Impressions of My Visit
By Günther Goschi, 22nd April 2003,
of Frankenthal, Germany
Translated by Diana Lambing
After exactly ten years I was persuaded to travel to Romania once again to visit my home
village of Bogarosch and eventually began to really look forward to the visit. The reason
for the trip to Romania was a performance by the Schubert Choir, of which both my wife and I
are active members, in the Adam-Müller-Guttenbrunn House. This performance was one of the
highlights of the Schubert Choir during the past year, in spite of other appearances in the
Federal Republic, for I have never experienced, neither in my professional nor my private
life, such deep feelings which were awakened in so many people while we were there..
My wife Edith and our son Uwe, along with our fellow compatriot Konrad Kurzhals, also came
with us to Bogarosch. It was a sunny Tuesday and I must honestly admit that my heart was
beating as we drew closer to the village which had been my home for the first 26 years of my
below shows Schulengasse (School Street) going out of the village. This photo was taken from
high up in the Fraunhofer’schen house. Near the center of the picture you can see the houses
of the Wolf family and that the small house no longer stands, except as a ruin. It hasn’t
survived time. Where there is no home owner, there is no upkeep, and where there is no
upkeep, this is the result.
As we were led into Schulengasse I began to mutter, for the usual cross with the ancient
poplar trees to the left and right were no longer there. The poplars had been felled and the
cross put elsewhere; it was a different Bogarosch. But then the bumpy cobbled street began.
Now I was in Bogarosch again! Unchangeable. The sun burned in the sky, even though it was
still only April, and we could barely imagine what the hot summer months would have to offer
if it was already so hot at this time of the year. But the village was quite deserted. No
Besl Wawi or Besl Lis, no Vetter Sepp to call out ‘Gun Taach’ (Good Morning). Now and then
someone would pass me by and look at me as though I were from another planet.
But I only had one aim, and that was to see the old familiar places again; places of which I
have lovely memories of my childhood and youth and other parts of my life. It was also
important to me to see the church where I received my First Communion and where I was
confirmed, and the cemetery where relatives and acquaintances rest in eternity.
I was pleasantly surprised by the appearance of the cemetery which had been tidied up. The
unbroken silence there caused me to stop and picture the people passing before my eyes,
people whom I had not seen for many years. I linked memories with familiar faces and for a
moment everything was as it had been. Even my son, who remembers next to nothing about
Romania and Bogarosch, began to look pensive once we had explained the relationships of the
people buried in the cemetery and he suddenly became quiet. It was then that I saw that true
Swabian blood flowed through his veins. He felt so connected to the whole thing.
I can say with a clear conscience that the cemetery is in good shape; the graves and the
pathways are tidy and the grass is mown. The central chapel, a big headache not for the
cemetery but for our whole community, is in a desperate state and if something is not done
soon to this building, then it will collapse. The roof is no longer a roof as it is full of
holes, most probably from the missing tiles which have been blown away during the storms.
The spire, as everyone knows, fell down long ago. What remains is a half ruin which will
soon become a total ruin. The main path has now been repaired. A 1.3 meter (4 ft) wide
concrete path has been built from the main gate to the back gate (about 200 meters long),
which should hopefully last a while.
We left the cemetery and walked towards the church, which was also of great interest to me
on this day. We had to first arrange for the key in order to enter. This was found, and so
the major hurdle of my last visit to Bogarosch ten years ago was overcome. Inside the church
it was very cold, despite the high temperature outside. That was because the walls had
become somewhat damp through the leaky roof. But even here, I felt immediately at home as
soon as I saw the altar in front of which we constantly genuflected and when I saw the
sacristy where we boys would get changed in order to serve the priest as ministers on the
side during Holy Mass. Even the organ, which sounded the total solemnity of the Holy Mass,
still stands undamaged and would willingly offer its services if only there were still
people around able to operate it. We didn’t go up into the spire. The clock in the tower
doesn’t work any more as the pigeons and the owls have messed up everything in the ceiling
and in the clock with their feces.
The church ceiling has been damaged in three places as rainwater has crept in through the
leaky roof, softening the ceiling plaster, and has left three areas of around one square
meter without any plaster. It is a pity that the holy paintings in these areas have been
The sacristy is in a desperate condition, unending filth; the priest’s and ministers’
vestments lie in the filthy cupboard.
The masonry in the church is in a very bad state in places.
This view was taken from the Frauenverein (women’s association) and shows where plaster has
fallen off, as well as a huge hole where owls have made their home.
What really is rather odd is that you see the village has changed when you walk down the
streets of Bogarosch. Not a single familiar face came towards me; only in our own street did
the neighbors come out of their houses when they heard of our arrival, but even these faces
have become old and wrinkled and barely recognizable. Even so, I enjoyed these small
acquaintances . Our son found the warmth with which we were received quite remarkable. We
also went into our house in ‘Geelwertsgass.’ Everything had changed there, too. Everything
which had been painted white in our time was now blue and everything which had been green
was now brown etc. Once we had supposedly seen everything, we left the patch of earth we had
called our home with mixed feelings.
Personally, I feel regenerated by this visit to Bogarosch and am satisfied that I have seen
what has become of the once beautiful and blooming community of Bogarosch. Our ancestors
would turn in their graves if they could only see for a second what has become of their
heritage for which they had worked so hard for a whole lifetime.