The Germans in the Stulpikany Area

by Josef Talsky

printed in “Bukowina: Heimat von Gestern”
(Karlsruhe: Selbstverlag “Arbeitskreis Bukowina Heimatbuch,” 1956), pp. 158-160
eds. Erwin Massier, Josef Talsky, B.C. Grigorowicz
transl. Sophie A. Welisch, PhD

Posted April 3, 2004

As early as when the Styrian Anton Manz gained control of the Bukovina’s mining industry at the end of the 18th century, a foundry had already existed in the Sucha Valley in Stulpikany, which had occasioned the settlement of German laborers and specialists. These, however, in comparison with the Romanian population of the area, were in the minority. Only after the settlement of German-Bohemians in Schwarztal [1838] and its environs, did a larger German colony in Stulpikany and the southerly surrounding area develop into a purely German self-contained fringe settlement. The Romanian population of this southern tip of Bukovina consisted mainly of autochthonous peaceful mountaineering Romanians, who, with the progression of the Austrian era, became increasingly more loyal adherents of the Monarchy and reverently spoke of “their” great emperor.

Stulpikany could be reached via Frassin (in the Moldova Valley) at the confluence of the Sucha and Moldova [rivers]. Following the Sucha Valley in a southerly and upward direction, Stulpikany could be reached after about ten kilometers. The valley, which here appears very narrow, divided near Stulpikany into three smaller mountain valleys: the upper Sucha Valley in the direction of Gemine – Slatioara, the Ostra Valley where lay [the villages of] Molid and Ostra, and the Negrileassa Valley with the German-Bohemian village of Schwarztal referred to above.

This is a lovely mountainous area well suited for summer excursions with a beauty seldom paralleled. An especial treat for courageous hikers is the climbing of the cliffs of Slatioara; here one also has the opportunity of traversing a genuine virgin forest, the Teodorescu Forest, whose wild state would bring the somewhat delicately strung friend of nature to virtual astonishment. Bears, lynxes and other rare beasts of prey here enjoyed an undisturbed preserve.

To reach Stulpikany via Slatioara one first had to cross Gemine. Both communities with their widely separated farmsteads had been settled by German-Bohemians who primarily worked in lumbering enterprises in addition to cultivating their meager fields. They constituted no self-contained community.

In the Ostra Valley, on the other hand, the German-Bohemians had established two self-contained settlements: Molid and Ostra. These German peripheral settlements lay adjacent to the earlier-established Romanian communities.

The communities of the three above-mentioned valleys were economically as well as administratively dependent upon Stulpikany, which was the center of this most forested region of Bukovina and also contained some industries. Of its approximately 3000 inhabitants, some 600 were German. Romanians represented the majority. The others were Jews, who controlled virtually all the trade.

The German inhabitants of Stulpikany were officials, craftsmen, skilled workers and farmers. Even in the Romanian era the civil service consisted almost exclusively of Germans. The trades of miller, shoemaker, tailor, barber, and blacksmith lay in German hands. The German farmers for the most part had their fields in the immediate vicinity of the village; their harvest alone was not sufficient to sustain a family. Often father and son worked as lumberers in the nearby forests while the planting of the fields as well as the care of the livestock was largely carried out by the housewife and other family members.

At an altitude of about 600 meters above sea level, grain cultivation was not productive so that the farmer relied primarily on cattle raising.

Those German families of Stulpikany who remain in our memories and whom we wish to mention include:

Farmers and foresters or saw mill workers: Rudolf Borschütz, Ferdinand Caikowski and his sons Artur and Josef; Martin Danko and his sons Albert, Hironimus and Paul; Willibald Eckhard and his sons Emil, Heinrich, Josef, Robert, and Rudolf; Johann Gotsch; Albert Granat and his son Bruno; Valentin Gunier; [?] Haas; Karl Hackl; Franz Hilgard; Johann Jakubczek and his son Wladimir; Josef Klein; Josef Kowar and his sons Hironimus and Rudolf; Rudolf Kowar; Michael Kurowski and his sons Ferdinand and Emil; Karl Kurowski and his sons Johann and Rudolf; Wenzel Kübek and his sons Franz, Hironimus, Otto, Paul and Robert; Rudolf Kübek and his sons Johann and Viktor; Jakob, Johann, Josef, Karl, Leon, and Siegmund Lausmann; Georg Sebaczek; [?] Seidl; Josef Stenzl; Jakob Weber and his sons Johann, Philip and Siegmund; Rudolf Weber; Gustav Wilhelm; Josef and Xaver Zibulski.

Farmers in addition to flour mill and saw mill owners: Franz Kurowski and his sons Josef and Otto.

Farmer and restauranteur: Alfred Krzemenicki and his sons Artur and Leon.

Craftsmen: [?] Haas (barber); Wenzel Hoffmann (master tailor); Josef Kaminski and his sons Franz and Karl (blacksmith); Stefan Kowar and his sons Josef and Ferdinand (mason); Franz Kozanowski and his sons Johann and Winzenz (wheelwright); Albert Lissak (butcher); Josef Newton (mason); Josef Terschanski and his sons Adolf, Karl, Leon and Alois (mason); Anton Tenerewicz (blacksmith) and his son Franz (wheelwright); Andreas Theis and his sons Ambros and Adam (stone mason); Josef Weber and his son Anton (master shoemaker and organist); Johann Wendling (master butcher).

Civil servants, employees and pensioners: [?] Brodner; Adolf Domarawski (pensioner); Artur Fleischer (forester); Ernst Hodel (judge); Johann Janosch (pensioner); [?] Pscheidt (master forester); Franz Markiewicz (judicial magistrate) and his sons Siegmund (tax official), Winzenz and Josef; Johann Rzeczowski and his sons Emil, Eugen, Otto and Viktor (all foresters); Viktor Semenow (judicial magistrate), Franz Talsky and his sons Josef and Max (finance civil servants); Lorenz Warik (pensioner).

Even today all the above-named and the unnamed compatriots from Stulpikany and its environs reflect with much pleasure and at the same time with a latent nostalgia on the good times in the old homeland with its picturesque valleys as well as the Sucha and Ostra brooks. Although life was sometimes more difficult and economic need was reflected in their faces, the villagers nonetheless felt at home in their beloved native land.

To write a chronicle of the German villages and of the cities inhabited by the Germans in Bukovina is a task for specialists and would fill volumes. Therefore, may our description of the founding and development of the German settlements in this land in the course of 165 years serve as an example for the Germanic spirit of colonization and German proficiency.

Among many others, this cultural isle in the East also succumbed as a sacrifice in the deluge of the last world war; nonetheless, its people found their way back to their mother country and to a new homeland [referring to the 1940 transfer of the ethnic Germans of Bukovina and Bessarabia to Germany–sw].