|The active members of the Fire Dept. Batzenhofen
(Bavaria, Germany) are a group of about 60 volunteers, that chose the duty,
to help people in danger. This idea in Batzenhofen has a long tradition.
Therefore the Fire Dept. could celebrate it's 125th anniversary in 2000.
Franz, secretary of the Fire Dept., designed the commemorative volume, given in parts below:
1875 Voluntary Fire Dept. Batzenhofen 2000
125 years in duty of the neighbors
The Voluntary Fire Dept. was founded on
8th July 1875 by twelve farmers, one cheese maker, one District street
maker, one master shoemaker, one carpenter, one brewer who also was landlord
and one living on private income.
Georg Welzhofers successors in duty were:
After Georg Rößle, the function of the
chairman mostly was covered by the actual mayor too. This tradition ended
not before Batzenhofen was incorporated to the city of Gersthofen in 1966.
Because since then there has been no longer a mayor in Batzenhofen, the
Fire Dept. will have to do without such a dignitary as a chairman
also for the future. The duty of the chairman after Rößle
was covered by the following 9 successors:
From time immemorial men were afraid that the light and warmth spending fire may shake off it's chains. Therefore also in the village of Batzenhofen they had devices to fight fire long before the foundation of the Fire Dept. So the new firefighters could use equipment already available. Most important part of it was a four-wheeled fire-fighting machine with suction mechanism, 50 meters of hose and four nose pieces.
After two years of diligent drill the new Fire Dept. could prove it's capabilities for the first time, when in the nearby village of Edenbergen a fire of a residential building had to be extinguished.
The following year brought the first deployment in the home village: The fire of a barn of August Langenmayer.
After completion of the fire station north to the
parish church, home to the Fire Dept. until the sixties, a new four-wheeled
fire-fighting machine 1903 was procured, together with 50 m of hose and
3 nose pieces for the tidy sum of 1,280.-- Marks. Unfortunately the Voluntary
Fire Dept. during the founder years had problems with the turnover of it's
active members. Some members got "iberzellig" (i.e. surplus) and therefore
"aus dem Tinst getreten" (i.e. resigned). But the introduction of a compulsory
Fire Dept., even when considered by some, could not come up. Especially
thanks to the good leadership of Johann Rau and Josef Reiter, a well-balanced
and good life in the Fire Dept. was developed. Surely also the procurement
of a new push ladder for 670.-- Marks in 1918 increased the motivation
of the members.
Drill with the new push ladder
From World War I seven comrades did not come back. Nevertheless the Fire Dept. showed the considerable number of forty active members in 1919.
The supply with uniforms, postponed because of the war, could be made up in 1928. The municipality gave a share of 278.-- Marks of the total costs. In the same year happened the biggest fire up to this time in the history of the Fire Dept.: In the early morning of 16th January two barns of the properties Josef Wagner and Anton Ortolf together with about 5,500 cubic-foot of wood and all kinds of agricultural equipment were destroyed by fire. Only the concerted attack of the Fire Depts. of all the villages nearby and even the Fire Dept. of the city of Augsburg, leaded by Batzenhofen's then commander Josef Baindl, could prevent the further spreading of the flaming inferno.
Up to this time there are twenty-one deployments both in and outside the village recorded in the book of duty. Together with the sketches of the objects, the emplacement of equipment and men is always shown clearly.
New engine-driven fire pump
Still under the impression of the big fire mentioned above, in July 1929 the first engine-driven fire-fighting equipment was procured: A "Liliput" manufactured by Magirus in Ulm. With it's 18 HP the engine is able to supply three jet pipes with water. Using only one jet pipe, the fire pump was able to reach even the highest building in the village, the 35 meters high tower of the parish church. With this 2,670.-- Marks engine the village owned one of the most modern engines in the whole District. This ultramodern equipment was obligation to the team, further to improve it's good level of education by appropriate training. Therefore the inspecting representative of the District could take down the following words of praise to his report: Sämtliche Übungen, Fußexerzieren, Schul- und Angriffsübungen wurden der Vorschrift entsprechend ausgeführt und tadellos durchgeführt, besonders anzuerkennen ist die Ruhe, mit welcher gearbeitet wurde. Den Herrn Kommandanten und sämtlichen Chargen ist der beste Dank auszusprechen. (i.e. all the exercises, drill, theoretical and practical exercises were carried out corresponding to the rules and perfect, specially the composure worked with, is laudable. We have to give our best thanks to the Messrs. commanders and to all ranks).
