Archiver > BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER > 1999-06 > 0930578343

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Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 20, dtd 30 Sept 1997 (edited)
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 09:59:03 EDT

(issued as required by )
September 30, 1997
(all rights reserved)

This edition of the newsletter contains a report of the Atlas Cement Museum
which memorializes many Burgenland immigrants, an account of the Bocskay
Rebellion which destroyed many Burgenland records, a Burgenland Word Picture,
Use of Burgenland Village Names and notice of a new Rudersdorf Newsletter.

(Ed. Note: As you probably know by now, many Burgenland immigrants worked in
the cement factories of the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. Frank and I were
discussing the possibility of there still being records of the workers so he
looked into it. He found that a museum was being planned. This is a report of
its recent opening.)

<< Albeit having a difficult month during August, when I received a call that
the museum was opening, I couldn't help but go there. In many ways the Museum
is an impressive start, and one can but hope that the founders continue with
its growth. To start with, the Museum is located in the new Northampton
Administrative Building, and occupies approximately 2000 - 2500 square feet.
Outside the entrance to the Museum are a series of engraved, pewter plates
containing some 2200 names of the various men who worked there. No photos may
be taken inside, and the area is filled with mementos of all sorts; photos,
letters, cement bags, many work items unique to a cement mill, etc. The one
sad item to convey, is that with the exception of the engraved names, there
are no records of any sort that may have been of genealogical interest to us.
The individual (Ed Pany) responsible for the memorial museum told me that all
records were destroyed when the plant was closed in the early 1980's. About
the only thing I can think of, is to try to get the Museum to cooperate and
get some photos digitized and added to the Net home page which exists for
Northampton. >>

(Ed. Note: Few Burgenland buildings predate the 1600's and few records prior
to this period exist. Searching for an explanation I found that the Bocskay
Rebellion was a prime factor.
Not since the advent of the Huns was there a period when the area comprising
today's Burgenland suffered as much as it did during this time. I found many
references to fire and destruction.

Since my material concerning this period was very sparse and was virtually
ignored in English European histories, I asked Albert Schuch if he could find
something for me. This is his report):

What is today called the Bocskay-rebellion (1605) has to be viewed as:
a) a national Hungarian uprising against Hapsburg rule (and partly against
catholicism) and

b) part of the so called "long (15 years) Turkish war" starting in 1593. Main
events were the fall of the fortress Raab (Gyo"r) in 1594 (in this year the
Turks pushed further west and torched at least 10 villages in the "Seewinkel"
and the "Heideboden" (areas east of Lake Neusiedl)), the recapturing of Raab
in 1598, and in 1601, the fall of the fortress Kanizsa.

In the following years the war was mainly fought in Transsylvania. As soon as
the Hapsburg armies had defeated the Turks in that area, emperor Rudolf II.
wanted to reintroduce catholicism. This and nasty behavior of the Imperial
army inspired the Transsylvanian uprising in 1604 led by Stephan Bocskay. The
Hapsburg armies retreated to the west (partly because they were badly paid),
and the rebels followed, supported by the Turks. Thus the rebel army of 1605
consisted of Turkish and Hungarian troops. Most of the Christian (Hungarian
and other nationalities) soldiers in this unit were known as "Heiduken".
These were no regular soldiers, they were mostly social outcasts, desperadoes
with a sort of a "pirate" mentality, known for their quick surprise attacks
and feared for the subsequent looting and torching (when it came to this,
they didn't make much exception between friend and enemy!). Bocskay tried to
turn them into regular soldiers, which was no easy task. After his death a
few Heiduken regiments were even incorporated into the Imperial army.

The rebel forces quickly gained control of most parts of Hungary and soon
started to push beyond the borders. Since the fortress Kanizsa had fallen
into the hands of the Turks in 1601, they could advance into Styria through
the Raab valley quite easily. Lower Austria was in a slightly better position
(from a strategic point of view). Because most noblemen of Western Hungary
(Batthyany, Ko"nigsberg, Zrinyi) and the city O"denburg (Sopron) had remained
loyal to the emperor, Western Hungary - the Burgenland area - was enemy
territory for the Bocskay-rebels. In May 1605 the rebels roamed through the
Neusiedlersee-area and neighboring regions of Lower Austria. They looted and
torched houses, killed women and children and enslaved men or vice versa and
stole the cattle. To give an example of one unfortunate village: 57
inhabitants of Donnerskirchen, mostly women and children, were captured and
led away.

