The News
Dedicated to Austrian-Hungarian Burgenland Family History

June 30, 2014, © 2014 - The Burgenland Bunch - all rights reserved

Editor: Thomas Steichen (email:
Archives at: BB Newsletter Index

Our 18th Year. The Burgenland Bunch Newsletter is issued monthly online. It was founded by Gerald Berghold (who retired Summer 2008 and died in August 2008).

Current Status Of The BB:
* Members: 2259 * Surname Entries: 7449 * Query Board Entries: 5308 * Staff Members: 17

This newsletter concerns:


2) EARLY MEMORIES OF BURGENLAND, 1956–1957 (by Andrew Burghardt)




    - BURGENLAND MILITARY GENEALOGY (Joe Gilly and Gerry Berghold)



1) THE PRESIDENT'S CORNER (by Tom Steichen)

Picture of Tom SteichenConcerning this newsletter, after the bits and pieces here in my "Corner," we continue with a reprint (by permission of the BG) of an article written in 2000 by Andrew Burghardt called Early Memories of Burgenland, 1956–1957. I think of this as a post WW-II / Russian Occupation companion to C.A. Macartney's 1937 (pre-war) piece, Burgenland, that we presented in newsletters 241 and 242. Macartney gives us the before; Burghardt the immediate after... bookends, if you will.

Article 3, Loipersdorf (or Not)?, deals with the problem of duplicate (or similar) village names and introduces a new online resource, the Catholic church books of Styria (Steiermark).

In Article 4, we once again attack the meanings of certain class titles for non-noble medieval peasants, Holden, Söllner and Bauer.

Article 5 concludes a five-year effort for Ilse Nusbaum in her Quest for Justice for her father. This is the third and final article about her effort to obtain a posthumous Ph.D. for her father.

The remaining articles are our standard sections: Historical Newsletter Articles, and the Ethnic Events and Emigrant Obituaries sections.


Attack on Around midday on Monday, June 16, attackers targeted Ancestry with a Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS). During the attack, Ancestry websites, including Rootsweb, were clogged with massive amounts of bogus traffic that took the sites down. Ancestry staff have since neutralized the DDoS attack and many of their websites have been up since midday June 17 (though they warn that intermittent issues may occur as they bring the sites back to full capacity and build defenses to mitigate future attacks). No data was compromised by the attack.

Where this attack is of direct interest to the BB is that the Burgenland Query Board (hosted by BB staff) is part of Rootsweb, which is supported by Ancestry on their servers. Rootsweb was not restored until June 24th and there remain lingering issues with logging into and using it. As of right now while I'm writing this (June 28), attempts to connect to our Burgenland Query Board (or any other message board) only result in a default Ancestry page with no indication of when service might be restored.

However, the attack has spawned some humor... I'll leave you with this one:

Ancestry went down today so I spent some time with my family; they seem like nice people.

Addendun 6/30/14: I just discovered that link now works, whereas the form we have been using on the BB website for the Burgenland Query Board: (note the 'rootsweb' rather than 'ancestry'), still fails. I have updated this link on the BB Homepage.


Where Are We?: Hannes Graf (Members Editor) has taken on the additional task of updating the Where Are We? pages on the BB website (see Where Are We?). This is a feature Hannes created many years ago, and that I updated a few years back, but it had languished since then.

Where are We? is a series of nested, clickable maps that lead to a listing of members in each geographical region. Hannes asks that each of you check to see if you are listed on the appropriate page and that your email address and city are correct (you may be listed in a former state or country if you have moved in the last ten years; also, you can see the email address by placing the mouse cursor over your name and looking in the lower-left corner of most browsers). I will note that I am still listed as being in North Carolina (with an obsolete email address) so I need to update mine too.

Hannes asks that you email him with your corrected data (or, if not listed, with your new data) by clicking this link: Hannes Graf. You can also use the link to Hannes on the first of the Where are We? pages. I'm going to send in my update right now!

Book coverUpdate on book "The Burgenländer Emigration to America": As I will do for a while, here is this month's update on purchases of the English issue of the 3rd edition of Dr. Walter Dujmovits' book “Die Amerika-Wanderung Der Burgenländer.”

As of June 28, 578 copies had been purchased and the book was ranked at # 573, meaning ony 572 books among the hundreds of thousands on Lulu Press, Inc. have sold more. Interestingly, even though additional books were purchased throughout the month, its daily ranking went both up and down due to competing books selling at slightly different paces as the month went along... but, eventually, we did put nearly 20 more competitors behind us this month!

The book is available for online purchase for a list price of $10.45, plus tax & shipping (see the BB homepage for a link to the information / ordering page and for any current discounts).

BB DNA Section: As mentioned two months ago, Frank Paukowits agreed to lead development of a BB DNA section. After recruiting DNA teammates, consisting of Richard Potetz, Margaret Kaiser, Bob Schatz and Amy Ernharth, they jointly have begun to populate some pages with useful information (see BB page for the current progress). My thanks to this DNA team for taking on this task!

Burgenland Atlas Online Extension: I have, a number of times in the BB Newsletter, mentioned a German-language book, Historischer Atlas Burgenland (Dr. Josef Tiefenbach, Editor and Publisher, Burgenländische Landesmuseum, 2011), and I have used its content as a resource for some articles (including one last month).

Just this month, I discovered that there is a companion (German-language) online resource at It is an online extension of the text from the 2011 book. According to the Impressum (see bottom of webpage), the “digital atlas” was created because “the texts had to be greatly reduced in the printed version.” My examination shows that it not only extends the articles in the book, but it also introduces topics not addressed in the book at all. The digital version apparently has a number of additional maps too. If you are comfortable reading German, this is a great resource on Burgenland, as told from the viewpoint of Burgenländers.

Deutscheck/Deutschegg: Recently I became involved in helping Richard Potetz read a Kurrentschrift text (see excerpt below) from the Beistein church records (in Steiermark, just the other side of the state border). While I could read most of this without too much difficulty, one word had me baffled... so I sent my transcription to Fritz Königshofer for his opinion, with the word in red being the one in question: “Johann Pfister, Schuhmachermeister, des Franz Pfister, Söldners in Imuschegg Gemeinde Welten No.19 Pfarre St. Martin in Ungarn, …”.

Fritz replied, saying: "I read the word as Druschegg, but like your reading, I cannot make a sense out of it." 

Meanwhile, I had continued to ponder on that word and with Fritz' reading in hand, I replied back, copying Richard: "Thanks Fritz, I’m now leaning toward that word being Deutschegg… I have seen where Wartegg was written Warteck, so I’m thinking Deutschegg is a variation of Deutscheck." ...and that broke up the mental log jam!

Richard replied: "Thanks, Tom. Deutschegg makes sense. I have also seen the Deutscheck section of Welten spelled Deutschegg. By the way, in the Sankt Martin a/d Raab records, that part of Welten was 'Velike Hegy' for Hungarian language entries. For Latin entries that place was 'Promonsorium Velike'."

And Fritz also replied: "Hi Tom, hi Richard, Egg is the old spelling of Eck. Only place names (and derived surnames) still use the form -egg, but the spelling -eck is used in many place names. The English translation would be "corner." Amen Corner would correspond to Amenegg or Ameneck in German. The geographical meaning of Egg/Eck is the place where two pieces of land with different directions join. They will usually go inwards, but an Eck can also protrude. This may be the situation where the Latin term could become "promontorium." There are two famous Styrians who had or have -egg in their names. One was the poet Peter Rosegger in the 19th century, the other is our contemporary Arnold Schwarzenegger. "Egger" means "from the Eck."

