Swabian Turkey







Schwäbischer Türkei (Ger.) / Sváb Törökország (Hun.)


About Swabian Turkey

     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.

~Henry Fischer

Neuengronau, in the land of Hesse
 - the area from which many settlers in Swabian Turkey originated.
(close to Motgers, Weichersbach, Altgronau)


Swabian Turkey Coordinator
Henry Fischer

Henry was born in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, son of Swabian immigrants from Hungary.   Henry has been a DVHH contributor for sometime now and he brings with him an unmistakable love for what he is doing for the Danube Swabian.  Being fluent in English and German, he has translated and contributed numerous historical articles for us to benefit and learn from.  We are fortunate to have Henry as a Resource Contributor.

Henry served on the former DVHH Administration Team, and currently serves on the DVHH Editorial Committee, in addition to his position as the Swabian Turkey Regional Coordinator, where he shares his knowledge and expertise, but he provides us with much more.
See: The Collected Works of Henry A. Fischer  | 
Books by Henry Fischer
Interview with Henry Fischer by Rose Mary Keller Hughes

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Keeping the Danube Swabian legacy alive!
Last Updated: 25 Oct 2020