The Nordschomodei in Swabian Turkey


  The source of the information in this article is taken from the “Heimatbuch der Nordschomodei” published in Münich in 1973.  And the subtitle is “The History of a  German Linguistic Island in Swabian Turkey in Hungary.”



  The term, Nordschomodei, refers to a government district covering the northeast portion of Somogy County.  This area was also known by other designations during the 18th and 19th Centuries:  Schümeger Komitat or Gespanschaft that are based on the medieval Latin Comitatus Simig(h)iensis. 


  One third of the area was heavily forested, the rest of the land was cultivated fields on steep rolling hills and deep valleys were there were numerous creeks, streams and rivers.  There was black earth in the lower lying land and red earth predominated in the hill country.  The highest elevation in the area was the Josephberg Mountain in the vicinity of Dӧrӧcske.  The hill country proved to be excellent for the cultivation of vineyards and the best wines were produced in Somogyszil, Dӧrӧcske, Tab and Lulla.


  The region suffered great devastation during the Turkish occupation and was virtually depopulated except for a few isolated hamlets that managed to survive.  By 1690 the area was liberated from the Turks as was true of most of Swabian Turkey.  The area in question would become a “linguist island” of German-speaking people in the districts of Tab and Igal in the north eastern-corner of the County.  As was true in other areas of Hungary the call for German settlers for the private colonization and re-development of the ruined estates of the Hungarian nobles was answered by them beginning early in the 18th Century.  The settlement that took place was closely related to the settlement of Swabian Turkey as a whole but particularly with that of Tolna County which took place earlier but had some special dynamics of its own.


  This settlement initially involved twelve communities in close proximity to one another where the inhabitants were entirely or almost entirely German.   In that sense they formed a linguistic island in an otherwise Hungarian County with a smattering of Slovak settlers and villages in their midst as well.  What distinguished them from one another was their religious confession.  There were Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed villages.


  The Roman Catholic villages included Nágócs, Pusztaszemes, Zics, Miklósi, Kara and Szorosad (which had a Lutheran minority).  The Lutheran villages were Dӧrӧcske, Gadács, Ecsény, Somogyszil, Bonnya and Kӧtcse.  The Reformed settled in Felsô Mocsolád and later in Bonnya.


  The place of origin of the settlers was from the various principalities in south-western Germany that were part of the Holy Roman Empire.  The major portion of them came from Württemberg, Hesse and the Palatinate (Pfalz).  The vast majority of the settlers had first settled in Tolna County before migrating to Somogy County.  Many of the families in Dӧrӧscke and Bonnya knew that their family origins were in Tolna County in Udvári, Szarázd, Gyӧnk and Nagyszékely (Grossäckel).  On the whole, the local dialects take on the basic characteristics of the one designated as Main/Franconian.  Later arriving settlers abandoned their own Swabian and Bavarian dialects for that spoken by their neighbours.  In the late 19th century as land grew more and more scarce young families moved into new mixed-nationality and mixed-confessional villages while others sought their fortune in Slavonia that had been opened to Protestant immigration while still others went off to America and later Canada.


  Living in their isolated enclave and linguist island, the so-called Swabians were always in danger of being swamped due to efforts to Magyarize them by government authorities.  The Lutheran communities proved to be more resistant and successful in retaining their German identity because the constitution of the Lutheran Church of Hungary guaranteed them the freedom to choose the language of worship and school instruction unlike the Roman Catholic communities that were deliberately assigned Hungarian-speaking priests and teachers.  This linguistic island numbered in the neighbourhood of 8,000 persons.


  With the expulsion of the Turks in 1690 as mentioned previously lawlessness reigned in future Swabian Turkey.  Robber bands, gypsies, marauders, army deserters and the Imperial troops struck terror in the hearts of the surviving population.  The boundaries of Counties and administrative districts were redefined or re-established.  In many places the County administration ended up in the hands of Germans that led to hostility on the part of the Hungarian nobility that had survived.  In 1701, one of the first tasks put to the new County administrators by Archbishop Kollonics who was in charge of the so-called repopulation of Hungary, was the immediate expulsion of any Protestants.  All of the Counties refused to comply because of the pressure applied by the Hungarian nobles.  In response to their defiance the Archbishop charged the Protestant nobles were allies of the Kurucz rebels who were carrying on guerrilla attacks and raids against the Habsburgs all across the country in an attempt to gain Hungarian independence from Austria.


  Up until the Kurucz rebellion ended in 1711, German settlement in Somogy County had been confined to garrison towns like Kaposvár and Szigetvár.  There had been no planned German settlement in the County prior to 1711.  The Nordschomodei had been the scene of plundering especially in the area around Igal which had been in the hands of the rebels who the Archbishop identified as the “Evangelical League” who were driven farther north from there in 1709 so that the redevelopment of the area could begin after 1711.


