Kötcse in Somogy County
(The following information
is taken from an article published by Johann Müller
of Bissingen-an-der-Enz and formerly of Bonnya, Somogy County, Hungary.)
The village of Kötcse was founded early in the 18th century and was one of
the two earliest German settlements in the northern region of Somogy County along with
Felsö Mocsolád following the expulsion of the Turks from the area. A list of the
heads of the earliest settler families was compiled on April 11, 1730 including
fifty-four German households whose origins were in Hesse and the Pfalz. According
to the church documents that they carried they had come by ship from Regensburg as far
as Paks-on-the-Danube. From there they were brought by wagon train to the site of
what would become Kötcse. At that time, in 1723, it was nothing more than a
prairie surrounded by wilderness.
These fifty-four families were Protestants of which forty-seven were Lutheran and the
other seven were Calvinists. These Calvinists came from the vicinity of Hanau.
Their names were Adam Felde, Heinrich Felde, Wilhelm Felde, Johann Ferber, Kilian Ferber,
Martin Ferber and Johann Weghmann. It can be assumed that we are dealing with brothers
in terms of the Feldes (later Felders) and the Ferbers.
The list of Lutherans includes: Kaspar Aumann, Johann Aumann, Balthasar Becker, Andreas
Berner, Johann Georg Bender, Johann Fleisch, Friedrich Gaspari, Heinrich Göbel, Johann
Heinrich Gebel, Johann Gutmann senior, Hieronymus Haas, Johann Haas, Heinrich Hertling,
Friedrich Hozner, Heinrich Juke, Johann Kerber, Jakob Knoch, Johann Kruts, Nikolaus
Kurtz, Stefan Landek, Jakob Löser, Geroge Heinrich Lux, Johann Georg Müller, Jakob
Rummer, Hartmann Reichert, Adam Reichert, Jakob Roos, Adam Raab, Jakob Raab, Friedrich
Schunck, Konrad Starck, Peter Starck, Josef Tekmann, Konrad Tefner, Johann Friedrich,
Konrad Friedrich, Johann Nepomuk Friedrich, Georg Till, Matthias Trimmel, Paul Ulrich,
Josef Weiss, Stefan Werbach, Georg Wiandt, Jakob Wiandt, Johann Wiandt.
In the book, Heimatbuch der Norschomodei there is only small mention made of the
village’s history. That is also true in Gustav Schmidt-Tomka’s history of the
development of the Lutheran Church District (Seniorat) in Swabian Turkey. He makes
reference to the origins of these first settlers that are substantiated by the list of
names that are provided in the Church Chronicle. In what follows the information
comes from the entries in the church records after 1783/1784 when Kötcse had become
fully Hungarian speaking. By 1800 only the older residents of the village spoke
German. Later during the next century the congregation was only served by
Hungarian pastors which accounts for the obvious corruption of many of the family names
in terms of their spelling and pronunciation. But when a visitor comes to Kötcse
and wanders about the old cemetery and reads the tombstones he comes across many of the
following names: Aumann, Bloch, Hedrich, Hartmann, Knoch, Kurtz, Kerber, Fleisch,
Ferber, Bruder, Landek, Tilk, Tekkmann, May, Lohr, Reichert, Tefner, Lamman, Schilling,
The village also had a pastor Wilhelm Schilling who had been born there 01.2.1883 but he
was fully assimilated and had no interest in the German origins of his home parish even
though it was well known it had been established by Germans. Their descendants
can be easily traced and found in many of the outlying communities that were established
later in Bonnya, Raksi, Gadács, Vámos, Ecsény and Döröschke. Many families
remained in touch with their extended families in Döröschke and Felsömocsolád.
The population of the village maintained a consistent level. At the present time
the congregation and several small filials in the area form a parish of eight hundred
persons. Their pastor is Alexander Szende. The long-term notary Heinrich
Trimmel has worked on the history of both the congregation and village. I hope
that the results of his research will lead to the publication of a book that will shed
some light on some of the yet unknown history of the community. He is a descendant
of Matthias Trimmel who was among those listed on April 11, 1730 and belongs among the
founders of the village whose origins were in the Pfalz.
The first Levite Lehrer was Dominic Haas from Kaltenbrunn in the Tolna now
known as Keszöhidgekút. He was the schoolmaster and the lay worship leader of the
congregation. In 1740, he was succeeded by Michael Harmonides and was secretly
ordained by Georg Barany the Dean of the Lutheran Church District shortly afterwards.
Gustav Schmidt-Tomka also mentions this in his history of the Church District. On
the night of December 15, 1745 the bishop of Veszprem, Martin Biró Padány gave the order
to the Superior Court Judge to tear down the wooden Lutheran church that stood in the
centre of the village along the road that led to Karád and Latrány and set it on fire.
The pastor was taken away in chains to the bishop’s dungeons in Veszprem where under
torture he converted to Roman Catholicism. The Lutherans in the village were
placed under the spiritual jurisdiction of the priest in Karád who had led a mob into
the village to carry out the orders of the bishop along with the support of County
troops. They also ransacked and pillaged the homes of the Lutherans and
confiscated any literature they found and added it to the flames.
Officially the congregation went out of existence but it continued as an underground
movement in the village with various “emergency teachers” leading the congregation until
the time of the Edict of Toleration. Their baptisms, marriages and deaths were entered
the Roman Catholic parish records in Karád until the Edict of Toleration but there are
many gaps and none of the records prior to 1745.
(Translator’s Note: Heinrich Trimmel never published the results of his research
but Zoltan Tefner a descendant of Konrad Tefner produced a monograph in 1990 in
Hungarian that was later translated into German. The results of his research
played an important role in the development of the scene associated with the events of
December 15, 1745 in
Children of the Danube as well as some other additional
archival information from other sources that became available. Henry A. Fischer is
also a direct descendant of Konrad Tefner.)