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Thread: Transylvanian Saxons: the Ethnic Germans of Transylvania

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    Here I found an article from 1990, shortly after the fall of communism in Romania. I'm going to paste some parts here:

    About half the country's ethnic Germans have left since the revolution in December, and 45,000 more are expected to depart in the months ahead, he said. Most ethnic Germans in the country have applied for an emigration number, which gives its bearer the right to a German visa at any time.

    In an opinion poll last spring, about 80 percent of ethnic Germans who responded said they definitely wanted to emigrate and only 6 percent said they would stay, said Klaus Brambach, spokesman for the German Embassy in Bucharest, which issued about 20,000 permanent entry visas in a single month last summer and 7,500 in November. 'Mostly Skilled' Emigrants

    "They are mostly skilled, hard-working people, and they don't have a language problem in Germany," he said. "They are not considered foreigners."

    Mr. Klein said: "When I am a pessimist, then I must say that the future here for us is not a long time. Only older men and women will stay until the time they die."

    "The people had no hope," he said, referring to the ethnic Germans' lot during Mr. Ceausescu's rule. "When the possibility arose to start a new life in Germany, they took it."

    The exodus of ethnic Germans is just one component of a large-scale overall emigration from economically strapped Romania, which has about 23 million people. Though official statistics show that only about 120,000 people left the country between Jan. 1 and Aug. 30, the Bucharest radio has reported that the actual number is more like 800,000.

    ..................

    Despite the exodus, prominent Germans are skeptical that all the emigrants will find the Germany they are seeking. 'Life Here Is Wonderful'

    "They go to Germany, find a job, buy a house, go on vacation to the Canary Islands, send a postcard back here, and these people think that's fantastic," said Paul Philippi, a theologian and historian who gave up a chair at Heidelberg University to return to Romania in 1985, the darkest of the Ceausescu years. "But the community and family life here is wonderful, and there are seldom divorces."

    The German Democratic Forum is pushing for the recognition of minority rights in Romanian laws, the return of expropriated land, privatization and German investment as a way of stopping the ethnic German outflow and lure people back, Mr. Klein said.

    But it is unlikely that many ethnic Germans will return to Romania.

    Source: Ethnic Germans in Romania Dwindle

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    Here some videos.

    This is our anthem, the Siebenbürgenlied (sung by Transylvanian Saxons).

    Siebenbürgenlied


    Another version of the anthem, this time with pictures from this region.

    Siebenbürgerlied (Siebenbürgen, Land des Segens)


    I'll post the lyrics in German:

    Siebenbürgen, Land des Segens,
    Land der Fülle und der Kraft
    mit dem Gürtel der Karpaten
    um das grüne Kleid der Saaten,
    Land voll Gold und Rebensaft!

    Siebenbürgen, Meeresboden
    einer längst verflossnen Flut!
    Nun ein Meer von Ährenwogen,
    dessen Ufer waldumzogen
    an der Brust des Himmels ruht.

    Siebenbürgen, grüne Wiege
    einer bunten Völkerschar!
    Mit dem Klima aller Zonen,
    mit dem Kranze von Nationen
    um des Vaterlands Altar.

    Siebenbürgen, grüner Tempel
    mit der Berge hohem Chor!
    Wo der Andacht Huldigungen
    steigen in so vielen Zungen
    zu dem einen Gott empor.

    Siebenbürgen, süße Heimat,
    unser teures Vaterland,
    sei gegrüßt in deiner Schöne,
    und um alle deine Söhne,
    schlinge sich der Eintracht Band!

    (Leopold Maximilian Moltke, 1819-1894)

    Two videos of Transylvanian Saxon dance.

    Siebenbürger Jugendtanzgruppe Ingolstadt


    Siebenbürgisch-Sächsische Volkstanzgruppe Drabenderhöhe


    Here you have a video of a German village. Unfortunately, nowadays, the village has become a gypsy heaven.

    Birthälm in Siebenbürgen/Biertan in Transylvania

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hrodnand View Post
    A "Finis Saxoniae" is foreseeable."
    Hmm... perhaps here, eventually this will happen. And unfortunately, some Transylvanian Saxons don't keep their culture in Germany either. However, I must say that in Germany there is still a young generation of Transylvanian Saxon descendents who seem to carry on some traditions. I don't know though, if the traditions are only manifested at cultural events and festivals, or in everyday life too.
    I attended the manifestations of Transylvanian Saxons in Dinkelsbühl, Germany (Bavaria), and they seemed quite lively in culture.

    How can you not be hopeful, when you see them.


