Bessarabia: Homeland in Pictures
Bessarabien: Heimat im Bild
Cover Photograph Caption: Fishing in the Black Sea at Bad Burnas
Dear Countrymen, dear friends of the Pictorial Calendar!
The Bildkalendar “Bessarabian Homeland in Pictures”
appeared for the first time in 1972 on the occasion of the 25th
Anniversary of the founding of the Home Museum of the Germans from
Bessarabia. During the past years it has met with so much approval
that we decided to publish it again in 1983.
The Kalendar 1983 ranks with former issues and picture selections
of previous years. Our aim is to systematically present a cross
section of life in Bessarabia, not only for those that are familiar
with it, but also, and not least, to the natives.
It is intended that the Kalendar serve to be helpful in portraying
a strong, broad perception through the use of pictures that provide
information and a deep insight into the richness of life as lived
by the Bessarabian Germans.
Pictures often tell us more than words can, yet words are necessary
to portraying true meanings and better understanding of history.
For this reason we present the following short historical descriptions
in order to deepen our knowledge and introduce the historical careers
of our folk group to non-Bessarabian Germans.
BRIEF HISTORICAL REPRESENTATION OF THE BESSARABIAN GERMANS
The Bessarabian German folk group has its own independent history.
It begins with the emigration of our ancestors from Germany.
Emigration to Bessarabia began at a time during which the great
monarchies of Europe clearly realized that large areas of uncultivated
lands were not profitable so it was decided to develop them and
make them profitable.
Invited by Czar Alexander I in 1814, the first German Settlers,
called colonists, entered Bessarabia, the land between the Dneister
and Pruth rivers, the lower Donau and the Black Sea. Suring 1814
to 1842 about 9,000 souls wandered to Bessarabia and founded 25
mother colonies on 150,000 ha of closed land. The result was 150
German communities originating between short periods of wanderings,
and land ownership of more than 300,000 ha of fertile soil.
The Germans in Bessarabia were allowed 125 years of peaceful labors.
The Steppe was transformed into very productive land and became
the wheat granary of Russia – yes, of Europe, as a result
of hard-working German Settlers.
Then came the turning point. In June of 1940 Bessarabia that in
1918 had become Rumania, was occupied by Soviet Russia. Resettlement
was introduced. This was followed by life in camps. Then came transfers
to the eastern areas of Wartheland and Danzig, West Prussia, and
in 1945, the escape. After that a new beginning which for many Bessarabian
Germans was in their ancestral homeland, their original home of
Württemburg, our beloved Schwabenland.
The unbroken spirite and perseverance of the Bessarabian Germans
helped them to bravely face and endure the new beginning in our
Fatherland and once more they created a new homeland.
Yet, we Bessarabian Germans have not forgotten our old home at
the shores of the Black Sea. To keep the memory alive, the Home
Museum of German Bessarabians was founded on May 25, 1952. Its purpose
is the gathering, preserving and exhibiting all material pertaining
to the lives of the Germans from Bessarabia in their previous home
The existing collections of subject matter consisting of pictures,
documents, deeds, registers, and letters; the abundant archives
of rental bibliographies, plus the many models of churches, farms
and agricultural equipment, all presenting a very vivid picture
of the old Bessarabian home.
The Home Museum is the place where our children and grandchildren
can go to learn about the lives of their ancestors in Bessarabia
and thereby hold fast to a piece of history made by their forefathers.
We Bessarabian Germans think of ourselves as visitors returning
to the land of our ancestors. Our ardent wish to become fully integrated
into this land has largely been fulfilled.
Reference: The Home Museum of Germans from Bessarabia is located
in Stuttgart, Florianstrasze 17 (from main train station by Bus
line 42 to Ostenplatz). Hours are Monday to Friday 8:15-16:00 o-clock.