It has to be added that the villages owned by pro-rebel noblemen - if they
were spared by the rebels (for which there was no absolute guarantee) - were
not treated with kindness by the advancing Imperial army. As a result many
people fled. Quite a number sought rescue in the city of Wiener Neustadt
(Lower Austria). Soon this city was overcrowded and people began to die of
epidemic diseases. The death register of Wiener Neustadt lists former
inhabitants from Rust, Po"ttsching, Krensdorf, Oggau, Mattersburg,
Grossho"flein, Eisenstadt and even O"denburg.

A report of May 1605 says the rebels led away 4000 prisoners (to sell as
slaves) and huge numbers of cattle. The rebel army moved back and forth very
quickly. Soon it was split up and one part - led by Colonel Gregor Nemethy -
turned to the south, entering Styria through the Raab valley. On their way
back to Hungary (in early June) these troops devastated many villages
belonging to the Batthyany domains (including) Gu"ssing, Schlaining, Rechnitz
and Ko"rmend.

After this an estimated 4-5000 strong rebel army turned its attention to the
Mittelburgenland region. Since they couldn't take the strongholds of
Lockenhaus and Bernstein, they looted and burned down the surrounding
villages (e.g. Deutsch Gerisdorf, Pilgersdorf, Steinbach, ...). Likewise the
rebel army couldn't conquer the town O"denburg. Again nearby villages had to
pay the price. One small detail of these tragic times: On 29 May Mert (=
Martin) GIEFFING got married in the village of Marz. On 30 May he was killed
by the rebels. Quite a honeymoon!

In July and August an imperial army was able to push the rebels back, but by
September they were again devastating large parts of Northern Burgenland and
neighboring Lower Austria. On 10 Oct rebel forces re-entered Styria. On their
way there they took the time to devastate several Burgenland villages
including Mogersdorf, Poppendorf and Eltendorf. They couldn't conquer the
castle Gssing, but the villages situated between the rivers Raab and Lafnitz
(Rax, Weichselbaum, Grieselstein, Henndorf, Neustift, Hagensdorf, Krobotek,
Limbach) were completely destroyed.

By the end of October an Imperial army managed to push the rebels back, and
in November an armistice was signed with Stephan Bocskay. In June 1606 a
peace treaty followed. Bocskay became prince of Transsylvania, and some parts
of eastern Hungary remained under his control. Before he died (later in 1606)
he is claimed to have regretted the atrocities committed by his Haiduken and
said that these had been done contrary to his orders.

Note that the villages mentioned in this brief account are just a small part
of those which have suffered during the Bocskay-rebellion. Most Burgenland
villages did experience a similar fate. Estimates of the loss of life vary
from 5 to 20 percent of the population. Events in Styria and Lower Austria
were not included in this summary.

Main sources: Leopold TOIFL, Hildegard LEITGEB: Oststerreich im
Bocskay-Aufstand 1605. Wien 1990 (= Milita"rhistorische Schriftenreihe Heft
63). Harald PRICKLER: Verlauf und Folgen der Bocskay-Rebellion im
o"sterreichisch-ungarischen Grenzraum. Eisenstadt 1972. In: Internationales
Kulturhistorisches Symposium Mogersdorf Band 1, pp157-174. (End of Article)

DATES ON OLD CHURCH RECORDS (from Albert Schuch & John Lavendoski)
Harald Prickler, retired archivarian (Landesarchiv in Eisenstadt) and living
encyclopedia of Burgenland history, writes in a new article:
"often the age-entries in death and marriage records are wrong (up to three
years, in some cases even more) until the early 19th century", this would
mean that ...
> married 20 June 1813: Georgius Milisits and Anna Sztubics ... > ... he is
24 years old, she is 19 years old. Georgius Milisits is likely to have been
born approx. 1786 - 1792, Anna Sztubics approx. 1791 - 1797. (ed. note: this
means you shouldn't be too concerned if some of those church records don't
exactly match what you're looking for. I also find it rewarding to use a five
year spread when looking for other records once I have an age reference.)

