Emperor Josef II
Dr. Viktor Pratscher
The Germans of the Community of Feketitsch]
Translated by Brad Schwebler
The eldest son of the Empress Maria-Theresia was born on 13 March 1741.
All the trouble and skill of his educators, the Jesuits, would make him
a stubborn Catholic. As a young man he would undertake a great
journey to all of the lands that he would one day rule. He wanted
to see everything as it really was, he traveled unknown and everything
proved to be good, because he had a sharp eye. In his distant
travels he also came to the region where our ancestors lived. Soon
he knew all their suffering and saw that they were very useful citizens
of the states, despite their firm Protestant beliefs. He valued
their industry and good sense. From them he chose the population
for the empty regions of his empire.
After the death of his father he
became the German emperor in 1765. After the death of his mother he also
ascended to the throne of the Austrian empire in 1780. He began with a
feverish activity. As enlightened people of the best and purest will were
inspired, he saw to it to put into effect his convincing, necessary and useful
plan. It was his primary goal to obtain by force a unified German state,
which still does not exist today. In the year 1781 he proclaimed the
"Toleranzedikt" (Order of Tolerance) with which he ensured that all Protestant
subjects would have religious freedom. From now on villages with more than
100 Protestant families would be allowed to build a church, though without a
tower and without bells and without an entrance from the street.
Protestants may not be restrained from visiting Catholic services, as was the
case up to that time. Protestants could as well occupy offices and honors
and acquire real estate, like the Catholics. In mixed marriages the boys
kept the religion of the Protestant father. These are the most important
points of the Order of Tolerance.
He dissolved 1000 of the
monasteries and convents left because they were of no use to society,
and from these he established schools and hospitals. He went
against the church of state by directing that all papal orders required
his approval. The Pope came personally to Vienna to get the
emperor to take back his orders. It was in vain.
In the year 1781 the
serfdom the rustic population would also be eradicated. The court
would bring an end to the many injustices. From now on before the
law all citizens would be treated the same regardless of their
background. He could not see where a crime should remain
unpunished because the guilty is a noble where otherwise the guilty
would have been hanged. For example he left his general slapped
into chains and restrained the street sweepers because they had
embezzled the pay of the soldiers. He worked tirelessly day and
night and wished that his staff and officials would share his enthusiasm
for state work and infect them with a joy for work and a progressive
With his reforms he ran
into resistance everywhere. The Catholic church fought him with
all the means of an old established great power. The
nobility were his enemy because he diminished their rights. Monks,
nuns, and priests let no opportunity pass to get the people and farmers,
who had so much to thank him for, to agitate against him, by biasing the
census in counting the homes and fields, etc. The officials sought
to shake off his strictness because they wanted to live in comfort but
they didn't want to work for it.
His best noble intentions
were unappreciated. Opponents and enemies stirred up the unrest.
As he saw this in his travels he turned back to Vienna, ill and
depressed. In an effort to offer a last service to his
subjects and try to reconcile with them, he retracted all ordnances on
his deathbed except the removal of the serfdom and the Tolerance Order
He was 49 years old when
he died. Emperor Josef II was one of the most noble monarchs in
world history. He lived for the welfare of his subjects and had
the purest of intentions. Only he was about 100 years too early
with his ideals. That was the tragedy of this great man who all
publicly aware Germans honor as a pioneer of German character.
During his rule the following
communities were settled in the barren Batschka.
In the year's:
1783 Petrovac with
1783 * Pacir - Hungarians
1785 * Veprovac - Germans
1785 * Kula
1785 * Palanka
1785 Bajscka - Slavs
1785 Feketitsch - Hungarians
1786 St. Moravica
1786 Stanisic with - Germans
1786 * Miletitsch
1786 * Brestovac
1786 * Conoplja
1786 * Parabuc
1786 * Baj mok
1786 * Krnjaja
In the year with Slavs
With them came the following 9
political tendency at this kind of settlement of different nationalities
is certainly difficult to derive. Many who stayed here earlier
lived according to the emperor's principle which stated,
"Where there are no active hands at
work and the land lays idle,
the treasury can expect no income."
Briefly stated a related slogan says,
"Where there is nothing, the emperor
has also lost the right."
About our ancestors he said,
"Plow me the ground, grow Schwabenfaust."
*These communities already existed
and only expanded with the new settlers.
[Published at DVHH.org by Jody McKim Pharr]