  4. #74
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    Transylvanian Saxons at cultural events:




















  5. #75
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    Fortified churches in Transylvania

    The topography in Southern Transylvania is that of a plateau, cut by wide valleys of various small rivers that flow into larger ones, namely the Olt River, Mureş River, Târnava Mare River and Târnava Mică River. The villages follow the topography closely and try to make the best of it; thus villages situated in a valley developed around a central street and possibly some secondary ones, while those situated on a flatter spot follow a looser, radial pattern. Due to security reasons and the traditions of the Saxon inhabitants, the villages are compact.

    The main element is the church, always situated in the middle of the town. Different types of fortifications can be found: a small enceinte around the church, a row of fortifications around the church or a real fortress with multiple fortification walls centered on the church. The churches have been adapted to include defensive functions; all of them are either Romanesque basilicas or single-nave churches of the late Gothic period. The churches often include many additions, ranging in age from the original period in which the churches were built Late Middle Ages to the 16th century. Many churches also include baroque elements from that period, as the baroque style was very popular in the region.

    In almost all cases, the church is situated in an easily defendable position, generally on a hilltop. Elements of fortifications found in the main cities in the area have been adapted here, and they are a testimony of the building techniques used along the years by the Saxon community. Some fortifications had observations towers, some of them being church towers adapted to the needs of a fortress. The materials are the traditional ones, stone and red bricks, with a red clay tiled roof, a typical feature of the area.

    Close to the church there is the main square of the village or Tanzplaz (Dance Square) around which the social life gravitated. The only buildings situated next to the fortifications are those of communal use: the school or the village hall. The parish house, along with the houses of the most wealthy villagers, were situated around this square. Also in most sites, barns for grain storage are situated close to the centre of the village.

    Birthälm
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    Weißkirch
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    Tartlau
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    Bratei
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    Es irrt der Mensch, solang er strebt. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Faust I)

  6. #76
    Senior Member Hrodnand's Avatar
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    "Story of a Transylvanian Saxon from Biertan

    The Transylvanian Saxons of Romania are nearly all but gone from the country, driven out by war, communism and finally the opportunity to leave Romania in 1990 for a new life in the old homeland of Germany. Their distinctive architecture is nearly all that remains of their unique cultural heritage. Here, the story of one ordinary but also very special Transylvanian Saxon is told, in her own words, capturing just some of the traumas faced by the Saxons following the arrival of Soviet communism in Romania in 1944.

    Sara Römischer was a Transylvanian Saxon from Biertan (German: Birthälm), born in 1919 and passed away in 2006. Here, she recounts what happened to her and many other Saxons following the arrival of Soviet troops in Romania, in 1944.

    I remember the year 1945, because we Saxons were kidnapped from Siebenbürgen between the ages of 18-35 to do hard labour in Russia. It was the 16th January, beautiful, warm weather and still no snow. Then, we were torn away from our loves, children, parents and brothers and sisters. If you have not experienced this, it is difficult for you to understand. I tried to creep away somewhere and hid myself on our property in the Voistel, where we had a storage shelter to get some protection from the rainy weather. In it there was hay for the cattle, about fifty meters from the forest. I was not fearful of staying alone there overnight, because another greater fear was having to leave my children without knowing whether I would ever return. The children were still small at that time: seven, five and three years old. You can imagine what kind of feelings a mother has at such a time, and yet there were so many other mothers just like me.

    On the third day, in the morning at 4 o’clock my father-in-law came and told me that he would go in my place. I could not permit that; to kidnap the old man. So I left my hiding place and went to the home I would have to leave the same day. I quickly packed something to eat, and warm clothes, because it was winter. My husband was at that time still serving in the German armed forces, it was still war. The Russians were after us. From Birthälm we all left on foot, marching as slaves; still lucky that it was a beautiful, warm day. We could hear the ringing of the bells accompanying us for a long time. There was no possibility of escaping, with a Russian soldier always 50 metres away with a rifle ready to prevent it. We were kept in Mediasch for two days, until they had gathered together people from all the municipalities of Hermannstadt district. 32 railroad cars were there ready for the first transporting away of the flowering youth of our population – not all to return home again.

    On 24th January 1945 we were loaded onto loud cattle rail wagons – containing lice - men and women in the same railroad cars. The journey lasted seven days, then the train stood still. They only drove us further at night – racing as fast as the locomotive could go. Then, suddenly the train stopped. It was in the night of 2nd February 1945. We saw out of the window and ascertained that we were to be doubled up in the station and redistributed to the wagons. We were up to 30 persons in a railroad car. There was a soldier at every ten steps with a loaded rifle. They were there to ensure nobody ran away. There was however no possibility of that.

