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Subject: [BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER-L] BB News No. 61A, dtd. 31 July 1999
Date: Sat, 31 Jul 1999 08:41:21 EDT

(issued biweekly by
July 31, 1999

This second section of the 3 section newsletter is the seventh 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 23
through 25 are included in this issue. They explain the Croat settlement of
the Jennersdorf and Gssing Districts and a special contract for the
inhabitants of the Village of St. Nicholas (Szent Miklos, by Gssing).
Members researching these districts should look for their villages.

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

Chapter XXIII - The Jennersdorf District
The search for Croat settlers in this district has brought little success
since their traces were lost over the last centuries. We can say with
certainty that a great number of Croats settled in Kroboteck (Croatian Hill).
The name Kroboteck and the Flurnamen (name given to a certain part of the
land belonging to a village) Krobatischberg, and Horwathengreuth already
refer to Croatian inhabitants. Dr. Breu is of the opinion that Croats had
settled in this place in the 16th Century. The Urbar (land registration
record) of St. Gotthard for the years 1719 and 1723 show occasional Croatian
or Slovenian surnames in every village on the left bank of the Raab River.
Only in the Battyany villages on the lower reaches of the Lafnitz River were
Croats represented in greater numbers, who had already lost their
independence before 1698. Franz Batthyany, the former Croatian Ban, probably
settled these Croats with consent from King Ludwig II in 1524. The Croatian
Historical writer Klaic (Povijest V., 19) says of these Croats: "They could
not live quietly and securely because of the fear and continuous raiding of
the wild Turkish enemy, when the same enemies torched houses, dwellings, and
buildings, and dragged away their assets and animals as booty." One fourth of
the families in Poppendorf were Croatian in 1635, almost a tenth in
Heiligenkreuz, and a strong tenth in Raabfidisch. A large number of Croats
also settled beyond the Mur River in northern Slovenia, whom the Slovenian
population readily absorbed since both ethnic groups of people are language
related. The fact that the District of Jennersdorf was in the path of the
Turkish Army in 1532 is the reason for the absence of a Croatian population.
Let us mention in passing that in 1537 a ferry was built in the vicinity of
the delta of the River Mur into the Drava River near Legrad. This allowed the
Croatian refugees to continue their journey via the Hungarian County of Zala
into the District of Gssing, and then farther to the north.
Chapter XXIV - The District of Gssing
Among the old homesteads of the Croatians settled in the 16th century, we
could distinguish five groups of settlements in the space of the former
Domains of Gssing, Eberau, and Krmend. Most Croatian villages were situated
and still are today in the center of the Strem Valley up to the Hungarian
town of Krmend. Besides these, there are still three smaller and one larger
group of settlements.The sources for these settlements include: "Outline from
the History of Gssing up to the end of the 16th Century" by Vera Zimanyi,
"Burgenland Research", Eisenstadt, 1963, "The Settlement of the District of
Gssing", by J. Schwarz, Graz 1951, and "The Croatian Settlement in the
southeast German Border Area", Vienna 1949. Additional sources included, "The
Conscriptio" (tax records owed to the King) of the Eberau Domain of 1617, the
Urbar of the Gssing Domain of 1635 and occasional Zehentverzeichnisse (a
tenth part of the harvest tax register) of the County of Eisenburg of 1563.
According to these documents the following were pure or predominantly
Croatian villages in the District of Gssing: Grossmrbisch (Veliki Medves),
Kleinmrbisch (Mali Medves), Reinersdorf, St. Nicholas (Sveti Mikula) im
Burgenland (i. B), Krottendorf bei Gssing (Zablje Selo), Steingraben
(Bojane), Rehgraben (Prascevo), Eisenhttl (Jeserjani), Heugraben (Zarnovca),
Sulz (Seskut) i. B, Schallingdorf (Saledrevo) i. B, Tudersdorf (Tudorica),
Kroatisch Tschantschendorf, Hasendorf (Zajcje Selo), Stinatz, Stegersbach
(Santalek), St. Michael (Sveti Mihalj), Punitz (Punic), Neuberg (Novo Gora),
Kroatisch Ehrensdorf (Hrvatski Hasas), Steinfurt (Lipovac), Gttenbach
(Pinkovac), St. Kathrein (Katalena) (i. B), Harmisch (Vardes), Edlitz,
(Hobdelci) and Kulm (Kolom) (i. B), for a total of 26 villages.The following
clear or predominantly Croatian villages were in neighboring Hungary:
Kroatisch Schtzen (Hrvatske Sice), Prostrum (Petrovo Selo), Kroatisch
Nadalja (Nadalja), Harasztifalu (Hristavice),91 Berkifalu (Berek), and Gross
Kulken (Veliki Kuked), all together a total of 6 villages. According to J.
Schwarz, the influx of new Croatians settlers had most likely started in
1525. So many colonists had already arrived around 1535 that one could speak
of a new Croatian settlement.The communities of Mrbisch and Reinersdorf were
already mentioned in the 14th Century, both of which appeared to be divided
into two parts in 1635. Both Gross as well as Kleinmrbisch had a Croatian
majority in 1635, and both communities were still Croatian in 1698. The
ancestors of today's Croatians migrated into the eastern part of old
Reinersdorf, the original part of this village was called Deutsch Reinersdorf
in 1635; the eastern section received the name of Kroatisch Reinersdorf or
Zamar. From the census of 1923 it is taken that Reinersdorf was nearly
half-German, and determined to have a small Croatian majority. 20 families
came from Croatia to Gssing on April 25, 1545, and requested Franz
Batthyany, the Ban of Croatia, to take them into his Domain. Franz Batthyany
gave them a place covered completely with forest and scrub around the church
of St. Nicholas, where they founded a small village. It remained a part of
the community of Gssing for a long time and only became an independent
municipality in 1631. The Urbar of 1635 says the community is predominantly
Croatian. The Visitation of 1698 acknowledges that the village was Croatian,
as was later written by Fr. Gratian Leser in a 1928 Gssing newspaper. The
unique document of the foundation of this community from the time of the
immigration of the Croats into Burgenland is included at the end of this
chapter. The small village of Krottendorf is located two kilometers from St.
Nicholas in Burgenland. In the 17th century, we frequently come across these
small villages under the names of Horvatfalu, Hrvatsko Selo, and other
similar names. The Visitation of 1698 also testifies to the Croatian
nationality of these new establishments.

