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. 11, No. 2   -   June 2001

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Board of Directors:

Oren Windholz, 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

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



Al Lang sent the following letter to the Bukovina Society:
    "Thank you for the nice tribute to my mother in the March edition of the newsletter. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the Society members for their condolences for the loss of my mother. She was indeed a strong supporter of our heritage and would spend hours sharing it with me. I am not sure who cherished it more, mom or me.
    Her loss was particularly hard to accept, since it was so sudden. She led a fruitful and challenged life, but in her death, we can all reflect upon our responsibilities to carry the past to the present and give the present to the future. Our heritage is what forms the common bond among the Society.
    Again, thank you all in the Society who have expressed your sympathy to me and my family. May God bless you all."

The Max Kade Center for German-American Studies at Kansas University conducted Sprachinselkonferenz (linguistic enclave conference) 2001 this spring. Among the presenters were Prof. Dr. Kurt Rein, an International Director of the Bukovina Society. Other participants who have been involved with the Society were Prof. Klaus J. Mattheier, Dr. William Keel, and Dr. Gabriele Lunte.

FEEFHS has created an electronic newsletter to be sent three times a year. The Bukovina Society was asked to contribute and appeared in the first issue. See at

Ludwig Breyberg, a physician in California, learned of the Society during a return visit to Germany. He called to learn more about our organization and promptly sent in a life membership without having set eyes on us. This is just one of the many stories of people who continue to find the Bukovina Society and join as members.

The Society's web site, listed on our letterhead, continues to bring new contacts. We appreciate the work by Larry Jensen in creating and working on the site through the years. The board has authorized the creation of a new and revised site. Committee members Larry Jensen, Becky Hageman and Werner Zoglauer are at work and we will announce details soon.

Fay Jordaens sent the prayer before meals remembered by her mother: "Grosser Gott im Himmel wir danken Dir fuer diese Mahl das Du uns gegeben, im Gottes Nam, Amen ".

Fay also sent an interesting URL, "List of Swiss Bank Accounts from the ICEP Investigation"

Al Schmidt sent the following to the Bukovina General Mailing List about the coast guard ship Bukovina.
BUKOVINA 034 - Displacement, tons: 253 full load Dimensions, feet (metres): 129.3 x 25.9 x 8.2 (39.4 x 7.9 x 2.5)
        Main machinery: 2 Type M 517 or M 583 diesels; 14,100 hp(m) (10.36 MW); 3 shafts Speed, knots:3
        Range, miles: 500 at 35 kt; 1,540 at 14 kt
        Complement: 30 (5 officers)
        Guns: 4-30 mm/65 (2 twin) AK 230 Torpedoes: 4-16 in (406 mm) tubes Depth charges: 2 racks (12)
        Radars: Surface search: Pot Drum or Peel Cone; H/I - or E-band
        Fire control: Drum Tillt; H/I - band Navigation: Palm Frond; I-band IFF: High Pole. 2 Square Head
        Sonars: Stag Ear or Foal Tail; VDS; high frequency; Hormone type dipping sonar


Similar hull to the 'Osa' class. Built in the 1970s and 1980s. A further 13 hulls transferred from Russians are used for spares.

[source: Jane's Fighting Ships 200-2001/Border Guard, Ukraine].


Fr. Chris, from New Mexico, has been in touch with the Society since its founding. He wrote a book entitled, The Forgotten: Catholics Of The Soviet Empire From Lenin Through Stalin, recently published by Syracuse University Press. It is available from Barnes & Noble,, and Borders, uses Fr. Norbert Gaschler, a Bukovina priest currently residing in Germany, as a resource. Fr. Chris sent us the following account of his trip to Europe:

After my arrival in Budapest on May 25, I shall travel to Mariapocs, where I shall remain until returning to Budapest on June 8-9. While in Mariapocs, I will offer a liturgy in the basilica at the altar of the miraculous icon. One man will accompany me: Michael O'Loughlin, whom some of you know, who has just graduated from college and is applying to the seminary. For all intents and purposes, he has been accepted as a seminary student. Michael represents this church's first vocation for the priesthood in addition to which we have one professed Carmelite, who entered the monastery three years ago.

