While the Rumanians, who number some 273,000, are certainly the predominant race in the Bukovina, they are not as numerous as the Ruthenes, who with a population of 305,000 form 38 per cent. of the whole population. 'They occupy the northern and eastern parts of the province and have pushed up the valley of 'the Sereth 'as far 'as 'the head of the Moldova, where they form a wedge between the Rumanians and the north-eastern wing of the Hungarians. Their nobles have adopted German culture and have ceased in any sense to be leaders of the mass of the Ruthene people. The teachers and priests ate generally educated in the excellent German seminaries and training-schools, and, not knowing where they may be called upon to work, make themselves proficient in both the Rumanian and Ruthenian languages. Although there is some race hostility between the two leading peoples of the Bukovina, this feeling is not embittered by religious differences. Both belong to the Orthodox Church, only a small number of the Ruthenes (26,000) being members of the Uniat Church of Galicia.
The Metropolitans have generally been chosen from among the Rumanian ecclesiastics, but they govern with a Consistory of Rumanian and Ruthenian clerics; all their decisions have to be sanctioned by the Imperial authorities and they have no share whatsoever in the administration of the extensive properties of the Church. The clergy receive their stipends from the ' Fund for the Religious ' founded in 1782.
According to the census of 1910,1 out of a totalpopulation of 801,364 the Orthodox Church claimed 68.4 of the population, 15.67 are assigned to the Catholic Church, 2.56 to the Evangelical, and 12.86 are registered as Jews
1 Oesterreichisches statistisches Handbuch, 1912.
The Roman Catholic Church, which owing to its active missionary efforts has made considerable progress in recent years, is chiefly supported by the Polish population together with the non-Jewish elements among the Germans. These last are found in greatest numbers in the towns, where much of the trade and industry is under their direction; in Czernowitz there are 41,000 Germans, 28,000 of whom are Jews. Many of the Jews have, however, also settled on the land as farmers.
There is a University at Czernowitz, largely in German hands, but the Theological (Orthodox) Faculty is frequented by Rumanians and Ruthenians. There are also three Gymnasia at Czernowitz, Radautz, and Suczawa respectively.
In addition Czernowitz possesses an Episcopal Seminary, an Industrial College, an Agricultural College, five Arts and Crafts Schools, a Commercial School, and a Training College for Teachers. The language of instruction in the higher schools is German.
The division of interests between the two predominant races in the Bukovina, together with the Austrian sympathies of the upper classes, have served to check the national movement. Rumanian leaders, who have tried to sow the seeds of an awakening, have been forced by indifference or by persecution to abandon their activity and migrate to Rumania. Dr. Awiel Onciul, a publicist and formerly director of a bank, has recently come forward with proposals which have made Rumanian politics still more stormy. He has abandoned the national for a purely social programme, and has joined with the Ruthenes in a scheme for comprehensive rural andelectoral reform. In return for promises of improvement of their status, he secured the support of many priests and teachers, and acquired a large following among the peasantry, with the result that his party obtained a majority in the assembly and was able to carry through the electoral reform. The outbreak of war did not allow its effects to mature, and it also put an end for the time being to a new national movement which cultural influences from Rumania were initiating among the younger generation.
THERE were in the Bukovina in 1912 only 429 kilometres of first- class roads maintained by the State (Ararialstrassen), a low total as compared with that in other provinces of the Austrian Empire. Dalmatia, with a slightly larger area, has considerably more than double the length of main roads, while Carniola, whose area is almost exactly equal to that of the Bukovina, has 603 kilometres. On the other hand, the mileage of second-class roads or local roads is proportionately high. As the Bukovina is a poorly developed province, the roads are probably adequate to its needs.
Roads run north and north-west via Tarnopol and via Kolomea to Lemberg, south-west over the Carpathians into Hungary by two routes, one of which follows the line of the railway, and south-east into Rumania to the valleys of the Pruth and the Sereth.
It may be assumed, however, that many communications were destroyed during the first two years of the war, when the province was the scene of constant fighting, while many new roads and even canals and railways, as to which we have no definite information, may have been constructed. Any estimate of the existing facilities for communication can therefore be only approximate.
Before the war, the province possessed no navigable waterways. A proposal for making the River Pruth available for shipping from the Galician to the Rumanian frontier had been adopted by the Imperial Government, but, as far as is known, has not yet been carried out. The Pruth is navigable throughout its course in Rumania (about 400 miles), and ships and lighters of 600 tons can ascend the river as far as a point opposite Jassy, 150 miles from its junction with the Danube. The cost of the work proposed in the Bukovina was estimated at 3,000,000 kronen, of which the province was to contribute 12-1/2 per cent. By this means timber, stone, tiles, minerals, cement, gypsum, and other local products could be cheaply conveyed to Rumania, Bessarabia, and the Black Sea. The canalization of that part of the Pruth which flows through the Bukovina will be very important for the future of the province if the proposals for the construction of waterways in Galicia to connect the Vistula and the Dniester are ever carried out. If that part of the German Levant trade which now goes via Lemberg, Czernowitz, and Jassy were diverted to waterways north of the Bukovina, the province, which has communication with the west by rail only, would stand in danger of complete isolation.