  The actual resettlement of the Nordschomodei had begun in 1690 consisting mostly of Hungarians brought from Western Hungary and Upper Hungary (Slovakia).  From 1709-1711 all of Hungary fell victim to the plague.  It was the plague rather than military might that led to the surrender of Kurucz rebels to the Imperial forces.  The resettlement of the County that had begun twenty years before was back to where it had started.


  A German settlement of the Nordschomodei began in 1712.  Other authorities claim the earliest settlement cannot be dated and that by 1720 only Szigetvár had a German majority.  By contrast only a  few households could be found scattered in the area.  There is another source that claims that by 1720 the interior of the Nordschomodei had been settled by Swabians from Württemberg who raised tobacco on the sandy hills and that a recruitment of German settlers in adjoining Tolna and Baranya Counties was underway.  The latter statement more accurately describes what actually took place.


  A County list of settlements covering 1715-1720 include Somogyszil and Német (German) Egres in the Nordschomodei which are both adjacent to the border with Tolna County.  Quite early both developed a Magyar character even though they would be in the neighbourhood of six German villages.  The inhabitants in both communities were all Roman Catholics and Hungarians.


  The second oldest German settlements in Somogy County were established in 1723 at Felsӧ Mocsolád and Nágócs.  Felsӧ Mocsolád was settled by Lutherans and Reformed from Hessen and the village could have existed as early as 1721 or 1722.  Nágócs was established by German Roman Catholics by Baron Adam Zichy.  On the basis of the records of the Lutheran Church District (Seniorat) that included all of Somogy County there were two German Lutheran congregations and settlements in the Nordschomodei in 1725.  One to the north in Kӧtcse and the other in Fiad.  The congregations were formally organized in 1725 but had been existence for some time before.  Other sources indicate that the various Protestant nobles who shared in the ownership of Kӧtcse settled Hessians and some families from the Palatinate (Pfalz) on their estate having recruited some of them in Tolna County shortly after their arrival there.  This settlement  could have taken place as early as 1723.  The Roman Catholic village of Miklósi was established in 1736 although there are other sources that indicate it was in 1726.


  The town of Tab should also belong to the resettlement that was initiated in 1720 in the Nordschomodei.  At that time, according to church records that are available to us it was a Slovak Lutheran settlement with a Magyar Reformed minority that had survived the Turkish occupation.  A Hungarian Roman Catholic parish was established there in 1759.  A German Lutheran congregation was established in Tab on April 11, 1730 according to the Patent granted by the Emperor Charles (Karl) VI for forty-seven German Lutherans living there.  There are other sources that suggest a date of 1712-1713.


  Bonnya needs to be included among these early settlements.  The basis for that are the Becht Family Chronicles.  Jakob Becht arrived in Bonyhád in Tolna County from Württemberg some time prior to 1730 to serve as the “underground” Levite Lehrer (schoolmaster and lay worship leader) to the Lutherans in the settlement.  At some point he was apprehended by the authorities and he and his young family were driven out of the settlement and sent into exile back to Germany but he and his family escaped and made their way to the hill country of Somogy County to serve a small band of Lutheran settlers who had established a congregation in Bonnya.  He arrived there on April 11, 1730 and posing as a farmer he served the congregation until his death and was succeeded by his son Peter who in turn was succeeded by his own son which would be the pattern followed for the next seven generations until October 1949 when the last of the Bechts was forced to leave when the Lutheran school was confiscated by the Hungarian State.  


  We have specific information on the establishment of Dӧrӧcske (Dӧrnberg) in the second half of the 18th Century.  The Lutheran Church records report:  “In the year 1758 in the month of May the fathers of the present inhabitants settled on the Puszta of Dӧrӧcske and on September 18, 1787 the nobleman, Josef Horvath was called as their pastor.”  This entry was written by Horvath himself, the first pastor of Dӧrӧcske.  Prior to the Edict of Toleration, the German Lutheran inhabitants in Dӧrӧcske were placed under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic priest in nearby Tӧrӧkkoppany.  Those church records indicate they were already there as early as 1738.


  In a letter written on behalf of the congregations in Dӧrӧcske and Lapafӧ to the Royal Hungarian Chancellery in 1786 they presented a petition to allow for the free expression and practice of their faith and the right to build a church and call a pastor.  It was granted.  This must be seen in light of Emperor Joseph II’s Edict of Toleration of 1781 which took years of struggle to realize in the two villages who both lacked the necessary one hundred families in order to qualify.


