THE BURGENLAND BUNCH NEWS - No. 274
February 28, 2017, © 2017 by The Burgenland Bunch
All rights reserved. Permission to copy excerpts granted if credit is provided.
Editor: Thomas Steichen (email: email@example.com)
Archives at: BB Newsletter Index
Our 21st Year. The Burgenland Bunch Newsletter is issued monthly online. It was founded by Gerald Berghold (who retired from the BB in the Summer of 2008 and died in August 2008).
|Current Status Of The BB:
* Members: 2507 * Surname Entries: 8021 * Query Board Entries: 5577 * Staff Members: 13
1) THE PRESIDENT'S CORNER (by Tom Steichen)
After the bits and pieces here in my "Corner" (which I hope you find interesting and/or useful!), we continue with Article 2, one that tells of the Last Jews of Kittsee and of Irmgard Jurkovich's role in maintaining their Memory, a role deserving of recognition and praise.
In Article 3, I discuss some Research Tools Available on our BB Website. My goal is to introduce a new tool and perhaps make an old tool more useful to you.
Article 4, while not directly tied to Burgenland, genealogy or emigration, speaks of the origins of the Fulbright Scholars' Program in Austria in the aftermath of WW-II. Our Bob Strauch was a Fulbright scholar in Austria, which I'm sure contributed to his interest in things Burgenland.
The remaining articles are our standard sections: Historical Newsletter Articles, and the Ethnic Events and Emigrant Obituaries sections.
An Unusual "Last Residence": John and Jane Conner were researching the Taucher family from Neumarkt an der Raab (Farkasdifalva, Hungary) in Burgenland... and were running into difficulties, arising mostly because the "T" in Taucher was being heard (by non-German ears) and recorded as a "D" but also because the "ch" in the name was variously recorded as a "k" or even an "r". Thus grandmother Aloisia Taucher, daughter of János (John) Taucher and Aloisia Zotter, is in the civil records of Neumarkt with surname Dauer!
Great-grandfather John Taucher emigrated and arrived at Ellis Island in March of 1900... he was easy to find. His wife, Aloisia (Zotter) Taucher, appeared in the June 1900 US Census with John, and reported that she emigrated in 1900 too... but we couldn't find her ship manifest. Her naturalization record (from 1923) indicated that she arrived May 30, 1898, on the Kaiser Wilhelm... which seemed highly unlikely... as the 1900 census record said she arrived in 1900, the Kaiser Wilhelm did not arrive on that date in 1898, and her husband almost certainly would have emigrated first, leaving her in Burgenland with their young children. So we resorted to Steve Morse's One-Step Tools, manually searching for ships arriving after John's arrival in March 1900 and before the June 1900 census.
Doing so indicated that the Kaiser Wilhelm arrived on May 30, 1900! (not 1898) ...and a line-by-line search revealed a manifest record for an Aloisia Daucher. That German "T" was heard as a "D" again! Beyond that, everything matched on the record with our expectations... well, except the village named as "Last Residence" ...it was recorded as Ujvasar. Where the devil was that?
John Conner argued that the record matched so well... if we ignore that village of last residence... but still, it wasn't Neumarkt or Farkasdifalva (or anything anywhere near there) ...then he threw out a side comment that vasar translated to fair ...which rang my bell! I knew that Uj (or more accurately Új) translated from Hungarian into new ... but New Fair didn't seem useful... so I looked up vasar and discovered that if you wrote it vásár, it translated to a related word: market... and New Market = Neumarkt in German ... and suddenly we had Neumarkt an der Raab as last residence, exactly what it should have been! So it appears that a patriotic Hungarian clerk on the ship translated the German name for the village into equivalent Hungarian words (apparently not knowing that the Hungarian name for the village was really Farkasdifalva). And that was a new twist for me!
Usage of Land Area in Burgenland, by Political Districts, 2014:
-- adapted from page
Nutzungsarten nach politischen Bezirken found on the Burgenland government website:
2) IRMGARD JURKOVICH: THE MEMORY OF THE LAST JEWS OF KITTSEE (by Suzie Schapiro Steinberg)
This is a true story, told in two parts.
