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Minority Responses to the Nation-State:

Transylvanian Saxon Ethno-Corporatism, 1919-1933

Sacha Edward Davis

A thesis submitted in fulfilment

of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy

School of History

University of New South Wales

March 2007



The Transylvanian Saxons provide a case study of how small minorities respond to their
lack of statehood and the imposition of an "alien" nation-state upon them. In this thesis, I
will argue that, as with many other minorities unwilling or unable to form a nation-state in
their own right, the Saxons sought collective rights on the basis of self-determination. This
included access to resources, self-administration, an independent education system, the
ability to exclude outgroups and powers by which to ensure social norms within the
community. Their aims did not include territorial autonomy or independence, and for this
reason it is necessary to consider their strivings as distinct from nationalism. I term this
attempt to secure collective self-determination by non-territorial means "ethnocorporatism". The goals of Saxon ethno-corporatism were influenced by the broader
discussion of minority rights in interwar Europe before and after the First World War. In
this sense, the Saxons were typical of many small communities in interwar Europe.

The Saxons approached the challenges of ethno-corporatism by numerous means. These

included the pursuit of collective legal rights by negotiation with the Romanian state,
positing a broader multi-ethnic Transylvanian polity that would guarantee collective ethnic
rights, pursuing ethno-corporatism under the banner of religious freedoms and seeking to
strengthen ties with other German communities. While a number of these strategies met
with partial success, none fully compensated for the lack of a state, and all fell short of
Saxon expectations. I argue that disappointment with other attempts to achieve ethnocorporate status led to growing radicalisation of Saxon ethnic identity, and to the eventual
adoption of fascism. In this sense, while influenced by currents from Germany, Saxon
"National Socialism" can paradoxically be seen as stemming from the pursuit of minority

During the long process of writing this thesis, I have become indebted to many people. Max
Harcourt set the undergraduate research question that first drew my attention to the
Transylvanian Saxon community. John Perkins has provided guidance and advice from the
eariiest stages of this project. Gnter Minnerup's timely advice at the latter stages of this
project has, I hope, added a great deal of shape and clarity to my thesis. Shannon
Woodcocks has been kind enough to comment upon my drafts in various states of
completion. Ian Collinson and Johanna Perheentupa proof-read the final drafts and made
many insightful suggestions. Without the input of the above people, this thesis would never
have reached its current standard. All remaining faults and errors are entirely the
responsibility of the author.

This research project would not have been possible without an Australian Postgraduate
Award, which enabled me to undertake this degree in the lively intellectual atmosphere of
the School of History, University of New South Wales. Part of this thesis was researched
and written at the University of Babe-Bolyai. I am grateftil to that institution and for the
Romanian Government Scholarship that made my stay there possible. Other sections were
written as a visiting researcher at the School of Political History, University of Turku, to
which I am indebted for the resources made available to me. Very little of my subject
material has been available in Australia. I am most grateftil to the various archivists and
researchers who have assisted me in the research stage of this work, at the university library
and Library of the Romanian Academy in Cluj-Napoca, the Institut fr

in Stuttgart, the Foreign Office Archives in Bonn and the State

Archives in Koblenz. I am especially indebted to the Siebenbrgen Institut of the

University of Heidelberg, and to Harald Roth for his assistance in gaining access to
material in the Romanian State Archive.

I could not have written this thesis without the support of my family. Yvonne, Roger and
Lorna have provided endless support and babysitting. Andrew, David and George have
provided equally endless cups of coffee and the mental space in which to rave about my

work. My wife Jonna has been far more sympathetic and understanding than I have
deserved. Finally, the last two years of my doctoral candidature would not have been half
as enjoyable without my daughter Anna filling my laptop bag with Duplo and illustrating
my drafts. This is for her.


Table of Contents
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations
List of Place Names


Nationalism and minority ethnic communities
Historicising the nation
The convergence of nationalism and ethno-corporatism
Interwar minority rights and ethno-corporatism
National self-determination and the Paris Peace Settlements
Minority Protection
Application of the treaties
Alternative solutions to the "minority problem "
The Germans Abroad
Case Study: The Transylvanian Saxons, 1919-1933



Pre-modern foundations of the Saxon community
Saxon ethnic corporatism
Saxon ethno-corporatism and German nationalism
Stereotypes of Self and Other




First World War and Unity with Romania


Saxon aims


Romanian integration and minority rights

Saxon political representation and parliamentary campaigns
Saxon political organisations




The Free Saxon Women's Union


The League of Germans in Greater Romania


The German Party




Tactics and strategies




Political Divisions


Social Democrats


The "Dissatisfied" and the Saxon Union








The "Klingsor Circle" and Transylvanianism

Political Transylvanianism? The Minority Bloc (1927) and coalition with the


National Peasants Party (1928)

Transylvanianism as political theory


The limits of Transylvanianism


The antithesis of Transylvanianism - the Roma






Church and State


The ''Volkskirche''


The Church as a Saxon ethnic Church


The Church as a German ethnic Church


Ethnic Church versus World Church


Social mission of the "ethnic Church "




The Youth Movement


The Women's Movement


Social Work




Dissent within the Church


Anxieties about the Saxon working class


The "Dissatisfied"


Saxon ethnicity without Lutheranism?







Functions of Germanness


Germanness as a moral principle


Germanness and the civilising myth


Germanness as a unifying principle


Forging a Romanian-German "Nation

the Cultural Office

The relationship to the German "Motherland"

Symbolic functions of the connection to Germany
Relationship to Romanian Germans


The Germans of Greater Romania


Strengthening institutional ties


Symbolic function of the relationship with the Germans Abroad






Fascism in small minority communities


Vlkisch pessimism: creating space for fascism


The Church




"Health Care"




The Women's Movement


The Youth League


The Union of Raiffeisen Co-Opemtive Associations


German-Saxon Self-Help




Mass movement and politicisation




Mass Movement






Growing Liberal Opposition


Economic divisions


Burzenland Preselection


Episcopal Elections


National Socialist victory in Germany

The Klingsor Circle and the failure of Transylvanianism
The 1933 Congress of the DSVR


How popular was National Socialism? November 1933 elections















List of Abbreviations
See also the list of journal title abbreviations in the Bibliography.]
DAI Germans-Abroad Institute [Deutsche Ausland-Institut.
DSVP German-Saxon People's Party [Deutsch-Schsisches Volkspartei.'
DSVR German-Saxon People's Council of Transylvania [Deutsch-Schsische Volksrat
fiir Siebenbrgen.'
HAS Hermannstadt General Savings Bank [Hermannstdter Allgemeine Sparkassa.'
HB A Hermannstadt Citizens' Association [Hermannstdter Brgerabend.'
LANC League of National Christian Defence [Liga Aprrii nationale Creatine.'
NSDR National Socialist Self-Help Movement of Germans in Romania
[Nationalsozialistische Selbsthilfebewegung der Deutschen in Rumnien.'
SAM Self-Help Workers Association [Selbsthilfe-Arbeitsmannschaft.'
SKV Transylvanian Carpathians Association [Siebenbrgische Karpathenverein.'
SVP Saxon People's Party [Schsisches Volkspartei.'
VDA Association for Germans Abroad [Verein fr das Deutschtum im Ausland
List of Place Names

Bintini/Aurel Vlaicu
Tara Brsei















Apoldu de Sus












Alba lulia








Sura Mica






Braov/Orasul Stalin Brass





Valea Lunga











Ober Neudorf


















Vaj dahunyad/Eisenmarkt Hunedoara



Albe^tii Bistritei





On 5 November 1919, the delegates of the German-Saxon People's Council of
Transylvania^ (DSVR) met in the historic Transylvanian town of SchaBburg to formulate a
new programme that would guide their relations with the Greater Romanian state. On 1
December 1918, at the end of the First World War, the representatives of the Romanian
majority in Transylvania meeting at Karlsburg had declared their intention to unify with
Romania. This decision had been accepted by the Romanian crown, and was subsequently
confirmed by the Paris Peace Conference. The Saxon delegates in SchaBburg were tasked
with charting a path through unfamiliar political territory in a new state.
The 240,000 strong German speaking, predominantly Lutheran "Saxon" community of
Transylvania dated back to the twelfth century. In return for settling what was at that time a
dangerous frontier region, the Kings of Hungary had granted the settlers from the Holy
Roman Empire a privileged status. The Saxon estate had preserved its rights despite the
collapse of Hungary in 1526, more than 150 years of Transylvanian autonomy under
Ottoman suzerainty, and Habsburg rule from 1690. Only in 1876, following the triumph of
liberalism and nationalism with the partitioning of the Habsburg Empire into AustriaHungary in 1867, was the Saxon estate finally abolished. By that time, the Saxon
community had transformed from a privilege-based corporation into an ethnically defined
community, and the DSVR, founded in 1876, was able to negotiate a generally secure if at
times tense relationship with successive Hungarian governments.

