Danube Swabian History
1700's | 1800's | 1900's | 2000's


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1. The History - The Oldest Time

    Excavations of the earliest time show that already in the older stone age people lived in the Batschka. The oldest known settlement cites lay near Theresiopel, Ludasch, Patschir, Morawitz, Topple, St. Thomas, so all in the area of the Löß Plateau.  These places found were attributed to the Würm ice age and should correspond to the late Solutvéen or early Magdalenian.  From the early stone age there are a whole row of known finds by the Löß Plateau as well as by the lower terrace. The oldest inhabitants of the Batschka reached their housing with a preference for steep drops.  In the Löß Plateau a gallery was driven into the mountain, and where this was not possible earth pits were made. These pits were the height of a sitting person buried in the earth.  Over that was a construction of wickerwork and clay.  The roof was made of branches and straw or from reeds.  Certainly in the whole land there were only a few people who lived on hunting, fishing, and perhaps already also some grain cultivation.

    With the help of their bronze weapons Illyrian-Pannonian and Thraco-Dakish tribes drove out the stone age people.  The housing was now made much more from wood, above all, there were no stones far and wide for hut construction.  The bronze age people did grain cultivation to a large extent and understood how to make one type of appliance such a sickles.

   The grain cultivation was then driven by breeds of livestock.  In the older iron age they came from the East Scythians, in the younger iron age from the West Celts to the land.  This livestock breeding had as a rule only  periodically inhabited housing, whose building and arranging did not require any special care.

   In the middle of the 1st century before Christ the Daker were conquered under the ruler Burbista of the Batschka.  In the first half of the first century our time calculations determined that the Sarmats and the Jazygs were the rulers over the land between the Danube and the Theiß, while the right shore of the Danube was firmly in possession of the Romans.

   With the Romans the history begins from now on with written news existing – if also often very sparsely.  The Romans did not build the “Roman humps” in the Batschka, but they did build two fortified castles: Onagrinum (Begetsch) and Titel.  The Romans did not place any value on the possession in the Batschka because this was an unfruitful flooded region at the time.  One point of interest of the Batschka are the “Roman humps”, that is the former fortified lines at the time which were ascribed to the Romans.  One can make out five such “Roman humps” with the help of the preserved stretch of land.  After the investigation of R. Fröhlich the great humps near Neusatz were treated as the work of a people of German origin from the time of the people’s migration.  For the small humps between Apatin and Tschurug Fröhlich assumed were of Jazyg origin.  It is conspicuous that the fortifications are constructed so the front faces the direction of the Danube and the Theiß rather than the roads on the other side of the Danube and the Theiß, not towards the land’s interior.  There the Romans rode on the Danube and the Theiß rather than the roads on the other side of the Danube and the Theiß, where the humps could only be reached by them.

   With the weakening of the Roman power came numerous riders from the East.  They conquered  the Batschka and from here on, attacking the rich province of Syrmia in the protected position between the swamps.  Huns, Eastern Goths, Gepids, and Langobards ruled the land until the Avars came in 568.  During this time Danube Bulgarians, Slavs, and Franks also migrated, and in the spring of 896 people of Magyar (Hungarian) origin came.

   At the settlement of the Magyars the livestock breeds stood in the foreground.  In the Batschka there were relatively favorable meadows, in damp times one could let the herds graze in the Löß plateau, in dry times in the otherwise swampy regions of the lower terrace.  The almost impenetrable Auland formed a natural “Gyepü”, that is, a broader wilderness for defense.  With the entry of the Magyars a new paragraph began in the Batschka.

2. Batschka, Climate and Bodies of Water

     The Batschka has a temperate central European climate with strong continental influences.  By this I mean that the annual fall in temperatures fluctuated greatly.  In the middle of January the temperature was 2.5 to 1.5 degrees below zero, while in the middle of July it was 22.0 to 23.0 degrees Celsius (71.6 to 73.4 °F).  In the summer it could be up to 40 degrees Celsius (104 °F) under the influence of the subtropic high pressure extreme, and in the winter it could be minus 30 degrees Celsius under the influence of the Siberian anti-cyclone.

     Air humidity and clouds are the highest in December and in August at the lowest.  With the blue sky in July and August and the high temperatures now and then a true Fata Morgana (Delibàb) can be seen, that is, mirages which usually only occur in the desert.

     The annual amount of precipitation is not very high, but is to some extent well distributed in the course of the year.  In the southern part the precipitation is still 60-700 mm on the average, in the north it is always less, so that in places only scantily more than 500 mm was recorded.  On the average 86.5 % of this precipitation falls as rain, 13.5 % as snow.  Annually there are about 92 days with rain, 18 with snow, and 2 with hail.  The most precipitation falls in May, June, and October.  The dry months are January and February.  Typical for the land are the thunderstorms with “Platsch rain”, on the average of 23 days a year.  In the afternoon hours of hotter, clearer summer days the upper surface of agricultural lands or the drifting sands can warm up to 65 days Celsius, created all the conditions for the formation of thunderstorm clouds.  Under violent thunder and lightning the “Platsch rain” started in the late afternoon and early evening hours.  Soon after the thunderstorm the sky brightened up again and the evaporation started in large amounts.  The whole thing happened like a true tropical tornado.

     The wind blows in the winter mainly from the north-northwest, in the summer from a northwesterly direction.  The annual average speed of the wind moves between two and three meters per second, which are actually weak winds.  The thunderstorms have a speed of more than 10 meters per second.

     The average worth of the climatic factors are in general described as favorable in the Batschka, but besides that there is an uncertainty co-efficient , which can be expressed neither in numbers nor in average worth.  Whoever saw the worried look of the Batschka farmers in the hot summer months when they scanned the horizon in the evening looking longingly in the distance for heat lightning, praying for much rain, hearing begging and cursing, will be able to imagine just how very important it is here when the precipitation falls and how literally from a wind direction, from a temperature maximum, from a couple drops of rain a wide stretch of land can be dependant on it.

     So the climate already is not to be described exactly as a restful climate, so perhaps one searches in the network of bodies of water for something more romantic: the blue Danube, the sandy colored Theiß, the Blutsee (Blood Lake), Moostung, Schlangenbach (Snake Brook), Eselbach (Donkey Brook), Butterbach (Butter Brook)… which all certainly seemed beautiful.  In the natural state the bodies of water had a sluggish course and tended to become swampy, yet the people had also formed an effect around here: the streams were leveled, the brooks were channeled, new drainage ditches and shipping canals were built, so that the original condition is hardly still seen in the water network.

