Althütte – the first Glassworks in Bukovina

the first German-Bohemian Village in Bukovina

Willi Kosiul

From the Website of Willi Kosiul
Translation by Google, Needs Editing
Posted with permission of the author’s son, February 6, 2021

Althütte, the very first German-Bohemian village in Bukovina, is located 26 km south of Storozynetz and also 10 km south of Czudyn, off the main road, the former Austrian military road that leads from Storozynetz via Czudyn and Krasna to Solka and Transylvania. It is at the end of a gravel road that leads from Krasna to the northwest and only to Althütte and ends there as a “dead end”. This makes Althütte the very last village before the Carpathian Mountains. Then the higher mountains and the continuous forest of the Carpathian Mountains begin. There weren’t any other paved roads to or from Althütte, and there aren’t any today.

The road between Krasna and Althütte has its highest elevation of 508 m and then it goes downhill into Althütte. Althütte is located in a depression = in a depression 464 m above sea level, where a small mountain stream flows through which can rise to a raging river in spring after the snow has melted or in heavy rain. The mountains around Althütte are 487 m to 695 m and in a westerly direction it goes up to 765 m and even higher.

This area belonged to Moldova until 1774 and was under Turkish sovereignty. In the Russo-Turkish War (1768 – 1774) it was occupied and ruled by the Russians as early as 1769. When Austria occupied this area militarily in 1774 and the Turks ceded it to Austria by treaty in 1775, there was only overgrown and wild Carpathian forest at this point.

The fields and forests as well as many villages in this entire area of ​​the “Northern Vltava” and from 1775 called “Bukowina” belonged to the Greek Orthodox Church and its many monasteries and the large landowners there until the end of the 18th century , to the west of Krasna belonged to the Greek-Orthodox monastery of Putna in the Radautz district and after that the place of residence or the municipality of Krasna was officially called Krasna Putna.

By decree of the Austrian Emperor Joseph II of 1783, all land holdings in fields and forests were taken from the Greek Orthodox Church in the entire Bukovina, combined in a Greek Orthodox religious fund and placed under state administration.

As a result, this entire area from Althütte to behind Storozynetz was then under the state religious fund administration in Kuczurmare and no longer under the influence of the Orthodox Church. This Austrian state religious administration then leased these areas with forests, pastures, meadows and fields to private individuals as tenants for 30 years. As a result, the tenant of this area was the Austrian knight von Kriegshaber from Galicia, who had leased this entire area extensively in 1791 and thus ruled over it until 1821. The then Austrian leaseholder Ritter von Kriegshaber decided to build a glassworks there in the forest near Krasna in order to produce gas and do good glass business with it.

Since the Austrian tenant Ritter von Kriegshaber came from Galicia, he had knowledge of the crystal glassworks near Lubaczow in Galicia, which also inspired him to build a profitable glassworks here.

The Knight von Kriegshaber knew that at that time there was already a highly developed glass industry in the Bohemian Forest and that some glassworks there had cut back or even closed their production since 1780, thereby freeing up glassmakers.

Therefore, in the spring of 1793, Ritter von Kriegshaber sent a German-speaking advertising agent to the Bohemian Forest in order to recruit experienced glassmakers and lumberjacks willing to emigrate and bring them here. Taking advantage of the plight of some of these people in the Bohemian Forest and many promises and promises, this and later other advertising agents succeeded in recruiting several German-Bohemian glassworking and wood-cutting families and winning them over to emigrate to Bukovina.

Then, in August 1793, seven families with a total of around 35 to 40 people from the Bohemian Forest, led by their mounted recruiter, set out on foot and with dog teams on their way to Bukovina. They hiked in this hiking group with some of their belongings, such as their personal clothing and blankets, some forest hand tools and some food for the march, from the Bohemian Forest into the Bukovina and into the forest near Krasna.

Their hiking route led from west to east through Bohemia via Pilsen – through Moravia via Brno – through Slovakia via Kosice and Usgorod – through Galicia via Stanislaus – then coming from the north into Bukovina – via Chernivtsi – Storozynetz and Czudyn into the forest of Krasna Putna, where they had to settle – on the instructions of their mounted travel companion.

