Archiver > BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER > 2000-08 > 0966344220

Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 86 dtd Aug. 15, 2000
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 08:57:00 EDT


(issued biweekly by )
August 15, 2000
(all rights reserved)

The BB Will Not Respond To E-mail August 25 -September 8.

Note to recipients. If you don't want to receive these Burgenland Bunch
newsletters, email with message "remove". ("Cancel" will
cancel membership, homepage listings and mail.) Send address and listing
changes to the same place. To join, see our homepage. We can't help with
non-Burgenland family history. Comments and articles are appreciated. Please
add your full name to email. Our staff and web site addresses are listed at
the end of newsletter section "B". Introductions, notes and articles without
a by-line are written by the editor. This first section of the 3 section
newsletter contains the articles: Hap Anderson and BB Group Visit Burgenland,
Die Kleine Bank (The Small Bench) and Composers With Burgenland Connections.


Editor's introduction: Sometimes I run out of superlatives. If angels smiled
on some Burgenland visitors-in this case they laughed out loud! The Hap
Anderson group recently experienced it all. What a wonderful report and what
a successful trip. It's one for the books and a pattern to be emulated by
other visitors. Hap shares it with you below:

Burgenland Trip Report by Hap Anderson July 22, 2000

Genealogy field trip by Burgenland Bunch members Susan Peters, Wendy
Johanson, James Grassinger and Hap Anderson. We were joined by Angela Latta
and Phyllis Sauerzopf in our Gasthof (motel/café) in Deutsch
Tschantschendorf, Burgenland, Austria.

Day one (Thursday/Friday):
Thursday June 29, 2000. Our group of four met at Mpls-StP. International
Airport at 11:00 a.m. (Minneapolis time). Flight to Chicago was on time,
connecting flight to Vienna (Austrian Airlines flight 524) was on time.
Arrived in Vienna at 9:00 a.m. (Austria time) Friday morning. We went
through customs, picked up our rental car (air conditioned Mercedes) and
headed south. Driving on the Autobahn (A2) was an enjoyable experience, our
first impressions of Austria and the Burgenland. We arrived at our Gasthof
(motel) Walits-Guttmann in Deutch Tschantschendorf, Burgenland at about 1:00
p.m. Unpacked and walked around the village. Saw the church, cemetery and
everything in town. Had dinner at the Gasthof. I had Schweinmedaillon in
Morchelrahmsauce und Spatzle (Pork medallion in mushroom cream sauce and

Day two (Saturday July 1):
Breakfast at the Gasthof included bread, ham and cheese with coffee or tea
and orange juice. I enjoyed the goose or ostrich liver spread on my bread.
Went to the town of Güssing to see the sights and do some shopping. We called
Burgenland Bunch (BB) member Klaus Gerger and went to his house for coffee
and birthday cake (Klaus's 40th birthday). Visited the Burgenland
Gemeinschaft (B.G.) emigrant museum. Our museum guide was B.G. member Erwin
Weinhofer. Took the self-guided tour of the Burg Güssing (Güssing castle),
had dinner and saw the emigrant play, "Landflucht" at the castle. We got
lost driving back to our Gasthof, back home at about 11:00p.m.

Day three (Sunday July 2):
We drove to the village of our ancestors, Lebenbrunn for the first time. Met
our relatives, Franz und Erna Grosinger of house #35, daughter Anneliese,
Anneliese's two children Sonja and Robert, and Anneliese's husband Joseph.
Franz is my fourth cousin. They gave us a guided walking tour of the
village, cemetery and church. Anneliese and Sonja were our English speaking
guides for most of our trip. Lebenbrunn has a farming population of about 300
and is located in the mountains of middle Burgenland.

Day Four (Monday July 3):
Went to Vienna. Meet Klaus Gerger and took the streetcar to the Südbahnhof
train station to meet Jeff Wolf, our tour guide for Vienna. We visited the
Belvedere Palace, Schloss Schönbrunn Palace and the Austrian art museum.
Then downtown Vienna to the Kärntnerstrasse area and St. Stephen's Catholic
cathedral, built in the 11th century. Jeff Wolf showed us how to take the
streetcar back to where our car was parked ... and we did that. That night
back in Deutch Tschantschendorf, we met BB members Angela Latta and Phyllis
Sauerzopf, who stayed at the Gasthof the next week.

