Archiver > BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER > 1999-07 > 0931435964

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Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 53B dtd 15 Mar 1999 (edited)
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1999 08:12:44 EDT

(issued biweekly by
March 15, 1999
(all rights reserved)

This third section of the 3 section newsletter contains a Glimpse of 1950's
Burgenland (pictures from member Prof. Andrew Burghardt), More Old Photos,
and Review of the Book "German-Bohemians", co-authored by La Vern Rippley and
member Robert Paulson.

AN EARLIER GLIMPSE OF THE BURGENLAND-1950's (Prof. Andrew Burghardt and Gerry

As we view the Burgenland through available genealogical records I'm afraid
we often lose sight of how it must have looked to our ancestors. We probably
either fantasize, romanticize or imagine it has always looked as it does at
present, sans concrete, asphalt, autos, electric wires and modern
construction. Yesterday's mail brought me a gift from member Prof. Andrew
Burghardt, author of (among other works) "Borderland, A Historical and
Geographical Study of Burgenland" , Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1962, which
suggested this article.

The gift was a series of 17 enlarged photos, produced by the Wisconsin Press
from color slides taken by Prof. Burghardt and used to illustrate his book,
now out of print. Fifteen of the photos were taken in 1957, two in 1969, only
yesterday for some of us.

I've been fortunate in acquiring various books, publications and photos which
have illustrations supplying glimpses of the Burgenland both pre camera
(drawings, paintings and word descriptions) and post camera such as late 1800
studio photos of my ancestors, the 1890-1910 Auswanderung years, WWI to WWII
photos and post cards and my own 1970, 1980 and 1990 visits. Missing were the
1950's, that all important period of reconstruction following WWII. Prof.
Burghardt's photos capture this period admirably and I'd like to describe
them for you. The last decade has seen major changes in the Burgenland, it is
no longer old Europe, scenes of which are difficult to find. Burgenland,
while still rural in aspect, is now a part of our First World, modern in
every concept. These pictures depict it as it was just a few years ago. Most
of the descriptions are in Prof. Burghardt's own words. My (comments) are
normally at the end of the descriptions.

Plate I - The Hainburg or Carnuntum gap of the Danube (Porta Hungaria). In
the middle of the picture is the Braunsberg, site of the first Celtic
Carnuntum (most likely a typical Celtic hill fort). The Danube flows to the
left (north) of this hill. The uplands at the left are the southern most
extent of the Little Carpathians and are in Slovakia. The upland at the right
is the northernmost edge of the Hainburg Hills and bears the historic
Hainburg fortress. The city of Hainburg lies in the gap between the fortress
and the Braunsburg. The road in the foreground appears to be gravel road
lined with wooden guard posts. The only modern objects are telephone (power)
poles and lines.

Plate II - The Heidentor, a Roman arch which may have marked one of the
principal entrances into Roman Carnuntum (now a site of ruins). It stands in
the fields southwest of Petronell.

Plate III - The Hungarian Border as taken from an automobile on the highway
between Mogersdorf and Deutsch Minihof, just west of Szent Gotthard. For two
miles the road follows the boundary, so the double fences, wire and barb are
in Hungary. Just beyond the first fence is a "dirt road" which was a mine
field. (In 1993, the fence and mine fields had been removed between
Moschendorf and Pinka Mindszent although an empty guard shack remained. While
one could have crossed the border here illegally, we didn't do so but went
the long way round through the customs crossing at Heiligenkreuz. When we in
turn viewed Moschendorf from Pinka Mindszent, a military vehicle with two
soldiers was parked at the guard shack-probably alerted about the presence of
"suspicious characters!") (NOTE: I've recently been told that the wire is
again going up along the Hungarian border. The ethnic unrest in the Balkans
and elsewhere and third world problems (India) has again caused the Hungarian
border to be the target of refugees fleeing to Austria and the new world.
Austria is having trouble coping with the large numbers, hence the wire).

Plate IV - Neusiedl am See, from the rim of the Parndorf Heath. Narrow strips
of cultivated land border the village. Beyond is a belt of reeds and then
Lake Neusiedl.

Plate V - Mrbisch am See. Principal Street. Houses are white washed. Ears of
corn hanging from the side of the houses. Two ladies in black with
"babushkas", boots and staffs walking by a sign which reads "PauL LeHner
(sic), Schumacher Meister." Street appears unpaved. A single branchless tree
struggles to survive. In 1993, this same scene included pavements, paved tree
lined street, much neater and more prosperous. Well dressed locals and

Plate VI - Unterwart. An old peasant home with thatched roof. Ancient
timbers, white washed walls. Heavy wooden shutters. Street is dirt. No
electric or phone wires in evidence. Three decades ago this was a "typical"
home; now it is a picturesque rarity. (Most houses now have red-orange tiled
roofs, but the shape and internal layout of the newer houses is as of old;
you'll find all "mod cons", double glazed windows, flower boxes everywhere,

Plate VII - Pamhagen on the edge of the Hansg. Open space shows village
commons (with stream-ditch) between two rows of houses. Geese using a rain
puddle. No electric wires in sight. Such ditches in early times were often
one source of water, leading to much water borne disease.