It took this first German-Bohemian immigration group, led by their mounted guide, during rest breaks and days of rest, from August to October 1793 – about seven weeks – to reach their final destination in Bukovina. They left their ancestral home in the Bohemian Forest and hiked on foot with their children over 1,200 km to the east into the unknown, with the hope of finding a new home and a better life there.

In October 1793, the first German-Bohemian immigrant group, consisting of the families: Aschenbrenner, Belder, Hartinger, Jekal, Linzmajer and Straub, came here on foot with handcart and dog teams from the Bohemian Forest to Bukovina. They were brought here purposefully by a rider commissioned by the knight of Kriegshaber, who had assigned them their exact place, instructed them in their next tasks, promised them the soon-to-be support of their new master and then disappeared forever.

From October 1793 onwards, your task was to build winter-proof huts, cut down enough fuel and create safe wintering here in the dense forest. Then the task was to fell the trees in this area and to obtain building materials for the later construction of their living quarters and the glassworks.

The promised support from her new master did not come as promised, but at long intervals only irregularly in a weakened form and quantity. But these German Bohemians were tough, knew the rough mountain and forest life from the Bohemian Forest and were used to dealing with it.

Despite all the local disappointments on their arrival, their unpleasant surprise at their point of arrival, in the open air, in the deep forest, they gathered all their strength and were forced to quickly adapt to this new, complicated situation. So they cope with all the difficulties and hard ways of life and had survived the first Carpathian winter well.

Here they and their families had to survive in massive wooden huts they had built themselves, and for some food deliveries they had to live from their new master and mostly from the Carpathian game. The wood material for their house construction was taken in the winter months and first their living quarters and then the glassworks were built next year.

In the following spring of 1794 they received more support from their new master, such as some domestic animals, work and farm implements as well as some seeds for their first sowing for their families to support themselves.

In 1793 these seven German-Bohemian families founded the very first German-Bohemian housing estate here in the dense forest west of Krasna, and then the first glassworks in Bukovina. Since this forest area belonged to the municipality of Krasna Putna at that time, this first as yet nameless housing estate and also this first glassworks were first called “Krasna”.

In the following years – after 1793 – more German-Bohemian glassmakers and woodcutters were recruited from the Bohemian Forest and brought here in order to accelerate the construction work, to build the glassworks and to produce glass.

In the first years of their settlement, these first immigrants in particular were very dependent on one another and also dependent on one another. Because a lot of the work they could only do in teamwork with each other. So they did all the logging work, the construction of timber, the construction of their first residential huts and their later houses as well as the reclamation of the already cleared and cleared forest areas, mostly in teamwork. Her struggle for survival, for starting a business and for her personal safety also forced her to do so. These facts led them all to a readiness for mutual help and support, to show mutual consideration and also to a general good understanding with one another.

The first glassworks built at Krasna Putna (later called Althütte) and the second later built glassworks in the Czudyn Forest (later called Neuhütte) also required and employed a lot of workers. Many immigrants found work and bread here and therefore it was also an attraction for further immigrants from various other areas.

At that time, well over 100 workers were necessary and employed in this glassworks, such as woodcutters, stokers, stokers, smelters, glassmakers, glass cutters, glass packers, glass transport workers, etc.But also outside the glassworks, a lot of workers were necessary, such as lumberjacks in the forest, carters for the Wood transport, among other things in order to carry out the delivery services for this glassworks. In addition, there was also a separate production line for the manufacture of the additive required for glass production, potash.

Due to the wide range of job opportunities in the glassworks, new immigrants were constantly moving to this housing estate in the first and subsequent years. The rich blessing of children there (often between 8 and 16 children per family) also ensured the rapid development and expansion of this residential area on the first old glassworks (Althütte) as well as the new glassworks (Neuhütte) that was built later.

In the years around 1800 and 1803, other glassmakers from the Bohemian Forest and Slovaks came here as woodcutters. In addition to German Bohemia, Slovaks and Poles also came here as lumberjacks and settled here forever. As a result, the first German-Bohemian housing estate and also the first Bukowina glassworks arose here in this forest near Krasna Putna from 1793, which was built by German Bohemians, Slovaks and Poland and also produced sheet glass and hollow glass for about 20 years – until around 1815.

