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ger - German
hung - hungarian
Gsp. - Gespannschaft (z^upa, Komitat), roughly a county
N, E, W, S, M - North, East, West, South, Middle
Sl - Slovakia
Table of Contents:
- Description of the Research Area
- By the 12th century, Germans settled in the area of today's Slovakia. These Germans are collectively called Karpatendeutsche, or
Carpathian Germans, because they lived in the northern part of the great arc formed by the Carpathian mountains. They should not be
confused with the Transylvanian Saxons, who settled in the Southern part of the great Carpathian arc at roughly the same time, and who also
are, occasionally, called Carpathian Germans. The Carpathian Germans lived mainly in three areas, around Preßburg (Bratislava), in the
Hauerland in Central Slovakia, and the Zips in the East. There were other small settlement pockets, including in the Karpatho-Ukraine.
In 1938, there were about 140,000 Carpathian Germans in Slovakia, and another 18,000 in the Karpatho-Ukraine. After the war, they were
deported with great loss of life. In 1991,the last Czechoslovak Census counted 5,900 Carpathian Germans in Slovakia, (though it is thought that
about 15,000 live there), while about 3,000 live in the Karpatho-Ukraine, which is now part of the Republic of Ukraine. When looking at old
documents, books and family memories, it is important to remember that Hungarian refers to a citizenship, not an ethnicity. All subjects of the
Hungarian kingdom were Hungarians, and often patriotic at that--but only a minority were Magyars, (ethnic Hungarians), in 1844 42.5% of the
population of the Kingdom.
- Main German settlement areas (in brackets their main cities):
- Hauerland (Deutsch-Proben)
(Deutsch-Proben: Gsp. Neutra, S Sl, sl: Nemecke Pravno, ung: Nemetprona)
- Zips (Käsmark)
(Käsmark: Gsp. Szepes, Spis^, M Sl, sl: Kez^marok, ung: Késmárk)
- Preßburger Land and the Island of Schuett, a large river island SE of it (Schüttinsel ),
(Preßburg: Gsp. Preßburg, SW Sl, sl: Bratislava, ung: Pozsony)
- Karpatho-Ukraine. East of Slovakia. Four Komitats, whose main city was
Munkatsch, hung. Munkacs, russ. Mukac"evo .
- Political History: Borders:
The territory of today's Republic of Slovakia belonged for close to 1000 years to the old Kingdom of Hungary, and was generally known,
together with the future Karpatho-Ukraine, as "Feldivék," (Upper Hungary). The area never formed a separate administrative unit. In
1919, most of Feldivek was annexed by the newly created Czecho-Slovak Republic, and divided into a province of Slovakia and a province of
Carpatho-Ukraine. The counties (comitatus in Latin, which was the legal language of the Hungarian Kingdom till 1844, Komitat or Gespannschaft
in German documents, megye in Magyar), which either entirely or partly became part of the Slovak province were, from West to East:
Preßburg/Poszony, Neutra, Komorn, Barsch, Neusohl, Gömör, Kleinhont, Hont, Neograd, Abauj, Torna, Liptau, Turz, Orava,
Trentschin, Zips, Scharosch and Zemplin. Several megye were split, e.g. Abauj, with the county capital remaining in Hungary, including records
archived at the county level. The Slovak areas were regrouped into six Z"upans whose boundaries did not follow much the old megye
boundaries. Also, on the Northern border, on both sides of the Zakopane salient, Poland annexed 12 villages of the Northwest Zips, with
8.747 people, main village Jablonka, and 13 villages in the Arwa area, with 389 km2 und 16.133 people, (main village Neu-Bela), among whom
were some Germans. Here, county records remained in Slovakia but post-1919 records belong to the respective Polish archival depositories.
In 1919, Slovakia and the Karpatho-Ukraine had been promised autonomy, but the Czech government granted self-government only after the
September 1938 Munich Agreement. On March 14, 1939, the Slovak Provincial Parliament declared independence.The Slovak Republic lost
territory: Poland annexed, in the same area as 1919, another 7 villages with 21 km2 and 9,900 people, including a few Germans. This
territory, as well as that lost in 1919, was returned to Slovakia on November 21, 1939. The boundary with Hungary also changed. In November
1938, Hungary received the mainly Magyar territory along the Danube, and part of the Karpatho-Ukraine, with 12.051 km2 and 1,06 million people,
followed in March 1939 by the absorption of the remainder of the Karpatho-Ukraine and another 491 km2 in Eastern Slovakia. Germany received
43 km2 with 16,000 people, (Engerau, and the small city of Theben/Devin). From 49,021 km2 in 1930 with 3.3 Million people, the Slovak territory
shrunk to 38,055 km2 with 2.6 Million people.
