BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L ArchivesArchiver > BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER > 1999-11 > 0943972454
Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 69A dtd 30 Nov 1999
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 09:34:14 EST
THE BURGENLAND BUNCH NEWS -No. 69A
DEDICATED TO AUSTRIAN-HUNGARIAN BURGENLAND FAMILY HISTORY
(issued biweekly by
November 30, 1999
This second section of the 3 section newsletter concerns the Visit of Dr.
Walter Dujmovits to Allentown, the Fate of Ethnic Clubs, an article which
includes two extracts from the archives of the Allentown Call-Chronicle, a
Genealogy Traceable to 660 BC and extracts from a recent Rootsweb Newsletter.
DR. WALTER DUJMOVITS VISITS PA & NY (by Bob Strauch via Frieda Eberhardt and
(Ed. Note: Dr. Dujmovits is president of the Burgenlndische Gemeinschaft,
Gssing and author of many publications concerning Burgenland emigration. He
is a retired southern Burgenland educator and educational administrator and
was instrumental in founding the Auswanderer [Emigrant) Museum] in Gssing.
He lives in Stegersbach.)
Walter Dujmovits Visits PA and NY November 7-22 (Nov. 11-18 in Lehigh Valley)
Purpose: to see relatives, friends, and Burgenland Group (BG) contacts.
Coplay Saengerbund - Fri. 11/12 7:30 PM
30 people attended, basically the same as for Father Leopold's visit -
"Father Leopold Fan Club". The BB was represented by Dennis and Frieda
Eberhardt and the BG was represented by Bob Strauch.
Our wonderful bakers again graciously provided pastries, including
Nuss'Strudl, Vanillakipferln, Windbeutln (creme puffs, "wind bags"),
Hungarian moon cakes. No powdered sugar emergencies!
Bob read a letter from Dr. Dujmovits which arrived that day, thanking all for
helping with Father Leopold's visit, and then introduced him to the group.
Dr. Dujmovits spoke of how immigration affected his own family as most of his
family is here in the U.S.
The Burgenlandische Gemeinschaft is designating the year 2000 as
"Pennsylvania-Jahr" with events showcasing Burgenlanders in PA. Dr.
Dujmovits praised Bob for his work and dedication to the Burgenlanders'
culture in the USA. He stated Bob understands the connection between
Herkunft (background) and Zukunft (future). He honored Bob with a
personalized copy of the new BG calendar "Roots of Home 2000" and a
collection of folk music CD's.
Bob and the "Hianznchor" then sang for Dr. Dujmovits, singing very old songs,
mostly in dialect. Also a Croatian medley as Dr. Dujmovits has Croatian
roots on his father's side. Walter is an avid singer and joined in and was
in seventh heaven, and was very impressed. When he learned that their song
book has several hundred songs and saw titles of songs that have been
completely forgotten in Burgenland, he said it's a monument and would like a
copy for the Emigration Museum in Gussing. On the next day, Bob presented
him with 25 songs for the museum with the following inscription:
"25 songs from the collection of the singing group "Hianznchor" from the
Lehigh Valley in PA, which was founded in 1992. With pride we send them back
to the land of their origin where they should be given a place in the
Emigration Museum in Gussing as a symbol of our love for Burgenland, the
homeland our ancestors."
The Coplay Saengerbund club president Hank Nafus came and made a point of
meeting and welcoming Dr. Dujmovits and making sure everything was
Edelweiss Haus, Northampton, PA - 9:30 P.M. - Weekly button accordion
Led by Joe Weber and Emil Schanta including 10 musicians, button accordions,
piano accordions and a baritone horn. Joe kept switching accordions "so they
wouldn't overheat". There was an incredibly jovial mood, epitome of
Gemuetlichkeit with non-stop singing. During their break, Bob and the
Hianznchor sang songs in Austrian dialects and Croatian. People seemed to be
looking forward to their singing and remarked that they hadn't heard some of
the songs for decades.
Joe Weber & Band will spend 5 days in Austria in February 2000, playing at a
big folk music concert in Vienna and also in Burgenland (arranged by BG) as
part of "Pennsylvania-Jahr".
Edelweiss Haus owner Resi Unger said she loves having visitors from
Burgenland with these special celebrations and hearing the old songs again.
She prepared tons of apple, cabbage, and cottage cheese strudel. Walter
remarked, "one has to come here to learn how to be a Burgenlander; we back
home no longer know what that means". But he notices a turnaround in the
younger people having more respect and interest in the older folk music,
songs, and traditions. He hopes for the same here with the young U.S.
