Archiver > BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER > 1999-07 > 0931087197

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Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 34A dtd 30 April 1998 (edited)
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 1999 07:19:57 EDT

(issued biweekly by )
April 30, 1998
(all rights reserved)

This special edition of the newsletter contains the first half of Part 4 of
the Unger Trip Report, email greetings from member Maureen Tighe-Brown who is
conducting research in Austria/Hungary, the sequel to Bob Unger's Visitors
from Eltendorf.

Part #4 - In Salzburg, Austria with Elderhostel Program (By Robert F. Unger)

Recap: Part #1, Burgenland Bunch (BB) News No. 16, contained general
information about the Elderhostel program. Part #2 in BB News No 17A, focused
on European history and Elderhostel events in Vienna. Part #3, BB News No.
20A, continued those subjects. Now part #4 tells of the trip from Vienna to
Salzburg and Elderhostel activities in Salzburg.

Sunday, May 18, 1997: This morning was an Elderhostel program transition day
during which we left Vienna for a week in Salzburg. We boarded the bus early
for our 350 km (210 mile) trip to Salzburg, with scheduled stops at the
Mauthausen Concentration Camp, lunch at the city of Steyr, St. Gilgen - in
the beautiful Austrian Lake District, then our next week's lodging - the
Kasererhof Hotel in Salzburg. During this trip I took many beautiful and
interesting 35 mm and video pictures. On the bus, we were introduced to our
English speaking Elderhostel coordinator for our journey to Salzburg, as well
as our coordinator for our week in Salzburg - Johanna Czihak, who was born
and raised in Salzburg and now attends the University of Graz.

Mauthausen is located about 15 km east of Linz. Following are facts I
learned during our tour, including details paraphrased from an English
edition of a booklet I purchased, entitled "Public Memorial and Museum
Mauthausen". In August 1938, German SS officers selected the Mauthausen
quarries, the "Wiener Graben" quarry, as the site for their central
concentration camp in Austria. Officers at Mauthausen also served as
administrators for 49 other permanent camps scattered all over Austria, as
well as some temporary camps. It was referred to by the SS guards as the
"mother" camp. Between August 8, 1938 and May 5, 1945 (when liberated by
the U.S. Army), 195,000 people of both sexes had been imprisoned there.
Initially local labor was used for the construction for the Mauthausen
concentration camp, then prisoners were transferred from Dachau to continue
the work. The majority of the initial camp inmates in 1938 were criminals.
Later political prisoners from border regions, and Germany, were brought to
the camp, including 300 gypsies. Starting 1944 Soviet officers, recaptured
escapees from POW camps, were also held in isolation at Mauthausen. The
camp's register shows that American soldiers were shot and killed there
September 6 and 7, 1944.

The Concentration Camp is located on a hill top with a quarry at its base.
Our bus stopped first near the quarry. This was a most sobering experience -
the site where 2,000 prisoners were forced to work 11 hours a day, chiseling
large rocks for camp construction. They were then forced to carry the large
rocks, which weighed up to 100 pounds, up a 186 steps to where the camp
buildings were located. Our guide told us that many prisoners died on those
steps, mainly from fatigue, i.e. a prisoner would fall while carrying a
large rock, his fall would cause a domino effect, causing other prisoners
behind him on the steps to fall and be crushed by the rocks. The booklet
shows a picture of 5 prisoners per step, and every step is filled with
prisoners carrying stones.

At the top we toured the large facilities, and were shown a motion picture of
the history of the camp with English sound. Records document that on May 3,
1945, two days before the camp was liberated, 64,800 men and 1,734 women had
been registered as inmates of the Mauthausen, in addition to some 15,000
non-registered. Russian prisoners, for undefined reasons, were not
registered. The Russians received the worst treatment at the camp - 5
prisoners were made to sleep in each small bed, and on one cold winter night
in February 1945, 200 Soviet prisoners, including General Karbyshev, were
forced to stand outside while cold water was poured over them, none survived.
The visitor is reminded that Mauthausen is now a "Public Memorial and
Museum", with the hopeand theme that "May the living learn from the fate of
the dead".

