The Carpathian Germans were a small German people living in the territory of today's Slovakia from the 12th century to 1945, when they suffered genocide. This are the current doings, of the people I come from. This page is provided as a private volunteer public service, and does not represent the official opinions of the Carpathian German Landsmannschaft.

Dr. Thomas Reimer 5/24/2009

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Back to the Events 1999-2000


CARPATHIAN GERMAN EVENTS

2004, 2003
2002, 2001, 2000
1999, 1998, 1997


Events 2004

October 2004. The Karpatendeutsche Stiftung (Carpathian German Foundation) has been officially registered. The aim is to create a fund whose interest will support the Carpathian German museum in Karlsruhe and finance exhibits on Carpathian German history and culture. If enough money is available, the museum can be turned into a research center, with at least one salaried employee (part-time first), to help researchers worldwide, and prepare material for the Internet. It seems that 200,000 Euro are needed for that, of which 85,000 are already pledged. Donations can be sent to the KDL in Stuttgart, with a note that this is for the Stiftung. I usually send money in cash, registered. Its a good way to honor your ancestors for the Carpathian German Museum will ensure that their history is not forgotten.

Pater Julius Gross celebrated his 80th birthday, with classmates from schooldays in Pressburg, incl. from Tel Aviv.

Oskar Marczy celebrated his 80th birthday. He received among else the Presidential Honor Medal 2nd class from Slovak president Rudolf Schuster.

The biographical dictionary of Carpathian German ministers, editor Rev. Andreas Metzl, is now available from the KDL in Stuttgart.

Throughout the Year. Despite the continuing sting of the Benes-Decrees, Carpathian German survivors and their descendants continue to help the parishes they came from, though few have Carpathian German members today. How many people would support those that persecute them? These now Slovak churches rarely call for the abolition of the Benes-decrees that legally discriminate Carpathian Germans even today, though otherwise are happy to mooch from Carpathian Germans. Among the donations reported by the Karpatenpost were for 2004:

Catholic church in Unterturz/Hauerland: so far 19,000 DM in 4 campaigns (Mai 2004, p. 4)
Ev.-Luth. Church in Einsiedel (Zips): 5,100 Euro (Mr 2004, p. 7; Sept. 2004, p. 8)
Ev.-Luth. Church in Oberufer/Pressburg: 490 Euro (Sept. 2004, p. 8)
Ev.-Luth. Church in Schwedler/Unter Zips: 2,060 Euro ( Sept 2004, p. 8)
Ev.-Luth. Church in Zipser Bela: 3,120 Euro (Fb 2004, p. 6; May, p. 8; Aug., p. 6; Sept., p. 8)


Events 2003

Throughout the year. Donations to Slovak parishes:
Catholic church in Oberstuben: 3100 Euro (Nov. 2003, p. 6)

2003/09/10. Anton Zauner, b. 1908 in Deutsch-Mokra in the Karpato-Ukraine, celebrated his 95th birthday in Gaildorf. He was the foremost historian of the little German group living in the Tereschwa-Valley from the late 18th century to 1945, with a few survivors still living there.

2003/09. A Carpathian German was elected to the Bavarian Landtag (state assembly). Josef Zellmeier, who father is Bavarian, and whose mother Sofie Rosenberger was born in Pressburg, was himself born in 1964. He is aktive in the KDL in Bavaria and since 2002 vice-chairman of the Bavarian branch. In the interview, he noted the internment of his grandparents and 11-year old mother in the KZ Engerau 1945-1946. Luckily they survived it, till expelled to Germany.

2003/07. In a letter to the Karpatenpost, Dr. James Paulding, USA, notes that it was morally wrong to let the Czech Republic into the EU and NATO without acknowledgement of the murder of close to 300,000 Sudeten and Carpathian Germans.

2003/06/03. Rev. Eduard Drgala, b. 1910 in Gruenau near Pressburg, minister in Ratzersdorf from 1942 to 1945, died.

2003/06/02. Anna-Maria Bugsch died in Ludwigsburg. Born in Felka in 1914, she was a teacher at the German ev.-luth. Gymnasium in Kesmark from 1941 to 1944. In September 1944, when German children were evacuated from the Zips to prevent their murder by Communist and Beneshist guerillas, she was one of the 6 teachers who led 120 students (from the 1st to the 6th class, which would be from 5th to 10th grade in the USA) on trucks to safely first North to Zakopane, then by train to Rossatz/Austria, and when fighting reached that area, on April 7, 1945 on a abandonned barge along the Danube river to Niederalteich in Bavaria, where they were safe. It took 10 days! After a few days, the local German army ordered to blow up the barge. The children and their teachers then camped in makeshift huts till April 27, when they were allowed to live in the gym of the local monastery. From April 7 to 27, they had not eaten warm food. School started again on May 9. She taught the fearful, hungry and homesick children until the last were reclaimed by their parents in Fall 1947. What a dedication, an example to all teachers. Many details were not included in the obituary, but added from the history of the German Ev.-Luth. Gymnasium.

2003/05/30-31. The 28th biannual Bundestreffen in Karlsruhe had as hosts Heribert Rech, State Secretary in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. Rech comes from a deported ethnic German family and works hard to preserve some funding for all expellees organizations in his state. Other guests of honor were Erika Steinbach, president of the BDV, local mayor Fenrich, etc. There were several mid-level slovak officials, and Carpathian German dance and song groups from Germany and Slovakia. A total of 130 Carpathian Germans from Slovakia came.

