Death of a Village. - John Tschinkel

Death of a Village. - John Tschinkel

Beitragvon Forum 2002 - 2013 » Do 24. Apr 2014, 17:51

Abgeschickt von John Tschinkel am 27 August, 2003 um 18:09:53:

The End of Göttenitz.

While some of us Gottscheer, in pitiful self-delusion, bury our heads in the sand, others write freely about our ignominious end. Below is a translated excerpt from "Die sterbenden Europäer" (The dying Europeans) written by the Austrian Karl-Markus Gauß. The book was published in 2001 by © Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Wien and includes, among others, a substantial section on the Gottscheer.

* * * *
"Of Gottenitz there is a famous photograph, reproduced in dozens of books. It shows the population of the entire village, assembled in December 1941. Women in white kerchiefs, men in black winter coats, youths holding the hands of smaller siblings. The village joined together at the cemetery to take leave of the generations who lived in Göttenitz and found their death here.

The families stood around the graves of their ancestors, for this was the day of departure, not the deadly end of the end, but already a day of ruination, betrayal, despair. They followed the call that reached them from Berlin, a call which a few dazzled National Socialist propagandist among them had used for months to make the population scared, uncertain, discouraged: Home to the Reich !

For certain, it must be said: There was a band of young National Socialists, who, after having shoved aside the important political functionaries of the Gottscheer leadership, worked with all possible means, mostly against fierce resistance from the clergy, to inject the population with German nationalism and organize them into rigid fascist formations. That these Gottscheer Nazis, gathered around the self-appointed "Mannschaftsführer" Wilhelm Lampeter were, in the end, deceived deceivers who lured their people not home into the Reich but into destruction, does not lessen their guilt, a guilt which, after 1945 they not only refused to acknowledge, but during the get-togethers of the expelled in Austria and Germany, attempted, with anti-Slavic din, to conceal. Fact is, the Gottscheer were, by the political emissaries from the Reich and their own leadership, connived into abandoning the homeland, a decision not at all voluntary.

To those who wanted to stay, those who refused to leave their estate in Gottschee or mistrusted the Führer, was prophesized annihilation. How would they exist in their surroundings, without their accustomed social, cultural, linguistic and economic foundation after the ethnic group left them behind ? Irretrievably they would drown in a sea of Slovene, or be sent by the Italians to the South of Italy, as were the obstinate Südtiroler. So they were told and surely, so the majority came to believe.

Of the perhaps 13,000 Gottscheer, then living in the enclave, approximately 12,0000 submitted to the pressure and coercion to resettle, but as to a lack of enthusiasm there was no question - who would, cheerfully, leave behind his estate, his villages, his dead, his whole world ?

I no longer could find the cemetery of Göttenitz. I no longer could find Göttenitz. Approximately, in the place where in 1941 the villagers stood in front of the graves, I stumbled in the no longer existing municipality, onto two curious buildings. On one side stood a house whose deterioration was quite advanced, on the opposite side an architecturally curious, large filling station of Iskra Petrol, only recently shut down and now quickly deteriorating into shabbiness. The last ruin of this Gottscheer settlement and a futuristic ruin of the real Socialism, now view disintegration, each of its own and both of the other, in this solitude".

Göttenitz was already a parish in 1363.

It died as a village in 1941.
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