Josef Lapp (October 18, 1909 in Franzfeld, Banat – February 18, 1993 in Hamburg, Germany) was a Danube Swabian and was the vice banus of Banat from 1941 until 1944.

Josef "Sepp" Lapp
Leutnant der Reserve, 1936.jpg
Passport photo of Josef Lapp from 1936
Vice-Governor of Banat
In office
Preceded byoffice established
Succeeded byoffice abolished
Personal details
NationalityBanat Swabian
Military service
Allegiance Nazi Germany


Josef Lapp grew up as the son of a farmer. From 1915 on he attended the Hungarian elementary school in Franzfeld, changing 1921 to the German Realgymnasium in Pančevo, then from 1925 to 1929 the Serbian state Realgymnasium. He was married since 1937.

1936 Lieutenant of the Reserve of the Royal Yugoslavian Army


Josef Lapp is a descendant of Georg Lapp from Gundelfingen/Breisgau,[1] who was one of the first settlers in Franzfeld in the Banat in 1791[2]). Franzfeld was located in the "military frontier",[3] a strip of territory several hundred kilometers long, depopulated by wars and epidemics, north of the territories dominated by Turks on the Balkans.


Josef Lapp studied and graduated in law in Zagreb from 1929 to 1937 (with interruptions). Study visit to Innsbruck (1930 to 1933), military service in the Yugoslavian army from 1934 to 1936. After passing the reserve officer's examination, appointment as "lieutenant of the reserve".[4]

Professional activitiesEdit

In YugoslaviaEdit

From 1937 Josef Lapp worked as a lawyer at the local and district court in Pantschowa. From 1939 to 1941 he ran a law practice together with a Serbian lawyer. In May 1941 - after the occupation of Yugoslavia by troops of the German Reich - Josef Lapp was appointed by the German site commander as provisional district administrator of Pantschowa. June 17, 1941, he was appointed vice banus of Banat.[5] As vice banus/chief of the administration, Josef Lapp was responsible for reorganizing the entire administration of Banat, the school system, the police, the transportation infrastructure (roads, post office and railroad), economic development and, last but not least, for ensuring the supply of food to the German Reich. Until August 1944, these extensive tasks were successfully carried out with the help of capable administrative employees, who came from all ethnic groups represented in the Banat.[6] The occupation of the Banat by Russian troops, followed by partisans, put an end to these reconstruction activities.[7]


Flight to Germany in October 1944. In mid-1945 Josef Lapp was arrested in Bavaria by the American occupation forces and taken to the civilian internment camp in Moosburg (near Munich). In June 1946, he escaped from American custody to avoid extradition to the judiciary of communist Yugoslavia.

New start in GermanyEdit

From 1946 to 1952, Josef Lapp worked in various jobs in northern Germany. From March 1952 on, he was an employee of the tracing service of the German Red Cross in Hamburg.[8] Initially he was responsible for the "tracing of missing civilian prisoners in the countries of southeastern Europe" and then for the "assistance and counseling service for Germans in eastern and southeastern Europe." He retired as of January 1975.

Civic engagementEdit

Imprinting  during YouthEdit

In 1925 Josef Lapp, in order to learn Serbian perfectly, was boarded in Pantschowa with his fathers Serbian war comrade from World War One. In the house of this Serb Josef Lapp, the evangelical Swabian, lived for four years. Treated like their own son, he experienced with this Serbian, orthodox couple that the centuries-old, serious conflicts between the ethnic groups in the Balkans were by no means inevitable. Josef Lapp later, as vice banus in Banat, proved many times his tolerant, understanding and balancing attitude towards other ethnic groups. During his studies in Innsbruck, Josef Lapp joined the "Verein Deutscher Studenten Innsbruck".[9] This fraternity saw itself as having a special responsibility to provide cultural support to German ethnic groups living outside the German and Austrian borders.

Commitment in the BanatEdit

Josef Lapp believed that the "schooled" had to be role models and teachers for all others in the village in every respect.[10] During the summer vacations the village library was looked through, new books were ordered, plays were rehearsed, cultural events were organized, a traditional costume group was formed and folk dances were practiced.[11] In May 1941, after the occupation of Yugoslavia by German troops, there was administrative chaos in the Banat, because many of the Serbian administrative officials who had previously worked there had fled when the Germans invaded. On his own initiative, Josef Lapp sent recommendations how to act to the counties and independent towns of the Banat and thus brought about a largely uniform approach to these administrative issues.[12]

Commitment in GermanyEdit

From 1954 to 1974, Josef Lapp was chairman of the works council at the tracing service of the German Red Cross in Hamburg (DRK Hamburg). From 1956 to 1979 Josef Lapp was chairman of the Danube Swabian Association Hamburg (Landsmannschaft der Donauschwaben in Hamburg). After office hours, he held consultations with compatriots, some of who had just arrived in Germany from the countries of southeastern Europe.[13]


- Golden pin of honor of the Federal Association of the  Danube Swabians

- Honorary chairman of the Danube Swabian Association Hamburg-Schleswig-Holstein.[14]


  1. ^ Hacker, Werner (1980). Auswanderungen aus Baden und dem Breisgau, Obere und mittlere rechtseitige Rheinlande im 18. Jahrhundert, archivarisch dokumentiert. Konrad Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart and Aalen. p. 468. ISBN 3 806 2 0251 6.
  2. ^ Gemeinde Franzfeld, ed. (1893). Geschichte der Gemeinde Franzfeld (Reprint of original print ed.). Pancsova.
  3. ^ Gemeinde Franzfeld. Geschichte der Gemeinde Franzfeld, 1792-1892. pp. 3ff.
  5. ^ Bundesministerium für Vertrieben, Fluechtlinge und Kriegsgeschaedigte (1961). Das Schicksal der Deutschen in Jugoslawien, Band V. Duesseldorf: Oskar Leiner-Druck K.G. pp. 55 and following.
  6. ^ Zakić, Mirna (2017). Ethnic Germans and national socialism in Yugoslavia in World War II. Cambridge, United Kingdom. ISBN 978-1-107-17184-8. OCLC 969376241.
  7. ^ Wuescht, Johann (1969). Jugoslavien und das dritte Reich. Stuttgart: Seewald Verlag. pp. 265, 266.
  8. ^ Kind, Franz (25 April 1993). "Hervorragender Banater Schwabe". Family news. Der Donauschwabe; Organ der Landsmannschaft der Donauschwaben in Baden-Württemberg. p. 10.
  9. ^ Zirlewagen, Marc (2014). Biographisches Lexikon der Vereine Deutscher Studenten. 1. Norderstedt: Books on Demand. ISBN 3-7357-2288-1. OCLC 889718599.
  10. ^ "Zum Tode von Josef Lapp". Der Franzfelder. No. 16. 16 May 1993. pp. 8, 9.
  11. ^ Geschichte einer donauschwäbischen Großgemeinde im Banat. Eigenverlag. 1982. p. 191.
  12. ^ "Franzfelder Kulturelle Interessengemeinschaft e.V.". Der Franzfelder. No. 16. May 1993. p. 367.
  13. ^ Kind, Franz (25 April 1993). "Hervorragender Banater Schwabe". Family news. Der Donauschwabe. p. 10.
  14. ^ Kind, Franz. "Hervorragender Banater Schwabe". Family news. Der Domnauschwabe. p. 10.