Continuation from Izmeny – 3
Izmény and the War of Liberation (1848/49)
On March 15, 1848 the Revolutionaries were victorious in Budapest without any bloodshed that resulted in the declaration of the Twelve Points and a poem by Petöfi. Among other things they wanted independence from Vienna and the Habsburgs. On April 7, 1848 King Ferdinand V (who was also the Austrian Emperor) named the first independent Hungarian government and placed it under the leadership of the Prime Minister Count Lajos Batthyány. On August 13, 1848 Count Batthyány ordered the establishment of a National Guard. On August 27, 1848 the Austrian government submitted a petition to the Emperor that declared the establishment of an independent Hungarian government was illegal because it was not addressed in the Pragmatic Sanction. Four days before that the Hungarian parliament had passed the bill to establish the National Guard. The War of Liberation began and accordingly 200,000 recruits had to be raised in all of Hungary. Imre Sztankovánszky, a ministerial commissioner, reports on the recruitment in the Tolna as of December 5, 1848:
“Of the 3,056 soldiers that the County was obligated to provide, up until now there are 2,622 recruits. In the region (Szekszárd) the 41st Battalion consists of 1,302 persons and 162 soldiers were sent Werbász in order to strengthen the 6th Battalion. At the request of Count Casimar Batthyány, 188 persons were sent to Eszék (Esseg) and provisionally assigned as a company to the Hunyady Unit. 140 volunteers were sent to Esseg to join the cavalry units there. A total of 376 men were called up to the army from the volunteers of the 8th Battalion and the 3rd Battalion of the voluntary National Guards and of the 400 men brought to Pressburg from the 3rd Battalion, of whom 54 persons remained at home on furlough or for family reasons. These 454 persons were recruited within a two week time frame.” (Translated by the author)
From the above listing we can determine where the soldiers from the Tolna were serving. Obviously the largest portion of the soldiers where with the 41st Battalion and were involved in the battles at Perlak and Ozora (the second of which ended in victory). The War of Liberation met its defeat at the hands of the Habsburgs with the assistance of the Russian Czar in August of 1849. The recruitment was primarily directed at men between the ages of 19 and 23 years. The men of Izmény who were involved in the War of Liberation were the following persons:
(The list appears on page 90 and the information given is under the following three headings: (1) Name, (2) Date and Place of Birth, (3) Date and Place of Death)
There were 31 recruits from Izmény who served in the war during 1848/49. They accounted for 1% of the total number of recruits in the County, although the population of the village was only 0.5% of the population of the County. It is possible that the village suffered the loss of two men: Daniel Schwarz and Heinrich Lehn. The fact that the Germans, also including those from Izmény, fought for their new homeland alongside of the other nationalities speaks for itself.
The Emigration to Slavonia
This next migration played an important role, not only in the history of Izmény but also in the history of all of the Lutherans in Swabian Turkey. On this occasion we are not dealing with an inner migration because the colonists crossed the Drava River and entered another country. Even though Croatia and Slavonia belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary they had full autonomy and a parliament of their own. To a great extent the inhabitants were Roman Catholic Croats or Greek Orthodox Serbs and in addition to them there were some Roman Catholic Germans in Slavonia. The ethnic situation was completely different from that in Hungary. The size of this emigration and its scope cannot be compared with the inner migration that had taken place earlier. This is especially true of the wave of emigration in 1890-1891.
The Protestant Patent was first issued in Croatia and Slavonia in 1859 that for the first time made it possible for Protestants to settle in the country. The situation in our German villages in Hungary was much like it had been at the time of the emigration from Germany: there was no more new land to cultivate in the villages and the surrounding area. Large extended families faced a very difficult problem because of the inheritance rights. Their parcels of land became smaller and smaller. The only defense against this was for families to limit themselves to one child or a maximum of two. But now another possibility was open to them because of the Toleration Patent in Croatia and Slavonia: emigration. It took several years before the first German Lutherans settled in Hrastovac by Garesnica (Pozega County) in the year 1865. Baron Jeszenszky had his forests cut down and the deforested land could be purchased for a third of the cost of the same amount of land in Hungary. Seven families from Ráckozár founded the village and in the next year families from Izmény also emigrated to Hrastovac. Johannes Hoffmann and Kaspar Fink who had been born in Izmény moved to the village in 1866, and both of them died shortly afterwards. Malaria and conditions reminiscent of the Middle Ages resulted in many more victims.
The first settlers faced the same difficulties as the original German settlers who arrived in Hungary. The widow of Kaspar Fink moved back to Izmény following her husband’s death, but Johann Hoffmann founded a very large family. In the year 1866, three additional Lutheran settlements were established along the Hungarian border in northern Slavonia: Adolfovo selo (Adolsdorf now Zvonimirovac), Grabic and Krivaj all of which established a filial relationship with the Lutheran congregation in Magyarbóly. At the beginning of the 1870s, Lutherans went to Antunovac, Sartovac, Hussajin and Trojeglava pusta. There were no families from Izmény who participated in the establishment of any of these settlements. Between 1866 and 1875, approximately 1,000 German Lutherans immigrated to Slavonia.