The Saxon community's for the most part stable position was thrown into uncertainty by
unification with Romania. Bowing to political realities, on 8 January 1919 the DSVR had
in the Declaration of Mediasch expressed their support for unification with Romania,
becoming the first minority representatives in Transylvania to do so. But as the Saxon
delegates met in SchaBburg eleven months after the Declaration of Karlsburg, Greater
' Deutsch-Schsische Volksratfr Siebenbrgen. This title was first adopted at the November congress;
before then the organisation was known as the Saxon Central Committee [Schsische Zentralausschu] or the
Saxon People's Party [Schsische Volkspartei] (see Chapter 1), For simplicity, however, it is referred to as the
DSVR throughout.

Romania was still in disarray. Transylvania remained under military occupation, and had
witnessed a campaign of terror directed mainly at the former Hungarian rulers. Romania
was divided into the 'Old Kingdom' and the 'new provinces' of Transylvania, Bessarabia
and Bukovina, each with its separate history and traditions, and operating under different
legal systems and coinage. Romania was facing its first general election since unification,
its first election under universal male suffrage, and following that the daunting task of
producing a new constitution that would forge a coherent whole from the disparate parts.
The Saxon delegates had to decide not only their platform with regards to the state and to
the unfamiliar Romanian parties that would govern it, but also the community's
relationship with the other small German communities scattered through Greater Romania
and for the most part finding themselves in the same state for the first time.

The choice of SchaBburg as the place for the congress of the DSVR was significant for a
number of reasons. Although by no means the most important Saxon town, it was located in
the Greater Kokel Valley, in the heart of the area of Saxon inhabitation in Transylvania,
making it geographically a convenient location for most delegates. Saxons constituted a
larger proportion of the population in the Greater Kokel region than anywhere else in
Transylvania, and formed the majority in numerous local settlements. ^ Although Saxons no
longer constituted an outright majority of SchaBburg's inhabitants, they were the largest
single ethnic community in the town, and dominated the old town centre, with its late
medieval houses and its historic fortified Church.^ Despite the presence of a government
censor at the start of the congress, there were few other places where the Saxon delegates
could feel as secure in their community's future as in SchaBburg.

The tone of events at the congress was for the most part upbeat and optimistic. Numerous
lengthy speeches were given, mostly in Standard German, for the most part by the Lutheran
pastors, lawyers and doctors that comprised the Saxon community's political elite.
^ Zsolt Bottlik, "Ethnische Raumstruktur der schsischen Bevlkerung im ehemaligen Komitat Grokokeln
(1850-1992)." Zeitschrift fr siebenbrgische Landeskunde (herein ZL), Vol 5 Nr 2, 2000, 209-217.
^ In the Hungarian census of 1913, of the 11,587 inhabitants in Schburg, 5,486 (47.3%) were German,
3,031 Romanian and 2,687 Hungarian. {A Trtenelmi Magyarorszdg atlasza es Adattdra 1914. [Atlas and
gazetter of historic Hungary 1914.] Pecs: Talma Kaido, 2001, 156.) By 1941, there were 5,037 Germans in a
population of 14,941 (33.7%). Walter My (ed), Die Siebenbrger Sachsen: Lexikon. Mnchen: Wort & Welt
Verlag, 1993, 602. On Schburg's historic town centre, see My (ed), Die Siebenbrger Sachsen, 430-431.

However, reports in the SDT suggest that one of the most popular speeches was given not
by a polished politician, but by a farmer:
Especial approval met the Husbandman Buchholzer from Kleinschem, who
in powerful words in our native dialect gave expression to the thought that
we wish to be loyal citizens of our fatherland, when we are permitted to be
what we are; loyal German Lutheran Saxons."^
Buchholzer's speech had resonance because it highlighted many of the challenges faced by
the Saxons as a small ethnic community living as a minority in a nation-state. At the core of
these was the potential tension between on the one hand loyalty to the state and on the other
loyalty to the ethnic community; Buchholzer asserts that the latter most be permitted so as
to produce the former. Secondly, he highlighted the close relationship between religious
(Lutheranism) and ethnic (Saxon) identities. Finally, reinforced through his use of the
Saxon dialect instead of Standard German, he alluded to the relationship between local
(Saxon) and broader (German) constitutions of ethnic community.
For the Saxons, there were numerous possible answers to these difficult challenges. At
SchaBburg in November 1919, the Saxon delegates elected to pursue engagement with the
state, emphasising the loyalty of the community to Romania while seeking wide-ranging
collective rights. At the same time, the DSVR encouraged closer ties between Saxons and
other German communities in Romania, and more broadly with German communities
throughout Europe. At the same time, Saxons continued to defend their distinctive local
identity: Germanness, Saxonness and Romanian citizenship were not perceived to be
mutually exclusive. The delegates looked to these challenges with hope and optimism.

The next Congress of the DSVR was held in Hermannstadt on 1 October 1933, under very
different circumstances, to review the decisions of 1919. While at SchaBburg the delegates

Besonderen Beifall fand der Kleinscheurner Landmann Buchholzer, der in unserer heimischen Mundart in
kernigen Worten dem Gedanken Ausdruck gab, da wir treue Brger unseres Vaterlandes sein wollen, wenn
man uns das sein lt, was wir sind, treue deutsche evangelische Sachsen. "Volkstag der Sachsen in
Schburg." Siebenbrgisch-Deutsches Tagesblatt {herein the SDT) 26 November 1919, 1.

had been relatively united, in 1933 there were strong divisions between the liberals that had
dominated in 1919 and a new grouping of radicals that belonged to the National Socialist
Self-Help Movement of Germans in Romania (NSDR).^
Although the majority of approximately 600 official delegates to the conference were
probably supporters of the old liberal elite in the DVSR, the radicals' hand was
strengthened by the presence of around 4,000 supporters, including many member of the
militant Self-Help Workers Association, (SAM, sometimes abbreviated SA).^ In an
atmosphere charged with tensions, the Congress chairman Karl Ernst Schnell contrasted the
optimism of 1919 with the bitter disappointment felt in 1933:

And today? ... Our political heavens are fiill of dark clouds. Hope and
confidence have turned into ignominy, and of those things that our souls once
felt, only one remains unchanged: our declaration of loyalty to the Romanian
The new programme emphasised self-sufficiency, a policy of aggressive engagement with
the state that amounted to political isolationism, and forging strong ties to Germany. In his
address to the Congress the triumphant Fritz Fabritius, leader of the NSDR, argued that:

this community will become a national socialist one or it will cease to be. ...
Only then can we constitute a power factor in this [Romanian] Fatherland and
only then achieve that spiritual community with the 80 million of our German

Nationalsozialistische Selbsthilfebewegung der Deutschen in Rumnien.