The first part covers events that involved my family and others in 1938 and 1939 and that led Irmgard Jurkovich, a non-Jewish woman born in 1941, to become the memory keeper of the Jews of Kittsee. It was coauthored by my aunt, Mrs. Eugenie Poleyeff, who lived through those events.
The second part, beginning in 2010, documents my interaction with Irmgard and tells her story, one deserving recognition and praise. I hope this article does justice in doing so.
Part 1: 1938-1938
In the 1930s, my father, Joseph Schapiro, lived with his parents, Rose and Jacob, and three siblings, Asher, Rachel and Eugenie, in the town of Kittsee, a tiny community in Austria situated just beyond the outskirts of Bratislava, where Jews lived for many centuries, side by side with their non-Jewish neighbors in peace and harmony. As my grandfather, Jacob, was the town chazzan (cantor) and shochet (ritual slaughterer), and for his last three years in Kittsee (1935-1938) also a Rabbi beside Rabbi Dr. Perls Armin, they lived in an annex of the shul (synagogue) and were very close with the German caretaker, Franz Ströck, his wife, Emma, and children, Franz, Julia and Theresa. My grandfather played chess with the caretaker and the children played with each other. Shabbos (Sabbath) and Yomim Tovim (holidays) were filled with excitement. It was a carefree, fun-filled time.
All this was stilled on one frightening day in the spring of 1938, on April 15th. Kittsee was among the first communities that fell victim to Hitler's murderous plan to eliminate every vestige of Jewish life. The Jews of Kittsee were among the first to be expelled from their homes and community. Some have suggested that the Nazis used Kittsee as a test case—they waited to see what world reaction would be before they continued to other communities. There was no reaction, so they felt free to continue their expulsion of Jews from other towns and cities. In the spring of 1938, Kittsee was taken over by the Nazis. German flags with swastikas appeared over the town's official buildings. Shortly thereafter, the Nazis forced the Jews to take cans of paint and to smear the word "Juden" on the sides of their homes. Following that, they led all the Jewish men down the street and forced them to cry out, "I am a Jewish swine.” My grandfather, who was a leader of the community, was at the front of the line, leading this group of embarrassed and humiliated Jews. He was forced to shout louder than anyone else, "I am a Jewish swine.” The Nazis also gave them pails of water and scrub brushes and forced them to scrub the sidewalks while on their hands and knees.
Many of their non-Jewish friends in the town saw what was happening and were very upset about it. A growing sense of fear and unease began to creep into their lives. Another edict followed hard on the heels of this one. The mayor of the town announced that non-Jews did not have to pay back anything owed to the Jews and they were no longer allowed to purchase any goods from the Jews. All this took place just before Pesach (Passover). During the seder (ceremonial dinner on the first night of Passover commemorating the exodus from Egypt) they could hear the Nazis marching up and down the streets in their goose-step style. Indeed, it was on the night of the seder that the Nazi’s threw the Jews of the town out of their homes. The Nazis came to tell them that they had to get out of their house within ten minutes and gather in the town square. My grandmother, fright clearly etched on her face, rushed the children out. They did not get a chance to take along any of their prized possessions. When they arrived at the square, the Jews were forced to sign over all their possessions to the Nazis. They were further told that they would never see their homes again and, in fact, they never did. They spent the rest of the day without food in a cold cellar. My grandfather was given a paper that he was to read to the group of about 50 people. The gist of it was:
That night they were loaded onto trucks normally used to transport cattle and taken to
another area. They were very cold, very hungry, and very scared. They were forced out of the
trucks onto small boats and landed on an island. It was nighttime and very dark and even the
adults could not really figure out where they were. They had no choice but to wait out the night
and see what could be done on the morning. It was the middle of April and the ground was still
frozen. Yet, they spent the night sitting on the ground, huddled together for warmth, and
3) OLD AND NEW RESOURCES ON THE BB WEBSITE
A small but new resource was added to the BB website this month, which got me to thinking about resources we offer that may be underutilized or that exist elsewhere that I've never talked about. I'll tell you about that new feature below, but first I'll talk about an old friend, the search tools on the BB website... and then I'll mention a few other tools, both on our site and off, that you might find useful.
