Excerpts from:

Die schwäbisch-pfälzische Bauernsiedlung Deutsch-Tereblestie
von ihrer Gründung bis zur Umsiedlung 1789-1940

by Wilhelm Messner
translated by Irmgard Hein Ellingson, M.A.;

Posted with permission of the translator
by the Bukovina Society of the Americas
February 16, 2003

Translator’s Note

When I attended the 1989 meeting of the Landsmannschaft der Buchenlanddeutschen (Bukowina) e.V., I met Wilhelm Messner, a retired Tereblestie school teacher and author of Die schwäbische-pfälzerische Bauernsiedlung Tereblestie von ihrer Gründung bis zur Umsiedlung 1789-1940 [the Swabian-Palatinate farm settlement Tereblestie from its establishment until the resettlement,1789-1940]. The book, which had been published in 1985 by the Kaindl-Archiv, a research group affiliated with the Landsmannschaft, was sold out but he kindly located one for me. The following excerpts provide an overview of the village, area history, and the religious life, homes, and clothing of the people.

Introduction and History
Pages 19, 153, 15, 10

The village Tereblestie, once Telebecinze, Tiriplesj, or Tereblecea, called Triwlescht in Swabian dialect, and now called Porubnoe [translator’s note: now Porubne in the Chernivtsy oblast of Ukraine], lies on the plain on the left bank of the Sereth River. The word Tereblestie is most likely of Tatar or Turkish origin, and the village could once have been a Tatar or Turkish settlement. The name could derive from the Tatar word tebletsch referring to a Tatarenschanze, a Tatar entrenchment, which was reportedly located east of Romanian-Tereblestie at the edge of the forest, or from the Turkish word telebi, which is said to mean beautiful.

At the time that the Moldavian principality was established, Bukovina was occupied by the Cumanen or Kumanen whose name is retained in the name of the village Komanestie, Tatars (the name Tereblestie, earlier Tatarescheny, refers to them), Ruthenians (the Ukrainians whose language is evident in the names Bukovina, Czernowitz, Sereth, and Suczawa), and Wallachians (Romanians). Germans and Hungarians (Magyars) came from neighboring Transylvania, as did Gypsies who were assimilated with the Cumans and Tatars, Armenians, Poles, Jews, Turks, Greeks, and Lippowaners (Great Russians). Later came the Germans from Germany, the Bohemian Forest, and the Zips as well as Slovaks, Czechs, Slovenes, Serbo-Croatians, and Italians. All these peoples contributed to the fact that Bukovina became known as a multi-ethnic land.

On 31 August 1774, three Austrian regiments and five infantry battalions crossed the Galician frontier at Sniatyn into the land that only later was given the name Bukovina. It was then a narrow line of military outposts established during the Russian-Turkish war, stretching from Hotin (Chotin) on the Dnjestr River and east of Czernowitz through Sereth, Suczawa and Gurahumora, then over the Carpathian pass at Dorna on the Transylvanian border.

This was the situation in our homeland, this land on the eastern curve of the Carpathians. There was no road, only riding paths and cart tracks. There was not one bridge over the rivers and streams. Aside from a cloister school for Greek Orthodox priests in Putna, there was not one school and of course no teachers. The population, which in the north consisted of Ukrainians (Ruthenians) and in the south of Romanians, was 100% illiterate. There was no doctor, no apothecary, and no hospital in the entire area. There was nothing with which one could begin to organize a governmental administration and a corresponding police force. There was no mail service, no artisan trades were being practiced, naturally there was no industry, not even the most primitive form of water power was utilized for logging and mills, and finally there was not one locale in the entire region that could be called a city. Czernowitz was an impoverished village of only about 1000 residents and the suburb Rosch had about 1600.

Cultural Practices
Pages 102-107

The Germans differed most evidently from their non-German neighbors in terms of their manner of settlement and clothing.

At the time of the resettlement to the German Reich in 1940, only one house dating from the earliest time of settlement in 1789 still existed in Tereblestie. This was a wood frame structure with a plastered chimney flue in the block house style with exposed beams, no cellar, and the gable facing the street. The simple entry door to the central room, which served as entrance hall and kitchen, had an overhead window. This room had a chimney and cook stove. The baking oven built on from the outside was accessed through an opening in the back wall of the chimney. In this central room were the stairs. To the right was the living room with three square windows; to the left was a room with one window and a winter heating stove. The house was covered with wooden shingles; the wood walls were plastered with clay and then whitewashed. Each room had clay floors and exposed rafters. The structure joined to the barn.

