Tolna County


Gyӧrkӧny in the Tolna


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Internment at the Lendl/Lengyel Camp


   The source of the information in this article is from a lecture delivered by Josef Wirth at the International Historical Conference held in Budapest, March 5-6, 1987The presenter was a seven year old participant in the events he describes.


  When the internment of Swabian civilians in Tolna County began the vast majority of the Volksbund members, especially their leaders were no longer in Hungary.  They had either fled or gone into hiding.  Some were in labour camps in the Soviet Union.  The vast majority of the inmates in the internment camp in Lengyel were the elderly, children, women and even nursing infants.  We faced the grossest forms of inhumanity and were spared nothing.  This “action” taken against us did not appear to have been ordered by the central government but by local officials and self-appointed “special commissions” that claimed to be government “Commissars”.  Local functionaries bare the brunt of the blame but so does the national government and the Allied Control Commission in Budapest.


  I discovered that there were all kinds of people in the camp at Lengyel.   One man told me he had been a Communist since the 1919 Red Revolution.  He was arrested because a member of his extended family was a Volksbund member.  Very few people attempted to help us except for some villagers in neighbouring Hungarian communities.  I will use the village of Tevel as an example of the people who were interned in our camp.  Until 1945 it was an entirely German community in Tolna County and according to the census of 1941 it had a population of 2,516.  The number of war dead from the village was 207 or 8% of the population.  Of that number 58 of the men fell while serving in the Hungarian Army and 99 men serving in units of the German Army lost their lives.  There were also 13 of the Jewish population who perished in German concentration camps.  In addition 33 men and women died in Soviet labour camps in Ukraine and 4 people died due to other causes related to the war.


  As the Volksbund became more and more radicalized in their Nazi ideology, their Führer, Franz Basch lashed out at their greatest enemies, the local intelligentsia, at a mass assembly of the Bund in Hidas in August 1940.  He made all kinds of threats against them.  In April 1942 as he toured Swabian Turkey he said the time would soon come when those who stood on the sidelines of the struggle of their “Volk” (Translator’s Note:  code word for race) would have to face the consequences.  The consequences that were to follow where not exactly the kind which he had envisioned.


  The Volksbund controlled the German press in Hungary.  The Volksbund Führer’s tours of an area were very much like that of a Gauleiter (Regional Nazi leader) inspection tours in Germany.  Following such visits their newspaper would report that the total population of twenty-five villages went out to greet him when he entered their community.  There was great “joy” for the “many thousands” committed to the cause.  Everyone knew that their newspaper was filled with lies.  It is therefore hardly any wonder that the Hungarian public was taken in by their propaganda and had such a false picture of the Swabian population.  The Volksbund fanned the flames of the Hungarian nationalists who had advocated the expulsion of the Swabians for generations.


    The most important effort in which the Volksbund was engaged was the recruitment of Swabians to serve in the German Army.  During 1942 and 1943 they campaigned to muster volunteers to serve in German units.  They played a major role in planning and carrying out the forced conscription of all Swabian men of military age in 1944 even including those men serving in the Hungarian Army.  A German physician involved in the physical examination of the conscripts pointed out to me how different the various commissions were and how they made decisions.  Wherever the Voksbund was powerful, like in the southern Batschka, the recruitment commission was welcomed and a great spread was put on the table for them.  At other places they were met with flying rocks.  That occurred at Harta where the Lutheran pastor led the opposition and had the local population behind him and not the Volksbund officials.  But what needs to be dumped in the laps of the Volksbund and their leaders is the overly large number of 15, 16 and 17 year olds they “passed” for recruitment.  Many of these boys were killed in action or languished in prisoner of war camps for years after peace had been declared.


  In Swabian Turkey where the largest concentration of Swabians resided in “rump” Hungary after the Treaty of Trianon at the end of the First World War, the Volksbund leaders sought desperately to gain their allegiance.  It was in this region where most of the mass assemblies were held:  Cikó 1939, Hidas 1940, Magócs 1941 and Bonyhád 1944.  But the results were rather modest.  The recruitment effort for volunteers to serve in the German Army had far less response than in the newly annexed Batschka and Transylvania.  The girls in Swabian Turkey did not wear the Volksbund uniform but wore their traditional village attire.  In their attempt to find a regional Führer they had to parachute in Florian Krämer from the south Batschka.  The only prominent Volksbund personality from the area was Dr. Mühl, who later fell into disgrace when his home community Bonyhád which was the most important town in the region could not organize a local chapter of the Volksbund due to the opposition and agitation of the True to the Homeland Movement (Treu zur Heimat).


  The chaos created during the inspection of the Bonyhád region by the SS-General Lorenz (from Himmler’s office in Berlin) became a complete rout for the Volksbund because of his drunkenness and lecherous advances towards young girls which was the case in Kisdorog.  The actual influence the Volksbund had in the region can best be seen in terms of the numbers who participated in the evacuation organized by them.  Despite the mass propaganda effort to get the population of Swabian Turkey to evacuate most the vehicles and trains that were provided left empty.  In Tevel, which the Volksbund press painted as “always first among those who gave themselves to the movement” when the evacuation took place at the end of November 1944 there were fifteen families of the five hundred families in Tevel who answered the Volksbund’s call and fled westwards along with the regional Volksbund leadership.  These same “Führers” had used torture and beatings on 15, 16 and 17 year olds at Hidas in the Fall of 1944 in order to get them to “volunteer” in the German Army.  Some of them managed to escape and came home only to be taken back under guard by the local Volksbund leaders.  I share this terrible story of one of the 17 year olds who was taken from his home by armed men.  A few days before the end of the war he and an older soldier were ordered to guard a food depot.  Because of the entreaties of the old soldier he entered the depot to get him some bread and was discovered doing so and was taken to a court martial, condemned to death and executed.


  In the Spring of 1945 all kinds of punishments were inflicted upon those who were inmates at the internment camp in Lengyel in Tolna County.  The “political” police were in charge of the camp’s operation.  In March 1945 they began to assemble Volksbund members and no one was to be excused because of age, gender or status.  Under the leadership of the Small Landowner and Social Democratic parties a Regional National Committee was formed in Bonyhád on April 10, 1945.  Its objective was to punish the German war criminals by using the local police to carry out appropriate action.


  On March 14, 1945 when the Lengyel castle of the Apponyi family still served as a hospital, the Finance Minister telegraphed the County administration and requisitioned “five or six wagons of cartographic materials in the Apponyi Castle in Lengyel.” The Russians had converted the castle into a military hospital.  A letter to the County sheriff from some time between March 14th and April 16th  indicated that the castle was to be used to intern Swabians.


  In the Spring of 1945 over 3,000 Szekler (Magyar) families from Bukovina were sent for resettlement in the Bonyhád district.  The County officials were responsible to make arrangements to provide for them.  In each of the surrounding villages a local committee developed a list of names of those families who were Volksbund members.  The political police played a major role in the whole affair.  In some cases people were warned that their property would be confiscated.  When the local list was completed the families were taken into custody by the police and placed in the internment camp in Lengyel.  This action was carried out in Tevel on April 25, 1945.  The entire population of the village had to assemble in a meadow and leave the doors of their houses unlocked.  All of the families that had a Volksbund connection had to endure day long harassment at the hands of the police before they were brought to Lengyel.  The local committee handed over their homes and properties including their household furnishings, bedding and clothes to the new settlers who arrived from Bukovina.  The action was directed by Gyӧrgy Bodor a police officer from Transylvania under Confiscation Order Nr. 600/1945.


  According to information at his disposal Peter Lazló estimated that in May of 1945 there were 20,000 Swabians interned at Lengyel which made it the largest camp in Hungary.  It is unlikely that they were all there at the same time in the castle.  Because of the chaotic conditions in the camp a “selection” was undertaken to separate the aged who were unable to work as well as the children and mothers with infants from the other family members who were force marched out of the camp and taken to northern Tolna County.  Families had physically resisted the separation but were unable to prevent it.


  After a short while they were they were set free.  They were totally destitute and most of them went into hiding with Hungarian families.  Many others escaped along the way and hid in old wine-press houses, huts or stayed with relatives or friends who hid them.  The police carried out raids nightly in order to catch them.  Those who were captured were taken back to the camp.  One old man from Tevel who was to be returned to the camp was shot when he attempted to escape.  Only those who had fled and hid out in Hungarian villages were able to escape ongoing internment.  Despite that the vandalized castle was filled to the brim with people.  The nutritional and hygienic situation bordered on the catastrophic.  The guards were gangs of youth who were called “cattle herders” by the inmates.  Beatings were the order of the day.


  Peter Lazló claimed that in May of 1945 the local and national press attacked the actions taken by Bodor and the Bonyhád Regional Police Commissioner.  The coalition parties got involved as well and called for an investigation.  The first action that was taken was the removal of the young guards.  On May 27th, Bodor was ordered back to Budapest.  His settlement programme and the Lengyel Camp were dissolved and his position was taken over by the Regional Police Commissioner of Bonyhád.  A portion of the internees were jailed in Szekszárd.  From among those released, some of them were taken in by the “new owners” of their homes.  Most, however, had to seek shelter elsewhere.




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.



Bonyhádvarasd in Tolna County


  This article provides a summary of some of the information provided in Heimatbuch von Bonyhád/Warasch published in Budapest in 1995.


  As the Habsburg rulers responded to the need to resettle, cultivate and develop the wastelands of Hungary after the defeat and withdrawal of the Turks from the scene after their 150 year occupation, they really saw this as investing in their own family estate as well as the Kings of Hungary.  This huge undertaking would require the efforts of three generations of Habsburgs and masses of people with a pioneering spirit.


  For this purpose the Habsburg identified the German peasantry within the Holy Roman Empire, that provided a reservoir of population and economic and technical potential.  The decree of the War Department in Vienna on September 16, 1686 to repopulate Hungary gave birth to the so-called Danube Swabians.  The Commission Neo-Acquistica was established in 1688 by the Emperor Leopold to carry out the repopulation and placed Cardinal Leopold Count Kollonics (1613-1707) at its head.  This Prince of the Church was a clever politician and a Croat who served the Habsburgs well and was unable restrain his hostility towards the Hungarians which was part of his Croatian heritage and his Roman Catholicism’s bitter hatred of all forms of Hungarian Protestantism.


    The Commission had to have an overview of the whole operation.  Not only did they need to settle colonists in the wilderness and devastated land but to determine what lands and estates still had an owner and which land had to be expropriated.  To claim any estates in liberated Hungary the former owner was required to present documented title to the lands in question.  Estates that were not claimed or the owners could not validate their claims became the personal possession of the Crown.


  The largest part of Hungary came into the possession of the Crown and the Emperor gave the largest estates to his many army commanders and trusted courtiers either as a gift for services rendered or allowed them to purchase them.  In this way the loyalty of the nobles to the House of Habsburg was strengthened thereby.  A large portion of what would become Swabian Turkey (Counties of Baranya, Tolna and Somogy) fell into the hands of veteran military commanders and officers of the Army of Liberation and the Hungarian nobles who had remained loyal to the Habsburgs.


  Prince Eugene of Savoy came into possession of the estates of Bellye, Promontor and the island of Csepel, while General Veterani received the estates of Dárda.  The Governor of Croatia a loyal supporter of the Emperor, the Hungarian noble Count Batthyányi made Némétbolly his own principal possession and General Capara set himself up in Siklós.  Count Claudius Florimundus von Mercy purchased Hӧgyész.  The dean of the Cologne cathedral, Philip Ludwig Count Zinzendorf was granted the monastery of Pécsvarad, Count Styrum-Limberg was granted Simontornya, Johann Joseph Count Trautsohn had the abbey in Székszárd from 1718-1757.  Joseph, Count of Hessen, became the Abbot of Fӧldvár, Wilhelm Count Nesselrode became the Bishop of Pécs, and the Counts Wallis had their Tolna estates in their possession.  In addition the Roman Catholic Church and its bishops and abbots were given estates.  Many of the owners sold their landholdings at a very cheap price but seldom found willing buyers.


  As far as the new owners were concerned their estates were dead capital and of no value.  They were extremely interested in securing workers to develop their holdings.  They were the most zealous in promoting the government’s “Re-Population Patent”.  Close behind them were the nobles and the churchmen.  The number of private landowners who recruited German settlers was sizable.  This stretched out for several years even in the midst of the government’s own immigration programme.


  Much of the unsettled land remained in the hands of the Crown.  These empty and vacant lands were referred to as Prädien, Puszta or Kameralgütter that were administered by the Royal Chamber in Vienna.  The activities of the private landlords were overseen by the Hungarian Royal Chamber.  The largest portion of the Crown Lands were in the Banat and the Batschka where private landlords were few and far between.


  The large scale government programme of settlement of Germans in Hungary began after the Peace of Passarovitz in 1718.  The Sava and Danube River formed a natural defence and boundary between the Austrian Monarchy and the Turks in the south.


  The Hungarian parliament passed Law 103 in 1723 to invite free peasants to settle in the unpopulated areas of Hungary and would provide a house lot and land with an exemption from taxes for several years and the Emperor was requested to issue a decree to encourage a massive immigration into Hungary.  The handbills and flyers described the possibilities of a new prosperous life in Hungary with the proviso…”and primarily Roman Catholic people will be accepted.”


  After the liberation of the Banat it was a sparsely settled wilderness covered with swamps, marshes and bogs.  There was little land dry enough to erect a house or shelter of any kind.  The vast stretch of land between the Tisza and the Danube and Morasz Rivers was all Imperial Crown Land.


  The Governor of the Banat, Count von Mercy, had been a Field Marshall in the Army of Eugene of Savoy who earned great honour in the War of Liberation.  He was in charge of the resettlement of the Banat.  The first step for the planned economic development of the land was the draining of the swamps.  The next step was canal building along the Bega and Temes Rivers.  Then settlers were brought in.  They were Germans, Serbs, Croats and some Italians, Spaniards, French and Romanians.  Many died of swamp fever and others left to go back home but despite that fifty settlements were established.


  Von Mercy also brought miners and tradesmen into the Banat.  Silk worms and rice were also cultivated.  Von Mercy put magistrates in place as well as local administrators and good roads were built along with schools in each of the villages.  Temesvár became known as “little Vienna”.  The land was made secure against robbers and brigands.  Border posts were strengthened as well as fortifications against Turkish incursions.


  A renewed Austrian-Turkish war broke out in 1737-1739 and much of the Banat was destroyed and the Habsburgs had to start all over again under Maria Theresia and her chief advisor Anton von Cothmann who worked extensively in the Batschka which would become the richest of the Danube Swabian settlement areas.


  Slavonia was liberated from the Turks by Imperial troops during the 1687 campaign.  On October 5, 1867 Esseg was taken and in 1688 they moved on into Srem.  The Peace of Karlowitz ceded Slavonia and Croatia to Austria.  Later in 1718 Srem was ceded to them in the Peace of Passarowitz.  These lands were also ruled from the Royal Chamber in Vienna.  The nobles had to prove their ownership of their estates.  Few responded.  Many families had died out.  Many were bought out.


  In 1700, Slavonia had a population of 140,000 and Srem was unpopulated.  With the retreat of the Turks most the cities lost a large portion of their population.  As a result tradesmen were invited first and then the farmers.  Peterwardein and Esseg were the first new towns to be re-established.  In 1718 colonists established Semlin.  The area was deeply forested with marsh lands that bred swamp fever.


  The original name of the future Bonyhádvarasd was probably of Serbo-Croatian origin and then was modified into a Hungarian sounding name.  The name itself may be related to the Croatian town of Varazdin on the Drava River or the small Croatian village of Apatvarasd in Baranya County.  Among its future German inhabitants it would be known as Warasch; the closest they could come to pronouncing the Magyarized Slavic name.  In 1900 it was to be renamed Tolnavarasd but ever since the end of 1903 it has bourn the official name of Bonnyhádvarasd.


  Bonyhádvarasd was founded in 1732 and by 1941 it could boast of 140 houses and a resident population of 720 all of whom were German-speaking Roman Catholics.  But we are getting ahead of ourselves.


  During the Turkish occupation of the region many of the nobles who owned estates either fled or the family died out without an heir.  The only exceptions in the area was the Morágy family and former owners such as the Szakadáty, Kalaznay, Csefӧy and Berencsy who were replaced by the Bokta, Bezerédy and Székely families and others.  The Habsburgs took over the “liberated” lands as their own personal estates on the basis of having taken them by “force of arms” which the Neo-Acquistica Commission they had established officially recognized.  If one of the former owners could provide the necessary documentation to regain his estates he had to pay a special fee to cover the costs of “liberation”.  If he could not pay the estate reverted to the Crown.  This was a two edged sword.  Either way the former owner was placed in a precarious position.


  The various owners of the domains that included Varasd were as follows:  the Botka family from approximately 1596 to 1700; Count von Sinzendorf from 1700-1722 and known as the Apar Domain; Count Claudius Florimundus von Mercy and his heirs from 1722-1773 and Count Apponyi and his heirs from 1773-1927.


The Botka Estates


  At the end of the 16th Century, a mercenary soldier serving at the border fortress of Pápa, János Botka von Sléplak founded a new estate-owning family dynasty.  He and his heirs, all of whom were in the military, expanded their estates from Pápa to Batáapáti.


  The most important role in the life of the family was that of his son Ferenc (Francis) who had a good relationship with the Turkish Begs (governors) during the occupation.  While all of the other Hungarian nobles lost their landholdings Ferenc kept his estates and with Turkish support help expand his cattle ranching activities.  The actual running and administration of the estates of the Botkas was carried out by stewards.


  János Botka married the daughter of Peter Huszár, the Commander of the fortress at Pápa which gave him title to numerous villages in Tolna County.  These holdings would be expanded by his offspring.  His heir was his son Ferenc who like his father was a soldier and served at Pápa.  In 1647 he was a representative at the Landtag for Zala County and in 1653 he was the Vice-Governor of Zala County.  He too expanded his land holdings.  He died shortly before 1680 and his three sons divided his estate among themselves.  János, László and Ferenc divided up 25 villages, pusztas, mills and small landholdings in the Counties of Fejér, Somogy and Veszprém as well as in Tolna.  After László’s death his holding were again divided among his brothers.


  The following villages and pusztas (undeveloped open prairies) were ceded to János:  Ban, Reketye, Hӧgyész, Dúzs, Mucsi, Nagy and Kis Vejke, Izmény, Kismányok, Varsád, Závód, Apar and the pusztas known as Kistormás, Udvari, Berény, Papd, Bolyata, Mucsfa, Batáapáti and Vaskapu.


  Ferenc received:  Kis Székely, Egres, Sár Szentlӧrinc, Csefӧ, Püspӧk (Nagy Székely), Alapsa, Pálfa, Varasd, Felsӧ Nána and the pusztas known as Nagy Tormás, Csetény, Szakadát, Kalaznó and Kӧlesd.


  In 1685 only Ferenc was still alive and he inherited all of the combined estates.  These lands would later become the Hӧgyész Domain.


  In 1696 only Kis and Nagy Székely, Mucsi, Závód and Apar were inhabited.  The other villages had been abandoned or destroyed by the Turks during the War of Liberation and the population had fled or been dispersed.  With the depopulation of the region the life of the Middle Ages ended.


  In 1697 Ferenc died and his widow began to sell off the estates and ran into problems with the Neo-Acquistica Commission.  Ferenc’s son, Adam, was a follower of Rákóczy the leader of the Kurucz rebellion against the Habsburgs.  Adam was accused of treason and along with his brother-in-law was beheaded at Sarospatak in 1708.  Only a sister survived and the management of the estates was taken over by Counts Dӧry and Nádasdy.  On April 17, 1700 the widow of Ferenc sold everything to Count Johann Weinhard Wenceslaus Sinzendorf who was a treasury official and royal falconer to the Emperor.


The Sinzendorf Estates


  Little is known about the estates during Sinzendorf’s period of ownership.  In a document dated April 27, 1717 the steward of the estate, Georg Wolfart indicated he wanted to settle the villages of Mucsi, Papd, Csefӧ and the puszta of Dúsz.  Nothing is known of any follow up.  Sinzendorf’s sister, the wife of Count Anton Berchtold, was his heir and she sold the estates claiming they were too far away from them to administer.


Count von Mercy’s Apar Domains


  On April 24, 1722 the Emperor Charles VI validated von Mercy’s purchase of the entire estates of Apar at the Landtag in Pressburg.  The purchase price was 15,000 Forint.  The following villages and pusztas in Tolna County were included:  Nagy Székely, Kiss Székely, Mucsi, Závód and Apar and the following pusztas:  Pálfa, Egres, Sár Szernlӧrincs. Ban, Udvari, Kӧlesd, Kistormás, Nagytormás, Felsӧ Nána, Batátapáti, Kismányok, Izmény, Alapsa, Mucsfa, Varasd, Hӧgyész, Szakadát and Kalaznó.


  They were officially turned over to Count von Mercy on May 7, 1722 by the Sinzendorf’s steward and administrator.


  On June 30, 1722 Count von Mercy’s adopted son and his heirs were made his legal heirs.  Following the validation of the purchase by the Emperor there were numerous protests and complaints lodged against it but none of them reached the courts.  One of the Botka heirs had a good case but von Mercy settled out of court in 1727 before it ever went to trial.  The Count paid up to 6,000 Forint (almost half of the purchase price.)


  Regardless of the documentation of the sale, Kiss and Nagy Székely, Ban and Udvári never became part of the von Mercy Hӧgyész based domains.  A month prior to the agreement between von Mercy and Sinzendorf a side deal had been made with Count Maximilian Styrum-Limburg who provided him with a gift of 1,700 Forint for these communities that became part of his Simontornya estate.  He had been one of the Commanders of the army of Ludwig of Baden during the War of Liberation.


  The Counts von Mercy would become the major colonizers of Tolna County in the decades ahead.  The third and final Count was a diplomat and wanted nothing to do with the military unlike his two predecessors. Nor were his estates in Tolna County of any interest to him.  As a result he sought to sell them.  Maria Theresia initially opposed the sale but was eventually won over and on June 12, 1773 Count Georg Apponyi purchased the Domain for 700,000 Gulden.


  It was shortly after the purchase of the Domain that the settlement of Varasd had its early beginnings.  A document compiled by officials in the administration of Tolna County reports the following in the year 1732:


  “The newly settled village of Varasd first began with the arrival of Johannes Spill who had previously been registered at Lengyel and Niolaus Muttz who arrived earlier in Kiss Dorog in 1724 and had been registered there for taxation purposes.  Michael Spann and Georg Rell from Mucsi who were both registered there in the conscription records and Jacob Plumoschain who came to Hungary from Germany in 1729 have lived here ever since.  In April of 1732 Conrad Jacob, Michael Krajtess, Peter Rass, Ludwig Jacob (a shoemaker) Matthias Piegle and Jacob Szaor (Sauer) came from Germany.


  A later document in the Tolna County archives lists the colonists in Varasd in 1770 as follows beginning with those with sessions of land:  Carl Walter, Peter Windischmann, Christian Hainzler, Matthias Rapp, Johannes Majer, Joseph Schunkarth, Joseph Tressler, Christian Schaub, Peter Morian, Marcus Lill, Joseph Fajerstadler, Jakob Keller, Adam Windischmann, Johann Georg Fajerstadler, Wilhelm Jung, Johannes Feirstein, Nicoalus Miller, Nicolaus Roth, Mathias Rang, Theobald Saller, Heinrich Aibeck, Theobald Lill, Heinrich Majer, Peter Hammer, Johannes Szaller, Antony Aibeck, Thaddeus Rapp, Johannes Walter, Sebsstian Czinner, Franciscus Guth, Sebastian Faczi, Johannes Bengh, Michael Lill, Baltasarus Potsli, Simon Koller, Michael Pelcz, Jospeh Tobler, Philip Wolcz, Wilhelm Peringer, Jakob Marschall, Martin Frey, Heinrich Ponner, Johann Georg Schmidt, Peter Aipeck, Johannes Czinner, Philip Thall, Laurentius Thebes, Georg Czinner, Ludwig Hepp, Andreas Kaiser, Thomas Thall and Erasmus Roth.