     The Danube forms the border of the Batschka for 306 kilometers in the west and south.  On the stretch the Danube falls from 90 meters above sea level north of Baja to 74 meters at the mouth of the Theiß, so it is a fall of only 52.28 mm per kilometer.  Before the great river gradients of the 19th century the fall was only 40 mm per kilometer.  The water command of the Danube here also depends much on the high water mark in May and June, the lowest water mark in December.  Near Wukowar there is also a high water mark in May, but a low water mark in February.  Flooding comes when the snow melts and heavy rain falls together.  Hundreds and thousands of hectares of land are then flooded.  It may perhaps also be interesting to learn how much water flows down the Danube:

   Near Besdan

      flows through on the average 65,077 cubic meters of water per year.

   Near Wukowar (after the influx of the Drau)

      flows through on the average 82,779 cubic meters of water per year.

   Near Slankamen (after the influx of the Theiß)

      flows through on the average 124,705 cubic meters of water per year.

   Near Titel on the Theiß

      flows through on the average 21,966 cubic meters of water per year.

     The Theiß is the border river of the Batschka in the east and had a length of 229. 5 kilometers before the regulation of this section; but since the work of the 19th century only 179.3 kilometers.  The fall formerly amounted to only 15 mm per kilometer and today amounts to 27.88 mm per kilometer.  The water mark is at its highest in April and at its lowest in October, where the maximum water mark is almost eight times more than the minimum water mark.

     The largest lake in the Batschka is the Palitsch Lake near Theresiopel with a surface of seven square kilometers.  With luck the trees on its shores were not cut down – like on other lakes, formed a very pleasant place for relaxation there.  In the neighborhood of Palitsch one also finds other lakes, but because of the reeds existing on the shores they are not open to foreign traffic.  In the neighborhood of Palitsch there is also a strange “salt sea.”  In dry years its water is saturated with sodium salt and completely dries up in the summer.  The whole lake surface is then filled up with a white salt crust which was like the salt gravel at the desert’s edge.  The Batschka is much more abundant in swamps tan lakes, but only a very small remnant of the former expansive swamps still exist.  The “toad hole” at the edge of the village is frequently still such a remnant of a former swamp, but also can be made by the people, and indeed it is where he takes the earth out to build his homes.  The shipping canals are also created by the people: the 123 kilometer length, up to 20 meters wide and 2 meters deep of the Franzen Canal from Besdan on the Danube to Betsche on the Theiß and 66 kilometer long Franz Josef Canal, where the Franzen Canal near Stapar connects with the Danube near Neusatz.  In addition there are numerous kilometers of drainage canals.  The original picture of the bodies of water has disappeared, and yet there are still some small places in which children play and adults can dream, also when the “blue” Danube only leads to gray-brown water and the “sandy colored” Theiß is gray-green.  In the remaining swamps the hemp was roasted  where one can reach a long way; in the “toad holes” the toads give their concert in the evening: in the larger drainage canals the schoolboys went fishing with baskets without bottoms…

     The active person has formed the original picture around the natural landscape.  Our ancestors decisively contributed to this conversion.

3. Batschka, The fruitful land between the Danube & the Theiß

     The region in the middle of the Danube came under Hapsburg ownership at the end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth centuries.  At the time wide stretches of the land were swampy and almost devoid of people.  The emperor in Vienna wanted to see this stretch of land in the neighborhood of the Turkish border settled and called on people of different nations under the dominion of the crown.  Families and clans came from the present day lands of France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and besides that accepted refugees from Turkey: Croatia and Serbia.  The people must first create their new homeland through hard work.  The consciousness of these achievements connected the south Pannonian people, completely the same as the language or religion they belonged to.  The Hungarian speaking people called their new homeland “Délvidék” and considered themselves as a new branch of Hungarians.  The Slovakian speaking people called the land “Vojvodina” and themselves “Vojvodjani”.  The German speaking people formed the new branch of Germans called the Donauschwaben.  These three groups determined the economical, cultural, and political life of the south Pannonians.  The political leadership lay at times with one, at times with the others.  Like in the other Donauschwaben settlement regions, people also lived in the Batschka until World War II peacefully next to each other.  Then began the days in which all people between the Danube and the Theiß have suffered and the Donauschwaben were the actual victims of the national hate. 

The Land
Position and shape of the upper surface 

   Under the description Batschka one understands that flat land which lies between the Danube and the Theiß, west of the Banat and north of Syrmia.  The geographical latitude of the Batschka is somewhat south of South Tirol, it’s geographical longitude corresponds to that of the Danzig (Gdansk) Bay.  The name Batschka come from the place name Batsch an der Moostung, and this goes back either to an Avarish personal name Bech, Betsch, or to the middle age family of Bach, Baach.  How is it also that neither “Bachland” nor “Batser Ländl” caught on, so that in the German language the not completely simple pronunciation “Batschka” was customary.

   With a surface area of 10,781 square kilometers the Batschka is about as large as upper Austria or rather the governing district of North Württemberg and Lower Bavaria.  The population in the Batschka also corresponds fairly closely with those of upper Austria and Lower Bavaria.  Also the population density is similar in these three lands with about 80 – 90 people per square kilometer.

   The level countryside may appear very monotonous to strangers.  But the expert can also notice some differences in the shape of the upper surface.  Along the Danube and the Theiß one finds a narrow strip of young alluvial Aulands.

   In the natural condition we have at this riverside bushes (willows) or low woods, Schilf (reeds), Rohr (reeds), and swamp.  Where the Auland is cultivated one sees oil seeds, hemp, and vegetables.  The Auland lies about 80 meters above sea level.

   Some meters above the Auland lies the Batschka Unterterrasse (under terrace).  Here is the work of the river, especially at the times of great flooding, the formerly existing yellow silt and also in places the white drifting sand washed out and in its place fine, humus rich water particles were deposited.  This low terrace was formerly flooded in wide stretches, only a few silt tips jutting out were free of water and had a tree stand (oak, hornbeam), while in the amp areas bushes, undergrowth (blackberries), Shilf reeds, Rohr reeds, and tuft grass grow.  The drier stretches of land, where the flooding was only for short a duration, had a wooden steppe vegetation.  Here the people of the land have extensively reshaped it so one has the impression by a view above the low terrace as they were one individual giant agricultural surface with wheat, corn, and some specialized crops.

   With a pronounced, 10-15 meter high steep edge a gentle rolling Lößplatte  (silt plateau) raised itself above the low terrace.  This fine grainy yellow earth which was deposited by the wind, by the lake, by the seas, and rivers was deposited, consisting of several meters of enormous yellow silt layers and then a few enormous layers of humus, clay, or yellow silt clay.  The natural vegetation on the yellow silt plateau was dominated by steppe meadows.  In places where the ground water was favorable there were also bushes and bunches of trees.  Also this landscape was completely changed by the people, above all in places a cultivated wheat steppe entered the steppe meadows.

