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Bukovina Society of the Americas

Crest of the Bukovina Society of the Americas The Bukovina Society of the Americas covers the migration of Germans from Rhine-Palatinate, Württemberg and the Bohemian Forest in the late 1700's and early 1800's when they were recruited/motivated to settle Bukovina (land of beech trees), then a sparsely populated crown land of the Austrian Hungarian Empire. After one or two generations in Bukovina, scarcity of land and the attraction of the new world countries again motivated a migration in the late 1800's to early 1900's. Kansas, Washington, Colorado, Illinois and New York were their main destinations in North America and Brazil was the major destination in South America. This website has rich content on the history, culture and genealogy of the Bukovina Germans.

The Bukovina Society of the Americas has information which may help a visitor who is searching for information about the history of Bukovina and the German people who lived there from the late 1700's to the onset of World War II.

Some of the Bukovina City and Village names while under Austrian rule:
Alexandersdorf, Althütte, Andrasfalva, Arbora, Augustendorf, Badeutz, Banilla, Bukschoja, Czernowitz, Dorna Watra, Mitoka Dragomirna, Eisenau,  Frassin, Alt-Fratautz, Neu-Fratautz, Fürstenthal, Glitt, Gurahumora, Hliboka, Ober-Horodnik, Unter-Horodnik, Illischestie, Neu-Itzkany, Jakobeny, Kaczyka, Karlsberg, Kimpolung, Lichtenberg, Mardzina, Ober-Milleschoutz, Molodia, Negrilassa, Paltinossa, Pojana Mikuli (Buchenhain), Putna, Radautz, Putilla Storonetz, Sadagora, Satulmare, Schwarztal, Sereth, Solka, Storozynetz, Stulpikany, Suczawa, Tereblestie, Ober-Wiokow, Unter-Wikow,

Some of the Bukovina Family names:
Altmann Anderl Appel Artmann Aschenbrenner Augustin Augustine Bajerle Bauer Baumgaertner Baumgartner Bayer Bayer Beer Beselni Bessai Blazej Brandl Bucher Burggraf Czerni Dabrowski Dawidowicz Dombrowski Dörndorfer Edenhofner Eisenhauer Engster Erbert Ettenhofer Ettenhoffer Ettinhofer Ettinhoffer Feldigel Feldigl Fiesel Filinger Fischer Flachs Flaman Flax Frombach Fuchs Fuerch Fürch Füssel Gaschler Gassenmiller Gattinger Gebert Geschwenter Geschwentner Gnad Grimme Haas Hable Hackel Hackl Haman Hamann Hanny Hanus Hartinger Hasenkopf Häusler Hellinger Hentz Hertkorn Hertkornin Herzer Hicke Hilgarth Hillinger Hirtenreiter Hirtreiter Hodel Hödel Hoedel Hoffman Hoffmann Hofmann Honas Hones Ilaschuk Ipscher Joachimsthal Joachimsthaler Kaschler Kauk Kessler Kirbus Kisling Kissinger Kisslilnger Kisslinger Klein Kletzok Klezok Klosterman Klostermann Kohlrus Kohlruss Koller Kolrus Komarnicki Krassel Krassler Krieger Köbeck Köbek Kuffner Kunzelmann Kurzweil Landgraf Lang Laruskiewicz Lasuskiewicz Lindsmeyer Linzmajer Löffelmann Loy Luksch Mack Maierhoffer Majerhofer Majerhoffer Markiewicz Marschall Mayerhoffer Meidl Miller Milner Mirbauer Mirl Mirwald Moldavan Mueller Mühlbauer Müller Nargang Nemecek Nemecheck Nemechek Nessman Neu Neubauer Neuburger Neumann Neumayer Niemeczek Oberhoffer Oberhoffner Oberhofner Paschkowski Pechtold Plechinger Pokoj Pöllmann Pscheid Pscheidt Pscheith Rach Rankel Reichardt Reichhardt Reitmaier Reitmajer Reitmayer Reitmeier Retimajer Rippel Rippl Robel Romankiewicz Rutkowski Sachsinger Sammer Sattfeld Sauer Saxinger Schädlbauer Schafaczek Schafarzik Schaffhauser Schafhauser Schätz Schlauch Schlebhuber Schlehuber Schmahl Schmid Schmidt Schnell Schneller Schulhauser Schuster Schweigel Seidel Seidl Selzer Silzer Stadler Staudt Stoehr Stöehr Stohr Stöhr Stolarczuk Straub Tanda Tauscher Tomasczewski Tremel Tremler Tremmler Trufin Umbrecht Urban Urbanek Vollmar Waldhauser Weber Weigel Weinfurter Welisch Wellisch Wendling Wild Wimmer Windholz Winkelbauer Winter Woellisch Wokan Wolf  Woppowa Wurzer Zelesner Zentner Zettel Zoglauer Zurowski

A Short History of Bukovina

Bukovina, on the eastern slopes of the Carpathian mountains, was once the heart of the Romanian Principality of Moldavia, with the city of Suceava being made its capital in 1388. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Painted Monasteries of Arbora, Dragomirna, Humor, Moldovita, Putna, Sucevita, and Voronet were constructed under the patronage of Stefan the Great and his son Petru Rares. With their famous exterior frescoes, these monasteries remain some of the greatest cultural treasures of Romania, today.

