Our German Bohemian Legacy
Robert J. Paulson
The History of Heiligenkreuz
Heiligenkreuz, or as you say in the dialect, Halenkreuz, lays along a stretch of an old village road in an east - westerly direction in the hollow of the Woods Pond or Eagle Stream. The lower half is the Hammermill and flows into the Radbusa River. The railroad line follows along the Radbusa River and the rail road station stands near by on higher ground. The rail road also follows a county road which was built in 1818 on the eastern end of town. The altitude of the town is 452 meters [about 1500 feet at the Kirchenschwelle (Church Hill)]. There were people in this area since ancient times. Bronze age artifacts have been found and pagan burial places were excavated near Church Hill around 1880. Church Hill was an ancient cult meeting site.
The town was probably settled as a village in the 11th century and called Aujezd until around 1200, when 15 farm families totaling 100 people settled there - a settlement of Choden if you will. Log houses with thatched roofs stood with the gable side facing the river. The stables were in the rear and the barns joined to enclose a courtyard. The original town layout was done by a Herr P hnl, one of the royal free farmers who belonged to the Pfraumberg frontier fortress and came from the Choden center at Weissensulz. (The original settlement must have been a sect of monks who were farmers). The settlement was especially important because it established the farthest left flank of the 13 Pfraumberg Choden villages and was near the former trade route (Saustrasse) that went past M ttersdorf, Wasserau, Strasshuette and Schoensee where it met the edge of the Choden area of Taus. There was a wooden watch tower on the heights at Neubau and other outposts on the Bavarian border for observation of the trade route. This was similar to an armed stone-walled tower on the heights by Rindl on the Taus side.
In 1300 the king invited more of the "civilized" Bavarian settlers into the Choden border villages and the village names were Germanized. In 1331 there came a royal order to Germanize. (I suspect this means culturally and economically). The name of Heiligenkreuz was given, according to the local folktale, because a stone or iron cross was found on the hill where the church stands today. The cross, according to Fr Adolf Rudy, was sent to Rome and a memorial to that event was a stone cross set in the church tower below the western and southern bell windows. According to P hnl,(the writer of the original chronicles) Bavarian hermit monks from Schonthal bei Rotz settled in the vicinity and later founded the Augustine Monastery at Stockau bei Ronsperg and from there they built chapels, little wooden churches and settler cottages in the area including Steinbergw ldchen near Heiligenkreuz. Another tale is said that the hermits were of the order of the Holy Cross and that is why the place is named “Holy Cross." The monks did, however, start the custom of the Cross festival on September 14th every year. (Editor s note: September 14th is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The Church commemorates the redemption of the relic of the Holy Cross, in 629, by Heraclius, King of Judea, after he defeated Chosroes, King of Persia, who had captured it). In 1384 Heiligenkreuz was the parish village for the old Choden villages of Weissensulz, Zetschin, Zemschen, P ssigkau and Molgau and had outside of Staz-Neustadt, the only church in the Pfraumberge Choden community. This was a little wooden church located between a cemetery and a thatched roof parish house. According to Herr Mack, house plans for a chateau were prepared in 1350 for the priest house. (The chronicle writer of the village was the senior teacher, Franz Mack.) During the Hussiten War the old wooden church was destroyed (1429 to 1433), however, through the first Lehensherrn (overlord), Laminger von Albenreuth (ca1454) in his turn at patron of the area, through the indulgence and industrious farmers a new and bigger stone building, with shingles was built, as well as a priest s house. The Swanberg settlements of Wistersitz, Fuchsberg, Hammerbrunn-Neubau and Eisendorf were established at about the same time as Heiligenkreuz. The church experienced, under the first five Lamingers (1454 - 1600), a renewal and was in 1570 - 1629 a Lutheran Parish. It was after the Thirty Years War, in a bad way, however, in 1630 again it was renovated, with an onion tower and lights (perhaps lanterns) provided. Steps under Wolf Wilhelm Laminger were taken to turn Heiligenkreuz into a pilgrimage church and a place of miracles. The parish books began to be maintained in 1629, according to Herr Mack and Father Rudy.
