Neu-Pasua

 

A Short Homeland Book

 

By

Mathias Huber

Reutlingen, Pentecost 1974

 

 (The following is a translation of portions of the above publication.)

 

Foreword:

 

  With the publication of the Homeland Book in 1956 the basic foundation of the history of our former home community was laid.  The Homeland Book was compiled by Dr. (Mrs.) Hudjetz-Löber.  It included the very exceptional Family Register that was authored by our former village pastor, Jakob Rometsch.

 

  Following the publication and appearance of the Homeland Book further merit worthy contributions were assembled.  They enhance and expand the historical chronicle of our home community.

 

  The contributions with regard to the statistical information on the inhabitants of Neu-Pasua at the time of our flight on October 6, 1944 were assembled and organized by a number of persons who were well familiar with our home community and their work can be accepted as being accurate.  All of those who worked on it are to be heartily thanked.  In this regard we further note that several of the smaller streets that had unfamiliar names before the last war are identified by the new names that were in use for the purpose of the statistical information.  As is well known, the whole area known as “Klein Vojka” was counted as part of the Bahnstrasse.

 

  Finally I thank all our countrymen who provided individual contributions or historical information to me about our home community.

 

  I hope that this present work can add a further cornerstone to the history of Neu-Pasua.

 

  Reutlingen, Pentecost 1974                                   Mathias Huber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Emigration of our Ancestors:

 

  Two hundred years ago there was great economic need in Germany.  Those who had some land of their own had to work industriously without any outside assistance while those who had no land had to live on beggary for months at a time.

 

  At that time, the borders of Austria extended from Baden to the Banat.  As a result of the wars with the Turks there was a great deal of deserted, unpopulated and desolate land.  The Empress Maria Theresia was very much involved in settling and developing these lands as was her successor and son Jospeh II.  A series of agents from Vienna were sent to the Rhineland.  During the years of settlement from 1747-1778 over twenty entirely German villages inhabited mostly by Roman Catholic settlers were established in the Banat, the eastern Batschka and west of the Tisza River.  Many Serbian hamlets were expanded into larger communities through the addition of German settlers.  The new arrivals received land allotments, a house with all the necessary utensils all at the expense of the State.  This is what attracted more and more people and even though there were now sufficient numbers of settlers another large group of Swabians were on their way around 1790; most of whom came on foot as far as Ulm or others as far as Vienna and then boarded ships and travelled down the Danube River.  Those who went on ahead received directions and instructions either in Vienna or Budapest as to which settlement area they were to head towards as did those who followed after them later but the upkeep and support they received for the journey was less than adequate.

 

  They came down the Danube close to the vicinity of Belgrade which did not prove to be the Promised Land; instead they had jumped from the frying pan into the fire.  The last major war between Austria and the Turks was in full swing in the area from 1788-1791 and the Military Administration in Semlin had no idea of where to send the settlers.  By now the people had spent all of their travel allowance and the savings they had brought with them and were in terrible straits.

 

  J.K. Soppron, the historian of Semlin, reported several instances related to these settlers.  “Katharina Wittmann, a widow, requests that since her son Johannes has been taken for training by a military officer and she found herself ill and would no longer receive the daily 3 Kreuzer support money in the near future she desires to be settled in Serbia.”  The maintenance and support provisions were only in effect until May 15, 1791.  Most of the settlers were down with fever and were unable to earn their bread because the only work available was in the vineyards which was work with which they were unacquainted.

 

  None of the surrounding Serbian or Croatian villages took the settlers in.  Lengthy and protracted deliberations with the Imperial Court Chamber in Vienna followed.  In the meantime, they sent the destitute people to the Slovak village of Stara Posova that lay about an hour north of Semlin and had been settled in 1770.  Their co-religionists (fellow Lutherans) who spoke another language received them in a very friendly manner, became the Godparents of several of the children, and welcomed them with various acts of kindness.  The first entry in the church records dealing with the Swabian settlers informs us that Johann Ellenberger a bachelor married Maria the widow of Friedrich Schneider on September 27, 1791.  In addition, Kaspar, the son of Kaspar and Katharina Lang born on October 2, 1791 and Johannes Peter Scheffler from the Duchy of Württemberg both died on Octoberr 14, 1791.

 

  They found shelter in several half fallen down border guard posts.  Up until 1781 the southern border along the Sava River was constantly kept under guard.  There was a citizens’ militia made up of farmers in the surrounding villages known as Grenzers (border guards) who took turns every several days in doing sentry duty.  This is the way the defence of the border against the Turks was organized along the Danube in the southern Batschka after 1748.  They consisted primarily of married Serbs who had fled northward in 1690 and loved to fight the Turks.

 

  After the Turks were driven further to the south there were those among the citizen soldier families that migrated southwards to be closer to their old beloved homeland along the new Sava River southern border.  That was also the case at Stara Pasova and they apparently moved on after several decades so that the Swabians took up residence in their abandoned mud huts.