2003/05/08. The Kulturfest in Kesmark highlighted again Carpathian German culture. Nice was that the Austrian ambassador was there, for when Carpathian Germans lived unmolested, Austrians had been Germans. After 1945 they denied this, and did little for their former countrymen, with whom they had even shared ethnicity and citizenship in the Austro-Hungarian empire. 2003/03/04 Rev. Alois Drienko, from Kuneschhau, celebrated his 80th birthday in Bad Stuben (Turcianske Teplice). He studied for the Catholic priesthood during World War II. His father was among the 63 men from Kuneschhau who were taken by partisans on Sept. 21, 1944 and murdered in cold blood. His family was evacuated to the Sudetenland in Jan. 1945 and later came to Germany. He stayed in Slovakia, however, and worked as a priest till his retirement.

2003/02/22KDL Austria. After 17 years at the helm, Dr. Josef Derx was unable to continue for health reasons and was succeeded by Hannes Rest, b. 1925 Pressburg as son of Ludwig and Franziska Rest, who owned a deli in the Gaertnergasse in Pressburg-Rosenheim. All the other officers (Vorstandsmitglieder) were reelected. Dr. Derx has done much to keep the KDL alive, and courageously refused to brush the continuing scandal of the Benes-decrees under the carpet, as the politically correct leadership of Germany and Austria would want.

2003/02/22 KDV General Meeting. At a general meeting of the KDV, Dr. Ondrej Poess, the head of the Carpathian German Museum in Pressburg, was elected the new chairman of the KDV. He succeeds Bartholomej Eiben. Dr. Poess, born 1950 in Krickerhau because his father was kept as coal-miner, is an excellent supporter of Carpathian German culture. But a worry is whether, as civil servant, he will be restrained from pursuing energetically matters that irk slovak nationalists, such as better schools for Carpathian German children, and especially the continuing sore of the 1945 Benes-decrees that dehumanized Carpathian Germans and legalized their massacre, incl. that of women and children, and which are still law in Slovakia.

2003/02/14 Maria Wodnik-Elischer, born Richter, born 1901 in Zeche, since 1946 living Bavaria, celebrated her 102nd birthday.

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Events 2002

2002/11/8-10 the Hilfskommittee der evangelischen Karpatendeutschen (HiKo), had its annual Kulturtagung, or cultural convention. As Karpatenpost (January 2003, p. 7) reported, among the guests were bishop Julius Filo, the head of the lutheran church in Slovakia, who also spoke on the state of religion there. Among the reports was one that struck me. Dr. Emmerich Streck, the temporal leader of the HiKo--Rev. Metzl being the spiritual leader--reported that in 2002, the HiKo had distributed to Slovakia, besides 10,000 DM to individuals (mainly old Carpathian Germans, who are more poor than Slovaks, since their homes were confiscated, note from Webmeister), to Slovak (since 1945) lutheran parishes: Hunsdorf 11,000 DM, Schwedler (Svedlar) 2,200 DM, Zipser Bela 611 DM, Wallendorf 531 DM, Goellnitz 2,500 Euro, and Gross-Schlagendorf 4,000 Euro. In the issue of March, were further collected by individuals through the HiKo Euro 250 for Dobschau, and US-$ 100 plus Euro 1170 for Gross-Schlagendorf, Euro 300 for Zipser Bela. And more donations continue.... Now so often we hear that Carpathian Germans and Slovaks get along well. But there is in Slovakia one issue that poisons all such feelings--the continued existence of the Benes-Decrees. How many Jews would reconcile with the people of Germany if anti-Jewish decrees by Hitler were still on the books, and even defended (though not applied) by the current government? But in Slovakia, the leaders of the Slovak political parties do exactly that! Could the churches, which are supposed to stand for truth and humanity, speak out against the Benes decrees--especially as they are quite happy to take the mullah of the very people in whose homes their present parishioners now live?

2002/05/17 Karpatendeutsches Kulturwerk. Ernst Hochberger passed the baton as chairman to Dr. Jörg Meier. While most of the officers remain of Carpathian German birth or ancestry, Dr. Meier is not, and the number of non-Carpathian Germans is increasing. I have some concerns that while they certainly know the field, they do not have the same tender love and concern one has when one's own blood is concerned. Join the Kulturwerk! There are about 150 members, and it is a worthwhile cause. The membership is cheap, Euro 20/year (US $20). As Americans cannot use a bank transfer for the dues, just send them as money order (I bundle dues for 3 years each time) or cash by registered mail.

2002/04/17Desider Alexy Preis. See Desider Alexy Prize page. 2002/04/11 Rev. Andreas Metzl, from Pressburg-Karldorf, spiritual chairman of the HiKo (there is always a worldly and a spiritual chair), celebrated his 70th birthday.

2002/01/01HOPGARTEN in 2002. Peter Recktenwald, chair of the OG Hopgarten, reported in the Karpatenblatt on the state of Carpathian German life in the village. In 1997, it had 165 members, and now 215. Two empty rooms in the Meeting House (Haus der Begegnung) have been renovated, with 237,000 Skr donated by the Oesterreichische Landsmannschaft (which is the Austrian counterpart of the Verein fuer das Deutschtum im Ausland). The OG was able to do several other projects as well, working on its own. As one can see, support for our countrymen at home does help them perpetuate (or at least have a fighting chance to do so) our ancestral culture.


