Western Hungary


Gyӧrkӧny in the Tolna


  The barren flatlands that would later become the site of Gyӧrkӧny were part of the land holdings of a nobleman from Western Hungary, Jónas Meszlenyi.  He was heavily involved in the administration of the Counties of Raab and Veszprem and served in the capacity of  vice-sheriff for over thirty years..  His economic ideas and his progressive attitudes led to the development and settlement of his estates as early as 1717 when he began recruiting settlers to reclaim the wilderness left behind by the Turks.  Some historians suggest a date as early as 1710 for Gyӧrkӧny’s actual beginnings.  These first settlers were a band of twelve Hungarian families from Raab and Veszprem Counties and four Heidebauern families from Wieselberg and Ődenburg Counties.  By 1722 the vast majority of the population were Magyars, 193 Lutherans, 13 Calvinists and 35 Roman Catholics.  The pastor serving the Lutherans was Georg von Barany who was to become the future Lutheran “bishop” of Swabian Turkey.


  There was a steady stream of settlers from the Heideboden who were later joined by the “new” Germans coming from Hessen later to be known as the “Swabians”.  This mixed ethnic-linguistic settlement would become entirely German-speaking in a very short period of time.


  Attempts at early regular church life among the Lutherans began in the spring of 1719.  The Hungarian settlers called Georg von Barany, then serving the Lutherans in Gyӧnk, to be their pastor.  The nationalities issue surfaced very early in the life of the community and the church.  In an attempt to reconcile their differences, Barany left with eight Magyar families in 1722 to found a new community and congregation in the neighbourhood at a site called: Szar Szentlorincz.  In the not too distant future it would become the “Vatican” of the Evangelical Lutherans in the stormy years that lay ahead.  Barany was succeeded by Pastor Stephen Tatay, a graduate of Halle University in Saxony.  Like Barany, he had been a student of Francke and was a banner bearer of the Pietistic movement that would sweep through the Evangelical Lutheran communities springing up in Swabian Turkey.  Tatay would serve in Gyӧrkӧny from 1723-1746.


  The newly established Lutheran congregations throughout the Tolna experienced extreme difficulties due to the restrictions imposed upon them  by the County officials and the Roman Catholic hierarchy.  In most of their settlements the Bethaus (prayer house) was confiscated, boarded up or destroyed; the pastors and teachers were banished or went “underground”; and yet, strangely enough Gyӧrkӧny was spared all of that.  In fact, it flourished.  Primarily this was because of the friendly relationships between the local nobles, County officials and the pastors of Gyӧrkӧny.


  Whether by intention or design, the congregation made a practice of calling only pastors who were members of the lesser Hungarian nobility.  A group of nobles we would call the landed gentry.  It was because of the fact that they were members of the nobility and native-born Hungarians they could not be banished from the County or exiled from the country.  Gyӧrkӧny continued in this practice of calling pastors from the gentry class until the promulgation of the Edict of Toleration.  As a result, through its pastors, the congregation in Gyӧrkӧny was always in a position to play a leading role in the promotion and spread of Pietism throughout the Seniorat (Church District) and provided support to other nearby congregations who were without pastors or were experiencing great difficulty at the hands of Roman Catholic officialdom.


  Although Gyӧrkӧny had been established as a Heidebauern settlement they would eventually assimilate with the “Swabians” who settled among them.  The vast majority of these were Hessians.  The two groups would live separate lives for several decades.  They lived on their own streets.  Sat in their own separate pews.  Each maintained their own dialect, attire and customs until well into the 19th Century.  Many of the Heidebauern believing in the well-tested old adage “it is better to move than to switch” as their past history demonstrated moved on and participated in the establishment of Bikács which would remain a totally Heidebauern community up until contemporary times.  The majority of the Heidebauern in Gyӧrkӧny remained and became part of a prosperous Swabian community that would number over two thousand persons by the early 1940s.


  In the summer of 1944 the men of Gyӧrkӧny were forcibly drafted into the Waffen-SS because few Swabians throughout all of Hungary had answered the call to volunteer to serve in the German Army and the German “fatherland.”  Admiral Horthy, the Regent of Hungary, a country without a navy, had sold out the Swabians and handed them over into the custody of the Nazi government and the German military.  With the men no sooner off to war, the Red Army began its rapid advance from the south over running the Banat and the Batschka trapping hundreds of thousands of Swabians who were unable to escape the holocaust that was to come.  The Russians crossed the Danube into Hungary and began to move north…


  When the evacuations ordered by the Bund authorities, Hungary’s home grown Nazis, got underway, Gyӧrkӧny like most of the Swabian communities did not participate except for a few families.  For the most part these families were directly related to the leadership of the Bund or men who had volunteered to serve in the SS.  Russians troops entered the village in early December of 1944.  Under the pretext of ordering all able-bodied men and women to report for labour service in the district, the men and young women were marched out of the village, joining columns of Swabians from other nearby hamlets and communities.  Unknown to all of them and their families they were being condemned to slave labour camps in the Soviet Union.


  Several hundreds of them left in cattle-cars that were waiting for them at the railway station in Nagydorog.  Many came home sick and near death in the following years.  Others died in the camps never to return.  After 1947 the survivors ended up in the network of transit camps at Frankfurt-an-Oder in the Russian Zone of Germany along with tens of thousands of other Danube Swabians from Romania, Hungary and Yugoslavia along with the Transylvania Saxons who had all shared a common fate because of their ethnic identity.  These young people would spend years in their attempts to be reunited with their parents.  Families.  Searching for their lost children.  Never finding their husbands who were still “missing.”


  None of them were allowed to go home.  Home.  The Heimat.


  When the implementation of the expulsion ordered by the Big Three at Potsdam took place in Gyӧrkӧny some 1,400 persons were deported and only 600 inhabitants were allowed to remain.  Those remaining behind included 200 persons who had gone into hiding or managed to escape the convoys as the winding columns of cattle-cars crossed Hungary into Czechoslovakia.  In small groups they returned “home” secretly.  Most of them on foot.  By night.


  There were three “shipments” of Swabians from Gyӧrkӧny as the Hungarian railroad manifest declares to this day.


  The following is a letter written by one of the expellees, whose name was on the A-List.  The first “shipment” of Gyӧrkӧny’s Swabians:


  “The A-List was posted on the door of the school.  You had two days to contest your inclusion on the list deserving expulsion from Hungary.  All such petitions could be placed with the village notary for a fee of eight Forints per person.  Many people were unable to pay the fee as they no longer had any money.  But the notary earned some 8,000 Forints for himself.  It was all really a sham.  They was really no way to get off of the list.


  Early in the morning, on Tuesday, September 2, 1947 a column of rattling Red Army trucks entered our village and under their captain’s orders, Hungarian policemen went from house to house and took the people they sought into custody allowing them two hours to pack all of their necessities.  We were taken  by the truckload to the railway station in Nagydorog.


  Here each of us was subjected to a body search by policemen.  They took all of our money, removed all of our jewellery, tore earrings from women’s ears, our wedding bands from our fingers even though the Minister of the Interior permitted each deportee two rings, one wristwatch, broaches, necklaces, earrings and 500 Forint.  The homes of all of the expellees were nailed shut as we left them for the last time.  We were told that if we returned we would have nowhere to stay.


  As we drove through our village for the last time, we saw the Telepesek (new colonists from Czechoslovakia) breaking into our vacated houses and stealing everything in sight.  While behind them came the government officials who had come to take inventory of our property.


  The convoy left Nagydorog at 3:00 a.m. on September 4, 1947.  We were all afraid we were heading for Russia.  On our knees in the dark cattle cars, men, women and children formed prayer circles as we pleaded with our Heavenly Father to spare our people that final horror and injustice.  For myself, and many others who had survived the labour camps it would have been a second sentence to Hell…


  But our Heavenly Father was faithful to us as He was to our fathers and mothers in the past…”


  Gyӧrkӧny shared the fate of 220,000 other Danube Swabians in Hungary but unlike the Swabian population, the Heidebauern who were included among them in the expulsion a much larger proportion of the Heidebauern were deported.  So ended for many of them a rich and tragic thousand year history in Hungary.



  The history of the Royal Free City of Ödenburg is closely associated with that of the much larger epic story of the Burgenland: The Land of Fortresses.  This was Western Europe’s attempt at creating a defence system of settlements and fortresses along the invasion routes from the east and those that lay to the southeast.  Because of its strategic location, the city of Ödenburg, also shared a common history, heritage and destiny with the nearby Heideboden villages in the vicinity of the Neusiedler Sea and the Danube to the east.


  And yet, Ödenburg has a rich tradition and unique character all of its own.  A fascinating history of faith, courage, tenacity and heroism, unequalled in the annals of the Habsburg Empire.


  But Ödenburg was not always Ödenburg; nor is Ödenburg, Ödenburg today.


  The different names, peoples and settlements associated with the site of the city form part of a colourful tapestry woven by the more than two-thousand-year-history of Ödenburg.  The first threads that gave character and shape to the future design of the tapestry were already in place as early as the 4th Century B.C.  At that time a large Celtic settlement stood on the present site of the city.  Its inhabitants and builders were the tall, energetic, broad-shouldered, blond Celts.  The Celts were a federation of tribes that were constantly moving westwards through the Carpathian mountain passes from Asia.  Eventually, they would dominate all of Europe and their ongoing migrations took them as far west as Ireland and as legend would have it that, they also reached North America.


  They were fierce and courageous warriors, a-cold-blooded-war-machine, that exterminated the local population that had preceded them in this area as elsewhere.  Although primarily nomadic, they also established another major settlement in addition to the future Ödenburg.  It lay a short distance to the north along the Danube River.  Both settlements served a defensive purpose but in their early history they also began to serve as trading centres.  For that purpose they were linked by well-worn trails through the forests that eventually became rudimentary roads.  In the future, this second settlement on the Danube would become known as Vienna.


  A few centuries later the Celtic war machine broke down.  For several decades they had been on a head-on collision course with a new military power on the European scene.  For all of their ferocity and bravery they proved no match for the ever-advancing, crack units of the well-seasoned and disciplined Roman Legions.  The Celts were reduced to a subject people and would never regain the power they had once known.  In fact, they would simply disappear.  Except for their last stronghold, the island we know as Ireland.


  By 18 B.C., the Romans arrived in the sprawling settlement just south of the Leitha River.  They constructed a fortress and established a Roman camp, stationing a Legion in the area.  They Latinized the Celtic settlement’s name to Scarabantia.  It was located on the main road that the Romans constructed over the old route to the future Vienna and it became a military, administrative and trading centre.  And very prosperous.  The remains of the Roman baths and the amphitheatre attest to that to this day, as well as the ruins of villas in the surrounding hills, with their rich mosaic tile floors and countless other rich artefacts discovered over the centuries.


  By 9 B.C., several Roman Legions were stationed along the left bank of the Danube River.  All of the western regions of the Danube basin had been conquered and were firmly in Roman hands.  As a result, the Senate of Rome created and administered the newly acquired territory as the Imperial Province of Pannonia.  Four centuries of Roman rule followed.  New towns emerged, roads were constructed, commerce, culture and agriculture flourished unimpeded during the Pax Romana.


  An action was taken by the Roman Emperor Probus in 278, that would have a lasting effect on the development and character of the land in the future.  In spite of opposition in Italy, he permitted the planting of vineyards in the areas around the future Vienna and Ödenburg, as well as at Fünfkirchen (Pécs) and the areas in the vicinity of the Plattensee (Lake Balaton).  That is how grape cultivation and wine making first came to be associated with the land and its people.


  There is sufficient archaeological evidence in Ödenburg to suggest there was an active Christian movement here as early as the second century.  Most of these early Christians served in the Roman Legions that were stationed in Pannonia.  They would prove to be the vanguard of the missionary movement at work among the local Celtic population.


  One of these Legionnaires, whose name was Martin, was born in nearby Savaria (later known as Steinamanger/Szombathely).  He rose in the ranks and became an officer in the Legion stationed along the Danube.  Following his conversion, he gave up his military career in order to serve the poor and the sick, especially working among lepers.  Because of his success in winning so many soldiers to the Christian faith, he was convicted of treason and desertion from the Legion and was martyred under Emperor Galarius.  On his way to his death in Savaria, Martin stayed overnight in Ödenburg.  A stone cross marks the spot where he is reputed to have rested just on the outskirts of the city and beyond its walls.


  This soldier-martyr would later be known as St. Martin of Tours.  He would become the patron saint of what had formerly been Pannonia, especially the Heideboden region.  An infant born in Eisleben, Saxony centuries later, would be named after him, because he was baptized on the feast of St. Martin of Tours.  The child was Martin Luther.


  The quiet idyll, that marked the Roman occupation of Pannonia, would come to an abrupt end in the 4th Century A.D., as wave after wave of Germanic peoples crossed the Danube in their frenzied wanderings westwards and burst into the peaceful province.  The Roman government officials and the military abandoned their defences all along the Danube and fled to the south along the Adriatic coast.  Pannonia lay defenceless before the onslaughts of tribe after tribe, who overran, plundered and sacked the settlements, and enslaved the local populations.  The first tribes to charge across the Danube and occupy Pannonia were the Markoman, quickly to be replaced and followed by the Quadi.  The Quadi would move westwards due to the pressure of the oncoming Goths and they would find sanctuary in southwest Germany where their name was corrupted to Schwaben.


  By 453, all of former Pannonia was occupied by the Ostro-Goths, who were forced to move on with the arrival of the Gepiden tribes in the sixth century.  The Lombards would soon expel them from the area and they themselves would leave for Italy in 568.  Now all of what would become future Hungary fell into the hands of the Avars.  They were a mounted nomadic Asiatic tribe who were bent on the destruction of every trace of civilization they could find.  Scarabantia fell victim to their attacks and both the city and the surrounding farming communities were left in ruins and the whole area reverted back into a heavily forested wasteland.


  The Great Avar Empire, as it was called, finally met its match in 796 when Charles the Great, better known as Charlemagne, defeated the Avar host and drove them right off the pages of history.  As a result of the demise of the Avars, Charlemagne extended his Frankish Empire as far east as the Raab River in western Hungary.  In order to defend his newly won territories, Charles the Great, established the “Őstmark” … Ősterreich.  Better known to us as Austria.  Here he created a military bastion.  A land of fortresses.  It was Europe’s first Maginot Line.


  As early as 800, Charlemagne settled Franconian and Bavarian peasants in the frontier areas of Austria in what would become known as the Burgenland.  The future Heanzen (or Hienz) who would live here for over ten centuries, would trace their origins back to these original settlers.  To a great degree these Heanzen settled in the western part of the Burgenland.  The dialect which they spoke was called Bajuwarisch and provides us with the clue to their Franconian origin, unlike the majority of those living in the Heideboden known as the Heidebauern who had a Bavarian ancestry.


  These Franconian colonists did not rebuild precisely on the site of the former Roman fortress or Celtic settlement but in an adjacent area very close by.  The task of clearing away the ruins and rubble of the former settlements seemed pointless to them as they first attempted to establish themselves in the devastated region.  It was this group of settlers who gave the new settlement its name:  Odinburch.  This would eventually be transformed into Ödenburg and would first appear in literary form in the Royal Chronicle of 859.


  By the time the first Magyar tribes under Arpad entered the Danube basin through the Carpathian Mountain passes in 896,  Ödenburg had developed into a sizeable community in which its century-long existence expressed itself fully in its town life, trade and culture.  Magyar raiders would soon bring all of that to an end.  The town was totally destroyed and the population fled and hid in the neighbourhood or they sought refuge across the Enns River in Austria.


  Just outside of Augsburg, the rampaging Magyars were finally brought to a sudden halt.  Here in 955, the Emperor Otto I, hurled them back and they retreated into present-day Hungary never to return to Western Europe.  On their return into what had once been Pannonia, they headed towards the Great Plains to the South, seeking pastures for their horses and cattle.  In effect, they abandoned all of western Hungary, leaving it as a No Man’s Land, outside of their jurisdiction or concern.  A buffer zone.  A border area and frontier.


  By then, most of the Heanzen who had fled into Lower Austria, had long since returned to their former “homeland”.  In fact, most of the Heanzen had never left.  When it became obvious to them, that the Magyars had no intention of settling in the area, they came out of their hiding places and gradually began the task of rebuilding the town, and redeveloping their former vineyards and farms in the vicinity.


  During the reign of King Stephen I in the eleventh century, a massive immigration of German-speaking people into Hungary began again.  Most of these new settlers were Bavarians.  The artisans, skilled craftsmen and merchants among them recognized the commercial potential of Ödenburg’s location.  Situated on the main trade route heading north, the old Roman road system enabled them to reach the markets of Vienna, Silesia, Saxony and the Baltic seaports.  While on the other hand, peasant farmers took up land and established villages surrounding the town.  In times of danger, they would seek safety inside Ödenburg’s walls and behind its steadily rising massive fortifications.


  Future kings of Hungary would continue to support the influx of German-speaking settlers into the Kingdom to achieve commercial, political, military and religious objectives.  It became one of the major building blocks of royal policy for the future.  Hungary was taking its place among the leading nations of Western Europe.  But, disaster was just around the corner.


  It struck In 1241.  The Mongols, also called the Tatars, rode into European history by way of Hungary.  Everything that stood in their way, was soon to be a heap of ashes and rubble from one end of Hungary to the other.  That too, was to be the fate of Ödenburg.  On their way to attack Wiener-Neustadt the mounted Mongol “Golden Horde” took the ancient Roman road north.  The road passed through Ödenburg.  Ödenburg was destroyed and put to the torch.  Its population which had surrendered was massacred, while those who had been able to escape fled into the forests.  Although Ődenburg fell, Wiener-Neustadt was able to withstand the Mongol siege but just barely.


  By one of the ironies of history, the Mongols were soon in retreat across Europe heading back to their Asian homeland to settle some internal leadership squabbles.  Once again the task of rebuilding Ödenburg was undertaken by the surviving populace.  But these were very unsettling times.  Chaos and anarchy reigned as the King attempted to restore his authority in Hungary in the face of numerous rebellions by his disgruntled and ambitious nobles.


  Because of Ödenburg’s loyalty to Ladislaus II in this struggle, and at great peril to themselves at the hands of besieging Bohemian rebels, the King raised the status of the city, to that of a Royal Free City of Hungary as a reward.


  The Royal Charter was granted in 1277 and the citizens of Ödenburg were granted individual rights and privileges.  The city was entitled to send its own representatives to the Landtag and sit as equals with the nobles and higher clergy in the Hungarian parliament.  They were free to elect their own mayor, magistrates and Town Council to govern and administer the affairs of the city.  The city was allowed to undertake the construction of defensive towers and fortifications.  That was only a start, there would be much more. Above all, there would be much more wealth.


  The Royal Free Cities throughout Europe developed special trading relationships with each other and always to their own advantage.  And  to the disadvantage of their archenemies:  the nobles.


  Ödenburg began to specialize and almost monopolized the wine trade.  The city supplied Vienna, Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia and yet constantly sought to find new markets.  As a result, the city needed to increase its source of supply.  But in order to increase production there was a need for “more labourers in the vineyard”.


  In the Middle Ages, all land, in effect, belonged to the Crown.  The King divided up his possessions among his vassals in order to win or maintain their loyalty and have their support and assistance in times of war.  That is why the price for rebellion was always the confiscation of the rebel’s lands.  The basic objective of the noble families was to increase their landholdings.  Usually, at the expense of other nobles.  Land was a measure of a noble’s worth and wealth.  Along with his land, he also controlled the lives and used the labour of his peasants.  They too, belonged to him.


  With the rise of the Royal Free Cities, and the strengthening of the rights and privileges of its citizens, the cities themselves also sought to increase their wealth and power.  Land was power.  The only thing the cities had, that the King and his nobles often lacked, was ready cash.  Ready cash is what Ödenburg had.  It was not difficult for the city to buy both the villages and the lands in its vicinity from the local, land-rich-yet-penniless nobles.


  The city of Ödenburg, now took over the status and privileges of the nobility.  The villages they purchased became Stadtdorfer.  City-villages.  Villages owned by the city.  The villagers were subjects of the city and owed the city all the necessary feudal dues that were demanded of them.  Their relationship was that of master and subject.


  In order to control the wine market and expand its sources of supply Ödenburg purchased eight of the nearby villages:  Wandorf in 1277, Wolfs in 1325, Agendorf in 1373, Morbisch in 1392, Klingenbach in 1416, Harkau in 1429, Kolnhof in 1430 and Loipersbach in 1547.


  Because their strategy was successful, Ödenburg became one of the richest cities in Hungary.


  But in future, this also meant that whatever effected Ödenburg and its citizens also fully effected their peasants.  Their destinies were intertwined.  It would be the villages and the peasants who to a great extent that had to bear the brunt of the consequences that followed.


  For as rebellions raged, as uprisings broke out, as attacks, lightning raids, pitched battles and sieges took place, the villages and their inhabitants always suffered far more than the city and its “burghers”.


  The townspeople were protected behind their city walls and fortifications while the villages were completely defenceless.  Often, the villagers did not have enough warning or time to reach the city gates ahead of the besiegers.  They were often caught out in the open.  Were unarmed.  Massacred.  Carried off as slaves.  Robbed.  Tortured.  Their homes were plundered.  They were victims of untold atrocities at the hands of merciless troops and marauders.


  The peasants of Hungary had to provide all of the taxes.  The most cherished right and privilege of the Hungarian nobility was the freedom from taxation.  The peasants had to bear the burden of taxation all alone.  In addition, they had to perform free labour for their master for a designated number of days each year.  The landlord decided when.  This was called “Robot” service.  This is the only Slavic word to find its way into the English language, and says it all, in terms of the lot of the peasants.


  But, by and large, the lot of the peasants on the estates of Ödenburg was far better than that of the peasants on the neighbouring domains of the nobles.  After all, the townspeople of Ödenburg had once been peasants themselves.  Most of them never forgot that.  Over the years, many of the villagers would achieve citizenship and move into Ödenburg.


  The pattern of the past, would now continue, as Ödenburg and its villages would find themselves caught again and again, like a pawn between warring factions.


  For decades there were quarrels and squabbles between nearby Austria and the Hungarian King.  When it led to military confrontation, Ödenburg was always vulnerable because it was on the frontier between the two.


  Nor was Ödenburg immune to natural disasters.  From 1317 to 1370 there were numerous fires in the city that created havoc and destruction.  But not to be outdone during a three year period, 1348-1359 the Black Death raged and decimated the city’s population.  Even years later there were still empty houses where whole households and families had perished.