Search Boxes on the BB Website: Our website contains a number of Search tools like this one found on the home page:
If you are reading this newsletter online, then this is actually a "live" search box that you
can experiment with, so follow along with me.
Now let me jump back to talking about the
Place Research Tool at
FamilySearch.org and the 657 place names that were returned as being in the Burgenland
jurisdiction. There is an "Export Results" button that permits you the option to download the
data returned from a search ...and I have done so for the Burgenland places. From that data, I
have created a page for the BB website that provides the place names, the Gemeinde in
which the place is, the type of place, and the geographic latitude and longitude data that
allows it to be mapped via GoogleMaps.
4) FROM NORMANDY TO SCHMIDGASSE: THE FIRST FIVE YEARS OF THE FULBRIGHT PROGRAM IN AUSTRIA (by Wilhelm Schlag)
Ed Note: In the immediate aftermath of World War II, J. William Fulbright (1905-1995), a junior Senator from Arkansas, came up with a simple but productive idea. In 1946, he tagged an amendment on to the Surplus Property Act of 1944 that stipulated that foreign credits earned overseas by the sale of U.S. wartime property could be used to finance educational exchange with other countries. This amendment, which Fulbright pushed through Congress, became Public Law 584 on August 1, 1946, and laid the foundations for the U.S. Government’s flagship international educational exchange program that came to bear his name.
Since 1946, approximately 310,000 "Fulbrighters"—117,000 students, teachers, scholars, scientists, and professionals from the United States and 193,000 from abroad—have participated in the program, whose objective is to promote mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other nations. BB staff member Bob Strauch was a Fulbrighter, living two years in Graz, Austria, under the Fulbright exchange program teaching English. Today some 8,000 Fulbright grants are awarded annually under the auspices of the program.
Fulbright, himself, was a Rhodes Scholar in Oxford, England from 1924 into 1928. In early fall 1928, he traveled to Vienna, where he was to live for almost half a year. Four years in Oxford had provided Fulbright with an intercultural academic experience, but Vienna introduced him to the world of international politics, foreign correspondents, and the intrigues connected with both. The basis for Fulbright’s fascination with international and supranational organizations, which characterizes his whole career, as well as his inquiry into the possibilities of dialogues between cultures, was most certainly laid in Vienna in 1928/29. His experiences in Oxford and Vienna were likely the seminal influences that drove his efforts to establish the educational exchange scholarship program that now bears his name.
Dr. Wilhelm Schlag (1923-2011), author of the following article, was the Executive Secretary of the United States Educational Commission in Austria (aka, the Fulbright scholar program) from its inception in 1950 until 1955. He was the founding director of the Austrian Institute in New York City (1956-67) and director of the Austrian Cultural Institute in London (1971-74). In addition, he held a series of important positions in the Austrian ministries of education and science, where he concluded his career of public service as Director General responsible for university libraries, the Austrian National Library, the national museums, and the preservation of monuments (1978-84).
The following article was written by Dr. Schlag in 2000 as part of a "festschrift" (commemorative publication) on the 50th anniversary of the Fulbright program. The notes in [square brackets] are mine.
