The Banat and the Banat-Swabian.
This historical landscape in south-eastern Europe not only possesses four natural borders, it also shows four characteristic sceneries packed into narrow2 space about the size of Belgium: There is the original lowland along the rivers Theiss and Danube; extent flat table-land of most fertile black soil in the West; gentle rolling country in the middle, including the so-called Banat Sands with its deceptive fata morgana; in the South and East well-wooded highland and the ridges of the Carpathians showing alpine character. And everywhere the corresponding vegetable and animal world appear in great abundance.
Ethnographically the number four of main people (up to 1918), besides smaller groups (Jews, Bulgarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Ruthenians) is remarkable too. There are 36% Romanians in the East, 18% Serbians in the South-West, 15% Hungarians in the North -West. Between and among these peoples there lived 387,545 Germans who, with 25% represented the second largest language group, generally - though not absolutely not correct - called the Banat-Swabians. If we add the 34,300 German north of the river Marosh, counted there in 1910, and an additional minimum of ten per cent for the highly effective magyarization throughout many decades, we undoubtedly come to the impressive figure of almost half a million of Germans on both sides of the river Marosh.
The Banat-Swabians yesterday and today. - The military and political father of the Banat-Swabians is Prince Eugene of Savoy, one of the most outstanding generals of all times. Being at first an independent crown-land of the House of Habsburg for 60 years with an imperial governor of its own residing in the country's metropolis Temesburg, in those days rightly called "Little Vienna", the Banat fell to the kingdom of Hungary for 70 years in 1778. Then, after the turmoil of the revolution 1848/49, for a decade it became the core of an independent crown-land called "Wojwodschaft Serbien and Temescher Banat', only to fall to Hungary again as a result of defeat of the Habsburgians in Italy and in the war against Prussia in 1866. The so-called 'Austrian Military Border' with German administration and military command-language along the Danube region in the South of the Banat, continued to exist without any interruption for 160 years. Since 1918 the Banat is divided up into three parts. Of the more than 100,000 Germans in the western part (Yugoslavia), due to the holocaust brought upon them by the Tito-Partisans, flight and emigration, actually no more German are left; the tiny patch southwest of Szegedin (Hungary) scarcely counts.
The all in all 310,000 Banat-Swabians on both sides of the river Marosh, counted in Romania in 1940, diminished by at least 40% through war-victims in the Romanian and German armies, through flight 1944, the victims caused by the deportation to Russia (from 1945 onwards) and to the Baragan-Desert (from 1951 onwards) as well as by emigration into the Federal Republic of Germany. Still heavier weighs the fact that the excellent compactness of the Banat-Swabian settlements in more than one hundred towns and villages with a German majority has been lost, party as a result of aimed measures, the high birth-rate of the Romanian state-nation and the expropriation of the real estate and its transfer into state-owned property. Today our compatriots no longer feel at home in the once so familiar Banat and, in their majority, want to emigrate to the Federal Republic of Germany. The fundamental right, to leave or to stay, by applying the personal right of self-determination can only be admitted to those concerned. Any outside determination, however wellmean9ing it may be and from whatever direction it may come, must principally remain disregarded. To those, however, remaining in the Banat, our help from the West must be ensured.