Residency in Hermannstadt in 2003
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Residency in Hermannstadt in 2003

A report from the Siebenbürger newspaper – by Erich Hotz

Since Erich has retired, the former Trauner Municipal officials found the time and leisure to dedicate him to the organization of the creating of a family and a local chronicle from Hadad/ Kriegsdorf, which he wanted to, do for a long time.
In the following report, he describes his impressions and experiences of a six week lasting residency in Hermannstadt.
The Germans were settled in Hadad around 1750, from Baden-Durbach (Markgräferland), later around 1780 more emigrants came from Upper Austria, the Styria and Carinthia. They were all Protestants of the Augsburg Confession (A.C.) and since 1871 they are all part of the protestant church of Siebenbürgen.

Hadad is a very insulated small market-town in the rear northwest of Siebenbürgen with a very high part of germans, about 35% of the population. ( in 1944 about 700 Protestants A.C. plus about 150 Germans of other protestant persuasions).

Because of my efforts for the collection of evidences and statements about Hadad and its Germans, I found out that there are a lot of informations about Hadad in Hermannstadt. My request in fall 2002 yielded that they are working really hard in the central offices at the archiving of the standings, however a view at these standings was only possible from about mid-2004, because of financial and personal reasons.
I hadn’t any financial opportunity but I definetly had the confidence to work there as a helpe, if they gave me in return the permission for the inspection at the almost arichived standings about Hadad.
The country consistory of the protestant church in Hermanstadt accepted my suggestion and we agreedon, that I was going to work there for six weeks (from end of may 2003 to early july 2003). I took it for granted that I had to pay for my board and lodging by myself.

You need to know about the former Martin – Luther orphanage in the Fleischergasse (romanian: strada Mitropoliei), where the central office was, that after the mass-emigrations of the Siebenbürger Saxons (also the habitants of Hadad, Neppendorf, Großpold, Großau and the Dulacher of Mühlbach were a part of them) it was necessary to save these many archieves of pastors of those now almost 250 unoccupied communities.
Meanwhile almost everything is stored in a more or less good received condition in the central office in Hermannstadt. These stocks are waiting to be archived and so to be made available for all the interested archive users. The management of the archive confided in me of the local stock of Hamlesch in the Mühlbacher district.

The intern supervisor, the researcher Dr. Rainer Kramer, took me into the high art of the recording. Thereby it was the aim, to convert old recordings of the communities into a modern archive. In practice, this means taking stock of all parts of the sequence in the hand, to sift, classify and summarize, where appropriate, centralizing individual documents into thematically meaningful units. Then, titles and signatures issued and then they will be recorded on a PC using a database program.

Then, still has everything neatly packaged, tied, labelled, and, where appropriate for storage in archival boxes. To ensure a long storage and a problem-free detecting of the individual pieces. In order to allow the future use of the archive, an index for every stock is created. This one contains a preface about the history of this community. In addition all recorded tracks with the corresponding signature are listed in systematic order, so that future users can order the specific files which are relevant to them. In 2003 the protestant curch of Siebenbürgen now counted about 14 000 members. There have been major efforts to regain the objects of the Church which have been confiscated in communist times, which meets in particular on difficulties in rural communities, as I was told by a Protestant village priest from Banat.

Most of the structural properties are most in need of renovation and the properties are not really usable. But that a spirit of optimism in Romania and especially in the evangelical church is felt, deserves recognition. The Church in Romania can hardly afford it, especially not to this expencive times, to build in important institution of a central archive which would be very important for the present and especially for the future. We may notice gratefully, that the costs have been accepted by the meanwhile about 2 years main responsible employees Dr. Wolfram Theileman, Dr. Rainer Kramer and the historian Thomas Sindilariu as well as several students of the federal german Volkswagen foundation.

In particular, my countrymen in Germany, Austria and overseas, should be aware of the important work in the sense of the Siebenbürgischen folk community, which has been done in the archive. When I leaf through e.g. the newspaper and I read  the very active work of the many neighborhoods and I confront it to the difficulties the church in the "former home country", I would hope that this same church the appropriate appreciation of the emigrant compatriots in material aspect, could learn respect.

I thank the national consistory of the Evangelical Church in Romania, headed by Bishop D.Dr.Christoph Klein, lead attorney Gunnesch Friedrich and Hans-Jürgen Binder, for the friendly host. They have given me a valuable and unforgettable experience. I also thank Marianne Banciu and her assistants of the Elim Home for the great care.