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.

  Following the fall of Belgrade to the Turks on August 29, 1521 the borders of Hungary were vulnerable to attack.  On August 16, 1526 young King Louis II of Hungary and his  Queen, Maria of Habsburg, visited the Benedictine abbey in Báta which had been founded by King Louis I in 1092 and endowed with vast lands which were owned by a series of  famous Abbots in the past including some high churchmen.  It was here that Louis took leave of his wife and sent her back to Buda.  He remained in Báta awaiting the arrival of his troops.  The King and his soldiers made confession and took communion before they moved on to Mohács to meet the Turks.  At the plains around Mohács the greater part of the Hungarian Army met a hero's death on August 29th.  The twenty-year-old King fell from his mount in jumping across a creek and drowned.  On September 1st the monks fled from the monastery.  On September 3rd, the Turks crossed the border into Tolna County and set up camp at Kesztӧlc.  On October 12th they then moved on to Buda, crossed the Danube and left a devastated plundered land behind.  The monks gradually returned to the abbey and re-established monastic life. 

  After the defeat at Mohács, the Hungarian nation was divided.  On October 14, 1526 a large portion of the Magyar nobles called on Johann Szapolyai to become their King.  His coronation with the crown of St. Stephen took place at Szekésféhervár on November 11th.  A minority of the nobles sided with the claims of Ferdinand of Habsburg to be their King.  Ferdinand was married to Anna of Bohemia and Hungary, a sister of the fallen King Louis II, and he was the brother of his young widow, Maria of Habsburg.  At end of July 1527 Ferdinand entered Hungary with an army of 10,000 men.  Szapolyai could not even raise a force of 3,000 to face the Austrians and he was forced to flee from Pressburg to Tokay and sought asylum in Poland.  Ferdinand occupied Buda on August 20th and resided there in the royal fortress overlooking the Danube. 

  On November 3, 1527 Ferdinand of Habsburg was crowned King with the crown of St. Stephen in Szekésféhervár the ancient capital of Hungry.  He received the crown from the hands of Peter Perenyi the former guardian of the throne for Szapolyai.  Perenyi who had been named the Wojwoden (Viceroy) of Transylvania by the former King was confirmed in the same office by Ferdinand. 

  In 1528 the Turks burned and devastated the community of Sárkӧz and as a result Ferdinand built the defensive timbered fortress of Bátaszék.  In 1529 the Turks entered Hungary as allies of Johann Szapolyai who did homage to the Sultan at Mohács on August 18th.  On August 20th the Turks set up camp in the vicinity of Bátaszék to attack Kesztӧlc again despite the wind and rain and awaited reinforcements coming by ship to Báta.  Simultaneously, Ibrahim Pasha began his attack on the fortress of Bátaszék.  The fortress eventually fell after countless attacks and because of the resistance it offered it was burned to the ground.  Peter Perenyi, the Wojwoden of Transylvania fled from his fortress at Siklós and headed north.  He took the royal crown and jewels with him.  He was captured by János Szerscsen at the Scharwitz River and he handed over the crown and royal jewels to the Turks. 

  Ferdinand of Habsburg also fled from the advancing Turks and abandoned Buda.  Then on September 14, 1529 the Turks installed Szapolyai as King of Hungary in Buda and gave him the crown and royal jewels as a gift.  The Turks led by Sultan Suleiman II marched on Vienna.  The Turkish army laid siege to the city from September 26th to October 14, 1529.  They then pulled back and went into winter quarters. 

  In Báta, the monastery was put to the torch in 1529.  But monastic life was able to continue.  They elected their own Abbot.  Sixteen of the villages on the vast estate had survived as late as 1535 including Nána the future Alsónána.  In 1539 the Turks renewed their onslaught on the area and took over 10,000 people into slavery.  Many of them came from areas beyond Báta because the Turks captured them as they went on pilgrimage to the shrine at Báta. 

  From 1526 to 1540 Hungary had two Kings.  Ferdinand of Habsburg and Johann Szapolyai.  The two rivals reached an agreement at Gross Wardein on February 24, 1538.  Ferdinand would recognize Szapolyai as the legitimate King of Hungary as long as he lived.  Upon his death, Ferdinand or his successor would rule over all of Hungary.  The heirs of Szapolyai would get their former family estates and become Dukes of the Zips.  Eventually a male descendant of Szapolyai would marry one of Ferdinand's daughters. 

  On February 23, 1539 Szapolyai married Isabella the daughter of the King of Poland.  A son was born to them on July 7, 1540 named Johann Sigismund.  On his deathbed the King changed his mind and instructed Abbot George of the Paulist Order to preserve the throne for his son.  Szapolyai died on July 21, 1540.  For his part, Ferdinand set the agreement signed at Gross Wardein into motion, sending an army under Lenart Vils to take over the fortress of Buda in November 1540.  But Abbot George was loyal in his   allegiance to the Szapolyai family and opposed the takeover.  The Turks promised him military assistance.  Because it was winter the Turkish troops were to come to Buda by way of ship on the Danube.  The ships were pulled upstream by teams of horses.  The river was shallow during this season and many ships got stuck in the mud.  After much effort the ships got to the town of Tolna and the river froze and the ships were stuck fast.  The Turks returned to their winter quarters.  The Turkish commander sent word to Abbot George and assured him that they would be back in the Spring to help him. 

  The following year, Ferdinand's commander, Wilhelm Roggensdorf attempted to take Buda.  From May to August 1541 he lay siege to the fortress but to no avail.  Shortly afterwards he was sent into retreat by the Turks.  From the end of August 1541 the Sultan Suleiman II and his host encamped at Buda.  On August 29th the Hungarian nobles brought the 13 months old Johann Sigismund to visit the Turkish camp.  While they were doing so Janissaries entered the open gates of the fortress and occupied it. On September 2nd the Sultan Suleiman II appeared at the Church of the Virgin for his Friday prayers and took over the church and the city.  The fortress of Buda fell into the hands of the Turks without a fight.  The city of Pest that lay on the other bank of the Danube River  surrendered without offering any resistance either.  Szapolyai's son, Johann Sigismund was given Transylvania by the Sultan and given the title Prince of Transylvania. 

