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DOCUMENTS - Part Two: Frontiers of Hungary - Chapter II. Proposals and Remarks to the Subcommittee on Territorial Problems

Document 7

Confidential T Document 235

February 3, 1943



1. Hungarian Census of 1910

This census [1] gives detailed information on the distribution of the population by mother-tongue and by religion. While it may be biased in favor of the Magyar claims, it appears to give a fairly accurate picture of the numerical strength of the Slavic and other minorities in the territories involved.

2. Yugoslav Census of 1921

The first Yugoslav census[2] is, in most respects, as complete and satisfactory as that of 1910. Comparison of the two censuses reveals remarkably few discrepancies.

3. Yugoslav Census of 1931

While this census[3] is more detailed than that of 1921, the figures on distribution by native tongue have not been published. The most recent statics on language are thus those of 1921. The figures for religious distribution useful as a check on the language figures because of the confusion of language and religious groups in the areas under consider- ation. II. ZONES OF ETHNIC COMPOSITION

1. Prekomurje

The language statistics both for 1910 and for 1921 indicate that the whole area is predominantly Slovene-speaking. The Hungarian figures listed 20,110 Magyar inhabitants and some 2000 Germans out of a total of 88,671. The bulk of the population 4,34--66,410--is classified as "Others". The Hungarian government, at the time of the Peace Conference in 1919, insisted that these peoples were Wends, Slavic- speaking but unrelated to the other South Slavs[4]

The Yugoslav government and disinterested outside authorities, on the other hand, are agreed that these Wends are closely akin to the neighboring Slovenes[5]

The census of 1921 classified them as Slovene-speaking. Of a total population of 92,295 it listed 74,199 as speaking Slovene as their native tongue, 14,065 speaking Magyar and 2,540 speaking German.

In two small sections of Prekomurje, the Magyar and German languages are clearly in preponderance. The greater part of the Magyar-speaking population is concentrated on the eastern frontier contiguous to Hungary. A line drawn to the west of the communes (optini) of Hodo, Krplivnik, Domanjovci, Sredie, Prosenjakovci, Pordainci, Dobrovnik, Radmoanci, Kapca, Kot and Petiovci separates from the rest of Prekomurje the predominantly Magyar zone, with a Magyar-speaking population of 12,410 in twenty-five communes. Scattered through this Magyar area, there are also some 2,450 Slovenes and 180 Germans.

Somewhat over one-half (1,304) of the German-speaking population of 2,504 is concentrated in the three contiguous communes of Kramarov- ci, Ocinje and Fuksinci. These communes are located on the Austrian frontier and include only 35 Slovenes.

2. Medjumurje

In the case of Medjumurje, all the statistics agree that it is over- whelmingly Croat in composition. In 1910 there were 82,829 Croats and 6,766 Magyars out of a total of 90,387. By 1921, the total popula- tion had risen to 96,892, and included 93,623 Serbo-Croats and 1,904 Magyars. In no one of the twenty-six communes of Medjumurje are the Magyars more than a small minority. 3. The Baranja

According to the census of 1921, the distribution of the population by language shows an almost equal proportion of Serbo-Croats, Magyars and Germans in the Baranja. Out of a population of 49,452, 16,638 spoke Magyar, 16,253 German and 15,604 Serbo-Croat. As compared with the Hungarian census of 1910, these figures represent a certain relative gain for the Slavic-speaking population. In the earlier census, 20,134 were Magyars, 13,908 Germans, 7,913 Serbs and Croats and some 7,400 okci[6] out of a population of 50,797. This last-named group consists of Slavs of the Catholic faith who moved into the region to the south of Pécs in the seventeenth century, migrating presumably from Dalmatia. Despite the Hungarian claims to the contrary, the okci are generally considered to be one of the South Slav peoples, akin to the Croats, and they are treated as such in the census of 1921[7]

As for population trends after 1921, the figures on religious distribution offer some further evidence. Whereas the Roman Catholic and Protestant faiths showed remarkably little change, the Orthodox religion, which had 6,448 adherents in 1910 and 6,782 in 1921, rose to 11,314 in 1931, while the total population of the area rose only slightly. From this evidence it may be concluded that the Serbian elements in the population underwent a small relative increase in the ten year period.

