Jahrhundertbuch der Gottscheer, Dr. Erich Petschauer, 1980.
At the beginning of this era, it seemed as if the "Ländchen" would continue to flourish, with its cultural uniqueness and the character of its people remaining untouched. One hundred years later, however, Gottschee, in all its facets as we see them at the turn of the century, will no longer exist. To be sure, the Gottscheers will still inhabit it, but the bolts with which the Gottscheers guarded their traditions will have been forced open by cultural changes, by advances of civilization and technology, by roads that connect it with the province of Carniola and, hence, the extensive dissolution of its geographic isolation, and, not least, by the doubleedged nationalism.
Let us attempt roughly to outline the course and transformation of this century which in fundamentally changing the entire world also changed the Gottscheer people. First, we notice a unique psychological process in the "Ländchen": Its inhabitants, particularly the Gottscheer women, gradually and quite unintentionally and unawares, lose the balance between the new creation and imitation of their own ethnic culture and the increasing cultural influences of the community at large. This had always been the case to some degree, but now it also affected the
social realm. The very slow penetration of the urban civilization through the outer membrane of the traditions rooted in nature brings about a secret internal aversion, almost a disdain for the rural. That which comes from without begins to seem nicer, more noble, and "better." And by the way, not only in Gottschee.
For fourteen or fifteen generations, the Gottscheer woman had successfully balanced the implied cultural creative center while standing on the threshold of her home. In a few decades, she lost much of the joy and ability to be, as a young girl, the inheritor and, as a mature woman and grandmother, the bequeather of her inherited culture. To be sure, it will become evident that she cannot be blamed nor held guilty for this, just as she is not responsible for the almost escape-like emigration of Gottscheers to the United States of America in the eighties.
The nineteenth century was still quite "masculine" at the beginning. Napoleon conquered vast regions of Europe; the "Ländchen" was also conquered by his troops and made a part of the newly formed province of Illyria. In 1809 the Gottscheers resisted and vehemently protested the inhumanly high taxes. Since they found no compassion, they bludgeoned the city commandant to death in their justified anger. They were so angry that they did not even grant the French officer a cemetery burial but threw his corpse into one of the suction holes below Obermösel. They were more than harshly punished with the shooting of several hostages and the officially-sanctioned plundering of the city by the Soldateska for three days. Fortunately, this French period was only an episode.
The "Romantic period," however, was boundless and changed the world. This movement, which was at first purely intellectual, was essentially the conception of the German poet and cultural innovator, Johann Gottfried Herder (1744—1803). What later became of it is written elsewhere. Among the European nations, it gave rise to a stormy enthusiasm for one's own cultural achievements and values. This enthusiasm, however, smashed, and still today destroys, entire cultures and nations in the political arena through over-estimation of the self and through the misuse of power. New differences were exposed, old ones deepened. Part of this was, above all, the inherited inclination towards suspicion between the Germans and the Slavs: During the first half of the nineteenth century, it took shape in two quarreling movements, in "Pangermanism" and in "Panslavinism." The distant political objective for both was the formation of a large state in which, on the one hand, all Germans and, on the other hand, all Slavs were to be united. The Slavs in the west and south, moreover, endeavored to separate themselves completely, intellectually and culturally, from the Germanic. They were convinced that they could achieve this goal only by completely destroying the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Whoever views the fate of the Gottscheers other than in this situation of increasing gravity is mistaken.
In the broadest sense, it was the Romantic movement that brought about the discovery of the linguistic island of Gottschee by three groups in the nineteenth century:
1. by the Gottscheers themselves
2. by the linguists and folklore scholars of the Austrian Alps, and
3. by the political and cultural leadership of the Slovenian people.
Discovered by itself: Up to and into the Romantic period, the still unfinished and evolving Gottscheer selfawareness was politically inactive. Around the beginning of the nineteenth century, however, it also entered a "Storm and Stress phase" and began to evaluate itself and precisely define itself with regard to the German people. This development began with the urban dwellers and resulted in the endeavor to prove also that one is German. In keeping with the times, this was achieved by founding private schools in which German was the language of instruction. They were also called "Notschulen" (emergency schools). The founders found teachers among idealists who had been former officials or long-time soldiers, as well as among people who had educated themselves and had a natural talent for teaching.
The first elementary school in Gottschee was already recorded in 1690. One hundred twenty-eight years were to pass until the first private district school was opened in 1818 in Altlag. Mitterdorf followed in 1819 and, in 1820, Obermösel joined in. In 1822 - surprisingly early - Tschermoschnitz joined in, still before Nesseltal and Rieg, which followed in 1829. But the attentive reader would have been amazed if the establishment of the Gottscheer school system had not begun in these settlement centers. Stockendorf and Unterdeutschau began instruction in 1836 and 1839, respectively. Four other private schools were set up in the fifties: in 1852 in Pöllandl, in 1854 in Göttenitz and in Unterlag, and in 1856 the peasants' efforts also succeeded in Morobitz. Then the founding fervor ceased for
a while. There was a lack of teachers.
School attendance was, of course, still voluntary, although not free. The parents of the pupils had to pay for the teacher's salary and school supplies. The number of students was limited above all by the long distances that children had to travel to school. There was a gradual increase. For all practical purposes, only boys attended in rural regions.
All this was drastically changed when school attendance became compulsory with the passing of the "Imperial Elementary School Law" in 1869. The Gottscheer private schools were recognized. The duchy thus suddenly had fifteen public elementary schools which were supported by the state but no teachers who met the certification requirements of the new law. Since the first-graders used the Gottscheer dialect as the mother tongue and could barely speak High German, the teachers, if possible, were to be native Gottscheers and to have had teacher
training. The respected city dwellers were very concerned about the educational progress in Gottschee. They had already discussed the announced compulsory education law for years and found no other solution than that the young Gottscheer teachers had to be trained outside of the homeland. They also discussed the situation with the Viennese German scholar. Professor K. J. Schröer, who finally suggested a partial solution. Understandably, one could not establish a teacher training school with a preparatory school in Gottschee, but one could conceivably found a "Untergymnasium" (lower secondary school) with four grades. Professor Schröer had been in the linguistic island in 1867 and 1869 to do linguistic research. His most important conversational partner had been the pharmacist Robert Braune, a man with advanced humanistic training and leadership quality. Braune saw to it that the plan of the Viennese scholar was enthusiastically supported and the latter gave it the necessary initial support in the Ministry of Education. On October 28, 1872, the lower secondary school and the first class were ceremoniously opened amid festivities. To be sure, the school had to be housed in a private home at first. Benedikt Knapp, teacher at the Upper Secondary School in Laibach, was named director.
Seventeen students were enrolled in the first class; nine of them came from the city, whose inhabitants supported needy "students" from elsewhere by giving them free lunches and lodging. In 1873 the citizenry even founded a "support fund." Besides Benedikt Knapp (1872-1894), the Gottscheer secondary school had two other directors in its 46-year history: Peter Wolsegger (1894-1908) and Dr. Franz Riedl (1908-1918). In 1907 the school was expanded to an Upper Secondary School due to the efforts of Alois Loy, mayor at that time, and with the political support of Prince Karl of Auersperg (1859-1927).