 

 

The Settlement of Neu-Pasua (Nova Pasova or New Pasua):

 

  Finally, a definitive location where they could settle and live was assigned to them six kilometres to the south, consisting of those parcels of land that were combined together for this purpose plus a small section of another and was given the name Nova Pasova.  But things would not go well for the settlers for very long.  The unfamiliar climate took its toll.  In the second half of October 1791 three adults and three children from among the small group of sixty families died.  Alongside the health hazards another dark cloud hung over the settlement.  Early in the summer of 1791 Bishop Matthew Franciscus Krtica of Djakovo, in whose diocese the new settlement was being established raised   complaints in Varsadin.  He pointed out that the people were adherents of the Augsburg Confession (Lutherans) and if they were tolerated their teachers could easily enter the entire province and the entire northern region up to the border.  He appealed to a law passed that same year forbidding adherents of the Augsburg and Helvitic (Swiss) Confessions to settle in Dalmatia, Croatia and Slavonia with the exception of Lower Slavonia.  The issue was brought forward in Zagreb addressed to the Ban, Johannes Erdödy, the governor of the region and sent on to the Government Chancellery in Ofen (Buda) and eventually reached Vienna.  In the end, the ordinances of the past prevailed and no guarantees were given for the future.  During the times that followed the people were often threatened with expulsion.  It was only as a result of the Austrian and Italian War of 1850 that Austria put forward a toleration clause in the new Constitution and things got better for the Protestant settlers.  What the people had to endure to maintain their spiritual life and faith is a subject that needs to be addressed elsewhere; here we simply mention it to note that they did not enjoy the same favourable situation that the Protestants in the Batschka received.

 

  In the State plan of the village it was to have had four streets that intersected at the centre.  “In the very early years of settlement and following the constant rains a virtual lake was created around the village to such an extent that the western section became totally uninhabitable so that the fourth street that faced the east had to be abandoned because the majority of the houses that were built there were under water and later caved in.”  The houses on the street were later rebuilt after applying landfill to the house lots and the section from the church to the small lane (Gasslein) that begins at the cemetery as far as the orphanage was given the name:  Wasser Gasse (Water Street).  Shortly before the turn of the century the section was given the name:  Zottel Gasse.  For as long as we were there it was commonplace for people to catch fish from behind their houses.

 

  Ten years of freedom from paying taxes was also granted but once the time lapsed they were responsible to pay back the cost of their houses and the other costs involved in their settlement to the State which was fully accomplished by 1807.

 

  A small church was built quite early but by the 1830s it was far too small as well as badly in need of repairs.  Finally in 1837 there was agreement for the expansion and construction of a larger church beginning with the building of a tower that would befit the proportions of the much larger new prospective church.  Because the construction costs would be covered by the State Ministry of Finance the plan was forwarded to Vienna to the appropriate officials.  In one year’s time the plan was returned due to a flaw with regard to the prospective tower that did not appear to be suitable and in conformity to the architecture of the church.  A new plan had to be made and sent back.  The plan simply sat there in Vienna for four years despite frequent inquiries.  This was at a time when a great degree of hostility and intolerance was directed against the Lutherans.  Finally in 1842 word was received:  “His Imperial Majesty has signified his gracious pleasure and acceptance of the report of the approval of the Imperial Royal War Office of February 28th of this year to the request of the Lutheran congregation of Nova Pasova to build their Bethaus (Prayer House) along with a sacristy in addition to a clock tower.”

 

  Finally the construction contract could be awarded but the approval by the Border Regiment for that purpose was only received in December.  In the spring of 1843 the construction began and the rather simple tower was completed in 1844 after almost ten years of effort on the part of the congregation.

 

  The above information comes from an excerpt from, “Samuel Schuhmacher, a Herald of the Youth Organization of the Christian Endeavour Society among the Danube Swabians,” by Friedrich Renz.

 

 

  The following is a synopsis of the statistical information given on page seven based on the situation on the day of the Flight on October 6, 1944:

 

 1,153         Houses

 5,880         Inhabitants

 5,812         German Lutherans

     11         German Roman Catholics

     31         Croats

       5         Slovaks

       1         Serb

       2         Czechs

      18        Gypsies

 

  Second World War losses up to October 6, 1944

 

124               Men

 

 

The Military Administration of Alt-Pasua, Neu-Pasua and Woika

 

  The ethnographic and topographic documents relating to the communities of Alt-Pasua, Neu-Pasua and Woika for the Peterwardein Border Regiment Nr. 9, responsible to the Governor of the Crown Lands of the Serbian Vojwodina and the Temesvár Banat in the years 1859/1860 are written in the German language and are handwritten.  From that period of time there are 219 handwritten reports related to these communities in the State Archives in Temesvár.

 

  We are indebted to Professor Anton Scherer, an instructor and teacher at the University of Graz for the discovery of these documents.

 

A Footnote

 

  The following accounts are from the original documents of the three Grenzer (border) communities.  In order not to stray too far from the original handwritten records we have maintained the primary military usages of the past.  However, primarily for the sake of younger readers engaged in research the author has inserted the contemporary German words for those terms and old usages that are no longer in use.  Lesser known words are explained in brackets.  There are some statements in the original records that contradict other information but the reader should not allow that to upset him.

 

Peterwardein Border Regiment Nr 9/10 Company

 

  This is the compilation and presentation of data for a historical and geographical record of the Serbian Banat Region and the adjoining Imperial and Royal Military Frontier District, Temesvár, January 8, 1859.