While in Budapest, I plan to visit some of its churches including St. Stephen's, St. Matthew's, and Our Lady of Remete, as well as the former royal palace. Then on Monday we shall leave with a kindly Anglo-Greek couple for Nyiregyhaza to have lunch at the college with the professor of Ukrainian history and philology and visit to the bishop's church. Later we will proceed to Mariapocs to meet Father Daniel Bendas, the Greek Catholic dean of Vinogradiv, and his wife, Maria, who speaks English. Michael and I will stay at the Basilian Fathers' guest house, where we will offer a liturgy at the shrine and pray at the icon of Our Lady for the special intentions of various people. This icon has wept tears at three different times in the last 350 years.

We will then proceed to Ukraine, crossing the border into Trans-Carpathia, the poorest province in all Ukraine and the central homeland of the Byzantine Catholic Metropolia in the United States. While there, we plan to visit the grave of Bishop Petro Oros, shot in public at Zavice in 1953; Irshava, a stronghold of our church; Boronyavo and its small but very important shrine where Our Lady appeared in the early 1700s; Mukachevo with its original Greek Catholic cathedral. Time permitting, we will also visit our former monastery and its icon of St. Nicholas now held by the Russian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic apostolic administration; the Carpathian German villages around Mukachevo founded in the 1600s and all still Roman Catholic; and Uzhorod, the capital city with our cathedral containing the relics of Bishop Romzha. We look forward to meeting our bishops, interviewing survivors of the camps, prisons and underground activities during the time our church was illegal (1949-1990). When I return to the States I anticipate writing a second book, this one based on the. history of the repressed church in Trans-Carpathia and its present sufferings. I will also make a video depicting the parishes, problems and contemporary life to show to interested people.

We will then take a side trip to L'viv with the seminarian, Oleksiy Korostil, who visited my parish last year. There we will go to St. George's Cathedral of the Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic rite, St. Mary Magdalene of the Latin rite, and the former Armenian Catholic Cathedral of the Assumption now used by the Orthodox Church. Hopefully we will find the remnant of the Armenian Catholic population of L'viv. While there we will also visit a home for handicapped children and meet a seminary choir which travels around giving performances to raise money to fund about twenty such homes run by the Greek Catholic Church.

After Ukraine, we shall return to Mariapocs for final prayers to Our Lady and then back to Budapest to visit the weeping Irish Madonna of Gyor. This icon wept tears of blood in 1697 when the English expelled the priests from Ireland. After touring the basilicas of Budapest and the old palaces, it will be time to head home and crash for a few days.

Sales of my book, The Forgotten: Catholics Of The Soviet Empire From Lenin Through Stalin, seem to be doing well. By buying a copy, you will be contributing to our work on behalf of the church. Please let me know of your reaction to the book and pray that Michael and I have a successful pilgrimage, fulfill our research objectives, and enjoy a safe journey.

God bless


About this time of the year - every five years - the descendants of Josef Bekar (Pekar) and Ludwina Maierhoffer Bekar, formerly of Paltinossa, Bukovina, come together for a big family reunion in Canada. Last year the family met in Edmonton, Alberta.

Three daughters - Anna Lang, Rose Bekar, S.P., and Josephine Ludwar - were honored as they are the last of the original sixteen children of Josef and Ludwina. Rose and Josephine reside in Edmonton; Anna, unable to make the trip, lives in a nursing home in Creston, British Columbia.

Also at the Edmonton Bekar/Pekar gathering were several non-descendants - cousins from the United States - descendants of Josef's sister Katherine, Pekar Kostiuk, and of his aunts, Veronika Pekar Sturdza and Karolina Pekar Jockel. One was from Connecticut and the rest from Washington State. Congratulatory messages were sent from Indiana by William Carr, a descendant of an uncle, Mathias Pekar, and from Washington State by a granddaughter of his uncle, Josef (Pekar) Baker who had migrated with his family to Washington before it became a state. In early 1900, however, when conversations speculated on conscription in an upcoming war, Josef and Ludwina determined they would move out of Austria. A dozen Pekars boarded The Royal George in Germany and landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Upon entry to Canada, some confusion resulted in the name being spelled Bekar. (Pekar in, Czech and Hungarian translates to "baker"). Current other spellings of the name are Baker and Beckar and Pekar. (When the name Pekar was Anglicized, it resulted in "Pee-car," which many family members deemed unflattering.)

