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

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors


by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler

          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

[Published at 2004 by Jody McKim Pharr]

Last Updated: 18 Aug 2020 2003 Donauschwaben Villages Helping Hands, a Nonprofit Corporation.
Webmaster: Jody McKim Pharr
Keeping the Danube Swabian legacy alive!