  Then came the Hussite Wars.  One of their strongholds was located on Mount Katzenstein which lay just outside of Ődenburg.  From here they carried out a reign of terror for two decades.  Pillaging and plundering, raping and murdering, burning and destroying.  With the assistance of troops provided by the Bishop of Raab they were driven out of the area and their lair was destroyed.


  Following the disastrous defeat of the young Hungarian King, Louis II and his entire army at the battle of Mohács in 1526 the Turks marched and rode their way across Hungary without meeting opposition anywhere.  The Sultan Sulieman, known as “The Magnificent” was determined to take over all of Europe.  His next objective was Vienna.  After passing between the Danube and the Neusidler Sea, he led the largest part of his army of 300,000 men across the Leitha River and lay siege to the city on September 21st.  By October 14th, he began to withdraw and gave up the attempt to take Vienna.


  But a small portion of his army had left the main force on its way to Vienna at Altenburg in the Heideboden and head towards Ődenburg.  Their real destination was Wiener-Neustadt.  Unknown to the Turks, the walls and fortifications of Ődenburg had recently been strengthened…


  The siege of Ődenburg began on August 9th, 1529.  The citizens of the town took up arms and stationed themselves on the walls and towers of the inner city.  Both men and women.  Wave after wave of fanatical screaming Turks hurled themselves at the gates of the inner city or attempted to scale the walls but they were unable to penetrate the defences and the renewed fortifications.  The courageous defenders simply refused to yield knowing full well what surrender would mean.


  The city quarters outside of the walls and the neighbouring villages were sacked, burned and plundered.  The gardens and vineyards were trampled by cavalry units and foot soldiers.  Crops were burned in the field.  Many townspeople and peasants who were captured were massacred or carried off to be sold as slaves throughout the Turkish Empire.


  The villages of Wolfs, Kolnhof and Harkau were hardest hit.  Some of the peasants managed to hide themselves and some of their cattle in the forests.  But everyone and everything left behind were destroyed.  Later in 1530, in the Town Council’s report to King Ferdinand on the siege they indicated that not even a quarter of the population of the city and the villages had managed to survive.  In fact, almost the total populations of the villages had either been killed or enslaved.  Only the majority of the townspeople in the inner city had been spared.


  In 1532 the Turks were back at the gates of Ődenburg once again.  An order arrived for the commander of the Turkish army to move on to lay siege to Guns to the south.  In the face of the heroic stand of the defenders of Guns, the Turks abandoned the field and headed back to Ődenburg.


  Because of the warning they received, the citizens of Ődenbrug hurriedly repaired the city defences to withstand another siege.  A defence force of six hundred and seventy citizens was raised and all of the peasants were called upon to defend the inner city and abandon their villages.  There were over two hundred peasants who took their places on the city walls and towers.


  As the defenders on the walls looked out across at the approaches to the city they saw the rising smoke of fires.  The remaining crops left in the fields had been set abalze.  Hurriedly constructed thatch-roofed houses that had served as emergency dwellings after the last Turkish siege went up in flames in the burned out villages.  But there were no Turks in sight.  They simply passed by.  They had no time to waste.  No interest in Ődenburg.  The city was spared again.


  Later rebellion broke out in what remained of Royal Hungary that was unoccupied by the Turks.  Stephen Bocskay issued the rallying cry, “For Fatherland and Freedom!” as the leader of the revolt against the Habsburg Emperor Rudolph of Austria who looked upon Hungary as part of his domain.  This freedom fighter was one of the richest nobles in north-eastern Hungary and had been a former close associate of the Emperor.  He had hoped to influence the direction of the Emperor’s official policy towards Hungary but had been unsuccessful.  Bocskay left the royal court and returned to his estates and gathered a circle of likeminded and disgruntled nobles who along with him were opposed to Habsburg rule and tyranny in Hungary.


  He won a mass following and by 1605 he had conquered and occupied all of Upper Hungary (Slovakia).  Many members of the Hungarian upper nobility joined in the uprising.  He invited the other nobles and the Royal Free Cities to join him and open their gates of their fortresses and cities to his forces.  Ődenburg refused to join the rebellion even though they had just cause and little love for the Habsburgs.


  Ődenburg kept its gates closed to the rebels even though the nobles in the neighbourhood encouraged the city to join them in the revolt.  The rebel army was on its way and Ődenburg and its villages were directly in its path.


  The rebels crossed the Danube River at Ragendorf and ravaged the area around the Neusiedler Sea and by May 18th (1604) they stood at the gates of Ődenburg.  But the city was not put under siege.  The army headed towards Guns which opened its gates to Bocskay’s forces.  By the end of May the rebel army stood before Ődenburg again.


  Meanwhile, Ődenburg’s defences had been strengthened under the direction of the Imperial Army Commander, Trautmannsdorf.  The attack by the rebels on June 5th was repelled and the townsmen captured thirteen flags which were later sent to Vienna as war trophies.  The rebels fled in disorder.  But on June 11th they were back again.


  Reinforcements arrived in the city, some five hundred knights and three hundred foot soldiers.  They drove off the rebel forces who fled into the nearby districts, plundering, burning and destroying villages and setting their crops on fire.


  At the beginning of July Bocskay’s followers stood before Ődenburg once again.  The villagers had all fled to seek protection behind the walls of the inner city.  Within two hours, the besiegers burned down the sections of the city outside the walls.  Then they went on a rampage throughout the area.  Finally they realized that Ődenburg could not be taken and left the field.


  The rebels remained in the area for all of the next year and were a constant hazard to the local population.  It was simply too dangerous to harvest any of the crops, especially the grapes in the vineyards which seemed to be their special target.  All of the villagers in the area faced starvation and famine.  Ődenburg had to purchase food for its citizens and peasant subjects in order to survive.


  The Peace of Vienna signed on June 23, 1606 ended the rebellion.  The peace treaty granted religious freedom to the Royal Free Cities and their subjects.  In effect, Ődenburg was granted what the rebels they had opposed had been fighting for all along!


  The city was quick to respond and called Evangelical Lutheran pastors to serve the peasants in the villages belonging to the city.  For by now the vast majority of the population of Ődenburg and its villages were Evangelical Lutherans.  How that had come about is a story in itself and will be dealt with later.  The implementation of the Peace of Vienna was also made easier in Ődenburg because the Roman Catholic clergy in the city and the Paulist fathers in Wandorf had fled to Wiener-Neustadt when the rebels first approached Ődenburg.  This was also true of the Bishop of Raab and all of his clergy.


  Only one decade after the Peace of Vienna, the Counter Reformation was put into motion by the new Habsburg Emperor, Ferdinand II.  Along with Archbishop Peter Pazmany and Count Nikolaus Esterhazy a convert from Lutheranism at the age of nineteen years.  Emperor Ferdinand championed the cause to eradicate all forms of Protestantism in his hereditary lands despite the terms of the Peace of Vienna.  He seems to have had a very short memory.  But his subject in Hungary did not.  They rose up in rebellion again.


  The new Prince of Transylvania, Gabriel Bethlen, took up arms for the sake of the homeland and religious freedom and against Habsburg tyranny.  The Hungarian nobility rushed to his banner and in a short time they had “liberated” Upper Hungary.  His rebel army stood at the borders of Austria.  From here he wrote to the city of Ődenburg reminding the Town Council that they had sent their representatives to the Landtag he had called.  He proposed to leave some of his Transylvanian troops in Ődenburg to protect the city from the Emperor’s troops and any threats he might make against the city.


  Prince Bethlen asked for overnight accommodation in the inner city for himself and some of his selected troops.  Unlike the city’s action in the previous rebellion in 1605 it opened its gates and the citizens welcomed Bethlen.  The Prince departed shortly afterwards for Pressburg and left a force of fifteen hundred men for the defence of the city.


  These “defence forces” in Ődenburg went on a rampage throughout the area.  They burned  Lackenbach to the ground.  It was a market town that belonged to the rebellion’s archenemy, Count Esterhazy.  The Count demanded that the Emperor send a force of two thousand men to take Ődenburg and drive the army of occupation out of the area.


  The city was taken by surprise at night by forces of the Imperial Army.  Some fifteen hundred cavalry and foot soldiers were involved.  Bethlen’s rebels were not even in the city.  They were gathering supplies and provision in the district to withstand a siege.  Now both the Imperial troops and the rebels roamed round the countryside robbing the peasants, burning their houses and driving off their cattle.  The Imperial troops confiscated whatever caught their fancy in the outer city and brutalized the population.  It was only when the Town Council agreed to pay 2,400 Thalers to the Imperial Army commander that they were assured they would not put the outer city to the torch.


  The Town Council of Ődenburg notified Bethlen of the city’s rather desperate situation, urgently requesting him to come to their assistance as quickly as possible.  The relief forces were soon on their way and occupied the city until the danger was past.  The ongoing atrocities of the Imperial Army committed against the village populations throughout the area went on unabated and terrified both the peasants and the townspeople.


  Emperor Ferdinand now came upon the scene once more.  On January 12, 1621 he decreed that his Imperial Army commander, Buquoit, was to be sent to Hungary to destroy all of his enemies, unless all of his subjects in Hungary surrendered and joined his army.  On the other hand, all who acknowledged him as their king would be spared punishment.  After both Pressburg and Altenburg fell to the Imperial Army, the Emperor’s forces stood before the walls of Ődenburg.


  The mayor of the city, Dr. Christoph Lackner, attempted to prevent the destruction of the city. Ődenburg was prepared to honour the Emperor in order to save the city.  The commander of the Imperial forces promised that no plundering would take place and accepted a “gift” of 20,000 Gulden and 2,000 barrels of wine.  In addition, all of his troops would be billeted in the outer city and the villages and would receive “free” food and provisions.


   Anarchy and chaos reigned throughout the countryside and the population found itself caught between the rival warring forces and suffered under both.


  Peace talks finally began once both sides saw that neither had a chance of winning.  The Peace of Nikolsburg of December 31, 1621 resulted in some concessions to the Protestants in Hungary.  The rights assured them in the Peace of Vienna were simply reaffirmed even though they had never been in effect.


  Ődenburg would be the locale for several Landtags called by the Emperor in the following years while things remained relatively quiet.  But only until 1644…


  An eight hundred man force under the command of Count Esterhazy who along with his allies took the city created havoc and destruction.  This was only minor compared with results of their occupation.  The troops brought the plague with them.  In that year, 1,450 of the inhabitants of the city fell victim to the horrendous disease.  The following year, 1645 an additional 1,029 deaths were recorded.  One third of the city’s population had perished.  In 1656 another third of the population died of plague.  The plague would appear again in 1678 and 1679.  The last outbreak in the city would occur in 1714.


  No sooner had the plague died down in 1679 when war broke out again.


  Emmerich Thӧkӧly, like his predecessors, Bocskay and Bethlen, raised a call to arms against the absolutist government of the Habsburg Emperor.


  Transylvania fell to him quickly and with Turkish support he took over Upper Hungary.  His forces were called the Kurutz (Crusaders).  Emperor Leopold I was forced to take action.  Since he lacked money to finance a military campaign he had no other alternative than to call for the assembling of the Landtag which he had avoided doing for most of his reign.  But calling a Landtag was only half of the solution.  He needed the support of all elements of the population in order to get their approval for the funds.  The plague was raging in Pressburg so he called for the Landtag to be held in Ődenburg in 1681.


  The Hungarian Constitution was reinstated at the Landtag and the King was obliged to obey it.  In spite of all of the complaints of the Protestant nobles and the Royal Free City representatives the only concession they gained was for the provision that two “Articular” churches for both the Reformed and Lutherans be permitted in each County.  Finally, the Protestants had the legal right to exist.  Even if that right was rather curtailed and minimal.  As the Landtag was meeting, Thӧkӧly’s army was on the march in Slovakia.  While the Turks were setting out to capture Vienna.


  Although Ődenburg was not on the route of either army, marauders from both raided the area around the city.  The city had to do homage and swear allegiance to Thӧkӧly the commander of the uprising.  On July 12, 1683 the city of Ődenburg raised the white flag and on the 16th the Town Council swore their allegiance.  As a result the city was spared another round of plundering.  An occupation force of Kurutz remained behind in the city while provisions were ordered to be supplied to both of the besieging armies at Vienna.  Thӧkӧly’s forces and the Turks.


  The Kurutz rebels who remained behind terrorized the population.  They were joined by both Turkish and Tartar troops who left the besieging camps around Vienna to round up supplies.  Instead they rounded up the population.  Most of the men were murdered or sold to slave traders.  Women of all ages and young girls were raped.  Children were rounded up and dragged off for shipment to Constantinople.   In the midst of all of this suffering and brutality word came that the Turks had been defeated at Vienna on September 12th and were in full retreat back into Hungary.  The liberation of Hungary by the Imperial Habsburg Army that was to follow would prove to be as bad as the Turkish occupation had ever been.


  With the withdrawal of the Turks and the Kurutz rebels the Imperial troops arrived and were billeted and quartered in the homes of the townspeople and villagers.  That was only a minor form of suffering for the people.  Next came taxation.   There were taxes for manure piles.  For a still unborn foetus.  After billeting the troops the peasant’s cupboards were bare… 


  The population of Hungary was reduced to beggary.  The land seethed with unrest.  It is hardly any wonder that rebellion broke out once more.  But the movement was still in search of a leader.  In 1700 he appeared.  Franz Rokocsy II.  Unlike the previous rebel armies, this army consisted mostly of peasants.  Few nobles joined them.


  The same pattern emerged as the rebellion broke out in the north east and eventually the rebels found themselves facing the walls of Ődenburg.  But the city would not open its gates to them.  In 1706 they attempted to take the city once more after Guns, Eisenstadt and Rust had already fallen to them.  The siege lasted from Christmas Day until Epiphany (January 6) 1706.   On January 7th the final frontal attack was launched on three sides.  The men and women on the walls held off the attackers but this resulted in the deaths of countless defenders, both men and women.  The rebel commander withdrew on January 10th and set up headquarters in the villages and plundering and destruction continued.


  The rebels no sooner conquered all of the land  when they lost it again and again, battle after battle.  The Peace of Sathmar in 1711 finally ended the carnage and destruction.  It was the people who lost the war.


  Commerce and industry were at a standstill.  It would take Ődenburg over a decade just to get back on its feet.  Now that the rebellion was over, there were better times ahead.  By the time of Joseph II’s visit in 1770 and the Empress Maria Theresia’s visit to the city in 1773, Ődenburg had become a majestic baroque city, thriving and industrious.  The Napoleonic Wars which followed would drain the city’s resources once more as the city lived up to its loyalty to the Habsburg dynasty.  On May 29, 1809 eight thousand French troops occupied the city and remained until mid-November.  When they left, they left only poverty, need and an epidemic behind.  The task of recovery and rebuilding once more became the agenda of the city and its inhabitants as it always had been throughout its long beleaguered history.


  But where did this tenacity come from?  This ability to go on despite everything?  What was the source of their courage?  Hope?  What kept them going?


  The answers to these questions are found in still another story.  A story that parallels the story already told.  Ődenburg’s other story.  The story of its faith.


  As was stated earlier, Christianity was introduced into the vicinity of Ődenburg during the Roman occupation in the 2nd Century AD.  Savaria, which was later known as Steinamanger (Szombathely today), was a bishopric in that period.  Its bishop is mentioned as one of the seven bishops of Pannonia who attend the Synod of Rimini in 326.  Savaria was also the birthplace of Martin of Tours who perished in the Great Persecution of the Emperor Galarius.  Two bishops of Savaria were also martyred in the city at that time.  In the 7th Century, Ődenburg belonged to the diocese of Laureacum in Austria.  Later it became part of the bishopric of Passau.  King Stephen I of Hungary joined Ődenburg to his newly established Episcopal See of Raab to which it belongs to this day.  This information details for us some of the official aspects of Ődenburg’s religious life but little of its character or piety.


  One source, however, sheds some interesting light on the religious life of the citizens of the community in the 15th Century when it was reported that large numbers of Waldensians were in the city.  The Waldensians were especially critical of the luxurious life-style of the clergy.  All of this information was passed on the Inquisition.  We never hear anything further about the matter again.


  Ődenburg was a city of churches, schools and religious houses.  St. John’s on the Wienerstrasse which was built in 1214 is probably the oldest of the churches.  The church of Benedictines and the St. Jame’s Chapel that stands beside the city church are also from a very early period.  St. Michael’s which was known as the “city church” was the most important and imposing building in the inner city.    Its construction began in the 13th Century and it was finally completed at the end of the 15th.  To this day, St. Michael’s is the most beautiful Gothic structure in all of the Hungary.


  In addition to the Benedictines there were also Franciscans engaged in preaching and teaching ministries in the city.  At the beginning of the 13th Century, the Order of the Knights of St. John established themselves in the city.  This Order would play a major role in the development of church life in the city.  In addition to their spiritual ministry, they also took up the sword to defend the city against its enemies.  They later built a hospital on land donated by the Town Council  They acted as the official historians of Ődenburg and undertook to write the first chronicles of the city.


  The schools of Ődenburg were renowned for their scholarship and were in touch with current thinking throughout Western Europe.  Humanism arrived here early which would play a leading role in preparing the city and its people from the fresh winds of the Reformation coming from Wittenberg in Saxony.


  According to Roman Catholic historians the Reformation doctrines of Luther were first preached in Ődenburg in 1519.


  Christoph, a Franciscan monk who preached in the Benedictine Church spoke to large crowds in the spirit and thought of the young Luther.  This occurred only two years after the nailing of the 95 Thesis on the door of the castle church in Wittenberg.  His fellow Franciscans were anxious to save Christoph from the Tribunal established in the city by King Louis II to carry out hearings and investigations of “all Lutheran heretics” and to burn them along with Luther’s books.  Christoph was spirited away by night by sympathetic monks and he was never heard from again.  At least not officially.


  This was merely the beginning.


  Within five years of the events that took place in Wittenberg in 1517, Martin Luther’s writings were read throughout the city.  In some pulpits echoes of the Reformer’s teaching were easily discernable and recognizable  although not officially sanctioned.  In fact, it was forbidden by the decree of the Hungarian King and was punishable by death although it was hardly enforced except for two isolated incidents.  It was window dressing to placate the Vatican.


  The spread of the writings and thought of Luther in Ődenburg was due primarily to the tradesmen and merchants of the city.  On their journeys to their distant markets and visiting their clients in Regensburg, Augsburg or Vienna they bought the tracts and publications of Luther and brought them home.  On their return they invited their neighbours and associates to dinner and sitting around the table one of them would could read while the others listened.  Often these household “study groups” consisted of ten to twenty people, both men and women.


  A counter attack was lodged against the “secret heretic Lutherans” of Ődenburg by the priest and preacher in the Benedictine church, Johann Kapistan.  He targeted the Franciscan monk, Christoph, who had to go into hiding.  Then he broadened his horizons, his targets and his threats  The city chaplain did the same at St. Michael’s Church where the Waldensians had been condemned over and over again during the 15th Century resulting in the burning of several of them in the city.  An all out campaign was now in progress once again.


  Christoph Peck, the city chaplain, acknowledged publically that it was obvious to everyone that the citizens of Ődenburg were in possession of Luther’s writings and were reading and distributing them.  On this occasion, the chaplain named names.  Paul Kramer for one.  The man was a tanner by trade who admitted openly that he owned copies of Luther’s writings, read them and shared them with others.  Kramer was ordered to surrender all of the writings of Luther in his possession and offer a public apology.  Furthermore the city chaplain announced that a commission had been established to carry out a search for the writings of Luther throughout the city.  All publications found would be confiscated and “executed”.  Citizens were urged to inform on each other or surrender their own copies for a public burning which would be held in front of the Franciscan Church.  Peck also ordered that all preachers who alluded to the teachings of Luther in their preaching in any way were to be banned from the pulpits of the city.


  The citizenry and the magistrates of the city gathered in front of the Franciscan Church on October 30, 1524.  It was one day less than the seventh anniversary of Luther’s launching of the Reformation in Wittenberg with his 95 Theses against papal indulgences.  A huge bonfire was set and the hooded executioner threw the books and writings of Luther into the fire as the city chaplain spoke his anathemas against Luther and all those who clung to his evil and perverse heresies.  As the books went up in flames, Paul Kramer was made to apologize as a quiet sullen crowd listened intently.  When the tanner finished the townspeople nudged one another or had a twinkle in their eyes because Kramer had apologized.  He had not recanted.  Nor had they!


  Within three days another search was conducted throughout the city and another book burning took place.  These two public book burnings were the catalysts that turned the city to Lutheranism.  At first if was the citizenry and then the city magistrates followed suit.


  At the insistence of the townspeople, the magistrates appointed preachers to St. Michael’s “who were not opposed to the Gospel” to serve alongside the city priests.  As news of this and the rapid expansion of Lutheranism throughout Western Hungary came to the attention of King Louis II of Hungary and under pressure he reluctantly decreed new and harsher laws against the spread of Luther’s teaching.  Once again the punishment for breaking any of these new laws was death.  A penalty which was never carried out.


  The King delayed taking action against the Lutherans because of a much greater peril that he faced.  The Turks.  He met them head-on at the Battle of Mohács in 1526 where he and his army were defeated and massacred.  All of Hungary was now at the mercy of the Turks.  Among those killed on the field of battle were countless armed bishops and higher prelates.  The bishop of Raab, who had jurisdiction over Ődenburg perished during the battle.  The monks in nearby Wandorf did not plan to be part of the welcoming committee when the Turks arrived.  They fled for their lives and abandoned their flocks in the villages that lay outside of Ődenburg.  The population was left without a shepherd in a rather hopeless situation.  It was be the “evangelical” (Lutheran) preachers who held out hope to the beleaguered population of the city and all of Hungary in the face of the oncoming onslaught of the Turks that would devastate all of Hungary.  That hope was the Gospel of God’s grace and His faithfulness.


