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Verderber in Croatia

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History and spreading of the Verderbers in Croatia

Preliminary remarks and sources

This article was largely took over from a message which came from Hrvoje Salopek. There is to thank him here with great pleasure. Hrvoje Salopek researches the genealogy of the Ogulin-Modrush valley (Ogulin-Modruš) which is situated between the Adriatic coast and Zagreb and extends from the town Ogulin about 25 kilometres to the South. The Croatian town Ogulin lies only about 20 kilometres in the South of the Slovenian border which is given through the Kolpa river (German: Kulpa, Croatian: Kupa). In 1999 his book “Stari rodovi Ogulinsko-modruške udoline” (“The old families of the Ogulin-Modrush valley”) which was extended later.

In a review of this book the old family names treated there are named. Among them there are Ferderber and Ferderbar, but not the other spellings of the name Verderber. (See

Settlement history of the White Krain and the Gottschee

The Slovene region between the Kolpa river (German: Kulpa, Croatian: Kupa) and the town Novo Mesto (Rudolfswert) is called White Krain (Bela Krajina, White Region), thus the region around the towns Metlika (Möttling) and Črnomelj (Tschernembl) which borders upon Gottschee (Kočevje).

This region was mainly inhabited by Croats in the Middle Ages. At the time of the greatest Turk wars thousands of Croats flew over the Kolpa into today’s Slovenia, and there mainly into the White Krain (Bela Krajina). The wanted to stay in this region near to the Croatian border to possibly return to their native place when the war would have calmed. Therefore the Bela Krajina mostly was inhabited by Croats, except naturally the Gottschee region which was mainly inhabited by Germans.

Until about the end of the 19th century the Croatian ethnic group was the greatest in the White Krain (Bela Krajina), but it got more and more Slovene. Still today a lot of names in Slovenia indicate the former great Croatian minority; for example the names with the end “–ić” (Slovene: “–ič”, German: “–itsch”) are typical Croatian names. A lot of Croats were Germanised in the Gottschee region; that is indicated by many names. For example there are mentioned some names which are also typical for the Ogulin-Modrush region: Agnitsch (Jagnjić), Gerdaschitsch (Grdešić), Jurkowitsch (Jurković), Kobetitsch (Kobetić), Majetitsch (Majetić), Marinitsch (Marinić), Maurin (Movrin), Michallewitsch (Mihaljević), Osanitsch (Ožanić), Paulitsch (Pavlić), Preiditsch (Brajdić), and so on.

When the Turk wars have calmed lightly during the 17th century, many Croats returned from the White Krain (Bela Krajina) to Croatia. Among them there were some Slovene and Gottscheer families.

Spreading of the Verderbers in Croatia

The Verderbers spread in Croatia mainly under the name Ferderber, partly Ferderbar, too.

The Verderbers were already mentioned in Croatia at the end of the 16th century. In an urbarium of the year Jahr 1590 Jure (Georg) Ferderbar is mentioned as subject and settler in the village Brod Moravice which is only five kilometres off the Kolpa river and also the Slovenian border. Later a little settlement of Verderber families evolved in this region, in the village Kupiak (Kupjak) – some 30 kilometres in the South of Gottschee. In 1948 six families with the name Ferderbar existed there.

A Verderber family came to the Ogulin region at the end of the 17th century. It is mentioned the first time in the land register of the year 1775 – head of the family was Jure Ferderber in Ogulin.

Besides the Verderbers the following Gottscheer moved to the Ogulin region: Kordiš/Kordisch, Šute/Schutte, and Kesner/Köstner.

The Ferderbers from Ogulin emigrated in part to the United States of America at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. (See The emigrants to America.)

Today there are no more Ferderbers in Ogulin. In Croatia there are nearly 70 Ferderber phone book entries today (see, most of them in the capital city Zagreb and generally in North Croatia. To the major part they descend from the Ferderbers from Ogulin or Kupiak (Kupjak).

Vlado Ferderber from Kupiak and the Third Reich

Vlado Ferderber from Kupiak (Kupjak) seems to be the only Verderber which was deported into an concentration camp during the Third Reich without being member of the Jewish family branch. He was catholic like his whole family.

The Croatian village Kupiak (Kupjak) belonged (at least at that time) to the district of Delnice and lies about 30 kilometres in the South of Gottschee (Kočevje) and some 40 kilometres in the East of Rijeka (Fiume).

Vlado Ferderber was born on 5/7/1926 at Kupiak and resided at Kupiak No. 127 when he was deported. He arrived as protective custody from Yugoslavia with the prisoner’s number 56310 at the concentration camp Dachau (westward from Munich, further information at Concentration Camp Dachau Memorial Place) on 11/10/1943. There he was not listed as Jew. From there he was transferred to the concentration camp Buchenwald (10 kilometres northward from Weimar, further information at Concentration Camp Buchenwald and Mittelbau Dora Memorial Place) on 31/10/1943 (Dachau list, page 1393/Fa.; see with key word “Ferderber”).

After information of his grand-cousin Anna Tripić he survived and returned to Kupiak. He married and got children and grandchildren. He worked as a teacher and could live a “normal” life although he had some visible scars from his time in the concentration camps.

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