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

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

Geography & Natural Disasters

Stranded in the flood of Kathreinfeld, 1940: Mathias & Katherina Bartl nee Groszer & Hilda.
Family of Richard Rembala (Bartl, Kapler, Bleijer & Groszer Rembala) ~ Chris Kaip

Geography of Our Homeland Community of Beschka by Peter Lang

The Climate by Dr. Viktor Pratscher

Climate and Bodies of Water by Josef Schramm

The Prehistory of the Region Around Beschka by Peter Lang

Geographical History of Feketic/Feketitsch by Dr. Viktor Pratscher

Disasters by Stefan Schmied

Memories of Floods in Banat by Nick Tullius

Topography of Romania

River of Romania

Massive Floods of Banat 2005


 Vintage Newspaper Articles & Snippets
& Various Timeline Info
as related to the Danube Swabian geographic areas.
People of the River
Interview with Eve Eckert Koehler
by Linda Steiner, Journal Ethnic Reporter, Milwaukee Journal, 1981
Persecuted in aftermath of World War II, Donauschwaben carry on
Many Traditions, One Family
Interview with Karen Schmieder of Pewaukee
by Rebecca Steimle,
Senior Editor, Metroparent Magazine
International Institute's Cultural Awareness Program at Folk Fair Holiday Folk Fair International and The Milwaukee Donauschwaben. Nov. 2, 2000.
World Ignored Postwar Persecution
Interview with Anna Naegele and daughter Rosemary Naegele
by Linda Steiner, Journal Ethnic Reporter, Milwaukee Journal, 1981

Harried Donauschwaben recall postwar terror
Timeline Bites - Transcribed exactly as it was printed in "the literary present," (as if the events are happening now).
1861 A long, bitterly cold winter. The crops grew, but before they were harvested a flood came from the north (Warjasch) and drowned the fields. The whole cereal crop was destroyed. Bogarosch Timeline
1863 Heavy drought; the harvest was destroyed. Soup kitchen opens.

The Famine in South Hungary

1872 Banat Completely Overrun With Water
1889 Banat in Danger of Floods
1890 Laid Waster By Flames (Kaba, Hatzfeld, Saro and other villages near Temesvar are also in flames.)
1898 Hungarian Boys' Sand Incorporated
1898 Gendarmes Fire Upon a Mob— A serious agrarian outbreak
1900 Walnut Industry (Banat)
1900 News From The Oil Fields and The Mines, Oil in Rumanian
1908 The Banater Bees, 1908 by Mr. Ralph Benton
1910 Thousand Lives Lost in Hungarian Floods
1911 Robber Employs Men To Destroy Distillery (Temesvar)



Daily Alta California, Vol. 12, No. 131,
11 May 1860 — Further News by Pony Express.
(Transcribed & Published at DVHH by Jody McKim Pharr, 2014)

The Emperor of Aust ria has published an ordinance intended to promote the cultivation of tobacco in Hungary, Croatia, Transylvania, the Waldovins, and the Banat.


Sacramento Daily Union, Vol. 41, No. 7282,
15 Sept 1871
(Transcribed & Published at DVHH by Jody McKim Pharr, 2014)

    Fearful misery prevails in the most fruitful parts of Hungary. The Temes Benat is called the "corn chamber of Hungary," and this designation is applied to a district where, indeed, fruitfulness sprang out at every pore. But this state of things has belonged for a hundred years past to history. The ''fruitful" Banat is about railing to material rain. And who must bear the sin of bringing about this condition? Only ten years ago the Banat was a district that rejoiced in good, well-kept roads, which enabled the farmer to bring his produce to the market, where trade and commerce, manufacture and industry prospered, and everywhere the prosperity of the inhabitants, the material well-being of the people was evident. The intellectual condition of the people was progressing; the schools of the Banat, especially the German ones, were the best in all Hungary.  But now all this is different. The roads have fallen to decay. So ruinous are they that horses stick in the mud on them. The rivers have been neglected to be regulated, and the consequence has been that the high waters have broken through the dams and thousands and thousands of acres of the most productive land are now under water. A third of the Banat to-day is a "desert of waters.'' "Whole districts which were reclaimed under the Emperor Karl and Maria Theresa, and since then have been tree from water, can now be navigated with boats. And since misfortunes never come singly, tremendous rain storms and floods have destroyed the rest of the field and garden fruit and the vineyards. There are districts where the hail has cleared the foliage from all the trees. To these miseries came still another. While the people are thus suffering from natural causes the government has put in execution for arrears of taxes. It is a sad fact that many villages have arrears far exceeding the value of the property; more especially is thus the case with Servian and Roumanian communities. The cattle of the peasants are now taken and sold for these arrears. The sum obtained does not even cover the costs of execution, and the peasant is left a beggar. Pauperism is frightfully on the increase; for, with the ruin of the agriculture, trade and industry are also brought down.


