Archiver > BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER > 1999-07 > 0931264148

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Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 44B dtd 30 Sept 1998 (edited)
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999 08:29:08 EDT

(issued biweekly by )
September 30, 1998

The third section of this 3 section newsletter features Results from Our
Recent Reader Poll, articles about Contacting New Members, Old Newspaper
Clippings, Burgenland Memories of the War Years and "Alter Sprach".

We had a 25% (43 people) response to our reader poll. A little disappointing
but comments were very favorable. These will help guide future decisions
about Burgenland Bunch development. I conclude from the poll that the
Burgenland Bunch fills an ethnic need. We'll continue publication and plan no
major changes.

o All respondents read each issue of the newsletter and most print or save
copies; most share copies with others and all but 3 felt the bi-weekly
frequency was just right. We'll continue biweekly issues of the current size,
material permitting.
o The village series is the favorite subject, followed by Burgenland
history, trip reports, translations of old publications, lifestyles and
culture and genealogical help and aids. Many members said they enjoyed

o Only half add newsletter material to their genealogies although all but two
said that their family names or villages had appeared in articles. I stress
that family names appearing in Urbars or Visitations are primae facie
evidence of early family origin. Should become part of genealogy notes.

o Over half access the archives and use the URL lists, archive catalog and
member lists. All but one contacted other members. Most everyone visits the
homepage at some time, some very often. These tools require a lot of staff
work and maintenance but as long as they are used, we'll try to continue
them. I get the impression that some members are reluctant to use the

o Only five members were also members of the Burgenlndische Gemeinschaft.
This may indicate that few members know any German. Half plan to visit
Burgenland, some in the near future. Only 7 have libraries of Burgenland
source material, but another 6 say they have limited material.

o No one has technical problems with the newsletters but many are still
struggling with the umlaut problem. All but 8 have used LDS microfilm. Most
everyone says their questions get answered. Sixteen members plan to
contribute an article for the newsletter.

In my first response to new members, I try to copy ("cc") other members who
are researching the same areas. I also copy those who I know are researching
the same family names. This is the first opportunity to match kin. It's not a
fool proof match as I use my AOL Email Address File which doesn't show me
much detail. We hope that new members will scan our homepage or member
changes in the newsletters looking for contacts. I also copy staff members
who may have an interest. While I hope those copied will email new members, I
don't really know if they do or not. Recently, I in turn was copied, and the
email was so typical of a good new member greeting that I'd like to share it.
It's the perfect way to build a file of genealogical correspondents.

To: CC: ; Sept 17th 1998
Hello Audrey, My name is Therese Knaus Cameron and I lived in Newington, Ct.
for many years. I now live in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. My grandparrents on my
father's side were Josef and Fanny Poglitsch Knaus who came from Minehof
Liebau, Austria to New Britain, Conn. in the early 1900's. They had a farm in
Newington, Conn. My mother's maiden name was Prem who came from Vienna and
Feldbach, Austria. My father was Carl Knaus and my mother was Victoria Prem
Knaus. Do any of the names ring a bell? Also family spoke of Jennersdorf
many times. My grandmother's sister was Theresa Poglitsch Kern who lived in
New Britain. My grandmother had a nephew, Dr. Poglitsch, who married a
Jewish girl and sadly, she and their son were burned in the tragic circus
fire in Hartford in the "40's. I don't know what happened to him after that.

We have been to Minehof Liebau twice but didn't check any geneology at that
time. I wish we had. Also stopped in Feldbach at the Gasthaus Kern. Berta
Kern was married to a Prem. He died and she married a Kern. He died and the
son, Rudy, now runs the Gasthaus. I would like to hear from you. Email
address is < > Therese Knaus Cameron

When browsing the hardcopies I made from Der Volksfreund, I noted a tiny (but
very nice) item from Tobaj, and then found that one of the names in the story
relates to a name you are searching. VF issue of October 6, 1906, page 5:
"Run-away girls. The 14-years old Eleonora Schweitzer and the 16-years old
Josefa Tepler made off from Tobaj (near Nmetujvr- 'Gssing') from the house
of their parents, in order to proceed to America. Quite incredibly, they
successfully, without passport, reached Hamburg, where they then also managed
to get on a ship."

Some of you are searching "Unger." Another little VF story about an Unger
from Poppendorf is the following, from page 7 of the issue of October 12,
1901: "Funeral. On the 6th of this month, the far and widely known
veterinary doctor ["Viehdoktor.... cattle doctor?)] Josef Unger was buried in
Patafalva. For his practical knowlegde of cattle diseases and for his open
character, Unger was respected and loved by old and young alike."

