The Work Colony of Eisenau

The Founding of the Settlement of Prisaca Dornei in Bukovina

Neuer Weg (Bucharest), Vol. 30, No. 9163, Nov. 2, 1978, p. 6
Dr. Claus Stephani
Sophie A. Welisch PhD, Trans.

Posted  with permission of the author

In 1783, after masons and carpenters from the Transylvanian regiments had constructed a blast furnace in Jacobeni (Jakobeny) and therewith the “Manz Ironworks,” the first undertaking of this kind in southern Bukovina, German miners and specialists, mainly Zipser Germans, were called to the land. By the turn of the century a number of other industrial sites, in Solca (Solka), Gura Putnei (Karlsberg), Voivodeasa (Fürstenthal), Fundo Moldovei ( Luisental), etc, had been established, which employed mainly German workers.

Karl Manz, Knight of Mariensee, also built a foundry on the Moldava River near Vama (Wama), which in 1807 attracted specialists from the lower Zips, the Gründler Land (Slovakia), who settled on the wooded meadow of Hurgisch and founded the “colony on the Hurgisch-Meadow.”

One year later, in 1808, one kilometer to the east „on our little white Moldava River, there arose the “Work Colony of Eisenau,” which later developed into the large community of Prisaca Dornei (Eisenau); in about 1810 thirty-eight Zipser inhabitants (men, women and children)) were “officially registered” in Eisenau.

When in 1880 the railroad line through the lower Moldava Valley between Jakobeny and Wama-Kimpolung was constructed, Italian workers, primarily from South Tyrol, came to Bukovina; they were the forebears of the German-speaking families of Battista, Borduzzo, Giacomelli, Stefanelli and others, who, after completion of that stretch of railroad, settled in Prisaca Dornei (Eisenau). Among the Eisenau Zipsers there were once talented stone masons, since most of the stone works (monuments, gateways, grave stones, etc.) in Rădăuţi (Radautz), Suceava (Sutschawa), Iaşi (Jassy), Botoşani, Seret (Sereth) etc., were executed by Zipser master craftsmen until about thirty to forty years ago. The most famous of these included Battista, Dürner, Gärtner, Händl, Oberländer, Petri, Schmegner in addition to Adolf Nowak, Ambrosius Katani, Adolf Gotsch, Albin Borduzzo, Ferdinand Awram, and Johann Spiske; Nowak, Katani and Spiske executed the equestrian statute of Stefan cel Mare in Suceava.

Although school instruction in German took place shortly after the establishment of the “Work Colony of Eisenau“ at the beginning of the nineteenth century, it was not until 1902 at the instigation of Franz Neuhauser, that a “modern school system“ began to take shape. In addition, the teachers Heinrich Frambach, Johann Hawelka, Wilhelm Hehn, Josef Sachelan, and Robert Ziehaus deserve considerable credit for carrying out instruction in the German language in this century.
Significantly, in the course of time the “Eisenau Zipsers” assimilated numerous newly arrived people, a characteristic trait of the German-speaking population groups of Bukovina. The old established families included Adam, Awram, Brandauer, Christofori, Dürner, Gärtner, Geitz, Göllner (also Gelner), Götsch, Gundl (also Gundel), Hönig, Jung, Keil, Knoblauch, Kripinsky, Köhler, Koller, Kretschmader, Kuchar, Lerch, Loy, Luka, Müller, Nowak, Petri, Sawetzky, Schmegner, Schneider, Selitzky, Spitzschuh, Steinbach, Theiss, Tomaschek, Wagner, and Wojkowsky. In the second half of the nineteenth century. German specialists migrated to Eisenau from numerous Bukovinian villages and other areas of the Monarchy.

Other settlers came from northern Bukovina (Dutschak, Lukeniuk, Neumohr, Ruschak, Ruszcinjak, Skrikuljak); from Galicia (Frambach, Hochhauser, Ripsky); from Swabia (Oberländer); from Bohemia (Hawelka, Materna, Zehatschek, Bartsch); from South Tyrol (Samowilla, Depine u.a.); and finally also from the Zips (Brandauer, Hennel, Müller, Wagner, etc.)

The origin of some families cannot be determined such as Lasarowitsch, Laufensweiler, Mitsch, Mitschka and others, who presumably came from the region of Suceava.

About fifty years ago Prisaca Dornei, in the 1930s a beloved spa with over two thousand inhabitants, got the nickname “Rose Village” (Rosendorf) because of the many roses which bloom each spring not only along the “Reichstrasse” but also in front of the Zipser homes. When the Manz foundry ceased operations, the Zipser men found employment in the saw mills or worked as lumberers and artisans.