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. 12, No. 2   -   June 2002

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Board of Directors:

Oren Windholz, President

Raymond Haneke, Vice President

Joe Erbert, Secretary

Bernie Zerfas, Treasurer

Shirley Kroeger

Ralph Honas

Ray Schoenthaler

Dennis Massier

Ralph Burns

Darrell Seibel

Frank Augustine

Martha Louise McClelland

International Board:

Michael Augustin

Irmgard Hein Ellingson

Aura Lee Furgason

Rebecca Hageman

Larry Jensen

Dr. Ortfried Kotzian

Edward Al Lang

Paul Massier

Van Massirer

Steve Parke

Prof. Dr. Kurt Rein

Wilfred Uhren

Dr. Sophie Welisch

Werner Zoglauer

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



At the Bukovinafest 2000 a committee was formed to expand and upgrade the current web site.  We extend special recognition and thanks to Larry Jensen who took the initiative in 1996 to pioneer a web site for the Bukovina Society.  This site was at his personal AOL account with a mirror site on the FEEFHS server.  Larry’s efforts significantly increased the visibility of the Bukovina Society and attracted new members from around the world.  In order to involve additional people in the site operation, it was necessary to create a new site.  Werner Zoglauer and Becky Hageman became the Bukovina Society Webmasters and have worked for several months to bring the project to this stage. 

The contents of the old site were moved to the new one and much more content added.  Werner and Becky worked with a temporary site for the construction period and involved numerous other Bukovina contributors from the Bukovina Society and the Bukovina-Gen List Server.  Some links on the site are still being developed and the entire site will get new content on an ongoing basis.  The Bukovina Society is deeply indebted to Werner and Becky who toiled quietly behind the scene for the major accomplishment. 


The annual meeting of the Bukovina Society of the Americas, Inc., a non-profit Kansas corporation will be held on Thursday July 25, 2002, 6:30 p.m. at the headquarters in Ellis, Kansas.  The purpose of the meeting will be to elect board members for expired terms and conduct the normal business of the corporation.  Any currently paid-up member has the right to vote either in person or by proxy.  Guests interested in the Society’s activities are welcome.   

The 52nd Annual Convention of the Landsmannschaft der Buchenlanddeutschen
(Association of Bukovina Germans) held in Unterelchingen at Pentecost

 by Michael Augustin, Leonberg, Germany

Pentecost is the time when, for more than a half century, the regional associations of German expellees hold their annual conventions. This year’s convention of the Bukovina Germans, a relatively small regional association, again took place in Unterelchingen near Ulm on the border of the two south German federal states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. After the official opening of ceremonies by the Association’s President, Ewald Zachmann, the Director of Cultural Affairs, Gertrud Romberger, delivered a eulogy in memory of the deceased Bukovina author, Johanna Brucker, who died in Vienna on February 16, 2002 at the age of eighty-five. The local chapters of the Landsmannschaft then reported on their activities, followed by a session of the Kaindl Society, detailed by its director, Kurt Rein, who was reelected for another two-year term. Luzian Geier, the editor of the Südostdeutsche, described changes in leadership at the Bukovina Institute and their possible implications for its organization and functions. He made reference to the huge success of last year’s convention held during Pentecost in Suceava (Romania) which, because it transcended political borders, stands as an occasion worthy of emulation by other regional associations.

Using his own family as an example, Michael Augustin then spoke of the methods and results of his research on the origins of German-Bohemian immigration to Bukovina and its later expansion in Europe as well as North and South America. Next on the program were dance and choral presentations by the Büsnau Dance and Ethnic Costume Group. One of the highlights of the entire program was assuredly the presentation of relevant themes of contemporary history by the guest speaker, Dr. Otto von Habsburg, the present patriarch of the Habsburg dynasty, which as a ruling family, contributed significantly to the shaping of almost 1000 years of European history.  All were impressed by the energetic and fluent manner of speech of this almost ninety-year-old gentleman, who was then presented with an honorary membership as well as with  the Landsmannschaft’s gold pin. The program concluded with an ecumenical religious service.

After dinner the guests enjoyed camaraderie with music and dancing, enhanced by a very impressive choreographically detailed performance by the power sports club of Unterelchingen, in which eight men tossed to each other iron balls weighing eight kilograms. This type of sport is one of a kind, at least in all of Germany. As was true throughout the convention, there was ample opportunity to meet in small or large groups to exchange news, reinforce old friendships and make new acquaintances. The Bukovina Institute’s book display drew considerable attention.

