Germans of Romania
The Germans of Romania or Rumäniendeutsche are an ethnic group of Romania. During the interwar period in Romania, the total number of ethnic Germans amounted to as much as 786,000 (according to some sources and estimates dating to 1939), a figure which has subsequently fallen to circa 36,000 as of 2011 in contemporary Romania.
Distribution of Germans in Romania (2002 census)
|Regions with significant populations|
|Transylvania, Banat, and Bukovina|
|Mainly German (Hochdeutsch) but also Romanian and Hungarian|
|Majority: Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism minority: Orthodox Christianity|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Mainly Germans and Austrians; see also below|
Overview and classificationEdit
The Germans of Romania are not a single, unitary, homogeneous group, but rather a series of different sub-groups, each with their own culture, traditions, dialect(s), and history. This stems from the fact that various German-speaking populations arrived on the territory of present-day Romania in different waves or stages of settlement, initially as early as the High Middle Ages, firstly to southern and northeastern Transylvania (some of them even crossing the outer Carpathians to neighbouring Moldavia and Wallachia), then subsequently during the Modern Age in other Habsburg-ruled lands (such as Bukovina, at the time part of Cisleithania, or Banat), as well as in other areas of contemporary Romania (such as Dobruja).
Therefore, given their rather complex geographic background, in order to understand their language, culture, customs, and history, one must regard them as the following independent groups:
- Transylvanian Saxons – the largest and oldest German community on the territory of modern-day Romania (often simply equated with all Romanian-Germans);
- Transylvanian Landlers – expelled Protestants (Evangelical Lutherans) from Salzkammergut, Austria to southern Transylvania during the 18th century);
- Most Banat Swabians as well as the entirety of Sathmar Swabians (both representing sub-groups of Danube Swabians in Romania);
- Bukovina Germans – once with a sizable or overwhelming demographic presence in all urban centres from the historic region of Bukovina (specifically Suceava, Gura Humorului, Siret, Rădăuți, Vatra Dornei, and Câmpulung Moldovenesc) or some rural areas of the nowadays Suceava County in northeastern Romania; equally indigenous to Cernăuți and contemporary Chernivtsi province in western Ukraine between the years c. 1780–1940. Furthermore, still to this date Suceava County is one of the Romanian counties with some of the most significant amount of ethnic Germans in the country;
- Zipser Germans, mostly from Maramureş (including Borşa and Vişeu), but also with a smaller presence in southern Bukovina beginning in the 18th century;
- Regat Germans (including the Dobrujan Germans);
- Bessarabia Germans, Romanian citizens for the period 1918–1940, indigenous to Budjak, southern Bessarabia;
- Alsatians as well as small groups of Walsers vintners also settled in Banat from Alsace, Lorraine, and Switzerland at the invitation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 19th century (though they were not only Alemannic-speaking Swiss but also French and Italian); Subsequently, these settlers came to be known as 'Français du Banat' (i.e. 'Banat French').
Contributions to Romanian cultureEdit
Throughout the passing of time, the German community in Romania has been actively and consistently contributing to the culture of the country. The most noteworthy examples of such contributions are visible in the following aspects:
- Romanian architecture (e.g. the picturesque Transylvanian villages with fortified churches (known in German as kirchenburgen) or some of the most renowned castles as well as several medieval town centers with local markets, all of them highly popular touristic attractions);
- Romanian language (where approximately 3% of the words in the Romanian lexis are of German origin, mainly stemming from the influence of the Transylvanian Saxons and, later on, that of Austrians);
- Romanian literature (the first letter written in Romanian was addressed to the former early 16th century mayor of Kronstadt, Johannes Benkner, and the first Romanian language book was printed in Hermannstadt).
Royal House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in RomaniaEdit
In the time of Romania's transition from a middle-sized principality to a larger kingdom, members of the German House of Hohenzollern (hailing from the Swabian Principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, part contemporary Baden-Württemberg) reigned initially over the Danubian United Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia and then, eventually, also over the unified Kingdom of Romania both during the 19th and 20th centuries. The ruling Romanian monarchs who were part of this dynastic branch were the following ones:
|Reign start||Reign end||Duration|
|15 March 1881||10 October 1914||33 years, 209 days||Ruled beforehand as Domnitor (i.e. 'Prince') (1866–1881)|
|10 October 1914||20 July 1927||12 years, 283 days||Nephew of Carol I|
|20 July 1927||8 June 1930
|2 years, 323 days||Grandson of Ferdinand I|
|20 July 1927||8 June 1930
|2 years, 323 days||Son of Ferdinand I|
|8 June 1930||6 September 1940
|10 years, 90 days||Son of Ferdinand I|
|6 September 1940||30 December 1947
|7 years, 115 days||Son of Carol II|
Pretenders to the throne of Romania (after 1947, when King Michael I was forced to abdicate):
|Nº||Portrait||Pretender||Pretending from||Pretending until|
|1||Michael I||30 December 1947||1 March 2016|
|2||Margareta||1 March 2016||present|
Twentienth century population transfersEdit
Large numbers of Germans were deported to the Soviet Union as forced labour after World War II, and later in the 1950s the Bărăgan deportations forcibly relocated many from near the Yugoslav border to the Bărăgan Plain. Survivors of both groups generally returned, but had often lost their properties in the process.
