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

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

Universal Education

by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
(Die Deutschen der Gemeinde Feketic-Feketitsch by Dr. Viktor Pratscher, 1936)
Translated by Brad Schwebler

General Education 

     The general education of our Germans always stood the time and on a comparatively high and appropriate level.  Under the schooled Germans there was no illiterate person.  The older generation mastered the Hungarian language, but the younger generation perfected the Serbian language.  Many are fluent in all three languages.  In general the businessman can express himself better in words and writing than the farmer bound to his ground.  The first also likes further education to increase his understanding, if he only had the means to do it.  The farmer understands his occupation excellently and also brings the progress which his area of work affects and praiseworthy interest towards it, but apart from that he was particularly degraded formerly, so that his mind grew with his fortune.  Today in this respect there is a noted transformation for the better.  Principally from the war our farmers were used with the knowledge that it was not only for the wealth but for gaining intellectual ability so that they can fight for a better place in the world.  They send their sons for 2 to 4 years, not infrequently the girls also, even to Germany, for agricultural continuing education courses in "Bürgerschulen" (citizen schools?) or secondary schools.  Many farmers justified their dislike of the secondary schools with the notion that the children would shy away from work during the years of study, which it proved to be in each and every case.  Unfortunately such cases actually occurred, but only where the parents themselves did not completely grasp the seriousness of learning and letting the children study and they themselves also only wanted to give a "Schönheitspflaster" (beauty spot) (did not give one iota of interest?)  Learning is no game.  It is hard work which demands that the students perform their work just as thoroughly and completely or be reprimanded, just like the assigned work in the farmyard or in the field must be performed without "Hudelei" sloppiness if success is to be achieved. - The farmer's son who has taken learning seriously will also take work in life seriously.  One day they will be in a position where the success of their children's studies will not take only 2 to 4 years, but will be supervised and followed for 6 to 8 years.

     The number of intellectuals so far from the ranks of the Germans of Feketitsch happens to be - in the order of the time required to acquire it - the following:  2 doctors (15 years); 2 lawyers (14 years); 3 engineers (13 years); 0 veterinarians (12 years); 2 state scientists (12 years); 1 pastor (12 years); 3 pharmacists (12 years); 1 notary (9 years); 5 teachers (9 years).  (Today we have 3 high school students, 2 prep school students, 4 secondary school students, and 10 "Bürger" students.)

     Before the war, the number of "Bürger" students was still not very great.   The teachers Fr. Stötzer and J. Pratscher shared the instruction of a whole flock of private students from the "Bürger" school.  The opening of a "Bürger" school still did not come, although this possibility was often considered.  With the two communities living next to each other, Feketitsch and Sekitsch had about 10,000 inhabitants, making a "Bürger" school an urgent necessity.  The progress connected with it was worth all the sacrifice.  A student year of a student drew an average of 7 - 10,000 Dinar from the village.  At a "Bürger" school in the village the census from the two communities was certainly over 100, from which the students from the other communities such as M. Idjosch and others could be calculated.

     With them the possibility of opening a Bürger school in the area was realized.

     In 1931 the government allowed them to open a private German teacher's education institute.  The 'miserly' Swabians were hardly expected once again to raise the necessary funds of 1 million Dinar, but over 2 million flowed in for the purpose of the school foundation.  In Feketitsch 13,000 Dinar was drawn for 13 building blocks.  So far the German teacher's education institute in Novi Vrbas has had two "Zöglinge" from Feketitsch: Liese Pratscher and Christian Brauchler.


     The work is only half as hard with a good nature and bright singing.  Our settler ancestors brought a great joy of singing with them from the homeland because they came from a region where the wonderful nature of the song was lured from the lips.  In the first decade our ancestors joy of singing was paralyzed on their lips in this region where the graves soon bore Swabian names.  The second generation had the bitter need.  In the later years the self consciousness of our Swabians was already lacking with the strengthening of the economy.  Step by step they submitted themselves to the inferiority of German ways.  The German youth who came home from secondary schools brought the foreign Hungarian songs with them.  In recent years the glee club, especially the youth group, have dedicated themselves to the care of the German folk songs.

     In all of our regions the true German song rings out again with a bright lofty sound and was . . .

".........thundering, rejoicing, lamenting  

Where the true German heart beats."

The "forceful singing should tear itself "himmelan mit Ungetüm" (heavenward with the monster?) and each genuine German man should be called friend and brother."  

String music - Bandmaster Johann Schade.  

     The most widely used instrument in the home is the accordion.  Violins and pianos are only played a little.  Several can also strum the lute.  For village music we have two horn bands: "the brass music."  The musicians are tradesmen and "Taglöhner?" (part time workers?).  

Brass band - Bandmaster Gottfried Krebs.

     They also performed at theater events and so far the proprietors have served us in the existing theaters to be mentioned.

     The first enterprise of such kind was ventured by Michael Gutwein, tailor.  He erected a hall in the yard of his home with over 100 seats.  This playhouse existed from 1912 to 1921.  Michael Gutwein was the groundbreaker in this area.

     In the first years after the war a cinema played in Gutwein's large stage hall.  Each Saturday and Sunday performances took place which enjoyed a very good attendance.  The soul of the enterprise was teacher Jakob Kellermann.  In the summer months a "Tonkino?" (sound cinema?) has played at the beach for years.

[Published at 2004 by Jody McKim Pharr]