Anna Lang was the six-month-old baby when the Bekars traveled across Canada in 1912 to their new home. The train journey took about eight days after a week on the ocean crossing. There was also the time spent getting from home to the ship in Germany. From Paltinossa - to Germany - to Halifax - to Saskatchewan with ten restless children is not a trip "whereof dreams are made."

Twelve people, who spoke little or no English, traveling in the limited space of a train most likely suffered severe physical as well as mental strain. One wonders how they managed everything without disposable diapers, takeout food or a boom box for diversion. Josef was to manage the boys who "inspected" every inch of the train. Inevitably one, this time fourteen-year-old Michael, found and pulled the emergency cord that stopped the train. Immediately knowing they had done something wrong, the children sat trying to look innocent, while train officials investigated the unauthorized and, therefore illegal, stop. When the "culprit" was identified, Josef, the parent, paid a $14.00 fine for the childish enthusiasm. Translated to today's money, that was over $400.

After arriving safely in Regina, Saskatchewan, they were met by Josef's brother-in-law, Anton Kostiuk (Kostick), from the United States. Arrangements were made to ride fourteen miles by horse and sleigh to an area near Pilot Butte where they rented a farm in time for spring planting. Two children were born there.

Though the children attended English schools and learned Canadian English, the parents were uncomfortable with the language and searched for a German-speaking community. In 1915 the Bekars moved to Bayard, Saskatchewan where four more children were born: three during World War I and the last one, Josefa (Josephine), in August 1920.

The Bekar Family has been celebrating reunions since 1965. At the 1995 meeting in Creston, BC, a specially designed family coat-of-arms was accepted by family vote and registered with the Canadian government. In the year 2000, Sister Rose presented the family with a banner with its "shield" which includes the maple leaf of Canada and wheat stalks representing their first settlement on the Canadian prairies.

In 2005, the Bekar/Pekar Family plans to again "celebrate family" in the Vancouver, British Columbia area. Some think 2005 may be the last "full" family gathering. In the future, reunions are expected to be divided into separate sections, each representing one of the children of Josef and Ludwina.

So far, Michael, "the train stopper," lived the longest - a full 100 years. The Bekar daughters who married carried the names of Rieberger, Kwasnicki, Lang, Ludwar, and Thiele; one son spells the name as Beckar. In total, Josef and Ludwina had 107 grandchildren. The computerized genealogy records contain 223 names but records of great-grandchildren are incomplete. The family tree on a 1510 kilobyte computer printout extends forty feet sometimes as many as three-names deep. The printout includes Josef s antecedents starting with his parents, Michael Pekar and Anna Kelsch whose great- grandfather, Gabriel Koelsch, migrated from Kreuznach, Baden, Germany in about 1784 stopping in Galicia before settling in Illischestie in Bukowina.

The Pekar family's roots were firmly and socially established in Paltinossa in the 1800s. Josef s mother, Anna Pekar, had provided medical assistance by her knowledge of herbs and also contributed toward Paltinossa's Lutheran and Catholic church bells. She died in 1922, followed by her daughter-in-law Ludwina in 1946 and her son Josef in 1954. The latter two are buried in Creston, British Columbia.


By Alfred Klug, "Bausteine zur Geschichte unserer deutschen Siedlungen"
in Deutscher Kalender für die Bukowina für das Jahr 1935,
 trans. Sophie A. Welisch (Czernowitz:  Deutscher Kulturverein für die Bukovina, 1935), pp. 51-63.

Diese Seite auf Deutsch

       Under this title I wish to publish old documents, excerpts from parish books, letters, etc., relating to German settlements in Bukovina as I come across them either through research or by chance. They are intended to be an elaboration, possibly a correction, of the published colonization histories of which those of Raimund Friedrich Kaindl are the most significant.


       I shall begin with a document put at my disposal by Mr. Mathias Lang. His grandfather, Johann Lang, immigrated to Bukovina from German Bohemia with his son Johann Lang, four years later bought the land and house for his son as discussed in the document in question, and thereby made it possible for him on October 31, 1842 to marry Katharina Schaffhauser, the daughter of a colonist.

