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From: Hannes Graf <>
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 2009 22:37:06 +0200
References: <970D8641F1BE46599AA3F1A7336AD006@namecdbbfe57f2>
In-Reply-To: <970D8641F1BE46599AA3F1A7336AD006@namecdbbfe57f2>

June 23, 2009
(c) 2009 - The Burgenland Bunch - all rights reserved

Our 13th Year, Editor: Johannes Graf burgenland.bunch(at) and Copy
Editor Maureen Tighe-Brown

The Burgenland Bunch Newsletter, founded by Gerry Berghold, (who retired in
Summer, 2008, and died in August, 2008), is issued monthly as email and is
available online at

Current Status Of The BB:
* Members: 1723 * Surname Entries: 5566 * Query Board Entries: 4141
* Newsletters Archived: 187 * Number of Staff Members: 14

EMAIL RECIPIENTS, PLEASE READ: You are receiving this email newsletter
because you are a BB member or have asked to be added to our distribution
list. To subscribe or unsubscribe, use the change form available from our
Home page at . You cannot send email to this
newsletter. If you have problems receiving the newsletter as email, it may
be read, downloaded, printed or copied from the BB Home page. There is also
an archive of previous newsletters.

This first section of our 2-section newsletter concerns:

1) THE PRESIDENT'S CORNER (by Tom Steichen)
3) BB BEGINNING TO NOW (by Roman Paul Weber)

1) THE PRESIDENT'S CORNER (by Tom Steichen)

(from special-NL-186-S)

This short "Special" BB Newsletter has a single goal: to apologize for and
correct false information concerning attendance at the 92nd Stiftungsfest of
the Coplay Sängerbund (at 5th Street and Schreiber Avenue in Coplay) on
Sunday, June 28th.

In "special" Newsletter 186-S, I noted that a majority of the staff members
of the Burgenland Bunch would be attending the 92nd Stiftungsfest at the
Coplay Sängerbund and invited you to join us. I then supplied incorrect
information about admission of non-members on the Sängerbund premises and,
given the way I spoke about admission, I placed the club in an awkward
position. For that I apologize. In fact, the Sängerbund is a private club
and guests must be sponsored by a member for the day.

David Scheffy, President of the Sängerbund, asked that I pass along the
following message to you. In it, he states the correct way to attend and,
indeed, welcomes you to do so. We look forward to seeing you there!

>From David Scheffy:

As President of the Sängerbund I would like to thank the Burgenland
Bunch, and in particular Burgenland Bunch member Bob Strauch, for making
individuals aware of our annual Stiftungsfest to be held on June 28, 2009.
However, I must make you aware that the Sängerbund does not have the
ability to relax the membership rule for this event. We are bound legally to
require members to sponsor a guest for a day. Let me state that we look
forward to Burgenland Bunch members attending our annual Stiftungsfest and
are sure that they can legally attend this event. When arriving they should
state that they are a nonmember and that a member has volunteered to sponsor
them for this event. The Sängerbund will then take necessary action to
provide for these guests to legally attend this event. Again, thank you and
your members on behalf of the Coplay Sängerbund for helping to promote our
Burgenland Heritage.


The Midwest Burgenland Bunch will hold its annual picnic Sunday, August 9,
2009. We will meet at the Germanic-American Institute, 301 Summit Avenue,
St. Paul MN. Hours are 12 Noon to 4:30 PM - Rain or Shine. Bring a picnic
lunch. Meet and greet old friends and new.
Questions? Email to: Charlie Deutsch ()

3) BB BEGINNING TO NOW (by Roman Paul Weber)

I have been member of the BB since about 1997. I thought that perhaps how my
Burgenland interest developed may be of some benefit for our newer BB
members and may help them "get started," telling how BB members helped me at
the beginning and through the years until where I am now, re: Burgenland. I
am Roman Paul Weber, b. 14 Nov 1929, Waite Park, MN. I welcome and enjoy
hearing from any and all BB members. I always respond to emails.

My father, Frank Weber, b. 2 December 1894. Don't remember when or from
whom, but I heard of Burgenland Bunch about 1997. My wife had been
researching her ancestors rigorously for about 20 years. I never paid much
attention to all of her excitement when she discovered relatives she never
had known existed (she is back to 1600sí ancestors. Original 13 Colonies,
and not "out of the US" yet). Wife encouraged me to contact the newly
learned of, Burgenland Bunch. I did. Without BB, I today would never would
have learned of my many Burgenland ancestors, nor as much as where my father
was born and hundreds of pages of Burgenland ancestor Records I have today.