We stopped for lunch at the town of Steyr, located about midway between
Vienna and Salzburg. It was served in a beautiful old restaurant in the
center of the town. Arrangements had been made to have the restaurant closed
to others, thereby enabling our group of 39 persons to be served
expeditiously. After lunch, we had the opportunity to take a walking tour of
the area. One noteworthy sight was a church built in 1478.

The final stop on our journey was the Kasererhof Hotel. A family owned and
operated hotel, built in 1649, within walking distance of the center of
Salzburg. Some accommodations were suites consisting of bedroom, large
sitting room, and private bathroom with modern fixtures. The rooms were
furnished with beautiful pieces that an antique dealer would kill for, a
clothes cabinet made from solid 3/4" chestnut, a desk made of solid cherry,
etc. Ah! what a beautiful setting to spend our second week. After settling
into our room, we were served a full course dinner in the hotel's
picturesque dining room - the climax of a most interesting day.

Before ending this day, I would like to comment about unique features found
in some European buses. (1) The front wheels are positioned farther back
than in the USA - this allows for better maneuverability, especially while
turning tight corners. (2) The buses have two separate braking systems. One
is the common braking system associated with brake drums on each wheel. The
other is a mechanical connection between the wheels and a special braking
electric generator. On US buses the driver has one braking option, to step
on the brake peddle- causing heat generation at each wheel and eventual wear
and tear of the brakes. On European buses the driver has another option, a
lever that controls a resistor connected to a special generator which is
powered by connection to the bus wheels. The bus driver can adjust the load
on the generator and achieve the desired braking. This does not cause
heating of the wheels and brake wear.

Monday, May 19, 1997: Our scheduled activities for the week followed the same
pattern we had experienced in Vienna, lectures in the morning, tours in the
afternoon, and special activities in the evening. Our first lecture was
"Music History of Salzburg", by Hugo Stanko. He explained how music got its
beginning in the churches in the 8th century when they began using monophonic
liturgical plainsong, the origin of Gregorian chanting. This was also the
period when Christianity started to spread in the area as documented by the
fact that an Archbishop of Salzburg was appointed in 798. At first the
chants were passed on via memory, then the monks used a notation system - a
series of dots over words which varied from monastery to monastery without
standardization. Ultimately they were standardized and developed into the
musical notation system used today. The Salzburg monastery of St. Peter was
founded in the 8th century.

In the 10th-11th century, polyphony development raised music to a new higher
level. As a consequence, migrant musicians traveled and spread melodies all
over Europe. Those traveling musicians also spread news of the period, via
song. By the 13th century one could find instrument makers in Salzburg. In
the 14th century, Hermann, the monk of Salzburg, was the first known
individual composer, writing German secular and sacred songs, solos and
polyphonic music. The training of choirboys started in the 15th century. It
was in the 16th century that Salzburg became known for the building of
organs. During this same period, a new musical notation system was being
developed, starting with 4 parallel horizontal
lines. Ultimately operas were being conducted in Salzburg, and in the 18th
century we find Mozart and Hayden composing and playing there. From its
outset, the evolution of the development of music provided a way for the
church to gain new followers because people were greatly influenced through
music. It is said that more people came to church for the music than for the
preaching. It is also said that Luther's following grew quickly because of
the extensive use of music - while the Catholic Church stayed with old
traditions and did not adopt much use of music. The Salzburg Festival began
in 1920. This musical event has suvived and is still celebrated each year.
(Today a ticket for the Salzburg Festival costs between $70-$400.) The
Salzburg Festival also gave Jewish musicians an opportunity to actively
participate. They were not allowed to perform in Germany. Our second lecture
of the morning was entitled "Salzburg History". This lecture used a hand-out
entitled "Chronological History of Salzburg". Below are a few chronological
4,000 B.C.From the stone age, through the Bronze and Iron Age etc. the
chief settlements in the Salzburg area were located on 3
hills in the area.
500 B.C.Settlements in the area known today as Salzburg, were then
called Juvavum or Petena
41-54 A.D.Area became a Roman Province - with roads leading from
Salzburg to Italy. Salt mines played a significant
roll in area growth.
755 Name of Salzburg first found in a document
1130St. Peter's Church was built
1623University established-run by the Benedictines
1734Protestants forced to leave the diocese (more than 20,000
within one year)
1805Treaty of Pressburg: Salzburg became part of Austria
1809Salzburg came under French administration
1818"Silent Night, Holy Night" sung for the first time in Parish
Church at Oberndorf
1859Opening of the railroad between Salzburg and Vienna
1938-45 Austria under German domination
1965Autobahn between Salzburg and Vienna completed

