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Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 58A dtd 31 may 1999 (edited)
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999 16:05:47 EDT


THE BURGENLAND BUNCH NEWS -No. 58A
DEDICATED TO AUSTRIAN-HUNGARIAN BURGENLAND FAMILY HISTORY
(issued biweekly by
May 31, 1999

This second section of the 3 section newsletter is the fourth installment of
The Teklits Translation of "Volk an der Grenze ..." (People on the Border),
the history of the Croatians in Burgenland, written by Johann Dobrovich. We
are bringing you most of this book in serial form. Chapters 14 through 18
are included in this issue. This section which mentions the first
colonization of the Burgenland by Croats also portrays the depopulation and
destruction caused by the black plague, imperial warfare and Turkish
invasion. Highly important from the standpoint of determining Croatian and
other national colonization of the Burgenland beginning with the 1500's. Many
villages are mentioned by name.

PEOPLE ON THE BORDER
by Johann Dobrovich, translated by Frank Teklits
(with assistance of Albert and Inge Schuch)
printed via email by permission of the publishers

Chapter XIV-The Weakness of the Christian Occident

In order to turn away the ever-approaching Turkish danger, the Croats and
Hungarians sought aid from their western and northern neighbors. After the
death of Matthias Corvin in 1490, the noblemen appointed the good- natured,
but weak Bohemian King Wladislav to the throne, who was a very energetic and
faithful supporter of the farmers and citizens, but was not a friend of the
Domain owners. The most urgent concern of the aristocracy was that the City
of Ofen (Budapest) State Parliament remove all of the regulations of the
former King Matthias Corvin
that were concerned with the military and state tax assessments. In their
egoism, the nobility went so far as to subordinate the public and national
interests to their own. The consequence of a weakened royal power was
evidenced shortly however, particularly in the nation's financial state of
distress, which was the primary reason for the later nationwide decline.
Under pressure from the aristocracy, Wladislav had to disband the "Black
Army", which numbered 150,000 men under Matthias Corvin on land, and 330
warships which were deployed on the Adriatic sea, and the Danube, Drava, and
Sava rivers. Archduke Ferdinand of Austria married Anna, the daughter of
Wladislav in 1521, and one year later Ludwig, the son of Wladislav II,
married Maria of Austria, who was the sister of Ferdinand. By this marriage,
the Roman-German Emperor Carl V became the brother-in-law of the Bohemian-
Hungarian-Croatian King Ludwig II. In view of the imperial sphere of
influence that extended via Spain, the Netherlands, and a part of America,
the Croats and the Hungarians depended upon appropriate external aid against
the attacking Turks. The state of affairs of the State deteriorated even more
upon the death of Wladislav II in 1516, when Ludwig II the only son of
Wladislav succeeded his father onto the throne of Bohemia, Hungary, and
Croatia at the age of ten. The fact that he did not receive the correct
educators and guardians did not improve the already diminished image of the
state. Greedy tycoons siphoned off the greatest part of the revenue for
themselves. The need of the rural population, the middle class, and even of
the royal court was great, but the wantonness of the nobility was even
greater. The necessary money for the army was missing. Not even Ludwig II
himself could remove this evil as he was aged and married to Maria from
Austria.The weaknesses of the State's political body also became apparent in
other respects at that time. The feudal system enabled the nobility to
encumber the farmers with intolerable burdens. Since the time of Ludwig I
(14th century), the farmer in addition to the Zehent (a one tenth tax on his
crops and bred cattle) was still obliged to deliver one ninth of his profit
to his domain owner. He had to do Robot (an obligation to do certain work
for the domain owner) one day every week, pay a Gold ducat per annum, in
addition to performing many other services. In addition, for a long time he
was not allowed to leave a hard-hearted Lord for a better one. The plight of
the farmer led to subsequent uprisings in Hungary, Croatia, Austria, and
Germany. Perhaps the farmers did not attack the Turks in 1514, but rather
their own rulers. It wasn't only the castles that fell into the hands of the
Turks because of the unfortunate laws of 1514. The conditions were not rosy
in Austria and Germany either. The egotistic and miserly aristocracy did not
want to make the urgent sacrifices here in the best interests of the State.
In addition to this the second schism, the Reformation destroyed the original
unity of the state, and prohibited an attack against the Turks for a long
time. Hantsch aptly describes the powerlessness of the empire when he
says:"One saw Hungarian and Bohemian envoys in the Emperor's court in a
constant and fruitless endeavor to secure extensive assistance against the
attacking enemy from the East. Who could deny King Ludwig the right of aid to
the Kingdom? It was not only in the interest of the Kingdom, but as a holy
obligation to Christianity, in which the Kingdom held the recognized position
of preeminence. The Hungarian King, who could not rely on a cohesive internal
power, relied on the effectiveness of treaties and kindred spirit. In vain!
The Empire missed the important moment to extend its influence to the East.
Because of its own fragmentation, it was no longer capable of grasping a
European function and putting aside the interests of its factions. The damage
inflicted on the Empire by the Reformation had already been too heavy."

