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

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors
The Nazarenes

by Peter Lang
Translated by Brad Schwebler

          I could not receive adequate information about the Nazarenes in Beschka from the followers of that time, although I tried.  I cannot say myself what the essential differences between their religious views and the so-called acknowledged Christian churches were.  For me the main feature was that they were against military service.  For this reason they kept it for the purpose of saying they were doing military service and then the Nazarenes were passed over.  This went well so long as there was no war or no change of ruler.  They saw that it was necessary to grab the weapons or in the case of a change of ruler to show their allegiance to the ruler.  They received a lot of pressure over it.  They either had to go against their conscience, which was demanded, or suffer imprisonment.  During a war the death sentence could also be pronounced.  It was not demanded of them to carry weapons in the local guard during World War II, but as a participant next to another carrying a weapon they still served loyally and conscientiously.  Consequently, because they refused military service, they did not flee in 1944 and remained at least in Beschka all undisturbed, but they finally came to Germany.  Most Nazarenes in Beschka swore their allegiance to King Peter I, King Alexander, and King Peter II.    During the war the Nazarenes in Beschka were split.  The old, who were not called up, remained conservative.  The young, who did not want to be locked up, split off and formed a second group of Nazarenes.  They had their assemblies at No. 2 Peter Deringer Street: the owner on the books for this house was Christian Zelenjak? (Reg. No. 629, alias Gruen (Grünschuster / alias Green).  Just like the Whitsuns, the Nazarenes in Syrmia also had to belong to an acknowledged church and to pay these taxes.  They had to let their children be baptized and confirmed by them, married themselves, and were buried by the pastor who was also the state official.  In the Batschka there was already a state official for it at the turn of the century, which is why membership to an acknowledged church was not necessary.

          Another feature of the Nazarenes is that they did not go into the inn and smoke.  (Lately the remaining Whitsuns have not either.)  The number of both Nazarene groups is unknown to me.

          They also accepted Serbs in their community.  For this reason there were mixed nationalities under them.  (Kolaric – vgl. Reg. No. 1073)  

[Published at by Jody McKim Pharr, 2005]

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