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The current situation of the Hungary-Germans

Translated by Nick Tullius
Published at DVHH 21 Feb 2020 by Jody McKim Pharr

The former Parliamentary Commissioner for Minority Rights in Hungary, Jenő Kaltenbach, described the current situation of the minorities in Hungary as "largely socially integrated (assimilated), living in no closed settlement area, small in number, no pronounced sense of identity, rather a double identity". His conclusion was that the assimilation process of the Hungarian Germans and the accompanying loss of their mother tongue, despite some recent positive impulses, can hardly be reversed. Recently, however, a trend towards self-government of Hungary-German minorities has been observed in numerous places.

The number of German-speaking Hungary-Germans at the 2001 census was 62,233. Including the assimilated Hungary-Germans, their number is estimated at over 200,000. A referendum in 2011 found 132,000 people who indicated German as their nationality and 32,000 Hungarians who indicated German as their mother tongue. 96,000 Hungarians said they spoke German at home.

There are a number of towns with a German minority, with bilingual place-name signs. Street signs, however, are usually monolingual. Exceptions are Ödenburg (Sopron, officially 5.7% Hungary- Germans in 2011) and Werischwar (Pilisvörösvár, officially 28% Hungary-Germans), where you can also see signs with German street names.

In October 2011, the parliamentary group leader of the ruling Fidesz party, János Lázár, announced in an interview with the newspaper Die Welt that he wanted to strengthen the rights of the German minority. These should be allowed to send their own deputies to the parliament, a regulation that should also benefit other minorities in Hungary. In December 2012, the parliament approved a submission by the FIDESZ government, to have an annual Commemoration of the Expulsion of the Hungary- Germans. Such a Commemoration took place for the first time on January 19, 2013. 

Translated from https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ungarndeutsche by Nick Tullius

Translator's Note:

This a good overview of the subject, even if it was not written in 2020.

In a nutshell, because we Romania-Germans had German schools after 1920, we never questioned the idea that German was our mother tongue, even if the “romanianized” our first names in official documents. BTW, after 1989 they encouraged us to use the German version of our first names.

Our Hungary-German relatives did not have easy access to German schools, so now they are described (in the attached article and elsewhere) as having only a “mother dialect” (“schwowisch”) and making sure that their first names are spelled the Hungarian way. ~NTullius


Last Updated: 04 Feb 2020

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