Chapter XV-Ban Peter Bereslavic

When the Turks saw the impotence of the Croatians and Hungarians, they
exploited the opportunity and attacked the Una River area, which the Ban
Peter Bereslavic, Bishop of Veszprem, defended heroically. Ban Peter defeated
the Turks several times in the years from 1513 until 1518 and the courageous
Ban turned to all sides for assistance. Ragusa (Republic of Dubrovnik) sent
him minor help, the Pope sent grain, gunpowder, and cannons, but the Croatian
Parliament gave him only money for the Army. In spite of his bravery, the Ban
barely managed to resist the superiority of the Turks. After the Turks had
conquered the entire area up to the river Una, only the strong fortress of
Jayce remained as an island within the Turkish area. Being an island within a
Turkish controlled area, food and weapon supplies for Jajce were heavily
endangered. The Ban succeeded to safeguard them when he defeated the Turks in
the vicinity of Jayce in 1518. The Turks broke through again in 1520 to
Istria. Ban Berislavic moved against the Turks in their retreat and engaged
them in battle. A battle occurred in the month of May in the mountains of
Pljesevica between the cities of Korenica and Bihac, in which the heroic Ban
was killed. He was mourned not only in Croatia, but also in the courts of
Pope Leo X, King Ludwig II, and King Karl V.

Chapter XVI-Soliman II (1520 -1566)

Soliman II became the leading ruler of the Turks in this year, and the
Turkish Empire reached its apex under his administration. He conquered
Belgrade in 1521, which was the golden key to Hungary and Slavonia. An
imminent collision between Hungary and Turkey was anticipated after the fall
of Belgrade. In those times Croatia experienced difficult days, and Ban
Joannes Karlovic (1521-1528) defended the country heroically. The Turks in
the meantime conquered the fortifications of Knin and Skradin in 1522 and in
the next year Ostrovica as well. Because King Ludwig II didn't send a single
soldier or ducat to them during this great plight, the Croats turned to King
Ferdinand of Habsburg who supported them with money and armed forces. Thus
Ferdinand concurrently protected his domains of Krain, Carinthia, and
Styria.We have now come to the period of time during which the first Croats
came as refugees out of the Croatian coastal lands, from the areas
surrounding the towns of Knin, Skradin, and Ostrovica, into today's northern
Burgenland, and into the villages of Drassburg, Baumgarten, Siegendorf,
Oslip, and Trausdorf.

