Banat | Village Coordinator: Nick Tullius


Pakatzer Hans
Contribution by Johann Adam  - see Ref. [2] p. 312.
Translated by Nick Tullius

Alexanderhausen was one of only 20 villages with a school attendance record of 100 percent. We can take pride in not having had illiterates, but we can be even more proud about the treatment of the one and only person without reading and writing skills. We are talking about Pakatzer Hans. His real name was Johann Taugner, and he was born in the 1870s. He was a little mentally handicapped, but not enough to disable him from working. Initially he lived on the Pakatz estate, looking after the male animals. When the estate was dismantled, he worked as a herdsman in Lowrin. The people of Lowrin were happy with this modest and industrious worker, because he was willing to work for room and board only.

After an accident while working with a bull, and a stay at the hospital of Dr. Pauli, who declared him unfit for work, the Lowriners remembered that he was actually from Alexanderhausen. They brought him by cart to the village hall in Alexanderhausen and handed him over to the administration with the remark: "His birthplace Pakatz is within the limits of your village, so he belongs to you." A humane solution was found: He was placed into a public house where church custodian Johann Bettendorf was already living. [....] A neighboring lady, Kreuzer Lissi, was paid by the community to look after the two old men. The community also provided the heating material, and Bässl Lissi made sure that house, laundry and clothing of the two old men were kept clean. As long as Hans was able to walk, the villagers took turns inviting him for lunch. There was no formal obligation, but not a single family refused to invite him. Hans considered these invitations to be real celebrations, because every family tried to serve their best. When Hans indicated to a family that he would visit, the lady of the house would inquire what the previous hosting lady had served. After that, she followed the old Swabian saying: "What she can do, I can do better." So Hans often enjoyed the fine pastries served after the main courses. The host family would make sure to give him a package with bacon, ham, and bread for his dinner and milk for the following morning's breakfast. And Hans made sure to drop in at the neighbor's house, to announce his visit for the next day. A family's turn to invite Hans came only once in every year-and-a-half.  Long after his death, whenever a particularly good lunch was being prepared, people would kid each other: "Is Pakatzer Hans your guest today?"

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Last updated: 26 Aug 2020