  The Turks occupied the fortress of Székszárd in 1541.  From a report of April 14, 1542 we learn Hungarian troops were encamped there to retake the fortress.  The attack was launched at Christmas.  The fortress was the residence of a Turkish Sandschak (military commander) along with two hundred Turkish troops stationed there.  The Beg (governor) and Turkish civil administrator were also posted in the city.  The attack proved to be  unsuccessful and the Hungarians withdrew.  By 1543 the Turks expanded their territory of occupation to include Pécs, Pécsvarad, Szasvár, Tamási, Simontornya and Ozara.  By the end of 1544 there were no longer any Hungarian garrisons in Tolna County. 

   A head tax was imposed on the heads of families who were not Muslims.  Only the poor and Serbs who served in the Turkish army were exempt from this tax.  The ancient house tax that was of Hungarian origin since 1351 remained in force and was calculated on the basis of the number of external doors of the house.  In 1545 there were 84 families in Bátaszék who numbered about 650 persons.  In 1547 Ferdinand I decreed that the serfs in Turkish occupied areas had to continue to pay their taxes and provide robot (free labour) for the Hungarian King and their noble estate owners.  It meant they had to pay taxes to both the Hungarians and the Turks.  In 1548 at a meeting of the Hungarian Landtag (parliament) a war tax of 100 Denars was levied on the Hungarian serfs even if they lived in Turkish occupied territory.  The Hungarian border fortresses were given a specific County in which to collect the taxes and other customs duties.  They retreated into their fortresses and left the land to foraging Hungarian armies.  Towns and villages that refused to pay were plundered and burned to the ground.  That occurred in Székszárd on November 11, 1560.  The Hungarian troops drove off so many cattle that the economy in the area was almost nonexistent for a whole year.  The Hungarian fortress at Sziget had jurisdiction over the area from Báta to the town of Tolna.  Nicholas Zrinyi was the fortress commander and any robot that had to be performed was done in Sziget. 

  In 1557 Bátaszék and nearby Nyék had a population of 1,000.  In 1558 there were 1,100 inhabitants.  On August 5, 1566 the fortress of Sziget came under siege led by the aging Sultan Suleiman II.  It was defended by Nicholas Zrinyi and his troops.  In the night of September 5th and 6th, the Sultan died but his death was kept secret by the Grand Vizier.  On September 8th, Zrinyi led his 600 loyal troops as they threw themselves at the enemy forces.  Zrinyi was captured and beheaded.  The Imperial troops under Maximilian II were camped at Raab but they did not join the battle.  On February 17, 1568 the Peace of Adrianople was signed which identified the territories that belonged to the Sultan, Hungarian King and Prince of Transylvania.  This treaty would be renewed in 1576, 1584 and 1592.  There were twenty-five years of peace in Hungary occupied by the Turks. 

  Despite the renewal of the treaty in 1592 the so-called "Fifteen Year War" broke out that concluded with the Peace of Szitvatorok in 1606.  Turkish occupied Hungary expanded once more.  The largest annexations were at Eger (1596-1687) and Kanizia (1600-1690).  In the Peace of Szitvatorok the Sultan and the King of Hungary were acknowledged as equal partners.  This treaty was renewed in 1615, 1625 and 1648. 

  In 1627 Michael Veresmarti became the Abbot of Báta.  He had been a Protestant "preacher" converted by Peter Pázmány.  He had been a parish priest at Sellyi and then Dean of the Cathedral in Pressburg.  He died in 1645. 

  War broke out once more in 1663.  The Turks took Neuhäusel in Slovakia on September 26, 1663.  But on August 1, 1664 the Turks were forced to flee from the field of battle at St. Gotthard on the Raab River and then the war was quickly over and resulted in the Peace of Vasvár (Eisenberg) on August 10, 1664.  Peace lasted for twenty years. 

  The Jany brothers, the future owners of the estates of Báta, are mentioned for the first time in some documents in the 1670s.  Franciscus Jany was Dean of the Cathedral in Estergom in 1673 and in 1677 he was appointed Abbot of Pécsvarad which was an empty title because the abbey no longer existed.  In 1678 he became Bishop of Srem which was also only a title at the time because the territory was in Turkish hands.  His brother, Johann Jacob Jany was the Papal Notary for the Hungarian clergy in Rome who was later  granted the Abbey and estates of Báta in 1679. 

  In 1683 the Turks marched on Vienna for the second siege of the city and were once again repulsed and fled back to Hungary pursued by the Imperial Army.  In 1686 Buda was liberated from the Turks.  In the years that followed all of Hungary was freed from Turkish occupation.  The Peace of Karlowitz was signed on January 26, 1699 and the Turks were only able to maintain their hold on the Banat. 

  Franciscus Jany began settling Germans on his Abbey lands in 1689.  He later became the Bishop of Csanad in 1701 and died in 1703.  Johannes Jacob Jany had the monastery of Báta taken away from him by the King who questioned the validity of his ordination that he claimed had taken place in 1687.  Later he was able to prove he was ordained and got the Abbey back.  He died in 1694. 

    Jacob Ferdinand, a nephew of the Janys, from a branch of the family which had been ennobled, followed in his uncles' footsteps into the priesthood.  In 1685 he headed a Benedictine monastery in Zala County which position he exchanged for that of Abbot at Báta on his uncle' Johann Jacob's death in 1694.  His uncle Franciscus consecrated him as Abbot on November 18. 1700.  He was also the titular bishop of Srem, a diocese which no longer existed.  As bishop he was a member of the Upper House of the Hungarian Landtag to help provide and maintain a Roman Catholic majority.  He made Bátaszék the centre of his abbey estate.  There were 35 families living on his estate, the majority of whom were Orthodox Serbs and some Roman Catholic Croats.  The Serbs were not considered suitable settlers because there were Serbian robber bands that pillaged and plundered the isolated villages in the area.  The Serbs were seen as a bad security risk.  There were a few Hungarian settlers there as well as one German.  In a document dated November 2, 1689 there were five communities on the lands of the Abbey of Báta consisting of 68 houses.  Bátaszék had five, Báta had ten, Nyék had fifteen, Pilis had eight and Decs had thirty.  Bátaszék had a church that the Turks had used as a residence.  Later in June 28, 1690 a document reports there were now ninety-four houses.  At the time of Abbot Johann Jacob Jany's death in 1694 it was noted that he had never visited or resided at the Abbey or had ever seen the estate.  That was also true initially of his nephew successor who hired a steward to run the estate while he lived in Vienna.  In the first years after the liberation  the major portion of Hungary was under military rule and it was ten years later before the public administration by the Counties was reinstated due to pressure being applied by the representatives of the Hungarian Landtag.  Initially there were boundary disputes between the Counties because the Turks had set up new administrative jurisdictions and the old frontiers were difficult to locate precisely.  This was true of the adjoining borders of Tolna and Baranya Counties. 

