Short History

Nobody knows for sure how long this fairytale place has been around, the beginnings of Pischia go back ages. Archeological evidence certify the existence of this place since ancient times, and the vestiges found in the area were collected and given the Museum of Banat by professor Livius Vasile Ianosev.

The forest north of Pischia village preserves a 7 km section of the so-called “Roman wall”. This wall can also be observed in Bencecu de Sus, and second, parallel wall can be seen near the old mill, only 10 km from the first wall. Today, the inhabitants of Bencecu de Sus and Murani can boast with the fact that the area of the commune is crossed by these ancient walls, whose existence between the river Mures and the Danube are intertwined with the entire ancient local history of south-western Dacia.

The name of the current locality seems shrouded in legend. The current settlement was established around the village, on a 2 km radius, more precisely between the “Roman ditch” and the stream Beregsau. The settlement has had many names throughout the times.

It is first mentioned in the records in the years 1332-1337, under the name Piski. In 1365, it is still called Piski. It still has this name in 1479, between 1724-1910 it was renamed Bruckenau, then between 1910-1920 its name was changed again to Hidesliget, then for six years, between 1920-1926 it resumed the name Bruckenau, and the current name of Pischia was given in 1926. Near the village, to the west, there was once a small settlement, Fülöp-Laka, named after a member of the Csanad family, which in time was incorporated into Pischia.

The topo-archeological research conducted here between 1983-1984 by the Museum of Banat Timisoara have enabled the identification of 11 archeological sites in Pischia commune, flanking or overlapping the ancient wall which crossed through Pischia. The sites discovered are all ancient settlements whose age and habitation continuity especially in the early Hallstatt period (the proto-Dacian epoch) and then, in the course of two millennia were determined with sufficient archeological precision, based on the archeological material (in particular pottery).

With the exception of two archeological sites where only Neolithic or Bronze Age material was found (Murani and Bencecu de Sus), all the other settlements show a continuous succession, without any chronological hiatus, of the horizons of Dacian, Daco-Roman, pre-feudal, early feudal and developed feudal period material culture.

The first principality of Banat mentioned in the chronicles was that of Glad, who lived at the turn of the 10th century. His principality extended from the Danube to the rivers Mures and Tisa, thus including the territory of the commune Pischia. The conquering of the principality of Ohtum by the Hungarians in the 11th century marks the beginnings of their domination in Banat.

The records show that in 1444 Pisky was in the property of Ioan Corvin. Then in 1462 in belonged to the nobleman Johan Giska, and in 1468 to Matei Knezici.

Between 1469 and 1483, the domain belonged to the brothers Ioan and Nicolae Banfi, who had inherited it. In the year 1492, Pisky was in the property of the king of Hungary, Matei Corvin.

During the Ottoman domination of Banat, between 1552-1716, the village suffered a period of decay of about 150 years, as a result of plunders and excessive taxes levied by the Turkish reign.

At the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century, the records show that the land was owned by nobleman George Barko, and the by the baron von Manassy Murony.

On October 13, 1716, the Austrian troops led by Eugene of Savoy, conquer Timisoara, which became the capital of Banat, and only two years later, the entire region became the domain of the Austrian crown. Banat being the easternmost province of the Empire, it benefited from a special attention from Austrian rule, who sought to consolidate its position in this part of Europe, both economical, politically and military, and religious, in the first place by strengthening the Germanic element in the border areas of the Empire.

This is why the colonists they had brought between 1722-1726 needed to be settled in a parallel line with the river Mures and with the Danube, interconnected by a line of Germanized villages.

As a new dominion of the Austrian crown, the region of Banat, acquired by force, Eugene de Savoya entrusted the administration to count Claudius Florimund Mercy, the province becoming autonomous. Between the government and the subjects were the princes (cneaz), in the local dialect “chinez”, who were the rulers of the villages, elected by the inhabitants and confirmed by an upper authority.

By 1751, the entire region of Banat was under military occupation.

A vast process of colonization of the province with Germanic population, and not only, was began. This action of colonization with Germans begun by the Austrian Court was not done, however, on a bare land. According to the records from the second half of the 17th century, there were, at the beginning of the Austrian domination, there region had more than 300.000 inhabitants, of which over 250.000 were Romanian.

Most Swabians came from south-western Germany and a smaller number from Austria and Bavaria; these were craftsmen, traders and clerks, specialists and miners.

The first German farmers were colonized in 1722. The colonists received travelling support, however they did not receive sufficient support on installation in their new home, so that some returned to their home country. The new colonists did benefit, however, in the first three years of settlement in Banat, of full tax exceptions, as well as of manual mandatory labor obligations exceptions.

The first Swabian colonization here, in Pischia, was in 1724, during the period of the fist governor and military commander of Banat, the count C.F. Mercy (1718-1734). This colonization, as that of other communes located on the Timisoara-Lipova road, was made with an evident strategic and military purpose, of pacifying the territories connecting Banat with Transylvania. The colonization of 1724 was done under the command of a clerk called Francisc Ioan Falk of Worms, who brought here a population from the regions of Trier, Alsacia and Lorena, from the regions ransacked by the French during the was fought at the end of the 17th century. The 121 families established 40-50 houses, under the lead of the emperor’s agent, Bruckenteis, settling next to old village of Pischia, near the bank of the stream Beregsau, in the current area of the village.

The old village of Pischia, mentioned in ancient times, Pisca, was located a little to the north-west of the current settlement, between the “Roman ditch” and the stream Matca, whence the old historical relics actually originated from. In time, the Romanians joined the new and thriving settlement, created by the German settlers, leaving their old village. Thus, circa 36 Romanian families, among which Steia, Datcu, Duma, etc. built their houses on the edge of the then German village. A few families of Gypsies, who manufactured mud bricks, used to build the houses, came a little later from the area of Santana (Arad) and in time mingled with the locals.

Italian settlers were also brought in Banat, around this same period, in 1733 but not in Pischia, being brought here to create a silk industry, followed in 1735 by the forced colonization with Italian and Spanish refugees.

The Austro-Ottoman hostilities of 1736-1739 caused much harm to the people of Banat, who retreated to the north of the province, the abandoned villages being partially colonized by people from Oltenia and by Serbians.

  1. Griselini shows that Pischia village revived in 1728, with the arrival of new German settlers.

O local tradition claims that the name Bruckenau comes from the fact that, at the time of settlement, the waters of Beregsaului had flooded the area around the settlement, and a bridge was built across the flooded meadow, hence the name of “Bruk an au” (bridge across wetland, meadow, insland) or “Bruck an der au” (bridge at the elbow of the hills).

A second immigration period, during the reign of Maria Theresa (the great Swabian flow) stretches from 1763 to 1775, when the north-west of the Banat Plain is systematically colonized.

In 1764, based on the decree of the Empress Maria Theresa for the colonization of Banat, Knoll, a member in the colonization commission, brought to Bruckenau, other 92 German families come from Lothringen, Metz, Trier Saarländer, Pfälzer and Luxemburg, who were serfs of the Bishop of Trier. New German colonists arrive in 1765, 31 families form Saauerländer, thus increasing the number of German homes in Pischia.

A similar objective, the settlement of German colonists in dense masses, as opposed to them being scattered amongst the Romanians, was pursed in the third stage of colonization, during the reign of Emperor Franz Josef (1782-1787).

With this colonization, a Roman-Catholic parish was established in Pischia, whose materials and history begin in 1759-1761, with the priest Lsek loan Jakobus. A small chapel in built between 1756-1757, which is still in place in 1766, and where two more church bells are brought in 1771. The current  Roman-Catholic church, called “The Advent”, was built a while later, in 1776, and renovated in 1927, when priest was Johan Pflug, (fig. 9), and in 1933,  then when priest was Josef Ban, then again in 1953-1962, when priest was Ladislau Dietrich and in 1974, when priest was Johan Kollmer.

The “Holy Trinity” monument, donated by Josef Dengel, was erected near the church. The monument inspired by biblical scenes, cast in bronze, and placed on a stone pedals, was unveiled in 1909. Also at that time a cross was erected in front of the church, donated by the family Kilian. The evocation of Christian symbols forms a unified thematic composition.

The education is also organized now, the first school teacher recorded being Schteckler Paul in 1765, and a school with two more teaching positions was built in 1826.

The railway Timisoara – Radna, constructed in 1896 by a private company, passed by the edge of Pischia also serves its inhabitants, and the railway station was constructed in 1910.

In the summer of 1919, the Romanian administration is introduced in Banat (C. Dobrin – prefect of Caras-Severin County, with the seat in Lugoj, and Aurel Cosma, prefect of Timis-Torontal County, in Timisoara).

The Swabians of Banat gave their consent for the act of Union in the aforementioned people’s meeting, and the Swabian delegation left for Paris in August 12, 191, to attend the peace conference. This decision was not circumstantial, but the result of a historical evolution, and of the Swabians’ feeling of respect and towards the Romanian near whom they had lived for centuries. This idea was also highlighted in the memorandum sent to the Peace conference in Paris.

From then on, Banat was to develop and evolve as part of the national and unitary Romanian stat.

In World War One (1914-1918), 43 German citizens and 4 Romanian  citizens from Pischia fought in the Austro-Hungarian army on the fronts of Galicia, Albania and Italy.

In the inter-war period, between 1922-1924, several poor families from Pischia, and from other villages from Banat, whose life was difficult, leave in search of a better life and emigrate to the US, Canada, Argentina and Brazil. Here, they are employed to perform various tasks, in agriculture, industry, commerce, domestic activities, in order to earn more money. 90 families, comprising 221 people, men, women and children left from Pischia, and only 88 persons returned, the rest remaining there or immigrating to Germany.

On occasion of the occupation, in 1940, of the Cadrilater region and of southern Dobrogea by Bulgaria, ally of the Nazi Germany, several Aromanian families leave that region and seek refuge in Romania, around Bucharest and in Oltenia, but some arrive to Pischia, being colonized here by the government of the time, around 64-70 families arriving in 1944 and early 1945, bearing the family names of Hagivreta, Conachi, Caracoste, Gheracoste. They remain in the village until 1952, when the deportation of wealthy peasants from Banat to Baragan was started, and when they retreated from Banat to the Plain of Baragan. They did not marry into local families and currently there are no descendents of theirs in the village.

Around the same time, in 1946, following the occupation of Basarabia by Russia in 1940, 30 families of Romanians from Basarabia, around 150 persons, amongst them the families Bodnarenko, Popa, Iacoban and others arrive in Pischia. They were colonized in Pischia, being lodged in houses nationalized from the Germans.

About 15-16 families from Oltenia arrive in Pischia in 1945 and they settle at the edge of the village. They all receive 5 ha of land, about 9 lands; following the agricultural reform of 1945-1946, they too receive one or two rooms in German houses.

During communist regime, the forced industrialization, the creation of new factories and plants in Timisoara drew a large number of inhabitants of the village towards occupations connected with the industrial enterprises in Timisoara, basically all the young people left for Timisoara to work in the industry there, causing the village to be developed. The commute from village to town grew in scale starting with the year 1950, when the exodus towards the towns began, and it kept growing. In fact, all the young people in the village were trained to work in the industry. This lead, in the period 1971-1988, to a considerable increase in the number of commuters working in Timisoara, existing more than 574 daily commuters.

 

The economic and political instability after 1989 was even more intensely felt by the German population living in the village, which began to immigrate to Germany. In 2002, there were only 9 persons of German nationality in Pischia.

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