Feketitsch in der Batschka
A multilingual community in Yugoslavia with a German minority

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The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages: 4-101 | 101-199 | 200-303 | Table of Contents

page 101-105

Church Associations

Church Clubs 
"Where one sings, there you settle Glee Clubs peacefully."
Because "angry people have no songs." Schiller

     Old people still recollect what a very good singer the teacher Karl Burg was as this was one of the main qualifications of teachers educating at the time. Certainly a choir also existed. However records of it don't exist.

     The men's glee club was established by the teacher Wilhelm Pratscher and he led it as the choir leader in the winter months for a decade. Other choir leaders of the men's glee club were the teacher Friedrich Stðtzer, Julius Pratscher, Jakob Kellermann, and Jakob Dietrich. The glee club can look back on 60 years of activity without interruption. 

The History of the Evangelical Men's Choir in the Last 25 Years
written by Friedrich Weber

     In 1909 choirmaster teacher Stðtzer established a men's choir from the work of the already deceased musician Jakob Gutwein in the framework of the Evangelical congregation. It began with completely beautiful work and progressed because there was rather good material and the choirmaster Friedrich Stðtzer was very musical and led the choir with complete devotion. In 1913 the congregation purchased a harmonium organ for 160 Kronen. In the following year the choir purchased from its own means a second harmonium organ. The spiritual as well as the secular songs were well-cared for. Then the World War came and everything at the time was torn and most of the men of the choir were inducted. A few weeks before the outbreak of the war choirmaster Stðtzer moved away from Feketitsch. After the tremendous fight it was difficult in the entire world to bring together men with ideal feelings because the gruesome picture of the war was still vivid in their minds so that all the softness in them was destroyed. Nevertheless choirmaster Jakob Kellermann came to Feketitsch in 1921 at the time of the old dispersed group gathered again and eagerly began to work. The new choirmaster was also an extremely gifted musical man and had a great preference for songs. And so for a few years they worked eagerly and beautifully until the choirmaster was sick and they could no longer completely devote themselves to the work. After some time the state teacher Jakob Dietrich came to Feketitsch in 1928 to fill in as leader of the choir in the meantime to finish incomplete work and worked with very great enthusiasm and love until 1931 and then he moved to Neusatz in the capacity of state teacher in January. Up to now the main field of work of the choir was the church hymn, nevertheless the secular songs were also not forgotten, so the versatile choirmaster Jakob Dietrich very rightly began to propagate the German folk songs for only the German folk song is suitable to create a camaraderie that comes from people talking to people. 

     The choir was now without a musical leader again, so the administrative leader had to give advise. Someone had the idea to not have a teacher anymore but to elect a future leader from their own midst. The election fell on that of teacher Kellermann to train alto Christian Schwindt who was just the teacher named who had enjoyed only a very sparse education in music. But luckily they were hardly aware of the extent of his task since he went to the German men's choral society with great love, an unending perseverance and patience at the work. Yet it should be mentioned here that later, in 1933, Christian Schwindt could bring the men's choir to the highest development of his abilities under the influence of artist Peter Freund, originally from Neusatz, living in Sekitsch, from whom he officially took over after the fifth year at which time, in the framework of a large scale song recital a rally for the popular German songs took place - report filed. In the time of choirmaster Christian Schwindt the spiritual as well as the secular songs were dedicated at the same observance, there with the words spoken by our highly esteemed bishop, Dr. Philipp Popp, too much of the same thing make the souls apathetic, but from all of both kinds of music the same group of people always sound fresh and happy.

The Evangelical Men's Choir of 1936

Row 1: Johann Scheer, Filipp Freund, Heinrich Freund, Adam Liebersperger, Nikolaus Roth, Heinrich Hartmann, Filipp Seibert, Filipp Schwahner, Daniel Schnauthiel, Georg Krebs, Jakob Schwaner.
Row 2: Peter Wagner, Friedrich Fetzer, Friedrich Peter, Jakob Peter, Georg Schwebler, Johann Schwindt, Friedrich Weber, Karl Gutwein, Leonhard Roth, Adam Roth, Johann Mayer.
Row 3: Heinrich Scholl, Johann Roth, Stefan Ritter, Filipp Wagner, Senior Peter Scherer, Christian Schwindt, Filipp Bensinger, Ludwig Gutwein.
Row 4: Theobald Baschawerk, Johann Schwindt, Daniel Dautermann, Friedrich Weber, Filipp Stroh.

     It was necessary at the conclusion to direct an appeal to the men of our people at this place that each one who feels he has the ability to serve the German cause, connected to the different cultural associations and sacrificing themselves completely to the work devoted to the national customs and traditions so that we can remain protected in the national setting.

Row 1: Christine Morell, Liese Müller, Roschen Berleth, Bärbchen Baron, Dorothea Baschawerk, Katharina Berleth, Lieschen Grumbach, Katchen Gutwein.
Row 2: Käthe Brückner, Gretchen Ludmann, Heinrich Freund, Karl Spengler, Josef Schmidt, Christian Schwindt, Adam Krebs, Friedrich Bender, Michael Gutwein, Christine Wolf.
Row 3:(sitting): Katharina Ludmann, Suschen Ziegler, the pastor's family, Suschen Scheer, Gretchen Ortag, Luisa Freund.

The Youth Choir which took part in the third song festival

     During the war there was a girl's choir, which was characteristic of the time, under the leadership of Jakob Kellermann. This girl's choir worked diligently and it's ability has been recorded in numerous minutes by secretary Elisabetha Schmidt (wife of Karl Seibert). This girl's choir introduced electric light to the school in 1918.

     In 1925 the pastor's family established a youth choir which under the leadership of the agile pastor's wife achieved remarkable success and worked miracles. Through the events of community evenings it was possible for the youth club to buy itself a camera with which the photograph evening could be introduced; now and then themes from the Bible, the church history, and also different areas of science were taken. The expenses were covered by voluntary sacrifices. The great success achieved by the youth choir up until now through its participation on the occasion of the 400 year celebration of the Augsburg Denomination in Kraljevicevo-Franzfeld, where they held their third Evangelical song festival performance on the second Whitsunday.

Row 1: Jak. Peter, Jak. Märtz, Kath. Egner, Friedrich Weber, Johanna Bechtler, Anton Weber, Ther. Schübler, Heinrich Hartmann.
Row 2: Maria Bender, Ther. Gegner, Kath. Anschütz, Kath. Scheer, Eliz. Krebs, Luise Freunp, Angelia Schwebler, Marg. Häußer, Eliz. Dietrich, Elsa Müller, Marg. Liebersperger, Marg. Anschütz.
Row 3: Eliz. Scheer, Susanna Scheer, Heinrich Freund, pastor's wife, pastor, Christian Schwind, Christine Scheer, Kath. Gutwein.
Row 4: Joh. Scheer, Nik. Roth, Philipp Seibert.

     The German Evangelical Youth Choir of 1936, on the occasion of its tenth year in existence, at which time Christian Schwind took over as leader of the choir.

     In memory of this festival they received, as did all other choirs, a bust of Luther. Twenty-six choirs took part at this festival with around 1000 singers.  This double celebration formed what was so far the most impressive Evangelical expression in Yugoslavia. On the trip they could go sightseeing in the capital city of Belgrade and the city of Pancevo.

     The congregation has no other clubs. 

     For the Gustav-Adolf Association an offertory was collected once a year and in the last years 5% of the yield in the church offertory boxes was intended for this association.

     A few years ago a Gustav-Adolf box was installed in the church, just as it was also customary in the old prayer house.

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
page 105 | Table of Contents


     The local guild paid 1 to 2.50 Forints a year to the church treasurer from 1831 to 1851. In 1849, as the Kossuth money was destroyed, only 5 Forints of this money could be found in the church treasury. Old coins were often sold.

     In 1853 it was "agreed" that the ones who had just come to the Feketitsch community house or bought a field had to pay, 5 Forints for the house; 2 Forints, 30 Kreuzer for the field. From the old place of worship the cross and a song board still exist which were used at the baptisms. The doors came from Jakob Kloß, a second cross came from the belfry. The large Harmonium organ from the prayer house was sold. An offertory box from the prayer house is displayed on the way up to the gallery.

     In 1921 a (Schapirograf?) was purchased. The mixed choir paid 300, the men's choir paid 200, and the congregation paid 100 Kronen for it.

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 106-108 | Table of Contents

The 100 Year Jubilee of the Congregation Mixed Couples

     On the 26th of October 1930 it was celebrated for the hundredth time, that the first school-prayer house was consecrated and the Evangelicals of Feketitsch could hold church services in their own place of worship. The community prepared with the joyous hope of the desired celebration. Occasionally this festival filled the church with the community to the last pew. The everlasting beautiful chorale "Now everyone thanks God" was sung. Senior Jakob Jahn relied on the written word of the gospel Matthew V., 1-10, whereupon the local pastor greeted the guests and to be precise: Bishop's administrator Dr. Philipp Popp, chief justice, the Senior, the representatives of the local German and Hungarian Reformed congregations, the representatives of the political community, the numerous representatives of our former beloved parent community Sekitsch, and the festival community itself. After that the youth choir sang. They followed with the main hymn: "I Know of Whom I Believe." Bishop Dr. Philipp Popp entered the pulpit at this time and preached on the strength of Romans 8.31b. "God is with us, who might be against us"- the festival sermon. He thought of the love of God, which so far had provided the community with protection, described the sorrow of the first Christians which they had endured for their firm beliefs, led us to the difficult battle our Evangelical ancestors fought for their beliefs; thought of our elders who in the past 100 years have built for God. They were with God and God was with them. However our future will be as we ourselves will be. It was a festival sermon which is still not often heard in our nation's churches. The men's choir sang "To You and Your Jehovah I Will Sing" and "A Solid Fortress is Our God". Then the bishop said the closing prayer, gave the blessings and performed the baptisms of the little sons of the parents Jakob Butscher, businessman, and the teacher's daughter Erna Gotsch.

     In memory of this 100 year celebration Dr. V. Pratscher dedicated a church flag which already on the day before the celebration, in an arrangement with the bishop who had already arrived, was immediately hoisted on the church tower for the first time.  On the flag were the dates 1830-1930.

     Since the first Kirchweih celebration in 1830 just a hundred years have passed to the Kirchweih celebration of 1930. The Evangelicals of Feketitsch have celebrated the Kirchweih festival a hundred times so far. A hundred times with new hope, with fresh courage sown and firm beliefs in God built, trusting in Him; A hundred times the rich gifts have been harvested in which the love of God reveals itself to us. One hundred years during which the Germans diligently accomplished work, ending with a happy Kirchweih festival at which the Evangelicals of Feketitsch can thank the Almighty God in their own house of God.

     "Stand firm by His Word, as rocks stand, you gracious God, God of truth!

     Years and centuries pass, and still your goodness is renewed daily."

     It would be nice to be in our lovely congregation in the next 100 years so that the festival speaker at the 200th celebration can also say "God is with us, who might be against us?"

 Mixed Marriages

     Between the two congregations of Evangelicals and German Reformers there existed a peculiar agreement according to which all children of mixed marriages would be educated in the religion of the father. As long as it was left up to the person managing the birth register in the pastor's office, everything worked out well. When the registry moved to the council's office in the 90's, the religion of the newborn could be enforced by the regulations of the religious laws. However both congregations strongly agreed. So it produced ever greater confusion if a girl came from a mixed marriage from outside the village, a birth certificate would be demanded. The child who is Evangelical according to the birth certificate and according to the law but is actually baptized in the Reformed church and goes to Reformed religious instruction, etc. However, there are also numerous cases in reverse. Of the 387 marriages the Evangelical community had in 1935, there were 106 mixed marriages. In other communities it happened according to the law and the reverse was decided for the descendant's religion. This offense was almost completely unknown in Feketitsch. In just the same patriarchal way is the church tax for mixed marriages regulated. It is highly questionable if this confusion could be stopped in the long run. Mixed marriages with other nationalities is extremely rare. Our Germans have never entered into a marriage with non-Aryans.  Converting from one denomination to the other seldom occurs, but it does nevertheless happen.

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 109-110 | Table of Contents

The History of the German Reformed Congregation
by Ludwig Poth, pastor of the community


    "From the history of the German Reformed Congregation," which is not the complete history of the community, here is one version to fill in the missing space and time. In my work I strived to describe in detail the incidents from earlier times. I have taken care to weigh all the information to show the community as it was in reality (I say: in reality!) through my searching and prying, through weaknesses and missing information, through troubles from inside and outside they would keep the sermons and instructions of the word of God.  So one can learn nearly everything, but especially about the origin and the life of the branch community, and afterwards the independent church community is written under the control of the word from the Heidelberg or Pfalz catechism in question 103: "What does God want in the fourth commandment?" Answer: "First God wants the office of the preacher and the schools to be kept." This main theme I always followed in historical order wherever possible. For the description of the history of other congregations I would like to be correct. From the beginning to the present questions are separately portrayed. For example: church, school, church service, administration, etc. However this community has a very peculiar history because there is hardly anyone who has  had to fight for their existence who has not had a history full of change, who had to build quite a lot, who seized on so many plans in the case of community life, then dropped, but also many have been realized as in this small community. At least something of the events of the community history to guide the reader's eyes, I chose this way of interpretation.  The attentive reader may also be able to make something out of the "raw data."

     I could have told much more valuable and remarkable things about life in the school, especially about the original work of the first two teachers, Schenkenberger and Knittel, about the church service, about the work of the elders and the community assemblies, about the church taxes, about the religious instruction, community singing, bell ringers, present state of the community, etc. etc. but for the reasons already given above it was not done. Then because of the events of their history one could write much more about this community. "So the gentleman wants and we live" but this absence is to be found to be a characteristic in many and in another was are not found and the descendants have kept the least in writing. From it only the old traditions were continued.

     As the writer of the history I have had three predecessors whose work in handwriting does exist making my work much easier. The first was Eduard Schenkenberger who in 1875, before leaving for Torscha, he wrote down the history of the community up to 1875 on 10 pages in the first record book of the community. I have transferred almost all of it to my work word for word. - After him Rev. Janos Szilady wrote down the history of the Hungarian parent community and the German branch community in 1885 which he presented to the bishop when he came to see this community on the 8th of September 1885. - Finally in our own time the local physician, Dr. Viktor Pratscher, wrote a valuable foundation of the history of this community and collected valuable material. To him we owe our sincere thanks!

     As further sources the minutes and register books of this community served me, as well as the Hungarian Reformed community and the writings and documents from the former Seniorats but now the state church archives. The sources of the Hungarian Reformed community and the state church archives were gratefully provided at the time by the pastor of the Hungarian community and also the bishop of our state church, Alexander Agoston. He also had an old photograph of the first schoolhouse of this community (it was his place of birth), a copy left by an artist, and photographs provided of the church and the new buildings for this community history. For all of this I am very thankful. Then I have been given several valuable enlightening things from the community members Karl Eng, Martin Gðttel, Jakob Weißmann Sr., Heinrich Dinges, church elder Friedrich Rðhrich, and above all others I owe Johann Weißmann thanks.  Finally the essential servants of the community have informed us of their curriculum vitae. They are all sincerely thanked.

     I hope to God that this is not written in vain and not read in vain, for the descendants of the elders to ask requests to know God in everything they do, and that the sermons and instructions of the word of God be kept in the denomination of the elders of the community in their German mother tongue.

Feketitsch, June 1936 Ludwig Poth

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 111-118 | Table of Contents

The Formation of the Branch Community 1820–1850

Origin of the Branch Community 1820-1850


     Feketitsch was settled in 1785 by the Reformed Hungarians. There were no Germans in the settlement. The first Germans came here in the 1820's, and later many more came, especially "in the last years before 1850" (Schenkenberger).  It was settled by Evangelical-Lutheran and Reformed Germans from existing German Protestant settlements during the reign of Emperor Josef II. They then founded their own congregations here.

     In the register books of the local Hungarian Reformed community  all the data about baptisms, weddings, and funerals from 1820 on are to be found. The first of them I would like to tell about here.

     However already before 1820 we find German names written down as witnesses at the baptisms of Hungarian children. Georg Schnapper and Fr...(illegible) Theresia are the baptismal witnesses on the 3rd of October 1819 for newborn Imre Nagy.  There are still more cases, but there are also cases where German children have Hungarian godparents. This provided a good relationship between these German and Hungarian families.

     The first baptisms are: 7th of April 1820, parents: Christian Gutwein and Elisabetha Räderin, name of the child: Andreas, baptismal witnesses: Adam Gutwein and Anna Cath. Lðschin. - 1st of July 1821, parents: Peter Krüger (probably instead of Krieger) and Margaretha Beron, name of the child: Theresia, baptismal witnesses: Georg Freidinger and Katharina Lerin (probably instead of Lehrin).

     The first weddings: 23rd of January 1823, Peter Krüger married Margaretha, the only daughter of Leonhard Fetzer from Sekitsch; 18th of January 1825, Georg, son of Helel Georg, married Maria, only daughter of Jakob Schäfer.

     The first funeral: 4th of August 1821, Stefan, son of Peter Krüger and Margaretha Beron, 2 weeks old; and 2nd of January 1827, Johann, son of the parents Andreas Svepler (instead of Schwebler) and Katharina Lang, 1 year old; and 11th of March 1827, Ludwig, son of Gottfried Gutwein and Gredel Stengel, 20 weeks old; and 30th of November 1827, Mrs. Philipp Werlau, Catharina Pratscherin, 72 years old; and 21st of January 1828, Susanna of Martin Tsuslag (Zuschlag) and Elisabetha Lorazsin (Lorenzin?)

     "The first Reformed (that is, German Reformed), who made Feketitsch their residence came from Sekitsch where in the year 1786 several Reformed couples were also settled. Because of their small number they were served by the Evangelical pastor of Sekitsch. In the local Reformed register their names first appeared before 1820 since they were already living in Feketitsch. For almost 35 years they stayed with the beliefs of their elders in Sekitsch. Then they first joined the Reformed congregation in Feketitsch since they already lived there. The census of the Reformed in Sekitsch in 1821 was only 71. Of these some went to Feketitsch. Other German Reformed families soon migrated to other communities, mainly Torscha and Sivac." (Dr. Pratscher)

     It is clearly obvious that the Reformed Germans joined the local Hungarian Reformed congregation from the register books and minutes. The first entries in the register books we have already given above. In 1838 the minutes of the national church census reported: "Of a higher order the church conscription carried out is found in the area of the Evangelical Reformed community in Feketehegy - the German Reformed also added to them included: 1375 men, 1336 women, together 2711." Unfortunately the total number of Germans is not given.

     "Before the establishment (namely of the German Reformed branch community, so before 1850 the German Reformed were incorporated into the Hungarian Reformed community, their children were educated in the Hungarian school."(Schenkenberger, S.1.) In the minutes of the 9th of June 1850 it is stated that "there were about 60 German Reformed couples - After that most all of the Hungarians could, together with payment of the usual respects to the community treasury and storehouse, so that those outside as well as inside the local Reformed community enjoyed its use" and that for the baptisms, weddings, and funerals the usual(Stolarien?) were held in the German language but at the big feast day there was no special payment to demand the holy communion to be done in the German language.

     As a small minority in the great majority of Reformed Hungarians it was appropriate for the Reformed Germans to slowly assimilate themselves into the Hungarian majority. Such occurrences, large and small, are sufficiently known; many Slovakian families are here as well in the Hungarian majority. It was explained to me that the older men had attended the Hungarian school and they gained a better command of Hungarian than their German mother tongue and because of it Hungarian often served them better than German. It was also known that the motive for this was that the Reformed Germans wanted to establish their own congregation.

     However then in the last years before 1850 many more Reformed came from purely German settlements who knew almost no Hungarian and naturally could not find their way in the Hungarian community "... through the migration of the German Reformed from this surrounding, especially in the last years before 1850, - they also sent their children to the local Evangelical school: because the parents were not fluent in the Hungarian language and for this reason they wished that their children had learned to read and write in German together with the Hungarian language. However the Hungarian teachers of each time could not fulfill the wishes of the German parents because they were not fluent in the German language. Most of the children then went to the Evangelical school which was adverse in the sense that they were of the Reformed religion, because not only were they educated in an Evangelical school, many were also absorbed into their church . . . which was easily seen since there were many Reformed couples who were mixed marriages." (Schenkenberger, S1-2.). It was also assumed that since the parents of the children only knew German, they would attend the church service of the Evangelical-Lutheran congregation.

     There was also a second way they gave of themselves to the Reformed Germans: as a minority in the church they slowly and by themselves increased in number in the German Evangelical A.B. church. This occurred in many of the German Protestant communities of the Batschka. I also know of a case where Evangelical A.B. are rising in the Reformed minority. Such cases could occur much less if there were many more Evangelical Germans than Reformed Germans. - At the time there were actually a few local former Reformed German families who became Evangelical A.B.  So this was a strong motive for the establishment of a German Reformed community.  Schenkenberger writes: "For the children of Reformed couples there was reason for the German Reformed to establish their own community so the children would keep the Reformed religion." (S.2).

     Dr. Pratscher judged the situation of the German Reformed so: "If one looks at the situation of the German Reformed, it must be admitted, that this situation was extremely difficult and that this case was almost unique here. On the one hand should they lose their German tradition, on the other hand they feared the Reformed beliefs of their elders. . . Also each indifferent German can be filled with joyful satisfaction that in their internal struggles the old German virtues of victory have been born from it. Nothing was abandoned, neither tradition nor the elder's beliefs." They went neither one way or the other, especially since a third way turned up which led to the formation of a German Reformed community from which later the independent German Reformed congregation in Feketitsch originated.


     How the branch community came to be established can be found recorded in the minutes of the Hungarian community. Others do not exist,- possibly reported in detail.

     The first relevant recording we find in 1845. On the occasion of the 23rd of April a canonical visitation took place the wish of the Reformed Germans appeared to be that one of the three teachers have the same command of both the Hungarian and the German languages. This wish was unanimously accepted by the Hungarian elders. - On the 22nd of August 1847 the teacher of the "big school", Janos Adorjan, died and the community's executive committee unanimously decided on Joszef Keresztes Jr. to be appointed teacher. He had just completed his fourth year in school in Kecskemet and besides his generally well-known good qualities he was also knowledgeable in the German language.

     On the 31st of October 1847 the elders held a meeting with the united "respected Reformed Germans." It should have been apparent that they never had any desire to separate from the Hungarians, they could not lay claim to any of their (church) buildings; they would like to continue as they have so far in the community, only their children should be allowed to go to the school of the bigger boys to at least learn to read and write Hungarian and German and receive a little religious instruction from the Rector (the first teacher), before they are completely magyarisiert (Hungarianized?). The community executive committee has approved that the German girls must go to school and that the Rector, if he says a prayer at their funerals (one known in the German language), a certain sum would be paid.  Also an elder was chosen from them and presented at "next year's highly esteemed canonical visitation."

