Thursday, 8 March 2018

Former Hutterite Mill in Slovakia to be turned into a Museum

Summer of 2013 was an exciting time; I spent three weeks in Europe! (You can read all about it by clicking on Europe Trip above.) We were a group of five, my sister, Elma, Kathy and her brother, Jack from Decker Colony, and their friend, Sam from Hutterville. First we did a Hutterite History tour through, Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. After that, Kathy and I stayed another ten days to take part in a course in Hanover, Germany and the others went home.

Part of our history tour included Sabbatisch, in Slovakia. We wanted to visit this place as it had been a Hutterite community in the late 1700's.

I clearly remember our excitement when we found these buildings that were part of a former community, with help from a lady we saw walking on the street. We couldn't understand each other, but then Jack mentioned Sobotište, (Sabbatisch in the Slovak langauge) and she knew what we were looking for. She obviously knew about this part of her town's history, so was able to point us in the right direction. Turned out we were very close to it.

I enjoyed walking around that area and looking at all the buildings, some of them seemingly abandoned, trying to imagine that this was once a Hutterite community. Unfortunately, all of the buildings were locked or had the windows boarded up, so we couldn't go inside, much as we wanted to. I felt like crawling through a window just to be able to explore the inside. Given how old these structures are, they still seemed fairly sturdy. I remember wondering why they're not being used for something. It felt strange to see a number of abandoned buildings right in the middle of this town. Was the Hutterite community located right in town back then?

The building shown in the picture above, was one where we were able to look through the pane-less windows and take pictures. Although most weren't as clear as I would have liked. This building was obviously a mill as we saw a large wheel in one room.

So you can imagine my excitement when I read an article online that said this ancient mill is going to be renovated and be made into a museum. Anybody who has had the privilege of doing a Hutterite History tour, will appreciate this venture. Not only is it fascinating to visit these places, you come away feeling grateful to all the people who have a keen interest in our history, and who set up and maintain these places. For they really do make history come alive.

This is another building that is part of Sabbatisch. It had a sign in the window which said: Anabaptist Community House. It too was locked and we couldn't really see much looking through the windows. This building has obviously been renovated in recent years. It also looked like it was being used for something, but we couldn't tell for what. It would have been great to have a tour guide, or at least someone who lives in the area and knows about these buildings and their history.

This is what the landscape surrounding Sabbatisch looks like. Can you picture a Hutterite colony here? Or three or four combines in the field? Had things gone differently, there could still be colonies in Slovakia and Austria today. On this tour I often wondered what that would be like.

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