Events 2001

2001/10/31 The preliminary census report is available. Alas, only 5405 people declared their Carpathian German ethnicity. This is quite likely too low, yet this will be the legally binding number, deciding on how much state support Carpathian Germans will get, for the next 10 years until the next census. As Stefan Stempel noted in the Karpatenblatt (December 2002, p. 8), in Dobschau, only 16 people admitted German ethnicity, while the local KDV has 80 members! Any Carpathian German in Slovakia who felt "streetwise" on Census day has no way to make up for that step, which quite literally stabs in the back his people's struggle for justice.

Events 2001

2001/09/30Dr. Josef Gambrinus, from Pressburg, died in Danderyd/Sweden, 92 years old. In a last contribution before his death for the Heimatblatt (Vienna) he wrote "Although I live since many years in Sweden, there is no week in which I do not long for Pressburg...." (Heimatblatt, Nov/Dez 2001, p. 5). My Omi (who died in August 2001, 90 years old, also felt that way. Let us not forget the raw pain that ethnic cleansing creates.

2001/06/01-02. 27th Convention. The 27th bi-annual convention of the KDL in Germany will be held as usual in Karlsruhe. There will be traditional dances, etc. Among the participants at the public discussion about Carpathian German culture past and present are Prof. Joerg Meier, of Bochum University, and Dr. Milan Ftacnik, the slovak Minister of Education. Those who can go should, for, as Oskar Marczy observes in the Karpatenpost, how many more times will there be a convention? At the KDL headquarters in Stuttgart, Mrs Langanke retired in December, and was succeeded by Andrea Suss and Ingrid Kolb. Since the KDL is totally understaffed, do not feel upset when correspondence etc takes a little longer. Always remember to include postage! (From the US, $2 in bills will do).

2001/05/26-06/04. The first Slovak census since 1991 wil be held from May 26 to June 4th. As in the US, government support for minority cultural activities depends on numbers. In 1991, a large number of Carpathian Germans did not dare declare their ethnicity, frightened by 50 years of oppression. Hopefully, this time, they will not hide.

2001/03/24 The Arbeitskreis Johannesberg (an AK is constituted by less members than an Ortsgemeinschaft, or OG, village community). held its last meeting, and then dissolved. The last witness of ethnic cleansing became too old, and no younger people were willing to replace them. Probably, in the next few years, more village Landsmannschaften, whether AKs or OGs, will follow.

2001/03/24. The Carpathian German historian Joerg Hoensch died, 65 years old at the eve of retirement. Born in Freudenthal/Moravia into a family from the Upper Zips, he taught since 1972 at the University of the Saarland in Saarbruecken. In his works about Slovakia, Prof. Hoentsch followed all too often the rule, when in doubt, blame the Germans. He also associated with Ferdinand Seibt of the Collegium Carolinum, who has tried to revise through creative accounting the number of Germans killed in 1945-46 under the Benesch-decrees from 250,000-300,000 down to 40,000. ( For details about that brand of revisionism, see Fritz-Peter Habel's critique on the history page).

2001/03/07 VDA Prize to KDV. The over 125-year old VDA (Verein fuer das Deutschtum im Ausland) awarded its 2001 Prize of 50,000 DM (about $22,000) to the Karpatendeutscher Verein in Slovakia. Present at the award ceremony was Rudolf Schuster, president of the Slovak Republic. He spoke but studiously avoided mentionning the Benesch-decrees. However, Bartolomaeus Eiben, the chair of the KDV, reminded the audience of the pain these unjust and racist laws still caused.


Events 2000

2000/11/25-26 IKEJA leaves KDV. IKEJA, the youth organization of the KDV in Slovakia, became formally independent of the KDV. The new IKEJA chair is Josef Herbulak. From the Carpathian German publications, one gathers that the rift was caused by the kind of intergenerational bickering common to all organizations, ethnic and otherwise. However, the Carpathian German minority in Slovakia is very small, and one can only hope that this rift will not have unforeseen but deadly consequences for the survival of our little group.

2000/10/28-29. Carpathian German meeting, this year at the United German-Hungarian Club, 4666 Bristol Road (c. Bristol & Spruce) in Oakford near Philadelphia. Elections of the board of trustees, then socializing, folk-dancing, dinner, prayers by Rev. Schweitzer from St Immanuel's, (whose father is from Eisdorf/Zips, like my Opa), a raffle and an exhibit. On Sunday, common breakfast, and more socializing. A very nice atmosphere, even for teenagers.

2000/08/25-27. Second Carpathian German Day in Pressburg/Bratislava to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the KDV, which has grown to 4,342 members in 36 local branches. About 800 Carpathian Germans from Slovakia, Germany and Austria came. The Slovak government, and the German and Austrian embassies were represented. As Oskar Marczy noted, the chances for survival of our little group are not too bad, all things considered. During a recent visit by President Schuster in Stuttgart, Marczy and other KDL officers spoke with him about the Benes-decrees. Schuster was friendly but stated nothing could be done.

2000/06/17. The Carpathian German Cultural Museum in Karlsruhe/Germany opened an exhibit focusing on two Carpathian German artists, Hans Weiss and Andreas Antony. Weiss, born in 1931 in Malthern/Zips, was deported in 1945 and ended in Manchester, CT. He created a company making specialized electronic parts, including for NASA, the Dynamic Metals Product Company. After retiring in 1989, he focuses on painting, often dwelling on memories from home. Antony was born 1947 in Goellnitz. His family remained, and in 1994 he was able to receive the abandonned plant of the furniture metal-parts manufacture founded by his great-grandfather in 1868. It had been confiscated in 1945 and closed in 1975. Production has resumed. The exhibit of 60 paintings of was a success.