This congenial atmosphere extended into Sunday when, after religious services in the local churches and final words by the guests of honor, the 52nd convention of the Bukovina Germans drew to a close in the late afternoon amidst a musical rendition by the Kammeltal Accordion Orchestra. 


  • The Society has learned that on March 1 Dr. Ortfried Kotzian will leave his position as Director of the Bukovina Institute in Augsburg for an appointment at the Haus des Deutschen Ostens in Munich. His departure from the Institute leaves us with mixed feelings: we are saddened to lose his talents in furthering Bukovinian research and cultural contacts but are at the same time pleased that the Haus des Deutschen Ostens will be receiving a scholar of his caliber within its ranks. The Society thanks Dr. Kotzian for his past help and support, including his participation in two of our annual conferences in Ellis, and wishes him success in his new endeavors.

  • Forsyth Library at Ft. Hays State University is working on a new project, which involves the building of an on-line linguistic map of Kansas, focusing on a 100-mile radius of Hays.  The first phase is to create a map, which highlights the location of ethnic settlements and a brief history and photographs.  The second phase is to allow viewers to hear an audio byte of the ethnic language and translation.  The Bukovina Society has been invited to participate and has submitted its history.  The Center for Ethnic Studies is the depository for Society archives.

  • The Amalia Marguerite Gassner (1895-1976) descendants have preserved her postcards of 1914 Suczawa.  Thanks to Anne Martinelli Cyr, the Bukovina Society now has copies of them in digital format.  We appreciate her thoughtfulness in sending them to us.

  • This past winter, Steve Parke, an international board member, was riding the lift at Monarch Ski Resort near Salida, Colorado.  He started chatting with the young lady who happened to be on the chair lift with him at the time. They talked about the NCAA basketball tourney in the USA.  Being from Canada, she noted that she favored ice hockey. That lead to a discussion of Canada and Steve mentioned that he was going to a conference in Regina, Saskatchewan, in July.  With that comment her face brightened as her family was from Regina. Steve told her that it was a FEEFHS conference in Regina and that he was going because his maternal ancestors were from a province of Eastern Austria in the 1800's. Much to his surprise she spontaneously asked, "Bukovina?"  It turns out that her dad's family is from near Czernowitz.  Later at the top of the lift, he spoke with her father, Jerry Huber, about Regina, the Bukovina web site, Bukovina, relatives in Germany, and the Regina conference.

  • Erich Slawski discovered a web site of great interest to the Schoenthaler families. He reported to his American cousins, "there was an Anna Maria Schoenthaler, born 1662 in Schwann. She was married to Veit Schofer from Feldrennach (where your other Schoenthalers came from). Believe it or not, this Anna Maria was an ancestor of Charles De Gaulle !!!!!!!!

  • Ronit Fisher e-mail to the editors, “I'm writing to you after visiting your web site and learnt about your important Society.  I'm a Ph.D. student at the History department at the University of Haifa, in Israel. My research topic is the Neighbourly relations between Jews and Christians in Bukowina and Bessarabia at the 30's until 1944.”  If anyone can be of assistance in this matter pleas contact the Society and the information will be forwarded.

  • Society volunteers will participate in the opening ceremonies of the “First Annual Genuine German Oktoberfest Held in the Midwest,” on Saturday and Sunday, September 21-22, 2002 in Hays, Kansas.  Four polka bands will provide music for singing, dancing and a Polka Mass.  There will be German food, craft booths, story telling, games for the kids and a wheat threshing demonstration.  A traditional wedding march will follow the crowning of the 2002 Prince and Princess.  The location is the Ellis County Fair Grounds, at Exit 157, Interstate 70.  Contact person is Leo Dorzweiler, Hays, Kansas 67601, 785.625.5394 or


Fay Jordaens helped secure a very nice collection of post cards and family documents from her cousin Kelly Flaman who made color copies for the Bukovina Society archives.  Fay sent to us the story of how they were discovered.  “When Kelly Flaman of Edenwold, Canada began to do family genealogical research, his cousins told him that if he could find his grandmother’s old trunk, he’d have all the documents he was looking for.  After a failed search, he awoke at 3:00 a.m. one morning suddenly remembering the family trunk was sitting in his garage where it was stored unopened for years.  He opened the trunk to find family photos, Bukovina school records, postcards nearly a century old, birth records and more, including the 1856 birth record of his great grandmother Karolina Sauer.  His first, and most generous, instinct was to share his good fortune with his cousins.  Even though I had visited Edenwold, I had never met Cousin Kelly.  I was lucky enough to meet him on-line when he informed me of the trunk of records on mutual family members.  I was delighted with his offer to send me copies of his treasures, and could hardly wait for the package to arrive.  Can you imagine my shock when the package arrived and I found two postcards written by my father, Wilhelm Schmahl, when he was seven years old. 