Steingraben, Rehgraben, and Eisenhttl are also new Croatian establishments,
which the Urbar of 1635 verifies that Croatians founded these three villages.
The same source states Heugraben to be a Croatian populated village with the
name of Sirovnica. The author is of the opinion that the current Croatian
name for the village of Zarnovica reminds us of the locality of Zrnovnica,
which is south of Zengg by the seashore. Zrnovnica and the village of Stijena
located in the area of the Una river point to where the Ca dialect speaking
Croats of this district (Gssing) came
from.We come across the Croatian Aristocrat Sanko de Ragosio in Sulz in 1539,
that from all appearances, was settled by him and other Croats. A
Zehentverzeichnisse (one-tenth- harvest tax directory) of 1565 shows that
Croats resided in Sulz.

The four small villages of Schallendorf, Tudersdorf, Kroatisch
Tschantschendorf, and Hasendorf, situated in the northern surroundings of
Gssing, were new Croatian establishments. Schallendorf was a Batthyany
possession and founded by Croats. Kroatisch Tschantschendorf, Tudersdorf, and
Hasendorf were possessions of independent noblemen. From a document of 1582,
we discovered that Tudersdorf and Kroatisch Tschantschendorf lay on
aristocratic ground whose occupants for the most part spoke Croatian. A few
Croatian families settled here in the territory of today's Hasendorf which
the Croatian aristocrat Zaychich received from Franz Batthyany, and after
whom the new village was named.

The Urbar of Gssing of 1752 listed 12 subjects (servants) in this village,
eleven named Malics and one with the name Bihovics. Stinatz, a large Croatian
village, is situated in the northern corner of this district, which was a
newly Croatian founded community according to the 1635 Urbar of Gssing. It
had 60 sessiones (a certain fixed portion of village land including fields,
forests and meadows) and 4 Sllner (inhabitants owning no portion of
farmland) in this year. In Chapter XIX, " Immigration of the Croatians into
today's Burgenland and into Neighboring Lands", we said that the population
of Kostainica migrated as far as to Hrastovica (a
community around Petrinje) after the surrender of Kostainica in the year
1556. The villages of Hrastovica and Petrovo Selo point towards the old
hometown.According to R. Lopasic and I. Csaplovics, the ancestors of Stinatz
came from the surroundings of the Castle of Stenicnjak. The Hungarian
Historian Imre Nagy asserts that the family of Kanizsay-Nadasdy obtained
their servants for their estates in the County of denburg from the vicinity
of the Castle of Stenicnjak. Because the people of Stinatz spoke the old
Slovenian "e" as"i", but the people from Stenicnjak said it as "ie", the
opinions of Lopasic and Csaplovics are not justified.