So, let this be a heads-up for those of you who have an 'egg' or 'eck' ending in a family place name or surname... you may come across the other version too, so do not let it throw you!

[Ed. Note: There is another word in the transcribed text: Söldners, that also deserves further interpretation... but we do so as part of Article 4 in this newsletter.]

Burgenland Wind Power: One year ago in BB newsletter #233 (31 Jun 2013), I published a reprint of a short article by Hannes Graf called The Windmill of Podersdorf am See (click link to read it again) and supplemented it with a longer discussion about modern wind power in Burgenland. I commented that Burgenland was quickly moving towards energy independence, producing more than it consumed.

I ended the article by saying, "Fifteen years ago, residents of Burgenland would have laughed if you told them their region would one day be exporting energy. Today, it is the first Energieautarkie, the German term for an energy independent region. Nonetheless, it still strives to increase self-sufficiency in renewable resources for heat and fuel... but electricity? Proudly self-sufficient, and rightfully so!"

Below is a short (3' 20") English-language video about Burgenland wind power:

Recipes from the German/Austrian cookbook of the Austria Donau Club: We are still waiting for Frank Paukowits to regain use of his computer room (currently domiciling a new grandchild). Recipes will return...

Joke of the Month: You may not know, but Burgenland is often the butt of Austrian jokes... for example, you can go here and see a whole series of German-language Burgenland jokes. Many are crude or insulting, such as:

What do you call an intelligent Burgenländer? A tourist.

...or the non-joke joke:

Two Burgenländers chat at a University...

(...the 'joke' is that two Burgenländers at one university is presumed to be impossible)

However, the biggest target of the Austrian jokester is blondes, just like in many other places in the world. I mention this because I stumbled across an old news article that said an Austrian law was coming into force on January 1, 2012, a law that was part of a "tough new package of anti-terrorism measures." This law apparently makes jokes about blondes and Burgenländers illegal because such people "could feel themselves marginalised and end up resorting to terrorist measures to get revenge on a society that rejected them." Now I have no idea if this whole story is a joke... but I found quite a few variations of it on the web!

Nonetheless, despite the fact that I may be breaking a law and/or risking revenge-based terrorism, I shall proceed to tell one that I thought was just good fun... though the Burgenländer is still the victim of the joke... here goes:

► A (blonde?) Burgenländer lies in the hospital with serious injuries. His visiting neighbor asks him, "How did you do this?"

Burgenländer: "I was hunting for bear in the mountains so I stood in front of a small cave and yelled "yo bear," but only a small cub came out, so I let it go. Then I found a larger cave and yelled again... but only a middling-sized bear came out, so I let it go. Finally I found a huge cave and yelled really loud... and out came the Alpine Express!"


2) EARLY MEMORIES OF BURGENLAND, 1956–1957 (by Andrew Burghardt)
[from the Burgenländische Gemeinschaft Newsletters Nr.363 and Nr.364, 2000; reprinted by permission]

Andrew Burghardt first came to Burgenland as a young scientist in 1957 to conduct scientific research on this area. In subsequent years, meanwhile appointed university professor, he continued his research, which culminated in the publication of the seminal book entitled "Borderland" in 1963. In recognition of his outstanding work, he received the Land Burgenland Honor Award in 1995.

I first saw Burgenland in September 1956. I had selected it to be the subject of my doctoral thesis at the University of Wisconsin. Mary and I, newly-married in August, drove to Vienna from Paris where we had bought a tiny Renault car. A small grant of $3.000.- was all we had to buy the car and to live on in Austria. I had known some Burgenländers in New York; I took pictures of them and brought them with me to help introduce myself to their relatives. Before sailing to Europe I had also been able to meet and speak to Dr. Kurt Schuschnigg (the Chancellor of Austria before the Hitler take-over), Dr. Ernst Winter (the son of the pre-war vice-mayor of Vienna, married to a von Trapp), and the son of Count Teleki.

My first view of Burgenland was on a field trip of geographers held as part of the 100th anniversary celebration of the Viennese Geographical Society. We were driven to the Parndorfer Heide, and the Professor told us that this was, at least physically, not a part of Austria, that it had a strong Hungarian character. We were impressed by the dry windy flatness and the seeming emptiness of the area.

From other Viennese acquaintances and professors, I gained their impressions of Austria's newest province. Most of their perceptions were uncomplimentary. It was said to be poor, rundown, dusty. There were flocks of geese everywhere. There were no conveniences for travelers. There was a uniform opinion that the roads were terrible. One person referred to the area as "Austria's Balkans," another as a "gypsy land." Although one did call the area "charming," it seemed clear to me that most Viennese did not care for the land, did not consider it to be truly Austrian. (Interestingly, some felt a touch of guilt for Austria having taken this territory from its old partner in the Monarchy). The shortcomings were always blamed on the Hungarians, who were said to have neglected the area and repressed its people. (Of course, I knew that what is now Burgenland was composed of little more than the Western fringes of three different countries before 1919 and, as such, could hardly have expected much development).

In late September, Mary and I made our first real reconnaissance by driving from Neusiedl to Güssing. We found that most of the roads were actually in good shape. In fact, when I came to look at the borders closely, I saw that the roads between Burgenland and Niederösterreich were always excellent on the Burgenland side and often terrible on the N.Ö. side!

We did see geese, but they hardly swarmed over the roads and fields. Places to stay were certainly few; when we stopped overnight in Lockenhaus, we were bitten by fleas in our bed!

While I was reading all the old newspapers in the Landesbibliothek in Eisenstadt, I stayed in two Gasthäuser in Eisenstadt. I remember my room in the Eder as being so cold that I went to bed with my overcoat on and slowly undressed under the covers. It was amazing that the provincial capital did not have one good hotel. (However, I could not have afforded to stay in one if there had been one.)

Later, especially in March and April, I made numerous trips into and through Burgenland, examining every portion of the province, and being fascinated by the valleys of the south. The countryside was charming, and most of the pretty villages were "Strassendörfer", with the whitewashed houses lined up on either side of the street. Usually each house was at right angles to the road, and along one side was a narrow hof [courtyard]. The kitchen with the oven was half way back, the bedroom usually behind it, and further back were the tools, wood, and animals. Because of the danger of fire, very few houses still had straw roofs, and those were mostly in the south. In some of the villages, the shutters or the whole houses were painted; I remember Luising and Kemeten as being very bright and colorful.

Hagensdorf children. Whereas the married women dress completely in black or other somber
colors, the girls are dressed in vivid colors, with much red. The boy in the rear wears his beret in
Hungarian fashion. Since tourists are nonexistent in southern Burgenland and cameras are few,
the children do not know how to pose for a picture. 25 March 1957

Although I was able to get a very cute picture of children in Hagensdorf, I did not notice many children. It was clear that the birth rate had fallen, probably because so many of the young married people had emigrated. One school in Stegersbach had had 65 pupils in 1921 but had only 26 in 1957; the official minimum to keep a school open was 20. Family groupings were strong, and it was common for all members of the extended family to vote the same, and to keep marriages within the group.

Religion was strongly felt, both for and against. Burgenland possessed several fine pilgrimage churches. Perhaps the most notable were those in Frauenkirchen and Loretto in the north and Gaas in the south. I happened to be east of Güssing on March 25, the feast of the Annunciation. I was stopped by several bone-weary old women who were walking home after their pilgrimage to Maria am Weinberg, overlooking Gaas. I was able to stuff them into my tiny car and drive them home to Hagensdorf and Luising. In contrast to this piety, was the distrust of religion going to church, as usually did their families as well. After all, there had been a virtual civil war fought between the Socialists and the Christliche in 1933-34.