In 1318, according to Phnel, the 13 Pfraumberg Choden villages lost some of their privileges and rights. In that year the Krongut Pfraumberg and that of Taus, were mortgaged by King Johann of Luxemburg and next 136 years, until 1454, were filled with unrest, thievery by robbers and highwaymen, oppression and general distress followed. It was handed from one owner to another. In 1421 and 1429 the Hussites plundered the area. The villagers pleaded with Kaiser Sigismund for help and he warned Burg Pfraumberg to treat his subjects fairly and when that failed he ordered the place confiscated and sold. There are reports of famine and emigration in the chronicles of Herr Mack. The village was destroyed by enemy soldiers in 1598. As was mentioned before, the first overlord in Heiligenkreuz was of the Laminger von Albenreuth line, in 1454. He himself through swindling made big earnings. He built a large Herrhaus on the western end of town on a small site. The villages along the Bohemian border were held tightly by the free gentleman and counts Laminger of Albenreuthch of the monastery Wladsassen. Through 224 years (1454-1678) eight generations of the Laminger administered Heiligenkreuz.
For several hundred years members of this noble family were buried under the floor of the church. They erected the village pond and a mill below that and the little stone manor house/castle. The former Kommergut of Pfraumberg was disbanded in 1596 by the king s order and those properties were purchased by Wolf Joachim who joined them to Heiligenkreuz. On 30 July 1596, the old Catholic Kammergut Pfaumberg was dissolved, and the Laminger became hereditary properties under Wolf Joachim through acquisition of the over lords of Heiligenkreuz [around 1062 Taler (Dollars)]. Soon however, Wolf Joachim von Lamingen was called out of the country and the subjects of his estate converted to the Evangelical religion which caused the Catholic Kaiser Ferdinand great distress. Wolf’s younger brother remained Catholic and when he became the "Besitzer" (owner) of the estate in the year 1630, he had the Evangelical bibles and writings burned and swung the folk back to Catholicism. In addition after Heiligenkreuz, he later purchased - Weisensulz (he already owned Meierhof through a purchase in 1614) - Neudorf - Eisendorf. In 1678 Wolf Max Laminger sold the herrschaft Heiligenkreuz to Zdenko Kaplirsch von Sulewitz who served in the defense of Vienna against the Turks in 1683 and was given the title of ’Graf" as a reward. He died in 1685 and his wife Anna Theresia, nee Zucker von Tamfeld, married again (her third marriage). She married Graf Philipp Emmerich von Metternich-Winneburg but he died in 1712 without children. Wenzel Josef Graf Zucker von Tamfeld who was a son of her brother and married to Maria Anna Grafin Trauttmansdorff inherited the Herrschaft. In 1729 his son Wenzel followed him. After his death in 1748, his minor son Johann Erasmus (born 1744) followed him with his uncle of the same name as his advisor. In 1770 Johann Erasmus, the younger, died and he was followed by the older Johann Erasmus. When he died, so did the last male member of the family Zucker.
With the death of Johann Erasmus in 1781 his niece, Countess Franziska Romana Zucker inherited the land. She was married to Baron Josef Kotz of Dobrz in 1772 and when he died in 1796, their son, Zacharias Wenzel, inherited the estate and it went over to the Kotz of Dobrz family. By 1839 their castle library had 1500 volumes. Christian Kotz of Dobrz (died 1883) and his wife Aglaea Princess von Auersperg rebuilt the church with an onion dome after it burned in 1859. (Editor s note: The church does not have an onion dome). Following in 1899, the estate went to their son Wenzel Baron Kotz of Dobrz. He achieved one of the highest officer grades in the Austrian Army he was a Fieldmarshal Lieutenant. On the 11 April 1912 he was buried with great pomp and circumstances at the age of 71 years. Two of the three sons of the last heir were severely wounded in 1866 at Koniggratz. The estate was passed on to his son Heinrich up to the year 1945. Heinrich also served in both world wars. His descendants still live in Germany.