  The cotters (tradesmen with house but no land) included:  Michael Stainer, Johannes Marx, Andreas Kupfer, Gaspar Brandt, Johannes Gottlieb, Antonius Kuhl, Johannes Keller, Johannes Ernhauser, Nicolaus Pell, Jacob Lehmann, Franciscus Pereth, Johannes Keller, Johannes Kaiser, Nicolaus Miller, Nicolaus Strasser, Peter Riegert, Johann Georg Plesz and Joseph Marschall.


  The day labourers:  Michael Miller, Antonius Entz, Adam Becker, Michael Lauffer, Johannes Pell, Johannes Faczius, Fiedelius Schutz, Martin Wesser, Bernhard Pauer, Christoph Schmitt and Michael Treger (community miller).


  The question with regard to the places of origin of the settlers is difficult to determine but some research has discovered that some of them came from Württemberg:  Johann Hilarius Walther from Dormettinger, Martin Walther from Erlaheim, Simon Koller from Seitingen, Martin Reich from Erlaheim, Gregor Seeburger from Egesheim, Michael Krumm from Wurmlingen and Jacob Streicher from Denkingen.  It has also been established that the Lill family came from the Rheinland-Pfalz (Palatinate).  There were also families from the Black Forest, Franconia, Fulda and Hessen.


  What was important for the successful colonization of Swabian Turkey during the 18th Century was that private settlement was left in the hands of the nobles and estate owners.  They turned over their land to the colonists to develop an economic base for their estates.  At first they received a share of their crops and incomes and later monetary equivalents.  They also had a work force to cultivate and harvest their own crops and herd their swine and livestock.  The population increased rapidly and land began to run out and it was no wonder that the earlier settlers complained when newly arrived settlers appeared on the scene.  In fact, they made official protests.  More and more petitions and protests were made with no real results.  Dissatisfied settlers left and sought a better deal elsewhere.  A large scale migration into neighbouring regions began.  The quarrels between the peasants and nobles grew in their intensity.  Violence broke out in some cases.  The major issue for the peasant farmers was the fact that they had to carry the whole burden and weight of taxes from which the Hungarian nobles were exempt.


  The difficulties of the peasants were recognized by the Empress Maria Theresia after countless protests brought the matter to her attention.  Against the wishes of the Landtag she proceeded to implement regulations that were biding on all agreements between peasants and landlords.  Swabian Turkey was the initial target of her regulations that went into effect in 1767.  She sought to stabilize a volatile situation.  The new agreements identified the duties of both the peasant and the landlord in order to protect the peasants from the nobles.  The peasants now had a right to the land they worked and could not be driven off of it by the landlord nor could the landlord determine what crops were to be planted or what use the peasant put to the land.  On March 21, 1767 representatives from the village of Varasd appeared before the County Administrator and were granted an audience but were threatened with bodily punishment if they did not sign the contract  that had been issued to them with its nine points.  To all intents and purposes their agreement of 1736 still remained in effect.  The following representative signed the Urbarium:  Carl Valter, Theobald Lill, Matthias Rang, Michael Pelcz, Anton Ajpek and Remigius Wolfer.  Carl Valter was identified as the Richter (head man in the village).


  Before the emancipation of the serfs took place in Hungary as a result of the Revolution of 1848, there were additional changes in the lot of the peasants during the reign of Joseph II.  In 1785 he granted the right of all peasants to migrate and move without the consent of their landlords.  The peasant no longer required the consent of the landlord to marry and he could chose whatever occupation he desired without the need for the landlord’s approval.  In terms of any complaints about his position as a subject of his landlord the peasant could appeal to the Emperor directly or the County officials.


Religious Life


  The occupation of Hungary by the Turks was seen as a punishment from God.  With the liberation of Pécs, the Bishop of the city and diocese, Padanaj, ordered the conversion of all of the local populations.  He brought in Jesuits for this purpose and countless individuals were baptized in the area around the city which included 44 villages.  It is estimated that 15,000 were brought back into the Church of Rome.  (Translator’s Note:  They were primarily Hungarian Calvinists (Reformed) and Serbian Orthodox.)


  On March 13, 1714 the Bishop of Pécs, Wilhelm von Nesselrode ordered all of the clergy in the diocese to report to his palace in the city for a Council.  He sought to determine the numbers of priests in the diocese, the number in training, the parishes with priests and where ruined churches were located.  The names of all of the participants are listed as well as those who had absented themselves.  There were 17 parishes and priests and 5 seminarians most of whom were in Baranya County.


  But there is also a note to the effect that one priest was present from Tevel in Tolna County, Heinrich Mak, who had no church.  The area had been abandoned but German settlers from Swabia were arriving and had brought their own priest with them and were now building their houses.


  According to local researchers the first church built in Varasd was wood in construction with a reed roof and was erected in 1755.  It was dedicated to St. James.  In 1793 at the personal cost of the villagers and some financial support of Count Apponyi a new church was erected as well as a rectory.  The village congregation became a recognized self sustaining parish in 1804.  The first resident priest was Johann Néméth.


World War II and Its Aftermath


  The villagers were divided in two camps and of two opinions.  Those who belonged to the Volksbund (Translator’s Note:  Nazi front organization) and those whose first loyalty was to their Hungarian homeland.  There were ten families of this opinion and belonged to the Loyalty Movement:  Treu zur Heimat.  The two groups avoided public quarrels as much as possible in light of the political situation in Hungary.


  With the full co-operation of the Hungarian government a first recruitment drive for volunteers to serve in the SS was carried out by the Volksbund in 1942.  There were six volunteers from Varasd.  In the second recruitment drive in 1943 there were two.  These were meagre results after a massive propaganda campaign by the Volksbund and its leader Franz Basch.  All of the volunteers came from poor families.  They were promised economic benefits and they knew they also faced a call up to serve in the Hungarian Army.  They would rather serve under German leadership.  It was unthinkable that a farmer’s son would volunteer to go to fight in a far off war when there was ploughing to do, crops to plant and a harvest to bring in.


  After the German occupation of Hungary in March 1944 the third SS recruitment drive go under way.  This was not a voluntary recruitment.  All men between the ages of 17 to 62 years were conscripted into the Waffen-SS.  On August 10, 1944 the first of the young men were called up to report for duty.  During August there were 72 young men who were called up  and on October 1st 20 older men received their orders.  As one of these older men put it:  “We old monkeys are Hitler’s new fangled secret weapons we always hear about.”  There were a few men who managed to be accepted into the Hungarian Army.  In all 32 men from Varasd lost their lives on the front in the Second World War.


  The Russians arrived in Varasd on November 30, 1944.  The day before Pécs had fallen.  At the beginning of December, Kaposvár fell next.  By mid-December Budapest was surrounded.  The ancient capital of Hungary, Szekésfehevár, would hold out until March 22, 1945.


  November 30, 1944 was a Thursday when the Russians arrived.  There was a light rain.  Low dark clouds.  Individual Hungarian soldiers passed through the village heading for Tevel.  They yelled:  “Hurry!  Hide yourselves!”  While they shouted they shot off their rifles into the air.  The villagers hid in their cellars.  No fighting took place.


  Varasd was spared the deportation to slave labour in the Soviet Union, although men and women were taken to Kisdorog on January 2, 1945.  They were taken there by horse and wagon.  Arriving at the town hall they waited for an hour when they were told to go home because the Russian officer in charge of the operation had been called to serve on the front.  In returning home they had no idea that they had missed the convoy of hundreds of young German men and women from the area who were being transported to the labour camps in Russia.


  On April 26th Varasd was surrounded by Hungarian police from the neighbouring villages.  The entire German population was forced to assemble at the outdoor stations of the cross on a prominent hill by the village cemetery.  The Volksbund members were segregated from the others and taken to Lengyel and imprisoned there in the Apponyi castle.  On the next day April 27th the first of the Csango families from eastern Hungary arrived and took over their homes, livestock and property.  This was also happening in the ten other German villages in the vicinity where 1,500 of these families were resettled.  In May more of them arrived.  New lists were drawn up with the names of those to be dispossessed of their property not only some remaining Volksbund members but all of those families who had claimed German was their mother tongue during the nefarious  Census of 1941.


  During Mass on Ascension Day, the Hungarian parish priest warmly welcomed the Csango who were now the “new owners” of Varasd.  “My brothers, the Lord God has given you a new home and houses all of your own.”  But he offered no word of comfort for those Germans in the parish whom he assumed must have deserved to be thrown out of their homes.


  On June 6th the village was surrounded by Hungarian police again.  All of the remaining Germans were assembled and about forty were taken and interned at the Lengyel castle.  After five or six days most of them returned having found it easy to escape from there.  Despite all of what was happening the Germans continued working their fields.  The harvest began in July and so did the quarrelling with the new residents.  


  Seventeen of the men had managed to return home after the war.  By September there were fifteen more who had returned.  Many of them were among those who had been interned or had to report to the police each week.  They were often arrested at night and were charged with whatever they wanted and were put in jail for a few days.  During October, November and December the Csango went berserk.  They got drunk, looted homes, robbed people on the streets, threw people out of their houses and beat them.  On All Saints Day they priest remembered the dead in Bukovina at Mass but he did not acknowledge that any of the local Germans had died in the war.  By the end of the year 48 men had returned home from the war.


  In January 1946 the local German population were told that all of the Germans in Hungary would be driven out of the country.  In the neighbouring villages all former German soldiers were assembled and interned.  The Csango went wild again.  In April the first survivors from the labour camps in Russia from the neighbouring villages came home and the numbers that had died were astounding.  In June the expulsions began.


  On July 3, 1946 the Germans in Tevel were loaded onboard cattle cars.  They went as far as Linz in Austria where the American military refused to accept them and they were sent back to Hungary.  But they did not return home.  They were taken to Hajos, then to  Bacsalmas and on to Nemesnadudor.  They were in transit for a month.  Then the expulsions ceased.  There were 23 more men who returned home from the war as more and more people were driven from their homes.


  During 1947 and 1948 the Hungarians who had been expelled from Slovakia took up residence in the remaining homes of the Germans.


  On August 19, 1947 the beating of drums on the street corners in Varasd announced the expulsions would begin again.  They had two hours to pack.  They were taken to Hidas in open trucks to the railway station.  They headed for Pirna in Saxony.  Of the remaining German population in Varasd, 320 had been sent into exile.  The second group of expellees from Varasd would leave on February 29, 1948.     

Kismányok in Tolna County


  The following in my translation of an article in the Unser Hauskalendar of 1993 published Unsere Post of the Ungarnländische Deutsche in Munich.


  This community was first identified and referred to in 1015 in the official documents of the monastery in Pécsvárad at which time it was called Manek.  In 1437 Kismányok became its designation but at times it would revert back to Manek, Manok, Manyuk


  The village is located in the lower Tolna.  The foothills of the Mecsek Mountains create deep forested hills.  During the Turkish occupation it became part of Baranya County for administrative purposes but later it was returned to Tolna County.  During the long term Turkish wars the area was depopulated that led to the later resettlement of the area of which Kismányok is a result.


  In 1713, six years prior to the first major wave of Swabian settlement, Count Zinzendorf owned the estates known as the “Apar Domains”.  According to the research of Pastor Wittigh, the first settlers arrived here in the years 1717 to 1719.  But by then there was a new landowner, Count Florimundus Mercy de Argentau, General Field Marshall of the Holy Roman Empire and a member of the War Department in Vienna and the Governor of the Banat and Commander of the fortress of Temesvár.  These first settlers gave it the name Klomanok (Small Manok) in the dialect they spoke.  Their dialect may have had its origin in Hessen even though the first church records indicate settlers came from various areas of present day Germany.


  The settler’s Lutheran faith was only tolerated and they were not granted freedom of religion and for that reason they often had to appeal to their landowner for help.  On May 7, 1722 the following contract was signed including this statement by Count von Mercy:  “Christoph Carl and Philip Blum, both subjects from Kismányok on my Apar Domain, have appeared today and notified me that they are residents on my land at Kismányok but are adherents of the Augsburg Confession (Lutheran) and petitioned me to allow them full expression of their religious life and permit them to have a Lutheran pastor and so I have decreed that they and all others on my estates may practice their faith freely as long as that faith is tolerated in the Kingdom of Hungary.”


  This agreement was foundational in the establishment of Kismányok as the first and oldest Mother Church of the Evangelical Lutherans in Lower Tolna County.  (Translator’s Note:  There was a legal provision for the existence of two Mother Churches for the Lutherans and the Reformed in every County.)  As a result permission was given to build both a church and school and engage and call a pastor and schoolmaster.  In future Kismányok would become the centre of Evangelical Lutheran church life for its twelve filial congregations in terms of their church records.  Bonyhád until 1730; Mekényes until 1743; Cikó until 1747; Zsibrik until 1750; Mucsfa until 1756; Morágy until 1760; Tӧfu until 1772; Izmény until 1777; Majós until 1778; Batáapáti until 1780; Hidas until 1862; Varálja until 1870.  (Translator’s Note:  This fact is important for any genealogical researcher to know.)


  The first church was a wooden and log structure with a tower and one bell.  It was erected in 1720 and served until 1780.  During that period 4,720 children were baptized and there were 1,303 marriages performed.


  In the following years in order to maintain their religious freedom there were six more decrees on the part of von Mercy and his successors protecting them against measures taken by the County and the Roman Catholic authorities.  Florimundus Claudius von Mercy died in battle in Italy.  His successor (nephew) died in 1767 at the age of 76 years.  The next in line, who was the Empress Maria Theresia’s ambassador in Paris, sold the estate to Count Apponyi who curtailed the freedom of his Lutheran tenants.  Their pastors were removed from their parishes and the practice of the Lutheran faith was forbidden.  Emperor Joseph II’s Edict of Toleration in 1781 was a Godsend.  The Lutherans now had some rights but not equal to those of the Roman Catholics.


  The village chronicle indicates:  1) the “black death” raged in 1739 and over 90 people perished.  Half of the population at the time.  There were countless numbers of deaths in the filial congregations as well.  2)  as a result of a new stream of settlers from Hessen   the decimated settlements  were repopulated up to 1760.  In 1880 the population was 541 persons of whom 494 were German-speaking.  In 1920 there were 620 inhabitants of whom 607 were German-speaking.


  The major agricultural crops were grain and vegetables and their vineyards played a major role in the village economy.  It was best known for its “sweet onions”.  Hemp became important later in the 1930s.  Many also found work in the nearby coal mines in Nagymányok.


  Because of the bad economic situation and the Magyarization campaign after the First World War both factors led to a bad relations with the Hungarian population.  Eventually the Volksbund was organized in the village in reaction to the intensive efforts directed against them by the Magyar nationalists and during the Second World War some of the young men volunteered to serve in the German Armed Forces and the SS.


  In 1944 there were 122 houses, 191 families and 622 inhabitants in the village.  In 1945 the Hungarian Department of Agriculture set up an office in Bonyhád with the task of providing housing and land for Hungarian refugees from Romania and Yugoslavia.  By May 1945 there were numerous cases of German families being dispossessed and having their property confiscated.  Kismányok was spared that until the end of May 1945.  In June there were 129 families that had all of their property confiscated.


  One villager tells her story:  “On the morning of June 4, 1945 we were awakened from our sleep by the sound of gunfire.  A drummer at the street corners announced that everyone had to leave their home and assemble at the village square.  We were to leave our keys in the locks of our doors.  By 7:00 a.m. there were 145 persons gathered in the square and we would remain there for the entire day.  In the evening we were force marched for several hours to the Lengyel castle where we arrived exhausted.  The elderly and children had been loaded onboard wagons.  After a few days, individuals and groups slipped out of the camp and returned “home”.  But our homes were occupied and we all had to find some other place to live.”


  On January 2, 1945 a group of 48 men and 11 women were sent to forced labour in the Soviet Union.  Of their number fourteen of the men and two of the women would perish there because of the conditions they had to endure.  In 1946, approximately 150 persons from the village were deported to Germany.  Of Kismányok’s pre-war 191 families only 35 of them still reside there today as well as 23 families in Nagymányok  There are 66 families now living in Germany and some others ventured overseas to the United States and Canada.

Cikó in Tolna County


  The following article is a summary of “Cikó:  Ein Heimatbuch über die Ortsgeschichte unsere Dorfes in Ungarn” compiled by Adreas Reder and published in 1999.


  Located in the lofty hills of southern Tolna County, Cikó lies six kilometres away from Bonyhád to which it has gravitated throughout its history.  To the east are the villages of Ófalu and Zsibrik but there was very little intercourse between them.  The rolling hills are fertile and vineyards abound.  Its settlement took place in the early 18th Century and was carried out by the nobles and estate owners that possessed it at various times.  Cikó lay in the heartland of what once was Swabian Turkey.  All of that is from its nearer past.

  In the 11th Century at the time of the death of King Stephen, the first Christian King of Hungary in 1038, he died without an heir and was succeeded by pagans.  His Bavarian widow, Gisela, was the patroness of numerous monasteries and churches she had established and endowed and she became the target of reprisals by the members of the pagan royal court.  She was imprisoned, tortured and abused.  In 1045, Henry II of Germany, freed her and she returned home to Passau and later she served as the Abbess in the Benedictine cloister in nearby Niedernburg.


  Stephen I had established the County system in Hungary modelled on that of Bavaria.  He also created two archbishoprics:  Estergom (Gran) and Kolocsa as well as eight bishoprics (dioceses):  Csanad, Erlau, Grosswardein, Raab (Gyӧr), Djakovo, Pécs, Neutra and Veszprém.  These religious and secular administrative units would remain in place until the Treaty of Trianon in 1919 dismembered the ancient Kingdom of Hungary.


  It was during the reign of Geza II from 1141-1146 that the first large scale immigration of Germans into Hungary began and they would become the Zipser Saxons in Upper Hungary (Slovakia) and the Saxons of Transylvania.  After the Tartar invasion in the 13th Century Béla IV had to rebuild the devastated nation and called for German settlers to establish the future towns of Buda (Ofen), Sopron (Ödenburg), Koloszvár, Pozsony (Pressburg) and Kassa.  The German character of these communities would be retained  well into the 19th Century in their culture, architecture, community life and language.


  The first references to Cikó in historical documents are in state records from 1334 which identify the community as a functioning parish.  In 1432 and in 1466 it was listed as an uninhabited village.  No reasons are given why the community was abandoned.


  The Turks appeared on the scene during the 15th Century.  The Hungarian commander, János Hunyadi, defeated them in countless battles as they attempted to enter and take the Balkans.  His last victory was at Belgrade in 1456.  For the following fifty years Hungary was relatively safe from the Turks.  In 1458, Hunyadi’s son, Matthias, was crowned King of Hungary and launched a golden era in the life of the Kingdom.  His successor Ulaszlo II ended the taxation of the nobles which led to the Peasant’s War in 1514.  The leader of the peasants was Gyӧrgy Doza and he and his followers were dealt with mercilessly.  Soon after the uprising, the Turks took Belgrade without any opposition.  This eventually would lead to the disaster at Mohács on August 29, 1526 when Louis II of Hungary and his army were totally vanquished by the Turks.  Not content with that Suleiman sent the feared Pasha Achmet to conquer wider regions of Hungary in 1553.  The area around Bonyhád and Cikó were occupied by the Turks.  All of the villages in the area fell victim to destruction by the Turks.  Suleiman gained access to all of Hungary and his armies plundered, robbed, enslaved and destroyed.  The area around Cikó was liberated from the Turks in 1686.  The area was now virtually uninhabited except for a few nomadic Serbs.  Following the Turkish occupation the entire region was devastated again during the Rákóczy  Kurucz Rebellion against the Habsburgs  from 1703-1711.


  In 1715 the population of Tolna County was overwhelmingly Hungarian along with Germans and various Slavic peoples.  The Magyars (Hungarians) were serfs owned by their landlords who were members of the nobility.  The Slavs were recent arrivals and most of them were nomadic.  In 1720 there were five Serb families, four German and two Hungarian households in Cikó.  The mass immigration of Germans into Tolna County began soon after 1715.  The first signs of it occurred early in 1714 when 127 German families from Bibierach were settled in Tevel.  They were not serfs but were free peasants unlike the Magyars.


  An action had been taken in 1689 to launch a recruitment of colonists from the Holy Roman Empire for the redevelopment of Hungary by Emperor Charles VI and the Hungarian Landtag.  Special advantages and privileges were promised to those who responded to the invitation to settle but later on July 4, 1724 the Emperor ordered that all persons without sufficient funds or property be excluded.  The mass migration occurred between 1723-1726.  Baron Schilson like many of the other nobles and estate owners in Swabian Turkey sent recruiters and emigration promoters to Germany for that purpose and in 1722 he sent Andreas Szӧcs.  The pamphlets he distributed indicated that colonists would be exempt from paying taxes for one year and no robot (free labour service to the nobles) would be required of them.  Then some duties were identified such as a tithe of one ninth of their crops.  Kun was another noble who operated alongside Schilson.  Kun resided at his Hidas estate and Schilson at Lower Bӧrszony.


  The emigrant convoys that arrived lost up to a quarter of the would-be settlers through accidents, attacks, raids, a variety of typhus-like illnesses due to a lack of planning and vision often causing some of them to quit and return home shortly after arriving and came back paupers.  Most of the original German settlers in Cikó were Franconians although some were from Bavaria and Swabia, Fulda and the Odenwald (Hessen).  Cikó was virtually located on the border of Tolna County with Baranya.  The neighbouring villages of Hidas, Ófalu and Zsibrik were all in Baranya County.


  On October 15, 1723, Kessnerich, the owner of the “Bonyhád Domains” sold his estates to Baron Schilson and Franz Kun.  Schilson came from Sopron County where he had estates at Egyed and Szecsény.  The former owner, Michael Kessnerich, came from Sopron County as well.  Franz Kun was a rather worldly man while Schilson was very “spiritually minded” and was related to the Cardinal and administrator of the diocese of Raab.  Schilson played the leading role in the settlement of Cikó.  The first settlers arrived in 1723 and are included in the County Tax Conscription List and include Johannes Pott, Christian Erni, Andreas Rotmunt, Johann Peter Perzon, Johannes Hübner,  Johannes Veil (Weil),  Johann Justin Jekli, Henricus Kons, Johann Georg Kreem Johann Nikolaus Liszekam, Hans Weber, Heinrich Sommer, Henrikus Zimmermann, Henricus Nieth, Johann Heinrich Asmusz, Petrus Matepark, Henricus Müller, Johann Kaspar Bernhardt and Christian Neudorf.  Christopherus Elmauer was listed as the Richter and Johann Schmidt was the Klein Richter.  In the following years they were joined by Johannes  and Friedrich Schäfer, Andreas Krem, Johannes Imhof, Erneus Faht, Johann Adam Elter, Petrus Elter, Johann Schatz,  Johann Simon,  Johann Melchior Czeller, Johann Hait, Christian Leidecker,  Wilhelm Scherer, Johann Reisz, Adam Herbert, Johann Veiss, Conrad Wagner, Jenich Mink, Petrus Kaufen, Thomas Blum, Caspar Leidl, Johann Luchs, Andreas Luchs, Franz Wiedermeier, Johann Szinter widow, Johann Femer, Johann Georg Volmann, Anton Pummer, Michael Schäffer, Johann Stenger, Henricus Rill, Philip Kleine, Johann Tinges, Anton Resing, Johann Kirchhof, Johann Herbert, Conrad Paul, Johann Adam Englert, Jakobus Alblinger, Johann Paul, Johannes Rauch, Franziscus Kolb, Nikoluas Musung, Johannes Pachmann, Johann Schneider and Johann Oper.  The Lutherans among them came from the Odenwald in Hessen.  (Translator’s note:  Johannes Veil (Weil) is an ancestor of mine).  The names and places of origin of many of the original settlers are listed on pages 26 to 34. 



  The settlement of Cikó coincided with that of Nádasd.  In 1718 the bishop of Pécs, Franz Johann Bertram Nesselrode who had been born in Westphalia, invited German settlers on his diocesan estates.  Most of them came from Franconia and the Spissart.  Kun and Schilson tried to entice them to settle on their lands.  At that time no one paid much attention to the confessional (denominational) allegiances of their colonists as we will notice that was also the case initially in Cikó.  At first the village would be a filial congregation part of the parish of Nádasd and then later Bonyhád.  It was only in 1751 that it became an independent parish of its own with a resident priest.