Many villages had both Catholic and Protestant (evangelisch) churches; their members tended to keep to themselves and even to attend their own taverns. There were stories of street fights between the boys attending the schools. The Protestant pastors could not forget that, at least in Austria, they did not enjoy religious freedom until after 1786. Perhaps as a response to the end of that long-ago persecution, their churches were often built with very high towers.

Except for a few factories and small mines, the local economy was based almost entirely on agriculture. Most of the produce was for home consumption, to feed the people and the animals. Wine was the king of the cash crops, but wine was profitable in only a few locales: along south-facing slopes, such as the edge of the Parndorfer Platte (Gols), the flanks of the Leithagebirge (Eisenstadt), the Rustergebirge (Rust-Mörbisch-Oggau), along the Wulka, and on the Eisenberg in the south; also on the sun-soaked plains east of the Neusiedler See (Illmitz etc.). It was possible to have one's own bottle filled with the "house wine." I recall one day when Walter Dujmovits informed me that a vintner in Eisenstadt had some of his good wine for sale. I took an empty bottle and had it filled; it was indeed good.

For the great majority of the peasant farmers, the sale of animals and sometimes milk was the principal local source of money. For the most part, the animals were not driven to market; rather the Viennese buyers drove their trucks right into the villages to pick up the animals, milk or eggs. Rye and wheat were the predominant grains. There was very little maize (corn). (In contrast, in 1989 I noticed that here had been an enormous expansion of maize and vineyards.)

By North American standards, the land holdings were very small. The usual figure I heard was about 6 hectares, 15 acres. This was felt to be sufficient. One farmer claimed that he could make a good living from his 4 hectares, 10 acres, of rich Lafnitz valley bottomland. (There were unfortunate owners of "dwarf-holdings" who tried to get by with even less than 2 hectares.) Despite what looked like land poverty to me, many of the peasants still believed that they were better off than the "hungry" burgers in Vienna. (Vienna had been besieged only 11 years before.) A visit to a home usually ended with me taking home a gift of eggs.

I don't remember seeing many tractors or other machinery; almost every peasant still had his horse and/or oxen. The working of the land required much hand labor, and the older peasants were heavily dependent on having members of the family to help. One older man told me how he had pleaded tearfully with his son not to leave for America, but the young man left anyhow; the old couple did not know how they would manage without him. I heard too of young men who were willing to stay on the land, but could not find a girl willing to marry them and become a peasant wife.

Being the only driver on a road did not mean that I could avoid the traffic cops. One day, with no other car in sight, I parked on the road for a good look at the stone quarry in St. Margarethen. Sure enough a policeman came along, announced to me that I could not park there, wrote me a ticket, and asked for immediate payment. So, I paid. When I got back to Eisenstadt, I told my friends at the Landesbibliothek, Karl Semmelweiss and Dr. Sinowatz (later, 1983-86, Chancellor of Austria) of the ticket. They were angry and told me that if I hadn't already paid, they would have "fixed" the matter. But, of course I had paid; what else can a foreigner do?

Moschendorf. Farmer bringing home twigs and branches for heat.
Note that he too wears the typical boots and apron. 1957

For me, the peasant working costume was picturesque, even if very dark. They all wore black boots (Csizmen, Stiefeln), a necessity in the muddy fields. All, men and women, wore dark aprons, and the women wore kerchiefs to keep the dust out of their hair. On Sundays or on pilgrimage, the older women still wore the completely-black dresses, so common in eastern Europe. Although I found the working outfits interesting, I gathered that the local farmers did not. One couple refused to let me take their picture (for relatives in New York) as they were. I had to return the next day, when I found them dressed up in "Western" clothes: the man in a jacket and tie. I was disappointed but took the picture. I saw Trachten [traditional folk/national costumes] worn only once and that was at a Croatian festival in Frankenau in 1961. Once I was shown some of the other folk costumes hanging up in a museum closet, but I never saw them worn otherwise. There were no dirndls or any wide, bright Hungarian skirts.

Most of the money that came into Burgenland did not come from agriculture. Burgenland was uniquely a land of commuters, of Pendler. Hordes of men and young women left the province to find paying jobs elsewhere. Initially there was the mass migration to America; this was partly due to the loss of jobs in Hungarian border towns such as Szentgotthárd, and Ödenburg. Although emigration did continue, many families now found their work in Vienna, where they toiled in construction and other non-office jobs. (The Viennese men all wanted to work in offices and carry brief cases.) The fortunate families who lived in the north commuted on a weekly basis, that is, the men would spend the week crowded into small rooms in Vienna and spend their weekends at home. Families did not move to Vienna, as one might expect them to. This was because they had their houses, their friends and relatives in the villages, whereas the cost of housing for families was, to them, exorbitant in Vienna.

As the villages became further and further away from Vienna, the time away from home increased; to two weeks or even a month between visits. Needless to say, this put a tremendous strain on the families. While the men were away, the women, older people, and young children worked the land. Finally, there were the men in the forest-encircled villages of the south, who might work as far away as Switzerland; many of these became seasonal commuters. In some of those villages, it was said that for many months one could find very few men at home. Most of the Pendler were men, but some young women moved also to become store clerks in Vienna.

There was almost no tourism in Burgenland at the time. Podersdorf, which has the only true beach on the Neusiedler See, had only one Gasthaus. A few people came to look at the birds, mostly storks, in Rust and in the reeds around the See. Eisenstadt was just beginning to "cash in" on Haydn, and Mörbisch was presenting Hungarian-style operettas during the summer. Almost no visitors, except relatives, went south of Forchtenstein. The one attraction in the south was Bad Tatzmannsdorf, and that was poorly developed at the time. Except for Forchtenstein and Eisenstadt, most of the castles were ignored or unknown; many of them were still in the ruined state in which the Russians had left them.

On the road to Güssing, 1957

It's fair to say that most Burgenländers did not recognize how attractive their province could be. Several times I was asked, why was I studying Burgenland? Why not Tirol? They could not grasp that a foreigner could be interested. Some were suspicious; after all, the Russians were next door in Hungary. More than once I was asked to show my passport. One family thought that I must be engaged to marry the daughter of a Burgenländer in New York and was there to meet the relatives. My car had a French license plate and I recall one young woman saying in surprise, "Ein Französer!"

Automobiles were rare; I never had to worry about traffic problems once I had left Vienna. This was an advantage for me, because it made it possible for me to pick up tired walkers and ask them my questions about Burgenland in a friendly way. I even picked up a border guard that way. Once when I was driving an old lady home as it was beginning to get dark, and we were right along the (mined) Hungarian boundary, she offered me a swig of some slivovits she had. When I refused for fear of running off the road, she insisted that this was a really good bottle. When I still refused, with thanks, she thrust the bottle into my mouth and poured the fire water in. I gulped, but managed to keep the car on the road; ——yes, the slivovits was very good.

The Iron Curtain at Mogersdorf, 1961

Cameras were also almost non-existent in Burgenland. People, especially children, were not used to having pictures taken. Several times I took pictures of family members and promised to send them prints later. One peasant in Moschendorf was so pleased with the picture I sent of him with his ox-cart, that he wrote to tell me that he was going to have it enlarged—something he was probable able to do.

1956 was only eleven years since the end of the war, and only one year since the Russians had pulled out. Memories were strong because the young Burgenland men had mostly been drafted into the infantry. One home I visited had a little votive candle burning under the picture of their son, who had been lost in Russia. I remember Walter taking me for a walk in Eisenhüttl and pointing out how many men had been lost from each house we passed. Small villages had long lists of names on their war memorials. In one family, the mother died while the father was in the army. Her sister took over the care of the children during the final siege. When the father returned from the Russian prisoner of war camp, he married the brave sister-in-law.

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956, while allowing Strem valley neighbors to get together again, also raised fears that the Russians, chasing the refugees, would return into Burgenland. Some of the older people tied that fear in with the belief that the Hungarians were certain to try to regain Burgenland. One old lady in Edelstal was sure that they would return.

Naturally, I was interested in the "minorities." One would have expected the Magyars to make the most demands, but they were quiet. They recognized that they were very few, since the lawyers, teachers, etc. had almost all left for Hungary. They had been the target of all the charges about repression made by the German super-nationalists, and were a bit cowed. Besides, the two Magyar centers, Oberwart und Oberpullendorf, were governmental centers and had to do their business in German. But there was a trace of bitterness underneath. One Magyar priest commented, "Under 400 years of supposed 'repression' by the Magyars, the Croats kept their language, music, dances, costumes, and now after 30 years of Austrian "freedom" they have lost much of it."

The Croats were greater in number and had been even more numerous in the past. They were split in two by location and politics. The Croats in the north were mostly industrial workers and, therefore, had been in favor of becoming part of Austria; they were Socialists. In contrast, the Croats in Oberpullendorf Bezirk and further south, had poorer ties to Viennese jobs and were mostly supporters of the People's Party (ÖVP). They had been mostly in favor of remaining in Hungary and, after coming to Austria with their leader Karall, had formed a strong cultural association, making demand for language rights and teaching.

These Croats were somewhat in favor of cultural ties with Yugoslavia but were fearful of being forced either to migrate to Croatia or to have their areas annexed to Croatia (Yugoslavia). Marshall Tito, ruler of Yugoslavia, had supposedly asked for this area from the Western Allies. There was the fear, too, that Tito would try to have the 1919 idea of a Slavic corridor joining Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia established. The Croats were strongly against communism but had been able, because of their Slavic language, to get along better with the Russian soldiers than the German could. During the ten-year occupation, Russian was a required language in the schools.

Religious groups were not included under "minorities," but I found the Lutherans to be in the trickiest situation. They believed in the unity of the German people and so were for the move to Austria, even though Hungary had been more tolerant than Austria had been. They were looking past Austria to an union with Germany. Unfortunately, this led them to support Hitler... within Austria, they felt that they could not support the pre-war Christian Party or the post-war People's Party since, in their minds, both were connected to the Catholic Church. Economically, they did not want to support the Socialists nor, religiously, the ÖVP. They became, therefore, the supporters of Third Parties.

So I found Burgenland: a charming, almost unknown province, rarely visited by other Austrians or anyone else (except relatives). A poor land of hospitable people, where almost all the palaces or other buildings had been stripped bare by the Russians only a year before. It was still an agricultural landscape, with oxen and horses, but with the young people increasingly seeking paying jobs in Vienna or elsewhere. My mother had on her kitchen wall a reproduction of a famous painting by Brueghel of peasants having their lunch in the fields. Brueghel painted that picture over 400 years ago, yet that is how I first saw much of Burgenland. I thank God that I could see it that way before the great changes of the following 40 years. To be able to see it when I was almost the only visitor in a land that was as foreign as Asia to most of the people of Europe in America.


Back in April, the BB received a New Member Information Form that was both baffling (in a number of ways) and ultimately informative:

Subject: BB New Member Information
Sender_Name: Chris Jacobson
From_Email_Address: [redacted]
Town_State_Country: [redacted]
Surname_1: LENZ
Village_1: Loipersdorf
Settled_1: Milwaukee, WI
text: Mary & Berta Lenz, from Loipersdorf, immigrated to Milwaukee. Mary in 1929, Berta in 1937. Mary is my grandmother.

The first way it was baffling was that I did not receive it, even though my email address was listed as an intended recipient of the message [FYI: our BB membership forms are designed to gather the needed information and then send automatic emails with the information (as per the example above) to a list of BB staff so they can respond to and/or process the information... my email address is on that list]. I became aware of the original message some six days later, but only after Margaret Kaiser had responded to Chris and Chris had responded back (via "reply all") to her... I received Chris' second response, even though I did not receive Margaret's intervening message!

By examining my email program lists, I've confirmed that I did not accidentally delete it or mis-file it and that I received numerous emails on the dates (4 days apart) that Chris and Margaret sent the messages I did not receive. So the problem was not me or a general email failure. But clearly, I failed to receive at least two messages. So let this serve as a gentle warning: if I don't respond to you when you think I should, it may be that your message ended up in the great bit-bucket in the sky (is NSA behind this? ;~); send me another message gently asking if I received your first missive; I'll try to at least confirm I did (or did not). However, I will note that there are times I do get overwhelmed with messages... or buried by personal projects... or I get just plain lazy... and I do fail to respond timely to messages I receive; you'll just have to forgive me when that is the case.

Let's get back to Chris' message... as I said, I became aware of it because Margaret Kaiser had responded to Chris, who in turn responded back, and it was this third message I received. Margaret had suggested that Chris provide more information, as Berta's passenger manifest indicated she was born in 1910, a year where scanned civil records were available.

Chris responded with appropriate details:

Berta (Bertha to us) was born 10 Jan 1910, and Mary was born 4 Oct 1897.  They had the same father, but different mothers. Mary had 2 older brothers, then after her mother died and her father remarried, Bertha, Anthony & Richard were born. The father's name was Karl Lenz & Mary's mother was Juliana Dear. I don't know Bertha's mother's name.

Given these specific birthdates, it was easy to jump into the Loipersdorf (Lipótfalva) civil records, held in Markt Allhau (Alhó) in district Oberwart, and look for them... which I did... and I did not find them!

I wrote to Chris: Hi Chris, I looked through the Loipersdorf (im Burgenland) civil records for both ladies and found neither… were they actually born there? There is a Loipersdorf bei Fürstenfeld in Styria… it is only ~15 miles from the other Loipersdorf… could they be from there? Unfortunately, those records are not online. I also found both ladies on ship manifests… and both were living in Vienna prior to going to the US. Both listed father Karl, one in “Loidersdorf, Burgenland” (an apparent misspelling) and the other saying just “Loipersdorf”.

This prompted Fritz Königshofer to write (with some great news [edited for length]): Chris, I followed the message trail with Tom and Margaret, and wished to contribute. The big news that needs to be spread out is that the Roman Catholic records of Steiermark (Styria) have been digitized and were made available for on-line access on the Internet last December. This is a test version which requires some patience. On the other hand, the records are the original matrikels, not the duplicates, which were written since 1835. The original Styrian matrikels, most of the time, include indices which greatly facilitate finding your ancestors and their first degree relatives (siblings, children and parents, sometimes even grandparents).

Please go to, then go to Loipersdorf (bei Fürstenfeld). There are 22 digitized record books. I could see that there were many bearers of the surname Lenz. I noted also the birth of a Berta Lenz but in 1911. You will need some ability to read German and the old German longhand called Kurrent. For the latter, the BB web site has a special section. I am sorry that we may lose you as a BB member, but it is quite possible that your research will lead you to family branches from former West Hungary/Burgenland.

So, the above is the great news: the Styrian records are available in digitized form and with digitized indices! But, like Fritz warned, the "test version" of the site was down for the first three days after his message... but, when it came back up, we were quickly able to find the correct birth records and have set Chris on a course of discovery.

As to Fritz' comment that "we may lose you as a BB member," it turns out not to be the case. Loipersdorf bei Fürstenfeld is just a few kilometers west of the Burgenland border and, despite our BB insistence of doing micro-genealogy and thus restricting ourselves to Burgenland proper, we have always included a band beyond the actual border, mainly because villages therein had social and economic interaction with Burgenland. Our target has been to require that band to be no wider than 10-15 km, so Loipersdorf's 2 km fits easily in our band. In comparison, Loipersdorf im Burgenland is also just 2 km from the border, though it is on the Burgenland side of the line.

Lastly, I'll note that, to add to the confusion, there is also a Loipersbach im Burgenland (Lépesfalva) in the Mattersburg district. So, if your people come from one of these Loipers**** villages, please take care to figure out which one really belongs to you!


Last month, as part of the Historical BB Newsletter Article (from 15 Mar 1998, NL #31A) entitled "Karen Barnard Sends Us a List of the Inhabitants [of Mariasdorf]," I included an editorial insert that spoke of certain class titles for non-noble medieval peasants.

The article, itself, contained a listing of homeowners in Mariasdorf that was centered on the 1857-1874 era and supplemented with both the 1770 and 1988 ownership information. My editorial insert was written because various individuals in the list were given status or class titles that are likely not well known to us today. One title, holte, seemed to resist meaningful interpretation, so I asked you readers to reply if you had a suggestion for what the term meant. In the meanwhile, though, Fritz Königshofer and I have been noodling on this issue, seeking to better understand the distinctions among the classes. Before I go into what we discovered, I will repeat my editorial insert [slightly edited for the new context here] so you can recall what I wrote:

[Ed Note: a Söllner was a person with a house and garden but no (or little) farmland, who usually worked as a hired-hand, businessman or craftsman. This term was used in both 1857 and 1770 [in the Mariasdorf list] to indicate the property owner's status. Those craftsman specifically identified by occupation (like the shoemakers in [Mariasdorf] houses 12 and 13) would also be in the Söllner class.

is a related term and is also used in the list, but only in the 1857 entries; it may imply a (semi-)retired person/couple or widow/widower, again with house and garden but no farmland. Regardless, it is a subset of Söllner.

At the top of non-noble medieval peasant village society were the farmers (Bauer). A certain amount of farmland (enough to support a family and the required tenths to the manor and church) was required before you were considered a Bauer. Some lesser nobles also were in this class.

In addition, the term
holte is used to describe some individuals in the 1770 entries. Initially, we thought this was an odd spelling of holde or hulde, German terms related to the status of Holden. Fritz Königshofer suggested that, since zsellér is the Hungarian form of Söllner, perhaps holte was a Hungarian form of holde. The problem with this proposal is that Holden were the poorest of the poor in feudal society, having neither house nor land, so it makes no sense that six people in this list would be designated holte=Holden, given they are in a list of property owners. (The term I've seen in village houselists for apparent Holden is Inwohner, which is Austrian dialect for lodger/renter.) However, hólte (note the accent) can translate to 'dead' in Hungarian, a status that works in the property owners list... but why would one obscure Hungarian word be used in 1988 in an otherwise German text, especially when the original 1770 list likely would have been written in Latin, not Hungarian? We are baffled! So, if you have a suggestion as to what the term holte meant in this list, please write and share your thought.]

Part of what complicates our understanding of these terms is that language lives... words changes meaning with time... though the words may be rooted in the distant past, the old meanings can slowly erode and take on new interpretations. Further, the spellings of words may change with time, causing the once-obvious connections to their root meanings to be lost. Or both changes may occur... with both spellings and meanings diverging from the original words.

An example is the term, Söllner, one of the peasant classes listed above. In fact, we have its 18th and 19th century interpretation correct as listed above. However, you may recall that in the bits and pieces of Article 1 in this newsletter, in the item labeled Deutscheck/Deutschegg, I provided a short transcription and noted that a word therein, Söldners, deserved more interpretation. The transcribed text was:

“Johann Pfister, Schuhmachermeister, des Franz Pfister, Söldners in Deutschegg Gemeinde Welten No.19 Pfarre St. Martin in Ungarn, …”

This text was a part of a marriage record, giving the name and status of the groom plus that of the parents (though I cut off the transcription before getting to the mother). So, we have the groom, Johann Pfister, a master shoemaker, and his father, Franz Pfister, a "Söldners" in house 19 in the Ort of Deutschegg (Deutscheck) in the municipality of Welten, in the parish of St. Martin in Hungary.

But what is a Söldners? If you drop the final 's', Söldner (in German) translates to mercenary (in English). However, I had seen this spelling fairly frequently in Burgenland houselists where its obvious meaning had to be Söllner! I assumed the difference was nothing more than a phonetic-spelling variation.

However, I asked Fritz about this word anyway. He replied:

I agree with your reading of Söldner as a variation of Söllner. The likelihood of it meaning a mercenary (though Söldner is clearly the German word for mercenary) is very low.

  ...and in a follow-up message:

Söldner was the original spelling. It was derived from the fact that a person with less land than was required to feed a family, had to find additional income as a farmhand, day-worker, craftsman. In other words, he had to work for a "Sold," a term originally meaning a soldier's pay, but later meaning "payment for work." Here one can see the connection to Söldner (mercenary).

So, here we have a word, Söldner, that had one meaning, 'a soldier's pay,' that evolved into another meaning, 'payment for work,' and then morphed into another spelling, Söllner, that became a class of peasant and, in the process, lost both its original meaning and spelling.

The term holde (Holden), however, has kept its spelling but apparently changed its meanings somewhat over time, with 1767 being a crucial year affecting its interpretation during the time of interest to us. This is the year that Maria Theresa issued her Urbarial (Robot) Patent for Hungary, which redefined (or, more accurately, reconfirmed) the relationship of peasants to landholding nobility. However, I'll first go back further in time, to the Middle Ages, which is usually defined as the interval from the 5th to the 15th centuries.

[Ed. note: The following text is mine but is derived from research by both Fritz Königshofer and myself, plus the discussions we shared on the topic. I will take blame for any interpretation errors while crediting Fritz for his substantial contributions.]

During the Middle Ages, most peasant people were serfs, being vassals of the local feudal lord, with no property of their own. Thus, all peasants were Holden (in English, think ‘beholden’ to their medieval lord). Some became Grundholde (tied to the lord through the land they were assigned as fiefs)… these eventually became the Bauer class of peasants.

Those farmers who worked directly on the manorial estate without being granted a stake in a home and land, now became Holden… the lowest of the low, totally dependent on the lord for food and shelter. Later, you often see people like the village shepherd or blacksmith or miller still being listed as Holden… the shepherd hut and the smith and the mill belonging to the lord (via the village) but were used by the shepherd and blacksmith or miller while working in the role (but absolutely no ownership was implied). They were ‘free’ of taxes and were not tied to land or lord, but they mostly lived day-to-day (never earning ownership of anything) and their pay was comparatively meager; part of it was a place to live. So it was a strange status… free but very poor… and comparatively looked down on in a farm village.

After Maria Theresa’s Urbarial Patent of 1767, you start seeing “ownership” of homes being part of the Holde situation… they became more like Söllner. Of course, in 1848, peasantry was officially terminated, but the class labels persisted for some time in various places (as you had to be called something!).

Having said all the above, I must also say that neither Fritz nor I have yet to find a single reference that comprehensively addresses this topic for western Hungary. We have pieced it together from various, often partially contradictory sources (the apparent ‘contradictions’ largely arising, I think, because they address different (unidentified) time periods or different (unidentified) places, and the words changed meanings with time and place). Even our own BB newsletters contain somewhat contradictory explanations, I think for this same reason!

My overall take is that, in the years after the Urbarial Patent of 1767, there arose three major classifications of peasants in manorial society: Bauer, Söllner, and Inwohner.

were farmers with a home and enough land to feed a family solely from the yield of the land while still being able to pay the required tithes/taxes while doing the required corvée (required labor for the lord).