Times and fashions of the times are changing. To the level of education of the Fire Dept. this had less effect than to the jargon of the inspection reports.
In 1934 the notes say: Der heute stattgefundenen Übung gebührt Lob und Anerkennung, sie wurde zur vollsten Zufriedenheit der Inspizierenden ausgeführt. Möge dieser edle Feuerwehrgeist auch fernerhin blühen und gedeihen zum Wohle und Nutzen unseres Deutschen Vaterlandes. (i.e. The exercise taken place today deserves praise and recognition, it was carried out to the full satisfaction of the inspector. May this noble spirit of the Fire Dept. also blossom and prosper further to the welfare and benefit of our German Fatherland). In this years, however, also another spirit began to blossom. It's first consequences were, that the leaders of the Fire Dept. could not longer be elected by it's members, but were determined by government.
Fortunately it were capable and outstanding men still, that formed the head of the Fire Dept.. Baked apples could be picked directly from the tree in the schoolyard on 30th July 1934, when the barn of Martin Ehinger together with all his stocks from harvest was destroyed by fire in spite of the courageous intervention of the firefighters.
Nostalgic show fire alarm drill with the engine-driven fire pump Magirus Liliput
Turmoil of war
War had other duties to the comrades. The lack of operational men caused the foundation of a female team under the direction of Mathilde Kuchenbauer. It is said, that the engine operator "Nandel" Berchtenbreiter because of her experience with the engine on their farm also had no problems with the old fire pump.
When in February 1944 after a bomb attack the properties of Link and Grußler in neighboring Rettenbergen were in flames, the female team of Batzenhofen was a welcomed help. In the same year the Fire Dept. under it's commander Birzle with it's engine gave help in the Bavarian capital of Munich.
In August 1945 Georg Kugelmann became successor of Birzle. His first mission was, to line up the Fire Dept. a new. In the beginning he could form one group only, because most of the comrades were not yet back from war. For 12 comrades they waited fruitless. Their names are engraved in the war memorial at the Batzenhofen cemetery as a warning to hold peace for generations coming. The previous way of alarm by ringing the bells of St. Martin and trumpet signals was replaced by a siren, mounted on the sawmill of Sebastian Schaflitzel, given in courtesy to the Fire Dept. by him.
In the following years also the social life of the society got going again. The well-attended balls of the Fire Dept. offered the possibility, to forget the sorrows of the years after the war at least for a few hours.
When in 1947 near Mittenwald large areas of woodland were in flame, the supervisor also put the far away Fire Dept. of Batzenhofen into action. This example shows, that only the voluntary deployment of responsible-minded citizens enables the government to keep common heritage safe.
The year 1950 completely was under the sing of the 75th anniversary. One part of the preparation was the renovation of the fire station. On Sunday, 22nd June after the special service a procession of 16 Fire Depts. an 2 bands moved through the festively decorated village. A show drill in the afternoon made the program complete. After the honoring of deserving members and the appointment of Georg Birzle as commander in honor, music and dance lasted to the late evening.
Summer 1951 brought a barn fire in the nearby Holzhausen. The following years were restful and cold be used for the procurement of new dress uniforms and safety helmets.
The village grew larger, so the fighting strength of the Fire Dept. had to be increased by a new portable fire engine TS 8 Magirus together with a trailer. 6,800.-- Marks 1959 were necessary to get both. Only a few month later the new pump could show it's performance. A part of the property of Josef Reiter was in flames. Together with the neighbor Fire Depts. it was possible, to shield the focus of fire and save both adjacent residential building and barn.
Alarm was improved in 1963 by installation of a siren to the roof of the school, still existing in the middle of the village in that time. From now on everybody could look for fast help just by pressing the fire alarm button.
1964 brought a forest fire near Peterhof an a flood in Stadtbergen. But it also brought the decoration for performance in bronze for a group trained by Rudolf Dirr.
The old fire station near the church in winter
In 1965 it got definite, that the old fire station
near the church, built around the turn of the century, had to be pulled
down. High waters of the Böglebach (brook), not flowing through pipes
in that time, had damaged both building and equipment again and again.
