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

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

The Formation of the Evangelical Congregation:
A) The Evangelical School  | B) Choirmaster's Apartments

by Dr. Viktor Pratscher, 1936
Translated by Brad Schwebler


1: From 1818-1830 a room would be rent for school purposes.
2: From 1830-1857 a combination schoolhouse/place of worship existed.
3: From 1857-1862 a newly built teaching hall served for the instruction on today's parish
4: From 1862-1910 the first school existed on today's schoolyard. It was this that was
    later called the little school because little children would attend it.
5: From 1872-1910 a second school also existed on what is today's school grounds.  It is
    the so-called big school in which the higher classes were instructed.
6: From 1910 until today the three new teaching halls existed.


1: Until 1830 an apartment would be rented for the teacher.
2: From 1830-1857 the "Bede"sche house served as the choirmaster-teacher's
3: From 1857 until 1859 the newly built schoolhouse served as the choirmaster-teacher's
4: From 1860 until 1885 the old "Bika'sche thatched house served as the choirmaster-
    teacher's apartment.
5: From 1885 until today the house that is still standing has served as the choirmaster-
    teacher's apartment.

        A.) When the first Germans settled in Feketitsch there were only Hungarian schools in the village.  The language was foreign to the Germans and the Hungarian teacher did not have a strong command of German.  The way to the school in Sekitsch was far and bad.  Between the two communities there was neither a dam erected nor even a stone road existing.  In the "outermost row" stood the last house of Feketitsch.  The foul smelling swamp with growing reeds which extended up to the hills (mountain) in front of Sekitsch started there.  The Sekitsch street did not climb over the mountain down to our Hotter, as today.  First over to the place where today the pharmacy stands the neighboring village began.  The road in this community climbed next to the cemetery.  So many of the schoolchildren had mud stuck to their wooden shoes.  So many a frightened child sighed a heavy sigh of relief as the everlasting eerie whistling  reeds and the fear arousing silence of the cemetery passed behind them.  Now and then one of the fathers would transport a bunch of cheerful wiggly children in a harnessed wagon on the bad road to school in Sekitsch.  Certainly some schoolchildren were brought by their grandparents or relatives in Sekitsch in the winter so they could attend school.

    As the German families in Feketitsch became numerous the parents endeavored to rent a room for an experienced man who could instruct the children in reading and writing during the winter.  The first communal contribution served as payment for this rent.  In the school year 1823-24 they already received this kind of instruction, most probably even sooner.  Unfortunately the notebook pertaining to this information does not exist.

    In the later existing "ledger" it is recorded that such a schoolroom for the school year 1827-1828 was rented by Johann Bender for 2 Florint, 10 Kreuzer.  In the school year 1828-1829 a schoolroom was rented by Nikolaus Reitenbach for 2 Florint, 50 Kreuzer.

    B.01. For the school year 1827-1828 a man was hired who was better skilled at teaching and could sing good.  He was worthy as a teacher and earned a definite salary.  He was a linen weaver, Peter Burg from Buljkes.  Since an apartment must also be procured for the teacher, the first teacher's apartment would be rented by Daniel Pister for 9 Florint for the year.

     B.) 2;U.)2. In the year 1829 the development of the Evangelist community took a great step forward.  For their request they received from the cameral government a house for church purposes. Great was their joy over it because for the first time they acquired something which they could call their property.  It is noticed that Mr. Gespan (Ispan) still received a gift in addition to the total charge of 5 Florint, 30 Kreuzer he had received for the measurement of the places.  The gift was three pounds of sugar (one pound = 50 deka), which had cost 4 Florint and 48 Kreuzer.  Something great at the time because sugar was a rarity.  At the time one had received almost 1 1/2 "Pester Mtzen" of fruit for 1 1/2 kg. of sugar.  (Pester Metzen = 92 liters) The Pester Metzen of fruit cost 3 Florint, 30 Kreuzer.   However in those days children also did not have access to sugar.  It can also be seen from this that in those good old days unfortunately one would already be bribed if one wanted a better ride.  And the elders were courteous.  The local court received 4 halfs of wine which had cost 56 Kreuzers as contribution to the fraternity which the Germans at the time, as today, generally called the "Aldomarsch".  The local court at the time was still a little company numbering 3 or 4 men, nobody joined in polishing off 4 half's (around 3 liters).