   In the north of the Batschka one finds how spread out on the yellow silt plateau, the Sandgebiet (sand region) consists essentially of sand dunes.  These dune combs run from northwest to southeast, corresponding to the wind direction of the post ice age.  The difference between mountain and valley is more pronounced than in the Löß, and so we find in these dunes the highest elevations in the Batschka, which is called the proud Bleiberg (Olomhegy) and reaches a whole a whole 174 meters above sea level.  In its natural state drifting sand vegetation is found here which were then transformed by people into vineyards and fruit gardens.

   Already the fleeting characterization of the Batschka’s great landscape: Auland, low terrace, Löß plateau, and sand region were perhaps enough to show that this land by nature was not very richly equipped.  Man searched here in vain for gold and silver, for ore and gems.  First man made one of the poorest lands into a rich land by his draining and clearing, by his plow and his seeding.  In this way it would be altered from its original appearance much more than in other lands.  There is hardly a spot where one can see the puszta of his dreams, and nevertheless the land has its charm, just because one can notice how man has reshaped the land. 

4. The Magyar Middle Ages

   At first the Magyars only settled the land sparsely and moved around with their herds. One tribe, or rather a large family possessed a thousand or even ten thousand horses and beef cattle.  For these animals one needed a very large pasture, then either pasture or stable feed or some other intensive methods could be used for these livestock breeds. The Magyars were the masters and considered land work as undignified for a free man. Slavic slaves regarded as farm hands did the grain cultivation.  With it they migrated from one permanent winter settlement annually to a new summer settlement.  Otto von Freising reported that on the occasion of the second crusade through Hungary the Magyars lived in tents in the summer and in wooden or reed houses in the winter.  How such housing looked we learn from K. Sebestyén: “In the house described as small cottages and earth huts that consisted of only one room, were buried in the earth and covered with wood, reed, and straw only the farm hands, the descendants of Slavs and other prisoners, lived. The Magyars were tent inhabitants.  Pelt tents held together with a pole framework like the nomadic Turks still use today, also appeared to be like the construction of living quarters for nomadic Magyars.  The ground construction consisted of man high, vertical, circular wood grid walls, its inner surface pulled together, or rather pushed apart to adjust, its diameter fluctuating between 3 and 10 meters.  Over this circular shaped wall which reminded one of a latticed summer house, curving in a spherical or cone shaped roof construction.  The roof work consisted of flexible poles whose lower ends were connected to the upper edge of the wall.”

   Gradually economic change took place.  The field cultivation was always of great importance as food for livestock breeds.  This development was extensively encouraged by the proselytizing the Magyars to Christianity and through the kingdom created by Saint Stephan in the year 1000.  Church organization and secular administration went hand in hand.  The Batschka was administered by three komitats (counties): the northeast by the Csongrád Komitat, the northwest by the Bodrogh Komitat, and the south by the Bach (Bács) Komitat.  The land’s church administration belonged to the Kalotschka archdiocese, yet it had its own cathedral capital in Batsch, which was on par with Kalotschka.  Church and state troubled themselves equally to shape a cultivated land.  For this purpose foreign people from different folk groups and languages were sent for who then in the course of the year and generations came to the Hungarian nation.  In greater numbers especially came Petschenegs (Bessier), Ismaelites (Chalisier), Kumans (Kuns), and Germans (called Franconians and Saxons) in the Batschka.  Among the nobility which one finds in the three Batschka komitats among others are the names Benz, Dether, Drach, Marhart, Einhard, Elber, Faber, Kelz, Potz, Sasha, Theutus, which hint at a German descent.

   Different secular and religious dignitaries of the middle ages appeared to be German, sometimes also of French or Italian descent.  The first Obergespan (top dignitary) of the Bodrogh Komitat known by name was called Lambert, the first archbishop of the Kalotschka Ascherich, other archbishops with origin from foreign lands were, among others,Fulbert, Johann von Meran, Berthold von Meran, Johannes Gümes, Dionys Hermann, Alois Helfenstein, Ladislaus Wingard.

   The most important place was the castle Bach (Bács) on the Moostung; a strong fortress, splendid bishop city, administrative seat of the komitat.  The following cities in this komitat are also to be mentioned: Arnath, Derzs, Funow, Futagh, Gyala, Kysdy, Parazthy, Pesth, Zentmarton, Zund, Thlek, Titel, Varad, and Vaskapu.  In the Bodrog Komitat to be mentioned: Apathy, Baya, Bathmonastra, Bodrogh, Hayzenthlewrinz, Halas, Madaras, Zabathka, Zenthgergh, Zeremlen, Thowankwth, Wyfalw.  In these cities are proven French, Wallonian, Italian, and German commercial activities.  All this shows how strong the western influence was since the time of the first Hungarian king, Saint Stephan, in the region of the central Danube. 

   The ruins of Batsch, with its gothic towers and windows, shows the past magnificence of the splendid middle age bishop’s seat.  

(Picture)

   On the flat land the field cultivation always increased more.  We really have little to introduce about the individual settlements.  It appears as if there are only a few settlers from the west in these villages.  At least we learn that there were already some German villages at the time: Rad, Lipolthfeld, Nemety, Nemdy, Wolfer, Vilmann.

   The endeavor of the government was to make a field cultivation region fom the Batschka.  Thanks to the favorable transportation possibilities on the Danube and Theiß it was easy to provide the more remote parts of the land with grain from here on.  This endeavor opposed the interests of the individual landowners.  Through purchase, exchange, inheritance, marriage, gifts, and forceful appropriations large land estates formed on which more livestock breeds were carried on as agriculture.  Repeatedly imperial commissions were used to check on the possessions without success.  The large estates were always more powerful.  The social position of the farmers were always worse from the rejection of the agriculture, and they rebelled in the year 1514 under the leadership of Georg Dôzsa.  This farmers’ uprising was bloodily suppressed by the large landowners but from their newly strengthened power they could not be protected for long, with the battle of Mohatsch in the year 1526 the Batschka came under the Ottoman Empire and from 1543 on it was administered by the Turks.

5. The Rule of the Turks

   The farmers’ uprising and the resulting punishment of the farmers had already extensively depopulated the Batschka.  With the battle of Mohatsch the nobility already had to leave the land, and the Turks took the war’s booty, what was still remaining.

