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. 10, No. 1   -   March 2000

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Board of Directors:

Oren Windholz, President

Mary Agnes Wagner, Vice President

Joe Erbert, Secretary

Bernie Zerfas, Treasurer

Frank Augustine

Ralph Burns

Raymond Haneke

Ralph Honas

Shirley Kroeger

Dennis Massier

Ray Schoenthaler

Darrell Seibel

International Board:

Irmgard Hein Ellingson

Aura Lee Furgason

Larry Jensen

Dr. Ortfried Kotzian

Edward Al Lang

Paul Massier

Van Massirer

Steve Parke

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




August 10-13 in Ellis and Hays, Kansas.  All speakers, presenters and events have been confirmed for one of the best conventions of the Bukovina Society.  Watch the next newsletter for the final program and registrations forms.  See you then.


The first lifetime member in the new millennium is Patrick Deutscher of Toronto.  Patrick attended our last Bukovinafest.  His great grandparents, Friedrich and Julia (Schreier) Deutscher landed in Halifax in 1901 and went on to homestead in Southern Saskatchewan.  Friedrich was from Alt Fratautz, a descendant of Konrad Martin Deutscher and Anna Eva Weber of Tereblestie.  Julia was from St. Onuphry.  Friedrich’s cousin Karl Deutscher migrated to Kansas at the same time.

Trude Eberwein of Arvada, Colorado became a life member.  She also informed us of the death of her dear husband Ferd. Both natives of the Bukovina district, they were a delight each year at the Bukovinafest.  They parked their RV in the Ellis City Park, enjoyed the events and made many new friends.  Thanks to Trude for the fine memorial to Ferd. 

Rep. Mike Jaros has been in Bosnia putting his language skills to work for the U.S. Army since July.   Prior to that he spent four days in Poiana Micului in the Bukovina district, the home of his maternal great grandparents Dora and Tomas Neuburger before migrating to Celinovac, Bosnia. He also visited Lvov from which his grandparents Apolonia and Karl Jaros migrated to Bosnia.  His wife joined him to teach at Tuzla University where they are desperate for English speaking professors.  Mike attends the Bukovina Festival each year in Poland and extends to our members an invitation to make presentations.  He will be taking the Bukovina Society pins there again this year.

The featured article in our last newsletter on cooking and eating in Bukovina by Renate Gschwendtner, translated by Dr. Sophie Welisch came to the attention of Betty Wray of the Galizien German Descendants.  It will be reprinted in the next issue.

We receive frequent letters and e-mail requests from people who discover the Bukovina Society.  One letter from Fr. Robert T. Comesky, who received our address while stationed in Germany as a Chaplain, requested information for his mother who came from Bukovina.  Katrin Helbig wrote from Germany of having roots both in the Bohemian Forest and Schwabia.  Her maternal ancestors were Gaschler from Fuerstenthal and paternal ancestors were Fries.  She would be at home in Ellis.

Dr. Gabi Lunte and her associate Dr. Chris Johnson will be working to create a linguistic atlas of German dialects in Kansas.  It will include the work Gabi did in Ellis on the Catholic Bohemian German dialects.  The Bukovina Society is a sponsor for their work through a grant we received from the Kansas Humanities Council.  A copy will be place in the society archives.

Martin Serkosky e-mailed me asking if the society could be of help in a puzzle in his family.  His grandfather, Martin Cyca was born in Galicia and considered themselves German.  He had many other questions, which were forwarded to Irmgard Hein Ellingson.  Martin’s ancestors went through numerous marriages between faiths and nationalities along with several emigrations.  Irmgard was able to answer questions that Martin thought his family “would take to their grave.” 

Fay Jordaens sent us the address of the Romanian archives, Archivele Nationale ale Romaniei, Bdul Elisabeta Nr. 49, 70602 Bucuresti, Romania.  Fay also watches for interesting websites and alerts us. , 266 West Center Street, Orem, UT 84057 sent the society a copy of Kevan Hansen’s new book, “Finding Your German Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide.”

We continue to be surprised by the people who discover us on the Internet.  Two brothers, Ken and Richard Stillinger, new members, have been working on their ancestry from Bukovina.  They have ties to the colony in Western Colorado (Yuma), and the Bukovina villages of Glitt, Solka, and Lichtenstein. 