The eighties were of decisive significance, particularly for the Lower Secondary School. In 1880 the "German School Organization" was established in Vienna. A year later, it was active as a founder of schools in Gottschee. Within a short time, twenty-four district groups existed, the first one in the city of Gottschee. The members elected Robert Braune as presiding officer and Peter Wolsegger as recording secretary. Furthermore, in 1881, talented applicants to the secondary school were selected on a new basis:
The wholesale merchant Johann Stampfl from the district of Morobitz, who lived in Prague at the time, set up the "Johann Stampfl Scholarship Fund" in the sum of 100,000 (one hundred thousand!) guilders. From the interest, 22 scholarships of 50, 13 of 100, and 8 scholarships of 200 guilders, were given annually to needy and talented Gottscheer boys. Johann Stampfl, the big-hearted donor, born in 1805, died after an unusually successful life as a merchant, in 1890 in Prague.
After the founding of the "German School Organization," the Gottscheer elementary school system grew rapidly. Nine one-class elementary schools alone arose in the period from 1881 to 1888. A comparison figure: from 1856 to 1881 only one single school was established, the one in Stalzern (1874). From these relatively numerous foundings in the eighties, one cannot only conclude that the Gottscheers were busily at work, but one can also see the effects of the lower secondary school: From year to year, the number of young teachers grows; the old school masters can be relieved; appointments can be made to newly founded schools. These were set up in the following villages or school districts:
Warmberg 1881, Maierle and Langenthon 1882, Masern and Schäflein 1883, Hohenegg 1884, Lichtenbach 1885, as well as Steinwand and Unterskrill in 1888. This, however, did not meet all the needs for educational facilities in the linguistic island. That was only accomplished with the following foundings: Lienfeld 1892, Altbacher 1898, Verdreng and Reichenau 1905, Reuter 1908, Stalldorf 1909, and Suchen (in the High Valley) 1910. Thus, there were a total of thirty-three elementary schools in the linguistic island of Gottschee in 1910, or in 1918 at the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Those schools in the old settlement centers had, in the meantime, been enlarged by one class. The school in the city was expanded to five classes. The school that was founded in 1932 in Tiefenbach was not a German-founded school but was, of course, attended by German children.
Thus, it had taken ninety years until the school system in the Gottscheer region had become so extensive that every child could enjoy a German education without too much difficulty. We cannot, however, stop with the organizational aspect of the educational development. It ran parallel to similar processes in the entire Danube monarchy just as the Imperial Elementary School Law of 1869 had mandated. In our linguistic island, however, a cultural and social transformation that reached into the depths of the people's soul accompanied this gratification of the thirst for education: the young girl's entrance into the world of German culture at large and the Gottscheer woman's relinquishing of inherited social ties as the one-sided and dutiful peasant woman, wife, and mother.
As we heard, the Gottscheers had met the requirements for compulsory education with the fifteen private schools that were founded between 1818 and 1856. Most of the girls who were otherwise ready for school had to watch as boys of the same age were given preference. Occupying the school bench, being equally entitled and obliged to study, competing with the boys - all of this was a profound event for the village girls who had suddenly become pupils. It was a factor not only in their still very limited child's world, but they now also had access to the mysterious world of the German reader, and every schoolday was totally given to being German. German was the only language of instruction. From year to year, they understood more of the Sunday sermon of the priest. We probably cannot quite accurately conceive how proud a perhaps ten-year-old girl may have been as she sat next to her perhaps thirty-five-year-old mother and read from her first prayer book. She was only up to the Sanctus when the priest was already celebrating the Consecration, but she was reading. The mother, silently moving her lips in prayer, let the rosary pass through her fingers and only now and then glanced almost shyly at her child and the book.
The school gained supremacy over Gottscheer legends and tales, songs and stories - not over the dialect, not over the children's games. The colorful world of the German legends and tales opened up and soon outshone the native tales." Little Red Riding Hood," "Snowwhite and the Seven Dwarfs," "The Brave Little Taylor," "The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats," and many other children's fairy tales replaced the legends about witches and devils. Great heroic figures, such as Arminius, Emperor Redbeard in the Untersberg, Emperor Maximilian in the Martinswand, and later the tales of knights in the school library - all of this was enormously exciting and one could read it again and again. The Gottscheer legends, fairy tales, and stories were not written down anywhere, and neither were the
folksongs. In school they only sang the High German children's songs: "Kommt ein Vogel geflogen," "Ein Männlein steht im Walde," or "Sah ein Knab ein Röslein stehn".. .
And the mothers of these first ten to fifteen schoolgirl classes? They had in no way easily followed in the footsteps of their grandmother. The nineteenth century also had other progressive things to offer besides school. Already long before girls were allowed to go to elementary school, the "Zeitgeist" (spirit of the time) had come to the older girls and young women of the linguistic island. The mediator between it and the rural world of the woman was the city of Gottschee. There this "modern life" first became evident. The increasing success in their lives and a liberal handling of the economy allowed more and more of its citizens to expand the role of the city as the center of Gottschee. Their self-assurance grew. To be sure, they did not become excessively rich, but their higher standard of living did allow them to build appropriate businesses and homes. At first, only individual builders, middle-class women, and girls set the example for the new lifestyle. They were imitated - "fashion came to Gottschee." The men read newspapers from Graz and Vienna.
The girls and young women in the rural areas, namely in the old settlement centers, were quite aware of the changes in their "Stadtle." As everywhere and at all times, they too sought and found their models. How they carried themselves and dressed was worthy of imitation, soon even mandatory, if one did not wish to be considered backward. The rough linen of the native dress gave way to more delicate cloth and stylish designs. To be sure, this did not take place with the speed in which fashions change in our time and the old women held fast to their inherited native dress. Hats a la mode were, of course, worn only by the middleclass women of the city, but even there one could see still in the twentieth century the simpler women wearing the kerchief tied under the chin. It too had become more delicate. Even earlier than the women, the men had given up their native garb.
The relative prosperity, not to be confused with a grand lifestyle, and the attitudinal change towards the culture among the youth during the second half of the nineteenth century, created a greater gap between the generations than had been the case previously. In other words, the balance between the readiness to accept the new and the inclination towards the traditional declined from decade to decade. To be sure, the dialect remained the unequivocal means of communication among the rural population. In the urban middle class, a mixture of the Gottscheer and Viennese dialect gradually gained supremacy.
At this very point in the general discussion about the economic progress in the "Ländchen," let us consider the establishment and temporary flourishing of an industry that was typical for Gottschee. A peddler from Lichtenbach had earned a good income in Bohemia for several years. He had observed the loden weavers and concluded that one could earn even more at home in this line of work. In 1843 he had several looms and weavers brought from there to Lichtenbach. The undertaking was successful beyond all expectations. Its success soon became general
knowledge and it found imitators, and hence competitors. Other enterprising peasant-manufacturers were similarly successful in the neighboring villages of Kummerdorf and Altfriesach, and even as far away as Reichenau and Nesseltal, Hohenegg and Obermösel. The group in Lichtenbach alone employed up to eighty weavers and assistants at the height of the boom.