2000/02. The Numbers Game. The Statistical Office of the Slovak Republik released a short time ago updated population data, based on births, deaths etc. in the absence of a comprehensive census. Officially, 5,413 citizens are registered as ethnic Germans, though the KDV members, knowing their more cautious friends and relatives, estimates that 10-15,000 Carpathian Germans live in Slovakia. There are families in which some siblings have registered as Slovaks, and others as Germans. This number undercounts a substantial number of people, e.g. in the village of Hopgarten/Chmelnica in the Northern Zips, which, with one of the most thriving KDV branches. The distribution of registered Germans may be of interest. The following numbers are per district:

Pressburg/Bratislava: 1,384
Hauerland:
Heiligenkreuz/Ziad nad Hronom: 295
Preschau/Presov: 465 (with 134 in Handlova/Krickerhau, Gaidel/Klac^no 58, Zeche/Malinova 113, Deutsch-Proben/Nitrianske Pravno 137, and Schmiedshau/Tuzina with 89)
Trentschin/Trenc^in: 787 (with most, 682, in Priwitz/Prievidza)
Sillein/Zilina: 473 (with 290 in Bad Stuben/Turc^ianske Teplice)
Neusohl/Banska Bistrica: 443
Zips: Kaschau/Kos"ice 1558.

2000/02. The 3 newsletters of the Landsmannschaft gave some useful statistical information. In Germany, the loss of the sole KDL Kulturreferent (see below) and of any support from the Federal government threatens the survival of the KDL this very year. The budget needs are about DM 200,000, or $130,000, because the KDL also does social and advocacy work for Carpathian Germans in need. Not all members seems to have recognized the seriousness of the situation--even the sale of the benefit pure silver medals, a wonderful gift for grandchildren, has lagged below expectations. They cost only $30, and include an informative booklet. Buy them today from the KDL in Stuttgart! In Austria, the KDL-Oe continues to publish its 1800 copy-Heimatblatt, basically a historical journal, with an overall budget of 480,000 Schilling (or $40,000, half of which is used for the Heimatblatt), coming from dues and donations.

In Slovakia, the KDL celebrated its 10th anniversary. After 54 years without legal rights and under state sponsored hate-propaganda, the small surviving German minority was allowed to regroup and also accept help and support from its exiled members in the West. Yet it is very small and without much support from the world community, not even from Germany and Austria, and therefore at the mercy of the good will of the Slovak government. After noticing that even the latter two governments are scarcely interested in human rights for minorities if they are from their own people, the Slovak government does sometimes slack in healing the wounds from the past, not only in regards to the Benesch-decrees, but also matters involving the survival of the small remaining minority (though its attitude is incomparably better than that of the neo-Beneschist regime in Prague against the 50,000 surviving local Sudeten- and Prague Germans). In Pressburg, the only German Kindergarten, vital for a young generation whose parents were forbidden to learn their own language and scarcely known it, remains closed by obtuse bureaucrats! Despite all, 4,200 people have joined the KDL in Slovakia, support the Karpatenblatt, the 6 bilingual secondary schools and the 7 cultural centers, and even got a few hundred of their grandchildren to join the youth group IKEJA, which for young people required courage and fortitude against political correctness. There is every year a great deal of improvement in learning again the mother tongue. And fun, too, as the round of German-style Carneval (Fasching) fests in January and February showed--such as the 5th Zipserdeutsche Karneval in Deutschendorf/Poprad, featured in the Febr. issue of the Karpatenblatt, and whose theme revived the memories of the German Carnevals celebrated in Slovakia from the Middle Ages to 1944. And, as in the United States, ethnic foods attract interest. A series of cooking lessons from the old Omas to the young people in IKEJA has been very successful, using cooking Carpathian German dishes to talk about life before the Vertreibung, and transmitting ethnic pride in a proud heritage.

2000/02. Several people who did much for the preservation of Carpathian German culture are retiring. Gertrud Greser,leader of the KDL in Slovakia, is succeeded by Bartholomaeus Eiben, a vocational school teacher from Metzenseifen, Gabriele Kintzler, chief editor of the Karpatenblatt since 1994, after founder Julius Kiss died, by Vladimir Majovsky, IKEJA chair Eduard Buras" by Ingrid C^urnek from the Bodwa Valley. One immediate task is to deal with the cut in the subvention from the Slovak Republic from 2.1 Million Crowns (about $45,000) to 1.72 Million (about $37,800).
In Germany, Dr. Victor Munteanu, the sole cultural worker of the KDL, paid since 1991 by a grant from the German government to work on preserving Carpathian German culture and with the social needs of Carpathian Germans in Germany and Slovakia, fell victim to the policies of the new leftist-green government. Thoroughly reeducated, these "new Germans" feel uncomfortable when encountering victims of genocide who happen to be German. Many such grants were up for renewal in 1999, and the new government showed how much it cared for its people by cancelling every single one of them for Germans from the East. Larger Landsmannschaften can collect enough money to pay some staff. For small Landsmannschaften, this may be a mortal blow.

2000/01/14. Some Carpathian Germans achieve biblical ages. In Deutschendorf (Poprad)-Felka, Wilma Schlepek, born Achaz, celebrated her 104th birthday with her family and the local KDV. In Weil am Rhein, Theresia Edlinger, ethnically cleansed in 1945 from her native Pressburg, celebrated her 100th birthday.


Events 1999

1999/11/15. Dr. Robert Loisch, born in Gross-Schlagendorf (today Velky Slavkov) in the Zips, was made a honorary citizen of Kezmark (today Kesmarok) to thank him for his work for the renovation of many Carpathian German churches an monuments, such as the Alfred Grosz-Park, in the Kezmark area.

