Archiver > BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER > 1999-07 > 0931264125

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Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 44A dtd 30 Sept 1998 (edited)
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999 08:28:45 EDT

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

This second section of the 3 section newsletter features an excellent and
revealing report of a recent Trip to Austria and Hungary. An enlightening
genealogical excursion to the "Heimat", with some sad yet happy overtones.
(note-diacritical marks have not been used on Hungarian names). Thoughts on
Scanners For Genealogy and a Little Humor follow.

(by Ernest Chrisbacher; )

The purpose of my trip was threefold: 1. To attend the 50-year reunion of the
ethnic German people expelled from the village Bakonyjako, Veszprem County,
after WW II in 1948, the town where my grandfather was born; 2. Go to
Eisenstadt to do research for ancestors in the Diocesan Archives of
Burgenland; and 3. Visit several small parish villages around Oberwart in
south Burgenland for research in their old baptismal and marriage records.

Day 1, Thursday, Aug. 13, 1998: Weather clear, sunny, hot, humid, temp. 93
deg. F. I arrived at Budapest Airport at 11:00 a.m. on Malev Hungarian
Airlines, having left Kennedy Airport on Air France yesterday at 5:30 p.m.
and with a three-hour layover at Paris. I slept six hours on the initial
flight so I was not affected by jet-lag. I picked up my rented Mitsubishi
Lancer with AC and drove into Budapest. The roads and highway signs are very
good but the street signs in the city are difficult to see and read while
driving because they are located high up on the corners of buildings. With
the help of a city map I found No. 50 Jozsef kort, the apartment of my
correspondent friend and genealogist, Dr. Sandor Harmath. We sipped some
Tokaj wine and discussed plans to travel to Austria for research at
Eisenstadt and at several villages in the vicinity of Oberwart. It was
agreed that we would meet Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. in Papa where I had a
reservation at the Hotel Griff. I left Budapest at 5:30 p.m., headed
southwest and found the M-1 Autobahn, then drove to Gyor City and then Papa,
a two-hour drive. The hotel Griff is in the main city square opposite from
the double-domed Roman Catholic Belvarosi Cathedral. My room was clean and
very comfortable so I showered, shaved and had supper. It was tender Beef
Stroganoff with potato croquettes, salad and two glasses of rather good dry
Riesling wine, cost was 1,400 forint, about $7.00. Watched CNN and retired
at 11:00 p.m.

Day 2, Friday, Aug. 14, 1998: Weather clear, sunny, hot, temp. 85 deg. F.,
morning showers. Up at 6 a.m., continental breakfast at 7 a.m., then I walked
down the main commercial street of Papa to the post office for some stamps.
There are a hundred shops and the streets are crowded with shoppers and the
hustle and bustle of productive activity. Then I drove 35 km to Veszprem
City and visited the Queen Gizella museum which displayed many old garments,
regalia and jewels worn by Hungary's rulers. I walked through the old castle
section of the city where some of the buildings are 700 years old and are
situated at the top of a commanding hill with beautiful views of the
surrounding city and countryside. I visited the Dezso Laczko Museum which
displayed artifacts of Hungary's history from the stone age up to modern
times. There was a straw-roofed ethnic German farmhouse (Bakony Volk Haus)
from the 18th century next to the museum building which displayed typical
period furniture, cooking utensils, smoke kitchen, bedroom and toolroom. I
walked all around this beautiful old city observing the commercial activity,
construction, old and new buildings, the tourists, the vitality of the place
and the apparent flourishing business and prosperity of the inhabitants; a
stark contrast to the poor, depressed, drab, gray downtrodden people that I
had seen here under Russian Communist domination when I visited in 1973. Many
of the people spoke German with me, also in stark contrast to the situation
in 1973 when no one would dare to speak German. But the bureaocrats in the
county offices speak only Hungarian so I was unable to obtain maps of the
German villages which I wanted. After many photographs I returned to Papa
where at six o'clock I had a glass of Riesling wine at a table in the
sidewalk cafe of the Hotel Griff . Three marching bands came by to start off
the festive weekend celebrations of the city. It was very pleasant, crowded
with happy people, a beautiful small city enjoying its freedom and looking
forward to future prosperity. I found out that next weekend is a four-day
holiday for the Hungarian people beginning on Thursday, August 20th as the
1000-year anniversary of the crowning of the first king, St. Stephen.

