View Full Version : Ungarndeutsche, the Germans of Hungary

Friday, October 17th, 2003, 02:58 PM

Wednesday, April 14th, 2004, 06:16 AM
...and some links dealing with the Schwobs in the "New World"


Friday, October 30th, 2009, 07:28 PM
Germans of Hungary (German: Ungarndeutsche, Hungarian: Magyarországi németek) are the German-speaking minority of Hungary commonly called the Danube Swabians (German: Donauschwaben). Danube Swabian is a collective term for a number of German ethnic groups who lived in the former Kingdom of Hungary (today's Hungary, Romania, and several former Yugoslav republics). Hungary Germans refers to the descendants of Germans who immigrated to the Carpathian Mountains and surrounding regions, and who are now minorities in those areas. Many Hungary Germans were expelled from the region between 1946 and 1948, and many now live in Germany or Austria, but also in Brazil and the United States. However, many are still dispersed within the country of Hungary.


The immigration of German-speaking peoples into Hungary began in approximately 1000, when knights who came in the company of Giselle of Bavaria, the German-born queen of the first King of Hungary, Stephen I, entered the country.

Three waves of German migration can be distinguished in Hungary before the 20th century. The first two waves of settlers arrived to the Hungarian Kingdom in the middle ages (11th and 13th centuries) and formed the core of the citizens of the few towns in Upper Hungary and in Southern Transylvania (Transylvanian Saxons, "Siebenbürger Sachsen").[1]

The third, largest wave of German-speaking immigrants into Hungary occurred due to a deliberate settlement policy of the Habsburg government after the expulsion of the Ottoman Empire from Hungarian territory. Between 1700 and 1750, German-speaking settlers from Southern Germany, Austria, and Saxony immigrated to the regions of Southwest Hungary, Buda, Banat and Szatmár County. This influx of immigrants helped to bring economic recovery and cultural distinction to these regions. At the end of the 18th century, the Kingdom of Hungary contained over one million German-speaking residents. During this time, a flourishing German-speaking culture could be found in the kingdom, with German-language literary works, newspapers, and magazines being produced. A German language theater also operated in the kingdom's capital, Budapest.

Throughout the 19th century, a strong German industrial community developed, with glass-blowing, foundries, and masonry being particularly important. In response to this, the second half of the century saw the rise of a strong Hungarian nationalist political movement, whose purpose was to retain German economic power by assimilating the German-speaking citizens into Hungarian culture. As a mean toward this end, the German language was slowly replaced with the Hungarian language.

By 1918, at the onset of World War I, almost 2 million Danube Swabians and other German-speaking peoples lived in what is now present-day Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Slovakia and the former Yugoslav republics. Between 1918 and 1945 several factors greatly reduced the number of German-speaking residents in the kingdom so much that only thirty percent of the original German-speaking population was left after World War II. The number of Germans in the Hungarian kingdom was more than halved by the Treaty of Trianon in 1920, as the kingdom was forced to make large cessions of its territory to neighboring countries.

In 1924, under the leadership of Jakob Bleyer, the Hungarian Germans' Peoples' Preservation Society (German: Ungarnländische Deutsche Volksbildungsverein) was formed to combat the forced dominance of the Hungarian language in schools and government.[citation needed] However, the Hungarian government proceeded with its Magyarization programs. In this situation, the German-speaking community of Hungary looked for foreign intervention in its language predicament.[citation needed] This fact was very interesting to Hitler controlled Germany, and the German and Hungarian governments used the status of German-speaking peoples within the Hungarian state as a political bargaining chip.[citation needed] In 1938 a National Socialist German organization was formed, The Volksbund der Deutschen in Ungarn under the leaderschip of Franz Anton Basch and it became the most influental political organization among the Hungarian Germans. In 1940 it became the official representative of the Hungarian Germans and it was directly controlled from Germany. The Volksbund had representatives in the Hungarian parliament until 1945.[2].

After the end of World War II, the German-speaking community in Hungary was seen as a scapegoat by Communists. The advancing Red Army, referring to "security reasons", deported about 600,000 civilians and prisoners of war from Hungary, of whom 40-65,000 were Germans.[1] On top of this, a great number of Germans, mostly members of Nazi organisations, who felt threatened by the prospect of being deported to Siberia, fled from Hungary as well (approx. 60-70,000).[1] Many Germans were sent back to Germany, first to the American-occupied area of Germany, and later to the Soviet-occupied area. Overall, approximately 220,000 Germans were expelled from Hungary. From that point on, the history of Hungary Germans focuses on two points, the fate of Germans who remained in Hungary, and the fate of the exiles.


