Great Celebration in Kurudschika

Fielder, Elsa (Hintz). "Great Celebration in Kurudschika." Mitteilungsblatt, January 2009, 19-20.

On Friday August 29 in 2008 all people in Peterstal and Kurudschika were busy. Already at 9 o’clock (that is Ukrainian time – because they are not particularly punctual about the actual beginning and that’s why we asked in just each time we made an appointment whether German or Ukrainian "punctuality" applied) the German guests of the "2008 Adventure Tour Bessarabia" were taken from Peterstal to Kurudschika by private cars.

At the chapel in Kurudschika more visitors of the festival from Mintschuna, Borodino and Leipzig were already waiting so that our little group quickly grew up to 22 expectant Germans.

Meanwhile people of rank from Peterstal had arrived: Mr. Paskalow the mayor and co-organizer, Mr. Maslinkow the former mayor, Mr. Lambov the chairman of the joint-stock company and co-organizer, Father Sergij the priest, Mr. Beril the head and teacher of his school, Mr. Kalamanov the head of the culture centre, and Mrs.Jelena Barbowa Federovna our most important link, co-organizer and German teacher, husbands and wives, many friends and also lots of locals.

A shuttle school bus transported young and old participants to and fro between the two places. On the meadows in front of the chapel a large parking lot was created where cars and even horse-drawn vehicles in great numbers such as Kurudschika hadn’t seen for a long time. A long row was formed behind Father Sergij the clergyman from Peterstal and moved up the hill to the former German cemetery. The way up there was marked with white sand. Driving there you can see the cemetery area on top fenced with light blue poles. A blue wooden cross at the entrance invites the visitors to prayers. Next to that you can see the memorial tablets on a pedestal in memory of the German settlement. Locals light candles and donate flowers on this beautiful summer morning. Everybody is dressed up in his best Sunday Suit. The Orthodox priest blesses the cemetery and consecrates the memorial tablets, while the parish is singing a hymn. Mr. Alfred Hein gives a speech of commemoration of the dead which is followed by a minute’s silence and the collective Lord’s Prayer and the hymn "Walk off my heart and look for joy"("Geh aus mein Herz und suche Freud" by Paul Gerhardt). That caused many tears in the eyes of the Germans as well as in the eyes of the locals. Then this simple celebration is closed at that so memorable spot. Standing in front of this memorial with the engraved cross, you can see down in the distance the remaining houses of Kurudschika and your eyes wander further up to the Kurudschika Valley and across to today’s Moldova, and down to the Skinosy Valley towards Kolatschowka and Leipzig and up to the right towards the best wine areas on the elongated ridges and towards the Saki Valley with Mintschuna and you can see a wide mountain range in a distance - which symbolizes past and future.

A long silent row of people takes its way down into the Valley for the service inside and in front of the church which can’t receive the big crowd on that day. And without understanding each other’s languages, people understand each other.

The citizens of Kurudschika and Peterstal have constructed the fine building (with the financial support of the German Circle of Friends and the joint-stock company) which now stands before us neat and trim. The church yard is fenced and the garden full of plants. Threshing rollers are set up as symbols for bread, and ears of corn and grapes are set up on the memorial as symbols for bread and wine. Together with the benches, the fenced church yard is given a special character.

The memorial text is set up in 6 languages (D,RO,USA,RUS,UA,PL) and symbolizes the historical way of the settlers:

In memory of the German settlers of the former municipality of Kurudschika 1881 – 1940 “ Life is passing but Love, Respect and Memory last for ever.”

After the sermon and the blessing of the priest we read a message of greetings which says: "It is a gift from our Lord that we all together can enjoy this festival today …and by words of the holy bible" O Lord, let your eyes remain open and watch this house by night and day …and blessings as well as good wishes from Germany are sent to our Ukrainian friends.

Alfred Hein hoists the Ukrainian, Besserabian-German and the German flags. He explains the symbols and links in the Besserabian-German flag and he reads a memorandum from Hugo Gehring born at Kurudschika in 1934. This man reminds in his letter of the German settlement. Unfortunately the couple Hugo and Ursula Gehring could not participate in the journey because of health reasons.

Finally the carol "I adore the power of love" ("Ich bete an die Macht der Liebe") and the blessing of the priest close the commemoration and memorial service. Father Sergij blesses the restored and coverable church spring. Many of the guests and ourselves taste the delicious water.

After that Mr. Murjski, has arrived and is welcomed cheerfully. He is the mayor of Kolatschowka which formed a municipality together with Kurudschika and Peterstal from 1919 – 1940 .

Meanwhile children, teachers, parents and guests gather on the festival ground. Beverages, ice cream, hamburgers and lottery tickets are sold here. The folk-dance club under the leadership of Jelena and Irene performs dances from different countries and sings songs which produces a great variety of entertainment. They even sing German texts and they are always dressed up in suitable national costumes, when they dance polka or the classic waltz from Vienna.

And there is even a sports event. It is done under the leadership of the sports teachers and it is the climax of the day for the youth. The children do their very best. And we are especially surprised of the football players because amongst the teams there are real undiscovered ball artists to be found playing on the uncultivated meadow which they use as playing field.

Every child is rewarded by an ice cream. And the best ones in sports receive footballs, dart games and badminton bats. And the raffle for the adults provided some surprises. So our Herbert Nitschke won a sack of oats and another sack of barley. It didn’t take much more and he would have bought the land for that.

It was a folk festival in the truest sense of the word - because when did they have that here last? And now, who is a local, and who a visitor from Germany? There’s no difference any more, nothing strange separates the people. And then the end! Under the willow trees there was a 50 meter buffet table arranged and covered with all the exquisite specialities which these people with their great hospitality can offer. I am especially happy to sit under these trees because only a few steps away there is the house which is my birthplace. It is the house of Friedrich and Christian Hintz. I know here they were sitting as we do now. "Sitting in the shadow of the green trees, there. I am happy sitting on my own; there I am rocked by the golden dreams of the beautiful past." Again and again I must confirm that I feel this way – I show them my passport which shows Kurudschika as my place of birth. They are surprised but acknowledge it. And again and again one of us stands up and expresses his joy about the fact of being here in peace and friendship. Elsa Fiedler, born Hintz.

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