Söllner were people with a home but not enough land to feed a family… they worked as craftsman, carters, hired hands, etc.… still owed some tithes/taxes and/or corvée, but not as much as Bauern. The Holden eventually evolved into being part of this class.

Inwohners were adult live-ins (didn’t own their own home). They often were relatives or adult children (or semi-retired parents) but some were also unrelated hired hands, often living in the farm sheds.

All other ‘titles’ are variation of these (often being more descriptive), such as Bergler (a Söllner who lived up the mountain/berg-side to escape the higher taxes of the farm village) or Kleinhäusler (a person who lived in a small house), or were references to the same classes but in a different language, such as the Hungarian Zsellér = Söllner; kisbirtokos = Kleinhäusler, etc.  

Interestingly, in our BB houselists, I find the German Kleinhäusler term most often used with widows/widowers, implying retired or nearly retired people rather than the active craftsman/workers of ‘full’ Söllner status. However, the seemingly equivalent Hungarian kisbirtokos term is more often used with younger adults and in the "smallholder" sense, implying a healthy young worker who has some land but must also work for others to make ends meet.

To give some perspective about the amount of land allocated to the various classes, I'll provide material from a (German-language) webpage by Konrad Unger, wherein Konrad quotes Father Graisy's text about Wallern, in particular, about peasantry classes and property ownership in Wallern in the year 1865 (note that this is well after 1848, the year when peasantry was officially terminated).

In 1865, Wallern had 154 tax-paying households in 122 houses, consisting of:

• 26 whole Bauer (in 26 houses)
• 44 half Bauer (in 22 houses)
• 24 Söllner (in 17 houses)
• 36 Holden (in 33 houses)
• 24 Kurialisten (in 24 houses)

The Kurialisten were a ‘class’ of peasant apparently unique to Wallern (I’ve never seen them mentioned in any other village). Before the Einser Canal was built (started 1895, completed 1909), Wallern had a lot of low, wet ground along its southern border. This swampy land, which likely grew reeds and produced some peat for fuel, but likely was not good for much else except in dry years, was assigned to the Kurialisten. They must have worked for other people or on the Manorial land or they would have starved.

The land allocations are given in small joch (= 1200 Quadraklafter = 1.06453 acre) in Father Graisy's work, but I will convert to acres, as that unit is better understood by most BB readers. [Note: there was also unit of measure in Austria called a Katastral joch (= 1600 Quadraklafter) but the small joch was usually used in Western Hungary.]

Whole Bauer: 43.73 of field, 7.56 of meadow, 1.09 for house, yard and garden; for a total of 52.38 acres.

Half Bauer: 21.87 of field, 3.78 of meadow, 0.545 for house, yard and garden; for a total of 26.19 acres.

Söllner: 1.6 of field, no meadow, 0.17 for house, yard and garden; a total of 1.76 acres.

Holden: no field, 5.32 of meadow, 2.55 of pasture, 0.17 for house, yard and garden; a total of 8.04 acres.

Kurialisten: no field, 2.1 of swamp meadow, 0.03 of hay, 0.06 for house, yard and garden; a total of 2.19 acres.

It is interesting to compare these classes. Note that, in comparison to Bauern, the other classes either had no arable field or just a token amount. In addition, Söllner and Holden had only a sixth of the space for house, yard and garden than whole Bauern had (and the Kurialisten had even less -- an eighteenth). You should also note that Holden had meadow and pasture, whereas Söllner had neither, implying that Holden likely worked as shepherds (likely for the Bauern) while Söllner did jobs not requiring land. Lastly, note that even the Kurialisten had more land than Söllner, though it was only "swamp meadow" land.

It is also interesting that the Söllner and Holden titles were still used to define people, even though it had been 17 years since peasants could own land and official servitude had ended.

There is also a (German-language) webpage about the village of Sopronbánfalva (Wandorf) that gives additional perspective on these issues, though it speaks to the situation before and at the time of the Urbarial Patent of 1767. Wandorf is just west of Sopron (and initially was intended to be part of Burgenland in 1921), so its situation was likely quite similar to other villages in West Hungary that did become Burgenland.

For Wandorf, the term "Lehen" is used to designate a fief (the land assigned to a whole farmer [= a Sessio, in Latin]) and "Ansässigkeiten" is used to refer to the people who lived in the settlement and their houses and land: i.e., the residents and their residences. However, in keeping with my above text, I will merely call these a farm or house.

In 1694 (or 1715; the text is not clear), Wandorf had 74 households (apparently in 59 houses), consisting of:

• 18 half Bauer
• 10 quarter Bauer
•   9 Alte Hofstatt ("Söllner mit Haus")
• 22 Kleinhäusler
• 15 Holden ("Söllner ohne Haus")

Here, Alte Hofstatt (= "old farmstead") is used to designate the property for a Söllner.

Also, Holden are explicitly called "Söllner without a house," so we know that, during this time, they were considered a subset of Söllner but were not granted a home of their own.

In 1765, Wandorf had 97 properties, of whom 73 were for tenant-farmer Bauern (of various "sizes") and 24 were Söllner. There also were 22 Holden (Söllner without a house) plus 14 Söllner with house of the Pauline Order monastery, who apparently were not counted as Wandorf property owners:

•   2 half Bauer
• 44 three-eighths Bauer
•   6 quarter Bauer
• 21 one-eighth Bauer
• 24 Söllner mit Haus
• 22 Holden ("Söllner ohne Haus")
• 14 Söllner mit Haus (of the Pauline Order monastery)

Thus, right before the 1767 Urbarial Patent, Holden are without homes but considered a subset of Söllner.

For this time period (1765), the land allocations (in acres) for Bauern in Wandorf are given:

Bauern House Field Meadow Total
1/2 1.33 12.44 3.11 16.89
3/8 1.16 8.53 1.78 11.47
1/4 1.47 6.93 0.89 9.29
1/8 0.36 3.78 0.00 4.13

Note that this is somewhat less than in Wallern in 1865, where the acres for a half-farmer were: 0.545 for house, 21.87 of field, and 3.78 of meadow, for a total of 26.19 acres (the big difference being in the field allocation). Do note, however, that field allocations depended on the fertility of the local land, so this may merely imply that Wandorf had better land than Wallern.

Perhaps what is more surprising is that the bulk of Wandorf farmers were 3/8 Bauern (44 of 73), with only 2 half-Bauer and no whole-Bauer. In contrast, all of Wallern farmers were whole-Bauer (26) or half-Bauer (44)... but Wallern farmers (in 1865) were able to purchase land to increase their holdings.


This is the story of a dissertation that grew into a monument. The story’s beginning appeared in the October 2011 BB Newsletter [and a follow-up appeared in November 2012]. My father, Karl Löwy, a Ph.D. candidate at the Wirtschafts-Universität (WU) [Vienna University of Business and Economics], completed his coursework and submitted his dissertation on January 21, 1938. The title was Viticulture in Austria: Economic-Geographic Studies. The only thing standing between him and his doctorate was his defense of the dissertation. He expected to receive his degree in June. Instead, he was one of about 150 students and staff expelled from the University (then called the University of World Trade) for "racial" or political reasons (almost all because they were Jewish) immediately after Austria’s annexation into Germany and one of two doctoral candidates denied the right to defend their dissertations. Many of the expelled students were murdered in the Holocaust.

