Open Letter and Invitation

To All Friends of Arzis, Brienne and to All Other Bessarabian Germans

Kappel, Prof. Dr. W. and Ziebert, Siegmund. "Open Letter and Invitation." Mitteilungsblatt, October 2010, 5.

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

Dear Friends of Arzis, Brienne, and of Bessarabia,

By means of our now restored symbol [see photos below], where in those earlier times many people of Arzis would meet on Easter morning at the graves of their ancestors, we wish to remember all those who have accompanied our lives briefly or not so briefly and who have preceded us into eternity. We aim to maintain a lasting memorial of honor for it [the cemetery] and for all of those people.

Among the outstanding events of this year was the Bundestreffen in Ludwigsburg, to which we had invited three visitors from Arzis (Ukraine) who had provided special assistance to us during the construction of the memorial, namely, Mrs. Anna, the mayor, and the administrative head of the county of Arzis.

As a major project for this year, we had organized a small working group which, under the motto “Arzis Yesterday and Today,” would collect and sort any available photos and to produce a photo album and a DVD with them. Unfortunately, various problems with health prevented us from getting as far as we had planned. Although each member of the group separately collected photos actively, we have so far not gotten to arrange a combined work session. Perhaps we’ll get there next year.

Our beautiful memorial in Arzis (again, see below) has been, and will continue to be receiving good care from the architect Bogancha, and it has seen visits from many countrymen during their trips there.

Moreover, for organizational reasons we were unable this year to organize our Arzis gathering held annually in the South.

Some participants have also urged that we might organize an annual gathering in the North, since we all get older each year. [This reasoning does not appear obvious to the translator– Tr.] We find this to be a good suggestion and would like to make it a reality this very year. In hopes of realizing larger numbers of attendees we wish to join the gathering of the work group of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and to make our future gatherings happen there annually on October 31.

We are thus inviting all from Arzis and Brienne, and all countrymen and friends to gather as is our tradition, but now in the North. It will start at 10:00 AM on October 31, 2010, in Todendorf near Teterow at the Inn “Zur Erbmühle.”       

We are grateful that Mrs. Ingrid Versümer, chair of the work group, and her aides will take the lead in organizing it all. To inquire about accommodations you may call 038292-78027, or you may phone Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Kappel at 039931-50091. To make it easier for Mrs. Versümer in planning for the common noon luncheon, you should inform her or Mr. Kappel at least a week in advance of your attendance. Todendorf is easy to get to, is situated in a charming area, and is a good hub for excursions or for a vacation at or travel to the Baltic Sea. Died-in-the-wool campers can also find an appropriate place nearby.   

For participants from the South who would rather not travel by car or by train, we can organize group travel. Please call to let your wishes be known with S. Ziebert at 07043-920471 or send an e-mail to sziebert@t-oinline-de.

Since we have few addresses and many may not read the Mitteilungsblatt, please pass this invitation on to others and bring along friends or acquaintances. 

Please bring along any photos of earlier times or of trips to Arzis. We’ll try to arrange a small exhibit and, if possible, to reserve a tables or several tables.

What’s new in Arzis? In contrast with various other villages, Arzis has been developing relatively well. While many people are leaving other villages because they cannot find work or future prospects, the population of Arzis has hardly gone down at all. In some villages, kindergartens and schools stand empty because there few or any children at all remain, since especially the younger people have been moving away. Quite a few homes are falling apart. Arzis and Brienne, though, do seem to be in good shape because the sale of land occupied earlier by the military airport and rocketry grounds ahs brought in some income, some of which has been used to improve parts of the infrastructure. A few craft workshops have sprung up, even though the cement plate and tractor and animal feed factories continue to rust away. Only the bread factory is still function fully and is delivering to the entire rayon (county). The market, too, is gaining in significance since a number of permanent buildings at and around it have been constructed, thus keeping off the ground the wares that are offered. A few restaurants have also opened, and a larger hotel “is to be” built in the [town] center. The hotel at the railroad station has unfortunately not been improved. Folks planning to travel to Arzis might possibly do so during the last week in August, when the Arzis people annually celebrate the anniversary of Ukraine’s independence. 

We wish all of you good travel, and we are looking forward to meeting all! 

The Arzis Cemetery in 1940
The Arzis Cemetery in 2009

Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of these articles.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller