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Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER] BB News No. 157 dtd Nov. 30, 2006
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006 08:23:23 EST

(Our 11th Year- Issued monthly as email by )
November 30, 2006
(c) 2006 G. J. Berghold-all rights reserved


Current Status Of The BB: Members-1355*Surname Entries- 4806*Query Board
Entries-3630*Newsletter Subscribers 999, Newsletters Archived-157-Number of Staff

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This first section of our 3-section newsletter concerns:


In September I took a trip to Europe with my wife. The itinerary included
three days in Vienna, six days in Burgenland, and another week and a half
traveling through Croatia and Slovenia. We had fantastic weather.
We used Austrian Airlines, which provides direct service from NYC to Vienna.
Vienna is a beautiful city, and I strongly recommend stopping there if you
travel to Burgenland. It is a very clean city and the architecture is beautiful.
They have an underground system called the "U-Bahn" which is very handy and
safe to use. Kartnerstrasse is one of the main streets in the City, with many
outdoor cafes and eateries. Two churches that are a must to see are Karlskirche
and St. Stefanskirche.

We stayed at a hotel (Prinz Eugen) conveniently located next to the
Sudbahnhof, as we planned to travel by train to Maribor in Slovenia. The rates at the
Prinz Eugen are relatively inexpensive for Vienna. I made reservations two
months before the trip and paid 90 Euros a night, not bad for a 4 Star hotel in
Vienna, a high-priced city.

I have an aunt in Vienna and visited with her and my cousin. We later went to
Melk, where there is a beautiful abbey that dates back to the Middle Ages. We
had purchased a Eurail Pass for Austria, Croatia and Slovenia ($200 per
person) that entitled us to four days of travel. We used the Pass round trip Melk
to Vienna. If you have never traveled by rail in Europe, it is quite an

>From Vienna we went by train to Maribor, where I had reserved a rental car. I
rented a car in Maribor because it is only an hour and a half by car to the
Guessing area. We stayed in Burgenland for six nights at the Gasthof Kedl in
Urbersdorf. It's a nice place, conveniently situated close to Guessing and
reasonably priced at 48 Euros a night for two (breakfast included).

I wanted to visit houses that were the homes of my ancestors. What I found
particularly helpful was the BB site that lists the house numbers of the heads
of household as of 1857. First stop was Tobaj. My g-grandmother (Maria Ernst)
had married from house # 144 in 1844. She was raised by her Uncle Pal who came
from Gerersdorf and had married an Eva Eberhardt, who lived in that house. It
is still occupied by Eberhardt's today.

The family was particularly interested in our connections. While the house is
old, it isn't the house from which my g-grandmother was married. That house
had been torn down around 1900. We took a number of pictures, and I think I
have developed a new friendship based upon the common link that binds our
families together.

A second house I visited was in Kulm (# 22). My g-grandfather had lived
there with his family before leaving for Glasing. In this case, the name had
disappeared from the house. The 93 year old woman who lives there now said her
grandmother was a Paukovits who had lived in the house and had married a Kroboth
from Gerersdorf.

I was so amazed at how open and friendly the people were. While I was asking
questions in "broken German" about things that happened more than 100 years
ago, everyone was eager to help and genuinely interested.

One of my planned stops was Punitz where my mother (Theresa Magdits
Paukowits) was born. Bob Strauch (BB Lehigh Valley Editor) had asked that if I would
stop in to say "hello" to his Uncle Rudy Muller. I said I would, but I had
problems finding the house. I then approached a man near his home, hoping that he
could direct me. I chatted with him and told him that my mother had been born
there and mentioned her name. He said his name was Magdits too, a common name
in that town. The house name was Schume, and when I told him that, he said
his grandfather came from that house. As it turned out, his grandfather and mine
were brothers, making us second cousins. Here was a relative I never knew
existed. Moreover, the fact that I had come upon him randomly made the situation
all the more bizarre. When he found out who I was, we were invited into the
house and he shared stories about my grandfather that I had never heard. We
took lots of pictures and I said I would keep in touch. What an experience!

We visited the church in St. Nicholas, which is celebrating its 100th
anniversary next year. Erwin Potzmann, the head of the committee overseeing the
anniversary program, let us in to see the interior. The original church was located
where the cemetery is now. It was used by the Croatians in the Guessing area
in the old days and dates back to the 1600's. The original church matrikals,
predating what has been microfilmed by the LDS, are available at the monastery
in Guessing.

We went to Gerersdorf to the Buschenschank up in the "Bergen" owned by Helmut
Issowits. The food is great and Helmut and his wife Marianne are great hosts.
The last time I visited Burgenland I went to Magaditch's in Deutsch
Ehrensdorf, which I would highly recommend if you're in the Pinkatal area. Any trip to
Burgenland should definitely include a visit to a Buschenschank.