The Magyar, German and Serbo-Croat nationality groups are so intermingled in the Baranja that no clear zones of ethnic distribution can be defined. The Magyars are distributed in the southeastern section of the southern district (srez) of Darda, and in particular in the towns of Bilje, Kneevi Vinogradi and Lug. There are also smaller Magyar settlements in the northern district of Batina, in the towns of Batina, Duboevica and Suza. Serbs and Croats, on the other hand, are concentrated in the north in the regions bordering on Hungary. The German-speaking peoples form a plurality in the southern district, where they are strongly represented in the railroad centers of Beli Monastir and Darda. In general, almost every one of the thirty communes in the Baranja, has a sizable proportion of Slavs, Magyars and Germans living together.

4. The Baka

The census of 1921 reported for the Baka a total population of 735,117 comprising the following language groups: 260,998 Magyars, 246,598 Serbs and Croats, 173,796 Germans, 30,993 Czechs, 10,999 Ruthenians and 4,850 Slovenes. In the cities of over 20,000, of which the Baka has five, the Slavs form two-thirds of the population of the important railroad centers of Subotica, these Slavic groups include a substantial number of okci and Bunjevci[8]

There is in addition a plurality of Slav-speaking peoples in Novi Sad, in the south, although her both Magyars and Germans are also well represented. The Magyars form almost the entire population of the cities of Senta and Stara Kanjiza in the northeastern part of the Baka.

In the rural areas, the Serbs and Croats are in a majority in the districts of Titel and Zabalj in the south, and they are well represented in the districts of Apatin, Novi Sad, Palanka, Sombor and Stari Beej. The Magyars predominate in the districts of Senta, Stari Beej and Topola, in the northeast, and are represented in smaller numbers throughout the region. The districts of Apatin, Kula, Odzaci, Palanka and Sombor form the German-speaking strongholds. The Czech minority is concentrated chiefly in the districts of Novi Sad and Odaci, and the Ruthenians in the district of Kula.

The figures on religious distribution contribute little to the clarification of the ethnic problem. Despite a small decline in the number of Roman Catholics, and a corresponding rise in the number of the Greek Orthodox, the relative sizes of the various religious groups remained remarkably stable between 1910 and 1931. The Catholic population includes both Croats and Magyars, the Orthodox are predominantly of Serb nationality, whereas both Germans and Magyars are included in the Protestant faith. The comparative figures follow:

                  1910         1921         1931         
Roman Catholics     438,521    449,083      402,143      
Orthodox            144,866    159,919      182,965      
Protestants         98,798     98,668       95,571       
Others              18,233     27,447       31,187       
Totals              700,418    735,117      711,866      

The ethnic fragmentation is illustrated by the fact that of the 105 communes in the Baka, the Germans are in a majority in 36, the Slavs in 31, the Magyars in 23 and the Czechs in 7, while in 8 communes no one language-group predominates. Of the eleven administrative districts into which the Baka is divided, the German-speaking communes are in a majority on Odaci and Palánka, the Serb and Croat in Zabalj and Titel and the Magyar in Senta and Topola. In the remaining five districts, the communes of no single language group are in predominance.

6. The Banat

In the Banat, no single language-group has a clear majority. Of a population of 561,958, as of 1921,the Serbs and Croats led with 240,213. They were followed by the Germans, with 126,530, the Magyars, with 98,471 and the Rumanians, with 67,897. There were also Czechs, Slovenes, Albanians, Turks, Poles, Italians, French and Ruthenians in smaller numbers. As compared with the last Hungarian census, the total population had increased by some 37,000 from a figure of 522,907 in 1910. Of the individual language-groups, the Serbo-Croats and the Germans had each increased some 20 percent since 1910, while the number of Magyars and Rumanians had declined somewhat.