Salzburg translates "Fortress of salt". In ancient times Salzburg had strong
ties with Italy, because it provided them with salt. Later the Italians
found ways to get salt cheaper from sea water.

After lunch our Elderhostel coordinator led us on an orientation walk around
the vicinity of the hotel. Since she grew up in that area, she was able to
provide us with much detail. Later, we boarded a bus for a trip to the
near-by Lake district, near the city of St. Gilgen. This area is located
about 30 km east of Salzburg where two of the lakes, St. Wolfgangsee and
Mondsee, are located. We also had the opportunity to tour the city. That
Monday, May 19th was a national holiday in Austria - Ascension Day. As a
result we had the opportunity to see Austrians on holiday. Most fortunately
this included a large wedding procession walking through the streets with
all the participants in traditional Austrian dress.

It was interesting to observe that the Austrians take pollution control very
seriously - all the power boats are battery powered, and some of the boats
are very large. Their lakes are most beautiful. Using battery power leaves
their lakes very, very clear, with no evidence of any pollution. During this
visit, there was always an atmosphere of celebration, party time, and fun.
It was a joy to see the locals during a period of relaxation.

Tuesday, May 20, 1997: After breakfast we had a lecture entitled "Mozart", by
Hugo Stanko. Mozart, born 27 January 1756, married and had 6 children - 2
sons and 4 daughters. Neither of his sons had children. He died on 5
December 1793, only 35. At birth he was given the impressive name of
Johannes Chrysostomos Wolfgangus Theopphilus Mozart. [Ed. note-naming
conventions at this time were quite sophisticated and inluded Latinization of
names] Even today, the name Johannes is widely used in Austria. His interest
in music started at the age of 3. His domineering Father, realizing that he
had a very musically gifted son, arranged for young Mozart to travel
extensively throughout Europe, giving concerts and thus making a lot of
money for his family. At the age of 6, Mozart gave a concert for Empress
Maria Theresia. Often Mozart was paid in gifts - at one time Mozart had 40
clocks. During these travels young Mozart gained a wonderful education.
Included in this education was his association with Bach. They became very
good friends, and thereafter it was said that the quality of Mozart's music
improved as a result of this relationship. It is told that once, when his
Father had arranged for him to compose a concert for a large sum of money,
the Father questioned the son as to when he would start that effort, Mozart
replied, "It is already done, I just have to write it down". Mozart was a
genius who could prepare complete concerts in his head and of course composed
many great works of music.

During Mozart's life time, music and musicians were experiencing a
significant period of transition. Earlier there were traveling musicians who
spread news and stories using music, and received donations for their
efforts. During this period musicians evolved from being employees of royalty
to becoming individuals, forming independent orchestras and giving concerts
in halls built so common people could be included as attendees. Even today,
concert halls in Austria have low cost admission, essentially standing room,
providing everyone the opportunity to attend.

The second lecture was entitled "Mozart - the Magic Flute". Mozart was
commissioned to write the Magic Flute for the common people - a folk opera
that would make money through public performances, and subsequently it became
one of his most famous works. After lunch, we joined our special guide for
the day, Sylvia Preu, for a walking tour of the city. Most of Salzburg's
historical places are located near the monastery - therefore one can easily
walk from place to place, and auto/truck traffic is restricted. A
significant point of interest was an old restaurant, Stiftskeller St. Peter,
built in 803. No, that isn't a typo, it really was built in the year 803 -
and the restaurant is still in operation today. Some of us signed up for an
optional event that evening - a Mozart dinner concert at Stiftskeller St.

