April 17, 2017

3021 ROMANIA (Sibiu) - The last Transylvanian saxon in Richiş

3021 Johann Schaas, the last Transylvanian saxon in Richiş

In Târnavelor Plateau, at five km from Biertan, one of the emblem-communes of the Sibiu county, with a fortified church inscribed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is located Richiş (Reichesdorf in Transylvanian Saxon dialect), a small village with a few hundred inhabitants,  documented for the first time in 1283. In 1939 in Richiş lived 1,300 Saxons, but after the WWII many of them either went to Germany or were expropriated and / or deported by the communist authorities, so that in 1989 only 800 remained.

After the Revolution of 1989, when the Romanian borders were opened, the Transylvanian Saxons went to countries more generous in economic terms, mainly to Germany. First the young ones, then also the others. Currently, in the village live only two Transylvanian Saxons, Johanna (75 years) and Johann (84 years) Schaas. Johann is the custodian of the village church, built in the second half of the 14th century as Cistercian monastery, passed from Catholicism to Evangelicalism, and then fortified in 16th century.

Hundred hectares of vine covered once the hills around, but in nowadays the sole activity on them is grazing. The wine of Richiş was famous sometime from Budapest to Bucharest and Istanbul, but the last wine produced by the Saxons as winegrowers was confiscated in 1948. The boys who loved too much the wine were punished by the church council, so that on Sundays, when the other villagers came to mass, they had to kneel on the stairs and to spin the finger on stone. The little holes created can be seen even today on the walls of the entrance.

Johann and his wife didn't want to leave the village and way of life of their ancestors, who settled down in this region almost eight centuries ago. Herr Johann Schaas is a great and relentless storyteller, who conquer the travellers since the first word that speaks, sitting on the church steps or at the table, in front of a glass of wine. In recent years, so many fell in love with this village, that it became a multinational village, with residents from the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, Lithuania and even United States.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the series Love Nature! Ceahlău National Park, about which I wrote here.

Ultimii saşi din Richiş (rom) - Adevărul online
Transilvania săsească - Richiş, locul cu poveşti (rom) - Jurnal de hoinar
Johann Schaas, ultimul sas din Richiş (rom) - Richiş info
Richiş, satul multinational din judeţul Sibiu (rom) - Hotel Guru
Deportarea saşilor in URSS (rom) - Site-ul oficial al comunei Biertan

Sender: Alexandru Zaica
Sent from Sălard (Bihor / Romania), on 09.04.2017
Photo: Mioritics


  1. Cu timbru de Aruba ?!

    1. Postasem din greşeală spatele altei vederi. Am corectat. Mulţumesc.