German Glass Beads - Vintage
The German bead industry is still alive, based out of southern Germany, in the Bavarian city of Neu Gablonz. In the 12th century, German glass makers from the Rhineland were invited to settle in the area of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire known as Bohemia. At the end of the war, 1946, the Germans, known as the Suduten Deutsch, were expelled from Czechoslovakia. They were given 48 hours to leave, usually with just one suitcase of belongings. The Czech workers who were employed by them were able to take over the factories, and keep them running. Whole Czech families moved into German houses, filled with furniture and chinaware, silverware and linens. The German refugees streamed into war torn Germany, and most of the bead makers ultimately settled in Bavaria, near the town of Kaufburen. Efforts were made to keep all the bead makers together, so the bead industry would survive, and a bombed out ammunitions factory outside of Kaufburen was purchased for this purpose. The town was named Neu Gablonz. Some of the bead makers did bring their molds with them, and of course some of the refugees were mold makers.