The following is a translation of the Old German script, dated 16 December 1908 from Klocuczka in Bukovina to his Aunt Anna and Uncle Johann Flaman.  The writing was splotchy and shaky, clearly written by a child.  “Dear Uncle and Aunt, I grasp the quill in my hand to let you know that we are, thank God, healthy, which health we wish to Aunt and Uncle. Also, I wish you a Happy New Year, much luck and a long life.  Dear Aunt Anna, we don't have any Christmas baking this year because we are not near you.”

The second card written two years later was more clear as he writes,  “Dear Aunt, I am already nine years old and in the fourth grade.  I close my writing with heartfelt greetings and kisses and wish you a joyous Easter.”  His signature is written in large, bold script, “Wilhelm Schmahl.”

Even more precious to me was a post card written by an ancestor I would never know since he died in 1916 in Canada long before I was born.  In a rather fluid handwriting in the Old German script, my grandfather Ludwig Schmahl wrote to Kelly’s grandparents from Klocuczka on the 20th of February 1910.  “Dear Brother in Law and Sister, I’m sending you a souvenir of our Kaiser, as he was when he was a child and am also wishing you a happy holiday, that is, a dear Easter to you all from us all.  When told of the find my 97 year old Uncle Rudy Schmahl said, “I’d give a thousand dollars to see a postcard written by my father.”  So for just the price of postage I sent him copies of many postcards, including one from his mother, which brought him great enjoyment.  My thanks to Kelly Flaman for his spirit of sharing and to Mike Szelog for his translations.” 


Irmgard Hein Ellingson, a founding director and international board member of the Bukovina Society, was recently elected to a two-year term as president of the Federation of East European Family History Societies (FEEFHS).

FEEFHS was organized in 1992 as a hybrid federation that serves member organizations and individuals of all ethnic, national, and religious groups. It shares information about central and east European research developments, as they become available. A variety of networking services are provided in its publications, annual conferences, and web site and volunteers continue to create and maintain databases.

By terms of its constitution and by-laws, FEEFHS is a bi-national entity with elected and organizational leaders from the United States and Canada. It is incorporated as a Utah non-profit educational corporation with a bi-national (America and Canada) executive council operating it and an application for U.S. federal not-for-profit status under IRS section 501(c) 3 is being prepared.

Irmgard is the Bukovina Society's representative on the program committee for "Discovering Our Links to Europe: An International Genealogical Conference," which is being sponsored by the Bukovina Society, FEEFHS, the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society (SGS), the Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe (SGGEE), and the East European Genealogical Society (EEGS). It will be held at the Ramada Hotel and Convention Center in Regina, Saskatchewan, on July 19-21, 2002.

Irmgard is a graduate of Winona (Minnesota) State College and Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. She has written and translated various Bukovina-related books and articles for publication. In September 2002, she will be teaching German at Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa. She resides in Grafton, Iowa, with her husband, Pastor Wayne Ellingson, and their youngest child Angela. 


By Frank Augustine, Ellis, KS

In 1902 my grandfather, Michael Augustine, and his wife, Anna Adelsberger, immigrated to the United States from Fürstenthal, a German-Bohemian village in southern Bukovina. They settled in Ellis, Kansas where Michael continued the family tradition of farming. A decade later his brother, Joseph, left for Canada, taking up residence in Grayson, Saskatchewan, where he worked as a blacksmith. Contact between the brothers ceased after Michael left home. Joseph died in 1938 and Michael in 1950.

The first-born Canadian generation, however, became interested in making contact with their American cousins. In 1948 Joseph’s youngest son, Jack, and his wife, Jean, traveled to the USA and specifically to Ellis, in search of their Augustine relatives. Jack met his uncle Michael for the first time, followed by a visit to the home of  Michael Augustine, Jr. It was a very emotional experience, which triggered a further search for relatives. The following year my Uncle Michael and his sister, Veronica Flax, drove with their families to Vancouver, British Columbia for a follow-up visit.