  The population grew steadily.  In 1729 it stood at 284.  In 1755 it had risen to 680.  In 1769 it had reached 907.  In 1811 there were 1,235 inhabitants.  By 1828 there were 1,382.  The population declined in 1838 to 1,365.  By 1880 it had risen again to 1,501.  In 1890 the village reported a population of 1,744.


  During the 18th Century the Bishop of Pécs had jurisdiction over the Counties of Tolna and Baranya as well as a portion of Srem and Slavonia.  It appears that Schilson and Kun were successful in recruiting settlers already on the estates of the Abbot of Pécsvárad and the Bishop of Pécs.  Twenty newly settled communities were located on these two church domains.  The domains of Kun and Schilson were much smaller and they had to entice colonists who were close by because they could not afford to pay the transportation costs of would-be settlers.  Because of that they paid little attention as to whether they were Lutherans or Reformed instead of Roman Catholics.


  The Minutes of the County Administration in 1702 noted that the Serbian population was abandoning the area and moving farther into Hungary or the Batschka and Slavonia.  They had been plundered by the military coming from and going into battle with the Turks.  Then later there were brigands and robber bands and finally Kurucz rebels.  In 1709 the Batthyáni estates that stretched from Pécs to Mohács included 42 villages of which only three had any resident population.  In Tolna it was the same thing.  Of all of the counties of Hungary, it was Tolna and Baranya that were the most heavily devastated.  During the Synod of Pécs it was reported that during 1714-1723 following the expulsion of the Turks there were only 21 priests in the entire diocese.


  According to the canonical visitation at Cikó the settlers had built a wooden church and construction had begun in 1725.  The Roman Catholics in Nádasd brought their own priest with them from Germany.  The Bishop of Pécs, Franz Count Nesselrode (1703-1732) had been chosen by the Emperor because he felt loyal foreigners would be his allies against the Kurucz rebels.  It would only be during the reign of Maria Theresia that there would be Hungarians appointed to such important positions.  He carried out many projects and was extremely militaristic.  His successors were only able to attain what they did on the basis of the foundations Nesselrode laid in terms of the material and financial resources that he accumulated in his position  But he was also a churchman and carried out canonical visitations in 1721 and 1729.  A seminary was first established in 1746.


  By 1713 the diocese was in need of German-speaking priests–but where would they come from?  A few arrived with the settlers from Germany.  The bishop often secured them from Pressburg.  He even installed an agent to recruit priests.  He enticed priests into coming to Pécs who were not tied to any bishop or diocese.  Some of them were charlatans and it was only after 1750 that priests native to the diocese became available.  The bishop turned for help to the monastic orders in Pécs, the Franciscans, Capuchins, Dominicans and Augustinians.  In Tolna County there were only Franciscans.


  The Spring canonical visitation in 1729 was carried out by Matthias Domsics on behalf of Bishop Franz Nesselrode.  His report deals with the church building and furnishings and notes that there were complaints about the 31 year old teacher, Johann Heinrich Scheiler who had served in Cikó for six years and spoke only German.  The parish as a whole felt that he was negligent in his work.  On the positive side he was a good singer and his handwriting was at least average.  He promised to improve in the future.


  His report continues:  “The population of the village is German-speaking and Roman Catholic with the exception of thirty-one Lutheran families who number 124 souls out of a total village population of 284.  All of the families participate in worship and pay towards the priest’s stipend.  But they are very poor.  The Lutherans also have a church in the village also made  of wood and plaster with a small tower and one bell.  The interior was completed by the members.  The Lutherans belong to the nearby Lutheran parish in Majos.  An Imperial decree from the Emperor forbids the Lutheran pastor in Majos to set foot in Cikó.  The Lutherans have a teacher who also serves them as a worship leader.  I have forbidden him to continue to do this and he promised to obey my orders.”


  Another visitation took place on January 20, 1730 by the Roman Catholic priest in Bonyhád, Johann Draksics.  In passing he mentions, “The bells in the tower now include the bell of the Lutherans many of whom have “converted” while those who did not sold their houses and land and moved elsewhere.”  (Translator’s Note:  Johann Veil (Weil) was among those who left along with most of the other families and settled in Gyӧnk and some of them later established Mekényes in the Baranya.)  It was later noted in 1755 there were still four “hard headed” Lutheran families (16 persons) still residing in Cikó.  After 1769 there is no longer any mention of Lutherans living in the village.  


  During the Russian/Turkish Wars 1735-1739 in which Austria participated as an ally of the Russian Czar, German settlers in the Banat fled to Hungary as refugees.  One of their new settlements was at Németboly and they brought the plague with them.  A quarantine of 42 days was ordered by the Royal Hungarian Chancellery and County administrations in Tolna, Baranya and Somogy carried it out.  By February 25, 1739 the plague appeared in Mohács and in Tolna County in Varsád.  Sixteen households in Cikó fell victim to the plague of whom 53 perished.  In comparison there were 249 deaths in Varsád.  There were at least 1,200 deaths in the region.  This was but one factor with which the early settlers contended with in the years in which they established themselves.  On September 15, 1739 Joseph Purczel the Vice-Governor of Tolna County was informed that in the city of Dunafӧldvár no one reported to remove the corpses or take out the coffins for burial.  Corpses lay in houses for days.  On April 24, 1740 soldiers stationed in Bátaszék brought the plague to the local population.  Wherever the plague appeared the community became isolated.  In Paks-on-the-Danube looting and plundering were rampant.  No sooner had someone died than their furniture was dragged off and the house was robbed.  Between 1738-1743 there were in the neighbourhood of 6,000 victims of the plague in Baranya, Tolna and the Batschka.  This was a large portion of the population at that time.


 On May 28, 1743 Baron Schilson sold his holdings to Joseph Perczel that included the villages of Bonyhád, Majos, Cikó, Ófalu, Mocseny, Zsibrik and Palatinca.  The Perczel family was one of the richest nobles and estate owners in Tolna and Baranya Counties.  Their ancestors like many of the nobles had come to Hungary from Germany centuries before but had become full blooded Magyars and fervent Hungarian nationalists.  The bill of sale was signed in Simontornya and identified the purchasers as Joseph Perczel and his father-in-law Alexander Gaal from Gyula.  The estates were in both Tolna and Baranya Counties and were sold at a cost of 45,000 Gulden.


  The Perczel estates were registered in 1745 and the pusztas of Zsibrik, Eszter and Ófalu were later registered in Baranya.  Joseph Perczel settled the village of Zsibrik first.  After its settlement he applied for a tax exemption with the County.  By 1752 there were 35 German-speaking families in Zsibrik.  Ófalu was settled in the 1750s by Hessians from the bishopric of Fulda.  Bonyhád belonged to the Kessnerich family up until 1723 when it fell into the hands of Baron Schilson.  He immediately brought in German settlers.  Franz Kun also had land in the area and settled German families at Moratz (Móragy) and Hidas.  At the time of the sale to the Perczels in 1743 the village of Kéty belonged to the Bene family as well as Fonyo, Eperjesy and Szalai.  When Ófalu and Zsibrik’s first settlers arrived from Germany is unknown but it was probably in the 1720s.


  In 1751, Joseph Perczel, the new owner of the estates established the Roman Catholic parish of Cikó and recognized the parish of the “hangers on” of the Augsburg Confession (Lutheran) in Batáapáti and those subscribing to the Helvetica Confession (Reformed) in Morágy and the Lutherans in Zsibrik as well.  From 1741-1751 he was the County deputy in the Hungarian Landtag and he erected a family residence in Cikó but his chief homes were in Bӧrszony and Bonyhád.  He sired a large family of sixteen children.


  Following the Revolution of 1848 and the defeat of the Hungarian revolutionaries and the later subsequent Compromise of 1867 and the establishment of the Dual Monarchy Austria-Hungary, the Nationalities Law (Regulations) went into effect in 1868.  The language rights of the minorities were guaranteed in the administration of the Counties, in the lower grades of the schools and the life of the church.  This was really only on paper. The planned assimilation of the minorities was set in motion and was referred to as Magyarization.  The new measures were undertaken, developed and carried out and supported by the government and had a political objective.  As a result all of the Minutes of the local Community Councils had to be written in Hungarian and signed by all present whether they could read and understand Hungarian or not.  At first the clergy were able to withstand Magyarization of worship but later it became a vehicle for the process which was not true among the German Lutherans who had the option of choosing the language of instruction in their schools and their worship life.


  After the First World War, Hungary had been truncated and large swaths of its territory and population were annexed by the neighbouring successor states.  Dr. Jacob  Bleyer would become the “awakener” and champion of the German minority in Hungary.  In 1921 he founded the newspaper, Sonntagsblatt.  This newspaper did not have any political objectives but was a vehicle to call for the maintenance  of the traditions, culture, language and heritage of the German minority in Hungary.  In 1924 the Ungarndeutsche Association (Hungarian German) was established.  It was a linguistic and cultural educational society.  His Heimatblätter (pages from the homeland) were  research studies into the early history of the German immigration and settlement of Hungary.  The role they had played in the life of the nation greatly offended the pride of the Hungarian ultra-nationalists who perpetrated the Great Magyar Myth that the original German settlers had been the riff raff of Germany who had become parasites on the body politic of Hungary.  These nationalists were not prepared to permit the minimal rights guaranteed to the minorities in the Hungarian Constitution.  Jacob Bleyer died on December 5, 1933 totally disillusioned by the Horthy government policies of which he had played a part in forming.  Bleyer was a neo-conservative anti-Semite just short of being a full fledged Fascist.  Bleyer’s road led to a dead end because the nationalism of the Magyars would not tolerate minority rights, especially in terms of language in the German schools.


  With Hitler’s take over in Germany in 1933 a bitter wind began to blow in German circles in Hungary.  These radicals gained influence after Bleyer’s death so that a breach occurred and split the old leadership under Gustav Gratz and the radicals under Franz Basch in 1936.  The radicals under Basch operated a somewhat illegal Volksdeutsche Kameradschaft (Folk German Brotherhood).  (Translator’s Note:  Their use of the term Volk had strong racial overtones.)  The Hungarian government opposed the organization until the Vienna Accords when Hungary annexed parts of Slovakia and later Northern Transylvania with Hitler’s assistance and accepted the newly formed Volksbund of Basch as the legitimate spokesperson for the entire German minority in Hungary.  On April 30, 1939 a festival was held in Cikó to celebrate the formation of the Volksbund.  According to their official newspaper there were 30,000 participants at the event which was a stretch of the imagination.  Other observers suggest there were 10,000 which is still a sizeable number.  The tone of the event is best described in some of the statements made by the leadership of the Volksbund.  Dr. Fausstich commented, “True to our ancestors’ aspirations we remain loyal and true to the Hungarian State and our love for our Fatherland.”  Was that a code word for Nazi Germany or their Hungarian homeland? 


  Despite all of the talk about loyalty, after two hundred years of their common life together, the population of Cikó was split into two opposing camps.  After the founding of the Volksbund there was a concentrated campaign and effort to form local branches.  The Counties hindered this as much as possible as did the courts and the district governments.  They saw this as the first step towards treason.  The propagandists promoting the campaign were mostly men of the younger generation who quickly radicalized the movement itself.  More oil was poured on the fire in the parliamentary elections.  They exerted extreme pressure against those in the German minority who opposed them and were not above using terror to further their aims.  On April 30, 1939 the local branch of the Volksbund was founded in Cikó, the first to be established in all of Hungary.  In one short week there were close to 1,000 members and an executive was elected and positions  were established and officers were appointed.


  Following Hungary’s entry into the Second World War as an ally of Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich a series of recruitment drives for volunteers to serve in the SS and German military units were carried out in Hungary under the auspices of the Volksbund with the tacit approval of the Horthy government.  There were forty young men from Cikó who volunteered to serve in the Waffen-SS in the local recruitment on April 1, 1942.  During the second recruitment carried out on October 1, 1943 there were an additional thirty-three volunteers.  As a result of an agreement reached between the Third Reich and the Horthy government of Hungary the Volksbund and the SS carried out a compulsory recruitment drive of all men who were part of the German minority from 17 years to 50 years to serve in the Waffen-SS.  This also included those men who were serving in the Hungarian Army.  The mustering took place on June 6, 1944 that was not only D-Day on the beaches of Normandy but also for all of the remaining men in Cikó.


  On November 29, 1944 the Russians marched into Cikó after some minor skirmishes at the outskirts of the village.  Plundering, looting and raping followed.  One young woman was shot to death in her attempt to escape being raped.   On December 31, 1944 the first convoy of men and women from Cikó was assembled and consisted of those persons aged from 17 to 45 years (women) and 17 to 55 years (men) who set out on foot for Székszárd which was about 30 kilometres away under heavy Russian guard.  There were about two hundred persons involved.  They would be interned there for ten days.


  On January 10, 1945 they were taken to Baja where they were entrained and taken across Romania in cattle cars to the coal mines in the Donets Basin of Ukraine.  The trip lasted three weeks and two of the Cikó deportees died on the way.  One was a man and the other a woman.


  From February 18-21, 1945 a second convoy of men and women was assembled in Cikó.  They were transported to the assembly camp at Dombovár.  They numbered about fifty persons mostly women.  The writer was uncertain of the exact date when the convoy left for the Soviet Union.


  There were forty-five of the deportees from Cikó who perished in the labour camps.  Thirty of the men would never return home and fifteen of the women, six of whom were mothers who had left small children behind.


  The deportees to the Soviet Union were assembled and sent in three directions:  the coal mines in the Donets Basin, the Ural Mountains and Siberia.  One route was Baja-Szeged-Romania-Russia; another was Bekescsaba-Elek-Gyula-Arad-Tovis-Brasso-Russia; and finally Szabolcs-Szatmar-Szernes,-Nyigyhaza-Solymar-Russia.  The largest assembly camp was located in Solymar.  Those from the area around Budapest were brought there.  Altogether there were 65,000 members of the German minority in Hungary who were involved.  In total there were at least 140,000 Danube Swabians from Hungary, Yugoslavia and Romania that were sent to slave labour in the Soviet Union.


                                    Hungary                          65,000

                                    Yugoslavia                      25,000

                                    Romania                          50,000


  It is estimated that 20% of them perished.  The last of the deportees to return to Hungary from Russia arrived in 1949 and 1950.  Countless others who had become sick and unable to work had been sent in the convoys of returning German prisoners of war and arrived in Frankfurt-an-Oder in the Russian Zone of Germany.  Many of those who returned to Hungary discovered that their families had been deported to Germany and tried to escape from Hungary to join them.  A small group were allowed to rejoin their families legally in September of 1950.  The soldiers from the German minority who were prisoners of war in the Soviet Union were interned on their arrival in Hungary.  Most were sent to labour camps in Hungary and were only released in 1952.


  The Hungarian government issued the Land Reform Act on March 15, 1945 that called for the confiscation of lands and property of the large land owners, members of the Volksbund and war criminals and traitors.  The carrying out of the Act began in Tolna County at the end of April 1945 as the war still raged.  The organizer of the action in Swabian Turkey (Tolna, Baranya and Somogy Counties) was Dr. Bodor Gyӧrgy an attorney who was a Szekler (Magyar tribe) from Transylvania.  He came to Bonyhád on April 24, 1945 from Budapest with the goal of resettling displaced Bukovina Csangos (Asiatic Magyars) in Tolna County.  He set up headquarters to carry out his assignment.  He decided that two thirds of the Swabian population were members of the Volksbund and had them brought to Lengyel where the Apponyi castle was used to imprison and intern them.  Within five days there were 1,500 Csango families, some 6,000 persons who were settled in Swabian homes and their villages in the area.


  On May 27, 1945 Bodor was recalled to Budapest and never returned.  The internment of the Swabians was carried out by squads of political police officers.  Because there were no records to indicate who was a Volksbund member the local officials declared who they decided were and sent them and their families to Lengyel.  By May 1945 there were 20,000 Swabians from the Bonyhád district who were interned in Lengyel. It was the largest internment camp in Hungary.  Between 1945-1947 the number of Csangos settled in Tolna County amounted to 2,605 families, 716 families in Baranya and 490 families in the Batschka.  The tragedy struck in Cikó on April 17, 1945.  Almost the entire German population was thrown out of their homes and was force marched under guard by Hungarian police to the former Apponyi castle.


  At 8:00 a.m. the Klein Richter beat his drum at the main intersections of the village and announced that all persons were to quickly assemble in the village common in the centre of the village just as they were.  Everyone came as ordered without any luggage or provisions.  Later they learned that the secret police and military units had surrounded Cikó during the night and in the early morning.  They were also isolated shots.  This was intended to create fear and prevent any opposition.


  The commons was fenced in.  An entrance way was made through it.  On the street just before the “gate” a table had been set up.  As individuals and families reported they were either sent into the commons or the yard of a nearby house.  The men at the table were men from Cikó who were to judge which of them were members of the Volksbund and those who had been loyal to Hungary.  But that was not the real issue.  Cikó had to provide housing for the quota of Csangos assigned to them.


  Those in the common were force marched in the direction of Bonyhád on the same day.  They were not allowed to return to their homes or take anything with them.  They were declared “outside of the law.”  (Out-laws).  They spent the night in the out-of-doors and left on foot with a few wagons for the sick and elderly.  Next day they arrived at Lengyel.  Over time internees escaped and left the area to avoid apprehension.  Those who were able to work were sent to Székszárd and many later returned to Cikó attempting to find a place to live and make a living.


  The first expulsion convoy of the German inhabitants from Cikó took place on June 5, 1946 and involved 260 families (1,170 persons) who were sent to the American Zone of Germany.  A second group of ten families were expelled on June 7, 1946.  In February 1948 an additional two families were expelled to the Russian Zone of Germany.          


 Bickács In the Tolna


 The founding of Bikács by the High Sheriff of Tolna County, Baron Joseph Rudnyansky, officially began with the arrival of Heidebauern Lutherans in the early part of the 18th Century.  These pioneering families undertook all of the tasks and struggles associated with  settlement in an area that had become a total wasteland.   Devastation, ruins and wilderness is what the retreating Turks left behind.  The arrival of these settlers from Western Hungary was spread out over a period of several years from 1725 to 1736.  At least that was the official word…


  The actual settlement had taken place secretly and probably earlier.  A royal decree of 1719 stated:  “Peasants who leave their master’s estate and flee to another County must be ordered to return to their former master by the command and order of the Emperor.”  The nobles who were resettling their despoiled estates or newly acquired lands said as little as possible as to both the number of their settlers and their place of origin of their colonists.  They were simply too hard to come by.  That was especially the case when it came to industrious Germans…


  The Roman Catholic church records in Paks on the Danube which is nearby give us a glimpse of these early settlers who are mentioned living in Bikács as early as 1721:  Paul Mattern, Johann Khern, Leonhard Reth,  Heinrich Hagensturm, Friedrich Winckler, Mathias Vogel, Michael Stromburger, Johannes Weiss, Johannes Lang, Johannes Rohm, Johann Peter Fritz, Johann Peter Weiss, Heinrich Sammet, Paul Michael Mueller, Paul Hermann, Michael Galler, Johann Wilhelm Rausch, Friedrich Kreidemacher,  Peter Hackstock, Andreas Keller, Michael Piller, Jakob Seib, Kaspar Goldmann, Johannes Herber, Michael Frohlich, Sebastian Hauser, Jakob Jager, Johann Georg Becht, Martin Bernhard, Wilhelm Becker, Johann Georg Gobel, Baltasar Hoffmann, Peter Schmidt, Johann Martin Kotzmann, Philip Hermann and Peter Krempl,  On the distaff side we discover other familiar Heidebauern names:  Anna Barbara Gsellmann, Anna Barbara Herber, Katharina Fritz, Katharina Spiess, Anna Maria Braun, Anna Reichert, Anna Elisabeth Neuhauser, Maria Elisabeth Wunsch, Sabine Perkel, Eva Hermann, Anna Mannweif, Katharina Hobler and Josepha Messer.


  According to the Tolna County Archives, Bikács was established in 1725 and the following were the first settlers:  Mathias Paul, Gregorius Mattern, Mathias Hackstock, Mathias Schmausser, Paulus Schmidt, Mathias Meidlinger, Melchior Gross, Martin Pamer, Martin Singer, Johaqnnes Teubel, Michael Schmidt, Mathias Vogel, Michael Hanol, Gregorius Wimmer, Gaspar Eichorn, Johannes Nitsch and Mathias Gross.  Only the name of Mathias Vogel appears in both of these early documents.


  The County Archives also contain a second listing of the first settlers that was dated 1738 or 1739 and includes the following names:  Mathias Schmausser, Sebastian Strobel, Andreas Kracher, Mathias Hackstock, Paulus Schmidt, Hans Michael Engel, Michael Lehner, Melchior Gross, Laurentius Stiener, Andreas Stiener, Matthias Gross, Martinus Pamer, Gregorious Wimmer, Gregorius Pamer, Mathias Vogl, Johann Andreas Vali, Johannes Hiczer, Gregorius Mattern, Mathias Meidlinger, Jakobus Hackl, Gregorious Keim, Martinus Singer, Mathias Paul, Mathias Mexiner, Michael Hagen, Johannes Tajbel (Teubel) and Michael Schimdt.


  All of these settlers apparently came from Vas County, the Heideboden and the region west of the Neusiedler Sea.  Some came from Steinamanger (Szombathely).  This early colonization was not an organized nor a one-time-effort.  It was spread over a period of years as the various settler lists indicate usually coming in small groups or as single families.  Unlike the other settlements in Tolna County no settlers from the south western German principalities  settled in Bikács.  All of the inhabitants of the village came from Western Hungary where their ancestors had settled centuries before and had prospered with their vineyard cultivation, agricultural pursuits and cattle rearing.  Although they were primarily Heidebauern it was discovered that there was a special strain of Heidebauern among them known as the Heanzen who referred to themselves as Hienz.  They too were of Franconian and Bavarian origin but spoke a distinctive dialect and wore an attire that differed from their Heidebauern cousins.


  There is a theory that the Heidebauern were of Gothic origin while the Heanzen were Franks maintaining some of their ancient tribal differences.  To a great degree the Heazen were located in the area of present day Burgenland in Austria and the environs of Sopron (Ődeburg) in Hungary.  Together with the Heideboden villages they made up the vast majority of the German settlements in Western Hungary.  We can identify two families in Bikács who were definitely of Heanzen origin:  the Marths and Keims.  The Keims in particular were associated with the Royal Free City of Ődenburg as well as its neighbouring village of Harkau.


  According to the church records in Bikács the settlers came to Tolna County to escape persecution and find freedom to practice their Lutheran faith.  The nobles on whose estates they lived in Western Hungary were avowed enemies of the Lutherans and rather than waiting to be “welcomed back into the bosom of Mother Church” the Heidebauern left by night.  Often illegally.  That is why the settlement of Bikács was over a long period and the settlers came in small and insignificant groups in order not to raise any suspicions among the County nobles or Roman Catholic authorities.


  Other possible reasons for their migration have also been offered.  Western Hungary had experienced a series of serious droughts and crop failures in the past few years.  In addition the Heideboden was over-populated with refugees coming there as a result of the Kurutz rebellion in Hungary and the entire population was on the brink of starvation.  The nobles who were recruiting settlers to develop their estates in the recently liberated regions from the Turks also promised more freedoms and privileges than they had in Western Hungary.  Although there is no documentation available with regard to the contract Lord Daroczy signed with his settlers at Bikács he did promise them religious freedom and freedom of movement similar to the one contracted with settlers in Gyӧrkӧny.  Both of these freedoms were denied to all “Hungarian” peasants.  That would continue to be true for another century!


  On their arrival, the Heidebauern discovered that Hungarian settlers from Upper Hungary (Slovakia), most of whom were Reformed, were also moving into the new settlement.  The Heidebauern, the men in particular, were quite conversant in Hungarian and got along well with their new Magyar neighbours.  Both groups were able to obtain guarantees of religious freedom from Lord Daroczy in 1734.  As a result of that the Reformed quickly built a log prayer house before their master changed his mind.  Unfortunately they were without a pastor and were in no position to call a schoolmaster.  Georg Forster, a leading Heidebauern Lutheran lay leader offered his own home as a prayer house.  These prayer services were held in both German and Hungarian.  Later, many of the Magyars began to move away and German would eventually take over as the language of worship.  This Magyar-Heidebauern congregation became a filial of Gyӧrkӧny which had had a pastor since 1719 and was an officially recognized Mother Church by the County.  In that sense, the filial congregation in Bikács also had legal status in the eyes of the County authorities.  Or at least, so it seemed.