St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church - Allentown (formerly Ridge Avenue,
now 10th Street) Sunday 11/14
Dr. Dujmovits was taken to the weekly German service by Gunther and Hedi
Decker of Emmaus (longtime BG reps in Lehigh Valley), who hosted Walter over
the weekend in their home. Burgenlanders form the majority of this parish.
>From the pulpit, Pastor John Kuschel introduced Dr. Dujmovits to the
congregation, welcomed him, and spoke of the church's ties to Burgenland. In
1995 Dr. Dujmovits and the Burgenland government delegation had visited the
old church on Ridge Avenue and met Pastor Kuschel. After the service, Dr.
Dujmovits and Pastor Kuschel had a lengthy chat.
FATE OF ETHNIC CLUBS (G. Berghold)
One of my earliest memories is accompanying my family on a Sunday afternoon
walk to the Liederkranz Austro/Hungarian Social Club on Second Street in
Allentown,PA. We went there to pay our weekly sick & death benefit dues, have
some refreshment, exchange ethnic newspapers and meet with relatives,
neighbors and friends. I could always look forward to a pretzel and a glass
of birch beer. The men would always be dressed in their best Sunday three
piece suits with watch chains over their stomachs; a "Krankengasse" button in
their lapels, the air would be redolent with smoke from cigars and pipes and
the pleasant smells of beer and "schnapps" would prevail. The wives, also in
their Sunday best would make a fuss over the children and take them to the
club kitchen if there was anything being prepared. Often there was live music
and someone would great my grandfather with "wie bisht Herr Sorger (or
Louie)" or my uncle or mother with "ach, ist das gross boui der Gerald?" My
grandmother's cousin Charles Poeltl was secretary and he would always give us
a special greeting, receive our dues and stamp our books.
The Liederkranz was a family club, only one of many such clubs founded by
immigrants. They created a piece of the "Heimat" and met there to socialize,
form musical groups, sick & death benefit societies, get the latest news,
etc. For many years they prospered, then as the older generations passed on,
interest faded and they fell on hard times, many closing their doors. Some,
particularly in the smaller Lehigh Valley communities changed with the times,
providing programs of interest to the newer generations and some, such as the
Hungarian Veterans' Club in Allentown and the various Saengerbunds and
Maennerchors in the steel and cement regions of Pennsylvania and the
metropolitan ethnic centers are still going strong. It is in these clubs that
one can still find ethnic customs and information not to mention ethnic food.
They were given an injection of new blood with the Burgenland immigration of
the 1950's, but that was almost 50 years ago and I wonder if the lack of new
immigrants will keep them going.
On one of my trips to Burgenland we were leaving the Martin Luther Kirche in
Eltendorf after a Sunday service when the pastor suggested we go to the
Gasthaus Kirchenwirt across the street and wait for her. When we entered the
Gasthaus it seemed the whole village was there and "dj vu", how it took me
back to my childhood. Same sights-same sounds-same smells-the Eltendorf
"Liederkranz". I've had the same feeling in other Gasthausen, especially on
holidays or after special events. The village gasthaus is still the village
social club and this is what the immigrants were trying to duplicate. In some
American cities, there were (are) taverns which are almost the same but there
aren't many left.
While searching the archives of the Allentown Call-Chronicle newspaper
recently, I was saddened to discover an article concerning the demise of what
was once a fine Burgenland Club.
(Ed. Note-The articles from which the following were extracted are The
Morning Call Newspaper Company. These are only partial extracts. Deleted
portions are shown as The complete unnedited articles may be read from the
Call-Chronicle Webpage at http://www.mcall.com)
Date: SUNDAY, February 14, 1988
76-YEAR-OLD GERMAN SOCIAL CLUB IS FACING SHERIFF'S SALE
by BOB WITTMAN, The Morning Call
Property in Allentown's 1st Ward owned by a 76-year-old German social club
that has fallen on hard times is scheduled to be auctioned off Feb. 26 at a
sheriff's sale in the Lehigh County Courthouse.
The Allgemeiner Club at 320-326 N. 2nd St. closed more than a year ago after
Neffs National Bank foreclosed on the property because it had defaulted on
The club has operated continuously at the site - first, in a double frame
dwelling that had been converted to a clubhouse around 1926. Later, as
membership expanded, the old social hall was razed, and the building that
continues to occupy the spot was erected in its place. It was finished in
time for the club's 25th anniversary in 1937.
