Bátaszék in the Tolna: A History
From the Bátaszék, Heimatbuch der
Grossgemeinde Bátaszék im Komitat
by Johannes Göbelt, Pécs
Partial translation and summary by Henry
Published at DVHH.org, 5 Mar 2012 by Jody McKim Pharr
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
31 Calvinists (Reformed)
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
413 Calvinists (Reformed)
The village of Alsónyék was
primarily a Hungarian village:
27 Roman Catholics
818 Calvinists (Reformed)
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
8 Roman Catholics
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
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
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
The final convoy of expellees
from Bátaszék numbering 750 persons left for Pirna in Saxony on February
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
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
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 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:
103 Exterminated 83
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.