Chapter XVII-The Burgenland Settlements before the Immigration of the
Croatians

The Plague that decimated the population of the country raged in the years
1409 and 1410. The second half of the15th century was witness to a
long-standing war between the Hungarian King Matthias Corvin, and the
Roman-German King Friedrich III. (The castles of Hornstein, Oslip, and
Trausdorf were destroyed in this time period.We can safely assume that the
castle of Wulkaprodersdorf suffered the same fate.) All circumstances suggest
that the villages of the Wulka valley suffered greatly, and in addition,
another long persistent economic crisis arrived.A high percentageof the
sparse settlement of this area can be attributed to these circumstances. The
Turks moved against Wien (Vienna) in 1529 when the country had just barely
recovered. Along the way they ravaged many villages in the current Districts
of Neusiedl and Eisenstadt. Three years later the Turks moved again towards
Vienna, however this time they didn't march north along the River Danube, but
over portions of Burgenland. The courageous Nicholas Jurischitz stopped them
for 25 entire days at Gns (Koszeg). Ferdinand I and Karl V his brother used
this time to assemble the German Army for the protection of the endangered
city of Vienna. Burned villages and people abducted into slavery were the
hallmarks of these Turkish invasions. Among other things, Adalbert E. Winkler
writes in his book "Die Zisterzienser am Neusiedler See" (The Cistercians by
Lake Neusiedl)", "The Turks raided the village of Mnchhof and the adjacent
farms belonging to it for the first time in 1529. The village was burned and
plundered, many of the inhabitants who could not save themselves in time by
fleeing were abducted or killed. The destructive deeds of the advancing Turks
affected the surroundings as well." This fact follows from a letter of the
Abbot Christoph, in which he says:" the Turks have destroyed the village of
Halbturm along with a stud farm located there." In the same year (1529), the
Turks also destroyed all villages in the proximity of Mnchhof that belonged
to religious institutions such as Vogeldorf, Pellendorf, Katzendorf, and
Muhldorf. The subjects in the monastary abandoned these villages as a result
of the devastation, which remained deserted for a long time, and were
subsequently lost to the monastery. Villages that belonged to religious
institutions such as Zechun, Lendorf, and Michldorf to Opfer, also fell in
the Turkish invasion of 1529, only Mnchhof and Podersdorf were gradually
rebuilt again. The other farms and municipalities whose inhabitants did not
return remained abandoned, and soon ruins and rubbish heaps were the only
remaining evidence of their previous existence. The Urbar compiled by Captain
Jacob Stamp for the Ungarisch-Altenburg Domain in 1546 provides even after 17
years of busy rebuilding efforts, a still moving depiction of these times
aptly characterizing the scene of this militant period. The Philologist Moor
placed the responsibility for the depopulation of west Hungary in the 15th
Century on the Plague of 1409&1410 and the border wars between Friedrich III
and Matthias Corvin. Adolf Mohl -"History of the County of Oedenburg".
Volume 1 1889.Of the 23 whole or partial settlements belonging to the Domain
of Ungarisch-Altenburg, 9 were totally or partially deserted (Zitzmanndorf,
Halberndorf, St. Andrea, Eggendorf, Parndorf, Neudorf, Radensdorf, Billern,
and Rittern), of which only a few were settled again.We gather from the work
"Der Verwaltungsbezirk Neusiedl am See" (The Administration of the District
Neusiedl by the Lake) that the villages of Kittsee, Pama, Gattendorf,
Potzneusiedl, Parndorf, and Neudorf bei Parndorf were destroyed to a large
extent in 1529. Only after the retreat of the Turks did the Croats newly
resettle them. Since we already found Croatian Franciscans in Pressburg
(Bratislava) in 1520, and the nearby lower Austrian villages of Scharndorf
and Petronell were inhabited by Croats in 1531, it is probable that Croats
were also able to come to some of the above-mentioned villages, as these were
easier to reach than Pressburg, Scharndorf and Petronell. This theory is
supported by the fact that the Croatian inhabitants of the above mentioned
municipalities came from the Croatian coastal areas which its inhabitants
left after repeated attacks of the Turks around 1530. Only Neudorf bei
Parndorf was settled with new Croats later in 1570.Among the villages that
were destroyed by the Turks it is necessary to count three small towns lying
on the right-bank of the Danube River that were given to Czechoslovakia after
the Second World War: Karlburg= Rosvar, now RusovceKroatisch,
Jahrndorf=Hrvatski Jandrof, now Jarovce, Sarndorf=Cunovo, now Dunavee.