Dr. Schlag writes: It was July 27, 1944. General Patton’s Third Army had started the attack that was to end the stalemate in Normandy. I was crawling through the high grass of a meadow near St. Lo, trying to contact the neighboring company to coordinate the defense of a long gap between our two units. I had almost reached the nearest foxhole when I found myself looking into the muzzle of a Thompson machine gun. I realized that the figure pointing the weapon at me must have been hidden in the dense bushes of the hedge row. He was not a member of the 10th company of the 8th regiment of the 3rd German parachute division, but an American GI. After having been "processed" as a prisoner of war in England, I was one of the "passengers"—among them many members of the Wlassow Army [aka, Vlasov Army = Russian Liberation Army, mostly Russian forces led by Andrey Vlasov, a defected Red Army general, that fought on the Nazi side], who later were turned over to the Soviets—in the hold of the former German banana ship Widhuk, in a huge convoy bound for New York. Thus began my acquaintance with the USA, which I unintentionally helped win the war by husking corn and harvesting sugar beets and potatoes in Nebraska. I also acted as camp interpreter and taught POWs English, and officers of a bomber group stationed at an air base near our camp, German. (This unit was to be transferred to a base in western Germany in the event that the Cold War turned hot. Its B-29s could have penetrated deeply into Soviet territory.) The tensions that had begun to develop between the two power blocks as soon as the war in Europe and the Far East had ended were also the reason why the former soldiers of the German Wehrmacht [Army] in the US were not repatriated at the beginning of 1946 but turned over to Great Britain, where preparations were made for the formation of German units to fight on the side of the Western allies. However, the British separated the Austrians from the former Reichsdeutsche, and in July 1946 I saw Austria again.
In September of that year, I resumed my studies at the University of Vienna. I was able to finish them in June 1949 because veterans were credited with one semester for each two years lost on account of the war, provided they passed all prescribed exams. In 1948, I applied for one of the scholarships offered by the United States High Commissioner for Austria. The argument that I wanted to see the United States again (but not through barbed wire), my command of American English, and my acquaintance with many aspects of American ways—the first of the many books I read as a POW was Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People—gained me a scholarship at the University of California at Los Angeles for the 1949/50 academic year. After my return to Austria, I was offered the position of Executive Secretary of the newly-constituted United States Educational Commission in Austria. Along with Franz Topol, who was appointed finance officer of the Commission at the same time, I immediately began to make preparations for the execution of the first program year of 1951/52.
At the end of World War II, the United States had enormous quantities not only of weapons and ammunition but also of everything else the world’s best-equipped armed forces needed in the various theaters of war: field hospitals, tents, barracks, beds and bedding, motor vehicles, completely equipped repair shops, road and bridge building equipment, field kitchens, food stores, medical supplies, radio installations, print shops, office and audiovisual equipment, etc. When the war was over, all of this appeared no longer to be needed—in the United States, that is! It would have cost more in terms of money, manpower, and logistics to transport it back to the United States than could have been gained from selling it there as war surplus. But war-ravaged Europe and Asia were in dire need of these on-site treasures, and the United States sold them to the countries which wanted them at a fraction of what they had cost and was willing to accept "local currencies" in light of the fact that European countries had no dollars. As a result of these sales, the United States accrued huge credits, and it was upon Senator Fulbright’s initiative that these credits came to be available for financing educational exchanges.
Expenses incurred by American grantees in the countries participating in the program, which quickly came to be known by the name of its creator, were covered by reserves accrued in the local, initially soft, currencies, and nationals of those countries were given a chance to go to the United States to study, to teach, and to pursue research, provided, first, that a carrier (in the first years of the program invariably a shipping line) accepted payment in a soft currency for its services and second, if the grantees had the necessary institutional affiliation, which in most cases meant admission to a recognized institution of higher education and on-site dollar support. These latter requirements could seldom be met by the applicants on their own, who for the most part had been helped by the Institute of International Education in New York or other American not-for-profit organizations, which arranged for, or mediated support by, philanthropic societies, foundations, service organizations like Rotary clubs, churches, student fraternities, etc. Under the terms of their grants, the grantees were required to return to their countries of origin after their stays in the USA. The Fulbright program was not to be an immigration facilitation program. Participating countries wanted to benefit from the US experience of the grantees they sent to the United States upon their return, and the United States rightfully expected grantees to go back home with a better understanding of American institutions and the proverbial American way of life. [This "home-residency requirement" is still part of Fulbright visa sponsorship. Recipients of so-called J-1 or academic exchange visas must leave the United States upon the completion of their programs and may not re-enter the country as an emigrant or for temporary or permanent employment until after they have fulfilled a two year home-residency requirement.]