       The document, interesting in many respects, provides a good perspective on various aspects of living conditions almost a century ago. Written on good quality paper with the stamp "30 Kreuzer" as on a bill of sale, it contains in the bureaucratic German of the period, all stipulations demanded by the authorities at that time. The writing is unusually clear and neat; at the end of the document a certain Anton Schreiner identifies himself as the scribe.



The party of the first part, the German Bohemian colonist in Bori, Josef Binder, and the party of the second part, Johann Lang, colonist from the same place, on the day and year indicated below, reached the following agreement relating to the transfer of a farmstead including its dwelling and farm buildings as well as compensation for the labor and costs of improvements thereto:

     First, Joseph Binder relinquishes the house and farmstead in the German Bohemian settlement of Bori, registered as No. 141, which is a rural log house on a stone foundation, consisting of one room and an antechamber, a stable under one roof for two cows, and separate small barns in a courtyard; in addition, anticipating a favorable decision by the highest Imperial and Royal Exchequer,1 he relinquishes the outlying field parcels adjacent to the dwelling and farm buildings; then, assuming the incorporation of these fields by an affirmative decision by the state authorities, he transfers the thirty yokes of land to Johann Lang in feudal ownership, with all rights and duties pertaining thereto, in exchange for compensation for expenses incurred in the construction of the buildings, in the clearing of the land and making it arable,2 and in constructing the dwelling plus farm buildings as follows: 30 florins;3 clearing the garden plot and the parcel in back of the settlement: 15 florins; clearing the forest temporarily allotted in the marshes of Rippa Rosch and Dialu Woronetz: 20 florins; and then for the construction of path and bridge as well as for repairs thereto: 15 florins. Total: 80 florins.

     Secondly, the farmstead will be legally transferred to Johann Lang after the execution of the relevant documents, the payment of half of the stipulated amount of 80 guldens, i.e., 40 guldens down with the other half (40) guldens in cash following confirmation by the seller Joseph Binder; the consummation of same will serve as a receipt of the validity of said payment.

     Thirdly, after the completion of the aforesaid points and validation of the document, the buyer Johann Lang is to occupy the house and the temporarily allotted garden and fields; Joseph Binder agrees to surrender any further rights to the farmstead according to the conditions of sale agreed upon.

     Fourthly, all state taxes on house and land already assessed or to be assessed in the future, manorial cash and in kind, may they be in corvée labor, rent or whatsoever, as well as community obligations such as quartering of troops, hospitality for the mayor and night watchmen, communal clearing of lands, building of roads and bridges including repairs thereto, as well as miscellaneous work, are to be carried out and borne without demur by the entrepreneur Johann Lang, as well as fulfilling all obligations stipulated by the Administration.

     Fifthly, to prevent any dispute, the house and garden property, which is 22 klafters4 wide on the sides facing the street and the stream and 90 klafters in length, will be transferred to Johann Lang in its existing boundaries; on the east it borders the farmstead of the occupant Johann Haas, on the south that of Christof Maidl, on the west the village thoroughfare, on the north the Humora Stream.5 The boundaries of the woodlands of Rippa Rosch and Dialu Woronetz, lying behind the village, which would round out the property, cannot be included in the present agreement since their ownership has been only temporarily granted pending the decision of the authorities. 

     Sixthly, this document, verifying the agreement which has been reached, will be presented to the honorable Imperial and Royal Legal Department of the Solka Office of Economic Affairs, and following approval thereof, to the honorable Imperial and Royal Gurahumora Legal Attorney's Office as proof of ownership of property.

     In witness thereof both parties were called to witness this act as was the village mayor; some signed their names and some made a cross (), after which the village seal was affixed to the document.6

              Settlement of Bori, February 1, 1840.

              Johann Lang, German-Bohemian colonist as buyer.

              Joseph Binder, German-Bohemian colonist as seller.

              Witnesses:  Franz Klostermann, Anton Schreiner, Christof Maidl.

              Village Mayor:  Josef Schaffhauser

              Tithe Collector:  Johann Haas

              Various German-Bohemian colonists in Bori

              No. 1328.