During the 1970s and 1980s, tens of thousands of Romanian Germans were "bought back" by the West German government under a program to reunite families - and following the collapse of Nicolae Ceausescu's regime in December 1989, around 200,000 Germans left their homes in Romania.
|Starting with the 1930 figures, the reference is to all German-speaking groups in Romania.|
Current by settlementEdit
The data displayed in the table below highlights notable settlements (of at least 1%) of the German minority in Romania according to the 2011 Romanian census. Note that some particular figures might be estimative.
|Romanian name||German name||Percent||County|
|Vișeu de Sus||Oberwischau||4.0||Maramureș|
|Satu Mare||Sathmar||1.0||Satu Mare|
|Mănăstirea Humorului||Humora Kloster||1.0||Suceava|
Current by countyEdit
Below is represented the notable German minority population (of at least 1%) for some counties, according to the 2011 census.
Administration, official representation, and politicsEdit
Historically, the German minority in unified Romania has been represented by a number of political parties which gradually gained parliamentary presence during the early to mid-early 20th century, more specifically the Group of Transylvanian Saxons, the German Party, and the German People's Party (the latter two having a Fascist political orientation after 1930). All those parties are not politically active anymore.
Instead, the entire German-speaking community in post-1989 Romania is represented at official level by the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania (German: Demokratisches Forum der Deutschen in Rumänien, Romanian: Forumul Democrat al Germanilor din România). The forum is a political platform that has a centrist ideology which aims to support the minority rights of the Germans from Romania.
Since 1989, the DFDR/FDGR has competed both in local and legislative elections, cooperating in the process with two historical parties of the Romanian politics, namely the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Christian Democratic National Peasants' Party (PNȚCD), most notably at local administrative level, in cities such as Sibiu (German: Hermannstadt), Timișoara (German: Temeschburg), or Baia Mare (German: Frauenbach). The DFDR/FDGR also adheres to a pro-monarchic stance regarding the matter of monarchy restoration in Romania.
Until 1 January 2007 (i.e. the date of accession of Romania to the European Union), the DFDR/FDGR was also an observing member of the European Parliament, briefly affiliated with the European People's Party Group (between January and November of the same year).
In Bucharest there are two German schools, namely Deutsche Schule Bukarest and Deutsches Goethe-Kolleg Bukarest. The Deutsche Schule Bukarest serves Kinderkrippe, Kindergarten, Grundschule, and Gymnasium (high school).
In Timișoara, the Nikolaus Lenau High School was founded during the late 19th century. It was named this way in reference to Nikolaus Lenau, a Banat Swabian Romantic poet. Nowadays, the Nikolaus Lenau High School is considered the most important of its kind from Banat.
In Sibiu, the Samuel von Brukenthal National College is the oldest German-language school from Romania (recorded as early as the 14th century), being also classified as a historical monument. It was subsequently renamed this way in reference to baron Samuel von Brukenthal, a Transylvanian Saxon aristocrat.
The Allgemeine Deutsche Zeitung für Rumänien (ADZ) is the daily German-language newspaper in Romania. It is currently the only German-language newspaper from Eastern Europe. Regional German-language publications also include the Banater Zeitung in Banat and the Hermannstädter Zeitung for the city of Sibiu.
Although the German minority in Romania has dwindled in numbers to a considerable extent since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the few but well organised Romanian-Germans who decided to remain in the country after the 1989 revolution are respected and regarded by many of their fellow ethnic Romanian countrymen as a hard-working, thorough, and practical community who has contributed tremendously to the local culture and history of, most notably, Transylvania, Banat, and Bukovina, where the largest German-speaking groups once lived alongside the Romanian ethnic majority.
Furthermore, the bilateral political and cultural relationships between post–1989 Romania and the unified Federal Republic of Germany have seen a continuous positive evolution since the signing of a friendship treaty between the two countries in 1992.
Additionally, on the occasion of the election of Frank Walter Steinmeier as President of Germany in 2017, current Romanian president Klaus Johannis stated, among others, that: "[...] Last but not least, there is a profound friendship bounding the Romanians and the Germans, thanks mainly to the centuries-long cohabitation between the Romanians, Saxons, and Swabians in Transylvania, Banat, and Bukovina."
