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

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

Health Service

by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler

             Whether or not Feketitsch had a hospital when it was first settled, like all the other "Josephinische" 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 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 to 1911 and 1927 to 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*

[Published at 2004 by Jody McKim Pharr]

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