More than a decade passed before another American-Canadian Augustine reunion took place. In 1962 John Christoffel and his wife, Minnie Augustine, took off for the USA by bus with Ogallah, Kansas as their destination. A kind and sympathetic bus driver called out the names of the towns they were traversing. The bus passed Ellis and approached Ogallah, where Mrs. Christoffel asked the bus driver to let them out. Not being a regular stop, the bus driver nonetheless let them off and extended them the courtesy of waiting for them to place a phone call to their relatives. This call came late in the afternoon to my dad, John M. Augustine. Reluctant to go by himself, he persuaded his oldest brother, Ambrose, to accompany him. Words cannot describe the excitement of the cousins at their first meeting.

The Christoffels stayed one week before returning to Canada with many memories and stories to relate. Three weeks after they had departed, my dad asked me to drive him to Canada. We left the next day, taking two days of traveling time in what was very hot weather. At the home of the Christoffels we met more relatives and had a wonderful experience. Words cannot express the pleasure we derived from the visit.

Uppermost in my mind is the meeting of my father and his first cousin, Ambrose, Joseph’s oldest son. Tears were interspersed by laughter, as they related family stories. It was at this time that I met Joseph’s children, Minnie, Andrew and Anne, and our children made the acquaintance of their third cousins. Needless to say, the children enjoyed their new playmates.

In 1967 my wife, Juanita, and I returned to Regina, Saskatchewan, where the Christoffels lived. Here we met more relatives, in particular the younger generation. After the visit, communication with the relatives across the border intensified, followed in 1969 by a visit from Andrew and Frieda Augustine as well as their daughter and son-in-law to the States. The morning they were scheduled to leave, Andrew’s brother, Joseph, and his wife, Mary, drove up. What a surprise! Neither brother knew the other was coming to Kansas! In all, Juanita and I have made ten trips to Canada; all were enjoyable and replete with fond and happy memories.

The Canadian branch of the Augustine family sponsored a family reunion in 1981, attended by approximately 600-650 people of whom about 50-55 came from Ellis. Ed Schick made his farm available for the occasion. Meeting so many relatives proved to be a bit confusing. In 1996 the Ellis Augustine family reciprocated and sponsored a reunion with about 350 people in attendance, thirty of  whom came from Canada. Nineteen years after the first Augustine gathering at the Ed Schick farm, a second reunion took place at the District Agri-Park in Melville at which the Ellis contingent accounted for fifty of the approximately 400 attendees. My two-month-old grandson, Keaton, was the youngest scion of the Augustine family to attend the gathering. A follow-up reunion is scheduled for August this year when the Augustine family will proudly celebrate the centennial of the immigration of Michael Augustine and Anna Adelsberger to America.

Both Michael and Anna Augustine as well as Joseph and Catherine Augustine had numerous progeny. The children of Michael and Anna include: Ambrose, Ignatz, John, Joseph, Jacob, Rudolf, Michael, Theresa (Weber), Johanna (Gnad), Veronica (Flax), Anna, Mary and Barbara (Burns), the latter being the last survivor. The children of Joseph and Catherine are Ambrose, John, Frank, Joseph, Andrew, Jack, Minnie (Christoffel), Catherine (Schick), Anna (Lindenbach) and Mary (Masaloff). We anticipate seeing many of their descendants at the upcoming Augustine reunion.


Translated and edited with introduction by Dr. Sophie A. Welisch, Congers, NY

While perusing the memorabilia of my Bukovinian friends and acquaintances, I had the good fortune of coming across a letter written in 1914 by one Ignatz Schaffhauser from Bori, whose son Karl had emigrated to the United States shortly before World War I. In his letter, written in the Gothic type of the Latin alphabet, the author uses the style and vocabulary characteristic of the rural Bukovina-Germans at that time. A copy of this letter is on file in the archives of the Bukovina Society of the Americas.

Ignatz Schaffhauser (1867 – 1914) was a third generation descendant of the colonists Mathias Schaffhauser and Anna Schwarz who in 1835 left their homeland in the Bohemian Forest and took up roots in what was to become the village of Bori in southern Bukovina. Given a high birth rate, a scarcity of land, and limited economic opportunities by the turn of century, many Bukovinians pursued the route of immigration to the New World. Those not wishing to farm settled in America’s cities, including New York, the port of entry at that time. Coming from an agricultural society, both the men and the women lacked skills readily to adapt to urban living. Fortunately many unskilled labor jobs were available at that time; others bit the bullet and learned a new trade.