The preceding agreement will be authorized by the Imperial and Royal Legal Attorney's Office at the direction of the honorable Imperial and Royal Office of Economic Affairs in Solka on August 6, 1841, No. 2359 in its entirety, unless the established endowment is not extended to the Bori colonists by the highest authorities, after confirmation that Johann Lang, the buyer of the farmstead of Josef Binder, will carry out all obligations related to the conditions of settlement established by the authorities without objection or else vacate the property without compensation.       

              Legal Attorney's Office of Gurahumora.

              Legal Attorney's Office.  Gurahumora, August 25, 1841

              L. S. (signature not entirely legible, perhaps) Uhligkmann


       Aside from the above document Mr. Mathias Lang gave me a copy of a report card of his father, who had been born in Bohemia in 1820. The report card states the following:

 Johann Lang, pupil in the second grade of the parish and trivial school in Maurenzen, very ambitiously attended the school here, deported himself very well and without reprimand and earned the following grades in the required subjects:

              Religion                              very good


                     German                       very good

                     Latin                            very good

                     Written                        very good


                     Cursive                        very good

                     Civil Service                 very good

              Arithmetic                            very good

              Speech                                very good

              Spelling and Dictation           very good

              Introduction to Composition very good

                     He therefore deserves to be promoted with priority to the first grade [of the next-level school].

              Maurenzen, April 29, 1835

Johann Jatych (?)                         Johann Zimmer

              Religious Instructor                  Teacher


   Under the teacher's name the initials JZ are very well preserved in sealing wax.


       I will now publish three petitions which in the years 1847 and 1848 the community of Pojana Mikuli (Poiana Mikului, Buchenhain), in collaboration with the German-Bohemian colonists of Bori and Schwarztal (Vadul Negrilesei), submitted to His Majesty, Emperor Ferdinand I. Aside from the historic significance of these documents, which I found while doing research in the Czernowitz State Archives, they represent for us a second meaning. It is often maintained that the German colonists enjoyed advantages denied the autochthonous population. However, upon reading these moving entreaties, it will not be so easy readily to reach such a false conclusion.

       In addition, these documents should be a comfort and an incentive to our German settlers. A comfort: one complains today about the desperate lot of the farmers. But if we examine these petitions, we shall see that at that time they had a harder life than we have today, yet with steadfast frugality they overcame all their difficulties and passed on substantial farmsteads to their grandchildren. And furthermore, despite all their distress, they respected education. They paid the teachers out of their own pockets and built a schoolhouse in order to give their children a basic education. Such examples of sacrifice for cultural purposes should be valued and imitated which, unfortunately, is not the case in many communities today.

       The first petition is written in particularly poor German in which idiomatic expressions have an unintended comical effect.

Your Majesty!

     Convinced of the generosity and high favor of Your Majesty, we, most   loyal and obedient subjects from Pojana Mikuli, again7 cast ourselves upon the all-highest throne of Your Majesty and present at Your Majesty's feet at the all-highest throne our humble petition with the most indebted submissiveness in the greatest expectation this time not to remain unheard.

     Not only the lamentable condition of the settlement of Pojana Mikuli, but now also the current very great and prevailing distress which the failed harvest of 1847 has brought about, puts us, Your Majesty, in circumstances most worthy of pity, since in addition to the sad situation and description of the oppressed inhabitants already presented in the humble petition dated February 23, 1846, the greatest calamity has afflicted our colonists who, in this past year of bad harvests, have lost all their food supply and are now subjected to severe famine.  Not only   is the cold climate a problem for Pojana Mikuli, but the as yet uncleared forests prohibit us from growing many other field crops besides potatoes; we, most loyal obedient subjects, apply all our energy to planting in order to provide for our needs; unfortunately not just a portion, as in other areas, but almost the entire crop rots here, and we scarcely have enough food for our daily needs. In addition to the extremely lamentable circumstances described above, the subsidies we are charged to maintain Czardaque No. 468 present us with very dire grief; although we have been paying them at great personal expense for about one year, despite our best intentions, we are not financially in a position to continue to maintain this military outpost in the future because of our great poverty. Moreover, the winter is already upon us, and we have been asked for the third time to cut klafters of wood, which we have already had to do for two years, which we, without nourishment, bereft of proper clothing, besides being of diminished strength, are scarcely able to carry out.9