  Baranya County demanded the inclusion of twenty disputed communities to its territory.  This included Báta, Bátaszék, Nyék, Pilis and Decs.  Tolna County was not prepared to surrender them and a court case was undertaken.  The case would take twenty-five years from 1695-1720 to finally be resolved.  All of the above named villages remained in Tolna but Véménd, Feled, Hidas and Mecseknadasd became part of Baranya County along with Zsibrik.  The clarification of the County boundaries was important for assessing the war costs and provide quartering for the troops.  The County was assessed the war costs and it was divided among all of the communities.  Only those who were not nobles had to pay taxes, a situation which would last in Hungary until 1848.  The war tax in 1698 was raised from 2,000,000 Gulden to 4,000,000.  This large sum could only be gathered through military assistance.  Leopold I, the Emperor, informed the prelates and nobles that the peasants would provide 2,500,000 of the tax and the clergy and nobles 1,250,000 and the Royal Free Cities were assessed 250,000 Gulden. 

  The Landtag responded to the Emperor insisting the taxes were excessive and should be lowered.  Leopold answered that the peasants could not carry the costs alone and the clergy and nobles had benefited from the military takeover and should also help pay for it.  There had been no tax exemption for the clergy and nobles in the Austrian hereditary lands for a very long time and the nobles of Hungary should do their share.  In response the clergy and nobles in the Counties declared that the peasants could not afford to pay the tax and they were not prepared to pay any taxes themselves.  The quartering of troops was also assessed to every community and created even more hardships for the peasants. 

  As a result, in 1703 the Rákóczy rebellion broke out in north-eastern Hungary.  While the Emperor was involved in the War of the Spanish Succession he withdrew all of his troops from Hungary for that purpose so that the rebels known as the Kurucz (crusaders)  easily occupied all of eastern Hungary.  Only a portion of the Hungarians remained loyal to the Habsburgs and were called Labantzen.  The first Kurucz attacks along the Danube were repulsed but in January 1704 a small band of rebels crossed the frozen Danube.  Many of the local Hungarian peasants joined "the cause" up to 2,000 of them.  They took Szekésfehervár, Simontorya and Siklós by storm.  They then lay siege to Pécs where Germans and Serbs lived along with Hungarians.  They were accused of firing on the rebels and they put Pécs to the torch and massacred 8,000 Germans and Serbs.  These horrendous atrocities went on from February 1st to the 3rd.  The rebels returned home heavy laden with booty without even having seen an enemy. 

  In Tolna, Somogy and Baranya Counties all the prelates and upper nobles (magnates) remained loyal to the Habsburgs.   Only the Abbot of Székszárd, Michael Mércy and the two Esterházys, Anton and Daniel, joined the rebels.  The officials of the Counties and the operators of the estates of the nobles fled for their lives while they still could.  When that was not possible they sought to make arrangements with the rebels.  What happened in Pécs and in other places poisoned their relationships with the Serbs.  At the end of February 1704 some 3,000 mounted Serbs assembled at Sziget and rode to Pécs and took the city.  On March 25, 1704 the Serbs plundered Báta.  At the same time the Serbs living in the areas around Buda began to become belligerent.  In April the situation in Tolna County was catastrophic.  The Serbs came from the north and south and plundered villages and then put them to the torch.  Eventually the rebels were chased across the Danube by General Heister.  From September 1704 until November 1705 the Imperial Army was in charge of the region that would one day be known as Swabian Turkey. 

  On November 4, 1707 the troops of the rebel General Battyányi crossed the Danube and  took Dunafӧldvár in daylight on the 5th.  Soon the Kurucz rebels had retaken most of the former territory they had held with the exception of Buda, Pest and Raab and a slice of  Western Hungary which remained in the hands of the Imperial troops.  As a result, on June 14, 1707  the Landtag of Onód asked for the abdication of the Habsburg Emperor.  

  Prince Eugene of Savoy, a military mastermind, appeared on the scene and the fate of the rebellion was sealed.  At Trencin in Slovakia the elite troops of the rebels were defeated on August 3, 1708.  Not even the victory of the Kurucz Brigade under Adam Balogh at Kӧlesd on September 2, 1708 could halt the inevitable outcome of the war.  On August 28, 1709 the rebels in the fortress of Simontornya raised the white flag.  In the summer of 1710 the rebels attempted to set foot in Swabian Turkey once again.  An advance guard crossed the Danube on July 14th led by Adam Balogh and reached Kӧlesd a day later.  Another force arrived from across the Danube at the beginning of August.  On August 15th the rebels took the earth works at Ujpalank by Székszárd and burned the bridges.  They retook the fortress at Simontornya.  After a rather ineffectual campaign, Adam Balogh and his rebels were surrounded by Imperial troops at Székszárd on October 29, 1710.  His force consisted of a few hundred men.  Most of them perished in the uneven battle that followed.  Adam Balogh and seven others were captured.  He was put on trial and on February 6, 1711 and he was executed in Buda. 