When it opened, the Allgemeiner's facilities included an auditorium with a
stage, smaller rooms for meetings and receptions, a lounge, a suite of
offices, a rathskeller, a grill that the local newspapers described as
''among the finest in the city'' and ''four streamlined bowling alleys of the
.However, as membership sagged in subsequent years and the cost of
maintaining the building grew, loans against the property became more than
the organization could handle
Unlike the older Allentown Turner Liederkranz in the next block, which had
begun as a gymnastics organization, and the Lehigh Saengerbund at 227 N. 5th
St., which had started out as a choral society, the Allgemeiner Arbeiter
Verein was primarily a drinking club. Its name translates, literally, as
''General Workingman's Society.''
For many years, the high point of its season each year was the mid-winter
maenner ball, or men's ball. There were also frauen balls (women's balls)
during the warm months, annual Mother's Day programs and folk festivals
called bauern balls (farmer's balls).
One of the most distinguished guests to visit the club was Dr. Franz Harmony,
an Austrian.delegate to the United Nations. During his visit in 1959, he
showed slides of Burgenland, the Austrian province from which the families of
many of the Allgemeiner's members had hailed.
But interest in German drinking clubs like the Allgemeiner are on the wane.
The Saengerbund, the oldest of the city's ethnic clubs, is barely holding its
own. The Liederkranz has been beset by internal squabbles and financial
troubles, and it may also face a sheriff's sale later this spring unless cash
can be found in time.
''These clubs are a thing of the past,'' says Joseph S. Heidenwolf Sr., the
Allgemeiner's financial secretary. ''The younger generation is not interested
in club activities.'' Says Heidenwolf, ''Membership disinterest - that's
basically it.'' End of extract.
Soon thereafter I found the following which considerably improved my spirits.
Previous issues have mentioned this club, whose activities have been reported
by Robert Strauch:
This extracted article is also The Morning Call Newspaper Company. Date:
SUNDAY, June 25, 1989
CLUB FOR OLD SOLDIERS BECAME A HUB FOR NEW AMERICANS AUSTRIAN-HUNGARIAN
VETERANS SOCIETY A FIXTURE SINCE 1907
by FRANK WHELAN, The Morning Call
''We swear a solemn oath to God Almighty, of loyalty and obedience to His
Majesty, our exalted Prince and Master, Francis Joseph, Emperor of Austria,
King of Hungary . . . at all times, in all places and on all occasions to
fight manfully and bravely, and in this way to live and die in honor. So help
us God! Amen!''
- Part of the oath taken by soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian Army 1867-1916.
Joseph Medl was only a child the day the hard-riding cavalry of the
Austro-Hungarian army, known as uhlans, came pounding into his little village
of Heiligenkreuz (Holy Cross) in the Burgenland region of Austria. But this
long- time resident of Allentown, past president of the Austrian-Hungarian
Veterans Society, remembers them vividly
Gazing in wide-eyed wonder out the window of his home, a two room cottage,
Medl watched as the bugler blew a crisp reveille to summon these formidable,
mustachioed cavalrymen to another day. On Sunday he saw them - Slovaks,
Croatians, Hungarians, Austrians and many other groups that made up the
multinational empire of the Hapsburgs - praying with fervor in a babble of
tongues as they knelt on the floor of the village Catholic Church.
World War I was at its height on the Eastern front when Medl was growing up.
Known officially as the Imperial and Royal (KuK), since under the country's
dual monarchy system Francis Joseph was emperor of Austria and king of
Hungary, the army was one of the few institutions holding the ramshackle
empire together against the forces of Czarist Russia.
Although Americans of 1917-18 saw these uhlans as enemies, allies of Kaiser
Wilhelm II and his dreaded Huns, for little Joseph Medl the Austro-Hungarian
soldiers were heroes. Even when the fatherless boy and his mother came to
America and Allentown in 1922, he did not forget.
It was not always easy for a newcomer. Fellow students at the Sheridan School
taunted Medl's foreign ways with chants of ''greenhorn, popcorn, five cents a
bag.'' In an era when most schoolboys wore knickers, he stood out in his long
But Medl had the stuff that uhlans were made of. He could take it. It is was
with understandable pride, then, that on Aug. 31, 1935 he was allowed to join
Allentown's Austrian-Hungarian Veterans Society. ''You had to have two active
veterans bring you in if you were not a veteran. Julius Sommer and John
Pammer, both army veterans, brought me in.'' Fifty-four years later, Medl is
the third oldest surviving member of the society.
A lot has changed in Allentown since 1935. The large communities of Germans,
Austrians, Irish, Italians and other European groups are no longer at the
heart of the city's old neighborhoods. Their sons and daughters live out in
the suburbs. And the early-20th-century flood-tide of immigrants that filled
the old row houses stopped long ago. Their social clubs, places where a man
could drink, play cards, dance, sing the old songs and get news of ''home''
have mostly fallen silent.
