October, 1940 – Seventy Years Ago

Resettler Treks Leaving Bessarabia. Personal descriptions of leaving Bessarabia.

"October, 1940 – Seventy Years Ago." Mitteilungsblatt, October 2010, 24.

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

An excerpt from the diary of the eleven-year-old Artur Schott of Hoffnungstal, who experienced the trek through the steppes walking alongside his father: “On October 15 we left our homeland. Our first stop was in Krasna, where we had a noon meal. All of its former residents had already left Krasna. From there we continued on to Wittenberg, arriving late in the evening and spending the night there. Nights were already pretty cold, so that the horses had to be covered well. From here we continued the drive through the steppe, where we stopped for the noon meal in the middle of a cornfield and fed and watered the horses. The drive continued toward Kalceva, skirting the Gagau villages. There we made another stop next to a creek. The days were windy and raw, and the nights were rather cold. During the night we put up guards around the entire trek because the Gagaus seemed to be behaving somewhat aggressively. And in their villages they demanded from us things they were no longer able to get, namely, bread, petroleum, etc. – a sign that there was already great deprivation among the people there. The Russian regime had not proven itself very well.”

In the Heimatbuch Lunga (p. 88) Bela Buzogany, a native Hungarian reports as follows: “The time for the resettlement was approaching, and soon it meant saying good-bye to our dear spot on earth, Lunga in Bessarabia. I prefer not to report of the individual stops along this melancholy-sad and difficult drive, and still, that sad barking of those loyal guardians of mankind and their farmsteads, those dogs (who had to be left behind) continues to ring in my ears to this very day.”

In the Heimatbuch Alt-Posttal (p. 519) one reads: “It was the last Sunday in our beloved home village, and then the hour came for us, too, to take our leave. Early in the morning of October 14, 1940, it was still dark when the church bells called the last Alt-Posttalers to get going. They all gathered on the main street, where the covered wagons, arranged by previously assigned numbers, were waiting. For our final farewell we were joined by other people and friends – Bulgarians, Russians, Moldovans, Gagaus, and Jews.”

Sarata. “Before the first transport left Sarata, a final farewell church service was been held on Sunday. Every seat in the venerable old church was filled, and the aisles and on the steps occupied as standing room only. For the last time, the church choir accompanied a service held by Pastor Winger, and the organ accompanied the singing of the community. It was a deeply moving service. The heaviness of the hour weighed on everyone.”       

In Dr. Hugo Schneider’s book Der Herbstwind trocknet die Tränen [The Autumn Wind Dries Our Tears] we read as follows: “The hour for our final farewell was approaching. All of Wi. [Wittenberg, perhaps? – Tr.] was assembled for the service in the church that Sunday morning. Somehow the bells sounded different. When the organ began the prelude, a shudder came over the people. Gottfried H. gripped the hymnal with his gnarled hands, but he was unable to hold back the tears.” (p. 206)

Tarutino. “By now it was time to take our leave. How that felt can only be understand by someone who has experienced anything like it. For the last time we walked along the acacia-lined street toward the cemetery. There we held our farewell service.” (p. 222)  

On the Way to the Danube

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

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