The other, and much large stream of emigrants began in the mid 1880s and lasted until 1891. In this period of time around 3,000 German Lutherans went to Slavonia in the Counties of Virovitica, Bjelovar-Krizevci and Pozega. This means that one in ten of the German Lutheran inhabitants of Swabian Turkey immigrated to Slavonia. The year 1891 especially saw very many colonists come to Slavonia. I would like to provide the population data from individual villages in Swabian Turkey from December 11, 1881, January 1, 1891 and January 1, 1900. Following the name of the village the number of Lutherans in 1881, 1891 and 1900 are in brackets.
Ág (401-439-420), Alsónána (1117-1169-1148), Bátaápati (1290-1351-1132), Belecska (536-547-515), Bikács (1077-988-973), Bikal (727-662-702), Bonyhád (3417-3556-3332), Bonnya (258-264-271), Borjád (332-366-381), Csikostöttös (727-706-739), Ecsény (788-760-893), Egyházaskozár (1280-1358-1203), Felsönána (1371-1433-1425), Gadács (389-397-463), Gerényes (327-359-357), Gyönk (1535-1509-1437), Györe (265-315-294), Györköny (2410-2585-2648), Hidas (1871-2050-1894), Ivándárda (271-315-393), Izmény (927-955-915), Kalaznó (942-970-955), Kaposszekcsö (707-752-843), Keszöhidegkút (774-766-763), Kéty (1121-1084-1010), Kismányok (509-635-548), Kistormás (1157-1176-1129), Kölesd (526-594-546), Kötcse (922-885-938), Magyarbóly (396-497-494), Mekényes (1090-1173-1153), Mórágy (113-124-66), Mucsfa (796-916-862), Murga (469-462-494), Nagyhajmás (461-479-529), Ófalu (123-139-98), Pogány (38-199-295), Polány (233-243-233), Ráksi (113-117-101), Somodor (118-192-111), Somogydöröcske (1154-1154-937), Somogyszil (707-701-740), Somogyvámos (342-351-354), Szárázd (724-738-808), Tarrós (88-105-99), Tékes (328-357-382), Tófü (324-337-292), Udvari (798-854-835), Váralja (532-620-639), Varsád (1398-1361-1314).
When we also calculate the natural population increases, it is obvious which village during which stream of emigrants had the greatest impact. In 1885, many additional German Lutheran colonies were founded. The only purely German Lutheran village was Hrastovac where there was a resident pastor by 1866. Antunovac became an independent congregation in 1892 and in that year a mission pastorate was established in Slatina. Several other congregations were associated with the Lutheran pastor in Zagreb. It was not possible for these three pastorates to meet the spiritual needs of all of the Lutherans in Slavonia. Because of this, the work of the Lutheran schoolteachers had a great importance in the Diaspora.
As a result of this emigration, the following German Lutheran villages and large colonies in Slavonia were established. (Following the name of the community, the first number refers to the number of Lutherans (of whom the majority were Germans), followed by the total population in 1900 and in brackets the County and District.)
Hrastovac 650/708 (Pozega, Daruvar), Seliste 449/908 (Virovitica, Nasice), Osijek 426/23018 (Virovitica), Antunovac 421/1248 (Pozega, Daruvar) Bastaji Mali 197/431 (Pozega, Daruvar), Kapentanovo polje 196/298 (Pozega, Pakrac) Mlinska Velika 182/451 (Bjelovar-Krizevci, Garesnica), Brod 176/6539 (Pozega, Pozega), Grabic 144/235 (Virovitica, Slatina), Kutina 126/1900 (Bjelovar-Krizevci, Kutina), Bastaji Veliki 123/1087 (Pozega, Daruvar), Brsljanica Mala 105/364 (Bjelovar-Krizevci, Garesnica) Slatina 100/2740 (Virovictca, Mioljac dolnji), Adolfovo selo 97/99 (Virovitica, Slatina), Sirac 69/724 (Pozega, Daruvar), Kucanci 64/995 (Virovitica, Miholjac dolnji), Pakrac 58/2753 (Pozega, Pakrac), Strizicevac 52/69 (Pozega, Pakrac), Banovac 51/293 (Pozega, Pakrac), Seliste Srbasko 50/463 (Bjelovar-Krizevci, Kutina), Kaptol 48/1131 (Pozega, Pozega), Daruvar 48/1838 (Pozega, Daruvar), Petrovo selo staro 46/1666 (Pozega, Gradiska nova), Garcin 42/585 (Pozega, Brod), Potocani 42/248 (Virovitica, Slatina), Brsljanica velika 41/607 (Bjelovar-Krizevci, Garesnica), Brdjani 41/693 (Pozega, Daruvar), Fericanci 41/1434 (Virovitica, Nasice), Bazlje dolnje 40/467 (Virovitica, Slatina), Golinci 38/768 (Virovotica, Miholjac dolnji) Bjelovar 39/4606 (Bjelovar-Krievci, Bjelovar), Brzovac 36/365 (Bjelovar-Krizevci, Bjelovar), Korenicani 35/869 (Pozega, Daruvar), Pasijan mail 34/406 (Bjelovar-Krizevci, Garesnica), Djakovo 35/5325 (Virovitica, Djakovo), Sartovac 33/330 (Bjelovar-Krizevci Kutina), Virovitica 32/5713 (Virovitica, Virovitica), Ljupina 32/521 (Pozega, Gradiska nova), Orahovica 31/1928 (Virovitica, Nasice), Gradiska nova 28/2800 (Pozega, Gradiska nova), Mlinska Mala 28/264 (Bjelovar-Krizevci, Garesnica) Uljanik gomji 28/461 (Pozega, Daruvar), Pozega 28/4978 (Pozega, Pozega), Nasice 26/1942 (Virovitica, Nasice), Vrpolje 26/1331 (Virovitca, Djakovo), Cajkovci 26/708 (Virovitica, Djakovo) Lipovljani 26/1407, (Pozega, Gradiska nova), Sapci 23/330 (Pozega, Brod), Selna 23/267 (Pozega, Brod), Macute 22/523 (Virovitica, Slatina), Borova 20/1270 (Virovitica, Virovitica), Trojeglava pusta 20/115 (Pozega, Daruvar), Belisce 20/1461 (Virovitica, Osijek), Valpovo 20/3684 (Virovitica, Osijek), Jedinac pusta 20/177 (Virovitica, Osijek), Novska 18/1725 (Pozega, Novska), Toranj 17/198 (Pozega, Pakrac), Pasijan veliki 17/394 (Bjelovar-Krizevci, Garesnica), Retfala njemacka 16/1220 (Virovitica, Osijek), Ceralije 16/733 (Virovitica, Slatina), Cernik 15/1913 (Pozega, Gradiska nova), Mikleus 14/895 (Virovitica, Slatina), Uljanik 13/828 (Pozega, Daruvar), Krivaja pusta 3/141 (Virovitica, Slatina), Husanj 6/93 (Pozega, Kutina).
In 1910 the following were the major German Lutheran congregations using the same designations as above: Hrastovac 705/716, Antunovac 433/1397, Velimirovac (earlier known as Seliste) 357/797, Mlinska (mala, velika) 289/770, Brod 281/9142, Mali Bastaji 246/464, Kapetanovo Polje 231/343, Grabic 173/237, Slatina 154/3604, Velika Brsljanica 131/731, Mala Brsljanica 130/324, Trnjani 111/750 (Pozega, Brod), Srpsko Seliste 109/471, Darkovac 101/228 (Pozega, Pozega), Veliki Bastaji 101/1217, Golinci 98/816, Adolfovo selo 79/98, Pasijan (mali, veliki) 75/849, Garcin 72/675, Sapci 70/460, Vrpolje 70/1454 (Virovitica, Djakovo), Narta 67/1032 (Bjelovar-Krizevci, Bjelovar) Cacinci 67/988, Kucanci 65/1152, Veliki Miletinac 58/226 (Pozega, Daruvar), Strizicevac 57/92, Cajkovci 57/785, Donje Bazje 56/528 (Vicovitica, Slatina), Kutina 54/2512, Pozega 43/5899, Kaptol 48/1082, Djurdjenovac 47/1018 (Virovitica, Nasice) Fericanci 46/2140, Ilova 31/706 (Pozega, Kutina), Daruvar 30/2644, Banova jaruga 28/666, Lipovljani 28/1940, Selna 27/321, Ernjik 26/1917, Lucinci 25/167, Budajinka 24/451 (Pozega, Brod), Babina gora 23/856 (Pozega, Daruvar), Garesnica 20/1552, Kozarica 20/615, Gradiska nova 20, 3378, Nasice 17/2202, Bjelovar 17/5965, Veliki Zdneci 17/1516, Dolnji Daruvar 16/1480 (Pozega, Daruvar), Uljanik 15/859, Sirac 14/788, Korenicani 11/1070, Sartovac 7/324, Gornji Uljanik 5/447, Husajin 4/420, Brezovac 3/429, Trojelgava 1/820.
Izmény was also affected by this large-scale emigration. About sixty individuals from the village emigrated and founded the German colony in Mali Pasijan and Veliki Pasijan. The emigrants from Izmény were the families of Johann Zarth, George Zarth, Adam Jung, Heinrich Jung senior, Heinrich Jung junior, Daniel Schmidt, Johann Wolf and Johann Hütter. As a result of this emigration 40 half homesteads were parceled out. Pasijan is located 200 kilometers south west of Izmény in Slavonia in the County of Bjelovar-Krizevci in the Garesnica District and was about five kilometers distant from the District capital city of Garesnica.
In 1900 there were 406 inhabitants in Mali Pasijan and living in 78 houses, of whom 116 were Serbs, 146 Croats, 4 Czechs, 106 Hungarians and 34 Germans; 234 of them were Roman Catholics, 116 Greek Orthodox, 34 Lutherans and 22 Reformed. The Germans were all Lutherans. Mali Pasijan became the new home for about 35 to 40 persons from Izmény. In Veliki Pasijan there were 79 houses with 394 inhabitants, of whom 167 were Croats, 60 Serbs, 1 Czech, 141 Hungarians and 25 Germans, of whom 299 were Roman Catholic, 60 Greek Orthodox, 17 Lutherans, 10 Reformed and 8 Jewish. Eight of the Germans were Roman Catholic. The village was mixed both religiously and ethnically and had a Greek Orthodox Mother Church and a priest named Grbic who baptized many of the children of the families from Izmény. By 1915 the number of German Lutherans in the two portions of the village increased to 75 persons. Up until the expulsion of the Germans from Pasijan in 1944 many of the families had moved elsewhere, for example, Heinrich Jung and his family moved to Hrastovac, Adam Zarth went to Kostanjevac and George Zarth moved to Brsljanica. The descendants of the German villagers from Pasijan today live in Germany, Canada and the United Sates.