The 10th anniversary of the Romanian Revolution was marked in December.  We all hope that the people of our former homeland can continue to grow in peace and freedom.

PICTURE OF FAMILY  (sent by e-mail)Caption:   This picture and story from Brazil thanks to Joao Nelson Hoffmann showing the family in Curitiba, Brazil circa 1900.  L to R, Ignatz Hoffmann, Philomena “Minni” Hoffmann, Wenzel Hoffmann [Jr.], Philomena “Mina” Hoffmann and daughter Leopoldina Hoffmann, Julia Rankel, Anton Schuster, Franziska Hoffmann and Josef Hoffmann.  The family arrived in May of 1888 with the second group of emigrants to Brazil.  By the time they reached their destination in June, the patriarch Wenzel [not pictured] did not like the place and wanted to return, a story told for 110 years.  He was very unhappy in Brazil because he missed his homeland, but did not want to leave his family alone for such a long journey back, particularly just after the birth of his daughter Leopoldina.  Just six months after arrival, he held his nine-day-old baby and said,  “If she smiles, I’ll leave, if she doesn’t, I’ll stay..”  The child did smile so he went back with the intention to send back money and eventually bring the rest of the family back to Bukovina.  It is not known if he ever returned to Bukovina, it is said by some that he died on the ship enroute and some say he died at the port of Paranagua before departure.  “Fritz” Hoffmann, another of the sons is not pictured because he died while deer hunting when, tired, he stopped, rested his head on the shotgun, which accidentally discharged.  The remaining family and Mina’s sister Leopoldina Schuster and husband Johann (leader of the second group) settled in Johannesdorf.  The younger Wenzel was very dedicated to village church work.  Leopoldina’s fate was unknown.  It is said she was taken away by Indians and when found as an adult ran away.  The family has hundreds of descendants now living in Brazil, many of them our cousins.  More information on the settlement is contained in The Bori Story on sale from the Bukovina Society.


The following two articles are a continuation of a series of translations by Dr. Sophie Welisch, Congers, NY.  Many more can be expected in future issues of the newsletter on life in Bukovina and its villages.  The stories of Augustendorf and Katharinendorf are of special interest to the Bukowina Institut sponsored “Excursion in the Bukowina” in 1996 for members of the Bukovina Society in the United States and Canada.  These were among the first villages we visited, both in the Ukraine portion of the former Bukovina near Czernowitz, its former capital.  The church in Augustendorf was in poor condition from neglect since the 1940 Umsiedlung.  A new roof was recently installed to stem further deterioration by former residents or those with roots there now living in Germany.  Two locals who saw us arrive opened the church and proudly showed us through.  Several of us were taken to the attic where the old roof tiles, made in Czernowitz, were stored.  The men presented one as a souvenir to the Bukovina Society (on display at the museum) and Bukowina Institut.  By then a group of curious residents watched our every step.  They were attractive in their native dress and please when we took the initiative to talk to them through our interpreters.  We gave them all mementos.  One on the tour group, Eleanor Schwartz, had heard much about the village from her immigrant father, Heinrich Gross.  Her grandfather William Gross came from Galicia to Bukovina.  She was saddened by the condition of the church and could not find traces of her family in the cemetery.  The German portions of most cemeteries were also in poor condition.  The church in Katharinendorf was nearly in ruins.  The doors and windows were open or broken and years of trash littered the floor.     


By Josef Talsky, "Augustendorf," in Bukowina: Heimat von Gestern, ed. by Erwin Massier, Josef Talsky and B. C. Grigorowicz, translated by Dr. Sophie A. Welisch (Karlsruhe: Selbstverlag "Arbeitskreis Bukowina Heimatbuch," 1956), pp. 148-49.

       No single German-Bohemian village in Bukovina so artfully characterized the German settlements in the Bohemian Forest in layout and building style, as did charming Augustendorf, located at the spur of the Carpathians where the valley slopes into the Sereth River.

       While other German settlements, with only few exceptions, usually had trees planted in a straight line along both sides of a wide street, attesting to the military hand which had created the colonies, Augustendorf, founded in 1838, developed in conformity to the lay of the land. With its narrow truncated roads flanked on both sides by trim farmsteads built closely together in the free style of the mountainous region and encompassed by fir and pine forests, the settlement is reminiscent of the modest yet tidy, exquisite villages in the Bohemian Forest, in particular those around the Osser and Arber [rivers].

