Baranya County


The Early Settlement of Tolna and the Upper Baranya


  The source of the following information is from “Franken und Schwaben in Ungarn” by Heinrich Kéri, Budapest, 2002.


  The earliest documented sources with regard to the German settlers in Tolna and Upper Baranya Counties refer to them as Francones et Suevi (Franken (Franconians) und Schwaben (Swabians).  The first settlers arriving in Tevel were Swabians who were later followed by others from Franconia.  But in the future they would all be lumped together and by the 20th Century they would be designated:  Danube Swabians.


  The first settlers were of various nationalities and religious confessions but lived a “common life” in terms of the social, political and economic situations they faced.  There were always close connections between the villages in Tolna with the villages in Upper (northern) Baranya.  At the outset, Kózar, Tofü and Mekényes were part of Tolna County before being ceded to Baranya County.  Most of the settlers in Baranya had first settled in the Tolna.  The first wave of settlers into Tolna County and then later into Baranya began in the 1720s and reached a highpoint in the 1730s only to slacken off to a mere trickle some time after that.  But small groups of other German settlers had preceded them in Dunafӧldvár and Dárda.  Slightly later they came to Bátaszék, Cikó, Kakasd, Kismányok, Majos, Paks, Varsád and Székszárd according to the County tax conscription lists.  From 1715 to 1720 their numbers increased from 53 families to 168 located in thirteen villages.


  This paints the following picture:


  In Tolna County


  Bátaszék                           21 families                       Székszárd                13 families

  Cikó                                    4 families                       Szentlӧrinc                7 families

  Kakasd                                9 families                       Tevel                       35 families

  Kismányok                         7 families                        Tolna                        9 families

  Majos                                12 persons                        Varsád                      7 families

  Mucsi                                  3 families                        Závod                     25 families

  Paks                                  15 families


  In Baranya County


  Dárda                                17 families                        Nagynyárád            15 families

  Fazekasboda                       6 families                        Pécsvárad                16 families

  Lovászhetény                    17 families                        Szajk                       10 families


  From the very beginnings there were some contentious issues involved in the settlement programme and they often became agenda items at the annual meetings of the governing assemblies in the Counties of both Tolna and Baranya.  The vast majority of those attending these sessions were nobles, higher clergy and other estate owners who had a vested interest in the matters involved.


  At a General Assembly of the representatives of the County of Tolna in 1715 action was taken to renew a former regulation which called for the confiscation of property and imprisonment of any subject tenant found guilty of taking any actions against their landlord while those nobles and landlords who gave sanctuary to subjects of another noble on their estates would be fined 200 Gulden for each infringement.


  At the Landtag (Hungarian parliament) in Pressburg 1722/1723 Article 18 was enacted that stipulated that serfs who fled from their master’s estates were not permitted to join in the resettlement of southern Hungary and would be forced to return to their former master’s domains.  Uncooperative landlords would be fined by the County.


  Count von Mercy lodged a complaint against the County of Tolna’s interpretation of Article 18 and 103 of the Landtag  of the year 1723.  In the brief he presented he reported

the landowners in the County were not settling and developing their domains.  Therefore those who did, had to undertake greater costs because in refusing his request for a six year exemption from taxes for his settlers, many of his colonists were threatening to return to the former homeland.  The County’s response was that they were upholding the intent of the Article in question.  On May 18, 1725 the Royal State Chamber asked for further clarification of this issue at the Count’s request.


  An official complaint was lodged by the inhabitants of Varsád with the County of Tolna on Noveber 6, 1725 that was addressed by the County Superior Court Judge János Dalmata and Andreas Maurer who represented the County Administration.  Their petition included the following complaints:


  “The “Swabians” or rather the settlers of German nationality in Varsád wanted to return to their homeland and not settle here because the owner of the Domain did not meet any of the requirements agreed upon in their contract and for that reason they could not remain.  The common meadow that had been promised to them had to a great degree been given to the new colonists in Szakadát, Kalaznó and Tormás.


  They had received no compensation for their loss and in their attempts to be redressed for their grievances with officials in Raab their representative had later ended up being imprisoned in the tower in Hӧgyész and placed in stocks later.


  Wild animals of all kinds do irreparable damage to the seeds that had been sown and wolves were on the prowl around the village and threatened their fowl and younger livestock but no attempt was being made on the Domain’s part to hunt them down.


  They were not allowed to let their dogs roam freely but had to be tied up at all times.  If one managed to free itself the Domain’s huntsman killed them right in front of the colonist’s yard and for such slain dogs the colonist had to pay the huntsman for doing so and pay an additional fine of 2 Gulden to the Domain owner.


  When the poor people who owned two oxen paid an annual duty for permission to have them, which is customary here in Hungary, if they traded them for three or four young steers they had to pay an additional duty for them in the same year.


  According to the contract the colonists were exempted from performing free labour for the Domain of any kind but despite that they hadto go to the Danube for logs and bring them back to the estate and were also forced into doing other free labour.


  Several men, carpenters and other tradesmen who have been working in Hӧgyész for over a month and some for over two months have never been paid for their work.


  They were duty bound to recruit and encourage newly arrived colonists in the town of Tolna on the Danube to come and settle on the Mercy Domains.  The new colonists paid the agent Fendrics 3 Gulden for permission to do so while they the colonists who did the recruiting did not receive a penny.


  If a colonist sold his house he had to relinquish one third of the sale price to the Domain and if a colonist was asked to leave the Domain by His Excellency’s administrator the colonist had to pay the equivalent of the taxes he had been exempt from paying if he had remained on the Domain.”



  The County Administration was informed that King Charles III had determined that only Catholic families from the Reich (Holy Roman Empire) would be allowed to receive a travel pass to come to repopulate Hungary.  (January 7. 1726)


  In the same notification of January 7, 1726 the General Assembly of Tolna County was informed in answer to their question with regard to how many tradesmen they could recruit in foreign lands that the County had already received enough Swabian tradesmen to meet their needs.


  The General Assembly of Tolna County goes on record acknowledging that the nobles and Domain owners may only accept Catholic families with official passes to settle on their estates.  The acceptance and settlement of families of another confession is not permitted.  Should such families present themselves for settlement it must be reported to the County Administration.  (February 5, 1726)



  Similar situations were also dealt with by the General Assemblies of the County of Baranya in relation to issues dealing with resettlement of the estates and domains in their territory.  The following are two more examples.


  On February 5, 1726 at the General Assembly of the County of Baranya, the nobleman and Domain owner of Paks, and Vice-Governor of the County, Ferenc Daróczy protested against the taxes assessed to his colonists and communities.  If the newly established communities would revert to ruins and be depopulated as a result of these excessive taxes the blame would not lie with him.  If Swabians and Germans left because of these taxes the County could not anticipate receiving the taxes it needed from those who remained.


  The County of Baranya supports the appeal made by the County of Tolna to the Landtag meeting in Pressburg (May 11, 1728).  Currently the County does not have the right or power to hold back any colonists from leaving their present masters.  They migrate wherever they wish and leave houses empty and their taxes unpaid.  There is a need to regulate that they must remain wherever they have signed a contract and been assessed for the payment of taxes.



  In the land and tax conscription lists assembled by both Counties between 1715-1720 it must be pointed out that only Hungarians could be considered subject tenants in the true sense of the word because settlers of other nationalities had the right of migration from one community and estate to another and could ignore County boundaries in that regard.


  In future, the Counties were strong in their opposition to the migration of settlers from one noble to another, especially when it meant moving to a different County which meant losing taxpayers.  The ideal colonist was the Hungarian serf.  In a real sense the Hungarian peasant was nothing more than “a beast of burden” as perceived by the nobles ever since the Peasant’s Revolt in 1514.  It was this status that the nobles sought to retain.  So it was natural for them to attempt to place the same restrictions on the German colonists to bring about stability in dealing with them in their communities.  By the time of the Urbarium Regulations of Empress Maria Theresia in 1767 of the 332 existing villages in Baranya County there were only 50 villages in which the inhabitants had the right of migration while in Tolna County half of the villages had that right written into their contracts.


  In June 1722 seven German families settled among the Hungarian Reformed inhabitants of Nagymányok.  Adam März came from Bӧnstadt, Johann Heinrich Krill was from Einstein/Hanau, Laurenz Reichert had come there from Cikó but his place of origin is not known.  Reichert’s name is included in the contract with the Dean of Cathedral in Pécs.  In 1724 or perhaps as early as 1723 the three of them left there and settled at the prairie known as Tófü.  It is not too difficult to figure out why they had left.  It was most likely because they were Lutherans and hoped they would find the freedom to practice their religion as did their Lutheran co-religionists in the neighbouring villages of Izmény and Kismányok under the protection of Count von Mercy or in Majos under Ferenc Kun.  Tӧfü belonged to the Eszterházys who were not known for their religious zeal and had learned a measure of tolerance exceptional for that age.


  In the tax conscription list in 1725 we find the names of Johann Adam Pickelhaupt and Johann Adam Kerber in Belac but in 1728 their names appear in Tӧfü.  The Pickelhaupt origins were in Langen Brombach in the Odenwald.  Kerber came from Waldbulau (Erbach).  In the conscription list of 1730 there are three new settlers added who all came from Bӧnstadt in Hessen.  They were the two brothers and brother-in-law of Adam März.


  The original inhabitants of the village of Pári were decimated as a result of the plague and those who followed them were from Silesia, Moravia and Lorraine.  In 1728 there were only eleven survivors of the original settlers, thirty-six had died of hunger or had frozen to death in the first winter spent in earthen dugouts.  Of the twenty-nine colonists who first arrived in Kalaznó in 1722/1723 twelve of them had died by 1727.  Plagues and epidemics raged in 1738 reaping a harvest of countless victims.


  The issue of the settlement of German Protestants (Lutheran and Reformed) would become a major issue because of the fact of their numerous settlements in Tolna County.  The vast majority of them came from Hessen where the Emperor Charles had assured the Landgrave that any of his Protestant subjects who ventured to come to Hungary would have their religious rights respected.  It was a promise he would never keep.  The situation in which these settlers would find themselves was dependent upon their landlord, the County officials and the resilience of the people themselves.  The Roman Catholics had problems of their own as reports from Baranya County point out.


  Wilhelm Franz Baron von Nesselrode, the Bishop of Pécs, (1703-1732), concerned himself with things other than the spiritual welfare of his flock.  Throughout the time of his holding office he was in constant quarrels with the Cathedral Chapter and the County Administration and was hated by his contemporaries so that he was given the nickname “the gruesome.”  In 1729 a canonical visitation was carried out in Baranya County by the bishop’s vicar, Sándor Fonyó, on behalf of Mátyás Domsics the Dean of the Cathedral.  He learned that in many cases the priests could not speak the language of their flock who were Hungarians, Croats and Germans.  The nobleman Olivier Wallis complained that the priest who served the town of Tolna was unable to speak German.  The German parishioners in Pári complained that they were without spiritual comfort or counsel.


  In addition to these problems it became apparent in Tolna County that by 1720 the settlers were fast disappearing and there were no signs of “Franconians and Swabians” in Szentlórinc, Cikó, Varsád, Závód, Kakasd, Bátaszék and Kismányok.  The majority of the settlers had died.  The rest were weakened by hunger and sickness.  Some went begging from door to door for food.  When they became strong enough they undertook the journey back home.  The villages they abandoned were resettled by new arriving colonists who were none the wiser.  The issues for the County to deal with in 1724 and 1725 were caused by the Landlords and the settlers themselves.


  The flow of settlers in the 1730s was miniscule compared to the 1720s.  The unreal hopes of the first settlers were not realized.  Disease and sickness took their toll and decimated their numbers followed by famine and natural disasters that led to starvation.  Nor was there much more fertile land available in the two Counties.  This lesser migration into Hungary was not part of the concurrent massive movement taking place in the Banat.  There were none of the same supports for the settlers in Hungary as would become available to those who were part of the “organized emigration.”


  At the time of Count von Mercy’s purchase of the his estates in Tolna County in May 1722, the inhabitants of Mucsi, Závod, Apar, Pálfa, Szárszentlӧrinc, Kӧlesd, Kisvejke, Diósberény, Varsád and Felsӧnána were taxpaying peasants and had settled or moved into the area three years previously.  In Varsád only the Hungarians paid taxes while the tax conscriptions lists indicate seventeen German families had settled there at Pentecost in 1721 (although four German families are mentioned in 1720).  Izmény received German colonists in June 1722 and Kalaznó in April and June of 1722.  Hidegkút became part of the von Mercy’s estates in 1722 and had been previously settled by Germans who had arrived in the County earlier because they were already paying taxes.  Mucsfa was settled with 42 families in 1724 and other families arrived in Kistormás in that year.  Others would follow from 1730 to 1750.


  There is no evidence that there was an organized settlement programme on the part of Count von Mercy or any of the other nobles for which they publicized their need for settlers in the German lands and principalities.  It appears that the settlers were often self-organized groups of people in search of a new homeland as the founding of Kistormás and Musfa suggests.  Those settling in Kistormás brought their pastor and teacher with them.  Those in Mucsfa all came from the Odenwald.  There is also very strong evidence that settlers who were heading for the Batschka and Banat abandoned that goal as they passed through Hungary.  Not even the placement of Imperial agents onboard the ships going down the Danube was able to prevent the sometimes wholesale abandonment of the ships by settlers at the river ports along the Danube to settle in Hungary giving up on their goal of going on to the Banat.  Count von Mercy was well aware of this.  It would lead to quarrels with the County Administration.  It was no wonder that all of the landlords placed agents to recruit settlers at Paks, Tolna, Mohács and Dunafӧldvár, the major river ports along the Danube beyond Buda.



  There is very little evidence of Count von Mercy’s actual presence in Tolna County.  On  February 25, 1722 the representatives of the former owner von Sinzendorf attended the General Assembly of the County.  On May 7th of that year a delegation from Kismányok appeared at Apar before the Count and received his assurance to protect their freedom to practice their faith.  At the County’s General Assembly on May 15th, at Count von Mercy’s request, Tobias Vatzi was acknowledged as his steward and representative and Anton Ignatius Karl Auguste Mercy de Argentau was recognized as his adopted son.


  Until 1725 the representative of Count von Mercy’s Domains at the Assemblies of the County were four different individuals.  Count von Mercy never attended which was also true of the other two major Magnates:  Eszterházy and Styrum-Limburg.  The lesser nobles and landowners were present and filled all of the major positions in the County Administration.  Melchior Hamer was von Mercy’s steward and representative in 1722.  The Minutes (protocols) of the County indicate that relationships with von Mercy (his heir) were rather strained for various reasons and threatened to become more volatile by January 30, 1725.


  On January 17, 1725 the General Assembly of Tolna County was presented with a deposition in the name Count von Mercy, the Governor of the Banat, with various suggestions to improve the County Administration.  The document, however, was signed by his nephew and heir Argentau.  During the sitting of the Assembly all of the points he raised were dealt with and denied.  Count von Mercy then approached the King through his adopted son and his proposals were forwarded to him.  They were once again denied.  Count von Mercy (or his heir) had proposed to strengthen the power of the landowning nobles over against the County Administration because the members of the County Administration had interests that conflicted with  the large landowning families.  They were all of the lesser nobility with small landholdings and “milked” the County for their own ends and advancement.  Both the higher nobility and churchmen along with the lesser nobles on their part claimed to hold the poor people’s best interests in mind in their decision-making.  On their part, the County Administration portrayed von Mercy as a rapacious landlord with no concern for his settlers with whom he had often broken his contracts.  The inhabitants of Kӧlesd complained to the County that the prairie of Tormás which had been granted to them in their settlement contract had been taken away from them and given to the recently arrived Germans who founded Kistormás.  Because of complaining to the County Administration the villagers of  Kӧlesd were being threatened with resettlement elsewhere which the County sought to hinder.  Another issue which played a major role in this quarrel was the Varsád Memorial mentioned earlier in which they claimed von Mercy had not met his obligations as outlined in their contract.


  As noted before the County appointed a commission to investigate the charges and a disturbing picture emerges.  These German peasants on the von Mercy Domains could not consolidate and stabilize their life and existence there and were prepared to return to their homeland because their noble master did not fulfill his obligations to them.  How personally involved or aware von Mercy was of this quarrel is hard to determine.