When the entire forest around this first glassworks was cut down and used up, a large open area was created here which was used as arable and pasture land by the residents there.

Since the further supply of the firewood from the felling to the glassworks was getting longer and more expensive, around 1810 this land tenant Ritter von Kriegshaber, about 4 km north of here, further into the forest, decided to build a new glassworks, which then also so happened.

There, too, at the planned new location, all the necessary conditions and prerequisites were met to build a glassworks and produce a good table and hollow glass.

After that, production in the first old glassworks in Althütte was gradually throttled and then completely abandoned around 1815 and the new glassworks in Czudyn / Neuhütte operated at the new location.

After the dissolution of the old glassworks (Althütte) around 1815, the first – now old – German-Bohemian housing estate “Althütte” continued to exist and continued to grow successfully through further immigration, marriages and births. Its inhabitants were allowed to keep the deforested and reclaimed land in use and to cultivate it. But this reclaimed forest floor of the individual residents there was not enough to pursue agriculture as a main occupation. These mostly small farms were mostly only sufficient for the families to support themselves. Some of them weren’t quite enough for that either.

This is why a professional reorientation began here. In addition to this small farm – which was mostly run by the women and children – the men ran a craft, continued to work as forest workers in this area or as day laborers in other activities. Some of these residents went into business here in “Althütte” and achieved a certain ascent.

Several glassmakers and woodcutters from the first old glassworks (Althütte) also went to the new glassworks after (Neuhütte), continued to work there in their field and stayed in this first and old housing estate in Althütte. Others looked for other occupations, whether as a craftsman, as a forest farmer or as a day laborer in other activities.

But the majority of the local residents stayed here in Althütte and worked as casual day laborers or as salaried workers in certain companies. Many of them were poor people and remained on the lowest level of their existence.

In order to distinguish both glassworks and both residential areas from each other, the first glassworks was called “Alte Glashütte” in the local vernacular around 1815 and the second glassworks was called the “Neue Glashütte”. After that, the old housing estate was initially called “Althütte” and the new housing estate “Neuhütte”, until they were later officially named. Both place names Althütte and Neuhütte are therefore of German origin.

Officially and administratively, the first old German housing estate “Althütte” belonged to the political municipality of Krasna Putna until 1875 and then in 1875 it was declared an independent political municipality. In 1875 this first German housing estate was given the official local and community name “Althütte”, which has been preserved in German – in the vernacular – to this day. Only in the later Romanian, Soviet and Ukrainian rule times was this name Althütte translated into the respective language and also officially called “Huta Vechi” or “Stara Huta”.

In 1800 the German Roman Catholic cemetery was established in the first glassworks housing estate (Althütte), which was later expanded and expanded. It is still well preserved today and is also used by the local Catholic residents – mainly Poles. With some well-preserved gravestones and metal crosses with German inscriptions and German names, this cemetery still shows clear traces of the past of German residents in Althütte.

On June 27, 1811, a Viennese court decree ordered the establishment of local chaplainies in the glassworks housing estates. As a result, such a pastoral care station was established in Krasna Putna in 1812 for the “Althütte” glassworks housing estate, which, however, did not have a competent chaplain until 1820 and was therefore also looked after from Kaczyka.

In 1812 a Roman Catholic wooden chapel was built in this glassworks housing estate (Althütte). A chaplain came from Kaczyka at certain time intervals and for given reasons, riding over 50 km on a horse to Krasna Putna in order to perform certain church tasks here in the glassworks housing estate near Krasna (Althütte) and then rode back to Kaczyka.

Until the year 1820, no church records were kept here in Krasna / Althütte and certain events such as child baptisms, marriages and deaths were not officially registered or recorded. It was not until 1820 that some such events were added.

In 1820 the local chaplaincy Krasna Putna received a permanent chaplain for the glassworks housing estate (Althütte), who initially had his seat in Krasna Putna and then received the rank of pastor in the following years. Only this chaplain, who is now here and responsible, began to keep the church records in Krasna Putna in 1820. At first, very sketchy and superficial. Many events such as christenings, weddings and deaths were not even registered at all at that time. But in the following years – over the years – the registries became more and more complete and better.