Some day only the figure of St. Nepomuk near the Schmid restaurant will
remind of these times. Until the construction of a new fire station, the
equipment was kept in a former barn beside the school, now club house of
the local brass band.
The same year the 90th anniversary was celebrated together with the consecration of a new flag. Flag squire Karl Abbt and flag bride Hannelore Kraus brought the symbol of the Dept. to Batzenhofen, where it was welcomed by mayor Kraus, the local council, the Fire Dept., the local brass band and the celebration maidens an flag attendants. Then the flag, manufactured in traditionally needlework by the nuns of St. Ursula, Augsburg, was brought in a solemn procession to the headquarter of the local government.
At the evening of the first day of celebration
an impressive torchlight procession went through the streets in the direction
to the marquee, where deserving members of the Fire Dept. were honored.
At Sunday besides the goddepartment of Gersthofen and the Schwäbische
Bläserbuben (i.e. popular local brass band) another thirty societies
could be welcomed. The weather meant good to the celebrating Fire Dept.,
so the special service with consecration of the new flag, celebrated at
the place in front of the church by Reverend Meister, became a Highlight
in the history of the Fire Dept. Also the procession in the afternoon covered
the expenses of the visitors, arrived from near and far. Late in the evening
still cheerful sounds could be heard form the marquee, before the perfectly
successful festival ended.
The following year commander Georg Kugelmann handed in his resignation after twenty-one years of merit. Until fall Peter Liepert sen. became his successor. Then the elections brought several changes in the head of the Fire Dept.: Previous chairman August Kraus was relieved by Josef Schuler. New commander became Rudolf Dirr, as deputy commander Peter Liepert jun. was elected. The new board guided the Dept. purposeful by the proven method of it's predecessors. Main activities during the first years were the renewal of out-of-date equipment and the training of new leaders. The fact, that the Fire Dept. belongs to the engines of rustic tradition, was shown at the 1000th anniversary of the village by appropriate effort of work.
In 1970, surely unusual for a Fire Dept.
of a small village in that time, four breathing apparatus were procured.
Besides a subsidy of the government also the Innere Mission, responsible
for the old people's home Sonnenhof, took a part of the cost. The time
of the 100th anniversaries of all the Fire Depts. was coming, therefore
new dress uniforms were to be manufactured. After all the Fire Dept. should
represent the village in a worthy way at such ceremonies. In June a delegation
of 13 firefighters traveled to the Deutscher Feuerwehrtag in Münster/Westfalen.
The attendance became an unforgettable experience, and gives still a good
In 1972 the friends in Sautens were visited to their consecration of a new portable fire engine. Our celebration maidens gave an embroidered ribbon to their flag. In June the Fire Dept. earned the honor, to get goddepartment to the neighbor Fire Dept. of Rettenbergen, when they had their anniversary and consecration of a new flag. In November three fire-fighting squads helped in Gersthofen, where a brickyard was in flame. Fortunately some time ago they had begun to train the teamwork with the neighbor fire depts., now they could earn the profit of this extra training.
Also 1973 was not spared of fires that had to be extinguished. Worth mentioning is a barn fire, caused by lightning in Hirblingen, when the firefighters were ready for duty in a very short time.
1974 started with the preparation of the 100th anniversary. A celebration committee was called into being and the Fire Dept. was registered into the Register of Clubs as a society for the public welfare.
The head of the Dept. was successful in wringing a new fire engine from the local council as a present to the anniversary. After a conscientious comparison of the different models they decided on a Löschgruppenfahrzeug LF 8 Magirus (i.e. fire-fighting squad vehicle) with all-wheel drive and equipment for technical help.
The new LF 8 - the Depts. pride and joy in that time
At an evening of films and information about necessity and duty of the Fire Dept., thirteen youths could be recruited. Thanks to the involvement of the youth instructors Karl Ehinger and Johann Kugelmann the new comrades could manage their duties after a short while.
After the acquisition of a suitable site in the center of the village by the municipality, the construction of the long planned municipal hall could be started after all. This new building also got rooms for the training and equipment of the Fire Dept.
To the beginning of the year of anniversary
the Freiwillige Feuerwehr Batzenhofen had forty-five active members. Twenty-five
of them were owners of the decoration for performance in bronze and nine
of the silver one. After month and month of preparations the longed-for
festival could be celebrated from 11th to 13th July. From near and far,
even form Sautens in Tirol (Austria) and Aldein and Tramin in Südtirol
(Italy) the guests arrived. The present of the municipality to the anniversary
was a brand new fire engine LF 8 Magirus with complete fire-fighting equipment,
additional equipment for rescue of human lives
and equipment for technical help. Also a radiotelephone was installed.