       Augustendorf owes its existence not to state planning but to the landed estate owner of Banila on the Sereth [River], Mrs. Augustine Gojan-Fedorowicz, after whom the village was named. As is well known, the colonies of Alexanderdorf, Katharinendorf and Nikolausdorf were established under similar circumstances.

       The Augustendorfers were settled by Mrs. Gojan for the purpose of clearing the wild overgrown land and making it arable. Every colonist received for himself and his family eight Falschen [?] of newly reforested land and two Falschen of pasturage as well as right to three yokes of forest [for firewood]. In return each colonist had to render labor services to the estate.

       At first only twenty families settled in Augustendorf, recruited from a group of immigrants who had come from the West to Radautz. Later they were joined by several other families moving on from the Hungarian Banat.

       The oldest immigrant colonial families included Erl, Hasenkopf, Kampf and Mirwald. Georg Hebler, the eventual patriarch of a very prolific family in Augustendorf, joined latter.

       After they had cleared the land allotted them and found they could not produce enough to sustain themselves and their ever-increasing families, most colonists turned to charcoal burning as a livelihood. Others sought employment in the glass works of Althütte and Neuhütte only a few kilometers away, while the rest earned their livelihood as carpenters. In the village there were few farmers in the true sense of the word.

       While the wooden shoes [Holzpantoffel] which the settlers had brought with them from their old homeland continued to be worn until the [1940] resettlement [to Germany], the characteristic male head covering, consisting of  a felt cap with wide leather brim, had long since disappeared. As in all German communities every house, even that of the poorest had a small garden enclosed by a stockade fence in which all kinds of flowers were grown. It goes without saying that potted plants were not lacking on the windowsills.

       The total population, about 700 souls, was exclusively Roman Catholic. Augustendorf belonged to the Roman Catholic parish of Althütte in whose cemetery its deceased were interred. In 1905 the Order of the Trinitarians established a religious house in Augustendorf. The German padres Anastasius Sonntag, Vinzent Mayerhofer and Valentin Probst, latter joined by Padre Felix Sollinger, erected a stately church on the site of the old wooden chapel with an attractive religious house, thus bringing new spiritual and ethnic life into the community. Under their direction the village soon witnessed a decided upward swing. Later only Padre Superior A. Sonntag remained in the community, which he served for three decades, and who was loved and respected by all. One of the most impressive achievements of Padre Sonntag was the construction of a roomy and well-equipped German Home [Volksheim]. In 1930 the Cultural Society [Deutscher Kulturverein für die Bukowina] built a children's convalescent home [in Augustendorf].

       Because of its good location in a healthy mountainous region, its excellent beaches, the friendliness of its inhabitants, and its proximity to the provincial capital of Czernowitz, which could be reached by bus in about one hour, Augustendorf achieved popularity as a summer resort. Here German life and German songs were highly valued and respected.

For other monographs of German-Bohemian villages in Bukovina see:
Becker, Maria Lang, Larry R. Jensen, and Sophie A. Welisch. The Bori Story: Genealogies of the German-Bohemian Families who in 1835 Founded Bori in Bukovina (Now in Romania) with History of the Village and Its People. Congers, NY: By the authors, 1996.

Welisch, Sophie A.  Bukovina Villages/Towns/Cities and Their Germans.  Ellis, KS: Bukovina Society of the Americas, 1990

Wild, Josef. Fürstenthal: Eine deutsch-böhmische Gemeinde in der Bukowina. Munich: Landsmannschaft der Buchenlanddeutschen, 1981. English translation by Sophie A. Welisch: Fürstenthal: A German Bohemian Community in Bukovina. Regina, Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Genealogical Society, 1993.


By Josef Talsky, "Katharinendorf: Ein Typ der jüngeren deutschen Stammsiedlung im Buchenland," in Bukowina: Heimat von Gestern, ed. by Erwin Massier, Josef Talsky and B. C. Grigorowicz, translated by Dr. Sophie A. Welisch (Karlsruhe: Selbstverlag "Arbeitskreis Bukowina Heimatbuch," 1956), pp. 145-147.