Banat completely overrun with water.
— Mariposa Gazette, Vol. 18, No. 5,
26 July 1872
(Transcribed & Published at DVHH by Jody McKim Pharr, 2014)

From Austro - Hungary comes intelligence which renders it certain that a great demand will be made upon the wheat crop of America for this year. In various portions of the monarch, the prospect of the crops has been completely destroyed. Hungary has been termed the granary of the world ; the black, fertile soil of' the Banat is so well adapted to raising wheat that frequently from thirty to forty bushels of choice wheat have been raised to the acre. Now this region is completely inundated with water.



— Daily Alta Calif., Vol. 83, No. 58,
27 August 1890
(Transcribed & Published at DVHH by Jody McKim Pharr, 2014)

Tokay and Several Other Hungarian Towns
All But Destroyed.

Pesth, August 26th.— A fire broke out yesterday at Tokay, the entrepot lor the noted Tokay wine. The whole town, except thirteen houses, was destroyed. There were in the town a Roman Catholic cathedral, Lutheran Reformed and Greek United churches, also Piarist and Capuchin convents. The population of the place is about 5500. Later.— All the public buildings have been destroyed. The greatest distress prevails among the inhabitants. The fire is still burning. Hundreds of cattle perished in the flames. '

Kaba, Hatzfeld, Saro and other villages near Temesvar are also in flames. Ten persons have perished at Kaba and three at Saro.

Gendarmes Fire Upon a Mob—
A serious agrarian outbreak
—San Francisco Call, Vol. 83, No. 123,
2 April 1898
(Transcribed & Published at DVHH by Jody McKim Pharr, 2014)

A dispatch to the Times from Vienna says: A serious agrarian outbreak has taken place In the Hatzfeld district, near Temesvar, Hungary. There has been a conflict between the rioters and the gendarmes, the former being armed with stones, pitchforks and hatchets. The gendarmes fired upon the mob and three laborers were killed and several severely wounded. The mob thereupon charged the gendarmes and several were wounded.

(DVHH Webmaster note: gendarmes: a military force charged with police duties among civilian populations.)


Hungarian Boys' Sand Incorporated
— San Francisco Call, Vol. 83, No. 64,
2 February 1898
(Transcribed & Published at DVHH by Jody McKim Pharr, 2014)

Articles of Incorporation of Kaiser Franz Josef's Magyar Husaren Knaben Kappelle (Hungarian Boys' Military band) were filed yesterday. The incorporation is formed for the purpose of managing the band and giving concerts in the United States, Australia and South America. The capital stock is $125,000, of which $62,515 has been subscribed. The directors are Gustav Walter. Nicklas Schilzonyi. Morris Meyerfeld Jr., Charles L. Ackerman and Emlle Million.

— Los Angeles Herald, Vol. XXVIII, No. 37,
7 November 1900
(Transcribed & Published at DVHH by Jody McKim Pharr, 2014) 

In its annual harvest edition the California Fruit Grower thus speaks of the walnut Industry; In the United States there are three species of walnuts that are of commercial importance, the Person, commonly called the English walnut, being the only one of importance in California. It probably originated in Persia or Asia Minor. The word "walnut" means "foreign nut," and it probably was Introduced into England by the Romans, who, however far they might establish themselves from home carried their pleasures with them. In the old world the walnut is found wild in the province of Banat in Hungary, in the mountains of Greece, in Armenia, in north and northeast India, in Burma and in Japan.


Los Angeles Herald, Vol. XXVIII, No. 35,
 5 November 1900
(Transcribed & Published at DVHH by Jody McKim Pharr, 2014)


An Industry Which Promises to Attain Gigantic Proportions-Methods of Drilling, Producing and Refining

A very interesting paper read on petroleum congress at the Paris exposition was the one by N. Coucou on "Roumanian Petroleum," and exhibits an energy in the development of the industry there which bids fair to place Roumanian oil as a competitor of the American and Russian product in the markets of the world. Mr. Coucou says: For some time now the petroleum mining Industry in Roumania has been extensively developing, having been encouraged by the great abundance of this mineral oil in the subsoil of the country, and by the transport faculties afforded towards central Europe, by the Danube, and towards the Mediterranean sea and the Levant by the Black sea and Bosphorus.