   But anyway the courtyard was on the other end of the village and therefore was not suitable for the church community. Still in the same year this place would be exchanged for the courtyard together with a house where still today a church, parsonage, and chancery stand.  The exchange was made by the community with a payment of 400 Florint in Vienese currency in two installments.  The Hungarian authored receipt is still available in the archive of the church community today.


Over 400 Florint in Vienese currency which I have justly received as a gift in exchange for my house from the local Evangelist meeting.

In Fekethegy, 6 May 1830.

Witnesses: Butor Janos e.h. judge

Josza Janos e.h. juror  + Bede Peter

    The house was a Hungarian settlement house that consisted of a large front room, a vacant kitchen, and a small bedroom in the back.  The roof was covered with reeds.  The apartment met the teacher's expectations completely.  The house was in the direction of today's Baschawerk'sche house so the front was on Church Street and it was a corner house.  (Between this corner house and the aforementioned Baschawerk'sche house there was an apartment house.  This place was first acquired by the community much later.)

    So the teacher was provided with a permanent apartment but the school hall which also served as a place of worship would be urgently built. About the expenditures it can be disputed that each couple produced a third of the school fruit and school oats.  These grains would be sold to the members or brought to Vrbas and Crvenka where one sold it on the canal.

    In January 1830 the collective community members in Vrbas, Pazova, Kischker, Crvenka, and Sekitsch and indeed fruit in the worth of 58 Florint and 147 Florint at collection.  So our church community also once provided donations to other communities and we do not need to be ashamed of this because the poor and needy have the rich opportunity to receive their possessions from it.  We must know and it should be remembered that our parents were members of a poor Diaspora community, then we will not be so petty.  The community can be proud today that they have come so far from poor conditions with God's help, that they receive today from their own strength and the poor can be assisted.

    About the 6th of May 1830 the 400 Florints were paid as down payment for the house exchange.  Until the school/prayer hall was finished one still needed:

   for 1000 bricks gotten from Temerin        16 Florint,  -- Kreuzer

   construction lumber                              64 Florint,  50 Kreuzer

   for 4000 roof tiles from Neu Satz             92 Florint, 45 Kreuzer

   for the bricklayers: Johann Mayer

   and Philipp Heck according to contract     120 Florint, --  Kreuzer

   for the cabinet maker Johann Bauer         67 Florint, 30 Kreuzer

   (Be aware that 60 Kreuzer = 1 Florint)     361 Florint, 05 Kreuzer

   Other expenses were still needed for :

   tampers at 19 Kreuzer each                   2 Florint, 24 Kreuzer

   Aldomasch for the tamper                     1 Florint, 40 Kreuzer

   2 banners and a Maypole at the

   erection of the roof trusses                   2 Florint, 12 Kreuzer

   Wine at the erection                            2 Florint, 32 Kreuzer

   Pay off the brick overseer

   (the corruption grew) . . . . . . . .          50 Kreuzer

   Total      9 Florint, 38 Kreuzer

      In the fall of 1830 the building was finished.  Now the community had a teacher's apartment and a school hall which served as a place of worship at the same time, everything at one suitable place.

   The official opening of the first school/prayer house took place on the last Sunday of October 1830.  Unfortunately there is no record existing of it.  But it is accepted that the official opening was planned by the proper pastor Johann Skulteti from Sekitsch.  Then with his official opening the first ledger was placed into the community and he signed each annual budget as "pastor in Sekitsch and Feketitsch."

   Therefore it was at the church dedication ceremony in 1930, a hundred years later, that the Evangelist church community can keep their church service in their own home.

   After another two years the Bede'sche house, now more teacher's apartment was repaired and next to the school/prayer hall a dining area and stable were built on and the garden and the yard would be fenced in with thatch.  Germans everywhere sought to have their yards fenced in.  In the yard Adam Kies made the well.  At the settlement in Feketitsch only every eleven houses received a well since there were eleven houses in each row.  The well stood in front of every sixth house.  The well that Adam Kies dug in 1832 still exists and never dried up.  It supplied water in abundance to the whole church building and all the other buildings in the church community for 100 years.  These wells were fed from a spring which sprung from under the church which must have curved at the foundation because it was not scooped out there.

   The school/prayer house was always filled up, almost from year to year one or two new benches were received in it.  The crowd of school children steadily grew and the number of believers at the church service became ever larger.