   At first the Batschka was administered by the East Hungarian vassal state of Johann Zapolyas and in 1543 it was also first formally incorporated into the Ottoman Empire.  In Ofen a pashalik (seat of a pasha) was created, under whom 25 sandshakats were placed.  The Batschka came under the Segedin Sandshakat and it was divided into 6 Nahien (neighborhoods) with seats in Baja, Theresiopel, Sombor, Batsch, Titel, and Segedin.  The environs of present day Neusatz belonged to the Nahie of Peterwardein of the Syrmian Sandshakat.

   Contrary to the frequently prevailing opinion the Turks did not depopulate the land, but populated it.  Here is a comparison for confirmation of this assertion: In the year 1520, in the Hungarian time, there were 569 settlements with 2000 homes.  In the year 1590, in Turkish times, there were 291 settlements with 5,674 Christian homes and Turks still came as well.

   Unlike the earlier inhabitants entering rural settlements of Serbia and Wallachia (Romania), the Turks, Tatars, Armenians, and Greeks settled in the cities.  Among the cities the most important were Baja, Sombor, Batsch, and Titel, but also smaller market villages had special meaning like Hodschag, Kala, Palanka, Schmatz (later Neusatz – today Novi Sad), Betsche.   How important these cities were one can see from the 14 mosques in Sombor and eight in Batsch.  The homes in the cities had many times more floors, built of a patchwork, with roofs of shingles.  The stores were open with two vertical closure flaps.  The streets were paved with bricks or wood. 

   The rural settlements showed as a rule the picture of a hodgepodge of houses.  The houses were made of wood, patchwork, or stamped earth, but besides that one also lived in Löß Plateau caves or earth pits.  The homes in the cities were so well cared for, that the homes in the villages appeared to be neglected by the travelers.

   The traffic developed by water on the rivers and by land on the roads, which had to be built by the Turks as well as the bridges.  The Tatar riders assured the postal traffic, the caravans played the part of hotels at the time.

   The economic life was decided by the livestock breeds, then th other branches of economic activity followed.  The livestock breeders had their place of residence in the lands of the Balkan Peninsula, migrated with their herds to Pannonia to find the winter pastures here.  Soon after that the herd owner established their main place of residence in Pannonia and sent their herds from here to the summer pastures in the Balkan mountains or the Carpathians.  In the first place the sheep breeds stood.  A large family (Zadruga) owned as a rule 2000 – 4000 animals.

   The horse breeds were just as important since the Ottoman army needed very many horses.  Beef cattle were kept in large herds and there were at the time large herds of buffaloes and camels.  The pig breeds were of little importance because the Islamic religion forbid the enjoyment of pig meat.  Hunting, bee breeding, and fishing supplied good yields, however agriculture steadily increased.  For the provisions of the garrisons and cities with grain and vegetables the Turkish state had to resettle farmers from the Balkan lands to Pannonia by force.

   In Turkish times craftwork was especially blossoming.  In the narrow alleys of the cities were the individual branches of trade especially represented.  Here there were sword-, knife-, copper-, and kettle forges, tanner, furrier, saddle maker, butcher, confectioner, cook, then wagon maker, binder, cabinet maker, roofer, shoemaker, tailor, weaver, potter, mason.

   The trade was lively and found on the marketplaces, “Caršija”, instead.  There one could buy wares from Vienna, Beirut, Egypt, Tripoli, or also exchange products of the land such as cattle, hides, hay, food, etc.

   Instead of the medieval cultural landscape impressed by the Magyars, entering after the destruction of the cultural landscape, it was impressed by the Middle East or Balkan points of view.  So just as the medieval cultural point of view was completely destroyed, so was the Turkish cultural landscape.  As soon as the authority of the sultans decreased, the discipline slackened.  As the demand for war was always greater, many farmers and livestock breeders left, but also craftsmen and sales people of the Batschka went to a protected region.  In the war and revolution years of 1683 and 1711 the Ottoman cultural landscape was completely destroyed, partly by the Ottomans, partly by the imperials, partly by the rebellious Kuruzzen?  In the Batschka only a few people lived, perhaps one or two per square kilometer.  The face of the landscape was a kind of secondary natural landscape.

6. The New Time

   The discussions between the Turkish sultan in Constantinople and the Roman-German emperor in Vienna had begun in 1683 and were brought to a provisional conclusion in the peace treaty of Karlowitz in 1699.  Prince Eugen of Savoy had badly beaten the Turks at Zenta two years before, and so the Turks easily had to make peace.  According to the determinations of the treaty the Banat remained Turkish, but the Batschka was awarded to the emperor in Vienna. 

(Picture) 

   The steppes of the western Batschka were already ruled by the city of Sombor in Turkish times.  In the 17th century the city was described by the Turkish travel writer Tschelebi as very ornate: the streets were paved with wood, the homes built of patchwork, the roofs of shingles.  But unfortunately the drinking water was very bad, and the Tatar Khan and the poet Ghazi Gherai wrote in a letter: 

                   “No wonder when the greeting was bitter before,

                    Because the water is bitter in Zombor!” 

   After the liberation from the Turks the Sombor (Somburg) seat was an administrative place of the court chamber and of the court’s war council.  In the year 1745 the city became part of Hungary and two years later was elevated to the imperial free state by Maria Theresi.   In the year 1802 Sombor was the capital of the land and the construction of the “komitat house” began, in which the heads of the administration would be housed.  This first komitat house (county courthouse) was demolished eighty years later and in its place a new komitat house was erected in 1880-1882.  In this magnificent hall of the palace depicted here one finds the famous painting, “Die Schlacht bei Zenta” (The Battle near Zenta) by the great Batschka painter Franz Eisenhut.  Today the Komitathaus houses a valuable prehistoric and early history museum, a scientific library, and a part of the archives of the land.  Sombor was always an important economic center and has banks, a chamber of commerce, a stock exchange as well as a large annual market.

   At the center of north Batschka there was a place which was mentioned many times as a settlement of robbers and plunderers.  Around 1525 the group’s leader Jovan Crni (Black Hans) was housed here, who with his Serbian team once entered for the candidate to the throne, Johann Sapolya, and once for Ferdinand of Habsburg.  During the Turkish times a modest little city, Sabathka was a fortress which was placed under the control of the court’s war council in Vienna.  In 1743 Sabathka was elevated to a city under the name St. Maria and to the imperial free city as “Maria-Theresiopolis”   in 1779.  The settlement with city ordinances and privileges was a village with the appearance of a city.  The one story homes on the wide streets, the herds of beef cattle and pigs dominated the city scene.  Practically only two streets had a city appearance: from the train station to the city hall.  The city hall portrayed here was built shortly before World War I.  With its red, white, and green colors it stressed that it was a Hungarian city.  As the city became a part of the Kingdom of SHS (Yugoslavia) in 1918 it was the only settlement of the new nation which had over 100,000 inhabitants.   The largest village was to be the only large city.

