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Prehistory of Syrmien / Syrmia / Srem

By Peter Lang
From the book "History of the Village
God Bless Our Home," Beschka Homeland Book.
Translated by Brad Schwebler
Published at DVHH.org by Jody McKim Pharr

     Alexander the Great already watered his horse in the lower Danube 336 years before Christ's birth which at the time was called the Istar.  At the time the Celts lived from the Black Sea to England.  From them came for example the name Danube (Roman name was Danubia), Theiß, Kreisch (Hungarian name is Körös), Drau and Sau (Serbian names are Drava and Sava).  In the year 9 B.C. the Roamns also ruled the land south of the Danube and with it the land around Beschka.  The region from Vienna to Belgrade was called Pannonia at the time.  The land east of the Theiß and north of the Danube was called Dacia.  It corresponded with today's Banat and Transylvania.  Between the Danube and the Theiß Rivers lived the Jzygen during Roman times which the Romans found difficult to rule.  In the Batschka the Romans built the special so-called Roman trenches.  Today these are so deep that a rider can get stuck in them.  The Romans gave our region the name Syrmia (Srem).  The city that was called Sirmium at the time is called Mitrovica today after the goddess Demeter.  The seat of several Roman emperors was there.  The city of Sirmium already had 200,000 inhabitants at the time.  Also in the neighborhood of Beschka are found Roman villages such as Acuminikum - the seat of the Roman headquarters in the province of Pannonia, which today is called Slankamen.  Other important Roman cities in the neighborhood of Beschka were Burgal, today known as Banovci; Ritium, today known as Surduk; and Kusum, today known as Karlovitz.  In Beschka one of my students found a copper Roman coin from the 3rd Century.  In the year 1942 Vlada Jovanovic, known as Vuletic, 21 Long Street, stumbled upon an old pottery oven by the side of a pathway in his yard which was still full of pots.  It is possible, that this oven came from before Roman times.  Roman rule was also broken during the migration of people into the region around Beschka.  Goths, Huns, "Awaren," and many other people moved through the land and destroyed all the cultural memorials.

     The Croatians settled in today's Croatia in the 7th Century and later chose the Hungarian king as their own king.  This condition lasted until World War I.  But notice also that the Hungarians had no national king since 1526. What's more is that the Habsburgs at the time were king of Hungary and Croatia. The Serbs migrated to today's Serbia in the 7th century.  At first they were dependant on the Byzantines, up to the 12th century they were independent, up to the 15th century they were under Turkish rule, and were first completely free in 1912. The apostles Cyril and Method converted the Serbs to Christianity. Both apostles were canonized.  Cyril is the creator of the Cyrillic alphabet which the Russians, Serbs, and Bulgarians of today still use. The Croatians, on the other hand, use the Roman alphabet which goes together with their religion because they are in contrast with the orthodox Catholic Serbs.  The difference in beliefs and the historical development caused a deep rift between the brotherly Serbs and Croatians. The Serbs, Croatians, and Slovenians first united in 1918, then in the kingdom of Jugoslavia (Jug=south).  This name has remained.  What has changed is the form of state because Jugoslavia is no longer a federal socialistic republic.

     It should also be mentioned that the French under Charlemagne also ruled our homeland, the former Roman Pannonia. Karlovitz has kept the name of Charlemagneand the name Frankengebirge (French Mountains) (Serbian name is Fruschka Gora (Frug=French) which also refers to the French history.

     In the year 895 the great Prince Arpad led the Magyars into Hungary, whose borders at the time were determined to run through the Carpathians from Preßburg to Orschowa.  In the west the border went almost exactly south to the Mur-Drau-Danube and to Orschowa.  In 975 began the Christianizing of Hungary and with it also the migration of the German monks, priests, officials, and craftsmen.  In greater numbers came the Transylvanians and Zipser Sachsen (Saxons) in the 12th century to Hungary. The Zipser and the Transylvanian Saxons survived the Tatar and Turkish times and could accept the Evangelical belief under the Turks.  In Turkish times there were many Calvanist Hungarians.

     After the expulsion of the Turks about 300,000 Serbs came from Serbia under the leadership of patriarch Cernojevic in the Batschka and the Banat because as imperial collaborators they had to flee the revenge of the Turks.  Also German soldiers settled in the devastated region.  Later under Emperor Leopold and Maria Theresia German Catholic farmers came to settle little by little.  For the time being the Protestants were not tolerated.  Emperor Josef II first issued the Tolerance Act for Protestants and a year after that followed the Settlement Patent.  The homeland history researcher Director Friedrich Lotz established that Emperor Josef did not issue this Settlement Patent and what's more is he entrusted high officials of his to be permitted to advertise that it would be issued in his name.  But it was certain that Emperor Josef would keep all promises in the Settlement Patent.  The emperor was way ahead of his time.  He was often called Josef the German but he was also very tolerant towards other people.  French, Spaniards, and Italians were also settled.  It was not clear why the Germans were not preferred that the "separation" was only approved with the consent of the Serbs (for further reference see "Eimann").  French, Spaniards, and Italians were assimilated without obligation by the Germans.  The name Gabert in Beschka may have come from the French name Chabert. Other names: Fakundini, Knefely, Balanger, Castelli, Massong, and so on.


Last Updated: 04 Feb 2020

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