For their special merits in the field of fire fighting mayor Kugelmann
got the Feuerwehrehrenmedaille in Gold (i.e. fire dept. medal of honor),
commander Dirr got the Feuerwehrehrenkreuz in Silber (i.e. fire dept. cross
of honor) and chairman Schuler got the Feuerwehrehrenzeichen mit Kranz
in Silber (i.e. fire dept. sign of honor with garland). During a great
show fire alarm drill at the old school the new engine got it's baptism
with lots of water, sprayed by the neighbor Fire Depts. of Edenbergen,
Gersthofen, Hirblingen and Rettenbergen.
New fire station
The sensation in the year after the great festival was the handing-over of the new built fire station within the community center to the Fire Dept. Planned generous with parking space for three fire engines, hose wash and dry tower, instruction room and storerooms it should cover the needs of the Fire Dept. for the future. To complete the knowledge with breathing apparatus a training in the test track of the professional Fire Dept. of Augsburg was done. This type of training became to a permanent part of the drills the next years. The new elections confirmed commander Rudolf Dirr and chairman Josef Schuler again in office.
In 1977 a new TS 8 portable fire engine was procured which could show it's performance when cellars were flooded after a cloudburst.
In 1978 the incorporation of Batzenhofen to the city of Gersthofen happened. When in the old people's home Sonnenhof a lady fell out of a window and was caught by a snow grating on the roof, the new part-of-city Fire Dept. had it's first deployment together with the Fire Dept. of Gersthofen.
At the following AGM mayor Weiß dissipated the doubts of the Batzenhofen Fire Dept., that because of the incorporation one will lose independence more and more and finally will be swallowed by the bigger brother, using the words that it is very important to have the firefighters directly on the spot and that's the way it is!
When the Fire Dept. was used to organize wine festivals with dance at the end of April for several years already, in 1979 after a pause of more then twenty years a maypole was erected for the first time again. In fall the meanwhile traditional annual mountain hike together with the friends from the Sautens/Ötztal Fire Dept. was done once more.
In 1980 the Fire Dept. participated with 17 firefighters in the German Fire Day in Hannover. The participants are still enthused about this unique experience in this days. With the deployments technical help became focus of attention more and more. For example there was no year without the removal of several oil tracks from street. A difficult task was the rescue of G. Weber, who became buried alive while he was digging out a sewage system. 17 firefighters were necessary to save him. Additionally it got custom more and more, to ask the Fire Dept. for help with all sorts of big events. Examples are the bike cross races of the MC Gablingen, the City Festival of Gersthofen, the trade show, the parish fair and various festivities of the local clubs. On the occasion of the now ten year lasting friendship to the Sautens' Fire Dept., a delegation of Batzenhofen participated in their AGM.
The summer of 1981 culturally was characterized by the anniversaries of the Batzenhofen Brass Band and the Rettenbergen Fire Dept. and the consecrations of a new transportable fire engine in Sautens and a celebration place in Gersthofen. The number of active firemen stabilized at about 55. There were several oil tracks again and also some flooded cellars. The elections confirmed the successful team Dirr, Liepert, Schuler in office once more again.
By a publicity campaign in 1982 twenty-three new active and supporting members could be won. Major deployments were the fire of a room in the house of Schaflitzel and the fire of a gas container at the Schmid restaurant. The participation in the performance test was suggested again. During the annual fire prevention week a open day was organized, where people had chance to get information about the duties of the Fire Dept.. Commander Rudolf Dirr was appointed District Fire Master. The Sautens' comrades invited the commander, the chairman and the former mayor to their AGM. In recognition of their services, State Fire Commander Partl gave the Cross of Honor of the State Fire Association of Tirol to Rudolf Dirr. Chairman Schuler and senior mayor Kugelmann both got the Badge of Honor.