   Today Subotica-Theresiopel still has a border of 915 square kilometers and with this it has a surface area making it the largest community of Yugoslavia.  However with 118,000 inhabitants the city first stood in sixth place among the Yugoslavian cities.  Neusatz still had not reached the census of Theresiopel, but that was soon achieved because Subotica had the unfortunate position to be at the nation’s border making it a dead city.

   The center of the northwestern Batschka is the city of Baja, lying at the high shore of the Danube.  It was established at the time of Karl (Charles) the Great in 801 or 803.  More exact statements are missing and in a document in 1260 it is first called “Francovilla, or Baja.”  Quite modest in the middle ages and during Turkish time, the village hardly had 20 homes when it fell into Hapsburg hands.  For strategic reasons the court’s war council still settled here during the duration of the hostilities of the business activities with the farmers, to have a good stage on the Danube.  The city developed extraordinarily quick so that it was called Little Pest.  The traffic on the Danube, the shipments of wood and grain, the products of craftsmen made Baja into a rich city.  The streets and homes have an urban appearance and still at the end of the 18th century the Komitat assembly would rather meet in the beautiful city of Baja than in the neglected village of Sombor.  The construction of the railroads shifted the traffic, so Baja remained at the end of the 19th century back behind the other cities.

   After World War I Baja was the administrative seat of the rest of the Bács-Bodrog Komitat, today it is a quiet college town in which there is also a German speaking grammar school and a German speaking teaching institute.  Many retirees go to Baja to retire.  This city still has not succumbed to the noise of the new times and at the Danube there is a rewarding destination for pedestrians. 

   At first the land was administered by the court’s war council, that is, the war ministry, because the Kuruzzen rebellion still raged.  Where it was possible, the region was gradually transferred to the administration of the court chamber, that is, the finance ministry.  After the Sathmar peace with the Kuruzzen, the emperor decided to place the Batschka under Hungarian civilian administration, the archbishop of Kalotschka was named top dignitary of the almost unpopulated Batsch Komitat.  But the komitat administration could only intersperse with difficulty because once the nobility were absent as holders of such an administration and because the second war council and court chamber still also had a deciding word.  The court’s war council was subject to the military security of the border against the Turks, the whole east of the Batschka and indeed as part of the “Theiß-Marosch military border”, to which the cities of Sombor and Theresiopel also belonged.  In 1751 the greater part of this region was transferred to the komitat administration, the Titel Tschaikist district in the Danube-Theiß corner was administered directly from Vienna until 1872.  The court chamber in the Batschka, other than in the Banat, the only ones who acted as administrators were the wealthy of the crown, that is more as private rulers than as administrative authorities.

   All of the land, for no objection free property rights could be proven, were declared as the domain of the crown and placed under the court chamber.  Only through this measure was it possible in the sense of social and economic ideas to populate the land with capable farmers.

   Political, social, and economic crossed the interests of different forces in the Batschka.  Vienna wanted to have a province near the Turkish border where in peace and war times grain, riding and draft animals as well as good stages and soldiers could be ready.  This goal one believed could be achieved through true free farmers and craftsmen.  The large Hungarian landowners had other wishes: the land should not be settled with foreign people, the settlers should only be serfs and not property owners.  The Serbian herd owners and oxen traders had still other interests: the land should remain meadowland and in no case be divided among the field cultivating farmers.  National and religious questions played hardly a roll in this connection.  Vienna interspersed its will extensively and settled Serbs, Croatians, Slovakians, Ruthenians, Hungarians, or also Germans.  Each diligent person willing to settle was accepted, each received the same rights, the same freedom.  There was not racial, national, or religious intolerance, or even hate among the individual folk groups until the Hungarian revolution came in 1848.

   On the roads of the Batschka one saw imperial, Hungarian, Serbian, Croatian, and Russian soldiers.  After the collapse of the revolution from the Batschka, the Banat, and parts of Syrmia the kingdom “Serbian Woiwodschaft and Temeser Banat” started, yet it did not exist long, it was dissolved in 1860, and the Batschka was again a part of Hungary, with the exception of the Tschaikist district which remained until 1918.

   At the end of World War I the land was occupied by French and Serbian troops.  In the Treaty of Trianon the Batschka was divided up so that one sixth went to Hungary and five sixths went to the newly established kingdom of Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia.  In the new nation the Batschka was very dependant on Belgrade, then through planned settlements the Serbian orthodox element was strengthened.  The Hungarians were suppressed, the Germans were either encouraged or suppressed.

   In April 1941 Hungarian troops marched into the Batschka.  In all aspects  the land had a Hungarian appearance: everywhere the Hungarian flag flew at half mast, everywhere one found the lawn map with the outline of Hungary of 1918, everywhere one heard the chorus “Mindent visza!” (everything back), they tried, to create the appearance in the train stations and state buildings exactly as it was before 1918, all Serbs coming into the Batschka after 1918 were referred to the land as indigenous Serbs and were killed in large numbers in the Tschaikist region, at different points of the land the Hungarian Ischango from Romania settled.

   In October 1944 the Russian troops conquered the Batschka and after their withdrawal the Tito partisans took over the power.  The whole hatred of these people was directed towards the Germans and towards the German speaking citizens who were punished, imprisoned, and starved for foreign offenses in the name of a collective guilt.  The purpose was to seize the fortunes of the wealthy citizens, then no legal judgment was found against the people who had roamed into the concentration camps.  Administratively the Batschka with its southern five-sixths now belonged to the People’s Republic of Serbia and the northern sixth to Hungary. 

(Picture) 

   At one place where one comes relatively easily over the Theiß, Alt-Betsche exists on the right shore of the river.  Up until the most recent time this place was actually only a village, although the community numbered more than 20,000 inhabitants.  In Alt-Betsche Hungarians and Serbs lived next to each other.  In the picture one sees the Serbian orthodox church.  This church could stand anywhere in Bavaria or lower Austria, and under these baroque towers hardly anyone suspected a church with oriental rites.  The grounds to search this fact is in the imperial Hapsburg decree.  There it says that the orthodox church is also allowed to build in the Hapsburg lands, but these houses of God must be built in the “usual style of the land”, which one understood as just Baroque at the time.  In the interior of the orthodox  churches distinguished themselves from other Christian churches in that the choir is separated by a wall of icons (Ikonostase) from the believers, and there were no benches and no organ.  The Serbian orthodox believers of the Batschka belonged to the Neusatz diocese which the patriarchs in Karlowitz were placed under.  Alt Betsche – Stari Beče) is the most important marketplace of eastern Batschka.  On the löß and humus the adhesive Theiß wheat grew, the “fair Theiß” is rich in fish and on the whole border good livestock breeding was carried on. 