BURGENLAND MEMORIES FROM THE WAR YEARS (as told to Gerry and Molly Berghold
by Gertrude Schlener)

My wife and I had a most delightful experience a few days ago. We received a
visit from my second cousin Gertrude Schlener. She came to the door with a
plate of tasty apple and plum strudel! She had recently found us and we
corresponded for the first time through the Burgenland Bunch. Her Langasch
grandmother and mine were sisters. She was just a young girl living in
Heiligenkreuz during WWII and has vivid memories of southern Burgenland as it
was prior to emigrating to the United States in the 1950's. A sister remained
in the "Heimat" and she has visited often. She showed us some prewar family
photos of her happy and attractive family in their Sunday best.

Gertrude remembers a beautiful blue glass oil lamp that used to provide their
light. Electricity arrived late in the Burgenland and when it did come, as a
naked bulb hanging from the ceiling, it was nowhere near as nice or romantic
as the soft glow of the oil lamp. Her father was drafted into the German army
in the 1940's although he claimed he was much too old for that sort of thing.
Fortunately he survived the war having been sent to Styria, some distance
from the major battle areas.

During this period, the villagers still socialized by gathering at homes and
sharing in the work necessary to provide food and comfort. They would gather
to process pumpkin seeds for salad oil "Kernoil". First seeds were removed
from the pumpkins and dried. The pumpkin flesh that wasn't eaten (often made
into a cream soup or baked with sour cream) became feed for livestock. After
drying, the seeds were sprinkled with water which caused them to split. The
husk was then removed and the inner seed bagged. They were taken to a mill
where they were roasted and pressed. The resultant oil has a distinctive
flavor and is a great favorite. Very expensive when purchased. Enough was
made to provide the family with their yearly salad oil needs.

Wagon loads of corn would be husked with the help of neighbors, friends and
relatives. Usually the work would be completed in one evening but sometimes
it carried over to the following day if the harvest was an especially good
one. On average there would be 20 people on hand. The whole thing turned into
a sort of social affair, people would tell jokes and stories. It was so much
fun that you hardly took notice that around 10 pm the huge pile of corn that
everyone had been sitting on at 6:30, had dwindled away to almost nothing.
Afterwards, there was usually a little new cider or wine, apples and bread.
In a few days, the whole thing would be repeated at another house. As for
removing the kernels from the cob, that was often done in mid winter when
farm work was not quite so pressing. You would press two cobs together to
start loosening the kernels, once started the kernels came off the cob quite
easily. Some was fed to animals but most was ground into corn flour, out of
which many tasty dishes were made.

Large quantities of "down" were required to fill pillows and comforters. A
true down comforter is a marvelous thing on a cold night. The down (very fine
feathers) was prepared by removing the side feathers from the larger central
feather quill. A fingernail was used. When it gets too warm, you shake all
the feathers to one side of the comforter and use the cover as a sheet. (The
recently published book "Zahling" has a picture of women preparing down).

Quilting and sewing were other group projects, the ladies with their children
rotating through all of the homes in the village so that everyone received
help with their busy work. Naturally refreshments were available and gossip,
songs and stories enlivened the work. Gertrude says that falling asleep to
the murmur of adult voices in the shadows cast by oil lamp light gave one a
wonderful feeling of comfort and security.

Field work was an all day venture and a lunch and liquid refreshment were
carried. I showed Gertrude a small antique pottery bottle from the Gssing
area and she said she carried water in one just like it, closed with a cork.

In late 1945, the thunder of Russian and Wehrmacht artillery came ever closer
to Heiligenkreuz. (One Russian Army Group swung south of Budapest to Lake
Balaton, then split and swung west to the Austrian border.) When the flash of
the guns was finally seen, Gertrude's mother gathered her children and went
to an Aunt's home in Poppendorf just a few kilometers west. A fortunate
decision on her part. Gertrude says that load noises made her tremble for
years and once when her picture was being taken she cried because she thought
she was going to be shot.

Heiligenkreuz is an important crossroads border village and was an important
military objective, probably the first in southern Austria. The Germans
defended it. The village was shelled, burned and heavily damaged. There were
civilian casualties among those who didn't leave. Their names can be found on
the war memorial. Poppendorf, much smaller and not near a crossroad, escaped
much damage, although the next two villages, Eltendorf and Konigsdorf were
shelled. When the fighting moved west, the Schlener family returned to their
home to find it bullet scarred, damaged and full of holes. Most of their
possessions were broken or gone. A creased photo was one memento recovered
from the mud of battle. The bad times, the hungry times started. For a short
time their home was the office of the Russian "Kommandanteur". Much trauma,
partially relieved by the slow return of the men from the military.