After the end of World War II, Slovakia, in the boundaries of 1938, was made again part of Czecho-Slovakia, while the Karpatho-Ukraine was
annexed by the Soviet Union. Since 1991, it is part of the Republic of Ukraine. The CSR dissolved in Spring 1993 into the Czech Republic and
the Republic of Slovakia. The Germans from the Karpatho-Ukraine are Carpathian Germans, but the impact of the present political borders on
research warrants a separate webpage for the Karpatho-Ukraine.
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These societies are small non-profit societies with tight budgets and staffed largely by elderly volunteers.
Always include return postage (which is much higher in Europe than here--an airmail letter
from Germany to the US costs DM 3, or $2), and, if the question is likely to be time-consuming, an
appropriate donation. Please note that personal checks are nearly useless. Any money order bought at
your supermarket will do, though not postal money orders, which are valid only in the U.S.
- Genealogical Societies
- Arbeitsgemeinschaft ostdeutscher Familienforscher e.V. (AGoFF)
Fuhrweg 29; D-53229 Bonn
Research area: pre-1919 Hungary (incl. Slovakia):
Director: Anton von Könczöl, Schwarzwaldstr. 34a,
D-79276 Reute (Breisgau). Germany
AGOFF will provide general information, including which archives to seek out, but will not do individual
genealogical research.The information is free for members. Non-members are charged a
moderate fee, depending on the amount of time spent on their inquiry. AGOFF publishes genealogical
material and an informative newsletter.
- Slovak Genealogical-Heraldic Society at the Matica Slovenska. A recent (1991) society that also includes non-Slavic people within
Slovakia. Concerning Carpathian Germans, it cooperates with Dr. Poess, the director of the Carpathian German Museum in Pressburg
(Bratislava). Check their Website
- [ Siehe auch: List of all
genealogical societies in Germany ]
- Other societies
Karpatendeutsche Landsmannschaft in Deutschland,
Haus der Heimat, Schloss-strasse 92/II, 70176 Stuttgart.
Sells Heimatbuecher, that is local histories of specific German cities and villages. So far all are
in German, with some Slovak translations being planned. The KDL also gives information about
contemporary Carpathian Germans and may help locate archives. For a reasonable fee, they will
translate from Slovak and Hungarian to German, incl. legally certified translations.Their annual
Karpatenjahrbuch has many historical articles and pictures. Their monthly Karpatenpost
has an obituary, birth and marriage index, 1950-1970, which ought to help locate relatives.
Karpatendeutsche Landsmannschaft in Oesterreich
Quellenstrasse 95/2, 1100 Wien
Same as above, but more focused on Carpathian Germans from
the Pressburg area. Publishes the Heimatblatt, 6 times a year.
Their Website is in progress
Karpatendeutscher Verein in der Slowakei
Lichardova 20, SK-04000 Kos"ice, Republic of Slovakia
Publishes the monthly Karpatenblatt. The KDV can help find inexpensive researchers able to
read German/Hungarian/Slovak, who will work in local archives. Websites at
E-mail: Oswald Chelin
New address (since Jan. 2002): Hviezdoslavova 2/418, P.O. Box 47
SK-05-801 Poprad; Republic of Slovakia
Tel. and Fax: (421) 92-724 217. E-mail: email@example.com
The KDV's informative monthly, in German. A bargain at $28 (airmail), for those interrested in knowing
how survivors fare, cultural activities etc. E-mail: Karpatenblatt
Carpathian Germans in USA and Kanada
John E. Scholtz, Secretary
14100 Worthington Road, Philadelphia, PA 19116
Organizes annual meeting. E-mail: Dan
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- Church Records
The Catholic church is organized by territory, not ethnicity. The records of parishes formerly inhabited by German Catholics have remained
with their respective church archives in Slovakia. The area of today's Slovakia belonged to the archdiocese of Esztergom (in german Gran),
with the dioceses of Beszterczebanya (ger. Neusohl), while the rest of Slovakia belonged to the archdiocese of Eger (ger. Erlau), with the
dioceses of Kassa (Kaschau), Rosznyo (Rosenau), Szatmar (Ger. Satmar), and Szepes (Ger. Zips). Gran and Erlau are still in Hungary.
The Protestant church records are more scattered. Until 1919, all Lutherans belonged to the Ungarländische Evangelische Kirche, A.B.
