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The Damaszkin mansion from Beregsău Mic

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Beregsău Mic is a village located in Timiş county, that only started to benefit from the presence of a Serbian population after the last waves of Serbian colonization, at the end of the 17th century. Today, the village has a population which is mainly of Serbian origin. This is also the place where we find an old mansion, which is not labeled, for now, as a historical monument. When comparing it to other ex-residences from Beregsău Mic, despite its advanced state of degradation, we discover that it was not abandoned, a local woman taking care of it and its owner taking a constant interest in it.

Short History

Beregsău Mic is documented in existence since 1317, with the name Nemti (Nemti Villa), in 1333 –Nemiti, in 1334 – Nempty, in 1335 – Nemethy, in 1462 – Kysberezo. In the 15th century, the village was known as Nemed. On Count Mercy’s map, the “oiconim” Nemet appears. In the year 1913, the Hungarian administration changes its name into Beregszonemeti (German Beregsău). Along the years, the village was known also as Nemici or German Beregsău, even though the Germans were never a majority of the population.1)Remus Creţan şi Vasile FrăţilăDicţionar geografico-istoric şi toponimic al judeţului Timiş,  2007.

In 1494, the king donates the village to Nagylucsei Ferencz. In 1514, during the peasant revolt of Gheorghe Doja, the village is destroyed by the rebels and, six years later, King Lajos II donates it to Bolyka Balint. The village is not destroyed during the Ottoman occupation of the Banat area and during the Habsburg occupation it belonged to the Timiş Committee2)Samu BorovszkyMonografia Comitatului Torontal, Budapesta, 1912.

In 1788, the Damaszkin Family owned Beregsău Mic. In 1838, the owner of the village was Simon Damaszkin. Since 1880, the village was divided between Gyula Csávossy of Bobda and Szima Mucsalov. In 1912, in the Beregsău Mic there were 242 houses and 1286 locals, a casino, guilds and credit unions. The post office was at Cărpiniş, the telegraph was at Bobda and the train station was at Beregsău Mare. In the same year, the landlords of the village were the heirs of the Csávossy Family, Ivan Mučalov and Badulov Vlasztimivnekand Braniszlavnak. The Serbian church, located across the road from the mansion, was built, between 1855 and 1860 by the Mučalov family3)Samu BorovszkyMonografia Comitatului Torontal, Budapesta, 1912.

The mansion from Beregsău Mic

The mansion from Beregsău Mic was built in 1788 by the Damaszkin family, and was afterwards bought by Ivan Mučalov. In 1949, the property was nationalized and turned into a IAS (collective farm). After 1990, it was returned to the Mučalov family’s descendants, who today are settled in Canada.

The mansion was given into the care of a local woman from Beregsău Mic, Ivanca Arsin, who has transformed one of the rooms into a topography office. “Here was the old IAS. The owner is in Canada. After this restitution, it’s in a state of… you can imagine. During the period of the IAS, only damages were done! In the old times, in every room, there were tile stoves of different models and colors. They destroyed all of it!”

Regarding its architecture, the mansion suffered a lot of modifications during the IAS period. One day, a nice and friendly man came because he wanted to see the building, but Ivanca sent him away. “I thought that they wanted to do a documentary or that they were friends of the owner. And then he tells me that he’s going to bring his wife from the car, that they lived here during the IAS. And I told him: oh, you were responsible for these damages?! Go away, and don’t ever come back!”

The pasture located on the land is rented to a shepherd for raising animals. “Further away, after the park, the estate has a total of 5 ha. The pasture I gave away to a shepherd, because he keeps sheeps and cows. Well, if I wouldn’t have come around and didn’t took care of this place, they would have stolen even the roof tiles! Anyway, it requires intensive repairs. The mansion also has a cereal deposit annexed to it. It had a model farm with 300 land yokes. Now, it’s gotten back only 50 yokes.”

The Merciful of Beregsău Mic

Ivanca told us that in the old times, when the wife of Ivan Mučalov would go out through the church doors, the gendarmes would shoot their rifles, as a sign of honor. “The people would call her Merciful, Miss Merciful. They were merciful, but had an administrator who used to suppress the people of the village. If the owner would tell him to give a certain amount to the peasant for his work, he would give him only half.”

There is the possibility of participing, if anyone is interested.

