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



Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors
     
 
Cemeteries

by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler, 2003

       In the first years our Evangelical community had no cemetery of our own.  Certainly there were a few cemeteries in the not so distant Sekitsch where one could be buried at the site of today's Sekitsch pharmacy.  But others went to the first Feketitsch cemetery where before the Slovakian Evangelical community may have been buried.  It is this first of all great cemeteries in Feketitsch which today is slowly being used as farmland and lies in the village opposite the Gutwein-Szilagyi's blacksmiths/forge.

   In 1827 the Evangelical community purchased two funeral biers for 8 Florints.  In 1862 Jakob Häuser again finished making a large bier and a small bier.

   From the first Evangelical cemetery the following record exists: for surveying the cemetery Mr. Gespann (Ispan) received 2 Florints, 30 Kronen.  The cemetery's graves were fenced in.  It is 115 fathoms long and 37 fathoms wide.  It has been in use since 1831 and is exclusively the property of the Evangelical congregation .  In the '70's it was full and its use declined in the 80's.  However it was still occasionally used many years later.

   Today only the following inscriptions are still legible on the gravestones in this cemetery left open from long ago:

Friedrich Dietrich †1885

Elizabetha Bender  †1896

Georg Seibert †1880

Theresia Freund †1875

Heinrich Stengel †1875

M. Elisabetha Weber b. Gebel †1887

Karl Gutwein †1875                     

Wilhelm Hðgel †1905

Katharina Bittlingmayer †1890

Christina Gerber †1934

Jakob and Elisabetha Dietrich †1890

   These last two burials were carried out after a year had past since the spades of the gravediggers last touched the ground.  In this quiet God's acre triumphed the luxuriant flora of nature and the birds sing of the reunion in the eternal homeland - so beautiful. 

   Since the year 1862 the community was concerned with thoughts of purchasing a cemetery.  In 1875 the cemetery still in use today was purchased from Peter Kellermann for about 175 Guilders.  It was this land which was 5/4 of a (Hutweide) meadow to a small homeowner's house.  The cemetery is 125 fathoms long, the width is from over 38 fathoms to under 14 fathoms, 2 shoes.

   For a long time nobody was buried here.  Finally it had to be done.  On the 1st of December 1883, Ludwig Bender, 73 years old, small homeowner and husband of Elisabetha Zðllner, was the first to be buried in this cemetery.  Soon others were interred in the first row, one after the other: Ludwig Bender, M. Kinkel, Friedrich Dietrich, and the aged couple Martin Pratscher and his wife Mar. Elisabetha Spengler.

   Since the '90's the community is in almost constant conflict with the Hungarian Reformed community whose cemetery lies between the two Evangelical cemeteries.  The Evangelical community should have been ceded the right to this property which led the way to the old cemetery.

Earlier this way led through the (Hutweide) meadow and it was used instead because the actual way was too steep and could not be used and for this reason the political community has repossessed it.  Then both communities have received a greater part of the (Hutweide) meadow for use as a cemetery, since the political community would not take sides to assure a way for common use.  The border between the cemeteries was also disputed.  In 1915 they finally put in place 3 border stones and at a depth of one meter under them a pierced brick was laid and because of it some of the Evangelical graves fell on Hungarian ground.

   On the border there were trees which were to be distributed after the money flowed in from the census.

   In the last decade the cemetery was always full.  Since 1920, with the street lying adjacent to a row of burial vaults there is little room to go around.  Yet they had to think about buying a new cemetery since they would not go back to the old cemetery out of reverence although half of it had been cultivated farmland since 1919.  The plan was that the cemetery should be purchased on the side of the "Banat Vineyard" was dropped and so in 1929 a piece of land in the neighborhood of the old cemetery was purchased again for the purpose of a new cemetery.  The ground was a vineyard which belonged to Jakob Schmidt.  It is 1475 square fathoms large and cost 47,000 Dinar.  It still would not generally be used as a cemetery for a few years and it should be an exemplary classified and ordered cemetery through the systematic placement of the burials.

   In 1931 the community purchased another 734 square fathoms of land for about 10,000 Dinar from Johann Gðttel for the purpose of a cemetery.  With this piece of land the site of the future cemetery is 2209 square fathoms large and can now be found in use in one piece.  In 1934 the congregation erected a burial vault for the pastor's family in the middle of this cemetery.  On the occasion of Christian Morrell's burial, the second to be buried in this cemetery, on the 4th of April, 1936, it was quietly consecrated.  Burial vaults were unknown in the early days.  They were first made in the '40's.  Today there are many graves with marble or granite gravestones.  On Easter and Kirchweihe each family arranged the last resting place of their dead with special care.

   The inscriptions on so many of the gravestones are left wanting of their German spellings.  A way should be found to stop this erosion.

   The great mortality recorded in 1891, killed 41 children from diphtheria alone.  All tolled there were 82 burials in this year.

[Published at DVHH.org 2004 by Jody McKim Pharr]

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