The day before we left Burgenland for Croatia, the town of Glasing had a
"Kirchtag" to celebrate new stained glass windows that had been installed in the
church. The celebration started with Mass, and then came food and drink,
followed by music and dancing. All of the people in the town pitched in to make the
day a success. The men set up a tent and manned the booths where drinks were
sold, and the women baked delicious cakes and cookies that they sold. A great
way to end our stay in Burgenland.

The following day we left for the next leg of our trip, for Croatia,
specifically the area where our early ancestors had migrated from when they came to

Second Leg Of Trip (Croatia & Slovenia)

We chose to go through Hungary, using the border crossing at Heligenkreuz,
giving us the opportunity to see some towns from which many Burgenlaenders had
emigrated (Raabfidisch, Radling and Jakobshof). The towns along this stretch
of the border have not advanced as quickly as the towns on the Austrian side of
the border. The houses are older, and generally more in need of repair.

I had told Margaret Kaiser (BB Editor for this area) that I would try to
visit Oberradling, her mother's village and that was our first stop. There is a
beautiful church (St. Emmerich) in Oberradling. It has a wonderful setting, in
a clearing in the woods outside of the town. It was not open so we couldn't
look inside. It has an impressive exterior and is much larger than the churches
you routinely see in Burgenland.

After leaving Oberradling we veered south, reaching Varazdin in Croatia. It's
a pretty town and we stopped there to eat lunch at a restaurant recommended
in one of the travel books (Zlatna Guska). The food was very good and not
overly expensive. After lunch we saw the sights and then left for Koprivnica where
we planned to spend the night. Rooms are not plentiful in this part of
Croatia, so you need to make sure you have a place to sleep as this is not a popular
tourist area.

Researchers have found that the area around Koprivnica is one place from
which Croats immigrated to Burgenland. Koprivnica, itself, was destroyed by the
Turks in the 16th century and slowly rebuilt in the 17th century. We visited
the Civic Museum containing historical and cultural information. The curator of
the museum was a friendly fellow and gave us a free personal guided tour. He
recommended that we go to the town of Hlebine, which is about 20 miles from
Koprovinica, and visit the art gallery there. The gallery exclusively displays
artwork from what is called the "Hlebine School" of painting.

This form of painting originated in this area and is very beautiful. The
paintings are done on glass, and most are of pastoral scenes showing different
aspects of family life. They are colorful and uplifting, and especially appealing
for their simplicity. A woman at the museum knew a little of the history of
Hlebine, and told us that the town had also been burned by the Turks and
rebuilt. This area was severely impacted by the Turkish invasions in the 16th
century, accounting for the migrations to Burgenland at that time.

This area does not have many tourists and you'll find that you could have
some difficulties communicating with people. The older people generally know
German, while the younger ones usually know some English, but that's not always
the case.

In the small town of Rovisce, another town of emigrating Croats, hand signals
and gestures became the way to communicate. It was midday, and we were
hungry. We went into a small grocery store to see if I could find something to eat.
The proprietor didn't know German or English. I ended up doing a lot of
finger-pointing, and actually went behind the counter to cut up the sandwich I had
ordered. It's experiences like this that you tend to remember, and what makes
travel interesting and exciting.

Kostajnica was a town I was particularly interested in seeing. Almost all the
research done on the migration of the Croats to Burgenland cites this place
as the likely area from which our ancestors emerged. The town is strategically
located on the Una River separating Croatia from Bosnia. In 1577, the Turks
pillaged the town and occupied the nearby castle of the noble Zrinski family.

According to the Ortschronik of Kroatisch Ehrensdorf, the Zrinski family had
been provided with land in the Pinkatal area of Burgenland, and the origin of
the town was traced back to that time period. Peasants aligned with the
Zirinski family who lived in the area of Kostajnica relocated to Burgenland at
that time fleeing the Turks.

As part of our visit, we visited a fort that was built in the Middle Ages,
which protected the town from invaders. We then continued to the border crossing
to Bosnia. There's a town right adjacent to the border crossing, and many
Croats were there buying things at bargain prices. You could not tell that you
were in a different country.

The view to Kostajnica from Bosnia is very nice. The baroque church of St.
Anthony of Padua, is right on the other side of the river. The Una River is
very wide at this point and the banks rise steeply to provide pretty views from
both sides. Kostajnica was affected by the last war, some buildings were
damaged and have not been refurbished. The area appears noticeably deprived. The po
pulation in recent years has declined and there is very little commercial

My 10-day rental of the car was coming to an end. Since I had rented the car
in Slovenia, I had elected to drop it off there. The most convenient place was
Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. I am glad that we chose to visit
Slovenia. The country is beautiful, and the countryside is dotted with many
chalet-type homes that are neatly scattered on rather mountainous terrain. It reminds
you of Carinthia and Styria in Austria. Of all of the countries that were
established after the breakup of Yugoslavia, Slovenia is the most western-like and
the most prosperous.