     This short report shows that inside the Reformed community questions existed between the Germans and the Hungarians that waited for a solution. It was certainly a disputed question what the settlement should be. The relationship between the Hungarians and the Germans in the '40s was generally strained. At a glance at the above minutes Rev. Szilady is quoted in his writing: These requests and agreements according to the minutes were very nice and lenient. The requests were challenging demands and also the concessions did not happen without spiteful remarks; with a word the agreement was not based on brotherly feeling." This will be made clearer later.

     To understand this better one must take a look at the stormy years of 1848-49 in Feketitsch. At that time in Southern Hungary the Serbs and the Hungarians were enemies against each other and as it happened in such times they sought to hurt each other only where they could. So after that the Hungarian troops who came to this region were recalled and on the 23rd of January 1849 the Serbs of Srbobran invaded Feketitsch. Almost all of the people of Feketitsch fled. Most of the Hungarians fled to the region towards Halas and Baranya, most of the Germans went to Szeghegy, where most of them had descended from, for the time being. (Jauß, Szeghegy in the first century of its existence, S. 192).

     The people of Sekitsch could buy their freedom from a looting so that the Germans who had also fled from there would not have to flee any farther. On the 28th of January the Serbs pulled back "because the news had spread that a great Hungarian army was imminent which was not the case." (Jauß, S. 194) as the Hungarian rebellion was already crushed. They not only had their own possessions and property loss to lament, but also the church building had suffered much damage, the "school for the bigger boys at the time" was completely burned to the ground.


     In 1849, probably in September, Ferencz Biczo came to Feketitsch and served as the pastor's assistant of the Reformed congregation until May 1850. His records report many of the concerns of the Reformed Germans.

     On the 21st of October 1848 through election the elders were replenished but of the newly elected elders none were German although from 1847 on the speaker was. Nevertheless they were called to be present at the next canonical visitation; but in 1848 and 1849 there was none. One must consider what occurred  during the times between October 1847 and October 1849!

     On the 29th of November the church father Janos Szolga reported to the elders that the Germans refused to pay the marriage fees and not once did they allow their writings (the writings of the couples were meant as a type of tax list).  All of the Germans were invited to a community meeting on the 2nd of December to settle this thing. The presiding pastor demanded from the Germans their reasons for refusing the payment and to present their complaints. Then they raised the complaint that the Hungarians wanted to push them away, after which they wanted to keep away from all influences in the community and gave still more false reasons which they concurred with. Then they stood out with the demand that they would pay if a German sermon was held for them on every third Sunday. After this the presiding pastor assigned this matter to the Tractuale Consistorium (Seniorat's meeting) to present the request and they explained that the community meeting can not decide in this matter, they flatly refused the figures and have gone away. - Afterwards the community meeting saw that the Seniorats' meeting could do nothing in this matter without instructions. They tolerated the (Seniorat's) handling of the matter for the time being. It was still decided that a church service would only be done for the Germans if those concerned paid the marriage fees first. In the minutes of the 9th of June 1850 it reads that the Germans in the past year, 1849, not only demanded a German church service every third Sunday but they also demanded from the Hungarians for a German school to be built, as well as other demands which were not named. That the Germans desired a school is certainly praiseworthy and they proved to be serious about it because in the fall of 1850 they opened the German Reformed school. On the other hand it is understood that the Hungarians had not accepted such a demand where debts were owed, money and grain had to be borrowed and paid to their pastor and the community fields had to be cultivated. But also they were not prepared to build the Germans a school because they were not in a favorable material situation just as the reverse was true. If however, our brothers of the faith call us and if there is also some sign that we are mutually prepared to give help in our community, we are so far removed from it that to a great extent an economically strong community would not accept it.

     After that the situation was so critical that the Seniorats meeting had to make a decision about it. This took place on the 15th of April 1850 in Mohacs.

     Rev. Kozma Lajos received the decision in the local parish on the 14th of May and informed the elders on the 9th of June: Those in the community mentioned (Feketehegy) so far overheard community members in the German tongue recommend that if they do not pay and want to bear all the church burdens in the same way, they should start a branch community." Rev. Kozma lajos had the elders strive to somehow bring the Germans into agreement. But the elders explained that the Germans were ungrateful for their part in the economical progress made since the did not feel the damages of the revolutionary years, and right now in the emergency the community found itself in they refused to be the bearers of the burdens. The friction with the Germans that had already existed for some years was not diminished and still happened in the future. When the first migrated here, even then there were about 60 German couples in municipal buildings, which were settled here earlier and which over 500 Hungarian couples had built and received, and wanted to take to claim as their own. They should pay all of their outstanding debts as well as their current payment and still hand in the remainder over the next three years to the Hungarian community. In three years they would like the place of worship and the school to be erected and after that, to avoid further friction, establish a branch community or be as independent as always.

     On the 12th of June the Rev. Kozma informed "some of the older German Reformed people of the Seniorats' and the elders' decision. They meant that it would be best to undo the same. But then the pastor was promised a certain wage for a German sermon on every second Sunday, which they have prepared to explain in negotiations with the Hungarian chairmen on the next Sunday. But on the 16th of June none of the Germans appeared at the meeting and what the chairman explained about it was that the Germans did not want to have anything to do with the Hungarians in church matters" and considered undoing it. That should be reported to the superintendent. After that the Germans did not want to pay taxes, so double stola fee should be demanded from them for each church function.

     However in between tensions cooled down. On the 25th of August it was stated in the minutes that some of the Germans would like to choose to be charged the marriage fees, while on the other hand some would prefer to serve jointly in the church with the Hungarians as in former times and only pay the usual stola fee. - But on the 1st of September the elders recommended that three elders be appointed from among the Germans. On the 15th the pastor held a discussion with representatives of the German Reformed community. Present were: Michael Orth, Jakob Schwepler, Philipp Blat, Johann Brauchler, Johann Weitmann, Jakob Bechtel, Adam Scholl, Jakob Zuschlag and Michael Orth. The pastor suggested to them that they choose one or two people by themselves, be charged the arrears and marriage fees, and furthermore that the Reformed Germans take charge in church matters.  They decided to go see community members for the purpose of giving them the verbal instructions and inform the pastor of the results. If and when the decision was carried out is not recorded.

     However in the interim the Reformed Germans grappled with the different decisions "to establish a community for themselves. From this intention they requested from the highly esteemed consistorian to be allowed to receive a German teacher for themselves. Their request was honored and in November 1850 they appointed Eduard Schenkenberger, who was a teacher's assistant in Neu Siwatzer at the time, to be their proper teacher with whom they signed a contract on the 24th of November 1850." (Schenkenberger, S.2) How it came about can no longer be determined.  However when the Reformed Germans had their own teacher and their own school they no doubt took the decisive step that from now on they would lead an independent community life.

     However with the vocation of the first teacher the independence of the Reformed Germans in respect to the church was not always definitely firm. On the 2nd of April 1851 Obersenior Peter Ratz from Csuza held the canonical visitation in the company of the second office holders of the Seniorates. The Germans expressed their desire to the Hungarian community that they would like to have their own school building "which was unfulfilled by them." It was ordered the year before and until it was definitely confirmed it was only provisionally set up.  At the conclusion of the visitation the teacher took a long time to decide whether or not he wanted to stay. The Hungarian executive committee was advised that a teacher would always be employed in the school for the bigger boys who understood German and could instruct in German, just as before, so the parents could send their children to him in the school." But this advise did not seem to satisfy either side: the Hungarians were not very willing to receive the Germans again, but the Germans had already dismissed their teacher. Both sides were in agreement that they could not agree to live in peace in one community. After that, what the Bible teaches us in the New Testament about the mutual relationship of the Christians' different customs or different languages is that it was the right solution to seek so that each party should be calm. But if this cannot be for the sake of human weakness, it was still always a good understanding of both sides, if it was clear at the time that in the given case it is relatively the best if both parties went on with their community lives separated from each other. So it was possible that the opposite sides became more removed instead of more involved.

     I could not find anywhere when the teacher Schenkenberger was definitely acknowledged and when the establishment of the German Reformed branch community was acknowledged of responsible church positions. Both historians of both local Reformed communities, teacher Eduard Schenkenberger and Rev. Janos Szilady regard November 1850 as the time of the establishment of the German Reformed community since this was the date when teacher Schenkenberger was called to serve in this community. At the time it was also the reason the German Reformed branch community settled in Feketitsch.

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
page 119-125 | Table of Contents

The Branch Community 1850 – 1921

     "The German Reformed community of Feketehegy was established in 1850.  At the time there were 64 couples, 45 homes, 43 quarter fields, and about 300 people.  There were 57 of both sexes of school children." (Schenkenberger, S.1) This small community took it upon itself to acquire a school and a teacher. That was not easy and yet we were often ready and willing to make shameful sacrifices to meet the necessary means. In a contract with the teacher the following salary was settled upon: "From each couple, each house, and each quarter field (at the time 11¼ (kat.?) yokes, one half third (12.5 kg) of fruit (or wheat). From each couple and each house every 26(xer) Kreuzer (money) in Austrian currency. Then a vacant apartment with a cooking (kitchen) garden, a cord of hard wood, sufficient heating with straw, a ¼ session field (which was the teacher's own field, plowing and the fruits managed from the homes, 4 loads from 2 stations, 10(xer) Metzen of meal, and from each married couple and from each body 35(xer) stole fee. (Schenkenberger, S.2) The fields, the loads, and the meals were redeemed each year from 1871 on for 60 Forints (Guilders).

     But not everything was done with it. The teacher's apartment and school room must still be cared for. So as all beginnings are difficult, it was also not an easy beginning for this community. Poor, barren, still not healed from the wounds of the 48's Revolution and without funds they went towards the great building consoled. In the first and second years (until the fall of 1852) they were interested in one room for the teacher's apartment and one room in which the children would be instructed at the home of Anton Kleb (Klepp, today the home of Adam Schwebler on Paschitsch Street, new house number 22, old number 167). For three years the teacher's apartment was one room at the home of Johann Weismann (today the place between the two buildings is an orphanage at 31 King Alexander Street, old number 8) and at Jakob Zuschlag's home (today a play school stands there at 25 King Alexander Street, old number 4) interested in an instruction room. Through the eager church executives Michael Orth, Jakob Schwebler, Philipp Blath, Nikolaus Orth, Gottfried Gutwein, A. Schmoll during the first two years the church members accomplished much in providing charity and contributions for the welfare for the community and they acquired for themselves in 1852 and empty house lot on the main street, the second place they could buy for themselves for the (Notatorial?) accommodations (today the house of Istvan Bajda, 32 King Alexander Street, old number 40). Through the further contributions of the community members and the charitable gifts of the neighboring villages of Szivatz, Cservenka, Verbaß, Torscha and Sive the community was able to build a new schoolhouse on their empty lot in the fall of 1852.

     House lots could begin. And so it was that the new construction was fortunately completed in the fall of 1853. A beautiful spacious schoolroom also served as a place of worship at the same time and 2 rooms, a kitchen and a dining room, served as the teacher's apartment. On the last Sunday in the month of October 1853 the first church service was held and on the following day school instruction began and continued in the peculiar locality of the German Reformed community.

     Although still not completely free of debt and demands were still not completely complied with in that the stables were completely missing at the teacher's apartment, yet in an intellectual respect things were already taken care of such as the children were instructed in their own school and could be educated in the Reformed religion. (Schenkenberger, S. 2-3)


     With the opening of the school and the school building was the school request for the desire of a community solution. But there awaited still a satisfied solution to the question of other church concerns. In this respect different attempts were made. On the 6th of April 1851 the Hungarian elders of the church were asked by 9 German representatives for a German church service to take place on every second Sunday. But they would no longer pay as the outgoing trustees for half of the pastors who held church service to receive pay. On the 4th of May this request was rejected with the remarks that the Germans may also attend the Hungarian church service, but if every one of them desired a church function, a small tax must be paid to the Hungarian treasury by the Germans - double Stola paid. On the 23rd of December the Germans were allowed to take part in the communion in the German language on the second Christmas day (Boxing day) but they didn't want this to ever happen again. - On the occasion of the canonical visitation of the 14th of April 1852 it was again stressed that the Germans pay no taxes. The first school and place of worship to the Hungarian community since the church and teacher's apartment, built 1852-53, was not open for German sermons or communion services although they are welcome at Hungarian church services and may also hold eulogies, weddings, and school examinations in the German language in the Hungarian church. - Before Christmas 1852 the Germans again requested to be allowed to hold their own communion service. This time their request was again turned down with the reason that they did not pay the Hungarian community the small tax. However the reason was still mentioned that through repeated use of the church they could later lay claim in the sense of common law of completely free use, or even property law; they would like to go to communion together with the Hungarians.

     Szilady reported (S.27) that the Reformed Germans sometimes also held church service "in the first three years (1850-1853)." This was probably held in a rented school by the teacher. In this request the school building brought the desired solution. The school room could also be used for church service. Such was frequently the case for Reformed brothers who settled in Syrmia and Slavonia. So did the Reformed Germans of Feketitsch also since their school was finished. In one legal letter to the Senior that Rev. Kozma read from the 13th of March 1855 that the teacher Schenkenberger held church services every Sunday in the school in years past until now but the community paid him nothing for his service and he was not inclined to continue to do this for free. However this was a temporary situation, after which the teacher would not perform this service without a special salary. The community finally arranged it with Rev. Kozma. Now (that the school question was finally solved) the parents also had the desire that not only their children but also they themselves receive religious lectures. So they joined with the Hungarian Reformed pastor at the time, Kozma Lajos, and he performed a sermon for them on every second Sunday in the German language through his assistant and on festival days the Holy Communion was given. For his service he was rewarded with one third of fruit (25 kg. wheat), one third of barley, and one Guilder from each couple. - and he received the Stola fee besides that since it was collected in the Hungarian community.  So in a religious respect the parents and children were cared for. (Schenkenberger, S. 3-4). This agreement was met on the 29th of March, 1855 and on the occasion of the canonical visitation on the 12th of April it was confirmed and remained  valid until Rev. Kozma's death in 1868.

     So no an ever more orderly community life could be lead.  Since 1851 the yearly accounts were regularly compiled by the church fathers and they were examined by the elders, the community elected the church father and elder who led them and wherever possible they always settled matters in agreement with the whole community which was easily possible in so small a community. Since 1855 minutes were regularly kept at the elder's meetings and community assemblies. 

     The chairman - and certainly also the community member - desired for a church service every Sunday. On the 2nd of April 1856 they asked teacher Schenkenberger, if he was prepared to hold church services on the Sundays when the pastor held no church service with no additional reward. "But the teacher did not want to take this on without payment." On the 20th of April the whole community was asked if they would like to give a payment to the teacher for the desired service.  "Besides Philipp Blath they all answered . . . that they would prefer there be no church service if the teacher did not want to hold it for them." The behavior of the teacher and the community one can hardly look at as right. A similar case also occurred in 1863 between

     Rev. Kozma and the community. However, to the fathers it is also human, often all too human to go this way. Fortunately, after all these inconsistencies no other bad consequences happened.


     Since 1855 the elders were often negotiating over the missing stall to be built on to the teacher's apartment in 1859. The teacher could now satisfied with his apartment. But the community could also be satisfied in one respect: They were free of guilt and could breathe easier. (Schenkenberger, S.4). But that naturally did not mean that they were regarded as rich and when the elders gave the answer to the question of the church districts concerning the material state in 1861, they answered that they were poor rather than well-to-do and that was certainly a conscientious answer. But in a few years their economical situation improved so that an ending balance of 307 Forints, 73 Kronen could be entered for the year's account 1865-1866. The elders decided to lend 250 Forints to somebody who could give enough security. So then from the elders, the pastor, and the majority of the community members a clock could be purchased in 1868 from an approved plan. But because they could not get the clock they wanted with the money available, this plan was postponed until "better times."

     Soon the community could use the money for another purpose. On the 28th of March 1868 the chairman and a few of the community members told the pastor of their desire "that they wanted to buy Johann Weidinger's house opposite the Hungarian Reformed church to use as a church, school, and teacher's apartment. Of this comment the presiding pastor expressed his sincere joy and wished them luck. "Karl Schuh from Werbaß had (lizitiert?) the house for about 1108 Forints. On the 2nd of April church father Theobald Hauser, jurors Jakob Orth and Jakob Schwebler were instructed to buy the house from him. They were all given the same money with them for their service. It is recorded that on the 20th of June they went to Werbaß to pay Karl Schuh the 505.90 Forints they still owed for his house. On the 11th of May it states in the minutes: "it was told that the respectable Comitat juror Istvan Agoston has bought the prayer/schoolhouse for about 925 Forints of which he paid an amount equal to 550 Forints before those present, and the remainder was to be paid on the 29th of September. So then the house and lot could be completely paid off in June, as mentioned. It is the site on which all buildings of the community stand. "Now the community had so much to do again since a new school must be built. The site behind the thatched-roof building (this stands on the site behind today's church, where later the teacher's apartment (bezw.?) parsonage stood).

     Where a brick shed stood at the time which was approximately 6-7 fathoms longer was to be used to build the new school and school roof from its tiled roof. (So the school was built in the yard.) The treasury of the community could not be claimed for it, so they had to rely on the strengths of each community member to provide all possible manual labor at the construction site. It was covered with (Koth?) bricks, the walls formed, wound, and only the cabinetmaker, the glazier, and the locksmith of the manual laborers were rewarded. In October the school was finished and instruction could be begun anew." (Schenkenberger, S.4) The teacher received his apartment in the thatched house.

     From the old material it probably did not have a good foundation and without a master mason to build it the school caved in after a high water level on the 26th of February 1870, being completely together on Sunday evening "without which one could have contributed to the danger pertaining to the salvation of the building.  Fortunately the teacher and the students were not in the building, all of them and the relatives truly had reason "to give thanks to God." On the next day the elders decided to rent a schoolroom. On the 20th of March a community meeting was held in the Hungarian school which because the pastor was prevented from doing so "the office duty in the parent community" was led by the notary public Miklos Molnar, a seldom or only an isolated case. "After more guidance it was decided: that the new school to be built would be placed on the south side of the street front, the foundation excavated down to solid earth and then with the prepared existing essential masonry stone which was intended for the construction a new place of worship was formed. And then so was the school, which together with the (Kuchel?) kitchen had a length of 7 fathoms, throughout the summer it was built with God's help, and instruction could be begun in November of the same year." (Schenkenberger, S.5) The construction was done by master mason Gottfried Gutwein.

     "In 1871 in the middle of January the community was once again afflicted by an accident. Through the damp and wet year, which followed on top of the other, also moved the walls of the teacher's apartment. The middle wall behind the living room caved in and the remaining walls were near the danger. The teacher was put up with his household appliances in Agoston's house (in the former teacher's apartment); and the damp walls were then supported with masonry stone." (Schenkenberger, S.6)

     On Georgi 1871 it was decided by the elders "that the floor of the living room would be paneled from the community's account (the room had no floor until then); the teacher received the demand to be advanced 31 Florints for the boards with the condition that the 31 Forints in Austrian currency without interest remain in the community until his death or until he leaves from the community." (Schenkenberger, S. 6-7)


     In between there were also other difficulties. "In this year the community also had the difficult loss to lament in that their generally beloved pastor Kozma Lajos, after a six week long heart condition he gave up his shepherd's staff and passed on to a better world on the 29th of September 1868.

     In 1869 the Hungarian parent community elected for the position of their dead pastor Kozma Lajos, his son Kozma Lajos to be pastor. The joy of such a fortunate choice that the Hungarian community met and also found a large reception center for the German community. They joined with him, and for his service to give the sermon and the Holy Sacrament on every second Sunday it was recommended that he receive 240 Forints in Austrian currency yearly and the Stola fee as it was collected in the parent community." (Schenkenberger, S.5). This agreement however did not come about so easily as it first appeared. It was discussed with the pastor about four times until it came about. Also with it the plan for a church service on every Sunday, which was first raised as an issue in 1856, was newly considered. On the occasion of the canonical visitation on the 19th of April 1870 the chairman expressed this desire again. The pastor explained that it was impossible for him to serve every Sunday in the German community and advised the community to make an agreement with the teacher. But this solution did not come about at this time.

     Some of the community members then had what was at the time a bold plan prepared for the community. The community should request an administrator of their own. In this sense they handed in an application to the superintendent. But this plan was not approved by everybody and it caused disagreement in the community.  For this reason for a few months the pastor, who was also against it, held no church service. From the 16th of May until the 30th of August there was also no elder's meeting, what the pastor gave as a reason for it, he wanted to convince the superintendent with the information that those who had requested an administrator had not gone about it the right way. But then they arrived at the answer. "After that this matter was not discussed by the Seniorat. - Also at the moment the regulation of the relationship between the parent and the branch communities - will block its completion there." The pastor made the chairman aware that they had to go through the Seniorates to ask for an administrator, if they wanted to achieve something. But one obstacle was that the community with the salary for the dead pastor was still in arrears. The chairman decided to levy a tax to pay the balance. On the 3rd of April 1871 the pastor suggested to the elders that if they wanted to undertake further steps for the sake of an administrator to do so through the Seniorates and wherever possible pursue a united and common cause. On the 11th of April the yearly canonical visitation took place. The chairman informed the Senior that they wanted to request the Seniorat for an administrator. "The highly esteemed canonical visitation had the intention of taking notice, but advised for a consultation for the purpose of a union with the parent community rather than forcibly urge the desire for detachment because the current circumstances demanded excessive sacrifices."  On the 16th of April it was questioned at the community meeting which under the guidance of the pastor, the chairman, the church father, and 33 community members took part." The pastor presented the question of the appointment of an administrator and the suggestion by the canonical visitation of a union with the parent community; the possibility of the latter is extremely doubtful, so they did not desire to discuss it at this time." There could be no question about it. But on this question: "Should we request an administrator at this time?", 3 of those present voted yes and 28 voted no. So for the time being everything remained as it was.  