Plate VIII - Eberau. Inside the "Hof", the work camp. The equipment, animals
and hired laborers are housed in the quadrangle. Long handled "puszta" well
sweep and poultry. Typical of the Alfld.

Plate IX - Stadt Schlaining. Schloss Schlaining. Fortress dominates the point
where the old road around the south flank of the Kszeg Range climbed from
the lowland onto the Bucklige Welt. The city is behind the fortress. Two
towers. Most fortresses in Burgenland have two such towers, an older round
one that was used for military purposes and a newer baroque one largely for
decoration. (Purchased by a private party and restored following WWII, the
castle is now used as a museum, hotel and conference center.)

Plate X - Gssing. A popular site for pictures. The medieval fortress sits
atop a basaltic plug which rises sharply above the water and marsh (fish
teich) at the confluence of the Strem and Zicken brooks (bach). (The capitol
of the "Mighty Counts of Gssing" and the subsequent Gssing Heerschaft. This
castle dominated most of southern Burgenland. Can be seen from all
directions. Picture taken from the south showing the paved two lane road to
Neustift and Heilgenkreuz (now considerably widened). In the foreground is a
four wheeled oxcart pulled by two white faced oxen led by a woman in
"babushka" and apron. With short dress and modern shoes (no boots) she looks
like any modern farm woman. Two children are riding in the wagon. Your editor
picnicked with family at this very spot in the 1970's.)

Plate XI - Eisenstadt. The Esterhzy Schloss. The largest and most famous
palace of Burgenland; scene of the activities of Joseph Haydn. At the time
the picture was taken, the palace was being used by the provincial
government. The Russians had destroyed the old government building. Banner
hanging in front means the Landtag is in session. People in both modern and
old dress can be seen. (Scene much changed in the 1990's, with a modern car
park to the left and the front undergoing restoration. The wife of the last
Prince Esterhzy still has apartments in part of the schloss -1993).

Plate XII - Eisenstadt. The entrance to the former ghetto (Unterberg).
Immediately adjacent to the Esterhzy palace was this Jewish ghetto for the
Jews who managed the Prince's estates. This ghetto was a distinct political
subdivision and all Gentiles were excluded after sundown by a chain stretched
across the archway. The Nazis killed or deported most of the Jews during the
Holocaust. (The ghetto is now merely an area of low grade housing, part of
the City of Eisenstadt. Street may still -1957, be dirt covered with slush,
two men passing under the arch, one with bicycle. No one else in site. A
haunting picture. One can imagine the area under the archway once teeming
with life as inhabitants went about their daily business.)
Plate XIII - Deutsch Minihof. Peasant couple. Herr und Frau Johann Labitsch.
Could be any BB member's "Ahnen". Frau Labitsch is in black denoting
mourning with black head piece. She has a twinkle in her eyes but is not
smiling. Herr Labitsch is smiling under upturned mustache. He is wearing a
modern felt hat with brim, buttoned sweater and wool plaid shirt buttoned at
the neck, no tie. They appear to be holding hands. A pile of firewood is
behind them. Herr Labitsch was the brother of Mrs. Ludwig Lang (he was from
Mogersdorf) who moved to New York where he worked for Rupert's Brewery. Prof.
Burghardt and wife toured Burgenland in 1989 and presented a copy of this
photo to the remaining Labitsch daughter in Minihof-a photo of her parents
taken 32 years before. She was stunned.

Plate XIV - Hagensdorf. Three Peasant Ladies, returning from a pilgrimage to
Gass (for the March 25 Feast of the Annunciation). They had walked over ten
miles and asked for a ride. Automobiles were very scarce in Burgenland in
1957. The women were bone weary and were given a ride in Burghardt's tiny
Renault. He delivered them to Hagendorf and Luising. On the way home he met
another elderly woman also desperate for a ride. He gave her one and she
insisted he share her bottle of slivovitz. He says good, but.... Two ladies
are in black mourning. One has a figured dress. They appear to be wearing
shorter skirts with black stockings and shoes. Two baskets being carried are
home made. One is of store bought leather. All three are smiling, standing in
the middle of a dirt (gravel) road, obviously pleased with the results of
their outing.

Plate XV - Trausdorf Croatian Peasant Woman. Boots, kerchief (babushka),
sweater and apron. Typical older Burgenland costume, unlike rest of Austria.
Very proud of her home made basket and pleased at having it included in the
picture. Basket full of reeds used for weaving containers. Standing in a dirt
street in front of a carriage gate next to house entrance door way. (The
attic of the Berghold homestead in Poppendorf contained hand woven baskets,
now rarely seen).