There is an old bakery near the monastery using water power as it has for
centuries - bakery samples were provided. Sylvia called our attention to an
arched tunnel in the area, constructed and engineered with an angle to
maximize ventilation and the use of sunlight for illumination. One of the
churches in the area has five organs, very unique. At one point during our
tour, Sylvia asked what was significant about the year 1492. We all, as
Americans, said it was the date that Columbus discovered America. Wrong! In
1492 the Stiegl brewery in Salzburg was founded, and it is the largest
private brewery in Austria. Time did not permit a visit to the brewery
museum. I'll be sure to do that on my next trip to Salzburg. I could go on
for pages, detailing the wonderful sights of Salzburg, one of the most
enjoyable cities that I have ever visited.

That evening our Elderhostel coordinator, Johanna, joined us for our Mozart
dinner concert at the 1,194 year old (1997 - 803 = 1,194) Stiftskeller St.
Peter restaurant. What an experience! Dining in grandeur, served by
individuals and entertained by musicians, all dressed in the Mozartian
period. The dining room has a capacity of only 96 people with 8 at per
table. On each table was a three foot high vase containing fresh cut flowers.
Our table ordered wine which was dispensed from an ancient fixture which
held the bottle of wine upside down, connected to a glass tubing fixture with
a clamping mechanism with at its end. An individual glass was then filled by
placing it under the fixture and pressing the glass upward against the clamp.
We had a full course dinner with music played between courses. I was most
fascinated by the presentation of the ice cream dessert which was decorated
with musical symbols (a clef, etc.) made of chocolate. It was an evening to
remember. (to be continued in Newsletter 35A).


Greetings from Budapest. Last Friday I was able to meet with George Eotvos
of Family Tree Inc. He was so interesting to talk with, and gave me some
tips on sources, and also 2 pp. of additional demographic material on
microfilm which I will view at the National Archives.

A few minutes ago, I heard from Fritz Konighofer. We made plans to meet at
the National Library tomorrow evening, and perhaps go for coffee and talk
afterward. Really, Gerry, he did us all such a favor by reorganizing the
newspaper titles, and adding microfilm and paper call numbers; he has saved
me hours of time. I am eager to meet him and learn more about his research

And next Sunday, 5/3, I take the train to Eisenstadt where I will stay in a
hotel recommended by other BBunch members, Gerhard and Martina Lang. Gerhard
has facilitated my e-mail/fax contacts with the provincial and diocesan
archivists there, which sound quite promising. I'm looking forward to
meeting these kind Langs. I will also spend 2-3 days in Vienna, and have the
chance to finally meet my colleague, BBuncher Albert Schuch. I will be
staying there with the family of Burgenland ethnomusicologists mentioned in
our newsletters, Rudi and Franzi Pietsch. Finally, I have e-mailed Gert
Tschoegl and will make plans to meet when I am in Vienna.

So to me it is pretty amazing how the BBunch have facilitated and enriched my
work and my dissertation-in-progress, and it's almost more amazing to be able
to meet these people in the flesh! Since I have no hereditary links to the
region, it is amazing to me that there are others besides me who are so
interested in the region, and that we have actually 'found' each other. And
it goes without saying, doesn't it, that you can take a huge bow for
engineering the efforts to make the whole BBunch project a reality!! There
is no way I can thank you adequately. . . but I can try by thanking you
pretty frequently. Many thanks, Maureen.

We took Matthias (Mirth) and (friend) Christian to the San Diego airport
yesterday for the 15 hour flight back to Vienna, via Atlanta. Matthias
called this morning, as promised, and told us that they had arrived home

They had both arrived in San Diego very pale and departed well-tanned. These
very energetic young men saw much in their 3 weeks here in the USA, touring
mainly California, with one side trip to Las Vegas. During their first and
third week with us, we showed them the sights of the San Diego area, which
included one day across the border to Tijuana, Mexico - the second week they
were off on their own travels. Before going to Mexico, we told the boys
that, Tijuana, being a border town, is filled with merchants anxious to sell
you something. After we got there they told us that the Mexican merchants
were just like the merchants of Hungary - and they had much practice in
dealing with the likes of them. One day we drove them to the nearby
mountains which rise to over 7,000 ft. During that trip we encountered all
types of weather, sunshine, rain, then some snow. Fortunately we had
excellent weather during most of their visit, so each day was filled with fun
and excitement.