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
page 125-137 | Table of Contents

The Church

     The church building, in the middle of all these difficulties the community forgot they had already prepared plan of 1868: not to build a place of worship.  Then in 1870 the school collapsed and the new one was erected from bricks already laid out for the place of worship. We could say that the place of worship must be made out of thin air. Just the opposite is true! The community meeting at the school building on the 20th of March 1870 already mentioned was not only about the school building but also about the construction of the place of worship. It was decided that the place of worship was to be built on level ground parallel with the Hungarian church with the gable to be placed facing the magnificent guest house . . . Furthermore it was decided that one of the three men of an existing deputation would be sent to the building contractor Andreas Jakob in Neu Werbaß with the plan and a rough estimate of costs to make the uplifting place of worship - also to negotiate and come to a settlement, in case the buyer did not want this building, the community would not owe him for the plan and the rough estimates. The feasibility of this was entrusted to Philipp  Orth, Anton Kleb and Johann Brauchler.  These men completed their tasks well. On the 10th of April a community meeting took place at the German church service in the Hungarian church at which the plan and the rough estimates were presented. The assembly accepted the plan and gave the hopeful impression that the contractor would decrease some of the intended costs of 2487.91 Forints and decided unanimously (l) to dictate the following outcome: each couple was to pay 5 Forints, another 5 Forints for each homeowner, and 5 Forints for each quarter field, the sum of which was paid in two parts. That was very much at the time!

     More than a year later the minutes mentioned nothing about the construction of the place of worship.  On the 17th of September 1871 the pastor could inform the community assembly that financial aid of 300 Forints was coming from the superintendent for the construction. It was then unanimously decided to begin construction in the same year: the foundation should be laid. After that the building contractor from Schowe and Werbaß did not want to undertake the construction with the plan that he, Andreas Jakob, had designed and had been entrusted with. On the 26th of September the contract was signed at a meeting.  Present at the meeting were Rev. Kozma, the chairman Anton Kleb, Adam Schade, Ludwig Orth, Jakob Zuschlag, Heinrich Schwepler, church father Jakob Hunstein, community judge Philipp Orth, teacher Schenkenberger, who represented the community members Martin Bolz, Johann Brauchler, Heinrich Schmoll, and Johann Eng, and finally the building contractor Andreas Jakob . . . besides the walls,(Koth?) bricks and roof tiles which the community made, 2500 Forints was granted to him (the building contractor) for the complete establishment and furnishing of the place of worship." (Schenkenberger, S.7) He received a statement of 400 Forints and was obliged to begin the construction in the same year.

     However the construction of the place of worship was first begun in the spring of 1872 and progressed through the summer and was finished in the fall, and on the last Sunday in October 1872 (durch den wohl?) opened. Rev. Kozma Lajos held the first church service and dedicated it to the honor of God. - Although the community to a large degree was still burdened by the construction of the place of worship, the joy of the community was extremely great." (Schenkenberger, S.8)

     What everyone reported of this building is pleasing. Then on the 17th of September 1871 the pastor announced at the community meeting that 300 Forints in financial aid had been received for the construction and he could also inform them at the same time that in the superintendent's minutes "the willing sacrifices of the German branch community was stressed to be praiseworthy." In the minutes of the same community meeting it says: "In the end the pastor has stressed and desired an eager stand on the current beautiful harmony of the community.- the meeting closed." Unanimously the community took a huge burden off of themselves, so that the community member would not have to pay the prescribed taxes many times in the same year. But now the community had their own place of worship which was most important to them.

     Now we skip over the course of the historical order and report further about the church up to today.  Purchase of the bells and construction of the tower: As we heard the plan for the purchase of the bells was already seriously considered in 1868, but because of the purchase of the house lot and the new construction, it must be postponed at the time. But not forever!  In 1884 this plan was not only considered, but also realized. On the 30th of March the request was discussed by the elders and "decided that according to two chairman with a collective bow they have gone to see all community members and they pledged that after that since the church treasury was still very small, the purchase of the bells could only be carried out with ample donations. The community meeting on the 14th of April also decided that the bells "if possible should still be purchased this year." That was the general desire of the community.  That also proved to be the still existing collective list: In 1884 there were 67 contributors who donated 128.70 Florints. In the following years another 8.50 Forints were received for it. 

     But they must also erect the tower on the place of worship for the bells. The work was awarded to Jakob Kniesel of Crvenka, who had built the teacher's apartment in 1878. The church father negotiated it with him in the name of the elders, and for the establishment of a (Thurmes) tower an amount of about 240 Forints in Austrian currency was set aside for it." On the 15th of June the elders decided to order two bells with the combined weight of about 425 kg. with the keys of C and D sharp. On the 13th of July the pastor announced that the bell foundry in (Bochum) Germany would make the desired bells together with the accessories and deliver them for about 234 Marks. Payment conditions were: "1/3 of the amount when placing the order, 1/3 upon receipt of the bells, and the remainder by the 1st of November" must be paid off by the community.  This offer was then also accepted.  The tower and the belfry were finished in the same year and the bells were received. But the minutes don't let us know anything more about it.  The bells must have been received about the 4th of November, then the final bill of 1884/85 was served on this day: "4/10 as the second deadline for the bells of 248.65 Forints."  This confirmed a statement in the family records of the family of Johann Weißmann, that the first time the bells rang were for Johann Weißmann Sr. when he died on the 11th of November 1884. But on the 2nd of November the death of Christian Beck is entered into the register. After all the calculations the total cost of the bells came to 562.65 Forints.

     The larger bell had the inscription: "Bochum Society. Steel casting factory 1884." However the smaller bell only said "Bochum 1884." Otherwise it was provided with the usual beautiful logical quotations. But the bells are there to call all those who are faithful to church service where they can hear the word of God and should pray to Him and praise Him. Many have heard His call up to this day, but many more have not heard His call and do not want to hear.

     On the 18th of October 1884 the elders settled on the following "bell ringing rule": "a) For Sunday church service: about 9 o'clock the first bell and about 10 o'clock together,(that is, together with both bells). b) At funerals: a half hour before the funeral the first bell, then at the house together and also from the house to the cemetery together and at a large funeral (at burials of those already confirmed) the bells are rung together again during the eulogy in the church.  c) At a wedding: about 10:30 the first bell, about 10:45 the second bell, and about 11 o'clock together." On the 1st of March this rule had added to it, "that the Evangelical (Lutheran) wife of a Reformed man also gets to have the bells rung for her free of charge. - In the case of deaths . . . if the bells should be rung for non-community members, in this case 40% should be paid to the community treasury and 20% in Austrian currency to the bell ringer per funeral (body). This rule has since been altered so that now the first bell is rung about 8:45 for the Sunday church service and about 9:30 the bells are rung together, but before a wedding only the first bell is rung and then after a half hour they will be rung together. The bell ringer now receives half of the money for ringing the bells.

     During the war many of the communities had to give up their bells for war purposes. In 1916 this community also had to deliver their larger bell and also said farewell to it during one of the church services held by Rev. Josef Poth of Schowe. But as it turned out the bells are made of cast iron, so they were not taken and remained there.

     Changes in the church. What was already decided in 1885 caused quarrels to develop and because of it, the decision was not carried out until 1888: that is, the red tiles under the benches were taken out because of the cold "and the bench thresholds were made of boards." Then the existing loft was made only of boards which made it very strong, and it was covered with reeds and clay.

     In the summer of 1903 Jakob Klepp had the inside of the church painted at some expense.  Then two windows were also inserted in the front so it would be lighter for the choir. This was necessary before all else because the community purchased a Harmonium (organ) which stood there and which the teacher used from then on to lead the community in singing.

     The community members donated 345.20 Kronen for the Harmonium which cost a total of 660.81 Kronen.

     In 1913 electric light was introduced into the church. This was paid by Jakob Weißmann Sr. on the condition that "on Sylvester Evening, as it was the custom in many communities, a service would be held to thank God." Since then a service to thank God has also always been held in this community on the last day of the year.

     In 1926 an old organ was purchased from the Reformed community of Stari-Vrbas.  After using it for some years it needed to be thoroughly repaired, which is why the Harmonium was used again in the church services.

     On the 28th of April 1935, on the parting day of Rev. Müller, after one of his festival speeches, a memorial plaque was unveiled which bore the following wording:

Memorial Plaque

To the victims of the World War

Soldiers Killed in Action:

Johann Schmidt
Johann Brauchler
Heinrich Weißmann
Ludwig Geres
Heinrich Gams 

Those who Died:

Christian Röhrich
Wilhelm Göttel
Adam Rieß
Jakob Eng
Friedrich Hauser 


Nikolaus Nadich
Friedrich Eng
Adam Eng
Karl Dinges
Filipp Dinges
Filipp Hauser
Adam Brauchler
Christian Spankus

Nobody has a greater life than he,
Who has given his life for a friend.
- dedicated by Jakob Göttel (Sch.)


     Now we turn back to the year 1872. From the middle of June 1872 to September 1875 all of the minutes recordings are missing.

     In the meantime Schenkenberger shall again tell about us:

     "But this joy (mainly because of the completed place of worship) should once again be spoiled, not long will they have the luck in building their place of worship and uplifting contemplations from the mouth of their well-respected and recognized pastor to reflect upon. It was decided by providence and after a lengthy period of suffering and after giving his best years and work, their well-respected shephard of souls was taken from their side and crossed over to the eternal house of heavenly peace.

      . . . In the month of February (the 22nd) the election for the pastor was carried out in the Hungarian parent community and the dignified Rev. Janos Szilady was elected as pastor. With his appearance in the community the community soon found that they were compensated through his spiritual work and gentle behavior.  Now the community wanted to go to work with still greater self-sacrifice to heal their souls. Instead of the usual habit in which the church service was so far held on every second Sunday, now they wished for the church service to be held on every Sunday. For such an effort the pastor of the parent and branch communities did not have the strength to consent to it at this time, but he gave them room for hope, with all possible strength for the well-being of the community to work, for the time being it was arranged that the sacrament was to be given with the church service on every second Sunday, just as with all official functions and matters which happen in the branch community.  

The German Reformed Church

     The community saw that their demands on the pastor were too great, so they asked him if they could have the teacher hold the church service on the second Sunday for a moderate fee which they could afford and induced him to do it.

     The teacher was sensible about it and was well-inclined to comply with the desire of the community. So the pastor was promised 240 Florints a year for his service and the teacher was promised 70 Florints.

     During this activity and in the apparent eagerness so far, the community was soon again paralyzed. In the fall of 1875 the building contractor Andreas Jakob demanded that they pay him the rest together with interest for building the place of worship and if the community did not pay he threatened to file a complaint.  What could they do. It must be paid. The community collected all of their assets together and paid him the rest with interest. The church treasury was now so broke that not only was there no money existing but the pastor was only paid 30 Forints for his service for the year 1874/5 and the teacher was only paid 30 Forints and 85 Forints was still owed to Anton Kleb.(But in January 1877 it was settled.)

     In the month of May 1875 the community conferred about what should be done about it. The next four years of depression, following one after the other, not only affected the individual but also the community, especially the last year in which the price of fruit declined. (So even in the "good old days" there was something!) The material strength was completely weakened. The teacher's apartment was in such a condition that if there wasn't a good year soon when it could be rebuilt, it threatened to decay.

     They also informed the pastor about this and came to an agreement in the end that it would be some time before they overcame the most difficult - that they would be content with the teacher's sermons, who has to preach every future Sunday and will get 140 Florints for it. For all of the pastor's usual official duties and giving the sacrament which were performed by the pastor for 60 Forints a year, they were also obliged to pay the usual Stola fee to the pastor.

     In the more difficult times the community was loyal to the pastor and the teacher who encouraged the community to do its best. And in this difficult time the long cherished desire for a church service every Sunday was fulfilled.

     On the 22nd of August 1875, after 25 years of serving this community, teacher Eduard Schenkenberger was elected 2nd teacher for the Reformed community of Torscha. Allegedly he was induced to leave the most unhealthy teacher's apartment.


     The community did not "trouble themselves about another teacher" because they also signed a contract with teacher Jakob Knittel for one year in the same month.  Teacher Knittel was only signed on for one year for the time being. Besides instruction in the school and choirmaster service, he was also entrusted with conducting church services every Sunday, as was his predecessor since May 1875.  "In the month of November a meeting was held by the praiseworthy elders where it was decided, that the community would be content with the sermons of teacher J. Knittel, which through one year from 1 October 1875 to the end of September 1876, a church service would be held on every Sunday and holidays. That is, he was obliged to preach - for which he received 80 Forints."

     The community must have been satisfied with his services because on the 28th of May 1876 they elected him to be their permanent teacher.

   "In case of previous decisions by the elders, a teachers election was held on the 28th of May 1876 at which the community signed a contract with teacher Jakob Knittel as follows:

     The German Reformed branch community of Feketehegy was obliged to pay the teacher all year:

     1. Free apartment, (cleaned twice a year) consisting of 2 rooms, 1 kitchen,
1 small room (chamber), 1 stable and attic, then the whole house garden.

     2. From each home, each couple, and each quarter field, per ¼ Pester Metzen fruit, and from each house and each couple per 25(xr), 20(xr) more in Austrian currency for each school child.

     3. A cord of hard firewood and a cord in (Relutum?) per 10 Forints in Austrian currency, further adequate heating for 1 room and in case of emergency also for a second room (straw).

     4. A Stola fee for a funeral and a wedding, per 35(xr) in Austrian currency.

     On the other hand teacher Jakob Knittel was obliged to loyally and eagerly serve the community in the capacity of teacher and choirmaster.

     The community still had to care for the teacher's apartment which was already old and dilapidated. Because there was not enough money, some of the elders did not want to start building, but at the community meeting on the 2nd of December 1877 they decided unanimously to build a new building. This was to be done at the same site where the old apartment stood. The plan and the cost estimates were completed by building contractor Jakob Kniesel from Crvenka. He also constructed the building. The new construction of the small room and the stable was awarded to "local inhabitant Gottfried Gutwein, who was bricklayer by profession." He used old material to do it. During the construction the teacher lived in a rented apartment. The old people understood what was wanted and did the construction without many meetings.  After negotiations for the building contract on the 10th of April, no meeting was held until the 7th of December. But then it states in the minutes: "The church father announced that the school house building was being finished and was acknowledged by the church elders for good."


     During the time of Rev. Szilady (1874-1889) some of the changes regarding his salary as well as regarding the holding of the church services are recorded. In 1875 he consented, as we had seen, that the teacher hold the church service on every Sunday and that he receive only 60 Forints for his other official duties. In May 1876 he explained "in case the bad times and poverty of the community continued in 1876/77 he would serve for 60 Forints. In the next year, after the treasury of the community had increased some, "he demanded 100 Forints. He agreed with the elders that the community pay him 80 Florints for 1877/78, but from then on he would be paid 100 Guilders a year.

     However the community always strived to better their economical condition. For this purpose, after a dispute at the Seniorats' meeting in 1879, "they purchased for their schoolhouse a proper Jogh" On the occasion of the division of the border meadow in 1875 each house received from the time of settlement a piece of land, 14 square chains and 75 square fathoms large; that was a "Jogh." The community received 480 Forints for that which was theirs.

     On the 8th of July 1883 the community had about 1000 Florints in cash and borrowed money. 

     The pastor now asked again for an increase in salary. But the community wanted the pastor to serve more often. Many discussions were held with the elders over various plans that were raised. On the 14th of April 1884 the community meeting decided "that the pastor had to preach in the German Reformed branch community every Sunday - which had to be left to his assistant to preach." From then on church service was held from 10 to 11 o'clock, after the Hungarian church service was held.

     But that lasted only for a year because the pastor explained in the March of 1885 that because of "his almost always sickly condition" he could not preach every Sunday anymore or he could leave it to his assistant to preach. The community assembly decided on the 17th of May in favor of keeping the church services on every Sunday. On the same day the elders decided that: a) the pastor would preach on one Sunday and the teacher would preach on the other Sunday on the Sundays they usually do it; b) on the three most highly regarded holidays, namely: Christmas, Easter, and Whitsunday, the teacher had to preach on the first holiday and the pastor had to preach on the second holiday; c) and on the other three holidays, the pastor had to preach for the New Year and the Ascension of Christ, and the teacher had to preach on Good Friday." The salary was as settled upon in 1875: 240 Forints a year for the pastor and 70 Forints a year for the teacher. This order in holding the church services remained until the end of July 1914.

     During Rev. Szilady's time the community tried a second time to receive their own pastor. On the 16th of April 1888, on the occasion of the canonical visitation, the pastor announced that the German Reformed branch community had prepared a plan to become independent from the parent community and the pastor's assistant Gustav Juranyi, who had just been employed in the Hungarian community, was elected to be their proper pastor. Juranyi controlled the Germans very well, for the community members really liked to listen to his sermons. During earlier times (and also after him) the confirmation classes were always given by the teacher, but because the pastor did not know enough German to do the instruction, Juranyi taught the confirmation classes himself. Besides that he had been much beloved by the community members. The Senior had given instructions to the elders an appropriate salary letter approved by the community assembly. The elders made an appropriate proposal but the community members were not all for it. Of the 40 votes, 26 were for it, but 14 were against it (22nd of April). After that the community's request was discussed by the Seniorat's meeting, and on the 14th of May the pastor informed the community that the community's request was turned down "on the grounds that the community treasury still had too little for this undertaking." The pastor advised to increase the outgoing expenses which "only in this manner, if the community members were prepared . .  . through some years of sacrifice, - it was possible for the community to become independent. The elders took this advise seriously, made the appropriate decision, but the majority of the community assembly expressed that they were against this proposal. So at this time everything remained as it was in 1870.


     Rev. Szilady died on the 1st of April 1889. Rev. Philipp Tiefenthäler from Old Sivatz, a boyfriend of the deceased, held the eulogy in the church of the German Reformed community. - On the 1st of September the Hungarian parent community unanimously elected Rev. Alexander Toth to be their preacher. He introduced himself to the elders of the German community on the 22nd of September. "Those of the Hungarian congregation elected the highly esteemed Rev. Toth. Sandor held a small discussion on the occasion of this meeting with the German elders concerning the relationship between him and the German Reformed branch congregation, where he prepared to explain the functions as the deceased pastor had performed for them, also about receiving the same pay; only the German branch community preferred to be patient with him for a short time since he needed a little practice in the German language so he could strive to satisfy the German community as soon as possible. But until then they preferred to content themselves with the teacher's sermon." This proposal the elders approved.

     With Rev. Toth's arrival begins two decades in the history of the community when not much is reported. Community life went about its usual way. Teacher Knittel continued to serve in the community with greater diligence and resolution until 1910. For it he was paid so much attention that sometimes to cover his salary the community had to do without to make concessions to Teacher Jakob Knittel him. 

      After 35 years of faithful service teacher Knittel requested his pension from the teaching ministry in the summer of 1910. Through the new situation forming it was again possible to accept a plan that had already been considered for 40 years. On the 7th of August there was another community assembly. "The community voted unanimously for the acceptance of a teacher and if possible a German pastor's assistant which the community also preferred to perform the church service every Sunday." The pastor and the church father spoke to the bishop about a pastor's assistant, but received the answer "that under no condition were they to have such an assistant. "After that the teacher Daniel Mengel from Old Werbaß, who received his diploma in the same year, who was requested by some elders of the community, announced he was looking for a teaching position in this community.  Until the 1st of November teacher Mengel instructed as teacher Knittel's substitute; then when Knittel's pension came through he was finally elected. But already on the 14th of November he resigned from his position and after that he was appointed to a state teacher's position in Hodmezövasarhely. Until the election of another teacher, teacher Knittel was requested to holds classes temporarily. From then to the election of a new teacher the terms were settled: he must be a certified teacher, he must be able to play the organ, he must have a complete mastery of the German language, and he must be of the Reformed denomination.


     On the 29th of December 1910 the elders unanimously elected Nikolaus Nadich, teacher from Schidski Banovci, to be their teacher. On the 8th of January the community assembly unanimously accepted a new salary letter. After that the teacher was promised the following salary: apartment with side building and garden, 800 Kronen a year by the community, 182 Kronen from state aid, the staid old age allowance from the state, use of half of the state tree nursery, and (Stolarien?) of about 18 Kronen. The duties were: instruction in the public school and adult education, service as choirmaster and organist, director of singing at all community meetings, director of the choir, and so one exists, perform the work of secretary. For his service in preaching he received 340 Kronen and Stolarien: for it he has to give the confirmation classes, and at large holidays (feast days) and every second Sunday he is to hold church service.

     Teacher Nadich served in the community for three and a half years. During his time the construction of the new school was begun. The community already requested the higher church officials to establish a second teaching position in 1891, 1893, and 1905 because after that the school census was too great. (At the time this always exceeded 100!) The community rejected this legitimate request with the reason that they could not raise the necessary funds. On the 20th of April 1913 church father Johann Weißmann proposed building the second school. The construction was to begin in the spring of 1914, but to pay for it all, preparations were made to increase church taxes.  The elders as well as the community assembly voted for it. In November the elders accepted the cost estimate, a salary letter for second teacher was written up and decided on, and a salary supplement for the second teacher and also financial aid for the construction were requested from the state. In December it was also used to obtain the building materials. In 1914 the construction was started and finished. It cost about 6000 Kronen.

     The second school could not be opened though because in 1914 the great World War broke out. With so many sons of the community teacher Nadich also had to march off to war. He was called up on the 27th of July and on the 20th of October he left. Then the community had to overcome some difficulties so church service and lessons could be held regularly. From then on, instead of every second Sunday, Rev. Toth held church service every Sunday. The Hungarian parent community placed teacher Ferenc Takacs at the disposal of the German Reformed branch community without any demands to be teacher Nadich's substitute. Until 1919 he also served as choirmaster. Subsequently the pastor and the teacher Takacs were given a certain fee of 200 - 100 Kronen from year to year by the elders for their work.

     But after that the parent community for the school year 1915-1916 could no longer do without teacher Takacs, so the elders had to employ another teacher and chose Gisella Bendek to be substitute teacher. In July 1916 she resigned, so the elders appointed Ilona Modij, but she also resigned afterwards and the elders instructed church father Jakob Gutwein to ask the teacher Helena Schmidt from Palanka to take over service in this community but he had no success.

     After the pastor's position itself had gone through some changes the community finally gained teacher Terez Jonas. But she stayed only until the end of January 1917. What difficulties the elders had led to the elders' decision on the 28th of January 1917 where the pastor was instructed that "first of all he had to submit a request to the Ministry of Education and Arts for a state teacher and if he had no success, secondly he should request the former Bacsfeketehegy teacher Jakob Knittel to take on the substitute position together with a monthly salary of 150 Kronen. And if this was also unsuccessful, thirdly he should request for the submission of a student to the teachers' college. But a fourth solution was found. On the recommendation of the bishop the elders employed the certified kindergarten teacher Katherina Jung. She served from the 11th of February to the 31st of August 1917. But the elders really wanted to employ a permanent teacher because the frequent change and the lack of knowledge of Germans was a disadvantage for most of these teachers to work in the school. After more unsuccessful attempts, the community again received a teacher from the parent community. Teacher Ester Szücs instructed the four lower classes, while grades 5 and 6 went to the school in the Hungarian parent community. The salary for teacher Szücs was paid half by the parent community and half by the branch community. However she could not speak German so she could not take over the religious instruction. For the year 1918-1919 the elders had the retired Evangelical-Lutheran teacher Wilhelm Pratscher employed daily from 11 to 12 o'clock to teach religion and church singing to all six classes for about a year's salary of 400 Kronen.