        The more recent daughter colonies in our old homeland, developed for the most part on private initiative, include the "Swabian settlements" of Katharinendorf (351), Alexanderdorf (180), Nikolausdorf (285), Unterstanestie (145), Neuzadowa (915) as well as the German-Bohemian communities of Augustendorf (750) and Dumbrawa-Kornoluncze [The numbers in parentheses indicate the approximate population in 1935]. For the most part these villages were founded in the second half of the nineteenth century and some even around 1900.

       Typically representing this group of newer communities in Bukovina, we wish to cite Katharinendorf and describe its founding and development.

       Katharinendorf was settled in 1867 by German farmers after an abortive one-time attempt to settle Slovaks, who, after one year, abandoned the swampy land from which they could reap only an insufficient harvest. After a repeated appeal by the Baron Wassilko estate in Berhometh, twenty-eight Lutheran Swabians from Galicia volunteered for settlement in 1867. The promise to each family of becoming hereditary tenants of 16-18 yokes of acreage for a homestead, plus free wood for essential building construction and fuel proved very tempting to the stout-hearted Swabians, who had very little property at their disposal in their homeland.

       Since the construction of their houses soon depleted the small amount of cash they had bought with them and they were only able to eke out a frugal sustenance from the soil, they turned to conveying wood and to lumbering for survival. But they did not neglect agriculture. Through laborious tending of their fields they so improved the land that even grain crops flourished. In time they acquired a substantial number of cattle and enjoyed a comfortable standard of living.

       By 1875 the village had its own school and had established the "Lutheran School Community of Katharinendorf."

       Life in the village progressed harmoniously and almost in isolation from the other German settlements, since they were surrounded by Ruthenians [Ukrainians]. Nonetheless, they adhered to their own German customs and mores and understood how properly to celebrate a holiday. In this context a happy event occurring in 1910 comes to mind: farmer Jakob Kauk brought a daughter to be christened with the name of Elisabeth. Afterward the family sponsored a lavish banquet. The teacher, who was to register the baptism, did not want to enter the name in the books right after the meal so he delayed it until the following day.

       After wine and whiskey had flowed liberally, the guests, in high spirits, departed for home after midnight. Baptism and baptismal name had slipped the mind of the gallant teacher. The next day he did not know what to record in the registry. Ashamed to ask the parents of the child, he approached the postmaster, who had likewise attended the christening, and asked: "Johann, do you know whom we baptized yesterday? Was it a boy or a girl, and what was its name?" "It was a boy," returned the postmaster after some reflection. "I believe we christened him Wenzel." And thus shortly thereafter the little daughter Elisabeth was entered as son Wenzel.

        Not until 1934 was the mishap discovered. At that time the girl Elisabeth presented herself to the curator Konrad Gross and asked for a copy of her baptismal certificate, since her intended bridegroom did not want the marriage too long delayed. But compatriot Gross found no Elisabeth, only a Wenzel Kauk, recorded in the baptismal registry for 1910. Our Konrad then applied for a name change at the District Consistory, which was soon granted.

       During the First World War the community of Katharinendorf, as so many others, was occupied by the Russians and burned down in 1916. When the villagers returned in 1918 they found only nine intact farmsteads; all others lay in ruins and ashes. Reconstruction progressed slowly but steadily and with the return of the men from the war, took an upswing. While women and children primarily tended the farm, the men earned good money in the emerging lumber industry, enabling them to provide their farmsteads and land with all necessities.

       They were all diligent, ambitious people, our Katharinendorfers: very prone to education and able to benefit from it. The village had fifty house numbers, about sixty families, around 350 souls and on the average forty to fifty school-aged children.

       In the course of the 1940 resettlement the Katharinendorfers, after a four-month camp life in Wilkowitz, District of Blachstädt, Opatow and Walenzow, were settled in eastern Upper Silesia. There they were often confronted by Polish partisans. It was here that two Katharinendorfers (Josef Lindenbach and Georg Heuchert) lost their lives [Surnames of families evacuated from Katharinendorf on November 8, 1940 include: Adam, Bardua, Baumung, Bollenbach, Daum, Dietz, Dörn, Dressler, Drummer, Engel, Fatteicher, Gerlieb, Gross, Haas, Heinrich, Heucher, Heuchert, Junker, Karst, Kattler, Kauk, Kentel, Lehr, Lindenbach, Maier, Manz, Müller, Niebergall, Schapert, Scheinost, Seel, Senf, Trapp, Weber, Zerfass, and Zimmermann in addition to two Ukrainian youths: Lazar Kordiak and Kosma Galenecz, both of whom were killed in action. See Konrad Gross, Alexanderdorf und Katharinendorf von 1863-1940 (Bächingen/Brenz: Schriftenreihe des Hilfskommittees für die evangelischen Umsiedler aus der Bukowina, 1979), pp. 37-40].