We were lucky. My parents were prescient. On February 12, 1938, the chancellor of Austria met with Hitler in Germany. On Monday, February 14, 1938, my mother went to the American consulate in Vienna to apply for visas to America for herself, my father, and me. March 13, 1938, Hitler entered Vienna to crowds waving swastika flags. The next day, my father lost his family home in Eisenstadt, his job as a teacher at the School of Economics there, and his opportunity to get his degree. Our visas to America arrived in April. Since we had visas and a sponsor, my father’s sister in Detroit, we sailed to America in May.

He started over, earned a second Master’s degree in Economics at Wayne University in Detroit, and had a successful career as a CPA, but he often spoke about his dissertation. I assumed it no longer existed; the Germans burned books written by Jewish authors. My father was more optimistic. My parents planned to return to Vienna in the autumn of 1970 to find out what had become of it. Airline tickets were purchased and travel plans made. It was not destined to be. He had a fatal heart attack shortly before they were scheduled to leave.

That is far from the end of the story, however. Despite my theory that the dissertation was long gone into ashes, the Internet provided an outlet for discovery. As soon as I joined the Burgenland Bunch, I began Googling my father’s name. Nothing. Then, on the anniversary of Kristallnacht in 2009, up popped his dissertation in a wine article bibliography. I learned that it was archived in the WU library. I contacted the University librarian, requesting a scan of the title page; she mailed me an entire copy.

I had never intended to return to Austria, but now I had a mission in mind, a quest to right a long-ago wrong. My daughter and I flew to Vienna on September 11, 2011. I phoned the WU librarian to tell her our plans. She invited us to the library to see the dissertation. When we walked into the library, the dissertation lay on the table. I opened the book, and my quest for justice began.

The Swastika

The photocopy I have at home does not show the back of the title page. If I had not looked at the original typescript, I would not know that it is ink-stamped with a swastika. The swastika seal that identified it as University property outraged me. I was determined not to let that be the last word.

My initial request was a posthumous doctorate for my father. It was denied. He hadn’t successfully defended his dissertation. I pointed out that he hadn’t been allowed to take the exam because he was Jewish. No one at the University seemed to believe me until the historians got into the act. They discovered a document that clearly states, “not permitted to take the exam because he is Jewish.

That piece of paper made the difference. No more denial, but a posthumous degree was impossible. Instead, the University would put up a plaque on a wall in its soon-to-be abandoned campus. From this small beginning grew an entire research project. The historians found 120 to 150 students who had been expelled immediately after the Anschluss.

Since the University was moving to a new campus near the Prater, the opportunity arose to erect a monument with names. A Memory Book with the names and fates of the expelled students was published online (see here for the Löwy entry). On VE Day, May 8, 2014, the university dedicated the monument that began with a modest request for a posthumous degree.

Ed Note: Ilse fails to mention in her article (so I will) that she is credited in the project brochure for being the inspiration for the research project and its companion monument and that she was a guest of honor at the unveiling and dedication of the monument. Further, she had a full week of touring and family history in Austria to accompany the dedication ceremony. I will summarize her busy trip (with her brother and her daughter) and then end with her comment in reply when I asked about the emotions of the week:

On the Saturday before the dedication, Ilse and her family went to Burgenland with Gert Tschoegl, whose email in 2009 prompted the search for her father's dissertation. He escorted them to Eisenstadt, where they stayed mostly inside the Esterházy palace to escape the rain.

On Sunday, the WU librarian, Regina Zodl, and historian, Werner Sulzgruber, took them on an outing, first to Markt Piesting, where her mother's family once lived. They met the mayor and then toured the house once owned by her maternal grandparents. From there, they went to Wiener Neustadt to see the hospital where Ilse was born, and on to Baden, where her great-grandfather once owned a vineyard. Ilse notes that, "Like all good genealogists, I went to the Baden cemetery and looked at my grandfather's gravestone."

Then they returned to Eisenstadt, to visit the house where Ilse and family once lived, a house designed in part by her mother. They also went to the Jewish Museum and the Wolf Winery, where her paternal grandfather had worked.

On Monday they met the University rector and the historians who had worked on the project. On Tuesday it was a day trip to Prague and on Wednesday another to Budapest. Thursday was the day of the dedication celebration (it was very moving, she says) and on Friday they flew home. Quite a week!

Ilse wrote: "It seems strange to me, and humbling, that I was the person who set this in motion with my persistence. They say that they are ashamed that it took a scholar's daughter to make them realize what their university had done to ruin the lives of its own students."


Editor: This is part of our series designed to recycle interesting articles from the BB Newsletters of 10 years ago. However, Gerry did not publish a June 2004 Newsletter, so I went back to the early days of the BB, to Newsletter No. 38B (30 Jun 1998). Therein, I found an article concerning the military units that Burgenland men served in. This is an area I know little about, so I personally found it interesting reading; I hope you do too!

June 30, 1998


(Joe Gilly and Gerry Berghold - copy of a pre-BB-newsletter email exchange)

Joe Gilly writes: My great grandfather Michael Feiertag's marriage record (3 Feb 1876) lists his occupation as "Honved-Soldat, 76 Reg. aus Neustift." I can't find a translation for Honved in the Hungarian dictionary. Do you know the meaning?

Gerry answers: "Honvéd" is Hungarian and translates to Hungarian soldier. With various endings, it can be "Honvédelem" (home defense) or "Honvédezred" (regiment of Hungarian soldiers) or "Honvédhuszár" (Hungarian cavalry) or "Honvédseg" (Hungarian territorial army). The "e" would have a diacritical mark ' over it. Your g-grandfather would thus be a "soldier of the Hungarian Army - 76th Regiment - Headquartered at Neustift."

During WW-I, most southern Burgenländers served in either KuK Infanterie - Regiment Nr 83 (Steinamanger-Szombathely) or Honvéd Huszár Regt. Nr 18 (Ödenburg-Sopron). This would translate to Imperial and Royal Infantry Regiment 83 headquartered at Szombathely and Hungarian Light Cavalry Regiment Number 18 - Sopron. When either of these two regiments saw combat, the resultant casualties could be devastating to any particular village, as the men from a village tended to be together in the same platoon or company.

During WW-II, I understand that most draftees would have served in a Styrian regiment, since the Burgenland was attached to Styria by the Nazis. I imagine, however, that many volunteers were in the German Luftwaffe, Wafen SS or even the Viennese Hoch und Deutschmeister Regiment. Two of my Gilly cousins (Helena Gilly's father and uncle) died in WW-II, one in Finland and one in Russia. I don't know their unit, although another Gilly served 5 years in the German Signal Corps.

The military organizations changed over the years, of course, hence your 76th Regt. During the Napoleonic Wars (period 1790-1814), the men living in our area could have served in any one of dozens of regiments named after the aristocrat who raised or led them or the place where they were raised like: Line Infantry Graf Sam. Gyuli - 1802 Esterházy, Line Infantry Furst Anton Esterházy, Eisenburger Hussars, etc.

My source (Austrian-Hungarian Army of the Napoleonic Wars - Osprey, London, 1986) lists 64 Line Infantry Regiments, of which at least 15 were Hungarian. There were at least that many cavalry regiments (Cuirassiers, Dragoons, Light & Heavy, Hussars, Uhlans). There were also "Grenz (border) Regiments" of irregular infantry and horse. Prior to that time, military history gets pretty fuzzy as to organizations, with many mercenary groups from everywhere plus local defense settlers, of which Croatian colonists were prominent.

Joe writes:  Why would the Swedes, who were Protestants, join forces with the R.C. Hapsburgs and their allies to fight the Turks (at the battle of Szt, Gotthárd) and how large were their company units?

