2005 Memories of Tour Members, Part II
30 May 2005
On 31 May, we leave Odessa for Budapest, Hungary and Stuttgart,
members return from Stuttgart to USA on
4 June. While in Stuttgart, we will visit the Heimatmuseum der Deutschen
Bessarabien and the Landsmannschaft der
Deutschen aus Russland. We will also take a one-day trip to Alsace,
France. All tour
members are well and healthy.
Tonight we have our Farewell Dinner in Odessa at a downtown ethnic
The following are additional memories of tour members visiting
German villages on 28 and 29 May 2005:
Mabel Junkert Fischer, San Antonio, New Mexico Visiting
the Glueckstal District villages of Kassel, Bergdorf, Glueckstal
Much of the past is lost in these villages . New people are living
Germans are all but gone.
But as I was in each village, I look at the things that do not
change - the hills,
the files of grains, the sun, and
I stood there and thought, one day long ago my ancestors stood
here and looked at the land, the hills, the fields, the same sun
shon on them, the same wind blew in through their hair, they walked
these streets, and attended services in these old churches. I felt
close to them, and imagined them beside me.
Charles and Edna Stuhmiller Watters, Shoreline, Washington
Visting the Bessarabian German villages of Sarata, Teplitz, and
We came to find the homeland of our ancestors. Instead we found
quiet closure to an era of German history.
The Lutheran Church in Sarata has been lovingly restored by a group
but now is a Baptist Church. The
most gracious deacon and his wife showed us the inside of the church
and the outer
area. The Scoial Hall includes a
display on the wall of the founders of Sarata.
The Deacon's son who is now a teacher in Sarata, took us on a search
of the German
homes. There were still numbered in
what we think were like the old maps.
The Sarata Cemetery is a sloping greenfield with all evidence removed
tombstones or markers with no hint of
what is below. The Ukrainian Cemetery had been expanded and some
of the German
Cemetery had been used.
The Teplitz Cemetery area is neglected and weedy. There are many
upright and fallen. The inscriptions
are not legible and few names or dates could be read.
The final closure was the Werner School in Sarata. It has been
vandalized for many years. Now a movement
is underway to restore the school to become a university for agriculture.
We had really a gret driver, translator, and hosts. We visitied
many villages and
were able to see the farmlands. It
was obvious to us that our ancestors were perfectly at home in central
Washington State because the lands
were almost a perfect match.
As we returned to Odessa, our guide took us on a route that showed
the beautiful Dnjester River flowing into the Black Sea. It was
an awesome site!
Carole Helyn Schauer, Hyattsville, Maryland Visting the
Glueckstal District villages of Bergdorf, Glueckstal, Kassel and
I was surprised to find that Glueckstal, Bergdorf and Neudorf located
Trans-Djnester Region of Moldova, are
under Communist control. Kassel is today in Ukraine.
Each family owns their own home and garden, but the farms belong
to the government.
The land is lush with grain crops
and some corn and soybeans. There were no fences around the farms
so the cattle are
herded from place to place. Each
family appears to have one or two cows or heifers and each morning
they take them to
a grassy area chaining them to a
stake for the day.
There are also goats, ducks, geese, lambs, chicken and rabbits
which provide food
for each family along with huge
gradens as well as many fruit trees. Village people are very friendly
and invite us
into their homes for food and
Frances Cooperrider, Crystal River, Florida Visiting the
Bessarabian German villages of Sarata, Teplitz, Hoffnungstal and
We departed on Saturday, 28 May for our visit to the German villages.
The first stop
was in Sarata, the village where
my grandparents and great-grandparents once lived.
We visited the Lutheran Church which has been restored by descendents
Germany. The deacon and his wife opened the church for us. As I
into the church, I was in awe. The church was large and on a front
wall was the
in German, My God Be Blessed.
There is a memory wall in the back of the church ans also in the
The church in Sarata is Baptist
I had a very special feeling as I stood in the church were my grandparents
baptized and saw in those pews for
worship. I am so grateful for the restoration and the memory walls
photographs and history of our Bessarabian
German ancestors who lived here more than 100 years ago.