When a young boy, all I knew was what my father had "mentioned" at some
time, that he came to America in the earlier 1900s, but he didn't know exactly
which year. He never mentioned coming by ship or anything how he came here.
He mentioned the town of Kirschlag, Austria and I always thought that is
where he came from. (The only "story" my dad ever told me of was that when a
boy, back where he came from "in Austria", that he and other boys took care
of the town's cows and would catch crabs (forgotten "crab" in German,
crawfish in
English) in a pasture stream while watching the cow, and then boil them in
an old can of water and eat the white meat in crab tails. White meat sort of
the same as lobster meat. Dad told that story to me when I was 10 or so. He
said he remembered it all 'very well,í taking care of all the gathered
village cows). That is about all I ever knew. I knew my grandparents,
dad's parents,
and visited them when they lived in St Paul, MN, but not very often..
Grandpa could speak English, but Grandma as far as I can recall never
did learn to
speak English. At least not that I could understand very well..

Not long after becoming a member of BB, I heard of "LDS libraries". I had
never ever heard of "LDS" and no idea that it was some kind of "religion."
Had it not been for BB, I probably never would have heard of it and
today wouldn't know anything more than what my dad had told me, re: the
above paragraph. (I had enlisted in the navy after high school (St. Cloud Tech)
and left Waiteark, MN in 1947 when I was17; that was where I had been born and
raised. Ended up army retirement and moved to Highlandville, MO and
have lived here ever
since: 20 miles south of Springfield and 20 miles north of Branson in the
Ozark Hills). When I heard of LDS from BB, I found that there was an LDS
genealogical library in nearby Springfield, MO. I visited LDS, Springfield.
(My dad was the first born and had 10 sisters. One sister, Rose McDonough of
St. Paul, MN, was the only one still living in 1998. Some family member had said
Rose had mentioned hearing her dad, my grandpa, Paul, talk about a place
called "Steinbach" and she thought grandparents and family immigrated from
Steinbach, AUSTRIA. LDS worker found "Steinbach" had been part of Hungary
before 1920. Since my dad had been born in 1894, he was born in HUNGARY, not
Austria! LDS ordered a film from Salt Lake City for me that included
Steinbach, HUNGARY. When the film arrived a week or so later, I went to view
it at LDS. "1894" being my dad's year of birth, I couldn't find him on the
film. A BB member I met (on-line) found my dad for me on same numbered LDS
film I had and told me the page and line number on my film where my dad's 2
December 1894 record was on the film. Reason I hadn't found my dad is that
the recording priest was a Hungarian and my dad's name, Frank, in Hungarian
is Ferenz, plus the priest handwriting (shrift) was the old-day German
handwriting. That was the beginning of spending the following almost two
years of daily viewing that film number and a second one researching the
first one, that led me to other ancestors in dorfs and towns near to
As I viewed hundreds of pages, births, deaths and marriages, I would note
the page and line number of an ancestor I found each day and had LDS make
copies for me of those pages. Only 10 cents per copy. Today I have
"hundreds" of pages of filmed copies of Burgenland ancestors. -- My older
brother had visited Budapest years earlier, 1980s or Ď90s, and found there
was no "Steinbach" in Hungary. There wasn't at the time he visited Hungary!
Part of VAS county, Hungary had become Burgenland, AUSTRIA in 1920.

In 2003, my brother and two daughters visited my dad's birthplace,
Steinbach, Burgenland. Found and met relatives living there today. Found
house number my dad was born in. We have a 2nd cousin still living, Josepha
(Weber) Puchegger, who lives there now (took photos). Father of Josepha is
my great uncle Daniel Weber, born 1867, Steinbach, older brother of my St Paul,
MN Grandpa, Paul (Pál in Hungarian), born Steinbach #2, 1870. My Grandma is
Katrina (Catherine) Schlogl, born 1874, house #13, Steinbach. I now have
"Weber" and "Schlogl" back to earlier 1800s. Most generations of ancestors
came from Stelnbach, with some relatives still living there today. Many
married and lived in other town near Steinbach. Kogl, Bubendorf,
Redlschlag, Lebenbrun,
Gschorholz, and others. They all belonged to the Catholic Church in a bigger
city, the Pilgersdorf parish.

Welcome and will respond to emails,

Roman Paul Weber ()


>From a musical serenade for a departing ORF colleague, the idea was born to
form a small folk music band in 1992. Their artistic aim - the
instrumentation of a type of small village music in Burgenland - was given
by the available instrumentalists on offer: flugelhorn (Alois Loidl),
trombone (Sepp Gmasz), clarinet/saxophone (Ewald Ivanschitz), helicon (Karl
Kanitsch), drums (Ludwig Treuer) and accordion (at the time Christian
Klinger, now Stefan Jagschitz). The six musicians called themselves
"Buchgrabler", according to their work place, the ORF Landesstudio
Burgenland (the Austrian national public service broadcaster's Burgenland
department) on the Buchgraben road in Eisenstadt. Their leader became the
department leader for folk culture and music ethnologist, Dr. Sepp Gmasz.