 

Section 1

 

  Locales:  1. Village of Alt-Pasua  2.  Village of Neu-Pasua  3. Village of Woika 

 

 

  1. History of These Locales

  Alt-Pasua was established with the settlement of Slovaks from Upper Hungary (present day Slovakia) in 1770 and Neu Pasua came into existence with the settlement of Germans whose origins were in Württemberg in 1790/1791.  Before the founding of Neu-Pasua, Alt-Pasua was simply known as Pasua.  A portion of the village of Alt-Pasua was previously settled by Serbs.  Woika (now known as Vojka) has existed since time immemorial farther back than Roman times.

 

  The inhabitants of Alt and Neu-Pasua are Lutheran.  The first are Slovaks and the latter Germans.  As mentioned previously a portion of the residents in Alt-Pasua are Serbs.  The inhabitants of Woika are Slavs of Orthodox and Uniat faith.  The occupation of the inhabitants is farming and cattle herding.  Up until twenty years ago immigration played a prominent role.  The population rose sharply:

 

  1.  Alt-Pasua numbered                1,563 males    1,499 females          Slovaks

                                                           403 males       376 females          Serbs

 

  2.  Neu-Pasua numbered                  742 males       764 females         Germans

 

  3.  Woika                                        l,355 males    1,314 females         Slavs

 

  Alt-Pasua had one Lutheran Church, one Greek Orthodox and one Uniat Church; one Public School and one Military School.

 

  Neu-Pasua had one Lutheran Church and a Public School operated by the congregation.

 

  Woika had a centuries’ old solid church but was in need of repairs in 1857 due to its dilapidated condition, one Public School and from 1811-1822 a German school operated there.

 

  Industries:

 

  None of the three locales had any local industries.  Alt-Pasua has four better class stores:  House Petrovic has a variety of goods and a license to sell liquor; a silk spinning operation; a brickworks and cattle trading.  The town has two annual market days.  Since 1822 Alt-Pasua has become Company Headquarters.  Prior to that time it was in Woika.

 

 

  1. The Geographical Location of the Three Locales

 

  The three communities are situated in the corner where the Danube and Sava Rivers meet.  There is a slope from the north to the south.  There are no creeks, lakes or forests.  Woika lies at the lowest level of the slope.  All three locales fall under the political, judicial and military authority of the Peterwardein Regiment with its headquarters in Mitrowitz.

 

 

  1. Authorities and Public Offices

 

  The Company Headquarters, a post office, German, Slovak and Serbian schools are all located in Alt-Pasua.  In Neu-Pasua there is a secondary military Headquarter while in Woika there is one with a higher degree of authority.  There are established church parishes in all three locales.

 

 

  1. State of the Roads and Travel

 

  In all three locales there are streets but they are without a foundation or base, 32 metres wide with a ditch on both sides and side streets and lead from one locale to the other.  During the summer months they are good to travel on but during the winter and at times of sustained rainy weather they are very bad.  The postal route leads from Peterwardein over to Alt and Neu-Pasua towards Semlin.  There are no railways or canals.

 

 

  1. Mountains

 

  There are no mountains or any high elevations.

 

 

  1. Landscape

 

  There is no exceptional landscape scenery because of the lack of any valley formations.

 

 

  1. Water Resources

 

  There are no water reservoirs outside of the marshes around Woika.

 

 

Section III

 

Condition of the Acreage

 

  The land is divided equally in all three locales in terms of cultivated land, meadows and pasturage.

 

  Alt-Pasua has 4,825 Joch (the amount of land a man can plough with in an ox in one day) of cultivated land, 1,547 Joch of meadows, 1,445 Joch of pasture land and household gardens.

 

  Neu-Pasua has 2,090 Joch of cultivated land, 1,343 Joch of meadows, 175 Joch of household gardens.

 

  Woika has 5,047 Joch of cultivated land, 1,405 Joch of meadows, 1,936 Joch of pasture land and 425 Joch of household gardens.

 

  The quality of the soil is first class.  The German fertilizes and works his land the best; the Slav relies on whatever nature provides and does not fertilize and works haphazardly.  The acreage is cultivated primarily by sowing two different crops simultaneously; wheat and oats, barley and maize (corn).  The result even in good years does not meet the entire needs of the Slovaks and Slavs.  They have to make up for that by selling livestock.  The Germans in comparison produced more than they required for themselves.  The danger of flooding existed only in Woika.  The owners of the land are enlisted Grenzers.  Day labourers, tradesmen and such only have their house and gardens as property.

 

  There are no exemplary businesses or farm operations.  There is seldom a shortage of hay.  Only the Germans and Slovaks bring in a second crop of hay.  The growing of fruit is poorly developed and is intended only for their own use.

 

 

Produce and Businesses

 

  There are no vineyards.  There is no lime kiln.  There are no factories except for the silk spinning works of Petrovic in Alt-Pasua that employs 40 to 50 women.  There are distilleries operated by the owners of the vineyards but only for their personal consumption.  Coal mining and the lumber industry do not exist due to the fact that there are no forests.

 

 

Livestock Rearing

 

  Only to be found among the Grenzer families.  The Slovaks and Slavs raise small stunted horses without stables.  Germans rear larger and better horses.  Grenzers raise a good breed of horned cattle.  The Germans and Slovaks milk cows; the Slavs milk sheep.  Pigs are raised to meet their own needs and there are no goats.  Both oxen and horses are used for ploughing and field work.  Only the Germans stable their livestock.

 

  Prices:  one horse costs 30 to 40 Florin (Guilder); one ox 50 to 60 Florin; one cow 30 to 40 Florin; a pair of sheep 8 to 10 Florin; a pair of swine 15 to 20 Florin.  The livestock prices for the Germans are half as much higher.