  Ődenburg and its subject villages were served by numerous evangelical “Predigers” (preachers) following the Turkish conquest of most of Hungary.  In 1565 the city magistrates called an outspoken evangelical preacher to serve as a pastor in Ődenburg.  He had escaped from the dungeon of the Hohensalzburg fortress that stands in the centre of Salzburg and looks down on the city below where he had been imprisoned for four years.  The Prince Archbishop of Salzburg had arrested and tried him for his evangelical faith and his “illegal” ministry in his territory.  Simon  Gerengel would serve in Ődenburg for only a short time but in effect he would become the “Reformer of Ődenburg.”  He organized and shaped evangelical church life, published a catechism and a worship agenda (liturgy) both of which would be used for the next two hundred years.  His intention was not to bring about external change but rather that an inward spiritual transformation would bring about appropriate outward change in keeping with the Gospel.  He maintained good relationships with the continuing Roman Catholic constituency in the city as well as with their priests.  Lurking on the horizon were the times of testing that now lay ahead for the Evangelicals.


  It began in nearby Raab, when its bishop, Georg Draskovics, became the Imperial Chancellor of Hungary.  In this dual capacity he carried out Act One of the Counter Reformation in Hungary in 1578.  His initial primary objective was the re-catholicization of Ődenburg.


  The terms of the Religious Peace of Augsburg in 1555 were also embraced by the Hungarian Landtag (parliament).  It was expressed in the Latin phrase:  Cuius Regio, Eius Religio.  Which stipulated that the religion of the ruler would be the religion of his subjects.  Those subjects who refused to comply were banished from the ruler’s territory.


  These terms did not only apply to the subjects of the nobility but were also to include the subjects of the Royal Free Cities of the Empire of which Ődenburg was one.  It was this right that bishop Drastovics attempted to deny to Ődenburg.  He sought to change the status of Ődenburg to that of a village.  All of his efforts to do so proved fruitless.  He simply tried harder.


  Early in 1583, Bishop Draskovics invited all of the members of the Town Council (all of whom were Lutherans) to a consultation in Vienna.  Upon their arrival in the imperial city they were imprisoned.  After nine weeks spent in the dungeons enduring constant harassment and judicial hearings they finally gave in and agreed to expel all the evangelical pastors from the city and the villages subject to the jurisdiction of Ődenburg.  All of the churches were ordered to be handed over to the Roman Catholic authorities.  This would continue to be the case until 1606.


  For the next twenty-two years, Ődenburg lost the freedom to practice its Lutheran faith.  Following the imposition of the ban the citizenry was cautious at first.  Draskovics and his local officials were certain that only the Town Council had really been committed to Lutheranism.  To their consternation the people not only boycotted the Roman Mass but each Sunday morning long columns of citizens left through the city gates heading into the countryside for Neckenmarkt or Deutschkreuz, two Lutheran villages on the Estates of the Lutheran Count Nadasdy to attend worship there.  Along the way they were joined by the Lutherans from Wandorf, Harkau, Agendorf, Wolfs, Morbisch and Loipersbach whose pastors had also been exiled.


  The churches of Ődenburg were virtually empty as a result of the Sunday morning exodus of the Lutherans.  No one sought out the ministry of the Roman Catholic clergy.  The midwives of the city were arrested because they refused to report any births.  In most cases they baptized the children themselves or took the infants to the nearby Lutheran pastors in the villages or assisted in sneaking pastors into the city baptize the children.


  None of the Lutheran schoolboys attended any of the church schools.  Clandestine Lutheran schools sprang up all over the city.  Usually they were very small groups.  They were taught by “underground” teachers who lived in the vicinity.


  But the real craw in the throat of the Roman Catholic clergy were those Lutherans who could not attend worship in the village churches.  The aged and infirm, nursing mothers and those who were sick were brought together in homes where they sang hymns, recited psalms, prayed and listened to the reading of Scripture.  Meanwhile the priests in Ődenburg were saying mass for the benefit of one another faced with empty churches.


  Following the Peace of Vienna in 1606 Lutheran clergy were allowed to return to Ődenburg.  What made their return possible was the fact that the Turks and the Hungarian rebels were on the march in the area and all of the Roman Catholic clergy had fled from the city.  In a short period of time the Lutherans regained the use of their former church buildings.  There were four German-speaking pastors and one who was Hungarian-speaking serving the 8,000 Lutherans in the city.  Less than 1,000 of the inhabitants had remained Roman Catholic and most of them were recent immigrants from the Austrian hereditary lands.


  As the Thirty Years War raged across central Europe, Hungary was in a shambles with uprisings and rebellions breaking out across the land and Ődenburg was not immune to the destruction that took place everywhere.  And of course there were always the Turks…


  When the Thirty Years War was over, Leopold of Austria’s hands were no longer tied.  Act Two of the Counter Reformation could now begin.


  In Ődenburg this next phase of the Counter Reformation came in the guise of the Jesuits.  Over the objections and opposition of the Town Council the Jesuits moved into Ődenburg to establish a school in 1636.  Beginning in 1639 the head of the Jesuit mission in the city, Ambrose Heigel, attempted to carry out missionary activity in the nearby villages belonging to the city.  As a first step he had all of their Lutheran pastors expelled and sent into exile.  The strategy proved unsuccessful for there were simply no converts to be found among the “stiff necked” Lutherans.


  As what would become known as the “Decade of Sorrows” dawned in Ődenburg in the 1670s, more and more of the rights of the Lutherans and Reformed were taken away from them at the instigation of the Jesuits.  A plot to overthrow the Emperor being planned by some leading Roman Catholic nobles was uncovered and it was labelled as a “Protestant Conspiracy” by the crafty Jesuits.  Kangaroo courts set up in Pressburg saw to the exile and banishment of hundreds of pastors and teachers while the more recalcitrant among them trudged south in chain gangs to be sold as galley slaves in Naples.


  As pressure was applied against the Lutheran pastors, teachers and magistrates in Ődenburg, the only way to prevent a complete loss of their Lutheran church life was to agree to the City Court’s demand that all churches, chapels, schools and their fixtures would be “voluntarily” handed over to the Roman Catholic authorities for the privilege of holding services in a private house, “without any hindrances”.  The last Lutheran service was held in the city church, St. Michael’s, on February 25, 1674.  At the close of the service, Pastor Christoph Sowitsch, had to inform the congregation of the actions that the Town Council had been forced to take.  He called upon the people to be faithful and patient and to conduct themselves in a Christ-like manner and wait on the Lord for help in the future.  “Through quietness and hope we will find strength,” he quoted the prophet Jeremiah 30:15.  The congregation met the following Sunday in the main hall of the spacious home of Christopher Lackner.  As the worshippers entered through the gates into the courtyard of the house they read the words inscribed above the doorway:  “Thy will be done.”  Because of the crowd that assembled they gathered in the courtyard for worship and it was here where the congregation would commemorate Lent in 1674.  The words of Jesus now had new meaning for them in their own Gethsemane, “My father if it is possible let this cup pass from me, but not as I will, but as You will.”   


  They gathered in the courtyard in rain and snow, despite wind and bad weather and often soaking wet as the City Chronicle puts it.  Or half frozen to death.  They still came to hear the healing Word and gladly received it.  Their enemies laughed at them and hounded them.  Ridiculed them and said, “Where is your God?”  The Lutherans answered the question with the rest of Psalm 42.  Shortly afterwards, Princess Eggenberg, an exiled Habsburg Austrian Lutheran noblewoman opened the door of her house on St. George Street for worship as well and had a stone pulpit carved into the balcony of the courtyard for her chaplain to have visibility as he preached.


  A wooden church was constructed on “the street of the bakers” at a sizable cost to the congregation.  On Pentecost the first service was held and it began with the recitation of Psalm 84:4 “The bird has found its house and the swallow her nest…”.  Yet even this “swallow’s nest” was just too much for the Roman Catholic clergy to have to bear according to the Chronicler.  After one month the church was locked and the pastors were exiled.  As their pastors left, the congregation sang the Salzburg Lutheran’s exile hymn as they accompanied them to the city gates.


  The measures that were taken against the Lutherans in Ődenburg were also experienced by their fellow believers in the villages around the city.  Their churches were confiscated as well.  Their pastors were driven into exile.  Troops were quartered in the homes of any who resisted the take- over.  In most cases, families resorted to “household” worship.  Roman Catholic priest and teachers were appointed to each village.  The priest ministered in an empty pews and the teacher faced empty benches.  This would prove to be the case for the next 110 years in Agendorf, Harkau, Wolfs, Loipersbach, Wandorf and Morbisch.


  In the village history of Harkau we can catch a glimpse of how the Lutherans managed to carry on. In 1674, one of the priests complained to the authorities that he had discovered that the village cow herder took the boys of the village with him out to the pastures not in order to train them in cow herding but taught them how to read.  His textbook was the Bible.


  While almost a century later, in 1755, another priest stationed in Harkau reported:  “The Lutherans operated an illegal school in the mill out in the meadow taught by Catharina Predl, the miller’s daughter.  It was a Winkelschule  (clandestine school).  On orders from the Roman Catholic magistrate in Ődenburg the school was closed.”


  With the assistance and close co-operation of the Habsburgs, the Jesuits achieved the goal of the Counter Reformation in Hungary.  With the exception of the services held in the courtyard of Duchess Eggenberg in Ődenburg there was no public Lutheran or Reformed worship anywhere.  Only the Lutherans living in Ődenburg itself were permitted to worship there.  A proclamation was posted on the door of every gate into the city forbidding the participation of any Lutherans from the neighbouring villages at the services at the Eggenberg house.


  When the Lutherans in Ődenburg were able to gain some concession at the Landtag in 1676 and were allowed to build a second wooden church in the city after the original one burned down as a result of arson the Lutherans in the nearby villages were permitted to worship in the city.  Every Sunday from the site of the wooden church to the town hall there were long lines of wagons and carriages of the believers from:  Agendorf, Wandorf, Loipersbach, Walbersdorf, Pottelsdorf, Rust, Morbisch, Wolfs, Harkau, Kobersdorf, Weppersdorf and Stoob.


  Early in the 18th Century it became obvious to the leaders of the Lutheran congregation that the wooden Bethaus (prayerhouse) could no longer serve the ever growing congregation.  Construction of a stone church was begun in 1722 and completed in two years.  It could accommodate 2,000 worshippers.  Ődenburg’s Lutheran church still served a large constituency outside of the city.  Very soon after its construction the church was unable to provide enough room for the throngs of worshippers attending multiple services.


  In 1775 the congregation submitted a petition to the Empress Maria Theresia for permission to expand their prayer house.  This request was granted primarily because Joseph II the future Emperor was already acting as co-regent at the time.  Not to mention the fact, that Ődenburg’s greatest foes, the Jesuits, had been disbanded in the Habsburg Empire.


  Because of the desperate economic situation at the time, the congregation was unable to take advantage of securing her permission.  They were also short of additional space and the building was in bad shape.  The idea of demolishing the old structure and building a new prayer house soon caught hold among the members of the congregation.  Permission to do so was received from Joseph II at the beginning of 1782 and the present day church was erected.  At the time of the construction of the new Lutheran church there were 5,873 Lutherans living in the city.


  From the very beginnings of the Reformation in Ődenburg there was a movement to establish schools so that all people could read the Scriptures.  All Lutheran villages had schools of their own and not just simply the towns and cities.  Ődenburg would become the centre of an extensive system of Lutheran schools to serve all of Hungary especially as it related to the education and training of teachers for the Lutheran schools and preparing future pastors and theologians.


  By now even the most casual reader must have taken a glance at a map in order to attempt to locate Ődenburg.  Unfortunately no contemporary map can help you do so.  That in itself is part of the final chapter of the story of Ődenburg.


  Ődenburg is no longer Ődenburg.


  Even though it has retained much of its charming character and architectural appeal as a city, the life of the community has changed forever.  That had its beginnings in the 19th Century under various names and influences.  Ődenburg was moulded and shaped in such a way as to erase its German past, heritage and traditions.  A change in its name would be part of that process and an indication of the change.  Ődenburg became part of the mainstream of life in Hungary.  A symbol of how it would be possible to have the best of both worlds.  One was left behind in order to adapt and accept another.


  Ődenburg and its past was left behind.  In its place Sopron became window dressing for Magyar nationalism.  Sopron, not Ődenburg had a future.  Ődenburg only had a past.  It had no future in the new Hungary.  There were many who welcomed that from the time of the Revolution of 1848 to the two World Wars in the 20th Century.  Assimilation became the order of the day in Sopron and its schools and academies.  Her graduates became the vanguard of inculcating Hungarian ideals into the minds and hearts of others.  On the other hand there were those for whom Ődenburg’s heritage and past needed to be preserved and passed on.  The city suffered from schizophrenia, trying to live in two worlds at the same time.


  Inevitably a decision had to be made and the city and its nearby environs were called upon to make it in 1920.  The League of Nations decided that the population and territory of the ancient Burgenland that had been established by Charlemagne centuries before should become part of what would remain of Austria.  Hungary refused to accept the loss of Sopron and its environs and demanded that a plebiscite be held on the part of the people who lived there.  The vote itself was a total mockery of the democratic process.  There were all kinds of illegalities in the registration of voters that were Hungarians and were non-residents.  Many of the German-speaking population were prevented from reaching the polling stations.  Armed gangs roamed the countryside threatening and warning the German-speaking population of what would happen to them if Austria annexed the Burgenland.  The German-speaking villages that surrounded Ődenburg voted overwhelmingly in favour of being incorporated into Austria.  Hungarian nationalists would never forget or forgive that.  But in Sopron, the German-speaking population was vastly outnumbered and outvoted by the city’s “new residents” who had been brought in for the plebiscite.


  Sopron would remain within Hungary but Ődenburg would be no more.  That was agenda of the Hungarian rightwing government.


  It came as no surprise that when the expulsion of the German population living in Hungary that was ordered by the Big Three at Potsdam in August 1945 began early in 1946 and had its first focus on Western Hungary.  Ődenburg’s neighbouring village of Harkau had its entire German-speaking population expelled.  During the plebiscite 99% of the residents of Harkau had voted to join Austria.  The same would be true in Wandorf, Agendorf and the other villages.  Of Sopron’s 10,000 “Svabok” as the Hungarians referred to the German-speaking population over 7,500 were deported.  The effect was that only 2,500 remained in the city and made up the vast majority of the remnant of the Heanzen left in Hungary after ten centuries of struggle, determination and hope for a better future.


  It also almost meant the end of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in an area where Lutheranism had come to birth very early.  Where it had continued to flourish despite all kinds of odds against its survival.  Evangelical Lutheran Church life still goes on in this picturesque postcard city.  The magnificent towers of the their church rises above its surroundings  on the Templon Utca…Church Street…standing there in the heart of the inner city.



Kaltenstein in the Heideboden


  The Heidebauern village of Kaltenstein is now known as Level.  It lies only a few miles south of Strasssommerein, the border crossing between Austria and Hungary, now known as Hegyshalom.  The village lies only a few kilometres north of Altenburg and is somewhat south of Ragendorf.


  A Latin document entitled, Possessio Kaltnestein, now part of the State Archives in Budapest provides us with the names of the peasant tenants on the Kaltenstein estates of the Forgach family in the year 1644.  They are listed as landowning peasants, cotters and others who were landless and were labourers and servants.  But the earliest documented records with regard to the village is in the Altenberg Archives of 1083 and 1085.  Consequently we can assume that it was not among the earliest Heidebauern settlements but a secondary one the result of migrations from existing communities in the Heideboden rather than new settlers arriving from Austria and Bavaria.


  Some time prior to 1659 Count Stephen Zichy became the new owner of the entire estate.  In addition to Kaltenstein he was also the landlord of Zurndorf and Leiden two other neighbouring villages.  What all three communities had in common was that all of their inhabitants had remained Evangelical Lutherans despite what they had already endured during the Counter Reformation.  The Decade of Sorrows and once again all three of these villages would withstand the onslaughts to their faith and the horrors to which they were subjected.  For the next one hundred and ten years church life among the Lutherans in the Heideboden would consist of only “household assemblies” led by the head of the house.  The “head” in many households was the grandmother.


  During the canonical visitation by the Archdeacon of the Bishopric of Raab (Gyӧr) in 1659 his reports notes that during his visit in the community of Kaltenstein there was a total lack of respect or appreciation for his visit and no welcome at all from the village’s inhabitants.  In fact, he complains that the local Lutheran pastor challenged him on his right to conduct an authorized visitation in the community since they as Lutherans had their own “visitors” (referring to their own elected Superintendent who was not allowed to function in his elected capacity by the Emperor despite action taken by the Hungarian Landtag to free him to do so.)


  Further in his report, the Archdeacon included a description of the church building and then comments, “…but alas the interior has been changed to accommodate the usage of the Lutherans.”  In the past church historians assumed that the visitor meant that the side altars had been removed as well as some other liturgical furnishings or works of art.  What he actually meant was that pews had been installed since preaching had became an essential part of worship.  The length of the sermon varied from between two to three hours making seating for the congregation a necessity.


  In 1635 this church like countless others had been confiscated from the Lutherans and the congregation had been officially disbanded.  By action of the Landtag at Pressburg in 1647, ninety of the eight hundred and eighty churches confiscated from Lutheran congregations throughout Hungary and turned over to the Roman Catholic authorities were ordered to be returned.  The church in Kaltenstein was one of them.


  At the conclusion of his report the Archdeacon laments that not only was the total village population once again lost to the Lutherans but the congregation also maintained a toe-hold in nearby Strasssommerein.  Many of the people there openly confessed themselves to be Lutherans and had formed a filial congregation of Kaltenstein over the objections of the local Roman Catholic clergy.  He was also loath to report that they were being served by the pastor in Kaltenstein and the Archdeacon had the sneaking suspicion that an “underground” Lutheran schoolmaster was at work in the community but he was unable to prove it.


  Kaltenstein shared in the history and fate of the Heideboden and the Heidebauern.  Many of its inhabitants would migrate to the south after the expulsion of the Turks.  They could be found in Pusztavam, Gyӧrkӧny, Bikács, Lajoskomarom, Paks and the emerging Swabian villages in Tolna, Somogy and Baranya Counties.


  At the time of the expulsions in 1946 the total population of Kaltenstein was just short of one thousand.  Only a handful were not included on the deportation list.  The expellees were taken by truck to nearby Zanegg where a transit camp was established.  Here a steady flow of Heidebauern arrived every day from the neighbouring communities.  During the night a column of cattle cars moved down the tracks behind groaning locomotives with a cargo of Heidebauern returning “home” after their thousand year temporary residency in Hungary.


  The Hungarian authorities were more thorough in cleansing the Heideboden than any other part of Hungary in making certain that it was “Svabok” free.  Included among the deportees were all the pastors and school teachers of “German” origin.  This would not be true of the expulsions in any of the Danube Swabian communities in the rest of the country.  Among the deportees was Matthias Schrodl of Kaltenstein who was the dean of the Lutheran Church District.  This action was taken against the Lutheran clergy and teachers because of the public denunciation of the expulsion of the Danube Swabians by Bishop Lajos Ordas, the Bishop of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Hungary (Lutheran).  He was a voice crying in the wilderness.  His was a voice that was soon to be silenced.


  It took the three “greatest” and “most powerful” men of the 20th Century:  Churchill, Stalin and Truman to accomplish what had proven impossible on the part of the fierce nomadic Magyar tribesmen; waves upon waves of Mongol raiders; the century-long onslaughts of the marauding Turks; the oppression and persecution unleashed during the centuries of the Counter Reformation, that unsuccessful united effort on the part of the Habsburg Emperors allied with the Roman Catholic Church…to eliminate and find a final solution for the Lutheran Heidebauern.  The action taken by the Big Three over a period of a few days in the summer in the summer of 1945 in Potsdam eradicated and ended the thousand year history of a people and effectively destroyed one of the oldest expressions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  A church and a people that had paid such a high price for their faithfulness…



Origin of Family Names in Kaltenstein


 The following information finds its origin in “Festschrift zum 200 Jährigen Jubiläum der evangelischen Kirche in Kaltenstein” published in Veszprem, Hungary in 1989.


  This brief study attempts to unravel the mystery of various family names to be found in Kaltenstein and their probable origins.


  The first six centuries of Kaltenstein’s history from 900 to 1500 remain hidden from us to a great degree.  At that time there was also no such thing as family names as we know them today.  The “first” name simply stood for the person involved and had nothing to do with his relationship to anyone else.  It was only in the High Middle Ages that additions were made to names such as “the second” or given a title.  Often it was a position the person held in the community or their occupation. 


  The first document that exists that identifies the names of the families in Kaltenstein comes from 1546 from the period after the Battle of Mohács.  It was at that time that the fortress of Altenburg was strengthened by the Austrians for possible attack by the Turks.  The Commander was Johann Hardeck and the occupation forces were German-speaking.  German was also the language of the eight hundred subjects in the outlying villages including Kaltenstein and Strasssommerein.  In Kaltenstein their names included:


  Benusch Hausmann

  Georg Thanicker

  Anton Pinkitzer

  Wolf Stelzer

  Marx Zechmaister

  Clement Murrer

  Valtein Rott

  Jakob Lang

  Mathes Stainer

  Kyrein Reyer

  Georg Wallner


  In Strasssommerein there were also the following family names:


  Wurmbm = Wurm

  Pairr = Bayer

  Vischer = Fischer

  Mutt = Muth




  At this time individuals and families moved about a great deal from one village to another and often through marriage.  This listing indicates a population of fifty to sixty persons in each village.  The first names are of German origin:  Wolf = Wolfgang or of Roman and Christian origin:  Marx = Marcus, Benusch = Benedict.


  What were the times like in which they lived?  They were subject serfs of the fortress of Altenburg.  Villages were small.  In Zurndorf for instance there were twenty families.  There was the Great Hunger in 1510, the Peasants War led by Dozsa in 1511.  The three-fold use of land was in effect and livestock were raised.  But the peasant’s focus was not on material things.  Learning to read the Scriptures and the teachings of the Reformation and the opening of schools became the new priorities in their lives.  Even though they felt the heavy hand of Habsburg military might under Ferdinand I they felt insecure because of the threat of their Turkish neighbours who had taken and occupied nearby Raab.  Marauders and disaffected troops plundered, robbed, destroyed and held the peasant population hostage to fear.  Most of the Heidebaurn villages were enclosed by timber fences for defence and the men carried out night patrols.