^ Selbsthilfe-Arbeitsmannschaft.
^ Und Heute? ... Unser politischer Himmel hngt voll schwerer Wolken. Hoffnung und Zuversicht sind zu
Schanden geworden und von dem, was damals unsere Seelen erfllte, ist nur Eines unverndert geblieben:
unser Truebekenntnis zum rumnischen Staat. "Der fnfte Sachsentag." SDT3 October 1933, 1.

mother People,^ which will mould us, to give us its intellectual, political and
economic strength that will also be of benefit to our Fatherland.^
The primary question of this thesis is why, amongst all the possible responses to minority
status, did an understanding of the Saxon community that emphasised the connection with
the German state prove to have the greatest resonance? What did Germanness mean to a
German community living outside of Germany? How did it function? What did it offer that
other forms of identification did not? What alternative understandings of ethnic community
did German minorities consider? Why was German nationalism more persuasive and
pervasive than other forms of minority nationalism? A corollary of this question is, why did
German minority nationalism radicalise by the early 1930s? To what extent were such
radical developments driven by outside forces, and to what extent were both phenomena
responses to the internal logic of nationalism in Eastern Europe, and the circumstances of
German minorities in Eastern Europe?

The Transylvanian Saxons provide a case study of how small minorities reconstitute their
ethnic identities to respond to their lack of statehood and the imposition of an "alien"
nation-state upon them. In this thesis, I will argue that, as with many other minorities
unwilling or unable to form a nation-state in their own right, the Saxons sought collective
rights on the basis of ethnic self-determination. Their aims did not include territorial
autonomy or independence, and for this reason it is necessary to consider their strivings as
distinct from nationalism. I term this attempt to secure collective self-determination by nonterritorial means "ethno-corporatism". The goals of Saxon ethno-corporatism were
influenced by the broader discussion of minority rights in interwar Europe before and after
^ Volk and its related terms (e.g. vlkisch, Volkstum) are notoriously difficult to translate into English,
implying in different contexts 'people', ethnos, and nation. Used by the Saxons, it invariably had an ethnic
component. For this reason, I have either translated Volk to "People" (in the sense of "We the People"), which
best captures its ethnic overtones, or left it in the German where translation would render it cumbersome.
Vlkisch has been translated as "ethnic", excepting in regards to where it refers to vlkisch nationalism, the
radical, racialised stream of German nationalism that came to exert a strong influence in the interwar period
(see Chapter 6).
^ diese Volksgemeinschaft eine nationalsozialistische sein wird oder sie wird nicht sein. ... Nur dann knnen
wir einen Machtfaktor in diesem Vaterlande darstellen und nurr dann gelangen wir zu jener geistlichen
Gemeinschaft mit den 80 Millionen unseres deutschen Muttervolkes, die uns gestalten wird, seine geistigen,
politischen und wirtschaftlichen Krfte auch unserem Vaterlande zugute kommen zu lassen. "Der Sachsentag
im Zeichen des Sieges der NSDR." Ostdeutscher Beobachter (herein OB) 1 October 1933, 1.

the First World War. In this sense, the Saxons were typical of many small communities in
interwar Europe.

The Saxons approached the challenges of ethno-corporatism by numerous means. These

included the pursuit of collective legal rights by negotiation with the state, positing a
broader multi-ethnic Transylvanian polity that would guarantee collective ethnic rights,
pursuing ethno-corporatism under the banner of religious freedoms and seeking to
strengthen ties with other German communities. While a number of these strategies met
with partial success, none fully compensated for the lack of a state, and all fell short of
Saxon expectations. I argue that disappointment with other attempts to achieve ethnocorporate status led to growing radicalisation of Saxon ethnic identity, and to the eventual
adoption of fascism. In this sense, while influenced by currents from Germany, Saxon
"National Socialism" can paradoxically be seen as stemming from the pursuit of minority

To demonstrate this, it is first necessary to consider the definitions of ethnic community

and nation, and to separate the politicisation of ethnicity from nationalism. This is done

Nationalism and minority ethnic communities

Anthony D. Smith defines an ethnic community as having a collective name, a shared
history and myth of common descent, a distinctive shared culture, a sense of association
with a specific territory, and a sense of consciousness and solidarity. ^^ Shared culture can
manifest in many different ways, and can include language, religion, customs, institutions,
laws, folklore, architecture, dress, food, music and the arts. Fredrick Barth argues that the
interplay of ethnicity and culture is best understood in terms of boundaries. Ethnic

Anthony D. Smith, The ethnic origins of nations. Oxford; New York, N.Y.: B. Blackwell, 1987, 22-30.

communities identify key cultural indicators that mark who is within the ethnic community
and who is without. It is these boundaries, much more than the overall cultural contents of
an ethnicity, which mark the community. Which cultural features become significant is
determined by the nature of interactions between ethnic communities; those features that
are judged by the actors to be most significant will mark ethnic boundaries. Barth focuses
particularly on the significance of cultural indicators in the economic sphere. While the
boundaries of the community remain fairly consistent, the cultural 'contents' and social
structure of an ethnic community may vary greatly over time.^^ Although identification
with an ethnic community is perennial, individual ethnic communities evolve and
transform, are absorbed/assimilated or separate into new communities. The significance
attributed to ethnic identity has varied greatly at different stages and in different places
throughout history. ^^ Ethno-symbolists such as Smith build upon Barth but move away
from economic determinism to emphasise the importance of the cultural forms that Barth
discounts. In particular, ethno-symbolists emphasise the role of myths and symbols in
unifying populations and ensuring their continuity. ^^ Smith describes this as the "mythsymbol complex", which lies at the core of all ethnic identities.

The shared history and

mythology of an ethnic community provides the legitimisation for the community's self
image, and the source of cultural indicators that are held as significant and mark the
community's borders. For Smith, the solidarity of the ethnic community is the ultimate
decider of ethnicity. ^^

Nationalism, by comparison, locates the source of individual identity within a "people",

which is seen as the bearer of sovereignty, the central object of loyalty, and the basis of
collective solidarity. The "people" may be defined in various ways, but they are seen as
basically homogeneous: internal social, economic or other divisions are seen as superficial
by comparison. The principle requirement of nationalism is belief in the idea of the

^^ Fredrik Barth, "Introduction." In Fredrik Barth (ed). Ethnic groups and boundaries: the social organization
of cultural difference. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1969, 13-15.
Anthony D. Smith, National identity. London; New York: Penguin, 1991, 23-25.
^^ [Hutchinson, John & Anthony D. Smith]. "Introduction." In John Hutchinson & Anthony D. Smith (ed).
Ethnicity. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1996, 10.
^^ Smith, Ethnic origins of nations, 57-58.
Smith, Ethnic origins of nations, 22-30.

"nation". ^^ As Smith argues, "To the nationalist, the world is a world of nations, each with
its peculiar and unique power, and all political power comes from the nation alone."^^ At
the core of this belief is the principle of national self-determination, the right of nations to
determine their own destinies in accordance with their unique properties. In its classic
formulation, the right to self-determination entails the right of the nation to form its own
nation-state. 1 X
It is the political aspect of nationalism, the demand for a sovereign territory on the basis of
forming a community of equal individuals sharing a common culture and values, which
gives shape to the nation. Without nationalism, there is no nation. ^^ The nation, then, is a
human group mobilised and conscious of forming a community, formed by individuals that
are seen as equal members regardless of socioeconomic status. Nationalism brings together
the concept of the "people" (the masses) with older term "nation" (the elite). All members
of the modem nation share in its superior, elite quality, in its bearing of sovereignty.^^
Thus, belonging to the nation "elevated every member of the community which made it
sovereign. National identity is, fundamentally, a matter of dignity. It gives people reasons
to be proud."^^
The collective status of the members of the nation stems from their perceived shared
characteristics. The nation shares a common culture, is attached to a common territory, has
a myth of a common past and a common project (albeit contested) for the future, and most
importantly claims the right to self-rule on the basis of its existence as a nation.^^ National
^^ Greenfeld, Liah. Nationalism: five roads to modernity. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992,
Smith, Ethnic origins of nations, 129-130.
^^ For example, see John Stuart Mill, Considerations on Representative Government, New York: Harper and
Brothers, 1862. Project Gutenberg EBook, 2004,^ook/lookupid?key=olbp23760, [10 November 2006], Chapter
XVI "Of Nationality, as connected with Representative Government", and Giuseppe Mazzini, The duties of
man and other essays. London: Dent, 1968, especially "The duties of man."
^^ Brian Jenkins & Gnter Minnerup. Citizens and comrades: socialism in a world of nation states. London:
Pluto Press, 1984, 50-51.
Greenfeld, Nationalism, 6-7.
Greenfeld, Nationalism, 487, emphasis in original.
^^ Montserrat Guibemau, "National identity and modernity." In Alain Dieckhoff & Gutirrez, Natividad (ed).
Modern Roots: studies of national identity. Aldershot; Burlington USA; Singapore; Sydney: Ashgate
Publishing, 2001, 74, and Smith, Ethnic origins of nations, 135-137, 170-171.

