The following information is a summary and partial translation of pertinent sections of the Chronik der ev. Luth. Gemeinde Szárazd im Komitat Tolna Ungarn by Johann Wolf.


  A Celtic settlement once stood on the site of the future Szárazd and Roman artefacts are also plentiful in the vicinity.  In 1259 it was recognized as church property and a church building existed as early as the 15th century.  The Turkish occupation resulted in its total devastation.  It was re-established and developed by German settlers moving into the area in the 18th century.


  Many of the German settlers in Szárazd actually re-settled from neighbouring villages that had been established earlier.  They did so to increase their land holdings or were offered better terms from the private landlords who owned the land or were escaping bad conditions on the estates of the nobles where they had settled.  Families often had eight or more children and were confronted with a high infant mortality rate.  The survivors were in need of additional land and sought landlords with available undeveloped holdings to secure an economic future for their families.


  Following the liberation of Hungary from the Turks the devastated holdings were of no value to the nobles who held title to the land and so therefore they sought settlers who would cultivate and develop their estates for them.  Serbs and Croats came from the south and were primarily cattle herders and hunters, while from the west German settlers streamed into Hungary by way of the Danube River who were in search of farm land.  This original colonization came to a dead end with the Rakoczy Rebellion (Kuruz) beginning in 1703 and lasting until 1711 at which time chaos reigned and the plague broke out and decimated the ranks of the peasant rebels and the area was left totally pillaged and plundered.  During the 17th century the nobles either fled or perished with the coming of the Turks and many of the estates were orphaned or the owners no longer had any legal claims on their estates or lost them unable to pay the war taxes to pay the armies that liberated the area.


  Many of the German troops and others who served the Habsburgs in the War of Liberation were paid or granted estates for their services.  But they also had to pay a “fee” for this transfer of ownership.  This was true of Jossip Monasterly, the Serb commander.  He subsidized a military formation and fought on the side of the Emperor against the Turks.  He was a close personal friend of Ladislaus Döry of Jobahaza the Hungarian agent of the Royal Chamber in Vienna who had the inside track on the Emperor’s policies.  The two of them made plans to secure some of the unclaimed estates in southwest Hungary and split them among themselves.  Döry was of the lower nobility and was not in a good position to receive a land grant but he had money and good connections as a lawyer.


  As a result, on August 18, 1701 the Emperor in Vienna passed a resolution to the Royal Chamber in Buda that Jossip Monasterly be awarded twelve estates valued at 10,8000 Gulden for his personal financial support of the war effort since his youth.  He was obligated to allow the Roman Catholic religion to be practiced unhindered by the settlers on his newly acquired lands.  That stipulation was made because he was Serbian Orthodox.


  At the Peace of Szatmar the Habsburgs were declared the King of Hungary and a year later in 1712 Charles VI was crowned at Pressburg.  Now the way was open for German settlers to come to Hungary.


  As a result of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) great need, suffering, destruction and epidemics ruled over vast areas of Germany.  While other European nations sent their excess population to their colonies, the German states had to recoup their population losses.  The French terrorized the Rhineland, plundered and destroyed the area.  The Emperor called upon all of the German lands for settlers in his “liberated” domains in Hungary.  Many of the troops involved in the campaign were recruited as settlers.  They knew the land and wanted to find their fortune as free farmers without feudal obligations. 


  Döry and Monasterly brought the first settlers in 1712-1714 from the region of Bieberach; about 188 families, consisting of 945 persons to settle in Tevel.  A larger stream of settlers followed them primarily from Hesse.  Hesse was overpopulated now and the situation of the peasants was not very rosy and they were frustrated over providing feudal dues to the nobles.  The idea of being free peasants granted land to work on their own was very enticing and many turned their backs on Hesse forever.  They had to purchase their manumission from their liege lords and if they were prevented from leaving many of them left illegally and secretly “bei Nacht und Nebel”:  in the night and fog.


  The settlement of the Tolna began.  The Magyar peasants could not participate because they were not free to migrate nor could they secure land.  They continued as bonded serfs with heavy Robot regulations (free labour for the nobles) and were unable to achieve their freedom and they were forbidden to change the location of their place of residence.  The nobles competed with one another for the German settlers.


