Dr. Thomas Reimer May 25, 2009
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On January 8, 2009, Vojtech (Bela, Adalbert) Wagner, leader of the Carpathian Germans in the Upper Zips and city councilor in Kesmark, died. His successor as Chair of the KDV region Oberzips is Maria Recktenwald, school director in Hopgarten. His son Vojtech Wagner was elected vice-chairman.
On January 15, 2009, Anton Zauner, from Deutsch-Mokra, the leader of the deported Germans from the Karpatho-Ukraine and active in the KDL till the 1990s, died in a nursing home in Bernhausen, Germany. He had celebrated his 100th birthday in September 2008. He initiated the Heimatbuch and a small Museum of the Karpatho-Ukraine in Gaildorf.
On February 12, 2009, the Museum for East Slovak Culture in Kaschau opened an exhibit on Carpathian Germans from the Carpathian German Museum in Pressburg.
On February 15, 2009, Ruprecht Steinacker, one of the postwar leaders of Carpathian Germans, died 95 years old. He was a teacher at the Philip Lenard Gymnasium in Pressburg before World War II. After five years in the GULAG, he taught in West Germany and was active in the HiKo and KDL. He was a close friend of my grandfather, too. They both believed in the right of the tiny, inoffensive Carpathian German people to live in their little corner, which a cruel fate did not allow.
On Feb. 19, 2009 the KDV Pressburg had its annual “Pressburg Gestern und Heute” fest, in the Hotel Kyjev as the its Haus der Begegnung is too small. Present were ambassadors Dr. Trebesch (German Federal Republic), and Dr. Wessely (Austria). The German classes are currently closed because teacher Erwin Bielčik suddenly died.
On March 14, the KDL delegates met for their annual business meeting. Walther Greschner was reelected KDL chairman, and so were most officers. The sum collected for the Stiftung Karpatendeutsches Kulturerbe is now over 200.000 Euro. On May 9, 2009, the 31st biannual convention/60th anniversary of the KDL will be held in Karlsruhe.
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In March 2008, the Catholic Hilfsbund (HiBu) had its annual meeting in Stuttgart-Hofen, and the KDL its annual culture seminar in Bernried in Bavaria. About 50 people attended, including Slovak historians such as Martin Chudik and Dr. Dušan Boran, and young Carpathian German leaders from the IKeJA, Marko Juschka and Andrea Kluksnavska, who spoke about what their (mother’s) German language means for them today.
The OG Kaschau of the KDV, under chairman J. Pačenovsky, was active in April. During its annual meeting, members thanked the chairman, as well as Olga Jenova and Mrs S. Szeplaky, for teaching German despite parent apathy. The 15 members of the IKEJA under chairman Rudolf Remetei met as well, and on April 6, the house hosted German tenor Ulrich (Uli) Keyl, who married a veterinarian from Kaschau and moved there.
On April 22, 2008, KDL leaders Walther Greschner, Brunhilde Reitmeier-Zwick and KDL-Slovakia Ondrej Poess met Slovak ambassador Ivan Korčok and visiting assistant prime-minister Dr. Dušan Čaplovič to discuss how to have Slovak history books include more on Carpathian German contributions.
In Felka in the Upper Zips, on April 23, 2008, the house on Sommerstrasse 42 (Letna 42) left by pharmacist Aurel Wilhelm Scherfel (1835-1895) to his town, was renovated and will again be used for the benefit of the town (now merged with Deutschendorf, and inhabited by Slovaks). Scherfel made the gift in memory of his only son, Aurel Georg, who died 3 days after finishing his pharmacy studies and preparing to work in the family pharmacy.
In early 2008, German historian Dr. Heike Drechsler (PhD 1994) was put in charge of our museum and archives in Karlsruhe. She has worked with Carpathian German archives since 1998. She has no Carpathian German roots, but through her mother, a Vertriebene from Upper Silesia, has the needed empathy and respect. (March 2008)
On April 25, 2008, the deported natives of Oberufer near Pressburg met in hotel Ulmer Stuben in Ulm/Bavaria, with some from as far as Sweden, reported Christian Timm.
On May 2, 2008, Lydia Russnak organized a fest for people from Oberstuben in the Hauerland in Satow/Mecklemburg, where several trainloads were dumped after deportation. Over 350 people attended, including some from the USA, and 35 from today’s Stara Stubna, incl. Primator Ondrej Piski (Juli, Sept 2008). On May 9-10, the Germans from Schmiedshau (Hauerland) met in Stetten near Stuttgart. Members of the KDV branch in today’s Tuzina, and primator Jan Sloboda, attended, wrote Anni Zjaba.