1999/11-12. The deported Carpathian Germans donate a lot to support the churches in the old home that now serve other ethnic groups which took them over according to the Benesch-Decrees. Hopefully today's young Slovaks appreciate that effort (Carpathian Germans as a group are not wealthy), but also understand how much Christian love such support takes as long as the Slovak Republic does not abolish these postwar decrees which made, and still legally make, Carpathian Germans into 2nd class citizens. Just as examples, mentionned in the Karpatenpost of January 2000, for the renovation of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Krickerhau/Handlova, exiled Germans collected DM 34,000, and for the church in Unterturz DM 19,850.

1999/06/24-26. The 4th annual Carpathian German Festival in Kesmark. About 500 people performed. There were singers and dancers from the German minority of Kischinew (Moldavia), Lemberg (Ukraine), Reschitz (Rumania), Deutschnogen (South Tyrol), Germans from the Federal Republic, and a brass band from the Slovak minority in Nadlak (Rumania). Local groups came from Zeche, the Oberzips, Kaschau, and, as hopeful sign for the future, the children's song group Strahl (Ray) from Deutschendorf (Poprad). There were 3 groups from the Croatian minority in Slovakia, while the children group Goralik from Kesmark represented the Slovak people. Several Slovak ministries sent delegations, as did the embassies of Germany, Croatia, Hungary, Ukraine and the European Union. The songfest included an exposition of paintings by Carpathian German artists. Though, because the fest has lost its novelty--its the 4th time already--the public was a bit less dense than at the first two, its organization and planning are to the credit of the KDV and especially its cultural leader Eduard Burasch.

Kesmark is a small city of about 20,000 people, with few decent hotels, and info is tough to get. A few years ago, my mother stayed at the pretty resort of Alt-Schmecks (Stare Smokovy), and commuted. Just for info, there is the Club Hotel, run by Janka and Georg (Juraj) Gantner, Namestie Dr. Alexandra # 24, SK-06001 Kez^marok, phone 00421/968/524051, FAX 00421/968/524053. A good person to contact is Adalbert (Vojtech) Wagner, city councilman and chairman of the area Carpathian German Society (KDV). Office at Priekopa 2, Kesmark, tel/fax 421/968/522389. The city has a small english website

1999/06/15. Alfred Marnau, born 20 April 1918 Pressburg, died in London 15 June. Marnau, a great Carpathian German writer and poet, moved in 1938 to London. As noted in his obituaries in the Karpatenblatt, the Karpatenpost, the Heimatblatt and the Karpatenjahrbuch, towards the end of his life he connected again with his people. His only daughter Corinna, born in 1956, a Catholic nun in France, writes her poetry in French, and not at all in German. May he rest in peace.

1999/06. It is the 85th anniversary of the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Serb secret agents, which led the European great powers to fall upon each other. Then, it is the 80th anniversary of the notorious Treaty of Versailles, which, together with the other Parisian treaties (Sevres, Trianon), parachieved the catastrophe and destroyed European comity for two generations. The Wilson administration, whose gratuitous intervention into the war precluded a peace of exhaustion between both sides in 1917 (see Winston Churchill statements in 1936, for instance), bears a heavy responsability for the rise of Adolf Hitler, Eduard Benesch, and the host of butchers, large and small, on both sides.

1999/06/06. The evangelical-lutheran Church in Dobschau (Dobs"ina) will hold a special service in German to honor those who participated in the last confirmation held in German there 55 years ago, and soon after lost their homeland.

1999/06/04-05. Carpathian German convention in Karlsruhe/Germany, with representatives of all three Landsmannschaften. Among the guests of honor were Dr. Straub, president of the state legislature of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Milan Gasik, State Secretary of the Slovak Ministry for Culture, Pavel Hrus^ovsky, vice-president of the Slovak parliament, Jan Foltin, ambassador of Slovakia in Germany, and many others. In his speech, Mr. Hrus^ovsky promised that the new Slovak Republic won't follow the example of the Czechs in interwar Czechoslovakia, but will respect its minorities. The attendance of so many high-ranking Slovaks alone shows this respect --so far, the Czech government ignores itss Sudeten German victims and countrymen.
Unfortunately, attendance was weaker than before. But so many Carpathian Germans are getting very old. Many have died as well in the past years. A novelty was the sale of a pretty pure SILVER MEDAL to commemorate the 50. anniversary of the KDL. It costs DM 50 plus postage (send $40), the surplus helps KDL. This is really needed. E.g., the convention received a grant from the new SPD government in Germany of 15000 DM ($9000), less than half of what the old CDU government had contributed in 1997 and earlier years. To order the medal, send your order (with money-order, not check) to the KDV in Stuttgart.

1999/05/30. Rudolf Schuster, the Carpathian German mayor of Kaschau (Kosic"e), was elected President of Slovakia with 57% of the popular vote in the second round. Since his youth, Schuster was member of the Communist Party. Despite constant suspicions about his ethnic background in the very nationalistic CSSR, Schuster had a good career under a regime that was, until 1953 when Stalin died, as evil as the Third Reich after 1940, and after that still totalitarian. His ethical background is marred, and he is not known to have shown any closeness to his people. To what extent his election will help bring justice to the forlorn Carpathian Germans (abrogation of the Benesch-Decrees, restitution of property at least to the 6000 still living in Slovakia), will have to be seen, since the position of the new Dzurinda government and the old Meciar government are not different in this respect. In his post-election interview in the German daily Die Welt of 5/30/1999, Schuster soulfully called the Benesch-decrees "grausam und ungerecht," (cruel and unjust), but then stated that they could not be voided in Slovakia "until the generation that suffered them is gone." (who is to get justice, then?), and, anyway, Slovakia must follow the Czech Republic in this. What cynicism! Is Slovakia not independent? Can't it repair a Czech-created injustice, the way mature civilized societies are supposed to do, especially when they want to join the European Union. At the same time, the Dzurinda government keeps pressing for "reparations" for Slovak suffering in World War II, forgetting that the Slovak Republic was a voluntary ally (there was not one contrary vote in the Slovak parliament in 1939) of Germany then. Dzurinda and Schuster's arguments not only seem morally oblique, but also show how 55 years of national-czech and communist propaganda have twisted historical memories.