In 1836 the chaplain Krasna (the glass workers’ housing estate “Althütte”) was raised to a parish and the local chaplain received the rank of pastor. Then the construction of a massive church with a steeple began in Althütte. During this time, too, the parish kept the official name of Krasna Putna, because the glassworkers’ housing estate was popularly known as the “old hut” and belonged to the Krasna Putna community, but even then did not have an official name of its own.

The construction of this massive church took 21 years for financial reasons until this church was completed in 1857 and then handed over to its intended purpose.

In 1840, according to a central ordinance, also in the parish Krasna Putna, all Roman Catholic residents of the parish Familienweise – with only a few data – were recorded = registered and can still be traced back to their housing estates in the church register of Althütte.

According to these church registers, child mortality was very high at that time and was 20% to 50% of the children in these families per family. However, since the birth rate was very high, these many deaths were always well balanced. Very often the first name of the deceased child was passed on to the next child of the same sex and this first name was repeated in the family.

Many women also died in childbed after the birth of a child and the widowers who stayed behind had to remarry soon because of the half-wise children who remained behind in order to have a new mother for the children and a housewife for the farm. Often the widower married a sister of the deceased and so everything stayed in the family.

The parish Krasna (Althütte) initially had 11 branches and then later – around 1850 – a total of 20 branches. There were branches that were very far away from the rectory on the street. B. Augustendorf 18 km and Storozynetz even 26 km from Althütte. In the event of deaths and funerals, or in the winter when children were baptized, the pastor had to be picked up by this family from Althütte in a horse-drawn carriage or sleigh and brought back home. In addition, the family had to pay a certain fee to the church as well as an offering. If “some” alcohol was also drunk with the pastor during these events (as was always customary there at that time), then the pastor had mixed up some names or even completely forgot to record these events. This event was only recorded in the church register after he returned home or a few days later. If this pastor had forgotten, there was no registration at all.

It was not until 1875 that the glassworkers’ housing estate was officially named Althütte, when it was detached from the political municipality of Krasna Putna and declared an independent municipality of Althütte. After that, in 1778, this parish was also given the official ecclesiastical name “Parish Althütte” and remained so until we were relocated at the end of 1940.

In 1887 Storozynetz became and only in 1911 Augustendorf with some of its surrounding housing estates and villages was detached from the parish of Althütte and raised to a separate and independent parish of Storozynetz and Augustendorf. However, the majority of the branches remained with the parish Althütte until our resettlement in 1940.

In 1821 the long-term, 30-year lease contracts of the Greek Orthodox Religious Fund under the Austrian state administration of the Kuczurmare estate management near Storozynetz, with the major tenant Ritter von Kriegshaber, in the area around Althütte expired. After that, the religious fund administration of Kuczurmare took control of it again. She then concluded a six-year lease contract with the individual residents until 1827, after which a rent was paid for each plot of land. These lease agreements were repeated in 1827 and thus extended until 1833.

According to the Viennese court decree, every settler was given the right to use his rod, which he also made arable. After that, every settler was also the owner of this property and could also leave it to his descendants. They were the owners but not the owners of this land and now had to pay the owner a usage fee in kind or work, as well as pay taxes in cash every year. Only after the revolutionary events and results of 1848 was the basic relief for all residents and all lordly subjects became free farmers on their previous use grounds.

Around 1800 a German private teacher settled in Althütte and taught 36 Roman Catholic children of the German-Bohemian residents there. This German private teacher and the possibility of teaching had to be raised, paid for, entertained and guaranteed by the children’s parents.

Between 1816 and 1820, a wooden one-class school and a house for a teacher were built in Althütte and then used accordingly. In 1871 Althütte had a public one-class school with 197 school-age children aged 7 to 14, of which only 127 children had attended school at that time. This first school made of wood had been preserved in Althütte for many years and was used as a Polish elementary school in 1900 – after the opening of the massive, large elementary school.

On December 31, 1900, the community of Althütte already had a total of 1,216 inhabitants, 76% of whom were Germans. At that time the colloquial language in Althütte was 76% German, 16% Polish and Slovak, 4% Romanian and 4% Ruthenian. Among the church denominations there were 91% Catholics (Germans, Slovaks and Poles), 8% Greek Orthodox and 1% Jews.