Most of the main streams, though not navigable for ships, can be used for rafts, and in this way are valuable for the transport of timber to Galatz and the Black Sea.
The Bukovina is tolerably well served by railways. There are 592 kilometres of line, and the proportion of railway lines to area and population (viz. 1 km. per 17.6 sq. km. and per 1,351 inhabitants) compares favourably with other less developed portions of the Austrian Empire. The most important line is that connecting Czernowitz northwards with Galicia and Germany via Kolomea, Lemberg, Cracow, Breslau, &c., and southwards through Rumania with Galatz and the Black Sea. Of the total imports into Rumania about 9 per cent. (91,782 tons) go by this route, and of the exports some 2-1/2 per cent. (146,271 tons).
Of the remaining lines, one leads north to Tarnopol and the other branches off in a westerly direction to the Carpathians. There is a narrow-gauge line which branches off in a westerly direction from Hadikfalva, a station on the main line between Czernowitz and Suczawa, and which eventually makes a sharp turn to the south, terminating at the foot of the Kirlibaba Pass. A broad-gauge line, farther east, left the main Czernowitz line at Hatna and ran to Dorna Watra, a growing watering- place. During the war, this local line appears to have been carried over the Carpathians and joined up to the Hungarian system. There is also ground for thinking that a line has been carried over the Kirlibaba Pass, either northwards from the Dorna Watra line or southwards from Seletyn. This extension would be of narrow gauge. It is very possible that other lines have been constructed during the war. Before the outbreak of war all the lines were single tracks, but there is a report that the main Czernowitz line and the line to Dorna Watra have since been doubled. All the lines are the property of the Austro-Hungarian Government.
The destruction of railways in this region during the earlier part of the war was enormous. No estimate is available for losses in the Bukovina alone, but a recent Austrian authority estimated that the damage caused by the war to the tracks and rolling stock in Galicia and Bukovina together amounted to nearly 500,000,000 kronen.
Before the war there were in the Bukovina 231 post offices, or one for every 3,469 inhabitants, and 105 telegraph offices.
The agricultural labourers of the Bukovina are of a very primitive type, and most of them are illiterate. Their pay, about 40 to 50 heller for a day of ten hours, is probably the lowest in the Empire. They are usually in the hands of Jew money-lenders, and spend their lives in unsuccessfully trying to work off their debts. They cannot, therefore, afford to be anything but industrious, but until the general level of living is raised, they cannot be expected to appreciate or adopt any improvements in their very primitive agricultural methods.
In comparison with the other less-developed provinces of the Empire, the Bukovina has a fair number of agricultural associations, credit societies, Raiffeisen banks, &c., for there is much enlightened and progressive activity in Czernowitz, the capital. It does not appear, however, that these organizations have as yet succeeded in raising the standard of living.
(a) Products of Commercial Value
About a quarter of the total area of the Bukovina is under cultivation. The chief crop is maize, and next in order come oats, rye, barley, and wheat, while potatoes are also grown in considerable quantities. Maize is grown chiefly in the low-lying easterly parts of the country; oats and potatoes are mainly cultivated in the higher valleys of the west.
There are practically no products of commercial importance, though there is some exportation of agricultural and dairy produce. A beginning has been made with sugar beet; 2,842 hectares were under cultivation in 1912, and the yield was 379,510 quintals. This represents a low rate of production per hectare, and the whole output is trifling as compared with that of Bohemia and Moravia, which reaches tens of millions of quintals. The cultivation of tobacco, never considerable, seems to have entirely disappeared. Many parts of the south-east are suitable for vineyards, and the cultivation of the vine is steadily increasing.
The areas occupied by the chief crops in 1912 were as follows:
There were also 128,463 hectares of meadowland. The fruit harvest in that year amounted to 131,150 quintals.
The peasants, especially the Ruthenians, who amount to about half the population, undertake cattle-raising, but they show no great care or intelligence, and the accommodation for the cattle is very primitive. Their breeds of cattle are not good, though of late years attempts have been made to improve them by the introduction of fine draught animals from the Alpine regions. Pigs are kept everywhere. There are some rough-fleeced sheep in the mountains, on the Dniester plateau, and on the lower Suczawa. The native horses are sound and strong, and in the mountain districts there is a small, sure-footed breed of eastern origin. Fowls, ducks, and geese are plentiful.