identity is the identification of the individual with the nation?^ The state, as defined by
Weber, is a human community that successfully claims the monopoly of the legitimate use
of force within a given territory

The nation-state seeks its legitimacy as the expression of

national self-determination. It aims to unite its population, made of citizens equal before the
law, by creating a common culture, symbols and values. In short, the nation-state seeks to
transform its population into a nation.^^

Nationalists construct a selective unifying history from the past, to both teach and inspire
the nation and to legitimise the nation-building project. Nationalism is naturalised by being
projected upon the landscape, creating a claim to territory. The myth-symbol complex so
produced shapes the nation to be.^^ The myth-symbol complex creates a strong sense of
national identity, and legitimises claims to national autonomy.^^ Ethnicity is used to
legitimise claims to national self-determination by demonstrating the continuity of the

(national) community.


Cultural diversity and the right to develop one's own specific

identity become moral arguments
utilised by minorities claiming from the state the

right to national self-determination.

Indeed, partisans of opposing nationalisms very often

compete over their claims to the same pre-national myths, symbols, heroes and
landscapes.^^ However, nationalism is also the subject of claims internal to the nation, by
interest groups competing for access to the resources of the nation-state. This is not to
dismiss the genuine and deep attachments that most nationalists feel to the nation.
However, it is also insightful to consider the importance of material factors in the attraction
of nationalism. Material interests help shape nationalists' visions of the nation and
^^ Greenfeld, Nationalism, 1. Gutirrez, Natividad. "The study of national identity." In Dieckhoff & Gutirrez
(eds), Modem Roots, 1.
^^ Cited in Montserrat Guibemau, Nations without states: political communities in a global age. Cambridge:
Polity, 1999, 13.
^^ Guibemau, "National identity and modernity", 74-75, and Smith, Ethnic origins of nations, 135-137.
^^ Smith, Ethnic origins of nations, 177-208.
^^ Smith, National identity, 74-77.
^^ Guibemau, Montserrat. "Anthony D. Smith on nations and national identity: a critical assessment." In
Montserrat Guibemau & John Hutchinson, History and national destiny: ethnosymbolism and its critics.
Oxford: Blackwell, 2004, 126.
^^ Guibemau, Nations without states, 103-106.
The overlapping nature of national symbolisms is nicely demonstrated in George White's analysis of
nationalism in South East Europe. George W. White, Nationalism and territory: constructing group identity
in southeastern Europe. Lanham; Boulder; New York; Oxford: Rouman & Littlefield, 2000.

contribute to a contested national discourse.^^ For this reason, the nation's myth-symbol
complex is not fixed but is shaped by the nation as much as it shapes the nation.

Historicising the nation

While ethnicity appears to be a perennial characteristic of human communities, nationalism
is the product of a specific historical period and specific historic forces, and first appeared
little before the end of the eighteenth century.^^ Nationalism movements can be divided into
two broad streams: civic and ethnic nationalisms. In practice, pure civic or ethnic nations
are rare, but the variations between the mixtures of the two differ sufficiently to justify their
use as analytical terms.^^ The first wave of nationalism, the 'civic' nationalisms of Western
Europe and the Americas, had its origins in the modernisation of economics, the creation of
the centralised bureaucratic state and transformations in education and communications.
Gellner emphasises industrialisation, resulting in increasing division of labour and the
creation of the centralised bureaucratic state, both requiring a broad, standardised culture
produced by a broad and standardised education system.^"^ By comparison. Smith sees the
growth of the bureaucratic state, inculcating a formerly elite culture into ever widening
segments of society, as laying the foundations for nationalism.^^ Anderson highlights the
role of print media in the vernacular tongue in producing a sense of shared community.^^
Ethnosymbolists such as Smith also highlight the shared cultural symbols and ideals that
make up the contents of the nation, flowing from the state's common laws and legal
institutions, its common rights and responsibilities of citizenship.^^ Civic nationalism.

Guibemau, Nations without states, 91-92, and Katherine Verdery, "Introduction." In Ivo Banac &
Katherine Verdery (ed), National Character and National Ideology in Interwar Eastern Europe. New Haven:
Yale University Press, 1995.
^^ Ernest Gellner, Nationalism. London: Phoenix, 1997, 12-13, and E. J. Hobesbawm, Nations and
nationalism since 1870. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006 [1990], 9-10 and Guibemau,
"Anthony D Smith on nations and national identity", 138-140. C.f. Smith, National Identity, 43-51.
^^ GvQQnQd, Nationalism, 11-12.
Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1983, 35-50.
^^ Smith, National Identity, 60-62.
^^ Benedict Anderson, Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London;
New York: Verso, 1991, 37-65.
^^ Smith, Ethnic origins of nations, 134-135.

flowing from these developments, emphasises the rights and equality of the individual
within the state, and the sovereignty of the nation as a whole.

The economic changes described above did not in themselves produce nationalism, and
nationalism is by no means the only possible response to these changes.

Indeed, the only

necessary aspect of nationalism is the idea of the nation.^^ This can be seen in the "ethnic"
nationalisms of Eastern Europe. The later wave of ethnic nationalism was a response to the
emergence of civic nation-states. In Eastern Europe, rulers of dynastic, multiethnic states
responded to the emergence of the centralised state in Western Europe and Russia by
attempting to centralise and modernise their own states."^^ The standardisation of the state's
culture, coupled with the undermining of traditional privileges, provoked resistance from
some members of minority ethnic communities, who responded by fostering alternative
nationalisms. Both Hroch and Gellner emphasise the co-incidence of social conflict and
ethnic identity in producing ethno-nationalist movements. However, Hroch argues that
increased communication (through literacy, schools and market relations) and social
mobility, rather than industrialism itself, which permits the development of nationalism as a
mass movement."^^ Here, rather than the state producing a national community through the
fostering of common citizenship, nationalists attempted to mobilise ethnic communities as
the basis of new n a t i o n s . S u c h nationalisms often preceded modernisation and
industrialisation in the populations in question."^^ However, ethnic nationalisms in premodem communities seek to replicate the legal institutions and citizenship models of civic

Greenfeld, Nationalism, 487. Greenfeld offers the example of Prussia, which experienced many aspects of
economic and social modernisation without abandoning its traditional privilege-based understanding of
society, until the Napoleonic Wars brought the German states into direct conflict with a nation-state and
disseminated the ideal of nationalism. Greenfeld, Nationalism, Chapter 4.
^^ Greenfeld, Nationalism, 3-4.
^^ Anderson, Imagined communities, 77-78, 84-88.
Miroslav Hroch, "From national movement to the fully-formed nation: the nation-building process in
Europe." In Balakrishnan Gopal (ed). Mapping the Nation. London; New York: Verso & New Left Review,
2000, 85-88. Gellner, Nations and nationalism, 58-62. Gellner emphasises the role of industrialisation in this,
but aggrieved minority nationalists were often drawn from the petty nobility or the impoverished rural gentry.
Anderson, Imagined communities, 78-79, 88-90, 101-105. See also Smith, National Identity, 99-100.
^^ Smith, Ethnic origins of nations, 135-138. See also Rogers Brubaker, Citizenship and nationhood in France
and Germany. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992, 184-189.
Irina Livezeanu, Cultural politics in Greater Romania: regionalism, nation building and ethnic struggle,
1918-1930. Ithica; London: Cornell University Press, 1995, 5-6.

nationalism, as well as the process of economic modernisation.'^'^ These components

become necessary for the dissemination and institutionalisation of nationalism.
While in the civic states ethnicity was initially taken for granted, and not a key point in the
formation of national identity, internal disputes and external challenges led to ethnicisation
of these nations."^^ Thus, the distinction between civic and ethnic nation-states should not be
overstressed. Both civic and ethnic nationalisms require a community sharing common
values and customs, communicating through common symbols. Key components in the
myth-symbol complex that forms the core of nationalism are a myth of common origin, a
sense of shared historical progression, and identification with a common national

The extent to which nationalist symbolism is really drawn from pre-existing ethnic
symbolism is a subject of dispute. Smith emphasises the ethnic origins of national
symbology. This corresponds with Earth's assertion of ethnic communities that although
the cultural practices of a community change, and with them the symbols and practices that
mark a community's boundary, the community itself often continues undisturbed."^^ By
comparison, Hobsbawm emphasises the invented nature of "national traditions". While he
recognises that many traditions draw on historical practices, he argues that their
formalisation and ritualisation changes their meaning entirely. He also argues convincingly
that many traditions are entirely novel."^^ It is, however, interesting to note how many of
Hobsbawm's examples are of reworked past practices rather than of complete fabrication.
Smith suggests that national traditions are less 'invented' than 'constructed', that
'invention' must be understood in the sense of "a novel recombination of existing
elements"."^^ Thus, as Gutirrez argues, the nation, as imagined by its members, is a
Smith, Ethnic origins of nations, 149. See also Gellner, Nations and nationalism, 61-62.
Smith, Ethnic origins of nations, 149. On the ethnocisation of 'civic' national states, see Corinne Delmas,
"Recreating the French nation: the teaching of history and the cole Libre des Sciences Politiques at the end
of the nineteenth century." In Diekhoff & Gutirrez (eds). Modern roots, 151-173.
^^ Smith, Ethnic origins of nations, 174-208.
^^ Barth, "Introduction", 14.
Eric Hobsbawm, "Introduction: Inventing traditions" In Eric Hobsbawm & Terrence Ranger (eds). The
invention of tradition. Cambridge, London, New York, New Rochelle, Melbourne, Sydney: Cambridge
University Press, 1983, 1-14.
Anthony D. Smith, "Nationalism and the Historians" in Balakrishnan (ed). Mapping the Nation, 69-72.

conjunction of contradictory and conflicting elements of myth and historical fact, tradition
and modem practice, regionalism and cosmopolitanism.^^ One point that Hobsbawm's
examples highlight is that many of the past practices that form the basis of national myths
were not of significance in the marking of ethnic boundaries in the past, even though they
are later reinterpreted in an ethno-nationalist light. The example considered in this thesis
lends itself to the conclusion that a great deal of the myth-symbol complex is pre-national
in source, although most frequently greatly reinterpreted, and it can rarely be demonstrated
to represent a direct continuation of past practices. The example of the Saxons also suggests
that many such past practices were primarily understood in terms of social status (estate) or
religion, rather than ethnicity itself.

The convergence of nationalism and ethno-corporatism

At the same time as nationalism has become increasingly ethnic, ethnic groups have
increasingly adopted key elements of nationalism. While nationalism was not the only
possible response to modernisation, once it was adopted, nationalism accelerated the
process of change, channelled it, limited the possibilities for further development, and
became a major factor in it.^^ Both civic and ethnic nationalisms tend to treat nationalism
(loyalty to the state) as identical to loyalty to ethnic community. Where the dominant ethnic
community in a state (the Staatsvolk) adopt a strongly ethnic nationalism, this has the effect
of marginalising and alienating other ethnic communities within the state (so-called ethnic
or "national" minorities).^^ The conflation of nation with state means that while the
recognition of a community as a nation grants legitimacy to the state that claims to
represent the nation, where the community does not have a state of its own national status
implicitly acknowledges the community's right to a measure of self-rule, be it autonomy or
fiill independence.^^

Gutirrez, "The study of national identity", 10-11.

^^ Greenfeld, Nationalism, 487.
In this context, "minority" refers to a non-dominant ethnic community within a nation-state, rather than
being an indicator of numerical status. Gellner, Ernest. "The coming of nationalism and its interpretation: the
myths of nation and class." In Balakrishnan (ed), Mapping the Nation, 135-136.
^^ Guibemau, Nations without states, 13.

Even where ethnic nationalism does not trigger counter nationahsms and claims for its own
state (either autonomous or independent), or a reapportion of political authority in a federal
structure on ethnic lines, the pressure to compete within a nationalist political system forces
those ethnic groups with no desire to form their own state to adopt some of the qualities of
nationalism so as to defend their access to state resources. These include politicising the
ethnic community's myth-symbol complex and mobilising all members of the community,
in a form that is not formal citizenship (due to the absence of a state), but is not dissimilar
in its significance to the community. As self-sufficiency is a key goal of such ethnic
movements, and as territory is viewed necessary for self-sufficiency, these movements also
sometimes (although not always) become associated with a particular homeland (where one
exists within the state; territorialisation is less likely to occur in a recent migrant ethnic
community). As a result, the boundaries of nationalism are frequently hard to draw.^"^
Thus, inspired by nationalist projects, many minority ethnic communities have consciously
attempted to pursue a path modelled on nationalism. Their challenge has been to adapt the
nation-building project to their circumstances as minorities. The key question for many
small ethnic communities has been by what means self-determination might be achieved
other than separate statehood. These questions have been answered in different ways by
different minorities at different times. In doing so, minorities have adapted their 'mythsymbol complex' to reflect and reinforce their desired and perceived relationships with the
However, while a great deal of scholarly attention has been devoted to nation-building
projects that aimed, in the long term, for a territorial state of some kind, much less attention
to nation-building projects where statehood not desired/considered achievable. The
exception has been in context of international law and human rights, rather than in terms of
theories of nationalism.^^ The lack of scholarly interest is reflected in the absence of a clear
^^ Smith, Ethnic origins of nations, 154-169.
^^ This point has been made by Yael Tamir, "The right to national self determination." Social Research Vol
58 Nr 3, Fall 1991, 565. His work and a number of others that form an exception to this rule are discussed
below. Examples of studies of minority rights and national self-determination from a legal perspective include
Igor Primoratz & Aleksandar Pavkovip (ed), Identity, self-determination, and secession. Aldershot, Hants,

term for ethnic movements that are politicised on the basis of ethnicity but that do not seek
a nation-state of their own. Ethnic identity is insufficient because not all ethnic identities
are politicised. Ethnic politicisation is insufficient because ethnicity is often politicised as
an indicator of social status, class, religion and so on in conflicts that are not driven by
ethnicity. The phenomenon I seek to describe is different in that legitimacy stems from
ethnic status itself The term "ethnocentrism" has taken on negative connotations from
anthropology, where it is used to indicate judging other cultures on the basis of one's own
cultural values. "Ethnic particularism" also has negative connotations and has come to
signify the opposite of cosmopolitanism. Smith offers the term "communalism" to describe
the pursuit of "communal control over communal affairs in those geographical areas where
the ethnic community forms a majority".^^ Communalism as described by Smith is an
important minority strategy. However, there is nothing inherent in minority responses to
nationalism that they should seek collective rights only in those areas where they form a
majority. Furthermore, communalism lacks the recognition of collective legal status that
lies at the heart of many small minority movements. I also disagree with Smith's assertion
that Communalism is a form of nationalism, because it fails to pursue a territorial state.^^ I
shall use "ethno-corporatism" to indicate the belief that political legitimacy stems from
membership of an ethnic community, and that such communities are entitled to collective
legal status and self-determination. Although ethnic nationalism is one form of ethnocorporatism, "self-determination" does not necessarily indicate the formation of an
independent (or autonomous) nation-state. However, because nationalism has been the
model for ethno-corporatism, the self-determination sought by non-nationalist ethnocorporatists tends to attempt to compensate for the lack of a nation-state.