  Szorosad was settled in the 1750s; Ecsény 1776-1783; Kara 1757-1767; Pusztaszemes 1778; Zics in the 1780.  During the 19th Century new German communities emerged in Vámos, Polány, Somogyszil, Gadács, Ráksi, Somodor, Torvaj, Hács and Bize.


  The conditions faced by the peasant farmers and settlers in the years 1730-1740 got worse and worse with the nobles and landlords making more and more demands of them even in excess of the original contracts they had signed.  Peasants who rebelled were executed or simply run off of their land and German settlers were among them.  The German inhabitants of Kӧtcse lodged an official complaint against their nobleman landlord in 1757.  It was addressed not only to the County officials but they appealed directly to Vienna.  Over the objections of her advisers the Empress Maria Theresia responded positively to the charges of the peasants.


  Her Edict, entitled, Urbarium. was decreed on July 10, 1766 and went into effect on January 23, 1767.  The Hungarian nobility was enraged and the County officials led the opposition against its implementation and it took until 1770 before it began to take effect everywhere.  It was set in motion in Somogy County on October 30, 1767.  A questionnaire was circulated from district to district to ascertain present contractual conditions.  Many peasants were mistrustful and refused to participate.  The royal commissioners were often unsuccessful at properly assessing the situation.  If the peasants decided their present contracts provided more security than the new proposals of the Empress, the commissioners did not have a leg to stand on.  Many villages were under so many obligations to their landlords and their own needs were not considered nor were there any regulations to protect their rights.


  The significance of Maria Theresia’s Urbarium was that the position and status of the peasants was now to be regulated.  The new terms were not an easing of the tax burden for the peasants in Somogy County except in a few places on some private estates.  The peasants in Somogy County were troubled by the implementation of the Urbarium and openly opposed it.  But the number of peasants in the Empire who were happy with the changes vastly outnumbered those who were dissatisfied with it.


  The local County officials could make or break the Urbarium to their own advantage.  In Baranya where the largest settlement had taken place the Urbarium meant a great relaxation of demands on the peasants.  In Somogy County it was sort of half and half as the estate owners gained more rights and privileges than the peasants.  The nobles even reclaimed title to the free meadow land from their peasants.  Regardless of the initial response to the Urbarium and the resulting situation of the peasants the real significance was that in the future the Royal State Office had strengthened its right to be involved in determining the social and economic position of the peasants overriding the nobles exclusive control and hold over them.  The regulations within the Urbarium agreed upon in the Nordschomodei in 1767 were the same for the German and Hungarian peasants except that the Germans were allowed the freedom to migrate if they so chose.


  The Urbarium agreements for the various villages not only include the duties and rights of the peasants and nobles but also the names of peasants and provide a wealth of information for family researchers.  Names are often corrupted by the Hungarian official who was involved.




  Folting Tilk                                                    Johan Lantman (Landmann)

  Gerg Jung                                                       Johan Stifli (Stickl)

  Konrad Stilk (Stickl)                                      Johan Peter

  Heinrich Hokk (Hogk)                                   Gerg Adam

  Delhelm Defler (Valentin Tefner)                 Johan Ledig

  Sebastian Landek                                           Michl Pruder (Bruder)

  Henric Raidli (Reidel)                                   Philiphus Kalpin (Kelpin)

  Rupertus Konrad                                            Khonrad Miler (Mueller)

  Gerg Kausz                                                     Khonrad Peter

  Johan Jung                                                      Velheim Stelen

  Johan Ferber                                                   Just Pecher (Becker)

  Herinch Krild (Grill)                                      Vilhelm Feiber (Ferber)

  David Felda (Felder)                                      Nichlaus Masner (Meissner)

  Frantz Schmid                                                Johan Simon

  Leonard Landek                                             Johan Richl

  Andreas Landek                                             Heinrich Remer

  Johan Ferber                                                  Ulrich Fuser (Fischer)

  Khonrad Stilk (Stickl)                                    Johan Stochmon (Stockmann)

  Martin Miler (Mueller)                                  Gerg Mercz (März)

  Daniel Felber (Ferber)                                   Jakob Gross

  Balthasar Reinperg                                         Alexander Ksort (Zart)

  Andreas Verpak (Werbach)                           Michael Trost





  Johan Pruder (Bruder)                                    Jakor Lanthmann (Landmann)

  Villan Felldan (Wilhelm Felder)                     Adam Francz

  Johan Wiganth (Wiegand)                             Georg Till

  Hartman Rajcher (Reichert)                           Johan Fridrich (Friedrich)

  Stefan Helfenpan (Helfenbein)                      Heinrich Lux

  Georg May                                                      Paul Ugrik (Ulrich)

  Konrad Teffner                                               Jakob Viganth (Wiegand)

