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About the Departure of the Dobrudzha Germans

The Ethnic Germans of Kabodin Leave their Village. Excerpt from Heimatbuch 1956 of Otto Klett.


Stumpp, Karl Dr. "About the Departure of the Dobrudzha Germans." Mitteilungsblatt, June 2010, 8.

Translation from the Original German-language text to American English provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado


A sky entirely obscured by clouds looms over Kobadin, still in darkness. Kerosene lamps can be seen through windows in homes. Most of the Germans have spent their last nights before the departure on straw beds instead of their fine beds in their normally squeaky clean homes. Everyone is busy with final packing. The Romanians, some of whom have already moved into German homes or are living nearby, say warm good-byes to the ethnic Germans. In the waning dark we observe two girls busying themselves in the garden. They quickly cut some of the fall flowers to use in decorating the train and perhaps to take a bouquet to Germany. A farmer points out a tree that he has been growing for a lifetime, and he says: "This one must stay, I put my whole character into it," by which he means his whole love and care. And now we are beginning to observe people walking to the train station, baby carriages being pushed, and wagons loaded with luggage being moved toward the train station. It is gradually getting lighter, but the sky is still very cloudy, and it is beginning to rain. From the direction of the village one can hear a bell ringing – for the last time. It was taken from its bell tower, to be transported to Germany. And now it is in its own special container that was ordered to be made for it, and so it can be rung one more time on this memorable morning. Not only the German population is streaming to the station, but also some Romanians, Turks, and Tatars. All wish to say their good-byes to the Germans. The Turkish barber is making his way through the crowd and shaking many hands, and an old Turkish woman appears to be inconsolable.

The boarding and loading process begins. Familiar, German-sounding names are called out, and strong shouts of "Here!" are heard, and here and there a voice says, "Present!" and then says, embarrassedly, "Here!"  Or a wife pulls a man on his sleeve and says, "You’re supposed to say "Here!"

The first few train cars have been loaded and, meanwhile decorated with flowers, stand ready for departure. More and more Romanians, Turks, and Tatars arrive to say good-bye. Tension is rising, and the hour for departure is nearing. A group of legionnaires in their green shirts arrives as well and takes up its position. There they stand, with uncovered heads, and begin to sing German folk songs to honor those about to leave. Their leader delivers a speech in warm and sincere tones, in which he emphasizes the inseparable ties between Germany and Romania. With arms raised, they sing the Romanian national anthem.

The Kobadin village band, directed by the teacher Hartmann, plays songs and waltzes. The loading process is nearing completion. The train now stands there, decorated with flowers and completely ready for departure. Many good-byes are expressed. An old Turk stands pressing the hand of a German for a long time, tears rolling down his cheeks. In these hours of separation he senses what everybody of his group senses: what these Germans meant to them. And there a German is embracing the leader of the legionnaires. As the German hymn is played, 954 ethnic Germans and more than 800 Romanians, Turks, and Tatars stand erect and in unison on the platform, arms raised – an overwhelming scene! The train is beginning to move. There is much waving, shouting, sobbing … Those departing stand at their windows and direct one last glance at the village where their cradle once stood. The hour of taking leave from their farms and homes that were built up with so much diligence, from their fields, from the graves of their loved-ones, is simply too much, and so the song "Nun ade, du mein lieb’ Heimatland (Farewell now, my beloved homeland)" wanting to be intoned, remains unsung. The train, decorated with flowers, disappears into the Dobrudzha steppe and runs in the direction of Cernavoda.  

Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.

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