The new houses were very spacious and not as simple. The well-being of the owner was reflected in his home. The big farm buildings, barns, granaries and sheds usually enclosed the large farm yard on three sides. The granaries, wood structures with board walls, usually had a threshing floor with a clay floor, a room on one side for the unthreshed grain and on the other for the straw or hay, and a set of double doors with a smaller door set in one. Most barns were wooden structures. The internal and external walls were plastered with a clay emulsion and then whitewashed.

Each yard had a well with a wheel beneath its own little roof. At each well, a trough made of a hardwood tree trunk provided water for livestock year round.

The property was fenced. A board or picket fence, a double gate, and a smaller courtyard gate faced the street. Fences facing the neighbors were made of a combination of boards and barbed wire.

The houses of most of the Romanian farmers were small wooden structures with clay-plastered, whitewashed walls. A house typically had an entry room which also served as a place to store various tools and also one or two rooms with clay floors. One room was used as a kitchen. Broad benches were placed against the walls and these were covered with handmade wool blankets and carpets made with beautiful designs and colors, with sheep pelts, and cushions. The benches were used for seating and for sleeping. The top of the oven, the cuptior, was also used as a place to sleep.

The furniture was limited: in addition to the benches, there was a table and various trunks or chests but rarely a cabinet.

Benches were also placed along the outside walls of the house. The yard was small; the drinking water was brought from the village well.

The houses and business places of the more prosperous farmers and the Greek Orthodox priest were similar in size and furnishing to those of the German settlers, but the lower edge of the shingled roof extended far out beyond the house wall and was supported by narrow beams or rafters. The ridge of the roof was decorated with wood carvings as was the chimney. Each property had its own well. The influence of the German settlers was evident in these establishments.


In Deutsch-Tereblestie, the men wore fleece-lined boots, a black hat in summer and a fleece hat and a fleece-lined knee-length coat in winter, and an Ulster on Sundays and holidays. Women were diagonally-laced shoes, a small black fringed scarf, a large woolen shawl instead of a coat, a black dress jacket fitted to the waist, and a black gathered skirt. After World War I, the men’s and women’s clothing was similar to that worn in towns and cities.

Many Romanians wore their homemade Nationaltracht, or folk costume. The men wore white, snugly fitting linen or woolen trousers, with white long linen shirts, broad leather belts with colorful decorations and yellow nail heads or broad colorful woven sashes, black broad-brimmed hats or fleece caps, short fleece vests, long fleece pelts extending below the knees or brown, heavy woolen tailored farmers’ smocks, and their feet wrapped in linen or wool and then placed in Opanken, a kind of sandal.

The few prosperous farmers in Romanian-Tereblestie wore “German” clothes (haine nemtesti).

The dress of the Romanian women consisted of linen blouses that extended practically to their knuckles with a wrap-around skirt made of a length of black or red wool that was one to three meters long, and embroidered on one side up to the belt. A woman’s belt or sash was smaller than a man’s. They wore scarves for their head covering. On their feet they wore Opanken but on Sundays, holidays, and festival days they wore leather shoes or boots. The poorer girls went barefoot in summer. Vests, long fleece pelts, and the brown woolen farmers’ smocks were also worn by women. The blouses that women wore on Sundays, holidays, and festivals were embroidered on the shoulders, sleeve, and bodice. For jewelry, women wore many strings of colorful glass beads and imitation coral. Wealthier women wore chains made of coins.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tereblestie
Pages 124-126

In the year 1937, Deutsch (German)-Tereblestie had 1210 residents of whom 932 (77%) were Evangelical Lutheran, 269 (22%) Roman Catholic, and nine of other faiths. In spite of these numbers, which show that about 4/5 were Lutheran and 1/5 Catholic, one often had the impression that it was a completely Lutheran community.

The Tereblestie Lutheran church was part of the Radautz parish until 1906, when they obtained their own resident pastor who also served the small congregation in Sereth.

The church building was completed in 1867 and dedicated on 23 November. Until then services had been held in the school house. The church construction cost 1100 Gulden, endowed by a gift from Johann Hubich, according to a report of the Lemberg church superintendent on 7 July 1881 [translator’s note: this text is reproduced in an appendix in the book]. The church was demolished by the Russian military in 1917 and rebuilt in the same place in 1920.

During the agricultural reforms after World War I, the Lutheran parish received nine hectares of land in the neighboring community Styrcze.

The first and also the last Lutheran pastor in Deutsch-Tereblestie was Rudolf Fischer. In about 1926, Pastor Fischer’s pay was made commensurate with that of the Gymnasium, or secondary school, teachers. This money was raised by the Evangelical Church in Deutsch-Tereblestie by levying a church tax and by renting the church fields.