The main factor that brought the expulsion of Germans from Hungary into focus during the Potsdam Agreement negotiations was the Czechoslovakian proposal of expelling the Hungarian-speaking population from Slovakia together with the Germans of the Sudetenland.[1] Eduard Benes demanded the expulsion of Hungarians alongside Germans from Czechoslovakian territory already in 1943 supported by the Soviet Union.[1][dead link][citation needed](He originally planned to expel 600,000 Hungarians, around 90% of the total Hungarian population at that time.[1]) Benes’ plan was not supported by the United States or Great Britain.[1][dead link][citation needed] Due to the diplomatic pressure from the Soviet Union the treaty imposed that obligation on Hungary.[1][dead link][citation needed]

In Hungary, the Potsdam decision was the starting point of the expulsion process, whereas for Poland and Czechoslovakia the Allied Powers’ decision gave official recognition to the ethnic cleansing that had already been carried out.[1][dead link][citation needed] Moreover, Hungary, unlike other countries, had never demanded a total expulsion of her Germans and did not start to expel the German speaking population after the end of the war.[1][dead link][citation needed] The Hungarian Government rejected the idea of collective responsibility, for as long as it could.[1][dead link][citation needed] The expulsion of Germans from Hungary was opposed by both the government and the population of Hungary.[1][dead link][citation needed]

The expulsion of German-speaking people from Hungary began in 1946 in Budapest and continued until 1948. The Hungarian government was forced to take action by the occupying Soviet forces. All of their objections were rejected by the US and British governments.

The Hungarian Parliament decided in the summer of 1945 that the German-speaking population must be expelled from Hungary, and they passed laws forming the framework of such a movement on December 22, 1945. They took effect under an executive order issued January 4, 1946. The expulsion orders affected anyone who claimed German nationality or German as a mother language in the 1941 Hungarian census, anyone who was a member of a German ethnic organization, former members of the SS, and anyone who changed their Hungarianized surnames back to their German equivalents. At first, expelled Hungarian Germans were sent to the American-occupied section of Germany, but this was stopped on June 1, 1946, because the Americans would not allow Hungary to pay its war debts by simply returning seized assets to the displaced Germans. Approximately 170,000 Germans were sent to the American zone of occupied Germany in this time period. Another round of expulsions began in August 1947, but this time the expelled Germans were sent to the Soviet-occupied area of Germany. Many times, Germans were expelled from Hungary because of forced evictions from their properties. This phase of expulsions was more haphazard and unplanned, as some villages of Germans were expelled, whereas others were left untouched. Most Germans removed in this round of expulsions moved to refugee camps in the Soviet-controlled German province of Saxony.

Treatment in Post-War Hungary

The Germans who remained in Hungary fared even worse.[citation needed] Their citizenship was revoked in 1945, and they were then considered to be stateless. However, they were regranted their citizenship in 1950, and given personal identification. However, a difficult period ensued between 1950 and 1956, when Hungarian Germans were portrayed as enemies to the state and had to work, often for little or no pay, for kulaks,[citation needed] wealthy farmers who owned a majority of the land. Hungary German men were still conscripted into the Hungarian military, but were often given no weapons and substandard training, as they were viewed as expendable. Even given these conditions, the men were expected to serve three-year tours of duty.[citation needed]

In addition to this, many other inequalities could be seen.[citation needed] There are numerous instances where Hungarian German students were denied admission to universities.[citation needed] The discrimination was so widespread and pervasive that many Hungarian Germans abandoned the country in 1956 during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Many moved to West Germany or to Austria, the United States, Canada, or Australia. Speaking German in public was widely disdained, and often verbally reproached, even into the 1970s[citation needed].

However, things began to improve for minority groups, including the Hungarian Germans, under a program of economic liberalization called Goulash Communism. This movement, lead by the then- General Secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party, János Kádár, guaranteed certain economic rights to minority groups, as well as rights to practice their own cultures. In 1955, a new organization, the Association of Hungarian Germans (German: Verband der Ungarndeutschen), was founded. Its main goals included the interests of the Hungarian German ethnic group, including the release of the Hungarian Germans from Hungarian rule. Another major focus of the group was the teaching of the German language in Hungarian schools. Because of the government's position on German culture in the recent past, very little German was taught in schools at the time, and the group's organizer feared that "a mute generation" had been raised by the Hungarian school system. The group's organizers felt that the Hungarian German youth had a very poor command of the German language, including limited speech comprehension, which they found disturbing. The group met with success in the 1980s, when German gained status as a minority language, thus gaining legal standing in the Hungarian school system. The number of bilingual schools has continued to rise. In 2001, 62 105 people declared to be German[1] and 88 209 people had affinity with cultural values, traditions of the German nationality.

