Archiver > GERMAN-BOHEMIAN > 2006-08 > 1154531686

Subject: Re: [GERMAN-BOHEMIAN] Kasejovice
Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2006 11:14:46 EDT

In a message dated 8/1/2006 9:33:35 PM Mountain Standard Time,
they can have Czech names and be German and they can have German names and
are Czechs

One of the ways we determine the ethnicity of a given person is not by the
last name but by which language was spoken at home.

A Czech woman who married a German may have taught her children both
languages but chances are that German was the language used most in the household,
expecially when the father was there. If there was one available the children
probably went to a German school and eventually they considered themselves more
German than Czech.

For a long time there was a certain advantage to speaking German in Bohemia.
Many of the best jobs required that language and ambitiuous Czechs learned
the language in order to get ahead economically. But Germans tended not to
learn Czech because there was no real incentive to do so, especially in the
predominantly German areas of Bohemia.

After 1868 there was more emphasis on being bi-lingual no matter where a
person lived. As Aida said, there was also a certain "handwriting on the wall"
that the protections the German minority had enjoyed for so long were
going to disappear and nationalistic Czechs might eventually dominate the
German minority. That was a good reason to leave.

My ancestors left in 1869 and 1870. My great grandfather fought in the
1866 war and many of the common soldiers in that war had good reason to feel
abandoned by their leadership, right up to the Kaiser. Military bungling and
bad coordination caused by rules imposed by Vienna caused a lot of unnecessary
loss of life and many soldiers may have felt that they were nothing but cannon
fodder to Vienna.. GGfather was out of the army in 1867 and by May of 1869
he was in Minnesota. His father and uncle and their families joined him a year

If GGfather's war experience was not enough, the war of 1866 happened when
there were many economic problems for Bohemia's farmers -- several years of poor
harvests and rinderperst among their livestock impoverished many of them. My
ancestors were farmers but they were literate and there is a chance that they
could read the between-the-lines significance of the news in the newspapers
that were available in their village...both economic and political.

Newspapers were not widely available until about 1860. Before then they
were quite expensive and peasants could not afford them, nor could many read
them. If a newspaper showed up in a village, everyone would gather at the tavern
and a literate person would read it to them. Illiteracy was still a problem
in the 1860s but the cheaper newspapers meant that the news was
much more widely available and the peasants were better informed in general.

I suspect that the majority of the newspapers published from Pilsen west were
in German.


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