“My Heart is Here in the Dobrudzha”

From a German-language summary of a Romanian-language article in the newspaper CUGET LIBER, dated June 21, 2010. This summary was produced by Gertrud Knopp-Rüb, founder of the original Landsmannschaft der Dobrudschadeutschen [Association of Dobrudzha Germans, now part of the Bessarabian German Association].

Knopp-Rüb, Gertrud. "My Heart is Here in the Dobrudzha." Mitteilungsblatt, September 2010, 17.

Translation from the original German-language text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, CO. 

At the memorial stone in Karamurat 

This coming fall, seventy years will have passed since the German colonists who had resided in the Dobrudzha between 1840 and 1940 were resettled as a result of pacts between certain states.

Today the children of those times are adults of rather advanced ages. In Germany, or in other places they moved to, they established their families, and now they tell them of their beautiful former home in the Dobrudzha, a place they are unable to forget. And again and again, whenever possible, they return to visit their former villages and the people with whom they lived there in peace.

They report of their once beautiful homes and farm yards they used to care for and tend with much care – not that much is left of them. This continues to cause great pain for the visitors, even after so many years. Every summer the Constanza branch of the Democratic German Forum plays host – even if only for a few hours – to those Germans who were evacuated to Germany in 1940. Hosts and visitors spend several hours together and talk of past times when the Germans were still settled in the Dobrudzha.

Turkish neighbor Zisan Ablachim greets Gertrud Knopp-Rüb

For Gertrud Knopp-Rüb, every visit is filled with emotion. She tells us, “I was fifteen years old when we left Kobadin, and even though I have been living in Germany for a long time, my thoughts often return to the Dobrudzha. Here I attended German and Romanian schools for seven years, and I learned a lot about the history of the country and especially about its literature. My favorite poet was Georg Cosbuc, and I loved his ballads, of which I still remember several word for word, such as “Trei Doamne si toti trei,” “Mama,” and “Pasa vine un Arab,” etc.

This time my visit to Kobadin made me very sad. The formerly German part of my village is barely recognizable. My heart almost stopped when I saw what it looks like today. My disappointment became even worse when I came to my parents’ former home and farm yard. The tall gate was locked, and a sign warned of a dangerous dog. It was hurtful to think that I had traveled 2,000 kilometers [1,200 miles] without having been able to set foot in my parents’ yard. However, another warm get-together with our former neighbors, ethnic Turks, gave me a lot of comfort.”

Gertrud Knopp-Rüb has always worked hard to keep alive in her countrymen the memories of their Dubrudzha homeland, particularly via travel reports, stories and poems. During the last ten years she has president of the Association of Dobrudzha Germans, which has merged with the Bessarabian Germans Association because its own membership numbers kept going down.

Visiting the German Forum in Chisinau

Another guest, another story

Daniel Roth is another Dobrudzha German who settled down in Germany. With his family, and along with the German minority in the Dobrudzha, he left his birthplace of Ciucurova in 1940. Sixty years later he returned for a visit to Romania, and since then he has come back as often as the opportunity presented itself. Until last year he always had a good reason, because still living there was a ninety-year-old woman, the only German in the community, whom he assisted in various ways. He remembered her always and was very moved when he heard that she had died. In order to maintain relationships with Germany, says Daniel Roth, it is very important to learn the German language.

The ten guests visited several locales where Germans had once lived. On their travels they went as far as Atmagea, and in each place they lit a candle in a church and at a cemetery in memory of their ancestors, and they left flower bouquets as a memorial as well.

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

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