Gerry answers: Probably mercenaries. I doubt if all the 30 Years' War mercenaries went home. They probably didn't have the money! Then again, for a Protestant, although Moslems were only a shade lower than Catholics in those days - heh, heh - they were Moslems, nonetheless the Irish, who would enlist in the English army but would have preferred to fight against them! I found a Berghold (pre-1664) who was a "reiter" (cavalryman?) in the Army of the Prince of Weimar (Saxony). The Bergholds were Lutherans, but I'm not sure of the Prince.

The strength of a Company in the older Austro/Hungarian armies was not as large as our WW-II units. Geoffrey Parker in "The Thirty Years' War", Military Heritage Press, 1987, mentions a uniform order for only 600 uniforms to outfit a newly-formed Bavarian regiment (normally 12 or more companies - 4 to 6 to a battalion, 2 battalions to a regiment, plus various headquarters, artillery and support organizations). So a company, then, wouldn't be much larger than 50 men, size of our modern platoon. He also mentions, by the way, on page 192, "in 1644 a Bavarian regiment, for which detailed records have survived, could boast men from ...sixteen national groups, of which the largest were Germans (534 soldiers) and Italians (217), with a smaller number of Poles, Slovenes, Croats, etc... and IRISH! There were even 14 Turks." This book unfortunately is mostly concerned with national politics and doesn't have much detail.

The "Osprey" Men-At-Arms book of the Napoleonic Wars (136 years later) shows a grenadier company as being 112 strong (140 in wartime). This included a Captain (Hauptmann), First Lieutenant (Oberleutnant), Sub-Lieutenant (Unterlieutnant), Ensign (Fähnrich), Sgt. Major (Feldwebel), four Corporals (our 3-stripe sergeant), a quartermaster (Fourierschützen), 3 musicians, 8 Gefrieters (corporals), and a Zimmermann (pioneer). This varies somewhat throughout the various branches of the Army (Artillery, Cavalry, etc.) and also varied over the years. In 1767, for instance, an Austrian company had 116 men. I doubt if a Swedish company at the time of the Szt. Gotthárd (Mogersdorf) battle comprised more than 50-60 men. These non-Austrian (non-Hapsburg) "companies" were generally led by a professional "captain" (condottierei), who raised and led a band of mercenaries of varying strength, contracting services to anyone who could pay. Believe the "company" idea came from the "organization of ten" of earlier armies. A leader of ten, a leader of 100, a leader of 1000, a leader of ten thousand. Ten men would be called a section, led by a decurion - equiv. sgt.). 100 a company, led by a Roman centurion - eqiuv. captain. Mongol -one horsetail leader of 100). Today of course, with ancillary groups, we generally speak in terms of 160 (heavy weapons) to 200 (rifle) men as the strength of a Company.

What is important to genealogy is that if you know your ancestor's regiment. The LDS has microfilm records of births, marriages and deaths that may have taken place under military service, recorded by the regiment's chaplains. I've never looked at any of these (there are a lot listed in the catalog). Also Military Muster Rolls. Some of the larger military establishments (headquarters and military schools) would have been at Eisenstadt (Kismarton), Neusiedl am See and Rust (and have records which include deaths at various field hospitals).



Saturday, July 12: Bavarian Biergarten at Emmaus Community Park. Sponsored by the Lehigh Sängerbund. Music by The Pennsylvania Villagers and the Lehigh Sängerbund Folk Singers. Info:

Saturday, July 12: 65th Stiftungsfest of the GTV Edelweiss Schuhplattlers at the Reading Liederkranz. Music by The Adlers. Info:

Sunday, July 20: 24th Reading Liederkranz Singers Volksfest and Car Show. Info:

Sunday, July 27: Parish Festival at Holy Family Catholic Church in Nazareth. Music by the J & J Orchestra.

Sunday, July 27: Reading Liederkranz 129th Anniversary. Music by the Joe Weber Band. Info:


Margaret Judt

Margaret Judt, of Whiting, New Jersey, passed away on Monday, March 24, 2014, at the Holiday Care Center in Toms River. She was 81.

Margaret was born in Rábafüzes (Raabfidisch), Hungary in 1932 and lived in Germany before coming to America around 1953.

She lived with different families in Pennsylvania before moving to NJ. She worked in a silk mill and then at Sieman's Corporation, testing hearing aids, until her retirement. She never married but had many friends. Her greatest joy was feeding the birds at her windowsill.

She is predeceased by two sisters, Bertha & Hilda. Surviving is a brother, Edward Judt of Germany and nephews, Emil and Rudi Judt of Austria and Werner Drexel of Germany.

In keeping with Margaret's wishes, she was privately cremated and interment of her cremains will take place at 9:45 a.m. Friday, June 6 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Whiting. Anderson & Campbell Funeral Home, Whiting, is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, all donations can be made to the Associated Humane Society and the Popcorn Park Zoo in NJ.

Published in Asbury Park Press on June 3, 2014


Karl Takerer

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the peaceful passing of Karl Takerer on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Karl was born in Alsórönök (Unterradling), Hungary.

Loving husband of Rose of 63 years. Cherished father of Joseph and daughter Diane and her husband Nick Fanais. Adoring Opa of James and Stephen. Cherished brother of Margaret (Frank) and predeceased by his sister Anna. Dear brother-in-law of Hilda (the late Karli) of Austria, Anna (Milton), Jean (the late Mark), many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

A special thank you to his sister-in-law Jean for her support and nephew Ernest from Nova Scotia, who came to visit Karl regularly. The family wishes to thank the staff at Revera-Westside, for their care and compassion during his stay.

Resting at the Newediuk Funeral Home, Kipling Chapel, 2058 Kipling Ave., Toronto (North of Rexdale Blvd.) on Friday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Funeral service will be celebrated on Saturday May 24, 2014 at 11 a.m. in the funeral home chapel. As expression of sympathy donations, to the Alzheimer Society or the Diabetes Association would be greatly appreciated by the family. Online condolences at

Published in the Toronto Star on May 22, 2014


Adolph Kahr

Adolph Kahr, 88, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, passed away on June 19, 2014,

He was born in Rábafüzes (Raabfidisch), Hungary to the late Adolf and Julia (Judt) Kahr and was predeceased by his wife Lillian M. (Feiertag) and his brother Frank.

Adolph had been a plumber with Modern Plumbing and Heating and was a member and past president of the Jordan A.C.

Survivors: Sons: Jeffrey and wife Susanne, Michael and his significant other Jennifer; grandchildren Sara and Patrick and many nieces and nephews.

Services: A calling will be held on Tuesday June 24 from 10 AM until a service at 11AM both at Weber Funeral Home, 502 Ridge Ave. in Allentown.

Published in Morning Call on June 21, 2014


Margareta Schanta

Margareta Schanta, 93, of Whitehall, Pennsylvania, passed away June 22 in Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest. She was married to the late Emil Schanta.

Born in Raabfidisch (Rábafüzes), Hungary, she was the daughter of the late Franz and Maria (Kroboth) Schanta.

A member of the Amalgamated Garment Workers Union, she was a sewing machine operator at the former Cross Country Clothes in Egypt and Northampton, retiring in 1983. She was a member of St. Peter's Catholic Church, Coplay. She was a member of the Coplay Sängerbund and its chorus.

Survivors: son, Emil Schanta and his wife Catherine of Whitehall; daughter, Margareta Schanta, at home; daughter-in-law, Anna Marie Schanta of Whitehall; 4 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by a son, Franz and 13 brothers and sisters.

Services: Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 a.m., Friday, June 27, St. Peter's Catholic Church, Coplay. Viewing from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday and 8:30-9:30 a.m. Friday, Robert A. Hauke Funeral Home (, 327 Chestnut St., Coplay. Interment, St. Peter's Catholic Cemetery, Whitehall

Published in Morning Call on June 24, 2014.


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