Stylistically, they modeled themselves on the legendary "Fidelen
Neckenmarkter Weinhauer". This band had represented a practice of music as
it had been in many villages of
Burgenland until the ísixties in the last century. Bohemian polkas, the
waltz and, above all, the polka francaise
ruled the repertoire, where, more important than a sober intonation, was an
enthralling rhythm that spontaneously invited one to dance. The drums (with
the characteristic drum of a wood block) remain a special characteristic of
the "Buchgrabler" to this day. For the old pieces, they also purchased
clothes from their grandparents' days.

As the musicians all had a solid music education and experience in dance
music, they had already dared to do a live TV performance in the programme
"Mei liabste Weis" with Franz Posch just 3 months after the creation of the
band. This successful start was followed by other engagements in "Klingendes
Österreich", at a TV "Fernseh-Frühschoppen" and other successful programmes,
as well as concerts in several Austrian provinces, in the Brucknerhaus Linz,
or in the Wiener Konzerthaus. However, the most cherished opportunities for
playing are the ones in small villages, where a particularly deep rapport
with the audience can be established.

Soon they produced their first CD with the title "Blech ist Blech" (Tin is
Tin). It was followed by "Alte Hüte" (Old Hats) and "Zweiter Frühling"
(Second Spring). The title of the fourth CD is programmatic too: "Spätlese"
(late picking), because it became more and more difficult to find old and
useful pieces from manuscripts of musicians and bequests. Hence, the body of
the traditional music was amended by creating new pieces (by Ewald
Ivanschitz and Sepp Gmasz), which were based around the traditional style.
The so-called "oldies" were joined by "modern" songs as well, - hits from
that time - as they belonged to the repertoire of all village dance music.
And adapted folk-songs increasingly made it to the repertoire as well. The
last CD was published on the occasion of the 15 year anniversary with the
title "Letzte Ernte" (last harvest).

Buchgrabler music is a commitment to simplicity, it is not artificial but
still artfully played. Experimental music, which is so common to hear in
New Folk music, was rather denied to this day. They received a recognition
award several years ago from the Austrian ministry of agriculture for their
efforts to maintain traditional music.

contact and CD order

Sepp Gmasz ()


An evening out at Zum Deutschen Eck. A cold beer on a muggy Chicago summer
day at The Bismarck or later, Marigold Gardens. Picking up kuchen at
Hopfner's bakery for your sister's birthday. Dinner dances at Germania Club.
Your cousin's wedding at Math Iglers or Golden Ox. Pictures of your
neighborhood block clubs during World War II.......

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS 60625 773-561-9181

May 7, 2009

Dear Friend:

DANK Haus is currently developing our first in-house exhibit "Lost German
Chicago". The exhibit will feature art, artifacts, and memorabilia that have
been lost to the Chicago German community until their recent entrusting to
DANK. Highlights in preparation for display include: installation of 30 feet
of pristine wood carvings depicting Wagner's operas, formerly installed in
the Germania Club and donated by the Oscar Mayer family; Hessen Verein
standards, as well as items from dozens of restaurants including the
original Red Star Inn.

The Archive Committee is asking Chicago Area German Clubs for any old photos
or memorabilia which they would be willing to donate or loan to be part of
our exhibit. Helpful items may include anything relating to the history of
the club such as songs, past events, and member photographs, which would
help depict German life on the north and south side of Chicago. Also, if
members could relay stories from any events or remember the German
restaurants, taverns, and beer gardens in the Chicago area that are no
longer in operation but are a memorable reminder of the German Chicago that
has been lost, such accounts could be helpful. We would be grateful for any
items you wish to donate or loan to be part of our exhibit and would gladly
handle any reproductions for you. You can contact DANK Haus at 773-561-9181
or e-mail Nicholle at ().