The Lives of Individuals from Izmény Between 1890 and 1940
With the opening of Mecsker Coal Mining Company’s operations in 1875, mining was introduced in the Mecsek Mountains. Countless families left their German villages to go to work in the mines. Mining villages developed rapidly: Nagymányok and Váralja in the Tolna, Szászvár and Hosszuhetény in Somogy, Vasas, Hird and Szabolcs in the Baranya. In the 1890s families from Izmény moved to Hosszuhetény-Victoria in Somogy and Vasas, for example, the Hitzel and Spitznagel families. Countless Izmény workers commuted on foot to Nagymányok each day to work in the pits there. They had to get up at four in the morning, walk to the pits, and came home late night when their shift was over. In the first years of the 20th century many of our countrymen went to Germany to work in the Ruhr region in order to earn money there in the factories and mines. There were some families who simply stayed there, but there were also those who returned home. In 1913 many families from Izmény moved to Tabód-Angyaldomb, Antalszállás and Boldogasszonyfa, the last two are located in Somogy County. In that year another group left for America. The family of Christian Szabo, (the brother of the pastor) went to Akron, Ohio where the large Goodyear Rubber Company had been established. It is interesting to note that at the same time numerous families from the village where he was born, named Lajoskomárom in Fejér County also went to Akron. The families of George Rück and Kaspar Kraft also left Europe that year. Another major migration began in 1925 and 1926. Many families moved to Borjád in the southern Baranya and Gálosfa, Mike-Nagyállás and Gige in Somogy County and to foreign lands, (Germany, Belgium and America). In 1939 some families moved to Dörypatlan and Bisse.
Excerpts Out of the Life of the Church and Congregation Between 1895 and 1933
I have chosen to share some interesting and important facts found in the Church Protocols (minutes) that have been kept since 1894 (and deal with more than income and expenses).
Election of the Bishop 1895: On September 8th of 1895 the congregation cast its vote for Professor Alexander v. Poszék, a teacher in theology at Ödenburg for the office of bishop, but because neither of the two candidates had an absolute majority, a new election was held on October 20, 1895 at which time the congregation gave its vote to Franz Gyuráz who was elected as the new bishop.
The Bishop’s Visit 1897: On April 11, 1897 the Church Council made plans for the visit and the manner in which they would welcome the bishop. As a result, he was first greeted by all of the elected community leaders, who went and met him at the village boundary. Later, Johann May junior, made a speech on behalf of the elected elders at the parsonage. In September of that same year the schoolmaster Hildebrand proposed that in those years in which the village did not get an assistant teacher, that half of the salary (135 Forint) would be set aside for the organ. His motion was carried by a verbal vote.
Church Renovations 1899: The pastor proposed a renovation of the church to be financed through loans from the members and to organize a campaign to carry it out. What he meant was that the congregation would pay back these loans. The congregation decided to call upon some professionals to examine the church to determine whether it could be renovated or not. On June 18, 1899 the congregation considered the following tenders: Jakob Kaiser and Paul Pantalner from Szil: without material or additional labour 774.49 Forint, with the materials 1,196.34 Forint; Daniel Peter from Bonyhád: without material or additional labour 636.35 Forint, with material 995.15 Forint with a 2% discount; Stephan Wieder from Szásvár: without materials or additional labour 1,269.40 Forint, with materials 1,700.00 Forint. Because it was already too late in the year to begin the renovations it was postponed until the spring of 1900. On February 11, 1900 the congregation informed the contractor Daniel Peter of Bonyhád that he had the contract to renovate the walls, both the interior and exterior ones at the cost of 995.15 Forint less the 2% discount. The completion date was set for July 1st of that year.
Election of the District Deans 1899: On September 10, 1899 the congregation voted for Alexander Horváth, the pastor in Paks to serve as the Dean and for the office of co-Dean they voted for Heinrich Becht, the pastor in Mekényes and Wilhelm Fördös, an attorney at law from Szekszárd for the position of Lay Inspector.
Fine for Driving Wagons on Sundays:
On May 12, 1901 the pastor declared that a very bad habit had been formed amongst the members of the congregation. From out of any real necessity they harnessed their horses to their wagons either to take their colts for a run or bring in their hay on Sundays. This was a sin against the sanctity of the Sabbath and therefore un-Christian. The church and community leaders decided jointly that all those who drove their wagons on Sundays without the necessity to do so would pay a fine of 4 Crowns, in case of a second offense it was raised to 8 Crowns and the money would be placed in the church treasury. I remember quite well in terms of my own childhood how strictly this law on unnecessary work on Sunday was upheld.
Permission to Build a Crypt at the Cemetery: On January 24, 1903 Johann Rück (House Number 97) asked for permission to build a crypt for himself and his wife at the cemetery. The permission was granted for those so inclined and able to do so upon receiving their official request.