Stegersbach, the largest municipality of the district, is situated southeast
of Stinatz on the left bank of the small Strem river. A Croatian settlement
was added in the east of old Stegersbach, which the Urbar from Gssing of
1635 says separated from the old community. The old municipality was called
Deutsch- Stegersbach, and the new community was called Kroatisch-
Stegersbach. The new community included more territory, and more inhabitants.
Kroatisch Stegersbach had 85 Wirtschaften (a farm with everything belonging
to it) in 1635, while Deutsch Stegersbach had 44. The village of St. Michael
received Croat settlers in the 16th century, which the Visitations from the
17th and the 18th centuries refer to as being a Croatian community.

Jandrisovits says in Volume 4 of his "Urkunden und Dokumente" (Documents and
Records), that 15 Croatian refugees established the small village of Punitz
in 1553 on Batthyany property.

Croats also established the villages of Neuberg, Kroatisch Ehrensdorf, and
Steinfurt. Neuberg was purely Croatian in 1635, Kroatisch Ehrensdorf was
Croatian in 1698 (according to the Visitation), Steinfurt almost entirely
Croatian in 1635, and totally Croatian in 1698.

The small towns of Gttenbach, St. Kathrein and Harmisch already existed
before the colonization of the Croats but were newly founded by Croatians.
The Konskription (records of taxes owed to the King) of Eberau from the year
1617 says that St. Kathrein is almost entirely Croatian. Harmisch was purely
Croatian in the years 1698 and 1720. Two small towns, Edlitz and Kulm,
situated on the right-bank of the Pinka River are mentioned as being Croatian
according to Visitation of 1698, and were newly founded by Croats.Kroatisch
Schtzen, situated east of Deutsch-Schtzen and located on the Hungarian
side, was almost entirely Croatian. Five Croatian villages, Prostrum, Gross
Kulken, Kroatische Nadalja, Berkifalu and Harasztifalu, are situated in
Hungary close to the border with Burgenland.

Prostrum and Gross-Kulken were predominantly Croatian in 1698. The 1603 Urbar
of Krmend shows the localities of Kroatisch Nadalja, Berkifalu, and
Harasztifalu to be Croatian founded. The first Croats of these villages came
from the region of Moslavina, Roviste, Raca, and Koprivnica, and were settled
here after 1545 by the Erdody family. A second group came between 1557 and
1561. After the fall of Kostajnica in Croatia, Nicholas Zrinyi led the move
from his estates into this region also. The traces of these Croats settled by
Zrinyi in the Domain of (Vep) Weppendorf from 1557 until 1561 have been
totally obscured, and virtually nothing is known of them.