Al Schaefer
Chair of the Archive Committee

Restaurant Names
Hapsburg Inn River Rd, Des Plaines
Ignatz Grove Inn Milwaukee Ave. & Lake Ave., Chicago
Schwaben Stube 3500 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago
Math Igler's Casino 1627 W. Melrose St. Chicago
Johnnie Held's Brown Bear 6318 N. Clark St.,
Café Berlin 2156 W.
Montrose Ave., Chicago
Belmont Lounge 1638 W. Belmont
Ave., Chicago
Treffpunkt 4743 N.
Lincoln Ave., Chicago
Kaffeehaus Kleinert
Zum Deutschen Eck 2924 N..
Ave., Chicago
Wishing Well Restaurant
Luxembourg Garden's Inc. Morton Grove
Muenchenerhof Restaurant & Bierstuben
Schulien's Restaurant 2100 W. Irving
Park Rd, Chicago
Fritzl's Country Inn 900 Ravinia
Terrace, Lake Zurich
Bill's Buffalo House Buffalo Grove
Schubert Inn 2701 N.
Halsted St. Chicago
Black Forest 2636 N.
Clark St., Chicago
Hansa Restaurant 3501 N.
Hermitage Ave. (Lincoln &
Zum Lieben Augustine 4600 Lincoln Ave, Chicago
Hans Bavarian Lodge 931 N. Milwaukee
Ave, Wheeling
Der Salzburgerhof 4128 Lincoln
Ave., Chicago
Europe House 2125 W. Roscoe
St., Chicago
Black Forest Restaurant 8840 Waukegan
Ave., Morton Grove
Elm Inn 2100 Belmont Ave.,
Zum Armen Ritter 4500 Lincoln
Ave., Chicago
Bavarian Restaurant 1935 Irving
Park Rd., Chicago
Salzburger Hof 6318 N. Clark St.,
Gasthaus Zum Loewen 1958 W. Roscoe St. Chicago
German American Restaurant 642 N. Clark St.
Alpine Inn 10211
Milwaukee, Des Plaines
Zeller Stuberl 4520 N.
Lincoln Ave., Chicago
Rathskeller 7452
Irving Park Rd., Chicago
Otto's Tavern Emma's Inn 1875 N. Bissell St.,
Bungalow Restaurant & Tap Room 2835 N. Racine Ave.,
Pete Schneider's Larchmont Lounge 3937 N. Lincoln Ave,
Heidelberger Fass Restaurant 4300 Lincoln Ave.,
Habetler's Tavern 3614 N. Damen
Ave. Chicago
Holiday Restaurant 1402 Belmont
Ave., Chicago
Harry's Bavarian Inn 3159 N.
Southport Ave., Chicago
The Red Star Inn 1528 N. Clark
St., Chicago
Bernhard's Koenigsberg Inn 3358 Southport Ave.,
Old Bavarian Inn 1389 Belmont
Ave., Chicago
Germania Inn 1540 N.
Clark St., Chicago
Germania Club 108 Germania Place,
Allgauer's Heidelberg 14 W. Randolph,
Jerry's and Ann American /German
Restaurant 655 N.
North Ave., Chicago
Prost Inn 4038 N.
Lincoln Ave., Chicago
Golden Ox Restaurant 1578-80 N.
Clybourn Ave., Chicago
Old Time Tavern 2101 W. Roscoe
St., Chicago

Habetler's Tavern was owned by Paul Habetler from Hodis. Later he sold this
to Richard Sauhamel from Markt Allhau. (Habetler's niece Ida Haromi is a BG
member.) Some of these other restaurants might have been owned by
Burgenländer or other Austrians. None of the south side restaurants were
included because the letter writer and the members of the DANK North are not
familiar with them. Kollaritsch's, Gergits, Ringbauers and Oswalds were two
Burgenland establishments, not to mention all of the other businesses such
as bakeries and meat markets from the south side which could be included.

The Wishing Well Restaurant was owned by Hans Klepitsch. His wife was Emma
Horvath. They were from Hannersdorf. Both were long time BG members. Their
daughter, Marlene Kules, is also a BG member.


See NL-187 article of Marsha Jenakovich:

After a correspondence with the owner of the Homepage including the
deportation list, Mr. Robert Steiner tells me, there are many more sortings
included. The correct index page is:

The lists are sorted by: Surnames, Waggon-Number, House-Number, Birth name
of mother, Age.


Anna M. Procanyn

Anna M. Procanyn, 87, of Coplay, died Monday, June 1, 2009 at the Phoebe
Home, Allentown.

She was the wife for over 50 years of the late Melvin D. Procanyn, who
passed away in 1993.

Born in Kroatisch Tschantschendorf, Burgenland, Austria, she was the
daughter of the late John and Ida (Ifkovits) Keglovits.

She was a long time member of St. Peter's Catholic Church, Coplay.

Anna was an avid gardener who enjoyed her plants, both within and outside of
her home.

Survivors: Son, Melvin J., daughter, Ann Marie; two granddaughters, Susanne
Perram and Dr. Melissa Platt; three great-grandsons, Bryce and Cade Perram
and Samuel Platt; two nieces. She was predeceased by a brother, John

Erma Weisel

Erma Weisel, 84, of Allentown died Friday, June 5, 2009 in the Phoebe Home,

She was the widow of William H. Weisel, Sr.

Born in Neustift bei Güssing, Burgenland, Austria, she was the daughter of
the late Andrew and Mary (Tapler) Nikles.

Erma was employed at the former Zollinger and Harned, Allentown, for several
years before retiring. Previously she was employed at K & M Sportswear,

Survivors: Sons, William H. Weisel, Jr., Gary J. Weisel; grandson, Jason L.
Weisel, all of Allentown; nephews; nieces; cousins; brother-in-law;

Newsletter continues as number 188A.

