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Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 38A dtd 30 Jun 1998 (edited)
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 1999 07:23:27 EDT
THE BURGENLAND BUNCH NEWS -No. 38A
DEDICATED TO AUSTRIAN-HUNGARIAN BURGENLAND GENEALOGY
(issued biweekly by )
June 30, 1998
(all rights reserved)
This 2nd section of newsletter 38 contains articles about Allentown and
ALLENTOWN-LARGE BURGENLAND EMIGRANT ENCLAVE (by Gerry Berghold)
One of the larger Burgenland emigrant enclaves was the Lehigh Valley of
Pennsylvania. The largest city in the valley, Allentown was home to many of
these immigrants and their descendants. The following is a chapter from my
1995 genealogy "Berghold-Neubauer Descendants, 1873-1994."
* THE "AUSWANDERUNG" *- ALLENTOWN, PA 1910-1950
As the birthplace of the largest number of Berghold descendants, Allentown is
a special place. The county seat of Lehigh County, it was the Mecca and city
of dreams for most family immigrants. Laid out in 1762, incorporated as a
borough in 1811 and as a city in 1867, it grew to substantial size by the
late 1800's and was a booming industrial site offering work in construction,
breweries, textiles, tobacco products, quarries, metal fabrication, and
service industries. Nearby were cement, coke and steel mills also offering
employment. For farmers, the surrounding area provided land at attractive
prices and the demand for farm products was high. It had an indigenous
Pennsylvania-German population, which while not overly friendly to
immigrants, had similar culture and tradition. At an elevation of 304 feet,
surrounded by rolling hills and with a temperate climate it duplicated the
Burgenland. Best of all, it had ethnic neighborhoods and Austro-Hungarian
religious, cultural and social institutions. These neighborhoods were a
substitute for the close knit villages the immigrants left behind. It has
been said that the Burgenlander's home is not his country (which changed too
often over the years) but his village. On page 267, of "ALLENTOWN 1762-1987 -
A 225-YEAR HISTORY" Hellerich editor, published by the Lehigh County
Historical Society, 1987, we find:
"Without a doubt German (speaking) immigrants found Allentown to be a most
hospitable community. In this period they developed a network of
organizations which supported them financially, morally and spiritually - St.
Peter's Lutheran Church, Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, the several
singing societies and the German Association. They were active in several of
the building and loan associations. They could choose from among three local
German newspapers, and from four other churches in which services were held
in German. Their children could attend German Sunday schools and received
some instruction in the German language in the public schools. Several
cultural leaders of Allentown of Pennsylvania German background sought their
cooperation in programs of mutual interest and benefit. There was no
opposition to their efforts to preserve their language, music and literature.
They were at home in Allentown."
It was in one of these ethnic neighborhoods or "villages" that most of the
third generation (today's grandparents) came of age. Whether it was in the
1st, 6th, 10th, or 11th Wards, or in South Allentown, Catasauqua or the
Whitehall area, they were basically the same. The area from the Lehigh River
west to the Jordan Creek and from Hamilton Street north to Fullerton
(Whitehall) included most of the Burgenland neighborhoods, with spillover to
Jordan, 4th and 5th Streets. The areas in the vicinity of the churches and
clubs were particularly desirable and the local taverns were almost social
clubs. Some neighborhoods were better or worse than others as immigrants
improved their lifestyle and moved on, but the following memories have
remained with me over the years:
Church Bells -Every church had bells. The joyous, sometimes sad pealing and
tolling of the neighborhood bells remains vivid. They not only called to
worship, but also struck the hours and tolled for weddings and deaths. Some
would strike a code telling where a fire was in progress. Some churches had
chimes which played daily. Some struck at odd hours and made one wonder if
the bell ringer hadn't stayed too long at his club. A vestigial remnant of
old Europe, the cacophony of sound on a pleasant Sunday morning, as it
reverberated across the Jordan Creek valley was a joyous thing indeed. I most
vividly remember the bells of Sacred Heart Catholic Church tolling the deaths
of immigrant grandfather Alois Sorger (1879-1940), who emigrated from
Rosenberg , Gssing in 1901 and grandmother Hedwig Mhl (1885-1978), who
emigrated with twin sister and mother from Gssing in 1905.
