The Seed Has Come Up: Marienfeld’s 100-Year Anniversary Celebration on Pentecost Sunday
Fieβ, Heinz. "The Seed Has Come Up: Marienfeld's 100-year Anniversary Celebration on Pentecost Sunday." Mitteilungsblatt des Bessarabiendeutschen Vereins, August 2011, 15-16.

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

During the 2010 Bundestreffen [the Bessarabian Germans’ national convention] Dr. Artur Schaible of Schömberg hosted at his home four guests from Marienfeld (which is now in the Republic of Moldova). They were: Mayor Vitali Burduh; agronomist Yurie Dubceak, who is responsible for the agricultural operations of the village; Michael Molduveanu and the latter’s daughter Oksana. In doing so he established initial connections to the homeland village of his parents, and he was mindful that he was setting in motion a hundred-year celebration in 2011.

In 1910, even before construction of buildings had begun, the future Marienfelders had planted seeds for winter grain so that they would have a harvest the following year. This is the very idea that Dr. Schaible was caught up with when he and his son Rainer and a few others traveled to Marienfeld in the fall of 2010. And there, in an act rich with symbolism (and supported by the community), exactly one hundred years since that first seeding, he planted winter seed on a field. (This was reported in the Mitteilungsblatt.) Earlier, Artur Schaible had appealed in the Mitteilungsblatt for others to participate, and at the 100-year anniversary celebration on Pentecost, he was indeed able to welcome around forty former Marienfelders and descendants. One group, part of a Kelm-Group-Tour trip to Bessarabia, had arrived from Sergeyevka on Saturday. Just outside Marienfeld the travelers arriving by bus were able to admire the by then well-grown grain that had been planted during the previous fall. Artur Schaible had stayed in Marienfeld while the Dr. Kelm group had spent the night in Kishinev and there, in the Hotel Cosmos, had met up with other Marienfelders who had come to Kishinev with the Becker tour travel organization. With happy singing and music making and with great anticipation, they jointly set out on Pentecost Sunday morning to the celebration in Marienfeld. There, next to the town sign decorated with flowers, a welcoming committee clad in traditional clothing had been waiting patiently to welcomed the guests with [the traditional] bread and salt, and with wine and dancing. Due to an unfortunate technical problem with our bus, we arrived much later. [Here the author introduces “we,” but does not explain whom the “we” includes – Tr.]

There was a truly festive atmosphere during the celebration held next to the former prayer house.    Many current village residents were in attendance to take in what might be anything but an everyday experience for them. The event began with a talk by Dr. h.c. Edwin Kelm who, despite mourning the death of his wife just a few days back, had still made the trip to Marienfeld. Along with Valerie Skripnik he had performed the major work in preparing the event. Valerie had made many trips to Marienfeld to make sure the stone memorial would be put up properly and in a timely manner.

The highlights of the festive event were the unveiling of the memorial by Mayor Burduh and Dr. Schaible and the public reading of the memorial inscription by Erika Scheibl-Fieβ. In Romanian, Russian and German, the inscription recalls the founding of the Marienfeld community and reminds the reader of the history of the Germans. The celebratory ceremony at the stone memorial ended with the singing of the first verse of the [Bessarabian] homeland song, which was accompanied on the trumpet by Erwin Becker, and of the Europe Hymn, a fitting choice for the feast of Pentecost and for general understanding between peoples. The latter was accompanied by Heinz Fieβ on the harmonica. 

The Orthodox Pop [priest] Victor Zurkan was also in attendance and now led the assembled group to the left side of the prayer house, where he celebrated a dedicatory Mass in front of a newly erected cross. Thereby he created a successful connection between the Evangelical [Lutheran] Marienfelders of the past and today’s Orthodox residents. Both groups, according to the Pop,would remind later generations of this centenary celebration.

Mayor Burduh then invited the numerous German and Moldovan guests to a luncheon at the Hotel Moldova in Cimislia, which impressed us with its refined elegance. A generous donation made for an appropriate reward for the hosts’ efforts.

Back in Marienfeld, in the great hall of the prayer house, visitors enthusiastically took in the entertainment provided by folklore presentations of kindergarteners, pupils and the youth. The day before, a photo gallery of posters and written materials concerning the earlier Marienfeld had been installed on the back wall. Heinz Fieβ, who had been entrusted by Kelm with leading the trip, provided concluding remarks of gratitude, in which he mentioned that the gallery constituted the beginnings of a permanent display wall worthy of expansion, not only for the local population, but for visitors as well, and thereby a good reason for a return visit.

The German visitors would gladly have remained longer, especially since the village residents had prepared a genuine folk fest with dancing during the evenings. But the upcoming eight-hour bus ride (the bus had in the meantime been repaired, at least provisionally) on partly miserable roads via Kishinev to Sergeyevka, although through lovely, hilly landscapes beautifully displaying blue sage blossoms in the evening sun, made a pressing argument for leaving. The group would arrive back at the Hotel Liman at 2 AM.

All were in agreement that they had experienced a very beautiful, eventful day—one that had been filled with special hospitality.

Dr. Kelm during his address
The patiently waiting welcoming troupe at the village sign of Marienfeld. The press was present all day as well.
The traditional welcome featuring bread and salt …
… plus music and dancing
Impressions of the 100th-Year Celebration in Marienfeld
Impressions of the 100th-Year Celebration in Marienfeld
Impressions of the 100th-Year Celebration in Marienfeld
Impressions of the 100th-Year Celebration in Marienfeld
Impressions of the 100th-Year Celebration in Marienfeld
Impressions of the 100th-Year Celebration in Marienfeld
A mirrored image of the group luncheon in the elegant dining hall of the Restaurant Moldova in Cimislia
Mayor Burduh and Dr. Artur Schaible unveiling the stone memorial
The Orthodox Pop during his dedication of the new cross

(Text by Heinz Fieβ, photos by Hablizel, Scheibl-Fieβ, and Fieβ)   

Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation, and to Dr. Nancy A. Herzog of editing of this article.

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