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

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

Teachers and Choirmasters of the Community

by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler

   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.

[Published at 2004 by Jody McKim Pharr]

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