Day 3, Saturday, Aug. 15, 1998: Weather partly cloudy, clearing, hot, temp.
90-95 deg. F. At 9 a.m. I drove east 15 km to Bakonyjako, the village where
my grandfather, Joseph Grisbacher, was born. This was the weekend of the
50-year reunion celebration of the German people who were expelled from the
village in 1948 after WW II. Because the population of Bakonyako was at that
time 95 percent ethnic German, almost all of the people had to pack up what
they could carry on their backs and leave their homes. A drummer marched
down the main street the morning of January 6, 1948 and a list was posted at
the town hall. Only those who were sick, pregnant, with babies, or old and
unable to work were allowed to remain. Tragically, these innocent peasant
farmers, descendants of Germanic settlers who colonized and opened up the
land for productivity 200 years earlier, were ruthlessly forced from their
homes, families were put in wagons, carried to the Varoslod train station 12
km to the south, loaded into boxcars and shipped to East Germany where they
had to live in camps until they could be resettled and find jobs. Today, 50
years later, they were coming back to their home town to revisit their lost
homes and to renew old friendships. At 9:30 a.m. people started to gather at
the sport hall of the village school. By 10:30 a.m. there were perhaps 250
people greeting one another with smiles, hugs, kisses and tears. Starting the
ceremonies was difficult because of the highly emotional nature of the
reunion. The mayor, Hans Szabadi, greeted everyone in German and Hungarian.
Then a memorial speech was given by Franz Heilig, head of the regional office
of German minorities. He gave a very moving talk in German about the history
of settlement and the expulsion. There were not many dry eyes. After the
introductions a small band played German dance music, waltzes, marches and
polkas, and lunch was served of sandwiches, beer, wine and soda. I
introduced myself to many people and spoke German with them, taking notes and
taping the conversations. Joseph Leitner invited me to his aunt's house,
Lizzi Heller, who served us (seven people) a very large meal of chicken
noodle soup, chicken paprikash, noodles with tomato sauce and six different
kinds of pastries and coffee. We ate and drank wine all afternoon. At 4:00
p.m. we went back to the sport hall for more meeting of friends, a big
goulash party and entertainment by a group of majorettes and athletic dancers
from the village. After that everyone went to the culture house where the
street was roped off and dance music was playing and dancing started in the
main street at 8 p.m. I met several people with whom I had corresponded but
had never seen before: distant cousin Joseph Griesbacher, Andrew Gabriel from
Fairview Hts., IL, distant cousin Maria Griesbacher Tillich from Canada,
Joseph Steiner from Germany. I asked Mayor Szabadi if I could go to the town
hall to get a map of the village and see if I could find information which
would enable me to correlate the old house numbers with the new house
numbers. That would enable me to find the house where my grandfather was
born since the old number was included in his baptism record.

Day 4, Sunday, Aug. 16, 1998: Weather partly cloudy, rain,. 85 deg. F.At
9:00 a.m. there was a small group playing music at the Kultur Haus as people
began to gather for the morning services. At 10:00 a.m. a wreath-laying
service was held during a rain shower at the memorial monument for those who
were lost in WW I and WW II. An introductory speech was given by Mayor
Szabadi and a memorial speech by Dr. Zoltan Kovacs, member of Parliament,
about the role played by the German people during the wars. At 11:00 a.m.
high holy mass was celebrated at the newly renovated Holy Trinity church by
Bishop, Dr. Gyula Marfi, of the Arch Diocese of Veszprem to a
standing-room-only crowd with full orchestra, organ, choir and a large
overflow of people outside of the church. This was a very beautiful and
moving ceremony with the bishop speaking about the expulsion of the German
people and asking forgiveness of the Hungarians. It was a very emotional
service with plenty of tears including mine. Following mass there were more
than 300 people at the school sport hall for lunch which included Hendlsuppe
mit Knudeln (chicken noodle soup), Rindfleischgulasch mit
Petersillie-Kartofeln, beer, wine, soda and pastries. There was plenty of
time to mix and talk to newly-found distant relatives. The weather cleared
to a humid 95 degrees F and I went with Joseph Steiner to the house of Emilia
Maria Griesbacher Andl, age 77, where I reviewed my genealogical charts to
determine that we are fourth cousins once removed. Her daughters, Emma Andl
Sas, Anna and Eva are fifth cousins to me. Then back to the sport hall for
more meeting, greeting and talking. At 5 p.m. there began a cultural program
in the courtyard of the school which included: 1. a song by Barbara and
Katharin Sas, cousins of mine, 2. Jaka Margareten children's dance group, 3.
German Nationality Choir of Totvazsony, 4. Dance group from Totvazsony, 5.
Frauenchor from Ganna, and 6. Brass band from Soskut. The celebration ended
with "auf wiedersehen" which became a very emotional and long farewell. These
expellees are mostly 60 years old or more who were childhood friends. They
came back to their birthplace from many locations, including the USA, Canada,
Germany and Austria, where they have made a new life. Saying "until we meet
again" was difficult knowing it probably will never happen. Although I am a
second generation American, they made me feel like one of their own, a native
German-Hungarian, and I found it hard to keep a dry eye when saying goodbye.
I am probably distantly related to many of them.