We spent one enjoyable night in Ljubljana. The Ljubljanica River runs through
the center of the city, and there are many restaurants and cafes on each
side. The city has a relaxed atmosphere, with a lively young tourist population.
We enjoyed watching a folk group outside one of the cafes perform Slovenian
dances. While we didn't try the pizza, someone mentioned that it's very good and
rivals Italian pizza.

The following day we went to Zagreb by train and stayed for three nights. The
layout of Zagreb is modeled after Vienna. The architecture and extensive
trolley system are common to both cities. The infrastructure is not in as good
condition as Vienna's. The Old Town, which sits up on a hilltop, provides
beautiful views, and is most popular with tourists. Some of the landmarks that we
visited were St. Stephan's Cathedral, St Mark's Church, the Mirogoj Cemetery,
and a number of museums.

We took a bus to get to Mirogoj Cemetery on the outskirts of Zagreb. It has
many works of art by Croatian sculptors. The arcade of tombs is especially
noteworthy. As we walked through the cemetery, looking at the tombstones, we
noticed one for a family named "Gerersdorfer". We wondered whether this family had
any connections to the Gerersdorf in Burgenland, one never knows.

>From Zagreb we flew to Dubrovnik, our last vacation destination. The flight
on Croatian Airlines was cheap, about $ 110 per person roundtrip. I am so glad
we went to Dubrovnik. It is a beautiful city, and fortunately, while there was
some damage as a result of the 1990's war, it has been fully restored. It is
a walled city by the Adriatic Sea. It has everything..... good weather, great
seafood and lot's to do. One day I had a sea bass on top of a bed of black
couscous that was out of this world. One night we went to a spectacular Mozart
Concert at the Rectors Palace. We took a boat trip to Lopud, a small island off
the coast of Dubrovnik providing terrific views of the Adriatic. There are
many tourists to contend with, but I would highly recommend a visit to this

We flew back to Zagreb, and then went to Vienna by train. It's a six-hour
trip, and we arrived in Vienna late that night. The following day we saw more of
Vienna, and then went to the airport and back to the U.S., a few pounds
heavier and a little lighter in the wallet. Indeed, this was an enjoyable trip and
had provided us with some wonderful experiences that we will always treasure.

(ED. Note: This trip is the eventual Croatian migration to the new world in
reverse-a word picture of the Croatian trek-missing only the journey from
Vienna to port of embarkation, now replaced by air flight. )

Newsletter continues as number 157A.

Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER] BB News No. 157A dtd Nov. 30, 2006
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006 08:23:45 EST

(Our 11th Year- Issued monthly as email by )
November 30, 2006
(c) 2006 G. J. Berghold-all rights reserved)



This second section of our 3-section newsletter concerns:

1. Pictures Of Croatian Migration Sites-Dalmatia To Burgenland
2. Report Of August 2006 BB Midwest Picnic
3. Taste Of The Burgenland-Knödl Or Dumplings
4. Croatian Editor Frank Teklits Resigns
5. Szt. Peterfa Church Records Received By LDS
6. Taste of The Burgenland-Some Modern Strudel Variations?


We are very fortunate in knowing the where and when of Croatian migration to
the Burgenland during the 16th century. I have always wanted to visit the
migration path from the Adriatic (Dalmatian Coast), through the various Croatian,
Slovenian sites, through Hungary and into the Burgenland. BB member Frank
Paukovits did just that in reverse. His trip report is published in section one,
but unfortunately, we can't publish the splendid pictures he took. They are
available from the KodakGallery Website. It will be necessary to register your
email name and provide a password, but having done that that you can view the
pictures and/or order copies if desired. The link to the file is:;


(ED. Note: Hap Anderson, charter BB member and long time editor of our
Homepage began an annual picnic for mid-west BB members some years ago. Various
hosts have continued it and long time BB member Dean Wagner hosted this year's
August picnic. The BB is worldwide and thus a gathering of our entire group is
almost impossible. It is possible; however, for regional groups to gather, as
evidenced by this report. If anyone has thoughts of doing something similar, a
list of BB members by geographic regions can be found at our Homepage. Click on
BB Webpage "Where We Are" State & Country Where BB Members Reside, maintained
by Hannes Graf. Notice of the mid-west affair can be found by clicking on BB
webpage BB Minnesota Area Picnic.)