 (Picture) 

   From the head of the bridge of the Peterwardein fortress the present day, the city of Neusatz, capital of theBatschka and the Vojvodina developed.  After the liberation from the Turks the region belonged to the Veinnese court’s war council.  As Belgrade again fell to the Turks in 1739, many Belgrade citizens fled into the Peterwardein entrenchments and established a new city there which on the 1st of February 1748 which received the name Neusatz from the Empress Maria Theresia.  The new imperial free city soon developed into an important center for trade and commerce.  The era of the railway and Danube regulations brought still more advantages to Neusatz.  After World War I Neusatz was the center of the south Slavic Germans who had the seat their economical and cultural organizations here.  Also the German press was represented with two daily newspapers and several weekly and monthly papers.  The old core of the city lay around the Gothic city parish church which is seen on the right side of the picture.  As Neusatz was the administrative seat of the Danube (banschaft?) in 1929, the new part of the city was built between the Catholic church and the Danube.  The wide avenue decorated with trees on the right side of the picture led to the Danube bridge past modern palaces.  The largest palace is the Banus building, still the administrative seat today (in the center of the picture).  Here  found the leading voices of the “Autonomous Province of Vojvodina”, in which allegedly all folk groups should have their cultural autonomy.

7. The Romanians, Armenians, Greeks, Albanians & Bulgarians

    We begin with the Romanians who are certainly regarded as the oldest inhabitants of the Batschka.  Old or not age played no roll because we could not admit whether the Romanians are descendants of the old Daker, Sarmats, or Romans.  In the Banat this question played a greater roll, but not in the Batschka because there were only a few Romans.  They did not form any closed community either in national or in religious respect.  In the 18th century there was a larger number of Romanians in the Batschka, and in the cities as well as livestock breeders in the south Batschka.  But they went out in the 18th century in the Serbian and Hungarian eras.  Together with the Serbs they had a common church organization, with the same state institutions with the Hungarians. 

   The Armenians came during Turkish times and in the cities of the Batschka in 1738-39.  They were above all salespeople and arranged for merchandize to move from Constantinople to Vienna and in reverse.  The Armenians were regarded as the most skillful merchants of southeastern Europe because of what it says in a proverb: “A Jew is as crafty as three Christian merchants, a Greek is as crafty as three Jews, and an Armenian is as crafty as three Greeks!”  The Armenians especially formed a large community in Neusatz.  There they had until our days their own Armenian Catholic congregation and a large church in which the church service was prevented in Armenian rites.

   The Zinzaren were livestock dealers found only in the cities.  They became friendly with the Armenians, Greeks, or Serbs.  The Klementiner or Catholic Albanians came as refugees from the Ottoman Empire into the monarchy, above all to Slavonia.  Only a few came to the Batschka.  They settled down in the Croatian villages.  Of the Catholic Bulgarians the greater number fled to the Banat, only individuals came to the Batschka.  They did not form any large community.

    There were already Greeks as merchants at the time before the Hungarian land acquisition.  In the middle ages we find them here and there as dealers and again later in Turkish times.  As a specialty the Greek merchants regarded the trade with food and consumables.  While the Armenians had large department stores in the cities, the Greeks would rather go to the annual market.  There they purchased produce and sold their exotic wares.  In Neusatz and Theresiopel they had large communities.  One part of the Greeks moved to Turkey when the emperor came to the Batschka, the rest went to Serbia where they were brought together in a common orthodox church.  One noteworthy chapter of Greek history played itself out in the Batschka after 1945.

   General Markos, who fought against his government in Greece was supported by Yugoslavia.  The people who evacuated from the battle regions were brought to Bulkes as the homes were free of expulsed Germans.  After the collapse of the revolution, Bulkes became a “Greek republic” because Greek laws were regarded as valid, Greek was the official language, Greek money was used, and there was even some Greek military besides Greek schools, and a Greek “national theater.”  But this Greek republic did not last long.  When Stalin and Tito began to dispute the Greeks in the Batschka republic also split: the EAM Greeks listened absolutely to Moscow, the ELAS Greeks were friendly to Belgrade.  Repeatedly there were bloody arguments and real fights between these two groups on Batschka soil in which Yugoslavian troops finally moved the refugees out.  At first they were moved to Hungary and from there to Czechoslovakia. 

   Czechs also came at different times to the Batschka.  When officials of the court’s war council and the court chamber came they were already in the land at the beginning of the 18th century.  Then there was a certain number of retired army musicians who moved into the Batschka and finally they came in greater numbers as officials (Bachhussaren) between 1849 and 1867.  They never had importance as a group.

   Some Russians already stayed on the land in 1848, others came in the course of World War I as war prisoners and stayed.  After World War I a larger number of so-called “White Russians” came who belonged to the ragged army.  They formed some communities and were placed in office and dignity by the south Slavic kingdom.  So everywhere there were Russians as math teachers and drafting teachers, actors, archivists, and surveyors.  In the course of World War II a military unit (“Russicher Korpus”) was put together with Russian volunteers who were put in against the communist units in Syrmia.

   The imperial Yugoslavian state needed a good many Slavs in its statistics to justify its claim to power. For that reason it gave only two columns for Slavs in the questionnaires.  The one was called “Serbocroatoslowenen”, the other was called “other Slavs”.  So it was easy to enter many members of the “state’s people” on the national census.

8. The Jews and Gypsies

   In the time of Turkish rule there were some so-called “spaniolische” Jews, most of whom had small stores.  With the end of the Turkish rule they moved to Bosnia and Macedonia.  In their place came the eastern Jews from Galicia, especially after Josef II issued his religious tolerance act.  The numerical development of the Jews appeared as follows:          

1840: 7,131
1900: 18,793
1910: 19,644
1942: 28,000

    The mother tongue of the Jews in Hungary in 1890 without Croatia amounted to around 2/3 Hungarian speaking and 1/3 German speaking.  At the national census they were asked: “Which language do you prefer to speak the most?”  Of the Jews somewhat over 1/5 gave German as their mother tongue and almost 4/5 as Hungarian.