  The matter of the settlement of the “illegal” Protestant settlers who did not have an Imperial pass to go on to the Banat had little to do with the personal sympathy of the landlords.  The nobleman, János Meszelényi, guaranteed that his Hungarian settlers were free to practice their Lutheran faith and build a church in his contract with them on June 11, 1722.  This was in Gyӧrkӧny.  German Protestants were also welcome on the estates of the Magyary-Kossa family in Gyӧnk and the estates of István Szekélyi in Varsád.  All three of these noblemen were Protestants and before the German settlers arrived in Varsád and Gyӧnk there were Magyar Calvinists already residing there.  There were German Protestants who were settled by Styrum-Limberg in Nagyszékely.  Sinzendorf in Kismányok.  Eszterházy in Tófü.  Ferenc Kun in all of his villages.  They were simply more tolerant and had an ecumenical attitude unlike the zealous Roman Catholic clergy.  But of course the major settler of German Lutherans in Tolna County was Count von Mercy in the numerous villages that he established with them.



  There are notable variations of the story of how the Reformed settlers in Kismányok left there in 1721/1722 because of differences they had with the Lutherans.  They responded to an invitation from Styrum-Limberg to settle in Nagyszékely which they left the same year in which they arrived because they were offered no land or house lot and moved to Gyӧnk to join Magyar Calvinists who lived there and were warmly welcomed by Peter Magyari-Kossa, who was not only a nobleman but also a Superintendent (bishop) of the Hungarian Reformed Church.


  The source of this story was in an address given by the pastor of Gyӧnk, Joszef Por in 1877 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the building of the Reformed Church describing events that took place 150 years before.  But what were his sources?


  There is a contract Count von Mercy signed with the residents in Kismányok dated in 1722.  The second document is a clear statement of the Count’s religious position in terms of his settlements.  On May 7, 1722 two representatives from Kismányok came to Apar to put their case before their new landlord and requested permission to call and install a Lutheran pastor to serve them.  He agreed to that to the limit of his authority and the laws of Hungary.  There is a further document from 1724 in which the terms for the pastor’s keep is outlined which is the same as for priests in the Roman Catholic villages.


  Even though Count von Mercy is mentioned with all of his various titles, his adoptive son is the one who actually signed the document a clear indication that he was acting on his uncle’s behalf in these matters and the Governor of the Banat was far removed from the parochial concerns of his settlers in the Tolna.



Véménd in Baranya County

and the Fulda Emigration


  The content of this article is based on material translated from the Véménd Heimatbuch and provides a summary of some details that might be of interest to a researcher or general reader.


  Véménd is located near the north-eastern border of Baranya with Tolna County.  The first German settlers came here from Silesia and Moravia but soon moved on to the Banat.  There was a slow down in immigration into Baranya County from 1722-1727.  It was later in 1745 when some settlers came from the Upper Rhine, Franconia and the Bishopric of Fulda.  Those that came from Fulda had their origins in Wyhers, Schmalnau, Rasdorf and Eichenzell.  They were followed by families from Bavaria, Cologne and Württemberg.  There were still others who arrived in the 1780s during the reign of Emperor Joseph II.


  The Bishopric of Fulda provided the vast majority of the settlers in Véménd and other communities to be found in both Baranya and Tolna Counties.  Fulda belonged to the region where Christianity had its beginnings in Germany.  Its monastery was erected in the time of Charlemagne.  In the Middle Ages the Bishopric gained power and influence in terms of the politics and domestic affairs of the Holy Roman Empire.  Its territory stretched across the Vogelsburg, Landrücken and a large portion of the Rhӧn valley up to Bavaria and then on to the Hammelberg and the Main River.  There were numerous nobles and their vassals who lived within the principality.  The Rhӧn district had poor agricultural land and its population lived in poverty.  The area would produce large numbers of peasants in search of improving their economic situation.  They could not be held back once they heard about the “fool’s Paradise” in Hungary.


  According to the Minutes of the Town Council in Ulm in 1712 many left for Hungary and scores of them ended up in disastrous situations.  It was much like a mass flight out of the country and the various rulers had to use vigorous methods to contain and dissuade the would-be emigrants.  The following warning was issued in the Bishopric of Fulda on March 28, 1718:  “Subjects of ours who have returned from Hungary have informed Us that even though feudal bondage does not exist there, it was not possible for a German to survive there.  Before their return home the recent arrivals sold their small huts but now have nothing and begged to be taken back as our subjects again.  Therefore everyone is warned to think twice about this before ending up in the same manner.  Whoever leaves his home and returns in future will be dealt with as a foreigner and will need to have 200 Gulden in his possession to be received back in this land.”


  Monks, Jesuits and village priests were instructed to read this decree after their Sunday sermon in the following places:  Johannisberg, Petersberg, Florenberg, Margarethenhaun, Heimbach, Kämmerzell, Flieden, Hofaschenbach, Rosenfeld, Rossbach, Neuhof, Motten, Dietershausen, Lütter, Eiterfeld, Schleid, Borsch, Herlestein, Bimbach, Salzschlirf, Zella, Bremen, Geismar, Hammelburg, Dippach, Hinsfeld, Tulba, Lautenfeldbach, Untertal, Grossenlüder, Brüchenau, Herolz, Ulmbach, Hattenhof, Schwarzbach, Hofbieber, Burghaun, Poppenhausen, Hünefeld and Marbach.  Despite the decree some families left from Grossenlüder and Hinsfeld (Hosenfeld) and received official permission to do so.  The bishop of Würzburg and Bamberg, Friedrich Karl von Schӧnborn whose territory belonged to the southern part of the Rhӧn district issued a sharp and stern law to put a stop to the emigration fever of his subjects.  In his regulation of April 14, 1724 he warned that anyone who left his territory on their own would be treated like vagabonds if they returned and would not be tolerated in the land.


  The mass flight and emigration from the area can be attributed to the efforts of German soldiers who had been engaged in the War of Liberation against the Turks in Hungary and had been paid in land grants by the Habsburgs.  They also recruited German brides and the news of favourable settlement possibilities in Hungary was spread far and wide.


  Some of the groups of settlers that participated in the catastrophe of 1712 also managed to entice teachers to go with them.  Very often they were under the spiritual guidance of a priest who accompanied them.  The Roman Catholic priest, Peter Willenscheid of Fulda came to Hӧgyész in Tolna County in 1723 and Father Nikolaus Termus arrived with the colonists at Nagyarpad in 1725.  The first mass wave of emigration occurred from 1712-1730 and the participants are virtually unidentifiable in terms of their home locales.  Only a few of those in the next wave can be traced back home but the third and final wave of emigrants during the time of Joseph II can be easily identified and located.


  There is mention made of Véménd in a document from 1356 when it is called Emen.  In 1557 the estate belonged to Michael Kesses.  The Turks appeared on the scene in 1569 and found some Serbs living there who had previously fled from the Turks in 1521.  In 1688, Pécs and its vicinity were liberated from the Turks and shortly afterwards Serb cattle herders took up residence in the abandoned community.  In the tax conscription lists of 1715 there were 34 Slavic (Croat and Serb) households in Véménd.  In 1720 there were still 21 Slavic households along with 4 Magyar (Hungarian) households.  In 1732 the community was abandoned.  The area was resettled by German-speaking colonists by the estate owner, the Abbot of Pécsvarad between 1739-1750.  In 1752 there were 43 tax paying households.  The next phase of settlement began in 1780 under the leadership of the Emperor Joseph II.  Most of the settlers as indicated previously came from the Fulda region and were known as the Stifuller (Stift Fulda) along with Swabians and Alsatians.


  Very few Hungarians had survived the Turkish occupation of the area.  Those who were not killed fled to other areas.  Croat families came from the south and settled in Baranya County but it was the later arriving Swabians, as the German settlers would be called, that would develop and restore the economic viability of the land.  It would be called Swabian Turkey as an honorary title.  In its heyday, when Baranya blossomed, it was the most densely populated region in Hungary.  That had all changed with the coming of the Turks who would destroy and depopulate the region.  Baranya became the “route of passage” for the Turkish hordes on their way north and west as the conquered the rest of Hungary.  They simply lived off of the land and the loot and booty they took in possessions and slaves.


  In reality there was no indigenous population when the Swabians arrived only a few Slavic refugees.  The Minutes of the Town Council of Ulm in 1712 shed some light on the first large scale emigration down the Danube River to Hungary.


  In May and June of 1712 the ship companies in Ulm saw vast new sources of income as emigrants flocked to go to Hungary.  On June 27th the first report of would-be-settlers to Hungary had arrived in Vienna and were totally impoverished and were attempting to return home.  On July 20th Ulm officials were informed that those who were able bodied were returning on foot while the sick were returning on two ships.  The Town Council attempted to dock the ships prior to reaching Ulm at either Donauwürth or Offingen because they feared that the returnees would spread their sickness and the city of Ulm could possibly face an epidemic.  The “Hungarian sickness” was feared to be like the plague that had decimated all of Western Europe in the past.


  The fear of the Ulm Councillors was not unfounded.  On September 22nd the two ships finally arrived at Leipheim with its cargo of sick returning settlers.  About three months later another ship with discouraged returnees from Hungary came to Donauwürth who were cared for by the district coffers while the first boatloads had been brought to Ulm and their care had been provided by the city.  There was only one settlement in the Pécs highlands that was established in 1712 that took root and survived.  In later years settlers  were sent back to Germany by their feudal master to recruit others to come to Hungary.  It was only after 1736 that a much more effective colonization organization was set in place.  It came too late for Baranya County but it would be to the great advantage of those who now went on to the Banat and the Batschka.


  In reality, Hungary could only be called liberated after the Turks were defeated at the Battles of Peterwardein and Temesvár in 1716.  On the orders of the Emperor Charles VI numerous Imperial agents were sent into the various German lands to recruit farmers and tradesmen for settlement in Hungary.  The strongest force behind the recruitment were the nobles of Hungary who hoped to increase their income from their destroyed and wasted estates.  Heavy recruitment drives took place in the region of Regensburg, Ulm, Frankfurt-an-Main and Cologne.  Most of those who responded were the brothers of first born sons and their families who had no land or hope of land.  As a result they were poor  and were eager for a better life somewhere else and would risk what little they had in possessions to raise their travel expenses.


  Many were leaving because of the suffering and poverty in Germany.  Numbers of them chose an unknown destiny in Hungary rather than the greater danger of a sea crossing to America.  But going to Hungary was also dangerous.  It was a virtual wilderness.  The nobles had to offer the kind of incentives that would entice them to come to Hungary.  They were given free transport for the whole family, land, heating material, exemption from all taxes for six years, no crop tithes to pay to the landlord, no robot (free labour) to be performed for the landowner and seeds for planting.  It was the promise of land that lured them on.  A large portion of the emigrants left illegally.  If they knew their landlord was opposed to the emigration and they were bonded serfs they simply walked away.  Left unannounced.  Hope drove them to Hungary regardless of the consequences.  Most of them would leave by ship, boat, barge or on rafts and head down the Danube starting out from one of the major river-ports.  The Fulda settlers started out from Regensburg.


  At the time of settlement the nobles made contracts with their subjects but they would not live up to their part of the bargain.  They oppressed their people at will.  Many of the settlers simply left and went elsewhere in hopes of finding a better landlord.  The demands made of them by the nobles became more burdensome each year.  In the 1760s the ruling classes sought to make agreements even more onerous and at the expense of their subjects in terms of providing robot (free labour) and an increase in the tithe the peasants provided from their crops, livestock and fowl.


  This increased oppression and the great dissatisfaction of all the peasants resulted in an uprising.  They appealed to the Bible in which the tithe was one tenth and not one ninth as the nobles took from them.  They refused to provide robot labour and left the grain crops standing in their master’s fields refusing to harvest them.  It was passive resistance and the nobles had no idea of how to deal with them and therefore as usual they called upon the military to use force.  Countless numbers of men were imprisoned in Pécs.  As the uprising continued bands of peasants moved on Pécs and surrounded the prison and government buildings.  The rebels only began to leave the city once each of the prisoners was freed and no punishment would be meted out to them.  The result of the uprising was Empress Maria Theresia’s Urbariumn of 1767 which regulated the terms of the nobles’ contracts with their peasants and were equally binding on both of them and gave the peasants recourse to law if the nobles failed to live up to their responsibilities.


  During the Revolution of 1848 the Swabian population sided with the Hungarians in their battle for independence.  They were the only minority to do so.  The emancipation of the serfs had been declared by the Hungarian parliament during the revolution and after Austria was back in control it remained in effect.  Although they did not own the land they and their families had worked for generations they could now buy it from their landlord at the rate of 20 to 40 Forint per Joch (1.4 acres).


  After the First World War the County of Baranya was occupied by Serbian troops from the south to the Mecsek Mountains until 1921.  This was a terrible time in Véménd and the populace thought that things could not get worse.  There was total chaos and a lack of law and order.  Horses and cows were simply taken away on a whim.  Some who protested were beaten to death, others were stripped naked and lashed with whips.  After the Treaty of Trianon was in force Véménd was returned to what remained of Hungary.


  The inter-war years saw the emergence of Horthy’s nationalist government, the rise of anti-Semitism, the growing hostility of the Hungarian nationalists towards the minorities and the stirrings of a sense of German identity among the Swabians fostered by two movements that led to the demise of one, the UDV and the rise of the other under Franz Basch and his Volksbund der Deutschen in Ungarn (VDU).  The latter becoming a Nazi front organization with local chapters in almost every village.  Their activities in turn gave birth to a loyalty movement among the Swabians who honoured their Hungarian citizenship.  Villages and communities were split.  This was also true in Véménd.


  In 1942 Horthy and Hitler signed an Accord that allowed the Volksbund to recruit volunteers among the Swabians to serve in the German Armed Forces, mainly the SS.  This was to be done on a voluntary basis but soon it became the duty of all Germans in Hungary after the German occupation in March 1944 as the Russian armies doggedly advanced towards the borders of Hungary.  Only a few families joined the evacuation in the Fall of 1944.  Troopers from the Red Army entered Véménd on November 28, 1944.  A few families managed to escape in the next few days.  The deportation of young people to slave labour in the Soviet Union took place between Christmas 1944 and New Years 1945.  Confiscation of Swabian property and homes throughout Véménd followed in May 1945.  On September 15, 1947 a convoy made up of more than 1,900 inhabitants of Véménd were expelled to the Russian Zone of occupation in Germany.  The convoy arrived in Pirna, Saxony on September 18th and the families were dispersed throughout Saxony the vast majority of whom would across the border to the Western Zones.

Mágocs a Market Town in Baranya County


  The following information finds its source in “Mágocs Markt-Gemeinde in der Branau/Baranya” by Franz Teufel published in Gӧppingen in the winter of 1991/92 and portions of it are my translation of the text.


  During the 13th Century the monastery of Mágocs was established with St. Peter as its patron in 1251.  By 1333 it was part of the diocese of Pécs and during the episcopate of Bishop Klimo (Gyӧrgy) documents were sent to the Vatican with regard to Mágocs along with an interest payment.  In 1355 we learn of a dispute over a small parcel of land between Mark the Abbot of Mágocs and a rival Abbot of Abram that was settled by the Superior Court Judge of Tolna County.  Mágocs lost the case.


  The oldest known feudal nobles in the late Middle Ages who owned land in the area were the Hungarian noble family of Bodó.  Their rise to power began with the settlement of Gyӧrgyi.  In the reign of Matthias Corvinus (1458-1490) Gaspar and Gregor were the head of the family and were known as Bodós after 1455.  The family was awarded land grants by King Ladislaus in 1510 that included Gyӧrgyi, Hajmas, Egyhazakozár, Varjas, Olaszfalu, Hab, Geréngyes, Tӧttós, Konyafalu and Vaszvár.  In 1518, Louis II signed the verification of their title to the lands.


  In 1526 young King Louis II lost his life at the Battle of Mohács with the Turks.  Now began the most tragic period in Hungarian history.  The Hungarian nobles rallied around John Szaplyai, the Prince of Transylvania and elected him king.  He was crowned on November 11. 1536 as John I.  At the Conference of Hainburg (between Pressburg and Vienna) the widowed Queen Maria of Hungary and her brother, the Archduke Ferdinand of Habsburg agreed that he would support her claim to the throne of Hungary on the basis of her marriage agreement of 1515 even if armed force had to be used to assert the Habsburg rights to the throne.  John I had no real claim to the throne.  The Pressburg Landtag (parliament) elected Ferdinand as King of Hungary on December 17, 1526 and was crowned on November 3, 1527 in Hungary almost a year later.


  On January 27, 1528 the Turkish Sultan, Suleiman, recognized John I as the King of Hungary and promised him assistance against the Habsburgs.  Two hundred years of tragedy would now follow.  The current head of the House of Bodós, Francis ensconced at Gyӧrgyi sided with John I.  He suffered personal defeat at the hands of the Habsburgs and he was forced to give up his title and lands to his son Wolfgang (Farkas).  His estates were devastated in the ensuing warfare and his income decreased annually.  In 1544 the last of the Bodós fled from their fortress of Anyavár that was besieged by the Turks.  He found refuge at Gyӧrgyi the ancient seat of the family estate.  Nothing is known of his death.  His oldest sister, Anna, inherited what remained of the family estate.  She was married to Bendedict Bajoni of Bihar.  She arranged for their oldest son, John, to serve in the border region with Somogy County.  He was to benefit from his mother’s new estates inherited from the Bodós.  In 1560 he came to Szigetvár to join and serve under Zrinyi Miklós in his tax revolt.


