Dobrudzha -- on the Trails of My Ancestors
Lang, Romy. "Dobrudzha -- on the Trails of My Ancestors." Mitteilungsblatt, October 2010, 7.
Translation from the original German-language text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, CO.
I have always wanted to see the land where my grandparents and my mother were born. My grandfather told me a lot and thereby passed on his love for the old homeland.
But first about my own person. I am a descendant of the Fischer, Ritter and Büttner families. The Fischer family had come to Dobrudzha from Bessarabia (Tarutino, Leipzig, and Borodino), the Ritter family directly from Beilsteil near Heilbronn [Germany], and the Büttner family most likely via Poland/Prussia.
The date was July 12, 2010 when I joined a group of ten people to set out toward Romania. Among us there were still eight genuine Dobrudzhans, namely, Mrs. Gertrud Knopp-Rüb, Mrs. Maria Lauterbach (Hess), Mrs. Viktoria Kolschewsky, Mrs. Hertha Sommer (Ponto), Mr. Daniel Roth, Mr. Paul Klatt, Mr. Gerhard Sandau, the couple Katharina and Gustav Thierry (Temes), plus Romy Lang (Fischer), all of us having left our beautiful villages seventy years back. Birth places included Kobadin, Chukuvrov/Ciucurova, Tariverde, Karatai (Nisipari), and Karamurat (Mihail Kogelniceaunu).
We stayed in the Hotel Majestic in Mamaia. Gertrud, Daniel and Viktoria were still pretty good in Romanian (and got better by the day), and thus we had no problems with the local language.
My own stay was unfortunately limited to only a week, and I wanted to see as much as possible. We toured the former German villages by bus. Our first stop was Cogealia (now called Lumina), then we went on to Cogealac, Tariverde, Chukurov [spelled differently above – Tr.], Atmagea and to Karamurat. In all of these there is a stone dedicated to the memory of deceased Germans. We left flowers at each. These memorials almost all stand next to churches that are still kept up rather well. The exception is Chukurov, where the memorial stands on a small platform and the church is a mere ruin. These churches were once Ev.-Lutheran, and only the one in Karamurat was Catholic. Today they are all being used for Greek-Orthodox services. The oldest German church in Dobrudzha, erected in 1861, stands in Atmagea.
In Tariverde we spent some time in a home that used to belong to the Ritter family. It is maintained well and has a giant garden behind the house. First comes the chicken yard, then the vegetable plot, an area for corn, and grapevines at the very back. A large nut tree and a well were also not lacking. It looked just as it had in Opa’s stories.
The land itself is very flat. Everywhere one can see giant fields of “Raps” (canola), barley, wheat, and sunflowers. Looking into the distance one sees not a single tree, no bush, only an unending plain.
As one approaches Chukurov the landscape begins to change. Here the area becomes somewhat hilly, and there is even a small actual hill, plus a lot of forest land. The area there is really beautiful, and the sea is not far away.
I was also able to visit Karatai, my mother’s birth place. Viktoria and I experienced genuine Romanian hospitality there. As a greeting we were served rose dulceata and coffee. One can still recognize easily the broad streets of the past. There also remain a few German homes, as well as the church. A memorial plaque has been attached to the church. Behind the small village church a large new one is being built.
To be able to see everything with my own eyes was a true experience and a great joy for me.
Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of these articles.