The election of Rudolf Fischer as Tereblestie’s Lutheran pastor in 1906 exacerbated the conflict between supporters of the Hubich faction and the so-called Sauer-Hehn faction. Pastor Fischer was the candidate of the Hubich group.

The worship services were well attended. There were no Bible studies or children’s services in the church.

Members of the last Evangelical Lutheran church board in Deutsch-Tereblestie were curator Martin Hehn and council members Gustav Engel, Franz Hubich, Friedrich Manz, Georg Manz, Hermann Massier, Johann Sauer, Christian Wagner, and Friedrich Zachmann. The last sexton was Martin Sacher.

The local Gustav-Adolf Ladies Society [translator’s note: a mission organization] in Deutsch-Tereblestie provided various services to the community under the leadership of Pastor Fischer’s wife Emilie and the teacher Martha Sauer. A hearse was obtained through the society’s efforts and donations for church furnishings were collected.

Pastor Rudolf Fischer was born 21 April 1874 in Libochowitz, a little village close to Prague as the son of the attorney Rudolf Fischer who was later the chairman of the district court in Reichenberg, Bohemia. After completing high school in Reichenberg, he studied theology in Leipzig and in Vienna. He then served as parish vicar in Radkersburg in Steyermark, Trübau in Moravia, and Ölmütz. On 14 October 1899, he was united in marriage with Emilie Eisinger, daughter of the head clerk of the Reichenberger bank. They had four children: Rudolf (born 13 October 1900 and died 14 October 1900 in Reichenberg), Emilie (born 9 June 1902 in Trübäu, died 1983 in Backnang, Württemberg), Margarethe (born 12 May 1904 in Ölmütz, died 9 February 1918 in Linz), and Hildegard (born 22 August 1908 in Tereblestie).

The Fischer family moved to Deutsch-Tereblestie in 1906. Pastor Fischer was a military chaplain during World War I and in that time, his family resided in Linz.

From 1932 to 1939, Pastor Fischer was the dean of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bukovina. After the 1940 resettlement, he supplied parish service in Nikolai, Hindenburg, Beuthen, and Gleiwitz in Upper Silesia. His wife died 1 February 1941 in Nikolai. He was remarried to Elli Fritsch. Rudolf Fischer died 5 December 1953 at the age of 79 years in Radegast in Saxony-Anhalt.

Pastor Fischer was a very strong-willed, independent man who was widely recognized for his outstanding efforts in youth work and in the cultivation of German folk and church music. He organized a mixed choir which sang not only sacred music, Christmas and Easter selections, and Luther’s works but also folk songs and small theater pieces. The choir sang on every festival day in the Lutheran church and at such events as the Julfest (beginning in 1927) and the midsummer festival as well as on the occasions when youth groups from Germany came to visit. Pastor Fischer had an extensive private library and was happy to lend books to interested readers.

Mrs. Emilie Fischer, an outstanding pianist, often played the organ in church until she was replaced by her son-in-law Jakob Rau. She gave piano lessons to many girls.

The Catholic Church in Tereblestie
Pages 126-129

There were 269 Germans and about as many Slovaks who were members of the Roman Catholic Church in Tereblestie in 1937. The Slovaks had their own church or chapel, built in 1873, on the east edge of the village. The community was served by the Catholic parish in Sereth. In the early years, the Catholic priest was brought to town for church ceremonies and religious instructions by Tereblestie villagers who owned teams of horses but later he came in a rented carriage. The last priest before the 1940 resettlement was named Bibrzycki.

Catholic services, which were also attended by Slovaks in Tereblestie and the surrounding area, took place only once a month on the second Sunday of the month. On the other Sundays, especially in the summer months, people attended Mass in Sereth. The preaching was in German and in Polish. The Mass was sung to the transubstantiation by the Slovaks and after that by the Germans; the order was then changed in the next Mass. The usual hymns were sung. There was not a single standardized hymnal such as the Evangelical Lutherans had. The hymns were taught in private homes by teachers such as Mr. Skihar but also by others who had some musical ability and could play the violin.

On national holidays, at the beginning of the school year, and at its end, the Catholic students took part in the Evangelical Lutheran church services.

There was a Rosary Society in Tereblestie. The members were ladies who regularly met in the Catholic Church on Sunday afternoons to pray the Rosary. Each received a little picture with one of the fifteen secrets of the Rosary. These pictures were exchanged at every meeting of the society so that each member received a different secret for use in their daily prayers during the week. The last leader of the group was Katharina Triffo, who was also the prayer leader. At the close of the meditation, the hymn Der Engel des Herrn, or The Angel of the Lord, was sung.