  As a result of the peace treaty between the Habsburgs and the Turks, Tolna County had to pay taxes to the Turkish Sultan but private taxes still had to be paid to the nobles.  The Hungarian nobles could continue to demand taxes of their serfs even if they had fled their domains and were now under Turkish rule.  Often force and brutality were used to raise these taxes while Turkish and Hungarian brigands roamed the countryside and plundered the peasant  population to an utter state of degradation and poverty.


  The occupiers of Szigetvár also carried out these kinds of raids.  They put Esseg to the torch as well as Pécs and the area all the way to the Danube and devastated and looted the estates of Battai and Székszárd abbeys.  At this point young John Bajoni came into his own.  The many rewards, captured women, the fiery wine of Srem, the freebooter life of soldiery, the hunt, the booty suited him well.  He soon forgot his own interests were at variance with the interests of the revolt and Zrinyi and his ally Allia Matyas.  He was forced to sign an agreement whereby he gave up half of his estates to Allia Matyas and the second half as well after his death.  He later said the agreement was null and void because duress was used and his married sister Szafia was his heir


  On September 8, 1566 the fortress of Szigetvár fell to the Turks and Zrinyi, Allia and Bodós perished in the siege.  The estates of Bodós went to his sister Szafia.  Because the estates were located far away and in Turkish held territory and there was little contact between the owners and the subject tenants their ongoing neglect hastened the estates in becoming a wasteland.


  Bosnyak Tamas, the Vice Governor of Hont County and commander of the fortress at Fülek, married Szafia’s daugher Maria.  On studying the documentation of his wife’s dowry he became aware of the sizeable estates he could claim if the Turks were ever driven out of southern Hungary.  He was determined to regain the estates.  He sought the aid of men of importance who “owed” him.  He sold Gyӧrgyi and its filial communities to Turós Miklós, who was commander of the fortress at Kiskomarom for 100 Thaler.  This was sold with the understanding that the estate could not be sold to anyone else except Bosnyak and for the same price of 100 Thaler.  He also tried to do the same with his Tolna estates approaching Zichy Pal, the captain of the fortress at Veszprem.  In 1623 the captain replied:  “I would like to meet your wishes but what can I do?  The Turks have blocked all of the roads.  You can judge for yourself that there is no real value to be gained by such a “takeover” on my part.”  Bosnyak’s death occurred prior to the liberation of Hungary.  He had no male heir.  His daughter, the wife of the very rich Balassa Imre had no interest in the Bodós lands.  Turós Miklós then sold the Gyӧrgy estate with its filials:  Hajmas, Varjas, Olaszfalu, Hab, Gerényes, Konyaflu and others to Laskay Andras the second in command of the fortress in Pápa.


  The area around Gyӧrgyi was a wasteland.  The small surrounding settlements were destroyed.  Some of the inhabitants had fled.  The greater part of the population had died as a result of the warfare and the plague which followed.  This situation would last until the liberation in 1683 that began with the Turkish defeat at the siege of Vienna and then their headlong flight back into Hungary pursued by the Imperial Army of the Habsburgs.


  On September 2, 1686 Buda was liberated by forces led by Margrave Louis of Baden and on September 23rd his forces captured Simontornya and moved on into the area of the Bodós estates and took Pécs on October 14, 1686.  The army remained there in winter quarters and in the Spring of 1687 the campaigned resumed.  With the siege and battle of Harsany on August 12, 1687 under the command of Charles of Lorraine all of Swabian Turkey (Tolna, Baranya and Somogy Counties) was liberated.  The second Battle of Mohács followed under the command of Maximilian of Bavaria and Prince Eugene of Savoy and in the future all conflict would be to the south and south east.


   Now it was time for peace in the beleaguered land but not yet!  The Imperial War Office was in control but the County administrations would soon be re-established.  The presence of the military slowed down normalization.  Their need for provisions and supplies to continue their campaign against the Turks was expensive.  The wasteland in which they were quartered could not provide for their support.  The surviving population had to bear the burden.  There was simply no opportunity to make a new beginning and redevelop the land.  From the tax records dated 1542 it can be estimated that there were about 110 families in Mágocs and the surrounding villages at that time.  Whether the decimation of this population was a result of death or flight is unknown.  During the Turkish occupation they were replaced with Orthodox Serbian settlers.  Dӧbrӧkӧz became the centre of Orthodoxy in the area.


  The tax lists from 1542, 1559 and 1565 identify the existing communities in the area.


  In 1542 there was Magocz, as it was then called, and the ancient abbey which had two full sessions of land.  The houses were all abandoned by the former residents who had fled out of fear of the Turks.  In Gyӧrgy the 29 houses had also been abandoned for the same reason.  Bekatho was abandoned.  Konyafalva was abandoned and would become the future Csikostӧttӧs.  Hab, Kapas, Naaghag (Nagy Ág), Gherenyes (Gerényes) and Thelkes (future Tékes) were owned by the Bodós and had also been abandoned.


  In 1559 there is only mention made of Macochi (Mágocs) and Hagmas (Nagyhajmas) while in the tax list of 1565 there is only Naghagh (Nagy Ág) and the owner listed is Wolfgang Bodós.


  Following the expulsion of the Turks a registration of villages was undertaken in 1695 and 1696 by the Imperial Government working out of Pécs.  In 1696 the following villages were listed:  Mágocs was owned by the Paulist Fathers of Pápa.  All of its inhabitants were Serbs and belonged to the Orthodox Church.  There were 13 families. Mocsolad’s owners were unknown.  Serbs lived there having come after the Turks had occupied the area.  There were four families.  All of them were Orthodox.  Ráckajmas was owned by the Karachicks from Tihany.    The village was inhabited by Croats who were Roman Catholic.  There were 8 families.  In all likelihood this is an error and they were probably Serbs and were Orthodox.  Bikal was owned by the Bishop of Raab and all of the inhabitants were Serbs who were Orthodox.  There were 6 families.


  Peace was an illusion.  The chief areas of renewed military conflict were along the Danube.  The ancient highway–Via Begia–leading to Buda from Esseg made its way through Mohács-Pécs-Magyarszék-Dombovár and Szekésfehervár.  The population in Swabian Turkey consisted mainly of Magyars and several Slavic groups.  But there were also Germans in eight districts.  In Babarc there were eight families, Szajka had twenty-seven.  Lovaszhétney had seventeen families and in Pécsvár there were nine.  Siklós had one and Szabar had twenty-two.  Varkay had four families and in Pécs there were seventy-nine.  There were a total of 185 German families.


  The losses that resulted because of the war and the economic situation led to hostility between the Hungarians and the Slavs.  The Slavs had played an important role in the Imperial Army that carried out the liberation.  The Habsburgs sought their future military support in the Balkans and they would become their allies against the Rákóczy rebels between 1702-1712 as well as against Thӧkӧly during the uprising he led.


  During the liberation, Hungarian units plundered and damaged Slavic villages at will.  In addition there was also the Roman Catholic-Orthodox issue that fuelled the animosity between them.  The Orthodox Patriarch, Csernovics Arzen, arrived in Hungary with 30,000 Serbs fleeing the Turks.  On August 2, 1690 he received an imperial letter that granted his people freedom to practice their religion and this was a thorn in the flesh to the newly reorganized Roman Catholic bishopric of Pécs.  All of this would lead to the expulsion of the Serbs from Dӧbrӧkӧz in 1699.  Not long afterwards, the Bishop of Pécs, Radonay Matya, ordered the expulsion of all the Serbs in the city in 1700.  It was the same year that the plague broke out in the settlements of southern Hungary.  The People’s War of Liberation broke out against the Habsburgs led by Rákóczy Francis II who left exile in Galicia on June 16, 1703 and returned to Hungary.


  He named Karolyi Sándor, the former Sheriff of Szatmár County, as the commander of the uprising in Swabian Turkey even though he had fought against him previously.  The Kurucz sought freedom from the Habsburgs but their secondary motive was booty.  There was a lack of any real discipline in the rebel army.  Military operations were sporadic with no major planning involved.  It was guerrilla warfare.   They destroyed the village of Nyhilas on the estates of Paul Esterházy.  It had been settled by Germans and Hungarians who they drove out of the area.  On January 11, 1704 the rebel army crossed the frozen Danube at Dunafӧldvár.  They took the road to Dӧbrӧkӧz, past Dombovár to Pécs.


  At the end of January the city was sealed from the outside world under the command of Sándor Laszlo.  The citizens of the city had attempted to remain neutral.  The rebels demanded a ransom to be paid and several hostages.  The city refused.  The rebels stormed the walls of Pécs on February 1, 1704 and began a day long series of slaughter and savage butchery.  The tragedy that took place was pieced together by seventy eye witnesses.  Sixty of the Hungarians in the city were killed.  The forty citizens who made up the City Council were killed in the town hall.  Its members were Germans, Hungarians and Serbs.  In total there were 700 victims in the city.


  At the end of March the Austrian troops in the area were joined by units of Serbs who served on the frontier.  Under the leadership of their officers they attacked Pécs and murdered the citizens and plundered the city.  As a result of the latest massacre the blame for it was attributed to the Orthodox clergy.  The surrounding vicinity suffered the same fate as the city.  In the census of 1712, Pécs reported a total of 119 citizens and 84 cottage owners.  That was only ten per cent of the population that had been previously recorded.


  The Peace of Szatmár signed on April 30, 1711 ended the tragic war.  Rákóczy fled to Poland.  The House of Habsburg was now declared the perpetual heir to the throne of Hungary and Charles VI was crowned Charles III of Hungary.  During the next decades there were disputes between the counties of Tolna and Baranya over their jurisdictions and boundaries and some communities were assessed taxes by both.  Mágocs was eventually declared to be part of Baranya.


  On June 19, 1719 a superior of the Pécs abbey proceeded to Pressburg to lay claim to the estates of the monastery in Gyӧrgyi which at the time was the Puszta Gyӧrgen, the estate of Mágocs and the pusztas of Nagy Hajmas and Hossziszo.  Approval was quickly forthcoming and the Emperor Charles VI signed the decree on September 1, 1719 and the estates were handed over to the Paulist Fathers of Pécs.  The Baranya County assembly validated the decree a year later.  The estate had no real economic value or much in the way of a population.  In 1716 it had still been designated an unpopulated puszta.  In 1718 there were seven Slavic families in Gyӧrgyi.  Hosszinszo was abandoned.  There was a need for settlers to develop the estates.  Special concessions were made to would-be- settlers such as a reduction in the amount of robot (free labour) they would have to provide and four years of exemption from taxation.


  All of the first settlers were Hungarians except for Johannes Albert.  Their former home communities are unknown to us.  But the names are related to the western Tolna and Lutherans in south eastern Somogy County.  Many of the original settlers later moved on in search of “a better deal” being offered somewhere else.  There was no resident priest or church but there was a lay preacher, Stephen Deák, who was probably Lutheran or Reformed.  When monks came they celebrated Mass in homes.  A congregation evolved as a filial of Bikal.  In the canonical visitation of the area in 1721 Mágocs is not even mentioned.  In the visitation of the Vasardombo parish in 1729, Mágocs was visited on March 29, 1729.  There was a local teacher, Gregor Miskloczi.  He was 35 years old, a Slovak and spoke Latin, Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and German.  His handwriting was average.  He was convert from Lutheranism and taught in Mágocs for one year.


  On the basis of the records he kept by 1730 there were additional German families who had settled in Mágocs and included Johannes Heil and his wife Catharina, Johann Adam Trapp, Carl Trapp,  Anna Catharina Trapp, Johannes Melter and his wife Catharina.  Others soon followed.  1734 Michael Hop.  1736 Hilarius Gruler and Catharina Sterz, Valentine Csais and Maria, Ignatius Rotter and Julianna and Nikolaus Martin.  1739 Joseph Martin and Maria Magdalena Zinzendorf, Peter Henner and Barbara, Johannes Henner, Catharina Henner, Friedrich Hamm and Elisabeth and Johannes Wolfgang Hamm.  The following arrived in 1740:  Johannes Higele, Heinrich Resch and Christina, Johannes Huck and Elisabeth Bair, Johannes Adam Sipl and Catharina Maurer, Johannes Klotz and Anna Fronler, Johannes Richtebald and Margaret Schneider, Matthias Trautner and Salome, Joseph Trautner and Catharina, Johannes Heinrich Kollmann and Catharina, Valentine Streit, Maria Magdalena Streit, Caspar Johannes Stegner, Adam Pidner and Elisabeth, Gabriel Paumann and Margaretha Streit.


  Those who arrived in 1741 were Philipp Nusspam and Anna Barbara Till, Georg Thuren and Catharina, Jakob Henn and Catharina, Georg Matthias Niedermaier and Regina, Bartolomeus Turchlholtz and Maria, Matthias Gartner and Anna, Anton Gartner and Agnes, Johann Adam Hohmann and Christina Hartmann, Caspar Michel and Elisabeth, Johannes Stumm, Carl Stumm and Anna Maria. 


  The new arrivals in 1742 included Heinrich Essinger and Christina, Johannes Schneider and Maria Magdalena, Valentine Halker and Magdalena, Adam Corneli and Anna Margaretha, Balthasar Hoff, Andreas Paur and Franzsika, Adam Hartung and Margaretha and Johannes Totenbir.


  Another group arrived in 1743 and included the following:  Dominik Czimmermann and Magdalena, Hans Georg Czimmermann and Catharina Matris, Nikolaus Pan or Pon and Maria Catharina, Johannes Heinrich and Anna Maria Kollmann, Georg Heinrich and Margareth Trapp, Johannes Adam Schlegl and Anna Maria, Johannes Schmitt, Sebastian Schmitt, Joachim Schmitt, Anna Maria Hoffmann, Johann Matthias Hoffmann, Nikolaus Hoffmann, Balthasar Inhof and Elisabeth.


  There were the following who settled here in 1744:  Martin Pronner and Agatha Sauter, Johann Michael Pronner and Margareth Stengl, Michael Eisenach and Anna Reder, Johannes Aicher and Catharina Carl, Laurentius Kirsch and Catharina Friedmacher, Johannes Kolber, Matthias Kolber and Anna, Sebastian Edelsesser and Elisabeth, Joseph Eczel and Maria Jacobi, Johann Georg Eczel and Anna Maria, Jacob Sauter, Joseph Sauter and Margareth, Hans Georg Sauter and Clara, Laurentius Schumann and Margareth Dietrich.


  There were an additional seven families who arrived in 1745 and included:  Johannes Hartung and Apollonia Stock, Johann Heinrich Michl and Maria Higeli, Georg Genczler and Elisabeth Wittinger, Johannes Foregger and Helena Sauter, Hans Maier and Elisabeth, Leopold Saitel and Catharina, Antonius Gartner and Agnes.


  The vast majority of these settlers had their origins in the Schwarwald (Black Forest) region of south western-Germany in proximity to Oberndorf, Schӧmberg, Fridingen, Tuttlingen, Villingen and Schramberg in the vicinity of the town of Rottweil which was the major population centre.  They came from  33 communities spread across this region. 


  Masses were irregular.  The function of baptism was carried out by the teacher because of the distance to the nearest priest.  He could also marry, as long as half of the fee went to the priest in Bikal.  He also did funerals.  The congregation consisted of Germans, Croats and Polish-speaking people in addition to the Hungarians.  They were registered in the parish records in Bikal  beginning in 1729.  By and large it appears that the different nationalities lived separately.  The Hungarians lived in Mágocs, the Croats were in Bikal, the Serbs in Hajmas and mainly Hungarians in Mocsolád.  After 1730 there was intermarriage between the Slavs in Bikal and Hajmas.  According to the visitation of 1733 the two towered church in Mágocs is fully described and it is reported that there were thirty-three married couples living in the village.


  1735 was an important year for Mágocs and its development.  The new Urbarial contract with their landlord, the Paulist Fathers, was signed.  It had thirteen points to it.  They dealt with robot, hunting, rents, cutting the landowner’s grass, providing horses for his use, providing one ninth of crops and produce from gardens, free access to acorns in the forest for forage for swine, the operation of a butcher shop and pub and division of their profits and fines for various infringements on the rights of noble are listed.