In preparation for their one week driving trip, we visited a number of car
rental agencies. This was necessary because Matthias will be 20 this year
and Christian 24, and the major car rental agencies are reluctant to rent to
anyone under the age of 25. But we found that everything is negotiable -
i.e. one on one, face to face negotiations with the agent. As a result they
rented a new 1998 Chrysler convertable from Budget. I talked up the fact
that Christian was a police officer from Vienna, so they rented them the car
at a good discount. (There was not that much difference in price between
sedans versus convertible.) So the convertable helped much in their effort
to get good sun tans - and I don't think it hurt in attracting girls.

For their one week driving trip, they planned to leave San Diego and go to:
Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, Death Valley, San Francisco, and then
finally Los Angeles. They had to miss the Grand Canyon, because in that area
the weather turned bad and forced them to use an alternate plan. In any
event they saw everything worth seeing in San Diego, Las Vegas, San
Francisco, Los Angeles and everything in between. This included practically
all the major parks in the area, such as Disney Land, Sea World, motion
picture studios, the walk of fame in Hollywood, etc. During all their travels
they took about 300 pictures, and carefully placed them in albums to show
their folks when they returned home. I estimate that they possibly put
between 1,500 to 2,000 miles on their new rental car and we added 1300 to our
new Dodge Caravan. Ah, Eltendorf will never be the same after those two tell
of all their ventures.

They were also very excited about the variety of places to shop. They told
us that most of the items they were looking for were much cheaper here in the
USA. While here each bought a carry-on suitcase for transporting all their
purchases. You heard of women shopping until they drop - well these two
energetic young men managed to stay upright and succeeded in getting
everything they wanted.

I asked Matthias about the Eltendorf Martin Luther Kirche church anniverary
that you (editor) asked about. Neither could recall any recent anniveraries.
The last church anniversary was the 200th year of the church's existence. I
got a copy of that 200 year booklet last year and I recall you said that you
also had one.

Matthias brought with him some old letters that his Grandmother Wilma and his
mother, Heidi had received in the 1970's. For some unknown reason the
correspondence stopped and they asked if I could possibly find the family
they had been writing to here in the USA, i.e. Rockville, MD. Using a "find
a person web site <www.switchboard.com>", I entered the name and last known
address in Rockville, MD and to my surprise up came the telephone number and
new zip code identification. We subsequently called and talked to the woman,
Lydia, who had written the letters to Matthias' Grandmother and mother.
During the conversation we learned that Lydia is now 97 years old, but her
voice sounded like that of a much, much younger person. So, with a little
effort on my part I managed to re-unite/re-establish this correspondence. It
appears that the old corespondence involved Lydia writing letters to
Eltendorf in English, and some unknown person in Eltendorf translating them
for Wilma and Heidi. Then Wilma and Heidi would reply by writing in German,
requiring Lydia to have a friend translate the letters to English.
Hopefully, now that Matthias has a pretty good command of English, he can
help with the correspondence. In addition, I learned from Matthias that they
have a computer at the Gasthaus and that they plan to upgrade it soon. So, I
told Matthias that I would help him get a software translator to help them
with English/German translations.

Matthias also told me that he is now learning Italian. It appears that the
Gasthaus is getting more Italian speaking guests, and Matthias has been given
the language job. In all probability, Matthias may be the heir apparent to
the proprietorship of the inn. We have gotten to know Matthias well from
our visit to Austria and his recent visit with us. We find him to be a
personable young man with a very good "people" oriented attitude which should
serve him very well as an inn keeper. (Editor's note: Mathias' father Rudi
Mirth is no slouch as a "Wirt" either but he doesn't have his son's command
of English. If ever near Eltendorf and in need of good food, drink or
accomodation-try the Gasthaus "Kirchenwirt"-across the street from the

for information about the Burgenland Bunch.

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