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

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

Arrival in the New Homeland

by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler

     Through the cloudy glass of 150 years we see our settler-ancestors as they reach their goal in the new homeland after a long journey of 1200 kilometers which lasted six weeks.  They arrived here with women and children, all their property and souls, fatigued yet full of hope and curiosity. 

     The hope for a better future persisted throughout their journey. And with the hope, with us always was the beguiling conjurer who accompanied us to the last breath, so it was written by one of the great poets of our people, Nikolaus Lenan who lamented in his beautiful poem his life's tragedy that nothing comes from hope.  He wrote as follows:

Vain dress, vain rings, consumed your little life,
Until the evening bell rings, then the wild run stands still.
A fool, you, you have been treated unfairly,
Always you saw in the gray distance,
You see, friend, there lies the goal.

     Yes, at the goal they arrived.  A foreign world surrounded them.  They looked around and saw a bleak area. There were thistles and thorns, reeds and wilderness, swamps and epidemics.  When they compared this desert to the Eden of their old homeland, homesickness crept into their hearts.  All too early and far from home they sank into quiet graves.

     Today the "Schwabenlied" (Swabian Song) by Adam Mueller-Guttenbrunn,
one of our people, rings out:

"From German earth we are descended
On this island distant from the populace
O homeland, diligent Germans of proud blood
You witness many a severe need."

    So it reached the depths of each one of the Swabians who trembled in quiet solitude, the beautiful, light precious stone, the loyal German heart.

     So as soon as they were in the assigned region, each family moved into their assigned house.  With the house each family received:

 one cow

 one grave shovel

 one sort

 one rug

 one bedroom

 one pitchfork

 one hoe

 six sacks

 one straw sack

 one spinning wheel

 one dried fruit

 one flour sieve

 one bread firer

 one butter barrel

 one water tub

 one milk pail

  That the family also received a mess kit is hardly worth mentioning.  In Feketitsch there are still two plates of Ludwig Gutwein, which he had in family tradition kept in the oven.  The plates were of metal, 40 dkg heavy and eight inches in diameter.  On the underside of each there were three stamps, all the same and imprinted.  The stamps were of the crown of Hungary's King Stefan, on the left an S, on the right an H: Sigillum Hungaricum, or the Transylvanian Chancellery.  Farther left is a 17, farther right is 85 - 1785.  Under the crown is an oak wreath in a semi-circle surrounding the coat of arms on which there is a double four-leaf clover.  By it are the beautifully engraved letters A. G. for Adam Gutwein.

Such plates also exist in Sekitsch, together with a bowl. However, the stamps are of the Austrian Emperor's crown.

  In addition each of the farmers received with a house and cultivated field the following:

4 horses

1 scythe with whetstone

1 short bridle

2 sickles

1 long bridle

1 crock pot

1 axe

2 drills

1 hoe

1 unfinished wagon

1 shovel

1 plow

1 wooden fork

1 bow

4 halters

1 cutting knife

8 cords

1 handsaw

2 spun ropes

1 wagon cable

     Each craftsman who accepted no field received 50 Guilders to purchase his tools.  In general it took 90-95% of the agricultural land although under this very many craftsmen would be farmers because so many craftsmen could not have existed.

   There were session farmers and session farmers.  In many of the villages as in Sekitsch there were only session farmers because the land on the hills of the Teletschka was poor.  The fields were measured and divided into three farmlands in the economy of all communities at the time; one for winter seeding, another for springtime seeding, and the third was the fallow field.   

    The session farmers of Sekitsch had in each farmland two pieces of field to three yokes per 200 square fathoms.  Then there were still two great meadows, one of which had four yokes per 600 square fathoms and one little meadow with two yokes.  Together there were 30 yokes per 1200 square fathoms (that was the size of the little Hungarian yoke).  That corresponds to 18 chains; and with it still came the pasture rights for the pasture which all the farmlands bordered on.  Each one received a piece of land from the pasture of which they were apportioned a corresponding part.  So for a session in Feketitsch one received 6 chains and for a half session one received 3 chains share of pasture.

     At the settlement seeds would be loaned which must be paid back in three years.  House, field, and appliances were the assets and make-up of the family allowed but would not be sold without getting a grant, which would always be granted anyway, only something must be scrawled if one wanted a ride.

   It originated in the following newly established Protestant communities: 

In the year 1820 - In the year 1930


In the year


Ev. + Ref       

Ev. + Ref. = Prot.


1784 Torscha


900  "  565 = 1465

1790 " 1815 = 3605


1785 Crvenka


2840 " 835 = 3675 

6444 " 1454 = 7898


1785 Neu Vrbas


1982 "  27 = 2609

4257 " 1920 = 6177


1786 Sekitsch


1624 "  71 = 1695

5015 "  26   = 5041


1786 B. Dobropolje


1402 "   0  = 1402

3521 "  --   = 3521


1786 Buljkes


1100 "   44 = 1144

2654 "  --   = 2654


1787 Jarek


725   "  25 =  750

2191 "  --   = 2191

In the already standing Serbian villages would be added:


In the year


Ev. + Ref       

Ev. + Ref. = Prot.


1786 Neu Sivac


67 " 1574 = 1641

N. 2184 80 " = 3970


1786 Neu Schowe


263 "  486 = 749

1380 " 1571  = 2951

2075;   10903  4227=15130  27332"10676=38008

   Of the first six communities named, five were considered for 250 houses.  Only in Crvenka was the number built doubled to 500 houses and Eimann says "There is no doubt that this village will be the most important in the whole Comitat.  It can certainly also be assumed that they would have the leading roll and therefore would receive 500 houses.  It is already noticed here that also in the year 1785 that the Hungarian settlement of Feketitsch was also considered for 250 houses as can be gathered from its founding document.  What would it have been like if Sekitsch, B. Dobropolje (Kitschker), and Buljkes had received allocations for only 230 families instead of 250?   It is apparent that Vrbas even received about 60 more families.  Consequently 310 families would be settled in Vrbas.  The original settlement plan for this pasture would be changed and as a whole would be put into effect.

1) From Eimann; 2) See the 1929 Evangelical executive minutes; refer to the 1930 Reformed orphanage calendar.  It's certain that one would be smart to go to the mixed settlements of Evangelists and Reformers, in Torscha, Crvenka, and Vrbas, and for that reason B. Dobropolje (Kischker), Sekitsch, and Buljkes were settled almost exclusively by Evangelists, just as Sivac was settled predominantly by Reformers.  The few Evangelists who migrated from the Evangelist community as far as their strength would take them so the Evangelists of Schowe could establish their own church community.  The 60 additional families which Vrbas received, as was originally planned, were most probably Reformed families.  It is likely that just for that reason the settlement of Vrbas was halted in 1786.

   The most interesting and mentionable fact that must be given thought is that according to Eimann's records there were 28,000 inhabitants in Subotica in the year 1820, of which 5,457 were Germans, but in Batschka-Topola there were only 210 souls.  Around the turn of the century there is almost no trace left existing of two lifetimes of these numerous Germans.

   What is to be blamed for the so many of them who have lost their German customs and traditions?

[Published at 2004 by Jody McKim Pharr]

Last Updated: 18 Aug 2020 2003 Donauschwaben Villages Helping Hands, a Nonprofit Corporation.
Webmaster: Jody McKim Pharr
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