Deutsche Fassung
The Bohemian Village

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Once for some fine years I lived in the Neukoelln borough. I didn't care much about being a native Bohemian, but I was surprised to find a so called Bohemian Village in my neighborhood. Usually Bohemia is present in a german saying we quote to indicate that we are not very familiar with something. It's a bit out of date today, when we explain: "That are Bohemian Villages for me!" - In Berlin we are lucky to send all folks to one of those villages to improve their educational standard.

Persecuted Bohemian Brethren settled here in the first quarter of the 18th century. Here they found religious and political freedom and generous support granted by King Frederick William I. There are still traces of their rural architecture between newer buildings. I tried to catch such impressions. Unfortunately I did'n keep my ViewMaster. I had a number of photo discs from my birthplace for that stereoscope. The photos above remind me to it. Some could also be from a village at the northern german coast.

The goblet in the house end on the left became part of the arms from Rixdorf. You also can see it in the actual arms of Neukoelln. It stands for the Brethren Community. This building was a school and a parish hall. It is one of the oldest, because it was not damaged by a great fire in 1849.

Bread dumplings (houskový knedlík) are very important for the Bohemian Identity. The recipe is easy:

2 small bread rolls, 1 lb.av. wheat flour, baking powder (about 9 dr.av.), 1 egg, salt, 2 american gills milk, some butter or margarine for roasting.

Cut the bread rolls to small pieces and roast them a bit. Pass the flour and the baking powder through a sieve into a bowl, mix them well this way. Add the remaining ingredients step by step and knead them to a homogeneous dough. Add the roasted bread rolls and knead the dough again. Make two rolls of the dough. Put them in boiling salty water and cook them for 20 minutes. You have to turn the rolls after about 10 minutes. Than take them out and cut them with a yarn into slices.

I translated this from a german page of Radio Prague.
(It tastes much better, if you take some time and prepare a true yeast dough.)

If you became interested in the historical background now, you may start with Wikipedia:

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© Fotos, Words and Design by Zacke. June 2005.