New Organ, New Small Bell: On July 24, 1904 the pastor informed the congregation that the small bell had developed a crack and that it was urgent to purchase a new bell. The teacher reported on the very sad state of the organ. On August 7th, 1904 the pastor presented two tenders from bell casters: Wagner of Szekszárd would charge 3.60 Crowns per kilogram of the weight of the bell and he would take over the old bell at a price of 1.80 Crown per kilogram. Rupprecht of Pécs offered a smaller bell at a lower price and higher price with a larger bell and he would take the old bell at 1.60 Crowns per kilo. Eventually, Rupprecht was invited to Izmény to personally present his offer. In the autumn of 1905 the congregation decided to get a new bell.
The organ builders Angster from Pécs and Szalay from Székesfehérvár were asked to send a catalogue. Eventually, Josef Angster was personally invited to Izmény to make a presentation and outlining the costs. On December 22, 1904 the congregation decided to have an organ built with 10 major variant pipes and 7 additional stops. (The major variants: Principal 8’, Saliciona 8’, Bourdon 8’, Flantatbia 4’, Octav cop. 4’, Pr. Octav 4’, Mixtura 3.s 2 2/3’, Pedale: Subbass 16’, Apertabass 8’; and stops: pedalcopula, piano, mf., f., ff., Auflösser: crescendo and decrescendo). Angster asked for 3,450 Crowns for this organ, which included the transportation costs from Pécs to Izmény, as well as the care and setup work that would be done by two persons. The congregation offered 3,300 Crowns and following Angster’s acceptance of the sum, the purchase proceeded. The organ builder bought the old pipes of the organ for 1 crown each. The completion date was set for June 11, 1905 (Pentecost).
Election of the Dean 1905: On July 9, 1905 the congregation voted for Alexander Horváth, the current Dean and for Gusztáv Tomka the current co-Dean from Györköny, and the estate owner H. Szeniczei Géza as Inspector.
District Elecltions 1911: The congregation supported the current Dean, co-Dean and Inspector (Sándor Horváth, Gusztáv Tomka, Szeniczei Géza).
Repairing the Tower Clock: After the congregation received the tenders from two tower clock makers (from Franz Sándor from Körmend at a cost of 1,200 Crowns and from Komajer of Bonyhád for 1,500 Crowns) they contracted with Franz Sándor from Körmen on June 23, 1912 to undertake the repair of the clock in the church tower.
Building a New Parsonage: On February 23, 1913 the congregation decided to replace the old parsonage which had a large crack in its major wall, (which the pastor had brought to the attention of Church Council’s attention back in 1912) and became life threatening, so they would tear it down and in its place build a new one this year with four rooms, kitchen and office. This parsonage can still be seen to this day next to the church.
Renovation of the School Building: Work began in 1914 but because of the war it was only completed in 1916. Johann Tewich the mason from Mucsfa who had begun the work had become very ill in the time between.
Bishop’s Election 1916: After Bishop Franz Gyurátz retired, the congregation cast its vote to Béla Kapy (1879-1957) the pastor in Körmend and was elected bishop.
Church District Elections 1921: Our former Dean, Alexander Horváth retired. The congregation cast its vote in favor of Sigismund Eösze, the pastor in Tolnanémedi on August 14, 1921. However, the former co-Dean Ludwig Schöll of Hidas was elected. On November 13, 1921 the congregation voted for Robert Müller, the pastor of Flesönána as co-Dean. Since no candidate received a majority of votes there was another vote ten days later and the congregation voted for Robert Müller who ran against Zsigimond Eösze.
Purchase of a Second Bell: On February 20, 1921 the congregation decided to buy a second bell. But after the quoted price was too high, the obtaining of a bell was put off for the future. On January 28, 1923 the congregation was determined to buy a second bell that year. The price of the bell was 2,195.960 Crowns plus additional costs so that the total cost was 2,317.554 Crowns.
The Bishop’s Visit 1927: On May 15, 1927 Bishop Béla Kapy and his delegation, including Ludwig Schöll the Dean, Robert Müller the co-Dean, Miklós László the Bishop’s Secretary and the County Church Notary Friedrich Dörmer visited the congregation. The bishop preached at the festival service using as his text Psalm 27:4. Following the service there was festive gathering at the church. The bishop reported that the membership of the congregation was 1,274 persons. Of these 963 resided in the locale of the Mother Church in Izmény and the 304 other persons lived in the filial community of Györe. He was very pleased with the church life of the parish and there was no sign of any sectarian activity in the community. The congregation knew 61 chorales, which was very laudable, but the number could certainly be raised. He was especially happy about the church choir. He accepted the reports on the services and attendances but called upon the congregation to attend regularly, only 52% of the members had received Holy Communion.
In terms of the school and the work of the teacher he was well satisfied. He was extremely disappointed to find that there were no women’s or youth organizations in existence and he made the congregation aware of the importance of this kind of congregational work. He remarked that in the previous bishop’s visitation in 1897 there were 1,000 Lutherans in the village and there were 40 baptisms annually, but up until now in 1928 there were only 28 baptisms and 963 person in the membership. It was too bad, from the bishop’s perspective that the relationship with the filial congregation in Györe was very loose and needed to be changed for the better. For this purpose an agreement needed to be worked out by the Presbyterium and endorsed by a gathering of the congregation. The church building was in bad shape and he hoped that a renovation with the help of the members would be undertaken soon.