Midwest Picnic Report
The Annual Burgenland Bunch Picnic was held on Sunday, August 6, 2006 between
10AM and 4PM. The picnic was held at Trapp Farm Park in Eagan, Minnesota
again this year. Twenty-eight people interested in Burgenland genealogy showed up
and made five-dollar donations towards the cost of renting the pavillion. Many
people brought along books, maps, family genealogies and other items of
interest. Much food was made available by attendees. There were several ethnic
dishes provided and Dale Knebel brought more of his homemade sausage. There were
also two bottles of Burgenland wine to sample. Firmus Opitz brought his son
along to play some wonderful accordion music for us. All had a good time.

(Note: A picture of the attendees was supplied and I've asked for a list of
names, which I'd like to publish.)


Correspondent writes: I can't thank you enough for the
cabbage strudel recipe. I plan to practice making it, hoping that I'll have it
down good enough to bring to our family Christmas Eve gathering. There will be
family members who still remember Grandma's wonderful kraut strudel. Now, if I
could just find the recipe for Grumpa Knoedl ...Bless you! Rob Scheiblhofer

Reply: Thanks for the kind words. You might try using phyllo leaves from the
supermarket for your first attempt. They can be dry if not fresh but brush
them with melted butter before filling with the cabbage mixture. That will often
give them back their flexibility. Don't be afraid to patch pulled dough holes
that may occur in your first attempt-a no-no at the Viennese Hotel Sacher, but
ok in American kitchens.

Taste Of The Burgenland-Knödl or Dumplings

A rose by any other name smells just as sweet. A potato by any other name is
still a potato and the basis of much good eating. A Grumpa Knoedl (phonetic
spelling) or Grumpin Knödl is a Potato Dumpling. The German words for potato are
Grumpin (Hianzisch dialect), also Grumbirn, Grumpan, Kartoffel (southern
German) and Erdäpfel (Viennese and other low German places.) The Palatinates of
Pennsylvania (so-called PA- Dutch) in their dialect use Grundberra, Grumberra
(earth berry). A Knoedl (spelled with the "e" replacing the umlaut vowel "ö" in
English translation) is a dumpling, of which there are many varieties in
Germanic cuisine. Potato dumpling happens to be a favorite of mine. The important
thing about dumplings is to make sure they are not tough (too much flour,
handling and/or cooking.) They must be firm enough to stay together until cooked
but not too floury or undercooked. Size and type of ingredients varies the dough
consistency. You must gain the "dumpling dough feel" in your hands. It varies
with type of flour, size of eggs and type and size of potato- a dry potato is
better than one that is too moist-try baking potatoes or russets. One
grandmother said, "a recipe for dumpling dough? The recipe is in my hands not in my
head." My grandmother would say, "You start by making a dough!" With that said,
let's look at a Viennese recipe.


Boil, peel and rice four large potatoes. When cool add about 1 1/2 cups of
flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 large beaten egg. With your hands, work the
mixture into a dough, adding more flour if the dough is too moist. Pull it
together with your fingers and push it away with your palms. Lean on it and repeat
a few times until it all goes together; don't overwork. (Poke the finished
dough with your finger; if it springs back slowly, it's about right.) Shape
pieces into the size and shape of a golf ball (or a little larger) and drop them
into a large pot of boiling salted water, don't crowd. Boil for about 15 minutes
or less-when they rise to the top and stay there, they are cooked. Sometimes
they won't rise and then you have to be flexible and sample one or two. If in
doubt slice one in half and test center. When finished, skim from water and
drain well. Place them in a large frying pan in which you've browned about a cup
or more of fine breadcrumbs in butter. Cover each dumpling with the browned
breadcrumbs and serve warm. They can be cut in half before covering with crumbs
and serving but that's a banquet trick for people who feel dumplings are too
fattening if left whole! Some add a little nutmeg to the dough. Some recipes
add butter, cornstarch or Farina (Cream of Wheat) to the dough but it changes
consistency. Cornstarch and Farina will dry potatoes that are too moist without
adding a lot of flour, but it also helps hold them together, too much butter
and they'll fall apart.

I might mention that once you learn how to makes this dough, you can fill the
dumpling with plums (Zwetschten Knödl)), apricots (Aprokosen or Marillin
Knödl), cherries (use four seeded) or even cooked prunes or dried apricots (pits
removed and replaced with sugar and a little cinnamon). To do this, roll out
the dough to about 1/4 inch, cut into four-inch squares, place filled fruit in
center and bring edges together making a ball and sealing all seams. Roll
between palms, boil as above and then cover with browned breadcrumbs to which some
sugar has been added (don't burn the sugar.) Serve as a dessert with a sauce
made from same fruit as in the dumpling. Left over dough can be formed into
little noodles (about 1 1/4 inches, boiled, drained and thrown into the crumb
mixture as well (A child's favorite called wötsels.) See our newsletter archives
for more variations of these dessert dumplings.