From: Hannes Graf <>
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 2009 22:31:35 +0200
References: <A75B8D129EEE4ABDA5436D02A280C32B@namecdbbfe57f2>
In-Reply-To: <A75B8D129EEE4ABDA5436D02A280C32B@namecdbbfe57f2>

June 23, 2009
(c) 2009 - The Burgenland Bunch - all rights reserved

The second section of this 2-section newsletter includes:


The information that follows is intended to give those who search for family
history the spirit to continue searching, never give up because just maybe
you will uncover a minor fact which ultimately solves a lot of your
problems. Just the fact that you are looking sometimes brings together
others looking for a similar family. I owe many thanks to the Burgenland
Bunch for much of the information that I probably never would have otherwise
been able to locate.

In the fall of 2005 many of our family gathered for a memorial service in
St. Louis Missouri. In the discussions at that service we came to the
conclusion that our parents and grandparents had not really given us a lot
of information regarding the family's roots.

I with my cousin who lives in San Antonio, Texas, along with my daughter and
niece, got together the day after the service and looked at the family
papers, and our memories. We did find that my grandmother, Louise (Aufner)
Guenther, immigrated from Austria, and from the information scratched on the
back of an envelop we found information indicating "Burgenland, and
Eltendorf". Thanks to the internet, I was able to do some quick searching
and found the Burgenland was a distinct area of Austria, and Eltendorf a
small village. We only knew that my grandmotherís (Louise Guenther) maiden
name was Aufner. As I stumbled through the various ancestry web help sites,
I first noted that most of them were offering to do some type of research,
and usually for a healthy fee.

At some point I came across the website. Not
knowing exactly how my grandmother made it to the USA, or exactly when, was
not very helpful in finding any additional information. As I spent more
time using the information in the Burgenland Bunch site, I began to learn a
little about the area she came from. I tried to determine where a
potential husband would meet his wife-to-be. That brought me to what I
call the "dorfs". There was Jennersdorf, Königsdorf, Eltendorf, and
Dobersdorf. All appeared from a Google Earth search to be close enough for
an interested suitor to easily walk between. At that time we were under the
belief that my grandmotherís motherís maiden name was Fuchs, and that my
great grandfather was an Aufner.

I quickly realized that the Burgenland Bunch had developed an extensive list
of home sites, and their occupants based upon census reports. Several
emails back and forth with Gerry Berghold were extremely helpful. I knew my
grandmotherís birth date, and attempted to guess the age of her parents at
that time. This keyed me into a Josef Aufner, who lived at number 84
Eltendorf, based upon the 1858 census. This was as far as I could go. One
evening I came up with the crazy idea of writing a letter to a home which
was there 150 years previously, and with no idea as to who might be living
there, even if the home still existed. In December of 2006 I wrote a letter
to the "Occupants" of #84 Eltendorf Austria. I had little expectation that
I would receive a response, but at that time I had exhausted all other

On February 14, 2007, Valentineís Day, I found a large envelop in my mailbox
with many Austrian postage stamps. My letter had been forwarded to the
Gemeinde in Eltendorf. A Mr. Helmut Pieler responded that my grandmother
was born in Königsdorf (Kings Village), according to the records in the
rectory in Königsdorf. The old homestead of 124 Königsdorf no longer
and he could not find anyone who was in some way related to my grandmother.
He also provided my grandmotherís birthday per the church records; we had
been celebrating it a day late all those years. Also, to our surprise, her
motherís maiden name was not Fuchs, but Kramer. At last some firm
details to search from.

I was able to somehow locate a website that had passenger lists. Family
legend was very vague on where they had arrived; some thought San Francisco.
But after a lot of work I came across an ďAloisa AufnerĒ who, with her
Anna and brother Franz arrived in New York on September 21, 1904. They were
traveling to St. Louis, MO to meet their father, Franz Aufner. The passenger
list indicated their ages, which worked, along with the facts that they had
prepaid transportation tickets, and also the sum of $10.00 to cover any
expenses incurred in the trip. The passenger list also indicated the
address in St. Louis where their father lived. BINGO, we had them

Well, now, I had them in St. Louis, but that is where it once again became
difficult to find information. I though that my great-grandfather Franz
Aufner's name would show up in the 1910 census, but it did not. However, in
the 1910 census I managed to find a listing for a Frank Guenther with a wife
named Louisa. This turned out to be my grandmother. I tried to follow up
on what happened to her sister and brother, but this became another
nightmare. Through the census reports and family information I was able to
gather most of the data for the family that developed from the Aloisa (now
Louise) Aufner-Franz (now Frank) Guenther marriage. Trying to track down
all the family members was another exercise in futility, but we managed to
eventually locate many details. I have also learned that many of the
details that are indicated on death certificates contradict what family
legend had passed down. How to handle that information is always a concern.