  In October of 1740 Emperor Charles VI died and was succeeded by his daughter Maria Theresia who was crowned in June of 1742.  The settlement of the estates of the Paulists now proceeded much more rapidly.  This included Hungarians and large groups of German colonists who settled in Mágocs.  A resident priest was assigned in 1742 by Bishop Sigismund Berenyi of Pécs.  There were confrontations with him followed by a  quick succession of other priests due to the demands of the landlords (the Paulist Order) to which the settlers refused to comply.  There was one priest sided with the people and was quickly despatched to Paks by the head of the Order.


  In 1756 a canonical visitation was carried out on September 13th by the diocesan ordinary, Bishop Georg Klimó.  The population had increased to 1,500 but the church was a mess.  It looked like a sheep stall according to the Bishop.


  On December 29, 1766 the Empress Maria Theresia decreed that official Urbarial contracts be developed in the counties of Vas, Zala, Sopron, Somogy, Tolna and Baranya.  The nobles and Landtag (Hungarian parliament) were opposed and tried to stall the Empress.  Complaints from the peasants flooded the offices of the Empress and the peasants became restless and threatened the nobles.  The Empress proceeded with her plans in 1767.  The Urabarial contract in Mágocs involved over 100 German and 66 Hungarian families.  By 1785 there were 363 houses in the village with 2,394 inhabitants.


  At the turn of the century there was a mobilization ordered by the County to defend the frontiers of Hungary against the French.  Many of the villagers answered the call to arms.  They returned home in the Spring of 1801 following the signing of the peace treaty with Napoleon and no major military conflict had occurred.  In 1807 inflation was on the increase across the Empire.  Drought that summer resulted in a poor harvest and then cholera raged from December to March of the next year.  All of this had very serious consequences for the families in Mágocs.


  In 1809 another French threat loomed on the horizon and another mobilization was ordered which the people resented because of the loss of young workers in the fields.  Napoleon occupied Vienna in the Spring and set up his headquarters in the Emperor’s palace at Schӧnbrunn.  His troops invaded Hungary and took Pressburg and the subsequent Battle of Raab resulted in another Habsburg defeat.  Napoleon occupied Gyӧr on September 1st.  In the subsequent Fall a peace conference in Vienna ended the conflict and the soldiers from Mágocs came home once more.


  In 1848 as revolution broke out across western Europe, Hungary was not immune but with it there was also an outbreak of anti-Semitism in Baranya County.  Revolutionary mobs in the streets forced the City Council of Pécs to expel its Jewish population on March 27, 1848.  They were given three days to leave.  There were forty families involved.  They closed their stores and shops and withdraw from public view.  The Vice- Governor of the County rescinded the order on the basis of the Law of 1840 which had guaranteed government protection to the Jewish population.  He hoped to stabilize the situation and threatened to punish anyone who disobeyed the law.


  The dissatisfaction and hostility of the mob now turned on the nobles and estate owners.  In April local elections were held and 3,000 gathered at Mágocs to do so.  The electoral district of Mágocs included 58 communities with a population of 31,430:  Mágocs 3,525, Bikal 1,042, Gerényes 569, Csikostӧttós 937, Hajmas 1,077.  They elected Valentine Perczl as their representative.  He ran unopposed.


  In July the National Guard (Honvéd) was recruited by the revolutionaries now in control of the government in Budapest.  The County administration called for 900 men from the  Mágocs district.  On July 4, 1848 the recruits marched through the streets of Pécs to the accompaniment of music and much fanfare.  There would be no major military actions in the area in the ill-fated revolution against the Habsburgs which led to the repressions that followed while the Hungarians smarted under the loss of their attempt to secure their independence from Austrian and Habsburg rule.


  In the official government census of 1857 there was a total population of 3,570 in Mágocs of whom 3,278 were Roman Catholic, 83 were Lutheran and 209 were Jewish.  Later in the census of 1884/1885 Magocs had a population of 3,620, Nagy Hajmas 1,092, Bikal 1,145, Gerényes 696, Csikostӧttós 1,319, Nagy Ág 527, Tékes 573.  Another census taken in 1870/1873 in Baranya County reported that there were 191 communities whose population was entirely Hungarian; 72 communities were entirely German; 15 communities were entirely Croat and 73 communities had a mixed population.  The census of 1898 indicates that of Mekényes’ population of 1,244 inhabitants, 1,180 were German.  In Nagy Hajmas of its 1,161 inhabitants, 887 were German.  Racozar reported a population of 1,447 of whom 1,400 were German while in Nagy Ág there were 570 inhabitants and 454 were German.


  When the First World War ended in 1918 there were a total of 124 men from Mágocs who had fallen in battle, were missing or died as prisoners of war in Russia.  The Treaty of Trianon would dismember the ancient Kingdom of Hungary and it would remain a “rump” of its former glory.  The internal conflicts this caused gave birth to the Red Republic under Béla Kun in 1919.  At the end of March the first “Red Regiment” of the new regime was mustered in Kaposvár in nearby Somogy County.  This 1,200 men force was also known as Klumpa’s Ezred (wooden shoe regiment) by the populace because the soldiers wore their own private footwear.  And the German population was known for their Klumpen that had been adopted by the Hungarians over the years. Many of the men from Mágocs just recently home from the war had to serve in the regiment.


  On June 10, 1919 in the city of Szeged the “White Guard” was formed led by Admiral Horthy.  He and his troops soon overran the area all the way to Siófok by August 9th.  There were no battles in Baranya and the men returned home but shortly afterwards the “White Terror” began throughout Hungary.  Mágocs was spared much of that except for its Jewish population who were the special targets of Horthy’s death squads.


  In 1920 the Town Council in Mágocs responded to the intensified efforts of the Horthy government to assimilate its remaining minorities who were primarily those who were German-speaking.  Special language laws were passed and others were forthcoming when the Council claimed the right to call its own parish clergy and in effect actually elected one, Joseph Leh who was German-speaking.  The Bishop of Pécs refused to comply and sent them another priest who was Hungarian-speaking.  On his arrival he was met by a mob of over five hundred and he soon left town.  He was followed by seven others in quick succession until the arrival of Stephan Braun.  But there was a negative reaction to him as well because they had not been involved in the process.


  The issue of the “minorities” or “nationalities” as others put it, effected all aspects of political life and national development after 1920 with the accession of Horthy to the position of Regent of Hungary.  The chasm simply widened and give birth to a German “nationalist” movement which was identified by the notary in Bikal who recognized that it was apparent throughout the whole district.  This was the reaction of the Hungarian nationalist’s to the Treaty of Trianon and their identification of the minorities as traitors and undesirables in Hungary.  Hungarian would now become the language of instruction in all schools regardless of the wishes of the pupils’ parents.  But this stood in the face of Hungary’s acceptance of the minority rights guaranteed in the Treaty of Versailles.  Jakob Bleyer who served in Horthy’s administration as the Minister of Nationalities raised the issue in parliament and he was dismissed from his position.  A wave of hatred erupted.  The message was clear and simple.  If the Germans were not prepared to become Hungarian they were free to go back to Germany.  Hungary for the Hungarian-speaking.


  This in effect was the ideology of Horthy’s followers, a rampant racist nationalism undergirded with a deep religiosity and anti-Semitism.  So that the perpetrators of what followed was the joint effort of the state organization and the churches, the spiritual and political swords in public life.  On February 26, 1921 the Ministry for Minorities’ Issues that had been led by Jakob Bleyer was made a department of the Ministry of the Interior.  The only voice of the minorities in the government had been silenced.  In the years ahead the issue was now experienced as the “the school question.”


  A new school regulation, Law 4800, was passed by the Bethlen government in 1923.  In the future there were three types of schools that were possible for the minorities.  The parents of the children were to be consulted by the decision makers as to which type would apply in their case.  If there were 40 pupils belonging to a single minority in a community the parents could choose one of the following:  Type A:  the mother tongue was the language of instruction and Hungarian was a compulsory subject.  Type B:  in which both languages were used in instruction and Type C:  in which Hungarian was the language of instruction and the mother tongue of the pupils was a subject.  In all three types of schools religion would be taught in the mother tongue of the pupils.


  The local decision had to be made by September 9th of the school year 1923/1924.  The implementation of the regulation was often hindered and sabotaged by the authorities as well as by the teachers and clergy.  It was common practice that whenever the parents opted for the Type B school the Type C school went into effect.  In many communities the officials made the decision without the involvement of the parents.  The government quietly accepted the situation.  The Type A school was the choice of the parents in Mágocs but the priest overrode them and they ended up with the Type C school.


  On June 15, 1923 Jacob Bleyer founded the Ungarländischen Deutschen Volksbildungsvereins (UDV) as a cultural and educational society to preserve and maintain the language, heritage, customs and traditions of the German-speaking population of Hungary.  Local chapters were formed to carry out the objectives of the organization and the first local groups were formed in southern Baranya and gradually moved northwards.  One of their crowning achievements was the development of local German libraries and singing groups and  brass bands which led to a mass music festival held in Mágocs on June 20, 1934 with well over 15,000 participants.  It had taken a year to get permission to hold it from the suspicious national government and wary county officials.  Apparently singing was subversive if done in another language.  Each local group that was represented wore its traditional village costume and carried a banner with the name of their village such as some of the following that took part:  Nagy Hajmas, Hidas, Ráckozar, Mekényes, Izmény, Nagy Ág, Kéty, Majós, Kalaznó, Bikal, Zsibrik, Kismányok, Gerényes, Mucsfa, Keszӧhidegkút, Kaposszechcsӧ, Varsád, Tófü, Batáapáti, Csikostӧttós and Felsӧnána as well as countless others.  The speech made at the event by Dr. Gustav Gratz emphasized the need to work for harmony between the Hungarian and German populations.  He did not deny there were problems and much misunderstanding but at least some progress was being made.


  This so-called “nationalist movement” among the Germans of Swabian Turkey was closely watched by the authorities and regular reports were sent to Budapest.  After the death of Jacob Blayer in 1934, Franz Basch appeared in the County as the General Secretary of the UDV and held various events in the district.  At the end of 1934 the Chief Justice of the Mágocs District reported that the UDV members in his area were distancing themselves from the new General Secretary and his leadership.


  There was a movement to support Basch to become the head of the organization.  There were inner tensions among the leaders and they all emerged at a conference held in Mágocs on January 20, 1937.  The central leadership of the UDV sent representatives to the conference.  Several years previously these men had left the association because of the political role Basch sought for the organization but with the ouster of Basch and his cronies from the UDV they had returned and were in leadership positions.  There were 200 participants at the conference who responded to their presentations with cold silence.  Their arguments went unheard and the honorary chairman of the event, Stephan Schuster,  thanked them for their presentation and informed them that the local organizations sided with Franz Basch and his followers.


  In 1938 the First Vienna Accords were awarded and Hungarian troops marched into Slovakia with Hitler’s support and blessings and some men from Mágocs were involved.  Prime Minister Imredy then gave his  permission for the founding of the Volksbund der Deutschen in Ungarn (VDU) under the Führer Franz Basch and became the official representative of the Germans of Hungary in their dealings with the Horthy government.  It was officially founded in Budapest on November 26, 1938.  Stephan Schuster of Mágocs was elected to the governing board and the VDU of Jacob Bleyer was relegated to the backwater and seen as a tool of the Hungarian state and went out of existence less than a month later on December 23, 1938.  The dye had been cast.


  On January 1, 1939 the Chief Justice of Baranya reported to the County administration that the Pan-German movement as he called it was very much alive.  Agitators were at work because they were unafraid of the Hungarian government because Hitler would speak on their behalf and they assumed that Hitler would soon incorporate Swabian Turkey into the German Reich.  Another Anschluss just like Austria.  Stephan Schuster received an anonymous death threat calling him to desist from his Pan-German activities.  The letter was published in the Volksbund newspaper.   On March 26, 1939 he received a second threatening letter and that same night his front window was smashed.  The guilty were never apprehended.


  Once the Articles of Incorporation of the Volksbund were ratified by the Hungarian parliament local branches of the organization were then organized.  With regard to Mágocs the Chief Justice of Baranya County reported the following on September 2, 1939:  “It appears that a division has occurred among the youth over the extremes being advocated by the “German Movement”.  As a result the youth loyal to Hungary and the youth members of the Volksbund hold separate dances.  It was said that a map had arrived from Germany that showed the new proposed borders of the German Reich.  The new frontier would be at Dӧbrӧkӧz.  Stephan Schuster, Michael Hirth and Joseph Schreck are organizing a local chapter of the Volksbund.  They do so secretly.  About 80 have signed up.  The population as a whole is standing back from doing so.”


  Word had also come to Mágocs about the founding of the Treu zur Heimat Movement (Loyal to the Homeland) in opposition to the Volksbund on April 13, 1939.  A local branch was organized in Mágocs in July of 1940.


  During 1941 the battle for the loyalty of the Germans of Hungary was underway.  The local priest opposed the Volksbund, especially because the young men in it avoided Mass and the young women attended dances, festivals and other events instead of church.  The official Board of the VDU in Budapest appointed Hans Christ of Mekényes as the District Führer and he moved to their headquarters in Mágocs.


  On March 15, 1939 the Carpatho-Ukraine was annexed by Hungary and northern Transylvania was occupied by Hungarian troops on September 5, 1940 and on April 11,  1941 the Batschka and Lower Baranya were also annexed.  With this expansion of the territory of Hungary there was also a sizeable increase in the number of Germans now part of “Greater” Hungary.  Each of these German groups experienced different developments since their separation from Hungary after the First World War and all of them had to be integrated and were placed under the jurisdiction of the Volksbund.


  The notorious Census of 1941 which would have tragic consequences for most of the respondents was carried out by the Hungarian government in Mágocs with the following results:  There were 2,837 inhabitants who claimed German as their mother tongue out of a total of 3,703 persons.  105 others claimed to be Jewish.


  The Hungarian government in conjunction with the German Reich agreed upon the first voluntary recruitment drive for Germans in Hungary to serve in the SS in February 1942.  An intensive campaign was carried out in Mágocs and the district.  In the Spring the men from Mágocs who were recruited were called up to serve in the Waffen-SS.  What was also noticeable was that anti-Semitism was on the rise.


  In 1943 on May 22nd the second “voluntary” SS recruitment was agreed upon by the two governments.  The rumour that families of volunteers would be deported to Germany had an adverse effect on recruitment.  Despite that there were another twelve volunteers from Mágocs who joined the Waffen-SS.  While the recruitment took place the windows of Jewish homes were smashed and 81 grave markers were overturned in their cemetery.


  On March 19, 1944 the German Army occupied Hungary and a new puppet government was set up under Stojay and his Arrow Cross Party (Nazi).  Then on March 29, 1944 the order for all Jews to wear the yellow star of David was decreed; Jewish homes were taken over and the Jews were sent to Ghettos in the major towns at the end of April.  This was carried out by local authorities and the police.  The local anti-Semites looted the vacated Jewish properties.  The Jews of Mágocs were driven from their homes and taken to Mohács where they were robbed and then driven into the Ghetto.  They were hidden from the outside world and under heavy guard.  The deportations from Mohács occurred from June 30th to July 9th, 1944.  Destination:  Auschwitz.


  On April 14th the final and third SS recruitment began.  This was a compulsory draft and membership in the Volksbund played no role in it all, except that all men in positions of leadership locally, in the district and central office were excluded.  They were the only exemptions.  During the last week of June the first 40 conscripts were sent to East Prussia for training.  The much larger group of men left in July and the older men left in August.


  As autumn began there was great unrest.  With the advance of the oncoming Red Army  columns of refugee treks passed through Baranya and Mágocs in the face of constant rain and cold temperatures.  At the beginning of November the Klein Richter  (a local official who announced important news to be conveyed to the population) beat his drum at the various intersections of the village and informed the villagers of how close the Russians were.  Most of the population and the authorities preferred to remain and take their chances with a Russian occupation than to risk flight.  Only fifteen families decided to evacuate.  They left on November 11, 1944.


  The II Honvéd Army Corps were quartered in Mágocs.  They left in mid-November.  The last German troops left at night on November 30, 1944.  Shortly after midnight on December 1st the Russian troops marched into Mágocs without meeting any opposition.  They remained about a week until troops from Sásd joined them to occupy Dombovár.  The defence of Dombovár by Hungarian and German units lasted for some time and men and women were taken from Mágocs to dig trenches and repair roads.


  On Christmas Eve after midnight Mass, the priest was forced to announce:  “Everyone go home to your houses and pack all of your necessities and wait for orders.”  Everyone thought that an evacuation was imminent because they had heard of a new German counter offensive having begun that day.  Later in the night accompanied by the beating of drums a list of names was read and those who were included were to prepare food for fourteen days and dress in warm clothing and assemble at the market place at 9:00 a.m.  All of those on the list were members of the Volksbund.  In the morning the market place was empty.  After repeated drumming and the threat made that entire families would be taken most of those on the list began to assemble.  They were loaded on horse drawn wagons and headed in the direction of Sásd but half way there they turned around and returned home.  For many it would be their last night with family and friends.


