"A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

The Schools

By Peter Lang
Translated by Brad Schwebler

   The German schools in the beginning were probably commonly Evangelical-Reformed denominational schools but from 1878 on changed over to communal schools.  The teachers were paid by the political community for it and also supervised on the secular side.  A disadvantage of this existed in the danger of Slavicizing the German.  But actually the Germans were not Slavicized, because the following principles were influential for school politics.

1: A successful instruction can only be given in the mother tongue.

2: Each person should master the language of the land in their own interests in writing and speech.

3: Whichever point of view takes precedence, those affected must remain unaffected.

   The Germans of Beschka gave the first principles the point of view, but did not completely realize them.  So they could nevertheless keep their mother tongue, it was principally used by the family in the workplace and the church service was always conducted in the German language.  In school the first two grades of instruction were always given in the mother tongue.  In the first school year Gothic writing was taught and in the second year Latin writing was taught.  In the third year Cyrillic writing was taught as well as and the Serbo-Croatian language was adapted to Latin writing.  The adapted Latin writing had disastrous consequences with several deviations on correct writing (c = z, s = silent s, s with a hook = sch, z = voiced s as for example in the word Rose, z with a hook = voiced sch as for example in the word Gendarm).  No wonder the children, for example, wrote Roze instead of Rose, Ros instead of Roß, and Suh instead of Schuh.  For this reason it was advantageous to use predominantly Gothic writing (Fraktur).  In this script considerably fewer mistakes were maded.

   In the period of time of 1878, when there were no German teachers in Beschka, the Rev. (Polereczky) was also a teacher.  From 1878 on there was also a Serbian teacher, who mastered German, who was teacher for the German children.  Jakob Filippi (vgl. Reg. No. 536) likes to remember his Serbian female teacher Danica Mandic.  She was in Beschka for many years and she instructed German children exclusively.  She came from Sremska Mitrowitza and behaved very correctly.

   The school routine began in the seventh year of life and lasted for four years until the turn of the century.  After the turn of the century school time was lengthened to five years.  From this time on lessons in the fifth year were exclusively Serbian.  Only two hours per week did the German teacher give additional lessons in German.  These hours were paid for by the political community.  Starting in the 1930’s there was a sixth school year and in 1941 a seventh school year was introduced.  Before the introduction of the sixth school year there was also continuing education which all students who had left school had to attend one day per week.  The exception, however, was the apprentice who attended a trade school.  In the continuing education schools the German children were separated from the Serbian children and practiced German and arithmetic.

   The German teachers were essentially already named in the report about the church history.  In the time after Schumacher there was only teacher Zert for the Reformed.  For the Evangelists the Slovakian Karl Lilge was the German teacher from about 1910 to 1927, Evangelical organist and choir leader.  From 1927 on, besides Bächer and Lang, teacher Branko Buta also worked as German teacher, who was the son of the Serbian pastor, Rev. Buta, and as he was relieved by Fritz Kühbauch in 1938, Miss Jelka Obradovic was also a German teacher until 1941.  But she also remained in the Serbian department of the school.  Because all German children in the fifth and later in the sixth school year went to the Serbian school, I want to name those names that I can remember: Adam Obradovic, principal until about 1925, whose daughter Jelka Obradovic, then the other daughter Zagarka Obradovic, Djoka Jovanovic, principal after Obradovic until his death in 1931.  His successor was Branko Buta, who was already named as a German teacher, until about 1936.  Velislav Starcevic followed him as principal.  Other Serbian teachers were: Kontesse (Count’s daughter) Olga von Rittberg, Ms. Sophia Buta, Miss Marina Sladakovic, the married couple Katica and Branko Stojadinovic (a very good draftsman), the young teacher Arackie, and still another two or three female teachers whose names I no longer know.

[Published at by Jody McKim Pharr, 2005]






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