Exhibition in Apatin
On the Occasion of the Dedication of the Church of the Sacred Heart Church
August 16th, 2009

By Boris Mašić, August 2009

Translated by Rose Vetter 


On August 16th, 2009, one day after the Feast of
the Dedication of the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, the newly renovated Church of the Sacred Heart was solemnly blessed in a Holy Mass celebrated by Archpriest, Father Jakob Pfeifer. Many guests, among them some who had come from abroad, attended this special event. 

For this occasion, Boris Mašić had prepared an
exhibit in the choir loft, titled "250 Years of Books
in Apatin and Sentiwan".  Church vestments from Sentiwan were also exhibited. Many years of collecting books belonging to the German churches
in Apatin and Sentiwan culminated in this exhibit.


The initial intention of establishing a center for the preservation of the cultural heritage of the Germans in this area is slowly showing promise of becoming a reality.  We began the task of collecting books and documents in 2001, when the Adam Berenz Society was permitted to use the rectory where Father Berenz had lived and worked.  The impetus for starting the collection was the discovery of a part of the church archives in the rectory, as well as the priest’s library.




Most significant among the impressive material are the records concerning the resistance movement headed by Berenz from 1934 to 1944 which eventually lead to his arrest in this house.  We have also collected contemporary books written in Germany about the Danube Swabians, as well as church records to facilitate ancestry research. 

Last year our collection was supplemented with priceless material from the destroyed church in Sentiwan.  Of great prominence are the complete church archives from the years 1800 to 1945, including valuable documents chronicling the life of the church through many years, especially during the time of pastor and poet Stephan Augsburger Ronay.  The collection includes entire libraries, notably, the church-, school- and convent libraries, as well as the private libraries of the priests.  Especially valuable are the church vestments and altar cloths, which were created in Munich, Vienna and Budapest, also the beautiful work by the nuns and women of Sentiwan.  We are fortunate to have one of the most noteworthy collections of church textiles from the 19th century.  Also found in the church are fragments found in the ruins of the Sentiwan church: parts of the stained glass windows, the relief sculptures of the baroque altars and statues from the destroyed altars of the 18th century. 



This year the collection was complemented with the entire Apatin church library, which had been accumulated over 250 years.  This library is comprised of several private libraries and those of several Catholic societies.  There are very precious books from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries; the most fascinating collection includes books brought by the German settlers from their homes and donated to the church.  The oldest book was printed in 1613 and had belonged to the Jesuit Order. 


The entire collection is made up of 13,000 books, a large part of which
was accumulated over a period of
100 years. 

Although the task of sorting and placement of this vast collection will take years to complete, the material
is already available for research. 

We hope that the church and the Adam Berenz Society will have enough energy and resources to give this valuable collection a worthy home.



Apatin Village Coordinators: Beth Tolfree & Boris Masic

© 2004-2020 Beth Tolfree, unless otherwise noted. - Report broken links

Remembering Our Donauschwaben Ancestors