1999/05/22. Germans from the Theresienthal in the Karpato-Ukraine met in Gaildorf, and even old Anton Zauner was able to attend. The area also receives help from Carpathian Germans in general. Those living in Bavaria collected a.e. DM 3,000 ($2,000) for the struggling German Department at the University of Uzhorod, whose members, like Dr. George Melika, work hard to save local Carpathian German culture.

1999/03/??. It seems that the Slovak government either closed the sole German kindergarten in Pressburg, or at the very least closed the building it used. (The news from Karpatenblatt 4/99 is a tad ambigous). Remember to support our schools. Once gone, there will no Carpathian Germans left in a few years.

. 1999/03/27. At the annual Easter meeting of JEV, the youth organization of the KDV, the IKEJA, was made a regular member (in Easter 1996, it applied, and in 1998 became a probationary member). This means IKEJA will now meet and work closely with other German and non-German minority groups in Europe. The Easter Seminar 2001 will be hosted by IKEJA. New probationary members are the Jugendring of the Germans from Russia and the Youth Society of Burgenland Croats (Austria).

. 1999/03/20. Otto von Habsburg, oldest son of the last Emperor-King of Austria-Hungary and senior member of the European Parliament, visited Kaschau ot the invitation of mayor Rudolf Schuster, a Carpathian German. Many Carpathian Germans turned up to honor a great Humanist, a fighter for a peaceful Europe, and the symbol of a time before, in the wake of the evil and absurd treaties of Versailles and other Parisian suburbs which purported to end World War I, the continent exploded in hatred.

1999/02/03. After visiting Slovakia, a delegation from the German Bundestag led by vice-speaker Dr. Rudolf Seiters met with Carpathian German leaders, notably Gertrud Greser, in Pressburg. The meeting was polite and perhaps will lead to continued support for Carpathian German schools.


Events 1998

1998/12/30. 120th anniversary of the Carpathian German writer Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer, (1878-1962). He wrote mainly historical novels praising heroes who, guided by an inner conviction, went against the prejudices of a corrupt and dumb society. The most famous are Amor Dei, praising the Jewish-born 17th-century rationalist philosopher Baruch Spinoza, and Paracelsus about a heroic 16th century Swiss-German physician. His praise of lone heroes, coupled with his strong defense of equal rights for Germans in pre-World War II Czechoslovakia, led, predictably, after the war to charges of "Nazism" by those for whom human rights are not indivisible, but can be denied to politically incorrect groups. Recently (Fall 1999), the street name below was changed after a defamation campaign. Anyhow, a brave group still cares for his memory and sells his works:
Kolbenheyer Gesellschaft, e.V.
Kolbenheyer Strasse 28 (old name, but the letters will arrive)
D-82538 Geretsried/Muenchen
Germany

1998/12/04. Replying to a right-wing deputy, the new prime-minister Mikulas Dzurinda stated that though a Magyar party is part of the new governmental coalition, there is no plan to void the Benesch-decrees which dehumanized ethnic Germans and Magyars after the war, and are still valid laws. (This news item was courtesy of, Slovak News, a good English-language news site). This is a disappointment for all who hope that the new Slovak government will be beholden to human rights. But there is hope, too. On Oct. 13, the United States House of Representatives passed resolution H. Res. 562, urging East European states to redress such torts, not only for Jewish victims of the Holocaust, but for other victims of collective injustice, too. Perhaps this will help to make Czech and Slovak governments see the light.

1998/11/18. The Landsmannschaft Ostpreussen, which gathers the deported German population of East Prussia,reported that Lithuania has followed the example of Estonia and offered native Germans their property back if they accept Lithuanian citizenship(for, as in most East European countries, only citizens can own land). A bold gesture for decency, to heal a great injustice, that the Czech Republic and Slovakia should think about.

1998/11/13. At the Euro-University Viadrina, in Frankfurt/Oder, the Jewish-Hungarian philosopher György Konrad spoke on "Ethnic Cleansings in Europe." Konrad reminded that 40-50 million people were deported by several powers from their homelands in this century because of their ethnicity. He stressed that all people had a God-given right to live in their homelands. Breaking with political correctness, Konrad stressed that Nazi crimes against innocents did not excuse similar crimes against innocent Germans, for "The deed is the same, only the perpetrators and their victims change." In his list of victimized ethnic groups, he specifically mentionned the Zipser Saxons. (From Ostpreussenblatt, 5 Dec. 1998).

1998/11/01. In the October and November issues of Karpatenpost, speaker Oscar Marczy asked Carpathian Germans worldwide to think about setting up support groups for the dozen German schools in Slovakia. Owing to the desperate general economic situation, they often lack basic supplies for the first post-1945 generation of Carpathian German children allowed to speak and learn in their mother tongue. He asked that each Ortsgemeinschaft, (people from a given village in Slovakia) create a school fund for the German schools in their home areas, and to collect and distribute $600-1000 per annum per school. This would go far in helping to assure the survival of German as spoken language among Carpathian Germans in Slovakia. This philanthropic activity would also create additional bonds between people of Carpathian German ancestry abroad and the last of our people at home. HELP NOW! If you tarry, in ten years, there may be little left to support.

