Comments on the Significance of Horneck Castle

We recorded some representative comments on the significance of Horneck Castle, its former and current facilities, and the future Transylvanian Heritage and Community Centre for the Transylvanian Saxons, friends of their culture and the residents of Gundelsheim.


Alexander Throm, Member of the Federal Parliament, - Member of the Group of Expellees, Ethnic German Repatriates and German Minorities of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group

„As a member of the Working Group Expellees, Ethnic German Repatriates and National Minorities (Vertriebene, Aussiedler und Nationale Minderheiten) of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Federal Parliament, I am particularly pleased that the castle complex today houses the Transylvanian Heritage and Community Centre with its museum, library and event rooms.

Horneck Castle is now the  seat of the central cultural institutions of the Transylvanian Saxons in Germany and I would like to thank you very much for your support of the cultural and social concerns of the Transylvanian Saxons. This centre is not only a great gain for the Transylvanian Saxons, it also contributes to the rich diversity of this region"


Heike Schokatz, 44 years old, Mayor of Gundelsheim:

"Horneck Castle, the second largest castle on the Neckar, is not only the landmark of our town, but also an attraction for visitors and guests from near and far.

We are also delighted that Transylvanian Saxons from Augsburg and Heilbronn took part in the Christmas market in the town on the First Sunday in Advent and that they added to the enjoyment with music and dances from Transylvania.

The castle is an excellent venue for meetings, weddings, receptions, celebrations and further events of all kinds.

During the time of the Christmas market, for example, the Gundelsheim art group will exhibit their works in the castle with the title "Art in the Castle - Impressions 2017" 

Horneck Castle will continue to be an important meeting place in our town."

Dr. Axel Froese, 55 years old, business consultant, owner of "Froese Asset Management GmbH", Gießen/Munich:

"I am the descendant of expellees from West Prussia. It is through dealing with my own family history that I have come to understand that it is of great value to have a central place of recollection and encounter. 

It is the encounter and the process of reminiscence that brings history alive, makes it comprehensible and givesit a future. Based on this insight, I am convinced that the conversion of Horneck Castle into a heritage and community centre is of outstanding importance not only for the present generation of Transylvanian Saxons, but also for future generations, as a place of discovery and experience."

Jürgen from Transylvania, Hans Jürgen Dörr, 34, specialist for occupational safety, Mediasch/Bad Wimpfen:

"When I look out of my window I see Horneck Castle straight in front of me. I grew up here in the immediate vicinity. I have already given several benefit concerts in the moat, once with the Amazonas Band, and sung several times here in the former nursing home, or performed here with the Carpathian Orchestra Heilbronn in the Baroque Hall. I am a dedicated Transylvanian Saxon and identify with Transylvanian culture, while at the same time feeling very much at home here in Germany.

I think having a community centre here in the castle is very good, especially as it not only looks back into the past, but also opens up to young people and involves them and includes German citizens in Germany as well. The cultural centre must open up and not just remain Saxon. Culture must change with the spirit of the younger generation. This is necessary in order to survive, culture must remain alive and be open to young ideas. I do not want the heritage centre to become a snapshot of a bygone era and to stand still. That is dusty and scares young people away. One must allow change and also give new ideas a chance. 

I would like to play an unplugged concert in the beautiful Baroque Hall in the future, with traditional Saxon songs, which I learned from my grandmother, but also with my own contemporary songs or modern hits. I would like to reinterpret old traditions or allow new traditions to develop. I`ll draw attention to this amongst my friends and acquaintances.“

Renate Fleischer, 82 years old, doll maker, Hermannstadt/Gilching:

"The Transylvanian institutions were all created with  great passion, effort, great idealism, privations and many hours of voluntary work. I worked together with Rolf Schuller and some students in return for board and lodging. That was for one year from 1980-1981 up to the opening of the museum at Horneck Castle. I often restored ceramics, almost around the clock, prepared dolls in traditional costumes and helped wherever it was needed. At that time it was our greatest wish to establish Horneck Castle as the cultural centre of the Transylvanian Saxons, one which would last forever. I am therefore firmly convinced that Horneck Castle as a heritage centre with all its facilities will continue to be important in the future."

Lucian Binder-Catana, 53 years old, communications designer, owner of "Hyperscreen GmbH" Vohburg:

"I see a great opportunity for the Transylvanian Saxons to establish a main meeting point for the entire Transylvanian Saxon community at Horneck Castle. Not every community has the great fortune to be given such an opportunity. To add to that, it is in an historic building that lends itself to such a variety of uses. We must therefore take this opportunity together now and make something unique out of it."

Sunny Copony, 58 years old, IT architect, IBM, Kronstadt/Egling an der Paar:

"Horneck Castle is important for me, because my grandmother spent her last, but very good years, here. She talked with great enthusiasm about meeting friends from her youth again and about the many cultural evenings, concerts, readings and the library. Even if the nursing home, which my grandmother so much appreciated, no longer exists, I hope very much that the Transylvanian Institute will survive for many years to come. The historical writings of the Transylvanian Saxons and our cultural treasures, such as works by Grete Csaki-Copony, Mattis-Teutsch or Hans Hermann, are to be given a permanent dignified home here. That is why I will continue to support Horneck Castle!"

Hans Königes, 59 years old, editor of the computer magazine "Computerwoche", Zeiden/Munich:

"I owe my commitment to the Transylvanian Saxon language above all to my uncle Balduin Herter, who is one of the founders of the "Saxon" castle Horneck. Right up to his death he was committed to the preservation of the Transylvanian Saxon cultural institutions, primarily of course in Gundelsheim, where he also worked for decades. As a young student at the beginning of the 80s I was also allowed to help in the library. My uncle was interested in arousing the enthusiasm of young people for our culture and history and to bring as many people as possible to Horneck Castle. This legacy must be passed on."