A tastier and lighter dessert dumpling is made from a dough made from drained
cottage cheese, butter, eggs, salt, breadcrumbs, sugar and spice. That one is
called Topfenknödl. Then there is Semmelknödl (a bread dumpling), Leber
(liver) Dumpling for soup, etc. etc. These are different but the potato dumpling
dough is a basic start for many other dumplings or a good basic noodle.

Commercial Alternative
Now having said all of that, there is a commercial dumpling mix. The Panni
Division of the Knorr Food company (distributed in food markets by Unilever,
Englewood Cliffs, NJ) makes a Bavarian Potato Dumpling Mix using dehydrated
potatoes. Not bad and a little gummy, but better than no dumpling at all. If you
eat four of these (half the mix) you'll have a belly full of dumpling. I had
some for dinner tonight with sauerkraut and pork. Wife didn't feel like getting
out the ricer. You can find this mix in supermarkets in their dehydrated potato
or ethnic food sections. Knorr makes a good European based product.


The following was recently received from Frank Teklits:

"It's been a pleasure being a charter member of the BB & seeing it grow into
an international group while seemingly never having lost the feeling of being
an aggressive young organization constantly seeking more knowledge of
Burgenland, our ancestral homeland,. The growth of the BB, & the synergistic group
that it is, will remain as tribute to you, & your leadership ability. As you
know, I've been contemplating resigning as a BB Editor for a while and being a
firm believer in change, I strongly believe that a new face with fresh ideas will
continue growth. It is my intent to relax a bit, before beginning a leisurely
digitization of the church records of Moschendorf which is my mother's birth
place." Frank

ED. Note: It seems only yesterday (1996?) that I heard from Frank after an
absence of almost forty years. Frank and I were members of the same social group
at Lehigh University (class of 1956-57). Like me, Frank had to work his way
through college and we didn't have much free time, but we were able to hoist a
few together, then drifting apart following graduation. I knew that Frank was
part of the Lehigh Valley immigrant descendant scene, since he was from the
Northampton area. Of course at that time, I knew very little about the
Burgenland and next to nothing about Croatian family history. That all came about much
later with my retirement.

During our initial Internet correspondence it soon became obvious to me that
Frank had developed a good knowledge of Burgenland Croatian matters. He also
was joined by friend John Lavendoski and other Northhampton area friends who
were descendants. Together they formed a special ad hoc group of BB members who
worked together to uncover much of the Burgenland Croatian story. Moved by the
desire to find their own family history records, they began the Szt. Peterfa
record story as mentioned in previous BB newsletters. In addition Frank
translated a history of the Croatian presence in the Burgenland previously available
only in German or Croatian (see our Archives for the ten part series.) When I
formed the BB staff, Frank agreed to serve in the capacity of BB Croatian
sub-editor and has served in that capacity for ten years. His work was such that
the Burgenland parliament was pleased to award him an Ehrenzeichen (civilian
gold medal)-this was received when the governor of Burgenland and his
entourage visited the Lehigh valley a few years ago. Frank has worked with the LDS to
insure that this Croatian research will not be lost. Like many of us, he feels
he'd like a rest. We will miss him but like other staff members who have felt
the need to step down, I'm sure he will continue to be available for
consultation. We wish him well and he has the heartfelt thanks and appreciation of the
Burgenland Bunch for a job exceedingly well done. Effective 11/8/06, his new
email address will be . Gerry Berghold


The effort to integrate all of the Szentpeterfa church records into
contiguous data bases allowing searches / sorts on births from 1681 - 1925, deaths from
1682 to 1906, & marriages from 1683 to 1934 has finally been completed &
forwarded to the LDS. The Szentpeterfa Church Records data base (SZPCRDB) consists
of over 32,000 line items comprised of over 17,000 births, 11,500 deaths, &
3690 marriages, & concludes an effort begun in August 1999. Many thanks are due
to the BB contributors of this effort, namely John Lavendoski, who filmed the
village church records from 1681 - 1796, & 1895 to 1934, Steve Geosits for
his valuable comments on surname spellings, Dr. Albert Schuch for his continuing
effort through the years for the many Latin translations, & finally to a good
friend Mr. Andy Filipovits for his unwavering support of the effort since its
conception. Frank


Member writes: Read about making Strudel in last issue of
"The Bunch" and it being labor intensive. If it's of interest I can send an
easy recipe that uses the Pepperidge farm puff pastry sheets. It's a lot
simpler than layering phylo dough and tastes just like Dad's. Also uses solo canned
poppy seed paste, or fruit of your choosing. Barry

Reply: Thanks Barry, I covered something like this (raised strudle-in an
older newsletter. See 83 (June 30, 2000). I use a bread machine to make the dough
but use Solo filling as you do. Recently made one with apricot filling-quite
nice. I also have used puff pastry for apple, cherry and cabbage. They too can
be found in older issues. Use our archives and search on the word strudel.
Still why not send me an article covering your method-I'm sure members would
appreciate it.