  On the morning of December 27, 1944 the wagon column left again for Sásd.  Some of the people were released.  After a short pause the rest set out on foot to Magyarszék, Manfa, Pécs and the Lakics barracks.  Their marching column had been guarded by Russian soldiers and they had walked for four hours.  They were quartered in the horse stables of the Hussar barracks which they first had to clean out.  Most of them thought they were being taken to the Batschka to bring in the corn harvest.  After two weeks they were loaded on cattle cars with the doors nailed shut behind them and the train travelled across Hungary into Romania and on to Russia.  They passed the network of labour camps at Stalino and went on to Odessa.  They finally arrived in Grosny in the Caucuses.  Later some were sent deep into the Ural Mountains.


  Early in January 2-06, 1945 a second convoy was assembled in Mágocs.  They were brought to Dombovár where everyone spent the day in a school.  They were taken by horse and wagon to Tófü and spent the night in Mӧcseny.  The next day they reached Baja.  On January 12th they were loaded onboard trains and a three week journey locked in cattle cars began.  On February 3, 1945 they reached Schachty/Dombas in Ukraine by Stalingrad.  There were 900 persons both men and women in the convoy.  They had to build their own barracks.  Women were given injections to prevent menstruation.  One young girl died as a result.  They worked in the coal mines.  Many died of typhus and dysentery.  Half of the survivors returned to Hungary in 1948.  The others left late in 1949 and would end up in Debrécen for six months and on May 5, 1950 they were sent to the Russian Zone of occupation in Germany.  Others who returned to Mágocs discovered that their families had been deported to Germany.


  The third convoy from Mágocs who were sent to Russia left on January 22, 1945.  There were about thirty persons involved.  This group arrived in Voroschilovgrad and the camp at Verchy-Krivogra.  There they worked in gravel pits and coal mines.  Some of them returned to Hungary as early as 1947 and when they arrived in Debrécen several were sent to Budapest as “politicals” and sent to the Tolonchaz prison.


                               The first convoy                103 persons.

                               The second                          22 persons

                               The third                              26 persons


  There were a total of 151 persons.  82 women and 69 men.  There were 43 of them that died in the labour camps.  8 women and 35 men.


  After war’s end in May of 1945 German families were dispossessed in order to make room for “new” colonists.  Most of them were Hungarians expelled from Slovakia.  The German population were forced to find a place to live and many left for Somogy and Tolna County.  In the end 1,800 German inhabitants of Mágocs were expelled from Hungary on the basis of the Potsdam Declaration on May 4, 1948 and were sent to the Russian occupied Zone of Germany passing through Pirna on their way to Saxony.


  It is not known if any of the former 105 Jewish residents of Mágocs survived the war.  There were 217 German men who lost their lives on the frontlines.  From among those who were prisoners of war in the Soviet Union there were ten men who were sent to forced labour at Tiszalok after arriving in Debrécen on their way home.  They were all released in late December 1953 and were sent to Camp Piding in Bavaria.


Pécsdevecser in the Baranya


A Short History


(The following translation finds its source in Deutsche Kolonisten im Komitat Baranya in Ungarn 1688-1752 Teil II by Ferdinand Hengl.)


ThevillageofDevecherwas confiscated by the Imperial Royal Chamber inViennain 1687.


In 1695 there is a reference to the fact that the village was part of the Zrinyi Domains.  In light of the lack of any heirs in the Zrinyi family the ownership reverted back to the Royal Imperial Chamber.  The inhabitants of the village paid three Gulden of the Hungarian land tax to the Zrinyis.  The Turkish owner, Nadasdy Desdar Aga, was paid one Gulden annually by each of the inhabitants.  They also delivered 100 Okka of flour to the Turkish sultan.  The inhabitants were Hungarians.  They were all Calvinists.


In the year 1700 Count Adam Batthyányi took possession of the Bóly Domain which included thevillageofDevecser.


In the year 1701 the Inspector of the Batthyányi’s carried out an audit and census of the Domain and reported the inhabitants of Nagy (Larger) Devecser were Hungarian and had lived there prior to the time of the Batthyányi takeover of the Domain.  The village now consisted of six houses and households.  The fields under cultivation were extensive as well as were the meadow lands.  The village had one mill with one wheel paddle which was powered by the Peterd Creek.  The mill was only operational during the rainy season.  It belonged to the inhabitants of the village.  There were chestnut trees to be found in the forest.  The villagers had the right to gather firewood in the forest.  There was also a ruined church with a tower that remained standing.  It was in need of a roof and floor.


In the year 1702:  Kiss Devecser Puszta (Small Devecser Prairie) was settled earlier by eight farmers who lived out on the prairie.  The prairie now consisted of ploughed fields as well as meadows but it was overgrown with reeds and bull-rushes.  There was also a not too tall mountain.  A damaged mill stood along the bank of the Peterd waterway and was owned by the inhabitants of Ratz-Petre (Serbian-Petre) but because the dammed water flooded the meadow the mill was to be taken down even though it had only been recently built.  The meadowlands were sown with maize (corn) from Kassa (Kisskassa) and Nagy Devecser and one ninth of the crop was the Domain’s portion.  In the forest there were both chestnut and oak trees.


The Rákoczi Rebellion that took place between the years 1704 to 1711 and the later destruction wrought by the Serbs saw to the complete obliteration of the village.


1709:  Nagy Devecser:  Five Hungarian peasant families settled here and they had five houses but had no livestock.  The Serbs burned down their houses.  The peasants scattered and the vineyards rotted.  They had built a small mill that had also been burned down.


1709:  On the Kiss-Devecser Puszta a village was established before the Rebellion with seven houses and households all of whom were Serbs.  In the face of the attacks of the Kurucz rebels of Rákoczi the Serbs fled across theDravaRiverintoSlavonia.  They had oxen for five ploughs and each required a team of six oxen.  They also had vineyards.  The rest of the prairie was reverting back to a forested wilderness.


1732:  The first German settlers arrived in thevillageofDevecserand they were later joined by others in 1733 and 1735.  The Domain Conscription Records of 1736 include this information:


The families in the villager were assessed a raise in taxes in three year intervals from 1734 to 1752.  The number of German families was listed as follows:


In 1734 there were 8 German households; 1737 there were 20; 1741 there were 21; 1744 there were 21; 1748 there were 34 and in 1752 there were 32 families.


The Conscription Record of this period and the Church Records of the parish of Újpetre (1745-1752) and the years following enables us to provide the list of names of the German colonists.  From this listing of names we can identify the following tradesmen up until 1752 who did not work any land:


Brust, Stephen                           1745-1748     Miller

Einsidler, Johann Kirch             1748              Swine Herd

Hagen, Jakob                             1745-1751     Shoemaker

Holter, Johannes                       1748-1752     Shepherd

Keller, Heinrich                        1741               Shoemaker

Koch, Michael                          1748-1750      Miller

Kornfeld, Johann                      1752                Miller

Munth, Anton’s wife                 1748-1752      Midwife

Reder, Stephan                         1751-1752       Miller

Schatdorff, Johann Georg         1745-1748      Shoemaker

Tilper, Josef                              1748                Potter


For the names of settler families living in the community in that time frame contact the author of this website.

  Baldwin was a small backward town situated in the neighbourhood of the Susquehanna River some three miles south of Harrisburg, when shortly after the Civil War the Pennsylvania Steel Company chose it as the site of the first American steel plant in 1866.  It was an ideal location with both the Pennsylvania Canal and Pennsylvania Railroad running parallel to the river nearby and in close proximity to the ore and coal fields in nearby Cornwall.  The small rural hamlet was transformed and eventually lost its identity and character with the construction of the large steel plant complex on the flatlands adjoining the river.  It was inevitable that the company officials and their labour force would dominate the life of the community so that it became known as “Steel Works” until 1880 when its name officially became Steelton.


  Before 1890 it was a homogenous community of some 10,000 inhabitants made up of mostly of white Anglo Saxons Protestants with a smattering of Germans, both those native to Pennsylvania and recent immigrants many of whom were skilled workers in the steel industry.  The original unskilled workforce that was later brought in were primarily Irish immigrants and blacks moving in from the rural South living in row houses built and owned by the steel works and served by the company store where they spent the greater part of their income.


  A strike in 1891 by the skilled workers challenged the power of the company but was quickly put down.  In the aftermath of the strike the company encouraged massive immigration from southern and eastern Europe including the Austro-Hungarian Empire and did so through recruiting agents.  These men were often local freelance operators living among their own people and who were also working for the steamship companies receiving their fees from both on the basis of the numbers of immigrants they enlisted.  The arrival of thousands of these Croats, Serbs, Italians, Bulgarians, Slovaks, Hungarians and the so-called Banaters (as the first arriving Danube Swabians were known locally) forever changed the character and composition of the population of Steelton.


  There was a segregation policy in effect within the company in the face of this social diversity so that the skilled high paying jobs and leadership positions in all departments remained in the hands of Anglo Saxons, primarily the Irish and the blast furnace jobs were assigned to the new south east European immigrants with little opportunity for them to advance into any kind of leadership role or train for a skilled position.  It was a given that the new work force recognized and simply accepted which was also true of the community at large.  As a consequence, the immigrants gathered together in ethnic enclaves, neighbourhoods and residential areas both due to external pressures and by personal intent.  The reasons for this were associated with the resentment they experienced from the “old stock” residents as well as their need for social contact with individuals who shared a similar background, language, life style, customs, traditions and religious faith.  In effect they became locked into their ethnic community both due to prejudice on the outside and their inner need to find and build a sense of community.


  The ethnic diversity of the community had its beginnings in 1885 and would last for a quarter of a century with the south eastern Europeans arriving en masse in the 1890s.  Most of the immigrants in the 1880s and 1890s returned back to their homes in Europe within two or three years of coming to the United States.  It was never their intention to make it a permanent move.  Those who remained were those who brought their families with them.  Very often these families established boarding houses to serve their relatives, friends and countrymen and provided extra income and allowed the women to assist with the family income.  All of the immigrants had a similar background; they were agricultural workers, landless and unskilled.  There were basically three types of immigrants who arrived in Steelton.  First, there were men with their families seeking a new life and a permanent home.  Secondly, there were highly transient young single men in search of good wages.  Thirdly, there were middle-aged men seeking a temporary source of income and were usually also supporting a family back home in Europe.  It was the third group in particular that was most representative of the men from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  In most cases they became what the community referred to as “the boarders” because they congregated in the numerous ethnic boarding houses.  They probably counted for nine out of every ten of the men in the steel mill.  Most of them had been married for less than ten years.  They were not dreamers or romantics in search of adventure.  They were men on a mission and serious about it in order to establish themselves economically for their future life back home.  Few of them planned to stay.  Very few of them did.


  What attracted the immigrants to Steelton was the “high wages” the steel industry paid.  An unskilled worker was paid up to twelve cents an hour.  He could work for twelve hours a day and earn $1.44!  An added incentive when it came to families was a large cigar factory that also employed 800 women at seven cents an hour!  Agricultural work back home could never match that.  The worker’s own expenses seemed minimal in comparison.  The single and married men living in boarding houses paid $2.50 a month for their room that they usually shared with up to four other men.  Their meals were extra.  They could provide their own or eat with the family.  Most chose the latter option.


  Most of the boarding houses were owned by the company and were row houses with up to five bedrooms for a rental of $8.50 a month and were located on the west side of town close to the river and were often flooded and damaged as a result.  It was a filthy and unhealthy environment compounded by its proximity to the steel works and the pollution it produced and with which they had to deal in their workday world as well.


  To give an indication of the growth and expansion of the steel works and its work force in the period from 1886 to 1906 it increased from 2,500 to over 9,000 men.


  In addition to the recruiters overseas the company also paid fees to boarding house operators, saloon owners and store owners who were immigrants themselves to write to friends, relatives and countrymen back home to encourage them to come to Steelton and offered their addresses as the place of their destination on arriving at Ellis Island.  They received a fee for everyone who did.  They also did the same with the patrons of their businesses and became the major source of recruitment in the years ahead.  There was a steady stream of immigrants coming and going.  In many ways Steelton had a floating population.  They were always in search of jobs and jobs paying more money.


  There was a major depression in 1908 which saw large numbers of the immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian Empire either returning home when the work was slack in 1909 or migrating elsewhere.  For many of the Danube Swabians that would mean Milwaukee, Wisconsin in particular.


  The men and family groups in the various ethnic groups sought social contact with one another and did so in various ways but primarily through their churches, grocery stores and butcher shops operated by their own and saloons whose proprietors catered to them.


  Danube Swabian immigrants from the Banat are mentioned officially for the first time in 1900 when they began to hold mass in a rented hall after previously worshipping at St. James Roman Catholic Church which was an overwhelmingly Irish parish.  The reason behind their action was because of the social distinctions inherent in the total life of the community and they felt out of place or were made to feel so.   Many of these original families came from Weisskirchen and its environs and had arrived during the previous decade.  There were also families from Karlsdorf and Deutsch Pereg in Arad County.


  The published church history of Trinity German Evangelical Lutheran Church indicates that in 1900 three families from “Western Hungary” had become members of the parish.  The heads of households that were listed in the publication included:  Georg Frey, Johann Schultheiss and Tobias Bitz.  The three families came from Swabian Turkey which is a region that covers the Counties of Tolna, Somogy and Baranya in Hungary.  In the annual report in 1910 the pastor indicates that sixty-seven families from Western Hungary were now part of the parish and in fact had become the majority leading to the exodus of some of “the more German families.”  In addition to these families from Hungary there were also several families from Semlak and Liebling in the Banat with whom they shared common origins.


  Congregational life and church activities became the focal point of the social life of this portion of the Danube Swabian population in addition to the Bitz grocery store operated by Henry Bitz the son of Tobias who had been a youngster when the family arrived in Steelton from Döröschke in the hill country of Somogy County in Hungary.  The store was located on Mohn Street named after a German family who had lived there in the past and where many of the Danube Swabian families resided.  His store and butcher shop became a meeting place where the language was familiar, the products were designed to meet their needs, where news from “home” was shared and marriages were often hatched and the sausages he made were reputed to be just like back home.


  These original Lutheran families came from the following villages located in Baranya County:  Csikostöttös, Bikal, Mekenyes and Nagy Hajmas.   From Tolna County there were families from:  Varsád, Udvári, Gyönk, Szárázd and Izmény.  The following villages were represented among the numerous families from Somogy County:  Miklosi, Szil, Hacs, Szabadi, Döröschke, Bonnya and Ecsény.  In addition there were families from the colonies established in Slavonia by families from Swabian Turkey:  Hrastovac, Klein Bastei, Pasjan, Antunovac, Sartovac and Kaptanovpolje.


  The major social problem in Steelton was drunkenness and the immigrant population bore the brunt of the blame and in many instances were guilty as charged.  With such a large number of “unattached” men in the community the saloons and houses run by bootleggers became the venue for social intercourse and its consequences.  The local newspapers constantly inveighed against the immigrant’s propensity to fall victim to the wiles of alcohol and its attendant results.  One incident in particular sheds some light on the issue.  Two men, one named John Gittinger and the other John Fisher were arrested for assaulting a woman in a saloon and were identified as ‘drunk German immigrants’ in the newspaper headline.  The name of John Fisher has obviously been Anglicized from the correct spelling:  Fischer.  The next week the same newspaper reported that Trinity German Evangelical Lutheran Church had held a special meeting with regard to the incident and issued a protest to the newspaper to the effect that the two individuals were not Germans at all but Hungarians!  Even then the Danube Swains were prone to vacillate   about their identity or perhaps the more German element in the congregation needed to have their say to protect their reputation.


  In July of 1917 the Pennsylvania Steel Company announced that it had sold the steel mills in Steelton to Bethlehem Steel.  In the 1920s the population sank to about 13,000 and remained at that level during the Great Depression.


  The Danube Swabian population also appears to have gone into decline primarily due to migration to other communities in search of employment, while other families moved out of Steelton into the surrounding communities to escape from the industrial pollution and grime created by the steel mills.  The 100th Anniversary 1888-1988 booklet of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Steelton provides an overview of its history but it is notable that only a few familiar Danube Swabian family names appear among the current membership that is listed.  That could either be a result of intermarriage or the “Americanization” of family names, i.e. the März family is now apparently Marts.  Only a few family names are recognizable such as Faul, Marts, Koller, Weiss, Shenfelt (Schönfeldt), Stark, Enders, Arndt, Krahling, Schneicker, Scheib and Dorman (Dürrmann)   But during the 1930s especially large numbers of the original families  resided in nearby Enhaut and Sharon or moved into Harrisburg where a large Danube Swabian community flourished at that  time.