The sheep wool was at first imported only from Carinthia. Increasing demands forced the Gottscheer loden weavers to turn also to Hungarian and Albanian suppliers. The wool of the Albanian mountain sheep yielded a Gottscheer loden that was particularly high in quality and very much in demand. The manufacturers usually sold the loden themselves and mainly in Croatian markets. The goods were, however, not transported in "Kraxn" (basket containers carried on the back) - as was the case with the peddlers into the nineteenth-century - but in horse-drawn wagons.
Excessive competition among the Gottscheers themselves and the industrialization of the manufacture of loden (automatic loom) in other countries crowded out the Gottscheer loden from the markets towards the end of the nineteenth century. Its production had become too expensive. Even in Lichtenbach, no loom was any longer in use at the beginning of the twentieth century. Most of the weavers had left the "Ländchen." Nevertheless, Lichtenbach was humming. In 1885 the village had received a one-class elementary school and thus had become a school district village.
The attempt to set up a glass industry was of only slight economic significance for the people. The Ranzinger brothers, who came from Vienna, set up a glass-works near Masern in the Hinterland in 1835. They called it "Karlshütten." The fuel, wood, was available in abundance, but the raw material, gravel, had to be brought in from Croatia. Because the products were so fragile, they had to be transported by mules or horses, which was very awkward as well as expensive. In 1856 the owners of the glass-works moved the unprofitable concern to the city
of Gottschee and set it up at the lignite site. But success eluded the Ranzinger family also in its new surroundings. It closed the business in 1888.
The just mentioned lignite deposit near the city was not systematically mined until 1892. In that year, it was acquired by the "Trifailer Bergwerks-Gesellschaft" (the Trifailer Mining Company) and it undertook the more extensive open-cast working. It was not by accident that the purchase was made in 1892. The buyer, a woman, knew that the opening of a branch line from Laibach to Gottschee was planned. Not incorrectly, she assumed that the profits would be much higher with the much more favorable means of transportation. Since the Gottscheer farmers and their second and third sons showed only little interest in mining, the company fetched miners from Carniola and Croatia. In order to keep them there, the "Trifailer" built modest company housing for them. At times, up to 500 workers were employed. This relatively large number of inhabitants who spoke Slovenian and Croatian considerably changed the ethnic ratio in the city of Gottschee.
Not only the "Trifailer" had included the railroad in their calculations. Prince Karl of Auersperg had also done so. He had already been involved in the planning and construction of the branch line Laibach-Gottschee, and he also succeeded in getting a track from the Großlupp (Grosuplje) station to Rudolfswerth (Novo mesto) and Straza. This side track would allow the Prince of Auersperg to transport lumber easily from the grand-scale lumber industry planned for the "Hornwald" in the Auerspergian district.
Duke Karl had thought not only of himself in the building of this railroad. He and Mayor Alois Loy in the city of Gottschee had the personal support of Emperor Franz Joseph I. The monarch knew of the close ties between the House of Hapsburg and the ancient noble family of Auersperg. The Auerspergers had given the monarchy innumerable politicians, military men, and diplomats. These ties were so close that, for example, young Prince Karl of Auersperg was chosen to be the play companion of the unfortunate Crown Prince Rudolf of Hapsburg. Despite his young age. Prince Karl was determined that this railroad would link the Gottscheers to the rail network of Carniola and the Austrian Alpine provinces. To be sure, the branch line was not the first "moving" connection of the
"Ländchen" to the big world. Already in 1856, the organizationally skilled Gottscheer citizen Anton Hauff had established a weekly pony postal service to Laibach. A few years later, it was expanded to an express postal service that ran six times a week. Anton Hauff became the first postmaster in Gottschee.
Even the peddling trade was transformed under the pressure of those forces of the nineteenth century that changed everything. The postal connection to Laibach had already considerably shortened for the peddlers the irksome travelling time to the peddling district. They also no longer travelled with fully laden "Kraxn" from village to village but had moved to the small- and medium-sized cities. There the peddler went to the taverns and raffled off tropical fruits, sweets, and all sons of delicacies in a small lottery. He carried his goods with him in a "Bauchladen" (a tray suspended from straps slung around the neck). Thus, he could now pitch a camp and fill the basket several times in an evening. However, he was no longer allowed to sell his wares. If the guest wanted to try his luck with the Gottscheer, the latter would extend to him a linen or leather satchel containing ninety wood-carved numbers. Depending on how much he wanted to win, the guest would put down a sum and pick three numbers from the bag that had been vigorously shaken. It had already been agreed upon earlier which game was to count: "Three under a hundred" or "Three-five-seven." That meant: If the total of the digits of the numbers that had been picked was under a hundred, the player had won; if the number was above a hundred, the Gottscheer collected the money that had been staked. The other game: If there was a three, a five, and a seven among the numbers that were picked, luck was on the side of the guest. Besides this new form of traveling peddling based on the old privilege, chestnut roasting also established itself as a winter occupation in the large cities during the nineteenth century. Exactly when this transformation of the peddling trade actually occurred can, of course, no longer be determined. But it is without a doubt connected to another development which had already started at the end of the eighteenth century. Particularly talented peddlers had gradually taken up the trade with tropical fruits. From the large cities of the monarchy, they ultimately controlled for quite some time during the nineteenth century almost the entire importation of tropical fruits in Central Europe.
This new type of peddling by the Gottscheer peasants could also be more easily controlled by themselves and protected from imitation. This explains why there was no renewal of the ancient peddling privilege of 1492 between the years 1841 and 1914.
Had this changeover to a different product occurred because no one any longer created wood-carvings or made linen? Wood carving was not completely abandoned, but its practitioners could not compete with the cheaper and apparently also more practical industrial production. Thus, it is a sign of ingenuity that the Gottscheer peddler now offered his customers treats at a time when they could otherwise not find them, particularly not along with an entertaining game of chance that the customers could enjoy every evening. On the other hand, one clever person in the city of Gottschee saw to it that the wood carving talent of his countrymen did not remain dormant. The lumber trading company Loy was established, and it encouraged the creation of wood carvings that were in tune with the needs and the taste of the time. Wood carving developed to such an extent that a trade school for woodwork was established in 1882. Here, too, Johann Stampfel was its sponsor. The Loy Company steadily expanded its assortment and contributed to exhibitions. Ultimately, its offerings went far beyond household items and, according to an advertisement in the "Deutsche Kalender von Krain" (German Almanac of Carniola), included everything from the walking cane to small furniture.
In farming, however, where progress would have been most necessary, hardly anything changed. To be sure, the so-called "Servitutsrechte" (Compulsory Service Rights) of 1847 granted the peasants continued co-user rights to the Auerspergian forests, the lumber trade became more profitable, the iron plow dug deeper into the humus than the hoe or the wooden plow, the more prosperous farmers bought soil aeration equipment, hand-driven threshing machines appeared toward the end of the century, communities introduced the grain refiner into Gottschee, and more and more fertilizer was used in the twentieth century. But three-field crop rotation and the splitting of the meager crumbs of farmland into ever smaller plots did not change. In addition, every farmer planted what he needed to sustain his household and his livestock. More time was lost here than elsewhere in the planting and harvesting because a farmer's fields were spread far apart and the draught-animals moved slowly. Even in the twentieth century, oxen and cows were still commonly used as draught-animals in smaller, out-of-the-way villages. In the larger villages that were closer to the city horses were already used. The soil, especially the meadows, were depleted, not only because of the high lime content, but also because of insufficient fertilization.