  In 1737, Lord Daroczy resettled the remaining Hungarian families on his Bikács holdings in nearby Lovasberney, paralleling the policy established earlier by Count von Mercy on his Tolna estates of not mixing nationalities and religious confessions in the same settlement.  In that same year the Lutherans in Bikács elected Istvan Solamon as their Levite Lehrer (schoolmaster and lay worship leader) as well as their village notary.  He would serve in this capacity from 1737-1753.  His successor was Mihaly Ursini, who served there under the supervision of Stephen Barany, the son of Georg Barany the Dean of the Seniorat (Church District).


  On June 21, 1761 the District Court Judge in nearby Paks issued an order on “higher authority” to put an end to Lutheran church life in Bikács.  A detachment of troops sent by the County officials arrived in Bikács and presented the schoolmaster Ursini with a State Warrant and dragged him off to Simontornya, the capital of the County to stand trial there.  He was stripped of his office and was forbidden to live in Bikács.  The Lutherans of Bikács were now without leadership and were threatened with reprisals if they elected a new teacher.


  The County Administration wanted to replace Ursini with a Roman Catholic teacher.  This resulted in an uproar in the community and led to the formation of official opposition to the Roman Catholic take over of their school.  The teacher appointed by the County officials, a man named Metzger, fled from the village after a very, very short stay.  Some village historians suggest his tenure was less than the first day.  In order to put down the unrest and opposition, the son of a widow named Schmidt, was accused of being one of the ringleaders among the dissidents and was subsequently arrested, questioned, tortured and imprisoned in the dungeon at Simontornya.  This widow’s son from Bikács was hardly the only Lutheran in Hungary who found himself in chains in prison because of his faith.  Countless Lutheran and Reformed lay leaders found themselves in the same situation throughout all of Swabian Turkey at this time resulting from the Empress Maria Theresia’s final attempts to stamp our Lutheranism in this part of her Empire.


  But the stiff-necked Heidebauern of Bikács true to their heritage did not bend an inch before this show of force.  Instead they appealed to the Empress Maria Theresia who “ate” Protestants for breakfast.  They dared to take her to task for her failure to protect her subjects!  Despite their opposition and protests, as well as their appeal to the Empress, they were unable to achieve their goal.  From 1761 to 1775 they were not allowed to call a pastor and the pastor in Gyӧrkӧny was forbidden to visit or serve his congregation in Bikács “on pain of death.”  The Lutherans in Bikács were placed under the “spiritual care” of the Roman Catholic priest in Kajdacs and were forced to pay a church tax to the parish of Kajdacs to underwrite the priest’s support.


  In the difficult and oppressive years that followed we are told that “a simple, pious midwife” who is never identified, secretly taught the children reading, writing, Luther’s Small Catechism, basic Bible history and Lutheran hymns.  The congregation for their part did not lose faith or courage.  They continued to assemble in one another’s homes or haylofts secretly in order to hold services.  These were sorrowful and difficult days for the villagers of Bikács especially for those families whose family members were arrested for their participation in “illegal” religious activities.


  In 1775 permission was finally granted for the calling of a schoolmaster.  When Samuel Getz was called by the congregation to be their schoolmaster the Roman Catholic authorities strictly ordered him to provide only an elementary education for the children.  He was informed that all of his teaching would be under the direction and supervision of Bishop Gabor Perlacky.  Under no circumstances whatsoever was he to engage in any activity that the Bishop might consider to be of a “churchly nature.”  Samuel Getz only lasted until 1778 when he left to serve the Lutheran congregation in Izmény.  His successor was Michael Leurer.  This one time tailor taught in Bikács until 1784 when he received a call to serve the Lutherans in Murga.


  The ancestors of the inhabitants in Bikács had to leave their old homeland for the sake of preserving their Lutheran faith.  Persecution had driven them from the Heideboden their ancient home and they were determined to find sanctuary in Bikács as had been promised to them.  It was really no wonder that their descendants would also resist and cling to their faith just as tenaciously.  The Roman Catholic authorities had simply underestimated the Heidebauern.  Bishop Perlacky and his County lackeys were just not equipped or prepared to deal with these seasoned veterans of the Counter Reformation.  It was the hardened veterans who would win.


  In response to the Edict of Toleration promulgated in 1781 the congregation in Bikács sought a new beginning…


  There were 104 houses in the village, housing some 130 families.  The total population was 697 and they applied for permission to build a church, call a pastor and become a Mother Church.  All of these objectives were eventually achieved but only after a second submission of their petition to the King that was approved in 1784.


  Bikács continued to develop and its people prospered as it took its place among its neighbours and shared in the future and destiny of Hungary.


  The French Revolution broke out and the Napoleonic Wars followed but they were simply news items that were announced in the village with the beating of drums by village officials.  These concerns were distant and far removed from the lives of inhabitants of the village.  Then came the Revolution of 1848 which was much closer to home as Croatian marauders roamed across the Tolna.  They often targeted Swabian villages for destruction because of the Swabians support of the aspirations of the Magyar revolutionaries.  These were the first stirrings of Magyar nationalism with its rallying cry of “liberty, fraternity and equality.”  Unfortunately no one told the Swabians that these three democratic ideals would be limited to the Magyars.  In fact, it was only intended to apply to the ruling class and the aristocracy.  In the aftermath of the First World War a new wave of Hungarian nationalism was unleashed and directed against the Swabians.  They were the only major minority left in what remained of Hungary after the Treaty of Trianon.


  In 1938 the Volksbund der Deutsche in Ungarn was established to unite the German-speaking population in Hungary in order to preserve their language in their churches and schools and maintain their traditions, customs and culture.  It was a front organization for National Socialism (Nazism) and became the cause of friction between the generations and social classes within the German-speaking communities which were torn and divided in their allegiances.


  In response another movement emerged in Tolna County in 1942 opposed to the Bund.  “Treu zur Heimat” (Loyal to the Homeland).  Families were divided in their loyalties.  Generations were in opposition to one another.  Friends and neighbours refused to speak to one another.  Bikács witnessed the same tragedy in its life together.


  The early victories of the Nazi war machine fuelled the fire of animosity between the two groups.  Then came the defeats and reverses at Stalingrad and North Africa and the heavy losses that were suffered causing the Swabian population to waiver in its loyalties.


  On April 14, 1944, the Regent of Hungary, Admiral Nicholas Horthy signed an agreement with the Nazi government ordering the recruitment and conscription of all Danube Swabians in Hungary into the German armed forces.  In the fall of 1944 all men from the ages of 17 to 60 years in the Danube Swabian communities were to report for mustering into the Waffen-SS.  This resulted in great anger among the German-speaking population everywhere both against the Bund and its leadership.  The uniform of the SS was feared and hated by the “loyal” Swabians.  The “Treu zur Heimat” leaders sought a legal defence against this action claiming they were Hungarian citizens and not part of the “Greater German Reich” and absurd invention of the Bund and the National Socialists of Germany.


  Regent Horthy and Hungarian officialdom played the part of Pontius Pilate, washing their hands of the whole thing and declaring, “What I have written.  I have written.”  The fate of the German-speaking population of Hungary had been sealed.  There were simply no alternatives for them.


  In November of 1944 as the front moved closer and closer to Bikács, a few families, (eight persons in all) attempted to flee Hungary.  They consisted of women and children.  All of the men had been drafted into the Waffen-SS.  The would-be refugees left for Dresden, Germany on one of the last trains out of Nagydorog.


  The retreating German troops were forced to give up Bikács and Tolnanemédi on December 4, 1944.  On December 5th they withdrew from Kisszékely.  On December 6th the Red Army occupied Simontornya.  The entire Tolna was now firmly in Russian hands.  The occupation of Bikács was relatively unspectacular.  The officer in charge of the retreating German troops had encouraged the elders of the community to release the wine from the wine barrels because drunken Russian troops would go on a rampage on entering the village.  Apparently after a raucous debate over the matter it was decided to drink as much wine as possible before doing so.  So legend has it.  The school and some homes were hit by mortar fire and two aged men were killed.  Dead Soviet troops were buried at the village war memorial and later interred in Nagydorog.


  The Red Army met little resistance in its occupation of the Tolna.  There were few pitched battles and limited casualties.  Very little “war” damage.  The total occupation of the County was completed within ten days.  Then a major front developed to the north at Szekésfehervár and the digging of trenches required the use of civilian labour from the Tolna.  Bikács had to provide its quota of labourers, both men and women.


  On January 4, 1945 a total of 49 inhabitants from Bikács were forcibly taken to the Soviet Union to the labour camps in the vicinity of Rostov in the coal mining region around Dombas.  They were later followed by an additional 42 persons on January 10th.  These two groups included both men and women and older teenaged boys and girls who were to be the war “reparations” Hungary was called upon to pay to the Soviet Union.  Hungary decided to pay only in Danube Swabian “currency” rather than their own.  Many of the deportees became ill there.  Typhus broke out in the camps.  Labour methods were primitive and dangerous and as a result there were many accidents caused by weakness from overwork and hunger.  The first to become to ill to work were sent home.  Twenty-one of them perished:  fourteen men and seven women.  There were three married couples who had to leave their children behind.  Three fathers were taken with their teenaged sons, two fathers with their daughters.


  Even when the noise of battle was over there was still no peace for the Danube Swabians.  In the Romanian Banat they were being resettled, sent to forced labour and internal exile in the eastern wastelands of the country.  In Yugoslavia Tito’s extermination camps were already in full operation and tens of thousands of the elderly and younger children had already perished at Jarek, Gakowa, Rudolfsgnad, Molidorf and in countless other villages. Now it was to be the turn of the Danube Swabians of Hungary.


  A meeting was taking place in Potsdam to make Europe safe from any future war…


  Somehow Europe and humankind would be safer if the Danube Swabians of Hungary, every man, women and child were expelled, deported, exiled and impoverished.  They were guilty of the ultimate crime:  being of German ethnic origin.


  In the summer of 1945 several families in Bikács were evicted from their homes without any of their possessions and placed in old run-down housing.  Up to nine families were placed in each of these houses.  At the same time “new settlers” appeared in the area and took up residence in the homes of the displaced families and also assumed ownership of their land and property.  They simply saw this as collecting their fair share of the “spoils of war” from the “disloyal” Swabian population as they continued to refer to the Heidebauern.


  On the night of November 25, 1945 the round up of thirty-one elderly men took place.  They were forced to march to Gyӧrkӧny.  They were imprisoned there in an open compound in a rainstorm along with many of the villagers from Gyӧrkӧny.  After several days, without explanation, they were released and returned home.


  The new settlers asked for the expulsion of the members of the Bund or be given permission to bear arms in the village as protection against them.  At this point there were only old men, women and children left in the community.  The men were either in labour camps or were prisoners of war spread all across of Europe and Asiatic Russia.


  Then word came that the inhabitants of Bikács would share in the fate of the Danube Swabians of Hungary…expulsion.  After eleven centuries of difficulties, invasions, religious persecution and oppression the Heidebauern now had to face the worst fate they could have ever imagined.  They would have to leave their homeland…


  The three crimes for which expulsion was the punishment was any one of the following:


                          1.  Membership in the Bund.

                          2.  A volunteer in the Waffen-SS and his family.

                          3.  A German family name that used its original form or spelling.


  This was a cover-up for the “collective guilt” of the ethnic German population in Hungary, whether man, woman or child.  There was really no rhyme nor reason for which names appeared on the expulsion lists posted in the German villages.


  On the night of August 9, 1946 the Land Reform Act was inaugurated in Bikács.  From among  its population of one thousand, eighty-three families (286 persons) were evicted from their homes and their land was confiscated by the State.  All of this happened at night…every night that followed filled the Heidebauern with fear and foreboding of what was still to come.


  Those selected for expulsion could not believe it.  Most of them were accused of being guilty of all three crimes!


  In January of 1946 the first cattle car convoy containing over one thousand Swabians from Budaӧrs left for Germany into an unknown future.  This first trainload was soon followed by countless others from throughout all of Hungary.


  On November 11, 1946 a long column of horse drawn wagons with weeping people onboard who had spent the night packing what little they were allowed to take with them left Bikács as the bells in their church tower tolled a painful farewell as the first deportees left for Germany in a rag tail caravan under Hungarian police supervision to the railway station in nearby Nagydorog.  The rest of the inhabitants of Bikács stood mutely by on the streets of their village refusing to believe what they were seeing.  The bells kept tolling even when the wagons and their cargo were no longer in sight.


  After being loaded onboard the cattle cars they remained on a siding until five in the afternoon of November 14th.  They crossed the frontier out of Hungary at Hegyeshalom, the beautiful and picturesque village of Strasssommerein of their Heidebauern ancestors on November 15th.  On the 18th they were placed in the custody of the U.S. forces at Salzburg in Austria and were taken to the Nurnberg region in Germany.  There was a total of 334 persons from Bikács in this convoy.  This group was later joined by six persons who had survived the labour camps in Russia who had not been allowed to return home to Hungary.


  On September 1, 1947 the second expulsion from Bikács was set in motion.  The expellees were piled into army trucks with not time to prepare or pack.  Those who were allowed to remain rushed hurriedly to their own homes to quickly gather food and blankets for the expellees.  On approaching the trucks they were met with sneers, shouts and threats from the Hungarian police who tried to prevent them from handing over their bundles of food, wrapped in blankets.  They beat and roughed  up the men but the women and teenagers picked up the fallen bundles and tossed them onto the trucks into the arms of their neighbours, families and friends as the trucks began to move away in the midst of shouts and screams and gun shots…


  It was in this way that the expellees from Bikács were able to survive “the humane population transfer” ordered by the Big Three at Potsdam.  This shipment of the “enemies of the Magyar nation” left on September 4th at 3:00 a.m. from the railway station in Nagydorog, travelling across Hungary, Czechoslovakia to the Russian Zone of Germany and the transit camp at Pirna in Saxony.  There were one hundred and seventy-seven persons in this second phase of the expulsion.  They were later joined by twelve family members released from the labour camps in the Soviet Union.


  On February 16, 1948 the third and final deportation began at 4:00 a.m.  The train left Nagydorog on February 19th and headed straight for the Russian Zone of Germany arriving in Torgau and Eisleben the small town where Martin Luther was born and died.  There were sixty-four persons in this final phase of the expulsion in Bikács who were joined by six family members released from the Soviet Union.  Almost at the same time an additional eleven persons who were interned in Budapest after release from the Soviet Union were also deported to Germany’s Russian Zone.


  In all, there were 586 Heidebauern who were expelled from Bikács.  Many if not most of the families who were sent to the Russian Zone of Germany fled across the frontier into the Western Zones.  Many others who had survived the camps in the Soviet Union were also later sent to Germany.  Only a handful were allowed to return to their home community in Hungary.  If they were it was simply a bureaucratic error.


Hӧgyész (Tolna) in the 18th and 19th Century


Josef Hoben


  This short research article has been translated from the original German by Henry Fischer.


The Settlement of Swabian Turkey


a)  Slavic Settlements


  The Imperial-Royal Repopulation Patent of 1689 indicated that, “in the totally ruined and depopulated Kingdom of Hungary…everyone, regardless of status, nationality or religion, whether from within or outside the country, from the cities or countryside who are free citizens and loyal subjects,” were free to come and settle.


  The settlers–even during the Turkish period–were Slavic.  That was especially true of those in the Tolna as well as its neighbouring Counties, that thrust the remaining Magyar population to the north.  The Slavs (Croats, Serbs and members of other Slavic groups), who were also called Raizen, took on the unfamiliar work of the redevelopment of the land for which they had no experience.  For example, according to the parish chronicle of Szakadát, prior to the German settlement of the village in 1759, it was inhabited by Orthodox Serbs.  To be sure, the Raizen were not that well established at the time.  Their participation in the redevelopment of the area was relatively negligible.


  The Slavs, in comparison with the resident Magyars, were not looked upon as peasant farmers but as cotters.  They did not receive an allotment of a full or half portion of arable land from the Estate owners but rather a quarter if any at all.  But they had the right of migration unlike the Magyars.  Migration was permissible on paying a tax that allowed them to do so.  They carried out extensive cattle rearing and moved around the countryside with their herds and in addition did some agricultural work as day labourers.  There is no way that we can consider such a limited view and outlook of the nomadic Slavs as comparable with the agricultural development and settlement of the land.  On the basis of their settlements they were not of the structure or order of the former villages in the area that were destroyed during the disastrous wars that had engulfed the land.


  For that reason, even though these Slavic settlements existed, German peasant farmers were invited to come and settle.  Through their settlement the village boundaries were extended and what had been open pasture lands for the Slavs were divided up taking away their means of livelihood.  The Slavs lost more and more of their pasture lands and had to move on to other areas with their cattle.


b)  German Settlements


  The underlying basis for the resettlement of Hungary as indicated in the Repopulation Patent of 1689 soon became known throughout the Holy Roman Empire.


  The indigenous population, the Emperor’s subjects in the Austrian hereditary lands, were promised three years of exemption from paying taxes, while those from outside the direct jurisdiction of the Habsburgs were promised five years because of the major costs they would have to bear to be transported there.  This meant:  all of those German subjects of the Empire who were willing to emigrate and settle on the State-owned domains in the Banat or on the private estates of the nobles would be exempt from paying taxes or any other levies for five years.  Early in the 1690s the first Germans emigrated to Hungary.  An example of this early phase of the settlement of the Germans is in the village of Keszӧhidegkút in Tolna County taking place in 1702.  These first emigrants came from Hessen and Bavaria but also from Fulda, Würzburg, the Palatinate and Alsace.


  The first settlement operations occurred very much at random and were not of a planned or systematic nature.  They were simply by chance or due to opportunities that presented themselves at the moment that led to the settlement of German colonists in Hungarian villages.  Of prime importance for their decision to emigrate was the prospect of being freed from the feudal obligations and levies paid to their noble and the promise of free land and a building lot for a house.  Nevertheless during this early settlement period there was little in the way of positive results because up until 1711, the ambushes, raids and attacks by the Hungarian Kuruz rebels flared up constantly and the newly-founded former villages were destroyed and went up in flames.  In the immediate period which followed the nobles owning private estates were more determined than ever to bring German settlers to Hungary with the full support of the Emperor.  In 1712, Ladislaus Dóry de Jóbaháza, the owner of the Domain and estate of Tevel and its environs, was appointed an Agent of the Crown to provide direction and lead the way in bringing Germans to develop the devastated wastelands of Hungary.  Franz Felbinger was Dóry’s agent in Germany, and was stationed in Biberach in Upper Swabia, where he functioned as his authorized recruiter.  In the meanwhile, in early 1712, the Roman Catholic nobles in the Swabian Districts received a request from Emperor Charles VI to grant their subjects permission to emigrate and shortly afterwards Felbinger had the first handbills printed in Riedlingen (Württemberg) with all kinds of promises that would appeal to the peasants that were circulated throughout all of southern Germany.


  The settlement of emigrants from the south-western principalities of Germany was carried out on the basis of the recruitment of those eager and willing to go, while large numbers of colonists from the Austrian Alpine region were forced to go or were being punished with deportation:  “Undesirable elements” in the hereditary lands were dumped in the south-eastern regions of Hungary and criminal elements were deported to the Banat.  Rather famous and notorious was the “Temesvar Wasserschub” (a ship that the police used to transport prisoners) that was in operation in Vienna twice a year in May and October in the years between 1752 and 1768 that was loaded with undesirable persons that had been assembled by the police.  They were chiefly vagrants, smugglers, “work-shy” elements in the population and women with “loose morals” and were shipped to Temesvár in the Banat.  Of course they did not settle there but got back to Vienna at the first opportunity.


The Early Colonization of Swabian Turkey


  The would-be settlers received an Imperial pass for their journey down the Danube. In most cases it was a collective pass for a whole group that included agricultural implements, tradesmen’s tools and livestock they brought with them that was needed when they passed through the toll booths along the way.  Only those named in the collective pass could undertake the journey.  In this way they tried to protect them from hangers-on and fellow travellers who might be “illegals” who would attempt to pass as bona fide settlers.  In the “Travel Regulations” the following stipulation was made:  “the previously mentioned Swabians along with their wives and children…are not allowed to step on dry land on their entire journey or try to remain somewhere after passing by the Royal residential city of Vienna but travel on directly to Hungary.”


  Such precautions were apparently necessary because it had been learned that some rather large groups of settlers never reached their designated destination.  In fact, this happened frequently.  Nobles and other landlords represented by their agents recruited colonists bound for the Banat to settle on their private domains and lured them off the ships at Dunafӧldvár, Paks or Tolna with promises that went far beyond what had attracted the settlers to Hungary in the first place.  The dupe in all of this was the noble who had recruited them in Germany and had invested a considerable sum of money in his would-be settlers.  The Imperial Agent of the Crown, the landlord of the Tevel Domain, Dóry, must have been taken in like this more than once, for his agent Felbinger attests he was instructed to accompany the settlers he recruited so that they would not be lost along the way.  In 1721 a large convoy of settlers was awaited in the Banat but they never arrived.  Research indicates the settlers left the ships in Buda, Dunafӧldvár and Paks along the Danube.  The most famous of those who brought about this kind of deviation in the destination of the settlers and recruited them for the private domains of their noble master were the estate administrators of Count Mercy (especially those of de Mercy-Argenteau) in the Tolna whose activities earned them the title, “systematic settler stealers” by one historian of the period.


  Fate was not kind to the first settlers.  They were often parted from their money by fraudulent agents and corrupt shipmasters.  In their first years in Hungary they were often plagued with hunger because the newly cultivated fields did not provide much of a yield in terms of the crops they planted.  Many settlers found it necessary to take on other work in addition to their farming.  In times of need the inhabitants of Szakadát had to earn their bread as masons and construction workers on the Mercy Domain in Hӧgyész and on other occasions they had to work as far away as one hundred kilometres.


  An even greater danger and threat were the floods and many harvests were ruined as a result.  There was always the threat of war that existed in those regions where the Turks were still in the vicinity and often raided the settlements.  In many villages, especially those with a mixed population in terms of nationality, Kuruz raids flared up when many of the villages were still in the first stage of their development and were almost totally wiped out.  But the worst threats were sickness and epidemics.


  In addition to the promises made to the colonists (exemption from taxes and levies; the termination of serfdom; religious freedom; assistance in house construction; providing farming equipment; the granting of arable land and meadows) were not or were not fully met.  The estate owning nobles were allowed to impose the Robot (forced free labour) on their settlers as well as a tithe (one ninth or one tenth) of their crops, poultry, livestock and wine, all of which were especially forbidden in the Repopulation Patent.  The settlers could not necessarily expect much in the way of support from their landlord but there were always some exceptions and in some villages in addition to the exemption from paying taxes and freedom from the tithe for three to six years they were also allocated oxen and livestock on credit, and lumber and timber for building and farming equipment were given as an outright gift.  But they of course were in the minority.


  For that reason there is no dearth of examples during this early settlement period of totally impoverished or sick settlers who undertook the journey back home having been forced into a life of beggary.  In the Minutes of the City Council of the Royal Free City of Ulm in the year 1712 there is a report that the city had to undertake energetic measures to ward off the dangers involved by their return.  While the shipping interests in Ulm saw the welcome possibility of huge profits as the steady stream of emigrants grew in May and June of 1712, a report arrived from Vienna on June 27th with the news that many of the returnees from Hungary who were reduced to beggary were making their way back home.  Those who were healthy were doing so on foot and the sick were on board ships.  The population of Ulm feared that the returnees would bring an epidemic to the city or even the “Hungarian sickness” (swamp fever) that they associated with the Black Death that had decimated the population of Western Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.  For that reason the magistrates sought to have the ships with the sick returnees dock before reaching Ulm and go on to Offingen.  On September 22, 1712 two ships with sick Swabians onboard arrived in Leipheim.  The sick were treated and cared for at the expense of the Royal Free City of Ulm.


  In December of the same year another ship docked at Donauwürth, where the returnees were cared for at the cost of the District.


