Kucura in the Batschka

1803-1944

 

  The panic stricken German population of Kucura joined the wagon treks fleeing from the Batschka on October 8, 1944.  This included 164 males and 315 females.  A total of 497 persons.  There were five men who had remained behind in Kucura who were later deported to the Soviet Union four of whom perished there in the labour camps.  In addition there were 53 men and teenaged boys and 102 women and teenaged girls who were interned by the Partisans in various camps throughout Yugoslavia such as Jarek, Gakowa and Rudolfgnad.  Only 15 of the men and teenaged boys survived and only 24 of the women and teenaged girls were spared.  The total German population of Kucura had been 823.  There were 126 men in the German Armed Forces and 4 men were serving in the Hungarian Honvéd.

 

  Many of those who remained at home and did not join the evacuation appear to have been elderly.  Some of the evacuees were taken by military transport vehicles.  This was for protection against the ravages of winter…at least you had roof over your head.  The others left during the week in horse drawn wagons.  They travelled through the central region of the Batschka between the Danube and the Tisza River and along the right bank of the Danube through Swabian Turkey in Hungary and then went through Austria, Czechoslovakia to their final destination in Silesia.  Their wagons were not equipped to handle the rough terrain and mountains they passed through and the teams of horses were handled by old Opas, teenaged boys and young women in terrible winter weather often seeking shelter in the out-of-doors.  Finally finding a place to stay and stop moving.  Only having to flee the oncoming Red Army advancing across Poland once they entered Silesia.  They ended up resting there for only one week.  Then they pushed westwards until they were finally allowed to stay in Bavaria.

 

 

  The origins of Kucura are the various establishments and travel stations found on the main roads to provide food, shelter and lodgings in an otherwise rather uninhabited area.  This “inn” was located on the Kula Road.  It was known as Kodzura and is of Serbian origin.  During the Hungarian era (up until 1918) the town was called Kutzora.  It was during the Yugoslavian period after 1918 that it became Kucura.

 

  On the day that the German population fled and joined the evacuation the town had a total population of 4,050 persons.  The three major nationalities were the Ukrainians who made up 66% of the population, the Germans who made up 21% and the Hungarians whose numbers accounted for 10%.  In addition there were also Serbs, Jews and Gypsies who lived there.

 

  The Ruthenians (Ukrainians) were the first to settle in Kucura.  When they arrived is not known.  In all likelihood they came after the Battles of Zenta and Peterwardein.  They came from the Carpatho-Ukraine and were Greek Catholics.  Their ancient Ukrainian language served as the language of worship.  Their dialect was heavily interspersed with Serbian and Hungarian words as well as some German.  Some no longer had any command of their former mother tongue.  Many of them had Hungarian family names.  It appears they had been given those names by Hungarian officials.  At the time when the settlement took place many Ukrainians had no family names.  Another version of the story is that those with Magyar names came from the area around Mako famous for the onions raised there that had found their way to the Batschka.  

 

  When and from where the Hungarians came from is also unknown.  They just seemed to appear on the scene.  It is difficult to ascertain just how Hungarian they actually are.  In fact they appear to be Magyarized Ukrainians.  The only difference between them and those who called themselves Ukrainians is that they were Roman Catholic.  This forced  assimilation of the Ukrainians had begun prior to the First World War.

 

  The Germans made their appearance in the Batschka after the 150 year occupation of the Turks was ended.  The leading commander of the liberation was a Frenchman, Prince Eugene of Savoy who was in the service of the Austrian Habsburgs.  The depopulated territories recently won were in need of settlers and a large portion of them were Germans from the regions that were constantly under attack or invaded by the French.  Alsace, the Saar, Palatinate, Baden, Württemberg and Hessen.  Along with the German settlers there were also Slovaks and Ruthenians.  But the Serbs had been here before them as refugees from the Turks and were protected by the Habsburgs who settled them in the border and frontier areas to ward off future attacks and incursions by the Turks.

 

  There was the assumption that the Germans that settled here migrated from Torschau or Werbass that had been founded between 1784-1786.  In fact, they arrived here two decades later than the original Germans colonists.  Their migration from the other communities was primarily due to overpopulation in the original settlements in the Batschka and the lack of additional farming land for young families to be able to support themselves.  The only land that was then available was in Slavic communities like Kucura, Altker and others like them.

 

  The first Germans to settle in Kucura came from Harta in Pest County in Hungary.  The Listmaier and Haass families are examples of that.  (Translator’s Note:  the Listmaier family were the Lisztmeyers from Heideboden in Western Hungary and were not from Germany.)  The Kuhn family later came from Mezӧbereny and the Schmahls came from Vadkert.  They were followed by the Gӧttel and Reister families who came from Torschau, the Reidls from Sekitsch. the Albus family from Werbass and the Lautenbach and Lauterer families from Bulkes.  There is strong evidence to suggest that the Harta settlers came in 1790.