  The Possessio from 1644 is the second document from the Domain of Altenburg that provides us with family names.  What had transpired between the time of the last report from Altenburg?  The Lutheran Reformation had captured the support of the population.  Over ten thousand soldiers now served as the garrison at the fortress.  In 1594 the Turks had overrun the entire Heideboden.  They left destroyed villages behind and wasted fields.  By 1644 the fortress was strengthened once more and the villages were rebuilt.  But who were the people that did it?  Obviously those who had gone into hiding and survived as well as new settlers as the names indicate in the Possessio document.   The following heads of families are identified in Kaltenstein:


  Thomas Stelczer

  Gregorius and Adreas Muhr

  Ambrosius Muhr

  Thomas Pinketzer

  Vitus Danicker

  Matthaeus Chechmaster

  Gregorius Daninker

  Christof Muhr

  Martinus Steltzer

  Christof Steltzer

  Blasius Ratt (could be Rott)

  Gregorius Schneider


  We know that the areas not occupied by the Turks in Western Hungary (Burgenland) and Slovakia developed into areas where people migrated and the town and village populations increased including Kaltenstein.  And new families now begin to appear who have been given sessions of land:


  Christophorus Botter

  Gregorius, Simon and Thomas Hauczinger

  Matthaeus Peckh

  Thomas Huetflus

  Matthaeus Fischer (Could be a Vischer from Strasssommerein)

  Abraham Heckh

  Andreas Bierleiher

  Joachim Gross

  Rupertus Daschner

  Johannes Gregorius Fleischacker

  Michael Saltzer

  Simon Fischer

  Lauren Macher

  Matthaeus Gross

  Gregorius Grass

  Gallus Pamer

  Philippus Schmickl

  Marcus Marx


  There were also additional new cotters who were without land:


  Wolfgang Salamon

  Matthaeus Schuesser

  Johannes Holczer

  Joannes Hierschinger

  Martinus Ranner

  Augustinius Seubalt

  Blasius Ratt (Rott)

  Joannes Lienhardt

  Matthaeus Khardni

  Paulus Raisinger

  Stephanus Marcus

  Gregorius Stattner

  Sebaldus Matern

  Paulus Pinter

  Adam Grass

  Peter Schmauser

  Christof Steltzer

  Gregorius Plambtritt

  Andreas Schnaider


  There were other who were simply described as residents:


  Bartholo Daschner

  Gregorius Pinter

  Joannes Griessell

  Johannes Schueb

  Matthaeus Grass

  Thomas Rhatt

  Andreas Schmauser

  Matthaeus Pameker

  Salomonis Ranner

  Jacobus Grass

  Joannes Dasch

  Blasius Wennes

  Jakobi Raiff

  Christof Gebhart

  Martinus Grass

  Matthaeus Eckher

  Gregorius Schneider

  Sebaldus Schuesser

  Joannes Perckhamer

  Gallius Schuistor

  Blassius Wiessinger


  Historians suggest that the newcomers came from Lower Austria which is in close proximity to the Heideboden following the Turkish Wars in the 17th  Century.  But Lower Austria, above all the areas south and east of Vienna, had many abandoned farms of its own after the Turks rampaged through it and took 10,000 inhabitants with them as slaves and the area was in need of settlers itself.  It is far more likely that they came from Upper Austria, the Steiermark and the Upper Palatinate (Franconia).


  By mid-1600 the population of Kaltenstein expanded to sixty families with some two to three hundred inhabitants.  What was the reason behind this increase?  The answer may have something to do with the fact that Kaltenstein, Ragendorf, Nickelsdorf, Zurndorf, Strasssommerein and Pallersdorf all became part of the Emperor’s Domains in 1636.  That would be an incentive for settlers to seek safety there because of the security provided by the presence of the Imperial military forces at Altenburg.  There were also religious reasons behind the migration on the part of Lutheran refugees seeking sanctuary in the Heideboden which was known to be a stronghold of Lutheranism.


  During the canonical visitation of 1696 the Archdeacon of Wieselburg reported that the total population of Kaltenstein was 469 inhabitants.  There were 300 Lutherans and 169 Roman Catholics.  This despite the fact that Lutheranism had officially been “wiped out” in Hungary at the height of the Counter Reformation in the closing decades of the 17th Centrry.  His report with regard to Strasssommerein indicated a population of 629 of whom 364 were Lutherans and 265 were Roman Catholic.  While in Zurndorf with a total population of 1,032 there were 733 Lutherans and 299 Roman Catholics.


  Several researchers from Vienna have indicated that there is strong evidence that a steady stream of Lutheran refugees entered the Heideboden in the area around the Neusiedler Sea at the beginning of the 18th Century.  They indicate that at that time the pro-Roman Catholic Habsburgs had very little influence in Western Hungary or Lower Austria and the Steiermark.  For that reason the Heideboden became a sanctuary for these religious refugees for several decades.  This had both a religious and cultural impact on the region.  They were Germans from the Alpine hereditary lands in Austria that found sanctuary in the southern part of the Heideboden and there they blended in with the existing populations. Along the eastern shore of the Neusiedler Sea an influx of Lutheran refugees from the Bishopric of Constance (Upper Swabia) began to arrive earlier.  This was not a mass migration but rather they arrived in small or extended family groups to avoid detection and were scattered in many of the different villages and did not influence the basic character of the local Heidebauren.  They came from the vicinity of the city of Ravensburg and the villages and towns of Isny, Lindau, Wangen, Tettnang and Saülgau and adjacent communities.


  The increase in population in the overwhelmingly Lutheran communities of Zurndorf, Nickelsdorf, Kaltenstein, Strasssommerein and especially Gols can also be attributed to the arrival of numerous families from the Voralberg region of Austria.  This can be substantiated from various sources that speak of a major migration from there at that time that indicate who they were and where they came from.  The local church Chronicles give specific evidence in this regard.  Taking all of these groups into account there were several thousand Lutheran refugees who found sanctuary in the Heideboden.


  From these various backgrounds we are able to determine the origins of some of the families by their names.  The names Nitsch and Nitschinger occur in the Kaltenstein church records 97 times.  They are  of Swabian origin and later they would be corrupted into Nics and Nix in some church records in a later period when they were recorded in Hungarian.  The name Hautzinger which later became Hauczinger in Hungarian record keeping was of Upper Swabian origin as well.  The name Schmeltzer and its variations can be traced to the area around Ravensburg on Lake Constance.  The other names that are common in the Kaltenstein church records are of Bavarian-Austrian-Franconian origin and are descendants of the original Heidebauern. Some of the most common are Allacher, Dürr, Geistlinger, Reifmesser, Limpp, Bosch, Leinwetter, Lunzer, Grundner, Wendelin, Zechmaister, Rosenberger, Rumpeltess (Rumpler), Pfann, Falb, Gangl, Fink, Hirschmann, Schiessler, Laass, Zinnitsch, Limbacher, Preiner, Weissdorn, Riener, Heinz, Tischler, Bahr, Kellner, Eder, Hauptmann, Weber, Weiss, Schmickl, Wiedemann (48 times) and Zimmermann (32 times) and Fischer (93 times).


  It is rather phenomenal that some of the family names to be found in the documents of 1546 and 1644 still appear in the listing of the members of the Lutheran congregation in Kaltenstein in 1721!  The Richter was Andreas Schmickl and the other Council members were Fiellip Danicker, Hanss Steltzer, Andtre Muhr, Lorentz Steltzer, Gerig Gross, Georig Schmickl and Mathiass Steltzer.  (None of these were refugees from outside of the Heideboden.)  The names Schmickl and Schmausser appeared in the document from 1644.  The name Schmickl would result in a very large extended family in Kaltenstein and the immediate area while the name Schmausser would become associated with the new settlement of Bikács in Tolna County where many of the other families from the Heideboden migrated in the early part of the 18th Century.  Many others migrated to the new settlements in Pusztavám, Gyӧrkӧny and Lajoskomárom.  The tax conscription list for 1720 indicate that there were 107 families in the community.  While another source reports that there were 700 inhabitants in 1713.


  The Possessio of 1732 there are references to the Schmickl and Smauzer families as well as Hutfles, Hong, Nicz (Nitsch), Tulner, Mur ((Muhr), Schmicker, Holpauer, Groff (Graf), Cwickel, Taninger, Wesuckner, Lehner, Weth, Solczer (Salzer) Stelzer, Smickel and Wajsz (Weiss).  On the other hand the following other names appear in the Kaltenstein church records in 1736:  Hoffbauer, Reicher or Riecker, Lechner, Rath, Hake, Tullner, Dӧgn, Limbacher, Pagessam, Buechler, Hagn, Schmӧlzer, Gangl, Kastler, Pauret, Schiebinger, Weiss, Däscht, Pamer, Dumpf, Schmickl, Mayrim, Wallner, Wӧber, Trӧscherin (Rosina) Niczinger, Praimagen.  In the Possessio only the families that had sessions of land are listed; cotters and day labourers are not included.


  The population in the Heideboden were very mobile and families spread out in all kinds of directions.  The Schmickl and Stelzers remained a major extended family in Kaltenstein while as mentioned previously the Schmaussers moved on to Bikács.  The Pingitzer family migrated to Strasssommerein and the Muhrs went on to Zanegg.  As a result some family names died out in Kaltenstein such as Tuyrner, Schuh, Lentsch, Tusch, Reiber, Maar, Hallmann, Halbpauer, Wenhardt, Grossbauer, Stäptmann, Turnwirth and Hauswirt.


  But there are also new family names that appeared in the Kaltenstein.  The Hofbauer family were of Bavarian/Austrian origin.  The name Pamer which is common throughout the Heideboden is of Bavarian origin.  There were variations such as Baumer and Pirnpamer.  Schmickl is also Bavarian in origin as well as variations of the name.  Gangl is either of Bavarian or Austrian origin.  Schrӧdl is a short form of Schrӧder = Schneider and shares a common origin in Barvaria or western Austria.  The Allachers were “those who lived by the creek” an indication that they originated in the Voralberg area of Alpine Austria.  The Salzer family name indicates their origins were in Bavaria.  The name Preiner is common in both Bavaria and Moravia.   The name Rumpeltess could be of Silesian, Saxon, Bavarian or Austrian origin.  Falb is a corruption of “Falbe” the Central German word for blonde and the name Fanzler shares the same origin.  The name Fischer which was so common in Kaltenstein had its origins in the Alpine regions of Austria.  Grundtner is another example of a Swabian name.  The Gross family had their origins in Bavaria.


  The Tullner family name appears to have its origins in Austria.  While Tischler and Weiss find their origins in Bavaria and eastern Austria.  The Zechmaister family had its origins to the north in the Carpathian Mountain mining region of Zips County.

St. Johann and St. Peter in the Heideboden


   The source of this article is “Das Vergessene Heideboden: St. Johann und St. Peter” by Rudolph Kleiner published in 1993 in Vienna and is my personal translation and summarization of its content.


  From the Roman period of occupation to the coming of the Magyars, the Heideboden was heavily populated by various Celtic, Germanic and Slavic peoples.


  Bavaria began to play a major role in the history and development of the region beginning in 748 when they defeated the Avars and they would then hold sway in the territories they had occupied.  Their control extended as far south as the frontiers of Burgenland.  Around 750 a massive Bavarian colonization movement got underway as peasant settlers streamed into the region.  By 791, Charles the Great, (Charlemagne) and his army reached the Raab River.  The Avars were reduced to vassals by 796 and all of the region up to the Raab River was “Frankish” territory.  Following the founding of the Carolingian Őstmark (Austria) that also included most of Lower Austria the Heideboden served as a military buffer zone and defensive position.


  The population living in the area during this economic and cultural development came from Bavaria and Upper Austria.  They built the fortresses and castles and spread the Christian faith in the area.  The conquered territory up to the Raab River belonged to the bishopric of Passau.  Charlemagne awarded large tracts of land to the bishopric as well as German nobles.  To cultivate and work the new lands they called for settlers from Bavaria who were joined by many priest and monks.  There were also many Franconians among the population in what would become Wieselburg County, the future Moson Country of the Magyars.  By the beginning of the 11th Century, Misenburg (Moson), was a trading centre and totally German in population and character.  Both the towns of Wieselburg and Ődenburg were Carolingian in origin and preceded the coming of the Magyars.  The area was not unpopulated at the time of the arrival of the Magyar tribes as Hungarian historians maintain.


  Following the conversion of the Magyars to Christianity under King Stephen another large scale immigration took place around the year 1000 from Upper Austria and Bavaria that was concentrated along the western shore of the Neusiedler Sea and the area around Eisenstadt.  The central and southern Burgenland were affected the most.  The Cistercian Order arrived in 1203 and were granted large parcels of land that they colonized with new settlers in the 12th and 13th Centuries, most of whom once again came from Bavaria and Upper Austria.


  The young Hungarian King, Louis II, fell at the Battle of Mohács and his entire army was massacred by the victorious Turks in 1526.  In his will he left his Kingdom to the Habsburgs at the time of his marriage to Maria of Habsburg the sister of Archduke Ferdinand.  The Hungarian nobles were split into two camps.  The majority opposed the claim of the Habsburgs.  The Austrian Archduke sought to make Western Hungary, Slovakia and the region above Lake Balaton part of his realm.  The areas around the Neusiedler Sea (Eisenstadt and Wieselburg) had become part of Austria from 1043 to 1046 as a result of ongoing conflict with the Magyars.  The Hungarian King, Bela IV, gave the border towns of Wieselburg, Ődenburg and Eisenstadt to Frederick II of Austria in 1240.  The higher nobility sided with the claims of the Austrian Archduke and gained new landholdings and estates at the expense of the lesser nobles who opposed the Habsburgs.  As a result, the Poth family got their hands on the Domains of Ungarisch Altenburg  (Mosonmagyarovár).


  Following the conquest of most of Hungary by the Turks the Heideboden was raided and devastated in twelve major onslaughts.  Many villages were put to the torch, including both St. Johann and St. Peter and the population was massacred, enslaved or fled and went into hiding.  At that time Croatian refugees also sought sanctuary from the Turks in the Burgenland and settled there in large communities.


The Domains of Ungarisch Altenburg


  The villages of Andau, St. Johann and St. Peter belonged to the estates and were part of the Domain.   The first nobles to rule from here were the Poth family with the title of Count.  They were among the oldest German noble families in Hungary.  Henry III of Germany granted two brothers from the Palatinate (Pfalz) land in Hungary for their support in his conflict with Konrad of Bavaria.  The brothers were named Aribo and Botho.  When Andreas I of Hungary had to fight his brother Bela for the throne, Botho was on the side of the king but unfortunately Bela was successful in defeating him.  He freed all of the German knights who had been captured and allowed them to return to Germany or remain in Hungary and become his vassals.  Botho was among those who stayed and pledged allegiance to the new king.  During the reigns of Stephen, Ladislaus and Coloman the German nobles were given more and more land for their services to the crown.  Botho and his son purchased the estates of Pressburg and Valko from Dionysius of Weyke.  Aribo died in 1104.  His descendants abandoned their German name and adopted the Hungarian name Győr.  This was a practice others followed as well and eventually lost all of sense of being anything else than Magyars in the future.


  During the 12th and 13th Centuries the importance of the Both-Győr family grew during the reigns of King Emmerich and Andreas II.  In this period their first land grants in Wieselburg County were awarded through political manoeuvring on their part and the Domain of Ungarisch Altenburg fell into their hands.  The family owed this to one of its sons, Saul, who became the Metropolitan of the bishopric of Kalocsa.  Saul was the notary at the royal court of Bela III and later the royal chancellor.  He became a power behind the throne.  Therefore it was not difficult for him to secure political offices for his four brothers:  Botho III, Alexander II, Gepan I and Maurus I.  The Both-Győr brothers made the most of their positions and took over the estates in Wieselburg County.  They were the largest landowners in the County and laid the foundation for the future Domains of Ungarisch Altenburg.  


  Eventually Stephen II and Konrad I would become the heirs of this large land-rapacious family.  For his courageous service to the King, Alexander II was granted the villages of Ragendorf, Croatian Jahrndorf and Winden.  The family would also have political power in the Administration of the County serving regularyl as the High Sheriff.  Maurus increased his holdings in Baranya County.  Gepan was awarded Pécs County and the position of Paladin (Viceroy) of Hungary.  In 1269 Gepan was also awarded half of St. Johann and Neusiedel-on-the-Sea.  The last brother, Botho II, successfully unified the entire landholdings of the family.  They not only had political power and enormous landholdings they also had money and purchased additional estates.  The lesser Hungarian nobles raised a hue and cry about it because they considered the family to be interlopers and foreigners.  This put the clamps on future favours and their political power was lessened under Andreas II.  In 1239 there were only two males left in the Győr family line:  Maurus III (died 1249) and Konrad I.


  In 1241 the Mongol “Golden Horde” invaded the region.  All of the communities and villages between Raab (Győr) and Wieselburg were destroyed.  Countless people were massacred and women were raped and carried off.  Because of conflicts over their leadership the Mongols soon left and returned home to settle matters.  King Bela IV’s response was to order the construction of stone defensive fortresses throughout the land for protection in the future.  He did not have the support of the higher clergy and nobles in this undertaking.  Nevertheless many fortresses were constructed across Hungary.  Following Maurus’ death, Konrad I began to build a fortress at Ungarisch Altenburg and named it Ovár.  He took the side of Ottokar II of Bohemia, who was a Habsburg, against the Hungarian King.  He allowed Ottokar’s troops free passage through his domains and allowed them to destroy his neighbours’ villages and annexed other peoples’ property and Ottokar recognized his ownership.  All of that would shortly change.  In 1260 Ottokar married into the Hungarian royal family.  Ottokar forgot his friend Konrad and the Hungarian parliament confiscated all of Konrad’s estates in Wieselburg and Pressburg Counties in reprisal for his treason.


  Bela IV gave the fortress Ovár to Lorenz of Aba.  Later there was a quarrel between the king and his son Stephen and Konrad tried to take advantage of the situation.  He supported the prince and gained an advantage.  When the father and son were reconciled Konrad was rewarded by the return of the fortress and all of his estates in both Counties and all of his privileges as a noble.  Lorenz of Ab was compensated by being given the County of Eisenburg.  Konrad died in 1299.  His son Jakob succeeded him.  He died some time between 1314 and 1315.  His son, Konrad II, took the name Kéménd.  How long the domains remained in the family’s hands is now unknown.


  It appears that the family lost the domains after the death of Jakob and they became part of the King’s holdings.  In 1350 Ulrich von Wolfurt became the king’s castellan of the fortress of Ovár and eventually the domains were pledged to him and his heirs.  He was succeeded by his son Paul.  He died shortly after marrying Judith, the daughter of Duke Premko von Troppan.  In 1441 following his death she was remarried to Count Georg II of St. Georgen and Bőssing and brought the Domain as her dowry.  She died in 1450 and the Wolfurt family contested Bőssing’s claim to the Domain and they were successful in recovering it.  As the new owners of the Domain they visited their landholdings, market towns and villages that included:  Ungarisch Altenburg, Wieselburg, Pallersdorf, Ragendorf, Sandorf, Pfingstmark, Hallassen, Gahling, Strasssommerein, Zanegg, St. Peter and St. Johann and half of Kimmling.  (These are all now in Hungarian territory.)  Those that are now part of Austria include Nickelsdorf, Tadten, Neusiedel-am-See, Jois, Zurndorf, Deutsch Jahrndorf and half of Pama, Rust, Purbach and Stinkenbrunn.


  The Bőssings refused to give up their claim and continued to complain to the courts to get them back.  They provided badly needed money to Emperor Frederick III (1446-1493) and the Domain was given back to them.


  Upon the death of the last Bőssing heir, Louis II, gave the Domain to his wife Maria, the sister of the Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand I.  Queen Maria appointed Stephen Amade von Vadony as commander of the fortress of Ungarisch Altenburg.  Following the death of Louis II at Mohács, Ferdinand I confirmed that the Domain was the personal possession of his sister Maria in 1527.  It was now an Imperial holding.  During the Turkish occupation of Hungary the Habsburgs were powerless to avoid making concessions.  The administration of the Domain was left in the hands of an Imperial agent, one of whom was Karl von Harrach.  On October 7, 1619 he was installed as commander of the fortress.  In 1621 Emperor Ferdinand sold him the Domain for 302,000 Gulden.  Count Nikolaus Pálffy purchased the villages of Zurndorf, Nickelsdorf, Ragendorf, Strasssommerein, Kaltenstein and Pallersdorf for 70,000 Gulden.


  In 1648 the new owner, the Paladin of Hungary,  Count Janos Draskovics, paid off the remaining mortgage.  He would be in possession of the Domain for the next 24 years.  The Emperor then traded some other property to regain the Domain as an Imperial holding.  During the reign of Leopold I the second Turkish invasion occurred.  The commander of the Imperial Royal Army was Charles of Lorraine.  The future of the Habsburg dynasty hung in the balance facing this new Turkish threat but the Domain would remain in the hands of the Habsburgs well into the 20th Century.


The Communities in the Heideboden


  After the Turkish conquest of most of Hungary, the Heideboden was devastated and much of the population fled into Austria only to return later.  In 1566 St. Peter still had twenty-eight surviving families, while in St. Johann there were forty-one families.  After the battle at Mohács in 1526 Lutheranism spread rapidly among the Heidebauern.  Many of the bishops were powerless to oppose the Lutheran preachers.  Many of the estate owners and nobles were patrons and supporters of the new faith and assisted in its spread throughout Western Hungary.  In addition to the preachers there were merchants and traders who eagerly spread the Lutheran faith among the local population.  By 1557 two thirds of Hungary’s population had turned to Lutheranism.  The entire Heideboden had gone over to Lutheranism by 1540-1550.  The Heideboden would remain Lutheran for an entire century.  Through the efforts of Count Paul Esterházy and Bishop Georg Szechenyi the Counter Reformation was launched and the Heideboden was re-catholicized with the assistance of the Jesuits, Augustinians, the County officials and troops whenever it was felt necessary when they were met with resistance.


  There was also a constant new stream of settlers from the Steiermark consisting of farmers, townspeople and artisans when Lutheran worship was forbidden there.  Many of them fled to what would become the Burgenland.  Lutheran Swabians from around Lake Constance arrived in Apelton, Illmitz, Pamhagen, Wallern and Kaltenstein.  Lutheran exiles from Salzburg settled in St. Johann, St. Peter, Andau and Zanegg.  The population losses that had been incurred in the past were replenished.


  By 1890 there were twenty-eight large villages and 32 smaller ones in the Heideboden with a population of 85,000.  There were 55,000 Germans, 21,000 Magyars and 9,000 Croats.  Wieselburg (Moson) County was the only county in Hungary where the Germans formed the majority of the population.