     On the 1st of June 1919 teacher Friedrich Schmidt from Novi Vrbas was on loan for 15 months but finally he was appointed to the school by the community with the following salary: 1800 Kronen a year, then a 900 Kronen cost of living allowance, 340 Kronen for sermon and choirmaster service, 120 Kronen for his work with adult education, and a free living room.

     Since September 1919 the elders often had to discuss the question of school because the state placed different new demands on them. The state orders had the goal to nationalize the church (parochial) schools. In this relevant matter the elders answered that the community can only promise their teacher the legitimate salary and their school can obtain it if they can also receive additional state aid, as they have so far.

     On the 26th of September the general assembly "stated with regrets" that the congregation was not capable of acquiring the school on its own strength. For this reason the community handed the school over to the state, but the property rights of the school building and the remaining real estate remained with the community." So the school was nationalized and from then on the teacher was paid by the state, but the teacher also had to serve as choirmaster and secretary for which the general assembly promised to pay him a salary of 2400 Kronen a year on the 23rd of January 1921.

     The community had lost much with their school. However they should probably also because of it - on the other hand gain what was their long cherished desire: that they could become independent from the parent community.

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
page 137-143 | Table of Contents

The Independent German Reformed Congregation

     The 1870 and 1888 failed attempts by the community to become independent was tackled a third time in 1919 and their goal was achieved in 1921. We wanted a detailed report about it. On the 6th of February the Rev. Toth had the elders increase his salary from 480 to 1500 Kronen. After that the war started and the old salary doubled to achieve the same amount of service. This must have caused a lot of discord in the community because many threatened to convert to the Evangelical-Lutheran congregation. The idea was also again kindled that the community could be made completely independent. The elders attempted on the 8th of February to convince the pastor that a raise in salary of another 480 Kronen would be enough. However he explained on the 17th of February that he did not want to do this because he could not allow this because then the office and service of the pastor would be little more respected than the service of a maid. The community had over 7000 Kronen in the treasury in 1918 so that it was easy to decide on a fee of 1500 Kronen. However in response to those who threatened to resign from the congregation, in order to placate them and retain the dignity of his services, he explained at the same time that as long as he was in the branch community the service of the pastor would be performed, he will do this completely free of charge, and in no way would he accept a salary from them. The yearly accounts show that he had not received a salary since 1919. The pastor also brought to their attention that independence for the community meant about four times the burden. However the elders were not dissuaded from this plan because the majority of the community members were for independence; above all for the reason, so I have been told, because most church services could not begin at the intended time because the pastor held the Hungarian church service immediately before it and because there were often baptisms or other events the length of time was stretched out. The long wait was much too much.

     On the 9th of March the community assembly discussed the unanimously brought up suggestions of the elders for the independence of the community, for the acceptance of the pastor's salary letter and the corresponding tax key. Seventy-four members were against the pastor's salary letter and 8 were for it. This gave a salary of: 1. apartment in the existing teacher's apartment, 400 Kronen, 34 q of wheat after the 1st of September's prices were paid, 27 q of corn after the 1st of May's price was paid, and Stolarien. His duties were as follows: complete service of a pastor according to the regulations of the Reformed church law, religious instruction in case of nationalization of the schools, and if the community has no choirmaster, he is to lead the community in song. The new tax key was voted on with 45 votes for, 37 against, and 3 abstentions. For the independence of the community there were 54 votes, of which 27 were against it and 5 abstained.

     On the 30th of March the general assembly had a new higher tax key accepted and decided that a new pastor (Verweser?) should be employed in the same year. Towards these decisions 58 community members put in an appointment for leadership under Martin Göttel. They said that the community would not find the means to maintain a school for the duration without difficulty, and they should still open a second school. In addition to this burden they still had to pay a pastor a very unusual amount for so small a community. However, the state took over the school so the above fears declined and the community could unanimously begin to continue on with their work. Part of the desire of the community was fulfilled in 1919. At the request of the elders the Rev. Toth (the local pastor) sent to them in the same year the completed theologian Karl Bincze to be pastor (Hilfsprediger?) in the community. The joy in the community was great. They had their first pastor. He went at his work with youthful eagerness, it was recorded, in the community with "all his heart and soul." He started to collect Pastor Karl Bincze donations in the community for a church fund with which the community could get materials.  After his death this fund reached a level of 27,000 Kronen and was named the "Karl Bincze Fund." But the community was not to enjoy his services for long. He only served here for 5 months when he died on the 2nd of February 1920. The grateful community made a vault for him, in which he was buried on the 4th of February with the greatest of participation.

     Rev. Bincze's death was a great loss to the community. But the work he began should be continued. Shortly after Rev. Bincze died Rev. and Senior Toth and the Hungarian community had the pastor (Verwesern) Laszlo Benedek and Sandor Kovacsy but they did not know German and therefore they could not serve the German community. The community therefore wanted to employ their own pastor (Verweser) again, but there was no provision for one. The church service was held mostly by teacher Schmidt, but baptisms, weddings, and funerals were conducted by today's Evangelical-Lutheran pastor (Senior at the time) Peter Scherer. Through his willingness the elders encouraged him to continue this service officially as long as he wanted to do it, until the community could have their own pastor again.

     Then in 1920 the school was handed over to the state so the community could with united strength make an impact to pursue the independence of the community.  Now they wanted to gain the young preacher Christian Jung from Crvenka. The elders sent church father Karl Eng, elder Michael Gutwein, and Philipp Schwebler whom Senior Janos Kontra from Suza (Baranya), one of 147 community members who signed the request, wanted them dispatched personally to deliver it to the pastor Jung. In November they went on this laborious journey. The Senior promised to fulfill their request. On the 12th of November the Senior appointed Christian Jung to be pastor of the community and he finally took over the position on the 25th of November, after he had already held the church service in the community since the 31st of October. The community was again overjoyed. They could continue on with new work and fresh courage to achieve their independence.

     Still in October 1920 the Seniorat's assembly turned down the decision from 1919 pertaining to this matter with the reason that at the one community meeting almost half, at the other more than half of those who had the right to vote were absent, that of 58 community members, more than 1/3 have appealed the decision, so that it can be seen that the community did not stand completely behind these decisions. The request for the employment of a pastor (Verweser) was elected and was soon -after renewed requests, as we saw - was fulfilled. Since 1919 the relationship in the community has changed a lot, which is why the Senior advised that the community assembly should seize upon the necessary decision anew, accept an appropriate salary letter and tax key which guaranteed the existence of a permanent pastor position.

     On the 23rd of January 1921 the community assembly accepted the necessary decision unanimously. The pastor was assured the following salary: apartment with side buildings, 1000 Kronen, 34 q of wheat, 27 q of corn and Stolarien. - The decision was then presented at the Seniorat's meeting with detailed reasons, which was confirmed on the 30th and 31st of August. So the community had achieved independence; from then on it was the "German Reformed Congregation of Feketic."  Since then they have established their own pastoral office and registrar (secretary).

     However pastor (Verweser) Jung was still not proper, that is (ie.), he was not appointed pastor by the community. Then he passed his second pastor examination in June 1922, so he could be initiated in the pastor election. At the election assembly on the 25th of June Pastor Jung was unanimously appointed to be their pastor. He was the first elected pastor of the community. With it the goal they strived for since 1919 was completely achieved.


     The unanimous appointment of Rev. Jung showed that he was greatly appreciated by the community. He eagerly served here for 5 years. He made his rounds around the community so they could grow to know the Word of God better, he introduced the Bible study hour, which since then has been held weekly almost every winter.

     In 1923 the established Reformed branch community of Kula was then connected to this community. So for a short while, until March 1926, the local community was entrusted with a branch community.

     At the end of August teacher Schmidt resigned as state teacher and choirmaster for the community and returned to his home community. For a few months the Hungarian Reformed teacher Laszlo Kozma performed the choirmaster service as a substitute. But soon at the suggestion of the pastor, representatives of the community were formed who named teacher Philipp Zepp, a fellow countryman of the pastor, to be state teacher of Feketitsch in November 1923. However he couldn't start in his position until January 1924 because the schools were closed due to illness. With him the community gained a good choirmaster and the pastor an eager collaborator. He conducted the religious instruction, held with the pastor's choir practice to practice the psalms and hymns and learn new ones. When the pastor from Kula served, he also held the church service. - For his eager service the elders, pastor, and choirmaster, when it was possible, elected to subsidize his salary from year to year.

     On the 25th of August teacher Zepp bid farewell to the community and moved back to his hometown. Since then the community has often had to bid farewell to their servants with emotional hearts.

     Soon Rev. Jung also bid farewell to the community since he took on the pastor's position in Beschka on the 21st of October 1925. Before he left informed the elders that the Reformed teacher from Werbaß, Koloman Rumpf, was to be appointed as the local state teacher. The elders him right away to be choirmaster.

     On the orders of Senior Peter Klepp, Lewit (pastor's assistant) Daniel Gutsohn took over control of the community from the teacher from Werbaß. He came each Sunday to hold the church service when he did not have to go to Kula, then teacher Rumpf held the church service. Levit Gutsohn served until the middle of March 1926. Meanwhile they tried to fill the pastor's position but without much luck. Then Rev. Jung's plan that was already considered to build a new parsonage was actively discussed. Rev. Peter Weimann (at the time the Senior of the Southern German Reformed Seniorates) held many of the meetings and discussions in this matter. Then the Keleman's house was purchased for the parsonage. At an elder's meeting and a general assembly which took place one after the other, various suggestions were made and discussed. The community was in constant excitement, the opinions went in many directions although everyone wanted one and the same thing: the orderly, permanent care through an elected ordained minister. The majority rejected the purchase of the house and the elders had already concluded a temporary contract which had to be cancelled and caused some trouble afterwards.

     So it continued as Rev. Kornelius Weimann was employed as the local pastor (Verweser). From the middle of March until the middle of September 1926. Finally the community assembly decided on the 25th of April at Daniel Giese's suggestion to dictate an extraordinary two year tax to raise the money for the parsonage building.

     On the 14th of September theology student Philipp Eng, administrator of the community, had to go away to continue his studies starting in November.  Afterwards there was a shortage of pastors in our Reformed community in many places so they had to get foreign help. Two young Swiss came to serve in the German community. The one was Rev. Heinrich Berger, who started service in the community at the end of November 1926. He also soon won the heart of the community. The Bible hour in winter was picked up again, and he also gave the religious and confirmation instruction. The community gave him a monthly salary of 1,300 Dinar, which at the proposal of church father Johann Huber it was raised to 1,500 Dinar in January 1927. A very valuable work of Rev. Berger was the creation of a community library for which most of the books were given to him by his friends from Switzerland, but the community also contributed. The library was somewhat increased during the time of Rev. Eng, numbering 350 issues and volumes and were especially during the winter months.

     In April choirmaster Kolomann Rumpf had to leave service of the community because differences developed between him and the elders. In the same year he went to Laslovo near Osijek. After that there was no German Reformed teacher in Feketitsch. The community had no choirmaster so Rev. Berger sometimes led in the community singing while he was unknowledgeable in playing the harmonium. But soon this service was assumed by somebody in the community. "Mr. Ludwig Gutwein, member of our community, proved to be an exemplary replacement in his service as choirmaster/organist which we would like to recognize. He declined any cash but he should receive our sincere thanks in the minutes." (Minutes from the 25th of September 1927.) After that he served our community in this way until today. From 1931 to the end of 1933 the community gave him a salary of 5 q of wheat and 5 q of corn a year but because of the difficult material situation they could no longer do it.

     Still at the time Rev. Berger made the first decisions and took the first steps for the new building of the community. A special section should report about it.  At the beginning of April 1928 Rev. Berger bid farewell to the community and his departure was greatly regretted. From one Sunday to another the church service was held by one preacher after another until the community received another pastor (Verweser).

     From the 3rd of September to the middle of November 1929 Rev. Philipp Bellmann served the community. After him until the 20th of January 1930 Sandor Szekely was pastor (Verweser) who also worked for Senior Agoston at the same time.  His work was made more difficult because he did not know German very well. After him Rev. Bellmann came again and worked here until the end of March 1931. He directed the difficult work of the construction with the elders and also had to do the many steps for it. After a short time he bid farewell to the community and after that he served in the Diaspora by being employed in Sidski Banovci.

     From the 1st of April 1931 until the 30th of April 1935 Rev. Wilhelm Müller from Germany served with an interruption of 5 months. He also had the most intimate relationship with the community and made this his second home. He was certainly more skilled than others with his family visits and sick visits and he did so with special diligence and eagerness as nobody did before or after him.  Some could also hear of his helpfulness. From the 20th of April to the end of September 1933 he was pastor (Verweser) in Torscha until the local pastor's election was over. - Meanwhile Ludwig Poth served as pastor (Verweser) and at the same time he had to do the work of curate besides Senior Agoston. If his service was impaired by it, the community at least had the material advantage because they only had to pay him a part of his salary which improved their difficult economical situation. - On the 1st of October Pastor (Verweser) Müller took over the service again and worked here again until he had to bid farewell to the community on the 28th of April 1935. After that he could not be promised lasting employment as a foreigner, so he resigned his office. Rev. Ludwig Poth took over the service of pastor (Verweser) from him. This time he also had to work in the bishop's office at the same time again besides his service so over 4000 Dinar could be saved by the community, so a part of the debt owed by the community could be paid off with it.

     Since October 1925 the community has not had a permanent elected pastor of their own although it has always been their desire to have one. For the past ten years so much was worked out so the large construction could be begun in 1928. At the suggestion of the elders the community assembly decided unanimously on the 13th of April 1936 that the pastor's position be filled by an elected ordained minister and accepted a new pastor's salary letter in which the pastor was assured of receiving an apartment, 1500 Dinar a month, and the Stolarien. On the 28th of June Ludwig Poth was appointed as the pastor.

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 143-145 | Table of Contents

The New Buildings

     Still at the time Rev. Jung made a speech that a new parsonage and a new church should be built. Then we saw through the purchase of a house a new parsonage should be acquired, but it was just stopped. The community knew that in any case they had to provide a large part of the necessary materials for the construction themselves. After much advise from the elders and the community assemblies an extraordinary tax for two years was proposed by Daniel Giese and was finally decided on the 25th of April 1926 for which each couple paid 37.50, the homes divided in 3 fathoms, 37.50, 25 and 12.50, the business trades up to 3 fathoms- 125, 100, or 37.50, the store people - 500 and 300, 1 chain of field - 25, a threshing machine - 62.50 Dinar. On the 25th of January 1928 the community assembly decided unanimously at the suggestion of Johann Weißmann on another 2 years written down in the same balance. In the same year construction was to be begun but the opinions over the "how" were greatly varied. On the 25th of March the community assembly was not capable of making a decision, a second meeting could not be arranged,so the elders came up with the construction plans completely independently. On the 10th of April the building commission was elected to include church father Jakob Hoffmann, Heinrich Hunstein, Daniel Giese, Karl Eng, Philipp Schwebler and Heinrich Brauchler. The old parsonage behind the church was demolished in April, and on the 22nd of April the bricklayers and the carpentry workers were assigned for the construction of the choirmaster's apartment and the first school halls. This was accomplished in the same year.

     On the 17th of February 1929 the community assembly decided unanimously to build a second school and a new parsonage after which it would not cost much more than if the old school had been rebuilt to be a parsonage. The building commission consisted of church father Jakob Hoffmann, Jakob Weißmann, Georg Kern, Michael Blum, Johann Weißmann, Martin Göttel, Wilhelm Bellmann, and Peter Kern. The responsible authorities did not approve the submitted construction plan for the second school and another had to be presented that cost considerably more and also spoiled the uniformity of the buildings. But at the time there was no other plan. Today one could ask why the community built the schools altogether where they maintained no schools themselves? But at the time the state did not regulate the school fortunes of the congregations so the community had to meet the demands of the school authorities. Because of this trouble, only the foundation of the parsonage could be built.

     In 1930 the construction of the parsonage was permitted and it all came under one roof. The community assembly also decided to institute the extraordinary tax this year. With the constant fall in grain prices the construction was prevented.  On the 15th of February 1931 it was decided at the suggestion of Johann Hubers with a majority of votes to keep the extraordinary tax for another year. However in March the community had to take out a loan of 20,000 Dinar from the Seniorates' treasury. In March 1932 the cabinet makers were assigned to the parsonage and the community assembly decided unanimously to continue the extraordinary tax again for 1932. It also remained so in 1933, but with the modification that the owner would be exempt from this extraordinary tax by which the growing deficit on the 1st homes and 2nd class, on fields and trades spread. For 1934 the extraordinary tax was cut in half and continued until today so the construction could continue in 1933, windows and doors were fixed, after that electric light was installed, and the room was covered with floor boards. The parsonage is still not completely finished, so the cost estimate for 1936-37 was intended to be the total necessary for completion.

     All of the masonry work was done by Jakob and Johann Göttel, the carpentry work by Karl Eng and Peter Schock, the cabinetry work by Peter and Karl Spangus, and the glass work by Daniel Giese. So far about 200,000 was spent for the whole construction. Also the "Karl Bincze Fund" was raised, so that one could say that Bincze's work in part contributed to the building of the community. Most community members did half of the construction with unskilled laborers, wagons and horses, and they were given many directions. Community members donated 5,744 Dinar and 50,300 bricks to the construction. But the community also received good financial aid from outside for the construction. From the state church the community received a total of 19,195 Dinar which was mainly at the time the Senior, thanks to Bishop

Choirmaster's apartment, 2 school rooms, parsonage, German Reformed church
and the Hungarian Reformed church

     Alexander Agoston at the time. From the Swiss of the "Swiss Association for the Evangelicals in Austria and the succeeding states" through the negotiations of Rev. Berger and partly from him the community also received a total of 17,327.50 Dinar from the Gustav-Adolf Association from Germany, 3,929 from the state church, and 200 Dinar from a citizen of the German Empire.

     However, with the completion of the parsonage the construction plans were still not completely carried out; on the site of the present church a new one should be built. "So the Lord wants and we live." (Jak.4.15).

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 145-147 | Table of Contents

Teachers and Choirmasters of the Community

     Eduard Schenkenberger was the first teacher of the community. He was born on October 22nd, 1833 in Novi Sivac, the son of Johann Schenkenberger and Katharina Weißmann. In his birthplace he was a "teaching assistant". He was barely 17 years old when he was chosen to be teacher and he started his service in November 1850. He "descended from a schoolmaster family. Already his grandfather - who settled in Sivac - and his father was also a competent teacher in Sivac. He worked here as teacher and choirmaster for 25 years and performed the work of preacher to the great satisfaction of his community, which he left in September 1875 after he had given his best service to the community." (Dr. Pratscher) He married Elisabetha Ewiger here in 1859.  In 1875 he went to Torscha where he worked up to his death on the 28th of March 1895. Before he went to Torscha he wrote down in the first minutes book a valuable record of the history of the community.

     Jakob Knittel was Schenkenberger's successor. "He was born in Stari Sivac on the 13th of June 1852 and trained himself to be a teaching assistant. In 1875 he was elected to teach in Feketitsch. Jakob Knittel was a well beloved teacher. After 35 years of activity he took his pension in 1910. He was the last teacher in Feketitsch from the old generation of schoolmasters.  He was married to Katharina Schübler and he had 5 children." (Dr. Pratscher). From here he went to Miskolc (Hungary) where he lived as a private official and died on the 27th of May 1934.  Then a memorial church service was held in the church of this community.

     Daniel Mengel was born in Stari Vrbas in 1891, he received his teaching diploma in Baja, served here after teacher Knittel from the 1st of September to the 14th of November 1910 and went on to be state teacher after that in Hodmezovasarhely.

     Nikolaus Nadich was born in Torscha on the 30th of January 1883, the son of Friedrich Nadich and Dorothea Göttel, received his diploma in Nagykorös, was teacher in Despot Sveti Ivan in 1904 and 1905, and then he was teacher in Schidski Banovci (Srem) from the 1st of September 1905 to the end of 1910. On the 29th of December 1910 he was elected to be teacher here and he started his service in this community on the 20th of January 1911 and served until he was drawn into the war on the 27th of July 1914 and he was reported missing at the end of October 1914.

     Substitute teachers. From 1914 to 1919 teachers changed very often. They were all to be regarded as substitutes for teacher Nadich, after which hardly any news came about his death. - Ferencz Takacs, teacher of the Hungarian community was placed at the disposal of the German branch community free of charge in 1914 and 1915.  He also served as choirmaster and secretary without salary until the end of May 1919, but the community always promised to pay him a certain fee. - Gisella Bendel instructed in the school year 1915-1916, Terez Jonas taught from September 1916 to the end of January 1917, and Ester Szücs - also from the Hungarian community, was placed at the disposal of the German community - in the school year 1918-1919.

     Friedrich Schmidt was born in Novi Vrbas on the 12th of November 1894, received his teaching diploma in Nagykorös in 1918, was elected teacher of the community on the 15th of June 1919 and served as such until the nationalization of the school in 1920. But after that he continued to serve as choirmaster and secretary of the community until he resigned and went to his hometown where he lived as a private official.

     Philipp Zepp was born in Crvenka on the 12th of May 1898, the son of Philipp Zepp and Sophia Schramm. He attended the teaching institute in Debreczen where he received his teaching diploma in 1920. From March 1921 to May 1923 he served at the Hungarian Reformed school in Maradik (Srem), in November 1923 he was appointed here as state teacher and started to serve in January 1924. Besides that he also served his community as choirmaster, then in August 1925 he went to his hometown where he worked as state teacher until the 1st of September 1935 but he continued to work uninterrupted up till now as choirmaster/organist, religious instructor, and director of the church choir.

     Koloman Rumpf was born in Novi Vrbas on the 14th of July 1901, received his diploma in Vrschac, was state teacher here from October 1925 until the fall of 1927 and served the community as choirmaster at the same time. From there he went to Laslovo, from there to Zmajevac where he is also the choirmaster of the local Reformed community today.