In part, the lack of interest in ethno-corporatism is because many minority ethnic

communities, especially in Europe, are not ethnicities without nation-states as such, but
England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006, Thomas D. Musgrave, Self-determination and national minorities.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997, Hurst Hannum, Autonomy, sovereignty, and self-determination: the
accommodation of conflicting rights. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990, Robert
McCorquodale (ed), Self-determination in international law. Aldershot: Ashgate/Dartmouth, 2000, Markku
Suksi (ed), Autonomy: applications and implications. The Hague; Boston: Kluwer Law International, 1998,
and Umozurike Oji Umozurike, Self-determination in international law. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books,
^^ Anthony D. Smith, The ethnic revival. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981, 16.
^^ Smith, The Ethnic Revival, 18.

ethnie eommunities living outside of the nation-state in which their co-ethnics are the
Staatsvolk. At times, some ethnic communities have included large "diasporas" that
through migration or the arbitrary setting of state boundaries live outside of the nation-state,
and which in some circumstances identify with the national 'homeland'. Amongst the most
numerous and politically significant have been Germans, Hungarians and Ukrainians in the
interwar period, and Russians and Serbs in the post-communist period.^^

The automatic treatment of such groups as "diasporas" is problematic. A diaspora is "a

minority ethnic group of migrant origin which maintains sentimental or material links with
its land of origin".^^ There is a tendency in the literature to treat the ethno-corporatism of
minorities as identical to the nationalism of the 'homeland' nation-state. Rogers Brubaker
highlights the fact that while minority "nationalisms" are often closely aligned to homeland
nationalism, this is not always the case, and warns of the need to treat the sentiments of
minority communities separately.^^ (One problem caused by the conflation of minority with
diaspora is that it tends to lead to locally driven demands for autonomy or secession being
misrepresented as irredentism, which is generally a product of inter-state r i v a l r y . I n his
own treatment of nationalism, Brubaker does not examine minority nationalism in detail.^^
However, Brubaker's observation has providing a launching point for research into
minority 'nationalisms', especially with regards to ethnic Germans outside of Germany, the
"Germans Abroad".^^


Rogers Brubaker, Nationalism reframed: nationhood and the national question in the New Europe.
Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996, 6-7.
^^ Milton J. Esman, "Diasporas and international relations." In Gabi Sheffer (ed), Modem diasporas in
international politics. London; Sydney: Croom Helm, 1986, 333-339.
Esman explicitly excludes from this ethnic groups that have become minorities by conquest or boundary
change, which would exclude many of the most significant minority groups in Europe (for example Germans
in Silesia, Russians in the Baltic states) would be automatically excluded. However, this has not prevented
them being treated as such in scholarly literature. For the purpose of this study, the key feature of a diaspora is
the continuing sense of connection to the homeland. Pieter Judson, "When is a diaspora not a diaspora?" In K.
Molly O'Donnell, Renate Bridenthal & Nancy Reagin (ed), The Heimat Abroad: The Boundaries of
Germanness. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005, 219-220.
Brubaker, Nationalism Reframed, 6.
Guibemau, Nations without states, 27.
^^ Interestingly, while recognising in Nationalism Reframed that homeland and minority nationalisms are not
always aligned Brubaker devotes a chapter each to nationalising and homeland nationalisms, but does not
enter into a similar analysis of minority nationalism.
^^ Auslandsdeutschtum. For example, see the collection of essays in O'Donnell et al (ed). The Heimat Abroad.

While Smith sees ethno-corporatism as adopting increasing elements of nationalism, and

Brubaker distinguishes between minority sentiments and the nationalism of states, neither
consider how such movements respond to those components of nationalism that are
provided only by a state (or a stake in a state). One scholar who does consider minority
rights from a theoretical perspective is Yael Tamir. Tamir has argued for the necessity in
theories of nationalism of separating national self-determination from statehood, arguing
that national self-determination is first and foremost a cultural matter. Tamir holds that
although statehood is a means of securing national self-determination, it is not the only
means by which to do so.^"^ Tamir's approach builds upon the work of Karl Renner and
Otto Bauer, discussed below, and has the value of distinguishing between territorial
nationalism and ethno-corporatism (referred to by Tamir as "cultural nationalism").
However, it is not at all clear that self-determination can be satisfied by cultural means
alone. Certainly, most nationalist movements without states also demand political,
administrative and economic as well as cultural autonomy.^^
A further area of rich analysis may be found in the study of the wealth of nationalist
movements that have come to prominence mainly in Western democracies since the Second
World War and that have for the most part sought something less than full independence.
The key theoretician to examine minority nationalism has been Montserrat Guibemau.
Guibenau argues for the classification of these communities (such as the Catalonians and
Basques in Spain, the Scots and Welsh in Britain, the Qubcois in Canada and the Kurds
in Iraq) as "nations without states".^^ He defines these as cultural communities that despite
sharing a common past, an attachment to a clearly demarcated territory and a wish to decide
their own political future, nonetheless lack a state of their own. Such communities are
included in one or more states that they regard as alien, and assert a right to selfdetermination, sometimes as autonomy within the state and sometimes as the right to full
secession. Most fi'equently, such communities trace their consciousness as a community to
now lost, fi-equently pre-national political institutions.^^ The distinction between "nations
^^ Tamir, "The right to national self determination", 565-590.
^^ Guibemau, Nations without states, 36-66.
^^ Guibemau, Nations without states.
^^ Guibemau, Nations without states, 1-2, 16-17. The idea of nations without states is also posited by Smith,
Ethnic origins of nations, 154.

without states" and non-national ethnic communities seeking ethno-corporatism lay in their
different territorial and political demands. National self-determination presupposes a right
to exercise sovereignty over a given territory to the exclusion of others, be that through full
independence or partial autonomy. Non-national ethno-corporatist communities are either
unwilling or unable to lay claim to the right to dominate a given territory and exercise selfdetermination there, either due to their few numbers, their lack of historical connection to
the territory, or their sense of attachment to the state. In turn, unwillingness or inability to
form a state shapes their political consciousness and their self-image as a community.

Guibemau considers a number of different possible positions that states adopt with regards
to minority nationalisms, including denial and repression, cultural recognition, political
autonomy and federalism. He also considers forms of resistance to the state, both nonviolent (including symbolic actions, interference, elite networks and demonstrations of
solidarity) and violent (political terrorism, total war). Thus, Guibemau does consider
minorities in states that refuse to recognise them. Nonetheless, first and foremost,
Guibemau explores how nations without states can achieve territorial autonomy, either
within existing states or through full independence. This is not always the aim of
minorities, especially small minorities not living in contiguous settlements. Furthermore,
while paying careful attention to the historical background of his case studies, Guibemau's
work focuses on the contemporary period and is predicated upon the continuing devolution
of state authority to on one hand supranational institutions such as the EU and NAFTA, and

on the other hand to sub-national institutions as implied in the "Europe of the regions".


such circumstances, and especially in the democracies of Europe and North America,
national self-determination in one form or another is frequently possible for sufficiently
determined communities. This is a relatively new state of affairs. Moreover is it unclear that
Guibemau's model is applicable outside the West. Even today, as Will Kymlicka has
argued, although in the Westem democracies minority nationalist movements have come to
be judged primarily in terms of justice and equality, in Eastem Europe they continue to be
considered primarily in terms of state security. For this reason. East European regimes
continue to be for the most part hostile to minority autonomy. Where such rights have been
Guibemau, Nations and states, 175-186.

granted it has generally been due to military action or the threat of such action, and even
then only where the state has little hope of winning the conflict.^^
The question for many ethnic minorities has been and continues to be how to compensate
for the lack of the functions of state where no reasonable hope of achieving partial or
complete statehood remains. The main functions of the state are having the power to confer
rights and duties on its citizens, provision of basic needs, maintenance of social order,
setting economic policies, seeing to the defence of the state, the control of immigration and
foreign policy, the provision of education and overseeing networks of communications and
transport/^ A number of these functions can be more or less replicated by means of private
institutions. For example, religious, moral and economic pressures can ensure that members
of a community meet their duties and benefit from communal privileges.^^ Semi-criminal or
paramilitary ethnic organisations may perhaps also provide an example of maintaining
rights and duties. Similarly, private institutions, especially Churches, may provide elements

of social services, as well as education. Co-operatives may carry out some economic
functions, and privately owned media can provide for communications. However, these
functions depend on both resources and upon a state that is either tolerant of private
minority ethnic endeavours or too weak to prevent them. Furthermore, it is extremely
difficult for minorities to replace by private means certain key functions of the state: direct
control over territory, a fully independent economic policy (insofar as states are
economically sovereign), the ability to exclude "foreigners" and the power of physical
coercion. These functions form the most important areas of study in understanding minority
responses to the lack of statehood.

