(Luisenthal, Louisenthal)

Oskar Hadbawnik

From “Die Zipser in der Bukowina: Anfang, Aufbau und Ende ihres buchenländischen Bergbaues in den Nordkarpaten”
Munich: Landsmannschaft der Buchenlanddeutschen, 1987. pp. 216-217
Gertrud Siewi, Ed.
Sophie A. Welisch PhD, Trans.

Posted with permission of the author 25 June 2006

When one is on the main street which leads from Kimpolung to Jakobeny, about 10 kilometers after leaving Kimpolung in the community of Pozoritta, the streets forks. The main street continues further into the Putna Valley, rising over Valea Putnei toward the Mestekanestie Pass while the road leading from the main street veers off to the right, i.e., in an easterly direction into the valley along the Moldavia [River] to Luisental, which one reaches after about 4 kilometers. If one proceeds further upward in the Moldavia Valley, one comes to the larger community of Fundul Moldovei.

Luisental was a street village, which owes is founding and establishment (1805) to the search and demand for copper ore. The first Zipser settlers came via “military transport” at the behest of the originally operator and owner of the copper works, that being the Austrian government or the Austrian state, and mined for copper ore in Luisental and Pozoritta. About this Raimund Friedrich Kaindl writes:

“In 1807 soldiers of the Austrian military cut down the trees along the northern slopes of the Paraul Broastei (Froschbach = Frog Stream) up to the back of the mountain to the bridge and prepared it for the housing construction to begin the following summer. The log huts built by the soldiers in 1808 were promptly occupied by miners from Hungary.

In time 140 houses were constructed. The village was named in honor of Princess Maria-Louise, later the wife of Napoleon I. The homes are spaced in equal distance from each other on both sides of the street, which leads from Pozoritta to Oberfundul-Moldovei and runs parallel to the Moldavia [River]. There is a garden behind each house in the dimension of one yoke of land.” [1 yoke = 0.5755 hectare; 1 hectare = 2.471 acres—sw].

It was only in 1821 that Anton Manz took over the total mining facilities of Luisental and Pozoritta and successfully ran the mining of copper ore and copper production. The results of this mining enterprise were so successful and productive that Manz, through the high economic profits of these works, could expand, develop and make greater investments at his less productive installations, mainly in Mariensee-Kirlibaba and Jakobeny. Further information about the development of these mining facilities may be found in Chapter II [of this book], entitled “Historic Data about the Settlement of the Zipsers in Bukovina.”

From previously cited sources it cannot be determined how many miners or families of miners were additionally brought to and settled in Luisental after Manz’s takeover of the installations (1821). As already mentioned, Luisental, established on state land, was settled by Zipsers brought from Hungary. Considering the profit which Manz reaped from these installations, it is hardly conceivable, that he could have run them without aid of additional skilled workers, entailing the further settlement of Zipsers in Luisental and Pozoritta. The assumption that still more Zipsers were settled after 1821 is probable, although it can not be verified by the sources.

Another individual haling from Luisental, Privy Councilor Magistrate Leopold Jekal, also reports on the work of the miners in that village. See the quotation from the report of Dr. Pfeifer.

In his study about “The Character of the Settlement in Bukovina” (Das Ansiedlungswesen in der Bukowina, Innsbruck: 1902), Kaindl states that the number of the Germans living in the “estate district” (Gutsbebiet) of Luisental can be estimated at almost 600 souls but fails to indicate the time frame to which this number relates. It is significant to note that right from the beginning of the first settlement, i.e., from the initiation of the mining activity and the settling of the mining personnel, the operators of the installations very precisely distinguished and made reference to which “properties,” i.e., on what land the houses of the settlers would be built. A distinction was made between state properties, i.e., those belonging to the community, the owners of which were termed “community residents,” and those whose houses had been built on properties of the Greek Orthodox Religious Foundation, i.e., on similarly-named “estate districts”; these were the occupants of the mining settlement. The distinction, at first glance hardly noticed by many, proved later to be of considerable importance to their occupants for the “free sale” (Freikauf) of the individual parcels after the collapse of the Manz mining enterprise and the takeover of the total undertaking by the Greek Orthodox Religious Foundation.

Based to the official results of the last census in 1939 as reported by Privy Councilor Jekal, 1009 Germans lived in Luisental shortly before the [1940] resettlement.

According to the opinions of other Bukovinians from Luisental this number is much too low. They reckon that those Germans living in Luisental shortly before the resettlement numbered between 1300 and 1500.

In the recent (1985) publication, “The Multinational Austrian School System in Bukovina” (Das multinationale österreichische Schulwesen in der Bukowina, vol. I), Rudolf Wagner notes that as early as 1805 a two-class elementary school with German as the language of instruction was opened and in 1904 was under the direction of Headmaster Ludwig Assman. According to the same sources, after the annexation of Bukovina by Romania, i.e., at the end of the Austrian era (1918), Luisental had a three-class German elementary school with the following personnel: Headmaster Emil Roland Schweitzer, and the teachers Georg Pfeifer, Marie Pechmann, Genedral Gottlieb, Johann Damm and Katharina Gebert. Privy Councilor Jekal notes in his memoirs that he also attended the Luisental German elementary school before the beginning of the First World War at which time Director Rudolf Stoss as well as the teacher Georg Pfeifer were on the staff. After the First World War during the years 1922/23 the German elementary school was Romanized and Luisental had no German-language school for its German children.

Despite much discrimination regarding the targeted “Romanization” of the minorities by the central Romanian State Administration after the First World War, no dissension or tension existed in Luisental between the Romanians and their German neighbors. They had mutual respect for one another; moreover, the amiable fellowship and toleration from before the First World War contributed considerably to the good and reasonable relations between the two partners. As an example of the above, one can point to the demeanor of the Romanians at the departure of the Germans on the occasion of the resettlement (1940)—see article by Dr. Pfeifer.