The following year the Fire Dept. of Batzenhofen (FWB) was called to four deployments, typically enough all regarding technical help. The build up of a new command, started the year before, was pushed by additional courses at the Staatliche Feuerwehrschule Würzburg (i.e. state school for firefighting). Traditional annual cultural events arranged by the FWB were the ball on carnival, the maypole, wine festival and comrade evening. This concerted organizing, working and celebrating besides the periodical drills considerably helped to keep comradeship. In this spirit the FWB together with the Musikverein (i.e. Brass Band) and the Soldaten- und Veteranenverein (i.e. Soldier and Veteran Society) visited the three days lasting festivities of the Schützenkompanie Aldein / Südtirol (i.e. rifle company), when they celebrated their 10 years anniversary of re-foundation in August. The meanwhile 40 years lasting service of chairman Schuler was honored with the Goldenen Feuerwehrehrenzeichen (i.e. fireman's golden sign of honor)
In 1984 due to a new fire law it was necessary to accept new statutes. Main difference to the old ones was the clear separation between active firefighters and the fire society. The active firemen were fully placed under the instructions of the local authority, the society is responsible for cultural duties and recruiting of new members only. To avoid re-foundation it was decided, to give up the status "e.V." (i.e. registered society). The legally consequences of this were considered the lesser of the two evils by the members in that time. Nobody could foresee, that only one decade later the tax authorities would face societies, that obviously are working for the public welfare like a Fire Dept. with a distrust, that is sheer mockery to the words of supporting honorary posts, permanently used by politicians. After all the number of alarm drills per year had risen above 50 without counting the numerous evenings of instruction, training and meetings. The performance test brought the decoration for performance in gold III/2 for some firemen for the first time. Because of 8 deployments in technical help and 6 fires the year was also quite demanding on that score. The celebrations to the 25th anniversary of re-founding the Schützenkompanie Tramin and the consecration of a new flag for the Soldaten- und Veteranenverein Batzenhofen, both attended by the FWB, were outstanding opportunities to talk about experiences gone through and to digest it.
The cultural Highlight of the next year was the 90th anniversary of the Freiwillige Feuerwehr in Sautens/Ötztal. The friends of the Sautens' Fire Dept. invited for a big celebration. Part of it was a Bezirks-Naß-Leistungsbewerb (i.e. District-wet-performance- competition), where the Batzenhofen Fire Dept. took part successfully. The Event was similar to the German performance test, but the thought of a sporting contest was essential. Therefore three teams worked concurrent. Only four weeks later the FWB was guest again of the Sautens' comrades, when they had the consecration of their new fire station and a new fire engine with built-in water container. Besides this more pleasant signs of fire protection there were 15 deployments, most of it technical help. Just for the help when both Affaltern and Biberbach were flooded and for the cordon off at the Schwabentag in Augsburg (i.e. Swabian Day) 394 hours of duty were necessary.
The year 1986 with 6 deployments, mainly technical help again, was a more restful one. The fact of the increasing number of technical helps was answered by the procurement of a modern hydraulic rescue equipment for car accidents. After 20 years of commendable work in the top echelons of the FWB both commander Rudolf Dirr and deputy commander Peter Liepert decided, that time is coming to hand over the command to the young generation. The words of thank by Kreisbrandrat Strobel (i.e. District Fire Councilor), Mayor Deffner and Chairman Schuler again showed clearly, what both men had achieved for Fire Dept. and public welfare. Peter Liepert was presented with the Bayerisches Feuerwehrehrenabzeichen in Silber (i.e. Bavarian Fire Badge of Honor). As new commander Karl Ehinger was elected, his deputy became Robert Sailer.
The first year with the new command was a restful one again. Main action was the integration of the new hydraulic rescue equipment to the fire engine, done by the firemen themselves. To learn how to use the new equipment successfully, numerous drills were held. In addition 38 firefighters took part in the performance test. Because of the downward trend with the number of guests for the first time in many years no ball was arranged. Former commander Dirr and deputy commander Liepert were appointed commanders in honor because of their long years of service and their special merits.
The year 1988 brought besides some deployments in technical help also reason to celebrate: The firemen transport vehicle, wished for a long time by the Dept., was granted and after a solemn consecration by reverend Merkt given to commander Ehinger by mayor Deffner on 23rd October. For the open day which was part of the ceremony, numerous hours of repair, cleaning, painting and carpeting were necessary. The day of celebration interested guests could not only get extensive information about the duties and potentialities of the FWB, but also prove their own skill in extinguishing: While the kids competed with the Kübelspritze (i.e. bucket with hand pump, hose and nose piece), their parents could see the explosive force of spray cans and the disastrous effect of burning fry fat when tried to extinguish with water. Afterwards the handling of fire extinguishers was trained, to be prepared for an emergency. Tours with the fire engines and a nostalgic show fire alarm drill with the engine-driven fire pump Magirus Liliput 1929 completed the program.
