On The Germans Of Dobrogea

excerpt STAGE 1840-1850 TULCEA Tulcea was among the first towns in which the Germans coming from Bessarabia and the south of Russia settled down. After a long period of wait several families were allowed to settle in the Turkish village Akpunar. It was 1842. In the area of Tulcea-Sulina there were Germans who worked as clerks for the Danube Commission, in harbors, in ship building, or as craftsmen in various trades. The families in Akpunar did not adapt to the life of the Turkish village where none of the ethnicities knew the language of the other; they had different religions and customs, so they moved to a territory between Isaccea and Tulcea. In the same year, a compact group of Catholic Swabians went to settle in Malcoci. Several families remained in Tulcea and they formed "The German Street", which meanwhile became " Mircea Voda". In the year 1856 there was a total of 100 German families in Tulcea, most of whom were Catholics. In 1872 the church, the school and the parochial house were built. "The German quarter" had a restaurant owned by a Tyrolese married to a Saxon woman from Transylvania; the family was at once integrated in the German colony in which ethnic origin was not an issue. The houses were neatly arranged; they were clean and painted, with small windows covered in thatch. The Catholic Swabs, who had once left Alsace or the shores of the Rhine, had names such as: Strasser, Brandt, Flaum, Becker, Martin, Straub, Frank, Zehrer, Weidemann. As time went by, other colonists arrived, this time Evangelical people whose religious center was the church of Atmagea. There were also some Baptists. They came from Poland and they were not farmers, instead they proved to be good craftsmen: ironmongers, shoemakers, carpenters, bakers, masons. In 1940 143 Germans left Tulcea and only 13 remained. MALCOCI The first Catholic German village of Dobrodgea was Malcoci. It was founded in 1843 by 25 families from Krasna who had traveled through Focsani, Calarasi, entered Dobrogea in 1842, crossed Tulcea, where some of them remained, and the 25 families mentioned above stopped in Malcoci. They had ancestors from Alsace, the valley of the Rhine, Baden and they had names such as: Weidemann, Klein, Kress, Frank, Ehret, Hoffart, Brendel, Baumstark, Kost, Schmidt, Kuckert, Melle, Höck. The first houses were small, but the community cared enough to build a chapel and two rooms for the pastor. Hard times came. In the First World War, while men were interned as would-be enemies, their sons fought in the Romanian army against Germans. In 1916 the village was occupied by the Germans and Bulgarians and was involved in the conflict until the end of the war. The German culture was preserved in Malcoci with the help of the church and the school. The first Catholic priest was an Italian who arrived in 1848 and the next one was Italian as well: Theodor Domenico. The latter commissioned the building of a church with a high, imposing steeple. The village benefited from the teachings of several extraordinary schoolmasters. The first one was Franz Stolz. While the pastor Adolf Isidor, who had a PhD in philosophy and theology, was a priest, the church had a choir of 30-40 people. Miss Gertrud Buchwald (1938-1940) was the last German teacher before repatriation. In 1879, after the Romanian administration settled in Dobrogea, it took measures to build a Romanian school and as a result, not long afterwards, with funds given by the government, the school and the schoolmaster's house were built. In 1900 education in the Romanian language became compulsory.  The German Democratic Forum, Constanta, 2003

by Horia Stinghe