UKRAINE SEPTEMBER 2008
See also photos under Selz
Robert Schneider and
I pose with the Kuzubs – Nikolai, Maria, Lilia –
of Krasna, Ukraine. Krasna, up to 1940, was a German Catholic
colony in Bessarabia. Many Fox Valley families trace their
roots to Krasna.
The cemetery at Hoffnungstal,
Bessarabia overlooking the valley where more than 2000
Germans once lived. Nothing is left of the village. We
all took a moment to remember Dale Wahl, prominent GRHS
researcher and team-leader who died of cancer 13 June,
A beautiful Autumn
afternoon in Bessarabia. Photo supplied by Carolyn Schott.
Touring through the
Liebental colonies, here we are about to enter Franzfeld
or Nadlimanske, as it is called today. The name means
“upper liman”. A liman is an estuary or backwater.
The Selz Trek stopped here on its first night on the road,
March 25-26, 1944. The village of Selz was the last of
the villages in Odessa district to be evacuated.
A crumbling statue
of Lenin in Josefstal. While statues of Lenin are still
found in Ukraine, there are absolutely none of Joseph
Weintrauben, or grape vines in the
Ukrainian village of Vinogradne. This is the former German
Lutheran village in the Beresan region which was formerly
known as Worms. The grapes were as delicious as they look.
Members of our tour group who
trace roots to the German village of Landau, the most prominent
village of the Beresan region. The village is now called
Rich and Gayla Aspenleiter in front of the house in which
Rich’s father was born in Speier, Beresan region.
Speier is today called Pischani Brod.
David Kilwien, Inna Stryukova, Valerie
Ingram with Nina Ivanovna at the German museum in Katherinental,
northeast of Landau. Photo courtesy of Karolina Fromm.
David and Valerie present German
Family Pedigree Charts to Antonina Leontjevna at the Karlsruhe
German Museum in Stepovoe, Ukraine.
Ludmilla Safranovna is a senior
Archivist at the State Archives of Ukraine in Nikolaev.
Ludmilla has found valuable family information for me at
both the Simferopol and the Kherson Archives. Photo by Karolina
This is the old collective farm less
than a kilometer east of the tiny village of Neu Selz,
where Anna Thomas was living with her family prior to
the German evacuation of Odessa district in March 1944.
Anna is the daughter of Friedrich Thomas and Brigetta
Weiss, my grandfather’s half-sister. Anna lives
in Usingen, Germany since 1992.
The former Catholic Church in Elsass,
of the Kutschurgan region. Elsass is today Scherbanka.
The village celebrated its German origins at a 200-year
Jublilee Festival on Saturday, September 20, 2008.
In the former German village of Mannheim,
here I am standing beside the house of Ludwig Schwab and
Elisabeth Weiss, sister to my grandfather. They were living
here at the time of the German Evacuation of 1944. Mannheim
today is called Kamjanka.
Mannheim -- The root cellar in the
yard of Sebastian Gross and Katharina Schwab, the parents
of Maria Müller.
This yard is right beside the Schwab-Weiss yard pictured
View of Mannheim from the highway
to Odessa, only 50 km away. Even though the former Catholic
Church, dedicated to the Nativity of Mary in 1896, stands
in ruins, it still dominates the skyline.
A memorial cross erected on the east
bank of the Dnjester River near the town of Majaki. Thirteen
Selzers were caught here by Russian partisans on Good
Friday, 09 April, 1944 and executed. Approximately 450
German people were not able to cross the river to the
temporary safety of Bessarabia, visible to the west in
this photo. Soon after, they were all exiled to the eastern
and northern reaches of Russia.
Selz or Limanske – this is the house where three
Weiss widows and their children were living up until the
German evacuation of 1944. It is the fourth house from
the end at the southern tip of Selz, on the road to Kandel.
My grandfather was born in this yard. I do not know if
it is still the same house or not.
Selz – this, I believe, is
the former Michael Fetsch property, on an upper side-street,
behind the church and east of the cemetery. My grandmother
was born on this property, and so were Eugen and Ida Vetsch
who live in Leverkusen, Germany. Ida cannot be sure if
it is still the same house or not.
Crimea – Wanda Hopkins and
I at the entrance to the former German village of Zurichtal
or Zolote Pole. It was probably the most affluent of all
the German villages in Crimea. My Great Grandfather, Anton
Schafer, 1847, was born in the village of Asanbaj, very
close by. His mother was Katherina Buchmann, a daughter
of perhaps the most influential family in Zurichtal. Photo
by the Aspenleiters.
Leaving Zurichtal, this is the view
to the south of a fertile agricultural valley slowly
giving rise to the Crimean mountains, just visible behind
the tree. Photo by Carolyn Schott
Mel and Clara Beckler, Gayla and Rich Aspenleiter and
I in front of our hotel in Sudak, with the fourteenth
century Genoese Fortress in the background. Photo by the Aspenleiters.
Our tour group in the reading room of the State Archives
in Simferopol, the capital city of Crimea. My mother was
born about 25 km to the east. Photo by Karolina Fromm.
Crossing the Burul’cha River – east of Simferopol.
This small river begins in the Crimean mountains to the
south (left of photo) and runs through Rosental, Crimea
(about 2-3 km south) and on through Anakoj-Eli to the
north (right of photo), where my mother was born, about
10 km from this point.
Translator, tour guide, good friend – Inna Stryukova
of Nikolaev – and I enjoy the view over the Black
Sea on the Yalta coast. Framed between us, perched on
a cliff, is a small castle known as the Swallows Nest.
Yalta coast -- Friends Valerie Ingram,
David Kilwien and Karolina Fromm, descendants of Germans
who lived in the Beresan district northwest of Nikolaev.
Photo by Carolyn Schott.
Enjoying Chubareki and beer high
above the Black Sea near Yalta. My Grandfather Schafer
could never have imagined this picture. I have to eat
Chubareki at least once when I visit Crimea, but I know
the ones my mother made had more meat in them! Photo by
Friends Gayla Gray and Carolyn Schott along the Crimean
coastline, co-editors of GRHS Heritage Review.
Friend Konstantin Ponomarenko, a
highly-decorated Soviet war hero, defender of Stalingrad,
and his book about his service in the Russian Army during
WWII, which I helped him to publish.
Telling our tour group about Konstantin,
who was born in Anakoj-Eli, two years before my mother was
born in the same village. This was my third visit with Konstantin.
His son-in-law Anatoli is sitting in the background. We
met in Simferopol. Photo by Karolina Fromm.
David Kilwien, Robert Schneider and
I pose with the Kramarenko family of Ochakow. Jenia (between
David and myself) acted as translator for me for two days
on this trip. Her uncle Vovo, on my left, was our driver.
Vovo’s son, Vladik (GAP shirt), was in Boston in
early 2008 for surgery to correct severe burn damage sustained
in a fire when he was about five years old. Photo by Karolina
September 2008 Robert Schneider Tour Group - 34 villages in 17 days.