On May 16, Tuvia Rübner, born in Pressburg and living in Tel Aviv in Israel, one of the last Jewish Carpathian-German writers, received the Theodor Kramer Preis in Austria. After Alice Schwarz-Gardos died, only he and Anna Krommer in Washington, Eva Kovac in Tel Aviv and Erika Blumgrund in Buenos Aires are left. See Karpatenblatt 3/2004 and 12/2008 for more information, and the wikipedia article Tuvia Rubner.
On May 17, over 140 people from Hochwies-Paulisch met in Rammelsburg/Harz, including Georges Zieger from France, who met for the first time the people his father Georg Zieger came from, reported Anselma Kraft-Zlatner.
On Mai 30-31, the deported Germans of Schwedler (Unterzips) visited their hometown and met with their few remaining countrymen. One of the latter is primator Oskar Münnich, who welcomed them and sressed the injustice of the Vertreibung. The leader of the local KDV, Mrs Gabriela Ivancova, expressed the hope that even once the old generation is gone, their children and grandchildren in Germany will not forsake their old home and will continue to visit.
June 6. The Deutsche Schule Bratislava (DSB) had its annual school fest. Opened in September 2005 with 22 children, it teaches now 117 children from Kindergarten to 4th grade (when German grade school ends). Principal is Mrs Lutz.
June 7-8 16th annual Zipser Kulturtag in Hopgarten.
The few Germans remaining in Stoss were active. Stoss was part of the Zips, but in 1882 transferred to the Megye of Abauj-Torna). In June 2008, HiKo leader Rev. Andreas Metzl visited Stoss, and on October 29, the Lutheran parish celebrated its 220th anniversary. As Primator Gabriel Müller told Rev. Metzl, the village of about 700 people is now mostly Catholic. A fifth of the people are Gypsies. The village forests provide jobs, but otherwise the local economy is in very bad shape. There are 70 German Lutherans left, ministered from Kaschau by Rev. Dusan Havrila, and now Rev. Ondrej Kolarovsky from Kaschau-Terasa, but 25 do not live in Stoss, only pay their church dues there. Only 5 are minors, and the confirmation of 3 of them in 2010 will probably be the last one in the church, noted church secretary Alicia Schreiber. One local German returned, Johann Broestl, who survived the Battle of Budapest in 1945 and five years in the GULAG. After living in West Germany, he moved back to Stoss in the late 1990s.
On June 14, the former president of Slovakia, Rudolf Schuster, a Carpathian German, hosted Austrian president Heinz Fischer. They visited Kaschau, now entirely Slovakized, where Schuster had been mayor, and his still partly German hometown of Metzenseifen, where Fischer was welcomed by primator Valerie Flachbart and the local KDV.
In Kesmark, Zips, the KDV hosted from June 20 to 21 its 13th annual Kultur- und Begegnungsfest. Sponsor was slovak assistant prime-minister Dr. Dušan Čaplovič. KDV chair Ondrej Poess welcomed representatives of the German and Austrian embassies, and Austrian MP Norbert Kapeller. There also was an exhibit on German villages in hungarian 18th century military maps, by Dr. Bohumir Klein.
From Juli 13 to 20, the Oberzips had its German immersion camp in the Hotel Cyprinan in Zipser Altendorf/Spisska Stara Ves, with 36 children.
On August 16 the 17th annual Hauerlandfest was celebrated in Johannesberg. Ten dance and singing groups met at the St John’s Catholic Church. The region Hauerland has currently 17 local KDV branches.
On August 16, in the Haus der Begegnung in Metzenseifen (Bodwatal), 25 children began their weeklong 14th German immersion camp, with 6 volunteer teachers.
In Summer, at their annual symphony concerto, the Bad Reichenhall Philharmonie played pieces by the young composer Sylvia Häring, born 1986 in Sindelfingen near Stuttgart of Zipser ancestors.
Beginning September 2008, the Karpatenpost is now photocopied and in smaller format, to save costs. After January 2009, it can also be ordered by email in pdf format. Ms Suss, after working in the KDL office in Stuttgart for over seven years, resigned. As there are not enough funds to replace her, Ms Kolb agreed to work more hours.