     And thus filled with hope of not being turned away this time, we, most loyal obedient subjects, cast ourselves down at the feet of Your Majesty, our generous and merciful sovereign, and plead with uplifted arms   for a neutral commission which would visit us and examine our desperate situation; after the second petition submitted to Your Majesty, we have received no other favorable decision, except the edict of the highest Imperial and Royal Exchequer dated Vienna, December 20, 1846 Zl 41.646/2580 followed by the high gubernatorial endorsement of January 18, 1847 Zl.777/49. Although ten months have already passed and we have received no favorable response, we will continue to wait patiently for an answer to this matter in which negotiations have been pending.

        May Your Majesty lend a merciful ear to the sincere entreaty and petition of the wretched colonists and send us the requested unbiased commission and not let us depart unheard from the throne; for far distant from our fatherland, we set the highest trust on our merciful and generous sovereign, who certainly will not abandon his children who are at all times prepared to give their blood and life for such a magnanimous and loving father.

     Pojana Mikuli, December 14, 1847

     (There follow the crosses () of twelve Slovak inhabitants with their names supplied by the secretary, in addition to the following Germans, almost all of whom signed their names themselves: Georg Neuburger, Thomas Hackel, Josef Binder, Jakob Kufner, Karl Reitmajer, Georg Binder, Ignatz Hackel, Wenzel Hackel, Mathias Eigner.)

The document was signed by Stefan Schuster, village mayor, and affixed with the seal of the community of Pojana Mikuli.


Petition of April 6, 1848

Your Majesty!

     Struggling in dire straits and convinced of the justice and generosity of a kind monarch, we, loyal and obedient subjects, left our beloved fatherland of Bohemia and relocated to Bukovina in the hope of improving our domestic circumstances. We were told that through the great generosity of Your Majesty, we could participate in a settlement which would be established here; however, dear God, this settlement is here so structured that great physical exertion is demanded in order barely to survive; not only does the raw climate prohibit the planting of few crops other than potatoes, but the nature of the settlement is such that it is located entirely within a thick dense forest and can scarcely be cultivated even with the greatest toil. Yet this, Your Majesty, is a only one aspect of the complaints of us, your miserable subjects; moreover, since this is only the sixth year here, it is very difficult for us to satisfy all the burdens and debts for which we are responsible in same measure as other communities which have good land, since we did not have free-tax years, as did other settlers. Because of these circumstances we, most loyal and obedient subjects, presented in most indebted submission to the all highest throne of Your Majesty for your merciful consideration, a petition erga retur recepisse (with return receipt) dated February 23, 1846 and another on September 25, 1846, requesting release from cutting the klafters of wood; but to date we have not had the good fortune of a favorable reply.

     Aside from this highly tragic situation, the maintenance of Czardaque 46 gives us, most impoverished settlers, one of our greatest concerns, since aside from providing for our large families in dire need, we have   also been burdened with maintaining the Czardaque.

     In response to our three petitions submitted to Your Majesty, we have only received a reply with the decree of the highest Exchequer dated Vienna, December 26, 1846, Zl. 41646/2580 followed by the high gubernatorial endorsement of January 18, 1847 Zl. 77749, telling us patiently to await a decision in this matter.

     Pojana Mikuli (Buchenhain) on April 6, 1848.

(There next follow the names of twelve Slovaks, who all signed with a cross (), then the names of the German settlers who with one exception signed their names with their own hand: Adalbert Fuchs, Wenzl Hackel, Johann Beugel (?), Josef Binder, Georg Hellinger, Georg Neuburger, Mathias Eigner, Josef Hartinger, Emilian Baumgartner, Josef Haiden (?), Josef Seidl, Konrad Stöhr, Stefan Schuster, village mayor.)

       On August 23, 1848 almost all the same twelve Slovaks, who had signed the above petition, forwarded a petition to the Emperor through their representative Miron Czuperkowicz, in which they declared that "their life here exists for the pity of humanity.