    Konstantinowka - Kreiss Donbass (in German) - was the end of the line for us. It had been a large industrial city, but because of the war, there was a lot of debris and heaps of rubble. We went in single file one behind the other and hoped soon to reach a bed, or at the least, to a building sheltered from the wind, because it was so cold and the wind was blowing, like in the Russian Steppes – indeed, that’s where we were! Unfortunately we came to a destroyed blockhouse, with no windows or doors, just heaps of debris. Inside, it was colder than outside. There was no talk of sleep or rest. We were stuffed into a bath. That did good after fourteen days of not being able to wash. Afterwards there was a medical examination, still in the middle of the night, and then came the morning so the night was now over. Out of excitement and hunger we could only stagger around. Not once could we talk. There was also the constant uncertainty about what will happen to us next. Then we heard a loud voice: “Dawai Pa cusat!” (Russian: “Time for food”). That was the call to eat; well, who understood that? We thought, what is going to happen now, until then 2-3 men came, who translated. It was cabbage soup, but without the leaf; it was pure saltwater; the cabbage was not enough for everyone, since we were about 1500 people. That was now our daily soup, year in, year out. But I was young and young blood is resistant.

    We were from the Mediasch, Pretai, Reichesdorf, Hetzeldorf, Wurmloch, Tobsdorf, Birthälm and Scharosch districts, all young people between the ages of 18-35 – the bloom of our Saxon land. One can hardly describe the first two years: Hunger, cold weather, bugs, lice in the hair, lice in the dresses. Many died of hunger - including Russians; they also had nothing to eat, exactly the same as us. There we trapped some dogs and also cats. I myself also ate cat meat. The hunger causes pain. That was for three years, where there was the same saltwater to eat daily. Many more of the men became ill, because a woman is able to look after herself more easily. I have seen how the men picked grass, in order to calm the hunger. It is the absolute truth. I also ate raw Hollyhock. One often thought, the stomach (hunger) must be stilled with something, because the small bit of bread they gave you was already eaten up by 4 o’clock in the morning and there was to be no more bread until the next morning, only cabbage soup.

    Anyway, there was more money after three years. Things also got better for the Russian people. But many old people died from hunger and the cold. In the five years we slept on boards. Head and body lice were our constant guests. Many were so undernourished that they had careworn lines across their faces. Before the journey home they gave us ten days to recover. What I have written is the truth. There is however much more still that could be to be told.

    Sara Römischer"

    URL:http://www.transylvaniadreaming.eu/?p=41
    :Überschöpfung:



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    Which is the fortified church that is visible from the train within an hour of Sighisoara and currently has a family of storks residing in one of the towers?
    The sitters in the hall seldom know
    The kin of the new-comer:
    The best man is marred by faults,
    The worst is not without worth.
    -- The Havamal, #133 (trans. Auden and Taylor)

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    Sachsentreffen 2007 Hermannstadt
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    Es irrt der Mensch, solang er strebt. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Faust I)

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    Brand an der Evangelischen Kirche in Bistritz

    Bistritz. Am Abend des 11. Juni d.J. brach am Bistitzer Kirchturm ein heftiger Brand aus. Der seit über einem Jahr eingerüstete Turm wurde von Flammen ergriffen, die sich bis zur Turmspitze ausbreiteten. Die Feuerwehr reichte mit den Löschstrahlen nur bis zur halben Höhe des Kirchendaches und bemühte sich, das Übergreifen der Flammen auf das Dach des Kirchenschiffes zu verhindern. Den 75 Meter hohen Turm konnte sie nicht löschen, er brannte innen aus. Der Turmhelm stürzte ein und fiel brennend herab. Es kamen keine Menschen zu Schaden.

    Die Kleinstadt Bistritz liegt relativ abgeschieden, es kamen Löscheinheiten aus den umliegenden Gemeinden und später auch aus Klausenburg und Neumarkt am Mieresch (Tg. Mures). Der Brand war gegen Mitternacht gelöscht.
    http://www.evang.ro/lk/
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    Es irrt der Mensch, solang er strebt. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Faust I)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Siebenbürgerin View Post
    Some Things differ in Gender. We say "der Zwiebel" instead of "die Zwiebel" (the Onion).
    Can't personally see the issue. In some areas of Tyrol (Oberland) even we say "Kann'sch ma åuwa giahn und an Zwief'l hol'n?" (masculine, as opposed to Innsbruck, "Kann'sch ma abi giahn und a Zwieb'l hol'n" and Unterland "Kånn'st ma åi geahn und a Zwiab'l hoiñ", feminine). Even as opposed to Germany we have the discrepancy of das/der Radio and das/der Monat.

    "Kratzewetz" instead of "Gurke" (Cucumber). "Kukuruz" instead of Mais (Corn). Etc.
    The Styrians and Burgenlanders, also say "Kukuruz." Could thus be a Landler influence rather than a Saxon influence. The word "Kukuruz" is neither a Magyar nor a Romanian term, but is derived from the Slavic term for it.
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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