Day 5, Monday, Aug. 17, 1998: Weather partly cloudy, hot, humid, 90 deg.
F.This morning I drove to Bakonyjako again to try to get the key to the old
house numbering system, but the clerk was unable to provide it . He did,
however give me a copy of the list of about 300 names and addresses of the
respondents to the advertised notice for the 50th reunion celebration. He
also showed me maps of the village and I was able to obtain an address of a
company which prepared them. Then I drove through town and saw Zoltan and
Elizabeth Kungl Bergmann who invited me into their house for a drink of wine.
They tried to help me with the question of old house numbers but without
success. Zoltan is a hunter and has several antler trophies on his walls.
He is now retired but worked as a foreman at a scientific sheep breeding
operation with 4,000 ewes. After saying good-bye I decided to photograph
more of the villages of Veszprem County for my book, so I drove through
Bakonyszucs, Bakonykoppany, Bakonybel, Penzesgyor, Lokut, Harskut, Marko,
Band, Herend, Szentgal, Urkut, Nagyvazsony, Vorosto, Barnag, Azsofo, then to
Tihany, a beautiful peninsula jutting out into Lake Balaton with the double
domed cathedral of the Benedictine Abbey at the pinnacle of the hill, and
then along Lake Balaton, Europe's largest fresh-water lake, with its crystal
clear blue water and thousands of vacationing swimmers. Back to Papa at 7:30
p.m. for supper.

Day 6, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 1998: Weather clear, hot, 90 deg. F.At 8:00 a.m. Dr.
Harmath, arrived from Budapest, with his son at the Hotel Griff and we drove
to Eisenstadt, Burgenland, Austria to research in the Archives of the Diocese
Eisenstadt. We spoke to Dr. Hans Peter Zelfel, head of the reference
matricals , and asked about three parishes: Allhau, Neumarkt and Rotenturm.
Dr. Zelfel telephoned the Priest at Neumarkt where the original old books are
still kept, and he set up an appointment for us at 2 p.m. We had lunch at a
local biergarten and drove to Neumarkt near Oberwart arriving at 3 p.m.
Father Mach was very understanding and helpful and allowed us to look through
the old baptismal and marriage registers from 1698 through 1760 where we were
hoping to find my GGGGGGrandfather Johannes Carolus Grisbacher or any other
Grisbacher names. Unfortunately we had no results. Dr. Harmath and his son
returned to Budapest and I went to Stadtschlaining for a hotel room and
supper which included a very good dry Riesling wine, veal cutlet with
mushrooms and wine sauce, cucumber salad like mother used to make, raspberry
marmalade filled Palatschinken, also like mom's, and good strong coffee. The
cost was 162 Schillings (about $14).

Day 7, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 1998: Weather clear, hot, 90 deg. F.Today I drove
to eight village parishes in the vicinity of Oberwart to look at old church
Baptismal and marriage books for possible clues to my Griesbacher ancestors.
Most of the priests were away on summer vacation or just not in. Some of the
parishes had their Pfarramter (offices) at other locations. I was told that
the records of St. Martin and of Rechnitz were now stored at the Eisenstadt
archive. Had a late lunch at Rechnitz consisting of Nuckerl Suppe, beef
Goulash and Apfelstrudel not even close to Grandma's. Then I drove to
Oberwart where the traffic in town was very heavy and I found out that it was
market day. There were hundreds of merchants set up with their stalls and
wares all along the main street and thousands of shoppers rubbing elbows and
jostling along on the sidewalks. I had to drive around the back of town to
get to Gasthaus Neubauer. I had a late supper in the garten restaurant with
excellent Riesling wine, breaded fried fish cutlet, mixed salad, potatoes and
coffee. Food and merchandise cost about twice as much here in Austria as in
Hungary. The Cookoo birds actually say 'cuckukaruk' and there are large
stork's nests on tops of telephone poles or roofs in most of the country