"And further, despite the promises of the praiseworthy Solka Office of Economic Affairs to issue us a formal contract for the past six years, to our greatest sorrow and to our frequent inquiries we have to hear from the mouth of our praiseworthy administration that we are only considered private settlers"10 [private as opposed to government-sponsored colonists not entitled to an endowment--SW].  

       Our village of Pojana Mikuli consists of seventy-eight house numbers of which thirty-six numbers belong to the so-called Slovaks,11 whose parents came from Hungary almost sixty years ago and settled in Bukovina. . . .

       The petition is significant for us because we can tell there from that in 1848 there were forty-two German colonial farmsteads in Pojana Mikuli.

       The last petition in this series, dated Gurahumora September 19, 1848 and addressed to the Austrian Ministry, expressed similar themes as the foregoing.  This time, however, three communities authored it, specifically Bori, Pojana Mikuli and Schwarztal (Negrileasa; more accurately, Vadul Negrilesei). In the document the latter is referred to as "Vatra Negrilassa." The following settlers signed the petition: Andreas Jung, mayor of Vatra Negrilassa; Wenzel Schaffhauser; Josef Baar (perhaps Beer); Wenzel Hilgarth, mayor of Bori; Christoph Maidl; Johann Haas; Johann Lang; Stephan Schuster, mayor of Pojana Mikuli; Anton Iwaschko (?); Anton Tischler; Nikolaus Kuschamik (?).


       The colonists who had migrated from Bohemia, despite the fact that they were relocating within the same country, had to have their own travel permit; they had to report to local authorities at certain stations, at which they received information about the next station. Through the mediation of Headmaster Horn, I found one such a travel permit in the possession of one of the older inhabitants of Bori. The extant number of these travel permits is extremely rare. Since the text in the photograph is not legible, I am publishing it in unabridged form as follows:


Prachin County    Recruiting District No. 25.

N. G. 661

N. P. 30     


Travel Permit


Joseph Günthner

Born:  Seewiesen 
Residence: Kreigeritz? Nr. 1
Purpose of the trip: Seek income and sustenance by working as a day laborer
Religion:  Catholic
Marital Status: married
Traveling with him on the same permit: his wife Katharina, 38 years Age: 34 years old (thick-set stature with chestnut-Stature: big and strong brown hair, gray eyes, smooth face, Countenance: long. (very pock marked) longish stub nose, usual mouth), with son Joseph 4 years old, daughter Barbara 6 years and Regina 1 year.

Trade or occupation: day wage laborer 
Age:  34
somewhat pouting lips   
Other Characteristics:
the right index finger has been amputated to the second joint.12

The above is traveling from here via Iglau and Olmütz to Radautz in Bukovina on a travel permit valid for one year.

All civilian and military authorities are requested in the line of duty to permit the owner of this permit free and unhindered passage to the above destination and give him, if necessary, all provisions, conferred courteously and offered willingly.

              Signed by the Royal Waldiwozder (?) High Office in Seewiesen [Bohemian Forest] on April 6, 1835.

              L. S. Royal Waldiwozder (?) Seal of the Office of the Senior Judge.

              Reviewed by the Prachin Imperial and Royal County Office

              Pisek on April 28, 1835

              (signature illegible) 

              (His own handwritten signature is illegible.)

               Franz (illegible)


     The back of the permit is also interesting because it reveals detailed information about the route the colonists had to take as well as about the time needed for the journey. With the exception of the signature of the mayor of Czernowitz (Lihotzky), I did not indicate their names because I could not decipher them accurately. Their route was as follows:

       Budweis on May 8, Iglau on May 11, Brünn on May 14, Olmütz on 17 (month is missing), Teschen on May 19, Wadowitz on May 20, Bochnia on May 23, Iarnow (confirmation missing), Przemysl on May 29, Sambor (confirmation missing), Kolomia on June 7. Czernowitz No. 1199. Reviewed by Royal State Magistrate's Office of Czernowitz on June 10, 1835. Lihotzky.