The first group of American Fulbright scholars in 1951 came to a country where the traces of the war that had ended only six years previously were omnipresent. The grantees were not only struck by the many ruins but by the many invalids. Austria also was occupied, and the "Four in a Jeep" were reality, not only a movie [a 1951 movie set in post-WW-II Vienna, the "four" being military policemen representing each of the occupying nations]. I had met the initial group of U.S. grantees in Innsbruck to travel with them by train to Vienna. (They had landed at Le Havre and had taken a train from Paris to Innsbruck, which was in the French zone of occupation.) I remember the unease that pervaded the group when we reached the bridge over the Enns River that formed the demarcation line between the American and Soviet zones of occupation and Soviet soldiers checked our car.
After the initial years, there was no more rationing in Austria, but many items that were staples in the United States, like orange juice or peanut butter, were simply not available at the local grocer’s. It was particularly difficult in those years to find adequate housing for the grantees. In light of the amount of damage done by bombing and shelling—the Donaukanal [Danube Canal] had been one of the main lines of resistance to the Soviet advance in Vienna—as well as the neglect caused by two wars and the resulting impoverishment of the bourgeoisie and the strict rent control that had discouraged investment in private construction, the standard of the rooms offered to the Commission was sometimes rather low. People who had suitable rooms in the zones occupied by the Western allies would either not let them or often demand rents too high for the grantees. I remember with admiration the understanding attitude of many grantees, who were not deterred by pre-war plumbing. During those initial years, the Commission had to ask the Board of Foreign Scholarships, the central authority for the administration of the Fulbright program, to warn applicants, particularly senior scholars with families, that living conditions in Austria often were simply not what they were used to in America. The Commission secretariat tried to help as much as possible. Every room was inspected, and the terms of the lease were negotiated by a member of the Commission staff before a room was offered to a grantee. In time, we had a pool or reliable addresses at our disposal.
All other aspects of life in Austria at that time, particularly in the context of their academic undertakings, were touched upon in the written and oral orientation of the grantees. Throughout the year, the Commission secretariat also sent them an information bulletin titled Was ist Los? [What's Happening?] dealing with academic life in Austria, administrative matters, important events, Austrian customs and folklore, sports, etc. Special guides explaining, for example, Austrian food terms or mores, such as the arcane use of the familiar Du [you], were conceived to make life in Austria easier for them. Excursions to points of interest in the countryside surrounding Vienna necessitated the application for permits by the Soviet authorities via the US Embassy. Since I was an ardent skier, I arranged the participation of Fulbright scholars in the ski courses in some of the most scenic areas of Austria conducted by the Universitätsturnanstalt [University Gymnastics Institute] during the Christmas recess. These and other extracurricular activities, like visits to museums and historic sites, or the occasional visit to a Heurigen [winery] created many lasting friendships and a true esprit de corps.
The American grantees—students, research scholars, and teachers—were, without exception, highly competent, well motivated and thus excellent representatives of their country. Those in the student category all were graduates. Many were historians who did research in Austrian archives for their doctoral dissertations. Scholars specializing in Austrian literature, musicologists, and musicians also were well represented, of course. The latter made full use of the rich offerings of Austria’ s musical life.
As far as academe was concerned, the American grantees had to adjust to peculiarities prevailing at the time, such as the distance separating students from teachers. This also was something that American scholars in Austria experienced, who were used to greater student participation in the classroom. To help the grantees cope with this situation—and remembering the assistance I had received at UCLA—I suggested to the Commission that it invite Austrian faculty members, preferably with American experience, to act as Vertrauensdozenten [liaison lecturers] for incoming US faculty grantees.
Policymakers in Washington understandably attached great importance to propagating American studies in the countries participating in the Fulbright program and consequently encouraged American experts to teach American studies in Austria, too. Sometimes these experts were disappointed by what they perceived as a lack of interest in the field on the part of Austrian students. The reason was not disinterest, however, but the fact that the emphasis in the curricula of the English departments—and only there were qualified students to be found—traditionally was on Great Britain and the Commonwealth. The Austrian professors teaching at those departments had thorough British experiences but almost never American ones. Therefore, Amerikanistik [American studies] was not yet a field in which Anglisten [English studies] were required to take exams in order to obtain a degree. The situation was changing not only at the Austrian universities but throughout Western Europe as the USA made its weight felt in the struggle between East and West that had begun as soon as World War II had ended. In this struggle, the Austrians, who knew what it meant to be liberated by the Red Army and also were benefiting from the Marshal Plan, CARE, etc., unquestionably were on the side of the angels.