The chief incentives to the advance, however, were the continually increasing demand for a cheap illuminant; the progressive displacement of vegetable lubricating oils by those of mineral origin; the necessity for a special fuel for the new motors and automobiles; and finally, the employment of distillation residues from crude petroleum as fuel in the largest industries, and particularly for marine boilers, will certainly be the principal factor in raising to the highest extent the extraction and treatment of petroleum in general and that of Roumania in particular.

The price of coal keeps on rising incessantly; consequently the metallurgical Industries see themselves obliged to put up the price of their products, whilst for the same reason the steamship companies have doubled and trebled their rates of freight. This constant Increase would be fatal to the extension of the benefits of civilization were it not that the friends of progress have occupied themselves in finding means to make up the deficit existing between the production of coal and the demand for that useful fuel, and have sought the remedy in petroleum.

Since petroleum is, henceforward, destined to play one of the most important parts in industrial matters, especially as regards transit by land and sea, I have taken the opportunity afforded by the first International Petroleum Congress to supply the members of the congress with certain particulars regarding Roumanian petroleum.

The oil-bearing districts of Roumania, situated as a rule between 250 and 500 meters above the sea level, extend along the southern and eastern slopes of the Carpathian range from Govora as far as Varatecoul, and comprise a zone 250 miles its length by twelve and one-half miles in breadth, corresponding to a superficial area of nearly 200,000 acres.

The chief of the state mining department of Roumania gives in a recently published account of the subsoil of Roumania the following estimate of the productivity of the oil territory of that country.

"Basing." he says, "on the strictest investigation and observations derived from work done on the spot, the total production from 50,000 acres of land is about 80,000,000 wagon loads, which calculated at the rate of $50 per load represents a value of one billion and a half of dollars."

Such Is the richness of the Roumanian petroleum zone, the value of which may be put down as nearly twelve billions of dollars.

In this there is nothing surprising when it is remembered that in 1899 a single well (No. 12) of the "Steaus Romana" Co., at Campina, produced seventy loads of oil per diem for thirty nine days, or in this short period, a pecuniary return of $136,500. The flow diminished a little afterwards, but has not ceased.

Roumanian petroleum is composed almost exclusively of carbon and hydrogen only, no more than mere traces of oxygenated bodies and minute quantities of sulphur and nitrogen having been detected therein.

The chemical composition of Roumanian petroleum varies between 86.17 Ser cent carbon, with 18.79 per cent hydrogen, and 87.57 per cent carbon, with 11.37 per cent hydrogen. Oxygen is never found in larger proportion than 1 per cent, and sulphur is rarely detected even a trace.

The color of Roumanian oil varies from a light transparent yellow and light transparent red, to brown and opaque black. A greenish fluorescence is a characteristic common to all. It is of a high gravity, contains considerable paraffine, and produces from 28 to 46 cent illuminating oil of high test.

Mr. Coucou continues; Petroleum has been known to exist in Roumania for several centuries. The "Codex Baudinus" cited by the academician V. A. Urechia, recounts that from a time anterior to the year 1640 the inhabitants of Titesti-Lucacesti employed the oil extracted from the local petroliferous deposits for greasing their cart wheels and as a curative agent in certain maladies.

The systematic working of the deposits, however was not begun until 1859, the statistics for which year show that crude petroleum was exported to the value of $30,000. From that time up to 1895 the production of oil developed at a very slow rate up to 1895, from which time a jump was made and the annual output has increased by 50 per cent ever since.

The oil is obtained by means of wells in case of depths up to 490 feet and by "bore holes" for depths to over 1800 feet. A petroleum well is an excavation from forty-eight to sixty inches in diameter, lined with planks. The well is dug, and when the first oil stratum is struck and the pit fills with oil it is baled out with buckets and the work is continued for months, or until the supply gives out, when the pit is deepened until a second bed of oil is reached, and so on as deep as possible.

When deeper deposits of oil are to be worked the operation of drilling is resorted to, and is conducted on lines familiar to people in the American oil fields. Many of the same difficulties met with in the California fields are also encountered in Roumania. They have "flowing wells," "pumping wells;" and "dry holes" are also found.