Day five (Tuesday July 4):
Met with Anneliese and her parents in Lebenbrunn. Drove to the mountain
village of Rotleiten, saw the Boehm family place and a distant view of the
village of Lebenbrunn down in the valley. Drove to Anneliese's house in the
village of Pilgersdorf. Walked Pilgersdorf ..... very hot and windy. We
were joined by Anneliese's friend, Wilma for a drive and walked to the
Schlögl heuriger/gasthof (open air café that serves new wines) in the
Bucklige Welt (mountain woods near Lebenbrunn). We had dinner and drinks. I
had the best wiener schnitzel and a glass of wine with apple juice. I rode
back to our car with the Grosinger's in their car. Stopped at the Kogl
cemetery on the way back home. Back home at 11:00.

Day Six (Wednesday July 5):
Went to the town of Bernstein and took the self guided tour of the Burg
(castle) Bernstein. We walked around town and had lunch at the Frühwirth
Hans-Walter Gasthof. I had kraut strudel and bean strudel and a gross
(large) beer. I bought some "Bernstein Jade" gifts and souvenirs. Went to
the village of Salmannsdorf, saw the church and cemetery.

Day Seven (Thursday July 6):
Went to the church in Pilgersdorf to look for church records older than 1828
... found records back to 1780's. Camera copied the baptismal records and
extracted the marriage records of Lebenbrunn. Drove to Lebenbrunn for lunch,
Erna's homemade Hungarian Goulash. We then had coffee and cookies at house
#34, widow Anna Heissenberger. I was given the grand tour of house #34, the
house of my great-great grandfather, Franz Weber.

Day eight (Friday July 7)
Went to Pilgersdorf church and reviewed the records of Lebenbrunn. Met
Anneliese and her parents and drove to Közeg, Hungary for lunch and shopping.
Drove to Lockenhaus and took the self guided tour of Burg Lockenhaus. Went
to Salmannsdorf to meet Anneliese's sister and her husband Joesph and son
Martin. Back at the Gasthof in Deutch Tschantschendorf, we witnessed a
severe storm, "klein (small) hurricane", 11 houses had roof damage and 2
houses were struck by lightning. The electrical power was out, so we
gathered in the café and were entertained by the niece of Herta
Walits-Guttmann (Gasthof owner), Denise Keglovits. We were served drinks,
she played her accordion and we had a fun time by candlelight.

Day nine (Saturday July 8):
Went to Stegersbach, I bought some Burgenland history books, maps, souvenir
straw rabbit, and several bags of Mozart chocolate balls, an Austrian
specialty. We bought deli sandwiches and parked near the village of
Bocksdorf's fire station for lunch. James and I toured the fire station. In
Deutch Tschantschendorf, we drove around and saw the storm damage from the
night before. That evening we attended the special church service in
Stegersbach given by Bishop Iby. Here I meet BB member Albert Schuch for the
first time and we were joined by Klaus Gerger. We then attended the
Stegersbach Festival. Met Burgenland Gemeinnschaft (B.G.) President Dr.
Walter Dujmovits and B.G. members Heinz Koller and Erwin Weinhofer. Dr.
Dujmovits signed Susan's and my copy of his book "Die Amerika-Wanderung der
Burgenländer". The Stegersbach Fest was well attended by Burgenland Bunch
(BB) members, Susan Peters, Wendy Johanson, James Grassinger, Angela Latta,
Phyllis Sauerzopf and myself from America. Albert Schuch and Klaus Gerger
from Burgenland. The eight of us were gathered for a group photo for the
local (?) newspaper. The BB members were then given a special tour of the
Telephone and Postal museum in Stegersbach. Back at the Fest, we ate, drank
and listened to the band until about 10:00.