  A typical and much repeated example of a failed emigration attempt to Hungary (which was not to be an isolated case by far) is that of Konrad Rӧder from Dippach that belongs to the Bishopric of Fulda.  In an official Patent of May 28, 1778 the Prince Elector Abbot Constantin von Buttlar reported that the said Rӧder had returned from Hungary because there “everyone is in bondage” which a German cannot tolerate.  Before his emigration Rӧder had sold his property and possessions from which he had to pay a manumission fee of 10% of their value to his landlord the Abbey of Fulda.  He was forced to use the rest of it on his journey.  The Prince Abbot used this frightening example to warn his subjects about “going off to Hungary” because of the dangers involved in the emigration, although at the same time he did not forbid them to do so.  In future only those returnees to the Bishopric who had an estate of 200 Gulden with them would be eligible for support until they could re-establish themselves.  He did so in order to hinder the Bishopric becoming overrun with beggars and draw countless other poor people.


  The release of such a decree indicates that the emigrants during this early period of the emigration to Hungary would not have been exclusively from among the poorest people but people who had a “stake” of at least 200 Gulden in order to be in a position to settle in Hungary.  In 1722, in Regensburg where emigrants from Fulda, Darmstadt and Franconia boarded the ships, fifty of the would-be emigrant families were sent back home because they could not show they had the minimum amount of cash with them.  As a consequence several of the families sought out a shipmaster who was not as stringent about the Prince Bishop’s decree and took them onboard.


The Settlement Policies at the Time of the Great Swabian Migration


  Before the first phase of the Great Swabian Migration took place (1723-1727) the Hungarian Estates meeting at the Landtag  (parliament) in Pressburg from 1722-1723, passed a series of Statutory Articles to promote trade and industry and above all the re-population of the Kingdom of Hungary with colonists from the Holy Roman Empire.  Article 103 of 1723 can be looked upon as the basic constitutional law that lies behind the Danube Swabian colonization operation that follow.


  The Emperor was thereby called upon to undertake the re-settlement of his Hungarian Kingdom with the assumption that it would be done with settlers from his extensive far flung Empire.  In response, Charles VI wrote to the various German princes on three occasions and requested that they co-operate “right neighbourly” and “like a kind uncle” in a generous handling of the emigration proposal he offered to their subjects.  The newly established “Neoaquistica Commissio” (New Acquired Territories Commission) in Vienna was charged with carrying out the colonization programme.


  At this point in time, the first and earliest phase of the Danube Swabian colonization effort was overwhelmingly focussed on the private estates and domains of the nobles in Hungary and had a rather random and sporadic character.  In contrast, the next major colonization efforts were State sponsored and organized.  During the First Great Swabian Migration under Charles VI, about 10,000 to 15,000 persons were brought to Hungary.  The Second under Empress Maria Theresia numbered 45,000 persons (between 1763-1768 there were 25,000 and between 1769-1773 another 20,000).  In the Third, under the direction of Joseph II, he settled another 40,000 emigrants between 1782-1787.  During the reign of Francis I another 7,000 colonists came to Hungary.  It is estimated that during the 18th century around 115,000 emigrants left south-western Germany, of which 100,000 went to Hungary and the remainder went to Galicia.


Claudius Florimundus Count Mercy and the Hӧgyész Domains


  Mercy’s settlement policy in Swabian Turkey must been seen in connection with his function as the Emperor’s appointed Governor of the Banat.  He was an estate owner in central Tolna County with Hӧgyész as the centre of the Mercy Domain.  He was also appointed by the Emperor to be the official colonizer of the Banat which had not been reunited with Hungary after its liberation from the Turks on the recommendation of Prince Eugene (of Savoy) but had been placed under the military and civilian authorities in Vienna.  In his dual role he wore two hats and was forced to deal with issues with which he had a conflict of interests.


  In 1722 Count Mercy began the colonization of the now expanded Banat.  For that purpose a settler recruitment centre was established in Worms that was directed by Johann Franz Crauss, the appointee of the Emperor.  Charles VI requested that the Roman Catholic prelates in the cities of Würzburg, Fulda, Mainz, Speyer, Trier as well as the Lutheran pastors in Hessen-Darmstadt and the Calvinist divines (Reformed) in Hessen-Kassel support the emigration of those who desired to leave for Hungary.  The recruitment agents were also active in Lorraine, the homeland of Mercy.  These regions were the catchment area for the recruitment of German settlers for Hungary:  the Rhineland, Franconia and Hessen.


  At the same time, Mercy began to fill his private domains in Swabian Turkey with German settlers.


  In the settlement history of the Danube Swabians, Mercy counts as the most important estate owner in the new settlement of Swabian Turkey.  In 1723 he received the title of Hungarian Indigenat (he had all the rights of a Magyar noble) for his military services in the war against the Turks.  Before that occurred, he had purchased the entire estates of Count Zinzendorf, the Domain of Hӧgyész and all of the villages and undeveloped prairies in central Tolna County.  The Bill of Sale was dated April 24, 1722 and was ratified in Pressburg.  His holdings included:  Nagy-Székel, Kiss-Székel, Muscy, Závodt, Apar, Palffalva, Egres, Csetey, Szentlӧrincz, Ban, Udvary, Kӧlesd, Kis-Tormás, Nagy-Tormás, Nána, Dӧmӧr, Kapü-Apathi, Kismányok, Izmény, Alapsa, Mucsfa, Varasd, Nagy-Veike, Kis-Veike, Csókafó, Bolyata, Csék, Papd, Dusz, Csekfӧ, Hegiesz, Rekettye, Berény and Kalasznó.  The purchase was confirmed on August 27, 1723 by Emperor Charles VI (at the same time he was King of Hungary but his title was King Charles III).


  Mercy filled the villages and prairies with German immigrants.  In doing so he established a policy from which he seldom deviated.  In each village he settled people of the same nationality and same religion.  The Protestant villages were as follows:  Kalaznó, Varsád, Kistormás, Felsónána, Keszӧhidegkút, Apáti, Muscfa, Izmény and Kismányok.  The Roman Catholic villages were:  Szakadát, Hӧgyész, Duzs, Mucsi, Závod, Nagyvejke, Apar, Hant and Varasd.  On the whole, on the Mercy estates there were entirely Magyar, entirely Catholic, entirely Lutheran and entirely Reformed communities where Mercy settled his less numerous Magyar peasants on his lands at Palfa and Szentlӧrincz (Lutheran), Kӧlesd (Reformed), Diosbéreny and Kisvejke (Catholic).  He secured his settlers from the convoys heading for the Banat.  For that purpose he sent his adjutant, Captain Vátzy, to Vienna where he attempted to talk to the waiting colonists onboard the ships and invited them to settle on the Tolna estates of Count Mercy.  It must be noted that we cannot with a great deal of certainty determine that the first settlers in Hӧgyész were bound for the Banat.  Nor can we reconstruct where the first German inhabitants abandoned the ships and moved into the central Tolna with their “things”.  It is reasonable to assume that Mercy’s, Adjutant Vátzy, had made some kind of contact with them in Vienna and accompanied them onboard the ship to Paks or he had his new recruits get off sooner at Dunafӧldvár, Vác or even Vienna.  If so the settlers had a to undertake a several weeks journey on foot.  Disembarking from the ships prior to reaching their planned destination was an attempt to avoid running into agents of other landowners.  The entire 1,000 kilometre journey lasted between four to eight weeks (depending on the destination).  From Vienna to Pressburg took three days; then from Pressburg to Gran (Estergom) another two days; from there to Buda two more days.


  Mercy decimated the not insignificant highly-financed State convoys of settlers heading for the Banat by his recruitment policy.  It is possible that the Emperor could deal with these losses better than live with the fact that the “stolen” colonists were overwhelmingly Protestants.  He was determined to build a “bulwark of Christendom” in the Banat with Catholic settlers to ward off the ongoing threat that the Turks posed.  Yet on the other hand, the fact that the Lutherans were settled on Mercy’s estates in Tolna permitted him not to have to deal with the matter had they reached the Banat.  The issue about the Catholic settlers who left the Danube convoys going to the Banat in response to Mercy’s invitation to settle on his domains was a more ticklish matter.  In this connection we can accept the thesis of some, that Mercy sought to protect the Catholic settlers leaving the convoys by settling them closer to his residence in Hӧgyész to keep them from the clutches of Imperial authorities who would not be as benevolent as he was.


  To a great extent, the settlement contracts between Mercy and his colonists are much like those of the other landlords.  He did not require robot (forced work levies) of his subjects and tenants.  For the Protestants who settled on his estates he guaranteed them unrestricted religious freedom.  In some of the contracts it is stated this way:  “You may worship in the manner of your religion and will be protected to do so as much as it is possible for the Domain to defend.”  Several German families had settled in the villages of Závod, Kismányok, Varsád and Felsӧnána prior to Mercy’s purchase of the Domain but it was only under him that their legal status was assured.  Hidegkút (Kaltenbrunn), Mucsi (Mutschingen), Szakadát (Sagetal), Kistormás (Kleintormas), Kalaznó (Kallas), Duzs (Duschau), Nagyvejke (Deutsch-Wecke), Varasd, Izmény, Apáti (Abtsdorf) as well as Hӧgyész were all newly established villages under Mercy’s direction.  In 1728, Diósberény received its first German inhabitants after the major portion of its Magyar population had left.


  Mercy contracted a so-called Settlement Agreement with his settlers that are all quite similar to the one he signed with the settlers in Hӧgyész on July 27, 1722 which was written in Latin.  According to this agreement, the settlers were granted the lands within the boundaries of Hӧgyész as well as Csefӧ entirely for the purpose of growing crops.  After the termination of the five year exemption they were responsible to provide the precise established levies in the agreement as follows:  The peasant who had a full session of land (30 Joch) paid an annual sum of 15 Reich Gulden and surrendered a large bucket of wheat and a bucket of feed grain.  In addition he had to deliver three wagon loads of hay annually.  A “half session” farmer provided half of the above and a “quarter session” farmer or cotter paid appreciably less.  One portion of the levy had to be paid or delivered on St. George’s Day (April 24) and the other half on St. Michael’s Day (September 29).  There was also the responsibility to pay an annual fee in lieu of providing Robot (free days of labour service) and provide one ninth of his crops and the income from the community pub.  The settlers in Hӧgyész were given wood for building purposes and heating at no cost.  The revenue from the fish pond and the yield from hunting were at the Domain owner’s prerogative.  The settlers were not only free to let their swine range for acorns in the forests within the old boundaries of Hӧgyész and the open prairie of Csefӧ at no cost to themselves but also had the freedom to let them graze in other territory within the Domain.  Once they had laid their vineyards and planted their vines they would be exempt from all levies for the first six years.  If someone wanted to leave the settlement, he was free to do so, but only with two thirds of his possessions and the Domain would receive the other third.  And those who did not meet their obligations could be driven out of the village.


  The settlement obligations of the inhabitants of Hӧgyész compared to those settling on other estates and domains in the area were far more favourable.  But it appears that in general, the conditions and terms that the first settlers had to meet were more favourable than those that were offered to those who arrived in mid-century as the number of settlers became more and more numerous.  That becomes obvious in the letters of complaint of the villages of Cisbrák (January 29, 1749) and Murga (October 30, 1766 and March 5, 1767) directed against their Domain owner, the Jeszenszky family.  As a result, the Jeszenszkys felt less bound by the agreement with their settlers and constant revisions of their agreements became necessary.  The village of Murga was a party to five different agreements in the space of 21 years that were dictated to them by the Domain owner the last of which had to be violently enforced.


  At that time, these kinds of measures and such situations were totally unknown on the Hӧgyész Domain.  Not only Claudius Florimundus Count d’Mercy (1666-1734) but also his adoptive son, Anton Ignaz Karl Augustin Count d’Argentau (1692-1767) as well as his son, Florimundus Count d’Mercy-Argentau (1727-1794) lived up to the agreements made with their tenant subjects.  It was hardly any wonder that the Mercys were honoured and even loved by their settlers and that was not just the case with the Germans.  A Serbian tradition from Kisvejke has it this way:  That at the time of campaign against the Turks in which Mercy served as an Imperial Colonel–he was taken prisoner by the enemy and dragged off to Bonyhád.  Several men who gave the Turks the slip, hid in the Kisvejke forest including:  Hangya János, Kispál Mihály,  Vércse Mátyás, Tӧró János, Tülӧp Mihály and a man known as Káloczi.  These men freed Mercy and he later settled them in Kisvejke.


  Even more so than Claudius Florimundus, the second of the Mercys, Anton Count d’Argentau did a great deal for he inhabitants of the Hӧgyész Domain.  In his funeral oration on the occasion of the death of Anton Mercy d’Argentau, the Lutheran pastor from Varsád, Szenitzei-Bárány, cited his role as a hero in various military campaigns for which he was famous as well as his position as governor which was also given special attention.  In respect to the latter, he emphasized especially, “the major increase in the population of a great part of Tolna County and the new settlements that had come to birth and the erection of the princely manor house in the centre of his Domain in Hӧgyész and the transformation of swamps and bramble-ridden meadows and dense forests into fertile fields.  Furthermore he was honoured as a “useful citizen” because he had become an  indigenous Hungarian.  Among his numerous deeds were the granting of countless benefits to his settlers and subjects; the generous distribution of the fruits of the earth both among his own subjects and those who were in need scattered all across the land.  In the funeral address he was praised as a “Father” of his subjects who had been just in all of his dealings with them.  “Above all, his love of justice that was the holy right of every man which gave every man his due was the reason that he was both feared and loved at the same time.”


Where Did the Settlers in Hӧgyész Come From?


  The Emigration Lists from the various German bishoprics and principalities provide no satisfactory answer to the question of the destination of those who set out for Hungary.  In these lists, as far as we can tell, only the name of the family and the number of family members are recorded along with the amount of money or gold they were carrying.  The specifications with regard to a definite destination of the emigrants was only within the bounds of probability and the place they planned to settled was often not where they actually ended up.


  The emigration records kept by the German princes and nobles show no interest or concern about where the families came from and so we need to look at the dialect spoken in the individual villages and communities; researching each dialect in every village and comparing them with one another so that conclusions can be drawn about the dialect and the region where it was spoken in their former homeland.  The many parallel settlement activities of the individual estate and domain owners in Swabian Turkey as well as on the Great Hungarian Plain resulted in an entirely different composition of settlers.  They lived among Magyars, Slovaks, Croats and Serbs and spoke a variety of German dialects:  schäbische (Swabian), mainfränische (Main River Valley and Franconia), rheinfränkische (Rhine River Valley and Franconia), hessische (Hessian), pfälzische (the Palatinate), stiffolerische (From the Bishopric of Fulda).  The number of emigrant families that first  settled in a given village was usually between 24 and 60.  Every newly settled village was relatively cut off from any of the other villages and led a life of its own in isolation from others.  Under those circumstances it is hardly any wonder that several German dialects, especially those spoken in smaller villages have been retained to this day in those cases where German is still spoken.


  During the 1920s and 1930s, Johann Weidlein, undertook an investigation to gain an overview of the dialects spoken in the German linguistic island known as Swabian Turkey.  Even though his research into the geographical distribution of dialects rather than their origin and development became his concern, his interests were in the direction of establishing where the dialects were “at home” in what is now Germany.  His work led to some astounding results.  With the help of the so-called Wenker Questionnaire Method and other resources he was able to determine that there were no “niederdeutschen” (Germans from the lowlands in the north) but rather–and this was only in Swabian Turkey–that almost all “mittel and oberdeutschen” dialects were represented, whereby the rheinfränkische far outweighs the others except for Szakadát where a mittelfränkische dialect is spoken.


  The first inhabitants of Szakadát who were settled there in 1723-1724 were:   “compatriotae prope fluvium Saar” according to a Latin entry in the parish records and were from the Saar region in the vicinity of Zweibrücken (Westrich).


  (Translator’s note:  The author compares this dialect with various linguistic differences that are of technical nature as he will during the rest of this portion of the article.  His examples defy translation into another language and only such information that might be of interest or pertinent to an English reader will be translated.)


  Closely related to this dialect spoken in Szakadát is the Upper Hessian dialect of the villagers in Nagyszékely that is spoken in the Vogelsberg region.


  On the whole, the Hessian dialects can be divided into two major groups.  Those spoken in the Protestant areas and the Roman Catholic regions.


  The colonists who spoke the Protestant dialect emigrated from the northern lying communities in Upper Hessen and a smaller portion from the area below the Main River around Darmstadt, Grossgerau, Wiesbaden and Mainz.  It is rather striking, that to a great extent, the smaller dialect groups in Swabian Turkey have adopted that of the later- arriving-settlers from Schwalm and the Wetterau in Upper Hessen.  That creates all kinds of difficulties for a dialect researcher because he is confronted with blended dialects.


  The dialect spoken in the Lutheran village of Muscfa is closely related to that of the Hessian Lutherans.  Their dialect leads us to their origins in the Odenwald (which their church chronicle specifically identifies), while the pfälzer (Palatinate) dialect spoken in neighbouring Bonyhádvarasd enables us to determine the settlers came from the region around Worms.


  The Fulda dialect is especially found in the Lower Baranya where large numbers of emigrants from the Bishopric of Fulda arrived early in the 18th century and settled on the estates of Prince Eugene of Savoy.  In addition to their numerous villages in the Baranya there were also villages established by them in Mucsi and Závod as early as 1718 and 1720 on the Mercy Domain.


  The dialects continued to flourish in the villages of Swabian Turkey.  That was particularly true of the smaller communities that were relatively isolated from the world around them.  But it was inevitable that dialects began to blend as neighbouring villages inter-acted with each other.  Hӧgyész itself is a prime example of this because of the special role the community played because it was Mercy’s residential headquarters in the Domain.  From early on, Hӧgyész was in close contact with most of the neighbouring communities and naturally with other estates in the vicinity.  This was strengthened after 1753 when it was raised to the status of a market town with four market days a year.  This interchange with other communities was very brisk.  For that reason it is easy to see that various dialects have been blended in the local dialects but some still remained dominant: the Franconian and the Hessian which was influenced by the dialect spoke in the Palatinate.  Despite various assertions and some historical interpretations as well as the parish register we are unable to state with certainty where the first settlers in Hӧgyész originated.  Whether they came from the Palatinate (the region around Worms); the Darmstadt region as some claim (although the Roman Catholicism of the settlers refutes that since Hessen-Darmstadt was entirely Lutheran); from the Main River Valley region of Franconia (in the vicinity of Würzburg); or perhaps the other most plausible variant is the Franconian and Swabian borderlands.  If the latter is true we are not only dealing with an historical possibility but also a bitter irony.  The descendants of the emigrants who settled in Hӧgyész who were expelled from Hungary after the Second World War were then re-settled in the area from which their ancestors had ventured from in going to Hungary over two hundred years before.  The Franconian town of Eschenau-Brandt is now the new home of large numbers of former residents of Hӧgyész and in the near vicinity of the ancestral homes of their forebears.


A Portrait of the Settlement of the Hӧgyész Domain


  Researching the names of local sites and landmarks is a significant contribution to a determination of the social structure of a village as Weidlein has demonstrated.


  The village settlements in Swabian Turkey- -as the maps indicate–were either clustered villages or all the houses were laid out along a single street.  While the old Hungarian villages (especially those in the Hegyhat District and the forested mountainous regions) that survived the Turkish wars were clustered villages, the kind that also spread to the large settlements in the interior of Tolna County with its propensity to steep inclines and slopes unlike the Batschka and the Banat.


  With the resettlement and redevelopment of the ruined Hungarian villages the new village was not implicitly built on the site of the former village not did it replicate the former village’s pattern.  The documents associated with the Domains and Estates identifies some special designations like “old homestead”, “old village”, “older village site”, “old meadows,” and “old gardens.”  The villages that had been Hungarian cluster villages during the Middle Ages that were settled with Germans became “Strassendӧrfer” (all of the houses were alongside each other on a single street) with few exceptions.  But even in those cases they followed the regular contours of the landscape and terrain–especially in the broad valleys, as was the case in Murga, Tevel, Mucsi and Bonyhád which were normal valley villages and a deviation from the typical one street pattern.  Hӧgyész is a combination of a one street and a valley village with a main street along with various side streets.


  The villages that fell into ruin during the Turkish wars were not all resettled or redeveloped in the 18th century.  In many cases two to three and sometimes even more of their boundaries that existed in the Middle Ages were combined into one village.  Today’s Hӧgyész consists of the former Hӧgyész, Csefӧ, Csicsó and Csernyéd as  well as the southern portion of Hertelend.  The designations for many of the sites and locales bear these earlier names, such as the open prairies next to Hӧgyész named the Csernyéd Puszta and Csicsó Puszta (called “Bründl by the Germans) and the “Csefӧ Heights” and the “Csefӧ meadow.”  In order to explain why only two of the village names–namely, Csernyéd and Csicsó–have been maintained while the third has been degraded to identify a local feature in the landscape we need to concern ourselves with a settlement document that is dated July 27, 1722 signed by Count d’Mercy.  Point three in the document said that the German settlers had the free use of the adjoining prairies of Csefӧ while the Domain would retain the other two (Csicsó and Csernyéd which were first developed in 1726).  Residences for administrators working for the Domain were erected quite early on both of the open prairies on the sites of the ruined villages and the manor houses were named after the former villages.


  Not every administrator’s residence bore the older name of the locale because most of them were built in the Tolna and Baranya in the middle of the 19th century after the abolition of serfdom in Hungary.  Following the partitioning of the lands of the estates and domains (through the Urbarial Regulations) the domain received a large portion of the community forest and meadowlands in every village.  By 1860 the land was cleared and the houses of the Administrators of the domains were first erected.  These new landed estatea was named after the owner or the old designation for the site:  Apponyi-Puszta or the Nana Moorlands.


  The names of streets provide a valuable contribution to the history of the communities and helps to answer the question of whether a village was a newly founded or built on an old Hungarian site or had been inhabited by Raizen prior to the settling of the Germans.  For example in Gyӧnk both a “Hungarian” and a “German” village exist; in Murga there was a “Slovak Street”.  If we find ourselves confronted by a “Kleinhäuslergasse” (the street of the Cotters = families without farmland) as we would in Gyӧnk and Kisdorog we discover first hand evidence of the social structure in the life of the villages.  The designation “Cotters’ Street” is a reference to the existence of various social groups among the colonists in the village and they were primarily of two classes:  an older, well established group of farmers and a younger, poorer landless cotter element that had come later after the sessions of land had been distributed.  A surviving document from the year 1742 indicates that in Kisdorog that in addition to the older established people there were new people without land, colonists who moved in later and lived apart from the original settlers on a separate street, the Cotters’ Lane.  There are other cases where the homesteads of the farmers are on the site of former ones, as is true in Csibrák and Závod while the Cotters’ Street is in the highly shaded northern section of the village.  In Kalaznó the cotters had to dig 35 metres deep to reach water for their wells while the farmers built their homesteads on the valley floor that was much closer to the water table.


  These cotters or “housed residents” as they were also called, were an element in the population in all of the Domains.  Because there was no land available for them to earn a livelihood they were assigned to work, cultivating the lands of the Domain owner.  This cotter “class” first appeared in the German village of Ladomány in Swabian Turkey in 1735 and from then on they were a regular element in all of the German Hungarian villages.  With regard to the farmers who had a full session of land and those with only a half session they were both counted equal socially but differed in that the those with only a half session worked as day labourers for the Domain and those with full sessions during the major working season of the year during the summer and autumn.


  For all of that, the customary inheritance practices also affected the original owners of small and smaller parcels of land.  The cherished inheritance custom that the firstborn received the homestead and major portion of the land was well in place in the Banat and southern Swabian Turkey.  The siblings received a quarter or less of the land to survive on and could only expand their holdings through an advantageous marriage or through any future inheritance.


The Farm Homestead and Agricultural Pursuits


  Before the settlement began the individual Domain owners established the exact number of house lots for each village for an average of 25 to 35 sessions of land for each.  These sessions consisted of 24 to 28 Katastral Joch based on the size of the family involved and their financial situation and divided some in half so that initially there were only full and half session farmers.  Those who came later had to make do with what was still left over.  The cotter had three to four Katastral Joch at his disposal or received meadowland.  Next to the “Herreleit” (the full and half session farmers) also called “Hausgesessene” (house possessors) and the poorer element, the cotters, there were two additional classes:  a middle class of tradesmen and artisans who were also farmers with an eighth of a session who made their living with their limited farming and their trade and then there was the poorest class of all, the day labourers known as “Beisasse” (inhabitants).