     Ludwig Gutwein was born in Feketitsch in 1904, the son of Jakob Gutwein and Elisabetha Dietrich. He completed four middle school classes in Novi Vrbas and Novi Sad, and in 1923 he attended a brickworks technical school in Germany. After that he taught himself to play the harmonium (organ) at home so he could be employed as choirmaster/organist after teacher Rumpf in 1927 by Rev. Berger and also the community assembly, then he performed in an honorary capacity without salary, with the exception of the years 1931 to 1933, up to today.

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 147-150 | Table of Contents

The Servants of the Word of God

     Rev. Lajos Kozma served from 1850 to 1869; after him his son served.

     Rev. Lajos Kozma the younger served until the end of 1873.

     Rev. Janos Szilady served from 1874 to 1889.

     Rev. Sandor Toth served from 1889 until his death in 1920.

     Karl Bincze was the first pastor who was entrusted to serve exclusively in this community. He was born on the 13th of December 1892 in Novi Schowe, the son of Rev. Alexander Venetianer and Jolanta Hartmann. His father was born a Jew, but when he was 20 years old he was christened because of his religious convictions and as a Reformed preacher he eagerly preached about Christ. Karl Bincze lost his mother when he was a 1½ year old child and also his father when he was 10 years old. Since early childhood he had a difficult life. He attended grammar school in Novi Sad, and the theological seminary in Sarospatak. During the war he served as a volunteer in the fortress artillery of Kotor. After the end of the war he came here and served here from September 1919 until his death on the 2nd of February 1920. He wrote a little booklet: "Religious Instruction for Reformed Children" ,which had a calendar on it. It brought in 6,000 Kronen in profit after his death which was put into the Bincze Fund.

     Christian Jung was born in Crvenka on the 29th of June 1897. He attended the first class of the grammar school in Novi Vrbas and finished in Debreczen. There he began his theology studies but he had to go to war and spent almost 2 years as a prisoner in Siberia. After his return he completed his studies in 1920. In this community he began his service on the 31st of October as administrator, was elected unanimously to the position of ordained minister in June 1922 and worked as such until the end of October 1925. Until the end of September 1933 he was pastor in Beschka and since October 1933 he has served in the community of Torscha.

     Daniel Gutsohn was born in Novi Vrbas on the 25th of December 1887. In 1906 he received his teaching diploma in Baja, served as teacher and choirmaster for 5 months at the Reformed school in Kucura, then 8 months in Siklos (Hungary), then from November 1907 until November 1923 in Novi Schowe, and since then as teacher in Novi Vrbas. In September 1924 he took the Leviten (pastor's assistant) examination which qualified him to serve as preacher. As such he held the service in many small communities and so also in this community from the 29th of October 1925 to the 10th of March 1926. Sundays he held church services, meetings, etc.

     Kornelius Weimann was born in Novi Vrbas on the 26th of June 1898, the son of Kornelius Weimann and Elisabetha Kiltz. He spent his childhood in the German motherland.  He attended grammar school, he did his theology studies at the University of Vienna and he went to Halle an der Saale. In 1924 and 1925 he worked as a pastor's assistant in Torscha and Schowe, from the end of April 1925 to the end of January 1926 he was the pastor (Verweser) in Schowe, from the middle of March to the middle of September 1926 he served in this community, then he was elected to be the ordained minister of Schowe where he still works today. After him the theologian Philipp Eng served here for 6 months.

     Heinrich Berger was born on the 10th of October 1902 in the small farming village of Salez in the canton of St. Gallen in Switzerland. Under the influence of the writings of the theologians Ragaz and Kutter, the Russian author Tolstoy, as well as other socialistic writers he was led to questions about God and through it he was induced to study theology. He studied in Geneva, Basel, Marburg an der Lahn, then again in Basel, and finally in Zurich where he decided to learn from Professor Brunner. In 1926 he served in Torscha as a student pastor (vicar), then he was gained by this community for his service which he performed from the end of November 1926 to the middle of April 1928. He returned to Switzerland where he was vicar in St. Gallen, then he studied in Glasgow, Scotland in the winter 1928-1929, after that he served in the Diaspora community of Uznach in the canton of St. Gallen, but since then he has been in the city community of Arbon on the Bodensee (Lake Constance).

     Philipp Eng was born in Torscha on the 28th of June 1905, the son of Johann Eng and Margaretha Weitmann. He matured in Novi Vrbas, studied theology in Klaufenburg (Cluj, Transylvania, Romania) from 1924 to 1928, and in between he spent one year in Zurich. He already served as a pastor's assistant during his vacation as a theology student and after he completed his studies he served in Torscha, Schowe, and here. On the 1st of July 1928 he came to serve in this community as a pastor's administrator and served here until the middle of September 1929. After he completed military service he was active for two months in the Diaspora of Prekomurje, in June 1930 he became the ordained minister of Sombor, but September 1930 he went to Stari Sivac. - After him Rev. Philipp Bellmann served here not even 2 months and then came Rev. Sandor Szekely.

     Rev. Sandor Szekely was born in 1903 in Csikßereda (Transylvania, Romania), attended school in Pantschevo, Temeschwar, and Petrovgrad, and studied theology in Klaufenburg (Cluj, Transylvania, Romania). He served as pastor's assistant in Vardarac, Knezevi, Vinogradi, Nikinci, and from 15 November 1929 to the 20th of January 1930 in this community as pastor's administrator, and since then he has been pastor of the community of Maradik.

     Philipp Bellmann was born on the 22nd of February 1904 in Feketitsch, the son of Philipp Bellmann and Margaretha Häußer. He attended primary school here, grammar school in Novi Vrbas, and studied theology for three years in Vienna and one year in Zurich. He was pastor's assistant in Torscha and Stari Sivac, completed his military service, and served as pastor's administrator in this community from the 20th of January 1930 to the 31st of March 1931, after which he went to Sidski Banovci and worked in the diaspora. In May 1936 the community of Beschka appointed him as their pastor.

     Wilhelm Müller was born on the 23rd of April 1893 in Erlangen (Bavaria), the son of the professor for Reformed theology at the University of Erlangen, Karl Müller and his wife Jeny nee Winkelmann. After he completed 6 grammar school classes he attended the seminary in Basel. During the war he also had to accomplish military service. In the winter of 1919-20 he was secretary of the Christian Association for Young Men of Erlangen, but he had to spend more than six years restoring his health. From December 1926 to 1927 he was pastor's assistant in Brünn in Czechoslovakia, from March to December 1927 he was a traveling pastor in the Pfalz, from March 1928 to the end of April 1929 he was deacon of the Reformed community of Elberfeld, and after that he served as secretary to his father. On the 1st of April 1931 he took over the service of pastor's administrator in this community and held this position until the 30th of April 1935. In between he was in Torscha from May to the end of September during which time Ludwig Poth performed the service in this community. From here he returned to his hometown, and he entered into the service as pastor (vicar) of the Reformed communities of Nuremburg, Schwabach, and Erlangen on the 15th of October 1935.

     Ludwig Poth was born on the 14th of June 1910 in Nove Schowe, the son of Rev. Josef Poth and Hermina Arany. He attended middle school in Novi Vrbas, he studied theology in Klaufenburg (Cluj, Transylvania, Romania), one year in Basel (Switzerland), and one year in Bonn on the Rhine (Germany). From the 1st of October 1932 to the 30th of September 1933 he was pastor's assistant in Feketitsch as well as to the Senior and to Bishop Alexander Agoston, and between May and the end of September he was also the pastor's administrator for this community at the same time. After that he served a year in the sister communities of Becmen, Dobanovci, and Surcin, served 6 months in the military, and since the 1st of May 1935 he has again served as pastor's administrator for this community.


     It should also be mentioned here that from the beginning up to 1919 the teacher also had to do the preacher service. They read the prayers and the sermons to the community. But the teacher also had to do this service sometimes after that.

     On the occasions of the frequent changes pastors from the surrounding communities and theology students often held the church services in the community. Sometimes Michael Gutwein, a local community member, read the prayers and sermons at church service. Of all the communities hardly any had heard so many preachers as the German Reformed community in Feketitsch.

     With all of their backgrounds, they ways they led their lives, natural aptitudes, gifts, educations, and world views, how different these preachers were, but all stood by the Word of God in service, which has remained there eternally.  If they only always preached this Word, if the community had only always heard it!

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 150-151 | Table of Contents

Church Fathers and Presbyters

     We saw that already in 1850 the Reformed Germans elected their own church fathers and chairmen. How that happened we do not know. The records since 1850-51 were always signed by three chairmen besides the church father. As hinted by the minutes until 1860 the elders were chosen by the pastor with an understanding with the most respected community members. But since 1861 the church fathers and elders were always chosen by the community assembly.

The church fathers of the community were:

1850 Karl Benz
1883 Jakob Schmidt
1852 Philipp Dinges
1884 Heinrich Dinges
1853 Nikolaus Orth
1889 Karl Gutwein
1855 Jakob Schwebler
1892 Johann Brauchler
1858 Johann Weißmann
1894 Leopold Hauser
1859 Adam Schwebler
1896 Philipp Schwebler
1860 Jakob Schmoll
1897 Philipp Brauchler
1861 Philipp Orth
1898 Friedrich Hartmann
1862 Jakob Zuschlag
1900 Heinrich Brauchler
1863 Theobald Hauser
1901 Adam Schwebler
1864 Martin Bolz
1902 Jakob Zuschlag
1866 Peter Krebs
1907 Heinrich Brauchler
1867 Theobald Hauser
1913 Johann Weißmann
1868 Wilhelm Bellmann
1916 Jakob Gutwein
1870 Karl Gutwein
1919 Karl Eng
1871 Jakob Hunstein
1922 Johann Huber
1873 Franz Hartmann
1928 Jakob Hoffmann
1876 Jakob Pfaff
1931 Jakob Johann Huber
1877 Jakob Klepp
1934 Friedrich Röhrich
1879 Jakob Hoffmann

     The following were chosen to be elders: In 1855: Jakob Schwebler Sr., Philipp Blath, Nikolaus Orth, Gottfried Gutwein, Johann Weißmann, and Philipp Dinges. In 1861: Johann Brauchler, Heinrich Scholl, Adam Schwebler, Philipp Orth, Jakob Zuschlag, Theobald Hauser. The present day elders were elected partly in 1934, those still in office since 1934 included the following members: Heinrich Scheuermann, Heinrich Hunstein, Andreas Rieß, Friedrich Hartmann, Philipp Weißmann, Peter Bohr, David Kern Sr., Philipp Blum-K., Nikolaus Schmidt, Jakob Göttel-Sch., Philipp Bohr-R., Johann Schwebler; since then Heinrich Weißmann-G. has replaced H. Scheuermann, Philipp Hauser has replaced H. Hunstein, and Johann Schade Jr. replaced P. Bohrs. In 1936 Ph. Blum-K. died and Ph. Hauser-E. went to Germany.

     Because of the shortage of room unfortunately the list of names of all the elders cannot be given nor can all their works be written about.

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 151-152 | Table of Contents

Communion and Baptismal Implements

     In the beginning the community presumably used the holy communion and baptismal implements of the Hungarian mother community.

     The first communion goblet was a gift of Adam Schmoll, but the minutes have no record of it. The name of the contributor is on the goblet. In 1868 it already existed. In the records of 1868-69 it reads: "Dec. 27th- for the repair of the goblet - 10 xr."

     Rev. Gustav Jurany, who the community wanted to be their administrator in 1888, can be thanked for the communion vessels used today. He collected from the community and from friends 64.15 Forints and with it he bought a silver goblet, a silver-plated jug, a silver-plated plate, and a tin can. The goblet bore the inscription: "German Community of Feketehegy 1888."

     The baptismal implements used earlier were a small porcelain bowl and a smaller glass jug, covered with a silver color. In 1923 the widow of Johann Schmidt nee Eva Dietrich, the widow of Philipp Schwebler nee Katharina Schmidt, and the widow of Heinrich Weißmann nee Susanna Dietrich presented the community a silver baptismal jug.  In the same year cabinetmaker Peter Spangus finished a beautiful baptismal font of wood and gave it to the community on the occasion of the birth of his daughter Sophia. The inscription on it is: "Matthew 28, 19-20. Peter Spangus 1923."

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
page 152 | Table of Contents


     The Reformed Germans always buried their dead in the same cemetery as the Reformed Hungarians. On the occasion of the commissioning in 1878 the Hungarian community received the lower part of today's cemetery. It s no longer established  whether or not it should be in the hands of the political community or, because it isn't written down, if it was to be an agreement between the two communities, but since then it has been the policy that to maintain the new cemetery 6/7 of the burden and income to the village will come from the Hungarians and 1/7 will come from the Reformed Germans of the community.

     After this the cemetery was soon full, so the elders of the Hungarian community approached the German sister community on the 8th of December 1935 and promised that they could bury their dead in the old cemetery.

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 152-153 | Table of Contents

The Church Choir

     In the first decade of this century there was a combined men's choir for the Evangelical-Lutheran and the Reformed Germans but it folded about 1908.

     The Reformed men's choir was largely established at the suggestion of Martin Göttel in 1912 and was under teacher Nadich's diligent direction.  He worked on the so-called big holidays, usually on festival days, and at funerals and weddings with the members or their relatives and organized two recital evenings in the winter of 1913-14 with great success. At Christmas teacher Nadich organized with the school children and the men's choir the first (Christabend?) in the church which caused the greatest sensation at the time and since then it has been held each year. The choir soon formed an association with approved statutes. The executive committee was Martin Göttel, treasurer Karl Spangus, and Peter Kern.

     Through the war the activity of the men's choir was interrupted. After the war it was reestablished and led by Friedrich Schmidt. The activity of the choir conducted itself in the same framework as before the war and continues to operate completely today.

     After teacher Schmidt's departure the choir was not active in the winter of 1923-24 but the work was resumed again by teacher Philipp Zepp and continued on with greater involvement. From the fall of 1925 to the spring of 1927 teacher Koloman Rumpf led the choir. Then the men's choir was reestablished again in December 1933 under the direction of choirmaster Ludwig Gutwein. In 1932 a youth choir was also established in the framework of the men's choir, which was led by Willy Giese which in December 1933 was also transferred to the control of the men's choir. After that the mixed choir came back to life in January 1936.

     The chairmen of the choir were: Philipp Schwebler from 1919 to 1922, Jakob Schwebler in 1923, Jakob Göttel-Sch. from 1924-27, Daniel Giese from 1932-33, David Kern Jr. from 1934 to 1936, and Jakob Göttel-D. since then.

     It is still mentioned that the choir also sometimes is an important function of the community and is received by the public with great success: such as in September 1933 on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the orphanage here in Feketitsch and in August 1934 at the hometown festival in Torscha.

The Reformed Men's and Mixed Choirs of 1936

     The Reformed church choir from Crvenka under the direction of choirmaster Philipp Zepp visited us in August 1935, and our choir visited them in March 1936.  This is for the care of the brotherly bond which was certainly not without meaning.

     The importance of the work of the church choir so far one can very well see that it does something for the care of the spiritual hymns and that in its activity young people found themselves together at the same work.

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 153-156 | Table of Contents

Some Things about the Give and Take


     The community of the holy means that the members of the Christian community have and know the 55 questions of the Heidelberg Catechism and "on the other hand" that each one use his gifts for the salvation of other members, and should willingly and with joy know to give what they owe.

     In the history of this community so many could tell how they could pull uncertain strings through the give and take between the community and its members, between this community and another community here and abroad. 

     Most valued of all the giving's of the Word: A person sees what is before the eyes, but the Lord sees with the heart. (1 Samuel, 16-7). Who will rightly not give in to complacency, especially will know to remember his debts and duties.  First the giving and taking should be pulled in by the stretched strings which have the widest reach.

     In March 1934 the community gave the offertory money of 50 Dinars to Rev. Anstein from Basel of the Basel Mission on the occasion of his visit on a Sunday.  These strings reached to Africa or Asia to the missions in the field working with the heathens. But isn't it a shame that we don't think of the missions more?

     In 1922 the people of America collected gifts for the poor for both local German congregations. To 27 poor in our community 13.150 Kronen was distributed. 

     In 1842 the Hungarian community collected 42.40 Florints for the "brethren who suffered fire damage in Hamburg." Certainly the Reformed Germans also contributed to it. - In 1924 our community members also took part in the "German help station" which was set up by Germans here for their brothers, especially for the needy children in the German motherland. From the community treasury 250 Dinar was given.

     - In 1933 the community received 3929 Dinar from the Gustav Adolf Association of Germany and 200 Dinar from a rich German. - For some years since then the offeratory money on the Sunday after Whitsunday was intended for the Gustav Adolf Association, as was the case in the rest of the Reformed communities. So far few strings connected this community with the motherland.

     With the brothers in Switzerland the community existed up to now only in the relationship of taking for which Rev. Berger is mainly to be thanked. From the Swiss Aid Association and from Rev. Berger the community received all together financial aid in the amount of 17,327.50 Dinar. During the Christmas of 1934 Rev. Berger gave our poor children 694 Dinar.  But shouldn't we also find a way to be the givers to our brothers in Switzerland?

     In 1930 our community collected gifts for our Reformed brothers in France who suffered water damage. This community only gave one Sunday's offering of 42 Dinar.

     With the state church the community is more firmly connected through giving and taking. All communities pay a certain contribution to the state church treasury every year which has achieved much for the poor communities and for the service of the brothers in the Diaspora. In 1935-36 the community contributed 1042 Dinar. From 1928 to 1933 the community received 19.195 Dinar in financial aid from the state church for construction, in 1935-36 they only received 600 Dinar, and for 1936-37 they were promised 2400 Dinar in financial aid for the pastor's salary.

     With other communities some of the strings of the alliance were attached through taking or giving. In 1872 the brothers from Sivatz, Crvenka, Werbaß, Torscha and Schowe helped with their gifts to build the first school house.

     The Hungarian parent community placed teachers at our disposal twice during the war, the communities gave one another free use of their church occasionally, and in 1936 the Hungarian community gave us a beautiful song board. - In this community money was collected by Rev. Keck in 1887 for the place of worship in S. Banovci, but in 1929 money was collected by pastor's administrator Raßmann for the church building in Surtschin, and in 1909 the community of Vukovar received 8 Kronen for its church building. In 1925 the brothers afflicted in Baranya (county in southern Hungary) were presented with 1000 Dinar, and in 1932 they received 100 Dinar. For some years since then it has been decided, just as in the rest of the poor communities, that they want to use the offertory money for rebuilding or renovating their house of God.

     The community members have often thought of their community with their gifts. Of the gifts for the purchase of the bells, communion and baptismal implements, harmonium (organ) for the church from the Vincze Fund (the local Evangelical-Lutheran brothers also donated for these things), and for the new construction which was already mentioned. So much could also be said here of the offertory money, church collections, and taxes which they had given according to their beliefs - are to be named here. It is still remembered that each building since 1852 was achieved by so many volunteer workers, manual laborers, and directors. In 1922 Leopold Hauser did volunteer cabinetry work and so many similar thins were done for the community. In 1936 Johann Schwebler gave 8 benches for the community hall, Jakob Göttel-Sch. gave curtains for the church windows and 2 chairs to the community. Much is still reported how the community members have accepted their role as servants of the community and have cared for it.

     Council for the Poor. From time to time the community has supported needy community members. In 1934-35 they took part in the winter aid work of the Cultural Association. Since 1935 the Council for the Poor (the Diakonat (deacons)) formed. Besides the pastor and the church father four men and four woman were appointed: Johann Schepp, David Kern Sr., Martin Göttel, Peter Spangus, the widow of Karl Hauser, Mrs. Johann Weißmann, to widow of Johann Schmidt, and the widow of Philipp Schwebler. The community was divided into four districts. 

     Of about 1,700 Dinar were received and of that 29 community members supported it with gifts worth about 1,500 Dinar. Since December 1925 there has been an offertory box for the poor in the church.

     The orphanage is nevertheless an institution of all of the nation's Reformed churches but is narrowly connected with our community. Each winter a collection was taken for it and for years the offertory was decided upon by Christmas week and a certain amount was given. Women of our community have, especially last winter, helped once a week to fill the many stockings in the orphanage. In the orphanage there were also always German children who attended our church service, Sunday school and religious instruction and therefore to a certain extent belonged to this community.

     In 1888 this orphanage was established by Rev. Sigmund Keck for Sch. Banovci as a residential school for the poor and orphans from the Diaspora. He collected for it here in this land as well as in Holland and Switzerland. In 1905 the institution was moved to Vukovar, where the king's notary Zador Kelecsenyi erected new and considerably larger buildings.

     After the war the institution had to be closed, the house was sold, and another one was purchased in Feketitsch. In 1923 the present day house was acquired and then in 1935 half of the house next door was bought. Since then it has been under the management of the current bishop Alexander Agoston. The initial census was 14 children which rose to 45, of which 15 were German.


     This community was a "growing" community. In 85 years they had 6 school rooms, 3 teacher or choirmaster apartments, a parsonage, and a church built. You yourselves also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house for the purpose of a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.(1 Peter 2:5)

Baptists, Methodists, Nazarenes, Catholics

     Besides the Evangelists and the Reformed there were only completely isolated members of other beliefs under the Germans in Feketitsch.

     In 1901 the place of worship for the Baptists was built at house number 191.  This is a corner house with three windows. It consists of a prayer hall with yard entrance and a small apartment. A sign on the street front bore the inscription "Place of Worship for the Baptists, 1901." There are 6 members at the present time and it was no greater earlier. The pulpit was decorated with a cross and bore the inscription: "Hurry, Save Your Soul." The hymnbook had the title: "Voice of Belief." The place of worship is furnished with 10 benches and a beautiful harmonium (organ).


     There are hardly any Methodists in Feketitsch. They have their chapel in Sekitsch. As of Whitsunday there were still two people who were inclined to call themselves Methodists. - Thirty years ago there were also some "Blue Crosses."  All of these last named (Confessionen) and sects spread to America where for example the Methodists and Baptists have millions of followers.


     The Nazarenes were here since the '70's but could not take hold with our Germans. Under the Hungarians the number is more considerable. At this time there are 8 German people who profess to be Nazarenes. Generally they were called "Believers." They have a common place of worship with the Hungarians in the part of the village inhabited by the Hungarians.


     The permanently grounded German Catholics are almost never found in Feketitsch. Today there are 15 Catholics in Feketitsch. They were ministered by Mali Idjosch. Their church authorities acquired a site at the end of the village towards Sekitsch on which a Catholic place of worship was to be built. They actively proselytized.


The Political Community

     The present day community house was built in 1883. Before that the old community house stood on the same site in just the same direction and at the time it was already very dilapidated. It was as low as the homes of the day in 1848 and had a thatched roof. It was probably the first community house in the settlement. It is a wonder how it was spared from fire damage in the war of '48. Nevertheless all of the writings and minutes from before 1852 are missing.

The Feketic Town Hall

     From 1852 on the minutes exist in which the complaints, interrogations, and judgments are registered. The judge gave the sentence in the presence of two jurors which was detained up to two days until up to 12 cane lashings or a fine of up to 10 Guilders could be read. The cane lashings were done in front of the community house on the torture bench called Deresch, meted out by the minor court judge and dictated by the jurors. The offenses consisted mostly of thievery.  So it is noticed, for example, that in 1861 a gang had broken into more wheat pits which are found in front of homes on the street. Over the plank of the torture bench four paupers towered and the backs and legs of the delinquents were subjected to two canes which were on display and they could not stir. Women received their punishment with a short whip on the back. Mainly it was neighbor women who had broken the "Häbche" and then the loose tongues and the coarsest of expressions by the (Staxel?) were written down in the minutes unadulterated.  Nobility, businessmen, and officials could not be convicted by the judge. The fines, for the most part, went into the treasury of the congregation. Especially often the landlords, such as Martin Bolz, the "interested landlord" in 1853 and the musicians such as Jakob Hauser and Friedrich Hauser in 1853 and Jakob Bechtler in 1857 were occupied with fines because the jurors had not accomplished the "Hujjegebott" as a consequence. For 80 years the fines were already imposed when someone emptied ashes or wash water on the driveway. This strict order is still necessary in Feketitsch today because all the rubble will be emptied on the street, and not on the periphery, especially not far from the community homes.

     The first man in the village, or at least in the community house is the judge. Before 1850 three people ran for the office of "Ispan" for the judge and the one who he wanted and still two impossible "straw men" (front men). From 1872 up to the end of the world war candidates of the community committee ran under the chairman for the district committee. Now the community committee elected from its midst the village board of directors. 

     As far as it establishes itself, the following Germans have so far belonged to the community board of directors:



     Before long it was the custom that the chairman always went with the "Stäckelche" in their office and the meetings ended day after day in the government hall. In the old days the bill went to community costs, (good times, where have they disappeared?), later on to their own account. Besides the chairman there was also a community committee which consisted of 20 members at the time.  All these men served free of charge and were exclusively farmers, our present judge is the first businessman. Up to the year 1933 the chairman received a small honorary fee which was hardly enough for the purchase of one pair of shoes. In more recent times the judge received 500 Dinar a month, the instructor and each treasurer were paid 200 Dinar each.

     There was only one, later two, today three minor judges (Hartnack).

     Until 1850 security service was provided by the night watchman alone. He had to sound the hours from 10 to 2 o'clock at night in the summer and from 9 to 3 o'clock at night in the winter. There was still a night watchman later but the importance of this has often been completely lost. Since the World War there is no longer a night watchman. Besides this there was a mounted perimeter guard.  Since the 60's the perimeter guards have replaced all that was stolen and therefore were in good standing. However robbery did not spread much less until in the years 1870 to 1872 when Count Radai brought an end to the nuisance of robbery. He had the robbers and their accomplices hunted with such fear by the (Panduren?) and perimeter guards that a degree of security was achieved as never before. As a result of it the community received half of the money from the perimeter guards.

     The community (Vorspann) service was performed by the farmers themselves until the 60's. Every day two other farmers took their turn to deal with the burdens in the community house. Also the Komitate made the (Vorspann) wagons available at the time for 2 to 4 weeks in the year. In 1855 the community worked to finish the Danube causeway the length of 224 fathoms to Bezdan. For this purpose 460 workers and 1,162 migratory cattle were demanded by the community. The community handed this work over to a contractor. The (Vorspann) service was felt to be especially troublesome because so much nonsense took place with it. Jauß wrote, "Each nobleman, each rich Jew, and other riff-raff," knew to provide a remittance to travel with the (Vorspann).

     The task of the chairman is still always the acceptance of the shephard who has to look after his flock. So in 1854 there were: cow keepers, oxen keepers, pig keepers, and horse keepers, the last were the notorious "Csikoich." The payment for each cow: 1 bread, 25-30 Kreuzer (crowns), 1 portion of wheat, ¼ pound of bacon, 1 measure of vegetables, 1/8 of salt, but for the pigs only half was paid.

     The community already found themselves in need of money in earlier times. So for example from the national loan of 56,880 Guilders drawn in 1855 it gave only 100 for 86.

     In 1873 the inhabitants of the great famine were affected. The community offered a loan of 30,000 Guilders which gave the following guarantees: under land register number 277 listed a community position worth 6000 Guilders and under number 646 was entered 1,546 yokes of Hutweide (pasture), of which 1/6th belonged to the rulers but the community was charged for the remaining 1,332 yokes; the yoke was calculated to be only 100 Guilders and produced a total 133.200Guilders. - In the same year a support association for the poor was established and the German members of this association were: Ferdinand Hamel (Evangelical pastor), Adam Schwebler, Adam Müller, Jakob Schmidt, Johann Will, and Christian Gerber.

     The following belong to our community's fortunes today: 1. the 4 house sites on which the buildings of the community house and 2. the doctor's apartment stood. Some locales which are found on the main street had been furnished and leased out as businesses for years. 3. The building of the kindergarten (nursery school) under house number 4. The large notary's apartment, which could be found nowhere else in the whole Batschka region. 5. The post office building which served until 1922 as the constable barracks. (Today our constable's post is in Sekitsch.) Besides that our community had some yokes of Hutweide (border pasture), which also served as the fairgrounds. Here also stood the stables for the bulls and the boar as well as the apartments for the community shepherds and the (Wasenmeisters?). Here one can also still find the slaughterhouse, an ice cellar, the hemp toaster, and the community brick oven. Here the communal cemetery bordered the epidemic hospital, and the tree nursery bordered the gardener's apartment and 26 yokes of notary's field. - The remaining field of 50 yokes and the notary field towards Vrbas mentioned earlier were expropriated before long for the purpose of agrarian reform with the reason that the community had an additional 100 yokes. These fields existed for the most part only on paper.

     The outlying area of the community consisted of the following parts:

agricultural land:  7,765 yokes, 1,434 sq. fathoms

(Jogh?):  132 yokes, 1,432 sq. fathoms

vineyards:  309 yokes, 1,520 sq. fathoms

state roads:  77 yokes,  82  sq. fathoms

community surface:  322 yokes, 877  sq. fathoms

community gov't surface:  1,694 yokes, 309  sq. fathoms

(Gewannwege?):  56 yokes, 1,483  sq. fathoms

market square:  5 yokes,  380 sq. fathoms

community brickworks:   22 yokes,  480 sq. fathoms

tree nursery:  3 yokes,   ---  sq. fathoms

cemeteries:  13 yokes,.1,200 sq. fathoms

Total:  10,403 yokes, 1,217 sq. fathoms

     Besides the two judges and the German jurors the community committee had eight other German members at the time. In the community house 9 officials were employed at the time. The notary was Sergej Todorovic. - We have 3 lower court judges and 5 police. The lower court judges and the police have worn uniforms since 1886 which the community pays for. Of the staff the Germans at the time were: Johann Zuschlag, officers' assistant; Jakob Wolf, policeman; Friedrich Hauser, lower court judge. In earlier times the community often only had a staff one third the size of today's staff.

     The representatives elected for the state in the early days was always a lively affair. The mood maker "Kortesche" already had organized weeks before election day to have a free drink festival in the guest house as a favor to the candidates. On the day of the election the wagon carried that carried the voters from Vrbas under fluttering flags, where first they drank, then they voted. The right to vote was only for those who had paid a certain total of taxes, could read and write, were 24 years old, etc. Today a general right to vote has been introduced and is practiced here i the community where each 21 year old man has a right to vote. During the election alcohol is forbidden for three days. So the vote therefore no longer ends in such a heated debate as earlier. Still the election was always public, except in the years 1920 to 1930.

     On the occasion of the election in 1925 the Germans had at one of the election places 287 small balls in the ballot box. But at another election place there were conspicuously less (70). The number of Germans eligible to vote was 570.

     Taxes. Before the year 1850 tax payment consisted of (Robot?), tenths, and portions. Noblemen paid no taxes. The tenths consisted of the 9th and 7th parts of the gross yield. Besides that there were the "chimney Guilders" and the so-called "portions". The last burden consisted of the following payments: for each cow 40 Kreuzer had to be paid, for 1 horse 20 Kreuzer, for a sheep 15 Kreuzer, for a vineyard 50 Kreuzer, for a ¼ field 1 Guilder, 20 Kreuzer (crowns). The general tax duty was first introduced in 1852 which at first only included head-, house-, and field tax. Then came the stamp fees, inheritance tax, assessor's tax, traffic tax, and Komitat's taxes. Soon followed monopoly taxes rent taxes, income taxes, business taxes, and cultural taxes, etc. - After the World War the wealth taxes were initiated which still affects so many today.

     Today in the "tax book" of the taxpayer are the following columns: 1.) Arrears or overpayments from the past year; 2.) The field tax will be calculated from pure income and divided into classes. The principle of the former pure income remained, only this was multiplied with the number "34", of which 10% of it goes to base tax (also called direct tax). For example payment on a yoke:

1st fathom of field 26 × 34 = 884 Dinar pure income; of it 10% = 88.40 Dinar in direct tax.

2nd fathom of field 23 × 34 = 782 Dinar pure income; of it 10% = 78.20 D. in direct tax.

3rd fathom of field 20 × 34 = 680 Dinar pure income; of it 10% = 68.00 D. in direct tax.  etc.

Of these taxes there was a 20% decrease in 1935. 
The additional tax comes from the following table:

from 1000-2000 D. pure income: 2% 

from 10000-12000 D. pure income: 5%
from 2000-4000 D. pure income: 3% 
from 12000-15000 D. pure income: 5½ %
from 4000-6000 D. pure income: 3.5%

from 15000-20000 D. pure income: 6%

from 6000-8000 D. pure income: 4% 

from 20000-30000 D. pure income: 6½ %

from 8000-10000 D. pure income: 4.5% 
from 30000-40000 D. pure income: 7%

from 50000-100000 D. pure income: 7½ %  etc. 

     Of all the additional taxes there were no autonomous taxes (community taxes, banal taxes, church share of costs, etc.) It should be mentioned that through the mixing of these direct and additional taxes hardly anyone in the place could make out what's what in their tax books. It hinged only on the community board of directors that the tax offices concerned act to separate the figures of the direct and additional taxes entered in the booklets. Then most of our Germans could make out their tax booklets. 3.) House tax. In Feketitsch there is a tax duty on each house because the town has over 5000 inhabitants.

     For this reason rent could be taken by renting out the house. In the settlement of the accounts 30% goes to the maintenance of the buildings. From the remaining 70%, a direct tax of 12% is to be paid; added to it is still the additional tax of 2% which is to be calculated for rent up to 10,000 Dinar. For example, if the rent taken in each year is 3,000 Dinar, so at first 30% will be taken off; 2,100 Dinar remains; direct tax of 12% = 252 Dinar, 2% additional tax added to it = 42 Dinar. Together it equals 294 Dinar. Well noticed is that one is often persuaded to want to take this tax from 3,000 Dinar and not 2,100. 4.) In the fourth column the sales tax 3rd class is entered which was collected all year. In the first group belong: sales people, businessmen, among others and pay 10% of the pure income. In the second group belong spiritual workers and they pay 8%. Added to it is the additional tax. This amounts to 2% for up to 10,000 Dinar, 2½ Dinar for 10,000-20,000 Dinar, 3% for 20,000-30,000 Dinar, 4% for 30,000-40,000 Dinar, etc. 5.) The pension tax from borrowed money is rather meaningless to us; 6.) Room fees; 7.) Commercial tax, amounts to 2% of the gross intake. 8.) Military pay. 9.) Other. 10.) Total of the above mentioned taxes.

     On autonomous taxes we paid banal, community, and church share of costs which were paid every year at established percentage rates was calculated. So for years we paid 10% of the direct tax as banal share of costs. Then the community share of costs was calculated in the year: 1930.

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 166-171 | Table of Contents

The Position of the Town / Health Service - Dwellings

The Settlement ~ The Roads ~ The Krivaja Creek

     Feketitsch lies on the train line between Belgrade and Budapest; 47 km. south of Subotica (Maria Theresiopel) and 52 km. north of Novi Sad (Neusatz). The (Vizinal?) vicinity? train Feketitsch-Palanka connects to the Belgrade-Budapest main line here. When the community was settled in July 1785 with 250 homes, the whole village lie on the right shore of the Krivaja Stream, in the valley which is rimmed by the Teletschka Hills all around. The streets were made straight with a plough, just as in the German villages, the same engineer did the work. The descendent of the engineer: Köröskenyi - who surveyed not only the boundaries of Feketitsch but also of the surrounding communities of Sekitsch and Vrbas, still lived in Feketitsch in the '50's in house number 303, which housed the Evangelical choirmaster's apartment after that. The position of the village was such that the main street was at the same time the stretch of road from Topola to Srbobran. It had no windows since it was a cross street. This first changed in 1870 when the village turned so its main street faced the other way.

     In this respect when the small valley and the course of the crooked Kriviaja Stream are taken into consideration, the streets lay in an east-west direction so that one side of the street faces the south and the other looks to the north.  This position of the streets is not the most favorable because in the wintertime the rooms on the street receive no sun so they are damp and unhealthy. In the parts of the village built on later the streets run in the direction of the Teletschka Hills from south to north. In the "Putriken" the small homes stand higgledy-piggledy, which cling to the side of one of the hills. They are almost like the swallow's nest that sticks out on the hill.

     The village that started in the valley with 250 houses today has 1500 house numbers. Six times the room was necessary, so they lengthened the street on the west side of the community so it led to the not too steep slopes of the Teletschka Hills. Then the village was widened in the direction frequented by the public over the Krivaja Stream where the small crooked steep lane in the romantic charming Putriken led up to the Teletschka plateau. Here the village was widened farther out. - Also towards the south the community was widened with three streets. Alone in the north direction towards Sekitsch there was at first shortly before the World War one street from the outermost row  and the main street could be built out to the former Schladt's Mill. That is hardly 100 meters. During the same time much land was successfully developed. Where there was formerly an over flooded region today there are lavish (Klec-?), vegetable-, and fruit gardens.  Along the shore there is a row of willow trees. But the Eldorado of the ducks and fish is in it.  

The Germans of the Community of Feketic / Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 166-171 | Table of Contents

The Position of the Town / Health Service / Dwellings
The Position of the Village; Health Service; The Living Quarters

The Settlement ~ The Roads ~ The Krivaja Creek



The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 171-172 | Table of Contents

The Climate

     In the hot summer months dry periods often lasted for weeks or even months, because not even a drop of rain fell. The humus and the loose ground used to fill out the driveway changed the cart under the tires to a sea of dust. The dust was 5, 10, 15 cm. high, so one waded up to the ankles in dust and at the street crossing the shoes were filled with it. Along comes a wagon, the herd, a gust of wind, or even an auto and such a cloud of dust would be raised that it was impossible to even see over to the other side of the street. There was no end to the nuisance of dust on the busy street from early in the morning to late in the evening. The dust came in through closed windows and doors of the dwellings. Fortunately our dust is not so hard, sharp, and cutting as in the city where the dust contains granules of quartz and granite which damage the lungs and open the gates to a mixture of germs - the bacteria. The village dust is soft and for the most part merely irritates the mucous membrane of the airway. One could remedy the nuisance of dust with water, but so far this possibility was not seriously considered. Unfortunately it still hasn't happened, so the drivers like to drive at a walking pace in the village. On the contrary, the driver does not slow down during a 3-4 km. stretch outside the village, but instead he cracks the whip as he reaches the village and drives recklessly without consideration for his fellow man. The walkway is washed and swept clean every evening or at least on Sunday evenings.

     Philipp Häußer, farmer and owner of a horse mill, has interesting records concerning weather, crop yields, and grain prices in Feketitsch from 1851 to 1896, for 46 years. For example, in 1861 on the 2nd and 3rd of June there was a frost and a great heat spell followed causing the fruit and pasture to wither. There was hardly any corn, so the people and animals suffered through a great famine. After that 1864 was so fruitful as it hasn't been for 50 years and one chain yielded up to 30q of fruit, but 1865 and 1866 were again famine years. The years 1870, 1871, and 1872 were wet years. The fruit rotted, from October to Christmas it rained so that homes collapsed; thousands of chains of field were under water. In 1872 reeds,(Liesch?) (busy Lizzy?), and willow trees were grown in the fields. There has not been so much water in 100 years, etc., etc. The exact dates which this farmer has recorded in his toll book are worthy of recognition. But the descendents were handed the honor of this "handbook" which the grandfather had the honor of holding till now.

     The community has a tree nursery for mulberry trees. From the orchard the gaps were filled in from which the streets appeared in the rows of trees. The gardener received a payment of 1,800 Dinar for the year.

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
page 172 | Table of Contents

The Cemetery

     The first cemetery was on the west end of the community. It has been left open for a long time and today it is surrounded by more streets, rather far from the end of today's village. The first Germans who died in Feketitsch are certainly buried here. In 1830 the Reformed and Evangelical congregations acquired their cemeteries next to one another on the north end of the village which are also still used today. Since 1900 there has been a communal cemetery at the south end of the village where more Germans are also buried.   

In the Akazian Forest of the old cemetery to the east. A youth group at great and great-great grandfather's grave in 1860.
Cemeteries are everywhere on the hills. Neither the church nor the political community have the need for a nice proper part of the cemetery. Graves and vaults were made without giving or demanding completely exact application, it is no wonder vaults of neither the same height nor the same width or length are found.  The distance from one another is completely different and not once is there a straight line in front. At the grave sites it still looks so varied. How can the Germans in the Serbian community Kac have such an exemplary ordered cemetery? Because the dimensions because not every neighbor, but only the church servants may make the graves and because the cemeteries of the ancestors were not abandoned to become overgrown. We hope that we make up for this neglect later! Animal carcasses were collected by the (Wasenmeister?) and buried in the animal (carrion) cemetery. He received 5 Dinar for  calves, 10-20 Dinar for larger animals, besides a free apartment and 100 Dinar a month from the community. A carrion oven was erected for the purpose of cremating the carcasses, which was not thought of until then even though bad abuses had occurred.

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 173-175 | Table of Contents

Health Service

     Whether or not Feketitsch had a hospital when it was first settled, like all the other "Josephinisch" towns, is not known.

     Whether or not Feketitsch had a hospital when it was first settled, like all the other "Josephinisch" towns, is not known. If one had existed it would have certainly been left open during the first ten years since this also happened in the other communities. At the end of the past century there was an autopsy room called the house of the dead on today's new German street. For about the last 20 years another hospital building has existed next to the communal cemetery which was formerly the gardener's dwelling. As the inscription testifies, this is an epidemic hospital which should serve to isolate persistent illnesses. Fortunately so far it has not been necessary to use it since so far the sick could be isolated well enough in their dwellings. It consists of a sickroom which is equipped with four beds, 2 tables, and 1 stretcher. This hospital has often served as the poorhouse for the community and has already been used as such by our poor comrades. Furthermore there is a morgue here which also serves as an autopsy room which is provided with the necessary tables and instruments.  

     The first pharmacy in the area was in Kula. In 1874 a pharmacy opened in Sekitsch. Feketitsch first had its own pharmacy in 1898. Until then the doctor had a "hand-carried" pharmacy. In 1908 the pharmacy gained Jakob Häußer, a local boy, who is still the owner today. He received his diploma in 1906 in Klaufenberg. The pharmacy was set up in rented rooms in the first years and in 1901 the first pharmacy was built in Feketitsch by Medveczky, the building of today's pharmacy.  

     To tend to the health service the community paid a community doctor and a community nurse. The official duties of the community doctor included: announcements relevant to health service, statistics, evidences and settlements of the official work pertaining to it, hygienic evils (pollution of the air, ground, and water from factories, dust and swamps, etc.) remedied, the health committee related to presenting proposals, carrying out medical investigations, viewing the dead, treating the poor population free of charge, delivering reports on (Trachom?) and infectious illnesses, disinfecting, inspecting all schools and students, carrying out smallpox vaccinations and boosters, official control over businesses, which food to sell, holding public education and awareness lectures in the winter months, and all other problems in the whole community which fell in the realm of health service to deal with. For these works provided apparently free of charge the community came up with a right to a pension combined with salary which offered a complete possibility of livelihood. This consisted of the salary, free apartment, lighting, wood, exemption from the community share of costs, and 2400 Dinar for the use of a cart. After dealing with the above mentioned tasks he can also have a private practice.     

     In the first decade Feketitsch and Sekitsch shared a community doctor. In the 20's Eberhard Bissinger was the community doctor. In the 40's it was Karl Weber. He was followed by Georg Jeddi. The first doctors received hardly any salary and also after 1850 the salary was very small. We find the first records concerning this matter in 1863. At the time the political community took on Izrael Goldstein as doctor. According to the contract he received 105 Forints, 8 Pester Metzen of wheat, 2 fathoms of hard wood, and 28 Forints for rent because the Komitat would give him the right. It is noted that his predecessor had received just as much.  It was this surgeon, the so-called "Feldscher." Then followed: Grubi, Dr. Reis, 1880-1895; Dr. Molnar (Müller) Joseph 1895-1900,; Dr. Cziraki 1900-1904; Dr. Johann Scherer 1904-1925; Dr. Ante Dujmovic from 1926 on.

Orphanage of the Reformed state church in Feketitsch  

     As private doctors there were: Dr. Eduard Ilg 1901-1905; Dr. Steinitz 1905-1908; Dr. Nik. Haas 1920-1923; Dr. Viktor Pratscher from 1923 on; Dr. Karl Steinmetz 1924-1926; and Dr. Narai 1927-1934.  

     Feketitsch had dental technicians frequently already, but all of them only stayed a few years and none of them were German.  

     The disinfecting devices must have existed.  

     The community nurse from 1862 to 1922 was Susanna Schorr and since 1922 it has been Katherina Morrell nee Hauser, a local girl. She received her diploma in 1896 in Segedin.  

     The social-humanitarian institutions to be mentioned are:

     The Feketitsch orphanage of the Reformed state church in Yugoslavia. At the present time 43 children are entrusted here, 15 Germans among them.   

     The epidemic hospital can serve as a substitute for a missing poorhouse or old folks home.  

