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

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

Undertakers’ Association

by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler

     This association came into existence in 1893 at the suggestion of several village inhabitants by teacher Wilhelm Pratscher.

     With the financial assistance from men such as Jakob Knittel, teacher, Peter Gutwein, Karl Gutwein, Karl Spengler, Adam Schwebler Jr., Peter Burger Sr., and Josef Pal, teacher, soon 600 members could be recruited.

     The association existed for the purpose for different members to be buried in a respectable manner, whose heirs with a premium to contribute and to support any possible impoverished association members in illness and accidents.  In 1893 a company in Sombor still made the hearses which are still in use today.  The wagons were put up in a shed (Schupfen?) which stood from 1893 to 1928 on what is today's new street and after that on the present site not far from the sporting ground.

     Each one of the members had an entrance fee of 1 Kronen, 20 Heller and after each member died 20 Heller was paid.  The premium was set at 35 Guilders.  Soon the premium could be raised to 80 Guilders and to 90 Guilders in 1906.  Also the fortunes increased from year to year.  Yet (geriet?) the further joining of members in stocks, which according to the statutes the new members up to then gave contribution - or 20 Kronen - which they received later.  This difficulty was remedied in such a way in 1906 that the premium for a new member  was 20 Kronen less than it was for old members.  The number of members added up to 1000 because of it.  So 140 (bezügw.?) 120 Kronen per body was paid out and the total fortune reached the sum of 18,000 Kronen by the year 1914.  During the war the fortune was lost to war loans.

First in the year 1922 the contribution was raised from 20 Heller to 1 Kronen and the premium to 900 Kronen.  This was soon changed over from one Kronen to one Dinar.  Because of the difficulties of the permissions and often necessary modifications of the statutes still always existed, the association connected itself to the Rural Welfare Cooperative in 1933 in Novi Sad-Neusatz and formed a village group at the time in this so-called wave.  As members' contributions were handed in the "wave" was 2 Dinar, 40 Para?" per year.  After 1000 members it was 2400 Dinar.

The association still works today as it did 43 years ago.  When 2, 3, or 4 members are dead, the server collects the contributions, the premium was paid from it, and the rest served as payment to the servers, the carriage drivers, and to other expenses.  At the time the server received 50 Dinar per body, the hearse drivers received 20 Dinar per body.  The office holders held their offices in an honorary capacity and were always elected every 3 years.

Before the German Reformed church stood a post where if an association member died, a mourning flag was hoisted.

The founder of the association was teacher Wilhelm Pratscher.  According to minutes number 32 he is to be thanked for its establishment.

The office holders until now were the following: 

The folk club was established in 1902.  It's home was in the guesthouse of Karl Paul  from 1902 to 1905 after which it was at Johann Schmidt's home.  This club had 100 permanent members, mainly from the business trades and the small homeowners.  It usually ordered 6 to 8 newspapers.  The library numbered over 100 volumes which the village group of the cultural association had acquired and still fulfill this task today.  The negotiation writings were drawn from a regulated activity.  The club was left open after the war.

Office holders of the club were:



Up to August 1935, 654 members have died.  So many needs and miseries could be relieved by this association in its 43 year existence.  It also liked to do beneficial works over a wide area.     

[Published at 2004 by Jody McKim Pharr]