For some time there was nothing to buy, nothing to eat. Everything was in a
state of chaos. The Russians were of some help but they did what they
pleased. Some packages began arriving from relatives and friends in the
United States and were much appreciated. Finally early in the early 1950's,
the Schlener family had enough, decided to leave the old "Heimat" and
emigrated to the United States.

We discussed the present situation in Burgenland. How prosperous it seems to
be, automobiles, roads, evidence of plenty, everything neat and well
maintained, modern conveniences-a far cry from 1945. A Phoenix reborn from
the chaos of war. I wonder if the villagers still socialize with busy work? I
did see a group of Poppendorf ladies processing pumpkin seeds as late as
1993. Hope it continues. I'd gladly exchange television for some old
fashioned socializing.

Schuch, Yvonne Lockwood responding to a thread initiated by your editor)

ED. Question: This prompts a question concerning Hianzisch or Burgenlndische
as Dr. Dujmovits calls it. Is it an early form of German dialect which has
been corrupted like Pennsylvania Dutch (with an admixture of Hungarian and
Croatian) or is it a pure remainder of the original dialect spoken by the
germanic colonists who migrated to the Burgenland many years ago? If the
latter, wouldn't we be able to find the main region of their origin by
looking for the place where that dialect was used? I believe Albert said it
was similar to dialects in use in south Bavaria. What about that used in the
Graz region of Styria? The mountain regions of Styria and Lower Austria? I've
also recently read that the Croatian used by Burgenlanders is a purer form of
Croatian than that used by the Croatians of Dalmatia (the homeland). (Yvonne,
do you agree with this?). Could it be that Hianzisch has also remained pure?

Fritz writes: Greetings from Budapest, where I am unfortunately only today
and quite tired from the long journey from Almaty. To my limited knowledge
(and leaving the more erudite explanations to Albert), the Heanzisch dialect
is German throughout, i.e., not mixed with Hungarian or Croat words. In my
youth, I read with great enjoyment the poems by an author Ponstingl (don't
recall his first name), who might still be alive. I believe he wrote the
poems, or most of them in Heanzisch.

The problem with the Styrians (and other Austrians except those in the
Vorarlberg) is that they also originated in Bavaria and Franconia. The
German settlement of Styria happened not too much earlier than the settlement
of what is now Southern Burgenland. The area where the Ko"nigshofers come
from, namely Ratten in Northeast Styria, was only cleared for settlement
(Ratten = Roden which means "cleared land") after the turn of the first
millenium. Therefore, the Heanzisch might have had as much chance for
further development into a separate dialect, as had the Styrian, which (for
us in Styria and for other Austrians) is very different in sounds from the
Bavarian, yet retained many words in common. According to the discussions I
had with my father, I believe that the origin of the Heanzen is still a
matter of debate. However, one of the first overlords of Gu"ssing was a
Heinz or Henzo of Wildon (Wildon lies south of Graz and has an old castle
hill, now in waste). One theory for the name Heanzisch relates the word
itself to this Heinz of Wildon, who is said to have brought settlers with him
-- which would have to be from the region to the south of Graz -- when he
assumed the reign over the Gu"ssing area.

A perusal of my little atlas of the German language revealed very little on
the question of the Burgenland dialects. For the most part, this area clearly
forms part of the southern German dialects, and is even not distinguished in
words and forms from the Eastern part of Austria. The maps are also not
detailed enough to show any difference between Northern and Southern
Burgenland, though we know this difference does exist. The only major
deviation I noted was in the form -ui- for the vocal -u-, such as Muider (for
mother), which is -ua- in the adjoining parts of Austria, like Muader. The
form -ui- is otherwise only documented for the northern part of Lower
Austria, i.e., the northern Weinviertel, but I doubt that this implies any
deeper connection. I asked my father and he essentially said the same thing
as Albert, namely that Heanzisch included some words from the Hungarian
language. He particularly mentioned words used in football (soccer) playing.
No Croatian word in Heanzisch came to his mind.