  The day to day difficulties of those living in Kurucz held territory increased.  The nobles lost their interest and eagerness for war and wanted to get their subjects back to useful work.  The Hungarian serfs were also fed up and had no hope of winning.  Why should they go to war and just remain serfs trying to eek out an existence?  After prolonged discussions the Peace of Szatmár was signed on April 24. 1711 by the Imperial General, Johann Pálffy and the Kurucz General, Count Carolyi.  On April 30th the 149 Kurucz regiments handed over their standards and made their way home.  So ended the revolt.  The Hungarian nobles were guaranteed all of their rights once more.  The battle weary peasants returned to their masters.  Their hope for freedom was denied once again.  Franz Rákӧczy went into exile in Poland and later lived in France.  In 1716 when Sultan Achmed III went to war with Charles VI of Austria, Rákӧczy hurried to Turkey.  He was unsuccessful in finding a military role in the Turkish campaign.  He died in Turkey on April 8, 1735.  He became the national symbol of Hungarian opposition to the absolutism of the Habsburg Emperors in the century ahead.  After the revolt was put down with the Peace of Szatmár the following years were followed by the rapid economic development of Hungary.  Post stations were set up from Vienna where the Abbot of Báta continued to reside for some time as a degree of normalcy began.  

  He proceeded to build a two storey, many-roomed mansion residence for himself at Bátaszék in 1718.  He spent a great deal of time there.  It was also in 1718 that he began to settle Germans on his estate, a project he continued to carry out to the end of his life. 

  In 1722 he forced the Orthodox Serbs to leave and moved them to Leperd because they did not respect the Roman Catholic holidays and festivals.  On the night of September 19, 1727 at ten o'clock in the evening, the inhabitants of Bátaszék were awakened by screams and shooting.  People who lived closer to the Abbot's residence could see a mob climbing up ladders to the second storey.  Guesses were that the attackers numbered from anywhere between 25 to 60 persons.  The bandits carried out their raid over the next three hours and carried off a great deal of loot.  The villagers discovered that the Abbot and three of his retainers had been murdered and three others were badly wounded. 

  County officials carried out an investigation.  Their report indicated that the Abbot had been decapitated.  It was assumed that the robbers numbered sixty and came from the other side of the Drava River.  These Serbian robbers were "worse than the Turks."  Since no action could be taken against the unknown bandits, the elected County officials sentenced three of the community leaders to one hundred lashes for failing to raise a force to take on the robbers.  The chief suspects were the Serbs who had been forced to leave and settle in Leperd.  But none of them ever confessed to the crime although they were imprisoned and tortured.  Numerous trials, hearings and interrogations followed that involved the Serbs in Nána as well.  This was also done under torture.  In addition there were also allegations that Calvinist Magyars were the ones who had provided the ladders. 

  Despite his predecessor's experience the new Abbot settled Orthodox Serbs on the estate in nearby Nána in 1723.  Earlier in 1719 Bátaszék was elevated to the status of a market town.  It was located on an ancient crossing point over the Danube.  The Schawitz River joined the Danube there and could accommodate smaller vessels.  Wine was a major product brought for sale at the market.  Bátaszék was a long single street 4 kilometres in length.  The lower part of the village was inhabited by Calvinist Magyars and the upper village housed Roman Catholic Magyars.  In 1720 by order of the administrator of the estate two of the houses were torn down to cause a physical break between the Roman Catholics and the Calvinists.  Alsónyék was settled by Hungarians in the Middle Ages.  Since 1626 the inhabitants held to the Reformed (Calvinist) faith.  Sarpilis was destroyed by Serbs in 1704 and the survivors fled to Alsónyék.  In 1724 the small village was newly settled by Calvinist Magyars.  The village was settled by refugees from other villages burned and plundered by the Turks and then later the Serbs attacked them in the same way during the Rákӧczy uprising.  Additional settlers came to Decs and from other Reformed settlements in the Tolna.  After the liberation from the Turks the new estate owner Count Georg Wallis refused to tolerate Protestants on his domains.  Whoever refused to convert to Roman Catholicism was driven out of town.  A portion of the loyal Calvinists found a home in Pilis and Decs.  Decs became an important village and would  maintain its Calvinist character in the future. 

  During the time of Jacob Ferdinand Jany's ownership of the Báta Abbey lands and estate from 1703-1728, the number of families who were his tenant subjects increased from 87  to 284 families.  Following Jany's murder, the Emperor Charles VI granted the Abbey and estates to Sigismund Kollonics the Archbishop of Vienna. 

  The first German settlers to arrive in Bátaszék came around 1720 and were referred to as Franconians.  In the winter of 1721/1722 there was a great deal of dissatisfaction among these settlers.  The ringleaders of the unrest were Paul Ebner, Johann Adam Enteres and Johann Eberhard Schmidt and there were others such as Hog, Fischer, Ritter and Till.  They chose Ebner and Enteres as their deputies to complain to the Emperor Charles VI (Hungarian King Charles III) about their situation with regard to their landlord.  They left for Vienna in the Spring of 1722 and were given an audience with the Emperor in April.  They informed him that they had not received any land, meadows or house lots.  The Emperor gave Ebner a letter in defence of their claim (now lost) and a letter was also sent to the Royal Chancellery in Buda by the Royal Imperial Court.  They in turn informed the County officials who were to give a judgement in the case.  Both the County and Abbey officials did all they could to put the blame on the settlers. 

  The Minutes of the investigation reveal that Paul Ebner (in 1722 he was 38 years old) came to Bátaszék with his wife Catharina Hoffmann and his children on May 2, 1719.  In 1722 he had six living children.  How many of them had been born in Bátaszék is not known.  He received no land nor a meadow even though he had a cow.  He and his wife gleaned in the estate owner's fields and both of them were beaten for it by an onlooker.  Although he paid no taxes for three years he had to provide robot labour for the priest.  After his return from Vienna his letter from the Emperor was taken away from him by order of the Abbot.  Ebner was thrown into prison but the Abbot provided for his family.  After his release he and his family moved on.  In the tax list of April 24, 1723 he is no longer listed as a resident. 

  Enteres (in 1722 he was 31 years old) came to Bátaszék before 1720.  He refused to co-operate and endured beatings.  He cleared one acre of land on his own which was taken away from him by the Serbs.  He lost his harvest thereby and had to go begging.  He too had to do free labour service for the priest.  After his return from Vienna he simply disappeared without a trace.  The Roman Catholic church records that were begun in 1722 indicate that a large number of the settlers moved away because of the situation in which they found themselves and some moved on to the Batschka. 

