Mannheim: History of the Catholic German village of the Kutschurgan District located near Odessa, Ukraine

Translation to English of text in German prepared by Peter Detling, Solikamsk, Russia. Mr. Detling's ancestors once lived in the Black Sea German Kutschurgan villages including Mannheim.

Mannheim is located on the road Odessa-Tiraspol, on the river Baraboi, about 40 km northwest of Odessa.

Mannheim belonged with Elsaß, Straßburg, Kandel, Baden and Selz to the Kutschurgan district. It was founded in 1808 and settled by 60 families. 26 families were from Baden, 16 from Alsace, 8 from Rheinpfalz and 10 from Prussian Poland.

The emigrants went by boat from Lauingen on the Danube to Vienna. From Vienna they went through Austria, Moravia, Galicia, Radzivil-Poland, to Odessa. The journey with wagons proved to be extremely difficult especially in spring or after a rainfall.

The wasteland they found was not very appealing for settlement. There were wolves and coyotes which found shelter in the thick brushwood and bushes. However, they decided to take up the land and settled together.

The village had 3,705 desj. land. In 1915 Mannheim had 2,076, in 1926 only 1,903 residents. The decline in population is due to the great famine of the 1920s.

In 1926 the daughter colony Neu-Mannheim near Nikolajew was founded.

Many young people from Mannheim decided to start anew because of a lack of land.

The two villages Johannestal and Georgental were daughter colonies from the Kutschurgan district and were founded in 1857 and 1864.

Arable land was, to a great extent, far from the village. West of Mannheim, land extended to Neu-Kandel, a distance of about 20 km. To the east, it extended beyond the line of the railroad Karpowo - Odessa and Jeremejewka.

Due to these great distances, only two trips could be made during harvest time. Thus, threshing places were set up in the fields.

The steam mill of Mannheim was well known. The mill was built by Mr. Kurz and was later sold to Mr. Heiser. Farmers came from long distances to have their grain milled.

The mill was in the Unterdorf on the river Baraboi so they could take advantage of the precious water which was needed so much.

Mannheim also had three oil mills which were put to a standstill after WWI. The oil mills were necessary to extract the golden, good sunflower oil from the seeds of the sunflowers; the oil cake, very nutritious for milking cows, was needed for the cattle.

As the summers were dry and very hot in the Kutschurgan district, ice cellars were set up for the summers. The ice, 30 to 40 cm thick, was broken up at the dikes. The ice was brought on sleds to the ice cellars of the village.

Mannheim had three dikes which were all located one after another towards Elsaß. In the 1930s all three dikes broke because of the amount of water from the melting snow. The result was a large flood which effected many farms.

In 1939 and 1940, the upper dike was closed; it did not have enough water.

The pastures for the cows were located on the three dikes. At midday, the cows were led to water near the dikes and for milking purposes where they stayed for two hours.

In order to have water and ice, a new dam was built on the hillside in a narrow valley towards Schostak among vineyards; it always had enough water.

The quality of the well-water differed. The wells were located in the valley: water was drawn with buckets and served as drinking water for the cattle in the summer time. The best water was found at the well by the wood.

However, as the need for water increased, they tried to dig a new well by the cross but no spring was found.

The river Baraboi had little water in the summer. This was due to the fact that the Russian village of Krasnohorka, founded between Mannheim and Elsaß in 1926, had a dam which retained the water during the summer.

However, in the winter, the Baraboi grew to a strong stream and when it froze the Baraboi was ideal for skating. When it got warm enough for melting and the ice, about 5 to 6 m, was drifting towards the valley and got jammed before bridges, the danger of a flood grew or the bridges were swept along. It was especially dangerous at the stone bridge by the mill. If the ice did not get through the two water courses below the bridge, the ice had to be broken up. A guard was put there especially for this purpose.

Mannheim was also known for its many inns. Farmers, who went from Odessa to Tiraspol or went to the bazaar in Straßburg, which was always well attended, stayed here. Gabriel Schneider, Balthasar Schneider (two brothers), Bachmann, and Schuck had large inns. There were many smaller inns besides these.

Mannheim also had its own slaughter house which was built solidly and was operated to the end.

Crafts were also well represented in Mannheim. There were 4 smith shops, 3 carpenter shops, 1 turner shop, 1 copper shop, and 1 plumbing business.

Until 1890, a prayer hall existed where nowadays the church is. In 1890, the church was made bigger and the tower was added. The tower was as high as 3 floors, and one of the highest in the region; it had 3 louvre-windows.

The church had 6altars: 1) high altar, 2) Herz-Maria altar, 3) Herz Jesu altar, 4) Agnesia altar, 5) Alois altar, 6) resurrection altar.

The resurrection altar was donated by Johannes Schuk, the manger scene by Martin Schuck, the 14 statue pictures by Franz Weber, and the 3 bells were also donated by Martin Schuck. The large bell was named Martin, the next Adam, and the smallest Eva.

The church itself was named Maria.

The nice organ was paid for three-fourths by the congregation, and one-fourth with donations.

The organists of the church were: Dannhoff, Böhm, Stein, Adler, Josef Schwab, Josef Dettling, and the last one until 1944 was Matthias Schwab who, today, lives in Frankfurt/Main.

The first minister of Mannheim was Rokulski, a Pole. The second was pastor P. Ungemach; he was from Josefstal and came from Bransk/Crimea. P. Ungemach, left Mannheim in 1900, and became a dean. The third was Father Jakob Dobrowolski who served from 1900 to 1934 in Mannheim. P. Dobrowolski died on December 31, 1834, in Mannheim.

The church was closed in 1935. The cross on the tower was taken down by Nikolai Domenik and Stopi in 1929, and replaced by a metal flag.

The church bells were taken down in 1932/33 and thrown through the louvre-windows onto the church steps by the entrance.

Translation by Brigitte von Budde, Fargo, North Dakota.

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