(b) Methods of Cultivation
The soil is fertile, so that, although little manure is used and winter crops are seldom grown, the yield of the staple crops is not much below the average. The German colonists and the model farms of the Orthodox Church have brought about some improvement in the primitive methods of cultivation, and of late years the Landeskulturverein, which in its origin was mainly a political body representing the landed interests, has taken up practical agriculture and has been responsible for the foundation of Raiffeisen banks, the publication of literature and statistics, and other helpful measures.
The Bukovina is well watered by its rivers, and there is now a certain amount of artificial irrigation. At the request of the local authorities, an extensive scheme for the drainage and irrigation of the country by the regularization of the rivers was devised at the beginning of the present century. In the years before the war, good progress had been made with the regularization of the Pruth and the Moldova, and a good deal of land had been reclaimed from the annual inundations. The cost of the complete scheme was estimated at over 60,000,000 kronen.
Over 40 per cent. of the area of the Bukovina is covered with forest, and the timber industry is the most important asset of the province. Of the total afforested area, over half is the property of religious foundations, mainly of the Orthodox Church, and is under State control. Most of the rest forms part of private estates.
The timber industry may be said to have begun in the last century, about 1840, when timber was first floated down to Galatz and Constantinople for ship-building. The Pruth, Sereth, and Bistritz are all used for floating timber. The industry shows every sign of increasing prosperity. There are now a number-of important saw-mills established in the country, and the Bukovina Timber Manufacturing Company, which is backed by two important Austrian banks, recently increased its capital from three to five million kronen.
(d) Land Tenure
The land is chiefly held either in large estates belonging to the religious foundations and the aristocracy, or to the Jews who have ousted the latter, or else in small holdings by the peasants. Properties of moderate size have almost entirely disappeared. No figures are available, but it would be safe to assume that nearly one- half of the land is held in the form of large estates. The dying out of the yeoman class aroused anxiety in the Empire, and in 1903 a law was passed forbidding the transfer of agricultural properties of moderate size, provided with a dwelling-house, belonging to one person or to a married couple, in so far as such properties were not feudal or entailed estates.
The land and property are largely mortgaged, but apparently not above their value in most cases.
Between the upper valleys of the Dniester and the Pruth there are a number of natural lakes and ponds, which have long been stocked with fish. The Orthodox Church has been active in organizing the fishing industry, and at the beginning of the century had some 100 to 200 hectares under water, yielding fish to the annual value of some 30,000 kronen. Trout and other varieties are found.
If the irrigation scheme already referred to were fully carried out, it would involve the construction of large reservoirs, which could be stocked with quantities of fish.
The mining industry was very flourishing in the first decade of Austrian control, but of late years has greatly diminished. The extraction of gold from the sands of the Golden Bistritz has been given up as unprofitable. The ironstone industry has been closed down. The deposits of silver and lead at Kirlibaba and the copper deposits of Luisenthal Pozoritta did not justify further exploitation. The production of brown coal is now negligible.
Almost the only mineral which is now being profitably mined is manganese. Deposits of an average thickness of 2 metres begin in Hungary, enter the Bukovina near Kirlibaba, and thence run into Rumania near Dorna Watra. The chief mine is the Arsita (5 km. south- west of Jakobeny), which was started by local boyars in 1784, but is now the property of the Orthodox Church. There are also scattered surface workings, of which the most important is that called Theresia. The production of manganese in 1912 was 10,944 metric tons, of a value of 135,823 kronen. This output, not in itself considerable, represents almost the whole production of manganese in the Austrian Empire.
There is a small production of sulphur (in 1912 8,011 metric tons, value 124,167 kronen), which is also important as representing a very large proportion of the total sulphur production of the Empire. The old sulphur pyrites workings at Luisenthal were reopened by order of the military authorities, but no information is available as to the amount of the output. There is no gap in the continuity of the Galician and Rumanian oil- fields, and from 1885 to 1890 petroleum was worked at Russisch- Moldawitza. It appears, however, that the deposits in the Bukovina are too deep for profitable exploitation.
There are considerable deposits of salt at Kaczyka. The production in 1912 amounted to 5,190 metric tons of salt for human consumption and 670 metric tons of salt for industrial purposes, the total value being 959,865 kronen. This represents an infinitesimal proportion of the total salt production of the Empire.
Deposits of hausmannite, haematite, &c., and lime are found in many localities.
It does not appear that the mineral resources of the Bukovina have as yet been systematically investigated.
There are no manufactures for export on any scale worthy of mention.