As the Fulbright program progressed, increasing numbers of former Austrian grantees assumed positions in government, the private sector, and institutions of higher education. The number of applicants far exceeded the number of grants available. The American grantees teaching at Austrian secondary schools also did their part in increasing the interest of young Austrians in the United States. Teaching at Austrian schools was invariably a satisfying experience for these teachers. They found their students alert and disciplined, which was not surprising because after the war many of the, mostly male, Austrian teachers had been officers or noncoms in two wars and commanded respect.
For most of the American Fulbrighters, it was a novel experience to look at their own country from the outside and, during those years when Europe was trying to recover from the material and spiritual damage done in the most terrible wars the Continent had ever experienced, to learn that there were people who, in spite of many shortcomings, somehow managed not only to survive but occasionally even got a kick out of life.
For me, the American experience continued in 1956 when I was given the opportunity by the Austrian Government to go to New York to prepare the ground for the establishment of an Austrian Cultural Institute. In doing so, I was able to count on the help of many of the former US grantees, who had become members of the faculties of prestigious American universities, and on former staff members of the U.S. Embassy in Vienna: Mr. Joseph M. Roland and Dr. Wilder E. Spaulding, in particular. I cooperated with Dr. Spaulding when he wrote The Quiet Invaders, which is still the best book on the contributions of Austrian immigrants to American life and civilization. After my return to Austria in 1967, I was able to draw further on my Fulbright experience when I prepared a study upon which the Austrian Government based its decision to make endowments (on the occasion of the bicentennial celebration of the Declaration of Independence in 1976) to the University of Minnesota to establish the Center for Austrian Studies and to Stanford University for a chair for visiting Austrian scholars.
Last but not least, I met the girl who was to become my wife when she came to the Fulbright secretariat to inquire about a grant, and the two older of our three sons were born in New York and have dual citizenship, while the third and youngest, who was born in Vienna, currently is teaching mathematics at Princeton University. And this all started on that 27th day of July, 1944, when that unknown GI did not pull the trigger.
5) HISTORICAL BB NEWSLETTER ARTICLES
Editor: This is part of our series designed to recycle interesting articles from the BB Newsletters of 10 years ago. In the February 2007 edition, Gerry published an article about the silk and garment industry factories of Allentown, PA, that provided work for many unskilled Burgenland emigrants, including some of his own family members. It was tedious work but put bread on the table.
THE BURGENLAND BUNCH NEWS No. 160A
February 28, 2007
WORK FOR BURGENLAND IMMIGRANTS - THE ALLENTOWN SILK INDUSTRY (by Gerry Berghold)
The following query from the RootsWeb Burgenland Board caught my interest:
Correspondent writes: "Both my mother's family and my father's mother's family all came from Burgenland to Allentown between 1903-1907. Nearly all of them ended up in the silk mills. As I have done research I see that many other Burgenländers ended up in the silk mills as well. I know it was a good work opportunity since the silk mill owners in Paterson, NJ, began building mills in Allentown to break the 1913 Socialist movement in their mills there, but with virtually no main industry in Burgenland at the time, how did so many find success in the silk industry?"
To which I respond: One of the main "pull" factors that brought Burgenland immigrants to the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania was the demand for labor. Of particular importance was the fact that much of this demand was for unskilled (and therefore cheap) labor that could be trained. One industry in dire need of labor was the newly-formed silk industry that began in Allentown in the summer of 1880. Few Burgenland immigrants, coming from a mainly rural background, had any particular skill, although some had been apprenticed in the building, garment, blacksmith and similar trades. Lack of a skill was especially true of female workers, although there was a tobacco-product mill in southern Burgenland (at Szent Gotthárd) that employed women. Many of these found pre-marriage work in the Allentown cigar factories.