The Urbar and Konskription also show occasional Croatian family names in
other villages of the Gssing Domain. Many Croat families lived in the
suburbs of Gssing in the 16th and 17th Centuries, some of who were of noble
descent. According to the 1635 Urbar of Gssing, approximately 1/10th of the
inhabitants in the center of the city had Croatian surnames and 1/6th in the
suburbs. It shows smaller Croatian minorities in Neustift, Gerersdorf,
Deutsch-Kukmirn, Ungarisch-Kukmirn, and in a subsidiary of Neusiedl. 1/10th
of the servants in Ollersdorf were Croats, and 1/4th in Rauchwart. Nine of 30
families in Gamischdorf were Croatian. Of the 77 children baptized between
1669 and 1688 in Deutsch Tschantschendorf, 20 came from Croatian parents.
Croats must still have lived in Olbendorf (Lovrenac) in 1846 since Franz
Kurelac assembled 5 Croatian ballads here. In the Croat founded village of
Tobaj, 6 of the 40 subjects were Croats in 1635, and the Croatian aristocrat
Nikolaus Zemlitsch had already been found in Tobaj in 1531.
The name Batthyany is closely associated with the immigration of the Croats
into this area,
and Franz Von Battyany had already received approval from Ludwig II in 1524
to settle farmers from his Croatian and Slavonian Estates to his newly
acquired estates. The subsequent resettlement was carried out from 1532 to
1547, which Vera Zimanyi describes as: "Croats fleeing before the Turks
probably appeared in isolated areas of west Hungary around 1529 that were
devastated as a result of the Turkish campaigns, and they migrated in larger
groups in the 1530's. It was in the best interests of the domain owner to
settle new workers particularly after the Turks devastated the County of
Eisenburg and also the heavy losses sustained by the villages in the Domain
of Gssing in 1532. Franz Von Batthyany, who was
at this time the Ban of Slavonia and also had estates in the Turkish
endangered areas of Slavonia, henceforth began planning on resettling the
fleeing farmers from the Croatian-Slavonian regions partially from his own
estates. Partially he gives land in the vicinity of Gssing to his
Servitores; partially he has the servants transferred to the County of
Eisenburg principally however at his own expense. The Servitores were lower
ranking Croatian aristocrats to whom he entrusted the settlement process, and
in this way e.g. Hasendorf [Vasnyulfalva-Zaicfalva] came into being through
the settlement organized by Simon Zaychich who received this property from
Batthyany in 1530. In a similar way Nicolaus Sanko received Sulz in 1539. In
1538 he instructs his managers of Tornischtscha and Gereben and writes to
Christopher Batthyany, who is staying there at that time that they will start
to do something in order to resettle the poor people, that they will send
carriages for the refugees and bring them to Gssing. He exhorts Christoph in
a second letter to not let them depart as miserably as those who recently
came to Gssing. He writes to the custom officers on their way, provides the
refugees with documents so that they can bring their belongings along

In 1539, he personally sends a group of about 30 families from Gereben to
Gssing. Still in the same year he starts the move of his partially
Slovenian, partially Croatian subjects on their way out of Samlatscha
(Zamlaca in the District of Sissek, author's note) into the direction of the
County of Eisenburg. The movement continued for 40 to 50 years, even into the
second half of the century. In 1547 he writes in another letter that he is at
present not able to send carriages for the refugees, but that they should
come nevertheless, as he would give a sessio (a certain fixed portion of
village land) to everyone." Croats settled in the Domain of Gssing and were
distributed among the following villages: Eisenhttl, Grossmrbisch,
Hasendorf, Kroatisch Stegersbach, Kroatisch Reinersdorf, Krottendorf,
Neuberg, Punitz, Rehgraben, Schallendorf, Steinfurt, Steingraben, Stinatz,
St. Michael, St. Nicholas, and Heugraben.

These villages constituted the "Croatian District", and the "Croatian Area"
had its own administration.Vera Zimanyi's says to the question of the
so-called Walachs who lived in the former Domains of Schlaining and Rechnitz:
" The designation " vlach " or " Olah " does not define a nationality, as
Kranzmayer assumed in his "Burgenlandisches Siedlungsnamenbuch" (Burgenland
Settlement Name Book, page 245). Gyula Szekfu already referred to it
("Magyarorszag Tortenelme" on page 472 and the following pages), that the old
name for "vlach" or "valach" was "Olah" in Hungarian, as it is clearly
expressed by Nicholas Esterhazy's diplomat Tassi Gaspar. Therefore we
understand that "Vlachen" means that the Vlachen came from Slavonia, the
others we call Razan. These "Vlachen" from Slavonia and/or Croatia are in
reality not Romanians, but they are southern Slavs themselves, who lived
somewhere in Bosnia, in Herzegovina, in the upper Dubrovnik (Ragusa) country
in the Middle Ages, and were certainly an ethnically mixed nation. It was of
decisive importance for their development that their Domain owners converted
to the Islamic Faith, and ran their estates as Bosnian Begs (Turkish
nobleman) in Turkish ways with slave labor. The majority however continued
their traditional way of life with goats and as shepherds.

There were also subjects with Slavic names in the Domains of
Rechnitz-Schlaining, who had the "vlachi exemptions" and paid little taxes
(in the villages of Sirokanyhaza, Baratok majorja, and Rauch-Rigli or
Szeleni-Jeszik. Urbar I, number 3, 1636)".