Later: Thinking about Barry's suggestion I happened to read an article about
"apple twists" in the local newspaper. The recipe uses a can of crescent
dinner rolls. Open the can, lay out the dough sections, and cut them in half
lengthways. Peel and cut two Granny Smith apples in segments. Put an apple segment
in each dough segment. Wrap each segment with the narrow end on top. Place the
segments in a greased 8" square baking pan and drizzle with 2 Tblsp melted
butter, sprinkle with 1/3 cup sugar or Splenda and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Pour 1/4 cup
orange juice or water in pan. Bake until dough is golden brown (325 degree
oven for about 30 minutes.) What you'll have is something that looks like "pigs
in a blanket" but substituting apples for cocktail sausages. It doesn't look
like apple strudel but close you eyes and it smells and tastes like apple
strudel. Best of all, you can make it without stretching some dough! I'm going to
try this with pitted cherries. I'll also add some raisins to the apples next
time. I want to try using Pepperidge Farm puff pastry.

Newsletter continues as number 157B.

Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER] BB News No. 157B dtd Nov. 30, 2006
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006 08:24:11 EST

(Our 11th Year- Issued monthly as email by )
November 30, 2006
(c) 2006 G. J. Berghold-all rights reserved)


This third and final section of our 3-section newsletter concerns:

1. Suggestion For 12 Day Burgenland Itinerary
2. Apetlon History Available
3. Ethnic Dialect Revival
4. What If The Turks Had Taken Vienna In 1683?
5. Recent Burgenland Family Obituaries
6. Hebraic Book Report-"A Wandering Feast"


Charles Stuparits writes: Was surprised that in your 12-day itinerary, you
didn't include a visit to Schoenbrun Palace in Wien. I return there every trip I
make, and it's still an amazing place.

Reply: Any Vienna tour booked at one of the hotels will stop at Schoenbrun.
It's a little difficult to get to if staying near the cathedral. I suggested
visitors should book an English language tour from their hotel. You're right
however, Schoenbrun is not to be missed.

Charles responds: You're also right (about getting there being difficult)
although the Wien subway system is great; I used it to go everywhere and never
had a problem. It stops a block from Schoenbrun Palace. In fact I felt like a
native, as you're right there traveling with the populace.

(ED Note: I've been remiss in telling BB members about the very good Austrian
transportation system. Like most Americans I'm too quick to use an
automobile. Vienna has an excellent transportation system and while I used the trolleys
some years ago, I have not used the new subway system. I might also mention
the great inter-city train connections as well as the bus service. For instance
one can use the train for day trip connections to and from Vienna to places
like Baden, Wiener Neustadt, etc. with little difficulty. With a little planning
and familiarity, one could get around Austria quite well without an auto.
It's only the smaller villages that are not on the transportation system that may
cause a problem.


Christian Kusen from Cologne, Germany writes: Hallo!
(ich bin der Neffe des Apeltoner Bürgermeisters (Bgl/Österreich!)

Ich hoffe sie verstehen mich auf Deutsch?! Ich habe Ihre Homepage gefunden.
Vielleicht hilft einigen Leuten aus Apetlon folgendes: Es gibt eine Chronik als
Buch zu kaufen. Diese erhält man allerdings nur auf dem Gemeinde-Amt in
Apetlon. Vielleicht kann man diese Telefonisch dort bestellen?!?! Ich kenne
allerdings nicht die offizielle Homepage. Apelton ist über oder leicht zu finden.

Translation: I am the nephew of the mayor of Apetlon. I hope you can
understand my German. I found your homepage. Perhaps several of your people might like
to know that a History of Apetlon is available for purchase, but only from
the Civil Office in Apetlon. Perhaps you reach them by telephone? I do not know
the address of their homepage, but you can reach Apetlon via a google search.
(ED: or write: Gemeinde-Amt, Kircheng 1A, 7143 Apetlon, Austria.)


I am always pleased when ethnic interest resurfaces among later generations.
The first few generations of southeastern European immigrant descendants try
to adapt to their new culture and language to the exclusion of their ethnic
origin. They feel somewhat embarrassed that their ancestors came over on a
Hamburg-American steamship as opposed to the Mayflower. However, a few generations
later, their descendants want to know all about their immigrant ancestors, even
to the point of learning their language, dialect or proper.

Bob Strauch sent me an article from the Allentown Morning Call in which a
high school senior (among others) says he wants to be able to talk easily in
Pennsylvania German with his 95-year-old great-grandmother. His father never
taught him Penna. German (so-called PA-Dutch). This high school student is now the
youngest student in a Pennsylvania German class at the Pennsylvania German
Cultural Heritage Center on the campus of Kutztown University.