The following year brought nine deployments. Besides three fires and one animal rescue the FWB had to remove storm damages and wasps' nests. The drills were focussed on breathing apparatus and technical help. Four groups passed the performance test, the participants earned decorations of all steps between I (bronze) and III/4 (gold with green). The traditional ball called into being again. Not least because of a show interlude by the younger active members it was visited as good as in the good old days again.
1990 the firemen altogether gave 1'000 hours of their leisure time for alarm drills. Besides the removal of storm damages there were fires at the garbage dump in Gablingen, a silo and the forest near Peterhof. Besides the annual "extra activities" like ball, maypole, Corpus Christi procession, comrades evening, Martinmas procession and national day of mourning 20 firefighters visited the Deutschen Feuerwehrtag in Friedrichshafen (i.e. German Fire Depts. Day). Together with the Sautens' comrades a short mountain hike with a mass on the mount was carried out. The FWB - once more - provided the traffic control for the Landkreislauf ( i.e. District run). 60 children of the Hedwig kindergarten visited the fire station and showed great enthusiasm. Perhaps this visit in ten years will bear fruit in the form of young firemen. And perhaps some of them will keep faith with the FWB just as long as Erhard Janetschek who was honored for 40 years of service.
The year 1991 began with the cancellation of the ball because of the gulf war. Also the coming election of the managing committee seemed problematic, because neither for the chairman, departing after 25 years of merit, nor for the secretary who had been active for 15 years for a while no successor could be found. Finally Wolfgang Knoll agreed to be candidate for the chairman. The following years should show, that the leadership of the society had been given to good hands, as usually. Besides numerous drills, ending with the performance test for four groups and decorations from bronze to gold with red, a first aid training by the red cross was attended. A storm damage, the search for a missed person and a extensive fire during the period of drought gave opportunity to put the learned stuff into practice.
After that many lines of text now some photographic
impressions as a reward:
rescue - extinguish - recover - protect
Duty is duty and beer is beer. With all the seriousness there should be no lack of comradeship. That comradeship means more than to drink beer together the following photos show:
comradeship - idealism - tradition - public spirit
The first activity of the new managing committee
was the appointment of Josef Schuler to a chairman in honor on 2nd January
1992. To transfer the long lasting Friendship to the Sautens' Fire Dept.
to the new committee, the Sautens' comrades were invited to Batzenhofen.
The program offered a guided tour in the city of Augsburg with ascent of
the Perlach tower and visits of the balloon museum and the new opened "Gerfriedswelle"
(i.e. swimming pool) of Gersthofen. The 60th birthday of Sautens' mayor
Ennemoser was reason for a return visit. After that the Sautens' comrades
came to the open day of the Batzenhofen Fire Dept. and gave with their
"Bärentaler" the musical frame to the party. The open day was the
end of a publicity campaign for the recruiting of new members. The FWB
showed model fire engines, the use of fire extinguishers, explosion of
The year 1993 was both very work- and time-consuming. Besides 12 deployments each of the meanwhile five groups had 11 to 14 fire alarm drills. Further the Batzenhofen Fire Dept. had the supervision of both the annual radio training and the major alarm drill of all the part of town Fire Depts. during the annual fire prevention week. All firemen trained in breathing apparatus got a special drill in the training area of Farbwerke Hoechst AG in Gersthofen (i.e. chemicals factory). The youth group had additional 30 evenings of training, the so called Truppmannausbildung (i.e. squad man training). Of course there were also the usual cultural events like anniversaries of Fire Depts., maypole ceremony and so on. In fall a bus tour to the Sautens' friends was organized and the power station Kühtai was visited. Such a program can only be managed, because there are men like Franz Kugelmann, that give their leisure time free of charge to the community. He got honored for 40 years of service.