In 1881, the large Adelaide Silk Mill opened in Allentown. Its success paved the way for more; the number growing to over 100 mills between 1890 and 1930. In 1928, the peak year, there 143 mills in the Lehigh Valley. By 1928, silk and textile production was the second-largest industry in Lehigh County. The weaving of silk led to other industries: dye works, loom parts, spindles, shuttles, quills, shipping, etc. By the early 1930s, the silk industry declined worldwide and synthetics took the place of silk. By 1941, 85% of the production involved rayon and acetate. The last silk mill in Allentown, Catoir Silk Mill, closed in 1989.
Immigrants, both men and women, were hired and informally apprenticed to previously trained workers. It was necessary for the apprentice to subsidize his trainer. As they gained experience they were absorbed in production and took part in training others. Some became weavers, loom fixers, or foremen... the top jobs. Others had less-skilled jobs such as quillers and helpers... lower paid jobs. A quiller earned 12 cents an hour ($6.48 a week) while warpers and weavers earned as much as $30 a week. Until the 1930s, the usual work week was ten hours a day from Monday to Friday and four hours on Saturday. Piecework was the norm between 1920-1940. There was major labor unrest in the 1930s, one of the factors that helped lead to the eventual decline of the mills. By the end of the 1950s, the weaving mills were mostly gone, torn down or converted to other production, but as far as Burgenland immigrants were concerned, they had served their purpose and their descendants had been absorbed into the other industries of mainstream America.
The proximity of fabric mills attracted the garment industry, and countless immigrant women worked sewing garments, often on a piece-work basis. There were three weaving mills and two garment mills within walking distance of my maternal grandparent's home, one at each end of the 600 block of Jordan Street (the Royal and Sondra factories). I often sat on the front porch and watched the employees go to and from work. These Burgenland immigrants were mainly a blue-collar workforce, but their descendants are now found throughout American industry at all levels of employment. My uncle would say, "Do well in school or you'll end up in the mill like me!" Not as bad as it sounds: he worked as an experienced loom fixer, whose expertise was in great demand. He retired before his mill went out of business. For immigrants, meaningful work was one of the promises of America.
(ED. [Gerry] Note: Some of the above will be found in "The Silk Industry In The Lehigh Valley," a Lehigh County Historical Society Publication, Allentown, PA, 1993. It contains lists of the mills, dates of operation and illustrations. While it is silent concerning Burgenland immigrants, per se, their involvement in silk and allied mill production is well-known family history; a dozen of my family members and many neighbors worked in the mills at one time or another.)
6) ETHNIC EVENTS
LEHIGH VALLEY, PA
Sunday, March 5: Cabbage Hill Day at the Lancaster Liederkranz. Entertainment by Die Immergrün Musikanten and club singers and folk dancers. Info: www.lancasterliederkranz.com
Saturday, March 18: Bockbierfest at the Lancaster Liederkranz. Music by Heidi & Heimatecho. Info: www.lancasterliederkranz.com
Sunday, March 26: Schlachtfest at the Holy Family Club in Nazareth. Music by the Josef Kroboth Orchestra. Info; www.holyfamilyclub.com
NEW BRITAIN, CT
Friday, March 3, 7 pm: Heimat Abend. Austrian Donau Club, 545 Arch Street, $3. Music by Joe Rogers and his band.
Friday, March 17, 7:30 pm: Heurigan Abend. Austrian Donau Club, 545 Arch Street, $3. Music by Schachtelgebirger Musikanten.
Sunday, March 5, Noon to 5 pm: Midwest BB Winter Meeting to be held at the Maple Grove Library, 8001 Main St, Maple Grove, MN. Info: sites.google.com/site/bbmidwest
7) BURGENLAND EMIGRANT OBITUARIES
Frank Wirth, 89, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, passed away Jan. 29, 2017 at Good Shepherd Specialty Hospital, Bethlehem.
He was the husband of Martha (Glaessmann) Wirth for 64 years.
Born in Rábafüzes (Raabfidisch), Hungary, he was a son of the late Karl and Maria (Malitsch) Wirth.