  Adam Felden (Felder)                                     Georg Lux

  Josef Teckmann (Deckmann)                         Georg Pruder (Bruder)

  Adam Teckmann (Deckmann)                       Andreas Hepner

  Kaspar Fridrich (Friedrich)                            Killian Ferber

  Peter Starck (Stark)                                         Johann Vegmann (Wegmann)

  Johan Ferber                                                   Johan Loor (Lohr)

  Josef Stekkel (Stickl)                                      Martin Loor (Lohr)

  Johan Gutman (Guthmann)                            Georg Gebell (Giebel or Goebel)

  Johan Harich (Heinrich)                                 Friedrich Zsub (Schub)

  Stefan Rajcher (Reichert)                               Johan Pumer

  Stefan Lanthmann (Landmann)                     Matthias Trummel

  Filip Pekker (Becker)                                     Konrad Fridrich (Friedrich)

  Stefan Landek


  In addition to these landowning peasant farmers there were the following cotters:


  Michael Hedrich                                             Stefan Czokli (Zӧckl)

  Josef Pruder (Bruder)                                     Georg Jererperger

  Martin Gebell (Goebel)                                   Johan Rajser (Reiser)

  Nikolaus Krische                                             Martin Gebell (Goebel)

  Stefan Korcz (Kurz)                                        Stefan Nefzer

  Andreas Perser                                                Franz Simon

  Martin Ferber                                                  Jakob Lerch

  Josef Bek (Beck)                                             Georg Herner

  The old Kurcz (Kurz)                                     Wife of Filip Rajser (Reiser)




  Michael Pem                                                   Joachim Santner (Szantner)

  Johan Nisselberger                                          Sebastian Tzink (Czink)

  Martin Steinbacher                                          Johann Nittner

  Josef Titz (Ticz)                                              Jakob Witz (Viszt)

  Ferdinand Gertowisch (Gerbovich)                Andreas Spandl

  Sebastian Bastl                                                Adam Schipl (Sipl)

  Stefan Geiger (Gaiger)                                    Adam Feder (Pheder)

  Sebastian Wist (Viszt)                                    Wilhelm Petri

  Adam Pem (Boehm)                                       Melchior Melicher (Melcher)

  Josef Baum (Baumann)                                  Franz Zertwegner

  Josef Spendl                                                   Georg Schipl

  Friedrich Erber (Erper)                                   Christoph Welf (Velf)

  Franz Strauss (Stross)                                     Nikolaus Grinn (Grün)


  In addition to the landowning peasants there were other residents:


  Johann Hammer (Hommer)                           Kaspar Zinck (Czink)

  Martin Zerwat (Horvath)                               Thomas Gloser (Gloczer)

  Johann Schneider (Snaider)                           Nikolaus Bastler (Bostler)

  Johann Furtner (Turmer)                                Basilius Schwab (Svob)

  Johann Mussperger (Muschberger)               Nikolaus Eckert (Ekkert)

  Sebastian Welsch (Vels)                                Kaspar Caspar (Gaspar)

  Johann Ritz (Risz)                                          Jakob Burger




  Johann Boldizsár                                             Stefan Fábián

  Johann Garabont Sr.                                        Sebastian Foltner (Faltner)

  Valentin Hahn (Hon)                                       Johann Hornung

  Johann Schicketanz                                          Elias Pergmann (Bergmann)

  Adam Balassa                                                  Michael Plech

  Peter Zsiros                                                      Nikolaus Schwab (Svob)

  Johann Gulás                                                    Franz Fazekas

  Johann Balassa                                                 Samuel Csapó

  Stefan Paál                                                        Johann Pintermann

  Michael Borza                                                  Thomas Schicketanz

  Michael Fábián                                                 Georg Kiss Takács

  Michael Varga                                                  Michael Seifert (Szajfert)

  Balthasar Pergmann (Bergmann)                     Melchior Rosenperger

  Georg Takács                                                   Georg Purchold (Burchold)

  Johann Ritz                                                       Joachim Pirck

  Christoph Frispold                                            Peter Kasoki

  Matthias Pantner                                              Michael Bonyai

  Elias Miller                                                       Georg Borza

  Johann Fábián                                                   Leopold Pem

  Stefan Gyӧrei                                                    Leonhard Weiner (Vajner)

  Andreas Bonyai                                                 Stefan Fábián

  Anton Rovás                                                      Adam Bonyai

  Stefan Balassa                                                   Johann Garabont, Jr.


  Cotters and residents:


  Johann Szabó                                                     Franz Kasolin

  Heinrich Rosenperger                                        Johann Tóth

  Johann Purchold                                                 Johann Balassa

  Andreas Róka                                                     Georg Frispold

  Sebastian Seifert (Szajfert)                         


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