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Slavonia

Slavonia’s Donauschwaben

By

Rosina T. Schmidt

Slavonia is the agriculturally lush area between the Rivers of Drava and Sava, and bordering in the West by the River Ilova and on the East by the Danube. It has excellent soil and climate in which almost everything grows but the citrus fruit and bananas.

Slavonia was part of the Triple Kingdom of Croatia: Croatia-Dalmatia-Slavonia during the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav (910-928), who was crowned by the Pope in 924. Later, when the dynasty lacked a male hair, Hungary forcibly annexed Croatia to the Hungarian crown after the defeat of the king Petar Svacic at the Battle of Karlovac.

After the Turks won the Battle of Mohacs in 1526, the Kingdom passed into the hands of the Habsburg Archduke Ferdinand, the brother-in-law of the fallen king Louis, who had no male heir and so both Hungary and Croatia became part of the Austrian domains.

Europe ca 1740

Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd, 1826

Even prior to the Turk’s 140 years of occupation Slavonia had a large Germanic population, primarily consisting of merchants, artisans and military officers with their families.

After the Turks were expelled by the German and Polish troops in 1688 there was hardly any population left. The southern part of the formal Kingdom of Slavonia became Habsburg’s Military Border, populated by mostly German and Serb soldier/farmers. The northern part, also known then as civil Slavonia, was thinly settled by the invitation of the Habsburg’s Emperor by the Croats and Serbs who managed to flee from Bosnia. Bosnia, just south of the River Sava, was still to be occupied by the Turks for another one hundred years.

Both Croats and Serbs were mainly herders in the thickly forested land and only raised enough crops for their own needs. Their motto “if you work harder you have only to pay more taxes to the Emperor” influenced their way of life until the present day.

Slavonia ca. 1995, Microsoft Map Point

The very first ethnic German settlement was German Miholjac, established in 1744, followed by Kutjevo in 1771 and Djakovo 30 year later, which was established by the settlers directly from the Black Forrest.

The large percentage of the German officers in the Military border contributed to a high percentage of Burgers in the cities, who built their cities in the Germanic style by their own architects, builders and artisans.

Due to a huge supply of oak forest in Slavonia, besides the logging industry, the potash industry was one of the first industries to be established. The enterprising settlers were all German-Bohemians. Glass making was the next undertaking, due to rich quartz deposits and an abundance of firewood. The German-Bohemians established glass-making colonies as well.

So far most of the settlers were artisans, bureaucrats and soldiers.

In the 1860’s the Military border was abolished. Slavonia, including Croatia east of it, changed hands from Austria to Hungary. Both shared the parliament in Budapest.

Austro-Hungary in 1910

#16 Greater Hungary, with all other areas under Austrian jurisdiction

The first agricultural settlers came from the Batschka, as they could buy land in Slavonia much more cheaply and only had to cross the Danube River to be back in the Batschka. Later many Syrmien Danube Swabians spread all over Eastern Slavonia and in no time established farms identical to their farms in Batschka and Syrmien.

However, once again, they had to clear-cut the forest and start from scratch all over just as their ancestors did one hundred years earlier when arriving there from the Germanic lands of the Holy Roman Empire.

Another group of settlers to Slavonia came from the Swabian Turkey, the counties Baranya, Tolna and Somogy. Swabian Turkey is just north of Slavonia and the River Drava is the border between them. Here too by the second and the third generation they transformed the wilderness they found into the fruit basket of the region.

The largest influx of Danube Swabians was around 1880, which came from all three regions, Batschka, Syrmien and the Swabian Turkey. Some settlers arrived from the Banat. There was still plenty of farming land available and it was affordable too. The same types of villages were established as in the former areas, the same language and customs too. All as a private initiative. However, in Slavonia there were not many fully Danube Swabian villages or cities, but mostly mixed villages with villagers from different ethnic backgrounds: Croats, Donauschwaben, Check, Slovak, Serbs, Hungarians, Jews and even some Gypsies.

Only 15% of the population lived in the cities and the rest worked in the agriculture, raising mainly wheat and corn for their own use as well for the market. They harvested hemp, sugar beets, sunflowers and flax for industry. These were delivered directly to the nearby factories.

