Otto, Roos, Rumpel, Sauer, Schädler, Schäfer, Scherli, Schönthaler, Schum, Schwseizer, Sehatschik, Seibert, Stahl, Wagner, Walter, and Werb.

These immigrating between 1836 and 1918 included: Becker, Binder, Bodnar, Bontus, Bosowicki, Braun, Brucker, van de Castel, Decker, Dressier, Duhai, Egner, Eiselt, Faulhaber, Fiesel, Fotar, Fritsch, Galler, Gaiter, Gierischer, Glass, Gorgon, Halbgewachs, Hartmann, Hehn, Hopp, Hrivnak, Kalinowski, Kasper, Kisilejczuk, Kolmes, Komorowski, Kornelson, Krügel, Krzeminicki, Loy, Müller, Naeher, Neumann, Prall, Presser, Radmacher, Renda, Rump, Schlosser, Scheuer, Schöndorfer, Suchar, Talsky, Tomaschewski, Vollmar, Wasilkowski, Weber, Weiss, Wittwer and Zukowski. (This list includes only the names of Germans who possessed real estate.)

Sporadic immigration of Germans to Illischestie did not end until 1918 with the incorporation of Bukovina into Romania.

As far as can be determined, in a span of about 100 years, 1,300 Germans emigrated from Illischestie, with about 225 returning. Of those who emigrated, 639 went to other communities in Bukovina, 2 to Galicia, 3 to Hungary, 4 to Czechoslovakia, 15 to Austria, 23 to Bosnia, 2 to Germany, 107 to Romania, 1 to Russia, 374 to North America, 47 to South America and 83 to unknown places.

On January 1, 1938 a total of 5,032 people lived in Illischestie. Of these, 2,619 were Romanians, 2,322 Germans, 76 Jews, and 15 of other nationalities. According to religion, 2,618 were Greek Oriental, 2 Greek Catholic, 192 Roman Catholic, 2,130 Lutheran, 76 Moslem, 9 Baptist and 5 of other faiths. By sex, 2,420 were males to 2,612 females; 2,020 were married and 2,728 single. Two hundred thirty were widowed and 14 divorced.

In the Austrian era there existed a "German Illischestie" and "Romanian Illischestie." Until 1867 each community had its own village mayor as well as a community council. After that, there was only one community of Illischestie, which until 1918 (with the exception of the period between 1877-1881) was always run by a German mayor for the welfare and benefit of both nationalities.

As early as 1789, chronicles mention a German school in Illischestie, while 1803 witnessed the consecration of a Lutheran prayer house and school building. In 1857 there was also a Catholic private elementary school. In 1874 both confessional schools consolidated into a single German public school.

The first Lutheran church was consecrated in 1846 and the second, which accommodated 1000 people, in 1901. Only in 1897 were the Catholics able to build their first church in Illischestie. It was served by priests from Joseffalva and Kaczyka [Cacica].

Aside from the churches and schools, centers for the preservation of German culture in the diaspora included a German readers' club, the local chapter of the German Cultural Society for Bukowina (Deutsche Kulturverein für die Bukowina) the German Youth Club (Deutscher Jugenbund), and the German Male Chorus (Deutscher Menarche), of which the latter three after 1926 carried out their functions in the German House (Deutschen Haus).

In order to be economically prepared for unforeseen calamities, the Illischestie Germans established a Raiffeisenkasse (bank), a German warehouse, a cattle insurance association, a community chest for the poor, a burial fund, and, after 1888, a well-equipped voluntary fire department.

In conclusion, one can state with pride that it was mainly the Germans who, through their pioneering efforts of about 150 years, created a community from a "Glodischoara" (i.e., a swampy and muddy land), which, compared with other villages, unquestionable ranks as one of the cleanest, most affluent, and loveliest of the German settlements in the Bukovina.


With her membership renewal, Dianne von der Meulen asked for members to watch for the name SELTER. Joseph Zelter was born in Dorna Vatra, Romania (Bukovina). Contact at RR # 1 Telkwa BC V05 2X0 Canada.

Henry Sinnreich was in Czernowitz for three nights and met with the president of the Bukovina organization there, a Mr. Wittal, whose son Victor maintains a web site with beautiful pictures from Bukovina.

The Family History Library has "Passport Applications from Hamburg from 1883" at catalogue number 0563180.

The book Deutsche-Satulmare by Christian Armbrüster, Karlsruhe/Baden 1962 is available on microfilm through the Family History Library. It was filmed in 1985, call number 1181613, item 15. The book is over 200 pages and contains many family names. Access is also available at the Bukovina Society headquarters.

The American Family Immigration History Center will open at Ellis Island in the year 2000. It will have a computerized database of arrival records from the ships that transported immigrants to America. These are records also available from other sources. For a small fee, visitors will be able to access one of 35 computer stations and search records by name. The database will also search for similar sounding and similarly spelled names.