  The following is a typical report of the experience of the German population in the Heideboden over the centuries given by Simon Muhr, a Lutheran from Strassommerein:  “In the year 1683 on July 2nd we were driven from our homes by the Turks.  We were in flight for twelve weeks and three days and then we returned only to find great devastation where once our homes had stood…”


The History of St. Johann and St. Peter


  On the basis of some historical evidence it appears that St. Johann was first established after the Mongol invasion.  There are references to a German village situated between Halbturn and the present village in 1267.  No information about its name is available.  In a letter to King Bela IV of April 1, 1267 the bishop of Raab reports that a stone church had been built in this village that year.  Village lore suggests that this village was destroyed by fire and that the inhabitants moved further to the south and built another church in what is now St. Johann.  A Hungarian map from 1296 indicates that there was a Mosonszentjános on the present-day site.  The first documented mention of St. Peter is in a tax list that is dated 1552.


  In 1687 the records indicate that in both communities the people were very poor and had to pay taxes toward the liberation of Hungary from the Turks.  On November 6, 1711 half of St. Johann was destroyed by fire.  Taxes were always on the increase.  If a peasant left the service of his lord he had to pay a fee to cross the village boundary for himself, any livestock he took with him as well as fodder, crops and any wagons.


  In 1705 the military government ordered that the timbered defensive walls be rebuilt around Ungarisch Altenburg.  The villages were assessed a tax.  St. Johann had to provide one hundred men and St. Peter sixty to provide five days of labour.


  The villages also had to provide for quartering and billeting troops.  In 1706 they had to provide provisions for an entire regiment.  At the time of Kurucz rebellion three cavalry regiments were stationed in the villages.  The conditions of the peasantry were deplorable.  The population was reduced resulting from various causes.


  The owner of the Domain was Maria Theresia the Empress.  In 1763 she gave the Domain of Ungarisch Altenburg to her daughter Maria Christina.  There were repeated fires and famines as well as epidemics both in terms of the population and the livestock.  The heaviest burden imposed on the villagers was the quartering of Austrian troops.


  In 1767 there were 188 families in the twin village:  1,134 persons; 249 women, 245 men and 364 boys and 276 girls.  All of the inhabitants were Roman Catholic.


Religious Life


  At one point in the life of St. Johann a Lutheran and Roman Catholic congregation shared a church building and cemetery.


  The Council of Trent 1562-1563 identified the need for canonical visitations to all the parishes in order to determine  true Catholic doctrine was being taught and preached and to strengthen it where it was found wanting.  Since the bishop could not personally visit every parish annually he sent a representative “visitor” on his behalf which became a common practice throughout Europe at the time.  The organizational and administrative affairs of the parish would be in the foreground during the visitation.  But the deepening of faith and correction of errors were a major agenda item during the period of the Counter Reformation in the 17th Century in Hungary.


  The canonical visitation in Wieselburg County in 1659 was carried out by Archdeacon Martin Szily from Komorn on behalf of Bishop Georg Szeczeny of Győr.  He visited St. Johann on March 10, 1659 when Count Draskovics was the feudal lord.  The name of the parish was St. John the Baptist.  He reported:  “The church is small and circular in form like a heathen temple! and it is not consecrated!  There is a stone tower with two bells which many not be consecrated either.  There is also a clock that the schoolmaster keeps in repair.  There is a wooden altar and two side altars.  The baptismal font is of stone.  There are pictures above all of the altars.  The roof of the church needs to be repaired as well as the wall around the cemetery.  The congregation has no source of outside income and the upkeep is provided jointly by the Catholic and Lutheran congregations.  There are a few German books available in the church.”


  He continues:  “The inhabitants of the village are all Germans and obstinate Protestants with the exception of two major households, sixteen cotters and several day labourers, hired hands and maids some 150 persons in all.  Johann Eberhard Vogell is the secular priest serving here has been properly ordained but has not been installed by the bishop.  The rectory is in pitiful condition especially when it comes to the roof.  The upkeep of the rectory is the joint responsibility of the Catholic and Lutheran congregation and its repair is planned for next summer.  The income of the parish is 104 Gulden.  Half is given to the priest and the other half to the Lutheran preacher.”


  “The school is maintained with the help of the filials in St. Peter and Andau.  Nothing has changed in the school since the visitation of 1648.  All of the pupils are Roman Catholic.  The school income is divided between the teacher and the Lutheran schoolmaster.  Count Nikolaus Drastovics, the feudal landlord, is accountable for these arrangements.”


  As a representative of the bishop, Szily also represented Count Draskovics and carried out a “secular” visitation on his behalf of the Lutheran congregation in St. Johann.


  He indicates:  “In 1659 the Lutherans built a church from the ground up.  It has all of the amenities.  The altar is made of wood and is embossed with gold.  The foundation of the altar is made of stone, the choir is made of wood, wooden candlesticks and a baptismal font made of stone.  The entire church is furnished in the manner of the heretics.  (translator’s note: pews had been installed).  The tower is of stone construction and there are two bells.  The Lutherans do not have a cemetery of their own but use the same one as the Catholics.”


  “The Lutheran preacher (translator’s note:  a term of derision used to deny the validity of their ordination) is Kaspar Kegelly.  He lives in St. Johann and receives an income of 104 Gulden from the filial in St. Peter and Andau.  He has two acres of land that he works himself and a meadow.  Every third Sunday he goes to Andau and holds services there in a farmer’s house.  He has a very nice parsonage; the upkeep is the responsibility of his congregation.”


  “There is a Lutheran school and a schoolmaster, Jakob Fabian, who teaches the children according to the usage of the Lutherans.  He receives 25 denars per pupil.  The upkeep and operation of the school is the responsibility of the Lutheran congregation. He also serves as the organist and bell ringer.”


  The Archdeacon also carried out a visitation in St. Peter’s and reported the following in part:  “The small church serves both a Roman Catholic and Lutheran congregation and the Roman Catholic priest says mass here on the 4th Sunday of the month.  The residents of St. Peter’s are all Germans.  Among the landowning farmers the largest majority of them are Lutherans.  The cotters and day labourers are more or less Catholic.  They number about 175.  The parish of St. Peter’s pays the parish 62 Guilden and 8 Kreutzer.  Half of it goes to the Lutheran preacher.  There is no school in St. Peter.”


  There would be another canonical visitation in Wieselburg on May 23, 1680 and this time the visitor is Archdeacon Kusmics.  He notes:  “The description of the church as provided in 1659 is accurate except that the side altars dedicated to St. Johan the Baptist are gone!”  Later in his report when he takes inventory of the furnishings and such he remarks:  “The silver chalice was returned to the church in response to the threats that I issued.  It had been hidden in the house of one of the inhabitants of village at the time that the church had been taken over from the Lutherans.  The local Richter (mayor) Michael Lang made the arrangements for its return.  (translator’s note:  the chalice was the symbol of Lutheranism in Hungary and still is today).”


The 20th Century


  After the First World War all positions of importance in the community such as the notary, teacher, priest, druggist, postmaster were filled by Magyars only.  Their task was to assist in making Magyars out of the local inhabitants.


  In the drug store no one was allowed to speak German.  Whoever spoke German was served in a rude manner.  Upwards of 85% of the older generation could not speak Hungarian.  Tickets at the railway station had to be ordered in Hungarian or they could not be obtained.  None of the civil servants knew a word of German.  The postmistress in St. Johann often brought that to the people’s attention saying, “Here one must speak Hungarian.”  That was ironic because she was of German origin herself, a Weber from Donnerskirchen.  Above all the priests set out to Magyarize their flock and fought every attempt to maintain old customs and traditions of the Heidebauern at every turn.


  Membership and regular participation in the Levente, a paramilitary organization in which males from fourteen years up participated weekly was compulsory.  To miss muster any week resulted in imprisonment.


  On June 30, 1940 the Bund was organized in St. Johann.  Young men from the age of fifteen to twenty-six years made up 90% of its membership.  On November 24, 1940 the Bund was organized in St. Peter.


  Forty to fifty of the inhabitants of the village joined in the evacuation in 1945 as the Red Army approached.  On Sunday, Easter Day, April 1, 1945 Russian troops occupied the village at 5:00 a.m. in the morning.  The population, mostly the elderly, women and children hid in their cellars.  Houses were robbed and plundered.  Women of all ages were raped.  One old man was shot for refusing to hand over his radio.


  In November of 1945 as “new settlers” arrived from all over Hungary the German populations in Gahling, Kaltenstein, Ragendorf, Strasssommerein and Karlburg were interned in Zanegg under terrible conditions.  On December 24th “new settlers” arrived in St. Johann and St. Peter and the German population were thrown out of their houses into the streets in the bitter cold and force marched to Zanegg.  Some of the inmates in the camp began to flee across the border into Austria seeking refuge in the Burgenland as their ancestors in the past had done over the centuries.


  Contemporary Hungarians refer to the expulsion of the Germans from Hungary as a re-settlement and not a deportation or expulsion.  The Hungarians of Slovakia arrived in Hungary with all of their livestock and belongings and were not packed into cattle cars like the German expellees were soon to be.


  Four weeks after the Potsdam Conference the village of Zanegg in the Heideboden was set up as an assembly camp for the Germans living in Wieselburg County.   For a start the residents of Kaltenstein were brought to Zanegg in August 1945.  They had not come far.  They were not questioned with regard to their political involvements.  They were forced on waiting wagons carrying only their personal necessities.  The sick were tossed on the wagons and in Zanegg they were divided up among the families living there.


  In September the populations of Maria Gahling arrived in Zanegg.  Up until winter the vast majority of the populations of Kimling, Ragendorf, Karlburg, Strasssommerein, St. Johann, St. Peter and Moson itself were sent to Zanegg.  All of the houses were packed with people, four to five families in each home.


  Police occupied and guarded the village.  The food among the internees dwindled rapidly.  Many rooms were unheated; the old and very young suffered from the cold.  There were few young men, most of them had been dragged off to Győr, while others who returned home after being released as prisoners of war fled to Austria.  The old men were taken to bring in the hay.  Many of them returned home badly beaten with black eyes and facial bruises.  The Zanegg Ghetto would become worthy of its name.


  The cattle car convoys that would take them to Germany were a welcome relief.  The expulsions began on April 7, 1946 with the reading of the names of those families and individuals who were to be affected.  The first railway convoy left on April 12th followed by others on the 14th, 17th and 19th.


  Later in 1951 when the returning Hungarian prisoners of war being held in Russia arrived in Budapest in the East Station, all of them had to disembark from the train and the German Hungarians (as they were now called) were separated from the others and put under guard by heavily armed Hungarian Secret Police officers at a nearby camp in Tolonc.  After many weeks and countless interrogations all of the German Hungarians were sent to the Tiszalok labour camp, including forty-four young men from St. Johann and St. Peter.  They would work on the construction of a hydro electric dam on the Tisza River for the next four years under appalling conditions before being released and sent to Germany.



 The Heideboden

     The Heideboden is located partially in the present day Sopron and Moson Counties in Hungary and the state of Burgenland in Austria.  It covers the general area between the Neusiedler Sea and the Danube River as it flows south from present day Bratislava that was previously known as Pressburg.  The designation itself indicates that it was originally moorland with rich river-bottom soil which accounted for its fertility.  The area was also known as the “Burgenland” (the Land of Fortresses).  It was intended to act as a buffer zone to protect Austria from constant invasions and nomadic incursions coming from the east.  The settlements that existed were clustered around either defensive military positions or fortresses to provide support in terms of manpower and food supplies during times of siege and attack.


  In a sense, the Heideboden was the gateway into south-western Europe, the invasion route of the Germanic tribes, Huns, Magyars, Tatar-Mongols and the Turks.  It was the last outpost of western Europe.  A military frontier district.  The first line of defence.


  During the three hundred year Roman occupation of the area, at the beginning of the Christian Era, the region was known as the West Bank of the Danube.  A string of defensive positions to raise the alarm and ward off the advances of the oncoming Germanic tribes and the later arriving Slavs from the east.  The Romans gave the Heideboden its basic character for the centuries which followed.


  The original Celtic population was supplanted by various invaders, who themselves were later conquered or forced to move westwards into what is now known as Lower Austria.  There was actually no “local” population in the Heidebdoen per se.  The first of the German-speaking settlers to re-enter the area were of Frankish origin brought there by the Emperor Charlemagne early in the ninth Century from Franconia.  There is, however, the strong possibility that these settlers also included large numbers of Bavarians.  This resulted in naming them Heidebauern which is a corruption of Heidebayern meaning moorland Bavarians.  The purpose for settling them in the area was defensive to stem the tie of the westward expansion of the Magyar tribes coming out of the east.


  These settlers bore the brunt of the raids and attacks of the fierce nomadic Magyar horsemen who slaughtered and terrorized the local population and in so doing destroyed every vestige of their settled life.  The Heidebauern settlements were put to the torch.  The population fled en masse.  Hid in the forests and countryside.  Managed to eek out an existence in caves and ruins.  Their fields and crops were totally devastated.  Their livestock were run off.  Yet they managed to survive.


  The Magyars were finally halted in their attempt to move into western Europe at Augsburg in 955 at the Battle of Lechfeld.  The forces of the Holy Roman Empire under the Emperor Otto drove them from the field and the retreating Magyars fled for their lives.  In their retreat back into what would become Hungary some of them established themselves in the area where the Heidebauern had lived.  They were later joined by small groups of Heidebauern who began to return to their former settlements.  An experiment in co-existence began.


  When King Stephen of Hungary was able to consolidate his power as the first Christian King of the “nation” of Hungary early in the eleventh Century he brought in a second stream of settlers to assist in the Christianization of the Magyar tribes.  Almost all of these settlers who were nobles, knights, monks and peasants came from Bavaria.  His choice of Bavarians was probably due to his queen, Gisela of Passau, a princess from Bavaria.  They were in all likelihood her vassals or came as part of her retinue and dowry.


  Large groups of peasant settlers entered the Heideboden.  Most of the villages continued to be clustered in close proximity to fortresses and castles and usually consisted of fifty to one hundred families.  Most of the new colonists lived in timbered houses during this period, while other simply lived in dug-outs or “cellar houses”.  They began tilling the soil with their wooden ploughs and took up gardening.  Later they began to specialize in livestock rearing mostly cattle, hogs, horses and flocks of sheep.  The landlords to whom they were subject were usually Bavarians like themselves:  nobles, monastic orders or higher clergy.  Groupings of ten villages were called upon to support a church and priest.  The Heideboden once again bore all of the essential marks of an ordered and settled communal life.


  They came as invited “guests” of the Hungarian king, a fact that future Magyar nationalist historians would conveniently forget or managed to ignore.


  In 1074, Henry IV of Germany, had the Heideboden placed under his personal “protection”.  During this protectorate he encouraged the further settlement of German-speaking people into the area.  The twelfth and thirteen centuries saw more German immigration in response to the invitation of Gezá II of Hungary.  The vast majority of these settlers came from Bavaria while contingents of Austrians were now also among them.


  Civilized life in Hungary was almost obliterated in 1241 when the Tatar-Mongol hordes swept over the Great Hungarian Plain and crossed the frozen Danube River in mid-winter.  The Heideboden was put to the torch.  The population that had not been able to flee or went into hiding were carried off as slaves.  Hungary lay in ruins.  Plague and starvation would become the fate of the survivors.  Meanwhile, the Mongols continued to move westward…


  Recovery from the devastation was slow but gradual due primarily to the early withdrawal of the Mongols from Europe to settle leadership disputes back home and the insightful leadership of the Hungarian King, Belá IV.  Count Frederick of Bamberg annexed the Heideboden to Austria and called for a new resettlement of the territory with the largest number of settlers arriving during this period from territories under the control of the Hohenstauffen family in south-western Germany.


  Unfortunately this period of rebuilding would be short-lived.  The Turks were now on the rampage in the south in the Balkans which was later followed by the disastrous defeat of the Louis II of Hungary and his army at Mohács in 1526.  The entire country was defenceless and at the mercy of the Sultan and his Grand Vizier and their policy of plunder and depopulation.


  The Turkish invaders swarmed across the Heideboden.  They attacked and ravished unsuspecting villages, plundered, murdered, burned and enslaved.  The peasants fled to the fortresses which were able to withstand the marauders and outlast the sieges.  By September the peasants began to return to their destroyed villages…and rebuilt once more.  For the next one hundred and fifty years the Heideboden, like all of Royal Hungary, was open to sudden attack and destruction at the hand of the Turks.  Countless Heidebauern peasants were slaughtered or carried off as slaves never to be heard from again.  Yet even now, following the Turkish conquest of Hungary, additional settlers arrived in the Heideboden.


  These settlers were persecuted Swabian Lutherans from the Bodensee-Eck, an area along the eastern shore of Lake Constance.  They arrived in 1620 under the protection of a Habsburg princess who was a convert to Lutheranism and she established them in their own settlements.  These Swabian settlers came primarily from villages in Upper Swabia:  Wangen, Ravensburg, Lindau and Isny.  Lutheran refugees from Salzburg would later become part of these communities throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as persecution intensified during the Counter Reformation.


  Throughout the recorded history of the region there are numerous references to the villages of Nickelsdorf and Ragendorf which both shared in the devastation and destruction and were part of the resistance and rebuilding.  Nickelsdorf existed prior to 1048 and is one of the oldest of the Heideboden communities and its original settlers came from Franconia and Bavaria.  Their dialect, attire and customs also reflect these origins and traditions.  All indications point to the fact that Ragendorf was also established at approximately the same time.  There were always close relationships between the two communities over the centuries and they also shared a common feudal master.  Ragendorf belonged to the series of villages related to the fortress at Altenburg and its history is intertwined with the fortunes and misfortunes of that military bastion and outpost on the west bank of the Danube.


  Ragendorf became a market town early in the life of the community which gave it special Royal privileges and rights.  During the 14th Century there was an annual assembly of the nobles of the County at Ragendorf where civil cases were judged and fines imposed.  In 1313 the St. Martin’s Church was constructed on the foundations of an ancient Roman watchtower in the village.  The St. Martin in question was Martin of Tours, the patron saint of the Heideboden.  It was Martin of Tours who was the namesake of Martin Luther.


  The community chronicles from the Middle Ages often record the original name of the settlement as “Reugen”.  The Urbarial documents indicate that throughout its history Ragendorf was a “German” community with only a handful of Croatian residents.  There were no Hungarians.  The community’s most famous son was the composer and pianist Franz Liszt.  Although Hungary considers him to be one of their greatest national figures he had no Hungarian origins at all.  In fact he never learned the language.  Nor did he ever refer to himself as being Hungarian.  The family name was actually:  “Lisztmeyer”.  His side of the family converted to Roman Catholicism during the last phase of the Counter Reformation in Hungary in the 18th Century.


  Ragendorf had an additional noteworthy distinction.  Along with Nickelsdorf, these two Heidebauern villages formed two of the earliest Evangelical Lutheran congregations in Europe.  As indicated previously, the Lutheran Reformation spread rapidly throughout the Heideboden among the local population.  The preaching of Lutheranism first won over the towns of the Pressburg and Ődenburg in the early 1520s under the protection and support of the Habsburg Queen Maria of Hungary.  The teachings of Luther were soon carried to the surrounding Heidebauern villages by “preachers” and book sellers.  The printing press became the vehicle for turning all of Hungary to the Reformation.  As a result wherever Lutheran congregations came into existence they were quick to establish their own local Lutheran school which would develop the strong Lutheran character and piety of the people.


  In 1554 the first Evangelical Lutheran “synod” met at the fortress town of Altenburg which was only a stone’s throw away from Ragendorf.  The first Lutheran “bishop” of Hungary was elected at this gathering.  From the very beginning of the spread of Lutheranism in Hungary restrictions and outright persecution were ordered and carried out by the Roman Catholic higher clergy and the various monastic orders.  The Heideboden would become a virtual battleground as the power of the Church and State were unleashed against the townspeople and peasantry who tenaciously held to the tenets of their Lutheran faith.  Their opposition was so formidable that the Jesuits had to be called in to carry out the Counter Reformation in the Heideboden.


  The Jesuits made their headquarters at nearby Altenburg.  As the activities of the Lutherans were curtailed by the zealous members of the Society of Jesus with the assistance of armed Imperial troops the beleaguered Lutherans resorted to forming “household churches” or held gatherings in the forests by night.  Others would journey to distant Pressburg to attend Lutheran services there as long as they were permitted in that city.  All of these factors would shape and form the character of the Heidebauern Lutherans in the future.  The pogroms the Lutherans endured under the misleading designation of the polite sounding “Counter Reformation” throughout Hungary were especially severe in its application in the Heideboden towns and villages.


  Their pastors were exiled.  Their church buildings were confiscated.  Their teachers were forced to go underground in order to continue to serve them.  Children were taken away from their parents to be raised as Roman Catholics.  But whenever there was a pause or a respite from persecution due to the power some Lutheran and Calvinist nobles were able to  exercise; congregations re-emerged built new churches and established their local schools.  Only to lose them again.


  Priests were appointed to every Heideboden village after 1582 and the Lutherans had to pay all of their church tithes to support them even for those services their own pastors performed for them.  In 1645 the Hungarian Landtag forced the Habsburg Emperor to return some of the church buildings that he had ordered confiscated from their Lutheran congregations that he had handed over to the Roman Catholic Church authorities for their use.  Two of these churches that were returned were those in Ragendorf and Nickelsdorf.  This was simply window dressing because the congregations and their pastors were forced to remain under the jurisdiction of the local Roman Catholic bishop and were placed under his “spiritual care.”


  Regular, if not annual, canonical visits were carried out in all of the communities within the territory of the diocese of Raab (Gyӧr).  These direct inspections were carried out to keep abreast of religious life in the diocese as it was expressed in the local parishes.  The visitations also provided a way to keep a check on the “heretics” and their activities.  One of the legal rights of the official visitor acting on behalf of the Bishop was permission to interrogate Lutheran pastors, teachers and lay leaders of the congregation.  All Lutherans were responsible to the Roman Catholic bishop or his appointed delegate “both for their life and doctrine.”


  Such a canonical visitation was carried out in the Heidebauern villages in March of 1659 by the bishop’s appointed delegate Martin Szily.