 

 

Trade and Commerce

 

  There are no weekly markets.  In Alt-Pasua there are two trade fairs annually with articles for agricultural and household use.  Commerce in these three locales was centred on meeting the daily needs by the local shopkeepers.  In Alt-Pasua there were three major stores to meet the local needs and those of the surrounding area.  Corn trading took place in all three locales.  The largest store in Alt-Pasua was operated by the merchant, Petrovic.  The exporting of trade goods was by ship on the Danube and Sava Rivers.  The prices varied.  A peck could be purchased for 1 Florin and 36 Kreuzer and sold for 2 Florin and 14 Kreuzer in around 1848.

 

 

Trade in Iron

 

  Trade in iron was unimportant and carried on by merchants in the area.

 

 

Trade in Horned Cattle

 

  The merchants, Petrovic and Ljubischa, were engaged in this trade and also dealt in fattened cattle, which were primarily delivered to Austria.

 

 

Section IV

 

The Populace

 

  The influences of the climate, diseases and war greatly affected the position and situation of the population.  The growth of the population was constant.  The economy was based on agricultural cultivation and livestock rearing.  The average age attained was 50 to 60 years.  The major illnesses are malaria, lung disease and smallpox among children.  The Serbs honoured St. Elias and Nicholas as their church patrons, mostly the latter in Woika.

 

Schools

 

  All of the schools were built and funded by the community and only the German school in Alt-Pasua was erected by the State.  Every German school had three classes and every Serbian and Lutheran school had two classes.  Because of the shortage of schoolrooms the young people were taught religion classes on Sundays.

 

Houses

 

  The number of houses:  Alt-Pasua 396, Neu-Pasua 147 and in Woika there were 266.  Mode of construction:  stamped clay adobe with reed roofs.  In the last 15 to 20 years many houses had tile roofs.  In Neu-Pasua the houses were of solid construction with the gable facing the street.

 

  The interior divisions of the houses:  One or two rooms faced the street and one faced the yard and in between them was the kitchen.  Cellars were seldom dug because of the high water table.  Ovens were primarily built out of lime while a few were made of brick and tile.  The heat in the stove was produced from straw and only seldom with wood.  The windows were larger in German houses and much smaller in the houses of the others.  In most cases the stables were built separately from the house.

 

Nutrition

 

  The bread is good and made of multi-grains.  The meat dishes consist of beef, mutton, pork and fowl.  The German kitchen provides a greater variety than the Slovaks and Serbs.  The Serbs preferred to eat meat.  Dumplings and noodles were the major flour based foods.  There was very little fresh fruit available.  There were seldom any fish.  The Germans made various foods using a milk base while the Slovaks use milk far less in cooking.  The Serbs used milk only during the summer months when they milked their sheep.  The Serb enjoys fried meat and during the three day Christmas celebration large families consume an entire one year old pig.  At Easter the Serb slaughters a lamb.  During the holidays the Germans and Slovaks are content to eat various kinds of fowl.  Alongside of water both wine and brandy are drunk.  Of course wine and brandy are only available to those with vineyards.  Beer is not drunk.

 

Clothing

 

  Men wear worn and threadbare clothes on work days and on Sundays and holidays they wear new and better clothes.  Germans wear lighter clothing made of cloth primarily in shades of blue or dark colours; their trousers are held up by coloured cords.  During the winter the German men are attired in cloth or long fur jackets.  Slovaks and Serbs wear darker outer garments made of cloth and in winter, especially the Serbs, many wear fur jackets as well as fur trousers.

 

Women’s Clothing

 

  Older German women wear darker colours while children wear brighter colours.  The Slovaks favoured wearing brighter colours.  The Serbian women were more extravagant in their dress.  During the winter women primarily wore short cloth coats or fur jackets that the Germans call Csurak.  Women’s clothing is mostly made of purchased dry goods.

 

Head Covering

 

  In all three locales men wear felt hats and in winter wear black fur caps.  Women wear kerchiefs on all occasions and the Germans wear mostly dark ones while the others tend to wear bright ones.

 

Footwear

 

  Both men and women, especially when working in the fields wear a type of sandal called Opanken.  On Sundays the Germans and Slovaks wear lightweight shoes called Schlappen.  In all three locales during the dry summer months both women and children wear special knitted footwear both out of doors and in the house.  In the cold of winter and during wet weather young and old wear wooden shoes known as Klumpen much like the Dutch wooden shoe. 

 

Traditions and Customs

 

  Among the Serbs there are many.  Christmas is celebrated for three days.  In addition there are celebrations in honour of the patron saint of the household, weddings, Christmas and Easter.  At both Christmas and Easter the greeting is:  Christ is born or Christ is     risen.  The person who is greeted in this way, responds to the greeting in the same manner, either He is born or He is risen.  On Christmas Eve hay is spread about in all of the rooms and remains there during the next three days.  At the celebration of their patron saint a special loaf of church bread is baked with a silver coin worked into the dough.  At the same celebration wheat germ is cooked; has sugar added and is offered to the household guests as they arrive in the order in which they came.  The Serbian bride is obliged to undertake certain tasks:  in the first days of her marriage she must wash the feet of her father-in-law and when out on the street she must kiss the hand of all older people and kiss children on both of their cheeks.  The Germans and Slovaks have traditions and customs of their own.