Undue Process: The Untold Story of America's German Alien Internees (London: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1997) by Arnold Krammer tells the little recognized story of some 25,000 Germans, German-Americans, and German Latin-Americans held during the Second World War in dozens of enemy alien camps across the United States.

Romania before 1947 had seven regions, Wallachia, Moldavia, Transylvania, Bukovina, Crisana-Maramures, Dobrudja, and the Banat After that time it became a Republic with 41 administrative districts called Judets.


Many of us have spent time at courthouses in the U. S. in search of the naturalization papers of our ancestors. There were three steps to the naturalization process.

1. Declarations of Intention normally completed soon after arrival. Women and children were exempt in the early years and became citizens resulting from the head of the family. Until 1906, the content on the forms varied from one location to another. Those before that time contain little biographical information with the later ones containing more.

2. Naturalization petitions were formal applications submitted to the court by individuals who had met the residency requirements and who had declared their intention to become citizens. These also varied in their information content

3. Certificates of naturalization were issued upon completion of the requirements normally contained the least information. After issuance, a copy was not always retained, but a stub from the official bound volume may be found.

Naturalization records may be found at the local county courthouse, county or state archives, or in the National Archives if the immigrant was naturalized in a Federal Court Immigrants may have filed in one court and completed the process in another location and not all completed the process.


English-language Cookbook compiled by descendents of immigrants from Bukovina to commemorate the 90th anniversary of Zion Lutheran Church, Southey, Sask., Canada. The book contains approximately 250 recipes with 70 in the special Bukovina section. Send your order to:

Cathy Hubick,
Box 563,
Southey, Sask. SOG4PO

Available April 1, 1999. Make Money Order payable to Zion L.W.M.L.

Price of one book, shipping and packaging: US $15.00 Money Order

2 books: US 20.00 Money Order.


We thank the many people who responded to our annual dues notice.

A Special thanks to our newest life member.

108. Joyce Gebhardt Davis, Ledyard, Connecticut


By: Ev Vielvoye

There were many ways that our forefathers traveled from Bukovina. Some took the trains from Czernowitz, while others actually went by wagons. This was a much longer process. My father and his family took the train in 1906 to Hamburg and then boarded what he called a "cattle boat" (It was a boat that had brought cattle to Europe and was returning to Canada). I imagine it was a cheaper way of going to Canada but also the facilities were little. It was not a pleasant journey.

Because of the way of passage, I have not been able to trace the boat and journey to Canada. We know they arrived in Halifax (others came to Quebec), they were loaded onto the train and started the journey to Saskatchewan. Most of our relatives left the train at Grenfell. The lucky ones had relatives or friends meet them with horses and even the odd wagon. The others literally walked the miles to their proposed land in the wilderness. My grandparents hollowed a hillside and made a sod house in the ground while they cleared their land and were able to build better living quarters.

My mother was born in Canada about eight months after her parents had arrived and she still could remember the sod house with the ground floor and the stove plate they brought from Bukovina to cook on. -It is hard to imagine how-these people survived! My [other] grandparents arrived in 1900 and they came with a recognized boat and therefore it is listed on the passenger list films.


By: Andrea Maierhoffer, Conservator

Longwave ultraviolet light (365 nm) is used by conservators, law enforcement agents and others to examine and assist in the authentication of documents. The UV light makes most alterations to documents obvious and enhances the contrast of faded iron gall ink against the paper or parchment, which makes text easier to read. If you purchase a longwave UV lamp, you can use the following method to read your original document

  • Choose a room for the examination that can be made completely dark
  • Clear off a large working space on a table or desk so you can - get close to the paper and not risk spilling anything on it.
  • Clean your hands; don't use any creams or lotions.
  • Place the paper on a flat, firm support, slightly larger than the paper, such as a piece of cardboard or matboard.
  • Have paper and pencil ready to transcribe what you see; better yet - have an assistant there to write for you.
  • Turn on your UV light and then turn off your room light.
  • Read and transcribe the text from your document. If you need to move it around, handle the support and not the paper.

Please note that some professionals advise that UV light protection goggles should be worn over the eyes when working with any UV light source. The goggles should be available from the supplier of the UV light. If you don't wish to purchase a light yourself, you could ,hire a conservator who uses a longwave UV light source in their work to read your document A conservator can advise you on the current condition of your document and the best method to use for its preservation. You may want to discuss other services to enhance and preserve your document; such as overall cleaning, stain removal, tear repairs, flattening, crease reduction or removal, de acidification, tape/adhesive removal, replacing missing edges and the construction of an archivally safe storage and/or display method for your document.

Mini 4-Watt UV Lamp Supplier:
Mineralogical Research Company 15840 E. Alta Vista Way, San Jose CA 95127-1737 Phone: 408-923-6800
Fax: 408-925-6015 email:


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