  Sigismund Kollonics, the new Abbot, was born on May 30, 1677 in Nagylevárd in what is now Slovakia the son of a Count.  His uncle was the famous Count Leopold Karl von Kollonics the bishop of Wiener Neustadt and president of the Hungarian Royal Chamber and later Archbishop of Estergom and became a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.  Sigismund undertook his theological training and studies at the Jesuit school in Neuhaus in Bohemia.  He received his Doctor of Theology in Rome.  He was ordained a priest in Rome in 1699.  Upon ordination he was appointed Dean of the Cathedral in Estergom and named to the Imperial Council.  In 1709 he became Bishop of Vac. 

  On July 1, 1716 he became the primary bishop of Vienna.  On June 1, 1722 the bishopric of Vienna was elevated to an Archbishopric.  Pope Benedict XIII named him a Cardinal on November 26. 1727.  On October 18, 1728 he was named Abbot of Báta.  It now belonged to the diocese of Estergom.  He died on April 12, 1751 in Vienna. 

  During the canonical visitation carried out on April 24, 1811 it was reported that during mass the sermons alternated between German and Hungarian.  The Orthodox Serbs had their own priest, church and cemetery.  They were only 35 families and numbered 210 persons.  There was also a Jewish family of four who attended synagogue in Bonyhád.  The visitor also reported that Alsónyék had a population of 1,260 of whom 1,246 were of the Calvinist persuasion and had their own church and preacher since being officially recognized by the Emperor following the Edict of Toleration in 1786. 

  The German families that settled in Bátaszék had their origins in Bavaria, Silesia, Lower Austria, the Steiermark, Tyrol, Swabia and Croatia. 

  In the census of 1829 out of a total population of 4,986 living in Batászék the religious breakdown was as follows and consisted of Germans, Hungarians and Serbs: 

  4,357 Roman Catholics

     563 Orthodox

       31 Calvinists (Reformed)

       22 Lutherans

       13 Jews

  On the Abbey domains the other communities had the following religious makeup: 

  The village of Báta was now located in Baranya County and had the status of a market town and its inhabitants were primarily Hungarians: 

  2,012 Roman Catholics

       27 Orthodox

     413 Calvinists (Reformed)

         6 Jews   

  The village of Alsónyék was primarily a Hungarian village: 

        27 Roman Catholics

      818 Calvinists (Reformed)

          7 Jews 

  The village of Pilis was entirely Hungarian in population: 

      583 Calvinists (Reformed) 

  The village of Decs was entirely Hungarian in population: 

    2,000 Calvinists (Reformed) 

  The village of Alsónána was a mixed nationalities village with German, Hungarian and Serbian inhabitants: 

      8  Roman Catholics

    363  Orthodox

    643  Lutherans

     72  Calvinists (Reformed) 

  The village of Vardomb had a German population: 

  500  Roman Catholics 

  The winds of change swept across Europe in 1848 and its impact was first felt in Pest on March 15,1848.  Hungarian youth and students met at the Cafe Pilvax and headed to the printing house of Landerer and Hichenast.  They had the national anthem written by Sandor Petӧfi and the "Twelve Points" of Mar Johai published without the permission of the censor.  At noon of that day 10,000 revolutionaries assembled in the square before the National Museum.  From there they marched to the State House in Buda and were joined by others and eventually numbered some 20,000.  The government officials met their demands and abolished censorship and released numerous political prisoners. 

  On April 11, 1848 the last Landtag called by Ferdinand V assembled in Pressburg and he gave his Royal Consent to the Thirty One Laws decreed at their previous sittings in 1847 and 1848.  As a result future Landtags would be called by the will of the deputies  elected to it and not at the whim of the Emperor.  In addition to the nobles other landowners and property owners were eligible to be elected and attend the Landtag.  Merchants, artisans, clergy, teachers, notaries and all High School graduates were given the franchise.  The minimum age was 24 years but all voters had to demonstrate fluency in Hungarian.  (Translator's Note: males only.) 

  In preparation for the election of the deputies to attend and participate in the Landtag the Counties established election committees to carry it out.  The term of the delegates was for three years.  The first assembly of "the people's parliament" took place in Pest on July 5, 1848 and was declared open by the Paladin, Stephen Victor.  On October 4, 1848 the King abolished the recently elected body.  The parliament returned his decree on October 7th declining to comply with his wishes.  In the midst of this stalemate in response to Article XVI passed earlier in 1848 the County Administrations made up of nobles were replaced by an elected one representing the "estates".  The new County Councils were in effect from May 1, 1848 to February 9, 1849 and from June 12, 1949 to August 1, 1849.  On the basis of Article IX of 1848 the Urbarial agreements and the robot (free labour service of the peasants for their masters) were both set aside.  The peasants were given the land they had worked for the nobles as if it was theirs in the first place.  The Emancipation of the Serfs was given royal approval. 

  In Article XXII of 1848 the County Councils were empowered to establish a National Guard and they did so on June 6, 1848.  In Tolna County 2,179 men were called to arms.  (e.g. Alsónána had to provide a quota of twelve men).  Later the National Guard was expanded and Batászék formed the largest battalion in the County consisting of 597 men including 33 officers. 

  The Croats, Serbs, Romanians and Slovaks were not simply content to sit back and allow the Hungarians all these freedoms without trying to obtain their own rights and autonomy.  Because the Hungarian parliament refused to allow this the minorities took up arms against them.  In the early summer of 1848 open warfare broke out.  Wherever possible the Serbs took on the role of opposition to the aspirations of the Hungarians.  A letter from Basil Mosanovic, the Serbian Orthodox priest in Bátaszék dated July 6, 1848 to Michael Aupic a fellow priest serving in Stanic was intercepted.  He wrote:  "My dear brother!  Remain healthy.  Because I have the opportunity to write dear brother I want to share my current situation here.  As you know we live here with the "rajahs"  (Translator's Note:  a pejorative term with the inference that the Magyars tried to lord it over the minorities) in a semblance of friendship with which we are quite satisfied.  But I'm afraid we now have to forget all of that!  Our nationals  here must get involved in the bloodshed that is inevitable.  It is true that we live in peace and friendship with the Hungarian unbelievers (Translator's Note:  non-Orthodox).  We have always had our differences but managed to get along.  My friend, we find ourselves in great danger here in Bátaszék.  We are afraid that in a very short time a St. Bartholomew 's Day Massacre will be visited upon us.  (Translator's Note:  a reference to the massacre of the Huguenots (Protestants) in Paris on St. Bartholomew's Day under the guise of offering them the right to practice their religious beliefs).  That is why I am taking leave of you." 