  The most important colonizer in Swabian Turkey was Count Claudius Florimundus von Mercy of Argentau who was in charge of the colonization of the Temesvar Banat.  In 1722 he purchased the domains of Count Zinzendorf and others that included sites for twenty-five villages, which he immediately began to settle.  The few Magyars available were settled in Pálfa, Szentlörinc (Lutherans) and Kölesd (Reformed).  The German settlements of Count Mercy would provide Szárazd with its first colonists who later left in search of new land.  The major large-scale German settlement of Tolna County took place between 1722-1726 and many of these would later move on to Szárazd.


  Mercy’s adjutant Capatin Vatzi was sent to Vienna and met the immigrant trains on their way to the Banat who had to report there.  They received provisions and papers and were talked into not going on to the Banat but settle on Mercy’s Tolna estates with the same privileges they would have had in the Banat, except that they would be exempt from all forms of Robot.  Mercy showed a preference for Lutheran and Reformed settlers much to the displeasure of the Emperor who wanted only Roman Catholics in Swabian Turkey and the Banat.


  Mercy recruited his colonists in Vienna when the private landowners stationed themselves at he riverports along the Danube, at Paks and Tolna who offered the settlers even more concessions to entice settlers on their domains.  These promises were hardly or every kept.  When Mercy bought his Tolna estate some villages already had settlers:  Závod, Kismanyok, Varsád, Izmény, Apati and Högyesz.  In 1728 the first settlers arrived in Diosbereny and the Hungarians already living there promptly left.  Mercy made Högyesz a centre for artisans and tradesmen and forced them to settle there.


  The settlement of nearby Gyönk also played a role in the life and development of Szárazd and some families came from there.  After the liberation from the Turks, Gyönk  was an orphan estate that fell into the hands of the Magyari-Kossa family who were Reformed and they immediately began to settle the lands.  Eight Magyar Lutheran families from Veszprem County established the first Lutheran congregation here in 1713 and it was the first in all of Swabian Turkey.  Hessian Lutherans began to settle in the village in 1722.  The nobleman Peter Magyari-Kossa who was also a Reformed bishop refused to allow the building of a prayer house and parsonage to serve the Lutherans so that many of them left and moved on to Zomba and then later to Mekényes due to the pressure exerted on them to convert to Roman Catholicism.  At the same time the German Reformed settlers from Kismanyok and Nagyszékely moved into Gyönk.  In the following years new Reformed and Lutherans colonists, mostly from Hesse but also from Württemberg settled here.  In 1735 the first entry involving a family from Szárzad is recorded in the parish records in Gyönk.  The Lutheran families in Szárazd were apparently served by the pastor in Gyönk.


  Szárazd officially came into existence in 1737 on the basis of the contract that the Monasterlys offered the settlers on May 5th of that year when it was known as Puszta Szaratcs, so-called by the Magyars living in the area.  The early history states that several inhabitants in Kéty settled on the puszta owned by Captain Monasterly.  They were charged an annual rent, were free from providing Robot, had to give one half of a ninth of all they raised, including honey.  They could feed their swine acorns in the forests and were allowed to fish.  If they sold their houses and moved on the Monstarleys were owed one ninth of the selling price.


  The names of the first settlers from Kéty remain unknown.  Just a very few persons were involved.  A few families settled here directly from Germany but the great majority came from earlier settlements in the area.  Many came from Kistormás, Kalaznó, Hidegkút and Gyönk and the surrounding environs.  Most of them came from Hesse and several from Württemberg, the Pfalz and Saxony and the other provinces on both sides of the Rhine.  Johann Jusstus Alles came from Harxheim bei Alzey, the Jäckels came from Langenhain, the Mossbach family came from Eichelshain, Ritzels from Bleichenbach, the Rauchs from Bleichenbach, the Wagenbachs from Busek, the Waffenschidts from Trohe, the Bechts from Grünberg, the Wolf family came from Mosbach, the Frey family from Heftrich-Igstadt, the Müllers from Breckenheim, the Göbel family from Zeilbach, a Koch family from Homberg, Niess from Usenborn, a Müller family from Ebersbach in Württemberg, another widow Müller from Beuern, the Cappels from Wörfelden and the Schneickers from Kirtorf, and the Schells from Wingertshausen.  All of them had first settled elsewhere.


