Author: Hildegarda Pokreis
German colonization of Sládkovičovo / Diószeg is a publication that focuses on the history of the German minority, which settled here in the 18th century. It was the ruling era of Joseph II. after the long 150 years of Turkish occupation. During the state organized settlement from 1786 until 1787 altogether 60 families arrived in Diószeg from various parts of Germany – from Bresgau, Würtemberg, Bamberg, Mainz, Layru, Trier and Fuld.
Although the first ten years of residence in the new country gave the colonists several advantages (not paying taxes or fees, at the beginning receiving living allowances, receiving homes and land), their coexistence with the native Hungarian inhabitants was not trouble-free. Both sides complained about the situation, which was solved in 1853 by diving into two municipalities: German Diószeg and Hungarian Diószeg. The German settlers thus were given the opportunity to maintain their national identity, mother language, cultural traditions and most importantly the right to independently decide their own matters. The main contribution to town’s development was the construction of the railroad in 1850, the establishment of the local sugar mill in 1867 and Mária mill 1912. The German craftsmen thrived in this area and the farmers quickly found buyers for their products.
The German village school was established in 1855 and played a crucial role in the community as it served not only as an educational institution, but also a cultural center of the German minority. The celebration of the 150th anniversary of the settlement in 1936 was the biggest cultural and social event in the history of the village.
Before World War II the German citizens joined the activities of the Carpathian German movement, but considering that at that time the population of both the Hungarian and German Diószeg was nationally very diverse (Germans, Hungarians, Jews, Slovaks, Czechs,…), this event was not very significant.
During World War II. both the Hungarian and German Diószeg belonged to the territorial sovereignty of the former Kingdom of Hungary. In 1943 the neighboring towns Hungarian Diószeg and German Diószeg merged into one town named Diószeg. This date can be considered the first step towards the assimilation the German minority.
After the war, German citizens were faced with the threat of expulsion to Germany. More than 50 people were deported and only the ones who were in mixed marriages remained. In the postwar years the assimilation of German citizens continued and today the German surnames are the only reminder that 230 years ago German colonists arrived in Sládkovičovo with the hope for a better life and future in a new country.