Renovation of the Church 1929: The village administration provided 20,000 crowns for the renovation of the church in 1926. On February 2, 1928 the congregation recognized that the church was in great need of repair, and that renovation was urgent. The most urgent items that needed to be addressed by the builder Johann Baumgart of Dombovár were approved and for that purpose offering would be gathered. On April 29, 1928 the following tenders were presented to the congregational assembly: Sándor Gschwindt from Dombovár for 30,895.67 Pengö; Ludwig Blum from Dombovár for 26,455.68 Pengö; Sándor Weber from Magyaregregy for 30,000.00 Pengö; the Rózsási brothers from Hajdüböszörény for 34,466.18 Pengö; Heinrich Krähling from Mekényes for 39,736.42 Pengö; Aladár Robelli from Budapest for 20,695.11 Pengö; Seibner-Becht from Csikóstöttös for 34,141.71 Pengö; and Johann Baumgart from Dombovár for 39,757.37 Pengö. The congregation chose Robelli and invited him to sign an agreement with them. On May 7, 1928 the contract with Robelli was signed. Prior to that Robelli had informed the congregation that total costs were inaccurate, which was also accepted by Baumgart so that the total costs were increased by another 5,304 Pengö and added to the original arrived at 25,999.00 Pengö. The Dean, Ludwig Schöll, consecrated the renovated church on October 18, 1928.
Election of the Dean 1929: On March 3, 1929 the congregation cast its vote in favor of the Dean, Ludwig Schöll, Robert Müller the co-Dean and his Excellency Paul Pesthy as Inspector, all of whom were elected.
Election of the Dean 1931: Because of the death of Ludwig Schöll and the resignation of the co-Dean, both of the offices were vacant. The congregation cast its vote for the office of Dean for Robert Müller, the pastor in Felsönána and Stpehen Gyalog, the pastor of Kéty as the co-Dean.
Election of the Head Teacher 1933: After Hildebrand retired; there was a need to elect a new head teacher. But this was not as simple as it might sound nor the right time because the voting split the congregation so badly that some families moved away. The congregation declared the position vacant, resulting in receiving 17 applicants for the position (which up until then was the largest numbers of candidates ever to apply) of whom only nine applied in writing: Sándor Antal, Károly Schuh, Gyula Wagner, Dezsö Kovács, Imre Wickert, Adám Becker, Adám Reining, Sándor Ernszt and Rezsö Balassa. The congregation wanted to examine all nine candidates in one day. At the congregational assembly called to elect one of the conditions on October 15, 1933, the pastor challenged the congregation to be objective and allowed them to vote for more than one candidate.
As a result there were three candidates named: Gyula Wagner, Adám Reining and Rezsö Balassa. Because there were so many differences among the members, ten members asked for a secret ballot and this was granted. Balassa received 48 votes; Wagner 47 and Reining had 26. The next ballot was between Rezsö Balassa and Adám Wagner. At the next meeting held a week later (October 22nd) the pastor informed the meeting that the Dean had exercised his right to nominate two additional candidates, and they were Adám Reining and Dezsö Kovács. After the first ballot, Kovács was eliminated and another secret ballot had to be held for the other candidates. The result: Rezsö Balassa 107 votes, Adám Reining 64, Gyula Wagner 48. A deciding ballot was set for the top two candidates. Balassa received 121 votes and Reining 118. As the chair of the meeting, the pastor declared Rezsö Balassa the winner and new cantor and teacher.
But even with that the matter was still not settled. Protests were lodged with regard to the results, because the listing of candidates had not been done properly. So the list was prepared once more with great care and on December 10, 1933 a new election was held and the already elected candidate won again. A motion that a third and neutral party be elected because of the quarrels between the opposing parties was turned down. There was even an accusation made against the pastor as to his trustworthiness in presiding at the meeting. Eventually, on December 31, 1933 the congregation elected Rezsö Balassa by secret ballot. He received 147 votes and Adám Reining 131 votes.
Izmény in The First World War (1914-1918)
There were countless numbers of victims from among the men of Izmény in the First World War. The names of all of the fallen were first inscribed on the candles of the sanctuary lamp in the church, and in 1995 a simple memorial tablet was installed on the part of the mayor’s office for the all of the victims of the First and Second World Wars. The following list is identical with the names listed on the memorial tablet (the names of the fallen from the First World War inscribed on the candles had been rubbed off) and the name of Johann Schäfer is added, because it is not included in this list although he fell in battle. A total of 40 men from Izmény died in the First World War, but from among them Heinrich Barcz and Heinrich Amring actually died at home as a result of the war along with George Eiler who died in 1921.