  The early church chronicle indicates:  “Szárazd belonged to the estates of two nobles.  Earlier there had been Croatians in the village.  Ruins indicate monks lived there at one time.  The village was founded in 1737 shortly after the plague hit Szakádat.  From its beginnings the village inhabitants were mixed, both Roman Catholics and “heretics” as the County officials indicated.  Together the two groups had a bell cast and had it installed in a tower in the cemetery.  From the outset the Lutherans did not want to be placed under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic priest under any circumstances and drove the priest Simon Kovács, a seller of relics out of the village.  Eventually they were forced to give in.  They held their assemblies in the home of Peter Hausser, the village notary and built a large room as an addition to his house where they gathered.  He also taught the children.  But the priest put a stop to it but he was unable to prevent their house gatherings.  They never paid their church fees to the priest.  The Lutherans increased at a tremendous rate and the priest claimed that they sought to eliminate the Roman Catholic population.  Whenever a Roman Catholic mentioned selling his house the Lutherans were quick to offer a good price.  There was not a single instance when a Roman Catholic purchased the property of a Lutheran.  If the nobles had not stepped in the village would have become entirely Lutheran.”  The priest writes, “as I am writing there are now only 16 Roman Catholic married couples as opposed to 73 heretical households.  Their biggest frustration is that they are forced to have a Roman Catholic as the village Richter.  And they are also angry having to pay the stipend for a Roman Catholic schoolteacher.  They sent their children elsewhere.”


  From its beginnings the vast majority of the settlers in Szárazd were Lutherans holding to the Augsburg Confession.  They received permission to have a schoolteacher of their own Confession who would also lead worship services as well as teach their children.  This occurred in the early phase of settlement beginning in 1738.  The teacher’s identity was kept a secret.  He was formerly a soldier but a well-educated man.  After five years he received and accepted a call to Somogy County and in 1743 Peter Hausser, a simple farmer well versed in Scripture and a man of deep piety took his place.


  In response to the request of the congregation he allowed the building of an addition to his house that was used for public worship.  Both he and the congregation had to face much opposition especially from the Roman Catholic priest in Szakádat.  But if the Lutherans were prepared to pay church tithes to the priest annually things would be silently tolerated.  The priest was in need of money otherwise he would have persecuted the Lutherans in Szárazd and Udvari.  The Lutherans were prepared to pay the price.  There was really no one to complain to and it was not safe to approach the landlord in Zomba because he was of the same persuasion as the priest.  The pastor from Gyönk visited the sick and often held clandestine services in the village.


  In 1776, on the feast day of St. Michael and All Angels, the beloved old schoolteacher and lay preacher Peter Hausser died and in his place the congregation chose his son Nikolaus.  In 1786 he studied in Pécs and with the Dean of the District’s blessing they called him as their first pastor after the Edict of Toleration.


  The village suffered losses during the First and Second World Wars.  In addition to the deaths on the frontlines were those who were deported to slave labour in the Soviet Union in January of 1945.  This involved twenty women and five men.  Three women and one of the men perished there.  Before the arrival of the Red Army, over three hundred of the inhabitants fled to Germany and later 242 persons were deported to the Russian Zone of Germany in 1948.  Approximately 150 remained but were swamped by incoming colonists from Eastern Hungary and Slovakia.


  Family names in Szárazd that would become familiar in Somogy County due to the migration there included:


  Abel, Appel, Bayer, Baumann, Becht, Bernhardt, Dechert, Ehl, Göbel, Grosch, Hartenstern, Heil, Herzog, Hock, Hoffmann, Holzapfel, Jusstus, Kaiser, Klein, Koch, Köhler, Lahm, Lapp, März, Müller, Muth, Ritter, Ruppert, Schäfer, Scherer, Schissler, Schmidt, Schneicker, Weil, Wentzel, Wilhelm, Wolf, Zart and Zeth.

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