The Establishment of the Community of Jakobeny in Bukovina

“Miner – and Foundry Worker”

Neuer Weg (Bucharest) Vol. 30, No. 9203, 19 December 1978), p.6
 Dr. Claus Stephani
Sophie A. Welisch PhD, Trans.

Posted with permission of the author
2 April 2004

According to Zipser tradition Jakobeny derives its name from a Romanian shepherd, Iacoban. This Iacoban reputedly came from the village of Valea Putnei (Putnathal). One day he drove his flock along the Moldava River to the Golden Bistritz. Here in the lovely Bistritz Valley he built a log cabin and lived there until he died.

When in 1785 the first eight German families from the Zips (Slovakia) – Schröder, Mieslinger, Stark, Schneider, Knobloch, Wahnsiedel, Hoffmann and Theiss – settled here, Iacoban, according to oral reports – was already an old man with a long white beard.

In 1937 The Bukovina folklorist Franz Lang described the family history of a Jakobeny miner in the old melodic Zipser dialect: “My great grandfather immigrated from the Zips and was a miner and foundry worker. The Arschtzberg mine produced manganese. In the mountains one can still see the smelter as evidence, which the Zipsers had built. The foundry and machine tools are still in use.

It is a fact that as early as 1783 masons and carpenters from a Transylvanian military unit had started work on the construction of a smelter – the first installation of this kind in southern Bukovina; thus in 1784 arose the settlement of Fundu Fieru (Eisenthal) an the Eisenbach, a tributary of the Golden Bisritz. The first settlers included the Zipser families of Weisshaupt, Brier, Klein, Scheike, Henig (also Hönig) and Stark. The oldest house supposedly was located ”under the cliff”; it belonged to Johann Klein.

After Karl Manz , Knight of Mariensee, acquired the iron works in 1796, another forty German families from the Zips, responding to his offer, migrated to Jakobeny in the first decade of the nineteenth century. Among them, according to a report of the Bukovina Chamber of Commerce, we find the names of the following heads of families: Hoffmann (mining judicial replacement), Mieslinger (master foundry man), Schröder (?), Stark (manager), and Gleisner from Freudenthal (mining administrator).

With the later immigration of German specialists from the Zips and also from Upper Silesia, e.g., the forebears of the families of Jalowsky, Gaschinsky, Nikelsky, Zawetzky, Gorsky, Schirosky, Ottschowsky, Terschansky and others, Jakobeny emerged as the oldest Zipser settlement of Bukovina and as significant large community, which in the 1930s counted over 3000 inhabitants.

In Jakobeny organized education in the German language existed as early as 1808. The first teacher Christian Leiser, was a “master shoemaker” by trade. He taught school in order that “the children should become smarter than their parents,” as the forester Franz Gotsch noted in his memoirs. The teacher Leiser was compensated for his important work by the families Steiner, Krieger, Lang, Muhm, Gärtner, Gotsch, Sapadi, Kollarek and by the previously-named families, who built “an attractive large school with two rooms” and paid the teacher a monthly wage. This “schoolhouse” was demolished around the turn of the century under the leadership of Carl Frankendorfer, who came from the Hungarian city of Modra (Modern); it was replaced by two new school buildings, which are still extant today.

In its layout Jakobeny, in contrast with other Zipser towns, is a characteristic ribbon development with mostly wide, well-tended streets: Haaschgasse, Krötengasse, Fuhrmanngasse, Obere Gasse, Manzenthalergasse, Schwegelbadgasse, Tschudinagasse, Androjagasse, Eisenthalgasse, and finally Kälbergasse (“Am Kloppoarsch,” [dialect: hit rear end]), since here live the hit-rear-end Zipsers, who sat in front of their houses in the evening and whacked the passing cattle with sticks in order to hasten their movement. The inhabitants of the Kälbergasse, rightly or wrongly, were the butt of many jokes. They were ambitious and friendly people, only they had the misfortune of living on Kälbergasse.

In1900 the first Zipser worker, Reinhold Kappel relocated from Jakobeny to the Nösner Land toward Birgău (Burgau); there followed in the spring of 1901 Levinus Hennel, and in the fall Michael Knobloch, both from Jakobeny. Between 1901 and 1924 a further thirty-two Jakobeny families: Altzenauer, Ellschläger, Maitner, Gaschinsky, Bernhard, Klein, Krieger, Wenzel and others moved to the Nösner Land and settled in Livezile (Jaad, where “Am Lahmrich” there is a Zipser row), Unirea (Wallendorf), Crainimăt (Baierdorf), Budacul de Jos (Deutsch-Budak), Rodna Veche (Altrodna), Ilva (Illau)and Bistritz.