  At the time of settlement each family received a “Einschreibbüchel” (a regulation booklet) that guaranteed the possessor a house lot, garden and yard as well as a stated amount of land that would be apportioned to him.  But the theoretical formulation of the principle was one thing; the rights of the settlers and how they were treated was another so that a considerable number of the settlers in the early period of the settlement had to endure great privations.  In a letter written in 1771 by the settler, Georg Adolf Schäffer–he lived in “Gallas” (Kalaznó) a tenant farmer of Count d’Mercy–to his brother-in-law in his old homeland (in the Kassel area) it documents the harsh difficulties that had to be overcome in the early period of settlement but following that life for the emigrants to Hungary was quite tolerable if not favourable to what they had known back home. In a very short time the emigrants following their departure from home were able to fend for themselves quite well.  Above all that meant their living accommodations.


  The homesteads were laid out in equal proportions alongside each other on the streets and lanes on which their houses were erected most of which also had a fence along the street.  Likewise a large vegetable garden was laid out towards the street.  In the yard between the house and garden there was a well.  In back of the house there was a stable, hayloft, press-house (wine making), sheds and other outbuildings that were attached to it.  Depending on the location of the settlement, the arable land formed a loose chain around the village and sloping terrain became the site for wine cellars and “press-houses” in the wine growing areas.


  The settlers had to forget about replicating the wood frame houses of their old homeland because of the costs involved.  And the lack of skills to do so.  To fashion the first “Kurzbauten” (literally short built but best described as being squat) houses, the cheapest and most readily available building materials was used:  loess.  This “small colonist’s house” that was built at the outset was of the type associated with Franconia and built quite simply.  It did not have a walkway alongside of it as would be common later.  The straw covered roof had only a bit of an overhang and several small windows were inserted into the thick walls.


  Because of the notable increase in family size in the years ahead it was often necessary to make additions so that over time the squat house developed into the now common long rectangular house.  From the time of construction in the beginning, in addition to living space in the house there were also agricultural buildings:  the stable, hayloft and sheds.  The building material that was used was the same that served in the construction of the squat and later rectangular houses made of stamped down or air dried mud (made out of earth, clay, water and chopped straw).  (Translator’s note:  we would refer to it as adobe.)  In more mountainous terrain the houses had foundations with a base formed out of stones or bricks.  Because the straw and reed roofs were a fire hazard, over time, roof tiles replaced them on the house as well as the stable and outbuildings to even out the outward appearance of the rectangular house.  Later, due to a need for expansion a third section was added to form a U shaped building and even later it became four sided.


  With the lengthening of the house it became necessary to provide a walkway from one room and one section to another, the so-called “Gang“.  It also became necessary to extend the roof overhang over the Gang and supported it with wooden pillars to provide a covering over it.  (Translator’s note:  It is very much like a roofed side porch.)  Doors were added on the street side of the house.  The covered walkway was separated from the yard by a low wall and was integrated with the rooms of the house and the agricultural buildings.  It also served as cool sleeping place on hot summer nights and also a place to hang and dry tobacco, corn and paprika.


  The cellar at the rear of the yard served as a summer kitchen and a small cattle stall but also as a place for cotters to live as was the case in Mucsi.


  In the early settlement years, parallel to erecting the necessary living accommodations the settlers also undertook the cultivation of their fields that differed according to whether their landholdings were large or small and depending on their status.  Meadow and forestry work was carried out alongside of clearing and cultivating their acreage.  These were the major tasks of those with the larger pieces of land, while those with smaller holdings established their vineyards, meadows and pastures alongside of working the land.  Winter wheat was planted along with winter rye, beets for fodder, corn, potatoes, hemp and tobacco and in some areas rice as well.  A great deal of tobacco was cultivated in Fadd, Bonyhád, Izmény, Nagyszékely and Pari.  But the major centre for “Swabian Tobacco” growing was Hӧgyész in which thousands of Zentner (hundredweights) was grown annually in the 1780s.


  Due to the intensive farming of the land and the methods used it led to the doing away of the fallow ground.  In its place new methods of cultivation were introduced that were familiar to the settlers in their former homelands, the improved three field system.  Alongside of this their use of the iron plough that was then unknown in Hungary at that time they introduced the fertilization of their fields with manure from their stables.  Straw was no longer burned as it had been by custom by the Raizen in the past but rather was spread on the floors of their livestock’s stalls.


  In addition to tobacco growing the cultivation of silkworms was carried out in Hӧgyész as it was in other parts of Swabian Turkey that supplied a flourishing silk industry in the Tolna.  The centre of silkworm cultivation was Szekszárd where a “microscopic institute” provided further research in silkworm cultivation and employed over one hundred people.  By government decree mulberry trees were planted in cities and villages and the leaves served as fodder for the silkworms being raised as a household industry in special chambers that were specially designed for them.


  Cattle rearing which was more familiar to the Hungarians and which they pursued more intensively than the German settlers who were engaged in the cultivation of the land was still of great deal of importance to them.  It resulted in the crossbreeding of the cattle they brought with them to Hungary with the Hungarian “Simmentaler” breed which produced a highly productive, brown spotted milk cow that was named the “Bonyhád Horned Cow” that soon replaced and eventually vanquished the Hungarian “Steppenrind“.  The herding of swine, sheep and geese is another characteristic of all of the settler villages.  The wool from the sheep understandably was spun and used in making various knitted items including the famous “Batschker” (a kind of slipper).


The Structure of the Village


  As we saw in the work of Weidlein, many of the original names of locales, sites and street names indicate that there were not only farmers in the villages.  There were also tradesmen, artisans, merchants and other important “Herreleit” (the kind of people you had to call “Sir”) that appear in street names such as “Herrengass” (where the teacher, Richter (local official something like a mayor) and doctor lived); the “Judengass”  (the Jewish Street); “Müllersäcker” (The miller’s acreage); “Fleischhackerstal” (The butcher’s part of town).  Even a portion of the names of the streets are family names of former inhabitants:  in Diósberény the following are some examples of that.  The names “Bojáshegy” and “Gellérthegy”.


  In Hӧgyész tradesmen and artisans were considered to be a highly desired settlers.  The conduct and behaviour of Mercy’s agents at the time of the Great Swabian Migration demonstrates that by their deviation of tradesmen from their destination in the Banat to the Hӧgyész Domain.  Tradesmen were important in the life of the villages and provided more work opportunities for them to ensure them of a livelihood.  In addition to their trade they also did the unfamiliar work associated with farming.  Above all, those who were able to make a decent living by their trade were the merchants, traders, innkeeper and tavern operator and the butcher.  The others–the shoemaker, blacksmith, tailor, fuller or draper and the Klumpen maker (a type of wooden shoe) did not earn much more from their products than a day labourer.  Far better off by far, were the masons, as the example of Szakadát demonstrates which was known throughout the surrounding area.


  The social structure of a village is not only determined by the social classes represented in its inhabitants but also through familial ties and neighbourly connections.  Because of its isolation from other neighbouring communities there were limited possibilities to marry outside of close family connections and within one’s social class.  The custom of marrying among one another was simply presumed and the engagement of their offspring in childhood was widespread despite the threat of incest.  In this way, the village developed a social cohesiveness expressed in various ways by providing mutual help and neighbourly support to one another.


  Neighbourliness along with friendship ties were developed and nurtured by “going to the Wirtshaus (the pub) on Sunday after church.”  The Wirtshaus, the official pillar of Danube Swabian society had a rival in the “Keller” (wine cellar).  That is where smaller groups of neighbours gathered in seclusion away from the ”    big shots” of the village to discuss the things that could not be spoken about out in the open at the Wirtshaus.


  The “Weibersleit” (the females) discussed matters as they went about doing all kinds of household tasks and activities; shucking corn cobs; while darning stockings; spinning wool; all at group gatherings in the private home of a neighbour where the significant happenings on the street or in the village were shared (and of course every thing was significant).


  The weekly markets also played the same kind of social function.


  In 1753, Hӧgyész was raised to the status of a market town with the right to hold four market days each year.  Because of it, the community experienced an economic upswing because of its strategic geographical location in the hill country along the major highway that lay within its boundaries.  (The Danube Line:  Esseg-Budapest and the Kapos Valley Line:  Dombovár-Pincehely-Budapest)  The right to hold a market also brought with it a special title for Hӧgyész:  “oppidum” (fortified town) even though there was never any walls around the town.  The market in Hӧgyész served as an important centrally located grain market for the surrounding villages.  While Hӧgyész was raised to the status of a market town in 1753 it was not until 1780 that Bonyhád received its right to hold a market even though it lay at the very centre of agricultural production in the surrounding twenty-eight villages.


  In those Danube Swabian towns and market towns where business and trade were developing and flourishing the Jewish population played a significant role in it.  Their percentage of the population was an indication of the economic importance that the community had.  At the end of the 19th century the Jewish population in Bonyhád was 30% of its inhabitants while in Hӧgyész it was always 10%.  Even before the Edict of Toleration of Joseph II in 1781 there had been a large-scale emigration of Jews to Hӧgyész and a synagogue had been built in 1755.


  Despite of the steady impact that trade and business  of all kinds made on Hӧgyész–that portion of the local economy rose to 45% in 1920–it did not lead to any industrialization as was also true of the other towns in the area (Szekszárd, Bonyhád, Szigetvár) so that their character as farming towns continued for a long time.


  The rights of the individual villages were established in their settlement contract.  In these agreements it becomes apparent that although the settlers were not serfs on coming to Hungary (which was also the case in Hӧgyész) many of their rights were curtailed and they were legally subject to the Domain to a great extent.


  A significant degree of self-governance was achieved in their local affairs even though the governing officials were de facto appointed by the nobleman who owned the Domain.  The highest organ of governance in the village was the “Gericht (Council) in which the community Richter represented the people.  The Richter was elected by the members of the community (only the men were eligible to vote and among them only those with a certain amount of property) but the nobleman had the right to nominate the candidate.  The Council consisted of up to three members–without being nominated by the noble–who were directly elected by the community.  All of the necessary paper work with officialdom was done by the notary.


  A person commanding even more respect than the Richter was the clergyman who was also more influential than he was.  In 1723, a year after the first settlers arrived in Hӧgyész, the parish was established by Peter Willerscheid a priest from Fulda, while another source suggests that he originally came from Trier.  Beginning in 1724 he began to keep the parish records of Hӧgyész.  In the year of the settlement in 1722 according to the report of the canonical visitor for the Bishop of Pécs he wrote:  “…in the wastes of Hӧgyész between Mucsi and Bereny…I found an old church with no walls standing with the exception of the threshold of the sanctuary.”  The site of this Raizen church that the first settlers repaired and used as a place of worship was the courtyard of today’s town hall.  In the same report the residence of the clergyman was fifteen strides away from the church, that the parishioners had built for him right after the settlement took place and–so complained the visitor–the noble landlord was content with the old church and had no interest in building a new one.  The contemporary knowledgeable citizen of today might well wonder, as did the bishop’s representative did in 1729, why Claudius Florimundus d’Mercy who always retained a tolerant attitude when it came to the various confessions (denominations) did not extend this tolerance and liberal tendencies to questions dealing with church governance or got involved in church affairs since he had the rights of a Patron over all of the parochial churches on his Domain.  In 1733, a later legate of the Bishop of Pécs felt quite satisfied that he could report that during his visitation that Mercy had repaired the church in good order and had a sacristy built.


  But Mercy interfered in church affairs–for the benefit of the priest– to the extent that in his function as the spiritual overlord of his subjects on the Domain that in addition to the tithe of a ninth, he added the tenth of the all of the crop yields and gave the latter to the priest.  Mercy appointed the parish priest of Hӧgyész, Willerscheid, as the rector of all the German colonist villages that were then responsible to assume some of the costs of his support.


  The village Richters were charged with the punctual and orderly payment and support of their clergy.  There was confusion about the rightfulness of the clergy’s demands and they argued about it saying that they asked for more than they were entitled and gave them less than they demanded.  For that reason the priest in Hӧgyész could not pay his two chaplains.  The pastoral care he was to provide in a neighbouring village which was called a “filial” (daughter) was accordingly left unattended.  Quite often worship that was conducted in the filials took place only once a month.  The establishment of more new parishes made things more difficult because of the huge and constant changes as the numbers increased in the Mother churches.


  How clever Mercy’s decision was to settle only members of a common religious confession in each village can be fully validated by this example from the village of Kismányok where Lutheran and Reformed Swabians were settled together in 1720.   (Translator’s note:  This was at the time when the Domain were owned by Count Zinzendorf prior to Mercy’s purchase of it.)  When it came to the election of a pastor both confessions wanted one of their own.  Because the Lutherans were unsuccessful they left in 1721/1722 and settled in Nagyszékely and later moved on to Gyӧnk.  (Translator’s note:  I am afraid that the author is in error.  It was the Reformed who moved on because it was a Lutheran pastor who came to serve the congregation.  There would never be a Reformed congregation in Kismányok.  Both Nagyszékely and Gyӧnk had Reformed congregations.)  The clergy themselves sometimes demonstrated their intolerance rather than some kind of religious zeal.  The Swabian Lutherans in Szárazd who formed the vast majority of the village’s inhabitants did not want to submit to the spiritual authority of the local priest and organized a “religious fellowship” under the leadership of the village notary who also taught the Lutheran children in their school.  Outraged by such “heretical activities” the priest, Michael Winkler, who had the Lutherans in Szárazd under his spiritual jurisdiction outlawed the Lutheran school so that the children had to attend school in a neighbouring Lutheran community.  To the contrary, a Roman Catholic from Murga in his request to leave the Domain of his landlord in 1776 gave as his reason for wanting to do so was the fact that he did not want to live among Lutherans.


  But there was an example of tolerance that was spoken of and well known throughout the Tolna concerning the village of Varsád, where during the first years of its settlement the church that was erected was used by Calvinists, Catholics and Lutherans.


  The piety of the settlers is a subject that was addressed extensively in the reports of the bishop’s canonical visitors.  They gave expression to their faith in their cheerful giving towards the building of their churches and the furnishing of altars as well as their participation in pilgrimages.  A place of pilgrimage that attracted numerous pilgrims was the “Brünnl Mariae” (Mariae Bründl, two kilometres north-east of Hӧgyész in Csisko).  The chapel was endowed by Count Mercy-Argentau in which he was interred on March 10, 1767.  This information was appended to an authentic report by the Chief Chaplain, Father Felix Augustin Sporer, to the Bishop of Pécs, Georg Klimó dated January 23, 1767 following Count Mercy’s death.  In his report Sporer indicates he spent some time in the vicinity and gave the Count absolution and the Last Rites.  The thesis that Anton Count Mercy-Argentau died in Esseg and was brought back to Hӧgyész (which would have taken up to six weeks considering the distance and the winter weather that was bad at this time of year) is no longer tenable.  Above all, an appendix to the report of Sporer puts an end to all of that. He reports that the mortal remains were kept in the house chapel in Hógyész until his only son and heir, Florimundus Claudius Count Mercy-Argentau arrived from Paris to pay his last respects.  That took six weeks.


The Development of the Hӧgyész Domain in the 18th and 19th Centuries


  On June 2, 1773 the Domain of Hӧgyész was sold to the Apponyi family by the last Mercy, Florimundus Claudius Count Mercy-Argentau (1727-1794).  As a busy Imperial diplomat and ambassador to the French Court in Versailles in the service of the Empress Maria Theresia and her successors, Joseph II, Leopold II and Francis I/II he saw himself unable to devote time to the running of his Domain in Swabian Turkey.  He saw, “how his officials looked after his estates to their own advantage but had to rely upon them.”  In 1767 he endeavoured  to find a buyer but his formal request “for permission to sell my Hӧgyész Domain in Hungary to someone,” was denied on October 5, 1771 by the Viennese authorities.  Maria Theresia, who laid great store by Mercy, personally took the trouble to bring about a favourable solution to the matter.  On February 10, 1772 the Empress wrote to her “Friend and Minister” Mercy who was the Austrian envoy to St. Petersburg, Warsaw and Paris at the time, “I am sorry to say that I cannot tell you any more about Hegyes except for this memorandum:  the death of Grassalkovich and the changes in the Ministry are to blame.”  Yet with the help and support of Prince Kaunitz, Mercy was able to sell the Doman of Hӧgyész that same year to Count Georg Apponyi which was valued at 700,000 Gulden.  The “deed for the sale of the Estates of Count Mercy d’Argentau of the Domain of Hӧgyész or Mezӧhegyes to Count Apponyi” is dated June 12, 17734.  The former Mercy rights of primogeniture were also granted to Apponyi.


  At the time of the sale, the Domain of Hӧgyész included twenty-three communities of which two were market towns and twelve open prairies with residential buildings.  In addition there were 1,546 “farming households” and 736 “cotter families”.  With regard to an inventory of the Domain we have the result of:  A Draft of the Domain of Hӧgyész.  It states that the Domain consists of twenty-three communities and twelve open prairies, kitchen gardens, residential buildings for officials, a wine cellar and 8,000 Eimer of wine,  and in the market town of Hӧgyész a well built castle, fruit garden, two greenhouses, a large courtyard, Jewish synagogue, Jewish shops, brewery and distillery, fruit storage, butcher shop, a well-built church and a rectory in the village.  Everything has a tile roof.  The inhabitants are German Catholics.  Four market days per year.  The Domain has no vineyards and the tenant subjects have a bit.  At the time of this documentation  the churches and rectories in the communities of Duzs, Mucsi and Závod (Calvinist) were extant.  In Duzs there was also a gardener’s house, a good mill and four footbridges across the Kapos River and in Calvinist Závod there is a tavern, a mill on the Sárvís River, a custom’s house and a store.  This is followed by an enumeration of the Lutheran villages in the Domain.


  With the change in landlords several significant changes took place in the Hӧgyész Domain.  These changes cannot be simply isolated to the Hӧgyész Domain because parallel to those changes with their landlord important developments effecting the relations between the Domains and their tenant subjects that had existed up to now in the middle of the 18th century were being questioned.  The right of migration on the part of the tenants was being curtailed more and more and the estate owners felt themselves less and less bound by the terms of their settlement contracts.  The inhabitants of the villages were once again treated like they were duty bound serfs so that the demands made of them were always greater.  The peasant farmers were no longer willing to look upon serfdom as something divinely ordained and that it was possible for them to work for their landlords without the demands of serfdom being imposed on them.  More and more complaints were sent to the State Commission about the abuses they suffered so that  government intervention became necessary.  In 1767 the long overdue Urbarial Regulation was put into force.  It stipulated the following provisions:  At the time the regulation went into effect whatever landholdings the tenant subjects worked could not be taken away from them by the landlord and assigned to someone else even thought the land was still the possession of the landlord.  For the first time a legal distinction was made between the land worked by the tenant subject and the land that was cultivated by the noble himself.  The Urbarial Regulation established new binding agreements between the Domains and their tenant subjects and provisions for the protection of the rights of the tenants that had been violated since the first settlement had taken place.


  There were also significant changes in the religious and confessional sphere in the mid 18th century in the form of rigorous restrictions placed upon the Protestants.  The Mercy Domain with its predominant Lutheran villages came into the possession of the Apponyi family.  At that time the nobles and landlords could not protect or defend their Lutheran tenant subjects from the massive pressures unleashed by the staunchly Catholic House of Habsburg (read Maria Theresia).  As was the case in other villages in the Domain of Hӧgyész the prayer houses and schools of the Protestants were locked up and their pastors and teachers were expelled from the community.  It was only three years after the Edict of Toleration of Emperor Joseph II in 1781 that the Lutherans were permitted to open their churches once more.  In this time frame a super abundance of letters of homage were written to the Domain owners by their Lutheran subjects.  This is the way that the Lutheran pastor in Kismáyok, Johann Friedrich Weiss, along with the Richter, of the village, Johann Just Allrutz, and four Council members in a letter of August 12, 1773 addressed their new landlord, Count Georg Apponyi with their servile request:  “that he would also be a true father and defender of the Lutherans as were the Counts d’Mercy before him.”  All of this bending of the knee was futile because as was to be true in all of the Lutheran villages of the Apponyi Domain their prayer house was locked up and their pastor and teacher were driven out of the community.


  The emancipation of the peasant subjects of the nobles was first set in motion during the reign of Joseph II.  Alongside of the Urbarial Regulation of his mother, Maria Theresia, he recognized and accorded the tenant subjects their freedom of movement and migration in his famous Patent of 1785.  Thereafter the tenants had the freedom to choose where they wanted to live and work without requiring the permission of the noble landlord nor were they obliged to have his consent in order to marry or choose a  trade.


  Sixty years later in the course of the emancipation of the serfs in Hungary in 1848, land that was worked by tenant subjects became theirs by legal right.  As a result there were some important changes in the former boundaries–including the villages in central Tolna around Hӧgyész.  Changes that had their beginnings during the period when the Urbarial Regulations were in effect when the landholdings were designated Domain or tenant landholdings.  At the time of that division Apponyi received mostly forests and pasturing fields on the borders of the villages of Kalaznó, Felsӧnána and Varsád.  Because the forest bordered the three villages for technical governing purposes Varsád was annexed to his holdings.  After clearing some of the forest and making the land arable an administrator’s residence was built, the so-called Rudolf-Puszta.  The north-westerly portion of Hertelend consisted of forests that along with the Duzs forest were both connected with the Hӧgyész forest.  At the time of the division that took place as a result of the Urbarial Regulations this interconnected forest was added to the boundaries of Hӧgyész which was simple to arrange since they all had the same landowner.


A Brief Church History in Hӧgyész


  According to the summary account of the bishop’s canonical visitor of March 30, 1729 the old church had three altars, a cross above the High altar, a chalice with the initials C and E (perhaps a gift from the royal couple Charles VI and his wife Elisabeth), a trunk with an iron lock in which the ciborium and the reserved host were stored.  Four years after the first visitation, the bishop’s legate made a new assessment of the situation.  According to his submission the church was in good repair and sacristy had been built as an addition.  On May 16. 1755, the Bishop of Pécs, Georg Klimó, administered the sacrament of confirmation.  The parish of Hӧgyész with its filial in Duzs counted 88 Roman Catholic families.  In addition to the furnishings in the church building the report to the bishop mentions that there is a vineyard as part of the rectory property that the priest needed because of the meagre salary he received.


  The refurbishing of the church took place in the 19th century.  In 1850 Vinzentius Prick of Vienna donated a baptismal font and statue and in 1860 Count Kasimir Apponyi made a gift of banners for the stations of the cross.  There have been twenty-two priest who served in the parish of Hӧgyész as follows:


 l.  Peter Willerscheid (the priest at the time of the settlement

     who left to serve in Kӧln                                                                  1723-1731

 2. Karl Kriener                                                                                      1732-1739

 3. Franz Schuknecht                                                                              1739-1740

 4. Heinrich Muth                                                                                   1740-1744

 5. Andreas Federspiel                                                                             1744-1745

 6. Paul Babonitcs                                                                                    1745-1753

 7. Anton Fabrik                                                                                       1753-1760

 8. Johann Henckelmann                                                                          1760-1787

 9. Josef Pirker                                                                                          1787-1798

10. Karl Kolb (from Bataszek)                                                                 1799-1842

11. Karl Gyenis (from Hӧgyész) later Dean                                             1842-1874

12. Karl Hunyadi (from Szakadát)                                                            1874-1881

13. Peter Streicher (from Hӧgyész)                                                           1881-1910

14. Josef Schäfer                                                                                        1910-1922

15. Josef Leh                                                                                              1922-1930

16. Josef Eberhard                                                                                      1930-1933

17. Franz Bräutigam                                                                                   1934-1938

18. Endre Pásztor                                                                                        1939-1958

19. Dr. Ladislaus Gallos                                                                              1958-1968

20. Josef Petz                                                                                               1968-1980

21. Eduard Mim                                                                                           1980-1986

22. Michael Klein                                                                      Since November 1986


  The first wedding in the new church took place on June 10, 1800.  During the 19th century to the Church Jubilee on September 14, 1899 there were 2,835 more.  In the same time frame, 12,470 children were baptized.  The festival sermon at the One Hundredth Anniversary of the church was preached by Josef Streicher, resident priest in Paks, a son of the parish and the brother of the parish priest in Hӧgyész, Peter Streicher and in the presence of Count Geysa Apponyi, Imperial and Royal Counsellor and the members of the parish.


