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Felizienthal

History of the German Language Enclave in Eastern Galicia

1835 – 1939

By Siegfried Grüdl

Below is the Table of Contents of this 604 page book, translated by GGD with the permission of the author.
The entire book has been translated by GGD and is available to GGD members.

Foreword

5

Bohemia

7

German colonization of Galicia

11

Settlement Patent

19

Settlers from Bohemia

22

Galicia

30

Settlement Stories

38

German tribesmen

40

The German-Bohemian settlements

43

Emigration from Galicia

45

Emigrant Ships and passenger lists

49

Speech Island Felizienthal

52

Names occurring in Felizienthal

74

Felizienthal

80

Annaberg

99

Karlsdorf

109

Smorze

123

Tucholka

138

Klimiec

145

Skole

153

Construction of the parish church Felizienthal

155

Church relations

157

Felizienthaler Pastor

162

Mayor

164

Egerländers in Galicia

166

Banknotes from Galicia

167

German Schulnot

169

For school and home

171

Special features of the landscape organization

172

War in Galicia

179

Feldpostbrief

190

Ukrainians Ruthenians

191

Jewish citizens

193

Market day in Smorze

201

Letter to Father

204

Schmidt Rössler ancestors

205

Experiences and stories

207

Our Family History

210

Silent Night, Holy Night

212

Childhood memories

215

Travel back in time

217

My cradle stood in the East

226

Holy Mother Anna

238

Childhood in Karlsdorf

239

Tombs in Galicia

245

This is my life running from my childhood

250

A travel experience

252

Customs, Manners and Family Events

255

House name

265

Wedding Customs in Karlsdorf

268

Felizienthaler Bethlehem Play

270

Galician and Ukrainian dishes

280

The sacred letter

286

Tell the Germans

292

Songs from Galicia

308

Strange Country Galicia

323

The 2nd World War begins

325

The resettlement 1939/1940

330

Settlement data 1940

350

History of our family Kraus

358

The time in Upper Silesia 1940-1945

363

Partisans

367

Killed and missing in both World Wars

368

Unexpected encounter

375

The fate of Felizienthaler Church

377

Fundraising

380

Travelogue 2009

382

Church Felizienthal

385

Chronology East Galizien

388

Maps

393

Documents and certificates

404

Civil status documents

441

Photos

503

Home meeting

600

Correspondence with research centers and archives

601

Sources

602

Space for notes

604

Rehfeld: A Former Settlement of German Colonists in Ukraine

In 2007 my wife and I bought a small building in the village of Sernyky, near Bibrka, in the Peremyshlyany district of Lviv province in Ukraine. According to the locals, the building had been constructed and occupied by German settlers who were repatriated to Germany in 1940, a few months after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that resulted in the Nazi-Soviet partition of Poland in September 1939. Sernyky encompasses the former German settlement known as Rehfeld (a serna, in Ukrainian, is a Reh, or deer, in German).

The building is comparatively small (6x12 meters), but its orderly design and architectural characteristics differ from those of the other village houses. As I embarked on a full-scale renovation of the house, I also read up on the history of Germans in Galicia. I hadn’t known that they had been here for over 150 years and regarded the land as their homeland. And, despite the difficult times, they enjoyed good relations with their Ukrainian neighbors, who benefited greatly from the agricultural, technological, and civic skills the Germans possessed. It’s hard to imagine how the Germans must have felt in January 1940, when they were told to leave their homeland with the few possessions that could fit in a small wagon.

In his recently published history of Sernyky, Vasyl Laba, a native of the village and historian (with a score of books on Galicia’s villages and towns), notes that, starting in 1780-1785, Rehfeld consisted of 14 German families and two chapels, one of which appears to have been as large as a church. The smaller chapel was located on a small road that is still called German Street today and that leads to German Valley. Older village residents still remember the Germans. My elderly neighbor, Anna Khmyz, told me that the family that lived in “our” house was named Lang (Laba’s history of Sernyky mentions one Adam Lang and his three children), that the Germans built passageways between their barns and their houses and therefore didn’t need to step outside in order to feed their livestock in the winter, and that some former German residents visited Sernyky in 2000. Apparently, an elderly woman from Germany even recognized the house she had lived in as a child.

As to “our” house, we tried to preserve as much as possible of its original design and appearance while renovating it. Old houses have souls, and they retain them long after their original dwellers have left.

We also decided to fix the little chapel on German Street, especially after someone stole the wooden statue of the Virgin Mary and the icon of Saint Judas Tadeo in 2008. Although both items were miraculously recovered soon thereafter, we knew we had to act quickly to preserve these historical treasures. My brother, Lubomyr, who works as a sculptor in Berlin, made a copy of the statue, while the Lviv Art Gallery made a copy of the icon. Both originals were then placed in the safekeeping of the Gallery. We then took to renovating the chapel from top to bottom while retaining all its original features. The local villagers helped enormously, providing labor and construction materials gratis. Take a look at the “before” and “after” photos.

We dedicated the chapel on July 11, 2009, which happened to be my birthday. And, in honor of the German colonists who had once contributed so much to Galicia, we ate an old-style German onion cake, baked from a recipe I found on the www.galiziengermandescendants.org website.

Write to us! Better still, come visit Sernyky-Rehfeld and celebrate your German heritage with us!

Zenovij Drevnyak from the Ukraine in 2012

You can see pictures of his home and the restored chapel statues on our GGD Village Photo Album

For the contact information for Zenovij Drevnyak, contact the GGD webmaster.