  In many ways, the majority of the Danube Swabians who arrived in Steelton as their destination on coming to the United States were simply passing through and left few traces behind of their sojourn there, except for the descendents of those who remained, many of whom in the future would have no knowledge or recollection of their Danube Swabian heritage beyond knowing their families were of German origin.


  The source of the following documents and correspondence appear in the publication:  German Village Life in Hungary by Rudolph Hartmann.  I provide my own personal translation.


  Count von Dory’s recruiting agent in Bieberach, Franz Felbinger had the following handbill published and distributed throughout the area.  There is no date attached to it.  It gives us a glimpse into why the first phase of the Schwabenzug was very much like a land rush down the Danube.


  “Everyone who comes to Hungary will feast his eyes on a fruitful land with forests and wells:  30 Joch of land, meadows and vineyards.  You will receive a lot to build a house and a large garden plot, 18 Klafter (arm span) wide and 45 Klafter long.  There will be wood and timber to build a house and your outbuildings at no cost and wood for burning at a reasonable rate.  For the first three years you will not be required to provide any kind of Robot (free labour).  Wine will be available from Michaelmass to Christmas.  Meadow and pasture enough for twenty to twenty-five head of cattle, not including sheep and swine.


  For all of this each settler will give 50 Florins, half at the time of settlement and the remainder at the end of two years.  In place of three years of freedom from paying taxes, each settler will pay 5 Florins twice a year, provide nine days of labour by hand, wagon and plough.  For every twenty pigs he will give one to the landlord.


  An individual can also take only a half or quarter session of land as above and the rates will be adjusted in the same manner…”



  Because of the overwhelming response on the part of countless families to opportunities in Hungary the local officials and nobles in Hesse attempted to stop the flow of would-be settlers and established rules and regulations which included an emigration fee.  The    would-be settler had to be interviewed in order to obtain permission to leave.  The following is the interrogation record of one of them who also happens to be one of my ancestors.  It helps us understand why there were others who left illegally.


  The Interrogation Report on Johann Georg Frischkorn prepared by Anton Schlemmer an official of the Princely Government in Hanau given this 8th day of February, 1749 in Steinau-an-der-Strasse.


  Johann Georg Frischkorn a day labourer from Bellings reported and applied for emigration to Hungary with his wife and children as they desired to leave and were   willing to pay their release fee of 10 Pfennigs.  The following is the report on the examination that took place.


  What is your name and age?


  His name is Johann Georg Frischkorn and he is 47 years old.


  Was he married and did he have any children?


  He has a wife and four children:  Eva Catharina, Anna Margareta, Catharina and Leonhardt.


  Where were he and his wife born?


  Both he and his wife were born and raised in Bellings.


  What religion did he and his wife profess?


  Both were Reformed.


  How had he made a living?


  As a farm labourer.


  Why did he want to leave his native land and emigrate to Hungary?


  He was unable to provide adequately for his wife and children and the feudal Robot was too much and took too much of his labour and left little time to provide bread for the family.


  Did he not have other options besides emigrating?


  Not really, if he could have earned his bread here he would not leave his homeland where he desired to live.


  What goods and property did he possess?


  He had a house and shire and a garden and rights to two wagons of hay and one acre of land in three sections in and around Bellings, which along with a cow he sold to his brother-in-law Leonhardt Homman for 536 Reichstaler.  He possessed nothing else and could only take along some linen, clothes and bedding for which he had paid the appropriate taxes for taking them out of the country.


  What debts did he have?


  He owed about 20 Reichstaler.


  He was informed that his emigration would have to be reported to the government.


  (He left that spring and first settled in Nagyszekely in Tolna County.)

  This next document is the transcript of an interview with the son of Anton Ernst who left for Hungary illegally or secretly whichever you prefer.


  This interview was conducted and is being reported by Johann Fleischhut an official at Friedewald in Oberhessen on April 24, 1772.


  Question:  Did your father and stepmother ever discuss or inform you of their plans to leave?


  Answer:  Not really.  Only three days before his father left he had added the yard and some land of his mother’s inheritance to his son’s estate as his debtors wanted their share of what he owed them.  The debts had been incurred in the second marriage.


  Question:  When did they actually leave?


  Answer:  At night around 11:00 in the evening his father hitched up the wagon and his stepmother and the children were seated on the bedding loaded on it and then drove off.


  Question:  Why did he not report this to the authorities or call the neighbours to have prevented their leaving?


  Answer:  He claimed he was not aware that emigrating was forbidden.  To all intents and purposes it was done openly as far as the neighbourhood was concerned.  And all of the neighbours saw them leave.  As a single young man he was all upset about their leaving so suddenly and leaving him without a family.


  Question:  Did your father not indicate in some way as to where he planned to head?


  Answer:  Yes.  In response to my question he said they wanted to go to Hungary and seek a better future.


  Question:  What kind of reasons did he give for leaving?


  Answer:  He said his many debts and the bad times they had lived through formed his decision to leave.


  Question:  Did your father not give any prior indication of his planning or thinking?


  Answer:  He was not aware of anything until the hour of their departure.  The stepmother and stepbrothers and sisters had always harboured animosity towards him in the past and for that reason kept everything secret from him.


  The authorities ordered the apprehension and arrest of the émigrés.



  The following letter was written in 1771 by a settler, Georg Adolf Schäffer to his brother and sister-in-law back home in Hesse. 


  “Greetings in God’s Name:  A friendly greeting to my dear brother and sister-in-law and your dear children.


  It is our hope and joy that my short letter arrives as you are all enjoying good health.  At present, we are all healthy and well.  Thank God we arrived in Hungary in the best of health.  But for myself personally I was only well for the first ten days before I came down with the Hungarian sickness (Translator:  he is referring to swamp fever) and was bedridden for eight weeks.  But thank God I am well and in the best of health.


  We are all very happy here and like it very much.  And we thank our dear God thousands of times for leading us to this land and we wonder why we had waited so long to leave home and the starvation we endured there.  My wife and children are quite happy and content that we immigrated to this land.  Whoever works in this land will have ample and abundant meat and bread.  It suits us quite well.  As soon as I’ve done a piece of work the wage is already there.  When my wife and daughter go out to work as daily wage earners they both receive six Groschen.  In the harvest they each earn nine measures of produce that they reap.  One says that money is scarce in Hungary but there is plenty of money in our pockets here in this area.  The crops bring in good prices as well and people prosper.


  And so now I ask you dear brother and sister-in-law to be so kind as to send your oldest daughter to us to marry our friend’s youngest son.  I am writing you the honest truth about his good qualities.  But if that doesn’t suit you for some reason then send the daughter of your choice.  People say that the land is already settled and occupied but that is not true.  The land is available to anyone.  We live only 60 miles below Vienna.  One can travel on water as far as Fadd which is four miles from us on the Danube.


  One more time I ask you, dear brother and sister-in-law to be so good as to share my greetings with all friends and neighbours.  Whoever has the desire and would love to come and join us can come if he wants to.  I remain your faithful brother until death.”



  The following letter is dated May 18, 1787 and is written by Johann Conrad Weber and addresses a domestic issue that sounds even vaguely familiar to contemporary ears.



  “…herewith I send you this letter for forwarding because I have sent three letters to my wife and received no reply from her.  I don’t know what the problem is.  Is she no longer alive or is she no longer living in Lützelhausen?  Or do I have no friend or acquaintance that is willing to answer my inquiries?  One letter was written on December 20, 1786, the second on January 16, 1787 and the third on February 20, 1787 all addressed to my dear wife, Anna Margareta Weber.  I want to know what the situation is whether things are bad or good for her.  If things are well with her she should stay where she is.  But things must be better for her than they were when I was with her.  But she is welcome to come and join me if she wants to.  I am not farther away than 140 miles.


  I send next to hundreds of thousands of greetings to all my friends and even my enemies.  I will be faithful unto death.”



  This last letter is from Maria Fröhlich writing home from Hungary in the hope that her mother can come and join them.  It is only dated 1787.


  “My mother should leave for here as soon as she can.  She should only take enough money from my brother that she will need to get here.  I will repay him.  She can get her pass on the way and should travel via Würzburg, Nürnberg, Regensburg, Vienna, Pressburg and follow instructions of my friends who will accompany her.”


  The following information is a summary of the information provided in Baranya:  Unvergessene Heimat and is based on my own personal translation of this section of the book.


  By 1767 there were 108 German households in the newly founded village.  More settlers arrived during the period from 1784-1787.  It is located in the eastern part of the Baranya.  In 1722 a Roman Catholic rectory was built a kilometre away and Fransican priests served the surrounding communities from there.  Babarc became a filial congregation of this wider parish.


  Babarc was one of the settlements belonging to the Abbot of Pécsvarad.  The Abbot, Franz Jany had a recruiting agent named Rehling working for him in southern Bavaria who was stationed in Augsburg.  It appears that he recruited his colonists from the vicinity of Augsburg between the years 1698-1702.  Some the family names included among these settlers were Keller and Appermann.  After the end of the Kurucz Uprising only three families remained in Babarc.  They were later joined by both German and Magyar settlers.  The Magyars were Calvinists.  By 1829 the village population included 969 German Roman Catholics and 258 Magyar Calvinists.  Surprisingly, no explanation is ever provided for the reason that the Abbot would allow Calvinists to settle on his church lands.


  A church built in the Middle Ages had survived the Turkish occupation and the Magyar Calvinists were forced to give it up to the German Roman Catholics.


  In 1941 at the time of the national census the Germans in the village split over the nationality question some of them chose to side with Hungary while others opted for the Bund position.  In 1942 the first volunteers who joined the SS left and only one of them returned from the war.  In May of 1944 the single Jewish family in the village was taken away.  The first German troops also came in May.  At the beginning of July 1944 all German males from 17 to 46 years were drafted into the German Army and went off to war by September 13 to 15th in two separate groups.  On November 25, 1944 a few families fled with the Bund organized evacuation.  On November 26th more families left.  In all, some twenty families fled to the Steiermark in Austria.  The village came under fire on November 26th while they were still leaving.  On Monday, November 27th just before noon the first Russian troops arrived.  By evening numerous troops were in the village and totally occupied it the next day.  All wagons were loaded with loot taken from the villagers and their horses were requisitioned.  An old couple hung themselves because of their fear of what they might do to them; two teenage boys were shot and one man died of heart failure as a result of being terrorized.  The bodies of German and Russian soldiers were buried by the villagers in the local cemetery.


  During November it seemed to rain all of the time.  No one went out on the street at night.  On January 2, 1945 men, women and teenagers from the ages of 17 to 45 years were dragged off to slave labour in Russia.  This involved 45 persons and another 59 persons were taken on January 15th.  In May of 1945 Hungarians arrived in the village and took up residence in the houses of those who had fled.  Swabian refugees who had escaped from the Partisan extermination camps in Yugoslavia passed through the village and sought help to escape to Austria.  Three families that had fled toAustria returned home and were interned.


  Of the 104 persons taken to Russia, 61 half-dead and ill men and women were sent to East and West Germany and a few returned home to Hungary.  They were in the camps in Russia for 33 months and 43 of them died there.  In May 1947, Hungarians driven out of Czechoslovakia arrived in the village.  They brought everything they could with them.  German families were loaded on trucks as police officers and soldiers went to each house checking their lists and people were ordered to pack some bedding, clothes and food.  This took place on September 4, 1947.  The crammed trucks left two hours later and the people on board were heading for East Germany.  The reason for their selection for deportation was the fact that they had claimed that their mother tongue was German in the census of 1941.


  Several families were loaded on each truck.  They were driven to the town hall to be registered and listed for deportation.  They were taken to the train depot in Mohács where they were searched and some of their bundles were taken away from them.  Thirty to forty people and their belongings were packed into each cattle car.  Each person received a personal deportation notice.  On September 5, 1947 the transport of over two thousand people left from the six villages in the area including 80 families from Babarc.  They arrived in Saxony inEast Germany on September 13, 1947.


  Common family names in the village included:  Amann, Faust, Fischer, Grosch, Heil, Harich, Kaiser, Keller, Koch, Knoch, Müller, Ruppert, Till and Wentzel.

 “Swabian Turkey: the Counties of Tolna, Baranya and Somogy.” 

Church Record Transcriptions


Alsonána, Tolna County (Evangelical Lutheran) 1789-1866


Bataápati, Tolna County (Evangelical Lutheran) 1770-1895

(Also includes:  Zsibrik)


Bataszék, Tolna County (Roman Catholic) 1722-1783

(Also includes: Alsonána, Morágy)


Bikács, Tolna County (Evangelical Lutheran) 1661-1867


Bikál, Tolna County (Roman Catholic) 1729-1792

(Also includes:  Nagy Hajmas, Rackozár, Mekényes, Morágy, Tófü)


Bonnya, Somogy County (Evangelical Lutheran) 1893-1941


Bonnya, Somogy County (Reformed) 1900-1941


Bonyhád, Tolna County (Roman Catholic) 1729-1816

(Also includes:  Cikó, Majos, Tabod, Morágy, Hidas, Izmény, Bataápati)


Bonyhád, Tolna County (Evangelical Lutheran) 1816-1867

(Also includes: Borszony)


Csikostöttös, Baranya County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1795-1895

(Also includes: Gerenyes, Kapposzekscsö)


Döröshcke, Somogy County (also known as Somogydöröcske) (Evangelical Lutheran) 1787-1895

(Also includes: Bonnya, Gadács, Somogyszil)


Ecsény, Somogy County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1784-1895

(Also includes:  Felsö Mocsolád, Somodor, Vamos, Palony, Raksi, Toponar)


Felsö Mocsolád, Somogy County (Reformed) 1785-1864

(Also includes:  Ecsény, Bonnya)


Felsö Nána, Tolna County (Evangelical Lutheran) 1733-1895


Gerenyes, Baranya County (Evangelical Lutheran) 1815-1895


Gyönk, Tolna County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1731-1895

(Also includes: Keszöhidegkút, Szarázd, Udvári, Belecska)


Gyönk, Tolna County, (Reformed) 1739-1867


Györköny, Tolna County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1720-1801)

(Also includes:  Paks, Bikács)


Hidas, Baranya County (Evangelical Lutheran) 1787-1867


Hidas, Baranya County, (Reformed) 1802-1895


Izmény, Tolna Conty, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1773-1895

(Also includes: Maza, Györe)


Kalaznó, Tolna County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1724-1867


Kapposzekcsö, Baranya County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1796-1895

(Also includes:  Bikal, deaths 1827-1834)


Karád, Somogy County, (Roman Catholic) 1741-1786

(Also includes:  Kötcse)


Kisbarápati, Somogy County, (Roman Catholic) 1741-1798

(Also includes:  Bonnya)


Keszöhidegkút, Tolna County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1789-1895

(Also includes:  Belecska)


Kéty, Tolna County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1787-1895

(Also includes: Tabod, Murga)


Kismányok, Tolna County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1728-1895

(Also includes:  Majos, Hidas, Izmény, Mucsfa, Bataápati, Bonyhád, Tófü, Mekényes, Morágy, Varálja)


Kistormás, Tolna County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1724-1895

(Also includes: Felsö Nána, Kolesd)


Kötcse, Somogy County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1783-1895


Lajos Komarom, Veszprem County (Evangelical Lutheran) 1806-1880


Lengyél, Tolna County, (Roman Catholic) 1768-1783

(Includes only Lutherans living in Mekényes)


Majos, Tolna County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1720-1895

(Also includes:  Bonyhád, Borszony)


Mekényes, Baranya County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1787-1895

(Also includes: Nagy Hajmas, Csurgo, Dalmand, Gyirgye, Bettelmann)


Moráagy, Tolna County, (Reformed) 1783-1886

(Also includes:  Alsonána, Bataápati)


Mucsfa, Tolna County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1742-1895

(Also includes: Mekényes, Izmény, Kis Vejke, Apar, Dalmand)


Murga, Tolna County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1778-1895

(Baptisms only)


Nagyszekély, Tolna County, (Reformed) 1722-1895

(Also includes:  Kisszekély, Udvári)


Paks, Tolna County, (Roman Catholic) 1721-1797

(Also includes: Bikács)


Paks,  Tolna County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1786-1819


Rackozár, Tolna County (also known as Egyhazakozár), (Evangelical Lutheran) 1783-1867

(Also includes: Tofu, Bikal, Kapposszekcsö, Csikotöttös, Gerenyes, Tékes, Nagyág)


Szakadát, Tolna County, (Roman Catholic) 1737-1799

(Also includes:  Szarázd, Bereny, Udvári)


Szárszentlörinc, Tolna County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1725-1895

(Also includes: Kisszekély, Nemédi, Borjad, Udz)


Tab, Somogy County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1775-1895

(Also includes: Kötcse, Döröschke, Kapoly, Totker, Toponar, Torvay)


Törrökkopany, Somogy County, (Roman Catholic) 1738-1778

(Also includes:  Döröschke, Karád, Bonnya)


Udvari, Tolna County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1789-1867

(Also includes:  Bikács)


Varsád, Tolna County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1722-1895

(Also includes:  Kalaznó, Keszöhidegkút, Udvári)


Zomba, Tolna County, (Roman Catholic) 1746-1800

(Also includes: Kéty, Murga, Felsö Nána)


Zsibrik, Tolna County, (Evangelical Lutheran) 1793-1867

(Marriages only)


  The information on the following villages in the Baranya finds it source in Zwischen Donau, Drava und Plattensee by Franz Teufel and Heinrich Friedrich.