       Josef Günthner settled in Bori, first on farmstead No. 132 in Gurahumora, then, after all colonists were settled on thirty parcels,13 on No. 8 in Bori.  Based on the Gurahumora church registries, I can relate the following about his children. Regina Günther (both Günther and Günthner are used) died as a child of eight years on December 24, 1841. On February 14, 1850 Barbara Günthner, twenty years old, married Johann Hoffmann, son of the colonists Josef and Barbara Mirwald but died shortly thereafter; Johann Hoffmann settled on farmstead No. 125, later on No. 1. The entry in the marriage registry also reveals the maiden name of Josef Günthner's mother: Katharina Wiesenbauer.

       Josef Günthner's son married Theresia Szafaczyk (Schafaczek) and had several children with her. The first was Maria, born on May 8, 1850, who married the colonist Peter Wellisch, followed on October 12, 1851 by Josef, who died in Bori as a colonist; on October 2, 1853 Johann Nepomuk came into the world but died the same day. The next child, born March 17, 1855, was also named Johann Nepomuk, after the patron saint of Bohemia. December 26, 1856 witnessed the birth of Stefan, who migrated to Bosnia, where he later died.14 Peter, born on February 24, 1859, died while in military service; and Franz Salesius, born on October 3, 1860, settled in Gurahumora and died some time ago. Of all the children, only Johann, born in 1855, still resides in Bori as a colonist; it is he who is the custodian of the above travel permit.

       That is the fate of the Günthner (Günther) family based on said travel permit.      


       The parish of Gurahumora is among the oldest in the land; it also possesses a detailed chronicle, kept by Father Clemens Swoboda, who was later transferred to Czernowitz. I will publish this chronicle at a later date. Here I wish to review a notebook that can be viewed as the basis of a chronicle. It is entitled "Historia Rerum Memorabilium Anno 1819 Incepta" (History of Memorable Events Beginning in 1819). The first page begins with the words, "Historia. De origine Capellaniae Gura Homorensis" (History: About the Origin of the Parish of Gurahumora).

       The first ten pages are in Latin. The first five pages were written by Father Theodor Lazar, who was at first assistant pastor in Suczawa and from 1803 repeatedly traveled to Gurahumora in order to serve the temporarily vacant parish, until he was named pastor on January 1, 1815. It appears he was a fine modest man. And we gladly overlook his poor Latin when we read the shattering words which he wrote about himself: "qui ditior et beatior esset mortuus, quam vivus est" (one who will hopefully be richer and happier in death than he is in life). How much tragedy is revealed in these words! With how much difficulty did father Theodor Lazar have to struggle until cool earth embraced him!


       1The colonists had not yet received their full endowment. This contract stipulates that if and when the endowment is granted retroactively, it will pass to Lang instead of to its first claimant, Binder.

       2Where the community of Bori stands today, there existed virgin forests before the settlement of the German Bohemians.

       3Florin = gulden, the old Austrian unit of currency.

       4One Viennese klafter = 189.65 cm.

       5Incorrect; to the south lay the farmstead opposite that of Johann Haas, which was later No. 16 (Johann Haas's house was No. 17); the village thoroughfare was to the west; to the north lay the farmstead of Christoph Maidl (No. 18); the Humora Stream flows toward the east. 

       6The village seal is not on the document.

       7From this document we learn that this community had already submitted two petitions, which, however, I did not find.

              8Military outposts which the local communities had to maintain.

       9The colonists were obliged annually to cut a specified amount of wood for the administration, i.e., in this case for the Office of Economic Affairs in Solka. More on this topic below.

       10When the colonists of Pojana Mikuli, Bori and Schwarztal turned to the administrator of the Solka Office with the petition to transfer the properties to their permanent possession as His Majesty, the Emperor had promised and called upon heaven to witness the veracity of their words, he apparently answered as follows: "The Emperor is far off, the sky is high, and here I am the Emperor!"  These words have remained in the memory of the colonists to this day and were recounted to me by several sources.

       11Interestingly the non-German inhabitants of Pojana Mikuli felt insulted to be called Slovaks; they wanted only to be Polish.

       12At that time it often happened that a young man deliberately amputated his right index finger in order to avoid military conscription, since this made it impossible for him to press the trigger of a gun! However, this does not imply that in this case self mutilation had taken place.

       13Some preferred to remain in Gurahumora, in particular the craftsmen.

       14According to Mathias Lang.

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