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.

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