(Augsburger Bekenntnisses, that is Augsburg Confession, in contrast to the Evangelische Kirche, H.B., that is Helvetischen Bekenntnnisses,
the Calvinists, whose denomination was codified by Jean Calvin in Switzerland, called Helvetia in Latin). In the decades preceeding 1919,
the leaders of the Lutheran church followed a policy of assimilation to the Magyar language. The Hungarian state refused to allow the formation
of separate Slovak and German synods. In the German parishes, occasionally a minister used magyar earlier, but from 1884 to the end of 1919,
it is the only language used in parish registers. Hence, it is useful to familiarize oneself with basic magyar terms, as well as names (Katalin is
Katherina, for instance, Gerö is Rudolf). The websites Radixindex and
German-Hungarian Dictionary are useful if you know some German, but have no idea
what a jobbagy, czipsez or polgar is (a peasant, shoemaker and burgher, respectively).
After 1919, the Czech state supported Slovak, and refused the creation of a separate synod for Magyar and German Lutherans. In 1940, the new
Slovak State allowed the German Lutherans to have their own synod, the German Evangelical State Church in Slovakia, A.B. (Deutsche
Evangelische Landeskirche in der Slowakei, A.B.). In Spring 1945, the order was given to evacuate the German church records, since they were
likely to be destroyed by the Beneshists. But many got lost in the chaotic days of March-April 1945. Two ministers, Rev. Drgala and Rev. Nika,
found a wagonload of church records in Austria and saved them. Most of these are now held in trust by the Lutheran Church Archive in
Württemberg, Germany. Some refugee villagers have voted in the past years to give these records to the Slovaks who took their homes,
parishes and cemetaries, trusting that now there is a greater willingness to respect the German past in Slovakia. Others, a tad less trusting, have
voted to keep their records in Germany. The records of several Zipser parishes ended up in Moscow (see below). The best is first to ask the
Hilfskommittee der ev. Karpatendeutschen (address above) if they have any idea where a particular church record book is.
- Civil Records
- Other documents
- Real estate records (Grundbücher)
- Military Records, incl. marriages etc. of military personnel, see
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Other useful books in English are (and there are very few in English)s:
Note: Few libraries in the United States have a Carpathian German collection. Usually, if at all, it is an odd book
here and there. But the University of Cincinatti has a decent number of books. Check their
catalogue at Langsam Library. When searching any cataloue,
remember that the changing fortunes of the area produced a salad of keywords, e.g. Germans--Carpathian
Mountains, Germans--Hungary, Germans--Czechoslovakia, Germans--Slovakia.
- Genealogical Guide to German Ancestors from East Germany and Eastern Europe, 4th ed. 1994, AGOFF (Arbeitsgemeinschaft
Ostdeutscher Familienforscher), Neustadt/Aisch (Germany): Verlag Degener & Co.
- Chalupecky, Dr. Ivan. Führer durch die Archive der Slowakischen Republik.
Stuttgart: KDL 1998. A 59 page booklet that is a MUST for anyone working
with archives in Slovakia. Dr. Chalupecky works as archivist and historian
in Slovakia. $5 from KDL. ISBN 80-88704-15-4.
- Gardiner, Dr. Duncan. German Towns in Slovakia and Upper Hungary.
3rd ed. 1993. $17.50, from the author, at 12961 Lake Avenue, Lakewood, OH 44107.
Dr. Gardiner is a genealogist for Central Europe at the FEEES.
- Lasslob, Isidor : Deutsche Ortsnamen in der Slowakei.
Karpatendeutsche Landsmannschaft, Stuttgart, 1975. 6 DM.
Lists all town-names in German, Slovak and Hungarian.
- Mayerhofer, H.: Österreichisch-ungarisches Ortslexikon
Gazetteer for the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Incl. the judicial district the locality belonged to, as well
as all local religious denominations, and the parish/other administrative subdivision they belonged
to. Wien 1896. Invaluable if you can get it by Interlibrary Loan.
- Majtan M.: Názvy Obcí na Slovensku za ostatnych dvesto rokkov
(=Township Names in Slovakia in the past 200 years)
Vydavatelstvo slovenskej akademie vied (=publ. by the Slovak Academy of Sciences), Bratislava 1974.
New edition 1998, Veda Publishers, Bratislava.
- Pfohl, Prof. Ernst : Ortslexikon Sudetenland,
Helmut Preussler Verlag, Nürnberg; 1987. Reprint of 3rd edition 1931, 680 pages.
ISBN 3-925362-47-9. Available from publisher, DM 59,50.
Covers Czechoslovakia in the borders of 1938, incl. Karpatho-Ukraine. For every locality, the Gazetteer
lists its various names, population, topography, industrial and commercial data, monuments, etc., but
NOT the parishes to which it belonged!
