What and Where is Bukovina?

Bukovina: From 1775 to 1918, the easternmost crown land of the Austrian Empire; now divided between Romania and Ukraine. As a multi-ethnic province, its name has several spellings: Bukowina or Buchenland in German, Bukowina in Polish, Bucovina in Romanian, and Bukovyna in Ukrainian, all of which mean Land of Beech Trees. The Bukovina Society of the Americas welcomes everyone with interest in the history and culture of this land.

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 is 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; Naperville, Illinois; 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 (this agreement obviously did not include the German-speaking Jews of Bukovina, who -- like Jews all across Europe -- would become victims of the Holocaust during the course of the war).

Nearly all the Catholic and Lutheran 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. Many lost their lives and/or belongings.

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

 The following is a few recipes from Bukovina that I know my grandmother made and called it the same thing.

 1. Boarschdsubbn (Borschtsuppe, beet soup)      Serves 4:
2 red beets , 3 potatoes , 2 carrots ,1 onion ,1 stalk of celery,1 leek,1 small box of cut beans,1 liter water (1.0567 quarts),1 tablespoon of butter,2 tablespoons of flour ,2 tablespoons of sour cream,2 tablespoons vinegar,1 lemon ,1 bundle of parsley

German-Bohemian Expression
Roude Ranna

Galbe Riabala
Sauana Schmäddn

Dice vegetables and chop parsley and onions; cook until soft. Melt butter and stir in flour; add to soup, and top off with sour cream, vinegar, salt and pepper to achieve a pungent taste. Flavor will be enhanced if four thin slices of lemon are added during last half-hour of cooking.

*** “Mamalei” (“Maisgriesschnitten” cornbread) with pears go well with beet soup, as does Mamaligga”) (can be sliced and eaten cold). With these additions one can enjoy an entire meal!

Beet soup has presumably been taken over from the Romanian cuisine, which nonetheless became a reliable component of the German-Bohemian menu.

2. Galuschde (Krautwickel, stuffed cabbage)
Serves 4:
250 g. rice (7.5 oz.)
250 g. onions (7.5 oz.)
250 g. chopped meat (7.5 oz.)
250 g. smoked meat, preferably pork (7.5oz.)
1 red pepper
salt, pepper, vinegar
1 large head of cabbage
1 liter water (l.0567 liquid quarts)
150 g. sauerkraut (4.5 oz.)

German-Bohemian Expression
Gmohlns Fleisch
Roude Babrika
Solz, Pfäffa, Esse
Gseiads Graud

Wash the rice; cut up onions, red pepper, and smoked meat in cubes and mix with chopped meat. Add salt and pepper generously. Steep the cabbage in boiling water and carefully remove the individual leaves. Wrap mixture in cabbage leaves and place in a large pot the bottom of which has previously been lined with sauerkraut. After all the cabbage rolls have been stacked in the pot, cover them with water and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar. Press them down with a heavy plate and cover; cook over medium heat for about l hour.

*** With “Galuschde” dark bread or fresh rolls taste the best. “Galuschde” can frequently be reheated; they taste best when reheated.

In a German-Bohemian home “Galuschde” were almost always on the stove and were also eagerly consumed as snacks. On Christmas Day as well as on great feast days “Galuschde” were part of the traditional celebration. Some villagers even staged “Galuschde parties.” “Galuschde” and much Kümmel or corn whiskey were consumed accompanied by harmonica music (“Harmie-musi”), singing and dancing.

The Buchenhain housewives used soured cabbage for rolling up the “Galuschde.” This gave them a really pungent taste. Unfortunately in our area we cannot obtain soured cabbage heads, so that one then has to prepare them oneself.


3. Mamaligga (polenta, corn meal mush)
Serves 4:
1/2 liter water (1.0567 quarts)
1 teaspoon cornmeal
2 tablespoons buckwheat meal

German-Bohemian Expression

Add cornmeal and buckwheat meal to boiling water and add salt. Let it cook for about ¼- hour while constantly stirring. (Caution: it will burn very quickly!)

*** It can be served with many dishes (e.g., with all meats, with yogurt, berries and sour cream [“Bialagansch”], and with scrambled eggs [Euaschmolz]). “Mamaligga” is a staple food served with all meals primarily on workdays. An especially tasteful and indigenous preparation is “Mamaligga” with garlic sauce (“Gnoflwoik”), fried bacon (“Schbeeggramala”), and scrambled eggs (“Euaschmolz”).

Break off a piece of “Mamaligga” and dunk it alternately in the garlic sauce and in the fried bacon. Eaten with yogurt (“Gschdegglde Miehl”) it is an especial delicacy.

If pickled cucumbers, beets and green beans (“Gseiade Umurken, Riabln und Scheula”) are available, this would be perfect! A hearty slug of whiskey after the meal completes the delight!

It can be stated with certainty that “Mamaligga” is a borrowing from the Romanian cuisine.

4. Umurken- und Domadnsolod
(Gurken- und Tomatensalat, cucumber and tomato salad)

Serves 4:
1 cucumber
3 tomatoes
vinegar, oil, pepper, salt
2 tablespoons yogurt
1 onion

German-Bohemian Expression
Esse, Ähl, Pfäffa, Solz
Gschdegglde Miehl

Peel the cucumber and cut into thin slices; add pepper and salt and mix with yogurt as well as with finely-sliced onions. Garnish with quartered tomatoes and add oil and vinegar. Naturally the cucumbers and tomatoes can be prepared as separate dishes.

*** Suitable with all types of roasts.

5. Dotschala (Kartoffelpuffe, potato pancakes)
Dotschn (Kartoffelkuchen, potato cake)

Serves 4:
10 medium-sized potatoes
4 tablespoons flour
2 eggs
6 tablespoons sweet cream
1 pinch of salt and pepper
4 tablespoons lard/butter

German-Bohemian Expression
Soaßa Schmäddn
Solz und Pfäffa

Grate the raw potatoes (do not pour out the water!), blend into a smooth batter with flour, eggs as well as sweet cream and season with salt and pepper.

The potato pancakes, each consisting of about 1 spoonful of dough, are fried in a pan with butter (or else lard) until they are crispy brown. Turn them over frequently lest they stick to the pan! The potato cake batter is poured into a well-greased roasting pan, spread thinly to a depth of about 3/4 inch and baked in the oven at 4800 Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes until a nice brown crust forms at the edges. Cut the potato cake into slices and serve hot on a platter.

*** Potato pancakes and potato cake go well with all sorts of roasted meats with gravy. But they can also be consumed with apple puree or fried bacon (“Schbeeggramala”). The potato cake is better suited to very greasy meals. But ultimately it comes down to a matter of taste!



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