On the other hand, already at the beginning of the century, there was an increase in the birth rate in the "Ländchen" due to the romantic impulses from without, the broadening of the nutritional base through corn and potatoes that had already existed for decades, as well as to the belief that a better future was at hand. The increase in births, however, also meant unexpected increase in farm laborers but, of course, also more consumers. More grain had to be planted and more livestock raised. To be sure, the farmers began to make adjustments, but
by the seventies the still arable land was just about depleted, that is, the "Ländchen" was bursting with inhabitants. The dictates of the two existential laws about the lack of space and the meager yield of the soil were in full effect. Two statistics will clarify the situation of the linguistic island at this time when the overpopulated
"Ländchen" threatened to explode like a kettle from the internal pressure. On page 46 of his book, Professor Grothe notes a census of the Gottscheers from the year 1745. He does not quote the source. Apparently, it was undertaken by the then existing five parishes and totalled 9,000 "entrusted souls." We are somewhat suspicious of this figure because it seems to be too low. If it were accurate, the number of inhabitants as counted in 1574 would not have changed. But that is highly unlikely since the Turks had last attacked 150 years earlier and the economy
of the linguistic island had already been recovering for over one hundred years under the Auerspergs. But even if one raises Grothe's count of 9,000 by a third to 12,000 souls, the figures of the Viennese statistician C. Czoernig - with about 22,000 for 1852 and 25,000 to 26,000 around 1875 - are still astonishing enough (cited from Maria Hornung, "Mundartkunde Osttiros", page 145).
Precisely expressed: This rapid population growth of the Gottscheers shows that the group in this chalk-soil region no longer developed biologically in isolation despite its insular location but - again, without being fully aware of it - underwent the general European population explosion of the nineteenth century. And still more:
When the lure of the sparsely populated North American continent again seized the German people for a second time in this century, it also attracted thousands upon thousands of young people from Gottschee. Apparently fortunate for the individual emigrant but ultimately fatal for the Gottscheers as a whole, it opened the wide flood gates that permitted the population surplus to escape. But the flow would not stop. In the first half of the year 1914, the district office in Gottschee issued about 700 passports to the United States.
Traveling and earning money in foreign lands was nothing new for the Gottscheers. But it had always been something the men did. This time it was different. This time the "Zeitgeist" (spirit of the time) had planned ahead - the inner field had been prepared for the great restlessness that now also took hold of the young women and girls. They began to follow the husband, the brother, the fiance, or the secret lover to a land that proclaimed itself the land of unlimited opportunities.
And what had Gottschee to offer?
Did the Gottscheer woman really only follow her man, or was it also the bleak job prospect at home or the hope of thus being better able to assist the relative that led her to leave for this country? Was it a sense of adventure that brought forth this decision to emigrate, a decision which took much courage? Perhaps she, too, had the eternal need to roam, the Gottscheer wanderlust? A good and ready income beckoned to her, and at the same time a freer and better life - was it that? Indeed, one must assume that all sober and practical considerations, family and friendship ties, and a profoundly human curiosity about the mysterious unfamiliar were factors if one wants to comprehend fully the attitude of a young Gottscheer woman of that time.
The "Lantle" nevertheless did not leave them even once they had reached American soil after a horrendous ocean crossing on the emigration ship. On the one hand, the young Gottscheer woman had escaped the confines, but, on the other hand, she sought and found support and comfort among her fellow countrymen in the vast, unfamiliar, and threatening world. She sought not only protection, but also the warmth of the "Hoimischn," the familiar. Not a few of the immigrants needed much consolation and encouragement to be able to bear the homesickness. Here we encounter a noteworthy psychological phenomenon. As if obeying a natural law, she resisted looking for work in rural regions - not only because "he," the fellow countryman or a certain countryman, did not leave the city, but because it had been instilled in her through the centuries that working the soil did not reward even the greatest effort.
One circumstance was particularly useful to the Gottscheer woman, as well as to her countryman, in this adjustment to the totally different existence.
The peasants in Gottschee had been forced to improvise daily from childhood. That is why they quickly found their way in the country whose "way of life" today still exemplifies improvisation that has become systematized.
The majority of the first group of Gottscheer immigrants, however, did not stay in crowded New York but moved on to Cleveland, Ohio, where they found work rather quickly. There were already so many of them in the eighties - and the influx continued - that social problems arose. To deal with them, several courageous men founded the first Gottscheer aid society in the United States and called it "Erster Österreichischer Unterstützungsverein" ("The First Austrian Benefits Society"). The external circumstances that led to its founding are still partly known. The "Gottscheer Gedenkbuch" describes them on page 48: "The first idea for founding a benefit society arose at the beginning of June 1889 when several Gottscheers met at the wedding of Mr. Josef Perz from Malgern. As a result of this private discussion, fourteen courageous Gottscheers founded the "Erster Österreichischer Unterstützungsverein" already on July 7 of the same year. Mr. Josef Kump of Schalkendorf had the pleasure of being elected the first president of this first Gottscheer organization in America. Monthly dues were set at 50 cents."
The population loss of the Gottscheer people during the eighties and nineties up to the first World War could not be recouped. Not only was the number of immediate emigrants a factor, but these were the most productive, daring, and energetic ones. To be sure, until 1914, there were some young couples who, driven by homesickness, returned to the old homeland and began there a new or continued the work begun by their parents and in-laws with the dollars they had saved. This return was like a trickle in comparison to the wide river that flowed in the opposite direction. Above all, the children and grandchildren of the emigrants were lost to Gottschee.
The mass emigration produced another psychological reaction. As soon as they were in a position to do so, the emigrants sent money home. Every dollar that came into the "Ländchen" gave genuine aid, but, at the same time, it was an intensive advertisement for America. How much effort would it have cost the recipient to be able to save the equivalent value of a dollar in more than four Austro-Hungarian florins?!
After the turn of the century, the farmhouse ruins multiplied - at first in the outlying villages. The former owners or their heirs lived in America. No one halted the decline.
And irreversible damage was done to the Gottscheer traditions by the emigration of the youth shaped by the cultural heritage of thirty generations. Among them, some girls and women counted double: the lead singers in the village singing society, in the parish church choirs; the storytellers at the communal evening work sessions; in general, the young female and male personalities who were the leaders. This is not to say that these young Gottscheers are to be held morally responsible for the gap which now no longer could be closed. Just as earlier the native dress had disappeared as the customary garb worn to church, so now the Gottscheer hymns disappeared from the church services.
Thus, all that embodied Gottschee was threatened from two sides: by the incessant decline in population and by the gradual decline in the energy that shapes and passes on traditions.
Could the linguistic island still be saved?