Paul Diehl, 30 years old, born in Munich, landscape architect, director of the project Churchfortress e.V. in Hundertbücheln, Romania:

"I know Horneck Castle and have searched there myself in the archives and found information about Hundertbücheln/Movile, where I run a project with Munich students. The library and archive in Gundelsheim are important facilities for all those who are interested in Transylvania and Transylvanian-Saxon culture. This is even more so for the Transylvanian Saxons themselves and for their families, much more so than for someone like me who has no roots in Transylvania. A central meeting point, where knowledge of the culture and way of life in Romania is collected and made accessible, is of enormous value. I also think it makes sense to maintain this institution in Germany (and not in Romania), as the number of Transylvanian Saxons in Romania is still decreasing."

Oliver Sill, 34 years old, management consultant, Ravensburg/Zurich, parents from Heltau:

"The castle with its library shelters Transylvanian cultural history. In this way, the heritage centre ensures the continuity of the most important literary and artistic works. This comprehensive documentation makes it possible for all descendants to connect with their cultural roots - thus Transylvania, as it existed in its heyday, can be "experienced" again."

Anette Königes, 55 years old, city guide, Zeiden/Munich:

"Horneck Castle must become even more clearly the spiritual, cultural and emotional home of the Transylvanian Saxons in Germany."

Christa Wandschneider, 63 years old, secretary, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Großpold/Munich:

"For me, Gundelsheim is the home of our spiritual and cultural heritage. The aim is to shape the place for this and bring it to life. It’s the only way we can secure a place for our descendants, as well as for everyone interested in Transylvania, where they can find our spiritual and cultural heritage."

Ute von Hochmeister, 61 years old, biochemist, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Kronstadt/Munich:

"The castle of the Teutonic Order is a perfect match for the fortified churches of Transylvania. For us Horneck Castle is unique as an ideal place of identity outside Transylvania and therefore it is worthy of being  preserved. The cultural centre represents a successful symbiosis between the archive, with its valuable collections on our history, the library and the museum, with its vivid exhibits and sources of information. I hope that it will become a globally open Transylvanian community centre."

Wolfgang Schneiderhan, 66, retired master electrician, born and still living in Gundelsheim:

"On April 1st, 1965, I began my career as a 14-year-old apprentice in the castle. Since then I have worked in the castle again and again over a period of 52 years. I grew up with Horneck Castle and the Transylvanian Saxons, so to speak. I know the castle like the back of my hand and for me, the Transylvanian Saxons are inseparable from it. I've seen all the ups and downs on Horneck. The bankruptcy of the organisation upset me very much. Of course, I would like it very much if the castle became a cultural centre for the Transylvanian Saxons and I would like to come back as a master electrician and most especially as a friend. I am now retired and a local councillor, and I will support Horneck  Castle and the heritage centre. For me, Horneck Castle is my home, with its own German history and the many Transylvanian stories."

Dr. Hans Günter Zerwes, 60 years old, biochemist, Novartis Pharmaceutical Research Basel, Hermannstadt/Lörrach:

"I believe and hope that Horneck Castle will indeed remain a Transylvanian heritage centre and make our rich Transylvanian culture accessible to all interested parties. This requires a good concept and great tenacity. I'm glad that people like the members of the board and other enthusiasts are committed to it. I am happy to support Horneck Castle."

George Dumitriu, 65 years old, photographer, Department for Protected Buildings and Monuments, Târgu Bujor/Bukarest:

"For me, the spirit of Transylvanian idealism is noticable at Horneck Castle, the spirit of all those who have painstakingly filled the archives here for years,  valuable work that is also very important for our history in Romania. I have worked with a number of archive directors at Horneck Castle within the framework of the protection of historical monuments in Romania and have greatly appreciated their work."

Arno Mayer, 18, spent a year doing voluntary social work at the Dr. Carl-Wolff nursing home, Freiburg/Hermannstadt:

"I don't know Horneck Castle, but I've heard a lot about it. My mother comes from Heltau, my father is from Ulm. I learned a lot about Transylvania from my mother and her family before I started my voluntary social year in September 2017 at the Dr. Carl-Wolff nursing home in Sibiu. The residents told me a lot and I have become more and more interested in Sibiu and Transylvania. I think that I will also go to Horneck Castle within the next few years to learn more about the history of Transylvania, or to participate in activities."

Udo Klamer, 48, freelance architect, Heltau/Bad Saulgau:

"Horneck Castle has become a symbol of a community. It houses a large part of our Transylvanian Saxon culture and our collective knowledge. This must be preserved and made accessible to future generations."

Michael Gewölb, 64, pensioner, former teacher, Augsburg/Hermannstadt:

"The concerts in the Baroque Hall with Kurt Scheiner's madrigal choir Cantores Cibinienses first brought me to Horneck Castle. After Kurt Scheiner's death I continued to lead the choir for about ten years. At Horneck Castle I met the composer and music pedagogue Ernst Irtel again, who lived and worked in the nursing  home during the last years of his life. The Baroque Hall in the castle provided the setting for the first performance of the band De Lidertrun, which performs ist own arrangements of music from the Carpathian Arch. I’m still an active member of the group. These are lasting memories that enable me to imagine the future of Horneck Castle as a heritage and community centre. I can well imagine performing again with the  De Lidertrun in the beautiful Baroque Hall. I consider the project Heritage and Community Centre Horneck Castle to be extremely worthy of support."