“Diacronia” bibliometric database (BDD)

Interethnische Forschungen im oberen Theißbecken

Publication: Philologica Jassyensia, II (1), p. 111-128
Publisher:Institutul de Filologie Română „A. Philippide”
Abstract:This paper presents the results of a large scientific collaboration that was accomplished internationally after four years of intensive hard work. It all started with a letter sent by the Satu-Mare County Museum in September of 1997 to the Tübingen Institute for the History and Ethnicity of the Danube Swabs. The search for viable solutions followed right after the initial skepticism.
Dr. Hans Gehl did the scientific research and led the project on behalf of the German team, whereas Dr. Viorel Ciubotă, Main Curator at the Satu-Mare Museum, led the Romanian side. Since Dr. Gehl’s main expertise lies in dialectology and ethnography of Danube Swabs (the German ethnic groups in Romania, Hungary, Serbia, and Croatia), he did everything in conjunction with their historical background. Another research project is focusing on the unique history of the Satu-Mare Swabs. Romanian researchers from Ardeal, Maramureş, and Bucharest as well as German and Austrian counterparts were involved via outstanding Satu-Mare Museum networking. Linguists like Maria Papsonová of Prešov, Olga Hvozdiak and Georg Melika of Užhorod participated in the proceedings and the joint publications.
The first obvious outcome of the collaboration was the 1999 Symposium at Oradea University with its main theme: the Inter-Ethnic Relationship in the Romanian-Hungarian-Ukrainian contact area from the 18th century to the present day.
In 1999 the papers of the proceedings with the same title were published. This trilingual volume about inter-ethnic relationships in an interesting, but hardly known area attracted the attention of research institutions and main libraries in Stuttgart, Munich, and Berlin (Germany), Basel (Switzerland), Linz and Vienna (Austria), and even the Eastern European Library in London.
During the post-session discussions, Mr. Mihai Dâncuş, Main Curator at the Maramureş Museum in Sighet, suggested doing research on the entire folklore culture in the Superior Tisa Watershed and following up by publishing the finds after the on-site research and archival documentation. The challenge being accepted, from 2000 onwards three research projects were done on-site in Satu-Mare and Maramureş Counties, in North East Hungary, from Merk-Vállaj to Tokaj, in Trans-Carpathia (West Unkraine centered in Mukačeve-Užhorod) and in (East Slovakia - the Underzips – centered in Košice-Prešov). A well-organized symposium in Satu-Mare analyzed the results of the previous year.
The researchers were aided by the Departments of Culture and Cults in Bucharest and in Stuttgart (Baden-Wuerttemberg), by the County Seat in Satu-Mare, by the Satu-Mare branch of the Danube German Forum and by the Danube Swab Foundation in Stuttgart, and that’s how they managed to solve the financial, organizational, and technical problems. Through interviews, direct observations, archival and library studies, they collected extremely valuable material that was presented in annual reports and exhibition catalogues showing on-site pictures. The exhibition was extremely successful in several countries.
Research included a wide array of themes, from the historical background of the area to analyzing the political and economic development of the social and inter-denominational relationships, of their traditional architecture, traditional skills and professions, religious and lay rituals. The researchers also studied the actual use of language and social and inter-ethnic conflicts (such as forced assimilation, suppression, deportation) leading up to recommending solutions and sketching ideas for a peaceful co-habitation in inter-ethnic areas as well as cooperation in a reunited Europe. Special attention was paid to minorities (Swabs, Rutens/Ukrainians, Hungarians, and Roma/Gypsies in Romania, Volohs/Romanians, Hungarians, and Germans in the Ukraine, Swabs, Romanians and Slovaks in Hungary, Hungarians and Zipsers/Germans in Slovakia).
In September of 2003 a Symposium was held in Satu-Mare with two sub-sections: History and Linguistics & Ethnography followed by a bilingual volume published thereafter: The Folklore in the Superior Tisa Watershed. The German Influence in the Culture of Other Ethnic Groups in the Area.
The Symposium got a head start at the Tübingen Institute annual conference in 2002 and a volume was published: Regional Folk Cultures in East Central Europe. Boundaries-Neighborhood-Inter-Ethnicity. The proceedings included papers on Romania, Hungary, former Yugoslavia, jointly presented by researchers from the Superior Tisa Watershed.
All researchers learned a lot by working together. One of the conclusions was that many things could be accomplished if each partner does his/her best. Like all the West Europe researchers, Dr. Gehl benefitted from the optimism and strong belief in attaining all tasks under investigation. In their turn, Romanians and their Neaparatneighbors came to realize the German and the Western spirit, perseve-rance, and punctuality.
Even if it seems a utopia for areas where on-site research was done like Ardud, Rakamaz, Šoenborn, or Smolnik (during the interviews they expressed their skepticism), a unified Europe is the only alternative towards peace in the region, as well as genuine collaboration and economic progress in a globalized region.
Germany has managed to replace the century-old neighborly hate with a feeling of mutual trust and collaboration, which could be a good example to follow.
England came out of its isolation (measured in geological dimensions) from the “Old Continent” by building the Channel. Switzerland is already in the Euro Zone, its borders being almost non-existent. Ten European countries are members of the European community, with Romania, Bulgaria and other countries to follow as soon as they meet all the requirements. Let us remember that in all newly created European communities, each ethnic group will keep its own identity because forced assimilation and nationalistic feelings have been overcome and, let’s hope, they will never come back.
This research, based on collaboration and mutual trust, could serve as a model for future endeavors in various other fields.
Language: German

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