  In reporting on his visit to Nickelsdorf, he identified the village as part of the Estate of Adam Forgacz.  He laments that he was not properly  received or welcomed into the community as was fitting his position and rank.  In fact, he was confronted with a list of complaints and grievances by the villagers upon his arrival.  He then proceeds to describe the church and its liturgical appointments.  Then finally he indicates that all of the inhabitants of Nickelsdorf were Lutherans except for six families.  These “faithful Catholics” were served by the priest in Strasssommerein while the Lutherans shared the “heretic preacher” from nearby Zurndorf.  The Lutherans had a school and their own schoolmaster who lived locally.  The teacher instructed the boys including the boys from the Catholic families.  He was also the organist and bell-ringer.


  During a visitation in Ragendorf on February 18, 1669 the bishop’s visitor indicates that the vast majority of the Heidebauern villagers were adherents of the Lutheran Confession but there were several Croatian and Hungarian families who held to the “old” faith as he puts it.  The visitor complains bitterly that he was not received or welcomed by the Lutherans at all.  In fact, he was totally ignored.  As a result he threatened to lodge an official protest and complaint to both their noble landlord, Count Forgacz and his wife over the affront on the part of his “heretic” subjects.  He identifies Andreas Fierestany as the resident Lutheran pastor and a man named Foelix as their schoolmaster.  He then begins to describe the newly built Lutheran church as rather simple and rustic in comparison with the rather well appointed and attractive Roman Catholic church.  What he fails to mention is that this church had belonged to the Lutheran congregation but had been confiscated nine years earlier for use by villagers holding to the “old” faith.


  From the visitation reports in 1696 we discover only a remnant of the Lutheran community survived the “Decade of Sorrows” in the Heideboden.  The Lutherans had paid a high price.  Some were sent to serve as galley slaves in Naples.  Others were banished or exiled.  There had been executions and imprisonments.  They had all taken their toll.  The Archdeacon who carried out this canonical visitation was shocked and rather dismayed to discover that in addition to the 20,405 Roman Catholics in the eastern Heideboden there were also still 4,547 Lutherans and 680 Calvinists (Hungarian Reformed).  The Lutherans were concentrated in the villages of Edelstal, Ragendorf, Andau, Gols, Kaltenstein and Zurndorf.  The inhabitants of the village of Halassen was all Calvinists.  All other areas of the eastern Heideboden had been re-catholicized.


  The last phase of the Counter Reformation struck the Heideboden congregations during the reign of the Empress Maria Theresia.  Their churches were closed or confiscated; their pastors and teachers were driven out of the country.  Congregations reverted back to family assemblies and visited the two Articular churches in their vicinity.  (On the basis of an Article passed by the Landtag, two Lutheran and two Calvinist churches were allowed in each County.  Outside of that it was dangerous for the Lutherans to give any outward expression to their faith or to frequent services beyond their own family circle until the Edict of Toleration in 1781.)





   The following article is based on: Das War Zanegg, the Heimatbuch of Zangegg in Moson County (Weisselberg) in Western Hungary by Johann Neuberger published in May of 1989 and is my own translation. 

   Currently the name of the village is Mosonszolnak and it is located 30 kilometres east of the Neusiedler See; 70 kilometres from Vienna and 150 kilometres from Budapest.  It is situated in Moson County and lies only 7 kilometres from the Austrian border on the main railway line in close proximity to Strasssommerein and Kaltenstein (now known as Hegyshalom and Level).


  For centuries the region was known as the Heideboden by its inhabitants who were descendants of German-speaking colonists who first cultivated the grasslands and moors that covered the area.  They were later joined by Croatian refugees at the time of the Turkish invasions and conquest of Hungary along with one Hungarian village in the vicinity of Strasssommerein.  As a result of the Treaty of Trianon in 1919 following the First World War the western portions of the Heideboden became part of the Burgenland in Austria and the eastern section remained as part of Hungary.


  Many of the villages of the Heideboden were destroyed during the Turkish raids and military campaigns in the area.  In all likelihood most of them had earlier been built on previous Roman sites.  Zanegg has existed as a community for over one thousand years.  During the Middle Ages it was identified as a German-speaking village.  The name first appears in 1546 as an Urbarial village of the Habsburg Domain at Ungarisch Altenburg, this document provides information on the contractual relationship the peasants had with their noble landlord.


  The earliest identifiable population living in the area were the Celts who were followed by the Romans, Germanic tribes like the East Goths, and then came the Huns, the Lombards, the Avars, and the Franks under the leadership of Charlemagne who settled Franconian and Bavarian colonists in the area.  They were followed by the rampaging mounted nomadic Magyar tribes.  Through the efforts of Stephen I, the first Christian King of Hungary, a massive German immigration into the Heideboden followed under his direction.  The next to appear on the scene were the Slavs followed by the Turks.  Zanegg was probably settled during the reign of Stephen I (997-1038).


  An ancient church that is some eight hundred years old still stands but unlike the church in Kaltenstein it was not meant to serve a monastic community.  It is also associated with Queen Maria of Hungary at a later date.  It was badly damaged in 1707 during an attack by the Kuruz rebels and the tower had to be totally replaced.


  When the Turks first lay siege to Vienna in 1530 they passed through the Heideboden and destroyed most of the settlements and took a major portion of the population back to Turkey as slaves.  Although the Heideboden would be held by the Habsburgs during the Turkish 150 year occupation of Hungary it was always in danger of raids and scattered attacks until it was overrun a second time when they marched on Vienna in 1683.


  As a result of the first Turkish assault on Zanegg in 1529 only twelve houses were left standing, while thirty-two houses were burned or destroyed and only a few inhabitants continued to live there according to a report in 1532 written to the steward of the Domain of Ungarisch Altenburg.  After defeating the Hungarian army at Mohács in 1529 the Turkish army of 300,000 was set loose and cut a swath of destruction to the West and overran Hungary.  In September they entered the Heideboden and plundered, murdered and put it to the torch.  They did not run into any opposition anywhere.  The Austrian military forces at Ungarisch Altenburg retreated to support the coming siege of Vienna.  The population of the Heideboden fled to the islands in the Neusiedler See, Austria and further West.  Most of those who remained behind in their communities were massacred.


  As the frustrated and unsuccessful Turks ended the siege of Vienna they returned to Hungary passing through the Heideboden again and created havoc throughout the area and destroyed anything and everything they had missed on their former rampage.  No place and no one were spared.


  Eventually some of the bravest former inhabitants returned or came out of hiding in the forests and swamps and began to rebuild.  Most of the larger settlements were reclaimed while the smaller villages reverted to wilderness.  The Domain of Ungarisch Altenburg listed nine such destroyed villages all of which were a few kilometres from Zanegg.  By 1532 there were perhaps up to fifty people living in Zanegg.  Some of them had survived the ravages of the Turks while others came there who could not return to their former farms and sought a sense of security in “larger” Zanegg.  It is not known what happened to the rest of the population.


  The family names listed in the Urbarial List of 1546 were still common in Zanegg in 1946 when the entire population was deported.  Included among them were the Zechmeisters whose origins had been in Bavaria centuries before.  There was a gradual increase in the population and numerous houses were built or repaired.  The new homes were always built on the site of ruined homes.


  During the 150 years of Turkish occupation that followed, the people of the Heideboden lived in constant uncertainty.  Turkish raiders and marauders were always on the prowl and attacked the frontier settlements.  In 1594 the Turks took the fortress of Raab, a Habsburg defensive position in the area and would hold it for four years.  That meant constant danger to the Heideboden and its single fortress at Ungarisch Altenburg.  The Hungarian Prince of Transylvania took over Slovakia and other Hungarian nobles joined them in an attack on Vienna and the Heideboden was ravaged in the process.  The rebel forces had both Turkish and French support.  As a result the Austrians had to reinforce their troops in Ungarisch Altenburg.  The local populations had to support the soldiers who were quartered in their homes.  This led to numerous confrontations with the troops.  In 1619 and 1620 countless homes in Zanegg were put to the torch by the soldiers from Ungarisch Altenburg.  The peasant farmers in Zanegg as well as all of the neighbouring villages had gone over to Lutheranism in the early 16the century although the Habsburgs remained staunchly Roman Catholic and opposed the new faith and used their power and influence to eradicate it as quickly as possible.  The inhabitants of Zanegg like their neighbours throughout the Heideboden refused to convert despite the pressure exerted against them by the military commander of the fortress in Ungarisch Altenburg and the bishop of Raab.  It was only in 1670 when the Decade of Sorrows began that they appeared to have given up their Lutheran faith at the height of the persecution that history would call the final phase of the Counter Reformation in Hungary.


  Because of all of these difficulties there was little growth in population or development of the land.  Despite of all of these factors by 1659 Zanegg had between 600-800 inhabitants.  The vast majority of them claimed to be Lutherans but there were already 300 Roman Catholics in the area who had been “forcibly converted”.


  The new attack unleashed against Vienna in 1683 led to a new Turkish threat throughout the Heideboden.  Three hundred thousand Turks under Mohammed IV and the Grand Vizer, Kara Mustapha rampaged their way across the Heideboden.  On July 1st the Turks were at the gates of nearby Raab and by July 2nd they were at Ungarisch Altenburg.  The Imperial Army retreated to defend Vienna.  The hordes of Turks burned down houses; destroyed the ripening crops in the field; massacred the population in such gruesome ways that the chroniclers did not want to pass on the precise information to future generations because of the brutality.  They spread fear and destruction everywhere.


  At Vienna the Turks met their match and fled for their lives as the forces of Europe raised the siege.  The victorious Imperial Army was hot on their trail and in 1686 they liberated Buda.  This led to the end of the Turkish threat to the Heideboden.  Zanegg was only slightly damaged unlike other villages in the area.  In the census of 1696 during the canonical visitation by the Bishop of Raab’s emissaries there was a population of 900 in Zanegg making it the largest surviving community in the area.  Moson claimed a population of 561; the twin villages of St. Peter-St. John had 517 inhabitants and the population of Strasssommerein was listed as 631 persons.


  By 1700 Zanegg was considered to be a prosperous village.  Fortunately it had not been on the main road to Vienna and the population had learned how to cope with the Turks and defend themselves.  The tower of the church was actually a small fortress and the wall around the cemetery was used as a defensive position by the local population.


  During the period from the 16th to the 19th century one of the only industries besides agriculture in which the inhabitants of Zanegg engaged was the processing of salt peter needed in the production of gun powder.  With all of the wars going on at the time it was essential to process and protect the sources.


  As the 18th century dawned now that the Turks were no longer a constant threat to the Heideboden a new menace emerged that created even more damage and destruction than the Moslem hordes had inflicted upon the communities.


  There were still many among the Hungarian nobility who did not recognize the Habsburgs as legitimate kings of Hungary.  The Princes of Transylvania were forever taking over Upper Hungary (Slovakia) and even threatened Vienna itself.  Emperor Leopold established a centralized form of government over the newly liberated areas of Hungary and placed Germans in control.  This led to the uprising of the Hungarian nobles who called their forces the Cruciati…the cross bearers of the holy cause of Hungary.  The common people called them Kuruzen and their Imperial foes were the Labanzen.


  Because the Habsburgs were involved in the War of the Spanish Succession against France (1701-1714) the commander of the Kuruzen, Francis Rákoczy used that to good advantage in the timing of the insurrection.  His hordes of peasants created chaos and panic throughout Western Hungary and Lower Austria from 1703-1708.  Arson, plundering and robbery were the order of the day for his rampaging forces.


  On December 19, 1707 the Kuruzen under Commander Adam Balogh fell upon Zanegg.  At the time the Imperial forces were in winter quarters in Zanegg under Field Marshal Johann Count Palffy a subordinate of General Count Draskovitch.  The Kuruzen raiders took the Imperial forces by surprise.  The Croatian cavalry fled to Neusiedl without offering any resistance.  The Croatian infantry took up positions behind the wall enclosing the cemetery.  The Kuruzen quickly occupied the village and plundered the homes and then put them to the torch.  Then they disappeared to the east, the direction from which they had come.  They drove the cattle ahead of them and many prisoners including the Croatian army band they took along to entertain them.


  Peace in the area only came in 1711 when Rákoczy went into Turkish exile.


  The rest of the 18th century brought peace and prosperity as well as a renewed development of the Heideboden.  Maria Theresia purchased the Domains of Ungarisch Altenburg for her daughter, Baroness Maria Christina in 1763 and it would remain in the hands of the Habsburgs until 1945.


  Early in the 18th century there was movement out of the Heideboden to the south in Tolna County which had been opened to settlement and some of the families in Zanegg joined the migration and most of them settled in Bikács and Györköny.  Like the others from the Heideboden who settled there they declared themselves to be Lutherans once more, having secretly practiced their faith for over several generations while outwardly conforming to the dictates of Roman Catholicism.  When the Edict of Toleration was passed later in the 18th century it was too late to have any effect in Zanegg because the Lutheran leadership had left unlike several neighbouring communities where Lutheran congregations once again emerged.  Some families again left Zanegg and took up residence in those villages where the Lutherans had once again surfaced and formed congregations.


  Napoleon took Vienna in 1805 and later in 1809 his forces crossed into the Heideboden and took the fortress of Raab.  The fortress at Ungarisch Altenburg was occupied by the French for half a year and the surrounding villages had to provide supplies and food to the garrison.  Plundering and robbery were the order of the day and now the French added their own added debasement of the population:  rape.  The French left a terrible reputation behind them.  They finally left the Heideboden in 1809 following the Peace of Pressburg.  It would take years for the region to recover.


  When the Revolution of 1848 broke out, although Moson County was three quarters German-speaking the population sided with the liberal reformers on the basis of their social objectives of liberty, human rights and the emancipation of the serfs and opposed the Vienna government.  They were more in tune with the students and workers in Vienna and Ungarisch Alternburg than the events in far off Budapest.


  The peasant farmers in the Heideboden wanted to throw off the yoke of their oppressive nobles.  They wanted to own their own land they paid for and worked for generations.  The farmers in Neusiedl and Weiden rose up against their nobles in May of 1848 and attacked their manor houses and sent them packing to Vienna.  Uprisings also took place in Frauenkirchen and Parndorf.  In St. Johann’s the farmers sabotaged the noble’s brickyards where they were forced to work.


  Louis Kossuth who stood at the head of the Hungarian reform movement was often described as a radical and demagogue of Slovak origin and like all Magyaronen (Magyar lovers) he tried to be more Hungarian than the Hungarians.  He had a dream of a Greater Hungary.  Thousands answered his call to the struggle for freedom and liberty.  His revolutionary army fought the Imperial troops but the south Slavs (Croats and Serbs) and the Transylvanians opposed his great plan.  The Ban (Governor) of Croatia, Jelacic took command of the Imperial forces and invaded Hungary to destroy the rebels.  On October 5, 1848 he established his headquarters at Ungarisch Altenburg and his much hated Croatian troops roamed across Moson County and demanding and requisitioning supplies.  When news of a new student uprising in Vienna reached him he went to the rescue with his Croatian troops.  Kossuth came from the south to support the Viennese rebels and called for volunteers in Moson County to join the Honvéd (the newly constituted national army of Hungary) but here he downplayed his Hungarian nationalist themes in favour of liberty, equality and fraternity and his ten thousand man force was welcomed in Ungarisch Altenburg and students and farmers from the Heideboden joined his newly established volunteer army.  A group of young men from Zanegg led by Paul Zwickl, son of the village Richter (an elected official) joined them.  These men were involved in the battle at Schwechat with only two rifles among them; the rest had shovels, scythes and other farm tools as weapons.  Bombarded by artillery the force was dispersed and the men fled back home in disorder.


  On November 1st the uprising was put down in Vienna and Kossuth’s troops were driven back into Hungary.  On December 24th the Imperial troops entered Ungarisch Altenburg and by January 5th the Imperial Army occupied both Buda and Pest.  With Russian support the Habsburg Emperor defeated the rebellion and Hungary was placed under martial law and the long slow struggle between the Habsburgs and the Hungarians continued until finally reaching a Compromise in 1867 that gave birth to the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary, one of the major Great Powers in Europe.  As the First World War began the Dual Monarchy was already on the brink of destruction.


  In August 1914 all men 20-45 years of age were called up into the army.  On Sunday afternoon following mass their final farewells were said after many of them had made their confession and communed.  During mass, the chaplain of the Moson Regiment, Julius Fehervari encouraged the men with soul searching words to defend the Fatherland; the village band accompanied the men on their way to the railway station.  Many would never return while others would spend years as prisoners of war.  Over five hundred were conscripted in the immediate area.  Some served in the Honvéd, while others were in German-speaking units.  The men from Zanegg served in Serbia, at Lemberg/Przempysl in Galicia and the Carpathian Mountain front.  In 1917 some of them were on the Italian front at the battle of Piave and Isonzo.  When war ended, 88 men had been killed in action; 35 were missing in action and 97 were prisoners of war mostly in Russia.


  Later in 1919 as many of the prisoners of war started returning from Russia they became leaders of the local soviets (Communist party units) in the villages of the Heideboden.  They formed a local government in Zanegg; most of them were from among the poorer families and many of their children and grandchildren would be the leading Bund (National Socialists = Nazi) members and volunteers in the Waffen-SS only twenty years later.  It was an irony of history that was repeated in countless villages.


  When the Heideboden was divided between Austria and Hungary following the First World War, about 25,000 of the inhabitants remained in Hungary the majority of the German-speaking population now more familiarly known as the Heidebauern.  Unlike other areas in Western Hungary that became part of Austria there was no referendum held in the Heideboden because the Hungarians knew that the population would vote to join the Burgenland in Austria along with the western Heideboden.  It was the officials and the Roman Catholic clergy who preferred to remain in Hungary.  As a result of the new borders Zanegg was cut off from its former markets and faced the great economic depression that was just around the corner.  There were many who sought employment in Austria while others made their living as smugglers.


  The interwar years followed.  Dr. Jacob Bleyer is the man who would play a leading role in what would influence all that was to follow.  He sought to preserve the village culture and mother language of the various German-speaking communities in what remained of Hungary after the First World War.  For that purpose he founded the   Ungarnländischen Deutsche Volksbildingsverein (UDV).  (The Germans of Hungary Folk Education Union)


  A local chapter of the UDV was established in Zanegg in 1925.  All of the members were farmers.  By 1933-1934 the total membership in Hungary was 27,517.  The leaders and organization was mistrusted by the Hungarian government and their local officials.  The Hungarian nationalists saw them as the enemy referring to the movement as Pan Germanism as they put it without ever explaining what they meant.  The gradual assimilation of the children of the German-speaking population was imminent everywhere as a result of the government take over of the German schools.  The UDV would attempt to reverse this process as much as possible within the framework of also being loyal citizens of Hungary.


  A radical change in climate in terms of the “nationalities question” came with the German annexation of Austria in March 1938.  Germany was in need of food products and cattle which Hungary supplied and prices increased to the advantage of the farmers.  The coming war was good for them at first until prices were fixed by the government.  In their concern about German-speaking populations living close to the borders of Greater Germany or the so-called Third Reich made Hungarian officials nervous and for that reason they began a settlement programme in the Heideboden bringing in settlers from eastern Hungary and establishing communities on the sites of former settlements.


  Hungarian assimilation policies met Hitlerism in a head-on collision in Zanegg.  The villagers took sides and a bitter conflict broke out with the formation of a rival organization to the UDV, the so-called Volksbundes Der Deutschen in Ungarn (The Folk Union of the Germans in Hungary) under the leadership of Franz Basch.  Their opponents were just as determined to maintain their language and heritage but refused to accept Hitlerism that had wormed its way into the policies and programmes of the Bund by which it would be known in the future.


  Many members of the Bleyer organization went over to the Bund.  It was not clear or obvious at first that the Bund was in fact “the lengthened arm of Hitler” to speak for all the German-speaking people of Hungary.  The local group was organized on June 30, 1940.  How many members there were is not certain, although in 1941 they claimed over one thousand members in the area including all family members.  Actually those who signed on the dotted line were fewer and those who were active in the organization even fewer.


  The vast majority of the members of the Bund were from the poorest classes.  Their number one reason for joining was to better their social and material standing.  Rather than being German nationalists, what attracted them were the social issues of Nazism.  The socially outcast women found position and status in the singing groups and other functions carried out at the local Bund hall.  The male leadership, the so-called Fuhrers were worshipped by these socially displaced women.


  The Bund was also attractive to others indirectly because of the results of Hungarian government policy and the attitudes of Hungarian society.  In the 1930s the social policies of Hungary were retrogressive and led to economic stagnation.  The non-Hungarian rural population which included almost everyone in Zanegg were looked down upon by Hungarian society as uncouth, primitive and backward.  There was a great deal of animosity created with the arrival of Hungarian settlers in the area and their take over of land to which the Germans were not entitled.


   The clever propaganda of the Nazis was directed to the hopes and dissatisfactions of the German people and brought them on board to their way of thinking.  Hitler was portrayed as the “saviour” of the German people.  Emotion was placed above reason.  Their uniforms, radio programmes and newspaper attracted people.  It was the youth who were most impressionable and were the most responsive.


  Most of the public officials in Zanegg in 1940 were Hungarians who understood German but only spoke to the population in Hungarian.  Some were not extreme nationalists but others like the vice-notary Marko were fanatics.  His stock and trade was the chauvinist nationalist motto:  “Whoever eats Hungarian bread should speak Hungarian!”  The teachers in the village school were more proficient in Hungarian than they were in German.  The local priest, however, preached and prayed in German until the Russian occupation in 1945.


  The majority of the villagers in Zanegg remained neutral between the two nationalist movements.  They turned their backs on both and focussed upon family, daily work and the religious life.  The world situation was outside their concerns or life experience.  They simply wanted to be what they had always been.  Almost all of the population identified themselves as Germans in terms of their nationality and mother tongue in the census of 1941.  That was their self-understanding after a thousand years in the Heideboden.  Of the 3,171 inhabitants 83% claimed to be German but that figure included the new Hungarian enclaves in the area whose population numbered five hundred.  In Zanegg itself, 97% were German.


  Few of the farms were owned by members of the Bund and many of the farm labourers were not members either.  The Bund members called their opponents:  Englishmen and they in turn called them:  Hitlerites.


  The reason for their opposition to the Bund was centred on a few factors.  The farmers and landowners were suspicious of anything that sounded like socialism.  (The actual name for the Nazi Party in Germany was the National Socialist German Workers Party that gave birth to the name Nazi).  There was also the vehement anti-church stance of the Bund.  They held their gatherings on Sunday morning at the same time as church services were being held.  The arrogant and brash behaviour and attitudes of the youth leaders offended the older conservative farmers.  Both the Social Democrats and Communists in Zanegg were opposed to the Bund.