Day 8, Thursday, Aug. 20, 1998: Weather clear, warm, 80 to 90 deg. F.I drove
to the Evangelical Church of Markt Allhau where the secretary said that the
Roman Catholic parish office is in Wolfau. To Wolfau where the priest was
not at home. Following is a list of the parishes that I visited:1. Allhau,
records at Wolfau parish, Priest away; 2. Rotenturm, Records at parish begin
1688, Priest away; 3. St. Martin, Records at Oberwart begin 1725, Priest
away; 4. Stadtschlaining, records since 1727, Priest away;5. Tatzmandorf,
records at parish, Priest away;6. Pinkafeld, Looked at oldest book beg. 1752,
Prior to that records burned;7. Rechnitz, Priest said books begin1676 are at
Eisenstadt; 8. Mariasdorf, Records since 1682, Priest away; 9. Mischendorf,
Records since 1719, Priest away; 10. Lockenhaus, Records since 1660, Priest
away;11. Hannersdorf, Records since 1721, Priest away.The lessons to be
learned from this are: Do not try to visit parishes in Burgenland during the
month of August when most of the priests are on vacation, and call ahead to
make appointments with the priests. Unfortunately I had to schedule my trip
around the 50-year reunion celebration at Bakonyjk_. In late afternoon I
left Oberwart and drove 4-1/2 hours through the border town of Hegyeshalom to
the Hotel Art in Budapest where I had a supper including white wine,
mushrooms stuffed with goose liver surrounded by a fruit salad of bananas,
grapes, orange slices, pear and kiwi slices; a mixed salad of pickles,
peppers, beets, slaw, cucumbers, carrots, and lettuce; mushroom-covered pork
tenderloins with rice and peas. I had no room for dessert but had my eye on
sour cherries over cake. The cost including tip was 2530 HUF (Hungarian
Forints), or about $12.00.

Day 9, Friday, Aug. 21,
1998: Weather cloudy, scattered showers, clearing by noon.At 7:00 a.m. I met
Dr. Sandor Harmath at his apartment and we drove the M-1 Highway at 140 km/hr
(85 mph) with plenty of cars passing us. This is an excellent highway but
there is a very high toll of $8.00 at the newly-constructed western 40
kilometers in Hungary. We drove to the village Furth-an-der-Triesting in
Lower Austria. The travel time was 3-1/2 hours. We had a quick lunch of
wurst platter with vegetables, beans and French fries washed down with the
excellent local bier. The priest, a Pole, allowed us to look at the old
marriage records (1740-1750) but again unfortunately we did not find the
marriage of Johannes Carolus Griesbacher to Eva Maria Pantzenpeck as we had
hoped. We then drove to nearby Pottenstein and phoned Mr. Leo Wirtner, a
local historian and genealogical correspondent of mine whom I had not yet
met. We were cordially invited to his house at 1 Einsiedler Weg and there we
discussed my lost ancestor problems. He said that possibly Eva Maria might
have been born in Rohr, that he would look at the records and write to me of
his findings. We then drove to Vienna to visit Lazslo Kovi, another
researcher and correspondent of mine and of Dr. Harmath's, whom I had not yet
met, but unfortunately he was not at home. It took us only 2 hours to drive
to Budapest and after I drove Dr. Harmath to his apartment where his wife
awaited him, I had a nice supper at the Hotel Art consisting of wine, duck,
parsley potatoes, red kraut, and coffee followed by sour cherries on vanilla
ice cream.

Day 10, Saturday, Aug. 22, 1998:
Weather cloudy, steady rain, clearing in afternoon.I took a 3-hour tour of
Budapest on Ibusz Bus Tours, the highlights of which were the Danube River,
Parliament Building, Margaret Bridge, Chain Bridge, The Royal Castle on the
Buda side, Fisherman's Bastion, Matthias Church, The Citadel on top of
Gellert Hill with its beautiful views overlooking the city, Heroes Square,
The Opera and St. Stephen's Basilica. I then walked around the city for a
couple of hours taking plenty of photographs and had supper at the sidewalk
Bistro Jardin at the new and very posh Hotel Kempinski. It included
Riesling wine, mixed salad, rabbit in paprika sauce, Esterhazy Tort and
coffee. It was expensive but excellent. Then I went to a concert at the
beautiful Duna Palota (Danube Palace) where an excellent orchestra played
Liszt, Brahms, Strauss, Lehar, Bartok and Berlioz ending with the popular
Radetzky March where the audience claps on cue with the music. The taxi
driver who drove me the 2 km back to the Hotel Art wanted $25 but I was
outraged and gave him $10 which he was apparently happy to get.

