Eibenthal is an idyllic village nestled in the Banatului Mountains of Western Romania. It’s a charming place inhabited mainly by ethnic Czechs, but what really makes it stand out from other villages in the area, or pretty much anywhere else in the world, for that matter, is its reputation as a theft-free community.
There is no police station in Eibenthal, and frankly, there’s no need for one either. People in this area of Mehedinti county are famously peaceful and respectful of each other, and the crime rate is considerably lower than the national average. Theft, for example is virtually non existent, and people are perfectly comfortable leaving money in bags on the streets for the bread delivery man. He drives by, takes the money and leaves the requested number of bread loaves and the change in the bags hanging on lamp posts or people’s fences. In over 20 years, no one has ever reported any money of bread missing.
Photo: Brakava/Wikimedia Commons
Eibenthal’s reputation as a theft-free village dates back to 1996, when locals started hanging bags and money outside their homes for the bread delivery man. The only local store had closed down soon after the 1989 revolution and people had to constantly watch out for the bread truck coming from another village 20 kilometers away, every two days, to make sure they had bread to put on the table. But at one point, someone came up with the idea of simply leaving the money along with a note for the delivery man on the street. They realized that they weren’t going to steal from each other anyway, and anyone coming from the outside with nefarious intentions would spend more on gas than on the bread money they stole.
“The car delivering bread comes every two days and I buy 4-5 loaves. I put the exact amount in the bag or I leave a note with how many loaves I want and the driver leaves the change,” a 75-year-old Eibenthal resident told Euronews. “We’ve never had problems, not at all, I’ve never heard of money or bread disappearing.”
Photo: video screengrab
“I leave the bag there and I go to work on the field and in the evening, when I come back, I find the bread and the change,” another person said.
And it’s not just about the way people buy bread in Eibenthal. Locals also respect each other’s property and never set foot in each other’s yards without permission. They just call for the owner at the gate, and they only enter if invited in. If no one answers, they just leave.
“There is no stealing in this village,” local priest Vaclav Masek told Romanian newspaper Adevarul. I have various useful things in my garage, and it’s open all the time, but nothing has ever been stolen. Eibenthal is the most civilized of all ethnic Czech villages. In the 13 years I’ve been priest here, I have never heard of any theft taking place.”
“We all know each other here and we were raised in such a way that we know if we need something from somebody, to ask, not to steal,” Eibenthal mayor Victor Doscocil told Euronews. “For the moment we are happy we don’t have bad behavior.”
Eibenthal and it complete lack of theft reminds us of another unique village we wrote about a few years back. Shani Shingnapur is often called “India’s village with no doors” for the simple fact that none of the buildings there have doors. Installing a door in this village is considered blasphemous, so people just use curtains, but stealing is hardly ever reported.