 Except for Horses, all other farm animals, cows, pigs, sheep, as well as the geese were kept by the shepherds on the community hotter. Vineyards and plum orchards were in abundance in hillier regions and the plum brandy RAKIJA is well known even today to most of us.

As per Danube Swabian tradition each farmer had also a trade skill on the side, to fill in his winter hours. He was a weaver, tailor, clog maker, bee keeper or carpenter. The life in Slavonia was abundantly rich and rewarding to our Donauschwaben.

Map adapted by Rosina T. Schmidt, 2002

After the Peace of Trianon in 1918, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire was divided in 8 different parts, no new settlers were coming from the Swabian Turkey, as that was now in Hungarian hands. It was also the time of the beginning of birth control, learned from the Croatians (!) and the ever-increasing need of new land lessened.

While our thrifty and hardworking Danube Swabians worked their land, built larger houses, increased their stock and generally prospered admirably, their Croatian and Serb neighbours, who still practiced their former herder life styles, had their own songs to described their Schwaben neighbour: “Švabo ore I sije, Šokac sedi I pije.” (The Schwob is plowing and seeding, while Šokac* relaxes by eating and drinking.)

In the Census of 1931 Slavonia is supposed to have had a Danube Swabian population of 160 000. Most likely much more, as in many places the Danube Swabian numbers were artificially put down, due to the increasing of the Croatian national feelings.

However, those same Croatians did forget that it was the Germans who freed that area from the Turks that it was their Emperor who invited them to settle there after 1690.

It is interesting to note, that the ethnic German population of Croatia, Slavonia and Bosnia in 1942 was only 3% of the total population, yet they collectively raised 46% of States needs on wheat and corn.

As we all know the good life for Danube Swabians ended in Slavonia during WWII. Most of those who did not manage to flee ahead of the Red Army in 1944 ended in Stalin’s Slave labour camps or in Tito’s Starvation Camps. The former had it better than the later.

In the Census of 1948 there were only 16,000 Danube Swabians in all of Yugoslavia, which would bring it to about 4,000 in Slavonia. Most of those finally could leave after Stalin’s death in 1953, when the Iron Curtain boarders were slightly opened.

*Šokac = Slavonia Slav

 

Donauschwaben Population

in the Slavonia Census of 1931

as per

"Geografsko-Istoriski index" (official 1966)

Contributed by Josef Mayer

Agram County

total 6485

 

Krizevci County

116

Agram

6287

 

Krizevci County

33

Gracani

10

 

Lonjica

10

Ladac

16

 

Raven

14

Sesvete

13

 

Sveti Ivan Zabno

34

Stenjevac

32

 

Vojakovac

10

Vrapce

127

 

Zamoborci

15

 

 

 

 

 

Bjelovar County

690

 

Kutina County

333

Bjelovar

152

 

Gornja Jelenska

14

Brezocac

28

 

Gracenica

10

Cadjavac

20

 

Ilova

35

Galovac

20

 

Kutina

121

Gross-Pisanitz

375

 

Ludine

11

Ivanska

33

 

Popovaca

15

Kapela

25

 

Respusnica

34

Predavac

18

 

Srpsko Seliste

83

Trojstvo

19

 

Zbjegovaca

10

 

 

 

 

 

Brod County

2041

 

Ludbreg County

18

Andrijevci

71

 

Ludbreg

18

Bicko Selo

13

 

 

 

Brodski Varos

129

 

Nasice County

3537

Garcin

122

 

Bankovci

127

Gross Kopanitz

263

 

Boksic

74

Podvijensko Bukovlje

12

 

Budinci

45

Sapci

24

 

Cacinci

635

Slavonski Brod

1167

 

Deutsch-Bresnitz

532

Selna

12

 

Dolci

30

Staro Topolje

104

 

Donja Moticina

34

Svilaj

19

 

Donja Pistana

18

Trnjani

87

 

Donje Predrijevo

112

Vrba

18

 

Fericanci

135

 

 

 

Gazije

14

Cabar County

391

 