       Close to midnight on January 16, 1945 they too fled from the advancing Russian hordes and through the grim cold traveled more than a month by horse and wagon to the Erz Mountains [Mountain range between Saxony and Bohemia. From there, for the most part, they dispersed into the southern federal states [of Germany].

       The Katharinendorfers have also demonstrated their ambition and efficiency in the last years. Anyone visiting the Bukovina settlement near Bächingen/Brenz will conclude that our Katharinendorfers under the present leadership of compatriot Konrad Gross have once again constructed a blossoming and fruitful domestic economy which can serve as an example to all who had been driven from their homeland.

For further reading on former Lutheran Swabian villages in Bukovina:
Massier, Erwin, ed., Fratautz und die Fratautzer: Vom Werden und Vergehen einer deutschen Dorfgemeinschaft in der Bukowina. Pleutersbach: By the editor, 1957. English translation by Sophie A. Welisch: Fratautz and the Fratautzers: The Rise and Fall of a German Village Community in BukovinaRegina, Saskatchewan, Canada: Saskatchewan Genealogical Society, 1992.

Messner, Wilhelm. Die schwäbisch-pfälzische Bauernsiedlung Deutsch-Tereblestie von ihrer Gründung bis zur Umsiedlung 1789-1940. Heubach, Württemberg: by the author, 1985.

Müller, Edgar. Die Evangelischen Gemeinden in der Bukowina: Aufbau und Ende. 2 vols. Munich: Hilfswerk für die Evangelischen Deutschen aus der Bukowina, 1972. Discusses the parishes of Deutsch-Altfratautz (with Neufratautz and Unter-Wikow), Eisenau (with Freudental, Frassin and Wama), Hliboka (with Terescheny), Illischestie (with Gurahumora and Korlata), Jakobeny (with Kirlibaba and Dornawatra), Itzkany (with Mitoka Dragomirna and Suczawa), Pozoritta- Luisental), Radautz (with Arbora, Badeutz-Milleschoutz and Satulmare), Storozynetz (with New-Zadowa, Katharinendorf, Alexanderdorf and Nikolausdorf), Tereblestie (with Sereth), Unter-Stanestie (daughter community of Czernowitz).

Schneikart, Alwin. Fratautz und seine Lehrer: Die letzten 50 Jahre eines buchenlandschwäbischen Kolonistendorfes in der Lebenschronik des Schuldirektors Christoph Entian und den Aufzeichnungen des Bauern Johann  Albus. Esslingen: By the author, 1989.

PICTURE OF FAMILY  (sent by e-mail)

(Richard Lilley sent this picture and information)
“My wife's mother, Louisa Anna Wendling Hill, passed away Dec. 6, 99.  She  was the daughter of Joseph D. Wendling and Louisa Anna Rumpel who came to Lewis County Washington from Illischestie, Bukovina, Austria in 1905.  We  know that he came with his mother, Anna Wendling, who married Josef Janz after her husband Friedrich died.  We don't know what ever happen to Josef or whether he ever came to America or not.

Also Anna's sons John, Henry, Michael and Wilhelm and her brother John also came over.  According to her brother John's grandson, Preston Wendling, who passed away a few years ago, the Wendling family spend a year in Kansas City, Mo. before moving on out to the West Coast.  We think some of the family stayed on in Kansas but as of yet we don't know the connection.  We know for sure Anna, Joseph, John, Michael, Henry and brother John came west. While looking through Louisa's belonging we came across an old photo that we think was taken in Kansas about the 1905 time period.  Of the two women sitting, the one on the left in black is Anna Wendling who would be about 57 years of age. On her right is son John and on her left is a little girl of about 4 who looks identical to pictures of my wife, Beulah's picture, when she was that age. Next is a woman of about 45 or 50 and she's holding a little girl of about 1 year old on her lap.  Standing to her left is a girl of about 18 and standing in back is a man of about 37. We know Anna and John but the other four people is this photo is a mystery but we know from their looks that they belong to the family.”  Anyone who can be of help, please let Richard know at: 


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