1998/10/24-25 Philadelphia, USA. Meeting of the Carpathian German Landsmannschaft in USA, at the United German Hungarian Club. About 170 adults and children watched videos in English on Carpathian German life, talked, heard the Annual Report of the board of trustees, watched dances and enjoyed a raffle. At each meeting, there are kids. So, as long as they are old enough not to scream during prayers, bring them along. They'll have playmates, and will see that they are not the only kids with roots in that little corner of the world.

1998/10/11. Vaz^ek, Slovakia. The 5th cemetery for German soldiers who died in World War II was inaugurated. Present were a high official from the Slovak Interior Ministry, the German ambassador Ludger Buerstedde, and lieutenant-general Jan Husak, bishop Midriak (Lutheran), Tondra (Catholic), and local dignitaries, members of the KDV and of families from Germany and Austria whose loved ones lie among the 6,000 reburied here. A Slovak military band played dirges. All speeches stressed reconciliation from the European Civil War, and in that spirit the delegations also honored the Soviet soldiers buried in another cemetery, and civilian victims of both buried in the Vaz^ek village cemetary. The 6th German military cemetery will be inaugurated near Pressburg in 2000.

1998/10/10. Oberwarth/Felka. The former village, now part of Deutschendorf/Poprad, celebrated the 730th anniversary of its first mention in a written document, from 1268. The Carpathian German founders, who shaped the village for so long, were mentionned, notably in the exposition of local charters and books, and the exposition of past prominent citizens in the local grade school.

1998/10/02. Deutschendorf/Poprad. The 4th Cultural Fest of the Zipser Germans went very well. Slovak students from the local high school listened to Carpathian German survivors tell of the horrors of war and deportation, and the long years of oppression for those who remained in Slovakia. The Podtatranske Muzeum showed the items from daily life in the former German villages. Historian-Archivist Ivan Chalupecky and KDV Cultural Referent Eduard Buras" worked particularily for the historical part of that day. Noteworthy was the presence of a delegation from the Slovak minority in Szarvas/Hungary. Its priestess, Rev. Alzbeta Nobikova, ended her sermon with "The words on this pulpit are written in German, the words on this frock are written in Slovak, and this [mutual tolerance] is the best that tied together in God the nations living in Poprad in the past centuries." A mere decade ago, she might have been arrested by Czech police for saying that.

1998/09/10. Deutsch-Proben/Nitrianske Pravno. The official inauguration of the cemetary and monument (financed by the exiled Deutsch-Probener), for the 96 local Germans killed during World War II, (44 murdered in September 1944 by Czech-nationalist and Communist partisans, 29 who died in the German and Slovak armies fighting the Communists, 2 who fell fighting for the Communists, 2 killed in Nazi KZ's, 19 killed during the Vertreibung). The monument lists their names, and a German/Slovak farewell. Their souls rest in peace.

1998/06/25-29. Kesmark (Kez"marok). Third Carpathian German Cultural Festival. Nine of our dance groups, plus the German groups Kranz from Osijek/Esseg (Croatia), Loewey from Pecs/Fuenfkirchen in Hungary, Veilchen from Moscow (Russia), groups from Wesen and Wolkenstein, (South Tyrol), Carpathian German groups from the Federal Republics of Germany and Austria, danced.

1998/May. The German Cultural Center(Haus der Begegnung) in Schwedler/Svedlar, a formerly German small city in Unterzips, was inaugurated. The building is the former German Lutheran School. Building & most of the renovation funds were provided by Germany and the Slovak Republic. But the renovation suddenly was threatened by the lack of funds due to rising prices. Several former Schwedler natives living in Germany, Austria, Sweden and other countries collected DM 26,000, to which the Hilfskomitee added DM 10,000, and the German Interior Ministry, after intervention by Oskar Marczy, DM 10,000, while the local Germans pledged each 70 hours of free labor. The Hilfskomitee also helped with DM 12,000 the renovation of the Lutheran parish house, after the Slovak Lutheran Church promised to post a German-speaking priest to care in their language to the surviving German families.Such sums are difficult to raise for Carpathian Germans, who have few Donald Trumps in their midst. But three cheers for their courageous work, which puts the Schwedler Germans on a secure footing. The Cultural Center has also four 2-bed rooms, a common kitchen and showers, which can be rented for DM 10 per bed/night. For info (no street): Franz Richweis, SK 05334 S^vedlar 25. Tel: (421) 944-95261,ask for Mrs Kristina Mal.

1998/02/12. The KDV officers met with Jozef Kalman, vice-prime minister, to discuss pending matters. No progress was made about restituting most property confiscated in 1945/1946 by the Benes" decrees, or bringing to justice those guilty of murdering harmless civilians.

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Events 1997

1997/11/15. "Evening of the Nationalities '97," in Kaschau/Kosic"e.
Every year or so, the Slovak Ministry of Culture has one of the country's minorities host a major ethnic cultural festival, this year by the Carpathian Germans. The program, created by KDV Cultural Referent Eduard Buras", reminded the Slovak audience how long minorities lived there, Magyars since a thousand years, Carpathian Germans nearly so. Most minorities send a group of performers, including the Jewish and Gypsy communities, and the KDV three, the Frauenchor from Oberstuben, the Jugendchor from Hopgarten (Chmelnica), and the dance group from Metzenseifen (Medzev).