Paul Kunkel, age 80, the instructor has taught classes like this one for more
than thirty years. Until recently, most of his students were senior citizens.
But lately, he said, a younger crowd is showing interest. Kunkel says this is
the generation that never learned to speak the dialect because their parents
didn't know it or didn't want them to know it. There are now about 20 students
in the class. Kunkel had to learn the language secretly. He says his mother
didn't want him to have a 'dumb Dutch' accent.

It was the same with the first Burgenland descendants. My mother didn't mind
me speaking a little German but she said, speak proper German, not those words
(Hianzen) your grandmother uses! I thought my grandmother's words sounded so
much better, like Grumpen for potato instead of Kartoffel! Even my German
teacher in high school would say, "Don't you dare use Pa. Dutch or eastern
European German in this class." Now all that is changing as later generations dig
into family history and learn of their ethnic language. In the Burgenland itself,
many of the later generations are studying their ethnic language like
Croatian or Hungarian and local dialects like Hianzen. Our roots go deep!

4. WHAT IF THE TURKS HAD TAKEN VIENNA IN 1683? (suggested by John Rajkovacz)

John writes: "I have some thoughts that I have never heard reference to
historically, especially in light of current events. The question is this: What
would the face of Europe be today if the Ottoman Turks had been successful at
their two attempts to seize Vienna? The texts that I have read just deal with
the battle but not with possible outcomes. There was a lot of turmoil in
Europe at the time of the first attempt, and the lack of a major coordinated
Western effort was not present."

Reply: A very leading question! From what I have read (see the two main
references concerning the sieges at the end of this email) we might all be praying
to Mecca today. The army group put together by John Sobieski (Polish King who
in conjunction with Imperial Austrian forces raised the siege and defeated the
Turks) included almost all of the European military strength available at the
time. The Holy Roman Empire was fragmented and uncooperative about this
issue, even though some of them sent troops to help Sobieski and the Austrians.
Most of the available European mercenary troops were also involved. Had the
Sobieski coalition been defeated, only the French and some of the Italian
(Venetian) and Spanish forces were left to oppose the Turks.

The French were hand in glove with the Turks politically at the time and
might have gone either way. I feel the English would not have been able to react
in time (or even wanted to) and the Scandinavian forces as well as the Baltic
countries were too weak and too far removed. If the Turks had taken Vienna, the
Hungarians (who had not joined the Turks) would then have done so, and the
Turks would eventually have continued on to Rome, Paris, and the major cities of
the Holy Roman Empire. Christianity and Western Civilization as we know it
could have died. Given that Islam was somewhat tolerant of people of the book,
strong Christian reaction to such occupation would have ended in wholesale
slaughter. Neither side would have granted quarter.

Some factors that might have prevented this were the stretched supply lines
of the Turks (they would have had the spoils of victory to fall back on) and
their frequent penchant for creating alliances at distant victory sites as
opposed to military occupation (for instance the way they handled Transylvania and
Wallachia). The Turks considered Vienna the "golden apple" and they may have
been satisfied with only occupying Austria but I doubt it. I doubt if the
Russian Czar was strong enough to do anything about their possible occupation of
Europe, but one never knows-he may have occupied Poland, the Baltic states and
the Caucasus and erected a Russian military curtain-if he had the necessary
strength to do that.

Kara Mustafa was a military leader of some repute and, as Grand Vizier with a
Viennese victory, he would have had the full support of most Turkish leaders
(he had enemies and not full support going into this campaign) and might have
been able to muster full Turkish strength for an advance into Europe proper.
However, Mehmed IV was a weak and capricious ruler (Sultan) and could well have
turned a Viennese victory into a political defeat. As it was, he had Mustafa
killed as a result of the defeat, at a time when he needed his military
expertise to hold the Balkans. To really forecast what might have happened, we'd
have to know all of the Turkish and European political machinations and
possibilities of the time.

The Turkish army was not in good condition when attacked by the Sobieski
coalition. There was much sickness and casualties had been high. Siege artillery
was not what it should have been. Horse transport was in poor condition and
grain was in short supply. (The Batthyany were able to keep their southern
Burgenland domain by agreeing to supply the Turks with food and forage. When the
Turks lost, they massacred 8000 occupying Turkish troops and were forgiven their
Turkish cooperation by the Austrian court.) The Turks would have required a
long period of rest, recuperation and re-supply.

What I'm saying is that it could have gone either way. Had the Turks been
successful in taking the major European cities, God alone knows what our history
might have been. Would it have been the final confrontation of Islam and
Christianity? Would one or the other have been completely destroyed? What a
question you raise! At least we'd have no Iraq problem today!

