200 Years of Zebrikovo, 127 Years
200 Jahre Zebirkowo, 127 Jahre Hoffnungstal
Holzwarth-Kocher, Angelika. "200 Years of Zebrikovo, 127 Years of Hoffnungstal." Volk auf dem Weg, April 2005, 18-20.
Translation from German to American English by Alex Herzog,
As the throng of visitors to the organized function was slowly
our small group also began to break up. Some wanted to wander through
village once again and go to the cemetery, and the others wanted
contact with a village representative.
Loft in the German
In front of the
Just at that time, a woman from the local organization committee
espied our "interpreter" Waldemar Lutz and informed him
that we were invited to a cultural celebration in the House of Culture
beginning at 1:30 PM. We said we could be there. In the meantime
we met a new friend, Vasiliy, a journalist reporting on the event
for an Odessa newspaper. We also met a young woman television moderator
from Odessa, who wondered about the reason for our visit in Zebrikovo.
Village residents were celebrating, shashlik was being prepared
in the vicinity of the House of Culture, and freshly baked goods
were available for purchase. On a specific table a small book about
Zebrikovo, published for just this event, was offered for sale.
Everyone was enjoying the glorious autumn day.
We expected to be rejoined promptly at 1:00 PM by our friend Milo
Bauder, who had also gathered with his group near the House of Culture.
As we arrived at the agreed-to meeting place, a woman from the organizing
committee led us into the House of Culture. Almost reverently --
stepping very carefully -- we entered the former German church.
We noticed immediately that this was an event for invited guests
only, and all were led to assigned seats according to a prepared
list. Milo and his group sat in rows behind ours. The stage was
in front of us. The choir loft on the left side still betrays the
original use of the building as the church it once was.
We sat with great anticipation and awaited what was to come. Present
others were, in addition to the Lady Mayor and the Russian Minister
Transportation, the Pop of the Orthodox church, our hostess Rosa
and her daughter,
and the writer N.A. Sayez, whose book on the anniversary had just
published. A moderator in charge of the proceedings welcomed the
guests and then
handed the microphone to the mayoress. She opened the celebratory
hour with a
brief address in which she mentioned the German history of the village,
highlighted its significance, and honored the memory of Hoffnungstal.
Bauder and Waldemar Lutz whispered translations for us. There was
it -- here, on September 18, 2004, we were sitting in the former
church in which our ancestors attended Sunday services, wedding
and baptisms, and
we were listening to
remarks on Hoffnungstal in the Ukrainian language. I was not the
in tears. Our friend Vasiliy, who followed the event with great
seemed greatly moved as well.
Suddenly we heard our names -- we were being asked to accompany
to the stage. Our tree sapling came right along with us. As we entered
stage, the other attendees stood and applauded, thereby officially
and welcoming us as guests of this event. We did not know what to
hostess Rosa appeared on stage and presented us with the famous
the "Zebrikovo Bread
Then it was our turn. In a brief speech, which Waldemar Lutz simultaneously
translated into Russian, I expressed on behalf of our entire group
our great joy of being able to participate in this event, since
only through several coincidences we had come to Zebrikovo on this
day. Significantly, two "Hoffnungstaler," Wilhelm and
Waldemar, who were born here, were right there with us on that stage.
I recounted that from tales of our relatives we knew that Hoffnungstal,
which had existed between 1817 and 1944, had been a truly special
place for them.
For them, its residents, it had been their true home. They had worked
lived together in peace and harmony with people of various origins
After reporting on the "Hoffnungstaler Treffen" in Germany,
I took the
opportunity to invite Mrs. Mitros to an anniversary celebration
Hoffnungstal parish on September 17, 2005, in Germany. I said that
together here in Zebrikovo, it would be a great joy for us to be
celebrate our own anniversary celebration with them, and in Germany
Planting the Tree
We presented her with the book "Hoffnungstal und seine Schwaben
[Hoffnungstal and its Schwabians]" by Dr. Georg Leibbrandt,
which his son Hansgeorg had brought along. Finally, I expressed
our wish to plant a Tree of Friendship as a sign of our common history.
We left the stage with a book as a gift. Later on we did not really
know how we got back to our places -- we were so filled with the
images that we had just taken in.
Pop Vasiliy spoke on behalf of the Ukrainian-Orthodox community,
which since 1987 had built a church in Zebrikovo all of and by itself.
At the end of his speech he took up our desire to plant a tree and
invited us to plant it on the grounds of his church. What a meaningful
moment! While we were sitting there and listening to the words of
a cleric, a full circle began to close in on us, and at that moment
any differences in faith seemed to play no role.
Various musical and dance numbers completed the festivities. Afterwards
were invited for an official book presentation in the gym of the
We promised Mrs. Matros to come to the gymnasium the planting of
sapling and then tried to get away from some other folks because
Russian-speaking friends could simply no longer keep up. Milo Bauder
and his group,
sadly and with a heavy heart, had already left because they still
had to get to
their quarters for the night. Only coincidence had led them to this
We joined Pop Vasiliy to walk to the church area with him, and
the Pop took
advantage of the quiet time to apologize to us for all the injustices
had been done to the German population in the name of the Church
first half of the previous century. We nodded quietly and Wilhelm
in on our behalf.
The church, which in 2003 still had not been painted, on this sunny
was gleaming in white and blue. And then the time had come. Wilhelm
grabbed a spade and began to dig a small hole in the ground that
been cultivated by our ancestors. These were very moving moments.
wanted to take part and so we combined to plant our Tree of Friendship
short time. It was the first tree to have been planted on the church
itself. The large trees on the street you can see in the background
photo) are to be taken down to make room for a new entry to the
We thanked the Pop graciously and hurried to the gymnasium, where
presentation had already ended.
Many of the attendees had sat down to eat, and the tables contained
many delicacies. We were greeted warmly by all sides, almost like
old acquaintances, and we were immediately asked to sit down to
eat at one of the tables. It was late afternoon by now, so we truly
enjoyed the tasty dishes (for example, the filled paprika was divine,
and Lydia ate voraciously of the fried liver), and there were many
toasts to the special village jubilee. There was water, soda pop,
vodka -- anything anyone wished to drink. We began to feel at home,
but not for a moment during that afternoon had we felt like strangers.
After the meal, Mrs. Matros joined us and asked Waldemar to inform
us that she was going to accept our invitation to the 20th Convention
of the Hoffnungstal Parish, and we were overjoyed.
The time of having to say good-bye came all too sudden. We in our
minivan stopped at Rosa's home and took our leave with heavy hearts.
Then we departed Zebrikova, our Hoffnungstal. 200 years of Zebrikovo
-- 127 years of Hoffnunngstal -- auf Wiedersehen!
P.S. The Hoffnungstal Parish Treffen will take place on September
-- we extend a warm invitation. Meanwhile, Mrs. Matros has confirmed
acceptance in writing, and we are all looking forward to her visit.
Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation
of this article.