  Csikostöttös, Ág, Gerényes, Tarró, Tékes and Szabadi.


  These communities located north of Pécs were settled and inhabited by Swabians and Magyars.  The Swabians were Lutheran and the Hungarians were Roman Catholic.  The Mother Churches were both in Csikostöttös where the clergy resided.  Szabadi, which lies north of Dombovár, was included in this “circle”.


  During the Middle Ages all of the villages belonged to Tolna County except for Szabadi which was in Somogy County.  That is the current situation once more.

   The Origins of the Villages 

  Csikostöttös was earlier known as “Töttös”.  The name comes from the numerous dams built in the swamp of “Töttös”.  There were many fish in the swamps including a special variety of carp known as “Csikok” which was added to the name.  The first historical    reference to the site was in 1289.  Serbs settled in the vicinity during the Turkish occupation.


  One of the early nobles who owned these estates was the Bodo family who resided at Anjavár in Tolna County in the vicinity of Simontornya.  The Hungarian population in the area was liquidated or expelled during the Turkish occupation.  Southern Slavs, both Croats and Serbs lived here in the 17th century.  During the Kuruz Rebellion that lasted from 1703 to 1711 the Slavic population abandoned the region.  In 1696 there were still six Slavic households in the village, all of whom left before 1700.  Their influence is still present in terms of the names of places throughout the area.


  Ág or Nagy Ág was part of the estates of the Farkas Bodo in 1542 and known as “Naaghag”.  During the Turkish period of occupation there were Hungarians living in the village.  The name means:  stronger and more powerful branch.  It refers to the remnants of a large oak tree at the centre of the village that was struck by lightning.


  Gerényes has no previous history prior to the coming of the Turks.  It was simply part of the Bodo family estates.  After the expulsion of the Turks there were a handful of people living at the site.


  Tarrós was part of the Henyei family estates before the Turks occupied the area.  In 1542 Janos Pöröczy was the owner.  After 1559 it became part of the landholdings of the Dombo family.


  Tékes was part of the land grants given Ferencz Bodo in 1510 and 1518.  In 1542 it was owned by Bodo Farkas and called “Thelkes”.  The name is a corruption of the Hungarian word “Kürbis” which means melon or pumpkin.  This heavily forested valley surrounded a garden heavily planted with melons.  The melons were used to feed swine.  In order to guard and nurture the garden workers and houses were needed.  During the time of the Turks the local Magyar population fled and hid in the forest and lived in the area around the former garden patch.


  Szabadi is a very old Magyar village.  Nobles were said to have lived here who paid no taxes.  The estate owner was called Dénes.  An earlier owner was Count Kasimir Battyányi.  In 1740 a wooden chapel with a straw roof stood at the centre of the village.  It had a separate bell tower and clock and was named after St. James.

   Baranya County and the Swabian Settlement 

  During the one hundred and fifty year occupation of the area by the Turks there was an effective administration in place.  With the liberation of Hungary by the united armies of the Habsburgs Baranya County belonged to the Emperor by right of arms.  A new administration and economic system had to be established by the Imperial Royal Chamber.  Beginning in June to the July 5, 1687 the “liberated areas” were surveyed and identified by the Prefect of the Royal Chamber, Christian Vincens and the administrator Laszlo György Nagy and reported on the populated and uninhabited settlements.  In place of receiving their salary for military services families could opt for the return of their estates and lands if they could prove ownership prior to 1526.  This was the date of the Battle of Mohács when the Turks defeated the Hungarian army under Louis II.


  In 1692 Baron Paul Esterházy purchased the estates of Dombovár.  Included in this purchase were the villages of Csikostöttös, Gerényes, Nagy Ág, Tarrós and Tékes.  In a document dated 09.06.1692 the villages are described in this way:  “The villages are not divided into feudal sessions.  How many Joch of ploughed land and meadows a farmer has is not known.  Each person ploughs and reaps as much as he wants and needs because there is enough land to go around.”  It further notes that Csikosöttös and Gerényes possess good oak forests.  At the end of the 17th century all of the Dombovár Domain belonged administratively to Tolna County.


  In 1695 the contest for administrative changes for the area between Tolna and Baranya County began and lasted for the next two decades.  In 1701 practically all of the Dombovár Domain was ceded to Baranya County as part of the Pécs District which was administrated from there.  The head of the administration was the military city commander:  General and Count Karl Thüngen and later Gabriel Vechi.  The official head of the County was the High Sheriff.


  On the basis of the tax lists for 1715 and 1720 for the villages indicated all were populated by Hungarians with the exception of Szabadi.  It was still uninhabited in 1715.  In 1720 some Slavic families were listed as living in Csikostöttös.  All of the peasants were serfs bound to the estate owner.


  The re-settlement of Tolna and Baranya Counties began after the Kuruz Rebellion was put down in 1711.  The colonists were mostly from Hessen Darmstadt, the Bishopric of Fulda, Württemburg and the upper Rhine.  In 1721-1723 over three hundred persons from Hessen Darmstadt left for Hungary and settled in the Lutheran villages of Tolna and Baranya Counties.  The leading figure in this Lutheran settlement was Count von Mercy.  Very few of these Hessian settlers came to the Dombovár Domains of the Esterházys where Magyar and Roman Catholic Germans were settling in the western Tolna and northwest Baranya.


  The settlement of the five villages had their origins in Rackozár.  The first Lutheran settlers arrived there in 1752.  Among them was Johann Heinrich Birkenstock from Felsö Nána.  He was born in 1709 in Upper Hesse at Hopfgarten in the vicinity of Alsfeld.  He later became known as “Farmer King” because of the important role he played in the Swabian settlement of the area.  Through his friend Stephen Nagy who played a key role in the administration and affairs of Count Esterházy, Birkenstock became familiar with the Count.  He was to become his chief adviser in terms of issues around the settlement of his estates.  The Count followed his advice to settle Hessian Lutherans on his estates to broaden the scope of settlement by having various nationalities and gain immeasurably by having industrious Germans working for him.


  His recruitment of settlers was successful due to his promise of three years of freedom from paying taxes or providing Robot (free labour) to the new settlers coming from the Tolna villages.  Because of that Birkenstock grew in influence as well as in his holdings.


  But in 1786 Birkenstock’s star began to fade.  It was discovered that he charged a commission and other fees to the new settlers without the Count’s knowledge.  The Count levelled legal charges against him and he went on trial in Pécs and was declared guilty.  He died abandoned and impoverished in 1792.


  Birkenstock was responsible for the Hessian Lutherans settling in the five villages as documents in Pécs attest.  From a letter of complaint from ten villages written by the schoolmaster Friedrich Meyer of Csikostöttös in 1786 it appears that the major portion of Hessian settlers arrived in 1778.


  This document indicates that the following were the founding settlers in the five villages:


  Gerényes:  Jakob Appel, Conrad Frank, Georg Haffner, Adam Hartung, Heinrich Jost, Justinius Kobl, Conrad Koch, Jakob Koch, Leonhard Kretzner, Friedrich Pauer, Matthias Pauer, Johannes Petter, Georg Remler, Nicolaus Remler, Conrad Schubert, Philip Schubert and Adam Stohum.


  Nagy Ág:  Cardus Czeh, Cornad Erbmann, Johannes Friedenperger, Peter Geib, Georg Götz, Conrad Kellermann,  Heinrich König, Georg Krinwald, Heinrich Kuhwath, Jakob Lein, Heinrich Lein, Christian Leinnperger, Reinhard Lohfing, Ludwig Marth, Timotheus Marth, Michael Meinhard, Johannes Müller, Georg Müller, Nicolaus Nedling, Michael Niclas, Friedrich Nifel, Nicolaus Peter, Adam Pless, Michael Pruszt, Adam Pucher,  Georg Schwarzenbach, Adam Spatz, Adam Spatz, Johannes Strack, Johannes Taubert, Wendel Vacker, Adam Valder, Conrad Valder and Valentin Volfart.


  Tarrós:  Johannes Allrutz, Nicolaus Eisenah, Heinrich Frudinger, Christoph Manngolt, Christoph Manngolt, Johannes Meiszinger, Andreas Pfeifer, Jakob Piserte, Michael Schwertzl, Johannes Vinner, Baltasar Volgemuth and Adam Volff.


  Tékes:  Ernst Beming, Jakob Dilk, Johannes Folmer, Eberhard Frank, Johannes Haag, Justinius Heesz, Andreas Heltzel, Carl Hesser, Johannes Hetrich, Johannes Keller, Zacharias Leffer, Adam Letz, Adam Mertz, Daniel Muhr, Nicolaus Pheil, Johannes Raffang, Georg Reiter, Johannes Ribert, Conrad Szam, Valentin Szeid, Adam Tebald, Conrad Tevald, Adam Tevald, Adam Tevald, Josef Till and Andreas Volff.


  Csikostöttös:  Leonhard Bob, Georg Ernst, Johannes Fauht, Johannes Fogel, Michael Frank, Conrad Friz, Christoph Gutknecht, Heinrich Hartmann, Johannes Kohlmann, Baltasar Kraling, Heinrich Krist, Nicolaus Lehr, Johann Letz, Martin Rab, Jakob Reitung, Georg Paul Scheffer, Jakob Szak, Vendel Szak, Andreas Visneher and Georg Visneher.



  Church and School 

  In 1752 Lutheran congregations were founded in Csikostöttös, Gerényes, Nagy Ág, Tarrós and Tékes.  Because of the Carolinian Regulations of the Emperor in 1731 they were restricted from giving full expression to their church life.  They were placed under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic clergy in the area.  They had the right to examine any Lutheran clergy or teachers in terms of their doctrine and practices and either approve or disapprove of them.  The Roman Catholic parish of Vasszar was the Mother Church for Nagy Ág and Tékes.  Vasarosdombó was the Mother Church for Csikostóttós, Gerényes and Tarrós up to 1834.


  The newly established Lutheran congregations were soon under attack.  At the head of the persecution was the Bishop of Pécs, Ferenz Nesselrode II.  Out of justified fear the Lutherans in the five villages held services secretly in their homes.  Baptisms were performed by the local Roman Catholic priest as they had been ordered to do.  Most of them went to the Lutheran Church in Kismanyok to receive Holy Communion.


  Due to ongoing emigration from the Tolna and Württemberg, Hesse and Bavaria the Lutherans began to become the majority in most of the villages.  This was especially true in Rackozár.  Birkenstock had made every effort in both Pest and Vieena to obtain permission to make Rackozár an Artikular Church (one of two legally permitted Lutheran Mother Churches in every County) and be allowed to elect a pastor and build a church.  That would only become possible later during the reign of Joseph II following the Edict of Toleration in 1781.  Despite that the congregation was already raising funds to build in 1766.  At that time in petitioning the Empress Maria Theresia the congregation indicated that the would serve as the Mother Church for a growing Lutheran population in the area:


  Rackozár 642, Tofü 326, Nagy Ág 164, Mekényes 602, Gerényes 81, Tékes 85, Tarrós 83, Csikostöttös 157 and Kaposseckcsö 88.  In total there were 2,228 Lutherans living in the area.


  In 1778 another petition was submitted which indicated the following numbers of Lutherans:


  Rackozár 643, Mekényes 608, Tofü 216, Nagy Ág 43, Gerényes 70, Csikostöttös 151, Tékes 47 and Kaposszeckcsö 115.  There were a total of 1,893.


  On September 20, 1783 Joseph II permitted religious freedom in Rackozár and its filial congregations in Tofü, Bikal, Nagy Ág, Gerényes, Tékes, Csikosöttös, Tarrós, Kaposszeckcsö.   Szabadi only became a filial in 1834.


 Csikostöttös’ Lutheran congregation was founded in 1752 as more and more Lutheran settlers arrived.  Others continued to arrive and they were able to build a Bethaus.  The Levite Lehrer was Karl Nathen and served here secretly.  In 1794 a school was built and the first teacher was David Klein.  A massive fire burned down most of the village as well as the school and prayer house.  In 1847 they were both rebuilt.  A church was built with financial assistance from the Gustav Adolph Society.  In 1878 the congregation became a Mother Church with filials in Gerényes, Nagy Ág, Tarrós. Tékes and Szabadi.  The first pastor was Karl Wolland who had been the assistant in Rackozár.


  Gerényes was founded in 1780 through the efforts of Birkenstock.  In 1793 thirteen married couples settled here.  Five families:  Müller, Schar Zahrt, Vogel and Reil built a prayer house at their own personal expense.  The land had been a gift of the County.  A church was built in the village in 1909.


  Nagy Ág began to expand in 1776 as a result of the migration from Tolna County.  Philip Nitschinger paid for the first Bethaus and a house for the Levite Lehrer.  In 1780 a bell was secured but the ringing of the bell bothered the Roman Catholics in the village.  In 1806 the original bell was traded for two others.  A new prayer house was built in 1819.  A church was built in 1892.


  Tarrós’ Lutherans bought a house to use as a school in 1772.  Through the efforts of the Levite Lehrer Peter Lobl and the Church Fathers:  Gottfried Buchert and Conrad Helfenbein a prayer house was built in 1823.  In 1831 both the school and prayer house were destroyed by fire.  They were rebuilt in 1846.


   Tékes saw the organization of the Lutheran congregation in 1752.  But until 1806 they held their services secretly in homes.  In 1807 they received permission build a prayer house.  Count Esterházy donated the land and the building was completed in 1808.  But the Count’s underlings closed down the prayer house and took the keys.  It took the personal efforts of the Dean of the Church District to secure the return of the keys and proceeded to dedicate the prayer house.  There were 246 communicants at the first service.  More Lutherans moved into the village and a school was built in 1875 followed by a new church in 1907.


  Szabadi’s Lutheran congregation was founded in 1793 under the protection of Count Batthyáni.  A schoolmaster was called and elected in 1820.  A church with a small tower was built in 1850.  In 1868 the pastor Johann Guggenberger provided information on the life of the congregation.  Worship was in German and all of the festivals were observed.  In villages with large Roman Catholic majorities the Lutherans also observed their festivals.  The schoolmasters led worship in the filial congregations but he pastor of the Mother Church provided pastoral services at least once a year for the celebration of Holy Communion.  All of the congregations had two lay Church Fathers to provide congregational leadership.


  The growth of the congregations can be measured by these figures from the inception of the congregations until 1933:


  Csikostöttös grew from 154 to 907; Gerényes grew from 81 to 369; Nagy Ág grew from 164 to 410; Tarrós declined from 83 to 68; Tékes grew from 85 to 405; and Szabadi grew from 126 to 232.


  The Final Years


  A Commission was established in February 1941 to act as observers of the Census in Csikostöttös, Nagy Ág, Tékes, Gerényes and Szabadi.  The report indicated:


  “Our journey began on February 1st and ended on February 8th.   Dr. Hirt, the chief magistrate of the District indicated that the Magyars in Baranya were not very industrious.  As a result the industrious Swabians have expanded themselves and their land holdings.  Even in completely Hungarian villages the land is often owned by Swabians.  The Swabian is thrifty and more industrious than the Magyar and they do not get themselves into debt needlessly.”


  “On the whole the Magyars are poor.  There are very few well-to-do among them who can keep up with the Swabians.  Much of the land in the district is owned by Swabians.  The two groups do not mix socially or inter-marry.  The divisions between the two groups are becoming more difficult and are hard to neutralize.”


  “In Gerényes the local German economy is healthy.  The situation of the Magyars is very bad.  The ‘one child” system is a new thing among the Magyars but it is practiced among the Swabians.”


  “With regard to Szabadi, the inhabitants are half Magyar and Swabian.  They respect one another and have good relationships with each other.  The assimilation of the Swabians into Hungarians is making great strides.”


  They then provide the following village-by-village analysis:


  Csikostöttös:  This village was once completely Hungarian but since 1880 the majority of the population are Swabian.  The Swabians are Lutheran and their school instruction is in German.  894 of the inhabitants claim German as their mother tongue and 886 have registered themselves as Germans by nationality.  The number of Hungarians has declined from 820 in 1930 to 638 in 1940.