Day ten (Sunday July 9)
Went to the village of Kogl to visit Anton Grosinger (house 28). He showed
us photos of Kogl history and told us about the Archives Office in
Eisenstadt. Then back to Lebenbrunn for lunch (homemade Kraut Strudel) and a
visit with Anna Grossinger of house #31. We then headed south for the
Burgenland Gemeinschaft (B.G.) picnic at Moschendorf. Dr. Dujmovits gave a
speech and stated that "the Burgenland Bunch was the future of Burgenland
Gemeinschaft". The BB members were asked to stand and be recognized. I was
told later that I was on Burgenland TV attending the picnic. Susan was
interviewed by a young fellow from the Austrian Tourist Bureau about her
Austrian visit. That evening, back at the gasthof, we celebrated Phyllis's
birthday with champagne and poppy seed strudel with one candle. Denise
Keglovits played "Happy Birthday" on the harmonica (accordion). She was
joined by her father, Ewald Keglovits, with his accordion and they took

Day eleven (Monday July 10)
We drove to Pilgersdorf to meet Anneliese, Sonja and Wilma. Then we all
proceeded to the town of Eisenstadt to meet with Dr. Tobler at the
Landesarchiv Office. He told us that microfilming of the records we are
looking for will be finished and released next Spring. He suggested we visit
the Bishops Office to see what church records are available. We then walked
to the Bishops Office and meet Dr. Zellfel. He knew about the Burgenland
Bunch and said he would be able to help us via e-mail in the future. Walking
back to our cars, we saw the Esterházy Palace and park. We then drove to the
village of Rust and saw the Neusiedler See (lake). On the way back to our
Gasthof, we stopped at a Hotel in Stegersbach for dinner. I had the
Knoblauch (garlic and liver ball?) soup.

Day twelve (Tuesday July 11)
We started our day by doing some shopping in Stegersbach. Then headed North
to Lebenbrunn for our last visit. We went to the cemetery in Lebenbrunn and
video taped every stone for extraction later. Then proceeded to Pilgersdorf
to video tape the cemetery there. We drove back to Lebenbrunn and then to the
village of Rotleiten for a visit with Joseph Grosinger. Back to Lebenbrunn
and met the Grosinger's from house #11, relatives of Wendy and James, and got
a tour of that house. We said our final goodbye to all our relatives in
Lebenbrunn. Back at the Gasthof, we packed our bags and set the alarm for

Day thirteen (Wednesday July 12)
Drove to the Airport in Vienna, turned in our rental car and boarded Austrian
Airlines #523 at 10:50 a.m. Arrived at Chicago at about 2:00 p.m. and
arrived at Minneapolis at about 5:15 p.m.

Our trip was a genealogical success. We met living relatives and found
church records of our ancestors. We also learned where older records might
be found. We acquired several history books (all in German) about the
villages of our ancestors and of the Burgenland. I now have a better image
where my ancestors came from and how they lived. I have 14 hours of video
tape showing most of the above events of my trip.

Burgenland travel tips:
The bank cash machines worked normally, but were only found in the larger
towns, Güssing, Stegersbach, Bernstein etc.

The pay phones on the street worked great for calling the U.S.A. Five
Schillings would connect to a direct number and then add more coins to talk
longer. Worked great if you get an answering machine. You dial "001" - then
the U.S.A. area code and number. I could talk for about 15 minutes for 50
Schillings ($3.60).

The mosquitoes were bad and the Gasthof had no air conditioning or screens on
the doors. Bring repellent ... I didn't.

FYI - One Schilling = about 7.3 cents. Diesel cost was 10.1 Schillings per
liter = about $2.95 per gallon.

Burgenland Bunch web site -


My wife descends from Palatinate immigrants, the so-called Pennsylvania
Dutch. Her people arrived through the port of Philadelphia in the mid 1700's
and settled in Haycock Township (Beck family), Bucks County, Pennsylvania and
near Kunkletown (Silfies family), Monroe County. Both families are also found
in Lehigh and Northampton Counties. You would think, since Palatines and
Austrians both speak German, that their descendants would have similar
customs and traditions. Having researched our family history on both sides,
I've found this is not always the case. The leavening and/or customs added by
many generations of association with Hungarian, Croatian and Slovene
neighbors as opposed to Swiss, Quaker and English ones have generated many
differences between the two groups. This article mentions an obscure one.

We were recently having breakfast outdoors. My wife happened to look at a
small bench that sometimes holds our Hibachi, sometimes potted plants and
sometimes sits under the dogwood by our side garden. This bench had been made
by my uncle Bill Sorger from some redwood scraps. Molly remarked that we had
always had one or two such benches and that she remembered seeing others at
my home in Allentown and at the homes of my relatives. She said they never
had any at her home (Fountain Hill-Bethlehem) and the closest she saw at her
relatives was a large bench for wash tubs on her grandparents' farm. She
wondered if such benches might be of Burgenland origin.

