From Zero Hour to the Year of Fulfillment

Bessarabischer Heimatkalender, 1982, Landsmannschaft der Bessarabiendeutschen Rheinland-Pfalz, Stuttgart, Germany, 1952, pages 51-56

A)  Resettlement – War – Expulsion

When on September 28, 1940, at zero hour the last church service was held, no one knew how things were going to go.  They looked anxiously ahead with fearful expectations.

Leaving the cemetery, the community and the countryside were depressing.  After the last procession, the minister of Krasna, Dr. Kurt Schumacher, preached that we are only pilgrims on this earth.  That’s why it is a matter of leaving and looking for a new homeland.

Similarly, these times may have come to pass in other places, as well.  Then the time for departure arrived.  The last hours of the upheaval passed as in a dream.  Everything had happened so quickly, yet nothing happened quickly.

A ray of hope ran through the people upon leaving, for they were going back to the long forgotten homeland.

And yet everything happened quite differently!

Scatered to the winds by war, exodus and expulsion, the last hope vanished also.  Yet, how had Pastor Schumacher preached: “We are only pilgrims on this earth without rest and peace, and we are wandering towards the eternal homeland!”

However, when during these wretched times, we looked back on the homeland in Bessarabia to cheer ourselves up through the memories pictured in our hearts.  Reality no longer coincided with it [the memory].   As the account of fellow-countryman shows, in the fall of 1946 had been in Krasna once again:

B)  A man from Krasna sees his hometown again in 1946

“In October, 1946, I was on my way to my job in Galaz.  Coming by train from Arzis, I disembarked in Ciuleni at a rundown train station.  The small house of a signalman, in which the officer was living and doing his duty, was still standing.

With a pounding heart I entered the abandoned, ravaged, dismal, unearthly quiet hometown with a pounding heart.  I walked utterly alone on the road behind our gardens, through the Kanzleigasse, past our homes.  Then I stood in the middle of the street in front of my parents’ home.
Tears of sorrow and sad memories were running down my face when I looked through the big gate into my parents’ yard.  The house was now lived in by strange people, and in which my dear parents and siblings were no longer living.  God only knows how they were housed at that time in grief and misery.  I stood a long time and looked at the sad relics.”

I was all alone in the village street and did not dare to enter the house of my parents.  The iron gate to the yard with the monogram “J.K.” and the house, was still standing partially and walls of the yard, also.  The barn and the cellar had fallen apart; thistles were growing in the yard.

The lawyer’s office, the house of M. Hein and the southeast side of the village, had survived; however, the barns had in large part fallen apart or burned down.  Also our church, the pastor’s office, the home and the girl’s school, had fell victim to the flames.  I even climbed over rubble.  The east side of the property of Ruscheinski, was partially lived in the top part of the Hinterdorf (referring to part of the village).  Here the Russians had kept sheep, cows and other kinds of animals in the makeshift barns.  Scattered dung could be seen everywhere.  Mainly Polish families were living in the remaining houses.

The mill stood ablaze for several weeks, because grain had been stored up to the rooftop.  The right side of the lower village was partially in good condition because it had not been bombarded.  Here, a few Bulgarian families were living.

The cemetery had largely been destroyed by tanks.  I wanted to visit several more graves; I could, however, find only a few.

Thus, I was standing in the middle of our once very beautiful cemetery, alone and forsaken.  I wept bitterly while praying for those resting here, because their surviving relatives were scattered in the far distance.

At that time fifteen families were living in Krasna.  There were mainly Polish people, who were driven out by the Germans and then were settled here by the Russians.  I was quite surprised when I found out that Jonica, Liuba, and Mursen (agent) were living in the village, while earning their living as farmers.  They were living on the farm of Adalbert Marte, which was still very well preserved.  I decided to look them up.  The surprise and joy was overwhelming when they recognized me.  It goes without saying that I had to stay overnight with them, to which I readily agreed in order to continue my search for information the next day.  We stayed up together until late at night in the well-furnished former living room of the Marte family.  The overall farm was still in good condition.

