In Memory of the History of the German Colonists
Zur Erinnerung an die Geschichte der Deutschen Kolinisten
in der Ukraine
Wenger, Elvira. "In Memory of the History of the German Colonists in Ukraine." Volk auf dem Weg, October 2007, 22-23.
Translation from the original German to American English
is provided by Alex
Herzog, Boulder, Colorado
In the February, 2007 issue of Volk auf dem Weg I reported on the
intent to create a memorial in memory of the German colonists in
the former Speyer in the Beresan Valley (today the village has the
name Peschanyi Brod).
Owing to the great effort and engagement by the Orthodox priest
of the local church (formerly the Catholic St. Martin's Church),
Ioan Fetchko, also owing to donations of my relatives and friends,
a beautiful memorial has meanwhile been erected on the church lot
in Peschanyi Brod.
on the Memorial
Engraved on the memorial are the dates of the establishment and
of the dissolution of the German colony of Speyer (1809 - 1944).
The dual-language inscription (in Ukrainian and German) reads as
This memorial is dedicated to the founders and residents of the
German colony of Speyer, who here, in this cemetery, have found
their rest, and also to the builders and creators of the church.
Peace be on their ashes and honor in their memory. In memory of
our ancestors, by their descendants.
The consecration of the memorial took place on July 22 of this
year. Since the work on the new roof and erection of seven cupolas
was recently completed, Ioan Fetchko used this occasion to ask the
Archbishop of Nikolayev and Voznesensk, Vladyka Pitirim, to consecrate
the church as well as the memorial.
It was an impressive celebration, beginning with services in the
church and continued with a procession to the memorial, accompanied
with ringing of the bells. These, by the way, are the bells from
the original bell tower, and which Pastor Ioan Fetchko had installed
in a new bell tower.
Archbishop Vladyka Pitirim and the priests from the entire region
celebrated the festive liturgy. Also present were the top administrators
of the village and of the county seat of Voznesensk, as well as
a reporter from the regional newspaper.
Before the consecration of the memorial, Pastor Ioan Fetchko reported
on the history of the German colonists and said, among other things:
"These people came here in the year 1909; only three years
later they built a church. They did not even have their own houses,
but it was important to them to have a church in the village. These
people deserve the greatest respect. In 2009 we will celebrate the
200th anniversary of the village; by then we must clean the former
German cemetery of refuse, plant a park at the site, and put up
the cross from the former church tower and erect a gravestone as
a memorial. These deeds are to prove that we are not barbarians,
but Ukrainians." In his sermon he added: "There is no
future without the past."
|Archbishop Vladyka Pitirim at the Consecration
The event was a sensation in the region. There was a report, with
photos, in the newspaper, and the interest shown by the Ukrainian
residents was so great that I was invited to an interview, and subsequently
an additional large article appeared in the regional newspaper.
The village administrator, W.F. Borsik showed himself to have been
moved and promised soon to clean up the German cemetery and to begin
with the planting of a park.
The Orthodox priest Ioan Fetchko had no lack of ideas and projects,
he merely lacks financial support ...
In the August, 2007 issue of Volk auf dem Weg, pages 8-9, I read
the article "Intensifying the cultural activities for our countrymen."
With a background of what was stated therein I can only say that
we must pay particular attention to Speyer and Katharinental in
the Beresan Valley. There, engaged folks like Pastor Fetchko and
the director of the German Museum in Katharinental, N. Denisyuk,
attempt, with meager means but with much effort, to revive the history
of the German colonists, and they have been performing valuable
cultural work for fifteen
I am personally prepared to support this project corresponding
to my own means.
Klufterner Str. 134
88048 Friedrichshafen, Germany
Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.