From September 19 to 23, Kesmark celebrated the 10th anniversary of its city sistership with Weilburg a. d. Lahn, Germany, which had been organized by notably E. Hunsdorfer, who came from Kesmark.
In September, over 100 deported Pressburgers met with the local KDV for the inauguration of the bilingual plaque on the outside wall of the Carpathian German Museum expressing, in German and Slovak, sorrow for the Vertreibung. As the museum is a branch of the slovak state museum, the permission to put the plaque is an official gesture. The ceremony was followed by a fun evening in the Hotel Kyjev. In September 2008, the expellees from St Georgen (Sväty Jur), now a suburb of Pressburg/Bratislava, met again in their old hometown. They were led by Rev. Gerhard Zachhuber a nd Karl Kowatsch, and hosted on the Slovak side by Rev. Lubomir Batka. Lutheran Bishop Filo welcomed them as well. In his sermon, Filo tried to convince the German side that the local Slovak congregation was not “new” but a continuation of the 400 years of tradition created by the German Lutherans of St Georgen. This year, there were less participants.
On September 6, 114 Germans from the Hauerland living in the former GDR met again in Malchin/Mecklemburg Malchin for another grillfest. They ate among else 75 Liter (80 quarts) of homemade gulash. The OG Kuneschhau also reported how over 100 families from Kuneschhau who were deported to the GDR and under the Communists not allowed to identify themselves as Vertriebene, joined the OG after 1990.
From September 27 to 28, the KDV Unterzips celebrated its annual meeting in Göllnitz, with song and dance, and historical presentations. The children, who learn German in grade school, sang.
On November 16, the Hilfbund Karpatendeutscher Katholiken celebrated its 60th anniversary in Stuttgart-Hohenheim, under its Ignatz Wolkober, vice-chairman, and Rev. Johann Kotschner. The celebration included KDV groups from the Hauerland, and Slovakia Catholic church bishop Tondra and bishopsvicar Jan Zentko (who headed the archives of the Zipser Kapitel and with whom I corresponded on local history. He died, only 50 years old, on March 14, 2009).
On November 29, the KDV had its general meeting in Kaschau—the first since 2005. For professional reasons, Dr. Ondrej Pöss, who heads the Carpathian German Museum, was unable to continue as chairman. Anton Oswald was elected new chairman, with Dr. Poess and Vojtech Wagner jr. as vice-chairmen. Mr. Oswald was born 1950 in Kuneschhau (Hauerland) and is a chemical engineer. Among the needed measures is to ensure that the seven Haus der Begegnung are better used—so if you travel to Slovakia, stay in one. Rooms are simple but clean. The IKEJA-KDJ had its annual meeting in Kaschau that day as well, after president Andrea Kluknavska resigned on November 1. Peter Chovanec was elected chair.
In November 2008, the lutheran church of Unterschwaben (today part of Rotes Kloster/Cerveny Clastor) celebrated its 200th anniversary. The German natives were invited by minister Rev. Lubica Sobanska of Windschendorf/Slovenska Ves, to whose parish Unterschwaben now belongs. But none were able to come and join the 120 celebrants from the area. Even Herwig Bollenbach,who led the collection of over 3,000 Euros from Unterschwabener for the renovation of their former church, was unable to come due to illness. To travel to the very snowy and cold Oberzips in the winter is a real strain. During the festivities, Rev. Sobanska stressed the German history of the parish, and allowed the placement on the right inside wall of the church of a larger bilingual bronze tablet relating in German and Slovak the history of the parish, a list of ministers, the dead from World War II, and the families who lost their homeland after 1945.
In the November issue of the Karpatenblatt, Marian Markus noted the cross on the site of the Novaky concentration camp in the Hauerland, where many German men, women and children died and were buried first in the cemetary in nearby Koš (Andreasdorf), Kos which was closer to the camp than Novaky is. Novaky The exact number of the dead is unknown. In the beginning, the Catholic priest kept a list of people buried in his cemetery, but this was then forbidden and people simply buried near the camp. Careful estimates range into thousands.
