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.