   The Jews belonging predominantly to the Eschkenazim sect formed their rather closed community and because of it they had little contact and also hardly any friction with the other nations.  In the German villages they were predominantly grain dealers.  The Swabians brought their produce to them and received their money for it.  So it went somewhat frictionless and there was hardly any enmity as in the Hungarian or Serbian communities, where the Jews were landlords and where alcohol and guilt produced hate.  The chroniclers of the Batschka German communities referred to the Jews positively so that there was no hate between the Germans and the Jews.  When the Batschka Jews were pursued, abducted, and robbed in 1943 and 1944, the Germans did not take part in it.  The “Swabians” also had hardly anything to say because they were either the state power or were German tops in the Batschka.  For the wrong reasons the Swabians of the Batschka were charged after the war with complete guilt for all the wrongdoings, which were begun by people of other nations sometime, somewhere.  The Swabians may not have raised their voiced over it, but with luck they heard of the competent Jewish personalities that the Swabians have much to thank them for.    

   Already in 1918 when the Serbians cam to the largest part of the Batschka, many Jews from Theresiopel and Sombor went to Budapest.  Then as the clouds of the thunderstorm of World War II appeared, many emigrated to North America and South Africa.  After the abductions at the end of World War II many went to Israel, there in  states with the new social orders hardly any place remained for private economic initiatives.

   The gypsies of the Batschka were not exactly numerically recorded and therefore only a more or less rough estimation could be given. 

1800: 1000
1900: 1200
1942: 1600
1957: 2000

    In these numbers all gypsies are included, although one must strictly differentiate between  the white and the black gypsies.  The white gypsies called themselves “úri czigány”, that is gentlemen gypsies.  They are those people whose music sticks in the blood and created their own sentimental romanticism.  Our Banat poet Nikolaus Lenau said in his poem: 

The Three Gypsies 

I once found three gypsies

lying in a meadow

as my cart with tired torment

crept through the sandy heath.

Held the one for himself alone

the fiddle in his hands,

played, gleaming by the evening light,

a fiery little song.

Held the second the fife in his mouth.

Look at his smoke.

Happy, as if he by the world

Needed nothing more than luck.

And the third comfortably leaned

and his cymbal hung on the tree,

over the strings the breeze ran,

over his heart a dream went.

On the clothing bore the three

holes and colored spots,

but they stubbornly offered free

mockery of the earth’s layers.

Threefold they have shown me

When our life comes to an end,

How one smoked, looked sleepy and lost

and it is threefold despised.

After the gypsies still looked long

I had to continue on,

after the faces dark brown,

the black curly hairs.

   The white gypsies who played in the planned locales, wearing proper tailcoats and patent leather shoes, are gladly seen by all nations.  In the Batschka they mostly speak Hungarian and are Catholic.

   In complete contrast to them stand the black gypsies.  They have nevertheless remained nomads by any measure and they are suspected of being thieves and most communities forbid them to stay.  Some attempts were made to make them settle, like somewhat in Gombosch-Bogojewa which brought only partial success.  Among them one finds the wandering wood and metal workers.  Serbs doing livestock breeding probably brought gypsies to make appliances and weapons but they were so despised that they were taken over by the Serbs as well as other people because there were not many wandering gypsies remaining.  Their religion is orthodox Catholic, or Muslim, and they speak Serbian or Romanian.  Here and there in a German village one also finds a gypsy who belongs to the village where he maintains: “Ich bin a deiitscher Zigeiner!” (I am a German gypsy).

   The gypsies came either from Armenia or from Egypt or perhaps the musicians came from Armenia and the wanderers came from Egypt.  During Turkish times migrated in larger numbers.  The English traveler Ed Brown described the gypsies of the Ottoman Empire about 1685 in the following manner: “A characteristic ethnographic picture offered by many gypsies, those in Hungary, Serbia, and Macedonia very frequently occurred and advanced to the northeast up into the Wallachia.  They live by all kinds of means and are crafty thieves.  It is even therefore recommended to dismount in private homes and not in the caravan, which have large rooms in which the gypsies steal from the overnighters with great skillfulness.

9. The Slovakians, The Ruthenians & The Slovenians

   The Slovakians were mainly settled under Joseph II and came from the thickly settled upper Hungarian komitats (counties) at the time, where often in the surrounding are of the Lutherans German mining cities they were also often Lutheran.  In a biological respect this was very favorable, socially less.  Only 1/3 of the agricultural workers were employed by the Slovakian owners, and also of those “owners” almost half owned less than 5 katastral yokes (about 3 hectares).  The general judgment of the Slovakians was: “peaceful and diligent.”  After World War II many Slovakians conspicuously committed inhumane treatment which was hardly in harmony with their general character. 

The Slovakian girls and women loved garish colors in their traditional dress.  Light blue and light red occurred most frequently besides white.  The traditional dress of the Slovakian girl illustrated was made in the parent’s house.  The farmer sowed, roasted, chopped, and weaved linen.  The farmer’s wife bleached, colored, cut, and sewed it.  The stockings and shoes came from the wool of some sheep, which the people washed, spun, colored, and knitted. – The diligent and strong Slovakian girls were also often active as servants in the cities and treasured by their Hungarian, Serbian, or German employers.  For the male servant who married the servant girl, the new couple was often “equipped” for example with kitchen furnishings, furniture, or bedding.

(Picture)

     The Ruthenians immigrated 1780–1790 and 1851–1855 from the Zemplin Komitat from present day Karpato-Ukraine and settled in the Batschka in Kerestur and Kutzre in the Kula district.  They belong to the Greek-Catholic (United) religion.  They are gifted, frugal, and diligent.  After World War II they were cheered up when they returned to the old homeland in the Carpathians, yet it appeared that they have lived so much in the lowland and together with other people that they remain in the land.

     There were always only individual Slovenians, at the most a couple dozen, before 1918.  After that they came in greater numbers as officials of the post office, in the banks, of the police, or as specialists in the industry.

     They always understood to go with the stronger: once they were the great Hapsburgs, once the anti-Hapsburgs, if it was suitable they would pretend to be turncoats and the next day be the Slavic blood brothers of the Serbs.  But the sophisticated Slovenians were nevertheless generally treasured in the German communities.

   The first of these people coming from the west were in recent times soldiers of Prince Eugene of Savoy, who stayed after the Turkish war as officials and craftsmen of the land.  The nationalities played no roll, but religion probably did.  So under Karl VI and Maria Theresia only Catholic “members of the empire” came to the Batschka.  Under Joseph II Lutherans and Calvinists were also allowed. When the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved in 1806, it was also with the further settlement of the Germans.  The region of origin of the Germans was above all the overpopulated southwestern German regions: at first the Hapsburg lands of Lorraine, Alsace, Vorder-Austria, then Luxemburg, the Pfalz (Palatine), Hesse, Baden and Württemberg lands.  But in this great work the southeast settlements were also shared with all the other German speaking lands.