He is survived by his wife; son Frank W. Wirth (Beverly Evans) of Slatington; daughter Rita Tolotti of Allentown; sisters Margaret and Hilda; brother Julius Wirth; two grandchildren, Ashley and Abby; nieces and nephews.
Services: viewing starting at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 2 at Nicos C. Elias Funeral Home, 1227 W. Hamilton St., Allentown with funeral service at 11:00 with Rev. Paul Xander officiating. Interment at Grandview Cemetery.
Published in Morning Call on Jan. 31, 2017
Erna Waschitsch (née Entler)
Erna Waschitsch 94, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, passed away January 31, 2017.
Erna was the wife of the late Joseph Waschitsch, with whom she shared 64 years of marriage.
Born in Kukmirn, Austria, she was the daughter of the late Adolf and Anna (Vollmann) Entler.
She was a sales clerk in the Lehigh Valley for many years. Erna enjoyed traveling and was a member of the former St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church, where she served as a volunteer.
Survivors: Nieces and cousins and numerous friends.
Services: Private at the convenience of the family. Contributions: In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Meals on Wheels of Lehigh County. 4234 Dorney Park Rd. Allentown, PA 18104. www.weberfuneralhomes.com
Published in Morning Call on Feb. 2, 2017
Theresa Spegel (née Weber)
Theresa Spegel, 92, of Spring Hill, Florida, passed away February 13, 2017.
Born on August 22, 1924 in Rábafüzes (Raabfidisch), Hungary, she was the daughter of the late Johann and Theresia (Schmidt) Weber.
Theresa is survived by her loving husband, Erhard, nephew, Alan Hackstock, 2 nieces, Linda Ilkanic and Rainer Fichtl and loving family.
A Gathering will be held February 16th from 10 to 11 at 280 Mariner Boulevard. Burial will be held on February 16th at 12:30 at Florida National Cemetery.
Published online on February 13, 2017 courtesy of Tributes.com
John Weber, 94, of Northampton, Pennsylvania, passed away peacefully on Thursday, February 16, 2017 at Phoebe Home, Allentown.
He was the husband of the late Szabina (Rabold) Weber.
Born November 17, 1922 in Vaskeresztes (Grossdorf), Hungary, he was the son of the late Josef and Margareta (Kuzmits) Weber.
John worked at Cross Country Clothes for 30 years. He was a member of Queenship of Mary Catholic Church, Northampton.
Survivors: son, John Weber; daughters, Rose, wife of Edward Bendekovitz and Mary, wife of Richard Leitold; grandchildren, Monica, Eric and wife Nicole, Kelsea and Rick. He was predeceased by sisters, Catherine and Irma.
Services: A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, February 21st at 10:30 a.m. in Queenship of Mary Church, 1324 Newport Ave., Northampton. Family and friends may call Monday 6 - 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday 9 - 10:00 a.m. in the Reichel Funeral Home, 326 E. 21st St., Northampton. Burial will follow in Our Lady of Hungary Cemetery, Northampton. Online condolences may be submitted at www.reichelfuneralhome.com. Contributions: Memorials may be presented to the church c/o funeral home.
Published in Morning Call on Feb. 19, 2017
Angela Seagreaves (née Schatz)
Angela A. Seagreaves, 95, of Orefield, Pennsylvania, passed away peacefully Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at Sacred Heart Senior Living, Northampton.
She was the wife of the late Clayton Bruder and Donald Seagreaves.
Born November 25, 1921 in Urbersdorf, Austria, she was the daughter of the late Josef and Johanna (Stranzl) Schatz.
Angela worked at Vultree Aircraft making torpedo bombers and later she worked at General Electric.
Survivors: sons, Don Seagreaves and his wife, Kathy, Scott Bruder, 4 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren and sister, Irene Gollatz.
Services: Private services were under the direction of the Reichel Funeral Home, Northampton. Contributions: Memorials may be presented to the Sanctuary at Haafsville, 901 Nestle Way, Breinigsville, PA. 18031.
Published in Morning Call on Feb. 21, 2017
|END OF NEWSLETTER (Even good things must end!)
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