2005 Memories of Tour Members, Part III
30 May 2005
The following messages are written by Journey to the Homeland Tour members of their visits to the former Bessarabian and Black Sea German villages today near Odessa, Ukraine and in Moldova:
The following persons visited the Kutschurgan District villages of Baden, Elsass, Kandel, Mannheim, Selz and Strassburg & Mariental and Klein-Liebental, Liebental District:
Ronald Brossart, Minot, North Dakota and his father, Valentine Brossart, Rugby, North Dakota
The experiences of the past several days of our visits to the villages on the Tour to the Homeland will be a time of memories that we will cherish forever.
The tour guides and drivers have done everything that they could to make our visits enjoyable. The inhabitants of the villages have all been very friendly and cordial to us, sharing of their food, drink and laughter, and appreciative that we would take the time to come to visit the places of our ancestors.
Just the drives through the countryside are enjoyable experiences, traveling some of the same roads that our ancestors no doubt traveled many years ago. The countryside is all very green with wheat, barley and sunflower fields, along with a few vineyards. The trees dot the roadsides, some probably planted by our ancestors. The land and soil appears as rich and productive as the stories that have been told about it.
Of particular interest to me was the visits to the remains of the churches of the villages. Until you have actually seen these monuments of works of art and construction, you cannot really appreciate the devotion of time, talent and treasure that was required of our ancestors to get these buildings completed. The saddest part of my visit was to see how these buildings have been almost totally destroyed, never to be enjoyed by future generations.
Today we were able to locate and visit two homes that we believe were constructed and occupied at one time by our direct ancestors. Just walking the streets and visiting some of the homes and realizing these are the very streets and homes where our ancestors spent part or all of their lives, is an experience that cannot be described unless you have done it for yourself.
The Tour to the Homeland is an experience that we wish many others could do, and my father and I are very appreciative to all who made this trip and lifetime experience possible. -- Ron Brossart
Frank Huber, Seattle, Washington Visiting the Kutschurgan District villages and the daughter colony of Poniatovka
I enjoyed the tree-lined road to the Kutschurgan villages and the seeing the spring crops along the way. The trip to the former Kutschurgan daughter colony of Poniatovka was quite an experience to locate. The rolling countryside was a treat to see as well as the new railway station in Rosdelua.
Patricia Gabriel (Klein) Belknap, Fargo, North Dakota Visiting the Kutschurgan District villages and Klein-Liebental & Mariental
Being here in the villages of my ancestors is a very beautiful experience that helps me to understand in a very real way how they lived and the hardships they experienced not only in this country but also in their decision to come to the United States.
The villages of the Odessa area are as beautiful at North Dakota with lush fields of grapes, wheat, flax and sunflowers. The roadways are linded with trees and flowers and the village people are treating us like long lost family members. The food is some of the best you could ever want to eat and of course there is always beer and homemade wine.
We have all had an opportunity to visit the individual village of our ancestors and learn about the village and the hardships the people endured. This is a once in a lifetime trip that I would recommend to anyone interested in genealogy.
Dorothy Bollinger McGuire and Nancy Herrell, Yakima, Washington Visiting the villages of Hoffnungstal, Guldendorf,Neu Glueckstal, and Neu Kassel
We have no pre-conceived idea of what would locate visiting the villages. We were both extremely pleased to see the countryside and visit with the local people. In Neu Glueckstal, we met with the school principal and also the mayor and his wife receiving a tour of the school. We visited Hoffnungstal which has substantially changed from the time when Dorothy's family lived there. We were referred to a local lady who had lived among the Germans who was called Mama Rosa. We spent a pleasant afternoon, She surprised us by offering tea, cheese, bread and cookies.
Sunday we visited the cemetery being directed to the German section. This has been a great experience for us in many ways. We noticed the distances people have to walk for basic everyday food needs. We have been most pleased with the hospitality we have been shown. Our driver, Val, and our guide, Ludmilla, were fantastic and went far beyond our expectations.