  On September 11, 1848 the Ban (Governor) of Croatia and now Commander of the Austrian Imperial Army, Joseph Jellačic, crossed the Drava River at Ligárd with an army of 15,000 men.  Simultaneously Vice-Field Marshall Hartlieb with an equal force also crossed the Drava in the vicinity of Bárcs.  The two forces united at Lake Balaton and marched on Szekésfehervár which they captured on September 26th.  But later on September 29th this united force was soundly defeated at Pákozd by Hungarian troops under the command of Vice Marshall Johann Móga.  After the defeat, Jellačic fled towards Austria and crossed over its frontier on October 8th. 

  General Karl Roth had been able to cross the Drava around Stara with his army of 10,000 men on September 21, 1848.  He hurried with his forces to Szekésferhevár where he was to join forces with Jellačic but because he had fled from the area Roth sought to retreat back to Slavonia.  On October 7th he was surrounded by Hungarian troops in northern Tolna County at Ozora and was forced to surrender.  The officers were led into captivity.  The lower officers and enlisted men were unarmed and accompanied to the Drava River border and were set free to return to their homeland.  The heroes of Ozora were Mór Percel (later General) and Major Vilmos Csapó. 

  On December 2, 1848 King Ferdinand abdicated.  His successor was his nephew, Francis Joseph, the eighteen-year-old Archduke.  On December 7th the Hungarian parliament declared that the succession was illegal and Francis Joseph was an usurper.  Despite that, the County of Tolna sent a Letter of Homage to the young Emperor on February 9, 1848 which was refused and returned by the Viennese Chancellery. 

  On December 16th the Austrian Field Marshall Alfred Prince of Windischgrätz crossed the Hungarian frontier with a force of 44,000 men.  On December 31, 1848 the members of parliament and the Ministry of Defence fled to Debrécen in eastern Hungary.  Buda and Pest were abandoned.  On January 4th the revolutionary government commissioner Lászlo Csányi ordered the military evacuation of Swabian Turkey.  Canons, weapons, gun powder, military uniforms and other supplies were to be taken across the Danube and were to be stored in a safe area so as not to fall into the hands of the enemy. 

  On January 5th Windischgrätz occupied Buda and Pest.  On January 19th he released a governmental decree effecting all of Hungary under occupation.  He divided the conquered territory into three sections.  The County of Tolna was part of the Ödenburg (Sopron) military district.  The Commander was Major General Buritsch.  The Imperial troops occupied Tolna County at the beginning of February 1849.  Gábor Dӧry was named Royal Commissioner of Tolna on February 17th.  This military occupation lasted for 74 days.  To show their loyalty the populace had to have an imperial flag flown from all church towers and all personal weapons had to be turned in. 

   Francis Joseph sanctioned a new Imperial Constitution for all of Austria on March 4, 1849 and Hungary, Transylvania and the Serbian Wojwodina and the Temesvár Banat all became Austrian Crown Lands.  Croatia and Slavonia were also Crown Lands but were no longer bound to Hungary in any way.  This division of the Kingdom of Hungary into Crown Lands was rejected by the Hungarian parliament.  On April 4, 1849 they declared that Francis Joseph's claim to the throne was not constitutional and his decrees were null and void.  The declaration took place in the Central Reformed Church in Debrécen.  They called upon the nation to continue the struggle against the Habsburgs.  At the same assembly Lajos Kossuth was elected Prime Minister of independent Hungary. 

  Following their victory at Komorn on April 26, 1849 the Imperial Army had the run of things in Swabian Turkey.  The Imperial Corps Commander and the Croatian Ban, Jellačic who resided in Buda moved south with their troops.  On April 29th they reached Dunafӧldvár and on the 30th they were at Páks.  On May 1st they reached the town of Tolna and on May 2nd they were in Székszárd where they remained for two days.  On May 4th they arrived at Bátaszék and on the 5th they were in Báta.  On May 6th they and their troops left Tolna County heading for Dunaszkecsӧ.  With the departure of the Imperial troops, the revolutionaries under István Fiath took over power in Tolna County.  The County re-organized itself.  In order to protect the County from Croatian attack a 600 man volunteer force of the National Guard was to be established.  On July 20, 1849 the Croats attacked Báta plundered the village and burned it to the ground.  Two hundred and fifty houses were destroyed.  The Croats then quickly retreated at the first sign of the arrival of avenging Hungarian troops. 

  The Emperor Francis Joseph requested military assistance from Czar Nicholas I of Russia on May 1, 1849.  They worked out the terms of the intervention at a meeting in Warsaw on May 21st.  The Russian Army crossed the frontiers of Hungary between June 15th and 18th.  The Hungarian government that had returned to Budapest from Debrécen on June 5, 1849 had to flee again.  They remained in Szeged from July 8th to 11th.  On August 9, 1849 the Austrian Commander, Julius Jacob von Haynau defeated the major Hungarian Army which was led by General Josef Bem.  He was of Polish origin and fled to Turkey where he served in the Turkish military. 

  On August 11, 1849 Kossuth turned power over to General Arthur Gӧrgy and resigned.  Kossuth left for Turkey and then went to England and the United States of America.  Eventually he lived in Italy and died there in Turin in 1894.  At Vilagos (now Siria in Romania) Gӧrgy's forces laid down their arms to the Russians on August 13, 1849.  Gӧrgy was pardoned by the Czar and kept interned at Klagenfurt for a short time.  He died at Visegard in 1916.  On August 17th the garrison at Arad surrendered and on September 15th the troops at Peterwardein turned over their weapons.  General Georg Klapka held out at the fortress of Komorn until October 2nd.  He handed over the fortress for free passage to foreign parts.  He was later a Major General in the Prussian Army.  His command was known as the "Hungarian Legion" because so many Hungarian revolutionaries later joined him.  This unit fought against the Austrians in the German War (Austro-Prussian War) of 1866. 