Albert writes: Hianzisch does include words of Hungarian origin - this I know
for sure. I am not sure about Croatian, but I think there will also be some
words. I don't think that all the original colonists came from one single
place. Also, the German dialects of Burgenland vary from region to region.
For instance, the language in the Raab valley has a few special
characteristics. Poet Josef Reichl (who had traveled quite a lot in his
younger years) wrote in 1912 in an article on the Raab valley, that the
language spoken there reminded him of the language spoken in or near
Frankfurt am Main. The Burgenland area was never totally separated from the
adjacent Styrian and Lower Austrian territory. There were certainly social
contacts at any time.

The Hianzen-name first appeared in print in 1778, when Slovakian-born
geographer Johann Matthias Korabinsky published his "Almanach von Ungarn auf
das Jahr 1778". Therein he wrote about an area called "Hienzey" in the Gns
(Kszeg) area. Spelling varies between Hienzen - Heanzen - Hianzen - Heinzen.
I wrote about the inclusiion of Hungarian words in my answer to Gerry. The
full name of the Hianzen author is Hans Ponstingl. I think he was born in the
Jennersdorf area. He died in 1977, aged 67.

The Burgenland has to be divided into several separate dialect areas. I
mentioned the Raab valley. Another example is the Seewinkel (Lake Corner): It
is not easy for me to understand people from let's say the Seewinkel village
Apetlon. An example: For 11 (eleven) we (in the south) say: "(l)v" or
"(l)ve". In Apetlon they say "alave" - very similar to English.

Yvonne Lockwood reponds: As a trained folklorist/historian (with only a bit
of work in linguistics) I have some thoughts on language change that I'd like
to express here. Change is not always negative (Ed. question had negative
connotations)....Language is a part of culture and as such, changes as does
culture. These continue to meet the needs of the people they serve. As long
as there are folks who understand and share these cultural expressions, they
live. Nothing is static....

As for the Croatian dialects in the Burgenland, they still maintain much of
the linguistic structure of the language before the major language shifts
that took place in what is Croatia today back in ca. 16C. The reason being
that for the first centuries there probably wasn't much (if any) contact
between the immigrants and their linguistic peers in the south. The Croatian
dialects of today's Gradiscanski Hrvati contain a large number of German
words. And in some areas and within some families German has made deep
inroads. I know families where the wife had to literally brush up her
Croatian in order to speak with me (whose German is that of a babe), while
her husband spoke a pure Croatian (i.e., he always knew the Croatian word,
even though in everyday speech he and the other villagers used a German word
instead) and often had to give her that word. As for their children, one
taught grammar school English and Croat Croatian (and her Burgenland Croatian
is excellent as well), one spoke some Burgenland Croatian but was primarily a
German speaker (she later married a local whose identity as a B.Croatian was
strong and she has since relearned Croatian, which is now their first
language). There is still a debate among the intellectuals about whether
their literary language shouldn't be Croat's Croatian, but I have noticed a
prevalence of Burgenland Croatian in the weekly newspaper, the periodicals,
the Kalendar, and books. Given that sto, ca, and kaj are all present, they
are also all represented in print from time to time. I am hoping that the
literary language embraced is Burgenland. Yes, Gerry, it is a beautiful
language to the ear (even with the German words, despite what the purists
say). It is an absolute pleasure to talk with octogenarians (plus) and hear
their speech (and often they use a lot of Hungarian words).

You referred to the language as Croatian (Serbo-Croatian). It is Croatian.
(Scholars from Croatia (Serbia) have considerable trouble understanding
Burgenland Croatian at first. There is a learning process for them, albeit
shorter than folks from other languages.) Serbo-Croatian is the official
language of the former Yugoslavia. S-C is now a political term. Though
Croatian and Serbian of the former Yugoslavia are virtually the same (it IS
one language, from a linguistic point of view), with the breakup of the
country, the languages of the respective countries are called Croatian and
Serbian. Croatia proper is attempting to actively change/adapt their language
so that it differs as much from Serbian as possible. Their language police
are creating new words like their lives depend on it.

I should add also that all Burgenland Croatians speak German (high and local
dialect) and many, especially older ones, speak some Hungarian. The older
farmers used to laughingly tell me that they speak the local German dialect
to their cattle, because that's what the cattle understood (or stated another
way, that's all it was fit for!). But this has to do with being an
unrecognized (for centuries) minority in a sea of German speakers and
striking back in the only way possible at that time. That sentiment was
stated in the 1970s, and a lot has happened in terms of ethnic recognition
and rights in Austria since then. Well, this has been a wonderful diversion
from my current focus of Arab American culture (an exhibit I have curated).

for information about the Burgenland Bunch.

This thread: