Bessarabia: Homeland in Pictures
Bessarabien: Heimat im Bild
Cover Photograph Caption: Bessarabia: Bicycle Club 1925
Dear countrymen, dear friends of the Pictorial Calendar!
You deserve the credit for the calendars “Bessarabis: Homeland
in Pictures.” We thank you for the interest you have shown
and hope this issue meets with your approval.
The pictures were selected from among those shown during the last
12 years. Our aim is to show the most impressive views from all
walks of life.
The 1984 calendar also serves to give you worthwhile information
about the Home Museum.
The museum in Stuttgart, our godfather town, was established on
May 25, 1952. It was the result of the earlier 30-year efforts of
teacher Emmanuel Wagner who founded the historical Home Museum of
the German colonists in Bessarabia. We were able to rescue a portion
of the collection in Sarata at the time of the expulsion and flight
but most of the present inventory at the museum was gathered through
much effort over the long years since.
The Home Museum therefore has assumed the special tasks of receiving,
safe-keeping, and exhibiting our cultural inheritance.
THE EXHIBITS include many original items, but also many models
of churches, schools and equipment. All these afford the observer
a vivid picture of our old homeland near the Black Sea.
Literature relevant to the home life of the Bessarabian Germans
is recorded in the library, a true source of historical records
and lists of available publications about Bessarabia.
THE FAMILY AND RELATIVE Department of the Home Museum endeavors
to replace the complete family registers of the Germans from Bessarabia.
Over 100,000 personal dates are on record in documents, tribal tablets,
family chronicles, as well as in family registers and on microfilm.
These documents are in replacement of church registers and professional
files that had to be left behind in the Bessarabian Resettlement.
They are invaluable source material for ancestral research.
THE PHOTO ARCHIVES contain 8,000 inventoried photographs that present
a graphic picture of the immigration in 1814-1842 as well as of
the establishment of residences in the new home and our hard labors.
COMMUNITY LOCATION ARCHIVES are maintained for each original Bessarabian
German community. Located there are deeds, documents, village plans,
sketches, maps, etc. These items provide not only a basis for replacement
of locality maps, but also provide information regarding the various
stages in the development of individual communities.
HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS in a separate section pertain to the overall
history of Bessarabia.
FOLKSONG AND MUSIC ARCHIVES contain about 1200 song references
to text and note forms that were gathered at camp sites along the
resettlement routes in Bessarabia. In addition, there are Kladden
(rough copies) of folk songs that contain wise sayings and cooking
recipes. In the last two decades a number of recorded tapes of folk
sayings and dances were added to the music archives.
An equally interesting area is the dialect research section. The
Home Museum provides recording tapes and scientific works.
A substantial portion of the work at the museum is the promotion
and distribution of publications about the old homeland. In a separate
section of the museum, books, brochures, village street layouts
and copies of the Pictorial Calendars fill and entire row of pictures
and writings about the Bessarabian homes.
Great interest is shown not only by the home-country people, but
also the native population and establishments that preserve cultural
history. All these interests attest to the need for preserving and
exhibiting educational materials that represent the time of the
Diaspora (dispersion) in Bessarabia.
REFERENCE: The Homeland Museum of the Bessarabian Germans is located
in Stuttgart, Florianstrasze 17 (from the main railroad station
by Bus line 42 to Ostendplatz). The hours are Monday through Friday
9.00 – 16.00 o’clock. The museum is open to visiting
groups by previous appointment. Contact Christian Fiess, President,
7130 Mühlacker, Lindachstrasze 37, Telephone 07041/6614
January 1984 Bessarabia Prayer and schoolhouse in Alexandrowka
February 1984 Bessarabia Pleasurable skating on a flooded village
street in Sarata
March 1984 Bessarabia Mattress production in Teplitz
April 1984 Bessarabia Busy kitchen workers in Alexander-Asyl Sarata
May 1984 Bessarabia Farmyard in Teplitz at pig feeding time
June 1984 Bessarabia View of typical Bessarabian bee hives
July 1984 Bessarabia Promenade deck on Black Sea beach in Budaki
August 1984 Bessarabia Church on village street in Katzbach
September 1984 Bessarabia Arrival of first motor coach at Akkerman
from Tarutino by way of Sarata about 1912
October 1984 Bessarabia Gathering grapes in Lichental. Vineyard
shepherd in front of his hut.
November 1984 Bessarabia Teaching supply closet at German public
school in Arzis.
December 1984 Bessarabia Snow-covered church door in Arzis invites
reflective entrance to Christmas celebration.
BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF PICTURES
Title Photo: Although the bicycle was introduced in Bessarabia
before WWI, it remained almost a rarity. It was not until the twenties
that it came into wide use by upper- class youth for free-time pleasures
and the formation of bicycle clubs. Bicycle tours became popular
among friendship groups. Bicycle riding was a preferred pastime
January: Alexandrowka was founded in 1907 and grew rapidly as a
daughter colony where crafts and handiwork were replaced but farming
remained as the main industry. The rich soil and modern farming
methods led to good crop yields.
In the year 1909 the stately prayer and schoolhouse was built
to include also an apartment for the sexton. Building a bell-cage
for two church bells followed in 1910.
February Skating was a very popular sport in Bessarabia. Many communities
were adjacent to small streams and entire villages became flooded
at the first snow-melt. When colder temperatures returned, entire
streets froze over to the delight of skaters.
March In the first decade after settlement the strohsack (straw
tick) afforded a warm resting place. A self-woven firm linen container
was filled with clean straw or hay – later with corn leaves
– to serve as a mattress. But in later years, a change came.
Upholsters began to manufacture spring mattresses filled with numerous
layers of various materials. The good old Strohsack was replaced.
April The Welfare Society Alexander Asyl in Sarata was determined
to always make its occupants comfortable. They cared for orphans,
the elderly, the sick and the infirm. A well equipped kitchen was
a necessity. Although mechanical equipment was available, bustling
activity ruled in the kitchen from morning until night.
May In general, the German Bessarabian farmers did not engage in
raising pigs. Only in rare cases was the yearly need for slaughter
pigs supplied by self-grown Ferkeln (little pigs). Generally these,
four-to-six week old, were bought at the animal market. The pigsty
was located away from the dwelling in an inconspicuous place in
the spacious farmyard. (Heimat buch Sarata page 433 f.). Only in
the last decade before resettlement, did individual farmers begin
to raise pigs for profit.
June Bee keeping was a favored occupation in Bessarabai from the
time of early settlement. Blossom honey made from the nectar of
acacias, meadow and field flowers had a delicious flavor and was
always in demand. At the beginning of the century, bee hives were
made of braided straw fashioned out of Bienen stöcke (bee cane).
At the same time, modern honey extracting machines came into use
to make the bee keeper’s work lighter.
July At the time that Bad Burnas (a bath house) was established
by German farmers, and outstanding international public bath named
Budaki was being developed to offer health treatment equipment in
conjunction with a large sanitarium for lung diseases. The Liman
River flowing into the Black Sea at the point where the Budaki was
located was famous for mud baths. Well equipped sea water and mud
bath houses existed in three locations. Many Germans owned villas
in Budaki. These were eagerly visited by guests from all parts of
Rumania and foreign countries.
August Katzbach was a mother colony founded in 1821. It was named
after a tributary of the Oder River known for the massacre there
on August 26, 1813 between united forces under General Blücher
and the French. Katzbach remained a farming community but was also
known for its crafts.
September While horse-drawn vehicles were the best means of travel
and communication until the time of resettlement, changes came about
in that sector. The “post” (mail) was delivered by state
officials or private carriers by coach. This practice underwent
a pronounced change in the means of communication when an omnibus
line from Tarutino through Arzis and Sarata to Akkerman was established
in 1912. This provided an expensive but convenient means of travel
by private citizens. In 1914 when the railroad was built from Leipzig
“Bassarabaeasca” to Akkerman, travel by omnibus was
established along that route.
October When Sarata was founded on 1822, the Württemberger
immigrants from Remstal introduced grape growing which soon became
an Important an profitable line of business. The Schwabian immigrants
from Kirchberg/Murr to Lichtental in 1834 were true wine growers.
When the grapes were beginning to ripen, a vineyard “shephers”
was hired. He was on duty night and day. Besides the Weinbergrätsch
(vineyard noisemaker), he was supplied with a gun. In addition to
his salary, he received free board. In truth, all involved vineyard
owners took turns in supplying him with food and drink. Drinking
water played a large role. Weinberhirten (vineyard shepherds) were
usually Kleinrussen (small Russians).
November In Bessarabia, much worth was placed on a good education
at the time of immigration. The teacher training institution, Wernerschule
(school) in Sarata, about 1848, supplied educated teachers for their
own German schools in the various communities. Much of the instruction
was linked with nature. Good teaching methods carefully planned
and supplemented by visual aids, resulted in thorough training.
Industrial arts and handcrafts were regular subjects.
December The church played an important role in the lives of the
Bessarabian Germans. On holidays, the curches were overfilled. Often
there was not enough space to receive all the guests.
The worship services were particularly solemn. A lasting memory
for all who experienced them, is surely that of the Holy Night and
New Year services. The church choir and orchestra all sang and played
to the glory of God. All hearts were filled with awe and inspiration
when the old familiar favorite Christmas songs rang out.
The snow covered landscape added its part to the peace and joy
Translation by Alma M. Herman June 1991
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