The Gang -Every neighborhood had its gang of kids. Oh where are the friends
of yesteryear? Mostly third generation, some second, who but parents cared!
Kids had to grow up to acquire intolerance. Often a mixture of Italians,
Austrians, Hungarians, Irish even Syrians, they would all join for forays,
games, adventures and infrequent misadventures. At least five college
graduates from a well loved 600 block Jordan Street gang of immigrant kids
-now gone, scattered by time, absorbed by America.
Bakeries -my childhood in Allentown was a wondrous world of yeasty, crusty
warm baked goods. Home baked fastnachts and nut (Nssen) and poppy seed
(Mhn) strudels and Guglhupf and Kipfels and potato biscuits, the Hungarian
"pogacsa". Also non-yeast goods like apple, cherry, cheese, cabbage and
potato strudel. The local bakeries were a thing of wonder. Oberecker's for
rye and crunchy Kaiser rolls, Berringer's raised Krapfen, the Egypt Star for
cinnamon rolls, strudels and egg bread. The Syrian bakery in the 6th Ward for
flat bread. Maybe best of all, the Italian bakeries, Roma's-the one in the
900 block of north Jordan St. that produced a magnificent star loaf-all
crunchy outside and like fluff inside. (Roma bread with spaghetti, imported
cheese, garden salad with olive oil and a thimble of home made wine as a
frequent guest of our friendly Italian next door neighbors was this child's
first introduction to ethnicity.) There was also the Ukranian bakery that had
heavy soul satisfying pumpernickle and sour Russian rye. Tschopp's on 6th St.
for fancy Swiss goods and the Town Bakery on Gordan St. for pies and cottage
loaves. Two small bakeries, one off 3rd St. near Harrison-Morton Jr. High and
one at 5th & Penn St. made yesterday's (sometimes fresh ones) donuts
available to kids for a penny.
Pretzels -The pretzel was supposedly invented by a German monk of the middle
ages who developed them from bits of bread dough as a treat for children.
There were a lot of pretzel eating children in Allentown. There were tavern
pretzels, heavily salted so one would drink more. Two kinds, one heavy and
twisted, hard as a rock, the other a thin stick for hurried consumption. A
frequent treat to children from non busy tavern owners for a little help, or
just for nice! The gift of a large bag from tavern owner grand uncle (Charles
Holzer, 1879-1940, from Frstenfeld) in West Coplay whenever I visited (to
soak up all his draft birch beer). Later visits to Allentown required buying
a large can of pretzels from Miller's on Tilghman Street. We still use an old
can for flour.
Fast Food -Today the hamburger is king of fast food sandwiches. In
Allentown, it was and may still be the hot dog. Many small eateries vied to
produce the best. Yocco's at the 600 block on Liberty St., started by an
uncle of Lee Iaocca and mentioned in his autobiography, developed their own
sauce-still a secret-had Medford's in Chester produce franks to their
specifications, ordered a special blend of mustard in 50 gallon drums and
steamed their special rolls-heaven! They're still in business today with five
outlets. Also worthy of note were Ralph's at 4th & Tilghman, Marco's on
Gordon St., the luncheonette at 7th & Liberty, Willie & Joe's at 15th &
Liberty, the Ritz Bar BQ at the Fair Grounds and the 5 Points Shop in South
Bethlehem. Many, many others whose names haven't survived. Saturday night
meant taking home hot dogs in a brown paper sack along with the Sunday papers
and maybe a freshly scooped quart of ice cream and "A Treat" soft drinks!
There are many other memories of what can be termed the "migration years".
The period, between 1920 and 1950 when the new country was no longer strange
to immigrant families and the third generation was coming of age. The
Depression years brought hardship but there was still a family closeness and
a good life. We'll never see their like again and just to prove they are not
all related to my stomach, I recall some more memories of growing up in
o Porch sitting under an awning on warm days with neighbors stopping to chat.
o Women going to the local stores wearing aprons, head scarves, carrying
o Immigrant grandfathers in vests, with watch chains, cigars and canes.
Smiling grandmothers with aprons, flour on their noses and faces red from the
o Catholic and Lutheran services in German. Incense and candle smoke.