Below are represented several lists comprising selected notable German-Romanians by historical region.
- Germany–Romania relations
- Germany–Moldova relations
- List of ambassadors of Germany to Romania
- Romanians in Germany
- Transylvanian Saxon dialect
- Villages with fortified churches in Transylvania
- List of fortified churches in Transylvania
- List of Transylvanian Saxon localities
- Group of Transylvanian Saxons
- List of famous Transylvanian Saxons
- Sibiu Lutheran Cathedral
- Transylvanian Museum (in Gundelsheim, Baden-Württemberg, south-western Germany)
- Association of Transylvanian Saxons in Germany
- German culture
- Geographical distribution of German speakers
- Expulsion of Germans from Romania after World War II
- Official Romanian census from 2011
- Dr. Gerhard Reichning, Die deutschen Vertriebenen in Zahlen, Teil 1, Bonn 1995, Page 17
- Die deutschen Vertreibungsverluste. Bevölkerungsbilanzen für die deutschen Vertreibungsgebiete 1939/50. Herausgeber: Statistisches Bundesamt – Wiesbaden. - Stuttgart: Verlag W. Kohlhammer, 1958 Page 46
- Monica Barcan, Adalbert Millitz, The German Nationality in Romania (1978), page 42: "The Satu Mare Swabians are true Swabians, their place of origin being Wurttemberg. They were colonized between 1712 and 1815. Their most important settlements are Satu Mare/Sathmar and Petresti/Petrifeld in North- West Romania."
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania (3 May 2013). "The 16th session of the Romanian-German Joint Governmental Commission on the problems of German ethnics in Romania". Press release. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
- Oskar Hadbawnik, Die Zipser in der Bukowina (1968) discusses the Zipserfest held in Jakobeny in 1936 to commemorate 150 years since the Zipsers migrated to Jakobeny in 1786.
- І. Я. Яцюк, Тернопільський національний педагогічний університет ім. Володимира Гнатюка, Наукові записки. Серія “Філологічна”, УДК 81’282.4:811.112.2(477): Lexikalische Besonderheiten Deutscher Dialekte in Galizien- und der Bukowina: “Die Siedler in den ursprünglichen Bergwerksgemeinden im Südwesten der Bukowina sprachen Zipserisch und zwar Gründlerisch, wie es in der Unterzips gesprochen wurde. Dabei wurde [v] im Anlaut wie [b] ausgesprochen: Werke – berka, weh – be, Schwester – schbesta. Anlautendes [b] wurde zu [p]: Brot – prot, Brücke – prik.”
- Forumul Democrat al Germanilor din Constanța (2003). "On the Germans of Dobrogea". Institutul Cultural Român. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
- Identity and multiculturalism in the Romanian Banat, Remus Creţan, David Turnock and Jaco Woudstra, p. 17-26
- Perjamosch, Banat/List of Families Connected to Hubert Family
- Association pour la promotion de l'Alsace en Roumanie: L’étonnante histoire des alsaciens et lorrains du Banat. (in French)
- The French in Banat: Story on Tomnatic/Triebswetter
- De l'Ouest à l'Est et de l'Est à l'Ouest : les avatars identitaires des Français du Banat, Smaranda Vultur (in French)
- Dimitrie Macrea, "Originea și structura limbii române", Probleme de lingvistică română (Bucharest: Editura Științifică, 1961), 7–45: p. 32.
- Academia Română, Dicționarul limbii române moderne, ed. Dimitrie Macrea (Bucharest: Editura Academiei, 1958).
- Gabriela Pană Dindelegan, ed., The Grammar of Romanian, Oxford University Press, 2013, p. 3, ISBN 978-0-19-964492-6
- Hans Dama, "Lexikale Einflüsse im Rumänischen aus dem österreichischen Deutsch" ("Lexical influences of 'Austrian'-German on the Romanian Language") Archived 2011-08-18 at the Wayback Machine (in German)
- Abraham, Florin (25 September 2017). Romania since the Second World War: A Political, Social and Economic History.
- Denotes percent (%) of total population
- "Entstehung." Deutsche Schule Bukarest. Retrieved on 20 February 2015.
- (in German) Geschichte Temeswars Schulwesen
- Allgemeine Deutsche Zeitung für Rumänien[permanent dead link], Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (in German)
- Ziarul Românesc.de | Klaus Iohannis: «Germanii din România sunt apreciați și respectați de toți românii» (in Romanian)
- Ministerul Afacerilor Externe - 25 de ani de la semnarea tratatului de prietenie România-Germania (in Romanian)
- Digi24.ro | Mesajul lui Iohannis pentru președintele ales al Germaniei (in Romanian)
- Banaters.com - Kerwei