Also the year 1994 had sufficient opportunities for activities to the FWB. In July the 1'025th anniversary of the village and the consecration of the St. Martin Kindergarten were celebrated. Enough occasion for a great three days lasting festival at the place in front of the church. The FWB did lots of work in the background. Five anniversaries were visited. The 125th one of the neighbor Fire Dept. Gersthofen was attended by more than 50 firemen that also brought the complete historic equipment to the procession with them. The meanwhile traditional performance test, held each 2nd year, brought decorations for three groups between silver and gold-red (The lower badge is condition for the next one always. You start with bronze, then get silver, silver II, gold, gold-blue, gold-green and gold-red as the highest one. So you need at least 12 years of training to get gold-red.) All of the five deployments were technical help again. Two were traffic accidents, one very serious. Here the many drills with the hydraulic rescue equipment paid off. The fire station got a new floor coating and new lockers, that were mounted by the firefighters themselves.
In the following year the 100th anniversary of the comrades in Sautens / Ötztal gave reason for a goodwill visit. As a "present" the Blaskapelle Batzenhofen (i.e. brass band) was brought, many of the musicians are also firefighters in the FWB. The five fire-fighting groups together did about 100 drills, more than 40 were drills for the training of youths to firefighters. The FWB again was alarmed for a severe traffic accident and further nine smaller deployments. The number of firemen had increased to 60. The reasons were both the recruiting of young men and the fact that an increasing number of comrades stayed in the FWB until the age of 60. So comrade Konrad Rößle could be honored for 40 years of service.
In 1996 the 125th anniversary began to cast it's shadow. The date was fixed and all the Fire Depts. of the District were informed. To fulfill the increasing demands, training in winter were held for the first time. The young firemen joined the Camp at the Rothsee (i.e. lake) and had there their performance test. The alarm was adapted to the grown building density by the installation of a 2nd siren. The procurement of modern PA94 breathing apparatus with overpressure masks required a time-consuming modification of the fire engine, which was done by the firemen themselves. Two of the new apparatus were installed inside the passenger area, which shortens the time for putting on the equipment decisively. In this connection a fix wired spot of 2,000 W was mounted to the LF 8, so the increasing deployments in technical help could be started faster. An appeal for funds made it possible to buy a trailer which proved to be a valuable piece of equipment in a short time. Ten procurements, all in technical help again, showed the suitability of the modified fire engine. A severe traffic accident near Gablingen with seven injured persons was managed experienced. With the elections of the managing committee Wolfgang Knoll bowed to the argument, that it wold be very bad for the society, to have a change that short before the anniversary. So became chairman again. The FWB became a member of the Deutscher Feuerwehrverband (i.e. German Association of Fire Depts.)
During a special session in 1997 the celebration committee to the 125th anniversary was called into being. Besides a big fire at the Schnierle company in Gersthofen (upholsterer), there were 8 additional deployments, not counting the different "civilian" deployments like traffic control, events and so on. Five comrades had training for group leaders and breathing apparatus respectively. Because the FWB had to take on the care for the hoses of all the parts of Gersthofen, there were 8 km (i.e. 5 miles) of hose that had to be washed, dried and checked. For the upkeep of readiness for duty besides the normal drills some demanding big drills were done, for example a traffic accident of a truck with hazardous freight with explosion at the gas station Wagner on the occasion of the visit by the District fire inspection. Two groups passed the test of performance in technical help as some of the first in the District. Commander of honor Rudi Dirr retired after 39 years of duty, 20 of it as commander of the FWB. For his extraordinary merit to firefighting and especially to the FWB he got honored with the Feuerwehr-Zivilabzeichen in Gold (i.e. fireman's civilian badge).