     The poor population has the right for highest standard of medical treatment available free of charge, just as the poor have the right to medicine which would be paid for by the political community. Just the same the community had to pay for the expenses for hospital treatment, because the state decided that exactly no more than 60 Dinar in direct taxes would be paid for hospital expenses for such patients. This decision decided that the community has to pay for it and also medical treatment in the village is covered. This is self-evident. Unfortunately this unclear solution has caused much misery in the poor parts of the population.  The community showed no mercy during this because it was their duty to come after it and the poor accepted no alms although it was their right according to the law.  

     The main reason for it was that the official doctor at the time had more interest in the community than in the sick - of which he depended on - should protect. For both parties to do what is just is impossible. The whole institution of the community doctor position, which exists only in our region and in Hungary still, is a relic of the late middle ages. In other lands the doctor these days is either the official doctor or private doctor, military doctor, or insurance doctor. This question also exists in our motherland in expert circles as the center of discussion. - Actually the private doctors have only done selfless Samaritan service, up to a tenth of them working free of charge in their occupation, sacrificing themselves for their fellow man.  

     In the budget year 1936 for health needs the following entries were received: Expenses for hospital treatment - 15,000 Dinar; payment to the community doctor - 24,000 Dinar; for medicine to the poor - 3,000 Dinar; payment to the community nurse - 3,000 Dinar; for vaccinations - 1,000 Dinar; for errands and channeling - 20,000 Dinar.  

     At the time 45 community poor received 10 kg of meal per month free of charge from the community.  

     Since 1903 Feketitsch has had a veterinarian which it has shared with Sekitsch and Mali Idjosch. The office is in Sekitsch. The veterinarian from 1910 to 1935 was Peter Schmidt.  

     Before that there was only the so-called "Kurschmiede."

     Since 1935 Feketitsch has had its own veterinarian. He is employed with 1,600 Dinar a month. Presently it's our comrade Matz Jochum, a native of Kathreinfeld (Banat). He received his degree in 1932 in Vienna.


The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 175-179 | Table of Contents

The Living Quarters

     The dwellings of the German settlers were exactly the same as that of the Hungarian colonists in Feketitsch. One house was just like another. The very strong walls over 2 feet thick were thicker below than above. Everything was pounded from earth which was dug up next to the house.  On such a house there was a large spacious room facing the street (inside it was easily 16 × 14 feet), with a little simple window, - with 4 panes - facing the street and the same kind of window facing the yard. The room facing the yard was a large 12 × 14 feet with a window facing the yard. Between these two rooms one would find a 14 × 11 feet large kitchen with an entrance door from the yard. This door was divided in the middle into two equal parts, forming half a door above and half below. From the kitchen a one-winged wooden door led into the room and this was opposite one just like it in the chamber. The kitchen was provided with an open chimney which rested on an enormous vault which took up the rear half of the kitchen (plafonds?). Through this chimney one has an open view of the sky.  Under the chimney - in the middle - there is an open stove and under this is the baking oven. The cover, called the (Plafon?), is made of clay-covered boards in the whole house and rests on 4 inch strong diagonal beams which lay 2½ feet from one another on enormous crossbeams. These crossbeams were 6-7 inches thick and stretched the length of the whole building. Between the crossbeams and the (Plafon) a large recess was formed since the diagonal beams were thick.  This niche served as a storage space for some books and papers. In the room behind the door there is a little tile oven which rested between the walls and on 2 footboards and was heated from the kitchen.  

     The roof was covered with thatch which were layered on top of each other but not stacked. The gable was also made of thatch which was then smeared with clay on the outside. The (roof chair?) together with the beams were all made from wood which was split with the ax, which gave no promises at the time. The colonist was a farmer so the buildings included a 13 × 14 foot large stable and a 14 × 6 large open barn. In the barn one found the floor stairs (Bodensteige?). The stable had a door just like the kitchen. The walls were 7 feet high and essentially wider below than above so one could see with their eyes open that the walls were not perpendicular. At the demolition of such homes in Feketitsch huge (Kotsteinen?) mudstones? were found inside the walls which are called "Emperor Josef Kotsteinen" by us today. According to tradition these fell into a wheelbarrow, so they are also called "wheelbarrow Kotsteinen." On the outside a 50-60 cm higher earth wall was put on the whole building. The terrain of the street and the yard were about a half foot higher than the trampled floors of the rooms. Inside everything was whitewashed, but outside frequently there was only a hand width white strip painted around the windows and doors. There was no corridor, only a two foot wide canopy. The extent of the yards was different in each community, so that in Sekitsch it was 600 square fathoms, in Torscha 750 square fathoms, but in Feketitsch it was only 300 square fathoms. The yards were soon surrounded by thatched fences but the street front was cordoned off with boards (palisades). 

Settlement House No. 128

The doors were held together with wooden bolts.

the young married couple. The genuine farmhouse of today is the longhouse just described with a corridor on which a square row of columns rest. In some cases the courtroom was not followed by the "Kammerche" (small room), but by another separate kitchen and room; wherever possible a cellar is put underneath the house so that the cellar neck came to stand at the Kammerche. 

Old German farmhouse of the 1870's.
House No. 310.
Owner: Jakob Weißmann Sr.
(Judge 1903-1911 and 1927-1933)
and wife Theresia nee Bellmann.

The same farmhouse seen from inside.  

Before the walkway one finds a one meter smaller strip with fruit trees, vines or roses, and flowers.

     On the other side of the plastered entrance way there is a 4 to 6 fathom wide fenced in vegetable garden. Often there was a summer kitchen here or the outside container of the above mentioned house. Before the stable is the yard with a (Tschardak? - corn trellis standing crosswise and with a fence separated into two parts. Diagonal construction is peculiar to the farmers of Feketitsch and this construction always adjoins a longhouse in the yard. The diagonal buildings are also different, so for example Adam Bittlingmayer and Anton Scheer have a dry entrance in the middle, Adam Ludmann had a dry entrance on the side, and Philipp Weber and Christian Gerber have no dry entrance. 

     Cabinetmaker Karl Spangus has compiled a graphic illustration of the whole community of today's Feketitsch where the differences in terrain are portrayed with plaster but the homes were depicted with the appropriate little wooden blocks. One work their master praised.  

     The house of the small homeowner and the businessman consisted of a room and a kitchen, for the most part also a yard room with a corridor. From the corridor there is also often a detached anteroom, kitchen or dining room. The stable is under a small roof. A two fathom long Tschardak and a pig stall under it is in almost every yard. The yard is often only half of a lot of 150 square fathoms, yet whenever possible there is a detached vegetable garden.  

     There are no villas in Feketitsch. The largest private buildings of the Germans are: Jakob Gutwein's two steam mills, Joseph Schmidt's guesthouse, and Johann Schwebler's lumber trade, as well as the above mentioned diagonal buildings. The smallest dwellings are in the Putriken where four little homes are crowded together on a yard of 300 square fathoms. Germans live here completely isolated.  

     It is still worth mentioning that the Germans did not prefer the corner homes. So where Germans live far and wide on the street, of the four corner homes at the street crossing there is not a single German home. On the main street this is not the case. Although the streets never had official German names, the following street names were generally used by the Germans: Hauptgasse (Main Street), Neue (New) or Jammergasse (Misery Street), Äußerste Reihe (Outermost Row), Kirchengasse (Church Street), Apothekegasse (Pharmacy Street), Herrengasse (Gentlemen Street), Postgasse (Post Office Street), Deutschländergasse (German Street), and Friedhofgasse (Cemetery Street). A genuine German quarter was over in the Bara situated in the "Banat." Formerly there was also a "rich corner" but this title is no longer used today because unfortunately they have lost their right to use it. 12*

     From the migration of the Germans we have the exact results of the first official census - in the year 1857 - which was punctually tabulated this year per decree.  

   In 1857 there were 162 German homes with 619 Evangelicals, 377 Reformed =  996

   In 1936 there were 419 German homes with 1314 Evangelicals, 549 Reformed

      + 15 Catholics, 8 Baptists, and 8 Nazarenes = 1894

     besides these there are in foreign lands 87 Evangelicals, 32 Reformed

          (who have there house and field here) = 119  


Statistics chart:  

 E V A N G E L I C A L S    R  E  F  O  R  M  E  D

YEAR      BORN        MARRIED      DIED         BORN    MARRIED         DIED


The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 179-183 | Table of Contents

The Nourishment

The Food


     The mealtimes were formerly much simpler and far from lavish, unlike today. The food was prepared mainly from wheat meal.  There was flour soup, dumplings, noodles, etc. Cakes, such as thin cakes - the so-called Kerweih (consecration) cake - or milk bread were only made on festival days. Cornmeal, mixed with wheat meal, or alone as "Malei", served as general nutrition for the people. Today it is seldom served at the table, as a rarity, naturally well prepared with lard and sugar. The bread of today is baked from first rate pure wheat meal. This bread is generally available to everyone regardless of prosperity.
     The potatoes - called "Krummbeere" (crooked berries) - have always had a very special place in our nutrition. They are valued in Feketitsch as a special dish of the Swabians. It comes boiled, fried, roasted, and in the (Teps?) fried crooked berry, then crooked berry soup (Supp), -mash, -salad, (-kichelkel?), -strudel, -schupp (flake?) noodle and also crooked berry and (Knedl?), crooked berry paprika, etc.
     To make the dry bread tasty it was first soaked in water and then salt was sprinkled on it, or smeared with fruit jelly and called "Schleckel" or "Leckwar" in Feketitsch. A slice of schleckelbread was the breakfast. For the (Attich-?) and mashed schleckel a supply for the whole year must be bought. Instead of steamed fruit there were apple, pear, and apricot slices, dried Weichsel cherry and Zwetschken plum which for the most part were kept on the floor under the chimney in a sack. Tis dried fruit the children received for little accomplishments and it tasted excellent, or the dried fruit was hardly brought to a boil, and eaten as a compote (stewed fruit). Today the fruit is steamed in syrup and the pride of the housewives are the steam bottles of course, not the cracked ones which lay in the glass crate.
     Milk, sour milk, and cheese (Faul (rotten?) cheese and loaf cheese) served at breakfast or supper.
     In the old days meat was served mainly on Sundays and then it was usually poultry. There was only one meat shop in each village and it seldom had another meat such as mutton. A cow could be slaughtered only seldom because much of the meat did not sell so quickly which was necessary. Also pigs were not slaughtered (so fette?) as today. At the time there were still very few pigs in the settlement because the Turks had this animal eradicated because their religion forbid them the enjoyment of this meat just like the Jews. Therefore sheep and cattle were slaughtered although no fatty (Metzelsuppe?-massacre soup?) was made from it as it is today. Besides that the little fat and (Inschel?) was used for lighting. Instead of a lot of pig fat, which is used today, oil and (Raps?) was consumed. The oil had to be roasted up in a pan before use and some water was added to the oil so that the unpleasant taste of the oil was lost in the vapor. The cook often cried with a sudden fright from the smoking vapors, or disguised being startled when pouring on the water on the unwanted vapors to remove the unpleasant taste, because all the foods were prepared with this oil. Today pig fat is generally used, our modest prosperity is indeed in such excess as in many purely German villages. Where no pig can be slaughtered in a house at the start of winter, where it went miserably, in addition poultry, beef, veal, and mutton were consumed by the Germans in decreasing order, in latter days also the meat of hutch hares (rabbits) and goats.
     In 1935 the following were slaughtered in our slaughterhouse:
             horned cattle...231  heads  sheep....85 heads
             calves...........216 heads  pigs.....489 heads
     Emergency slaughtering would be carried out in 18 cases.
     Of the vegetables the potato stands in first place and of these an appropriate amount were buried in the fall so they remained protected from the frost in the winter. Then followed cabbage, and also the housewife has to look after the winter supply of this, then beans, peas, pumpkins, carrots, spinach, lentil, etc. Besides the usual spices such as salt, vinegar, pepper and onion, there was Hungarian paprika in green and in a pulverized state eaten in excess. The paprika was prepared as sharp as possible by the Germans in Feketitsch, just like the kind used by Hungarian shepherds and is often the cause of various stomach upsets.
     The food was formerly cooked on an open fire in earthenware pots and cast iron pans. For the most part the containers stood on tripods. One first learned to cook on the oven top later. Stoves were first used in the 1890's.
     Eating was usually done in the kitchen and in the living room only when food was cooking. In the summer food was eaten out on the walkway.
     Formerly food was generally eaten from a bowl and drunk from a bottle, or a water jug was also used. Even today it can be seen with horror in the homeland newspaper of every German that this unhygienic custom is still in use in the Batschka and, to be precise, by Germans of the 20th century. These kind of germs transmit the most difficult illnesses - not perhaps but completely certain, that they clearly affect the younger generation more and more. The old expression that "I have no fear of the illness," but it only comes from fear. - still not cease from the grandmothers and grandfathers. The old people are therefore the most dangerous carriers of such diseases as tuberculosis because so far in recent times no one has expected anything to be done about this. More attention must be devoted to their coughs in the future if the grandchildren are not to be infected. For that reason it is essential that each family member must always eat from his own plate and drink from his own glass.
     One to two hours after getting up in the morning breakfast was eaten. This mealtime consisted at the time of settlement of one slice of bread, sometimes with Attichlekvar (plum jelly) on it. In the wintertime "Malei" or "Flammkuchen?" was baked in the oven, Einbrenn (roux) soup, or milk was cooked. Our grandfather took a slice of bacon and bread on his own initiative, or milk was eaten with bread. Until today coffee was a fight for them, effectively mellowing the coffee with the necessary sugar added to it was an extravagance. Formerly coffee was substituted with bread crust or barley. Today in many circles coffee is the breakfast. In the winter months one also found chamomile, lime, and Russian tea in use. Midday, about 11 o'clock, there was a cooked midday meal. They had supper during the season between 4 and 8 o'clock. In the evening there was a warm supper because the worker had been in the field all day and had received nothing cooked. At the time the housewife gave the field worker a bread sack which contained bacon and bread, cheese, and cucumbers. At noon the horse cover was spread out under a tree and the contents of the bread sack were emptied. Earlier the bread sack was not always so greasy as it is today. That is, there is usually only "Attichschleckel" bread and no fat pig stuff which the farmhand looked for in the bread sack before he took on the service. At harvest time and at the threshing a freshly cooked noon meal was taken for the workers with the wagon to the field.
     In Feketitsch the water in the open wells is unhealthy. At times the high water level reached the reflection of the water in the deeper lying parts of the village barely 2 to 3 feet down.  Therefore one searches for better drinking water than one has in his own yard. Unfortunately though the best water is worth nothing. Better water is found on the heights of the Teleschka and on the most (Salaschen?) where the water lay 4 to 5 fathoms deep. In 1905 the community drilled an artesian well in front of the community house which brought crystal clear but not cold water from 60 meters down to the earth's surface. It contained some sulphur and iron. Since then at the two street crossings on almost every corner there is an artesian well from which healthy water springs forth day and night from 35 to 60 meters deep. The number of artesian wells in Feketitsch amounted to 15. The typhus illness, which claimed many victims every year until 10 years ago, has completely disappeared.
     The whole village is surrounded by vineyards in which grape juice of the best consistency thrives. So much about the soberness of our Germans is praiseworthy. The percentage of the drinks produced compared to other communities is favorable. Wine spirits were produced from (Treber?-draff, marc),(Gelager?), and unfortunately from mulberries. From other fruit, or even from corn, potatoes, etc. almost none was produced. Most of the spirits were consumed at harvest, mashing, and bricklaying where a certain quantity was even insisted upon. It is this one established custom which is the most harmful and reprehensible. Of the usual drinks, beer and soda water were mostly drunk in the summertime.


The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
page 183 | Table of Contents

The Sleep

     The night's rest lasted 8-10 hours in the winter. Older people have already slept for about 6 hours by midnight so naturally they have had enough sleep. Not so for the children who sleep "around the clock." In the summer the night's rest amounted to 4-5 hours. In the old days beds were so high that a stool was often necessary to get into the bed. The under bed consisted of an enormous filled straw sack over which there was a chaff sack with a radiant hemp sheet. A chaff pillow and a feather pillow served for under the head. One covers up with a large bedding "Bettzich" much too heavily filled with feathers which prevent the body from perspiring. So one does not take off the socks and goes to bed with the same underwear that was worn all day. Unfortunately many still do today. Here there is only one room where the whole family sleeps, often also married children. Husband and wife sleep in the wide couple's bed which was provided with curtains and was the so-called "Himmelbett" (4 poster bed). The curtains on the Himmelbett were also necessary because the low windows offered a free view in the room to all the passers-by on the street, especially when the lamp burned in the evening. On the windows there were no curtains, venetian blinds, (Schalusienen?), shutters, or even the wooden blinds like today. One could observe someone exactly as he enjoyed himself watching a neighbor and during this no one was disturbed around him.  

     Children often slept four in a bed. There was also the need for a (Schuberbettladen?) for children's prayers, which was pushed under the bed in the morning. The youths who outgrew school found a horse stable to sleep in, often in a hammock. When these boys were older they sought permission to stay out late in the evening. In the stable they enjoyed themselves by smoking and playing. The big boys slept in the stables with pride. They felt independent and considered anyone who slept in a clean room as soft. Today the farmer's son no longer sleeps in the stable. During the summer the farmer sleeps on the walkway with his pistol beside him.

     The beds today are lower. Each individual also already has a mattress and also quilts in the summer, known only as "Paplan" by us. Also there are feather under blankets which are just as unhygienic as the heavy "Bettzichen." Almost everywhere each family member now has his own bed, or arranged to be on such a wide bench every evening. But it is highly reprehensible that in some homes 4-6 people sleep in 2 beds in the kitchen while the beds were not touched in the spacious room.  


The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
page 184 | Table of Contents

The Cleanliness

     The importance of clean air in the dwelling was always acknowledged in wide circles. Today each living room is aired out in the spring, especially after the worst cold spells. Such a ventilation is also necessary, because the dayroom, workroom, and dining room are one and the same room, and it also serves as the bedroom in the evening. Formerly such a ventilation was considered very healthy. The windows were not opened all day, even hermetically closed and sealed. The straw oven polluted the air and let no ventilation come in because there is no flu in the whole oven. With the later Swedish, tile, and iron ovens the situation was improved considerably. A permanent draft goes through this oven which contributes to the exchange of air. Also, the pores of the tile wall (almost everyone of the buildings is tiled, at least underneath) permit a far better air exchange than the stamped wall. In the low lying parts of the village the walls are unfortunately damp up to the height of one to two meters, because not enough attention was paid soon enough to insulate the walls. The damp walls are a breeding ground for many bacteria (such as tuberculosis). The danger can be stemmed to some extent by frequent whitewashing with lime so the whitened rooms are preferred over colored painting.        

     Cleanliness is a German virtue. Besides the daily picking up, the big cleaning was done weekly, usually on Saturdays. Besides that a general cleaning is done twice a year, where everything in the house, inside and outside, around it and on it, would be turned upside down and a thorough cleaning and airing out would be undertaken. This took place in the spring and before the Kirchweihe, so it has already been done for ages and may not cease, come what will. Keeping the body pure was less laudable, yet more and more people went to the spa. The bathers are always pleased to give a good word for the steam mill. The number of baths in private homes is in the hundreds. Only a part of the old generation have an aversion to the bath. They belong to a time when the doctor still made his diagnosis through the fur coat or even already knew for certain what was wrong at the door. Doctors in the old days did not have such authority in vain.  Today the doctor works hard on the bare skin of the ill to determine the cause that without further examination of X-rays or in the laboratory, diagnosis remains doubtful. It is no wonder when such an enormous transformation in the methods and research can only penetrate the public step by step. - The Krivaja Stream was an open air bath for the youth and still is today, but unfortunately this water is often polluted.         

     Since 1930 the people of Feketitsch have enjoyed an artesian grand bath with 50 cabins, owned by Jakob Gutwein.

The Feketitsch artesian beach-spa

Source: The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch by Dr. Viktor Pratscher. Herausgegeben vom Festausschusz der Gedenkfeier.

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 185-190 | Table of Contents

Population Movement


The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 185-187 | Table of Contents

Births, Marriages, Cases of Death, Birth, Overpopulation, Attainable Ages


The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
page 188 | Table of Contents

Everything to Reflect On

by J. Wolf

Six, seven generations have passed before us.
Sturdy stood the fathers and built their homes.  

They have cleared the land and done their daily work,
Waded through swamps and always stood by their man.  

They slowly spilled their own blood;
Then their sons grew well spiritually from it.  

They were the slaves of their own and foreign masters,
And they still showed they were a strong and pure generation.  

And they died in a gloomy state,
Which also counted the children and grandchildren.  

And could be satisfied to the side seen,
And wait for a wave to continue on...

  So six, seven generations passed by,
And the time howled through a worldwide cry.

  The best have been counted out from the balls,
Because the victims always elected the best.

  And today the great duty is forgotten,
And all these victims are not taken into consideration!  

You wait for blessings - which come to you slowly -
You weak Swabian folk - reflect!!!


The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 188-190 | Table of Contents


     Mararia-Swamp Fever, from the time of settlement until the 1880's our forefathers suffered a great deal from malaria. The swamps offered an excellent breeding ground for the mosquitoes. In the death records of each period "fever" is frequently listed as the diagnosis and under that malaria is almost exclusively mentioned. The number of malaria patients was always large. The "Frere?" was still a genuine plague of the people during grandfather's time. Then the workers  were often absent when they were needed the most and it was very difficult without them, unlike today in the time of agricultural machines. It is an illness in which the skills of the useful wife and the magician and completely useless. In vain it was written on the gate in large letters, "THE ONE WHO WAS PLAGUED BY THE SHIVERING FIT IS NOT AT HOME," so the angry spirit of the sick would not afflict again. Finally many of the poor sick were just not believed and so the malaria illness was known as the "lazy fever" which many malingerers certainly contributed to it. With the regulation of the great rivers such as the Danube and the Theiß, as well as our little Krivaja Stream, the swamp laid dry. The dam digging disappeared with the canals. So the illness also disappeared almost completely about 1900. 

     Since the post war years the illness has affected people at home. In view of the battle with the recidivism of the illness for a year came the damages inflicted by this illness the same as a serious physical injury. Through preventive measures it will be enough to stem the illness.

     The cholera often affected our ancestors since the settlement and caused terrible devastation in 1836, 1848, and 1873. Since that time the illness has disappeared and strict precautions were instituted by the state that the whole region would be protected from a single occurring case.