Around November of 2007, I had finally decided that I had all the information
that I could readily obtain, and put the documentation into a three ring
binder along with some of the photographs that we had acquired. Some of the
family were really excited by the information that had been provided, some
said thanks, and some I never heard from. I thought that perhaps I had done
my best to gather family history for the future generation, and placed the
book and research documents in my bookcase. I was proud of what I had done
to gather my parents and my memories, and I was happy with what I had found
out. However, I knew that there was additional information that I could never
readily obtain locally. I was intrigued by the Burgenland Bunch proposing
a trip to travel through the area, but unfortunately it was cancelled by a
shortage of individuals who could make the trip at that time.

All during the year 2008 I thought about a trip to Austria, but knew it was
not possible. Then in November of 2008 I received an email. The Burgenland
Bunch has a site listing individuals researching certain family lines, and
the email was from a Brigitte Aufner Rezac. Brigitte's grandparents family
had partially immigrated to "America" and she was interested if I could help
her find any details of her family. Her teenage sons are avid football
players. Not soccer but real American football. They had identified a
college football player who had the Aufner name and wanted to know if there
was a relationship. The end result is that yes, there was a relationship.
Brigitte's grandfather (Karl) turned out to be my grandmotherís (Aloisa)
brother. No one was aware that any family remained in Austria. Brigitte was
my cousin. The number of emails that literally flew back and forth was
amazing. Both she and I were trying to gather details of the family and now
we both had sources at each side of the Atlantic to do that. The
information that was available increased many-fold. As we discussed the
details, Brigitte offered that if I should ever be interested in visiting,
her family had a guest house in Mödling, Austria. It took me about one day
to decide that yes I was interested in making the trip. Brigitte indicated
that the best time of the year was May. This is a good time of the year
weather-wise, but most important of all, she indicated, it is the time when
the new wines come out. Kind of an Oktoberfest in May, except it is wine, not
beer. I immediately jumped upon the opportunity, and scheduled a flight to
arrive May 2, 2009.

In the meantime, my cousin Marjory and I discussed my trip, and the
possibility of her participating. After a few weeks she also came on board
for the trip.

The following is a summary of the events that we enjoyed when we made the

We took a total of three planes from St. Louis, MO and ending up in Vienna
afternoon of the second day. Unfortunately, Marjory's luggage remained in
London, and would arrive the following day.

We spent the first two days with Brigitte and her family at their home in
Mödling, Austria. She and her husband, Otto, have two wonderful sons, Otto Jr.
who is 16, and Stefan who is 14. After my spending two months studying
German using the Rosetta Stone program I was delighted to find out that
their English was much better than my German, and they welcomed the
opportunity to improve their use of English. We decided that the language
we would use was English. Also, I was advised that my "dialect" was definitely
Burgenland, not that of Vienna.

Brigitte lives in a historic home constructed in the early 1800's.
Beethoven was a guest of the original owners. Their town of Mödling,
Austria, is about 6 miles from downtown Vienna. It is a typical
picturesque village;
a church whose construction began in the 1500s is less than 100 yards from
their home. The streets are narrow, and driving them is a challenge; finding
a parking place is even more difficult.

After two days in Vienna, Brigitte and her father Siegfried Aufner drove us
to the Burgenland. After a 90 mile drive, and a short stop in Dobersdorf,
we arrived at Annie Aufner Gratzl's home in Jennersdorf. Shortly after we
arrived in Jennersdorf, Pauline Aufner Stumpf and her son Herbert drove in
from Ingolstadt, Germany to participate in the reunion. Brigitte had pulled
out all the stops in making sure that as many Aufner family as possible
could get together.

Annie and her family live on a small but wonderful farm about one mile from
Jennersdorf. The original home was replaced about 9 years ago and currently
an energy-efficient heated by wood structure stands on the site. We had a
typical lunch of a clear broth with dumplings, which I enjoyed, but then the
real meal arrived. Roasted pork, sauerkraut, potato salad, and of course,

After lunch, we went to visit the local cemeteries, They are much better
maintained than here in the states, and I was overwhelmed by the number of
visitors at the time that we were there, and also with the both fresh, and
flowers. Many of the original headstones have been replaced with newer
and additional names added; one cannot be certain of some of the dates,
which seem to conflict with current family legend. We then did some
to the home sites of Karl, Anna, Aloisa, and Franz Aufner. The first night,
we had a family gathering of about 20 relatives, with a typical dinner, and
a lot of local wines. While only about five spoke English, we had a

The second day I had the opportunity to do a little early morning walking.
The sun was up by 5:00 AM and I walked up the local farmersí road. I heard
the strangest bird call, it sounded like a cuckoo clock. Discussing this
with Annie later I was informed that it was the Kuckuck, and all these years
I thought that the Cuckoo bird was just something that lived in a clock.