 

Superstitions

 

  Some Serbs still believe in witches.  An old woman who does not eat garlic counts as a witch.  There are Slovaks who believe in vampires or bloodsuckers.  Many believe that the ringing of bells in the church tower can drive away thunderstorms and lightning.  For many who are sick an old woman with her household remedies acts as their doctor.

 

Entertainment and Amusements

 

  Among older people it consists mostly of dinking bouts and carousing.  There is much eating, drinking, singing and dancing.  The youth have the greatest time both on Sunday and holidays and dance out in the open in the centre of the village.  In the face of inclement weather the dancing entertainment goes indoors.  During Church celebrations the Serbs are known for their generous offerings to the church with gifts of 10 to 20 Florins or in kind, i.e. an ox.  At the time of Serbian Church celebrations there is usually the ringing of the church bells and the firing of gun salutes and ceremonies took place in the homes of richer families involving rites conducted by the priest.  Toasts were drunk to the leaders of the nation and the princes of the Church and other important personages.

 

  Germans celebrate their Kirchweih (anniversary of the dedication of their church) in various traditional ways.  Guests from outside of the community are richly entertained and shown great hospitality but no offerings or gathering of gifts for the church are carried out.  In very much similar ways the Germans and Slovaks celebrate the Christmas festival.

 

Reutlingen, June 1974                                         M. Huber

 

Neu-Pasua From the Settlement to the Flight

 

  Neu-Pasua is located 22 kilometres north-west of Belgrade in the fertile region of Srem.  It has connections with the most important railway line in Europe that links the north-west and south-east portions of the continent:  Ostende-Vienna-Budapest-Belgrade-Constaninople.  The geographical importance of the community is heightened by the fact that it is located only 4 kilometres from the Danube and not far from the Sava estuary.  After the Second World War the Belgrade Airport was constructed on the site of our former community.  The church stood at the centre of the community 80 metres above sea level.  In this flat landscape the “Pickerle” was 3 metres higher than the village and was the highest elevation.  The area where Neu-Pasua was established lay within the Austrian Military Frontier District and from its founding was administered by the military authorities in Peterwardein.  It was only 90 years after the settlement that the inhabitants of the village elected their first mayor, Adam Lang.  Up until then this function had been carried out by an older lower ranking military officer who was responsible to the officer in command in Alt-Pasua.  During this period of strict military governance the use of the public stocks as a form of punishment was in effect.

 

  The reasons given for bringing our forebears to this country were primarily of an economic and military nature.  When the Turks were driven out of Middle Europe at the end of the 17th Century they abandoned and left behind a sparsely populated, devastated, swamp infested region.  In order for that region to be cultivated the Austrian Empire had to think of settling these territories.  In addition to the former inhabitants and newly settled Slavs the decision was made to recruit German farmers and tradesmen in south western Germany.  This undertaking was met with some success because the German farmers who lived under the burden and demands of what remained of the feudal system were easy to win over.  These industrious and ambitious farmers who lived under terrible economic and social conditions in the south western Germany principalities not only had to contend with the difficulties of a new beginning during the settlement period in their new homeland but also had to undertake military service and act as border guards along the frontier.  During the extensive publicity campaign during the reign of Empress Maria Theresia those settlers who responded were overwhelmingly Roman Catholic.  It was only under the leadership of her son Joseph II who issued the Edict of Toleration that Protestants were also allowed to participate and settle after 1780.

 

  In 1790 the military authorities in Peterwardein assigned 62 families, all of whom were Protestants, to settle along the Sava River that served as the border with the Turks to serve there as border guards.  These settlers, who were our forebears, were brought to Alt-Pasua where Slovaks had been settled since 1770.  Because the locale for the new settlement was still not defined and little preparation had been done this group of settlers spent the winter of 1790/1791 among the Lutheran Slovaks in Alt-Pasua.  In 1791 the settlement began on what was then known as the “Pasua Puszta” and had been leased to others who had left.  It was a narrow stretch of land and no large fertile areas remained to be had.  It was this primitive remote settlement in a swampy area close to the Sava River that our forebears fought for their lives and their families’ existence.

 

  It would be interesting to list the places of origin of all sixty-two families from southern Germany who were involved in the settlement that can be found in an article written by Professor Lotz.  This, however, would go beyond the parameters of this writing.  Only the names of cities, towns and district designations will be mentioned.  They are as follows:  Böblingen, Calw, Emmendingen, Esslingen, Göppingen, Heilbronn, Kehl (Baden), Lahr, Lörrach, Ludwigsburg, Marbach am Neckar, Mosbach, Nürtingen, Reutlingen, Tübingen, Ulm am Donau, Vaihingen, Waiblingen, Zuffenhause and others.

 

  The settlement plan for the village by Lieutenant von Wechselberg was done on a scale of 1:7200.  This village plan is in the War Archives in Vienna under the reference designation GJh Number 494.  In the centre of the village there was a large exercise area used for the military training of the Grenzer border guards.  In this plan the dimensions and boundaries of the pasture land, the individual house lots are clearly shown and identified.  Forty-one house lots were on the Semlin Road, (both Upper and Lower streets) and twenty on the Banovci Road (Ratzen and Zöttel streets).