Notable People

Erika Áts - Poet
Béla Bayer - Writer
Jakob Bleyer - Scientist and poltician
Georg Fath - Poet
Ludwig Fischer - Writer
Claus Klotz - Writer
Wilhelm Knabel - Writer and publicist
Valeria Koch - Writer
Josef Mikonya - Writer
Engelbert Rittinger - Writer
Franz Zeltner - Writer
Johann Weidlein - Scientist








Saturday, May 28th, 2016, 12:26 PM
Here some more interesting informations about the ethnic Germans of Hungary:

Ethnic Germans in Hungary

According to the 2001 census, 33,792 people reported German as their mother tongue, 62,233 people reported their ethnicity as German, 88,416 people had ties to German ethnic traditions and 53,040 people used the German language with family or friends.

On 1 January 2009, there were 377 German local (town-level) minority self-governments and 11 county-level self-governments. As a result of the elections held on 3 October 2010, 424 town-level minority self-governments were set up – a growth of 12.2 per cent – and the number of county-level self-governments remained at 11 (Budapest and ten counties). 2,223 candidates from 48 minority organizations stood at the elections.

The National Self-Government of Germans in Hungary (MNOÖ) was set up on 22 January 2011, and the electors voted for a 37-member body. The MNOÖ supports the work of minority self-governments through 11 regional offices, and it cooperates closely with the national associations and institutions of ethnic Germans through its committees, paying special attention to educational institutions.

The network of German educational institutions in Hungary has been established and developed significantly in the last decade. In the academic year of 2008/2009, there were 198 bilingual kindergartens, 270 German primary schools and 21 German secondary schools (including 8 bilingual secondary schools) in Hungary. In the academic year of 2009/2010, there were 204 bilingual kindergartens, 242 German primary schools and 17 German secondary schools in Hungary. In several towns, the town-level German minority self-government runs kindergartens that promote ethnic German culture, and a town minority self-government operates a minority school as well.

Four universities train secondary school German teachers, and 7 teacher training colleges and college-level departments train primary and secondary school teachers. German language kindergarten teacher training is available at 3 colleges and college-level departments.

The number of German associations in Hungary is in the hundreds. These include cultural groups, choirs, orchestras and dance groups. National associations include the Nikolaus Lenau Cultural Association in Pécs, the Community of German Youths in Hungary, the National Council of German Singing, Music and Dance groups in Hungary (Landesrat), VUdAK, the Association of German Artists in Hungary, the Bund Ungarndeutscher Schulvereine, VUK-Verein für Ungarndeutsche Kinder, Deutscher Kulturverein, the Jakob Bleyer Association and the Association of German Students in Hungary.

The ‘Ungarndeutsches Landesmuseum Totis’ museum located in Tata is an important institution at the national level as well. There are 120 local historical collections, museums of country life and folk traditions in the country, and numerous studies were published of individual towns. The Budaörs German Minority Self-Government maintains the Bleyer Jakab Local Historical Collection (Heimatmuseum), which has been serving as the National Technical and Information Center of German Country Museums since January 2008.

The German Theatre in Hungary (‘Deutsche Bühne Ungarn’) is the only permanent German-language theatre in Hungary with its own building, and also the only permanent theatre in Tolna county. As the theatre of the ethnic German community in Hungary, its task is the preservation of the German mother tongue of the German community and the promotion of universal culture. Due to the geographically dispersed nature of the German community in Hungary, the theatre's performances held away from its seat in various major centres of the German community are crucially important. There are regular commemorations of the major events in the life of ethnic Germans in Hungary, their notable people and the major cultural events of the home country. Valeria Koch Day, held each year on 21 April, and organized as a competition since 2009, was introduced with the intention of creating a lasting tradition. The theatre regularly visits festivals in all neighbouring and countries and German-speaking areas, and works in close cooperation with partner theatres, the Bautzen German-Sorb Folk Theatre and the National German Theatre in Timișoara.

Amateur German minority theatres are mainly based in minority schools. School theatre groups regularly meet at youth theatre festivals and seminars. The supporters of the theatre movement also set up an association named ‘Förderverein für deutschsprachiges Laientheater in Ungarn’.

The libraries of the ethnic German minority have been attached to the county-level library network for decades, in some cases, with a scope of influence covering several counties. The Library of Germans in Hungary is a specialized public library, focusing on the entirety of the literature of the Hungarian ethnic German community including audio-visual material. The library is located in the House of Germans in Hungary, with the core of the collection made up by the book collection of the national self-government.