One of my favorite Austrian tour guides was produced in the 1950's when
Austria still looked like "old Europe". It has sections for each province
with fine line drawings in color. The one on Burgenland is most pleasing. I
doubt if the book is still in print. I found two copies a few years ago in a
used book store. It contains a translated poem or word picture which I'd like
to share.
It probably best depicts the Burgenland that our grandparents left. It must
be beautiful and like depicted now that Fall is here. Have you ever seen this
poem translated from "Word Palette Burgenland", from "The Book of Austria",
by E. Marboe, Staatsdruckerei Vienna 1958?

"Last foothills of the Alps fanning out into the plain.

Mossy carpet of mellow fruitfulness-breath of the south in colour and distant

Uninhibited play of the winds over the wide spaces.

Sheaves of golden sunshine baking a soil that once was seabed.

Majestic stillness of eternal noon.

Heath herons in the reeds.

Feathery grasses by ponds burnished like copper.

Far-shimmering day-dreaming lake.

Freestone arches in an old castle dungeon.

Martial terracotta statuettes on the soft yellow frontage of a palace.

Dead straight highway bordered by wild acacias.

Exact alignment of rows of white-washed houses.

Village drummer-Martinmas-flocks of wild geese.

Day-long hunting over feudal estates and ancestral forests.

Slowly lumbering oxen yoked to a creaking farmcart.

Green in green mosaic of the vines up and down the slopes.

Shadows over the earth-patches of sunlight on grape and vine.

Round dancing to the tamburizza. (cont.)

Purple sage and poppies-song of the reeds and rhapsodies.

The hymn of The Creation. The Austrian Anthem-Haydn."

There was a similar guide book called "Hungary", edited by Ivan Boldizsar,
Hastings House Publishers, 1965. If you find any old Austrian or Hungarian
guide books, buy them, they can be wonderful reference works, full of ethic

He writes: << My towns are in northern Burgenland: Illmitz, Frauenkirchen,
Pamhagen, Halbturn. In writing birth location lines for ancestors that were
born there say from 1860-1890, what should it read? (Since) only in 1921 was
the Burgenland formally created. Illmitz, Burgenland, Austro-Hungarian Empire
(??) or Illmitz, Burgenland, Austrian Empire (??) What would you use?
Thanks for the assist. >> I had also put this question (of opinion) to Hap
Anderson. He replied that he uses the Hungarian Megye and Austria-Hungary
thusly: Lebenbrunn, Vas Megye, Austria-Hungary >>

(Ed. reply)... Yes the Burgenland was only created in 1921 so we have a
decision to make regarding genealogical records. I came to the conclusion
that a genealogy written today would be read by people who would look at
today's maps. I therefore use the German (Austrian) names of villages. I use
Illmitz, Burgenland , Austria. In my notes I always mention the Hungarian
name at least once in the main blood line for people who were born or married
before 1921. I say "pre 1921 Illmitz was called Illmic (made up of Alsoillmic
and Felsoillmic), Moson Megye, Hungary". My PAF software (and I believe, some
others) allow you to duplicate notes with a single key stroke, so these notes
are no problem." What do you other members do?

Rudersdorf is a thriving Burgenland community next to the Styrian border (not
far east of Fu"rstenfeld and slightly west of Eltendorf). A few of our
members have family from this area. You may be interested in this report of
its internet newsletter: (from Albert Schuch):
"The "Bankerlsitzer" is a newspaper for the village of Rudersdorf, edited by
Peter SATTLER. Now it is also available on the internet:
It is written in German, but contains many pictures, even a drawing by Edi
Sauerzopf (showing a stork). The article "Ein Brief aus Kuba" is about
Rudersdorf native Erich BRUNNER, who lives in Havana (the B.G.-newsletter
included his "Auswandererschicksal"-article some time ago).
Since several members seem to take an interest in Rudersdorf, you might
recommend the web page in our newsletter. (I have written to the editor and
suggested he might include an article on the Rudersdorf-connected members or
on the B.B. as a whole in a future issue."

concerning the Burgenland Bunch, contact .

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