Plate XVI - Frankenau. Croatian peasant costumes. Brilliant "Trachten" seen
only at rare public festivities. Picture taken June 1961 at celebration
during the unveiling of a monument to the Croatian poet, Miloradic', who was
born in Frankenau. Accompanying color photos show how striking the colors and
embroidery are. Young woman in center is most attractive with jet black hair
and eyes. Two other ladies with blonde hair, blue eyes and lighter features.
Wearing colorful headpieces, white ruffled sleeve blouses gathered with red
ribbons, fringed scarfs, most colorful ankle length skirts, black aprons and
boots. Men (band) are in white costumes, black boots, black karakul (?)
Croatian hats, red embroidered vests, red neckerchiefs and black aprons with
embroidered edges.

The late 1950's early 1960's were the last time one could see the "old"
Burgenland of our immigrant ancestors. Today one has to visit local museums
or go far off the beaten tract, in very remote regions and search diligently
to find its equivalent. Our thanks to Prof. Burghardt for supplying this

Among the many good things available from the Burgenlndische Gemeinschaft
newsletter (membership $15/year for six issues, from Burgenlndische
Gemeinschaft, 7540 Gssing, Hauptplatz 7, )
is a feature column called "Erinnerungen" (memories) which reproduces old
photos of Burgenland scenes. The Jan./Feb.1999 issue featured "Hochzeit in
Knigsdorf"-1924, (wedding) "Schlittenfahren", Frstenfeld-1924, (sleigh
rides) and "Soldat auf Heimatlaub", Horitschon-1944, (soldier on leave).
Pictures are from collection of Dr. Walter Dujmovits and other Burgenland
archival holdings. There are also other pictures and sometimes a little
English in the newsletter if you have trouble with German.

One of the perquisites I enjoy as editor of the newsletter is the occasional
gift package of books and/or other publications sent by members. It's always
Christmas when that happens and a newsletter article often results. Recently
member Robert J. Paulson sent me a copy of the book "German-Bohemians-The
Quiet Immigrants" (St. Olaf College Press, Northfield Minnesota, 1995) which
he and Lavern J. Rippley co-authored for the German-Bohemian Heritage
Society, New Ulm, Minnesota. He also sent the book "Burgen und Schlsser
Ruinen und Wehrkirchen im Burgenland" by Harald Prickler which will be
described later.

The "German-Bohemians" is the type of ethnic work I'd like to see produced
for the Burgenland. Complete in every detail from history and origins in
Europe to descendants today. Maps, lists of immigrant families, migration
data, folklore, world of work, music, related national events, it's all
there. While it doesn't pertain to the Burgenland (the Bohemian region is to
the north west of today's Austria, in what was Czechoslovakia-now Czech
Republic and Slovakia, a region which was part of the Austro/Hungarian Empire
pre 1918) it abounds in similar family names, customs, culture, migration
history and the fact that like the Burgenlnders, the German- Bohemians were
also migrant border settlers. The US immigrants from there settled mostly in
Brown and Nicollet Counties, Minnesota. If you have family ties to that
region, you must read this book.

Of particular interest to me is mention (and a photo) of Father Alexander
Berghold, a Catholic missionary priest from Styria in the late 1800's. He
established various congregations in the New Ulm area and is currently being
remembered by the erection of a memorial by his former parish. Father
Berghold, priest, poet and author was born near Graz, Austria and eventually
returned there where he died following WWI. While not as yet linked to my
Lutheran Berghold families, it's fairly certain that his ancestors and mine
were connected pre 1600's and split probably during the counter Reformation.
Along with Fritz Knigshofer, Albert Schuch and James Seifert of New Ulm, MN,
we've been researching the life of this most remarkable (albeit relatively
obscure) man and have uncovered a wealth of information.

The data and photos available in this book are remarkable for the
completeness of coverage. The maps and lists of Bohemian villages (German and
Slav names) printed on the end papers provide the first clues that this is
not your average superficial ethnic work. Very few are this detailed. Lists
of Bohemian names appearing in the various townships are thorough. A 12 page
list of immigrants, date and place of birth, year immigrated, year
naturalized, current residence and occupation follows. The Contents include:
Origins, Settling in Brown County, Departing the Homeland, Establishing the
New Homeland, New Ulm-Magnet for Immigrants, Turners and German Speaking
Bohemians, Folklore and Transfers, World of Work, Economic and Sociological
Perspectives, Music of the German-Bohemian, German Bohemians and National
Events. On site research and help from present day Bohemian researchers lends
additional credence to the data. A perfect example of my long held belief
that only in depth study of a manageable (micro vs macro) ethnic region will
result in a worthwhile addition to family history sources. This can well
serve as model for similar ethnic books. Binding, paper and printing are
first class.

La Vern Rippley, is the author and translator of many ethnic books and
publications. He received his Ph. D. from Ohio State following studies at the
Univ. of Munich. He has been a professor at St. Olaf College* since 1967.
Robert Paulson, a music teacher, studied at the College of St. Thomas and has
taught in St. Paul area schools for over 30 years. He is the founder of the
German-Bohemian Heritage Society, has done pioneering genealogical and
historical research on the German-Bohemians in America and has led several
genealogical tours to Bohemia. He has also co-authored "Border People: The
Bhmish (German-Bohemians in America).

*You may be familiar with the famous St. Olaf College Choir Christmas program
which has been televised.

for information about the Burgenland Bunch.

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