Most of the ethnic Germans living in Hungary are Roman Catholics, with evangelical towns located in Győr-Moson-Sopron, Tolna and Baranya counties. There are some reformed Germans in Hungary, as well. The largest Catholic German organization in Hungary is the Saint Gerard Sagredo Catholic Association, founded in 1991. The “Religious Music Working Group” of the National Council of German Song, Music and Dance groups in Hungary is working on reinvigorating and protecting the religious musical heritage of the ethnic German minority, and on collecting related objects.

The research of ethnic Germans in Hungary is coordinated by the Research and Teacher Training Centre for Germans in Hungary, which serves as an information centre for researchers, students working on their theses and teachers, and organizes meetings, conferences and exhibitions. Its employees publish several series of studies and ethnographic works every year.

Germans in Hungary have a 16-page public service weekly, ‘Neue Zeitung’. ‘NZ-Junior’, dedicated to the Community of German Youths in Hungary, is a regularly published supplement in the journal, as is the bi-weekly page of Catholic Germans in Hungary entitled ‘Ungarndeutsche Christliche Nachrichten’. The journal publishes a 12-page newsletter for the German School Associations in Hungary every three months, entitled ‘BUSCH-Trommel’. Once a year, NZ publishes a literature and art supplement entitled ‘Signale’. The almanac ‘Deutscher Kalender’, commissioned by the national self-government, is published every year.

Several national associations publish newspapers and publications. The best known is the ‘Sonntagsblatt’, published by the Jakob Bleyer Community. In many towns, the local newspaper has a German-language supplement, or it occasionally publishes articles or news in German, usually requested and edited by the local minority self-government.

The German minority radio editorial board, part of Hungarian Radio, is situated in Pécs. Hungarian Radio used to have a 2-hour daily German language radio show. The programmes of MR4 are broadcast via satellite 24 hours a day, and they are also available for download on the website of the public service radio.

‘Unser Bildschirm’ the nationally broadcast German minority television magazine of the Hungarian state television, which has been renowned for its high quality for decades, is produced in Pécs. In recent years, numerous local cable television channels have also started broadcasting bilingual programming.

The House of Germans in Hungary operates at 22, Lendvay Street in Budapest. The institution celebrated its 10-year anniversary in February 2010. It houses the editorial offices of Neue Zeitung, the Cultural Centre of Germans in Hungary and the Library of Germans in Hungary. The organization of the cultural life of the German community is a central element of the cultural plans of MNOÖ. The national self-government set up a limited company that operates the German House and downtown buildings bought in 1999.

The MNOÖ is in close contact with German-speaking countries and regions, with German minority organisations in European and other minorities German-speaking countries. The official representation of the ethnic German minority of Hungary is a member of FUEV (Föderalistische Union Europäischer Volksgruppen), and is a regular participant at the meetings of German workgroups and congresses.

Based on the Common Declaration (Agreement on the Support of German Minority and the German Language in Hungary) signed in 1987 and renewed in 1992, Germany regularly supports the ethnic German community in Hungary. Support is provided based on consultation with MNOÖ, organized by the Goethe Institut and the relevant ministries of the German Federal States (Länder) providing support, with the coordination of the Standing Subcommittee of the Hungarian-German Cultural Joint Committee and the Pedagogical Institute of Germans in Hungary. The Subcommittee meets every two years; the last meeting was held in October 2009 in Budapest.

Germans living in Hungary are supported from national, state and foundation resources, especially by Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, the Cultural Foundation of Danube-Area Swabians, the Institute for External Relations, the Goethe Institut, the Federal Office and the German Academic Exchange Service.


This year the Hungarian PM Orbán Pays Tribute To Ethnic Germans Deported From Hungary:

In his speech at the Parish Church of St. John Nepomuk, the Prime Minister said that the history of the 20th century testifies to the fact that when Hungary lost its sovereignty it expelled, robbed and drove out its own citizens – thereby leaving them utterly defenceless. Therefore, he said, “we cannot afford to allow the smallest chance for emergence of a world in which similar decrees and lists could be drawn up”, adding that only the strong government of a sovereign country can protect its citizens of different national and ethnic backgrounds from external forces and the accomplices within who are prepared to serve those forces.

The Prime Minister stressed that seventy years ago a process of deportation was carried out in Hungary and in other countries of Europe in the guise of relocation, and there was not a single wise and responsible person – including the representatives of the victorious powers – to resist it. In those times, he said, Europe “capitulated twice in a row: first it yielded to the lure of National Socialism, then to that of international socialism”, adding that a tragic common denominator of national and international socialism is that “they were capable of driving entire nations and ethnic groups into cattle trucks, based on the principle of collective guilt”.