Hardly any of the characteristic Gottscheer cultural heritage had been recorded by the middle of the nineteenth century. To be sure, the younger generation of heirs of this cultural heritage could now read and write, but their numbers had already declined before the big wave of emigration. Only old women and men still knew the folksongs, the stories, and the unaltered dialect. But how was an old farmer's wife, who couldn't read or write, to record a folksong or a legend, a proverb or anything of the sort?
Discovered by the Linguists and Folklorists of the Austrian Alps
What did the scholars consider to be endangered? What did they want to know from the Gottscheer? More and different things than what seemed important to the Gottscheers. Ever since the linguistic island of Gottschee had sporadically become of interest to geographers and to scholars of ethnic groups, their research began and ended with the question concerning the origin of the ancestors of this unique people. The Gottscheers themselves could not answer the question, since they no longer had any connections to the origin of the first Gottscheers. Therefore, they could not counter with something historically concrete the theories about their origin that were presented with scientific trimmings. Only now, half a millenium after the settling of Gottschee, can one seriously consider the research methodologies and their results. And still another hundred years had to pass before the Gottscheers finally learned where their ancestors originated. But let us stay in the nineteenth century and look over the shoulders of the scholars as they prepared the way for the end result.
The first tentative attempts to determine the origin by way of the dialect occurred in the early part of the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1861 Theodor Elze, a Protestant minister in Laibach at that time, published his work "Gottschee und die Gottscheer". His interest in the linguistic island had been sparked by his personal encounters with Gottscheers. They now came more often to the capital of Carniola, since a postal service connected Gottschee and Laibach. About their dialect Elze wrote: "The Gottscheer dialect is an extremely valuable and still untapped source for the study of the German language. Not only could it significantly enrich the study of German dialects, but it could yield many not insignificant clues to the understanding of our old German language." (Quoted from Grothe p. 129.)
Dr. K. J. Schröer, a professor from Vienna with whom we are already acquainted, dipped even further into the dialect for traces of its origins. Still a bit unsure, but with a clear vision, he aimed at the more confined region of origin: "The Gottscheers are on the whole Marcomanni. The dialect is characteristic of the Bavarian-Austrian Lech-dialects, but with an old addition from Swabia and Franconia. The latter element differentiates it in many word forms and certain sounds from its otherwise closely related dialect of the Zimbri and the Carinthians." (Quoted from Grothe, p. 129.)
The result of Schröer's rather short stay in Gottschee was a treatise about the dialect - a work which now has only historical value. We are also indebted to him for a register of the villages of the "Ländchen."
Schröer's intellectual heir was Professor Adolf Hauffen, who was born in Laibach and taught in Prague. He published the now classic monograph "Die Sprachinsel Gottschee" in Graz in 1895. Hauffen no longer has any doubts that the ancestors of the Gottscheers came from the Bavarian-Austrian dialect region, even though this term was not yet in vogue at his time. He found in the Gottscheer dialect the most essential characteristics of the Bavarian vocabulary and word formation, inflection and vocalization. Hauffen does not admit any considerable influence of Alemannian-Swabian dialect forms. We find his other views about the origin of the Gottscheers in Grothe, on the bottom of page 129, where the scholar from Leipzig writes: "The influence and influx of the Bavarian-Austrian kind from neighboring Carinthia and Styria was clearly very strong in Gottschee. Sixty percent of the vocabulary of the Gottscheer dialect probably is of this origin. It is, however, peculiar that several characteristics of the Bavarian dialect - such as the dual forms "ös" and "enk," as well as the slurring of the e in the prefixes of words - are not found in the Gottscheer dialect despite the considerable Bavarian-Austrian vocabulary. The Gottscheer clearly says 'gamochet,' 'Geschwister,' 'pahent,' not 'gmacht,' 'Gschwister' and 'phent.' " (Quoted from Grothe, pp. 129-130.)
Up to Hauffen, only non-Gottscheers published the results of their research on the "Ländchen" and their views. The first Gottscheer who contributed a clearly scholarly work about the dialect of his homeland was Hauffen's pupil, Dr. Hans Tschinkel from Lichtenbach, secondary school principal in Prague. He wrote "Die Grammatik der Gottscheer Mundart", which was published in Halle in 1908. It was to be followed by a dictionary of the Gottscheer dialect, but the stresses and strains of the First World War and his unceasing scholarly efforts, which also included the Gottscheer folksong, had consumed his energies too soon. Tschinkel died much too soon in 1926 and left behind a unique harvest: more than a thousand folksongs from Gottschee. They were to be published as the first volume of a series about the folksong in the Austro-Hungarian empire. The collapse of the Danube monarchy in 1918 destroyed this plan as well. In addition, Hans Tschinkel left behind numerous preparatory notes for the dialect dictionary. None of those who knew of it ever dared to hope that it would be published. Nevertheless, half a century after his death, the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna published the second volume of the "Wörterbuch der Gottscheer Mundart" by Dr. Walter Tschinkel from Morobitz, the nephew of the scholar. Walter Tschinkel had received his pedagogical training at the teachers' college in Klagenfurt and, as a young teacher, he studied German philology in order to produce a scholarly linguistic work. Again it seemed as if another war and the poor health of Dr. Tschinkel were to make all the efforts to bring about the most significant scholarly work about the linguistic island of Gottschee for naught. He was, however, able to complete the first volume by 1974 and only the last proofs still remained to be done for the second volume published in 1976. He died when he was not yet 70, in October 1975, in St. Georgen am Längsee, where he had worked for many years. His death was deeply mourned by the last generation of Gottscheers. His personal friends, among whom was also the author of the "Jahrhundertbuch", rejoiced with him when he was awarded the Theodor-Körner-Prize in Vienna a few months before his death. His fellow countrymen honored him with the "Gottscheer Ehrenring" (honorary ring) and the township of St. Georgen posthumously made him an honorary citizen.
With his "Wörterbuch der Gottscheer Mundart", Dr. Walter Tschinkel provided an invaluable service to German philology, namely to the Bavarian-Austrian dialect geography. Early on he made contact with the "Bairisch-österreichischen Wörterbuchkanzlei" in Vienna and the bureau soon recognized the significance of his work. Walter Tschinkel's work appeared as Volume VII of the series: "Studien zur österreichisch-bairischen Dialektkunde", and thus continued the tradition of the "imperial," as of 1867 royal and imperial, Academy of Sciences, in supporting those doing research on Gottschee. K. J. Schröer was the first, Walter Tschinkel - so the Gottscheers hope - will not be the last to be so supported.
Besides receiving support for the idea and for the publication by the Academy of Sciences in Vienna, the dictionary of the Gottscheer dialect also received other support in the Republic of Austria and in the Federal Republic of Germany which made the publication of the two-volume work at all possible. Tschinkel expresses his thanks to the participating departments and organizations on page VI of his first volume as follows:
My sincere thanks to the Federal Minister of Education for a six-month leave of absence to conduct research in 1968 and to the Office of the Carinthian State Government for a four-month leave in 1970. My heartfelt thanks also to the Delegate to the National Council, Dr. O. Scrinzi, to the Chairman of the Gottscheer Landsmannschaft, Dr. V. Michitsch, and to OSR. Dir. H. Petschauer as the compatriot caretaker of the Gottscheer dictionary, who applied for and brought about the two leaves.
My work received its greatest recognition on March 10, 1972 when the Austrian Academy of Sciences accepted my manuscript "Wörterbuch der Gottscheer Mundart" for publication as volume 7 in the series "Studien zur österreichisch bairischen Dialektkunde". I also value the place that it was assigned: it is going to be next to the "Pladner Wörterbuch" of Maria Hornung. The Gottscheer and Pladner dialects, once neighboring dialects from the Tirolean-Carinthian region, have again been united after a separation of almost 700 years.
I am very grateful to all those offices and people who have contributed financially to make the publication of the Gottscheer dictionary possible. First, to the Austrian Academy of Sciences and to the Fund for the Support of
Scientific Research. Then, to the Ministry of the Interior of the Federal Republic in Bonn, to the Ministry of the Interior of the Provincial Government of Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart, the Departments of Culture of the Provincial Governments in Klagenfurt, Graz, and Innsbruck, the cities of Sindelfingen and Klagenfurt, and to the Carinthian Loan Association. Finally, to the Carinthian Landsmannschaft and their chairmen in Ulm, Klagenfurt, Wien, Graz, and Linz. And not last to the Gottscheer Relief Associations in New York and Toronto .. .
It was certainly very advantageous for the breadth and enrichment in detail of the scholarly material that Tschinkel brought the Gottscheer dialect as a native language into the field of study of modern Austro-Bavarian dialect geography. This circumstance could be especially appreciated by two leading experts in this area, namely, the Viennese professors Dr. Eberhard Kranzmayer and Dr. Maria Hornung. They, in turn, carefully conducted Walter Tschinkel's life's work, as a signpost and for comparison, to its place in Austrian scholarship.
During the years prior to the publication of the "Wörterbuch der Gottscheer Mundart", a constant exchange of ideas - above all, between Walter Tschinkel and Maria Hornung - took place. On numerous study trips, they examined the sections of the region that Prof. Kranzmayer had generally labeled as the "Tirolean-Carinthian border region" where the Gottscheers originated. They often succeeded in pin-pointing the villages from which they emigrated by comparing the unusual peasant expressions. Professor Hornung says the following about the general conformity between the East Tyrolean and Gottscheer dialect in her book "Mundartkunde Osttirols", on page 147:
After excluding those word groups which are not useful for a word comparison of the Gottscheer dialect with those of the Tyrolean-Carinthian border regions, we get the following dialect geography: To a considerable degree the Gottscheer peculiarities can be associated with those of the Puster and Lesach valleys.
Because of its dialect and questions about its origins, the "high valley of Suchen," the western border area of the Gottscheer region, deserves special attention. It has its own settlement history. There are reasons for the assumption that this history already commenced with the first settlement phase. Little, however, supports the theory that the high valley was settled from the Hinterland, perhaps from Göttenitz, because the Rieg-Göttenitz forest made it very inaccessible. In contrast, it was easily reached from Altenmarkt, Laas, Zirknitz, Idria. Surely those who planned the settlement for the count of Ortenburg were aware of this fact before the colonizing began. The castle of Laas and its properties were an old fief of the patriarch of Aquileia. Besides these, the just now briefly circumscribed region showed several linguistically insular influences occurring with a German population.
The origin of these small settlements already occupied Principal Josef Obergföll, whom we will meet again in the twentieth century. Grothe makes reference to these notations and states, "... the inhabitants of the high valley of Suchen, according to an old record, came from Idria and Wochein, that is, from the colonies that were planted there by the bishopric of Freising."
At first, Grothe regrets that Obergföll does not cite his source, but we are not absolutely dependent on it today because we are able to add an historical component to the remarks by Obergföll concerning the origin of the people of Suchen, a component which until now has never been discussed: The castle of Laas and its properties were - an exception! - argued over for years by Aquileia and Ortenburg. We can today no longer know all the details of this situation, but we do know that the counts maintained that the castle belonged to them whereas the patriarch rejected this claim. In any case, the Ortenburgers occupied Laas for some time until Patriarch Pagano II lost his patience in 1327 and declared it to be a "free fief." This, however, forced the Ortenburgers to withdraw if they did not wish to be accused of "felony" and hence lose all the fiefs they had received from the patriarch. Nevertheless, the unruly Count Hermann III in 1335 once more attempted to take possession of Castle Laas by force. Patriarch Bertrand (see Villach Conference of 1336), who already ruled at that time, took vigorous action, drove Hermann away, and gave the castle in fief to the Hapsburgers Otto and Albrecht, who had just been appointed princes in Carinthia.
Conclusion: The counts of Ortenburg held Castle Laas for some time, since they found settlers for the colonization of the Suchen basin in its domain and in the regions of Altenmarkt, Idria, and so forth. Thus, they saved themselves much effort, time, and money, particularly since voluntary settlers were no longer abundantly available in their own fiefs in Lower Carniola.
Given these quite plausible assumptions, the question concerning the differences between the native language of Suchen and the other Gottscheer dialect answers itself. For a long time, one had been inclined to assume that these differences "developed" and grew in the isolation of the high valley of Suchen. Now, however, there is hardly any doubt that the population there had always spoken that way from its beginnings to the resettlement (in 1941). On the other hand, the ancestors of the population of Suchen also came, as we saw, from the dispersed colonial region of the Freising monastery Innichen in the Puster valley, but apparently not directly from the region of origin of the first Gottscheers. We have leaped ahead in time a bit in order to preserve agreement concerning the origin as evidenced by the dialect. With regard to the high valley of Suchen, we were chiefly able to do this with the aid of an historical notion. Admittedly, the actual linguistic proof is still outstanding. Thus, it certainly would be an enticing topic for a beginning dialect geographer of the Viennese School to find linguistic evidence to support this historical thesis as long as there are still original Sucheners around.
We now must still answer the question about which specific aspects of the Gottscheer cultural heritage, besides the pure spoken language, the scholars found to be endangered in the nineteenth century. These were the song-like and narrative contents bound to the dialect which were evidence of the imagination and poetry of the people: the folksong, the fables and fairy tales, the myths and legends, adult and children's games, amusing and serious tales, customs and superstitions, partly of pagan origin.
The scholars and the Gottscheers themselves were still convinced in the second half of the nineteenth century that much of the unrevealed ethnic treasure of the Gottscheer people was already permanently lost. It could be that songs and tales were given up because they no longer appealed to the people. But when Schröer and, above all, Hauffen went on their journeys of discovery, they found an inexhaustible fund in the old people. It was Hauffen who first included the Gottscheer folksong in the still new German folksong taxonomy. Included in his characterization of it on page 130 of his work is the following: "Much still waits to be discovered. But the modern folksong treasury of other German regions does not give this impression of the archaic and unique. None so deviates in form from the others, only a few offer so much that is new in their details as does the Gottscheer song treasury." Hauffen then makes a comparison between the folksong creation of the people of Transylvania and the Gottscheers: "In both linguistic islands the folksongs are sung completely in the dialect. The folksong in isolated regions is generally as a rule dialectal, in both the ballad is preferred, in both the songs give a more archaic impression than corresponding German parallels due to the mostly three-part verse form and to their conception and representation."