Municipalities that belonged to the Ungarisch-Altenburg Domain suffered less.
26 years after the retreat by the Turks, 6 of the 35 villages located in the
Domain remained deserted. The devastation reached its climax in these
municipalities in the early 16th century according to the Urbar (Land
Registration records) of the Domain of Eisenstadt of 1515, and the real
estate register of the Earldom of Forchtenstein. In Wulksprodersdorf (in the
Domain of Eisenstadt) 10 out of 19 whole sessiones (a certain fixed portion
of the village land) were desolate. 8 farmers cultivated the land belonging
to 9 farms (Bauernwirtschaft). One farmer even cultivated fields belonging to
a Sllner house (home of an inhabitant owning no land). The fields of 9 farms
and 1 Sllner house were deserted. 6 out of the 21 possessions in Trausdorf
(Domain of Eisenstadt) were deserted None of the 13 possessions in Trausdorf
(Earldom of Forchtenstein) were deserted.14 out of the 30 farms in Oslip
(Domain of Eisenstadt) were deserted. 7 out of the 23 farms in Zagersdorf
(Domain of Eisenstadt) were deserted.14 out of the 19 farms in Antau (Earldom
of Forchtenstein) were deserted. 2 out of the 9 farms in Drassburg (Earldom
of Forchtenstein) were deserted.12 out of the 28 farms in Sigless (Earldom of
Forchtenstein) were deserted.Zillingtal and Steinbrunn were totally deserted
before the immigration of the Croats. The following remark is assciated with
Zillingtal in the Land Registration Records of the Earldom of Forchtenstein:
" this village has been totally deserted and was re-populated with Croats".
20 out of the 53 pieces of land belonging to houses in St. Margarethen were
deserted.18
out of about 79 pieces of land belonging to houses in Purbach were deserted.
28 out of 36 lands belonging to houses were deserted in Krensdorf, besides a
deserted mill.7 out of 48 pieces of land belonging to houses in Forchtenau
were deserted.7 out of 44 pieces of land belonging to houses in Marz were
deserted. 5 out of 38 pieces of land belonging to houses in Pottsching were
deserted.72 out of 156 pieces of land belonging to houses in Mattersburg were
deserted besides two deserted mills. 4 out of 8 pieces of land belonging to
houses in Zemendorf were deserted. None of the12 pieces of land belonging to
houses in Stttera were deserted besides a deserted mill.We read from the
last page of the Forchtenstein Urbar (Land Registration Records) from the
early 16th century: "These and many more villages and areas were totally
deserted. Nobody knows exactly where they had been situated and what they
contributed to the domain. Furthermore the names of these villages and
grounds are not known."Klingenbach, which belonged to the Oedenburg City
Domain, had 14 serfs and 10 Kleinhusler 26 years after the withdrawal of the
Turks (Johann Ban in his historical work "Sopron ujkori Tortenete"). J.K.
Homma writes as follows in his paper "Zur Geschichte der Herrschaft
Nebersdorf" (The History of the Domain of Nebersdorf):" The series of
settlements around Nebersdorf were significantly thinned out in the 14th and
15th centuries. Partially this is the consequence of the Black Death in
1409-1410, of the border wars in the second half of the 15th century, and of
an economic crisis that resulted from both events. As a minimum, Zaka
(Purtzelsdorf), Minichhof, and Rosgrunt as well as Ambus (Spanfurt) were
already deserted in 1455. In this year the Abbey of Klostermarienberg
complained that although the deserted settlements had belonged to its
property, the inhabitants of Lutzmannsburg had occupied some of the territory
of Zaga, Minihof, Rosgrunt and Ambus. As was already suggested, the number of
Sessiones (a certain fixed portion of the village land) had decreased
by such a large count that some communities were almost deserted. This was
also the case with Nebersdorf, Grosswarasdorf, Grossmutschen, Kleinmutschen,
and Langental (Karako).Thus in the first half of the 16th century, the
aristocrats of the country were forced to repopulate their properties with
new settlers. This was not an easy beginning. The Ambus-Spanfurt settlement
was a deserted village in 1504, because at the end of the 15th century, new
settlers still had not arrived, one had to lease the property to the farmers
of Lutzmannsburg, and later on it had to be incorporated into the
municipality of Lutzmannsburg. The recruitment of German settlers led to
mediocre results, because in our area, the times following the border feuds
and Turkish wars were still much too disorderly and dangerous for the
Germans."So only the Croats were available as settlers for the area, those
who left their homeland because of the attacking Turks, and appeared in the
border area either on the orders of their landlords, who like Nadasdy, had
property in Croatia also. Or they were just in search of a new home on their
own after their houses were destroyed. The small town of Niczkyschen in the
Domain of Nebersdorf was settled with Croats in this way."

