A Protestant Bible from 1765 belongs to Ivan, and it is kept in the house for generations and according to him, it will remain in the family for generations.
It is the Old Testament, written in old German, in 39 chapters, or books. Ivan is not sure when it came to the family. He only knows the story how his grandmother’s brother, the famous industrialist of Semberija Dewald, left the Bible to his sister Margareta when he left BiH during the World War II. Nazis decided to move Germans from Novo Selo, near Bijeljina, to Poland.
He said that his grandmother Margareta was the evangelical believer, and his grandfather Jakob was Catholic. It was known back then that the evangelists lived in Novo Selo and Catholics in Bijeljina. He also told the story of how registrars changed their family name over the time – his grandmother’s maiden name was changed from Dewald into Devald, a grandfather’s from Wasmer into Vazmer.
Before grandmother Margareta died, she entrusted the Bible to her son Johan. And he, before his death, left this valuable book to his son Ivan. And Ivan will leave it to his sister’s children.
The Bible means a lot to me because it represents a link with my family. It’s actually part of the family, and I feel it as a legacy. I have so little left from those times, just the Bible and memories.”
“I heard that there was another copy in Novo Selo, but that is not for sure. How many copies existed and in which format – who knows? It is not even important because in my case it has no commercial value, but emotional, spiritual, and historical in terms of a family that is slowly disappearing. It is my inheritance that I would not give up on for the world,” stated Ivan.
He had offers from restorers, but he did not have funds for this expensive and demanding process. He said that people from the museum of Bijeljina quickly gave up because they knew how much the Bible means to him. He also added that the Islamic community showed interest as well, but his arguments were the same – the book is part of the family.
He is not expecting much from his nephews but to keep the Bible and the memory of their grandmother, her family and her husband, and their ancestors – the famous Dewald’s and Wasmer’s of Semberija.