^^ Will Kymlicka, "Justice and security in the accommodation of minority nationalism." In Stephen May,
Tariq Modood, & Judith Squires (eds), Ethnicity, nationalism, and minority rights. Cambridge, UK; New
York: Cambridge University Press, 2004, 144-175. As successful examples of autonomy, Kymlicka lists
TransDnesiter, Abkhazia, Krajina, the Crimea and Ngomo-Kanabakh. He recognizes Russia as an exception,
but suggests that most Russian politicians view the ethnic autonomy model there with hostility. (148-149)
^^ Guibemau, Nations without states, 17.
^^ Abner Cohen, Two-dimensional man: an essay on the anthropology of power and symbolism in complex
society. London: Routledge & Kegen Paul, 1974.
^^ C.f. Gellner, Nations and nationalism, 38.

Interwar minority rights and ethno-corporatism

National self-determination and the Paris Peace Settlements
The interwar era was (to date) the most innovative period with regards to minority rights.
Not surprisingly, it also forms the locus classicus of the tensions between nation states and
national minorities'^ Although all four of the empires of Central and East Europe
(Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire) had embarked upon the path
of nationalism by the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries, this process remained
incomplete in all four states at the outbreak of the First Worid War. Germany most
resembled a nation-state, although with large minorities, and even amongst German
speakers the nation remained fractured, as shall be discussed below. Despite efforts at
Turkification, Russification and Magyarisation, the Ottoman Empire, Russia and AustriaHungary continued to be multi-ethnic dynastic states. The collapse after the War of all four
and the emergence of numerous successor states organised on supposedly nationalist lines
marks the peak in legitimacy of national self-determination as a principle for the ordering
of states, if not for the actual application of this principle, as discussed below. The period
was also marked by on the one hand rapid economic change and modernisation, and on the
other a worldwide Depression, conditions that greatly intensified intergroup rivalries.

The term self-determination has come, since 1945, to have a very broad meaning. It now
refers to the ability of a group to make choices free from the bounds of the institutional
framework within which they live. As such, it can be expressed culturally, socially,
economically and politically.^^ Even within the political context, self-determination is now
understood to encompass a wide range of options short of ftill secession.^^ In addition, after
the Second World War the concept of self-determination was shaped by the process of
^^ Brubaker makes this point regarding tensions between nation-states over national minorities. Brubaker,
Nationalism Reframed, 6-7.
^^ Carole Fink, Defending the rights of others: the Great Powers, the Jews and international minority
protection, 1878-1938. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004, 359-360.
^^ See for example the International Human Rights Covenants of 1966. [McCorquodale, Robert],
"Introduction." In McCorquodale (ed), Self-determination in international law, xi-xv.
^^ Paul H. Brietzke, "Self-determination or jurisprudential confusion: exacerbating political conflict."
Wisconsin International Law Journal, Vol 14, 1995, 122-123.

decolonisation and has come to refer primarily to territorially defined rather than ethnic
"peoples"/^ However, this was not the primary understanding of self-determination before
the Second World War, and especially in the interwar period. National self-determination
primarily referred to the claimed right of an ethnically defined nation to form a state
reflecting its particular national character
None of the combatants at the beginning of the First World War had amongst their aims the
promotion of national self-determination as a guiding principle in the ordering of the
European states. However, as the war progressed, both the Entente and the Central Powers
appealed to the nationalist aspirations of the smaller European states to gamer allies and
undermine the war effort of their opponents. By the end of the War, the principle of
national self-determination had come to be associated with ideas of Liberalism and freedom
from oppression, and was represented, especially by American President Woodrow Wilson,
as a central plank in the establishment of a just and lasting peace. Victors and vanquished,
emerging nations and small ethnic minorities all utilised the rhetoric of national selfdetermination to legitimise their visions of the new Europe.^^
The principles by which the Peace Settlement was to be shaped were outlined in two
speeches delivered in Joint Session by Wilson in early 1919. On 8 January 1918, 'Wilson's
Fourteen Points' speech advanced "the principle of justice to all peoples and nationalities,
and their right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety with one another, whether they be
strong or weak." Also of importance was Point 10: "The peoples of Austria-Hungary,
whose place amongst nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded
the freest opportunity to autonomous development." However, Wilson stopped short of
specifically endorsing the principle of national self-determination. He went further on 11
February 1918, in his 'Four Principles' speech. Of particular importance was Principle 4:
"that all well defined national aspirations shall be accorded the utmost satisfaction that can
be accorded them without introducing new or perpetuating old elements of discord and
^^ Rupert Emerson, ''SQlf-dQtermination'' American Journal of International Law. Vol 65, 1971, 459-475.
^^ Umozurike, Self-determination in international law, 3.
^^ C. A. Macartney, National states and national minorities. New York: Russell & Russell, 1968 [1934], 179192, and Guyora Binder, "The case for self-determination." Stanford Journal of International Law Vol 29,

antagonism that would be likely in time to break the peace of Europe and consequently of
the world." Also of great significance was Principle One: "that each part of the final
settlement be based upon the essential justice of that particular case and upon such
adjustments as are most likely to bring a peace that will be permanent."^^

Paradoxically, national self-determination had only limited bearing on the final shape of the
Peace Treaties. Although Central and Eastern Europe were divided into nation-states, the
boundaries of these states were for the most part set according to secret treaties made by the
Entente during the war, in reflection of territories already seized by nationalist movements,
or for economic and/or strategic reasons, rather than according to the 'optimal ethnographic
line'. The victor states, known at the time as the "Principal Allied and Associated


frequently invoked the principle of a just and lasting peace settlement to justify

their decisions to ignore the principle of national self-determination. Nor did national selfdetermination become a principle in international law. The League of Nations Covenant did
not explicitly enshrine national self-determination, which was held to be less significant
than the sovereignty of the state.^^ Nevertheless, such was the strength of legitimacy of the
concept that the majority of interwar supporters and critics of the peace settlements utilised
the rhetoric of national self-determination to support their arguments for the new Europe.