   A.)3. and B.) 3. The buildings were built too small and much too low from very little means, because the school/prayer house would be adapted from the old Bede'schen house.  And so it was that after barely 20 years the school/prayer house as well as the teacher's apartment were dilapidated.  As soon as the increase in prices permitted it after the unrest and devastation of 1848-49, they first started to think of the plan for a new building in 1854. From this year the decline started to increase.  In the next year 20,000 bricks would be purchased and in 1856 another 14,000 bricks were bought to erect a separate place of worship and a new building for the school and teacher's apartment in 1857.  In the cash box a respectable total of 4,066 Florint was saved for 2 or 3 years. With the beginning of spring the old school/prayer house and teacher's apartment were cleared away.  Today hardly anything can be remembered of the life of these first modest buildings of the Evangelist church community.  The plan for the new buildings was finished by Mr. Kopitz.  (A more detailed statement about him is missing.)  He received 50 Florint for it. According to this plan the place of worship stood where the church stands today.  The teacher's apartment and the school were at the spot of today's parsonage.                                                       

   The place of worship was separated from the teacher's apartment by a solid two-winged door which led to a dry entrance.

   The 34,000 bricks were not enough by far, so sandstones would be bought by Katharina Bollinger, Filipp Laux, Ludwig Morell, Filipp Ringel, Gottfried Schuster, and Johann Wagner.  The brickburner Conrad Butscher supplied the 12,000 roof tiles.

   For the sand the leaders went to despot Sv. Ivan.  The lumber must have been procured from St. Betschej and cost 644 Florint.

   The carpentry work was done by Johann Stutzmann.  The cabinetry work, including the benches for the place of worship, was finished by Friedrich Schmidt and Theobald Hauser.  Some of the benches still exist today in the gallery of the church and in the community and should be respected.  Johann Gebel, the blacksmith, made the cross for the place of worship.

   At the consecration of the church in 1857 the new building was finished and could be handed over for that purpose.  Solidly built, the place or worship stood until 1903.  No less lasting the

teacher's apartment and the school also stood there.  The teacher's apartment and school became the parsonage in 1860 and served as such until 1927.

   B.) 4.  The teachers would be content in the marvellous new apartment and new school for a short time.  Then in 1859 Feketitsch was directed by the parent community that it must see to it that the church community provide a parsonage.  They bought the corner house of Peter Bika with the old thatch house included in the deal.  Today at this spot stands the teacher's apartment and the three schools.  The price was 500 Florint and the community did not have that much money, so 300 Florint was loaned to the newly elected pastor for it.  Here it was planned to build a new parsonage.  But the pastor would live in rented accommodation until the completion of the building.

   But it turned out differently.  In view of the empty cash box which the ministry exhausted they satisfied the pastor with the new teacher's apartment.  The teacher received the old Bika'sche thatch house for the apartment with the assurance that it would soon be built.  But the first to have his turn in it came 25 years later.

   A.) 4.  So the school house became the parsonage in 1860.  It took so long to build a school hall on it.  After two years and after the community brought so many methods together, the great school hall was built on in the teacher's courtyard in 1862.  The great school hall was not built on to the teacher's apartment but rather in between one great empty space that ten years later yet another school could be built on this spot.

   Someone probably had a plan that this new teacher's apartment or parsonage would be expanded on this empty place. 

   At the building of the schoolhall which commenced in the year 1862, work was done by the following masters: tamper and compresser Johann Egner, Franz Schepp, Johann Schuckert, Johann Will; carpenter: Daniel Spengler; cabinetmaker: Friedrich Schmidt; locksmith: Peter Wolf.

   The earlier school hall at the parsonage was divided into two rooms and extended from the parsonage which had five rooms on the street front at the time.

   At the conclusion of the calculations for the year 1862 the usual explanation given is the following: "When the expenses were compared to the income just for this year, expenses were 846 Florint, 91 Kreuzers and the income was 841 Florint, 22 Kreuzer.

   So the expenses exceeded income by 5 Guilders, 69 Kreuzers."

   The church community had overcome a difficult year.  From 1854 to 1862 the balance increased.  But also one whole street front on the main street from one corner to the other they could call their own.

   The place of worship stood on it and the great parsonage with eight windows facing the main street could only be entered through a dry entrance from the place of worship.  Then followed the great schoolhall  with three windows facing the street.  Everything was built high and covered with roof tiles.  At the other corner stood the teacher's apartment, the old Bika'sche house built low with a thatched roof  and without a single window on main street.

  In front of the church, parsonage, and school the first pavement was laid in 1867, also a rarity in those days.

   This expense did not come from the cash box.  Instead a free donation was collected for it and it was such a success that there was 17 Florint, 56 Kreuzers to spare in the church cash box.  But the street in front of the teacher's apartment remained without pavement.  Probably that is why the teacher's apartment would soon be cleared away.  Another eighteen years elapsed until this happened though.