Harkanovci

12

Draga

251

 

Klokocevci

98

Prezid

140

 

Koska

141

 

 

 

Kutovi

14

Cakovec County

220

 

Martin

10

Cakovec

204

 

Orahovica

73

Mursko Seliste

16

 

Podgorac

171

 

 

 

Pribisevci

19

Daruvar County

2668

 

Razbojiste

24

Bastajski Brdljani

87

 

Saptinovci

19

Bastei (Veliki Bastaji)

351

 

Seoma

13

Blagorodavac

485

 

Stara Josava

14

Cjepidlake

61

 

Susine

199

Daruvar

172

 

Velimirovaz

950

Daruvarski Brestovac

20

 

Zdenci

24

Daruvarski Uljanik

407

 

 

 

Dezanovac

34

 

Nova Gradiska County

290

Donji Daruvar

25

 

Cernik

25

Gornji Daruvar

34

 

Davor

10

Koncanica

17

 

Medari

14

Korenicani

13

 

Nova Gradiska

97

Krestelovac

68

 

Nova Kapela

31

Miljanovac

235

 

Okucani

31

Miokovicevo

211

 

Stara Gradiska

20

Puklica

290

 

Staro Petrovo Selo

51

Sirac

44

 

Stivica

11

Trojeglava

24

 

 

 

Uljanik

79

 

Novi Marof County

36

Vrijeska

11

 

Ljubescica

22

 

 

 

Varazdinske Toplice

14

Djakovo County

12351

 

 

 

Beketinici

29

 

Novska County

99

Bracevci

78

 

Banova Jaruga

22

Budrovci

93

 

Lipovljani

18

Cajkovci

134

 

Novska

31

Djakovacka Breznica

10

 

Piljenice

28

Djakovacki Hrkanovci

22

 

 

 

Djakovo

1597

 

Ogulin County

22

Djurdjanci

159

 

Ogulin

22

Drenje

465

 

 

 

Drenjski Slatnik

576

 

Pakrac County

1592

Forkusevci

509

 

Antunovac

538

Gasinci

672

 

Badljevina

19

Gorjani

677

 

Dobrovac

244

Gorjanski Ivanovci

58

 

Filipovac

94

Krndija

1345

 

Gaj

24

Kesinci

563

 

Gornji Sredjani

20

Koritna

61

 

Kapetanovo Polje

246

Lapovci

155

 

Kukunjevac

16

Levanjski Varos

35

 

Lipik

67

Majar

69

 

Pakrac

125

Mrzovic

575

 

Pakracka Poljana

25

Nabrdje

44

 

Plostine

20

Piskorevci

167

 

Prokoparka

27

Potnjani

13

 

Strizicevac

20

Preslatnici

42

 

Toranj

107

Pridvorje

260

 

 

 

Punitovci

31

 

Petrinja County

63

Djakovcka Satnica

460

 

Petrinja

47

Djakovcki Selci

411

 

Sunja

16

Semeljci

562

 

 

 

Siroko Polje

150

 

Podravska Slatina County

1752

Strizivojna

30

 

Bakic

14

Tomasanci

643

 

Ceralije

13

Trnava

71

 

Dobrovic

10

Djakovo Cont.

 

 

Donje Bazje

163

Viskovci

487

 

Gornja Bukovica

50

Vrbica

291

 

Humvaros

65

Vrpolje

123

 

Kapinci

202

Vucevci

479

 

Macute

18

Vuka

205

 

Medinci

204

 

 

 

Mikleus

33

Djurdjevac County

34

 

Noskovci`

19

Djurdjevac County

21

 

Nova Bukovica

111

Pitomaca

13

 

Novaki

147

 

 

 

Podravska Slatina

180

Donji Miholjac County

550

 

Radosavci

197

Cadjavica

23

 

Slatinski Drenovac

24

Crnac

35

 

Sopje

111

Crnkovci

28

 

Vaska

122

Donji Miholjac

86

 

Vocinski Hum

13

Golinci

85

 

Vojlovicki Brezovljani

11

Kucanci

21

 

 

 

Kunisinci

11

 