The Croatian villages of Kaiserdorf and Weingraben were only settled after
1553. From the Urbar of the Domain of Landsee of 1640 we gather that 33 out
of 85 families in Kaiserdorf were given deserted sessiones (a certain fixed
portion of village land) and, 34 out of 66 families in Weingraben were given
the same.The village of Langental was only founded between 1784 and 1845, and
it is situated where the old Slavic villages of Draguta and Karako were
located in 1229 until 1430. In the history of Lockenhaus we read the
often-said sentence: "in 1608 everything was like it was in 1597, but most
mills were burnt to ashes by the Turks." The sad status of the Domains is
further highlighted by a second sentence which says that in 13 communities of
the Domain, fully 1/3rd (31out of 90) of the quarter (1/4th)-sessiones were
abandoned, not being worked, or burned down. Approximately 8 years after the
withdrawal of the Turks, the Land Registration records of the Schlaining and
Rechnitz Domains for the year 1540 show that the villages of southern
Burgenland were still sparsely settled. A large part of the farms were
desolate after the Turkish campaign of 1532.
1. 31 farms out of the 80 in Rechnitz were deserted.
2. 12 farms out of the 21 in Prinzendorf were deserted.
3. 3 farms out of the 6 in Melesdorf were deserted.
There are other totally deserted villages here, and since they were very
overgrown, the number of abandoned farms is not very well known.
4. 3 farms out of the 7 in Zachenbach were deserted.
5. 9 farms out of the 18 in Schachendorf were deserted.
6. 5 farms out of the 10 in Schandorf were deserted.
7. 24 farms out of the 45 in Hodis were deserted.
8. 10 farms out of the 22 in Durnbach were deserted.
9. 13 farms out of the 18 in Grossnahring were deserted.
10. 7 farms out of the 13 in Schilding were deserted.
11. 6 farms out of the 11 in Zuberbach were deserted.
12. 2 farms out of the 3 in Allersdorf were deserted.
13. 5 farms out of the 13 in Neumarkt were deserted.
14. None of the 6 farms in Altschlaining were deserted.
None of the 6 farms in the suburbs were deserted, and 6 of the 19 farms were
deserted in the city.
15. 3 farms out of the 7 in Drumling were deserted.
16. 8 farms out of the 9 in Grafenschachen were deserted.
17. 3 farms out of the 11 in Loipersdorf were deserted.
2 farms has been abandoned there, and no one knows when the last inhabitants
dwelled in them.
18. None of the farms (out of 5) in Kitzladen were deserted.
19. None of the farms (out of 13) in Buchschachen were deserted.
20. 2 farms out of the 17 in Alhau were deserted.Besides these, there were
also 18 deserted farm places, 14 of them that were overgrown with thorns and
flowers. As long as the inhabitants can remember, no one ever lived in these
places.
21. None of the farms (out of 23) in Wolfau were deserted.
22. 4 farms out of the 20 in Kemeten were deserted.
23. There were 23 farms in Grosspetersdorf and 6 places where a house had
been built.There were 12 abandoned and deserted places in a village towards
the West where farmhouses had been built.
24. 4 out of 7 places where farmhouses had been built in Miedlingsdorf were
deserted.
25. There were 6 farms and 3 deserted places where farmhouses had been built
in Welgersdorf.
26. There were 4 farms and 3 deserted places where farmhouses had been built
in Hannersdorf. There was also a deserted mill.
27. In Burg an dem Pinka were 8 active farms, and 1 deserted place where a
farmhouse had been built.
28. There were 3 farms and 1 deserted place where a farmhouse had been built
in Eisenberg an dem Pinka.
29. Everything is abandoned in Woppendorf since the Turks had taken away all
of the inhabitants.
30. There were 4 farms and 3 deserted places where farmhouses had been built
in Badersdorf.
31. There were 2 farms and 2 deserted places where farmhouses had been built
in Grossbachselten and Kleinbachselten.

