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

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

The Consequences of World War 1914-1918

by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler

   The congregation eased the losses affected by their material position.  At first 2% of the income was submitted, then four Kronen per Dinar was expected.  Finally the Dinar lost 9/10 of its worth in gold.  The war loans of the Hungarian monarchy are worth nothing.

   On the occasion of the 400 year return of the Reformation celebration on the 31st of October 1917 the pastor of the community was given the suggestion of a fund with the interesting purpose of the Evangelical community having a carefree existence after 100 years.  The donated sum together with the interest should not be touched.

   The people were taxed to provide for the needy and the poor.  In 1919 an offertory box was installed and before Christmas the incoming sum was collected and shared with members of the community in need.  Besides that the elders collected for the poor each winter.  It was decided at the community assembly in 1936 to raise the national tax 1% to support our poor.  In 1922 the people of America collected 232 dollars which equals 66.2 Kronen.  The poor received 34.3 of it, the parsonage 12.4, for the bells 10.5, and for the organ 9.0 Kronen.  Among the poor 14.0 Kronen was distributed.  From the remaining portion a fund was established for the poor.  Also the same year an association of "Austrian men" from America donated 38.15 Kronen.  The total was divided up between the poor of the Evangelical congregation and the poor of the German Reformed congregation.  Among the contributors the ones who donated the most were: Heinrich Müller, Heinrich Brückner, Adam Ruppe, Peter Hellermann and others.

   In the framework of the new national borders it was soon necessary that the Evangelical church of the country had to adapt to the altered relationship of their constitution.  For this purpose the Werbaßer Synod was called together in 1925 which met for four days.  After that on the 16th of April 1930 the "Law over the the Evangelical Christian Churches and over the Reformed Christian Church of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia" was published and the synod law could be presented for sanctioning. - Our congregation provided the proposal to the synod of a central treasury but they had no success.  The members of the synod were elected by the communities.  Outgoing members must be replaced.  There were frequent elections and runoffs at which the community often only knew one candidate.  Our Evangelical congregation made an application to the Seniorate that they would like to introduce a way of organizing guest preachers which could contribute to the promotion of church life as a way to control these problems.  In this respect our community's application was a success.  Senior Jakob Jahn was greatly in favor of this request.  Nevertheless no such organization for the guest preachers could be brought about which they would like to secure for the duration, although this was possible and necessary.  The eternal material question and the unfounded fear of one unfavorable retroactive force of the local pastor.  An outgoing attempt was made to overcome the lack of enthusiasm in the matter.  Apart from this, this point failed.  So far our community in the situation of guest sermons was to hear from the following pulpit speakers: Dr. Philipp Popp, bishop's administrator and the pastor of Zagreb; Senior Jakob Jahn, pastor of Dobropolje (Kisker); Jakob Kettenbach, senior of Srem (Syrmia) and pastor of Zemun; Senior a.D. Samuel Schumacher, our German member of parliament and pastor of Petrovopolje; Wilhelm Klaar, pastor of Titel; Heinrich Lebherz, pastor of Sombor; Consenior Franz Morganthaler from Jarek; Jakob Mensch, pastor of Pasicevo; Heinrich Meder, pastor of Novi Vrbas.  Besides that the other pastors and vicars served at church services.  Lectures held: Schooldirector Gettwert, professor in Graz, and Professor Seizinger from Tübingen.  At these very special experiences the guest sermons informed of the colored missionary: Sadhu John Nelson Christananda from the Indian subcontinent in Asia.  He was here in 1926 and 1930.  Also the bishop's administrator, Dr. Philipp Popp, stepped up to the pulpit for the second time as he went on a publicity trip for the Gustav-Adolf Association with which our national churches at

The colored guest preacher and missionary: Sadhu John Nelson Christananda.  He was 36 years old, Evangelical, and he came from the Indian subcontinent in Asia where he spread the Evangelical religion among his colored comrades.  They needed 60 Evangelical schools, which would cost 3000 Dinars, and from their design only simple straw covered huts were built.  He    immortalized his handwriting in the minutes with the motto:

         "Holy, holy, holy is Mr. Zebaoth."

once a show of thanks to the association testified just how energized our poor community was under the grip of the poor.  Gustav Adolf lives!  He has sacrificed his life to help the insistent Evangelicals from a higher need and through him this association still helps Evangelicals in need today.  Our community contributed a gift of love of 2022 Dinars.

- It was very interesting to see what dangers such guest preachers concerned the adult community and what use from it is presented for church life, which in the previous decade in most communities the Senior failed to ever hear the guest preachers and left the guest preachers alone.  Bishop Dr. Philipp Popp has so far visited our community three or four times.

   The guest preachers required more work since just as today everyone would expect a great performance just as 10, 20, 30 years ago.  But more work still did not diminish anyone's authority.

   It is therefore regrettable that if the communities present a guest preacher, they do not reflect on their sermons and it is this lack of interest and local spirit less than flattering.

   The Feketitsch community was lucky to have Seniorats who hear most of the guest preachers relevant to the general church attendees so that our community was in first place in the Seniorat.

[Published at 2004 by Jody McKim Pharr]

Heritage » Schwebler » Pratscher » Society » The Great Swabian Trek » 1849-1921