  Gerényes:  In the distant past this was a Magyar community.  Through migration the Swabians became the majority by 1890.  The Lutheran school uses both languages.  331 of the inhabitants claim German as their mother tongue and 328 also claim German as their nationality.


  Nagy Ág: In 1773 this was entirely Magyar village.  In 1840 there was a Magyar majority but since 1863 the Swabians have gained the majority.  The Swabians are Lutheran the Magyars are Roman Catholic.  The Magyar population is in decline.  In the Lutheran school the language of instruction is German.  364 claim German as their mother tongue and 338 indicate they are of German nationality.


  Tarrós:  The village was formerly entirely Hungarian.  A small group of Swabian Lutherans continue to hang on to their identity.  The Lutheran church operates a school.  for their eight children.


  Tékes:  By 1880 the Swabians in the village formed a majority of the population.  In 1941 there were 398 Swabians and 193 Magyars inhabitants in the village.  In the Lutheran school, Hungarian is the language of instruction even though the older residents want German instruction for the children.  398 inhabitants claim that German is their mother tongue and 328 registered to be of German nationality.


  There were volunteers who joined the German Wehrmacht as early as 1942 when the recruitment into the Waffen-SS also took place.  Like all of the communities there were divisions within the Swabian villages in the Baranya over the activities of the Bund and its Nazi orientation.  It was only in the Spring and Fall of 1944 that they began to question what was happening and the possible consequences for the Swabians of Hungary as the Red Army approached the Hungarian border after the capitulation of Romania in August.


  The forced recruitment of all Swabian men from the ages of 17 to 50 years throughout Hungary into the Waffen-SS was quickly underway and the Baranya was not spared.  Those men who attempted to join the Hungarian Honvéd instead to demonstrate their loyalty to the state were turned away by the Hungarian officials, even Swabians serving in the Honvéd were transferred to the Waffen-SS with the compliments of the Regent of Hungary, Admiral Nicolas Horthy.


  There were 163 men from Csikostöttös who served in such German units but the number of casualties has not been determined.  The smaller community of Gerényes saw 73 of its men leave for the front, twenty-five of whom were killed in action and numerous others are missing to this day.  Others were prisoners of war in the Soviet Union where some of them perished while others only returned years later.  Nagy Ág sent off 21 men to face the advancing Red Army and 13 of them have been missing in action ever since, including two of the 17 year olds were taken.  Tékes provided 20 men of whom 13 were killed in action and three are missing.  Only four men survived and were prisoners of war in Russia and later two of them were prisoners in Tiszalök until 1953.  The small Swabian community in Szabadi saw 55 of its men taken into the Waffen-SS of whom only two were killed and eight are missing.  Numerous others were in the Russian prisoner of war camp system before returning home in 1949.


  In the Fall of 1944 units of the Russian Army entered Hungary.  The Hungarian generals capitulated and a coalition government was formed and later installed in Debrecén on December 22, 1944.  In the first days of December Russian troops entered the Swabian villages in northwest Baranya.  Lists of Swabians were compiled whether they were members of the Bund or not who would provide slave labour in Russia as Hungary’s war reparations to rebuild the Soviet Union.


  On Christmas Day 1944 the official announcement was made in all of the villages that all Swabian men between the ages of 16 ½ and 45 and women 17 ½ to 35 were to report to labour units.  Some of the age groups differed from village to village.  They were all sent to Sasd and then on to Pécs and were kept in the Lakics Barracks.  They spent a few days there in the horse stables before being entrained on cattle cars and taken to Russia.


  Nagy Ág:  There were twenty persons taken to slave labour in Russia:  twelve women and eight men.  Five of the men were seventeen year olds.  Four of the deportees died in Russia, two men and two women.  Both of the women were eighteen years old.


  Tékes:  There were thirty-five deportees taken to the Soviet Union:  seventeen women and eighteen men.  Eight of them died there:  four men and four women.


  Szabadi:  In this village there were thirteen taken to Russia all of them young women.  Four of them perished there.


  Csikostöttös:  There were thirty-three women and twenty-four men who were taken to the Soviet Union, fifty-seven persons in all.  Five of the men and two women died there.


  Gerényes:  Twenty-two persons were deported to Russia.  There were fourteen women and eight men.  Five of the men died in Russia.


  Tarrós:  There were nine persons who were taken of whom three were women and six men.


  A total of 156 persons from the parish were deported to slave labour in Russia and 28 of them would never return.  Some remained in the labour camps into the 1950s.  Only a portion of them returned to Hungary.  The others were sent to the Russian Zone of Germany.  When their trains arrived in Frankfurt-an-Oder all of the church bells in the city would peel making both a sad and joyous sound for those who were released and for those who would never come home.


  In addition to the villages listed these are the statistics for other Lutheran Swabian villages in the Baranya with regard to the deportation to Russia:


  From Nagyhajmas there were 73; Bikal 51, Rackozár 77, Tofü14 and Mekényes 53 for a total of 268 persons.


  The Expulsion ordered at Potsdam was carried out in Baranya beginning February 1st of 1947.  The 395 deportees from Csikostöttös were sent to Germany in two groups.  The first group left in September of 1947 followed by another in April of 1948.  The second group of deportees were taken to the Russian Zone of Germany.  From among the deportees there were 85 who left voluntarily to be with their families.  Only 139 of the villagers were allowed to remain.


  In Gerényes the expulsion took place on April 30, 1948 and involved 133 deportees.  The first deportations that took place in Nagy Ág took place on March 26, 1947 when 143 persons were expelled to the Russian Zone of Germany.  The second group of 43 persons that followed left on August 20, 1948 to the same destination and were from among the last of the deportees from Hungary.  In Tarrós the expulsion took place in May of 1948 and involved 49 deportees that were sent to the Russian Zone of Germany.  The deportees from Szabadi numbered 110 persons along with 23 others from the neighbourhood who belonged to the Lutheran congregation.  There are no statistics available on the number of deportees from Tékes.


  On the basis of the statistics we have there were 873 deportees from the five villages excluding Tékes, but considering its population we can estimate at least 1,000 deportees from among the Baranya Diaspora of the Swabian Lutherans.


  Gerényes is a small village of with some one hundred and twenty houses, the majority of which were those of Swabian Lutherans (380) while the minority were Roman Catholic Magyars.  The two nationalities took turns in electing a Richter.  Each group maintained their own language and customs.


  In October 1944 large numbers of refugees treks passed through the village consisting primarily of Danube Swabians from the Batschka in Yugoslavia.  Some remained for up to two weeks because there was enough room for them and their horses.  They helped us with the harvest and then were told to move on.  As they left they wept and told their hosts to remain at home and take to the roads as they had done, it was something they now regretted.  Little did they know of what was just over the horizon for us.


  The leave taking was sad and we no longer considered flight ourselves.  But a few of the villagers joined the evacuation afraid to risk staying.  Some of the youth of the village were taken to Komlö to work in the coalmines.  In this way they were able to avoid recruitment into the Waffen-SS and after the occupation of Komlö by the Russians they were sent home in December.


  Few Russians came to the village because it was off of the beaten track.  The village Richter brought any news of the outside world to the villager’s attention.  Accompanied by the Klein Richter they went about the village streets to the beating of drums to make his announcement and get everyone’s attention. 


  When drumbeats were heard on the day after Christmas everyone realized that it must be something important to interrupt their Christmas celebrations.   All women born in the years from 1914-1926 and all men born from 1900-1927 were ordered to report and register for labour in Sásd.  Some were immediately taken by wagon to the town that was nine kilometres distant.  Rumours spread that they were being taken to Pécs for fourteen days to build an airstrip.  Some, however, smelled a rat and went into hiding (including the writer and her brother.)  They hid in an old abandoned cellar about half an hour away from the village.  Their mother came to them by night and told them that if they did not report and register their house and barn would be put to the torch.  Both of them refused to go home.  On the third morning their mother arrived breathless and in tears.  She reported that their father had been taken in their place and she had to look after the cattle and farm all by herself.  Her brother said they should return in order to release their father who was an old man and they were younger and stronger.


  As they arrived at the place of assembly, their father and all women who were pregnant or had a child under the age of three were released along with the village schoolmaster Neubauer, although his daughter was kept back with the others.


  On the same day, it was December 27, 1944 at 7:00 pm all of the assembled people left on foot.  They marched four in a row with Russians guards behind and beside them.  Bundles with feather ticks, clothes and food were brought by wagon.  They marched all night until 4:00 am.  They finally rested outside of Pécs, which meant they had marched for 36 kilometres without a rest.  After an hour’s rest they marched to Lakiscsalaktanya.  They were imprisoned in a stable.  Straw was spread on the frozen manure and the men and women were packed together there for several days.  There were about three hundred of them.  It was the assembly camp for the area.  They received no food.  Families and friends came and brought them food and drink.  They remained there for thirteen days in the new year of 1945 but were not required to do any work.  That surprised them.


  Each day they were called up for roll call in groups of 40 persons.  The guards had noted that there had been some who had escaped and as a result relatives were no longer allowed to visit or contact them.


  On January 10th they were taken to the railway station in Pécs.  The cattle cars were standing waiting for their cargo.   This was goodbye for some forever.  There were only Swabians in our group.  No Magyars were deported with us.  Our mother had come to bring us more supplies but she was prevented from doing so.  The guards would not allow anyone near the prisoners or the cattle cars.  Most had to return home still bearing the provisions they had brought.  To this day many of the survivors thank God for those women who managed to get by the guards and handed provisions to those in the cattle cars.  Some bribed the soldiers, but most had to stand back and see their loved ones from a distance and for the last time.


  One woman fainted on board the cattle car and was removed and able to remain behind.  Only later would the others discover that a good friend had given her a cigarette, which had led to her fainting spell.


  Thirty-six persons were packed into each cattle car.  The train passed through Vasarosdombo in the vicinity of Gerényes and they saw it speed by through the small high windows in the cattle car.  They dropped notes out of the window hoping that their families would get them.  None did.


  In Dombovár the train halted for the first time.  The man in charge of the car was a good man and left the door open and said, “When the train starts up and goes slowly jump off here and head for home.”  No one dared to do it.  They travelled on to Baja.  The women were taken across the Danube by ferry and the men remained behind.  They had already separated the men and women from Gerényes.  They all spent the cold night out of doors on both sides of the Danube.


  There were numerous Russian soldiers all around them.  They were able to start a fire to warm themselves.  One told them to escape but most were concerned about male members of their family on the other bank of the Danube.  The night was so cold that the fire did not last and the soldiers took shelter in their quarters.  By morning the women’s dresses were frozen.  They huddled together with one another and their bundles and packs.  Early in the morning the men were ferried across the river.  We were then taken to the railway station in Baja and loaded in cattle cars again.  They were packed like herring.  On one end were the women and teenage girls from Gerényes and on the other were those from Jagolak.  The women and girls from Gerényes felt fortunate that they were able to remain together.  There were fifteen of them in all.  In the centre of the car a hole had been drilled to serve as a toilet.  There was also a small stove to take the bite off of the cold.  They could no longer leave the car.  At night the train went faster and they were afraid that the stove propped on rocks would tip over and start a fire.  In daytime the train would often stand on a siding for hours and we hoped that the Russians would get frustrated and turn around and take us home.


  We did not want to believe that the war was lost and that somehow the German army would rescue us.  Our hopes were to be dashed.  On our way, one or two men or women were allowed to get water at stops along the way but always accompanied by guards.  The food they were given was meagre and badly prepared.  People began to share their remaining provisions with one another.  They were separated from the men from Gerényes and had no idea of where they were in terms of the long line of cattle cars.  The train passed through Romania and when it stood still at sidings, the local Transylvanian Saxon populations would sneak food to the prisoners.  They knew where they were going because their own young people had already been taken a week before.


  The transport arrived in Russia on February 2, 1945 crossing the border at Nepropetrovskie.  The train then went on to Dombas in Ukraine and reached their ultimate destination there on Feburary 4, 1945.


  They were placed in barracks that were warm and empty.  They made up beds on the floor with their feather ticks as they had on the train.  They were relieved that the trip was finally over and they could rest.


  There were six large barracks surrounded by a wire fence.  The first barrack was the hospital.  Next to it was a women’s barrack, men were in the third and fourth and then the kitchen and another women’s barrack.  Every barrack had an officer and interpreter.


  The women had Anna Müller from Csikostöttös as their interpreter.  The officer was Jerilow and spoke some German.  He suffered from a head wound and was often “not there.”  The prisoners were not mistreated or abused.  So everyone anticipated passing through this “episode” in their lives.


  Their first task was to build bunk beds in all of the barracks with two above and two below.  The Gerényes people bunked together and pooled all of their food and Anna Zarth did the cooking and all of the others called her “mother” because she was the oldest.  The food from the camp kitchen offered little nourishment.  Only three of the men from Gerényes were in the camp.  The others were somewhere including the writer’s brother.


  On April 15th they all reported for work detail, most of the men and women were sent to work in the mines.  Many of the Gerényes people worked in the sawmill.  They unloaded the timber, had to cut it and had to drag the filled wagons of logs into the mine.  Constant heavy work with little nourishment became to take its toll.  They worked in three shifts, seven days a week.  Every ten days shifts were changed.  When loads of logs arrived all of them had to unload them if it was their shift or not.  On the whole the Russians were not bad to them and encouraged them that they would be going home soon.


  But months became years.  Rations were poor and in 1946 there was famine in all of Russia.  Then came typhus and the pests of lice, bedbugs etc.  Many died of hunger and typhus.  Married women became frightened when their menstrual flow ceased, but the young teenage girls found the same thing happening to them.


  In May 1946 some of the Gerényes people were assigned to collective farms and other outside work.  The writer was separated from her brother again and he was just getting over having typhus.  She asked for permission to say goodbye to her brother and after their tearful farewell she was allowed to remain at the camp.


  There was no mail from home.  It was only on June 2, 1946 that they heard from their parents for the first time.  Her barracks was next to the hospital and saw the countless numbers of dead being taken out for burial.


  The first group of those who were being released was finally organized.  Only those who were sick and starving were eligible.  Two of the three teenage boys from Gerényes were included:  the März and Schleier boy.  In 1947 the food provisions were somewhat improved and there were fewer deaths.


  In a letter one of the deportees received on August 23, 1946 the survivors from Gerényes learned of their family’s plight at home: the confiscation of all of their property making them homeless and a loss of citizenship and in constant fear of deportation to Russia themselves.  Gerényes was no longer their home.  There were strangers there now.


  In February 1947 the second transport left Russia including one of the married women from Gerényes.  Many sent letters home with her but she had to leave her sister behind.  They had just learned that their father had fallen in the war.  Meanwhile the writer’s brother was in hospital again.  He could not survive the journey back home.  By now TB had set in and there simply no medication available.  He died on May 16, 1947 and was buried on the same day.


  By the end of 1947 those who had survived were simply skin and bones and had no strength left.


  The following June another a transport of those unable to work was put together.  Four married women and one teenage girl from Gerényes were included.


  On May 11, 1948 the vast majority of the Swabian population of Gerényes was expelled from Hungary.  The author’s parents were included.  The first news she heard was in October 1948 from Germany where her parents awaited her…some day.  At least she had an address.


  In 1948 all of those from among the longest surviving prisoners were released including those who were sick.  Three married women from Gerényes were released at this time.  When they arrived in Germany all three women discovered that their husbands had died as prisoners of war in Russia.  Only two of the men from Gerényes in the other camp had survived and were released.  One of the mothers who remained in the camp died in a mining accident and unknown to her at the time, her husband had been killed at the front.


  In 1949 the camp was dismantled and the inmates were sent to work in various places.  Soon at the end of another year, with the most of the Gerényes people gone home the days and nights became longer and longer for those still left in Russia.  The young author was sent to the camp in Gorlowka and here she met a married woman from Gerényes who worked in the kitchen with her.


  Five weeks later they were taken to an assembly camp at Stalino.  Cattle cares were stuffed with people and sent across Romania to Hungary.  The married woman was in one of them.


  The writer now reports, “In the end of the 11th of November all of us who had requested to be sent to Germany now had their turn.  We were loaded on board cattle cars and crossed over into Poland for the Russian Zone of Germany.  We arrived during night of November 19/20 in Frankfurt-an-Oder.  The bells of the churches in the city began to ring to announce to the city that some more late arrivals from Russia had come.  All kinds of people came to the train station to meet us.  The Red Cross was there to assist us.  Finally we received our release documents along with 50 East Marks.  Now each person could go and seek to find their family and we did.”


  The author requested to remain anonymous.

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