After 1900, Althütte received a large, massive state school with two large classrooms with German-language classes. In 1904 it became a three-class school, from 1924 a four-class school and from 1927 a five-class school), etc. which was later expanded and expanded. This large, massive school is still well preserved in Althütte and is also in operation.

During the time of Austrian rule until 1918, school lessons in German and also in Polish were available in Althütte. After that, under Romanian rule, there were gradually only school lessons in the Romanian language in order to Romanize all national minorities over time. In exceptional cases, such as Althütte with a predominantly German population, the subject “German lessons” was only permitted for a few hours a week.

In the whole of Bukovina there were no registry offices until 1939 and after that there were also no registrars. All these tasks, including the entire registry and the registration of all family events, were carried out by the pastors of the respective parishes and faiths for their believers.

At the beginning of 1940 the community Althütte had a total of 1,724 inhabitants, almost 90% of whom were Germans. Since Althütte was a German-Bohemian municipality with a predominantly German-Bohemian population, the mayors in Althütte were always German-Bohemian incumbents at all times until the resettlement in autumn 1940.

On June 28, 1940, the entire northern part of Bukovina was occupied by the Soviet Army forever and this triggered the resettlement of the Germans to the German Reich.

In September 1940, 1,681 German people reported to the official local resettlement commission in Althütte for resettlement to the German Reich. Of these, 1,279 = 76.1% were German Bohemia, 17.5% Swabia and others. There were 46 families with the repeated family name Aschenbrenner, 36 x Ernst, 31 x Hartinger, 31 x Erl, 29 x Bajerl, 23 x Adelsberger, 19 x Beck, 17 x Pscheid, 17 x Stadler, 17 x Straub, 13 x Drexler , 13 x Linzmeier, and many other related family lines, all from the one community of Althütte.

The German-Bohemian community Althütte was its own resettlement area (which was officially called the local area), labeled “Bu 9” and was also the seat of this German / Soviet resettlement commission, with the work office in the Ernst residential building. The surrounding communities Krasna Putna and Krasna Ilski also belonged to this resettlement area Althütte “Bu 9”. This German resettlement commission consisted of the Reich German local representative, his deputy, a German-Russian interpreter and a valuer. Three German-Bohemian local residents were at the side of this Reich German local representative as advisors and helpers.

This Reich German local plenipotentiary had the task of receiving, processing and checking the applications of all Germans in this area who were willing to resettle and to check their German descent and German ethnicity. An officer of the Soviet Army with his interpreter was always present in the German resettlement commission when this application was submitted and processed, who checked and monitored this application by the resettlers and also had to give his consent. The resettlement of the applicant to the German Reich was only approved after the approval of the German and the Soviet side.

In October 1940, 408 German hearths from the community of Althütte alone with a total of 1,724 people were reported to the local representative of the German resettlement commission for resettlement and were also accepted, which were organized in two special trains from Czudyn station to the German Reich. In October and November 1940, a total of 2,999 people were resettled in three special trains from the Czudyn station to the German Reich from the official local area “Bu 9” Althütte, as well as from the communities of Krasna Putna and Krasna Ilski. These three special trains left on October 6, October 13 and November 7, 1940. 92% were pure German families, 7% mixed marriages and 1% others. With the resettlement of the Germans from Althütte and the surrounding area, Germanness ceased to exist there forever.

After the Germans were resettled from Althütte in the autumn of 1940, Althütte was dissolved as an independent municipality and joined the Krasna Putna municipal administration as a village. Since 1995 Althütte (now called “Stara Huta” in Ukrainian) has become an independent political municipality again, with an honorary mayor and at that time had around 1,500 inhabitants.

The distance from Althütte is: to Krasna Putna = 4 km, to Czudyn = 10 km, to Storozynetz = 26 km, to Chernivtsi = 48 km and to the Ukrainian / Romanian border to the south it is 13 km. From Althütte to Neuhütte the distance over the unpaved loose road through the forest is 4 km and then from Neuhütte to Augustendorf, also through the forest, another 4 km. So from Althütte to Augustendorf – along this forest path – a total of 8 km.