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3-1 April 1998



Peter Noll of Limburgerhof, Germany has compiled an alphabetical list of all the family groupings extracted from the microfilmed Zichydorf church records, including dates and page numbers. Herr Noll, Helmut Kaiser of Otterberg, and Georg Kurzhals of Pforzheim have sent us a photocopy of this work for our library. This can save many hours of painstaking searching through hard to read microfilm. Herr Noll is to be commended for completing such a huge project. This is a secondary source and errors can creep in, so researchers should use the dates and page numbers in this work to verify the information with the microfilmed records.




Herr Kurzhals also sent us two copies of Johann Achtzehner’s first book, Geschicte der Gemeinde Zichydorf. We know that several of you have been trying to obtain this book. Our dilemma is: how do we decide who gets them? Here are a few ideas:


1. We could auction them off to the highest bidders and put the money raised into our library fund.


2. We could set a price, draw lots among those interested, and put the money in the library fund.


3. As you probably know, we don’t allow our existing library copy to circulate because it would be irreplaceable if lost. We could put one of the new ones in the library to be non-circulating as insurance while we allow our existing copy to circulate through inter-library loan. We could put both in the library and allow two to circulate, and then dispose of one later through either of the methods above.


What do you think? Any other ideas? We will discuss this matter at our April meeting. Those of you who cannot attend the meeting, please make your feelings known in a letter or email.




Peter Singer of Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany has donated a copy of Johann Achtzehner’s second book, Nachtrag zur Geschicte der Gemeinde Zichydorf, which contains updates and corrections to his initial work. Apparently only 100 copies of this work were printed and they are as scarce as hens’ teeth. I think it unlikely that we can acquire personal copies.


Peter Noll’s Orfsippenbuch der deutschen katholic Gemeinde Zichydorf im Banat as described above.


An index to the householder list in Achtzehner’s first book compiled by Shirley Gibbard (also on the web page).


Martha Remer Connor’s index to the 1828 census of Torontal county.


David Dreyer’s extractions from the 1828 census for Torontal and Temes counties.


An article about Zichydorf colony south of Regina written by Georg Kurzhals that appeared in Der Donauschwabe in November 1980 complete with diagram of which settler was on each lot (also on the web page).




Last October I had the pleasure of reading two books we ordered for the SGS library. In the Claws of the Red Dragon is Father Wendelin Gruber’s personal account of his experiences among the Donauschwaben in Yugoslavia after World War II. He describes in detail the suffering of the German people in the concentration camp at Gakowa. He had a brief experience at Rudolfsgnad, where many Zichydorfers were interned. Although he had little direct contact with our people, the conditions in the two camps were virtually identical. It is easy to imagine our relatives suffering the same hunger, cold, and disease as the Gakowa inmates. Being a Catholic priest, Father Gruber’s account often deals with religious and spiritual matters, reflecting the faith of his congregation. Anyone interested in understanding the fate of our people after the War will find this book interesting reading.

Es War Einmal is a historical novel by Sister Mary Agnes Theiszmann Pitzer. She uses her own family history and the historical record to tell the tale of Banat’s colonization. The cast includes a few common people, but many characters are high ranking bureaucrats and their associates. Thus, it deals with some of the politics and administration of the immigration as well as the experiences of the immigrants. I found this book to be overly romanticized and contrived. Young couples would fall madly in love at their first meeting and be married the next day. Readers who prefer fiction to history may enjoy this book with its description of the journey down the Danube, the overland trek, and the danger and hardship of settling a new territory.  

In February I had the opportunity to read two books loaned to me by a Zichydorfer in Regina. Seven Susannahs: Daughters of the Danube by Eve Eckert Koehler also describes one family’s history, from its immigration to the Banat to the hardships after World War II. It details the experiences and reminiscences of one woman and the stories her ancestors told her. This account is more like a journal than a novel. I found it to be more factual with better insights into the experiences of the characters than Es War Einmal.  

Our Lost Children: Janissaries? by Karl Springenschmid delves into one particular aspect of the post-war hardships of the Banaters. As background, it explains that many of the men were prisoners of war and many of the women were sent to work camps in Russia. The remaining Donauschwaben were herded into internment camps where many died of hunger, disease, and exposure. The real focus of the book is on what happened to the parentless children that remained. Springenschmid explains how they were gathered into orphanages where the authorities attempted to erase their past and their culture. Some children were successfully reunited with their parents in the 1950s, some children never saw their families again, and, saddest of all, some children were so indoctrinated into their new culture that they did not wish to rejoin their families. The author compares this situation with the practice of the Turkish armies in which they took young children from conquered areas and raised them to be fanatical warriors called Janissaries.  

At our next meeting I will propose that we acquire these last two books for our library.



Regina branch will meet at 2pm, Sunday, April 26, 1998 at St. Timothy School, 280 Sangster Blvd. Mark it on your calendar and please join us. Bring a friend.  


Library resources: What items should we add to our library? What should we do with the Achtzehner books?

Safe preservation of your treasured momentos: Preserve your photos and papers in non-acidic albums so they do not deteriorate. Use pens that will not bleed through. Gloria Dreher of Creative Memories will discuss and display photo-safe albums, mounting products, and creative album-making supplies. Bring your current album along and show off your treasured photos. Don’t forget!! Mark this on your calendar!!




We welcome all members, whether they pay dues or not, because we value what each of us can contribute to our common knowledge. However we do appreciate your financial contributions. We suggest a one-time contribution of $25 to the library fund plus $10 annually to help with expenses. Dues cover a calendar year. Please contribute your dues for the 1998 year if you have not already done so. $10 is not much money, but when several people pull together it adds up. We have made many new contacts through mail and the Internet. Both of these methods require some cash. Please help us out. Maybe our next contact will be the one you need. If you are not on our researcher list, but would like to be included, or, if you have any corrections to your listing, please contact Glenn with the necessary information.  


I received an unfavourable report from the Hungarian firm that was investigating a tour for us. Although Zichydorf is far from any of the trouble spots, the investigators found that all Serbian territory is tense and westerners are not welcome due to Western support for the minorities who oppose Serbian rule and the sanctions imposed by the UN. I will keep in touch and pursue this initiative again when the political situation is more stable.  


Georg Kurzhals, of Pforzheim, Germany, has located some additional church records. The baptism records from 1904, marriage records from 1895 (1920-32 missing), and death records from 1901 are in a town near Zichydorf. He is trying to obtain copies of these records. Also, the civil records between 1850 and 1900 may still exist in Zichydorf. He is working to confirm this and obtain copies, if possible.  


What will happen to all your genealogical material when you pass away? Will someone in your family preserve it for future generations? Or will all your hard work and your precious collection of books be tossed in the garbage? Give this matter some thought, discuss it with your family, and deposit a letter expressing your wishes with your important papers. If no one in your family is interested in the family history, who could you entrust it to? Why, the ZVA of course. When a member of some future generation wants to research the family history, he or she will find it on a shelf in the ZVA section at the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society library, safely and indefinitely preserved.  




I have over 7,500 names in my Zichydorf database and I still have a few hundred more to enter. Please submit your family trees to me, there is a chance I can tie you in to research that is already complete. That, after all, is one of the primary goals of our group, sharing information so that each of us doesn’t have to research everything individually. If we all work together and share our results, we can accomplish far more than each of us individually. I have been able to assist in making a couple of connections and would love to help make some more.


Zichydorf Village Association News

edited by: Glenn Schwartz

2274 Baldwin Bay, Regina, SK, S4V 1H2, Canada