The owner would want to find a more ample function for the mansion, reason for which he allowed Ivanca ,through an attorney, to rent or farm out the mansion but not to sell it. “There is the possibility of participating, if anyone is interested. Now, he would have given it to a partner in order for it to be turned into an old people home. He said that if he finds a partner, who maybe has another idea, he would agree to it. But, there was no one, you know how it is here, in Romania… Everybody would like to buy it with just 1 leu.”

“He found a man, who works the land, and who advised him not to turn this into an old people home and rather make a guest house out of it. And he took him and brought him to a guest house, but, in the entire three hours that they spent there while having lunch, they were the only clients there. That guest house belonged to him, an engineer, who was an ADS director. He said that he would take care of everything, repairs and such but he wanted to own half of the property. Well, that way, anyone would have taken it. In a few months it can shut down or in a year the business goes down the drain and he’ll only be left with half of the property. And that’s when the owner gave up and never found a partner. Now, we shall see!”

Ivanca keeps in touch with Mučalov’s heir. “Every year he says: next year I’ll come! I’ll stay for two-three months! But, when he does come, he only stays for 2-3 hours. He says: I’ll come to your place! I tell him: you don’t come to my place, you come to your place!” she tells us, laughing. “Mučalov’s nephew is my age, 65 – 70 years old, but he doesn’t look older than 50. We are very good friends. My grandmother was a very close friend of his father. First they lived in Germany, but they didn’t like it there. The Serbians don’t like Germany.”

“In 1949 everything has been taken away from them, but they remained for a while. His father, Milutin Mučalov worked at the IAS. So, he was an agricultural engineer and he worked on his land. After that, they stayed in Timişoara, then in Braşov and from there they moved to Germany, after which, they went to Canada. They came around the 80s to the people of the village and they visited my grandmother too. I meet them through a relative of theirs which lived in Timişoara. I was also the one to help them with the papers so that they could reclaim the land. I made the request for them to receive back the mansion. With the IAS we had a few problems, but the City Hall helped us also.”

A bit of money from the lawyer, a bit of money from the client, we have to manage it! We vote for one, then for the other.

“I have a house in the village, but I spend most of my time here, at the mansion. ‘Cause if I stay in the village, you know how it is – children, grandchildren, daughters in law. I have a small pension, but I get by. I sometimes go out, measure the land for other people. I’m from the old guard, I have seen it all. I have maps, I have everything, so, I go sometimes and measure the lands. But, even that is almost gone, only if someone gets kicked out of an association and someone has to replace them, that’s when I have to go for the report. The topographic engineer tells me: you go and do it, I’ll take responsibility for everything! So, they know that I have the maps. At home I couldn’t host people (clients), because the children don’t like it when people come all hours of the day and honk at the door. A bit of cash from the lawyer, a bit from the client, and that’s how we manage. We vote for one, then for another.”

We noticed that the library from Ivanca’s office has many books and documents of the Romanian Communist Party. “During the ‘89 Revolution, when they threw them away from the schools in the fire from the middle of the village, I took them. Maybe, who knows… At home, I have all of Ceauşescu’s volumes. I took them because they looked pretty in the library, because they had red hard covers. The ones you get and read today, you put them in your library and they don’t look in any way, some of them even rip apart.” Near the library that contained the RCP documents was a really old desk, over which the maps of Ivanca were spread. “When the IAS left, they couldn’t get the desk out the door and they left it here. It’s from Mučalov’s time. It’s really, really old!”

Ivanca from Beregsău Mic

“My name is Iovanca, but everyone calls me Ivanca. It was a cool name in its time, after Tito’s Iovanca. If you ask anyone of Ivanca from Beregsău Mic, everyone knows me!” Before we left, we wanted to take a picture of Ivanca, but she refused us. “You know what you should photograph? The Triumph Arch. From the street you can’t see it properly, because of the trees, but from the yard you can.

Useful information

Beregsău Mic is located 20 km away from Timişoara and you can get to it on two routes, through the Sânmihaiu German (see map) or through Săcălaz (see map), both access ways being in a very good state. Only a few km away from the Beregsău Mic is the Roman-Catholic Church of Bobda.


Written by Alexandra Palconi. Translated by Doiniţa Spuză.