Hauffen also does not deny a certain influence from the different nationality that surrounded them. At first reading, the non-Gottscheer Hauffen finds the Gottscheer folksong unusual, indeed strange, and he finds the text, also without the melody, at first incomprehensible. This was largely due to the improvisational recording of the songs by their collectors, the most eager of whom were the young teachers. Among them were names such as Wilhelm Tschinkel, the father of Dr. Walter Tschinkel, Josef Perz, Mathias Petschauer, and others. Their names can be found in Hauffen's work. The folksong scholar from Prague thus found it much more difficult than his pupil and co-worker Hans Tschinkel to decipher the musical accoutrements of the Gottscheer folksongs and to delve into their innermost core. But even the notations of Hans Tschinkel could not clearly transmit to anyone the unique sound colorations of the vowels, the melody of the dialect in general, so that a highly musical German who was unfamiliar with the region could have sung a Gottscheer folksong from the sheet, so to speak. Only modern technological devices give the personally or professionally interested non-Gottscheer access to the true sound of the songs of the "Ländchen."
A majority of the Gottscheer folksongs most likely did not originate outside of the general German development in this field. Already Hauffen said that the Germans of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were particularly fond of singing and traveling. If we now consider that thousands of Gottscheer peddlers traveled about in these two centuries in the Austro-Bavarian dialect region, in Bohemia with its overwhelming musical talents, and also in the German-speaking enclaves of Carniola, then we cannot dismiss their returning with an enormous number of stimuli to be passed on to the people at home. In his travels, the peddler certainly did not live in isolation from the populace. He preferred to spend his evenings where it was most entertaining - in the hostels and inns, or with hospitable farmers.
The "Jahrhundertbuch" would not only be poorly planned but also absolutely one-sided and historically inaccurate if it overlooked the function of the church, and the faith and piety that the church kept alive in the inhabitants of the "Ländchen." The care that the faithful were given by the church organization and the religious participation of the faithful were from the outset of the colonization decisive factors for the continued existence of this fateful community in the calciferous region. Unconditional faith and a chain of customs clearly arranged according to the church calendar provided a superimposing spiritual strength which met their needs. The perseverance of the church in its traditions and the inclination of the Gottscheers to live according to the old ways were united in a psychologically extremely effective whole. In addition, for centuries the priest had been the only, always present authority figure for the peasant population, an authority that also influenced worldly affairs. And this authority spoke the Gottscheer dialect, or at least understood German. The counts of Ortenburg had already established a Latin school in their Carniolian fiefs at Reifnitz to educate upcoming generations of priests. When the bishopric of Laibach was founded in 1461, the training of priests was moved to Laibach. As far as can be determined, the bishopric of Laibach recognized the ethnic uniqueness of the linguistic island of Gottschee and assigned to it priests from the "Ländchen" itself, priests who spoke German. Not many were needed. Around 1745, there were only five parishes that had to be looked after.
Along with the increase in population, the number of parishes with exclusively Gottscheer inhabitants rose to eleven during the nineteenth century: Göttenitz, Rieg, Morobitz, Gottschee-City, Mitterdorf, Altlag, Obermösel, Nesseltal, Stockendorf, Tschermoschnitz, and Pöllandl. Parishes in the border regions with linguistically mixed population were principally administered by Slovenian priests. Quite peculiarly, however, the Suchener high valley had as far as one could remember also always only had Slovenian priests. In the church hierarchy, the parishes in Gottschee were under the jurisdiction of a vicarage which had its seat in the city.
Not coincidentally, the Gottscheers brought forth the strongest priest-personalities in the second half of the nineteenth century. In most cases, they were still active in the twentieth century. The highest church office of any Gottscheer priest was held by Josef Erker, who was prebendary and canon in Laibach from 1898 to his retirement. He was born in Mitterdorf in 1851 and died in 1924 in the city of Gottschee, where he established the "Waisenhaus" (orphanage) with a great deal of idealism and perseverance. The orphanage housed a three-class elementary school for girls under the supervision of Catholic teaching nuns. This institution had about the same significance for the female youth of the "Ländchen" as the "Untergymnasium" (lower secondary school) had for the boys. While still a cathedral chaplain, Josef Erker, along with his brother-in-law Franz Jonke, founded the "Waisenhaus-Verein" (orphanage club), which under his vigorous leadership collected approximately 90,000 florins for the public facility. His brother Ferdinand Erker, who was born in 1866 in Mitterdorf and died on October 13, 1939, in Gottschee, was the last German deacon in Gottschee and honorary canon in Laibach.
Mädchenerziehungsanstalt "Marienheim" in Gottschee
Another priest by the name of Josef Erker from Mitterdorf (1873-1939) was for years assigned to the parish of Obermösel, whose history he published in numerous installments in the "Gottscheer Zeitung". In Mitterdorf itself, the spiritual adviser Josef Eppich - who was born in 1874 in Malgern and who died under tragic circumstances in 1942 - was the respected caretaker of the parishioners. He was the Gottscheer priest who publicly, that is, politically, was the most active exponent for his homeland under the most difficult circumstances. He was owner
and publisher of the Gottscheer Zeitung as of 1919 and was elected to the Slovenian parliament in 1927. However, all he could do there for the continued existence of the Gottscheer school system, something which was very dear to him, was to utter imploring words.
The spiritual adviser August Schauer, born in 1872 in Pöllandl, was known as an outstanding preacher and publisher of the "Gottscheer Kalender" (almanac). He died in 1941 in Nesseltal, where he had headed the parish for decades and had shaped the community with the force of his dominating personality.
The spiritual adviser Alois Krisch was unusually close to his people. He was born in 1893 in Rieg and died in 1966 in Brandenberg, Tyrol. He spent his final years as priest at home in Altlag. We will hear more about him in connection with the resettlement, and likewise also about the Reverend Heinrich Wittine, who was born in 1891 in Lichtenbach and died in 1977 in Graz. Outside of the actual area of dispersion, we find two Gottscheer religious in important positions: Julius Josef Gliebe, born in 1891 in Langenton, was active for sixty-five years as priest at the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption in California, where he died in 1974. The Reverend Anton Fink, born November 27, 1915 in Altlag, has, since 1955, been General Procurator of the missionary congregation of the Brothers of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Rome (Vatican).
Another religious ("Gesellschaft des Göttlichen Wortes"), Father Mathias Schager, born in 1935 in Maierle, lives in Vienna. Upon completing his theological studies in Vienna, Bonn, and Munich, he was active as a spiritual adviser of
children and youth in Vienna, where he then assumed the duties of a parish priest.
Josef Seitz, born in 1932 in Malgern, is parish priest in Niklasdorf near Leoben.