  This simple, non political population was a football kicked around between the two strident nationalist groups vying for supremacy.  As a result from 1938-1943 the men of Zanegg were drafted into the Hungarian Army but in 1944 they were conscripted into the German Army.  Men from 21 to 35 years of age served in the Hungarian Army from 1938-1941 when Hungary regained some of its lost territories in an accommodation with Hitler.  The same men again served in the Second Hungarian Army in Ukraine in 1942-1943.  The vast majority of this army were German Hungarians.  Nineteen men from Zanegg fell at Voronezh in February 13/14 in 1943 in the opening onslaught that led to the surrender and disaster at Stalingrad.  Those who survived serving on the Russian front and returned home found themselves in the Waffen-SS in 1944 as a result of an agreement between the Hungarian government and Hitler.


  During the Second World War, Hitler needed soldiers more than anything else.  Because the Germans of Hungary were not citizens of the Reich they could not join the German Wehrmacht (Army) and were eligible only for the Waffen-SS.  As a result of the Accord with the Hungarian state, recruiters from the Bund were successful in finding thirty young men in Zanegg to volunteer to serve in the Waffen-SS in the spring of 1942.  A second recruitment was carried out June 20, 1943 resulting in thirty more volunteers who had been addressed by the Bund leadership.  These volunteers served from Finland to France and Russia and the casualties among them were heavy.


  These volunteers by and large were young men from the poorer families.  Only a handful of them came from landowning families.  The reasons behind their choice were varied.  Some sought to escape the destiny of their fathers as hired hands and farm labourers.  For others it was a sense of adventure.  There were others who knew that they would be called up into the Hungarian army where they would be discriminated against because they were German and would simply be used as canon fodder.  While on the other hand the propaganda that was used was so effective that they did not even discuss the matter with their families before joining.  They really had no understanding of the political implications of their actions or the possible results.  The majority of them were not fanatics but were simply caught up in something beyond their comprehension.


  On April 14, 1944 an agreement was signed between Hungary and the Third Reich that committed all German living in Hungary of military age to be conscripted into the Waffen-SS and were destined to be canon fodder as they had always feared.  The Hungarian nationalists were glad to hand them over to the Germans; the less of them that were around, the better, as one of them put it.


  The Hungarian officials ordered the men in Zanegg to register for recruitment at the school on July 11, 1944.  Some of the men stated that they preferred to join the Hungarian Army but were refused that option.  The County administrators assigned all of the men in Zanegg to the SS and handed them over to them.  All of the men in Zanegg were at home except for those born in 1920, 1921 and 1922 serving in the Hungarian Army and those who had volunteered to serve in the SS.  Within two weeks approximately five hundred men born in 1894 up to 1927 were drafted into the SS.  That meant youth from 17 years of age to men who were fifty.  By November and December all of them were serving on the front lines.  One hundred of them fought at the battle of Budapest where twenty-five of them lost their lives.  Three of them were taken prisoner by the Russians and were released only eight years later after also serving in the labour camp at Tiszalok in Hungary and were then able to rejoin their families who had been deported to Germany.


  The men who were forced into the Waffen-SS were treated like the feared SS who never saw front line duty but did the dirty work of Hitler and his henchmen.  In the prisoner of war camps they were segregated from the other prisoners.  They were treated badly in the Soviet Union and were kept in captivity much longer than the other prisoners.  The tattoo under their arm gave them away and they were lumped in with the others. 


  After they were released in Russia and returned to Hungary they were put in a labour camp at Tiszalok from 1950-1953.  Many of them were from the youngest age group who had been born in 1926 and 1928 and had been sixteen to eighteen years old at the time.  All of the Waffen-SS conscripts were interned in Hungary at Ungarisch Altenburg and Raab until they could join the deportation with their families.  They were charged and treated as traitors to their Hungarian Fatherland.


  During the Second World War, one hundred and forty-five men from Zanegg were killed in action.  There were also twenty-five civilian deaths as a result of bombings, molestation and beating, explosions and shootings.  One out of four of the seven hundred men who served in the military died.


 In the last weeks of March 1945 refugee columns were streaming westwards.  Refugees from Transylvania, Yugoslavia and southern Hungary that had wintered in Zanegg had already left.  The Hungarian troops in the area simply waited for the end of the war and most disappeared.  German soldiers were quartered in the houses of the villagers and either deserted or prepared for the last stand as the frontlines moved into the area very quickly after the fall of Budapest.


  In the second last week of March the population of Zanegg were encouraged to flee.  Only 5% of the population responded mostly officials and Bund functionaries and families with young daughters.


  Some left by ship from Ragendorf and travelled up the Danube to Passau.  Others left by wagon and German military vehicles for Austria.  Despite their fear the people of Zanegg had about the onrushing Red Army they were not prepared to leave their homes and take to the road.  They would take their chances and remain.


  At the end of March 1945 the Germans established a defensive line between Ungarisch Altenburg and Raab (Györ) to protect the main highway and rail lines from Budapest to Vienna.  But the Russians moved quickly to the south and took Sopron and Raab.  On April 1, 1945 the first Russians approached Zanegg.  The first of them arrived on foot or in horse drawn wagons.  They got fresh horses, threw grenades at several houses and left the way they came.  The German troops saw that they were in danger of being cut off from the highway to Moson.  German tanks moved out to clear the Russians out of the area and reached the highway to St. Johann and Moson but made only limited gains.  The Russians were waiting for them and eleven of the tanks were destroyed along the road.


  The Germans regrouped in Zanegg and the Russians launched a heavy attack on the village.  Aircraft strafed the village and artillery was brought up.  The village went up in flames and created a ghastly smoke screen.  This was between 16:00 and 18:00 hours.  At 18:00 hours the first Russian troops coming from the direction of St. Johann to the south arrived in Zanegg.  Shortly before their arrival the German troops had moved out to the north-west towards Strasssommerein.  For a short time it was very quiet.  Scouts entered the village and when the villagers assured them that the Germans were gone, massive numbers of troops streamed in following a blast of the whistles blown by the scouts.  There was no more gun fire.  The greatest suffering the village would endure would come in the days that would follow.


  The women had the worst to endure as the Russians occupied the village.  The frontline troops were disciplined and created no problems during the first night.  But the reserve troops who came to replace them went wild.  During the second night despite warnings on the part of the village elders, women felt secure after the first night’s experience and very few went into hiding and the Russian troops raped numerous women, some girls as young as 12 years of age and older women who were over 60.  The women sought safety in the wine cellars, haylofts, barns and fields but were caught and violated by the armed troopers.  Nor was there safety in numbers.  The men had all gone off to war, the few who had managed to return home had gone into hiding so that they would not be taken to Russia.  As a result younger women were hidden in attics for weeks or in closets hidden behind false walls hastily erected.  There was no place of safety available in the light of day either.  They were like hunted animals and lived in constant terror.  The troops took all of the food and drink that was available and their capacity for wine was insatiable.


  Fear and terror reigned in Zanegg at the hands of the Russians who saw themselves as avengers.  When the deportations began in 1946 many of the women were terrified of being sent to Russia.


  With the Potsdam Declaration in place the Hungarian plan to “cleanse” the Heideboden and bring in more Magyar settlers that had first begun in 1938-1939 could now be carried out and done so even legally.  This racist policy and inhumanity was already on the agenda of the County Administration.  An article appeared in the local newspaper on August 1, 1945:  “25,000 Swabians will be expelled from our County.  From among the twenty-eight communities in the County, fourteen of them are entirely Swabian by mother tongue.  They number about 25,000 and are marked for deportation.  The first objective of this expulsion of the Swabians from Hungary is to make the western frontier purely Hungarian in population.”


  The reason given for the expulsion was not the guilt of the Swabians but the goal of the Hungarian government to Magyarize the western border areas.  Human rights and the legality of their actions had no place in their thinking.


  Four weeks after the Potsdam Conference was over, Zanegg became the assembly camp for all of the German speaking population in the County.  The inmates called it the “Zanegg Ghetto.”  At the end of August the first to arrive were the inhabitants of Kaltenstein (Level).  Without any distinctions being made all Germans were thrown out of their houses.  They were loaded on wagons with a few personal effects and were taken to Zanegg and divided up in the homes of the villagers.  This first act of course was illegal.  It was only on December 22, 1945 that the official decree was passed in parliament.  The nationalists were in hurry and had no time or concern for such niceties.  In September the population of Maria-Gahling/Kalnók were brought to Zanegg and during the winter portions of the population of Ungarisch-Kimling, Ragendorf, Karlburg, Strasssommerein, St. Johann-St. Peter as well as Moson were brought there as well.


  During the winter of 1945-1946 the houses in Zanegg were stuffed with people.  In some houses there were three extended families.  In the large farm houses there were hundreds of policemen and the officials who would carry out the expulsion and deportation.  The food supplies of the villagers became sparser all the time.  Heating was very limited.  The long wait, the uncertainty, terrified the people who were mostly the aged, women and children.


  The people of Zanegg had it somewhat easier.  They were still in their own homes.  In spite of the confiscation and requisitioning of their property they still had their vegetables and livestock and fowl.  Even though they assisted the others their own condition was better.  But they were easily manipulated by the local Communists and officials.  The men of Zanegg who managed to get home after the war ended were easily apprehended and dragged off to slave labour in Ungarisch Altenburg and Raab.  Some of the men fled across the border into nearby Austria.


  The Germans imprisoned in Zanegg were subjected to more and more repression.  Even old men were forced to do compulsory labour, to work on roads or out in the fields.  On many occasions they were mistreated, abused and beaten.  The worst abusers were the Hungarian police.


  During the last weeks prior to the deportation the village was totally sealed off from the outside world.  A pass was needed to leave.  Police were everywhere.  The chief of police was known as Acel meaning steel like the Russian word Stalin.  He had an immense hatred for the Germans.


  Most of the population refused to believe that they would actually be deported.  Especially those who had not joined the Bund, opposed it or had claimed Hungarian nationality at the time of the census in 1941.  But the coalition of Hungarian nationalists who governed Hungary wanted to cleanse the western border areas of Germans and the Communists wanted the houses and land for the proletariat and unlike the situation in the rest of Hungary the entire German-speaking population of the Heideboden was to be expelled.  A priest born in Zanegg was invited home to preach in the church for three evenings to prepare the people to leave.  He preached his final sermon on “black” Sunday (Passion Sunday) and said his final farewell to a weeping congregation.  While there were others who were simply relieved that it was finally going to be over.


  On April 7, 1946 the list of deportees was listed at the community centre.  The people were ordered to check the list for their names and prepare to leave.  According to the official deportation order all persons whose mother tongue was listed as German in 1941 were to be expelled.  The farmers who had listed themselves as Hungarian were also on the list because their property was needed.  Only those with powerful friends or influence could avoid the deportation.  The only exceptions were older persons who were sick or bedridden and numbered three families.


  The people packed bedding and clothes and gathered whatever food they could find to take with them.  Some women made large quantities of soup for the journey.  Each person was allowed fifty kilograms of goods.  Small personal keepsakes, china, etc were hidden or buried in the hope of coming back some day.  Beginning in February 1946 many deportation trains from the area around Budapest had passed through Zanegg and had been closely observed by the German population.  Some of these long columns of cattle cars had remained on the siding for a day or two.  Some Zanegg inhabitants spoke to the expellees and asked what was going on.  They told them to take the soup and little ladders to help older people and children to get in and out of the cattle cars.


  There were to be four transports of deportees from the Zanegg “camp” in April 1946.


  The first transport left on April 12th in the afternoon heading for Strasssommerein and   Nickelsdorf on the Hungarian Austrian border and by the 18th they were in the American Zone of Germany.  It was the day before Good Friday and the people were divided up among the various villages around Mosbach.  They were accompanied by ten Hungarian police officers but no doctor as had been ordered.


  The second transport was loaded up on Saturday, April 13th.  They left on Palm Sunday at about 2:00 hours in the morning.  They crossed the border at Sopron.  They were accompanied by Hungarian police and two American soldiers.


  The third transport left on April 17th at 18:00 hours and took the same route to Sopron.  They arrived in Ulm on Easter Monday.  Hungarian police and two American soldiers accompanied them.  Some of the young boys fought and quarrelled with the Hungarian police to get some of the personal possessions the police had taken away from the deportees.  The local priest and teacher had said farewell to each cattle car load of people and their dogs sat there howling as their owners left.


  The fourth transport was boarded on Maunday Thursday and left on Good Friday at 13:30 hours.  They also headed towards Sopron.  In Austria at one of the stops two little girls from Ragendorf could not get back on the train and were left behind.  The father got off the train in Linz and returned and a railway worker had taken the children in overnight.

   In a relatively short period of time, the better part of a week, the Zanegg Ghetto was emptied.  The deportations in St. Johann-St. Peter were carried out next.  By June 1946 the entire German population of the Heideboden had been deported.  The goal to Magyarize the Heideboden after one thousand years was finally achieved.

  The following article is based on several chapters of History of the Lutheran Church in Hungary by Mihaly Bucsay and is my translation of the original German. 

  As a result of the Landtag (Translator’s note:  An assembly of nobles, higher clergy and representatives of Royal Free Towns in Hungary to enact laws and deal with issues and concerns of the representatives) held in 1714-1715 called by Karl III (also known as Charles VI of Austria) the Lutherans and Calvinists of Hungary lost their freedom to worship, their autonomy and their right to make judicial appeals.  King Karl’s intention was to make the state and his power as Emperor a tool of the Counter Reformation throughout his Empire.


  Subsequently new laws that would become known as his Carolina Resolutio were decreed on March 21, 1731.  This decree renewed and strengthened Articles XXV and XXVI of 1681 and Article XXI of 1687 the so-called Explanatio Leopoldina.  In effect it permitted the Protestants the private profession of their faith and worship in their homes.  Public worship was only permitted in the designated Articular Churches (two Lutheran and two Calvinist Churches were permitted in each County.)  Only these communities were allowed to have clergy.  Within the family circle the Lutherans and Calvinists were allowed to read devotional books and tracts.  No neighbours or others were allowed to participate.  In all other non-Articular communities all Protestants were placed under the jurisdiction and care of the Roman Catholic clergy.


  Estate owning nobles could only allow religious concessions to their subject tenants upon approval and permission of the King.  The Protestants could elect Superintendents (Translator’s note:  The Roman Catholics refused to allow the Protestants to call their leaders Bishops) but their election had to be validated and approved by the King.  All Protestant clergy were responsible to the nearest Roman Catholic Arch Deacon and had to pass a theological examination in terms of their beliefs about baptism.  All marriages were legally under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church and performed by a priest but in the case of marriages between Protestants the priest had to use the Protestant form.  Conversion to Protestantism was forbidden and resulted in punishment by the state.  Roman Catholic priests could perform mixed marriages but the children had to be raised as Roman Catholics.  Protestants had to observe all Roman Catholic festivals and participate in them.  Protestants who were members of guilds had to participate in religious processions.  All Protestants who held public office in the state, town or county had to take an oath to the Virgin Mary.  All petitions and appeals by Protestants could only be personal and not on behalf of a community and directed to the King and could not be presented or discussed at an assembly of the Landtag.


  As a result of the Carolina Resolutio both Protestant Churches petitioned the King to    be allowed to hold the election of their Superintendents and re-establish organized church life that had been completely destroyed and dismantled during the Decade of Sorrows in the previous century.  In response to the petition the King decreed the “Second” Carolina Resolutio on October 20, 1734 which permitted the election of four Lutheran and four Calvinist Superintendents.


  As indicated previously, in cases of mixed marriages all the children had to be raised as Roman Catholics.  Because of the oath to the Virgin Mary all Protestants were effectively removed from holding any office.  The jurisdiction of the Arch Deacons over the Protestant clergy proved to be oppressive.  The Episcopal visitations of parsonages resulted in bazaar questioning and accusations made against them by their interrogators over the question of baptism.  Nobles were pressured to force their peasant subjects to convert to Roman Catholicism even if they were Protestants themselves.


  In spite of these existing impediments the Roman Catholic clergy demanded even more!  One of the chief spokesmen was the Cardinal Archbishop of Vac, Friedrich Althan who raged against the Carolina Resolutio because of its “concessions” to the Protestants and appealed to the Pope.  The King ordered him to come to the royal court for an audience and to recant his protest.  Karl III publicly tore the letter of protest into bits and took over his lands and estates.  A year later due to the personal intervention of the Pope his estates were returned to him.


  In various other ways, Karl III strengthened the position and the power of the Roman Catholic Church.  To a great extent most of the churches and schools were confiscated from the Protestants.  All Protestants were dismissed from holding public office including the Transylvania Saxons who had been granted autonomy as a nation centuries before.


  But strangely enough the Habsburg King was more tolerant towards Protestants who came as settlers into the recently won former Turkish territories and his daughter Maria Theresia also had to do the same for these “foreign” settlers.  When Karl III appealed to his German vassals for colonists and he promised freedom of worship and conscience to any Protestants who came to Hungary.  A massive stream of Protestant settlers were settled on the private estates of the nobles in Hungary from 1723-1729 and also throughout the rest of the 18th century.


  Maria Theresia originally opposed any Protestant immigration into her lands.  She found it necessary to qualify her position for political reasons.  She permitted the recruitment of Protestants making concessions with regard to granting them the freedom to practice their religion.  As a result in the Military Frontier District she allowed the settlement of Slovak and German Lutherans at Alt Pasua in 1770.  The later Danube Swabian village of Neu Pasua resulted from the efforts of Joseph II’s later final phase of the Schwabenzug (Great Swabian Migration.).


  Count Claudius Florimundus von Mercy (1666-1733), the Governor of the Banat was a Roman Catholic and was instrumental in reorganizing the Roman Catholic Church in the “liberated” territories.  Initially he found five existing congregations but by 1733 the figure had risen to thirty-nine.


  On his own estates in Tolna County in Hungary he settled Lutherans arriving from Hesse and Württemberg in separate villages that were organized into congregations under the leadership of the Pietist, Georg Bárány (1682-1757).  After his education in Raab (Györ), Pressburg and Eperies he studied at the University of Jena in 1708 and from 1709-1711 in Halle in the immediate circle of August Hermann Francke the leader of the Piestistic movement.  He first became the pastor at Nagyvarzsony in Veszprem County but gave up his ministry there to serve newly emerging congregations in Tolna County at Gyönk, Györköny and Szarszenlörinc.  In 1720 he organized seven congregations to form a Seniorat (Church District).  By 1725 it included ten congregations.  This Seniorat bound these congregations to the life of the Lutheran Church in Hungary and its structural organization and constitution under the law.


  The Seniorat of Tolna involved congregations that represented different nationalities that spoke different languages.  Bárány was a Magyar and alongside him serving as his co-senior (Dean) was a German-speaking pastor.  Later when there was a German Senior his co-senior was Hungarian.


  The chief adversary and opponent of these developments in Tolna County was the Bishop of Pécs who was also the High Sheriff of the County.  He was the former Field Marshall Franz Nesselrode a descendant of German nobles.  But Count von Mercy became the protector of his Protestant settlers and was able to assist Bárány and the other pastors to remain and serve them.  This was not true for Protestants in other areas such as Somogy County where Martin Padanyi von Biro was of the same stripe.


  Karl II provided money and support for the strengthening of the Roman Catholic Church in the “liberated” territories.  He founded new parishes, sent priests, built churches and schools and demanded the support of the nobles and landlords in these efforts.  Maria Theresia came to the throne in 1740 with the assistance of the Magyar nobles including the Protestants.  But their loyalty to the Habsburgs was rewarded by her intransigent intolerance.  She stood firmly behind her father’s Carolina Resolutio.  She commented, “We do not desire to persecute but we cannot abide toleration either.  Here we stand on the foundation of our House (of Habsburg).”


  The Archbishop of Gran (Estergom) played the leading role in the repressions against the Protestants during her reign.  He saw to the banning of foreign books and a strict censorship of books being published in Hungary and closed down all of the schools of higher learning that had been established by the Protestants.  Protestants were forbidden to study at foreign universities; he attempted to take over congregations that had no resident pastors and placed restrictions on all forms of Protestant public worship.  The Bishop of Veszprem in his book “Enchiridion” called for the destruction of all heretics and called upon the Crown to enforce Article IV of 1525 calling for the public burning of all Lutherans.  The Empress, however, called only for the confiscation of his book due to the protests lodged by diplomats from the major Protestant powers in 1750.


  In 1758, Maria Theresia assumed the title of “Apostolic King of Hungary.”  She founded more new bishoprics than any of her predecessors since Stephen I.  She undertook what she called “a quiet Counter Reformation”; established parishes with the task of converting the heretics in their vicinity; brought in or established Orders to re-catholicize Hungary.  The ongoing terrorizing visitations of Protestant congregations and their clergy now went into full swing.  Bishop Biro in Veszprem following his visitation of the Protestant congregations in Somogy County had forty-six Protestant churches closed and boarded up.  Only teachers were left in many congregations who read sermons, led in prayer and singing as the pastors were banished from office and driven out of the County.


  In the schools established by the Jesuits the sons of the Upper Nobilty were infused with hatred against the Protestants.  These young nobles looked to the Empress and the Higher Clergy to support them in their confiscation of the churches from their Protestant peasant subjects and serfs and to hinder the calling of clergy to those without pastors and prevented the Protestants from worshipping at Articular churches in their area and used force if necessary.  Under Maria Theresia the Protestants experienced the longest ongoing repression in their history and yet only a handful converted to Roman Catholicism.


  Even though the Protestants remained faithful they were often unable to save their institutions, churches, parsonages and pastors, schools and teachers.  Between the years, 1711-1781 they endured the Babylonian Captivity of the Protestants of Hungary while the Roman Catholics claim it was “the flowering of the reign of Mary in Hungary.” 


  The Counter Reformation was an ally of Habsburg Absolutism and promoted the centralization of power.  The Church served the State.  The State provided support to the Roman Catholic agenda.  As a result the Hungarian Church was impoverished in terms of its inner life.


  When Maria Theresia was succeeded by her son Joseph II he went the way of toleration because the only alternatives were mass emigration, civil war and unrest.  He was in every way a true son of the Roman Catholic Church but an opponent of its methods.


  His Edict of Toleration was codified at the Landtag 1790/1791 by his successor Leopold II and toleration was no longer simply by the Emperor’s grace.  Protection of the rights of the Protestants was now guaranteed in the Hungarian Constitution.