Along with the rest of Romania, Bukovina fell under the control of the Ottoman Turks. It remained in Turkish control until it was occupied by the Russians, in 1769, then by the Austrians,in 1774. With the Treaty of Constantinople in 1775, control of Bukovina was given to the Austrian Empire. Administered as a district of the province of Galicia between 1786-1849, Bukovina was granted the status of an separate crown land and duchy in 1849. When the Austrian Empire was reorganized into the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary, in the Compromise of 1867, Bukovina, like Galicia, remained under Austrian administration, while the neighboring province of Transylvania was placed under Hungarian rule.

During World War I, Bukovina became a battlefield between Austrian and Russian troops. Although the Russians were finally driven out in 1917, Austria would lose Bukovina with the war, ceding the province to Romania in the Treaty of St. Germain.

On June 28, 1940, northern Bukovina was occupied by troops from the Soviet Union. It would change hands again during the course of World War II, but this half of Bukovina ended back in Soviet hands, and is today the Chernivetska oblast of Ukraine. Southern Bukovina in now part of Suceava county, Romania.

Immigration to Bukovina

Bukovina covers an area of 10,422 square kilometers. In the 1775 census of this province, its population was only about 60,000. To encourage the development of this sparsely-settled land, the Austrian emperors subsidized the immigration of colonists to Bukovina. After end of these official immigration programs, colonists would continue to arrive at their own expense. As a result, by the census of 1910, the population of Bukovina had risen to over 800,000.

People of many different ethnic groups took part in this immigration, including Armenians, Hungarians, Jews, Poles, Romanians and Ukrainians (at this time, generally referred to as Ruthenians). German colonists came from three distinct areas: Swabians and Palatines, from what is now Baden-Württemberg and Rheinland-Pfalz, in southwest Germany; German Bohemians, from the Bohemian Forest (Böhmerwald), now in the Czech Republic; and Zipsers, from the Zips mountains, now Spis county, Slovakia.

Emigration from Bukovina

As the population of Bukovina expanded, so did the pressures for emigration. Farmers with large families could no longer divide their homesteads among their children, and industry in Bukovina had never grown to the extent in had elsewhere in the Austrian Empire, or in the New World.

The first wave of Bukovina German emigration began in the 1880's. Most of these emigrants would settle in communities among their Landsleute. These destinations included Ellis, Kansas; Yuma County, Colorado; Lewis County, Washington; Saskatchewan, Canada; and Rio Negro, Brazil. A second wave of emigration to the Americas took place in the years preceding and following World War I. While some joined those who preceded them in the above mentioned locations, others would find industrial employment in New York City.

World War II would provide the major impetus for the Bukovina Germans to leave their homeland. After the Soviet Union annexed northern Bukovina in 1940 - while the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was still in effect - an agreement between the Soviet Union and Germany, and a similar agreement between Romania and Germany, allowed the ethnic Germans of Bukovina to voluntarily leave for Germany. Nearly all Bukovina Germans, some 95,000 people, accepted the terms of this resettlement (Umsiedlung) to the Reich. In 1945, many of these, who were sent to German-occupied land in Poland or Czechoslovakia, would find themselves refugees again, fleeing from the advancing Red Army.

The fate of these Bukovina Germans was determined by their location at the end of the war. Many would settle in West Germany and Austria (with some emigrating to the United States, Canada, and elsewhere), others in East Germany. Some were forced to return to Romania, from where they were finally granted permission to emigrate again to Germany over the following decades. Only a very small minority of Bukovina Germans remain in Romania or Ukraine, today.

About the Bukovina Society of the Americas

In 1886, the first Bukovina Germans arrived in Ellis, Kansas. They would act as scouts for a larger group that would settle there in 1887. While the descendants of these settlers continue to compose a large percentage of the town's population, over the decades the younger generations would begin to lose their understanding of where this homeland was, and what their ancestors had experienced there. In December of 1988, a committee of interested individuals formed the Bukovina Society of the Americas to promote a respect for and recognition of the history and accomplishments of the immigrants from Bukovina. Many members pursue the research of their genealogy as part of understanding this heritage.

The Bukovina Society Headquarters-Museum, located in the former First Congregational Church building, in Ellis, maintains a collection of artifacts from Bukovina emigrants, along with a small library of books. Microfilm copies of some Bukovina parish registers are held at the Ellis Public Library. An archive of additional material is also located at the Center for Ethnic Studies at Ft. Hays State University, in Hays, Kansas.

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