Friday, 1 March 2013

Rotfront (former Bergtal) / KGZ


At this weekend we visited our friend Wilhlem Lategahn in Rotfront.
(; (
He is from Germany and a teacher for German language in this small village and Tokmok, a bigger city not far away. it was founded in 1927 as Bergtal and in the beginning most of the inhabitants were Mennonites, a religious group. It is still supported by the German government, so Wilhlem works there. He is highly engaged to present visitors (pupils, globetrotters, tourists) more about this amazing history. A small museum in his house shows detailed the live of the people. Congratulations to this project ! 
by the way: the inhabitants are not as interested in their own history as all others; this is really a shame :-(.

What is the reason for Germans in Central Asia ?

Well, when Frederick the Great declared the general conscription, the Mennonites had a big problem. They refuse every kind of force, so they took the chance, given by Katherine the Great (Empress of Russia), to leave Germany to Central Asia. Beginning in 1763 she offered them ground and freedom for their religion, because she wanted to have colonizers in the Othman region. The first Germans came across the Ukraine and then, more and more, East. First town in Kygryzstan was Talas, 1882, then in 1927 Bergtal, whose name was later switched to Rotfront.
During Soviet era, in 1942 all men were enforced to leave the village to work in the north of the Soviet Union. In 1943 all women had the same bad luck. Only the children stayed in the village and first, nobody took care for them. The Kyrgyzs nomads helped the suffering children and in the yurtes (tents) they survived. Until today there exists a deep thankfulness to the Kyrgyzs. 

Well, I am sorry, but I bear no relation to any kind of religion and I do not visit church services anymore, only if would be invited to a marriage ceremony or if I would have to participate at a funeral. Astrid visited a church service and she was surprised. Usually, Kyrgyz men and women have black hair, but now she noticed so many blond haired people. Astrid was greeted in German language, but the ceremony was in Russian. The last years many Germans had left Rotfront back to Germany, because life is quite hard here. 

It was a very interesting weekend and we enjoyed it very much. 

Many thanks to Wilhelm for being a perfect host !

German cemetary

heating with coal

Wilhelm´s Home

for making butter

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