  In addition to the parish church in Hӧgyész a chapel existed in the castle built by the Mercys in 1740.  The palace chaplain also served at the pilgrimage church “Mariae Bründle” in Csicsó.  In 1812 in addition to Duzs there were two other filials in Felsӧnána and Nagytormás that were later integrated into other parishes.  At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th the following filials were integreated into the Hӧgyész parish:  Kalaznó, Kalaznópuszta, Csicsó, Csernédpuszta and Szállapuszta.

Bátaszék in the Tolna:  A History


  The information in this article is taken from the Heimatbuch written by Johannes Gӧbelt and is partially a translation and summary.


  Following the fall of Belgrade to the Turks on August 29, 1521 the borders of Hungary were vulnerable to attack.  On August 16, 1526 young King Louis II of Hungary and his  Queen, Maria of Habsburg, visited the Benedictine abbey in Báta which had been founded by King Louis I in 1092 and endowed with vast lands which were owned by a series of  famous Abbots in the past including some high churchmen.  It was here that Louis took leave of his wife and sent her back to Buda.  He remained in Báta awaiting the arrival of his troops.  The King and his soldiers made confession and took communion before they moved on to Mohács to meet the Turks.  At the plains around Mohács the greater part of the Hungarian Army met a hero’s death on August 29th.  The twenty-year-old King fell from his mount in jumping across a creek and drowned.  On September 1st the monks fled from the monastery.  On September 3rd, the Turks crossed the border into Tolna County and set up camp at Kesztӧlc.  On October 12th they then moved on to Buda, crossed the Danube and left a devastated plundered land behind.  The monks gradually returned to the abbey and re-established monastic life.


  After the defeat at Mohács, the Hungarian nation was divided.  On October 14, 1526 a large portion of the Magyar nobles called on Johann Szapolyai to become their King.  His coronation with the crown of St. Stephen took place at Szekésféhervár on November 11th.  A minority of the nobles sided with the claims of Ferdinand of Habsburg to be their King.  Ferdinand was married to Anna of Bohemia and Hungary, a sister of the fallen King Louis II, and he was the brother of his young widow, Maria of Habsburg.  At end of July 1527 Ferdinand entered Hungary with an army of 10,000 men.  Szapolyai could not even raise a force of 3,000 to face the Austrians and he was forced to flee from Pressburg to Tokay and sought asylum in Poland.  Ferdinand occupied Buda on August 20th and resided there in the royal fortress overlooking the Danube.


  On November 3, 1527 Ferdinand of Habsburg was crowned King with the crown of St. Stephen in Szekésféhervár the ancient capital of Hungry.  He received the crown from the hands of Peter Perenyi the former guardian of the throne for Szapolyai.  Perenyi who had been named the Wojwoden (Viceroy) of Transylvania by the former King was confirmed in the same office by Ferdinand.


  In 1528 the Turks burned and devastated the community of Sárkӧz and as a result Ferdinand built the defensive timbered fortress of Bátaszék.  In 1529 the Turks entered Hungary as allies of Johann Szapolyai who did homage to the Sultan at Mohács on August 18th.  On August 20th the Turks set up camp in the vicinity of Bátaszék to attack Kesztӧlc again despite the wind and rain and awaited reinforcements coming by ship to Báta.  Simultaneously, Ibrahim Pasha began his attack on the fortress of Bátaszék.  The fortress eventually fell after countless attacks and because of the resistance it offered it was burned to the ground.  Peter Perenyi, the Wojwoden of Transylvania fled from his fortress at Siklós and headed north.  He took the royal crown and jewels with him.  He was captured by János Szerscsen at the Scharwitz River and he handed over the crown and royal jewels to the Turks.


  Ferdinand of Habsburg also fled from the advancing Turks and abandoned Buda.  Then on September 14, 1529 the Turks installed Szapolyai as King of Hungary in Buda and gave him the crown and royal jewels as a gift.  The Turks led by Sultan Suleiman II marched on Vienna.  The Turkish army laid siege to the city from September 26th to October 14, 1529.  They then pulled back and went into winter quarters.


  In Báta, the monastery was put to the torch in 1529.  But monastic life was able to continue.  They elected their own Abbot.  Sixteen of the villages on the vast estate had survived as late as 1535 including Nána the future Alsónána.  In 1539 the Turks renewed their onslaught on the area and took over 10,000 people into slavery.  Many of them came from areas beyond Báta because the Turks captured them as they went on pilgrimage to the shrine at Báta.


  From 1526 to 1540 Hungary had two Kings.  Ferdinand of Habsburg and Johann Szapolyai.  The two rivals reached an agreement at Gross Wardein on February 24, 1538.  Ferdinand would recognize Szapolyai as the legitimate King of Hungary as long as he lived.  Upon his death, Ferdinand or his successor would rule over all of Hungary.  The heirs of Szapolyai would get their former family estates and become Dukes of the Zips.  Eventually a male descendant of Szapolyai would marry one of Ferdinand’s daughters.


  On February 23, 1539 Szapolyai married Isabella the daughter of the King of Poland.  A son was born to them on July 7, 1540 named Johann Sigismund.  On his deathbed the King changed his mind and instructed Abbot George of the Paulist Order to preserve the throne for his son.  Szapolyai died on July 21, 1540.  For his part, Ferdinand set the agreement signed at Gross Wardein into motion, sending an army under Lenart Vils to take over the fortress of Buda in November 1540.  But Abbot George was loyal in his   allegiance to the Szapolyai family and opposed the takeover.  The Turks promised him military assistance.  Because it was winter the Turkish troops were to come to Buda by way of ship on the Danube.  The ships were pulled upstream by teams of horses.  The river was shallow during this season and many ships got stuck in the mud.  After much effort the ships got to the town of Tolna and the river froze and the ships were stuck fast.  The Turks returned to their winter quarters.  The Turkish commander sent word to Abbot George and assured him that they would be back in the Spring to help him.


  The following year, Ferdinand’s commander, Wilhelm Roggensdorf attempted to take Buda.  From May to August 1541 he lay siege to the fortress but to no avail.  Shortly afterwards he was sent into retreat by the Turks.  From the end of August 1541 the Sultan Suleiman II and his host encamped at Buda.  On August 29th the Hungarian nobles brought the 13 months old Johann Sigismund to visit the Turkish camp.  While they were doing so Janissaries entered the open gates of the fortress and occupied it. On September 2nd the Sultan Suleiman II appeared at the Church of the Virgin for his Friday prayers and took over the church and the city.  The fortress of Buda fell into the hands of the Turks without a fight.  The city of Pest that lay on the other bank of the Danube River  surrendered without offering any resistance either.  Szapolyai’s son, Johann Sigismund was given Transylvania by the Sultan and given the title Prince of Transylvania.


  The Turks occupied the fortress of Székszárd in 1541.  From a report of April 14, 1542 we learn Hungarian troops were encamped there to retake the fortress.  The attack was launched at Christmas.  The fortress was the residence of a Turkish Sandschak (military commander) along with two hundred Turkish troops stationed there.  The Beg (governor) and Turkish civil administrator were also posted in the city.  The attack proved to be  unsuccessful and the Hungarians withdrew.  By 1543 the Turks expanded their territory of occupation to include Pécs, Pécsvarad, Szasvár, Tamási, Simontornya and Ozara.  By the end of 1544 there were no longer any Hungarian garrisons in Tolna County.


   A head tax was imposed on the heads of families who were not Muslims.  Only the poor and Serbs who served in the Turkish army were exempt from this tax.  The ancient house tax that was of Hungarian origin since 1351 remained in force and was calculated on the basis of the number of external doors of the house.  In 1545 there were 84 families in Bátaszék who numbered about 650 persons.  In 1547 Ferdinand I decreed that the serfs in Turkish occupied areas had to continue to pay their taxes and provide robot (free labour) for the Hungarian King and their noble estate owners.  It meant they had to pay taxes to both the Hungarians and the Turks.  In 1548 at a meeting of the Hungarian Landtag (parliament) a war tax of 100 Denars was levied on the Hungarian serfs even if they lived in Turkish occupied territory.  The Hungarian border fortresses were given a specific County in which to collect the taxes and other customs duties.  They retreated into their fortresses and left the land to foraging Hungarian armies.  Towns and villages that refused to pay were plundered and burned to the ground.  That occurred in Székszárd on November 11, 1560.  The Hungarian troops drove off so many cattle that the economy in the area was almost nonexistent for a whole year.  The Hungarian fortress at Sziget had jurisdiction over the area from Báta to the town of Tolna.  Nicholas Zrinyi was the fortress commander and any robot that had to be performed was done in Sziget.


  In 1557 Bátaszék and nearby Nyék had a population of 1,000.  In 1558 there were 1,100 inhabitants.  On August 5, 1566 the fortress of Sziget came under siege led by the aging Sultan Suleiman II.  It was defended by Nicholas Zrinyi and his troops.  In the night of September 5th and 6th, the Sultan died but his death was kept secret by the Grand Vizier.  On September 8th, Zrinyi led his 600 loyal troops as they threw themselves at the enemy forces.  Zrinyi was captured and beheaded.  The Imperial troops under Maximilian II were camped at Raab but they did not join the battle.  On February 17, 1568 the Peace of Adrianople was signed which identified the territories that belonged to the Sultan, Hungarian King and Prince of Transylvania.  This treaty would be renewed in 1576, 1584 and 1592.  There were twenty-five years of peace in Hungary occupied by the Turks.


  Despite the renewal of the treaty in 1592 the so-called “Fifteen Year War” broke out that concluded with the Peace of Szitvatorok in 1606.  Turkish occupied Hungary expanded once more.  The largest annexations were at Eger (1596-1687) and Kanizia (1600-1690).  In the Peace of Szitvatorok the Sultan and the King of Hungary were acknowledged as equal partners.  This treaty was renewed in 1615, 1625 and 1648.


  In 1627 Michael Veresmarti became the Abbot of Báta.  He had been a Protestant “preacher” converted by Peter Pázmány.  He had been a parish priest at Sellyi and then Dean of the Cathedral in Pressburg.  He died in 1645.


  War broke out once more in 1663.  The Turks took Neuhäusel in Slovakia on September 26, 1663.  But on August 1, 1664 the Turks were forced to flee from the field of battle at St. Gotthard on the Raab River and then the war was quickly over and resulted in the Peace of Vasvár (Eisenberg) on August 10, 1664.  Peace lasted for twenty years.


  The Jany brothers, the future owners of the estates of Báta, are mentioned for the first time in some documents in the 1670s.  Franciscus Jany was Dean of the Cathedral in Estergom in 1673 and in 1677 he was appointed Abbot of Pécsvarad which was an empty title because the abbey no longer existed.  In 1678 he became Bishop of Srem which was also only a title at the time because the territory was in Turkish hands.  His brother, Johann Jacob Jany was the Papal Notary for the Hungarian clergy in Rome who was later  granted the Abbey and estates of Báta in 1679.


  In 1683 the Turks marched on Vienna for the second siege of the city and were once again repulsed and fled back to Hungary pursued by the Imperial Army.  In 1686 Buda was liberated from the Turks.  In the years that followed all of Hungary was freed from Turkish occupation.  The Peace of Karlowitz was signed on January 26, 1699 and the Turks were only able to maintain their hold on the Banat.


  Franciscus Jany began settling Germans on his Abbey lands in 1689.  He later became the Bishop of Csanad in 1701 and died in 1703.  Johannes Jacob Jany had the monastery of Báta taken away from him by the King who questioned the validity of his ordination that he claimed had taken place in 1687.  Later he was able to prove he was ordained and got the Abbey back.  He died in 1694.


    Jacob Ferdinand, a nephew of the Janys, from a branch of the family which had been ennobled, followed in his uncles’ footsteps into the priesthood.  In 1685 he headed a Benedictine monastery in Zala County which position he exchanged for that of Abbot at Báta on his uncle’ Johann Jacob’s death in 1694.  His uncle Franciscus consecrated him as Abbot on November 18. 1700.  He was also the titular bishop of Srem, a diocese which no longer existed.  As bishop he was a member of the Upper House of the Hungarian Landtag to help provide and maintain a Roman Catholic majority.  He made Bátaszék the centre of his abbey estate.  There were 35 families living on his estate, the majority of whom were Orthodox Serbs and some Roman Catholic Croats.  The Serbs were not considered suitable settlers because there were Serbian robber bands that pillaged and plundered the isolated villages in the area.  The Serbs were seen as a bad security risk.  There were a few Hungarian settlers there as well as one German.  In a document dated November 2, 1689 there were five communities on the lands of the Abbey of Báta consisting of 68 houses.  Bátaszék had five, Báta had ten, Nyék had fifteen, Pilis had eight and Decs had thirty.  Bátaszék had a church that the Turks had used as a residence.  Later in June 28, 1690 a document reports there were now ninety-four houses.  At the time of Abbot Johann Jacob Jany’s death in 1694 it was noted that he had never visited or resided at the Abbey or had ever seen the estate.  That was also true initially of his nephew successor who hired a steward to run the estate while he lived in Vienna.  In the first years after the liberation  the major portion of Hungary was under military rule and it was ten years later before the public administration by the Counties was reinstated due to pressure being applied by the representatives of the Hungarian Landtag.  Initially there were boundary disputes between the Counties because the Turks had set up new administrative jurisdictions and the old frontiers were difficult to locate precisely.  This was true of the adjoining borders of Tolna and Baranya Counties.


  Baranya County demanded the inclusion of twenty disputed communities to its territory.  This included Báta, Bátaszék, Nyék, Pilis and Decs.  Tolna County was not prepared to surrender them and a court case was undertaken.  The case would take twenty-five years from 1695-1720 to finally be resolved.  All of the above named villages remained in Tolna but Véménd, Feled, Hidas and Mecseknadasd became part of Baranya County along with Zsibrik.  The clarification of the County boundaries was important for assessing the war costs and provide quartering for the troops.  The County was assessed the war costs and it was divided among all of the communities.  Only those who were not nobles had to pay taxes, a situation which would last in Hungary until 1848.  The war tax in 1698 was raised from 2,000,000 Gulden to 4,000,000.  This large sum could only be gathered through military assistance.  Leopold I, the Emperor, informed the prelates and nobles that the peasants would provide 2,500,000 of the tax and the clergy and nobles 1,250,000 and the Royal Free Cities were assessed 250,000 Gulden.


  The Landtag responded to the Emperor insisting the taxes were excessive and should be lowered.  Leopold answered that the peasants could not carry the costs alone and the clergy and nobles had benefited from the military takeover and should also help pay for it.  There had been no tax exemption for the clergy and nobles in the Austrian hereditary lands for a very long time and the nobles of Hungary should do their share.  In response the clergy and nobles in the Counties declared that the peasants could not afford to pay the tax and they were not prepared to pay any taxes themselves.  The quartering of troops was also assessed to every community and created even more hardships for the peasants.


  As a result, in 1703 the Rákóczy rebellion broke out in north-eastern Hungary.  While the Emperor was involved in the War of the Spanish Succession he withdrew all of his troops from Hungary for that purpose so that the rebels known as the Kurucz (crusaders)  easily occupied all of eastern Hungary.  Only a portion of the Hungarians remained loyal to the Habsburgs and were called Labantzen.  The first Kurucz attacks along the Danube were repulsed but in January 1704 a small band of rebels crossed the frozen Danube.  Many of the local Hungarian peasants joined “the cause” up to 2,000 of them.  They took Szekésfehervár, Simontorya and Siklós by storm.  They then lay siege to Pécs where Germans and Serbs lived along with Hungarians.  They were accused of firing on the rebels and they put Pécs to the torch and massacred 8,000 Germans and Serbs.  These horrendous atrocities went on from February 1st to the 3rd.  The rebels returned home heavy laden with booty without even having seen an enemy.


  In Tolna, Somogy and Baranya Counties all the prelates and upper nobles (magnates) remained loyal to the Habsburgs.   Only the Abbot of Székszárd, Michael Mércy and the two Esterházys, Anton and Daniel, joined the rebels.  The officials of the Counties and the operators of the estates of the nobles fled for their lives while they still could.  When that was not possible they sought to make arrangements with the rebels.  What happened in Pécs and in other places poisoned their relationships with the Serbs.  At the end of February 1704 some 3,000 mounted Serbs assembled at Sziget and rode to Pécs and took the city.  On March 25, 1704 the Serbs plundered Báta.  At the same time the Serbs living in the areas around Buda began to become belligerent.  In April the situation in Tolna County was catastrophic.  The Serbs came from the north and south and plundered villages and then put them to the torch.  Eventually the rebels were chased across the Danube by General Heister.  From September 1704 until November 1705 the Imperial Army was in charge of the region that would one day be known as Swabian Turkey.


  On November 4, 1707 the troops of the rebel General Battyányi crossed the Danube and  took Dunafӧldvár in daylight on the 5th.  Soon the Kurucz rebels had retaken most of the former territory they had held with the exception of Buda, Pest and Raab and a slice of  Western Hungary which remained in the hands of the Imperial troops.  As a result, on June 14, 1707  the Landtag of Onód asked for the abdication of the Habsburg Emperor.


  Prince Eugene of Savoy, a military mastermind, appeared on the scene and the fate of the rebellion was sealed.  At Trencin in Slovakia the elite troops of the rebels were defeated on August 3, 1708.  Not even the victory of the Kurucz Brigade under Adam Balogh at Kӧlesd on September 2, 1708 could halt the inevitable outcome of the war.  On August 28, 1709 the rebels in the fortress of Simontornya raised the white flag.  In the summer of 1710 the rebels attempted to set foot in Swabian Turkey once again.  An advance guard crossed the Danube on July 14th led by Adam Balogh and reached Kӧlesd a day later.  Another force arrived from across the Danube at the beginning of August.  On August 15th the rebels took the earth works at Ujpalank by Székszárd and burned the bridges.  They retook the fortress at Simontornya.  After a rather ineffectual campaign, Adam Balogh and his rebels were surrounded by Imperial troops at Székszárd on October 29, 1710.  His force consisted of a few hundred men.  Most of them perished in the uneven battle that followed.  Adam Balogh and seven others were captured.  He was put on trial and on February 6, 1711 and he was executed in Buda.


  The day to day difficulties of those living in Kurucz held territory increased.  The nobles lost their interest and eagerness for war and wanted to get their subjects back to useful work.  The Hungarian serfs were also fed up and had no hope of winning.  Why should they go to war and just remain serfs trying to eek out an existence?  After prolonged discussions the Peace of Szatmár was signed on April 24. 1711 by the Imperial General, Johann Pálffy and the Kurucz General, Count Carolyi.  On April 30th the 149 Kurucz regiments handed over their standards and made their way home.  So ended the revolt.  The Hungarian nobles were guaranteed all of their rights once more.  The battle weary peasants returned to their masters.  Their hope for freedom was denied once again.  Franz Rákӧczy went into exile in Poland and later lived in France.  In 1716 when Sultan Achmed III went to war with Charles VI of Austria, Rákӧczy hurried to Turkey.  He was unsuccessful in finding a military role in the Turkish campaign.  He died in Turkey on April 8, 1735.  He became the national symbol of Hungarian opposition to the absolutism of the Habsburg Emperors in the century ahead.  After the revolt was put down with the Peace of Szatmár the following years were followed by the rapid economic development of Hungary.  Post stations were set up from Vienna where the Abbot of Báta continued to reside for some time as a degree of normalcy began.


  He proceeded to build a two storey, many-roomed mansion residence for himself at Bátaszék in 1718.  He spent a great deal of time there.  It was also in 1718 that he began to settle Germans on his estate, a project he continued to carry out to the end of his life.


  In 1722 he forced the Orthodox Serbs to leave and moved them to Leperd because they did not respect the Roman Catholic holidays and festivals.  On the night of September 19, 1727 at ten o’clock in the evening, the inhabitants of Bátaszék were awakened by screams and shooting.  People who lived closer to the Abbot’s residence could see a mob climbing up ladders to the second storey.  Guesses were that the attackers numbered from anywhere between 25 to 60 persons.  The bandits carried out their raid over the next three hours and carried off a great deal of loot.  The villagers discovered that the Abbot and three of his retainers had been murdered and three others were badly wounded.


  County officials carried out an investigation.  Their report indicated that the Abbot had been decapitated.  It was assumed that the robbers numbered sixty and came from the other side of the Drava River.  These Serbian robbers were “worse than the Turks.”  Since no action could be taken against the unknown bandits, the elected County officials sentenced three of the community leaders to one hundred lashes for failing to raise a force to take on the robbers.  The chief suspects were the Serbs who had been forced to leave and settle in Leperd.  But none of them ever confessed to the crime although they were imprisoned and tortured.  Numerous trials, hearings and interrogations followed that involved the Serbs in Nána as well.  This was also done under torture.  In addition there were also allegations that Calvinist Magyars were the ones who had provided the ladders.


  Despite his predecessor’s experience the new Abbot settled Orthodox Serbs on the estate in nearby Nána in 1723.  Earlier in 1719 Bátaszék was elevated to the status of a market town.  It was located on an ancient crossing point over the Danube.  The Schawitz River joined the Danube there and could accommodate smaller vessels.  Wine was a major product brought for sale at the market.  Bátaszék was a long single street 4 kilometres in length.  The lower part of the village was inhabited by Calvinist Magyars and the upper village housed Roman Catholic Magyars.  In 1720 by order of the administrator of the estate two of the houses were torn down to cause a physical break between the Roman Catholics and the Calvinists.  Alsónyék was settled by Hungarians in the Middle Ages.  Since 1626 the inhabitants held to the Reformed (Calvinist) faith.  Sarpilis was destroyed by Serbs in 1704 and the survivors fled to Alsónyék.  In 1724 the small village was newly settled by Calvinist Magyars.  The village was settled by refugees from other villages burned and plundered by the Turks and then later the Serbs attacked them in the same way during the Rákӧczy uprising.  Additional settlers came to Decs and from other Reformed settlements in the Tolna.  After the liberation from the Turks the new estate owner Count Georg Wallis refused to tolerate Protestants on his domains.  Whoever refused to convert to Roman Catholicism was driven out of town.  A portion of the loyal Calvinists found a home in Pilis and Decs.  Decs became an important village and would  maintain its Calvinist character in the future.


  During the time of Jacob Ferdinand Jany’s ownership of the Báta Abbey lands and estate from 1703-1728, the number of families who were his tenant subjects increased from 87  to 284 families.  Following Jany’s murder, the Emperor Charles VI granted the Abbey and estates to Sigismund Kollonics the Archbishop of Vienna.


  The first German settlers to arrive in Bátaszék came around 1720 and were referred to as Franconians.  In the winter of 1721/1722 there was a great deal of dissatisfaction among these settlers.  The ringleaders of the unrest were Paul Ebner, Johann Adam Enteres and Johann Eberhard Schmidt and there were others such as Hog, Fischer, Ritter and Till.  They chose Ebner and Enteres as their deputies to complain to the Emperor Charles VI (Hungarian King Charles III) about their situation with regard to their landlord.  They left for Vienna in the Spring of 1722 and were given an audience with the Emperor in April.  They informed him that they had not received any land, meadows or house lots.  The Emperor gave Ebner a letter in defence of their claim (now lost) and a letter was also sent to the Royal Chancellery in Buda by the Royal Imperial Court.  They in turn informed the County officials who were to give a judgement in the case.  Both the County and Abbey officials did all they could to put the blame on the settlers.


  The Minutes of the investigation reveal that Paul Ebner (in 1722 he was 38 years old) came to Bátaszék with his wife Catharina Hoffmann and his children on May 2, 1719.  In 1722 he had six living children.  How many of them had been born in Bátaszék is not known.  He received no land nor a meadow even though he had a cow.  He and his wife gleaned in the estate owner’s fields and both of them were beaten for it by an onlooker.  Although he paid no taxes for three years he had to provide robot labour for the priest.  After his return from Vienna his letter from the Emperor was taken away from him by order of the Abbot.  Ebner was thrown into prison but the Abbot provided for his family.  After his release he and his family moved on.  In the tax list of April 24, 1723 he is no longer listed as a resident.