Everyone in Sunday best.
o Family gatherings with a small glass of something, coffee and cakes and
everyone fussing over the children. Sometimes cards and music. Lots of cigar
o A wonderful visit to the adult world of the local tavern or club where
everyone knew you and your parents. Secure feeling of belonging. German
language, the odor of beer schnapps and tobacco.
o The egg man (farmer) coming with eggs and seasonal produce.
o The Freeman's Dairy man with milk in glass bottles, sweet and sour cream
and butter. A visit to his home on 4th Street when we needed extra sour cream.
o The magic of an old world Xmas with blown glass ornaments, silver and gold
wrapped candy and nuts for the tree, a miniature village or "putz" made by
grandfather. More cookies and goodies than you could ever imagine and all the
relatives visiting. Adults greeting each other in German.
o Santa Claus at the Liederkranz Social Club and the required recitation.
Ethnic music and song, polkas and waltzes.
o Mill workers walking to work in the morning, back and forth at lunch time
and home at day end, stopping to exchange a greeting.
o The foreign smell of the Jute Mill, yeasty odor of Horlachers' and
Neuweilers' Breweries, pungent smell of hot metal and pounding of trip
hammers at Bonney Forge. The odor of cloth and the rhythmic beat of the looms
in the textile mills. Coal yards and feed stores, a few horses and wagons.
o The wail of the evening Lehigh New England RR "Black Diamond" train on its
way north. The Ringling Bros.circus train parked on the brewery siding yard.
o Picking produce in the "back yard" or at the "lots".Bagging grapes on the
grape arbor and pruning the vines. Homemade wine and vinegar barrels.
o Saturday movie matinee at the Franklin, Towne, State or Earl theatres, with
candy, a raffle, and a pass for Tuesday's show. Cheer the hero, boo the
o That first family automobile and getting car sick! Visits to relatives "on
o The Great Allentown Fair with strips of tickets supplied by local merchants
and a school holiday.
o Early Saturday morning junior high school football games with band and
cheerleaders. The rowdy walk home singing school songs. Student newspapers,
plays, and successes at school.
o A trolley car every 15 minutes and a ride to adventure. Swimming at Jordan
Park or Cedar Beach. Canoeing the Lehigh at River Front, church picnics,
o Evening football games and basketball at the Little Palestra.
o The end of the old world migration years, the inevitable passing of the
immigrant generations and relocation. Burgenland ancestors provided a good
life in Allentown.
OUR LADY OF HUNGARY PARISH (NORTHAMPTON) & SACRED HEART PARISH
(ALLENTOWN)-(Bob Schatz & Frank Teklits)
Bob Schatz Writes: "Gentlemen: I read with great interest the discussion
about Our Lady of Hungary parish in Northampton in the current newsletter
(May 30). My paternal grandparents from Urbersdorf were parishioners there
during their second and final stays in the U.S. They lived in Northampton
and across the Lehigh River in Dewey Heights, and are buried in the the
church graveyard (their obits in The Morning Call, 1931 and 1935, refer to it
as "the German Catholic Cemetery in Northampton"). My father was baptized at
OLH and was a parishioner until his marriage in 1957. The church was named
for the fact that the Virgin Mary was considered to be the special patroness
of the Kingdom of Hungary.
I am curious to find out if the parish was very specifically a "West
Hungarian" parish. One of my maternal great-grandfathers, Johann Pavel, a
German Hungarian from the Zips (in Northern Hungary, now Slovakia),
worshipped at "St. Mary's" (Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin) in
Catasauqua. He and his family lived in Coplay, and Northampton may have been
a little further to travel than Catasauqua, but I also seem to recall my
grandfather (his son) once telling me that they wouldn't have considered
going to OLH for the simple reason that these weren't their people. My
grandfather also told me that they had a name in their dialect for the
Germans living along the border with Austria, but unfortunately I no longer
recall what it was.