The Viennese court chamber decided to situate a large German settlement on the Danube on which to settle the populated land.  Rustic settlers, arriving on ships found here a blossoming city with jolly countrymen, so the homesickness was not all that bad.  Those settlers intended for the Banat drove further, those who had set out for the Batschka went here and stayed in Apatin to adapt to the climate.  After some time they went to the villages to which they were assigned. – The city hall pictured here symbolized the prosperity of the Apatin craftsmen and farmers.  It also shows that Apatin’s peaceful conscience as a “city” could be described.  Other ornaments of Apatin were: two Catholic churches, the brewery, the German grammar school, the avenues and the Danube shore.

(Picture)

(page 42 and 43 from Joseph Schramm's book about the Batschka)

10. The Dolls

   What a glaring difference between the three generations.  When the grandmother was a small child, she lay in a basket and received corncobs to play with.  The basket stood at the edge of the corn field.  Next to the basket the dog lay and watched the child while the parents worked in the field.  The child played with the corncobs and magically made the most beautiful dolls with them in the basket.  In the second generation there was progress: the village lathe worker made a child’s stroller.  The older siblings of the child or the younger sisters of the mother had to push the child around and watch it.  People bought simple dolls and gave the child leftover stuff to dress up the dolls.  The third generation, pushed here by the grandmother, lay in the child’s stroller which was manufactured in a factory in a foreign land.  “Rappili” and “Schnudili”, dolls with movable eyes, dolls and bears that cried or growled, the child had as play toys…but certainly the most expensive doll cannot be as beautiful as the magical doll made from the corncob which the grandmother played with 40 to 50 years before.

11. Traditional Dress (Tracht)

   The German immigrants brought the traditional dress with them to the Batschka from their original homeland.  In the new homeland village the traditional dress changed some.  There one dressed and spoke like the majority which were not considered as ridiculous.  So it came to pass that every village had its own traditional dress.  One could guess the homeland village by the traditional dress.  Special care was paid by the girls to the traditional hairstyle.  The small plaits and ribbons, the small chains and blouses and finally the many stiff slips belonged just as well if one wanted to be a “big girl”.  First one had to differentiate between the work day and the Sunday dress.  The work day dress consisted of a lot of blue and red, the Sunday dress favored white and black, there were several slips which were just as firmly starched as the blouses.  Winter coats could not be worn sooner because they had warm woolen shawls which the married women wore with headscarves.

   In the larger villages the social position of the girls and women was decided within the villages by the traditional dress.  So there were traditional clothes for farmers, one for craftsmen, one for workers, and one for the “imperious”, that is the supposed or real village intelligence.  These individual groups also danced in their own respective inns.  The “imperious” were allowed to sit at a table with girls and were also allowed to go dancing in the other inns without being looked at as being especially crooked.  Inside these social classes there was a further separation according to the ages and alas if somewhat near a recruitment dance the 95’er wanted to dance a younger person.  The new times have also greatly eased the difference here, so that a day worker is also allowed to go in the dance hall of the farmers.  However it frequently came to separation after a worldly point of view.  In one inn the “Madjaronen” danced, in another the “Kreuzfahrer” (crusader), or the “Christusjugend” (Christ’s youth), in another the “Kulturbündler” (cultural club members).

   For example, these five pictures serve to show how different the traditional dress is in the individual villages.  In Kernei they loved dark colors.  For vague reasons they favored dark flowers and other dainty motifs.  The girlfriends liked to dress the same or similar to show their belongingness to the outside.  In Bukin they liked a greater diversity.  Finely pleated skirts were characteristic here, which left behind a bouncy impression by the walk or at dances.  Lighter colors were favored here and the basic colors were dark red, dark blue, and white.  The women in Bukin wore bonnets or head scarves, the girls had a decorative hair piece.

   In Protestant Kleinker the traditional dress changed quicker than in some Catholic communities.  They even went more for the “fashions.”  These fashions were designed by individual village seamstresses and then imitated in their own village and the surrounding area.  In Kleinker they wore less slips than in other villages. – In Filipowa they favored dark clothes, often with light aprons.  In Weprowatz the light colors were favored.

   The traditional dress of men with dungarees, long coats, and wooden shoes did not keep long.  The dark “Leiwl” with the silver buttons were newly introduced in the ‘20’s.

12. Batschka Churches

   After the war the “South Slavic Reformed Christina Church” was established.  The bishop resided in Feketitsch, the seat of the German Seniorats was in Neu-Werbass.

   There were individual Lutheran Germans in the Batschka already before the governing time of Joseph the II, but they were still not allowed to assemble in church congregations at the time.  This first changed with the religious patent of the emperor, which followed with the migration of numerous Lutherans.  In 1791 the communities of the Batschka and Syrmia were assigned to a particular Dekanat of the Hungarian Evangelical Church.  After World War I the “German Evangelical Christian Church of the Augsberg Denomination in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia” was established.  The seat of the bishops was in Agram, the seat of the Batschka Seniorats was in Kleinker.

   The Catholics in the Batschka in the middle ages belonged to the archdiocese of Kalotscha, which had its own cathedral capital in Batsch.  During Turkish times the Batschka again went to “Kalotscha and Batsch” archbishop again took up residence in Kalotscha, there were only nine pastors in the whole Batschka.  The number of Catholics increased with the settlement of the Germans and Hungarians.  After World War I an apostolic administrator was used in the South Slavic part, while the Hungarian part continued to be placed under the archbishop.  In 1944 71 of the 125 pastors preached in the German language.

   Many of the repatriates from the United States brought with them religious denominations from overseas which were not represented in the Batschka beforehand.  Some churches or prayer houses had the Methodists, Baptists, or the Adventists.  The Nazarenes were repreatedly forbidden, while on the other hand the Old Catholics were allowed.  Only individual Germans were Orthodox or Greek Catholic.

   According to a half official survey from July 1944 the 250,000 Germans of the Batschka were arranged in religions as follows: 

  • 170,000 Roman Catholic

  • 55,000 Evangelical A.B.

  • 15,000 Reformed H.B.

  • 5,000 Christian sects (Methodists, Baptists, Adventist, Nazarene)

  • 5,000 Others 

   In the year 1900, according to the corresponding census here are the official Hungarian statistics:

  • 138,465 Roman Catholic

  • 38,871 Evangelical A.B.

  • 11,673 Reformed H.B.

  • 121 Other Christian

  • 3,137 Others

  • 192,267 Germans

[Published at DVHH.org 19 Sep 2005 by Jody McKim Pharr]

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