The figures on religious distribution show a gradual relative decline in the number of the Protestants, who are chiefly Germans and Magyars, and a corresponding rise in that of the Orthodox, most of whom are Serbs and Rumanians. These shifts were not sufficiently great between 1921 and 1931, however, to warrant any more significant conclusion than that there was probably a small influx of Serbs into the Banat:

                  1910         1921         1931         
Orthodox            288,757    306,414      321,262      
Roman Catholics     188,756    209,370      196,087      
Protestants         37,379     39,226       37,179       
Others               8015      6,948        11,932       
Totals              522,907    561,958      566,460      

The national groups in the Banat are, if possible even more inextricably intermingled than are those in the Baranja and the Baka. The Serbo-Croats are concentrated chiefly in the districts of Velika Kikinda and Novi Beej, in the norths, and in the districts of Kovaica and Kovin, in the south. The Germans are heavily represented in the towns of Vrac and Bela Crkva and in the districts of Jaa Tomi and Velika Kikinda, while the Magyars are in a majority in the district of Nova Kanjiza and are strong in Veliki Beckerek, in the central part of the Banat. The Rumanian minority is concentrated in the southern part of the province in the districts of Panevo, Alibunar and Vrac without, however, being in a majority in any one district.

Of the 169 communes in the Banat, 61 are predominantly Slav-speaking, 29 German, 27 Magyar, 24 Rumanian, 3 Czech and 25 mixed. The ethnic confusion is illustrated by the following table which shows the distribution of communes by dominant language groups within each of the eleven administrative districts of the Banat:

                      Distribution of Communes          
  District    Serbo-Cr  Magya  Germa  Rum.   Czech  Mixe  
              oat       r      n                    d     
Alibunar         7             2      4             4     
Bela Crkva       13            1      2             3     
Velika           3      2      1                    3     
Veliki           6      6      9      4      1      1     
Vrac             4      1      4      11            7     
Jaa Tomi         2      4      6                    4     
Kovaica          9      1             1      2            
Kovin            5      1      1                    2     
Nova Kanjia      3      8                                 
Novi Beej        6      2                                 
Panevo           3      2      5      2             1     
Totals           61     27     29     24     3      25    

In the cities, of which the Banat had five, the same balance among ethnic groups exists. While the Slavs and the Germans have small majorities in the cities of Velika Kikinda and Bela Crkva respectively, no one language group is predominant in the three remaining cities. In addition, it should be noted that while the Magyars form 18 percent of the total population of the Banat, they are poorly represented in the urban areas. This is illustrated by the following chart showing the distribution of language groups within the cities: re> Percentage of Ethnic Groups Cities Serbo-Cro Magyars Germans Rum. Other ats s Vrac 36 9 49 6 Panevo 48 8 37 7 Bela Crkva 28 54 7 11 Velika 58 16 21 5 Kikinda Veliki 39 27 28 6 Beckerek



1. Magyar statisztikai közlemények (Hungarian statistical publications), Vol. 42 (Budapest, 1912). X

2. Kraljevina Jugoslavia. Opsta drzavna statistika. Definitivni rezultati popisa stanovistva od 31 Januara 1921 god (Kingdom of Yugoslavia. General govern- ment statistics. Definitive results of the census of January 31, 1921)

(Sarajevo, 1932).

3. Kraljevina Jugoslavia. Opsta drzavna statistika. Definitivni rezultati popisa stanovistva od 31 Marta, 1931 godina (Kingdom of Yugoslavia. General government statistics. Definitive results of the census of March 31, 1921), Vols. I, II and IV, (Beograd, 1937-40).

4. Royal Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hungarian Peace Negotiations, 3 vols. in 4 (Budapest, 1921-22), I, 447-451.

5. C. A. Macartney, Hungary and Her Successors: The Treaty of Trianon and its Consequences, 1919-1937 (London, 1937), 379.

6. In a number of communes the Hungarian census gives only the figures for a mixed population of okci and Gypsies, so that the exact figure of the former cannot be accurately calculated.

7. Macartney, op. cit., 382-383; Hungarian Peace Negotiations, I, 538-541.

8. The Bunjevei are Serbs from Bosnia who moved north in the seventeenth century, and who adhere to the Roman Catholic faith. They and the okci are distinguished from the Serbs and Croats in the census of 1910, but not in that of 1921.

Box 62

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