The expanded Domain of Gssing also must have been sparsely settled, because
its owner, Franz Batthyany, obtained an agreement in 1524 from King Ludwig
II, to settle Croats acquired from his Croatian farms on his new
properties.The year 1532 appears to have passed by without incident for the
Domains of Gssing and Eberau, as alleged by Nicholas Jurischitz in his
letter to Ferdinand I from Gns on August 30th, 1532. In this letter we read
among other things, that Vizier Pascha Abraham asked Jurischitz why he did
not surrender to the Turkish Emperor Soliman as Franz Batthyany and Peter
Erdody did, who had given up their fortresses, and remained unharmed. From
this selection of historical data taken from all parts of our country, we can
conclude that our current homeland was very sparsely settled in the 16th
century prior to the immigration of the Croats, and that therefore most of
the soil remained uncultivated.

Chapter XVIII-The Croatians in Battle with the Turks

The fields near Krbava - The Croatian Field of Blackbirds. We have already
mentioned that because of the pressure of the Aristocrats, King Wladislav had
to dismiss the strong "Black Army", even as the Turkish danger approached
ever closer. From Bosnia, the Turks repeatedly attacked Krain, Carinthia, and
Styria in order to plunder these countries. When the belligerent Pascha Jacob
attacked with a strong army from Croatia into Krain and Carinthia, the
Croatian Ban with the Croatian Aristocracy awaited him in the fields of
Krbava. The Croatian army was completely routed here on September 9, 1493,
and the blood of the Croatian Aristocrats remained on the battlefield. The
fields of Krbava became for the Croats what the field of the blackbirds was
for the Serbs. A long period of battles followed after this defeat during
which the Croatian people desperately defended their homeland. After the
battle of Krbava the Turks swarmed into the counties of Lika and Krbava up to
the Adriatic Sea.

The following note, written into his prayer book by a Glagolithic Priest, is
indicative of the terrors that the Croatians endured at that time. "Then the
mothers, widows, and many others began to cry. Over all these areas a great
sorrow spread among all mankind, as could not be remembered to have been the
case since the Tatars, Goths, and the heinous Attila. "10,000 dead or badly
hurt men remained on the fields of Krbava, while the hostile army spread out
into the villages as far as the Una River to kill or take prisoners. When the
last of the Turkish troops had retreated and the remaining inhabitants from
Lika and Krbava returned to their homes, anguish arose that stirred the
hardest of hearts. Divnic, the Bishop of Nin, also depicted the misery of the
Croatians as described above in a letter to Pope Alexander III. He reported
that he was a witness to a bloody slaughter that the Turks carried out among
the Croatians. Among other things he wrote, that the Turks devastated the
fields, felled trees, and destroyed villages and cities. They plundered from
prisoners, kept them under yoke as animals, or crucified them, drove them
barefoot and naked over sharp rocks, led them bound in ropes until half dead,
or tied them to horses tails. With whips and clubs they beat crying,
emaciated women, who were bespattered with the blood of their children. They
abused maidens and persons consecrated to God. Children and young men were
led into slavery bound as animals. They used all kinds of instruments of
torture. Whenever he would recall the horrors, he could hardly keep from
fainting, because his mind went blank. Soldiers that fell on the fields of
Krbava lay unburied and were left to the wild animals and birds of prey.
Countless rigid corpses lay everywhere on the paths, and were torn to pieces
by wolves, bears, and other animals. No one was there capable of burying the
dead.

Similar descriptions depict almost two centuries of the history of Croatia.
The Turks fell back many times with bloodied heads before heroic defenders
who were eventually forced to retreat before the superior strength of the
foe, however the Turks gained ground step by step.Masses of refugees fled
from their dwellings and fields after the lost battle with only their most
essential belongings into safe countries such as Hungary, Styria, Carinthia,
Lower Austria, Slovakia, and Moravia. Since these ruined countries were
sparsely settled and lacked industrious people, the aristocrats required
these unfortunate refugees because they endeavored as it was said, "to adorn
their properties with many people ".
(To be continued as newsletter 59A. This newsletter continues as no. 58B)

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