I had the opportunity to go with Annie to drop off her son Dominik and
daughter Victoria at the local school. We arrived at the school about 7:30
AM and when walking through the building which was filled with 5 to 8 year
old children, I was amazed as to how well behaved they were, unlike my
memories of visits to my grandchildren's schools.. After dropping off
Dominik and Victoria, we stopped by the local market for fresh bread the
first day, and the second day stopped by the dairy, two houses down where
the cows were being milked as we picked up the milk for coffee. Austrian
coffee I found is very strong, I though that the spoon could be stood up in
it, due to the thickness, which is why they use the milk for coffee (we call
it half and half) as a thinning agent so you can drink it.

Our second day, we visited more family, and even visited a castle, (which
never owned by a member of the Aufner family). Every evening ended up with
about 3 hours of discussion regarding relatives and what we and they knew or
wanted to know. Both sides looked at old photographs that they and we had
about and they found old family albums of old tin-types. These
usually began about 9 PM and ended quite late. Mysteriously, one or two
bottles of local wine always seemed to appear.

Josef Aufner and his wife Lisabeth live on a farm in the village of Newmarkt
on the Raab. Josef is a security guard, farmer and also has a side job of
producing schnapps. He has won quite a few awards at the local competitions
for his efforts, as well as has his wife Lisabeth with her preserves. We
had to
sample both of their products.. They use the local apples for the base of
what seemed to me to be a very good moonshine, with the still being kept in
one of the out buildings. My comment of moonshine was translated into
German as moonlight, which caused a lot of explaining, and a lot more

The third morning Annie took us to visit a tourist area, complete with
German bunkers from World War II, that overlooked present-day Hungary, just
a few
miles from her home. We then stopped at Eltendorf for a typical lunch.

After three wonderful days in the Burgenland, we traveled with Pauline and
Herbert back to Vienna. Just prior to leaving Josef Aufner brought me a
"sampler case" containing eight bottles of his finest schnapps, and a jar of
preserves from Lisabeth. I was concerned about what was I going to do with
all of the preserves?

That evening Brigitte had arranged a meeting with the Bürgermeister of the
town of Mödling at which, in addition to having our photos taken for the
local newspaper, I was given a 3-foot-tall bottle of "Bergermeister Wine".
We were treated like royalty, and the mayor was a real joy to talk with. We
discussed their local politics, and also their thoughts about "America". We
later did some touring that evening on the way to have dinner at a
"haurnigan," which I found was usually a place run by a wine-maker who
serves food while
soliciting sales of his products. In a way it is like a cafeteria; many
different local favorites are available, and you just order the amount that
you want, which is then served family style. We were able to taste many of
the local foods in this manner. Of course, they kept bringing out different
wines. The cheeses were exceptional, and upon my return to St. Louis I went
looking for similar ones, but was told that USA requirements called for most
of the foreign cheeses to be pasteurized and due to that, the flavor and
consistency of the local fresh products was lost.

Later that evening (about 10:00 PM), Otto, Herbert, and I went to the grand
opening of a restaurant. Otto's electrical contracting firm had done the
lighting design for the restaurant, and he was also a good friend of the owner
Pino. We ran into the Mayor again and managed to close the facility at 2:00

The following day, we arose a little later than normal (think 10:00 AM), and
we all drove about one hour to the Neusiedl area and the Neusiedl Sea (lake
in English). After a long Hungarian-style lunch, we went on an excursion
ride on the lake, Neusiedl Sea, which is part of a nature preserve. The lake
is quite large, but very shallow. We were told that a tall man could walk
across it, it must be 20 miles long and 3 to 4 miles wide, and averages 5 to
6 feet in depth. The lake Neusiedl sports the largest campground in Europe
and even though it was the first of May, several hundreds of campers were
already set up. Many leave their campers set up all year long and use them
just for weekend visits to the lake Neusiedl. The lake Neusiedl is also the
nesting area of the famous Gray goose, a protected bird that lives in the
marsh areas. Also, there is a local herd of wild swine that live in a
segregated area. They have very long hair running down the center of their
backs, and are definitely not cute.

On Friday, Pauline and Herbert drove back home to Germany. Brigitte,
Marjory, Otto, and I went for another tour of Vienna. This one was of the
famous farmersí market area. You name it, they had a stand selling it; all
of the stands were permanent structures that were passed down through the
family for hundreds of years. Spices, vegetables, cheeses, meats of all
kinds, and fish were fresh and on display. The perimeter of the market was
surrounded by small restaurants, which served products freshly purchased in
the market. We had a wonderful lunch and then went to the main shopping
district. When walking the streets, I noticed that while most of the
buildings were of an older seventeenth-century design, there was an occasional
grouping of more contemporary design. This I was told by Otto was due to
the bombing of World War II destroying buildings which were replaced with a
newer, modern design.

