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About Swabian Turkey

Schwäbischer Türkei (German) / Sváb Törökország (Hungarian)

     The designation Swabian Turkey refers to three bordering counties of southwest Hungary south of Lake Balaton with the Danube River forming their eastern boundary.  They are the counties of Baranya, Somogy and Tolna.  The term itself is an attempt at describing the fact that this area contained the largest concentration of Danube Swabians in what would remain of Hungary after the First World War, numbering over 200,000.

     The local population had been decimated during the 150 year Turkish occupation and this virtually uninhabited territory received the first of the German-speaking settlers responding to the invitation of Emperor Charles VI to settle in Hungary.  They were the vanguard of the future Danube Swabians.  They came from various principalities in southwest Germany that were part of the Holy Roman Empire.  The first of the settlers in this area were Swabians and arrived as early as 1688, forerunners of the streams of settlers that headed down the Danube throughout the 18th century that history would remember as the Great Swabian Migration.

     Despite the aftermath of the mass expulsions of the Danube Swabians of Hungary between 1946-1948 their descendants still living there have now marked over three hundred years of their sojourn in the Heimat they brought to birth in a wilderness and called it their home.

     Unlike the settlements in the Banat and Batschka that were primarily established on Crown Lands and subsidized by the ruler, in Swabian Turkey they were located on the estates of private landlords: nobles, churchmen and military officers who enticed them to leave the Imperial transports heading to the Banat to settle on their domains.  This would lead to a totally different experience on their part that would shape and form their communities.  Large numbers of the settlers who followed the Swabians came from the Bishopric of Fulda, Württemberg, the Pfalz (Rhine/Palatinate) and Hesse.  The Hessians who settled in Tolna County on the estates of Count von Mercy were Lutherans and Reformed and were among the earliest settlers to arrive along with a Patent from the Emperor that promised them the freedom to practice their religion.
     The term Swabian Turkey was virtually unknown to most of the emigrants who left for the United States and Canada.  In the past it was primarily used by researchers and now serves as a way of identifying the region that shared a common history and experience.

Introduction To Swabian Turkey
By Henry Fischer

News & Latest Site Additions . . .

The Settlement of Tolna County by the Swabians  by Johann Weidlein, Article from his monograph entitled:  A Tolnamegyei Német Telepitésé. Translated by Henry Fischer. (10 Feb 2013)

Bátaszék in the Tolna: A History (From the Bátaszék, Heimatbuch der Grossgemeinde Bátaszék im Komitat Tolnau (Ungarn) by Johannes Göbelt, Pécs and is partially a translation and summary by Henry Fischer.) (15 Mar 2012)

Bonyhád: A Market Town in Tolna by Henry Fischer. The early history of the community it also identifies some of the original settlers and their places of origin. Several sources were used for research, including the church records. (15 Mar 2012)

The Nordschomodei in Swabian Turkey - The source of the information in this article is taken from the "Heimatbuch der Nordschomodei" published in Münich in 1973.  And the subtitle is "The History of a  German Linguistic Island in Swabian Turkey in Hungary." (15 Mar 2012)

Völkerkunde Schwäbischer Türkei (Sváb Törökország) carnival

The Swabian Turkey is the largest German-speaking enclave in what is now Hungary. After the Ottoman Empire was defeated in the Battle of Mohács in 1687, the Habsburg Monarchy forced the Ottoman Turks from most of the Kingdom of Hungary. Because much of the Pannonian Plain had been depopulated through warfare, the Austrian Habsburgs began to resettle the land with various colonists, including Croats, Slovaks, Serbs and Germans.

Hӧgyész (Tolna) in the 18th and 19th Century By Josef Hoben; Translated by Henry Fischer (Published at 12 Sep 2011)

Karantsch H.O.G. Chairman, Arpad Molnar invites village researchers worldwide to visit Their goal is to keep in touch with the villagers scattered around the world, so please visit their message board (12 Apr 2011)

"I'm the Mayor in Györköny. I was very happy, when I read information on DVHH about Györköny. We have website: You can read this website in Hungarian, we try German and English too. We make the English version soon." Yours sincerely, Zoltán Braun

Gerényes in Baranya County - By Anonymous, presented by Henry Fischer - Experiences of a teen age girl from the village of Gerenyes in Baranya County in Swabian Turkey, who desires to remain anonymous.  Her story is very much like those from the Batshcka and the Banat but with a different twist because it occurred in Hungary.
(17 Mar 2009)

Bonyhád: A Market Town in Tolna - by Henry Fischer.  The early history of the community it also identifies some of the original settlers and their places of origin.  Several sources were used for research, including the church records. (17 Mar 2009)

Kötcse in Somogy County (Information is taken from an article published by Johann Müller of Bissingen-an-der-Enz and formerly of Bonnya, Somogy County, Hungary.) (17 Mar 2009)

Lifestyles Images

Village Images additions 09 Oct 2008

Závod in the Tolna - A summary and partial translation of sections of the Heimatbuch: Závod in der Tolna by Anton Mayer. Translated by Henry Fischer, 2008.

Gadács and Szil: The Two Sisters - The history of two of the Danube Swabian villages in Somogy County leading up to the expulsion in 1948 that attempts to provide the historical context and consequences of the Potsdam Declaration as it applied to the Danube Swabians of Hungary after the Second World War and the expulsion of their populations as an example of what happened all over Hungary at that time. - Henry Fischer, 14 Jun 2008

Emigration From Somogy County To Slavonia and the United States. A sociological take on the disproportionate numbers of Swabians who left Somogy at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries and actually provides information on individuals and villages from that area (including my own grandfather). - Henry Fischer, 15 May 2008


News & Latest Site Additions





Swabian Turkey
Henry Fischer

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Last updated:
25 Feb 2013

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Last Updated: 15 Mar 2012
Keeping the Danube Swabian legacy alive