For the renovation of the Catholic church St Margaret of Schwedler/Unterzips, nearly 4,000 Euro were collected by Rev. Eberhard Murzko in Brigachtal/Germany, whose father was from Schwedler. Of these, 2,200 Euros were donated by descendants of Schwedler Germans. Many informations on Schwedler and surroundings such as Einsiedel:Region Unterzips
On December 8, the Lutheran church in Kirchdrauf celebrated its 200th anniversary. The parish is now Slovak, and very small. The former German members were too old to come. Rev. Andreas Metzl from the HiKo represented them. During the festivities, the primator gave him a history of the city published in 1999 for its 750th anniversary. To what extent it’s reliable is tough to say, though generally since the end of Communism and its state-mandated anti-German bias, the influence of Ivan Chalupecky, the unbiased senior local historian of the Zips, and his students, makes outright falsifications of local histories much less common than 20 years ago.
The December issue of the Karpatenpost related a meeting of the KDL Bavarian branch in the Haus des Deutschen Ostens (House of the German East) in Munich. Slovak consul-general Frantisek Zemanovič attended. Chair Dr. Peter Kalus noted two young men with Carpathian German roots serve in the Bavarian legislature, Josef Zellmeier (CDU) whose mother is a Pressburg native, and Reinhold Perlak (SPD), both representing Straubing/Bavaria. He praised the sisters Maria and Helene Elter, from Pressburg, who together left nearly 62,000 Euros to Carpathian German organizations.
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In August and September 2007, the 70th anniversary of the inauguration of the Catholic church of Fundstollen/Hauerland (now Chvojnica) and the 100th anniversary of the Catholic church in Deutsch-Proben were celebrated. In both cases, the former German natives were invited by the new inhabitants, as reported by the Karpatenpost, Feb. 2008.
In the Karpatenpost, Jan. 2008, Doris Zlatner reported on the bus trip of 24 Germans from the Hochwies-Paulisch community, incl. some from the USA and Canada, to their native two villages in September 2007. Another trip was planned for September 2008.
In September 2007, the expellees from St Georgen (Svaty Jur), today a suburb of Pressburg/Bratislava, met again in their old hometown. The Austrian ambassador attended, too, as did retired Lutheran Slovak bishop Dr. Filo. As Rev. Gerhard Zachhuber, who grew up in Limbach, noted in his report in the Karpatenpost April 2008, the young Lutheran minister Rev. Lubomir Batka, wants to keep the German history of the village alive. Most local Slovaks seem friendly, too [as long as no one asks for his house back, I guess].
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The KDV in Kesmark will open a German language kindergarten in Spring, and needs books (incl. used). They can be sent through the KDL Austria.
January. The Stiftung Karpatendeutsches Kulturerbe, a foundation created in 2004 to preserve the Carpathian German museum in Karlsruhe once we have vanished as a group, which is matter of a few years, has collected 100,000 Euros. Because of low interest rates, much more is needed. By October 31 131,350 Euro were on the account.
January. Johann Schuerger, ethnically cleansed native of Ober-Metzenseifen, was made a honorary citizen by the post-1945 inhabitants, after organizing over 100,000 Euros for the renovation of the local Lutheran church [I’m not aware the present-day Medzev inhabitants protesting the continuing legality of the Benes-decrees that prevent Schuerger from getting back his home].
In January, Rev. Roman Porubaen thanked the ethnically cleansed natives of Forberg in the Zips for their donations to repair the Lutheran church. Rev. Vladimir Schvarc thanked the ethnically cleansed Germans from Schwedler/Zips for collecting 9,250 Euro for repairs to the local Lutheran church; In March, a letter from the Lutheran church in Dobschau requested the deported Germans to collect 2,500 Euros for renovations to their old church. [Same remark as for Metzenseifen: They take, but no peep about the BeneŠ decrees].
March 20-23. 56th Annual Cultural (Kultur- und Heimatseminar) of the Hilfsbund (Carpathian German Catholics), in Bernried monastery in Bavaria. Among the speakers was the historian Dr. Ladislav Susko, who lectured on the Fall 1944 uprising. He also stressed that the first Slovak state was not national-socialist, but a religion-based authoritarian state similar to Portugal under Salazar. Dr. Michael Schwarc, from the Carpathian German Museum in Pressburg, described the policy of the rebels towards the local population, and their murder of German civilians, incl. on August 18, 1944 150 children from Germany in the vacation camp in Lubochna near Rosenberg. He then spoke on the units used to repress the rebellion. Dr. Erhard Edler von Pollak then spoke about how as a 16 year old he was drafted straight from high school to the deutscher Heimatschutz on Sept. 4 and fought against the rebels, then was released one month before the fall of Pressburg to finish classes.