Before we leave the nineteenth century, an extraordinary Gottscheer deserves honorary mention. We are speaking of the "old teacher" Josef Erker, who was born in 1824 in Mitterdorf and died in 1906 in Gottschee. He was taken into the public school service after the restructuring of the Austrian school system by the imperial elementary school law of 1869. He was equally successful as an educator and as a human being. Many talented students of the large school district of Mitterdorf passed through his care. They in turn - building on his pedagogical achievements and the lower secondary school in Gottschee - attained much that was above the average in their own lives. Among these were his two sons, Canon Josef and Deacon Ferdinand Erker.
If the number of churches in a region are to be the yardstick for the piety of the people living there, then the Gottscheers were surely very pious. There were about one hundred parish and affiliated churches, as well as church-like chapels, in the settlement regions belonging directly to them (the Auerspergian forest can be excluded here). And none of these churches was without a bell. After World War I, the American-Gottscheers just about competed with each other, according to their village origins, in replacing the bells that had been melted down for military use between 1914 and 1918.
Discovered through the political and cultural leadership of the Slovenes
In the introduction to the description of the nineteenth century, we stated that the Gottscheer region would still be occupied by Gottscheers one hundred years later but that it would be totally changed. This transformation, however, did not occur unnoticed and unobserved by the linguistically different surroundings. Slovenian nationalism had continued to intensify in the first half of the nineteenth century and defined itself in its resistance to the German element in Carniola. This was less true of the immediate Gottscheer-Slovenian neighborhoods on the fringes of the linguistic island. There one understood each other and communicated with one another as always - above all in business matters. The increasing political pressure on the Gottscheers came rather from the steadily growing, panslavically- oriented civil service system. In their view, the map of the Slovenian region, which was not identical with Carniola, showed a few blemishes which had to be removed: the German urban middle-class element in the provincial capital of Laibach as well as in the cities in Lower Styria, Marburg an der Drau, Cilli, and Pettau. Most of all, however, they were bothered by the two rural linguistic islands of Zarz in Upper Carniola and Gottschee in Lower Carniola. In the course of the century, Zarz was systematically destroyed, which was relatively easy to do, since it was - in contrast to Gottschee - a small, unclosed settlement region.
One period of bitter hostility against the German element in Carniola reached its climax in the forties, more precisely in 1848. The Germans in Carniola were at this time in a state of expectant political unrest, since a kingdom was supposedly about to be established under the influence of the Austrian empire. All hopes were pinned on the National Assembly in Frankfurt am Main, which was finally to do away with the many small German states. Carniola, too, (that is, not only the German-speaking but also the Slovenian population) was to elect delegates. Seen from the perspective of that time, it is understandable that the Gottscheers, too, expected that a united Germany would solve all their problems. It is no surprise that they, too, liked to hear the voice of the independence poet Anastasius Grün. It cannot be assumed that the Gottscheers knew from the outset who was behind this pseudonym, namely, Count Anton Alexander von Auersperg, who was born in 1830 in Laibach and died in 1876 in Graz. He was of the Count-Auerspergian line in Carniola and thus was not directly connected to Gottschee. Thus, it is also questionable if Gottschee was of particular concern to him. His estate was located in Thurn am Hart in central Carniola. The poet, who thought in terms of a united Germany, nevertheless thought of Carniola as his homeland, without having an inner aversion towards the Slovenes. He even believed that they would only be able to develop themselves fully within the framework of a larger German state. But that was precisely what the national, extremely agitated Slovenian leadership rejected. They also rejected the view of the poet Anastasius Grün that the German oak and the Slovenian linden tree could grow side by side.
In February of 1848 the poet Count Auersperg addressed Carniolians with the burning appeal: "To my Slovenian brothers!" and urged them to elect delegates to the parliament in Frankfurt. They themselves were faced with an alternative that was still imposed upon them from Vienna by their active and agitating leadership: to fight for their membership in a Slavic power state. The leadership that was united in the organization "Slovenija" demanded that it reject this election and confirm its open resistance on official records. It came to a vote. The Gottscheers cast their vote for a delegate whom they did not know and to whom they had neither political nor personal ties, since he was not a Gottscheer.
The fate of the National Assembly in Frankfurt is well known. It collapsed without having reached its objectives. The Germans in Carniola were severely depressed; the Slovenes triumphed and celebrated the failure in Frankfurt as their own victory. With renewed vigor they endeavored to make their ideals a reality. In the linguistic island, the provincial government deliberately interfered for the first time in 1854 at the middle administrative level, the district office: the Moschnitze became part of the purely Slovenian district of Rudolfswert (Novo mesto) and Stockendorf, and the wine-growing region of Maierle was allocated to the likewise purely Slovenian district of Tschernembl (Crnomelj). The aim - to destroy the rooted inner unity of the Gottscheer people - failed.
How the current Slovenian generation that has been shaped by Yugoslavian socialism views this juxtaposition of Slovenian-German is shown in the book: "Anastasius Grün in Slovenci" (Anastasius Grün and the Slovenes). It appeared in 1970 in Marburg an der Drau and was written by Dr. Breda Pozar. This very polemic work is obviously a dissertation. The reader unfamiliar with Slovenian is given a German "summary" of the content. The author uninhibitedly applies the Slovenian yardstick to the symbolic figure of Anastasius Grün. Reduced to the simplest equation it is: Slovenian = good, German = evil. Thus, one finds the following characterization of the evil German on page 270: "Grün's political and social attitude towards the Slovenes was that of the German aristocrats and landlords. He basically was against any equality of the Slovenes with the Germans. He was convinced that the Germans deserved to be the leaders of the culturally and economically backward Slovenes. He did not want to recognize the existential concerns of his people and never understood the revolutionary struggle of his Slovenian subjects. Thus, his literary sentiments, his enthusiastic love of freedom and sacrifice for humanity were affectation."
However, the minute that Anastasius Grün concerns himself with the Slovenian people he becomes the "good" German. On page 270 is written: "Even though Grün as a true German always supported the interests of the Germans and landlords in his political efforts after 1848, he was kindly disposed towards the Slovenian literary endeavors throughout his entire life." To better understand this sentence, it should be added that Anastasius Grün was a close friend of the greatest Slovenian poet, France Preseren, who at that time also still wrote in German. On page 271, the author then acknowledges the following about the German independence poet:" Grün concerned himself with Slovenian literature by translating Slovenian folksongs into German. His printed collection appeared in 1850. It is to his credit that he thus introduced Slovenian poetry into German literature."
The political result for the Gottscheers in the nineteenth century: Around the middle of this period, they lost the greatest hope they had had up to then. The Slovenian authorities in the meantime contested their existence in Lower Carniola. Nevertheless, at the turn of the century, they still felt protected in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. As for the rest, the Gottscheers had to a large extent now joined the age of modern civilization and technology. It will soon be evident what they had traded for it.
And this was their economic base at the turn of the century: The tilled land amounted to about 70,000 hectares. It was owned by a little more than 8,000 people. 8.6 percent was farmland, 20.6 percent fields, 34.4 percent pastures, 34.7 percent forest, and 1.7 percent other (from Dr. Podlipnig, Cultural Supplement of the "Gottscheer Zeitung", No. 46, 1973).
("Jahrhundertbuch der Gottscheer", Dr. Erich Petschauer)