The main reason for the unification of Europe, Mr. Orbán continued, was to ensure that such atrocities can never happen again. Today, however, the security of the continent is crumbling day by day, and the way of life based on Christian culture is in danger. He said that the question today is no longer whether the European nations will turn against one another, but whether there will be a Europe at all. In his speech, the Prime Minister had words of praise for the ethnic Germans living in Hungary. He said that the Swabian community in Hungary is an integral and inalienable part of Hungary and Hungarian culture. The Government supports preservation of the identity and culture of the Germans living here, he said.


Monday, November 21st, 2016, 02:13 AM
Approximately 800 villages were founded in Hungary by German settlers from 1711 to 1750. These German settlers came from the regions known as Baden, Württemberg, Alsace, Lorraine, the Rhineland, Westphalia, Bavaria, and Swabia, as well as from other areas. Even though they came from various regions and spoke various dialects, the Hungarians called them Swabians, and the name came to be used in reference to all Germans who settled in the Danube valley.

Although there had been German immigration to Hungary prior to 1711, the expulsion of the Turks resulted in an organized settlement program sponsored by the Habsburgs. The Habsburgs had three aims: 1) fortify the land against invasion, 2) develop farm land, and 3) further the Roman Catholic religion in Eastern Europe. They offered Catholics of the southwest German states inducements such as free agricultural land, home sites, construction materials, livestock, and exemption from taxes for several years.

The colonization came to be known as "der Grosse Schwabenzug" or the "Great Swabian Trek." The majority of the migration took place in three phases which were named after their Habsburg sponsors:

1. The "Karolinische Ansiedlung," or Caroline colonization occurred from 1718 to 1737. Fifteen thousand German settlers from this colonization were killed in Turkish raids or died from bubonic plague. This migration was technically restricted to Roman Catholics, but many Lutherans also immigrated to Hungary at this time. Lutherans had to find landlords tolerant to Protestants in order to settle there.

2. The "Maria Theresianische Ansiedlung," or Maria Theresian colonization occurred from 1744-1772. Seventy-five thousand German colonists rebuilt many of the settlements that were destroyed by the Turks. Again, this migration was restricted to Roman Catholics.

3. The "Josephinische Ansiedlung," or Josephine colonization took place under Joseph II from 1782 to 1787. This phase consisted of approximately 60,000 new German settlers who increased the economic prosperity of the Hungarian farm land. This migration was open to Protestants as Emperor Josef II had granted freedom of religion in the Habsburg Empire by that time.

After 1789, the government-sponsored colonization was discontinued, but some settlers continued to arrive in Hungary until 1829, after which only those with 500 Guilders cash were allowed to migrate.

Finding your Hungarian Village

Most death records in South Russia will show the deceased's place of birth, and many of the South Russian villages have compiled lists of original settlers and where they came from.

The Black Sea German Database has information on Germans from Hungary to Russia which includes the name of the Hungarian village, if known. This may be your best clue to finding your family's Hungarian town. You might also want to check out the Banat village list and the Batschka village list or check out our Hungarian village reference list.

Once you have a name, try Donauschwaben Villages Helping Hands or JewishGen Gazetteer for finding your village.

Church Records

A few church records for Hungary are avilable at the Family History Library (type in Hungary for collection name).

Census Records

A 1828 Hungary Land Census is available, but most of our German ancestors had already left Hungary by 1828. It is worth taking a look at. It may be available at GRHS.

Monday, November 21st, 2016, 06:34 PM
The last Swabian train/migrate to Germany.

This is a good think that here are many German school, however in this school go Hungarians too that they can speak German. It is about the language, not the ethnicity. Moreover when I am in a Swabian happening, the half or more of the half people is old. Those some young people speak in Hungarian each other.

I was in the last week a Presentation by the German Gymnazium students about the Swabians whos were in forced work in the Sovietunion or whos deported to Germany. The moderators spoke German and Hungarian too, in the presentation, in the movie the victims spoke in Hungarian except one old lady.

Moreover a young german can go German basic school and German Gymnasium, the language of all the universities is Hungarian, except the Germanistic profession where can go students with fluently German knowledge.

After the university the language of the workplaces is Hungarian or English. Here Hungary is impossible keep the German identity. This is impossible that a German man can find a German woman or vice versa. :(

I foretell that the German ethnicity in Hungary will extinct about the end of this century. You have two choice that you stay in Hungary and you assimilate into the Hungarian nation or you get into the train and you go Austria or Germany and you build a totally new life. Well, most of us will choose the comfortable first option, however I will choose the second one some day. :fdeutsch