Since the year 800, Islam has been out to impose their religion on the
infidel. We can't ignore that; it's a basic Islamic tenet, which comes to the fore
whenever Islamic extremists take the lead. Today terrorists have replaced
armies in the field. No doubt in my mind that had they been given the opportunity
in 1683, they would have opted for further conquests of one sort or another.

If you haven't already read them, see:
The Siege Of Vienna by John Stoye, Birlinn Ltd. 1988
Double Eagle & Crescent, by Thomas Barker New York State Univ. Press 1967

Western civilization owes King John Sobieski and the defenders of Vienna a
debt that history fails to properly recognize. Ignoring the political
possibilities, I doubt if we'd have a Burgenland and a Burgenland-Bunch had the Turks be
en successful. I apologize for publishing a semi-political article in what is
usually an apolitical newsletter, but I believe the question is pertinent to
our family history. Our ancestors were deeply involved and strongly affected
by the outcome of the 1683 siege and its aftermath. It was following this that
many migrants came to western Hungary and established what we today know as
the Burgenland and subsequent emigration to the Americas.


Tom Glatz reports:

Maria Woppel
Our very loyal Chicago BG member and friend passed away on Saturday Nov. 4,
2006. Maria Woppel, nee Hasler, age 85. Maria was born in the Burgenland
village of Burg. Her husband John was born in Woppendorf. They immigrated to
America in 1956 with their sons. Maria worked very hard for the Burgenländische
Gemeinschaft. She was famous for her food contributions to BG affairs and was
membership chairman for many years.

Steffani Pomper
Steffani Pomper (nee Wirtitsch) died in Chicago the week of 11 November. The
wife of well-known Austrian immigrant supporter Walter Pomper, she was born in
Seltschach near Arnoldstein (south of Villach, near the "Dreiländereck",
where Austria, Italy, and Slovenia meet). Walter Pomper, founder and editor of the
Chicago based "Austrian American Newsletter" (no longer published) and a long
time BG and BB member survives. He has our condolences and deepest sympathy.

Bob Strauch reports:
Mary Recker, 92, of Coplay, a resident of Northampton, died Nov. 14 in Sacred
Heart Hospital, Allentown. She was married to the late Alois V. Recker. Born
in Strem, Burgenland, Austria, she was the daughter of the late John and
Elizabeth (Deutsch) Schrantz.


Although one of the smallest minority groups in the Burgenland (less than 2%
even before WWII), the Jewish population exerted an influence out of all
proportion to their numbers. Almost every village had its Jewish members and they
could be found in many noticeable occupations. They were migrants par
excellance and migrated to the Burgenland regions from very early days. Be they
Ashkenacy, Ladino, Sephardic or even Hasidic, they were an integral part of
Burgenland history. Because of this, I often read about Eastern European Hebraic

A recent book "A Wandering Feast"-A Journey Through The Jewish Culture of
Eastern Europe" by Yale Strom and Elizabeth Schwartz (published 2005 by
Jossey-Bass) held my attention like no other. Strom is a well-known author and
musician, filmmaker and playwright. He is also a well-known violist and band leader
(San Diego & NYC) with "klezmer"and Jewish folkloric music as his specialty. He
writes of his many recent journeys through Yugoslavia, Hungary,
Czechoslovakia, Poland and Russia, seeking remnants of Jewish culture, music and food, which
he finds in some abundance. While the Burgenland per se is not included, the
Jewish effect on Burgenland culture and ethnic similarities can easily be
recognized While attendant tales of the Holocaust survivors are sad and deeply
moving we can take some consolation from the fact that while small in size,
Jewish culture in Eastern Europe, while not well, is still alive. Strom has
included both playable music and ethnic food recipes. Another minor Burgenland ethnic
group, the Rom (Gypsy) are often mentioned due to their musical attainments.
This book is "must" reading for our Hebraic members as well as for anyone
interested in Eastern European history, past and/or present. The book can still be
ordered from Daedalus Books & Music ( for $4.98 plus
postage, but don't delay. A great Xmas gift and a great story. A Gerry Berghold book

The Burgenland Bunch homepage (website) can be found at:

We can also be reached from: (this address
also provides access to Burgenländische Gemeinschaft web site)

Use our website to access our membership, village and surname lists,
archives, internet links, maps, instructions, ethnic song book, frequently asked
questions and other information.


BB NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES INDEX and threaded search facility (enter number of
newsletter) available from: (also reached
via Home Page hyperlinks.)

Burgenland Bunch Newsletter (c) 1997 archived courtesy of, Inc.
P.O. Box 6798, Frazier Park, CA 93222-6798. Newsletter published monthly by
G. J. Berghold, Winchester, VA. Newsletter and List Rights Reserved.
Permission to Copy Granted; You Must Provide Credit and Mention Source.

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