 

  In 1972 when the community proceeded to tear down the abandoned Lutheran Church a crane was used to knock down the tower.  A small lead box was discovered beneath the cross in which there were a variety of documents.  Unfortunately the documents had been damaged and portions of the writings were not legible.  All kinds of attempts were made to decipher the documents but without success.  That was until mid-February a year later when Mrs. Susan Roth was able to take on the task.  The following are portions of the document:  “The early beginnings of the Evangelical Lutheran congregation in Kucura belong to the first years of this century (1800).  In 1803 the first Evangelicals came to Kucura.  They were of both Protestant confessions, the Augsburg (Lutheran) and Helvitic (Reformed) from Kiss Harta (Small Harta) and Vadkert in Pest County and were shortly joined by others from nearby communities, Torschau in particular.  Their numbers increased so quickly through the ongoing migration that by 1804 there was the need for a schoolmaster that they would be able to support.  Adam Hütter from Torschau was called to this office.  In 1805 this small congregation bought a house to serve as the school as well as some land to support the school and teacher.  The numbers continued to increase and more land had to be purchased.”

 

  In October 1811 the congregation called Josef Nagy from the Banat to be both pastor and teacher.  Up until then the congregation had been a filial of Kiss Ker.  Two years later he returned to his former parish in the Banat.  Michael Koschina arrived in November 1813 to replace him as pastor and schoolmaster for the eight three years.  In May of 1821 he resigned his position and went to Meschez in Thuró County where he lived without a church office or position in the future.

 

  On November 24. 1821 Samuel Borovsky came to serve as the pastor but accepted a call to Neu Schowe in July of 1824.  In August Paul Makonyi was appointed pastor and remained until April of 1826 when he accepted a call to Neusatz. In the month of July 1826 Professor Georg Jessenly who taught at the Bacs-Srem Gymnasium (Junior College) in Werbass operated by the Seniorat (Church District or Deanery) served as the interim pastor until October of 1827 when he was called to serve as pastor at Kisatsch.

 

  In 1818 the congregation had been visited by the Superintendent (bishop) Adam Lovich.  A prayer house and school had been built and he was present for the consecration of a 140 pound bell.  In 1828 a new cemetery was dedicated.  In 1828 a new house and courtyard had been purchased to house the pastor and his family.

 

  Up until June of 1837 the Lutherans and the Reformed formed a “united” congregation but in that year the Reformed formed their own congregation as a filial of the Reformed congregation in Torschau.

 

  In 1843 and 1844 a new parsonage was built.  When the debt was retired yearly subscriptions were undertaken to finance the building of a church because the narrow and damp prayer house needed to be replaced.  The new church was completed in 1861.

 

  All of these major undertakings were accomplished during the pastorate of Daniel Stur who would serve in Kucura from 1837 to 1887.

 

  According to the census of 1891 the total population of Kucura was 4,072 and the census indicated the nationalities and religious persuasion of the inhabitants.

 

  Lutherans                           1,007                              Germans

  Reformed                              151                              Germans

  Roman Catholic                    563                              Hungarians

  Uniat Greek Catholic         2,267                              Ruthenians (Ukrainians)

  Orthodox                                 37                              Serbs

  Jewish                                      47

 

  Up to the end of 19th Century the Lutherans of Kucura never had a German pastor.  All of them had been either Slovak or Hungarian.  After Daniel Stur’s retirement a pastor Müller was called by the congregation.  He did not remain very long.  The congregation felt rejected.  Pastor Lanyi was called in order to bring peace.  He was replaced by Daniel Hinkel from Alt Werbass.  He was to be the last pastor of the Lutheran Church in Kucura.

 

  At the turn of the 19th Century the German population levelled off due to emigration to the United States, Canada, Argentina, Srem, Slavonia and Bosnia.

 

Internment

 

  The vast majority of the Germans that remained behind died in various camps in Yugoslavia but the largest number died at the camp in Jarek which ironically was once a picturesque Lutheran village known for its singular beauty.  The following breakdown presents a picture of who the victims in Jarek were:

 

  1   14 year old boy

  1    1 year old boy

  4   men over 80 years of age

  4   men in their 70s

  8   men in their 60s*

  1   man in his 50s

  6   men with no age listed

__________________________

25   men and boys died at Jarek                              *Pastor Lanyi was 63 years old

 

 1    11 year old girl

 1      2 year old girl

 5    women over 80 years of age

11   women in their 70s

19   women in their 60s*

  3   women in their 50s

17   women with no age listed

__________________________

 

57    women and girls died at Jarek                         *Pastor Lanyi’s wife was 61 years old

 

  There were also 5 men and I woman who were shot by the Partisans.  One woman died at the camp in Rudolfsgand.  Two women died at the camp in Gakowa and one man died at the camp in Mitrovica.

 

4 Responses to “ Kucura in the Batschka ”

  1. Maria Linane says:

    My mother was born in Kucura in 1933 and was part of the wagon trek that fled in 1944. Her family names were Hubing and Popp. I am trying to research her geneology and would like to hear from anyone that has any information about her family. Gottwein and Silberhorn (or Silverhorn) were also names associated with her family. Thanks!

  2. Maria Linane says:

    Wow, am I overwhelmed with great information provided by Henry. Thank you so much! I am still going through it all and am having my Mother and my Aunt in Germany review it all too. They were both born in Kutzura in the early 1930’s. I did spell one family name wrong . . . it should be Gutwein, not Gottwein. Silly me. Thank you again Henry.

  3. Peggee says:

    Is there a list of those who fled in 1944 ? Looking for WAGNER, Johann geb. 05 Aug 1900 kutzura lived in torschau until 1944. Fled to Berlin area.

  4. ANDREA RIMPF says:

    Most of my ancestors from Neuedorf died in the camp in Jarak, while some died in Sremska Mitrovica or other camps. Most of the ancestors and distant relatives who have created mentioned village are gone forever.

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