Count Thomas Erdody, owner of the Domains of Eberau, Rotenturm, Csatar, and
Kormend, was devoted to the Lutheran faith. Count George Zrinyi moved the
Lutheran printing press from Warasdin to Eberau by Count Thomas Erdody's
request in 1587, where the Slovenian printer Manlius also was brought.
Manlius worked until 1592 in Eberau, then in Deutsch- Schtzen, Gssing,
Deutschkreutz, and Sarvar, before all traces of him disappeared after 1604.
He printed
only Hungarian works, a Latin- Hungarian dictionary and the "Neue Zeitung aus
Ungarn" (New Newspaper of Hungary), and his Croatian endeavors never were

Croatian villages that belonged to the Domain of Eberau are Eberau, Kulm im
Burgenland, Harmisch, St. Kathrein im Burgenland, and Kroatisch Ehrensdorf,
all of which were owned by independent aristocrats. According to the census
of March 7, 1923 the following formerly predominantly Croatian villages were
now completely German: Eberau, Edlitz im Burgenland, Kleinmrbisch,
Krottendorf, Kulm im Burgenland, Punitz, Schallendorf im Burgenland, St.
Michael im Burgenland, Steinfurt, Steingraben, and Tudersdorf, a total of 12
villages all together.Croatian nationals in Harmisch had fallen by 40%, in
Stegersbach it fell by 20%, and in Sulz by 10%.

The Croats from Stinatz, Hackerberg, Stegersbach, Heugraben, Eisenhttl,
Grossmrbisch, and Reinersdorf spoke the Ca dialect pronouncing the "i",
while in the other Croatian villages the Sto dialect was spoken.

Chapter XXV - The Croatians of St. Nikolaus (Szent Miklos)

A Document from the Time of their Settlement-
We, Franz Batthyany, our Imperial Majesty's counselor, make it known to all
those to whom it may concern, that in the year 1545 on the day of Saint
George the Martyr, several Croats such as Blasius Mysyak, Peter Horwath,
Marcus Rogosar, Jacob Dambsycs, Stephen Toth, Simon Sollaricz, Nicholas
Doech, Blasius Stanitz, Martin Nay, Peter Robek, Matthew Hirgwala, Mathew
Kiss, Peter Medeycs, George Paulykowycs, John Gerdarkics, Matthew Belkowycs,
John Broksycs, Barnabas Toth, Matthew Kehen, and George Toth came to us
imploring and reported that because of the continual robbing of the Turks and
due to the danger of being dragged into inhuman captivity, that they could no
longer remain in Croatia and were forced to look for a peaceful place with
their wives and children. Because of the situation, they urgently asked us
to include them and assign an appropriate residence to them in our Domain in
the areas of Gssing, since we were always anxious to enlarge our Domain and
embellish it with this large group of people. We showed the above mentioned
Croats the desolate place around the Church of Saint Nicholas that was
located below Gssing which was heavily wooded and surrounded by thorn
hedges, and transferred it to them free from all taxes for twelve years,
beginning with St. George's day in 1545 until St. George's day in 1557 when
the exemptions ended.The above-mentioned Croat then came up to us and
requested that we assess the taxes and duties for them like for the other
citizens, but since their land was very small they said that they would not
be able to serve and pay taxes like the other subjects. So they implored us
to grant them exemption from the duties owed us, and to make a decision,
which would have validity for all times. Considering their diligent work
clearing the forest, removing the thorn bushes and the building of houses, we
grant their supplication so that they can remain in our Domain. We decided to
give the above mentioned Croats a contract, according to which they would be
exempt from all taxes, duties, payments, and tributes as owed to us and our
castle. With the exception of cases where it is absolutely necessary, they
are not to be forced to do manual services in a way differing from that what
was customary in Croatia, where they as subjects (Podvorci) owed the
following services to their land lords. That is namely, if two (people) own a
whole sessio, one of them must come to work on one day, and the other one has
to come on the following day. The man goes to work, and conversely the woman
can remain at home, but when work is urgent and our castle requires them
without delay, men and woman have to go where they are told. If they are
finished with us at harvest time, they are free to look for their own
particular work, and food for their needs. We give this contract to these
Croats as well as for all those who will come in the future and be allocated
dwellings near the above-mentioned Church of St. Nicholas. We therefore
sternly instruct the Prefeckts, administrator, managers and all those
entrusted with our affairs, as well as the current and future servants of our
castle at Gssing, to hold to this contract and not dare to force these
Croats to perform any other services. Given on May 9, 1558 (Translated by
Karl Semmelweis from a Photostat of the Hungarian original.)
(to be continued as newsletter 62A. This newsletter continues as no. 61B)

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