  Enteres (in 1722 he was 31 years old) came to Bátaszék before 1720.  He refused to co-operate and endured beatings.  He cleared one acre of land on his own which was taken away from him by the Serbs.  He lost his harvest thereby and had to go begging.  He too had to do free labour service for the priest.  After his return from Vienna he simply disappeared without a trace.  The Roman Catholic church records that were begun in 1722 indicate that a large number of the settlers moved away because of the situation in which they found themselves and some moved on to the Batschka.


  Sigismund Kollonics, the new Abbot, was born on May 30, 1677 in Nagylevárd in what is now Slovakia the son of a Count.  His uncle was the famous Count Leopold Karl von Kollonics the bishop of Wiener Neustadt and president of the Hungarian Royal Chamber and later Archbishop of Estergom and became a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.  Sigismund undertook his theological training and studies at the Jesuit school in Neuhaus in Bohemia.  He received his Doctor of Theology in Rome.  He was ordained a priest in Rome in 1699.  Upon ordination he was appointed Dean of the Cathedral in Estergom and named to the Imperial Council.  In 1709 he became Bishop of Vac.


  On July 1, 1716 he became the primary bishop of Vienna.  On June 1, 1722 the bishopric of Vienna was elevated to an Archbishopric.  Pope Benedict XIII named him a Cardinal on November 26. 1727.  On October 18, 1728 he was named Abbot of Báta.  It now belonged to the diocese of Estergom.  He died on April 12, 1751 in Vienna.


  During the canonical visitation carried out on April 24, 1811 it was reported that during mass the sermons alternated between German and Hungarian.  The Orthodox Serbs had their own priest, church and cemetery.  They were only 35 families and numbered 210 persons.  There was also a Jewish family of four who attended synagogue in Bonyhád.  The visitor also reported that Alsónyék had a population of 1,260 of whom 1,246 were of the Calvinist persuasion and had their own church and preacher since being officially recognized by the Emperor following the Edict of Toleration in 1786.


  The German families that settled in Bátaszék had their origins in Bavaria, Silesia, Lower Austria, the Steiermark, Tyrol, Swabia and Croatia.


  In the census of 1829 out of a total population of 4,986 living in Batászék the religious breakdown was as follows and consisted of Germans, Hungarians and Serbs:


  4,357 Roman Catholics

     563 Orthodox

       31 Calvinists (Reformed)

       22 Lutherans

       13 Jews


  On the Abbey domains the other communities had the following religious makeup:


  The village of Báta was now located in Baranya County and had the status of a market town and its inhabitants were primarily Hungarians:


  2,012 Roman Catholics

       27 Orthodox

     413 Calvinists (Reformed)

         6 Jews 


  The village of Alsónyék was primarily a Hungarian village:


        27 Roman Catholics

      818 Calvinists (Reformed)

          7 Jews


  The village of Pilis was entirely Hungarian in population:


      583 Calvinists (Reformed)


  The village of Decs was entirely Hungarian in population:


    2,000 Calvinists (Reformed)


  The village of Alsónána was a mixed nationalities village with German, Hungarian and Serbian inhabitants:


      8  Roman Catholics

  363  Orthodox

  643  Lutherans

    72  Calvinists (Reformed)


  The village of Vardomb had a German population:


  500  Roman Catholics


  The winds of change swept across Europe in 1848 and its impact was first felt in Pest on March 15,1848.  Hungarian youth and students met at the Cafe Pilvax and headed to the printing house of Landerer and Hichenast.  They had the national anthem written by Sandor Petӧfi and the “Twelve Points” of Mar Johai published without the permission of the censor.  At noon of that day 10,000 revolutionaries assembled in the square before the National Museum.  From there they marched to the State House in Buda and were joined by others and eventually numbered some 20,000.  The government officials met their demands and abolished censorship and released numerous political prisoners.


  On April 11, 1848 the last Landtag called by Ferdinand V assembled in Pressburg and he gave his Royal Consent to the Thirty One Laws decreed at their previous sittings in 1847 and 1848.  As a result future Landtags would be called by the will of the deputies  elected to it and not at the whim of the Emperor.  In addition to the nobles other landowners and property owners were eligible to be elected and attend the Landtag.  Merchants, artisans, clergy, teachers, notaries and all High School graduates were given the franchise.  The minimum age was 24 years but all voters had to demonstrate fluency in Hungarian.  (Translator’s Note:  males only.)


  In preparation for the election of the deputies to attend and participate in the Landtag the Counties established election committees to carry it out.  The term of the delegates was for three years.  The first assembly of “the people’s parliament” took place in Pest on July 5, 1848 and was declared open by the Paladin, Stephen Victor.  On October 4, 1848 the King abolished the recently elected body.  The parliament returned his decree on October 7th declining to comply with his wishes.  In the midst of this stalemate in response to Article XVI passed earlier in 1848 the County Administrations made up of nobles were replaced by an elected one representing the “estates”.  The new County Councils were in effect from May 1, 1848 to February 9, 1849 and from June 12, 1949 to August 1, 1849.  On the basis of Article IX of 1848 the Urbarial agreements and the robot (free labour service of the peasants for their masters) were both set aside.  The peasants were given the land they had worked for the nobles as if it was theirs in the first place.  The Emancipation of the Serfs was given royal approval.


  In Article XXII of 1848 the County Councils were empowered to establish a National Guard and they did so on June 6, 1848.  In Tolna County 2,179 men were called to arms.  (e.g. Alsónána had to provide a quota of twelve men).  Later the National Guard was expanded and Batászék formed the largest battalion in the County consisting of 597 men including 33 officers.


  The Croats, Serbs, Romanians and Slovaks were not simply content to sit back and allow the Hungarians all these freedoms without trying to obtain their own rights and autonomy.  Because the Hungarian parliament refused to allow this the minorities took up arms against them.  In the early summer of 1848 open warfare broke out.  Wherever possible the Serbs took on the role of opposition to the aspirations of the Hungarians.  A letter from Basil Mosanovic, the Serbian Orthodox priest in Bátaszék dated July 6, 1848 to Michael Aupic a fellow priest serving in Stanic was intercepted.  He wrote:  “My dear brother!  Remain healthy.  Because I have the opportunity to write dear brother I want to share my current situation here.  As you know we live here with the “rajahs”  (Translator’s Note:  a pejorative term with the inference that the Magyars tried to lord it over the minorities) in a semblance of friendship with which we are quite satisfied.  But I’m afraid we now have to forget all of that!  Our nationals  here must get involved in the bloodshed that is inevitable.  It is true that we live in peace and friendship with the Hungarian unbelievers (Translator’s Note:  non-Orthodox).  We have always had our differences but managed to get along.  My friend, we find ourselves in great danger here in Bátaszék.  We are afraid that in a very short time a St. Bartholomew ‘s Day Massacre will be visited upon us.  (Translator’s Note:  a reference to the massacre of the Huguenots (Protestants) in Paris on St. Bartholomew’s Day under the guise of offering them the right to practice their religious beliefs).  That is why I am taking leave of you.”


  On September 11, 1848 the Ban (Governor) of Croatia and now Commander of the Austrian Imperial Army, Joseph Jellačic, crossed the Drava River at Ligárd with an army of 15,000 men.  Simultaneously Vice-Field Marshall Hartlieb with an equal force also crossed the Drava in the vicinity of Bárcs.  The two forces united at Lake Balaton and marched on Szekésfehervár which they captured on September 26th.  But later on September 29th this united force was soundly defeated at Pákozd by Hungarian troops under the command of Vice Marshall Johann Móga.  After the defeat, Jellačic fled towards Austria and crossed over its frontier on October 8th.


  General Karl Roth had been able to cross the Drava around Stara with his army of 10,000 men on September 21, 1848.  He hurried with his forces to Szekésferhevár where he was to join forces with Jellačic but because he had fled from the area Roth sought to retreat back to Slavonia.  On October 7th he was surrounded by Hungarian troops in northern Tolna County at Ozora and was forced to surrender.  The officers were led into captivity.  The lower officers and enlisted men were unarmed and accompanied to the Drava River border and were set free to return to their homeland.  The heroes of Ozora were Mór Percel (later General) and Major Vilmos Csapó.


  On December 2, 1848 King Ferdinand abdicated.  His successor was his nephew, Francis Joseph, the eighteen-year-old Archduke.  On December 7th the Hungarian parliament declared that the succession was illegal and Francis Joseph was an usurper.  Despite that, the County of Tolna sent a Letter of Homage to the young Emperor on February 9, 1848 which was refused and returned by the Viennese Chancellery.


  On December 16th the Austrian Field Marshall Alfred Prince of Windischgrätz crossed the Hungarian frontier with a force of 44,000 men.  On December 31, 1848 the members of parliament and the Ministry of Defence fled to Debrécen in eastern Hungary.  Buda and Pest were abandoned.  On January 4th the revolutionary government commissioner Lászlo Csányi ordered the military evacuation of Swabian Turkey.  Canons, weapons, gun powder, military uniforms and other supplies were to be taken across the Danube and were to be stored in a safe area so as not to fall into the hands of the enemy.


  On January 5th Windischgrätz occupied Buda and Pest.  On January 19th he released a governmental decree effecting all of Hungary under occupation.  He divided the conquered territory into three sections.  The County of Tolna was part of the Ödenburg (Sopron) military district.  The Commander was Major General Buritsch.  The Imperial troops occupied Tolna County at the beginning of February 1849.  Gábor Dӧry was named Royal Commissioner of Tolna on February 17th.  This military occupation lasted for 74 days.  To show their loyalty the populace had to have an imperial flag flown from all church towers and all personal weapons had to be turned in.


   Francis Joseph sanctioned a new Imperial Constitution for all of Austria on March 4, 1849 and Hungary, Transylvania and the Serbian Wojwodina and the Temesvár Banat all became Austrian Crown Lands.  Croatia and Slavonia were also Crown Lands but were no longer bound to Hungary in any way.  This division of the Kingdom of Hungary into Crown Lands was rejected by the Hungarian parliament.  On April 4, 1849 they declared that Francis Joseph’s claim to the throne was not constitutional and his decrees were null and void.  The declaration took place in the Central Reformed Church in Debrécen.  They called upon the nation to continue the struggle against the Habsburgs.  At the same assembly Lajos Kossuth was elected Prime Minister of independent Hungary.


  Following their victory at Komorn on April 26, 1849 the Imperial Army had the run of things in Swabian Turkey.  The Imperial Corps Commander and the Croatian Ban, Jellačic who resided in Buda moved south with their troops.  On April 29th they reached Dunafӧldvár and on the 30th they were at Páks.  On May 1st they reached the town of Tolna and on May 2nd they were in Székszárd where they remained for two days.  On May 4th they arrived at Bátaszék and on the 5th they were in Báta.  On May 6th they and their troops left Tolna County heading for Dunaszkecsӧ.  With the departure of the Imperial troops, the revolutionaries under István Fiath took over power in Tolna County.  The County re-organized itself.  In order to protect the County from Croatian attack a 600 man volunteer force of the National Guard was to be established.  On July 20, 1849 the Croats attacked Báta plundered the village and burned it to the ground.  Two hundred and fifty houses were destroyed.  The Croats then quickly retreated at the first sign of the arrival of avenging Hungarian troops.


  The Emperor Francis Joseph requested military assistance from Czar Nicholas I of Russia on May 1, 1849.  They worked out the terms of the intervention at a meeting in Warsaw on May 21st.  The Russian Army crossed the frontiers of Hungary between June 15th and 18th.  The Hungarian government that had returned to Budapest from Debrécen on June 5, 1849 had to flee again.  They remained in Szeged from July 8th to 11th.  On August 9, 1849 the Austrian Commander, Julius Jacob von Haynau defeated the major Hungarian Army which was led by General Josef Bem.  He was of Polish origin and fled to Turkey where he served in the Turkish military.


  On August 11, 1849 Kossuth turned power over to General Arthur Gӧrgy and resigned.  Kossuth left for Turkey and then went to England and the United States of America.  Eventually he lived in Italy and died there in Turin in 1894.  At Vilagos (now Siria in Romania) Gӧrgy’s forces laid down their arms to the Russians on August 13, 1849.  Gӧrgy was pardoned by the Czar and kept interned at Klagenfurt for a short time.  He died at Visegard in 1916.  On August 17th the garrison at Arad surrendered and on September 15th the troops at Peterwardein turned over their weapons.  General Georg Klapka held out at the fortress of Komorn until October 2nd.  He handed over the fortress for free passage to foreign parts.  He was later a Major General in the Prussian Army.  His command was known as the “Hungarian Legion” because so many Hungarian revolutionaries later joined him.  This unit fought against the Austrians in the German War (Austro-Prussian War) of 1866.


  The first Hungarian Prime Minister, Count Louis Batthyányi was executed for high treason in Pest on October 6, 1849.  On the same day thirteen Hungarian generals who were seen as rebel officers of the Austrian High Command were executed in Arad.  There were and additional 114 death sentences imposed on others involved in the revolution.   There were hundreds of others who were sentenced to prison for countless years.  Many fled to foreign lands where they were welcomed as “freedom fighters.”


  At the end of August 1849 the Imperial troops returned to Tolna County.  Right behind them came the Emperor’s officials.  As part of the Military District of Ödenburg there were also civilian districts that were established.  Gábor Dӧry was in command of the Military District and a new structure was put into effect in October.  A civilian government for Tolna County was established to which Baranya, Somogy and Tolna Counties belonged.  Cholera epidemics followed on the heels of the conflict and suppression of the revolution in 1848, 1849 and 1850.  The following number of deaths in Bátaszék are recorded as a result of the epidemic:  in 1848 there were 190, in 1849 there were 343 and in 1850 there were 177.


  During the First World War there were 160 men who lost their lives both on the war front and in prisoner of war camps in Russia.  Beginning in 1928 there was a large scale emigration to Canada.  During the interwar years the Volksbund movement had its beginnings throughout Hungary and a local chapter was founded in Bátaszék on October 6, 1940 prior to Hungary’s entry into the Second World War as an ally of Hitler and the German Reich.  In the census conducted throughout Hungary in 1941 the following statistics pertaining to Bátaszék are available.  There was a total population of 7,153 of whom 3,369 were Hungarian, 3,777 were German and there were 5 Serbs and 2 others.


  The census further indicates that in terms of the population’s mother tongue 2,399 claimed that Hungarian was their mother tongue and 4,665 indicated German in their response to the question.  These figures demonstrate how complex the situation was at the time in that 1,000 Germans claimed to be Hungarian in terms of their nationality.


  The religious preferences of the population were as follows:  6,684 Roman Catholics, 25 Orthodox, 198 Calvinists (Reformed), 122 Lutherans, 30 Baptists and 103 Jews.


  On February 1, 1942 the Volksbund carried out their first recruitment effort to secure volunteers from among the Swabians to serve in the SS and the German Armed Forces.


  It was also In 1942 when the Loyal to the Homeland Movement began throughout the area and had a strong following in Bátaszék and many families left the Volksbund.


  On July 1, 1943 a second recruitment campaign for volunteers to serve in the German Armed Forces was begun and carried out by the Volksbund with very mixed results.


  When the German Army occupied Hungary on March 19, 1944 both German Army and Waffen-SS units were quartered in the homes of the local population.  Between March 20 and the 25th the first actions were taken against the local Jewish population.  At that time twelve to twenty of the able bodied Jewish men were dragged off from their homes.  This action was carried out by the Gestapo and SS units but they were also assisted by some local men from the Volksbund who volunteered to help.  On April 12th the third mustering and recruitment drive took place which was not of a voluntary nature and effected all men of military age as defined by the Volksbund but did not include the leadership of the organization.


    On May 12, 1944 a Ghetto was established in Bonyhád and the remaining Jews in Bátaszék were sent there one week later.  There were 77 persons according to one report.  This action was carried out by Hungarian policemen.  They would be on the last railway convoy to leave for Auschwitz from Hungary.


  A Volksbund organized evacuation left Bátaszék on November 21, 1944 and consisted of some married women and children.  They arrived in Knittelfeld in the Steirmark on November 25th where they were first billeted in a school.


  Russian troops occupied Báta and Bátaszék on November 28, 1944 and Vardom on the following day.


  On December 28, 1944 the Russian Military Commander in Székszárd ordered that all able bodied men and women of German origin report to perform public labour.  Men from the ages of 17 years to 45 and women from 18 years to 30.  The local civil authorities were to carry out their registration and the subsequent action.  There were 4,443 persons effected in Tolna County.


  On December 31, 1944 approximately 180 men and women from Bátaszék were assembled and kept in the local school for three days and then taken to Baja where they were loaded onboard cattle cars.  Eleven persons managed to escape.  The others were taken to Kadjewka-Dombas in Ukraine.  They men had to work in the coal mines there for five years and the women had to work on construction for three years.  Because of the conditions, lack of food, hard work and epidemics in the camp 40 of the men perished along with 14 of the women.


  In March 1945 all of the German inhabitants of the village were interned.  Those older than 50 years of age were imprisoned in Bogyiszló and those who were younger where kept under strict guard in the camp at Székszárd.


  In May 1945 the homes and property of all those interned were confiscated and given to Hungarian refugees from the Bukovina.


  At the end of 1945 the evacuees who had fled to the Steiermark returned home at the insistence of the British occupying forces in Austria.


  On November 28, 1946 a railway convoy with 300 expellees from Bátaszék onboard left for Lower Franconia in Bavaria.  They were allowed to take very little with them.


  In June of 1947 Hungarians expelled from Slovakia were settled in Bátaszék.  Most of them were farmers.  They brought their livestock, agricultural implements and household furnishings.  In order to make room for them the local Swabians were re-settled in Bátaapáti.  Later they were expelled from Hungary and sent to Germany.


  On August 21, 1947 another railway transport with 300 German expellees from Bátaszék left for Pirna in Saxony in the Russian Zone.


  There were 40 of the local Germans who volunteered to join the expellees from Véménd who left for Zwickau in Saxony in September 1947.


  On February 17, 1948 another railway convoy of expellees left with 750 German inhabitants of Bátaszék among them and would head for Sachsen-Anhalt in the Russian Zone of Germany.


  The final convoy of expellees from Bátaszék numbering 750 persons left for Pirna in Saxony on February 28, 1948.


  A total of 2,100 of the German inhabitants of Bátaszék were expelled from Hungary of which approximately 1,800 were sent to the Russian Zone of Germany.  Approximately 800 of the latter crossed over the border illegally into the Western Zones.


A Postscript on the Persecution of the Jews in Hungary


  The Hungarian Parliament passed its first anti-Semitic law on May 29, 1938:  Article XV/1938 narrowed their participation in higher education and the economic and community life of the nation.  It was followed by another on May 5, 1939 Article IV/1939 which took away certain civil rights from the Jewish population.  On August 9, 1941 the Hungarian Parliament passed Article XV/1941 in which the marriage of Jews with non-Jews was forbidden to protect the “race”.  On April 5, 1944, following the German occupation all Jews were ordered to wear a yellow star of David.  From May 15, 1944 to June 17, 1944 all Jews living on the territory of the Kingdom of Hungary with the exception of Budapest were deported to extermination camps.


  The events that took place in Bátaszék with regard to its Jewish inhabitants was reported  by Florian Bárd a local teacher:  “The German occupation of Hungary on March 19, 1944 took the Hungarian population by surprise and filled them with a sense of foreboding.  The German troops who arrived in armoured vehicles waited for other formations to pass through Bátaszék.  On the day of their arrival the German Commander called the community leaders together to ascertain if the Hungarian inhabitants would protest and how he should contend with opposition.  The community leaders assured him that was not the case.  In actuality the young Hungarians shared the view that the Germans should be driven out but the older Hungarians had talked them out of it.


  After the German occupation, the Volksbund became much more powerful.  It exerted its  influence on the community leaders and made all kinds of threats when they faced any opposition.  The German military commander also worked very closely with the Volksbund.  The mistreatment of the Jews began almost immediately.  They were attacked publicly in the streets, stripped of their clothes and tortured and tormented in the Volksbund headquarters.  When the Hungarian police attempted to enter the Volksbund headquarters to demand the secession of the torture they were prevented from doing so by the German MPs who were on duty.  Later the Volksbund members helped to carry out the assembling and deportation of the Jews.


  A police report indicates:  “In Bátaszék the Volksbund leaders and SS soldiers rounded up twelve Jews and took them to the Volksbund headquarters where they were tortured.  Their homes were ransacked and their possessions were thrown out on the street.  A number were taken by the SS and the others were taken by Volksbund members.  They also extorted 200,000 Pengo from their prisoners.  Some of the money was used to purchase four to five teams of horses.  The Jewish lawyer, Baum, had his arm broken, a retired banker, Adolph Halasz had an eye knocked out of his head.  In the night of March 22nd and 23rd the windows of the houses of those Swabians who were part of the Loyal to the Homeland Movement were smashed in.  This re-occurred on the night of March 27th and 28th.”  The same police officer reports:  “Florian Krämer, the Volksbund Führer, for southern Swabian Turkey was informed of these activities by me personally on the 26th of this month in Székszárd.  He informed me in turn that he would fire the Volksbund Führers in Bonyhád and Bátaszék and all those members who worked along side the German Armed Forces would be “kicked out” of the Volksbund.  The German Commander of the troops in Székszárd also promised me that he would investigate the reported actions and punish the guilty.”


  On the basis of my memory these kinds of specific actions, especially those directed against the Jews were ordered by the central office of the SS and the Gestapo without the support of the Hungarian officials.  Later it was admitted that the Jewish Council received daily instructions from the Gestapo to carry out actions on the members of their community.  According to reports, however no longer available, they were supported in this by the loyal members of the Volksbund and the Arrow Cross Party (the Hungarian Nazi Party).  The Sztojay Arrow Cross government was zealous in carrying out actions against the Jews and any of the other wishes of the SS.  On March 20, 1944 the Sztojay government issued a series of laws to minimize the rights of the Jewish population.


  In the middle of April the apprehending of the Jews began.  The Minister of the Interior ordered a census of the Jews in a secret memo to the police.  These lists of names were given to various secret service organizations and the Ministry of the Interior.


  The Regulation 1610/1944 of April 26, 1944 concerned itself with questions about houses owned by Jews and the communities in which they lived.  In communities with less than 10,000 inhabitants, the leading official of local government could order the Jews to leave the community by a given deadline.  In those communities which the Jews had left, no other Jews were allowed to move in.  In communities with more than 10,000 inhabitants Jews could only live in designated areas usually certain streets and houses.  The possessions and property left behind by the Jews should be placed in the control of the local officials and administrators.


  On May 12th every Jewish family in Bonyhád received a written order informing them that they had three days to move to the Ghetto and leave their homes and possession outside of the Ghetto behind.  A few weeks later the Jews in the Ghettos in Székszárd and Bátaszék were moved to the Bonyhád Ghetto.  There were a total of 77 persons from Bátaszék involved in this action.  In the afternoon of July 1st the entraining of the people began.  The local authorities played no role in this.  It was carried out by the police who were ordered to Bátaszék from somewhere else.


  A few hours before noon the convoy arrived at the railway yards of the train station in Pécs.  At the order of the police who accompanied them they were marched off to the Lakits-Husar Barracks.  They were met there by many more people.  The captives were placed in the numerous barracks and had to sleep on the bare floors.  The authors of the deportation plan also wanted to torture the unfortunate people’s sensitivity as well.  In the barrack courtyard latrines were set up in such a way that its use resulted in a public display of their bodily functions.  They stayed there for three days.  At noon on July 6th the trains were loaded with thousands of people who had been assembled at the barracks.  For most of them it would be their last journey.


  According to the records of the synagogue in Bátaszék there were 135 persons of the Jewish faith associated with it in 1941:


  Bátaszék                    103                            Exterminated                  83

  Báta                            14                                                                      12

  Alsónyek                      8                                                                        3

  Sarpilis                         4                                                                        3

  Vardomb                      6                                                                        6

  Alsónána                      0                                                                        1


  There were 108 persons who died in the extermination camps and only 20 ever returned home.  The fate of the others remains unknown.  A memorial was erected in the Jewish cemetery in their memory.


  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.

Next Page »