1997/10/26. The KDV branch in Kaschau went to the German Military Cemeteries of Zborov and Hunkovce, to care for the graves of the German soldiers who died in Fall 1944 defending the Dukla-pass from the Red Army, allowing tens of thousands of German and Magyar civilians to escape massacre.

1997, Oct. The Karpatenpost had an interview with Prof. Dr. Ilpo Piirainen, University of Muenster in Westfalia, Germany, an authority on medieval Carpathian German documents. A Karelian Finn, whose people suffered the same fate as Carpathian Germans, he has empathy for all people victimized thus.

1997, Summer/Fall. Several small events reminded of the bittersweet relationship between Carpathian Germans and today's Slovaks. The present Slovak inhabitants of Malthern/Zips made honorary burghers of Jakob Zwick, Jakob Chmel, Hans Simonides and Hans Weiss (USA), all former German inhabitants of the city at the celebration of the 700th anniv. of its first written mention, which also acknowledged the ethnicity of its founders and pre-1945 inhabitants.However, when the village authorities of Altwalddorf/Zips(Stara Lesna) also celebrated the 700th year of the first recording, they published a pamphlet describing its history without mentionning once who had founded and inhabited the village until 1945. As former Altwalddorfer Adalbert Erthner bitterly noted, after being ethnically cleansed from home, our people is being cleansed out its history as well. [PS: A result of that insult was that the surviving Altwaldorfer published their local history in 1999]

1997/09/13-14. Meeting of the Carpathian German Landsmannschaft in the USA & Canada.
About 150 people came to Manchester, CT, a respectable turnout for a small and scattered group such as ours. Particularily pleasing was the presence of a good number of US-born younger people. Our chairman John Gally went over the main events of the past year, including the consequences for Carpathian Germans of the recent German-Czech "Reconciliation" Declaration.Then we debated the need to renovate the monument to our dead at the Danbury, CT, Lutheran cemetery and the need to make available material in English about our history and culture. The board of officers was reelected.

1997/06/26-29. Second Carpathian German Cultural Festival in Kaesmark (Kes"marok).
In the former capital of the Zipser Saxons. There were over 700 performers, mainly Carpathian Germans from Slovakia, Germany and Austria, Sudeten Germans from Germany, ethnic Germans still living in Hungary, Croatia (Osijek/Esseg), Romania (Temesvar), and Denmark (Apenrade), as well as Slovaks and Roma. Among the guests of honor was Michael Kovac", the president of Slovakia. He stated that the Carpathian Germans were among the oldest ethnic groups in Slovakia, that their works could be seen in every city of the country, and that their culture deserves more support to survive. He deplored the deportation, and the discrimination of remaining Germans under Czech rule, stressing that most Slovaks never believed the collective guilt thesis (used by the postwar Czech government to eliminate the German and most of its Hungarian minorities). Primator (mayor) Frantisek Grohola made our current leader, Oskar Marczy a honorary burgher.The KDL discussed with city authorities how to help remaining Carpathian Germans retain their heritage. Over 260 have joined the KDV branch, led by alderman Adalbert Wagner,have a cultural center (Haus der Begegnung) and a few public school classes taught in German. Many of the city's Slovak inhabitants today acknowledge the German origin of landmarks in what was, after all, historically a German city.The city partnership with Weilburg in Germany, initiated by former Kesmarker Emmerich Hunsdorfer, thrives. He also was made a burgher by Primator Grohola. On October 29, a group of mid-ranking German politicians, and Oskar Marczy, visited to discuss the shortage of German teachers and how to expand the internship program with Freiburg Teachers' College.

1997/05/17-18. Carpathian German convention in Karlsruhe.
Main speakers were Dr. Klaus Kinkel, the German foreign minister, and Dr. Dus"an Slobodnik, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Slovak parliament. Dr. Slobodnik had kind words for our Landsmannschaft, and invited his former countrymen to meet in 1999 in Pressburg/Bratislava. Dr. Kinkel, having noticed that his recent treaty with the Czechs, which winked at ethnic cleansing when committed against ethnic Germans, has upset many victims, did not mention it, but carried on about the need to turn to another page in order to build Europe, as if this could be done without also taking care of the debts owed to victims of genocide who happen to be German.

1997/04/05. Annual meeting of the Carpathian German Landsmannschaft in Austria, in Linz.
Chairman, Obmann as its called in Austria, Johann Lasslob was glad that many came, but noted in that the great age of most members and the integration of the younger generations have made the continuing existence of the Landsmannschaft after the millenium unlikely. Though 82 years, Johann Lasslob accepted to continue as chairman, as did the other officers, since younger able candidates were not available.

1997/02/08 Kaschau/Kosic"e. The KDV young members founded the IKEJA (Internationale Kontakte-- Jugendarbeit/International Contacts-Youth Work), and formalized the foundation in November at a meeting in Priwitz. The foundation adressed a sore point. After the end of Czech rule, Carpathian Germans could organize again--but 50 years of oppression had virtually eliminated the ties young people felt with their own community. This condemned our culture once the elderly died. Under the impulse of Eduard Buras", a special youth organization was now founded, which as of May 1998 seems quite successful in attracting young Carpathian Germans in Slovakia. G-D bless them. In Spring 1998, IKEJA was accepted as full member (after a year as probationary member), of the Federated Union of European Nationalities, or FUEN, in German FUEV, which gathers over 86 organizations from 66 European minorities in 27 countries for mutual support.

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