BANAT-L ArchivesArchiver > BANAT > 2005-08 > 1125324430
From: "Robert Goetz" <>
Subject: RE: Banater Schwaben versus Donauschwaben
Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2005 10:07:10 -0400
I've been lurking for a few years, but this topic pulled me back in.
Donauschwaben is a useful umbrella term devised to identify the participants
of a specific migration phenomenon.
Banter Schwaben would be the Donauschwaben settling in the Banat, and you
could describe Batschka Schwaben, Syrmia Schwaben and any number of
subgroups to describe the people settling in a specific region. For someone
to object to the term "Donauschwaben" is rather like someone objecting to
being considered a European and insisting on being called a German (or
whatever). In fact, they are both and use of the broader term is just less
specific, not less accurate.
As far as self-identification, the participants of a migration trend
occurring over 150 years will not be aware of full scope of this trend - so
obviously the label will be applied well after the fact by someone trying to
create a broad descriptor. Even Banater Schwaben could be subdivided into
Banater Alsatians, Banater Bavarians, Banater Palatinaters (or whatever) if
someone wanted to get very specific, although intermarriage might make this
hard to sort out as generations progress.
Danube-Germans seems to be as good an umbrella term as we could expect.
Unless you want to resurrect the old Roman regional name "Pannonia" which
covers most of the geographic area involved and go with Pannonian Germans -
or German-Pannonians. It will be hard to find a consensus in
self-identification as this would be highly variable by region,
intermarriage with other ethnic groups, and date of emigration from the
Regarding Alsace, a brief history lesson: as noted, Alsace (Elsass) was
most definitely German. Alsace had been acquired by the French under Louis
XIV (they occupied Strasbourg in 1681) and formally became French by the
Treaty of Rijswick in 1687. Previously it had been a part of the Habsburg
empire. But it was annexed as a "pays d'etat" - basically what we would
term a crown land - which was separately governed under the king. So it
retained considerable autonomy including the German language, local
administration, etc. until the French Revolution abolished the pays d'etat
and a uniform administration and language were decreed throughout France.
One of the goals of the French revolutionary government in the 1790s was to
"de-Germanize" Alsace. A number of Alsatians who were high-ranking French
officers were noted as having strong German accents into the 19th century.
The regional character was typical of what you would expect of a border
territory, basically Germanic with French influence. So any 18th century
Alsatian emigrants would have been very much Germanic and might even
self-identify as Germans, although "real" Germans would probably make fun of
their accents! :)