 

  The new settlers were confronted by virgin swampy lands and soil and an unhealthy climate.  The community of Neu-Pasua at the time of the settlement had 2,500 Katastral Joch of land assigned to it including the village itself and adequately met the needs of the first generation of settlers but was not sufficient to support their descendants.  After one hundred years of tireless efforts and industriousness on the part of the entire population it became what our poets would describe as “a blooming Eden brought forth in a wasteland.”  Houses and roads were built; ditches and canals were dug.  The growing prosperity of the farmers made it possible to expand the acreage and the vineyards to ten times the original uncultivated wasteland allotted to them by their purchase of land in twelve communities in the districts of Alt-Pasua and Semlin.   

 

  Towards the end of the 18th Century and the beginning of the 19th Century numerous families moved to Neu-Pasua, especially from Bulkes, Cserwenka and Werbass.  Neu-Pasua was one of the most blessed in its large number of children among all of the German communities in the country.  Before the Flight in October 1944 there were 105 families with five or six children and 28 families with seven or more children.  On one street alone  three neighbours had twenty-five children among them.

 

  Because of its ongoing economic development over 153 years the community could no longer expand so that many families were forced to migrate elsewhere.  Daughter communities were established near and far throughout the vicinity.  In addition numerous families also emigrated overseas.

 

  According to the statistics presented in the Neu-Pasua Heimatbuch using as the fixed date the Flight, October 6, 1944 a perfect picture emerges with regard to the village inhabitants through the compilation of the information that was provided.  In total, Neu-Pasua had 5,880 inhabitants.  The refugee families from other communities that sought safety among us out of fear of Partisans attacks are not included in that number.  There were 5,812 Lutheran and 11 Roman Catholic Germans.  From among the 57 non-Germans there were 39 Slavs and 18 Gypsies.  The latter had lived here for several generations and spoke the Swabian dialect fluently.  The village counted 26 streets and alleys.  There were 1,153 houses alongside of workshops and stores.  On the basis of these statistics Neu-Pasua like all of the other German communities had already suffered heavy war losses prior to the day of the Flight.  At that time there had been 124 men who had fallen in battle or were missing.  It was only several years after the end of the war that the sorrowful balance sheet of our losses could be drawn up resulting from the mass murders carried out by the Partisans, the numbers of victims of epidemics in Tito’s internment and death camps and the years spent in slave labour  from 1948 to 1951.  In total, during the Second World War the number of those who fell in battle, are missing or were put to death in an inhumane manner in captivity include 295 men in the military and 169 civilians primarily the elderly, women and children for a total of 464 persons.  It is a proven fact that the losses suffered at war’s end were greater than during the actual conflict and should be considered unique if not unthinkable.  These losses account for 8% of the population compared to 3% in the First World War when 137 persons lost their lives.  We need to mention that a transport consisting of 187 of our people the majority of which were family members from Neu-Pasua were forced on trains in Ried in Upper Austria and were shipped back to Yugoslavia at war’s end.  This train transport travelled as far as Mitrowitz in Syrmia where the vast majority of these destitute people perished in utter misery in the internment camp there.  But there were other German communities that suffered greater losses than we did.

 

Agriculture

 

  The community was without qualification a farming village with 80% of the population engaged in agriculture.  This was carried out in a very progressive manner.  As early as 1908 the first combine harvesting machines made in the United States of America were introduced locally.  Up until the Second World War the grain crops were harvested with this kind of machinery.  As a result of the prevailing and generally accepted inheritance rights the family acreage in almost all cases was evenly divided among all of the male heirs.  Because of this practice no large scale farms developed but rather remained mid-sized or small plots of land.  The major crops were wheat and maize in addition to barley, oats, sugar beets and other root crops.  In the last years prior to the Flight sunflowers were grown as a source for cooking oil.  As an example of the yields that our fields produced in terms of maize and wheat we can share the following:  there was a yield of about 400 wagonloads of maize and 250-300 wagonloads of wheat.  If we add the yield of oats and barley to meet the individual farmers needs, the large scale cattle rearing, the feeding of swine for slaughter and seeds for the next year’s planting the annual production exceeded 1,000 wagonloads.  The vineyard annually produced several thousand Hekto litres of good wines.

 

Crafts and Trade

 

  The reputation of the local tradesmen went far beyond the borders of our home community.  In many cases the Serbs in the neighbouring communities called upon our tradesmen to perform their services instead of using their own.  Many tradesmen also had some small landholdings.

 

  The daily activities and skills of the tradesmen were as follows.  They spun, sewed, knitted, crocheted, baked, slaughtered, wove baskets, made brooms and so on.  Much of this work was done in the winter months when field work was at a standstill.  Through these trades our rather unassuming but neat and tidy farm clothing were worn right up to the Flight in our home village.

 

The Co-operative Society

 

  The Society did not exist until the mid 1920s.  The Farmer’s Assistance Association, the so-called Agraria was founded under the chairmanship of Johann Flohr in 1925.  Following the establishment of this institution the co-operative was forced to face very unstable times for a few years until after meeting a major crisis it led to a healthy agricultural economy and general prosperity for the farmers.  In the years ahead the Farmer’s Assistance Association consisted of a membership of over one thousand villagers.  Credit was generously extended to the members that enabled them to purchase additional land.

