The History of Kismonyok
Kismanyok was opened up for settlement in 1718 on the landholdings of Franciscus Kuhn, which the General Karl Augustin von Mercy de Argenteau purchased shortly thereafter. Most of the settlers came from the Hesse, Franconia and the Swabian areas and were Lutherans. Graf von Mercy assured the practice of free religion to his Kismonyok’ settlers by 1722.
Kismonyok is one of the oldest Danube Swabian communities in Tolna. The baptismal/birth records begin in 1728 and include Lutheran families from Mucsfa, Bonyhad, Majos, Izmeny, Hidas, Ciko, Bataapati, Rac Kozar, Tofu, Moragy, Mekenyes, Zsibrik, Szazd, Varalja and Nadasd.
Just like in the German areas the settlers had to pay to the landlord taxes in form of roboth (labour) and 1/10 of the harvest, as per the settlement contract agreed upon by the Landlord and the settlers. Later the Urbarial laws have been implemented by the Habsburg Empress Maria Theresia, which assured the rights of the agricultural small holder.
The Danube Swabian cultural lifestyle in Hungary was very much influenced by their churches. Until about 1939 the ethnic Germans kept themselves largely apart from the political life even though the men were drafted to the Austro-Hungarian Army and took part in both of World Wars. Many inhabitants were killed in those wars.
Already towards the end of the WWII, in 1944 Hungary was making plans how to expropriate the ethnic German populations within their borders to get hold of their assets. The Russian Front was already deep within Hungary, when on 5th of December 1944 the Soviet Union Generals with the Hungarian communist counterparts formed a provisory Coalition Administration. The new bosses considered the Hungarian Danube Swabians as war criminals. On 17th of March 1945 the law 600/1945 M:E: was declared and implemented, as per which all the assets of the Danube Swabians were confiscated without any compensation. Supported by the Potsdam resolution (17 July 1945- 2 August 1945 by Great Britain, USA and Soviet Union) it was immediately enforced and fully implemented by 1948.
The Allies and the Hungarian administration set a number of 500,000 ethnic Germans to be repatriated. By 13th of December 1945 it was decided that most of the Danube Swabians had to leave. Most of the ethnic Germans were sent to Saxony and the last 50,000 in 1948 to East Germany.
Just before the WWII ended some of Kismanyok families flew to Vienna and later to West Germany. The first forced Danube Swabian transports started even before the Potsdam conference. In the first week of February 1945 the citizen of Bonyhad and Pecs areas were sent to West Germany. It was supposed to be a ‘humane population transfer’ but it was anything but. Each person could take only a few most necessary items and had to leave the house key in the lock, so the Sekeler Hungarians who were displaced from Romania (called Tschangos by the Danube Swabians) could move in and take over all those assets the Danube Swabians had to leave behind.
The Kismanyoks and their neighbours were stuffed in the railway wagons normally used to transport stock in the very same way as the Jews were transported to the extermination camps. The trip went via Budapest, Prag, and Carlsbad to Pirna, in the Russian occupied Zone. From there they were shipped to Grosspostwitz, Saxony where they have been assigned accommodation.
- Back in 1720 Kismanyok population consisted of 7 families.
- A year later there were already 13 families living in the village.
- By 1767 there were 48 families and in 1784 altogether 408 people.
- A century later (1891) there were 635 Danube Swabians living in the town.
- Fifty years later in 1941 of 608 villagers 593 were German speaking.
- In 2004 there were still 53 Danube Swabians in town in 21 families.
- By 2006 only 18 Danube Swabians are still living in Kismanyok.