Augustendorf (english)

(Original Title “Augustendorf”)
printed in “Bukowina: Heimat von Gestern,”
eds. Erwin Massier, Josef Talsky, B.C. Grigorowicz
(Karlsruhe: Selbstverlag “Arbeitskreis Bukowina Heimatbuch,” 1956), pp. 148-9
Rebecca Hageman, trans.

Posted January 03, 2022

Not a single German-Bohemian settlement in Bukovina was so much in the character of the German settlements in the Bohemian Forest, in both the layout and construction of the landscape, as the one in the Carpathians foothills on the southern valley of the Sereth River, lovely Augustendorf.

With only a few exceptions, all other German settlements are located on both sides of straight, tree lined avenues, showing the hand of the military that had created the colonies. Augustendorf, built in 1838, had adapted to the character of the landscape with its narrow, widely branching streets, with pretty farmsteads in the light architecture of the mountainous region. Surrounded by fir trees and pine forests, the settlement was deceptively reminiscent of the clean, beautiful Bohemian Forest villages around the Osser and Arber.

Augustendorf did not owe its origin to the state, but to the determination of the then landowner of Banila am Sereth, Mrs. Augustine Gojan-Fedorowicz, after whom the settlement was named. As is known, the colonies of Alexanderdorf, Katharinendorf, and Nicholasdorf were founded in a similar way.

The Augustendorf residents were settled by Mrs. Gojan to clear the wildly overgrown land and make it arable. Each colonist received for himself and his family 8 hectares of virgin forest and 2 hectares of pasture as property, and the right to use 3 yokes of forest. The individual had to do some work for the estate.

In the beginning, only twenty families were settled. They were taken from a group of immigrants who came to Radautz from the west. Later, they were joined by families who had moved on from the Hungarian Banat.

The oldest immigrant colonist families were Erl, Hasenkopf, Kampf and Mirwald. Georg Hebler, the progenitor of a very numerous family in Augustendorf, only moved in later.

When the forest assigned to the colonists had been cleared and the new settlers could not produce enough for themselves and their ever growing families, the majority of them turned to burning coal. Others became glass workers in the glassworks of Althütte and Neuhütte, which were only a few kilometers away, while the rest became carpenters and looked for work in the countryside outside the community. Only a few in the settlements were farmers in the real sense of the word.

While wooden shoes, which the settlers had brought from the old homeland continued to be worn until the resettlement, the peculiar headgear worn by the male population, a felt cap with a wide leather peak, also brought to Bukovina, had long since disappeared. As in all German settlements, each cottage, even the poorest, had a small front garden behind the fence, where all kinds of flowers were grown. Of course, the potted flowers in the front windows were not missing.

The entire population of 700 souls, was entirely Roman Catholic. Augustendorf belonged to the Roman Catholic parish church in Althütte, in whose churchyard the Augustendorf dead were also buried. In 1905, the Trinitarian Order established a religious branch in Augustendorf. The German Fathers Athanasius Sonntag, Vinzent Mayerhofer, and Valentin Probst, and later Fr. Felix Sollinger, erected a new chapel. The old wooden chapel was replaced by a stately church with a beautiful religious house, bringing new ecclesiastical and popular life in the community, which greatly increased under their leadership. Later, only Father Superior A. Sonntag remained in the parish, where he served for three decades and was loved and revered by all. One of the most beautiful works created by Father Sonntag was the spacious and well -equipped German people’s home. In 1930, the cultural association built a children’s recreation center.

The village of Augustendorf was very popular because of its beautiful location in a healthy mountain area. It was very popular as a summer resort due to the river baths, the friendliness of its inhabitants, and the proximity to the capital city of Chernivtsi, which could be reached in about an hour by bus. German life and German songs were highly valued and honored here.