Group visitations are possible on Saturdays and Sundays by previous
reservation. Contact Christian Fiess, President, 7130 Mühlacker,
Lindstar. 37 Telephone: 07041/6614
January 1983 Bessarabia: Winter in Arzis – a hospital
February 1983 Bessarabia Wine tasting in Schabo
March 1983 Bessarabia In the “Lodka” (boat) on the
April 1983 Bessarabia Church in Friedensfeld built in 1886
May 1983 Bessarabia Youth Sports Festival in Eigenfeld 1938
June 1983 Bessarabia Mathildendorf Prayer (Chapel?) House and new
July 1983 Bessarabia Threshing in Neu-Posttal
August 1983 Bessarabia Cleaning Rizinus (castor beans) left-shelling
machine right-cleaning mill
September 1983 Bessarabia At the weaver’s home
October 1983 Bessarabia Katzbach community – partial view
November 1983 Bessarabia Rabbit hunt at Sarata
December 1983 Bessarabia Ready for a drive
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF PICTURES
Title page photo: There was abundant fishing in the Black Sea,
in the Liman River branches and in separate stream on the steppe.
In the Black Sea, fishing was done mainly with nets; in the steppe
rivers with snare and the Fatka??
January Winters in Bessarabia were very cold with much snow. Good
crops resulted from the heavy snow cover. It protected the winter
seed from freezing and provided necessary ground moisture.
The hospital in Arzis was rated along with those in Sarata and
Tarutino, as the best-known in Bessarabia.
February In winter, visiting a wine-tasting place was enjoyable.
Schabo was among the best known wine producing areas of Bessarabia.
The wine producers were very progressive. Wine producing originated
with the founding of Sarata and Schabo after 1822.
March Bessarabian steppe streams were not suitable for navigation
except parts of the Dneister. But it was a special pleasure to make
a boat trip in the “Lodka,” the rowboat.
April In the midst of a community in Bessarabian German villages
stood the church. Church attendance was generally very good.
Friedenfeld, a daughter colony, was founded in 1879. Its stately
church was built as early as 1886.
May In Bessarabia all larger communities had youth societies. Of
deep concern was the spiritual and physical growth and training
of the young.
In winter, theatre productions provided entertainment. In summer,
sports events took place. Youth societies provided social gatherings.
June Mathildendorf is the oldest daughter colony. Founded in 1858,
it became a parish in 1936. The parsonage was built in 1938 by the
July The traditional practice of threshing with stones was slowly
replaced by machines. The old method of threshing with stones in
the dry hot summers was very hard work, but was less costly. But
technology was constantly being made and finally made life easier
for man and beast.
August The Rezinusbohne (castor bean) was not grown in Bessarabia
until 1930. The yields were good and the marketing so profitable
that more and more farmers changed over to growing castor beans.
That meant also that machine manufacturers had to produce new equipment.
Suggestions by the farmers were highly respected. The castor bean
pealing machine came into use. It removed the prickly hazelnut-size
shells from the beans before they were put through the Putzmuhle
September During immigration and after the first decade, besides
the spinning wheel, the loom was an important apparatus in a household.
Until the seventies of the previous century, everything from undershirts
to overcoats was woven by housewives. Their own sheep supplied the
wool and the flax grew in their fields.
After yard material was for sale in Odessa and the surrounding
towns, the loom was put more and more into the background, but never
During the last one and one-half decades before resettlement weaving
was considered modern again and made popular by course taught at
schools in Siebergen and the farm schools in Arzis.
October The community of Katzbach was founded in 1821. It remained
a pronounced farm community until the resettlement in 1940.
November As everywhere there were ardent hunters in Bessarabia.
Earlier in the time of the Czars, hunting was allowed by all who
could acquire a gun. Later, hunting associations had to be formed
and hunting quarters rented.
A special experience was the chase and the Grosztrappe (thunder
of horses hooves).
December In many communities, little children were carried in a
so-called “Kinderplacht” (large, woven multi-colred
shawl). But at the turn of the century, the Kinderwagen (baby carriage)
came into use. It consisted mostly of an artistically woven basket
on high wheels. In time it was changed and modernized.
Translation by Alma M. Herman June 1991
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