Day 11, Sunday, Aug. 23, 1998: Weather cloudy, clearing in afternoon, 80
degrees F. I drove to Varoslod in Veszprem County by way of the Pannonhalma
Monastery where I got some good photos. In Varoslod I visited Dr. Michael
Roth, a correspondent of mine for 15 years whom I had not yet met. We had a
bottle of good white wine and lots of good German conversation which I needed
to improve my language skills. Michael has written two books about the
village Varoslod. The first is a history of this German settlement which is
very interesting to me because many of my ancestors lived there. The second
is an 800-page as yet unpublished, computerized list in alphabetical order
containing all of the baptisms and deaths of the original German settlers of
Varoslod including findings from the earlier books at Kislod, Veszprem City
and the Spessart villages in Germany where many of the settlers came from.
Michael has accomplished a great deal of important work concerning the
history and genealogy of Varoslod and has established a partnership between
Varoslod and Wiesthal-Krommenthal in Bavaria, Germany where many of the
surnames are still the same as those of Varoslod. The people of both
villages have visited each other with singing and dancing groups and have
celebrated their relationships together. Michael is a retired chemist who
lives in Germany but spends a lot of time running his ceramics factory in
Varoslod. He gave me a tour of the facilities showing me the processes from
forming the raw clay, drying, baking in electric ovens, hand painting and
glazing. He produces beautiful hand-painted dishes and various other
pottery. We also toured the archaeological dig ongoing at St. Michael's
Roman Catholic church. It is the most important archaeological site in
Hungary and the excavated foundations and floors of the former Cartesian
Monastery are over 600 years old. When the German people settled here in the
early to mid 18th century they used the stone blocks from the ruined
Cartesian Monastery to build their new Catholic church. At 5 o'clock I left
Varoslod and drove 2 hours back to Budapest and took an evening stroll along
the Danube River for some photographs. There was a bazaar with hundreds of
small white tent stalls displaying all kinds of merchandise for sale and
thousands of people strolling along the sidewalks and streets closed to
traffic. There were many sidewalk cafes and many groups of musicians playing
along the way. The bridges, Royal Castle, hotels and other buildings are
lighted at night and graceful tour boats glide along the Danube River for a
spectacular scene. At a sidewalk bistro I had tender veal goulash Bakony
style and wine while I watched the people strolling by with strains of Gypsy
music in the background.

Day 12, Monday, Aug. 24, 1998: Weather clear, 75 degrees F. Checked out of
Hotel Art and drove to Budapest Airport to turn in rented car which I had
driven a total of 2,530 km or about 1,500 miles. My flight to Paris took off
almost an hour late so I had to scramble in Paris to make the connecting
flight. They had to hold the airplane for me, and for my stressful troubles
Air France put on First Class. It was a great trip home and I got my money's
worth with champagne, hors d'oeuvres single-malt scotch, salad, a lamb chop,
a great Bordeaux wine, plenty of room to spread out, a personal TV screen and
instantaneous service from the flight attendants. Somewhere over the North
Atlantic Ocean I began to think about my next journey to Austria which will
be better planned to utilize the records at the Eisenstadt archives and to
make appointments with local parish priests. End Of Trip Report.

Member Tom Glatz was looking for a good scanner that would allow him to share
material in his library. He asked about a particular model. Many of you may
not know that charter member Mike Spahitz is a professional graphics designer
(he did the BB homepage logos for us). He provided Tom with the following
answer: "I have the Microtek ScanMaker E6 which has the same 1200x600 dpi
resolution. It is GREAT! And the price is great at $179.00! I can't
recommend the next one up that does 1200x1200 because I would get jealous!
Just kidding, I think that you won't need that high of a resolution
especially if you are going to use it for scanning things for the web which
only need 72dpi or for personal use at tops 600dpi? Anything over 300dpi is
really getting into the graphics field and you'll need LOTS of hard drive
space! I think the 1200x600 would be more than sufficient even if you have a
printer that does 600pdi or 720dpi (like mine, the Epson Stylus Color 800).
DPI= dots per inch. If you have ANY more questions about graphics, feel free
to email me!

A LITTLE HUMOR (forwarded by Mary Montoya-I'm still laughing)
The Smiths were proud of their family tradition. Their ancestors had come to
America on the Mayflower. Their line had included Senators and Wall Street
wizards. Now they decided to compile a family history, a legacy for the
children. They hired a fine author. Only one problem arose----how to handle
that great-uncle who was executed in the electric chair. The author said he
could handle that chapter of history tactfully. The book appeared. It said
that "Great-uncle George occupied a chair of applied electronics at an
important government institution and was attached to his position by the
strongest of ties. His death came as a real shock."
Newsletter Continued as No. 44B.

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