 

  A type of credit union was a component of the Farmer’s Assistance Association that proved itself of great value.  There was hardly a family or household that was not part of it.  The Farmers’ Assistance Association had its own kiln to dry maize that processed over one hundred wagonloads from autumn through the winter.   The existing seed cleansing machinery was used by the farmers a great deal.  Through the efforts of the Farmer’s Assistance Association agricultural equipment and machinery were ordered and used along with other necessary articles for farming and vineyard production.  Outside of the scope of the Farmers’ Assistance Association there was livestock insurance co-operative that provided insurance on cows which was a major concern of the farmers.  The risk of the loss of beef cattle was not considered as great.  Through the requirements for this insurance and the necessary regular carrying out of examinations with regard to the status of the health of the animals by veterinarians resulted in a tuberculosis free herd in the community.

 

People’s Savings Bank

 

  The oldest financial institution in Neu-Pasua was the People’s Savings Bank established in 1905 by our countryman Ludwig Schumacher.  With the arrival of the Farmer’s Assistance Association it lost a great deal of its importance.  It remained in operation until the time of the Flight.

 

Industries

 

  They were not very well developed due to the lack of capital.  There was a textile works in the village, the firm of Müller and Company, with a workforce from 35 to 40 persons, and in addition there was both a large and smaller brickwork.  In 1944 Neu-Pasua had two modern export customs houses for mill products.  There were approximately a dozen modern mills that were owned and operated by men from Neu-Pasua located at other locales.  A workshop made bicycle parts.  At that time there were eighteen commercially   operated threshing machines in the various German communities and stationed in Serbian villages that earned a good income for the owners in Neu-Pasua.

 

Community Life

 

  The cultural life of the village was deliberately curtailed by the Yugoslavian government to prevent the German consciousness of the inhabitants to gain ascendancy.  The German teacher was not permitted to lead the choral society founded in 1905.   One of the deserving members of the society was Dr. Noll the village doctor.  He achieved great results in singing competitions.  Sports activities only began after the First World War and began with football (soccer).  Callisthenics and gymnastics first began to develop in the 1930s.  The Fire Department was first founded after the First World War under the leadership of Fritz Schneider the local innkeeper.  One can say this was rather late in being established.  In one respect there was always the danger of a major fire because of the enormous numbers of haystacks and piles of maize leaves in the barnyards while on the other hand the danger was minimized by the nature of the construction of the houses out of bricks and roofed with tiles.  Otherwise when fires broke out every farmer abandoned whatever work he was doing and lost no time in coming to help.  There was no lack of wells or water to put out the fire.

 

  The most significant landmark in the village was the baroque style church built in 1812.   The services were always very well attended.  At the time of the major festivals not all of the worshippers were able to find seating.  Chairs were placed along the centre aisle of the church.  The Siloah orphanage established in 1910 did not only serve the village of Neu-Pasua.  It is now located in Isny in the Allgau and has developed into a children’s and youth village.  It serves approximately 150 children and youth and will never be forgotten by its founders the people of Neu-Pasua.

 

Neu-Pasua Today

 

  The church, the Luther memorial and the parsonage were demolished by the new inhabitants shortly after the Second World War.  The Luther Hall next to the church alone was spared destruction and today serves as a place of worship and has a cross attached to its gable.  The former neat and tidy houses have become quite unsightly.  Because the village is easily accessible by roadways to the nearby capital city of Belgrade it has been expanded by its current inhabitants and a portion of our former homes have been subdivided so that around 14,000 people now live there.  The current population of Neu-Pasua are Serbs mostly from around the surrounding area as well as people from more distant parts of Yugoslavia who are employed as workers in Semlin or Belgrade.  Only the portion of rich agricultural land around the Pickerle has been designated and used for farming by the state farm collective.

 

  In conclusion to these observations there are two comments by persons of non-Neu-Pasua origin who have characterized the village and its inhabitants as follows.  Long before the Second World War, a Serb from the neighbouring village of Vojka was reputed to have said, “It is good that we have Swabians around who drive their wagons   along the bumpy road through our village in the early grey dawn of morning to go ploughing and harvesting and make such a noise that they inadvertently wake us in our sleep announcing our own work day was about to begin.  If there were no Swabians around we would have to invent them.”

 

  A former German soldier from the Reich who had belonged to an anti-aircraft unit had spent a month in Neu-Pasua and its vicinity and got to know the people quite well and returned to Yugoslavia years after the Flight as a tourist.  As the editor of a well known newspaper in the West German Bonn Republic he wrote about it and his impressions.  He wrote, and I quote:  “Ne-Pasua is a jewel compared to the other communities around it and even today remains beautiful on the outside giving expression to its past.”

 

  It is beyond dispute that our people from Neu-Pasua, as is true in general of all the Swabians in the Danube basin, have fulfilled their mission as pioneers and German colonists in the wider world and our descendants can take pride because of it.