   A.) 5. The number of schoolchildren multiplied constantly.  In 1860 there were 60 boys and 53 girls who attended school.  Soon the number climbed to 150.  Consequently the executive school officials urged and pushed for a second teaching hall to be built.  In 1872 a second teaching position was organized and a second school was built on the empty spot between the old teacher's apartment and the ten year old school which adjoined the teacher's apartment at one end and on the other it was separated from the earlier school by a narrow walkway under its roof.  At the same time 1½ fathoms of the mighty old school would be divided up for a church chancellery. 

   The bricklayers for this construction were: Gottfried Howe and Georg Bechtele.  The work cost 40 Florint in Austrian currency.

   The tamper was: Peter Schwebler.  He received 6 Florint, 75 Kreuzer in Austrian currency per fathom.

   The carpenter was: Andreas Henkel who received 3 Florint, 45 Kreuzer in Austrian currency.

   The cabinet maker was Friedrich Schmidt who received 40 Florint in Austrian currency for 2 doors and 4 windows.  Also for each bench in the school he received 9 Florint, 50 Kreuzer in Austrian currency.  These benches are still being used today in the 5th and 6th grades.  The locksmith was Peter Wolf.  He received 16 Florint in Austrian currency for his work.

   On the 15th of September 1872 this second school was officially opened.  The new school was plastered. in 1879 both schools would be paneled.

   These schools stood until 1910.  The smaller school children went into the earlier built teaching hall, so it was named the little school.  The school built later was attended by the higher classes, so it was called the big school.  It had three windows on the street and two windows facing the yard.  The halls soon proved to be too narrow.  The benches stood on both sides against the wall and 4, 6, or 8 children sat on them, boys on one side, girls on the other.  The halls were also too low, in so much that the number of school children in each school was at least 100 if not more.

   The front of the church community from one corner to the other now appears in the following way: first stands the place of worship, built against it is the large parsonage with eight windows facing the main street.  Then follows the gate to the parsonage yard, the large horse stable of the pastors, then came a three fathom long wall with a small door in the schoolyard to the staircase which led to the school attic which would be used as an assembly for community use.  Then followed the school building.  There was at first a narrow church chancellery with three steps and a two-winged double door on the street.  Then the little school for the lower grades and the big school for the upper grades. Both halls had three windows on the main street and were separated from one another by an enclosed walkway.  From the street four steps led into this plastered entrance from where on the right and left opposite one another in the middle of the entrance were doors which led into the school halls.  This walkway had four other doors in the yard.  Because of the many doors there was a constant breeze in it.  In the winter the whole walkway was full of schoolchildren with little wooden shoes.  It was in this so-called cluster that thanks to the strictness of the teacher the children stood in beautiful rank and file formation and often numbered over 200 pairs.  The old teacher's apartment leaned against the school.  Covered with bricks everything else was new, just as it is today.  Only the teacher's apartment was still the thatched house of Peter Bika.  This building was small, frail, and old, just as it is today.

   B.) 5. Bika's thatched house was promoted as the teacher's apartment in 1860 and accommodated the teacher for another 25 years.  Even so, 1874 was the first that a room was paneled for the teacher.  The second room received a floor in 1880.  Because it was such a fire hazard the house was completely insured since 1873, but to no avail, it would not burn up.

   In 1885 the mason Heinrich Schwaner received instructions that for the amount of 20 Kreuzer he should examine the teacher's apartment one more time to see if it might be able to be repaired.  After that nothing more was to be done since it was recognized "that in place of the old teacher's apartment the building of a new apartment was an undeniable necessity."

   The teacher's family received accommodations where there was also a summer kitchen at their disposal in the Hungarian Reformed school located on the opposite side of town for the duration of the construction. 

The lumber was purchased in St. Betschej for about 170 Florint.
Wilhelm Hðckel received for his masonry work, 46 Florint, 33 Kreuzer.
Peter Schwebler received for tamping and compressing, 56 Florint, 70 Kreuzer.
Daniel Spengler received for his carpentry work, 35 Florint.
Jakob Freund, the cabinetmaker, received for his work, 291 Florint, 50 Kreuzer.