The real highlight of the day was not the touring, but the fact that it was
"pizza night". Otto could become a professional chef in the USA if he
wanted, and is known in the Mödling area for being the best pizza maker in
town. He starts from scratch with the flour, and keeps his recipe a secret.
After about two hours, the 10 to 12 loafs of pizza dough had risen and were
ready for preparation. He even has a small pizza oven built into the
kitchen. The tomato sauce for the pizza was just made from scratch, and he
adds 4 different kinds of cheese. But the main special ingredient is
prosciutto ham that has just been thinly sliced from the entire ham that he
recently purchased in Italy. Watch out, Domino's and Pizza Hut, this stuff
is really good. The last pizza that he made that evening was his specialty,
I named it a breakfast pizza. When asked why, I responded that the sunny
side up egg on top of fresh prosciutto ham qualified it for that title.

After resting for a while, at 10:00 PM we went out for a walk and then
stopped by Pino's restaurant for a drink. People were filling all the
tables, even at that late an hour. The food supply was about exhausted, due
to the overwhelming acceptance of the new restaurant. We did not close the
restaurant that evening, but I did run into my new friend the Mayor, this
time with his wife.

On Saturday, Otto, the boys, Marjory, and I went to tour Castle Schonbrunn.
This was the main castle of the emperor, and is in the center of Vienna. We
walked the grounds, and saw every corner. We must have walked 5 miles,
uphill all the way out and back. And this was just the morning. Then back
to Mödling for a late lunch. After a few hoursí rest, Otto junior talked me
into taking the dog for a walk. We ended up climbing what I called Mount
Mödling. This is just behind their house, and while there is a paved route,
Otto felt that I should use the one that the locals use. At the very top is
the site of an old watch tower originally constructed in 587 AD.. Upon
returning to the house I was totally exhausted. Marjory and I spent about 4
hours talking about the wonderful experiences that we had shared on this
trip, and tried our best to understand why our family that had left Austria
in 1904 and never went back for a visit, nor in our memories ever
communicated with
or discussed the family that remained behind. We both promised ourselves
that we would attempt to find out any more details that we could, now
knowing more about the country, and the trying times that probably existed
in the early 1900s.

Sunday was Motherís Day. While Brigitte, Marjory, and Otto Junior went to
Mass, Otto senior prepared for an Austrian Bar-B-Q. While he indicated that
he had a gas grill, he preferred using what we would call an electric
griddle. Being an avid American Bar-B-Q fan, I knew that this would never
work. But then Otto brought out trays of chicken legs, pork chops, ribs,
and sausages. While in America we slow cook at 250 degrees, he did the
same, but his temperature was Centigrade not Fahrenheit. After sampling all of
his Bar-B-Q several times, I had to concede that the Austrian way is
quicker, and possibly better. I admitted that the reason we slow cook is
that it gives us an excuse to drink more beer during the cooking process..
The mounds of meat quickly disappeared.

Brigitte was interested in our doing more touring. However, Marjory and I
told her that since it was Motherís Day, she should do what she wanted to do.
Well, guess what she wanted to do: go touring. We went on a ride to a high
overlook that gave a fantastic view of all of Vienna, and also the Danube
River. While only a few miles outside of downtown Vienna, we had an awesome
view of the countryside. We then drove to a wonderful town just a mile of so
away and found more cathedrals, and vineyards, and wonderful villages. Otto
pointed out a castle on a hilltop several miles away. This is where King
Richard was held hostage for ransom, which is a part of the Robin Hood
Then on to the Danube River. Being very familiar with the Mississippi and
Missouri Rivers, it was a pleasure to see a river of its size that contained
only clear water, unlike the muddy waters that we have.

We then slowly made our way back to Mödling, knowing that early the next
morning we had to catch an early morning flight back to the USA. Since I
had done most of my packing earlier (having had to purchase an additional
suitcase to take back all the gifts we were given) we spent the evening
discussing the new family that we had discovered. It was amazing that while
never having met prior to that time, we melded together like we had known
other for generations, but then we had been together for generations, hadn't
we? We just didn't know it.

Sadly, the next morning we left for the airport at 6 AM, and I am currently
looking forward to the next opportunity of once again getting together with
my new Austrian relatives. We have invited them to come visit and hope that
they will be able to do this. When this happens I intend to make sure that
everyone knows, and that we show our Austrian family a wonderful time in the
USA. Another thing that I learned in Austria is the use of the
computer-based communications system called SKYPE. It is a free computer
program, and
using a video camera (mine cost $54.00) you have both audio and video
communications and there are no charges. In the one month since I have
returned, I have talked to my new Austrian relatives at least one time per
week, continuing to relive the memories, and also answer any new questions
that arise.

I owe all of this to the Burgenland Bunch. Thanks so much for being there.
I hope that many others will have similar experiences, in my case the chance
of a lifetime.


Ronald Markland ()


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