Now the retiring commander of honor could devote himself totally to his duty as church curator. One of his first duties in 1988 was, to recruit volunteers for the renovation of the Sebastianskapelle (chapel). Because a neat chapel to the anniversary also suited the FWB, Dirr could welcome also numerous of his former comrades to chop off the plaster. The year, having 15 labor-intensive deployments, was one of the most busy in the history of the FWB. A specially "hot" month was Mai, when within five days there were four deployments. So no additional drills were necessary when three groups passed the traditional performance test. Because the fire engine would be 25 years old to the anniversary, there were numerous negotiations with municipal authorities, District fire inspection and government for a new one. This effort was crowned with success by the granting of a new fire engine LF 8/6 9,5 t all-wheel drive for the jubilee year. Because a change in command just before the anniversary was considered problematical by all of the involved, the capable commanders Karl Ehinger and Robert Sailer stood as candidates again. The comrades thanked by electing them with large majority. Examples like Dirr, Ehinger and Sailer also form the loyalty in the other ranks, so the comrades Karl Abbt and Georg Rößle could be honored with the Feuerwehrehrenzeichen in Gold (i.e. fireman's badge of honor)
The last year for the anniversary had about 20 deployments to the comrades. Worth to mention are two traffic accidents near Peterhof, sinking the water of the Böglebach (brook) for two weeks during it's rehabilitation, big barn fire of Brem in Hirblingen and most of all the high water on Pentecost in Augsburg. Here the FWB was in duty almost for two days without any break. A youth group had the more than 70 hours lasting fireman training. Other special training was done with the Monitor (i.e. stationary high volume jet pipe) of the Gersthofen Fire Dept., that was stored in Batzenhofen for lack of Space and offered a welcome expansion of possibilities to the FWB. Besides that the Clariant company in Gersthofen offered a realistic training with breathing apparatus in their T 3000 training container. Smoke, the heat of several fires and especially the feared Flash-Over led both men and equipment to their maximum load. This sort of training only was possible, because the FWB meanwhile got the new protective clothing "Bavaria 2000". The pervious protective clothing would not be able to prevent severe burns on such conditions. In spite of all that duties the comrades still found time for cultural events: ball, maypole, comrades evening, the appearance of the blue uniforms at Corpus Christi and national day of mourning, the pre-Christmas visit of the children by the Fire Depts.' Santa, traffic control on religious and worldly celebrations, all of it got natural part of village life and must not suffer from the preparation for the 125th anniversary.
Perhaps it is typical for today's time, that the first day of the year of anniversary began with a deployment. When the fear of the Y2K chaos reached it's climax, it once more was expected naturally that volunteers will have duty in the fire station during New Year's Night. And just as naturally this expectations were fulfilled.
"Die Pflicht ist
aber das richtige Gewicht
gibt erst das Herz,
in die Waagschale
(i.e. duty is natural but the true weight gives only the heart, brought voluntary to bear).
May this words by W. Eychmüller be incentive also to generations coming, to do more, than they need to, so that virtues like faithfulness, solidarity, idealism and humanity will also be the elixirs of life to our community for the new millennium
Leitspruch der FF Batzenhofen aus dem Gründungsjahr 1875
(i.e. in honor to god, protection to the friend,
motto of the Batzenhofen Fire dept. in the year of foundation)
Franz X. Köhler
The Batzenhofen Fire Dept. on their 125th anniversary
From left, 1st row: Phillip Schwanebeck, Tobias Schneider, Andreas Köhler, Florian Schmid, Tobias Ehinger, Franz X. Hintermayr, Herbert Huber, Eddi Reyes, Thomas Janetschek, Stefan Kugelmann
2nd row: Karl Ehinger, Robert Sailer, Wolfgang Knoll, Anton Maier, Peter Kugelmann, Thomas Weber, Anton Kugelmann, Wolfgang Heim, Thomas Ehinger, Johann Federle, Holger Graf, Martin Kugelmann, Stefan Langer, Thomas Rößle
3rd row: Johann Kugelmann, Alexander Gabriel, Gerhard Gabriel, Walter Liepert, Achim Heichele, Karl F. Hintermayr, Michael Geisenberger, Joachim Ehinger, Martin Ehinger, Stefan Schöffel, Konrad Rößle, Hermann Geisenberger, Georg Rößle, August Kraus, Karl Abbt sen., Edwin Hornung
4th row: Johann Ehinger, Josef Schaller,
Horst Eckl, Sebastian Schaflitzel, Reinhold Schmid, Karl Abbt jun., Daniel
Schaller, Peter Schiller, Reimund Zedelmeier, Gerhard Göppel, Franz
X. Köhler, Sven Lorenz, Reinhard Lorenz, Sven Schneider, Christian
Rößle, Ludwig Weinberger, Stefan Rößle
The Celebration Maidens to the 125th anniversary
From left, 1st row: Ines Abele, Waltraud
Wittmann, Christine Ehinger, Sandra Gutmayr, Andrea Schmid, Michaela Kraus,
Bianca Röder, Viviane Schöbel.
The FWB says thank you to the City of Gersthofen for the new LF 8/6 9,5 t all-wheel drive
back to the Köhler family
back to start