I remember seeing these benches from my earliest days. They were hand made
and sat in gardens or on front or back porches and were used for many
purposes. They were never made with backs or arms. One could sit on them or
use them as a garden work bench. A place for a basket of wash to and from the
clothes line for instance. My grandmother often sat on one as she cleaned
garden produce or shelled peas in the shade of her grape arbor. I would use
them as play tables, running toy cars or trucks from end to end. Their size
varied, probably as a result of the size of the surplus lumber from which
they were made. We never bought lumber to make a bench. We used whatever was
stored under the porch or left over from larger projects. Some were high
enough for adult legs, others barely a foot off of the ground. A cartoon in
my grandmother's cook book was of the man who ate so many "Knödels"
(dumplings) at one meal that he broke the bench on which he sat!

My grandfather Sorger, a bricklayer, liked to work with wood and made some
benches. Some were later replaced by his son, my uncle Bill. They were always
well made. They sometimes used two inch lumber, sometimes one inch, often
with a larger top of joined 1x6, or larger. They'd be braced with wood, with
the braces mortised into the top and legs. Legs would often feature a cut out
heart shaped design or triangle spread at the feet. Sometimes the top would
also be finished underneath with some molding or have a cut out to put one's
hand for carrying. They were always painted since they often sat out in the
weather. I have a feeling that the skill required to make one was often
passed from father to son. Every neighbor on the 600 block of Jordan Street,
Allentown had one. Perhaps they are a Burgenland tradition even today? I've
never seen any for sale.

In a previous issue of the newsletter, I mentioned Peter Sattler's Rudersdorf
"Bankerlsitzer" web site and how benches are still found in villages. Peter
used the "village bench" as the theme of his internet news site. These
village benches were much larger and sturdier, often seating three or more
adults. A place to sit and gossip. One of the first such benches I saw in
Austria was during my first visit to Poppendorf in the 1970's. Two elderly
men were sitting on a bench enjoying the warmth of the morning sun while they
wrapped twigs with twine for use in the kitchen stove. They talked to me of
the village and the time they spent working in Chicago. In another village I
saw a couple sitting on a bench outside their cottage braiding onions in the
cool of the evening. On my cousin's porch in Poppendorf, I saw benches
holding pots of flowers and the day's collection of pumpkins. In a nearby
garden, a group of women were sitting on benches and removing seeds from a
pile of pumpkins to make oil. In another village, Moschendorf, a man smoking
on a bench in the shade was joined by an aproned matron who had just
collected a basket of cut flowers. They invited us to sit as they answered
our questions about Pinkamindszent, Hungary just across the fields. In early
Hungarian paintings I often see a bench depicted outside of a building.

Café umbrella tables with matching chairs as found in the cities have now
gained popularity in the villages as well. "Café sitzen" as opposed to
"Banker sitzen". Park benches with arms and backs are also seen. The day of
"die kleine Holz Bank" may well be on its way out, but when you're outdoors
and looking for a place to sit something, nothing beats the bench. I'll bet
as long as Burgenländers grow things or have porches, they'll be using
benches. I'll keep ours for their many outdoor uses and as a reminder of my
immigrant heritage. I know my son has the necessary skill to make one if ours
ever need replacing.

(The start of a series suggested by Fritz Königshofer)

While replying to some questions concerning the Esterhazy family and their
patronage of the composer Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), it became apparent that
some other composers had Burgenland connections (both pre and post 1921).
This is very interesting when we reflect on Burgenland musical heritage and
the large number of present day Burgenländers who have musical leanings or
are skilled musicians. You may ask yourself, why? Is it the proximity to
Vienna, the world capital of music, or are their other reasons?

Fritz Königshofer and I correspondened on the subject. Fritz writes:

" I noted with interest your reprint in BB newsletter 83 of our earlier
correspondence about Joseph Haydn. However, let me mention that my interest
in Haydn was not related to an expectation of possibly finding a connection
between Haydn's maternal Koller family and my own Koller line of Rechnitz.
Koller (from Köhler, i.e., charcoal maker) is a very widely spread and
frequent name, and it would be extremely unlikely that Koller lines of
northern Burgenland and neighboring Lower Austria would be related to Kollers
from southern Burgenland. Not even BB fellow member Heinz Koller (Güssing)
and I have been able to establish a link between our two, geographically much
nearer, Koller lines.