Pregrada County

40

Marijanci

25

 

Hum na Sutli

40

Podravska Moslavina

102

 

 

 

Podravski Podgajci

22

 

Prelog County

40

Radikovci

17

 

Donja Dubrava

18

Rakitovica

34

 

Kotoriba

10

Viljevo

61

 

Prelog

12

 

 

 

 

 

Dugo Selo County

21

 

Samobor County

62

Dugo Selo County

21

 

Norsic Selo

11

 

 

 

Samobor

51

Esseg (Osijek) County

16451

 

 

 

Aljmas

140

 

Sisak County

233

Bijelo Brdo

36

 

Galdovo

16

Cepin

393

 

Pokupski Brest

33

Dalj

285

 

Sisak

184

Dopsin

12

 

 

 

Erdut

83

 

Slavonska Pozega County

2674

Ernestinovo

836

 

Alinovci

23

Osijek

9731

 

Bektez

11

Hrastin

57

 

Bertelovci

10

Jovanovac

792

 

Caglin

103

Koprina

36

 

Ciglenik

185

Krawitz

450

 

Darkovac

265

Laslovo

62

 

Eminovci

13

Orlovnjak

126

 

Gabarje

26

Retfala

1490

 

Jaksic

87

Sarvas (Hirschfeld)

1157

 

Jurkovac

48

Tenje

709

 

Kaptol

85

Tenjski Antunovac

32

 

Kula

85

Vladislavci

22

 

Kutjevo

111

 

 

 

Mihaljevci

120

 

 

 

Pleternica

60

Garesnica County

1945

 

Poljanska

32

Berek

24

 

Porec (Josefsdorf)

420

Bresljanica

285

 

Sapna

13

Disnik

38

 

Slavonska Pozega

233

Eichendorf (Hrastovac)

740

 

Tominovci

117

Garesnica

40

 

Vetovo

66

Kaniska Iva

31

 

Vilic Selo

18

Ladislav

95

 

Zarilac

28

Mlinska

294

 

 

 

Palesnik

278

 

Valpovo County

1914

Pasijan

73

 

Belisce

154

Trnovicki Popovac

47

 

Bistrinci

41

 

 

 

Gat

91

Glina County

14

 

Josipovac (Ober Josefsdorf)

539

Glina

14

 

Ladimirevci

193

 

 

 

Petrijevci

193

Gospic County

13

 

Sag

12

Gospic

13

 

Tiborjanci

10

 

 

 

Valpovo

313

Grubisno Polje County

288

 

Veliskovci

325

Gornja Kovacica

93

 

 

 

Grubisno Polje

88

 

Velika Gorica County

20

Ivanovo Selo

15

 

Velika Gorica

20

Mali Grdjevac

16

 

 

 

Topolovnica

10

 

Virovitica County

5276

Veliki Grdjevac

66

 

Bacevac

85

 

 

 

Brezik (Georgsdorf)

180

Ivanec County

44

 

Budanica

100

Klenovnik

11

 

Cabuna

231

Lepoglava

14

 

Gaciste

166

Marusevec

19

 

Gradina

13

 

 

 

Kapan (Antonsdorf)

300

Jastrebarsko County

12

 

Klisa

31

Jastrebarsko

12

 

Lozan

11

 

 

 

Lukac

121

Karlovac County

390

 

Naudovac

51

Draganici

15

 

Nova Krivaja (1921: 136)

16

Duga Resa

82

 

Oresac

184

Karlovac

293

 

Pcelic

13

 

 

 

Rezovac

30

Koprivnica County

42

 

Rusani

16

Kostanjica Hrvatska

42

 

Spisic-Bukovica

718

 

 

 

Suhopolje (Theresowatz)

233

Krapina County

28

 

Suhopoljska Borava

152

Krapina

28

 

Turanovac

66

 

 

 

Virovitica

2559

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vrbovsko County

13

 

 

 

Vrbovsko

13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zlatar County

20

 

 

 

Mace

20

 

Bibliography:

Erwin Boehm “Das Deutschtum und seine kulturgeographische Leistung” Verlag von S. Hirzel in Leipzig, 1942