     Until ten years ago the typhus illness appeared in late summer every year in Feketitsch which affected the most sprightly people as its victims. The drinking water was especially affected by the high water table. Despite the dozen artesian wells many people still drank the affected water from the open wells because it tasted better. Also the illness could not be stemmed the whole year through because the illness was seldom recognized in time and the symptoms of the inhabitants were not recognized well enough. Ten years ago there were no more occurrences of the illness.

     The smallpox belonged to the most dangerous of illnesses. Our ancestors suffered very much from it. Since 1813 a vaccination has existed and the population has gradually gotten use to the vaccine. The elders know to report early of a child who needs to be vaccinated. Today the community buys the necessary vaccine from the bacteriological institute.

     The childhood illnesses: measles, scarlet fever, and diphtheria decimated a large number of the children during the whole past century. The protective vaccinations have put an end to this huge quantity of child deaths. 

     The gout was frequently the cause of death. Stomach and intestinal catarrh (gastroenteritis) led to this "Gichtre" (gout). The children were already fed porridge and bread with all meals in the first one or two months which came largely from the table.  The mother or grandmother went through all the trouble to spoon feed the food to the child. The unhygienic living conditions supported the rickets and pneumonia which also led to the gout. Today there is seldom any gout and it occurs mainly from a poor diet.

     Tuberculosis, known as the "consumption": Time was first devoted to a necessary understanding 10 to 15 years ago and since then the customary practice has ceased and much more airing, isolating, and disinfecting the air and access to the sun takes place.  Today the illness can be healed from the start with expert treatment in the stage of the (Spitzenkatarrh?). Nevertheless, the decrease in the number of victims of this illness has unmistakably gone miserably which is the reason why the draining of the dwellings and enlightenment in Feketitsch are still very necessary. Also with this illness one may not idly depend on the love of God as through the false interpretation the the good Lord has a fatalistic attitude no longer causes all the pent up suffering. 

     The number of cancer illnesses is always growing. It is this illness of the elders which in former times was seldom caught. This is even the cause of its great spread. The better diagnosis is also the cause of frequent appendicitis which was formerly entered as "Bauchfellentzüng" (peritoneum tongue).  

     The ancestors suffered from pneumonia and rheumatitis a lot. The elderly were often caught unexpectedly at their fieldwork in storms and rain. They could not escape into a Salasch (field) house like today because there were none. Also the grain could not be transferred from the end of the village to the steam mill, like today, because they had to drive to Vrbas, Neusatz, or even Budapest to find a buyer. For construction bricks and wood had to be fetched from Temerin, Becej, Apatin, etc. There they got the "illness."

     The protective vaccinations against pigheadedness, blood poisoning, and hot-temperedness are achievements of progressive medical science which they have proven brilliantly. A necessary understanding of it will be for the good of the people.  The horrible picture this illness conjures fills each one with dread. The success of the vaccinations have irradiated the ills through the skill of the “Brauchweiber” (nurses?).

     The Spanish influenza epidemic from 1918 to 1923 was still actively in memory.  Wherever it enter a house a member of the family was seldom spared and it claimed numerous victims. The intensity of the illness decreased from year to year until today it seldom occurs anymore and when it does it is in a weakened form. It is still mentioned in the whole Batschka region as the widely spread (Trachom?) illness. This terrible illness of the eye is still not always treated which would be absolutely desirable. It is a compulsory treatment, but unfortunately only on paper.  Unfortunately the greatest part of this illness affects our comrades.

     Accidents in occupations, in the mill, in landslides on the Teletschka, and in the Krivaja Stream also take their toll on the Germans of Feketitsch. As an infringement against the fifth commandment the Germans of Feketitsch had a somewhat higher percentage of their share than in pure German communities.  Through slights and alcohol many get carried away in their judgment of their own life or that of their fellow man without being criminal types. The Germans of Feketitsch are never this way. 

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 191-192 | Table of Contents

Customs and Courtesies

The All Day Work

     During the whole past century the day bell called to get us up. In the winter the first duty was to heat up the straw oven. In the old days the women folk still sat every morning "tapr" at the spinning wheel, spinning so quickly a bundle of hemp or wool just as the day was beginning. Meanwhile the cattle must be fed, cows milked, and the rooms straightened up (zusammenräumen?), then breakfast can be served. Today the womenfolk still take complete care of the housework in the morning. There is especially much work on washday which usually falls on Mondays. After that the wash must be dried and ironed, often they were also (gemangt?). Thirty-forty years ago there were also "Kolossen?" and "Mangmaschinen?". Saturday was also considered the big workday and at the same time the weekly market and cleaning was done. During the winter months the women went to early afternoon "maje". In the good old days they took their spinning wheel with them, later they knitted during the visit, today it is the custom to croquet and "Schlingen?" (loop), while now they fluently spin tales- with their mouths. - Before sunset the cattle must be cared for. - After supper the married couples went "in die Riehe" (took turns). Each evening the neighborhood came together in another home. The women did their needlework again while the men discussed various matters or passed the time playing cards. They usually had cooked or "splashed" corn with it and often had quite a bit of wine. About 9 o'clock they left. With this taking of turns the feeling of togetherness and belonging was expressed. Already since the settlement the neighbors have helped one another where it was necessary. Especially when building a house, or in cases of sickness, misfortune, or death the help from neighbors is understandable. The neighbor is also there for baptisms, weddings, and pig slaughtering. First is the neighbor in front, then follows in turn the neighbor behind, the garden neighbor, and finally the neighborhood up to the street crossing. - the Salasch, or field neighbors were also not forgotten. The neighborhood also took the opportunity at weddings to invite the Hungarian neighbors and this friendship was mutual.

     Also the singles had their turn, but only the girls, went without parental supervision, and usually very noisily so. - The youth club of the congregation honestly endeavors to make the winter months usefully spent by the youth and keep their morality along the way. Saturday evenings they went to club meetings, lectures, etc.

     The church attendance on Sundays was very good. When the service ended the crowd went from one end of the street to the other to the shade of the next house. The afternoons were spent with friends. They played cards, bowled, or played pool (billiards).

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
pages 192-194 | Table of Contents

Customs at Festival Days

     The customs of the holidays starts with New Years Day.  At midnight all the German music bands step into action. They start off the New Year playing. In the cold still night the music of the entire brass band rang out before the windows of the bedrooms so that the window panes rattled. They played three pieces. After that the New Year was greeted with a mouthful of spirits and they were paid a fee with a coin, moving the band quickly farther along, and at daybreak they still had a long row of their customers to greet. The lads were already drawn through the streets during the whole night, ringing in the New Year and wishing their girls a Happy New Year. Bright and early the children wished their parents and godparents a Happy New Year. The older people were entertained with "Schwartemagen" (brawn) or some alcohol, the smaller ones received a gift, usually a coin. Also the poor children used this good opportunity and delivered their New Year's wish and were well rewarded in each house.

   The New Year's wish of the small Knirpfe (tots) was formerly:

"Winsche, winsche take, The elders:

 Kreizer in mei Sacke "Ich winsch euch e' glickliches neues Johr, Loß' mich net so lang stehn G'sundheit, Fried' und Frend', e' langes Lewe Daß ich kann (um e' Haus) weiter gehn." und die ewige Glücklichkeit.

  Den großen Mädln wünscht man: Was ehr mehr winsche, winsch ich euch aa." "Ich winsch der e' Mann mit schwarze Hoor un rote Backe, der was mit der geht Kukruz hacke."

     Today the children say a long poem here which contains all possible and impossible good wishes.

     With the last Fasching (carnival) day they reached the high point of their pleasure at carnival time. Some days a complete food package was wrapped up so for example carnival doughnuts had to be given on carnival days, spinach on Green Thursday, and noodles on Good Friday.

     On Easter the children went to their godparents "zammetran." Already the children went early in the morning in droves with beaming faces from one godparent to another and told what the Easter Bunny had brought them all. Everywhere they were given presents: the boys received the (Lebzelter?) horses and the girls received (Lebzelter?) dolls, in addition to toys, apples, nuts, figs, and of course beautiful colored Easter eggs and a coin. On the occasion of the confirmation the child asks his baptismal godparents to be there and receives a valuable gift in memory of it, at which the "Zammentragen?" also stops. The confirmation was always on Green Thursday in the first hundred years but in the last decade it's been done on the day of the Ascension of Christ. On this day the church is crammed full. On the second Easter day the girls are sprayed by the boys.

     The mischief with which the girls formerly had water poured over them is rather subdued today and a sensible understanding exists.

     On the second Whitsunday the girls were spread before the gates. But the real point of this spread was only seen if it appeared with flowers. In the night on the first of May the May trees were formerly set out. Five or six years ago the commandant of the fire brigade still put a tree out. The May tree is on a high perch with a green branch above on which colorful ribbons and bottles are fastened. In the course of the month of May many manors held May celebrations at which good acquaintances or the youth were invited. There it was a jolly time.

     On the occasion of the completion of the threshing work the workers went singing through the village pulling their threshing machine decorated with flowers. There was no special harvest festival. The cold midday meal in the vineyard tasted excellent. The effect of the many grapes and cider first comes later. Instead of the former stomping on the grapes (Treten/Trippeln), today these are ground and pressed.

     The largest holiday is on the last Sunday in October: the Kirchweih consecration of the church). Already the drive of the whole "Kerweih Week", left the presentiment of things to come. In the shops there is a lot of activity, in the homes everything is turned upside down to clean them thoroughly, there is cooking, baking, roasting.  Then everything must be finished to a "t" by Saturday. The skirts were starched, ironed, and soon they had to run to a tailor to try on a "Kerweikleed" (Kerweih clothing). Then soon the shoemaker had to be asked to accelerate his work because without Kerweih shoes there is no Kerweih. The "Kerweihsäuche" was done, there Kerweih wine cared for, and the "Kerweihgäschte" (Kerweih guests) were invited and called up. Children, parents, or relatives who lived in other villages, or are serving, come from the neighboring villages in wagons or are picked up at the train station. The train station is too small for the many wagons that wait here for guests. The buses are crammed full and return two or three times. Long lines of traffic streamed in from a good distance in the summertime to the village. The traffic and the joy increased even more the fact that the Kirchweih coincided with the autumn market. In former times everything already poured into the market on Saturdays.  Today everything is hurriedly brought to market on Sunday in the morning and then all the guests go to the church before noon. Shortly after noon the pubs are filled and the Kerweih dance starts. All of the girls are by the side of the "Barsch" to get the first dance, if he has not been unfaithful to his people (Mensch). There it was decided from so many rounds if something would come from it, or if "they would fall in the dirt" nothing would come of it). The curious must "un wann es Mischtgavle reent" from it. Formerly the singles "Hujja gebott" was about 9 o'clock. They had to make the married place which they then had to endure until sunrise. On the second day it went about the same as the first. Meanwhile a crowd devoured the finest food at meal time, it was all eaten, and "wenn der Maa e' Krippel werd." In view of the many good foods ones have sighed: "If only I had "e' Maa wie e' Strohsack" (my straw sack now). Formerly there was still free music and free food on Thursday. The liveliest left in the morning playing the music on the music on the way home. - On Saturday the Kirchweih begins in Sekitsch, where for so many it already continued.

     The pig slaughter was regarded as a family celebration. The butcher was the farmer himself whose customers were guests from the surrounding area and he was famously known. Wursts, salami, ham, etc. left nothing remaining to be desired in perfect preparations and durability. The lard, the soap, etc. praise the competence of the steadily assisting women at the slaughter. The "Quellfleisch" (meat) was served up in the morning hours and replaced the midday meal. In the afternoon the worst was prepared and the know-it-all children, who about this time have had "Krachdärm"(growling stomachs) which have growled all along.- the "Wärschtcher" presumed, this appeared so, that the butcher could not drive anything from one ear to the other of the suspicious youth with his fat finger. The "Metzelsupp"(bloody soup) is a "Kapitel" (asset) for you. The worst of his goods were examined and these did not turn out so well, so the butcher could take along the worst. Then came the rosy doughnuts newly baked in lard. Meanwhile the atmosphere kept getting cheerier.  Throughout the day the many greasy things were washed down with grape juice. Not infrequently the "Metzel" soup was put into the "Hävler". These were disguised with soot and chalk painted shapes. - Acquaintances and farmhands from near and far who had fine noses and with their vessels, "Tepsen und Topsen"(pots and pans) they made such a big racket to no small fright of the children. With disguised voices they say their verses here, with which they receive an ample portion of the rest of the "Metzel" soup. One familiar verse of the "Häwler" read:

   "Häwle, häwle, Wurscht, Wurscht, Wurscht,

    Ich habt gehört, ihr habt geschlagt

    Und habt so gute Werscht gemacht

    Gebt mer net so klaner

    Liewer zwa far aner."

     The verses are also often funny and not infrequently jokingly take on one or other corny character weakness of the caretakers. Much ado is quickly made of it and they go through all the trouble to protect their identity. - After the evening meal a card game follows, or an accordion (Uf un' zu) is available for a real cheerful dance.

     On the farm "Jeritag" (Jeri Day?) and "Michaelitag" (Michaelmas) are of importance. On these days the farmhands and "Salasch people" (field hands) come and go. Debts and interest are due on these days. On the occasion of the state holidays a procession with music took place in the evening hours the day before. The windows are lit up and the flags are hoisted at the homes. On the day of the holiday the music took place at the square.

     At Christmas time the children go "Zammetran?" just like at Easter time.  Already on the evening before the Christ child comes, or the "Starrnickel?", but today the tenderly raised children are not so energetic as in earlier times. The Christmas trees of our grandparents were much simpler than today. Usually a blackthorn branch was replaced with some apples and nuts on the Christmas tree. On the Christmas tree (Boxing Day) the lads ride out and receive from the girls ribbons in a row.  

     Besides the reverence for Sylvester in the church, no events take place in the passing of the last days of the year. In the night one can still encounter the "Stornickel?". He has a large felt cap, the "Schlaraffegsicht" (Cockaigne face), horns and a shaggy "Bunda?" on and his appearance with rattling chains and the "Bumschell?", as well as his "Scheerestang?" (pole), he also hunts the courageous children whose legs are trembling.

The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
page 194-198 | Table of Contents

Customs at Family Events

Also the family events have their own peculiar customs and traditions.   

     The Amme (nurse) invited the godparents to the baptism. Formerly there were 10 to 12 couples and the baptism was always combined with a midday meal. Today the child often only has two godparents. The midday feast was a rarity. If the child was a girl, the godmother planted a rosemary bush from which the help received a twig on the occasion of the wedding. The "Stafiermachen?" began when the child was three or four years old. The woman who has just given birth was provided with food. The relatives, neighbors, and acquaintances supplied fully laden baskets of the best delicacies. In grandfather's time the boys were adorned with bouquets and the girls were adorned with wreaths at confirmation. On the occasion of the first communion the parents and godparents also go to Holy Communion.

     The engagement was still always celebrated in the home of the fiancée. Besides good manners, bad habits have also become established. So for example the bridal couple lived together until the wedding and the bride went to the altar with a veil on after that. On the Sunday before the wedding the "Hochzeitläder" were invited. 

A quotation from old times records:

          "The bride's father and mother,

           The bridegroom and the young bride

           Let us invite to a pig roast

           To a glass of red and white wine

           On Thursday the wedding should be.  

by the X.Y.: Bolz Schorr, (Karbiener?) bring along food, mouths blocked in the pigeonhole The "Läder" (guests) received a glass of wine everywhere and a beautiful ribbon on their  cane besides a present.

    The loaded guests would think about taking part in the wedding. So the day before a roast and a present were stacked up in the wedding hall. So it is still today.  The bridesmaid carries in the necessary cooking china in baskets decorated with ribbons.  

Bride covered with ribbons from the year 1897.

Heinrich Weißmann (who died a hero)
and Susanna nee Dietrich.

     One hundred years ago there were only two ushers and two bridesmaids. Their number grew with the times from 10 to 15 couples. The wedding was held in the morning at an inn. The music was at first gotten by the bridegroom, then by the bride. Before the aisle, about 11 o'clock, the bride was asked to come out. After that, first a limping woman and then an old woman were turned away, then the bride appeared. The wedding procession walked down the aisle to the music of a brass band decorated with ribbons. Then came the groom with a large bouquet in his hat with more colorful ribbons which reached from his hat to the middle of his back. 

     He went between his two bystanders who had a twig with a beautiful "Schleppchen?" holding "Rosmarein" (rosemary). After them followed the other men. The women went with the bride led by two ushers ahead of them, then followed the two bridesmaids.  The procession was decided by the fathers of the bride and groom. The mothers of the bride and groom did not go to the wedding ceremony. For the past century the bride has worn a black or white dress with a wreath on her head. The head, shoulders, and chest were covered with ribbons which were put on by acquaintances, in the house, on the street, and especially by the church door. Also the bridesmaids have a wreath and ribbons, but only on the heads. The usher has a bouquet in the hat with a ribbon. From the church the groom led the bride. In the inn the bridal dance began, during which the groom dances with his bride in the way of a "Ländler?" and the ushers danced with their bridesmaids. 

Cooks at the large wedding of Karl Morrell and Sophia Gutwein in 1928

Wedding in the year 1932

     After that the dancers changed through a quick succession of partners. At the table the men secretly grabbed hold of their women.  The midday meal consisted of soup, beef with sauce, sauerkraut with pork and roast. The groom helped serving the dishes with a white apron tied on. Drinking was from passing the bottle around. The guests bring their "food" with them today. After the midday meal there was dancing until the evening meal which consisted of sour soup (Sauereße),(Paprikasch) and roast. The weddings usually lasted two days. Brides have not worn ribbons for the past 30 years, but the beautiful ribbons of the mother and grandmother can still be seen under glass in many homes. Today the bride goes to the altar in a white dress with a veil or a beautiful black dress in the church. She is led by the first usher (best man), after her follows the groom with the first bridesmaid (maid of honor).  The weddings take place in the afternoon. At the dinner the bride and groom sit at the place of honor. The ushers sit with the bridesmaids and the married couples sit next to each other. An important part of the meal is the baked goods. The guests who had endured since early morning had music played to them on the way home. - Such a large wedding is a rarity today. Usually there is a dry wedding which takes place on Sunday afternoon. The guests are invited to the church entrance and from there they go home. Often they get together again in the evening at a pub where they just danced and each one paid his own bill.

     In cases of death the vigil of the body (wake?) and "Leicheninse?" were introduced earlier. Since then there is a hearse since most of the dead are no longer carried on the bier. On the occasions of funerals the neighbors help in the home as well as at the cemetery.


The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch
by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler
page 198-199 | Table of Contents


     Superstitions were widely spread by our ancestors. The appearance of illnesses were attributed to the angry spirits.  Driving them out was the responsibility of the "Brauchweiber?" (customs woman). They carried on this practice for an especially long time with skin and eye illnesses. All eye catarrh including "Trachom" were attributed to the "Schußploder." The most suited place for the custom was in the doorway between the double doors of the sick place where it had been spread with the hand or spit on, or at least had strongly blown on them. By these doors the suitable incantations were murmured around from which only the "three hechsten Nome?" were to understand. An especially well-known incantation went: "He'le, he'le Katzedreck, bis marje Frih is' alles weck." As an especially effective medicine the "Krawelche" was valued, which was planted on the wall and had to be squeezed out of the sick spot of skin (Derre) with a thimble.  Narrow-minded people still make occasional attempts today with the urine of the sick, alone or mixed with yellow earth, cow dung, spider webs, etc.  Animals were also used against the illnesses. If a deceased calls from the cemetery, then a rind a bacon must be buried under the "Dachtrapp" (roof trap?) to heal the warts.

     The days of the "Brauchweiber" are over. Today there are much more crafty magicians such as the "Neusatz woman" of the miracle man from Gallersbach (Zeileis)  who still have the attraction, and the gullible are placed completely under their spell.  Eggs are given on Sunday when the Lord's Prayer is read with joy because the "Kücken" chicks will hatch out at once as the people come out of the church at once.

   It is the custom that strongly smelling leaves of various plants would be laid in the songbooks: such as "Krottebalser" "Pannekuchekraut" (pancake herb?), "Spick", etc. 

     Our grandparents generally still greeted with a "Helf Gott" (help God) and replied with "Groß Dank" (great thanks). Unfortunately the beautiful genuine German greeting is only heard in Sekitsch anymore. By us it is generally "Gu'n Tach" and the French "Adje" (adieu).  Attempts were made by the school ten years ago to introduce "Grüß Gott." (greetings to God).  It was hoped that the foreign word "Adje" could be completely replaced by it. There are almost no nicknames in Feketitsch. Through the little epithets which occur the baptismal names of our ancestors are immortalized.  So for example: B. Bernhard; Bastian (=Sebastian); Schulhaus (=Sculdiener Johann); Jerfriedl (=Georg Friedrich) etc.  These could not be accepted as nicknames anyway.

     Before the World War it was believed that the dialect and pronunciation of the people of Sekitsch could be made fun of. Today however we are coming to the realization that it was a shame that in the whole Batschka region the people of Sekitsch had the only true Swabian dialect. The Pfalz dialect was abandoned. Also some foreign words of Hungarian and Slavic origin have found their way into the Feketitsch vocabulary. An example of it is put together in the following sentence: 
"Nar e bitanger, pametloser Betyar legt sich mit Batschkre und Tschisme an de Noge 'uf die Paplan, oder 'uf de Divan, wann er 'uf dem Sallasch, oder 'uf der Pusta aus seim Tschupe Kokosch, Ketschke- oder Katschepaprikasch eßt." - De' Ischpan hat 'uf dem Piaz am Koplalo sei' Wike und de' Scharke samt dem Kukuruz der Kofa mit dem Tschurock verprotascht un' jetzt puscht er sei' Lula, akar sei pischricher Kume und Komschi: der Kupez; - na teschek! jetzt leere se' de' Tschuter zum Aldemarsch un losse sich tudle un' gewe dem Harfasch noch Bago far Radasch." (In English translated from German: Only a homeless, foolish, good-for-nothing (robber) sets himself down with his dirty shoes and boots on the edge of a quilt, or on the bed, when he is at the manor, or eat chicken (cocks, goats, or duck flesh prepared with red pepper in his earthenware container at the dairy yard. At the square by the "Hutweide" (border meadow) the steward sold his bull and chestnut horse together with the corn to the market dealer with the fur coat and now he smokes his pipe, just he needs to urinate with his bosom buddy and neighbor.  The buyer says, "Oh please! Now empty the wooden bottle so your brother can drink and lets make music and give the harp and chewing tobacco as gifts for it.  

Pages 4-101 | 101-199 | 200-303


Feketisch Village Coordinator: Brad Schwebler

© 2003 Brad Schwebler, unless otherwise noted. - Report broken links

Remembering Our Donauschwaben Ancestors