The petroleum is stored at the wells in reservoirs of wood or sheet iron, and the transport of the crude oil from the wells to the refineries or nearest railway station is effected either in large wooden or sheet iron barrels, conveyed in carts, or by means of the pipe lines, two or three inches in diameter, with which some of the most important of the producing centers are provided. Already over sixty-two miles of pipe lines have been laid down.

At the distilleries and railway stations the oil is stored in sheet iron tanks. Conveyance by rail is effected in tank care, generally the property of the larger well owners or refiners.

 A number of refineries, some of them of large size, are engaged in Roumania in treating the crude petroleum with the object of extracting the benzines, motor oils, and burning oils of different grades, as well as mineral lubricating oils, paraffin, etc.

Of the 300,000 tons of petroleum extracted in Roumania during the past year, about one-third was consumed in the interior of the country, and 200,000 tons were exported, either as crude oil or derived products.

So far as the home consumption is concerned, petroleum and its product are employed in the form of benzine for special motors and various industrial purposes, as burning oil for lighting in the form of lubricating oils for oiling machinery; in the form of paraffin for the candle-making and other industries; as distillation residue, and even in the crude state, for fuel in manufactories, railway locomotives and, for some time past, marine boilers.

Of about five hundred locomotives owned by the Roumanian railways more than one-half are at present heated with petroleum residuum projected on to a bed of lignite; five of the engines use petroleum fuel exclusively; and the conversion of all the rest in order to adapt them for this fuel is being proceeded with systematically.

Roumanian petroleum and its products are daily gaining new successes in the markets of other lands. The adjacent country of Hungary derives from Roumania the whole of the crude material treated in the refineries of Transylvania and Banat, and accords this oil special facilities in its tariff. Bulgaria and Constantinople preferably employ Roumanian petroleum in its various forms; Switzerland takes a large quantity of Roumanian benzine for its motors; Central Germany finds it advantageous to cover its requirements in Roumania, drawing supplies via the Danube as far as Ratisbon: and considerable shipments of burning oil to Italy and crude oil to England are made by sea.

 The most important factor, however, in augmenting the export trade in Roumanian oil, is the adaptation—now in progress—for petroleum fuel of the numerous steamboats plying on the Danube, from Ratisbon to Sulina, and, above all, the employment of oil fuel In marine boilers.

Mr. Coucou concludes with an appeal for better organization in the methods of producing and shipping and intimates that the producers in Roumania would gain much for themselves if some plan was instituted for better storage and transportation facilities and means of marketing. The Roumanian oil industry, however, even at present, is no small thing.

by Mr. Ralph Benton, Univ. of Calif.
Pacific Rural Press -
31 October 1908
(Transcribed & Published at DVHH by Jody McKim Pharr, 2014)

Mr. E. L. Taylor of Chatham, Mass., under date of October 6th, writes as follows: "I have been trying to clear up, for a long time, some doubts in regard to color of Banater bees, and I believe you are perhaps the only one in the United States that can give me correct information upon this subject. This is the question, whether or not the Banater worker ever has yellow or rust-color or reddish bands, or any or all of the first three segments, of the abdomen, or any of these colorings which approaches a band on the first segment? I have a very superior strain of Banater that do not show any bands. I also have introduced blood into my yard that have all of the characteristics of the Banater as I know it, but that show one, two or three bands of the above colors. I have noted also that some young queens breed workers at first having the bands of yellow or red, but later and all through their careers their workers are minus these colored bands. Any information that you may choose to give on this subject will be very gratefully received."

For the general information of our readers let us say that the Banaters are a brownish gray variety of bees found typically in the province of Banat, Hungary, hence their name. They are noticeably smaller than either the Carniolans west of them or the Germans to the north, both varieties of which are somewhat isolated from them by mountain ranges. Like Germans and Italians they are not so prolific but that they may be crowded in smaller sized hives without exhibiting a tendency to dissipate in swarming. They cap their honey white and do not exclusively propolize, although they do gather more propolis than Carniolans.

In direct reply to Mr. Taylor's question, we would say that the typical Banater is of a brownish gray showing no yellow. On the other hand, we were told when in Budapest, by reliable authority, that in the Siebenberg region to the east of Budapest the bees showed considerable yellow.