I am also curious to know if the first "Burgenlanders" in Allentown would
have worshipped at Sacred Heart, the second-oldest Catholic parish there and
known as "the German Catholic church" (to distinguish it from "the Irish
Catholic church" - Immaculate Conception, the first Catholic parish in
Allentown, founded I believe around 1847). Knowing from my parents'
Saengerbund days that the "Austrians" and other Germans made every attempt to
distinguish themselves from each other, I wonder if the "Burgenlanders" would
have worshipped at "the German Catholic church". The Magyars had their own
parish in Allentown, St. Stephen's, but I don't know when this was
established and I believe it was specifically a Hungarian church. Sacred
Heart was my parents' parish after their marriage, and I was baptized there.
My parents' house is actually near the church cemetery (about 3 miles from
the church), and the early tombstones from the mid-19th century frequently
indicate "Prussia" as place of origin - most likely the Catholic Rhineland
provinces ruled by Prussia in the 19th century.
My parents eventually switched to St Elizabeth of Hungary parish in Fullerton
because it was closer and my mother's girlhood parish. It was originally a
mission of Sacred Heart and early on was referred to as "St Elizabeth German
Catholic Church". (St Elizabeth was an early Christian German princess and
Queen of Hungary, married to a pagan Arpad king of Hungary. The story goes
that he ordered her to desist from giving alms to the poor, but she thereupon
conducted her almsgiving secretly. Caught by her husband, she was told to
open her cloak and reveal what she was concealing. She did so, but the food
she had been carrying to the poor had miraculously been turned into roses.)
As an aside, since there was some understandable confusion about the names of
Allentown and Northampton, please allow me to share some of the history of
Allentown, seat of Lehigh County since 1812 (the current town of Northampton
is about 10 miles north of the city on the East bank of the Lehigh River and
is in Northampton County). The site of Allentown was part of a 5,000 acre
estate purchased in 1735 by William Allen (1704-1780), Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and a former mayor of Philadelphia. Justice
Allen maintained a hunting lodge there where he entertained members of the
provincial government and the proprietary family. The lodge was called "Trout
Hall" and was located near the confluence of the Jordan and Little Lehigh
Creeks with the Lehigh River, at that time known as "the West Fork of the
Delaware" (in Lenapi "Lechauwekki", in Pennsylvania German "Lechaa"). (The
judge's son James built a summer house on the site of the lodge in 1770, also
called Trout Hall, which still stands and is maintained by the County
Historical Society.) In 1762, as a business venture Justice Allen laid out a
town near his lodge, creating a market town for the surrounding area which he
also hoped would displace Easton as the seat of Northmapton County. For
these reasons, Allen named his town Northampton Towne. (Northampton County
was established in 1752 by Thomas Penn from the northern part of Bucks County
and named in honor of his father-in-law who lived in Northamptonshire,
England). Northampton Towne prospered but never became the county seat.
During the Revolution it handled the overflow of casualties from the
Continental Army's General Hospital in Bethlehem and housed a POW camp
(ED.-located at Jordan & Gordon Streets-site of a jute mill) for the Hessian
soldiers captured during the Battle of Trenton. The town was also the hiding
place for the State House Bell (now called the Liberty Bell), brought north
from Philadelphia in 1777 while the British occupied the city, and hidden
under the floor boards of Zion Church. (One of my mother's ancestors, John
Mickley, brought the Bell north.) In 1811, the town was incorporated as a
Borough. In 1812 Lehigh County was established from the western part of
Northampton County and Northampton Towne was chosen as the seat of the new
county. The name "Allentown" came into popular usage however, and the town
was officially renamed in 1838. It was incorporated as a city in 1867.
Unfortunately, I don't know much about the history of the current Northampton
except that it was incorporated as a borough in 1901. It doesn't seem to be
a colonial-era town. I have a research request in to the Northampton County
Historical Society in Easton to get a little more of the history." Bob
Frank Teklits Responds With:
Bob, As usual, your emails are both interesting and factual. At this time, I
can give you a preliminary input on but one aspect of your note, and request
additional time to address the others that I feel qualified to answer.
Reference your question is OLH a specific "West Hungarian" parish, my
response to that would be a yes. Some time ago, Gerry requested a listing of
Burgenlanders living in the US, when they arrived into the US, from what
village they immigrated, among other information. I responded to that listing
with approximately 30 names and can forward the list to you as an attachment
if you desire. I gathered another 100 some names but never took the time to
structure the list as per Gerry's request, nor have I done the research to
determine the village of origin for these individuals. Based on both lists
however, I'd say that the Our Lady of Hungary parish was predominately West
Hungarian. Without question, my home area, all parishioners of OLH, and given
the loving name "Hicktown" by native Nothamptonians was a Burgenland enclave.