The last Catholic parish council before the resettlement consisted of Ferdinand Hoffmann, Ferdinand Kozlowski, Adam Mayer, Johann Mayer, Adam Tetiwa, Josef Tetiwa, and the Slovak Michael Kuczak (Kutschak). Christian Zensner was sacristan.

There was a Catholic youth organization in Tereblestie. The last chairperson before the resettlement was Edmund Ploskal. Die Heimabende, or evening gatherings, took place in the residences of Josef Tetiwa and Isidor Triffo. At the beginning of the 1930s, Father Gobel from Czernowitz assigned Miss Hilde Punde from Beuthen, Upper Silesia, to serve as spiritual caretaker for the Catholic youth in German Tereblestie. She gave religious and German-language instruction to the youth, she led the parish choir, and she prepared the little children to for their first Holy Communion. Miss Punde boarded at the home of Isidor Triffo.

Father Gobel published a newspaper called Katholische Volkswacht which had many subscribers in the Catholic community in Tereblestie.

Within each family, the mother was the one was responsible for the religious training of the children and for the observance of the church rules. She taught the daily prayers such as the Vaterunser (Our Father), “Blessed are you, Mary,” the confession of faith, the Ten Commandments, the seven hours, and the seven holy sacraments, and she encouraged them to remain faithful in prayer.

In most Catholic families, morning and evening prayers were a firmly established part of the day, either as individuals or as a family unit. The morning prayer began:

The morning prayer:

O Gott, Du hast in dieser Nacht,
So väterlich für mich gewacht,
Ich lob und preise Dich dafür
Und dank für alles Gute Dir.
Bewahre mich auch diesen Tag
Vor Sünde, Tod und jeder Plag,
Versage Deinen Schutz mir nie
Und lege Deine Segenshand auf die
Auch, die mir sind verwandt.
Zumal der Eltern mein gedenk,
Uns allein Deinen Himmel schenk!

O God, you have in this night
watched over me in fatherly love.
For this I honor and praise you
and thank you for all things good.
Protect me also in this day
from sin, death, and every torment,
take not your protection from me
and rest your hand of blessing upon those
who are related to me.
Especially remember my parents
and grant us all your heaven.

The evening prayer:

O Gott, bevor zur Ruh ich geh,
Zu Dir hinauf ich nochmals seh,
Ich dank für alles Gute Dir,
Du Bester Vater gabst es mir.
Hab Böses heute ich verübt,
Dein liebevolles Herz betrübt,
Verzeih mir, es reut mich sehr,
Ich will Dich kränken nimmermehr.
Bleib nun die Nacht bei mir, o Gott,
Zu schützen mich, wenn Unheil droht.
Rufst Du mich ab, so flehe ich,
In Deiner Gnad lass sterben mich!

O God, before I go to sleep,
once again I turn to you.
I thank you for everything good
that you, the best Father, have given me.
If this day I have earned disfavor,
grieving your loving heart,
forgive me, I regret it,
I will trouble you never more.
Stay with me this night, O God,
To protect me when evil threatens.
If you call me, then will I fly,
and in your grace let me die.

The major event for the Tereblestie Catholics was Kirchweih, the church festival held on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29. Many guests from near and far came to the village on this day. Since the church could not hold all the people, an altar was placed outdoors in the shade of the nut trees on the south side of the church.

At Easter, it was the custom for Catholics to have the priest come from Sereth to bless foods such as eggs, ham, butter, Gugelhupf (a cake), and Rote-Rüben-Salat mit Kren (Meerrettich), beet salad with horse radish, which was an indispensable part of the menu.

Pentecost was das grüne Fest, or the green festival, for the Catholics. Each home was decorated with Pfingststräussen or “Pentecost bouquets” made of green birch branches and twigs.

On Christmas Eve, although it was a day of abstinence, the most generous meal of the year was served: thicker and thinner cakes, cookies and small pastries, fresh bread, fish and fruit dishes. Kutya, or cooked buckwheat, had to be part of the Christmas Eve meal. Weizenkörner (wheat grains), symbols of life, were washed, soaked, and cooked during which they had to remain whole, and then mixed with honey, ground poppy seed and walnuts. This sweet dish was served as a dessert throughout the Christmas season.

Before Christmas, the sexton came from Sereth to Tereblestie and distributed wafers called Oblaten which had been blessed by the priest to all Catholic families. These were about the size of post cards and only intended for Christmas Eve. Before the evening meal, the father as head of the household, broke the Oblaten and offered a piece to every family member as a symbol of community and belonging. The animals in the barn were not forgotten: a bundle of hay was placed under the table which received the blessing as well and after the meal, the father took it to the barn and divided it between the animals.