Photo credit: Flavius Neamciuc

Surse   [ + ]

1. Remus Creţan şi Vasile FrăţilăDicţionar geografico-istoric şi toponimic al judeţului Timiş,  2007
2. Samu BorovszkyMonografia Comitatului Torontal, Budapesta, 1912
3. Samu BorovszkyMonografia Comitatului Torontal, Budapesta, 1912
7 comments at "The Damaszkin mansion from Beregsău Mic"
  • The Banaterra Castle from Srpska Crnja – Prin Banat
    27 May 2015 at 21:33

    […] your way to Srpska Crnja (depending on your chosen route or shortcuts), you can also visit the Damaszkin Mansion from Beregsău Mic or the mausoleum-church of […]

  • Yves Dupont
    1 February 2016 at 18:11

    I was most interested by the historical note regarding the Damaszkin Mansion. I am related to the Mucalov family, being married to a great grand daughter of Sima Mucalov and a daughter of Ivan Mucalov (born 1907). We are living in Canada and are closely related to the current owner of the mansion. Lately, I have developed a genealogy of the Mucalov family covering from the early 1800 up to present. I could share it from a historical perspective, Please let me know, if you are interested by this.

    I read also with great interest many of you other work on the Banat.

    I would be interested by any historical information related to Beregsau Mic.

    Best regards.

    Yves Dupont

  • Alexandra Palconi
    1 February 2016 at 19:34

    Dear Mr. Dupont,

    Thank you so much for writing us! We are glad you found us and that our work on the Banat has aroused your interest. We would be more than happy if you could share the genealogy of the Mucalov family with us. I can update this article with your information or maybe write a new one. Would you accept to give us an interview? Please let me know.

    Also, I’ll look for all the historical information I own related to Beregsău Mic and write you an e-mail in the following days.

    Best regards,
    Alexandra P.

  • Yves Dupont
    2 February 2016 at 19:29

    Thank you for your for your prompt response.

    I have at your disposal a copy version PDF of the genealogy, but I do not see in your comment reply form a way to attach my document, and the e-mail address you are using is a no-reply address. Could you give a regular e-mail address or explain to me how to attach something to it (my document is 13 pages long).

    I have family pictures taken at the Mansion that could be interesting for you, mostly old family portraits and groups taken at divers point of time, as far as late 19 century. As probably, you are aware of, there is a Mucaloy monument in the cemetery in Beregsau mic, at well as, one in one cemetery in Timisoara (the family used to reside in winter in a mansion at 1 Battyany, Temesvar).

    I have also two texts in both German and English describing the memories of Milutin Mucalov, the last Mucalov residing at the property until 1949 (family historical notes) and a description of life at the property right at the end of the war from Milutin’s wife.

    Since I was never there and know only thing my hear-say. But it would be better, if that was not done, to interview Simica or Peter who are the sons of Milutin. Both reside in Canada and I could get you in contact my them.

    Myself,I am residing in Canada (near Ottawa). In may, I will travel to Hungary and I would love to visit Beregsau. If I can organize this, I will let you know. I am fluent in both French and English, can read currently German, but I cannot speak Rumanian. However, I have many good Rumanian friend, I should have no problems to go through Rumanian material.

    Best regards.

    Yves Dupont

  • Alexandra Palconi
    2 February 2016 at 19:42

    Dear Mr. Dupont,

    You can send the materials at contact@prinbanat.ro or alexandrapalconi@gmail.com. If you travel to Hungary, Beregsau is located only a couple of hours away from the Romanian-Hungarian border – I would be more than happy to join you. My English is average, but I can translate the Romanian documents that I’ll be sending you about Beregsau. Actually, I’ll continue this discussion via e-mail.

    Best regards,
    Alexandra

  • Recollections of Német | Beregsău Mic (1) – Prin Banat
    29 May 2016 at 18:55

    […] Andreas, Georg Dietrich and Peter. Between 1944 and 1949, Ingeborg and Milutin lived at the Mučalov family’s mansion in Német (today the village of Beregsău Mic, Timiş county, Romania), which was originally built by the […]

  • Recollections of Német (II): the Mučalov family members – Prin Banat
    30 September 2016 at 20:54

    […] Sima Andreas, Georg Dietrich and Peter. Between 1944 and 1949, Ingeborg and Milutin lived at the Mučalov family’s mansion in Német (today the village of Beregsău Mic, Timiş county, Romania), which was originally built by the […]

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