(Translator’s note: the names of the fallen are listed alphabetically beginning on page 100 and continuing to page 101. There are four columns. Reading from left to right: (1) Name (2) Date and Place of Birth (3) Date and Place of Death (4) Marital Status. To further assist the non-German reader the following terms are:
gefallen killed in action
Krankenurl. On sick leave due to the war
Ort unbekannt Place unknown
Ledig single (unmarried)
Kriegswunde war wounds
Bei Lemberg vermisst missing since the battle of Lemberg
In den Karpaten in the Carpathian Mountains
gef. Shortform for gefallen: killed in action
Seit d. Datum vermisst Missing in action since that date
Im Lagerkr.haus gest. Died in the camp Hospital
gest . Died
an. d.russ.Front gef Died on the Russian Front
36 men from Izmény were killed in action on the frontlines or were missing, 4 men died in Izmény as a result of their wounds. The oldest victim was Adam Taupert who was 42 years old, and the youngest was Heinrich Eckhardt who was 19 years old.
For a true picture of the community’s role in the war the following men served in the First World War (their date of birth is in brackets). The accuracy of this list may be questionable. There were more victims accounted for, that can be seen in the center of the picture on the next two pages (103-104) and some are not listed among the fallen and others cannot be seen in the picture. Several of the names on the picture are not written or spelled properly.
(Translator’s note: The names and birth dates of 107 other men who also served during the First World War are listed on page 102.)
Cultural Life Between the Two World Wars
It needs to be mentioned that the teachers (especially Eugene Spannagel) organized and carried out theatricals in association with the church festivals (Christmas, Easter) in which the youth participated (from 4 to 20 years). Between 1924 and 1932 the village had a church choir led by the teacher Hildebrand. Under the leadership, of the conductor, Johann Obendorf the village also had a brass band.
The Second World War and Forced Labour in Russia (1939-1945)
During the Second World War (1939-1945) the men from Izmény had to enlist twice. The first was in 1942 into the Royal Hungarian Army. Those who were recruited at that time went immediately to the Russian Front on the Don River, and those who died in the years 1942-1943 died on that front. Those who remained at home, later had to enlist from January-February of 1944 and on August 23, 1944 they were all drafted into the Waffen SS, some as young as 17 years. These units were sent out to defend Hungary from the oncoming Red Army. From this forced recruitment in 1944 most of them died in northern Hungary, Czechoslovakia and the Serbian front or died as prisoners of war in the Soviet Union. It is important to note that it is not possible to provide the date or place of death of many of these soldiers. By the end of 1944, Germany’s war against the Allied Powers was already hopeless, and yet many men from Izmény along with many of the ethnic Germans of Hungary died pointlessly. Those who were forced to enlist in the Waffen SS at the end of 1944 knew that they did not have much of a chance of survival.
The following are Izmény’s victims during the Second World War according to their house numbers on the basis of the list I received from Heinrich Jäckl of Gerlingen, and the list on the war memorial. A memorial tablet was also placed in the Lutheran Church.
(Translator’s note: The listings of the men from Izmény who were killed in action or are missing are listed on pages 107 and 108. There are five columns. Reading from left to right: (1) Name (2) House Number (3) Date of Birth (4) Date of Death (5) Information.
As done previously for the benefit of English readers the following terms are translated to assist in understanding some of the detailed information.
Gefangenschaft Prisoner of War Camp
ung. Heer Hungarian Army
gefallen Killed in action
deutsches Heer German Army
gestorben in russ. Gefang. Died as a prisoner of war in Russia
(The author further lists the names of the men and women who died in the slave labour camps in Russia beginning on the bottom of page 108 and the top of page 109.
Altogether there were 45 men who fell in battle and 7 persons died in the deportation to Russia. Of the approximately 800 inhabitants of Izmény who lived there during the war, 51 persons (6% of the population) were victims of the war. In January of 1945 all of those who were able to work among the civilian population of the village were placed on labour lists to carry out the secret Pact between the Soviet Union and the Western Allies to force Hungary to participate in the reconstruction of the Soviet Union. Thirty persons from Izmény were forcibly taken to the Soviet Union, some of who would never return home. They worked in two camps in Ukraine where they worked in the mines. All of the victims died in Camp 1026 at Novi Dombas where there were coalmines. Novi Dombas is located in the Ukrainian Donets Basin in the neighborhood of the large city of Krasnij Lutsch. The major cause of death was typhus. After fifty years and the democratic changes in Russia in 1997 they provided Hungarian authorities with a list of 58,000 names of various persons from Hungarian citizenship that died in the various camps in the former Soviet Union. The names were found in the archives . Actually, the total number given is much too low.
Hungarian historians indicate that the number taken to the camps was in the neighborhood of 700,000 (both slave laborers and prisoners of war) and the number of those who died in these camps is estimated at 300,000. The Soviet officials seldom registered deaths in these camps before 1945 and we know nothing about the death rate among prisoners of war before 1945. In the list of those who died, that I mentioned, I have found all seven of those from Izmény who had been deported and died there and found three others who died as prisoners of war (Heinnrich Küszter senior, Heinrich Beck and Johann März). In the past few years, a great deal of worthwhile literature has come out about the victims of the Second World War by the Hungarian Army (Bús János/Szabo Péter: Béke poraikra I-ll.) that claims a total of 72,000 victims have been identified that also include our countrymen: George May, Heinrich Bayer, Heinrich Stein, Heinrich Küszter (Györe), Johann Schepp and Johann Till. Unfortunately, we know far less about those who died who were forced to enlist in the Waffen SS.
The Expropriation and the Expulsion 1945-1948 and the Dissolution of the Village Community
In order to better understand what led to the expropriation and expulsion of the ethnic German populations of Hungary we again need to take a look at the country’s history. With the German invasion of Poland, the Second World War broke out. The desire to have a revision of the Treaty of Trianon played a major role in the political life of Hungary ever since it was proclaimed in 1920, whether openly or secretly, it was always at the heart of things in the life of the nation. It drove the aspirations of Hungary’s political leadership, who saw the potential of an alliance with Germany to meet their own ends: to reclaim all of the “lost territories” of ancient Greater Hungary, and observing the first German victories and the impotence of the rest of Europe, Hungary allied itself with Germany. In 1941, Hungary under the Prime Minister Bárdossy joined Germany in the war against the Soviet Union and entered the Second World War.
The calculations of the Hungarians and their politicians was predicated on the outcome of the First and Second Vienna Accords whereby lost territories in Romania, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were returned or would be returned to Hungary but not without some cost to Hungary. The Vienna Accord contained one clause to secure and expand the rights of the so-called Volksbund (People’s Union which was a Nazi front organization), which had been founded and led by Franz Basch in November 1938 and could now come to the fore and could exercise some power. Basch later campaigned for a full religious and political autonomy for the ethnic Germans of Hungary and sought to secure the rights of the Folk Group and be their official representative. Hungarian politicians had to make this concession in return for the acquisition of their beloved “lost territories” and had to guarantee the Bund a broad sphere of influence in the life of the ethnic German populations of Hungary. The Bund found its support from among the poorer ethnic Germans and the ethnic Germans who lived in the regions that had just been returned to Hungary, but cold only win over only 40% of the ethnic Germans to take out membership in their organization but the number of those who lived in what had remained Hungary after the First World War was much smaller. Without Germany and its support in the background, the Bund, (which was supposed to be a cultural association) (and this must not be forgotten) could never have taken on the role it did.
At the beginning the Bund had no importance attached to it in the life of the village other than that of a cultural association. But as the Hungarian government observed that the activities and the Bund institutions they established could not be officially curtailed or held in check their attitude towards the situation changed drastically. The great majority of the ethnic Germans in Hungary did not accept the more and more radical concepts and ideology of the Bund. This was especially true of the reaction on the part of many of them when heard about the resettlement plan that would have seen the ethnic Germans of Hungary re-settled in the German Reich that was being spoken of among the Bund leaders. (Whether this plan was to be taken seriously or not, can be left open for conjecture.)
By the end of the war, the “Loyal to the Homeland Movement”, which was openly opposed to the Bund could claim 30,000 to 40,000 members. The closer the end of the war came the worse the situation of the ethnic Germans in Hungary became. In April 1944, the German and Hungarian governments signed a Third Agreement authorizing the SS to begin its recruitment drive among all of the ethnic Germans of Hungary. This agreement allowed for the forced recruitment of the ethnic Germans in Hungary into the Waffen SS. If ethnic Germans attempted to refuse to enlist they would be forced to do so by the Hungarian authorities. Almost 80,000 ethnic Germans were ordered into the Waffen SS like this and sent to their deaths or ended up as prisoners of war. The greater majority of the men from Izmény were forced into the Waffen SS at this time and many of them are counted among the victims of the war.
On December 5, 1944 when the front lines were penetrating deeper and deeper into Hungary and it was clear that it was only a question of time before the German Army would be completely driven out of Hungary, that the Soviet generals and the leading Hungarian Communists set a coalition government in motion. This government began its work on December 22, 1944 in Debrecen under the leadership of Miklós Béla Dálnoki. The new leadership considered all of the ethnic Germans as war criminals. Using the ruse of an agricultural reform law, the greater part of all ethnic German property was expropriated. On March 17, 1945, Law 600/1945 declared that all of the large estates and farms were to be expropriated for the welfare of the people. Traitors to the nation, National Socialist Führers (Nazi Leaders), all members of the Volksbund and those guilty of being enemies of the people were to be expropriated of all of their property and possessions without exception. Betrayers of the nation, war criminals and enemies of the people were to be identified as one of the following persons: (Paragraph 5 of Law 600/1945)
“…those persons of Hungarian citizenship who supported the political, economic and military interests of the German Fascists to the detriment of the Hungarian people, those who voluntarily enlisted and served in a German Fascist military or police formation, those who in any way worked against the best interests of Hungary or acted as informers, and those who resumed using their German family names instead of the Hungarianized form of it.”
The new local authorities were given a great deal of leeway in interpreting what categories people fell into.
At the end of the war, the ethnic Germans in Hungary primarily because of the radical activities of the Bund leadership, were declared collectively guilty for Hungary’s involvement in the Second World War, and that meant every man, woman and child. The transfer of the responsibility for the war by the Hungarian politicians on the ethnic German population of Hungary had no foundation, but it provided them with a lot of political capital. One cannot be allowed to forget that Hungary ended its role as the second-class ally of the German Reich and chose the right time to withdraw its support, as did its other neighbors in order to save itself. These were the grounds for the new democratic government to take such steps to demonstrate to the international community that they had fully undertaken to join in the battle against Fascism. On April 10, 1945 a press campaign began under the leadership of the National Peasants’ Party in which the expulsion of the entire ethnic German population in Hungary was demanded.
For Continuation see Izmeny – 5