   The whole building was pitched, covered with roof tiles and the school built 23 years before was placed under one roof.  The apartment consisted of a small anteroom on the neighboring street, a corner room, and a room on the main street.  Furthermore there is still a winter kitchen and a dining area with stairs.  The three meter wide corridor is provided with a chest high wall and in later years there was a cellar on the yard side of the corridor and a summer kitchen.  The one step high entrance led directly into the school corridor.  Today the new schools are so wide that the whole width of the corridor takes in the teacher's apartment.  Three steps lead from the one corridor to the other and because of the width of the school could only be seen with effort from one corner.  The front of the building has three windows on the main street and two on the neighboring street.  On this street there is also a one winged entrance door, an eight meter long wall and the gate to the entrance of the courtyard.  The apartment always belonged to the teacher who was also at the same time the choirmaster.  For that reason it was also called the choirmaster teacher's apartment.  Since the nationalization of the teacher it is exclusively the choirmaster's apartment.  Every now and then they would refurbish it and the last time, in 1931, a rather thorough renovation was undertaken.  The walls of the room stayed damp.  The lower choirmaster's apartment, without a gutter, next to the high school building, parsonage, and church today looks like the old modest little mother next to her proud, robust offspring.  The place for the choirmaster's apartment is 314 square fathoms.

   Notice also that in the year 1890 the church inspector at the time, August Pulski, donated 100 Guilders for the purchase of an apartment for the second teacher.  In 1895 the Kohn's house (Butscher and Dietrich) which lay opposite the church was also bought, but the community declined this acquisition.

   A.) 6. Since the turn of the century the number of schoolchildren in each school has been consistently over 100 students.  With such a large school census the school halls were much too small and extremely unhygienic.  With the benches standing against the damp walls, even the best of intentions could only sweep up half of the dirt and dust.  The clothes, books, and even the bodies of the children were by far not so well cared for as we see it in the schools of today.  Dust was never absent in the school but if the schoolchildren were more lively than usual the teacher entered, in the true sense of the words, an impenetrable cloud of dust.  Because of this the teacher took the all to lively with taming and beating from the start.  Half, maybe more, of the dust that was of little use flowed through existing air holes, partly to the attic, partly out into the open air.  The unhygienic school halls could be considered breeding grounds for germs.  Year after year the school officials never missed requesting the community that this evil be remedied.  After that the church building was completed in 1903 and 1904, and it continued until 1910 when the school building could be tackled.  In the Spring of 1910 it was concluded by the community that the old school be demolished and in its place three teaching halls and a church chancellery be built next to one another, nevertheless without corridors in between.  The entrance for the whole building would be installed on the end towards the parsonage.  After that the street front of the schoolyard was too short requiring a share of the parish yard.  As compensation for it the free room behind the church would be shared with the parish yard.  It should be noted that the rest of this free room was a 300 square fathom large house lot which the community had purchased at the time as the church should be built.  Already through the church building the parish yard would be smaller and must be completed from this newly purchased yard.

Jakob Gutwein took over the masonry work at the new school for 4,280 Kronen.
Carpentry work: Heinrich Müller, 765 Kronen.
Cabinetry work: Adam Baschawerk, 2,415 Kronen.
Plumbing work: Jakob Haufer, 225 Kronen.

   The building plans were produced by master mason Adam Baschawerk free of charge.  It would require approximately 120,000 bricks and 28,000 roof tiles, which the brick workers Christian Welker and Jakob Häuser supplied.  The whole building together with furniture required the sum of 15,000 Kronen.  The entrances of the church chancellery and the teaching halls were connected by a corridor provided with 14 pillars and a chest high wall.  From the corridor four steps led to the schoolyard and on the playground.  The schools were 8 meters wide, 8.5 meters long, and 4 meters high.  Each teaching hall had 4 large windows facing the street.  The church chancellery that was built on had one window on the street. 

   The street front is painted with every other building toned chalk white.  The roof of all of the buildings is 37.30 meters long and 11.75 meters wide.

   After more than 25 years the buildings are still as new today and the competence of the craftsmen from Feketitsch are praised because no stranger has done any work on them.

  The middle of the street front, with its 13 large windows, lasted until 1910.  These school buildings, at the time were the largest of their kind in the whole village, showed in time where our long journey in this world has ended.  It is from the mouths of later descendents' apprenticeships that we hear about the enormous progress made in science that are still deep dark secrets to us today.  It is the witness of such a world view which we cannot grasp today.

The Evangelical Front.

   The choirmaster's apartment, the new school building, the new parsonage, the church.

   It would be nice as a foundation to always mold every apprentice with pure morals
and fatherly virtues!

[Published at 2003 by Jody McKim Pharr

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