By coincidence, we have friends coming tomorrow to stay for a few days & I'd
like to share this request of yours with him & then respond. My friend, Ed
Ifkovits, was born in Northampton, and was a parishioner of OLH in his youth
as I was, and his roots are in Kroatische Tschantschendorf. He has an
excellent knowledge of OLH, & I'm sure would be delighted to contribute his
input through me.
I recommend we add another very qualified individual to any question
concerning Northampton, our new BB URL Editor Anna Kresh, who was also born
there. I'd welcome her views and inputs concerning the home of the "Koncrete
My wife was a parishioner of the Sacred Heart Church in Allentown, and
occasionally sang in her youth at the same Saengerbund that you referenced.
Both my wife & I are graduates on Allentown Central Catholic High School,
which you know was, founded by Msgr. Masson, at that time the rector of the
Sacred Heart parish. My offhanded comment would be to say that Sacred Heart
has more Burgenlanders than Immaculate Conception, but my wife suggested we
visit her 82 year old Aunt, who may give us more facts. So, please give me
some time & I'll try to answer as many of your items as I can. Frank Teklits
ED. NOTE: The German Catholic church in Allentown is the "Sacred Heart of
Jesus" (4th & Chew Sts.) which also had (has?) a German language service.
This parish includes grade schools, a high school, and a hospital. It was
attended by most of the German speaking Catholic Burgenlanders (albeit
Hungarians pre 1921) in Allentown. My grandfather Alois Sorger was one of the
first Gssing emigrants (1901) and this was his family's church. The cemetery
is located north east of the city (on Fullerton Ave.) near Catasauqua and
has a wealth of Burgenland immigrant graves including my grandparents. Three
other ethnic cemeteries (Italian, Ukrainian and Jewish) are nearby. The
German speaking Lutheran Burgenlanders (there were many) attended St. Peter's
Evangelical Lutheran Church, Chew St. and Ridge Ave., Allentown which still
has a German service. I was baptized in this church, have searched the
records and found hundreds of Burgenland names with references to their
Burgenland villages. Burgenlanders attending these two churches would have
been those residing in the enclave between the Lehigh River and about 5th
Street (east- west) and Hamilton Street and Fullerton (the 4th Street
ALBERT SCHUCH HAS AN ALLENTOWN QUESTION! DO YOU HAVE THE ANSWER?
Gerry, I am sending various short articles for possible newsletter usage.
Please have a special look at the first one. I'd like it to be posted in a
future newsletter along with a query if one of our members knows more about
it. I'd be very interested. Albert
--- Burgenland Operetta in Allentown 1930 ---
Quoting from Oberwarther Sonntags-Zeitung 24 Aug 1930: "In Allentown, wo etwa
25.000 Burgenlnder leben, wird derzeit eine burgenlndische Operette zur
Auffhrung gebracht. Das Stck heit 'Der Postdiener' und der Ort der
Handlung ist das Lafnitztal im Burgenland. Das Libretto schrieb der Prses
des Vereins der Burgenlnder in Amerika und die Musik stammt von Adolf KURZ,
der gleichfalls aus dem Burgenland stammt und als Komponist sich bereits
einen Namen in Amerika geschaffen hat."
Translation: "Currently (1930) a Burgenland operetta is performed in
Allentown, home of approx. 25000 Burgenlanders. The title is "The Postal
Servant" and the location is the Lafnitz river valley in Burgenland. The text
was written by the president of the Society of the Burgenlanders in America,
and the music has been composed by Adolf KURZ, who is also a Burgenland
native and already a well known composer in America."
[Note: A few years ago an operetta was performed in Burgenland, I think the
title was "Lafnitz" or included the word "Lafnitz". It was newly written and
I think to remember that the author claimed it to be "the first ever
(end of second section-continued as newsletter no.-38B)
END OF NEWSLETTER-EDITED & DISTRIBUTED BY GERALD J. BERGHOLD, Contact
for information about the Burgenland Bunch.