  During the times of trouble as the years of repression were called that ushered in the final phase of the Counter Reformation, church life among the Protestants was of two kinds; that of the Articular congregations and those without a pastor or building and no services of worship.  The latter were referred to as “orphaned” congregations.


  But even the Articular congregations were hindered in the full expression of their church life.  There were the ongoing visitations by bishops and interrogation of pastors that provided a way to monitor if Catholics attended Protestant services or if children in mixed marriages attended the Protestant schools or received instruction from the pastor.  They were always on the lookout to discover reasons to exile pastors and teachers.


  Because the vast majority of the Protestants were part of “orphaned congregations” they were unable to worship in their home communities or have a school for their children to attend.  They worshipped at the distant Articular churches and sent their children to school there.  The buildings were often too small to accommodate the vast number of worshippers coming from the outlying area and requests for permission to enlarge the worship facilities were often ignored or denied.  But church life remained in full bloom expressed in the Pietism of the Lutherans and Puritanism among the Reformed and Calvinists.  These influences were most noticeable in childrearing, catechetics, new hymns, devotional literature, household worship and Bible Study groups.  The preparation classes for Holy Communion among the Lutherans developed into confirmation classes and the rite of confirmation.  The baroque influences of the times around them also had its effect on the Protestants especially in terms of the use of allegory in preaching and elaborate weddings and funerals.


  In these “orphan” congregations it required a great deal of sacrifice to persevere in “the faith of the fathers,” especially in terms of handing down that faith to the next generation.   The filial congregations associated with the Articular churches were certainly far better off than the “orphan” congregations.  Although they did not have a resident pastor to lead their worship they had schoolmasters who played the role of a Levite Lehrer.  He played a dual role:  teaching the children and leading the congregation in worship.  In their schools the children learned the catechism, the prayers, Bible history and hymns in addition to reading, writing and arithmetic.  There was no event in life that was not addressed by Scripture and congregational singing.


  In many places when the schools were closed no visible sign of Protestant church life was permitted.  Protestants in such cases only had the right to practice their religion privately.  This meant that only a family or individual could read or share Scripture, read devotional books and gather to sing hymns.  It was only in this setting in which parents could teach their children the catechism.  But in many places, pious and simple men and women gathered children and youth around them and assisted parents in their teaching office.  When members of an “orphan” congregation desired to have their child baptized in one of the Articular churches they had to pay a fee to the Roman Catholic priest under whose jurisdiction the local Protestants had been placed.  Funerals were often held without preaching or payer.  They simply sang hymns.  Only rarely would Protestants request a Roman Catholic priest to officiate or participate.


  In the “orphan” congregations we discover that the roots of the Reformation had been a people’s movement and not a result of pressure from above on the part of the nobles.  They withstood both the pressures of Church and State so that during the period from 1781-1784 no fewer than 1,015 of these “orphan” congregations applied to Joseph II for recognition under the regulations of the Edict of Toleration.  This included 267 Mother Churches and 748 filials.


  During the period of repression and persecution the Lutherans and Reformed were drawn towards one another ecumenically.  This had nothing to do with confessional indifference.  Sometimes a Lutheran congregation was able to secure a Reformed pastor when none of their own was available.  It was also true of Reformed congregations that were served by Lutheran pastors.  In such cases Holy Communion was celebrated in the form used by the congregation.  This was not “unionism” as some later charged but simply a crisis remedy.


  Censorship had been imposed on all Protestant writings in 1670 and was done under the supervision of the Archbishop of Estergom during the 18th century.  Only books that would not do harm to the Church of Rome in any way were allowed to circulate.  This certainly limited the distribution and publication of Bibles, Protestant catechisms, hymnbooks, devotional literature and collections of sermons.  Only hand written copies dealing with systematic theology and polemics were possible.


  In the first half of the 18th century Pietism of the Francke variety played a leading and crucial role in revitalizing the life of the Lutheran Church; the second half of the century would be highly influenced by Rationalism.  The conflict between the Orthodox and the Pietists emerged as early as 1707 at the Synod of Rosenberg.  The major portion of Hungarian Lutheran literature was of Pietistic authorship.  The centre of Pietism was the Trans Danubian Church District (also known as Swabian Turkey) where almost all of the congregations were affected under the leadership Andras Torkos, George Bárány, Márton Vásonyi, Janos Sartorius and Janos Bárány.


  Another centre of Pietism was Pressburg (Bratislava) under the leadership and influence of Matthias Bel (1684-1749) who grew up in Francke’s household at Halle and was a graduate of the school system there.  A prolific writer he issued a Slovak Bible in 1722 along with Daniel Krmann one of the leading Orthodox theologians.


  Leopold II (1790-1792) the successor of Joseph II, although an Enlightenment man like his brother had to deal with the havoc created by Joseph’s Germanization and centralization policies that had stoked the fires of latent Hungarian nationalism among the nobles and townspeople of Hungary.  In terms of the Protestants and the “toleration” granted to them, Leopold proceeded to guarantee their rights by law on the basis of the Laws of 1608 and 1647 and to set aside the legal proscriptions since 1681.


  During the assembly of the Landtag in 1790/1790 a fierce battle ensued between the King and the Roman Catholic clergy.  But the spirit of the times was against them as all of Europe was gripped by the aftermath of the French Revolution. Pamphlets were in circulation in Hungary identifying the Church of Rome as an enemy of liberty.  The Roman Catholic nobles at the Landtag openly gave expression to their sympathy towards their Protestant compatriots and their centuries’ long ordeal of suffering.


  The text prepared by Leopold guaranteeing toleration was passed at the Landtag by a vote of 291 to 84 and it became Article XXVI of the Hungarian Corpus Juris beginning in 1791.  The Article still affirmed the pre-eminence of the Roman Catholic Church but also acknowledged the autonomy of the Protestant Churches in terms of their relationship with the State and the Crown.  The former decrees outlined in the Peace of Vienna and the Peace of Linz became the basis for the full rights and freedom for the Lutheran and the Reformed Churches in Hungary.


  The seventeen points of Article XXVI are as follows:


1)       The practice of religion, the use of churches, building of towers, the use of bells, schools and cemeteries are free from all restrictions.


2)       All worship may be held openly and in public.  Nobles and landlords were required to provide a building lot for a church, school and parsonage for their Protestant tenants.


3)      No one can be forced to participate in the worship of another confession.


4)       Protestants are allowed to structure their church organization as they sit fit and hold Synods with the approval of the King.


5)       Protestants are free to establish and maintain their schools and Protestant students are free to study at foreign universities.


6)       Roman Catholic clergy cannot require the payment of fees from Protestants.


7)  Protestant pastors are free to visit the sick and those in prison without hindrance.


8)    All public offices of the state and government as well as the judiciary are open to Protestants.


9)    Protestants taking an oath did not have to declare it by saying, “By Mary and the saints.”


10)  Protestants are given control of all bequests and endowments to institutions they have established.


11)   The marriage process for Protestants would be a civil arrangement until the Protestants established their own Church Courts.


12)  If any estate owner, whether a noble or private landlord attempt to take over a Protestant church by force he will pay a fine of 600 Gulden.


13)  Conversions to either of the Protestant Churches are permitted but must first be reported to the King but overt attempts on the part of Protestants to “lure” Roman Catholics into their churches and attend their services if strongly forbidden.


14)   These religious freedoms to Protestants do not apply to Croatia.


15)   All mixed marriages must be performed by a Roman Catholic priest.  All children born to this union will become Roman Catholics if the father is Roman Catholic.  If the father is Protestant the sons “may” be Protestants but the daughters will be required to observe the religion of their mother.


16)  All mixed marriages must be processed through the Roman Catholic Church Courts.


17)  On the occasion all Roman Catholic feast days, Protestants must observe a public day of rest.


  On May 1, 1791 all Protestant congregations held services of thanksgiving on the day the King sanctioned Article XXVI.


  But the Roman Catholic hierarchy was not prepared to let the matter rest.  They saw themselves as the first line of support for the dynasty and the Hungarians as rebels and ungrateful.  They formed a conservative coalition with the Magnates and upper nobility against the Protestant inroads and the danger that they represented to the status quo.


  The Hierarchy used a legal manoeuvre in an attempt to thwart the intentions of Article XXVI through the Hungarian State Chancellery on September 25, 1792.  They were partly successful by instituting some changes.


1)   In the case of mixed marriages all children must be raised Roman Catholic.  If this is hindered in any way force can be used by the police to remove the child or children from their parents and be raised by the State.


2)    Stronger punishments were authorized for Protestants who invited Roman Catholics to Protestant services as well as giving, lending or sharing a book containing Protestant teaching of any kind.


3)    Pastors were threatened with fines and imprisonment if they did not expel Roman Catholics from their services.


4)    Roman Catholics who attended Protestant worship or placed their children in Protestant schools were fined and imprisoned.  If a pastor received a Roman Catholic into his congregation without the prior consent of the King would be dismissed from the ministry of the Protestant Church.


5)    The worship facilities of Protestant congregations could not be called churches but were “prayer houses” and their clergy were could only be referred to as “preachers.”


6)    All would-be-converts to Protestantism were required to take a six week course on Roman Catholicism under the direction of the local Roman Catholic priest.  The priest also had the option to extend the course for an additional three months or could order that the would-be-convert be instructed again by another priest.


  In the years ahead the Chancellery continued to remain, “the whip of the heretics” well beyond 1791 as subsequent history would reveal.


  Kaltenstein was among the Heidebauern villages on the Ungarisch-Altenburg Domain that once belonged to Queen Maria of Hungary, the widow of Louis II who lost his life and the Kingdom of Hungary at the Battle of Mohács against the Turks.  It was also one of the six Heidebauren communities where Lutheranism survived.  Today the community is known as Levél and its Heidebauern inhabitants were all expelled in 1946 as a result of the decisions made at Potsdam by the victorious allies.  This ended their one thousand year history in Hungary.


  In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the building of the Lutheran Church a booklet was published in 1989, which is a modest attempt at unravelling the mystery of various family names and their probable origins.


  The first six centuries of Kaltenstein’s history, from 900 t0 1500 lies hidden in the darkness of the past.  At that time there was no such thing as a family name as we know them today.  The “first” name simply stood for the person.  Only during the high Middle Ages were additions made to names, such as “the second or were given some kind of title.  Often it was a position they held in the community or an occupation and somehow descriptive of the family.  German family names that end with “er” are usually descriptive of an occupation i.e. Schäfer, Müller, Fischer.


  The first document that exists that includes the names of the families of Kaltenstein is from 1546, only twenty years after the Battle of Mohács.  Following the defeat of the Hungarian King and his army the Turks ravaged and destroyed, massacred and enslaved local populations throughout Hungary and the Heideboden as this region of Western Hungary was called, was no exception.  But in that year 1546 the fortress at Ungarisch-Altenburg was strengthened and some stability was brought back to the ravaged area.  There was a German occupation force stationed there under the command of Joannn Hardeck for the protection of the remaining eight hundred subjects in its vicinity including Kalentstein and the neighbouring village of Strasssommerein that had co-existed together as sister communities for centuries.


  The following names appear in this document of 1546 with regard to Kaltenstein: Benush Hausmann, Georg Thanicker, Anton Pinkitzer, Wolf Stelzer, Marx Zechmaister, Clement Murrer, Valton Rott, Jakobl Lang, Mathes Sainer, Kyrein Reyer and Georg Wallner.


  There are also several names with regard to Strasssommerein including:  Wurmbm, Pairr, Vischer, Mutt, Weidner and Muer.


  The information with regard to Kaltenstein indicates a probable population of fifty to sixty persons.  During these times there was a great deal of movement by families from village to village usually through marriage but they kept their ties with their former home villages and families.  Kaltenstein and Strasssommerein were very much interconnected in this way.  The family names that appear in these two listings indicate that they were “home made”.  Some deal with the natural world:  Thaniker, Muerer are descriptive of a person living on the moors that abounded in the Heideboden.  The forest: Wallner a corruption of Waldner.  Wald is German for forest.  Others refer to occupations:  Pinkitzer means a hammerer, or in other words a blacksmith.  While some are descriptive of a person’s appearance:  Rott is a variation of Roth that means red in German.  While the name Pairr is a corruption of Bauer, which means farmer.


  We note that the first names are either of German origin i.e. Wolf, the short form of Wolfgang of or Roman or Christian origin i.e. Marx, which is actually Marcus and Benusch which is Benedict.


What were the times like in which these people lived?  They were the feudal serfs of the Domain of Ungarisch-Altenburg and subject to the fortress in Altenburg.  Villages were small with usually less than one hundred people.  In Zurndorf there were twenty families.  These people had lived through the Great Hunger in 1510, followed by the peasant war led by György Dóza and the atrocities committed against them by the victorious nobles in 1511 only to followed by the coming of the Black Death.  The three fold use of land was in effect, which was a medieval crop rotation method and livestock rearing was a major undertaking by the peasantry.  In the midst of all of the devastation and cruelties inflicted upon them by constant Turkish incursions the peasant’s focus was not on material things.


  With the support of Queen Maria the Reformation had been introduced to the people on the Heideboden and its teachings led to the opening of schools and the reading of the Bible and the development of an evangelical piety of faith and hope that enabled the population to withstand all the horrors being inflicted upon them.  Even though they felt the heavy hand of Habsburg military might under Ferdinand I, the constant threat of their Turkish neighbours who had taken and occupied Raab, marauders and disaffected troops plundered, robbed and destroyed and held the peasant population hostage to fear.  They built timbered walls around their villages as a first line of defence and fled into the forests or sought refuge at the fortress in Altenburg.  This was life in the Heideboden in 1546 where their new found faith was tested and as future history would prove it would not be found wanting.


  A second document from the year 1644 known as the Possessio is a record of family names that was compiled by officials at Altenburg.  What had transpired since the last report of 1546?  The Lutheran Reformation had captured and won the support of the entire population.  Over ten thousand soldiers had served at the fortress forming a garrison to withstand the Turks but in 1594 the Turks had overrun the entire Heideboden.  They left destroyed villages behind them; wasted fields; impoverished survivors and captives led off to the slave markets of Constantinople.  The defences of the fortress were strengthened again 1644 and the villages were rebuilt.  But who now constituted the population?  We discover that they were the survivors who had gone into hiding along with some new settlers as their names will indicate.


  According to the Possessio we can identify familiar names from the past.  There was Thomas Stelczer, Gregorius Andreas Muhr, Ambrosius Muhr, Thomas Pinketzer, Vitus Danicker, Matthaeus Chechmaister, Gregorius Daniker, Christof Muhr, Martinus Steltzer, Christof Steltzer, Blasius Ratt (Rott) and Gregorius Schneider could have also been a descendant of the 16th century families.


  We know that the areas not occupied by the Turks in Western Hungary, primarily the Burgenland and Slovakia were developing quickly and as the population increased people were forced to move in search of land and new opportunities.  The following families listed in the Possessio were among them and received full sessions of land:  Christophurus Botter, Gregorius Simon, Thomas Hauczinger, Mattheus Peckh, Thomas Huetflus, Matthaeus Fischer, Abraham Heckh, Andreas Bierleiher, Joachim Gross, Rupertus Daschner, Johannes Gregorius Fleischacker, Michael Saltzer, Simon Fischer, Lauren Macher, Matthaeus Gross, Gregorius Grass, Gallus Pamer, Philippus Scmickl and Marcus Marx.


  In addition there were those who only qualified as cotters and day labourers:  Wolfgang Salamon, Matthaeus Schuesser, Johannes Holczer, Johannes Hierschinger, Martinus Ranner, Augstinius Seubalt, Blassius Ratt (Rott), Johannes Lienhart, Matthaues Kharni, Paulus Raisinger, Stephanus Marcus, Gergorius Stattner, Sebaldus Mattern, Paulus Pinter, Adam Grass, Peter Schmauser, Christof Steltzer, Gregorius Plambtritt, Andreas Schnaider, Bartold Daschner, Gregorius Pinter, Johannes Griessell, Johannes Schueb, Matthaeus Grass, Thomas Rhatt, Andreas Schmauser, Matthaeus Pameker, Salomonis Ranner, Jacobus Grass, Johannes Dasch, Blasius Wennes, Jakobi Raiff, Christof Gebhart, Martinus Grass, Matthaeus Eckher, Gregorius Schnaider, Sebaldus Schuesser, Johannes Perckhamer, Gallus Schuister and Blassius Wiessinger.


  There are historians who suggest that these newcomers came from Lower Austria, which is in close proximity following the Turkish Wars.  But the facts are that Lower Austria both south and east of Vienna was totally devastated by the rampaging Turkish armies and whole areas were depopulated with over ten thousand young people being dragged off into slavery.  It is far more likely that they came from Upper Austria, the Steiermark and the Upper Palatinate and Lower and Upper Franconia.  By the mid 1600s the population of Kaltenstein expanded to sixty families some three hundred inhabitants.


  The reason for that could well be the fact that in 1636 portions of the Altenburg Domain fell into the hands of the Emperor, which included Kaltenstein, Ragendorf, Nickelsdorf, Strasssommerein, Zurndorf and Pallersdorf.  With the possibility of obtaining land in an under populated region, streams of would be settlers from the eastern portions of Austria would jump at the chance especially because they would be under the protection of the Emperor and his military forces in the area.  The Emperor was also eager to have settlers come and develop his new estates.  The lessening of Confessional conflict in the face of the Turkish threat would also attract religious refugees.


  A study of the return of the local population following the Turkish invasion of Austria in 1683 and their unsuccessful siege of Vienna indicate that other refugees accompanied them.  It took the villagers from Strasssommerein twelve weeks to journey back home according to the Richter Muhr and on reaching their beloved village all they found was misery, devastation and destruction.


  The canonical visitation report for the Bishop of Raab in 1696 reported that the population of Kaltenstein stood at 469 persons and among them were 300 Lutherans.  At the same time while visiting Strasssommerein the visitor reported a population of 629 inhabitants.  There were 265 Roman Catholics and 364 Lutherans.  In nearby Zurndorf there were 1,032 inhabitants and among them were 299 Roman Catholics and 733 Lutherans.


  Several researchers in Vienna claim that religious refugees from the around Lake Constance fled into the Heideboden at the beginning of the 18th century.  Because the Habsburgs had less influence in the area than in Lower Austria and the Steiermark where the Lutherans faced constant harassment and persecution the Heideboden had become a place of sanctuary for many of them over the decades.  This had both religious and cultural impacts on the region.  This set in motion a new stream of religious refugees and they populated entire new areas.  Along the eastern shore of the Neusiedler Sea large numbers of Lutheran refugees from the Bishopric of Constance settled among the existing Heidebauern population.  This was not a mass migration but saw the arrival of small groups over a long period of time that did not greatly influence the existing population but simply merged with it.  These refugees came from Ravensburg, Isny, Lindau, Wangen, Tettnang and Saülgau and the surrounding vicinity.


  But there is also sufficient evidence to suggest large numbers of Lutheran refugees also settled in the villages with large Lutheran populations from the western most reaches of Austria the so-called Vorderösterreich.  This was true in Zurndorf, Nickelsdorf, Strasssommerein, Kaltenstein and very much the case in Gols.


  The name Drescher belongs to this movement at the beginning of the 18th century and can find its origins in the Swabian areas of Vorderösterreich but also in the Steiermark.  The names Nitsch-Nitschinger and also corrupted to Nix are very prominent in Kaltenstein and is also of Swabian origin from Vorderösterreich.  The Hauczingers and the Meidlingers are also of Swabian origin and the Schmeltzers can be traced back to Ravensburg.


  The more authentic Heidebauern names that are associated with Kaltenstein are the following:  Allacher, Dürr, Geistlinger, Reifmeister, Limpp, Bosch, Leinwetter, Pfann, Grundner, Schmelzer, Lunzer, Zechmeister, Wendlein, Rosenberger, Schliesser, Laas, Rumpeltess, Limbacher, Preiner, Rückstück, Weissdorn, Riener, Heinz, Falb, Salzer, Tischler, Bahr, Kellner, Hauptmann and Eder.


  It is rather phenomenal that some of the family names that appear in the documents of 1546 and 1644 are found in a listing of the members of the Lutheran congregation in Kaltenstein in 1721.  The leadership of the congregation included:  Andreas Schmickl, Filip Danicker, Hans Steltzer, Hans Schmausser, Andreas Muhr, Lorentz Steltzer, Georg Gross, Georg Schmickl and Matthiass Steltzer.  None of them are descendants of any of the later refugee families.  Members of the Schmausser family were among those who left in the founding of Bikács in Tolna County later in the 18th century.  There were others who went on to Pusztavám, Györköny and Lajos Komarom.


  In the Possessio of 1732 the following family names appear:  Hutfles, Hong, Nicz (Nitsch), Tulner, Mur (Muhr), Groff, Cwinkel, Taninger, Wesuckner, Lehner, Weth, Solczer (Salzer) and Wajsz (Weiss).


  In the church records of 1736 we can find names like:  Hoffbauer, Riechel, Lechner, Rath, Haek, Tullner, Dögn, Limbacher, Pamer, Mayrim, Tröschern, Pagessam, Buechler, Hagn, Schmöltzer, Gangl, Dumpf, Wallner, Niczinger, Kaslter, Pauret, Schiebinger, Weiss, Däscht, Schmickl, Wöber and Praimagen.


  The following names are of Bavarian origin:  Hofbauer, Pamer, Schmickel, Gangl and Schrödl.



  There is little known of Zurndorf’s prehistory.  The first documentation of this Heidebauern community as a market town first appears in 1207.  The names of landholders in 1546 included:






















The following owners of vineyards in Zurndorf in 1565 included the following:


                                    Khreuspekh                               Gleichenthaill

                                    Puringer                                     Prukhner (Bruckner)

                                    Weber*                                      Danninger

                                    Maz                                           Hunger

                                    Feierl                                         Wimmer

                                    Wohlfart                                     Hafner              

                                    Fleischacker                               Adner

                                    Khlamer                                     Clawenwirth

                                    Strohmayer                                 Pardt

                                    Holl                                            Dokhler

                                    Zindl                                           Schlehenhueber

                                    Khegl                                          Hackhl


In the Tax List in 1647 the following family names are identified:

















 In the 1770 Tax Lists the following families are listed:








                                   Denk (Tenk)











                                   Kuricz (Kurutz)



















                                   Stelzer (were a lesser noble family: country gentry)








Family names of the children in the Evangelical Lutheran School from 1783 to 1788  included:




























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