The scale of the district that was given to the lead farmer of the town, Johann Bayerl is as follows: fields - 448 hectares, meadow - 200 hectares, ponds -7 hectares, gravel pits - 12 hectares, waste area 4 hectares, forest 59 hectares, there from 19 hectares in Neub u, altogether 730 hectares. In 1678 there were 53 houses, 33 occupant families, 2 millers, 18 cottagers; in 1881 there were 93 houses and 707 residents; 1945 there were 125 houses and 614 residents.
The acreage was of "average" fertility, woodworking was practiced, there were 4 glassworks in the Herrschaft. There were 14 hectares forest and houses number 2, 3 and 4 were built there. Firewood was taken from the noble s forest land per old rights (Servitutrecht). An agreement between the entitled farmers and the towns people, and Baron Christian Graf Kotz of Dobrz in 1867 was understood.
Heiligenkreuz with Haselburg had been given 1557 raummeters of fire wood, 5 Gasthauses, 2 warehouses/shops, 1 mill, 2 forges, 2 wagon makers, 2 butchers, 1 plumber, 2 backers, and 1 candy maker, 3 tailors, 2 shoemakers, 2 cabinet makers, 2 tobacco shops, 1 carpenter, 1 stonemason (Mauermeister) and the village had 2 musician groups (kapellen). The pastor had a note in the parish book that the master wagon maker had put a wheel on the church tower to attract nesting storks.
The chronicle of Herr Mack says cottage industries including "Weissn hen" (70 women) and lace making (60 women) and there was a "N hschule" (sewing school) for 25 girls in 1923. Only after 1938 did they get a slight salary.
The chronicle writer says fishing in the village pond and hunting took place in both the landlords forests and also of the community property with regular seasons until 1920. The school, according to Herr Mack, was built in the 16th century and had one class. In 1871 there were 191 children and in 1873 it was enlarged to two classes. In 1877 there were 201 children. In 1880 industrial handwork was taught there. On the 29 March in 1886 the old buildings were torn down and on 12 April of that year the corner stone for a new school was laid and was open by December. On 1 January 1894 the school was again enlarged and now had three classes.
There was a plague in Heiligenkreuz in 1634 and 113 people died. There was a fire in 1811 that destroyed 10 houses and 8 barns. In 1880 there was another big fire caused by a youth who was promptly sent off to America. In 1848 the serfs were freed. On 28 August 1850 the first free election was held. In 1867 there were a number of casualties of the war who returned. The volunteer firefighters were established in 1876 and in 1912 a public phone was made available in the Schloss. The post office came late in 1851 at Hostau and was lead by Herr Klentsch.
In 1874 there was snow and hard frost to the end of June and from the end of July to the end of October there was no rain. The winter of 1892/93 saw extreme cold. In 1895 lightening struck the parish house. In 1860 and again in 1870 severe storms tore the roof from the schoolhouse. The state took unemployed in 1924 to build roads and lanes and a community poor house. At the time the community director, Johann Bayerl said that new houses were laid out for 10 settler-families along the new road to Haselberg. In the same year a blockhouse on the new road was built by the Forestmeister which was later used by the landlord to house elderly or poor people. On 20 September 1924 , the electric district was established, and at the 23 December 1924 the first light burned. In 1926 the volunteer fire fighters celebrated their 50th year with a festival and in 1928 the first fire truck was purchased. In 1932 the DeutschenKulturverbandes (The Association of German Culture) was founded under the village leader Johann Bayerl and secretary rentmeister Licht and they helped to hinder the establishment of a Czech school in the German community. There was a singing group, a farmers group for farming with machinery and a livestock breeders group and insurance society.
In 1928 a new cemetery was established. The last Burgermeister was maurermeister Geog Moldaschl. The last school teacher in 1945 was Johann Giebisch from Dobrowa. Franziska Bohm and Herr Tragl from Muttersdorf taught school until the end of the war. The last pastor was Adolf Rudy from the southern Bohemian Forest. Between 1942 and 1945 Clemens Schmitz from Westphalia worked as pastor. Dobraken, Haselberg, Wistersitz, Fuchsberg and Neubau, Dobraken and Haselberg were part of the parish community to the last. Willy Czorny, the owner of the Gashaus Czorny at the exit of the village is the holder of the knights cross.