April 27-30 The exiled Tschermaner met again in Neutra, Slovakia. The next meeting is in 2007. The OG Zeche met in Bad Boll, Germany, on April 30.
Mai 7. About 170 people from Hochwies-Paulisch met in Northeim, Germany. During the following annual bus trip to the home village, Claudia Gruner, born Derer, who lives in Illinois, died suddenly in the old homeland. About 400 people came to the OG Oberstuben meets in Satow near Rostock on May 21.
May 28-29. 29th biannual convention in Karlsruhe. The opening speech was by Dr. Milan Čič, former prime minister and now head of the chancellery of president, who spoke nicely on Carpathian German history, and noted the need for Slovaks to acknowledge the “tragedy and suffering done against Carpathian Germans.” In his letter, president Gasparovic, also spoke of the innocent victims, but declared that this was a consequence of wartime decisions by others, and so Slovakia could do nothing to change that. The KDL board of officers then supinely issued a resolution praising the Slovak attitude—not mentioning once the outstanding bleeding wound, that the Benes decrees remain in full force in Slovakia! True, the past cannot be changed-- but the consequences that continue today can! There is nothing to prevent the Slovak government from including Germans and Magyars in the restitution process. Moving was the farewell letter by Imrich Kruzliak, from the Slovak exile community, with whom the KDL cooperated in the decades after 1945. The Slovak exile community has dissolved, now that Slovakia is free.
June 15-16 The 10th annual Carpathian German cultural festival in Kesmark, with among else a session with 6 Slovak historians (incl. 1 Carpathian German, Dr. Michael Schwarc). Both the Austrian and German ambassadors attended, as did representatives of the Slovak government.
June 17-19. 67 Carpathian Germans, incl. Julius Loisch (USA), attended the 6th memorial service in Prerau, where 267 Zipser, incl. 78 children, were murdered by Czech troops in the night of June 17. The Czech mayor, Jindrich Valouch, and local school director Dr. Frantisek Hybl, organized a moving ceremony that is so different from the official Czech attitude towards the former German population.
July? About 160 people at 8th annual meeting of the Klein-Lomnitzer
August 20. About 140 people came to the Blaufuss reunion in Dargun/BRD.
August. The 11th German language camp, org. by OG Metzenseifen, was a success. Ten volunteers (teachers and students) from Germany immersed playfully 40 children into the German language.
September. After an interruption of 60 years, a German high school exists again in Pressburg/Bratislava, in fact in the very building of the former one. The Deutsch-Slowakische Begegnungsschule, Palisady 51, 81103 Bratislava has leased the building of the former Neues Lyzeum (Deutsches Staatliches Lenard Gymnasium). The curriculum is based on that of Baden-Wuerttemberg in Germany and Slovakia, so its HS diploma will allow to study in Slovakia or any German country (as Switzerland, Austria and the BRD accept each other’s diploma). For legal reasons, parents must become members of the German School Society which is the legal sponsor of the school. The school receives no subsidy from the Slovak state, hence tuition is not cheap: 168,000 Kronen (around US-$4,800) p.a. for the school, 84,000 (around $2,400) for the Kindergarten, though this includes caring for the children from 7AM to 5:30PM, very useful for working parents. The school opened with 40 children. The parents are not local Germans, but businessmen transferred to Pressburg, who so far did not take their children with as there was no German school. The school therefore receives support from the local Daimler-Chrysler, Siemens and other company branches. For more details, see Heimatblatt Sept/Oct, S. 6; Nov-Dez, S.9-10, and their website at Deutsche Schule Bratislava
Sept. 24-25. About 50 people attended the Heimattreffen St Georgen in St Georgen. German ambassador Dr. Tebesch, Slovak Lutheran General Bishop Julius Filo, mayor Dr. Alexander Achberger spoke. Rev. Lubomir Battka spoke in fluent German, as did bishop Filo, and prayed for all victims, noting the suffering of the former native German population of this village [but does the Slovak public ever hear of this]?
September 24/25. Exiles from the Bodwa Valley met for the 18th time in Hersbruck, Germany. September 25. The Kuneshhauer met in Esslingen near Stuttgart.
October 22-23. There was a joint HiBu/HiKo cultural meeting in Stuttgart-Hohenheim. Among the speakers was the new Slovak ambassador to Germany, Ivan Korcok.
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