In the present undeveloped state of industry in the province, very little water-power is used, but a considerable quantity will become available if and when the drainage scheme, already referred to, is carried through.
The industries of the province, such as they are, supply domestic needs almost entirely. Besides the sawmills, already mentioned, there are several breweries and brandy distilleries, and the usual minor industries to meet local requirements.
Certain branches of industry for export have, unfortunately, disappeared. There were paper factories at Radautz and Waszkoutz, and a match factory and mechanical construction workshops at Czernowitz; a glass industry was flourishing in the latter part of the last century.
Home industries, which until comparatively recent times supplied nearly all the needs of the peasants, are still common. The chief of these is weaving. The peasants grow their own flax and provide themselves largely with their own house-linen. The weaving of woollen cloth is also not uncommon.
The only towns of any size in the province are Czernowitz and Suczawa.
Czernowitz (population, 87,113 in 1910) is a well-built and attractive modern town. It has many elaborate public buildings in the highly decorated modern Viennese style, and the prevailing high level of civilization is in striking contrast to the primitive and even squalid character of the life in the surrounding country. There is a famous weekly market, which is still an important feature of the economic life of the province. The business community is mainly engaged in the transit trade from Germany and Austria to the Levant, and a large number of banks and forwarding agents have branches in the city. There are several breweries and saw-mills, and some export of agricultural produce is carried on.
Suczawa (population, 11,401 in 1910) is of minor importance. It has one private bank and one or two breweries and saw-mills.
There is a Chamber of Commerce in Czernowitz.
No figures are available for the province as a whole. The exports are negligible, with the exception of timber and a certain amount of agricultural and dairy produce. The export of timber is very considerable. The total export of timber from Austria to Rumania was valued in 1913 at over 18,000,000 kronen, and a large proportion of this must have come from the Bukovina. It is unlikely that any timber is sent from the rest of Austria, as it would have to go by rail, whereas from the Bukovina it can be floated down the rivers.
If the canalization of the Pruth were undertaken, a further export to Rumania of gypsum, cement, &c., would very likely develop.
The total amount produced by direct taxation in 1911 was 4,186,950 kronen. The fact that this total is about the same as for Carniola, and is larger than that obtained in most of the less developed provinces of the Empire, is an indication of the value of land and properties in the Bukovina. Indirect taxes on consumption produced 9,382,845 kronen, more than half of which came from the tax on brandy. The local budget of 1910 balanced at 33,470,144 kronen.
In general the Bukovina is dependent upon credit facilities from outside, but it has two native banks which work on a fair scale.
The Bukovina Bank, Czernowitz, had in 1911 a capital of 4,000,000 kr. and a turnover of 55,000,000 kr. Its operations included loans to communes, loans for railway construction, mortgages, and loans on buildings, as well as general banking business. The bulk of the business was done in mortgages and commercial bills.
The Mortgage Institution of the Bukovina Savings Banks was opened in 1875 to secure the sound investment of savings bank funds. It lends on agricultural property situated in the Bukovina only. Its turnover in 1911 was 4,933,000 kr.
The Austro-Hungarian Bank, Vienna, the Galician Land Credit Bank, Lemberg, the Central Bank of Austrian-German Savings Banks, Vienna, the Anglo-Austrian Bank, Vienna, and the Vienna Bank Union, Vienna, have branches in Czernowitz. Several of these are powerful institutions, and it is reasonable to suppose that the credit facilities required are sufficiently supplied by them.
As elsewhere in Austria, local savings banks are far more popular than the Post Office Savings Bank The latter had 31,800 depositors in 1911, but the total of their deposits is not recorded. The Bukovina Savings Bank had in 1911 deposits amounting to 21,114,000 kr., and the Suczawa Town Savings Bank deposits amounting to 2,600,000 kr.
Mutual credit associations are numerous. In Czernowitz there are 27 and in Suczawa 6, but very few of them publish figures. They are conducted largely, on national lines by Poles, Ruthenians, Germans, or Jews respectively, and are mainly for commercial and industrial credit.
There is no apparent foreign interest or field for foreign
investment in the Bukovina, which can offer no attraction outside of
agriculture and industry on a small scale.
AUERBACH, BERTRAND. Les races et les nationalites en Autriche-
BIDERMAN. Die Bukowina unter der osterreichischen Verwaltung, 1775- 1875. Lemberg, 1876.
Encyclopaedia Britannica. Articles 'Bukovina ', 'Rumania ', Vlachs '
Oesterreichisches statistisches Handbuch, 1912. Vienna, 1913.
1 The Patent, see No. l, Austria, p. 7.
JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of
the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.
Bukovina - Handbook Yizkor Book Project JewishGen Home Page
Copyright © 1999-2021 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 20 Aug 2005 by LA