The Gottscheer Kranken Unterstützungs Verein,
Inc. von Gross New York (KUV) was founded in 1901 for the purpose of helping the Gottscheer immigrants find comfort and support
in a new land (America) so that they will be better able to handle the pressures of assimilating into the mainstream of a
Our Society promotes mutual support to our members, in cases of illness
and distress while encouraging the preservation of our heritage.
History: The founding fathers of the Society, who immigrated
to the United States at the end of the nineteenth century, encountered hard and difficult times in their new homeland. Their hardships were compounded by a new language, difficult manual labor jobs, meager
earnings and no place to turn during times of unexpected illness and financial burdens.
This paved the way for the founding of the Gottscheer KUV (Gottscheer Sick Benefits Society) by a group of Gottscheer
immigrants on April 24, 1901, whose membership was open to able-bodied men of Austrian or German parentage.
The Gottscheer KUV sought to be an invaluable aid to the Gottscheer immigrant who was the breadwinner of
his family. The long workday and difficult working conditions took their toll
physically, while illness in the family inevitably resulted in increased expenses and a potential financial crisis if it affected
the man of the house. Financial assistance and mutual support during times of
illness, distress and death were the basis for the Society’s inception. The
knowledge that there would be some financial relief during times of illness, offered the Society’s members peace of
mind and welcome relief from potentially burdensome financial pressures. Additionally,
the camaraderie and social interaction that the Society offered, was a welcome change of pace from the daily rigors of hard
Other goals of the Society were to preserve some of the traditions of Gottscheer culture and customs, and
provide appropriate aid to their countrymen during times of need. This particularly
was the case when financial aid was provided to their countrymen in Gottschee immediately following WWI and then again after
WWII, in cooperation with the newly established Gottscheer Relief Association of Ridgewood, New York. Of particular note is the prominent role the Society
played in the creation of the Gottscheer Central Holding Corp., which in turn established the “Gottscheer Clubhouse”
A traditional event that was established in 1902 and celebrated each year since, was the annual “Bauernball”
(Farmers Ball). In the early 1920’s, an annual children’s Christmas
celebration was initiated to entertain and provide gifts for the children of the Society’s members. Our Society has also been an active partner in every annual Gottscheer Volksfest since its start in 1947,
by the Gottscheer Relief Association.
In January 1978, we started awarding an annual college scholarship
of $500 to eligible members. In 2001 (after 100 years of existence) that amount
was raised to $1,000 for eligible members. Another big change, which took place in 2000, was a constitutional change recognizing that women and their role in
society had changed from the traditional mother and housewife, to a more prominent and significant status in the workplace
as well as the home. This resulted in the Gottscheer Kranken Unterstützungs Verein
being the first traditionally all-male society to accept women as members.
The Society embarked on its second century of existence with hope, anticipation, and enthusiasm that its
heritage will live on for many more years. And in order to meet this challenge,
the Gottscheer KUV has and will continue to make, necessary changes and improvements designed to ensure the continued
financial and spiritual health of the Society, while promoting an atmosphere of cooperation, compassion and camaraderie within
the Gottscheer community.