  The first Hungarian Prime Minister, Count Louis Batthyányi was executed for high treason in Pest on October 6, 1849.  On the same day thirteen Hungarian generals who were seen as rebel officers of the Austrian High Command were executed in Arad.  There were and additional 114 death sentences imposed on others involved in the revolution.   There were hundreds of others who were sentenced to prison for countless years.  Many fled to foreign lands where they were welcomed as "freedom fighters." 

  At the end of August 1849 the Imperial troops returned to Tolna County.  Right behind them came the Emperor's officials.  As part of the Military District of Ödenburg there were also civilian districts that were established.  Gábor Dӧry was in command of the Military District and a new structure was put into effect in October.  A civilian government for Tolna County was established to which Baranya, Somogy and Tolna Counties belonged.  Cholera epidemics followed on the heels of the conflict and suppression of the revolution in 1848, 1849 and 1850.  The following number of deaths in Bátaszék are recorded as a result of the epidemic:  in 1848 there were 190, in 1849 there were 343 and in 1850 there were 177. 

  During the First World War there were 160 men who lost their lives both on the war front and in prisoner of war camps in Russia.  Beginning in 1928 there was a large scale emigration to Canada.  During the interwar years the Volksbund movement had its beginnings throughout Hungary and a local chapter was founded in Bátaszék on October 6, 1940 prior to Hungary's entry into the Second World War as an ally of Hitler and the German Reich.  In the census conducted throughout Hungary in 1941 the following statistics pertaining to Bátaszék are available.  There was a total population of 7,153 of whom 3,369 were Hungarian, 3,777 were German and there were 5 Serbs and 2 others. 

  The census further indicates that in terms of the population's mother tongue 2,399 claimed that Hungarian was their mother tongue and 4,665 indicated German in their response to the question.  These figures demonstrate how complex the situation was at the time in that 1,000 Germans claimed to be Hungarian in terms of their nationality. 

  The religious preferences of the population were as follows:  6,684 Roman Catholics, 25 Orthodox, 198 Calvinists (Reformed), 122 Lutherans, 30 Baptists and 103 Jews. 

  On February 1, 1942 the Volksbund carried out their first recruitment effort to secure volunteers from among the Swabians to serve in the SS and the German Armed Forces. 

  It was also In 1942 when the Loyal to the Homeland Movement began throughout the area and had a strong following in Bátaszék and many families left the Volksbund. 

  On July 1, 1943 a second recruitment campaign for volunteers to serve in the German Armed Forces was begun and carried out by the Volksbund with very mixed results. 

  When the German Army occupied Hungary on March 19, 1944 both German Army and Waffen-SS units were quartered in the homes of the local population.  Between March 20 and the 25th the first actions were taken against the local Jewish population.  At that time twelve to twenty of the able bodied Jewish men were dragged off from their homes.  This action was carried out by the Gestapo and SS units but they were also assisted by some local men from the Volksbund who volunteered to help.  On April 12th the third mustering and recruitment drive took place which was not of a voluntary nature and effected all men of military age as defined by the Volksbund but did not include the leadership of the organization. 

    On May 12, 1944 a Ghetto was established in Bonyhád and the remaining Jews in Bátaszék were sent there one week later.  There were 77 persons according to one report.  This action was carried out by Hungarian policemen.  They would be on the last railway convoy to leave for Auschwitz from Hungary. 

  A Volksbund organized evacuation left Bátaszék on November 21, 1944 and consisted of some married women and children.  They arrived in Knittelfeld in the Steirmark on November 25th where they were first billeted in a school.  

  Russian troops occupied Báta and Bátaszék on November 28, 1944 and Vardom on the following day. 

  On December 28, 1944 the Russian Military Commander in Székszárd ordered that all able bodied men and women of German origin report to perform public labour.  Men from the ages of 17 years to 45 and women from 18 years to 30.  The local civil authorities were to carry out their registration and the subsequent action.  There were 4,443 persons effected in Tolna County. 

  On December 31, 1944 approximately 180 men and women from Bátaszék were assembled and kept in the local school for three days and then taken to Baja where they were loaded onboard cattle cars.  Eleven persons managed to escape.  The others were taken to Kadjewka-Dombas in Ukraine.  They men had to work in the coal mines there for five years and the women had to work on construction for three years.  Because of the conditions, lack of food, hard work and epidemics in the camp 40 of the men perished along with 14 of the women. 

  In March 1945 all of the German inhabitants of the village were interned.  Those older than 50 years of age were imprisoned in Bogyiszló and those who were younger where kept under strict guard in the camp at Székszárd. 

  In May 1945 the homes and property of all those interned were confiscated and given to Hungarian refugees from the Bukovina. 

  At the end of 1945 the evacuees who had fled to the Steiermark returned home at the insistence of the British occupying forces in Austria. 

  On November 28, 1946 a railway convoy with 300 expellees from Bátaszék onboard left for Lower Franconia in Bavaria.  They were allowed to take very little with them. 

  In June of 1947 Hungarians expelled from Slovakia were settled in Bátaszék.  Most of them were farmers.  They brought their livestock, agricultural implements and household furnishings.  In order to make room for them the local Swabians were re-settled in Bátaapáti.  Later they were expelled from Hungary and sent to Germany. 

  On August 21, 1947 another railway transport with 300 German expellees from Bátaszék left for Pirna in Saxony in the Russian Zone. 

  There were 40 of the local Germans who volunteered to join the expellees from Véménd who left for Zwickau in Saxony in September 1947. 

  On February 17, 1948 another railway convoy of expellees left with 750 German inhabitants of Bátaszék among them and would head for Sachsen-Anhalt in the Russian Zone of Germany. 

  The final convoy of expellees from Bátaszék numbering 750 persons left for Pirna in Saxony on February 28, 1948. 