Among these immigrants we find Ignatz’ son, Karl (1894-1933), one of seven children. Four of Karl’s siblings, Josefa (1892-1977), Ignatz II (1898-1971), Julianne (1903-1997) and Eduard (1908-?) also embarked on the long voyage across the Atlantic, the first three settling in New York in the early 1920s, and Eduard, the youngest, taking up residence in Cuba.. In 1926 Julianne married the Bukovinian, Karl Tanda (1898-1942) in Brooklyn and re-immigrated to Bukovina, only to return to these shores with her two children in the 1950s. Their grandson, Larry Menestrina, an engineer with Cessna Aircraft in Wichita, Kansas, is a member of the Bukovina Society and formerly served on its board.

Karl was unemployed and penniless when he wrote to his father in early 1914, but he did learn the craft of baker and in time owned and operated his own shop in New York. His brother, Ignatz II also worked as a baker, a trade he learned in the United States.

On June 20, 1914, three months after the letter to his son, Ignatz died in Bori, the village of his birth. His only extant photograph is affixed to his tombstone in Gurahumora. His wife, Maria (nee Brandl) and two other children, Anna (1890-1953) and Mathilda (1905-1955) with their families settled in Germany in 1940.

Ignatz’ letter of March 13, 1914 reveals a proud man living in difficult times, comforted by his trust in God, a concern for his family, and an involvement with his neighbors, his community and his church.


Bori, March 13. 1914


Dear son Karl!

With the greatest pleasure I sit down to write you a few lines. To be sure, when your sister Josefa gave me your letter to read, you can believe me that because I was crying, I could not immediately read it to her. You implored us to give up the grocery store; since the new year I have already given up the whiskey and rum, since I got a large tax of 1080 crowns for one year. Where can this take us?  We will keep the beer and distillery since we already have the insurance and someone always has to be at home. They [the whiskey and rum] would have brought us no income, even if we had kept them because we have to eat, because we have to buy everything which we use, because three poor harvests followed one after another, which hopefully you still recall. We only have the hay.

Dear son Karl, I have to tell you that my leg is not healed, that I had to suffer great pain. You write that you cannot help me. This I can believe, since all three doctors also cannot help me. The three [doctors] in Gurahumora advise me to go to the hospital since I have already spent so much. But I am fearful of the hospital; perhaps they will amputate my leg. I would rather die with my children at home. Perhaps they will pray an Our Father for me at the cemetery.

Dear son, I wish to tell you that Grandmother is very sick, and you will never see her again. I will also tell you that they shot Josef Haas, the forester from Woronetz  [village on the outskirts of Gurahumora]. We also have a lot of snow here. I wish to tell you that Leon Brandl is also very sick with pulmonary problems. He used to visit me almost every day. Now he can no longer come to me and I cannot go to him. He sends greetings also, as does his sister, Theresia Brandl, and you should write to her.

Dear son Karl, I also want to tell you that you write you have no work in America. You can imagine how heavy of heart that made me feel because we incurred great expenses for your trip to America. If you believe that you will get no work, so write me, I’ll immediately send you money to return home. Here you would have much work. Only you should be healthy. Ignatz works with Ferdinand Hellinger. He earns 1 Gulden and 20 Kreuzers. He would surely pay you more: 1 Gulden and 50 Kreuzers. In addition, you can earn money with the horses, up to 7 Florins per day. So figure out how much you would have earned during this time. Ignatz is too weak to drive the horses and I can’t do it. Ignatz earns enough for one suit of clothes for himself but the other children also need things as do mother and I. If I get well, I do not even have a suit to wear to church. I would be ashamed. And then there are my debts. I cannot make the payments and at best not even the interest.

Dear son, You wrote that you would like to volunteer for the army. But as father I would advise you that you could also have done this in Bukovina. And at least you would be at home. If you are not interested in farming, you can join the local police force or the Finance Security where you would have an even better life. But one point I will allow myself to make: if you have money and don’t want to send us any, then you can well imagine what pleasure you are bringing to your parents. If you write a letter to Josefa, we beseech you to tell her to stop seeing Anton Günthner because Mother cannot stand him. Now I conclude my letter with many happy greetings from Father and Mother and from our big Eduard. He is already so big and very healthy.

Best regards to all the people from Bori and from Gurahumora including Wenzel Hilgarth and Seidl and Franz Haas and do not forget the holy season of Lent and also go to confession and to church. Then God will not forget you.

Praised be Jesus Christ.
Ignatz Schaffhauser



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