We have also noted that breeding queens imported from about Nagy-Betscherek (a point in southern Hungary also visited by us on our way overland through Servia and Bulgaria to Constantinople) occasionally have progeny showing a slightly rusty band on the first segment of the abdomen. The observation made by Mr. Taylor that this rusty band disappears in later progeny is an interesting one upon which we have no data. It points to a need of very careful breeding experiments conducted through a series of years with a view to determining the laws of heredity in bees, to the end that we have a basis for selection in breeding, so that we may by such judicious and intelligent selection not only better the existing bees but develop new strains for special purposes or branches of specialized bee-keeping for certain localities. The possibilities of such an investigation covering a long enough time to arrive at definite conclusions are at once full of deep scientific interest and of great practical value to the apiarist at large. It is a line of work that should be taken up under the auspices of the State Experiment Station, both on account of its bearing upon certain lines of biological research and because of its highly practical value and bearing upon the selection of stock in apiary practice.

In conclusion let us observe that the Banater bees are among the gentler, varieties of which the Carinolan and Caucasians, previously spoken of in these columns are also representative. We have seen the rare spectacle of a Banater queen quietly moving about and depositing eggs on a comb under manipulation, so gentle and undisturbed are the bees when handled. Since Banaters can be crowded without danger of excessive swarming, we would think them an excellent bee for the comb-honey producer. We have also found them of value above some of the other varieties of bees in making up nuclei for queen rearing, in that they more easily acquire new location, a trait easily to be seen of value for such purposes as the one in question.

Eucalyptus in California. —A recent publication of the University of California of interest to beekeepers is Bulletin No. 196, entitled "Eucalyptus in California," and prepared by Mr. Norman D. Ingham, foreman of the University Forestry Station at Santa Monica. It gives notes on the value of eucalyptus trees for timber, methods of growing and planting, and a resume of the distribution of these trees over the State. This is followed by a list of trees for planting, with descriptive notes, accompanied with most excel lent cuts of the blooms, and in some in stances trunks of the trees themselves. On page 110, entitled "The Eucalypts as Bee Pasture," is given data about the blooming time of the several varieties grown. In this connection it is to be noted that there is enough variation in blooming time to afford pasturage the year round, were all the trees to be grown in one locality. The most widely distributed one is the Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus), blooming during the winter months, when there is no other appreciable source of honey, but unfortunately the weather at this time is such that the bees do not get the full benefit of this important source of honey.

Los Angeles Herald, Vol. 37, No. 261,
19 June 1910
(Transcribed & Published at DVHH by Jody McKim Pharr, 2014)

VIENNA, June 18.— destruction of life and property by the floods throughout Hungary exceeds all records. The number of deaths has not been ascertained, but it is believed they will aggregate 1000. The damage done to crops and property will amount to several million kroner.

The entire harvest is threatened with destruction. In the Kronstadt district 300 bodies have been recovered. In the Motdava -district 100 persons perished as the result of the sudden collapse of houses, and in the Temesvar district 180 persons are reported to have been drowned.


- Workmen Sent to Owners to Collect Pay
 — San Francisco Call, Vol. 109, No. 123,
2 April 1911
(Transcribed & Published at DVHH by Jody McKim Pharr, 2014)

VIENNA. April 1. —Temesvar, In Hungary, has been the scene of a particularly daring  series of depredations by an unidentified individual, who discovered that it was simpler and safer to appropriate property in the light of day with a show of authority than to break into houses at night like an ordinary burglar. Giving himself out a contractor, he first engaged 30 workmen with carts and horses and ordered the mto demolish part of a distillery which has been closed. This was done and the soi-disant contractor sold the materials, including 60 carloads of bricks, and decamped before the proprietors heard of what had been done. Indeed, they first learned of it from the workmen, who had been told to apply to them for their pay. In another part of the town the same audacious rascal had a row of trees cut down In the street and sold them to a wood merchant.

Finally he brought a number of men to remove the machinery from a mill in the neighborhood which was standing idle. The manager happened to be on the spot, but the swindler declared that he had just bought the machinery from the owner and offered to go home to fetch the agreement for the sale. He disappeared and no trace of him has been found.


Alton Telegraph IL
25 April 1889

PESTH, April - The river Theiss has overflowed its banks and immense tract of country on either side of the stream is inundated. The Banat region is in imminent danger of submersion, and the prospective as well the actual damage to property is almost incalculable. Fresh snowstorms are prevailing throughout Hungary, with the prospect of increasing floods.


[Published at by Jody McKim Pharr]

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