  A total of 2,100 of the German inhabitants of Bátaszék were expelled from Hungary of which approximately 1,800 were sent to the Russian Zone of Germany.  Approximately 800 of the latter crossed over the border illegally into the Western Zones. 

A Postscript on the Persecution of the Jews in Hungary 

  The Hungarian Parliament passed its first anti-Semitic law on May 29, 1938:  Article XV/1938 narrowed their participation in higher education and the economic and community life of the nation.  It was followed by another on May 5, 1939 Article IV/1939 which took away certain civil rights from the Jewish population.  On August 9, 1941 the Hungarian Parliament passed Article XV/1941 in which the marriage of Jews with non-Jews was forbidden to protect the "race".  On April 5, 1944, following the German occupation all Jews were ordered to wear a yellow star of David.  From May 15, 1944 to June 17, 1944 all Jews living on the territory of the Kingdom of Hungary with the exception of Budapest were deported to extermination camps. 

  The events that took place in Bátaszék with regard to its Jewish inhabitants was reported  by Florian Bárd a local teacher:  "The German occupation of Hungary on March 19, 1944 took the Hungarian population by surprise and filled them with a sense of foreboding.  The German troops who arrived in armoured vehicles waited for other formations to pass through Bátaszék.  On the day of their arrival the German Commander called the community leaders together to ascertain if the Hungarian inhabitants would protest and how he should contend with opposition.  The community leaders assured him that was not the case.  In actuality the young Hungarians shared the view that the Germans should be driven out but the older Hungarians had talked them out of it. 

  After the German occupation, the Volksbund became much more powerful.  It exerted its  influence on the community leaders and made all kinds of threats when they faced any opposition.  The German military commander also worked very closely with the Volksbund.  The mistreatment of the Jews began almost immediately.  They were attacked publicly in the streets, stripped of their clothes and tortured and tormented in the Volksbund headquarters.  When the Hungarian police attempted to enter the Volksbund headquarters to demand the secession of the torture they were prevented from doing so by the German MPs who were on duty.  Later the Volksbund members helped to carry out the assembling and deportation of the Jews. 

  A police report indicates:  "In Bátaszék the Volksbund leaders and SS soldiers rounded up twelve Jews and took them to the Volksbund headquarters where they were tortured.  Their homes were ransacked and their possessions were thrown out on the street.  A number were taken by the SS and the others were taken by Volksbund members.  They also extorted 200,000 Pengo from their prisoners.  Some of the money was used to purchase four to five teams of horses.  The Jewish lawyer, Baum, had his arm broken, a retired banker, Adolph Halasz had an eye knocked out of his head.  In the night of March 22nd and 23rd the windows of the houses of those Swabians who were part of the Loyal to the Homeland Movement were smashed in.  This re-occurred on the night of March 27th and 28th."  The same police officer reports:  "Florian Krämer, the Volksbund Führer, for southern Swabian Turkey was informed of these activities by me personally on the 26th of this month in Székszárd.  He informed me in turn that he would fire the Volksbund Führers in Bonyhád and Bátaszék and all those members who worked along side the German Armed Forces would be "kicked out" of the Volksbund.  The German Commander of the troops in Székszárd also promised me that he would investigate the reported actions and punish the guilty." 

  On the basis of my memory these kinds of specific actions, especially those directed against the Jews were ordered by the central office of the SS and the Gestapo without the support of the Hungarian officials.  Later it was admitted that the Jewish Council received daily instructions from the Gestapo to carry out actions on the members of their community.  According to reports, however no longer available, they were supported in this by the loyal members of the Volksbund and the Arrow Cross Party (the Hungarian Nazi Party).  The Sztojay Arrow Cross government was zealous in carrying out actions against the Jews and any of the other wishes of the SS.  On March 20, 1944 the Sztojay government issued a series of laws to minimize the rights of the Jewish population. 

  In the middle of April the apprehending of the Jews began.  The Minister of the Interior ordered a census of the Jews in a secret memo to the police.  These lists of names were given to various secret service organizations and the Ministry of the Interior. 

  The Regulation 1610/1944 of April 26, 1944 concerned itself with questions about houses owned by Jews and the communities in which they lived.  In communities with less than 10,000 inhabitants, the leading official of local government could order the Jews to leave the community by a given deadline.  In those communities which the Jews had left, no other Jews were allowed to move in.  In communities with more than 10,000 inhabitants Jews could only live in designated areas usually certain streets and houses.  The possessions and property left behind by the Jews should be placed in the control of the local officials and administrators. 

  On May 12th every Jewish family in Bonyhád received a written order informing them that they had three days to move to the Ghetto and leave their homes and possession outside of the Ghetto behind.  A few weeks later the Jews in the Ghettos in Székszárd and Bátaszék were moved to the Bonyhád Ghetto.  There were a total of 77 persons from Bátaszék involved in this action.  In the afternoon of July 1st the entraining of the people began.  The local authorities played no role in this.  It was carried out by the police who were ordered to Bátaszék from somewhere else. 

  A few hours before noon the convoy arrived at the railway yards of the train station in Pécs.  At the order of the police who accompanied them they were marched off to the Lakits-Husar Barracks.  They were met there by many more people.  The captives were placed in the numerous barracks and had to sleep on the bare floors.  The authors of the deportation plan also wanted to torture the unfortunate people's sensitivity as well.  In the barrack courtyard latrines were set up in such a way that its use resulted in a public display of their bodily functions.  They stayed there for three days.  At noon on July 6th the trains were loaded with thousands of people who had been assembled at the barracks.  For most of them it would be their last journey. 

  According to the records of the synagogue in Bátaszék there were 135 persons of the Jewish faith associated with it in 1941: 

  Bátaszék                    103                            Exterminated                  83

  Báta                            14                                                                      12

  Alsónyek                      8                                                                        3

  Sarpilis                         4                                                                        3

  Vardomb                      6                                                                        6

  Alsónána                      0                                                                        1

  There were 108 persons who died in the extermination camps and only 20 ever returned home.  The fate of the others remains unknown.  A memorial was erected in the Jewish cemetery in their memory.

[Published at DVHH.org 15 Mar 2012 by Jody McKim Pharr)

 

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