Blumenthal in Banat

Established 1770

The End of the Former German Village of Blumenthal

by Anton Zollner

Translated by John Frey

     Blumenthal (also known as Maschlok; today, Masloc; Hungarian, Máslak) was one of  the purely Banat-Swabian places of the Banat.  The former Swabian village lies on the highway from Temeschburg to Lippa between Fibisch and Aliosch.  It is located at the border of the Banat region.  Blumenthal was not connected to the railroad net, because the route makes an arc around the village.  The next railway station is located in Königshof.

     According to Gheorghe Drinovan, there is documentary evidence for the existence of Blumenthal as early as 1332 ; by 1477 it is was given the status of a town.  According to the same author, by 1561 the town was no longer inhabited.  In 1717 however, 14 houses stood there.  Charles Kraushaar stated that in 1770-71, the first 95 houses for colonist were erected.  In 1770 the first parish was established and a year later the first church register was inaugurated.  In 1787, an additional 16 German families settled there.  In 1910, 1,294 Germans lived in the village; they constituted over 92 percent of the total population.  By 1930 their number dropped to 1,143 but their portion rose to over 94 percent.  In November 1940 the German folk-group included 1173 members.

     After WW II the German population decreased as it did everywhere in the Banat. Nevertheless, in 1977, the population of 976 residents still included 658 Germans.  The census of January 1992 showed that of the 836 Blumenthal residents only 33 persons German extraction remained and that the rest of the population consisted of 694 Romanian, 19 Hungary, 8 gypsy, 3 Serbs and 79 others.  Just two years before there were 32 subscribers to the Neue Banater Zeitung.  According to a statement by the town government, only 19 Germans lived in the formerly German Swabian village in February 1996.

     That the data compiled during the last census are not very reliable was confirmed also in Blumenthal.  This time however the number of Germans was not debatable but that of the Gypsies was.  The newspaper, Timisoara, on 18 March 1994, reported that a conflict between the mayor, Aurel Mic, and the gypsies of the village had broken out.  The disturbance was triggered by  a statement of the mayor during a broadcast interview.  He spoke of his dissatisfaction with the gypsies from Blumenthal, because they had ruined the houses of the emigrated Germans that were assigned to them and that they did not send their children to school because of the child allotment.  This declaration so angered the gypsies that they gathered in front of the mayor’s office on the morning of 16 March 1994 to respond to charges of racial hatred.  They remarked that not all Gypsies ruined their houses but there were also Romanians that did the same without reprimands.  As far as their children were concerned, they had to acquire only minimal reading and writing skills because they required no more than that.

     It is notable that in the census of 1992 only 8 gypsies acknowledged their group affiliation though actually over 40 gypsy families lived in the village.  After the Germans emigrated, their houses were essentially nationalized by Decree Nr. 223; people from various sections of the village, were given possession of approximately 100 German houses.  After moving in the Gypsy families only cared to make trouble in this formerly Swabian village.

     Concerning the present conditions in the Blumenthal school reported two and a half years later in the newspaper Renasterea banateana (Banater renaissance) on 17 December 1996, the classes 1-8 of the general-school are by attended by 135 students.  What is striking is the fact that of the 24 teachers there, only four are trained for this profession.  Of those teachers only two teach their subject.  The rest educate assistant teachers, some of whom do not even have the Abitur (high school diploma) let alone educational training.  An example is 27-year old Elisabeta Sarchiz, the mother of two children that lives in the neighboring village of Fibisch, who is a graduate of the Temeschburger Industrielyzeums in the field of textiles.

     Until recently people were aware only of the lack on German teachers; now it appears that Romania has not even provided teachers for the schools of its own citizens.  This topic unfortunately is still not discussed in public.  There is yet another example from Blumenthal.  Funds that the mayor had received for the schools of his ward, were used for other purposes.  It should be mentioned that the mayor, Ionel Seculi, was elected with 893 votes as candidate of the Social Democrats Rumania (PDSR) in the June 1996.

May 1997 Anton Zoller 




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