But travel down to the 800 block of N. 4th Street in Allentown and you'll
notice a simple, three story building with the words ''Austrian Hungarian
Veterans Society'' over the door. In front is a flagpole where, depending on
the week, the Austrian or Hungarian flag will be flying under that of the
The history of the society began in 1905 when a 30-year-old Austro- Hungarian
army veteran named Joseph Schulter came to Allentown. Once here, he quickly
found work as a contractor foreman for the Phoenix Utility Company. His job
took Schulter as far away as Schenectady, New York. But he thought of
Allentown and its strong German-Austrian community as his home.
In 1907, Schulter decided that veterans of the Austro-Hungarian Army like
himself really had no place they could call their own. So when he and some
like-minded old soldiers got together to meet at the Harigari Hall, they
decided to create the Austrian-Hungarian Veterans Society.
By the time Joseph Medl joined the club in 1935, the 160-member-strong club
was well established. A year later, the Austrian Hungarian Veterans Society
opened a new clubhouse at 852 N. 4th St. On Nov. 25, 1936, The Morning Call
was there to cover it
''Completely renovated during the past two months . . . the three-story
structure now presents an inviting appearance. . . . of especial interest in
the decorations of the home are four wall murals done in colors by Frank
Stelzer, a member of the club who has had a great deal of experience in the
line of art decorating. The four paintings represent scenes in Germany,
Switzerland and England.''
When, as often happened, one of the older members would die, the club members
marched to the funeral with a band. Those who attended were chosen by draw.
''Of course sometimes you were working and could not get off, so then you had
to find a replacement,'' says Medl.
Once the group was ready to march, folks would be lining the streets to watch
them pass. ''In the early days, we'd be dressed up with big doughboy hats,
the kind the state troopers wear. Later we got these smaller blue ones.''
Honoring the fallen veteran was a solemn commemoration that many of the
ethnic German clubs of Allentown shared with their American counterparts on
Armistice Day, Nov. 11. Although the Germans and Austrians had been America's
foes in World War I, there seemed to be little bitterness directed at them 20
years after the war. In 1937, the Austrian Hungarian Veterans Society joined
in a meeting to honor the dead at the Lehigh Saengerbund. After the memorial
service, the members stood at attention for singing of the haunting German
song, ''Ich Hat Einen Kamareden'' (I Had A Comrade). Among the speakers was a
past commander of a local American veterans group.
Of course, the Austrian-Hungarian veterans club was more than funerals. There
were plenty of Friday night card games, drinking and dancing. Parties would
shake the place to the rafters. Medl's wife Christina recalls those happy
times. ''We would dance like anything. I used to think the ceiling was going
to come down,'' she says with a laugh
It was the upheaval that followed World War II and refugees' fleeing the
Soviet repression of Hungary in 1956 that brought many of the current ethnic
members of the Austrian Hungarian Veterans Society to Allentown. As the old
membership passed from the scene, the club opened its rolls to non-Austrians
and non-Hungarians. Today for example, says Kantz, there are many Italian
members of the club as well.
Club president William Kantz says there are about 100 current full members
and 500 social members. ''There are several retirees' groups that meet here,
the Burgenland Sunshine Club, neighborhood retirees from Bonney Forge and
there is a Weight Watchers group,'' says Kantz.
But the focal point of the old ethnic nature of the club is the dances. On
Sunday afternoons, fall to spring, the old walls rock to the sounds of the
Happy Austrians and the Shasta Family. The club has an Austrian cook who
takes care of the schnitzel and strudel. ''She also makes steak sandwiches
with an Austrian flair,'' says Kantz with a chuckle.
Kantz is the first one to admit that the Austrian Hungarian Veterans Society
is not immune to the changes that have come to the city's other ethnic
European clubs. ''We don't get a lot of young people. It's mostly the older
folks that come. The neighborhood has to be at the center and this
neighborhood, like everything else in this city, is changing,'' he says. (End
GENEALOGY TRACEABLE TO 660 B.C.! (extracted from AOL International Newsletter)
(ED.Note-any Burgenlnders in Japan? Marry into this family and your
descendants can link to dates before the Christian era. I'd like to see the
ancestral tablets of this family or are they mostly oral?
Emperor Akihito marks his first decade on Japan's imperial throne, an
anniversary celebrated throughout Japan The emperor is 125th in the
longest-running royal line in the world, begun in 660 B.C)
ITEMS FROM ROOTSWEB REVIEW
RootsWeb's Genealogy News, Vol. 2, No. 46, 17 November 1999, Circulation:
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o 6.2 MILLION NAMES ON ROOTSWEB WORLDCONNECT PROJECT. As of today, RootsWeb
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(Newsletter continues as no. 69B)