Let me explain the reason for my interest in the descent of Joseph Haydn.
Some time ago, I read a very detailed biography of Franz (Ferenc) Liszt.
This biography included a section about the descent of Liszt. It struck me
that Liszt's paternal line descended from the area where Austria/ Burgenland,
Hungary and the Slovak Republic today intersect, with contributions from all
these three areas. Therefore, I intended to write a little article for the
BB newsletter about the descent of Franz Liszt. At that point, the question
struck me "What about Haydn?" Since Joseph Haydn was born in Rohrau, which -
though in Lower Austria - is right at the border to Burgenland (and thus
former Hungary), I wondered whether Haydn also may have had "Burgenland"
ancestry. After all, Haiden and variations of the name are known to exist in
northern Burgenland. Therefore, before writing the article on Liszt, I
decided to dig into the Haydn ancestry as well, and check for other composers
who may have hailed from the Burgenland.

This summer in Graz, I was able to find a book with an incredibly detailed
treatment of Haydn's descent. It turns out that his greatgrandfather (of the
Haydn line itself) originated from Tadten in the Lake Corner. With the newly
gained information, there now was material at hand for two articles for the

However, to my amazement, further checks revealed there are two more great
musicians/composers with a background in the same region! One was the
violinist (and composer/educator) Joseph Joachim, next to Paganini the most
famous virtuoso of his instrument ever, who was born 1831 in Kittsee, and the
other was Karl Goldmark, known for his opera "The Queen of Saba" which forms
a bridge between the styles of Meyerbeer and Wagner, who - though born in
Keszthely on Lake Balaton - grew up in Deutschkreutz and received his musical
education in Sopron (Oedenburg). I wonder whether I might be missing yet
someone else in this list!

My father speculates that perhaps the border region with its multiple
languages provided a boost for geniuses to rather apply their talents in
music (which knows only one, its own, language). Another reason, I believe,
could be the relatively stifling climate for thinking and speaking out, as
was a feature of most of the Habsburg era. There are numerous other famous
composers who happened to hail from the multi-lingual "margins" of the
Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, such as Mahler, Dvorák and Smetana (all born in
Bohemia), Ferenc Erkel (born in Gyula, Békés county, but descending from
several generations of ancestors in Bratislava), and Bartók (born in Nagy
Szent Miklós in the Banat region). The same can be said about many of the
most famous composers of operettas.

Anyway, I'll try to write a little series for the newsletter about the
families/descent of Haydn, Liszt, Joachim and Goldmark. (Ed. Note-I readily
agreed. In discussing this with my wife, she reminded me that language and
music originate in the same part of the human brain-the point being that the
necessity of using multiple languages may also stimulate musical talent.)

Fritz later responded with:

I did not want to overload the previous message with the composers of
operetta but the situation I find here is also quite interesting. Franz Lehar
("The Merry Widow") was born 1870 in Komorn, i.e., Komárom on the Danube,
today divided between Hungary and the Slovak Republic, Franz von
Suppé ("The Poet and Peasant") 1819 in Spalato, today's Split in Croatia, Leo
Fall ("The Dollar Princess") 1873 in Olmütz, i.e., Olomouc in Moravia, Imre
Kalmán ("The Csardas Princess") 1882 in Siófok on Lake Balaton, Ralph
Benatzky ("The White Horse Inn") 1887 in Mährisch-Budwitz in Moravia, and
Paul Abraham ("The Flower of Hawaii") in Apatin of the Batschka region of
Hungary, now Yugoslavia.

Obviously, there were just as many other famous composers of classical music
and operettas who hailed from core parts of Austria, especially the region
around Vienna, but Austria as a whole anyway was itself somewhat a border
region of the (Holy Roman) German Empire. As I already had written, I
believe the spiritual climate under most of the Habsburgs was not conducive
to people's free expression of (political) thoughts which may have given an
impetus to express these thoughts in music."

(Ed. Note: if you are a musician or have one in your genealogy, or have
musical leanings, you'll be interested in the continuation of this series.)

(newsletter continues as no. 86A)

This thread: