The town of Ilisesti is located in the county of Suceava in what is now Romania. The town was originally called Illischestie, and lay an area known (and still known by some today) as Bukovina (or in German "Buchenland"), which was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Beginning in the 1770's, at the invitation of the Hapsburg Monarchy, German farmers settled in Bukovina, coming in search of arable land, which there was a severe shortage of in their German homeland. It was in this way that Illischestie originated, settled at first by 12 families from Germany, for which the main street in Illischestie was named - "Zwoelfer Strasse".
The majority of the Germans who settled in Illischestie were Evangelical Lutherans. They built a church there, and this cemetery was created for the German Evangelical Lutherans' final resting place.
In the late 1800's, land was becoming scarce for the Germans in Bukovina, and the political climate was changing. Many of the descendants of the German settlers left Bukovina and emigrated to the US and Canada. Finally, when Hitler came to power in Germany, he pulled the remaining Germans who lived there back into Germany.
Illischestie, like all the other towns in Bukovina no longer had any German citizens living there. And when the land became part of Romania, the names of some of the German towns were changed to Romanian names. It was in this way that Illischestie became Ilisesti.
In the late 1970's, 1980, and 1990's, as genealogical studies became a popular hobby, in America, Germany, and even South America where some Bukovinans had emigrated, ethnic Bukovinan societies were formed, and people began studying their Bukovinan heritage. One such society that was formed is the Bukovina Society of the Americas, which is located in Ellis, Kansas, USA, where many German Bukovinans settled upon leaving Bukovina.
On rare occasions, some researchers and descendants of German Bukovinans have ventured back to Bukovina to see what it is like there now.
It was in April 1988 that Dr. Paul J. Polansky Schneller traveled to Bukovina, making a visit to Ilisesti. While there, he visited the Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery and took photographs of the few remaining grave markers. Most of the graves that he took photosgraphs of, that held legible inscriptions have now been added to this virtual cemetery, so that they will not be forever forgotten as their stones eventually become completely illegible, or are further vandalized, and so that the peoples' descendants and relatives may see their relatives final resting place.
- Added: 14 Mar 2012
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #2441555
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