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200 Years of Zebrikovo, 127 Years of Hoffnungstal

200 Jahre Zebirkowo, 127 Jahre Hoffnungstal

Holzwarth-Kocher, Angelika. "200 Years of Zebrikovo, 127 Years of Hoffnungstal." Volk auf dem Weg, February 2005, 10-11.

Translation from German to American English by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado


Unusual Celebration of a Village in South Ukraine
The House of Culture, Formerly the Catholic
Church, Now in it "New Splendor"

Obligatory Official Words of Welcome

Many and diverse thoughts went through the minds of our small travel group in September 2004 during the flights from Germany to Odessa as Willi and Erika Wall, Lydia Sauer, Rita Heidebrecht, Hansgeorg Leibbrandt, my husband Thomas, and I were on our way into South Ukraine to participate on September 18 in a celebration of the 200-year anniversary of the village of Zebrikovo, the former German village of Hoffnungstal and, while we there, to visit the former German village of Hoffnungsfeld as well. Wilhelm Bauder and Waldemar Lutz, who were both born in Hoffnungstal, returned with us to the village of their childhood.

First contacts with some of the village residents had been made during my trip to Zebrikovo in 2003. A letter had then reached us in Germany with the invitation for the jubilee celebration of the Zebrikovo village. This led to our spontaneous decision to use the invitation as a good reason for traveling back to the home of our ancestors.

It is a well known fact that when the German colonists arrived in 1817 in the future Hoffnungstal, they found nothing but earthen huts, but with great efforts and sacrifice they would established an eventually prosperous village. For these reasons we were very curious as to which [historical] events the celebration of "these 200 years of Zebrikovo" might refer to.

Except for knowing that there would be the official start of the festivities at 10 AM, followed by a cultural program in the afternoon, we had no further information and therefore did not know what to expect. How would this 200-year celebration take its course?

Only by accident had we learned that another small American travel group might be in attendance in Zebrikovo on Saturday. These travelers, too, were on a search for "traces" of their ancestors in Ukraine. Fate would have it that among them we would find Milo Bauder, a cousin of WIlhelm's, and they had hoped to meet here in Ukraine. Thus relatives from America and Germany would actually meet in Ukraine! One cannot describe the emotions that had taken hold of us.

Not really knowing what to expect, but wishing to be ready for anything, we had brought along copies of songs, had prepared a few words to say, and had come with a tree shoot which we planned to plant as a symbol of friendship. We had worried that it might not make it through customs, but ten euros had helped that matter along nicely ...

The fact that there was to be a siginificant celebration in Zebrikovo on Saturday, September 18, had become clear during our approach to the town on Friday. We drove on an asphalt road that had not existed during early summer of 2003. Our driver, who had traveled with us on the earlier occasion, could hardly believe his eyes. And this time, an actual town sign "Zebrikovo" let the visitors know that they had indeed arrived at their destination.

Also helping to make it clear to us that the celebration was to be on a large scale were things such as posters, signs of diligent efforts to paint garden fences, and a paved plaza in front of the former German church where in 2003 the wind had still been kicking up dust. Several houses, including the former German village school, had been freshly whitewashed.

We looked for our hostess, Rosa, whom so far we had known only via correspondence, but who had given us the impetus for this trip. Since we were going to see each other again the next day, after a brief village warlkaround we undertook a brief side trip to the former village of Hoffnungsfeld, which today is called Torosovo.

Then September 18 arrived. At 10 AM the political festivities began on the village plaza in front of the Lenin memorial, with the mayor of Zebrikovo, Mrs. Tatyana Matros, welcoming the honored guests. The governor of the Odessa region, S. R. Grinevski, the Ukraine's minister of transportation, Kirpa, and Russia's minister of transpiration, I. E. Levitin, were in attendance.

In the meantime, we had also met the American travel group, so Wilhelm and Milo Bauder were now able to experience the festivities together. Ukrainian songs concluded (what we called) the political portion. We were deeply disappointed that the speakers referred only to the existence of the Ukrainian village of Zebrikovo and did not utter a single word about the fact that for 127 of the 200 years of existence of Zebrikovo it had been a German village. What was to come next?

A Warm Welcome to the
Anniversary Events

Ukrainian Melodies Delighted Listeners

(To be continued in the the March, 2005 issue.)

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

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