- For Historical Maps, see Austria-Pages
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- History Books
English-language literature about Slovakia is scant, and rather lopsided. There are no histories of the
Carpathian Germans in English, and very few about modern Slovakia that are not written from a nationalist Czech
perspective that tries to justify the 1945 deportation of the local German and Hungarian minorities.There is
an Overview by Dr. Thomas Reimer in English with a bulletin board. See
also the list of German history books in
German, or the following.
- Alfred M. de Zayas: Nemesis at Potsdam. The Anglo-Americans and the Expulsion of the
Background, Execution, Consequences.
(Routledge & Kegan Paul 1977) ISBN 07100 0458 3
- Alfred M. de Zayas. A Terrible Revenge: The Ethnic Cleansing of the East European Germans,
New York: St Martin's Press 1994. ISBN 0-312-12159-8 (pbk). 180 pages.
In these two works, the American international lawyer and senior advisor at the U.N. Human Rights
Commission in Geneva, analyses the brutal ethnic cleansing of 15 million German civilians
from their Eastern homelands, including Czechoslovakia.
- Yeshayahu Jelinek. The Lust for Power: Nationalism, Slovakia, and the Communists, 1918-1948.
New York: Columbia University Press 1983.
A political history of modern Slovakia.
Occasionally mentions Carpathian Germans.
- Stanislav Kirschbaum. A History of Slovakia:The Struggle for Survival.
New York: St Martin's Press 1995.
Same as above, but from a different perspective.
- Genealogical Literature.
Holmesa book store with many books on
- Registers of local families (Ortsfamilienbücher) see
- Local histories and archival collections, see
Local histories list
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- Slovak State Archives/Central Administration
Archivni sprava Bratislava, Krizkova 7, SK-81104 Bratislava
Its County and Regional archives have material about the German settlement areas:
Statny okresni archiv in Z^iar nad Hronom (to which the former Schemnitz belongs now)
Statny okresni archiv in Kremnica (=Kremnitz)
Statny oblastni archiv in Levoc^a (=Leutschau)
Permission to do research, incl. the making of copies, must be obtained from the
Central Administration in Bratislava./Pressburg
It is advisable to give a price limit in DM/US$ when ordering. Read Ivan Chalupecky's Guide first.
- Kriegsarchiv Wien
(Personel records, incl. on marriages etc., of people who served in the armed forces of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy).
- Military Archives, ul. Wyborgskaya, Moscow, which in its Fonds 1295, Religious Organizations, holds archival material from
the Zipser lutheran parishes of Eisdorf, Bierbrunn, Deutschendorf and Niederschwaben. The web catalog is available at
- LDS FHC's
(Genealogical branch of the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), see our
LDS Homepage and
FHC Adresses in German-speaking
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Folklore and Customs
- Professional Researchers specializing in the area of Slovakia, including Karpatho-Ukraine
(This listing does not in any way indicate endorsement. This listing is for information purposes only):
Verbatoria, a Slovak firm.
Familytree, a Hungarian firm.
See German page.
None working in English at this point.
Karpatendeutsches Kulturwerk Slowakei
Stadtbibliothek-Archiv Sammlungen; Suedlicher Herrenhof 1; 76133 Karlsruhe; Germany
Has exposition of Carpathian German folklore, archives etc. Exposition is in Schloss Karlsburg,
Pfinztalstrasse, D-76227 Karlsruhe.
Karpatendeutsche Landsmannschaft in Oesterreich
Quellenstrasse 95; 1100 Wien; Austria. Publishes bi-monthly Heimatblatt. Like Karpatenpost,
but centered more on news concerning people from Pressburg (today Bratislava).
Heimatmuseum der Stadtgemeinde Hainburg--Karpatendeutsche Heimatstube
Wienertor, A-2140 Hainburg/Donau. Tel: 02165/62111. Open from Mai to October.
See: Hainburg, klick K in the index.
Slovak National Museum-- Carpathian German Department
Muzeum kultury karpatskych Nemcov; Dr. Ondrej Poess, Director
Zizkova 14; SK-81436 Bratislava; Republic of Slovakia
Excellent exhibition of Carpathian German culture. Worth seeing if in Pressburg (Bratislava).
It is located since Summer 1997 in a pretty renovated old building under the old castle, right
next to the Archaeological Museum, in one of the few buildings left of the old Zuckermandler
Street.Tel: (421) 7-5315570, FAX 7-5315557. (421) is the international telephone code for Slovakia.
Webpage: Muzea and
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .
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Last update:27-Ap-2002 (TR)
Please forward any comments and additions to this WWW-Page to Thomas Reimer, PhD
at Thomas or to WebMaster