 

Reutlingen, May 1969                                         M. Huber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Neu-Pasua Homeland Committee and Its Task

 

  At the general Treffen (assembly) of the Danube Swabian Expellees Organization held in Reutlingen in June 1951 there were many of our countrymen present from our home community Neu-Pasua.  A small group of them talked among themselves and agreed to eat their noon meal together at the local Ratstube and spend a leisurely time together.  As agreed about 30 to 40 persons appeared at the restaurant, almost all of them countrymen from Neu-Pasua.  Even prior to the Treffen the necessity for founding a Homeland Committee had been raised by some former residents of Neu-Pasua who saw its importance and gave serious consideration to it.  The Neu-Pasua former residents who were present were from Reutlingen or lived in its close proximity or in not too distant regions and during their dinner conversation they were all of one mind to found a Homeland Committee.  The formation of the committee required the election of persons who would carry out all the necessary requirements to ensure the success of the work to be undertaken.  Whenever possible they needed to live in close proximity to Reutlingen and could be reached quickly whenever necessary.  Names were put forward that resulted in the following listing in alphabetical order:  Ludwig Alter, Jakob Deh, Jakob Göttel, Adam Hellermann, Mathias Huber, Michael Huber, Anton Hudjetz, Georg Jentz, Philipp Kendel, Friedrich Kühbach, Jakob Rometsch and Philipp Staufenberger.

 

  In order to give the reader a glimpse of the work done by the Homeland Committee to date, I will give a short summary of the purpose that the committee set for itself and its consequent performance.

 

  1. The organization and carrying out of Treffen and the necessary arrangements.  There have been seven Neu-Pasua Treffen that were arranged and held during the following years:  1952, 1954, 1956, 1958, 1964, 1969 and 1973.  All of these assemblies were well attended by our countrymen.  A programme was developed and closely tied to each Treffen and the preparation and implementation required much time and effort.  These programmes included a memorial service at the Reutlingen cemetery; festival worship services; an evening of celebrating our folk customs, along with dancing, a social time and reunion.  The sixth Treffen was combined with a timely exhibition:  Everything that reminds us of Neu-Pasua, along with an interesting stamp collection of our countryman Georg Dewald and a coin collection of our countryman Jakob Schumacher.  All of the Treffen without exception were warm friendly gatherings and highly esteemed by our countrymen whereby our solidarity and love for our old and new homeland were given expression.  At all of our Treffen our countrymen from the daughter settlements and those related to Neu-Pasua were always invited and participated in them.

 

  1. At Pentecost 1953 the brochure written by the author of this book was published under the title, “The War Victims of the Danube Swabian Community of Neu-Pasua”.  Several members of the Homeland Committee assisted in gathering and compiling the information.

 

  1. Beginning in 1953 and in the years that followed the matter of compensation for those driven out of their homeland was undertaken.  It would take too much time to get into the particulars of individual cases.  Still I offer a few in concise form.  The extent of the number of personal claims for compensation from among the population of Neu-Pasua living in the Bonn Republic was in the neighbourhood of 2,000.  Only a small proportion of the compensation claimants were capable of submitting the claim on their own.  This was due to the fact that our home village was located within the former Military Frontier District which required community approval for the undertaking.  Because of that the resolution of the claims was more complicated than it was for other communities.  In addition during the war years 1941 until 1944 there were major changes in the boundaries of the pasture lands and the village of Neu-Pasua itself.  During this process there were many persons who joined the Homeland Committee that had the necessary knowledge with regard to the compensation legislation and were able to assist many of our countrymen to complete their submissions with proven good advice and supportive action.  Two members of our committee were spokespersons for both short and longer periods with the government ministry related to the compensation.  Here we would like to mention the fact that the Director dealing with reparations from Yugoslavia within the government ministry, our countryman Leopold Egger of Semlin (Franztal) went to great lengths to meet the requests coming from our former community.  In response to requests of our Homeland Committee our countryman Egger personally provided the evidence with regard to community property and the established boundaries in order that they could be acted upon.  As a result many of the farming families of Neu-Pasua were assisted in making successful claims.  We are duty bound to be thankful to him.

 

  1. There was collaboration in the publication of the Homeland Book which was published in 1956.  It was written by Dr. Irmgard Hudjetz-Loeber commissioned by the Homeland Committee and includes the very worthwhile contribution of Pastor Jakob Rometsch:  the Family Register from 1791-1956.  In addition there were other portions provided by other members of the Homeland Committee.  We are justly proud of our Homeland Book.  The edition consisted of 2,500 printed copies and has since become unavailable.  Along with the Homeland Book a series of pictures in postcard format developed by Pastor Jakob Rometsch were also published which had been sold to a great degree.  At the same time as the book was published a ground plan of Neu-Pasua on a scale of 1:3000 was also published.  In this plan every house is identified by the name of its occupant and as such is a document of great to all of our former villagers. For this exceptional work we express our thanks and give recognition to our countrymen Adam Lebherz now of Balingen.

 

  1. The Orphanage Siloah:  Members of the Homeland Committee Friedrich Kühbach, Jakob Rometsch and Mathias Huber have worked alongside of the Orphanage Union dealing with its affairs over many years.  At the various Treffen that have been held the offerings have been forwarded to the home for several years.  During the Christmas holidays there were house gatherings in the Reutlingen area in support of Siloah.  At the Treffen in 1969 a stone memorial commemorating the war victims of Neu-Pasua was commissioned and is now imbedded in the wall of one of the children’s homes in the youth village in Isny.

 

  1. The House of the Danube Swabians:  Included in the role of honour of the supporting communities that provided the financing for this house in Sindelfingen the village of Neu-Pasua is identified as one of the patrons.  These funds resulted from the response to an appeal made by the Homeland Committee to all of our Neu-Pasua countrymen.  Members of the Committee themselves made significant personal contributions.  At the head of the list of donors was our countryman Georg Jentz who donated 1,000 DM on behalf of himself and his family.

 

Reutlingen, June 1974                                    M. Huber

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