The next day I dared to look up the house of my parents, accompanied by Mursen.  We found a Polish family, displaced from the corridor.  They spoke a little German also.  They allowed me to look at the house.

This family, with three children, was living in the former house of my parents.  In our large living room and next to it, in the Hinterhaus (refers to an architectural German-Russian style), where we once had the kitchen and bedrooms, now there were chickens and poultry and next to Kitchen and bedrooms, were pigs  and in the former kitchen sheep and cows were accommodated.  It looked awful.

When we were ready to say goodbye, Vasile Mursen said in Russian-Polish that I was the eldest son of the former owner of this farm.  Everyone looked at me dumbfounded and yet lovingly, especially the wife.  After some time for reflection she asked me where my parents had now settled.  I gave her the exact address.  Suddenly she began weeping bitterly, took me in her arms and, sobbing, and indicated that my relatives were living near the village from which they were displaced.

The woman lamented as to how mixed up the world was.  The Bessarabian people were living in the north of Poland and the Polish people were driven to the south.  None knew how life was to continue and everyone was hoping for a better future. 

The family invited me to stay with them, but I had already promised to stay with Liuba.

Home of the Bessarabian Germans was completed through their own work and effort by the fellow-countrymen of Rheinland-Pfalz at the Engerser Weg near the tennis courts in 5403 Muähleim-Kärlich 3.

I never forgot this encounter with the innocent, sorely tried people, who were banished into our villages and were hoping daily for a better future.

If one reflected on the kind of life that was once in our village, one became anguished.  The silence and loneliness was depressing.  I wanted to go through the village once more, late in the evening, but it was too eerie; no light, no people, only this heavy silence.  Our Krasna was unrecognizable. 

After a restful night, I saw the village as somewhat cozier the next morning.  I was on the soil of my homeland in the immediate neighborhood.  Here is where I had first seen the light of day and was baptized.  I was able to spend a happy, joyful, carefree childhood.

In this mood I kissed my Krasna good-bye: farewell, farewell dear homeland!

With tears in my eyes I took my leave of my hometown.”

C) New homeland in the country of my ancestors

The period of migration had long begun; the start of a new life after the war was granted.  Much sorrow, grief and misery accompanied, to a special degree, the fate of people who were expelled twice.  Nowhere were they needed.  However, during their search for a new home, the sorely tried people knew how to get a footing.

With the help of His Excellency Bishop Walter Kampe and the former district magistrate of Mayen, Dr. Jansen, and our Catholic ethnic group, they were resettled mainly in the Rheinland in 1950.  Here most of our fellow-countrymen acquired properties and thus a new homeland.  The building up began in the countryside, from which our ancestors had emigrated in large numbers 145 years ago.

When the reconstruction and the integration of our ethnic group was in full swing, little time was found to devote themselves to the affairs of the Lansmannschaft.  However, after the reconstruction phase, they took on the interests of the society more intensively and paid more attention to it.

The cultural life was begun anew in 1951 by founding our Landsmannschaft in Rheinland –Pfalz in Münstermaifeld.  These successes of the organization have already been reported elsewhere several times.  The unity of our ethnic group was strengthened with Evangelical fellow-countrymen from Bessarabia, who were largely based in South and North Germany.

In 1980 was a year of fulfillment for the Lansmannschaft in Rheinland-Pfalz.

We were already searching for a suitable home site.  In January, 1980, we succeeded in finding a suitable location for our proposed home.  It was on the lot of the Pius Ternes family in Rheinland-Pfalz.  In the building the house on the house, of the Landsmannschaft der Bessarabienddeutschen in Rheinland-Pfalz, it was largely through our own effort and work.  It was dedicated on November 16, 1980. 

Thus the work of the Lansmannschaft in Rheinland-Pfalz had found a distinct center.

Teamwork of the Lanesstelle Rheinland-Pfalz

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