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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, April 2005, 18-20.

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


As the throng of visitors to the organized function was slowly scattering, our small group also began to break up. Some wanted to wander through the village once again and go to the cemetery, and the others wanted to attempt contact with a village representative.
Loft in the German
church
In front of the orthodox
church

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 among others were, in addition to the Lady Mayor and the Russian Minister of 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 been 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. Wilhelm Bauder and Waldemar Lutz whispered translations for us. There was no doubting it -- here, on September 18, 2004, we were sitting in the former German 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 only one in tears. Our friend Vasiliy, who followed the event with great interest, seemed greatly moved as well.

Suddenly we heard our names -- we were being asked to accompany Milo Bauder to the stage. Our tree sapling came right along with us. As we entered the stage, the other attendees stood and applauded, thereby officially greeting and welcoming us as guests of this event. We did not know what to think. Our hostess Rosa appeared on stage and presented us with the famous so-called "Zebrikovo Bread."

Presentation of 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 and lived together in peace and harmony with people of various origins and faiths.

After reporting on the "Hoffnungstaler Treffen" in Germany, I took the opportunity to invite Mrs. Mitros to an anniversary celebration of the Hoffnungstal parish on September 17, 2005, in Germany. I said that after celebrating together here in Zebrikovo, it would be a great joy for us to be able to celebrate our own anniversary celebration with them, and in Germany instead.

Planting the Tree of
Friendship

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 we were invited for an official book presentation in the gym of the village school.

We promised Mrs. Matros to come to the gymnasium the planting of the tree sapling and then tried to get away from some other folks because our 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 place this day.

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 that had been done to the German population in the name of the Church during the first half of the previous century. We nodded quietly and Wilhelm thanked him in on our behalf.

The church, which in 2003 still had not been painted, on this sunny fall day was gleaming in white and blue. And then the time had come. Wilhelm Bauer grabbed a spade and began to dig a small hole in the ground that once had been cultivated by our ancestors. These were very moving moments. Everyone wanted to take part and so we combined to plant our Tree of Friendship in a short time. It was the first tree to have been planted on the church property itself. The large trees on the street you can see in the background (see the photo) are to be taken down to make room for a new entry to the church property.

We thanked the Pop graciously and hurried to the gymnasium, where the book 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 17, 2005 -- we extend a warm invitation. Meanwhile, Mrs. Matros has confirmed her acceptance in writing, and we are all looking forward to her visit.

Enjoying ...

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

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