Minority Protection

Almost entirely absent fi-om any discussion of national self-determination by the Great
Powers during the War was any consideration of the fate of the inevitable minority
populations that would be found in any nation-state system. Preoccupied with securing
support for the War effort, the "Principal Allied and Associated Powers" paid little
"8 January 1918: President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points." The World War I Document Archive, 15
October 1999., [28 February 2005]. and "11 February 1918:
President Wilson's address to Congress, analyzing German and Austrian peace utterances." The World War I
Document Archive, 12 July 1997. [30 November 2006]. See
also Macartney, National states and national minorities, 189-192.
^^ Pablo de Azcarate, (trans. Eileen E. Brooke) League of Nations and national minorities: an experiment.
Washington: Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, 1945, 57.
^^ Macartney, National states and national minorities, 193-208, and Hurst Hannum, "Rethinking selfdetermination." Virginia Journal of International Law Vol 34, 1993, 4-11.

attention to how national self-determination was to be achieved.^^ No division of Europe

could hope to produce homogenous nation-states, and the difficulties were exacerbated by
frequent deviations of boundaries from the optimal ethnic line, as discussed above. In 1919
an estimated 22 million people in Eastern Europe found themselves to be ethnic, religious
and/or linguistic minorities, mostly in the new or expanded nation-states.^"^ Furthermore, as
was recognised by Wilson's critics at the time, the lack of an objective definition of a
"people" meant that the states of Europe could theoretically be divided into smaller units ad
infinitum, undermining the principle of state sovereignty and creating chaos and


At the same time, the Principal Allied and Associated Powers were concerned

that the presence of significant ethnic minorities in the new or newly expanded states would
exacerbate tensions between the states and lead to future wars.
The responses of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers to the problem of minorities
was driven therefore primarily by the need to put the genie of nationalism back into the
bottle, and only secondarily by the desire to protect the rights of minorities. The Principal
Powers imposed Minorities Treaties upon the new nation-states, the successor states to the
defeated Central Powers, and the Baltic states emerging from the ruins of the Russian

The idea of protection for minorities through international treaties was not new. One of the
earliest such attempts was the Vienna Peace Treaty (1606) between Transylvania and
Austria, which included provisions for the protection of Protestant minorities in Royal
Hungary.^^ One of the most significant precedents for the Minorities Treaties was the
Treaty of Berlin (1878), which obligated the four states emerging from Turkey in Europe
(Serbia, Romania, Montenegro and Bulgaria) to treat their citizens equally regardless of

^^ Macartney, National states and national minorities, 212-213.

Joost Herman, "The League of Nations and its Minority Protection Programme in Eastern Europe:
revolutionary, unequalled and underestimated." In The League of Nations 1920-1946: Organization and
accomplishments. A retrospective of the first international organization for the establishment of world peace.
New York; Geneva: United Nations, 1996, 49.
^^ For example, Theodore S. Woolsey, "Self-administration."
journal of international law, Vol 13,
1919, 302-305. See also Binder, "The case for self-determination," 229.
^^ Musgrave, Self determination and national minorities, 37-41.

religion. However, the protection offered to minorities was of limited scope, and the Great
Powers made few efforts to enforce it.^^

Nevertheless, the 1919 Minorities Treaties represented a revolutionary and as of yet

unequalled attempt to supervise minority rights.^^ They were also deeply flawed. The
Treaties were formed on an ad hoc basis reflecting first and foremost the desire of the
Principal Allied and Associated Powers to minimise the likelihood of future conflicts, and
only secondarily humanitarian concerns. The Principal Powers were conscious of the
difficulty of integrating minority rights with liberal democracy. Classic liberalism
privileges individual representation and autonomy above all other rights. As national
autonomy is a collective demand, it is often seen as clashing with the basic liberal belief
about the strict political equality of all individual citizens.^^ Furthermore, the legitimacy of
the nation-state was and is particularly vulnerable to the claim of distinct sovereignty of a
"people" that the state is unable or unwilling to represent. The treaties referred to "members
of national minorities" rather than to the "minorities" themselves. This phrasing was
designed to prevent the creation of a "state within a state" and thus avoid undermining the
sovereignty of the state, which was seen as a necessary component of peace and stability in
Europe. ^^

The insistence of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers on preserving unchallenged
the sovereignty of the state and the rights of the majority, coupled with the emphasis on
individual rights in the French-style constitutions of the new or newly expanded states of
Eastern Europe, were significant limitations on the ability of the treaties to afford minority
protection.^^ The treaties did not confer any right to self-determination, and minorities were
obliged to remain loyal to the states in which they found themselves. In return, they were
guaranteed certain basic rights that in theory would enable them to continue their separate

^^ Fink, Defending the rights of others, 3-65.

^^ Herman, "The League of Nations and its Minority Protection Programme", 49.
^^ Ephraim Nimni, "Introduction: the national cultural autonomy model revisited" In Ephraim Nimni (ed),
National cultural autonomy and its contemporary critics. London & New York: Routledge, 2005, 7.
Brietzke, "Self-determination or jurisprudential confusion," 79.
^^ Cornelius Zach, "Der Vlkerbund und der Minderheitenschutz in Rumnien 1920-1939." Siebenbrgische
Semesterbltter (herein the SSbll) Vol 5 Nr 1, 1991, 41-42.

cultural and religious development.^^ Most of the rights conferred were civic, political and
religious. Rights of language use and education were secondary.^^
Largely absent were principles of autonomy and of collective rights as communities. Two
regions - Ruthenia and Aland - were granted far-reaching self-autonomy. Autonomy;
however, was a substitute for, not the recognition of, the right to self-determination of the
Ruthenes (who wished to unify with the Ukraine or to form a separate state with the
Ukrainians of Galicia) and the Alanders (who wished to join Sweden). Similar conclusions
can be drawn from two other autonomous regions recognised by the League separately
from the Minorities Treaties: the Free City of Danzig and Memel in Lithuania.^"^ In several
cases, minorities that were not granted full autonomy were granted limited selfadministration on communal lines. These included the Saxons and Szeklers in
Transylvania.^^ Here again, however, it is difficult to draw a clear principle of collective
rights.^^ Nor were the limited rights guaranteed by the Minorities Treaties established as
universal rights. The Great Powers declined to include universal rights of race and religion
(proposed by the Japanese) because of the implications for the racially segregated United
States and for colonial relations in the British and French Empires.^^

Application of the treaties

The signing of the Minorities Treaties raised high expectations on the part of the minorities
they protected, while generating resentment on the part of the states whose activities they


^ ^

Their application by the Minorities Committee of the League of Nations

Macartney, National states and national minorities, 273-283.

^^ Macartney, National states and national minorities, 280-283.
This was made most explicit in League's deliberations over Aland. Hannum, "Rethinking selfdetermination", 7-11, Kjell Ake Nordquist, "Autonomy as a conflict-solving mechanism - an overview." In
Suksi (ed), Autonomy, 75-77, Patrick Thomberry, "Images of autonomy and individual and collective rights in
international instruments on the rights of minorities." In Suksi (ed), Autonomy, 102-103, and Musgrave, Selfdetermination and national minorities, 26-37.
^^ Macartney, National states and national minorities, 244-247.
^^ Macartney, National states and national minorities, 413-415.
^^ Macartney, National states and national minorities, 219-220, and Musgrave, Self-determination and
national minorities, 26-37.
^^ Fink, Defending the rights of others, 274.

satisfied none of the parties. On one hand, the subject states resented the fact that minority
protection was not universal. They viewed appeals to the League as acts of disloyalty by
minorities that wanted a special status within the state and were prepared to attack the state
in the international arena to achieve this. They suspected minorities of operating at the
behest of neighbouring revisionist governments.^^ The failure to introduce universal
minority rights made the treaties particularly hard to justify to the subject states. The failure
of the guarantor states to work concertedly to enforce the treaties was also a significant
factor in undermining their legitimacy. ^^^ For their part, the protected minorities resented
the fact that they had not been consulted on the Treaties. They objected to frequent
violations of the Treaties that were ignored by the League, and complained of the
unreasonable demands for "loyalty" made of them by the states. ^^^

The bureaucrats of the Minorities Committee were mindful of their duty in pursuing peace
and stability above other goals. Although they attempted to achieve this by fostering the
principles of equality,

in practice they were hampered by obstructionism from the

signatory states and the unwillingness of the non-partisan members of the League to expend
energy enforcing the Treaties.^^^ The Great Powers structured the complaints process so as
to exclude as many complaints as possible,

allegedly so as to prevent "abuse" of the

system by revisionist states; the result was that it became increasingly difficult for
legitimate complaints to get a hearing.^^^ As a result, only 16 of 950 petitions received by
the League between 1920 and 1939 reached the Council through formal channels.^^^ Where
the League member states did step in, it was rarely motivated by concern for the
minorities. ^^^ The misuse of the treaties by irredentist states in the alleged defence of their

^^ Macartney, National states and national minorities, 370-372.

Fink, Defending the rights of others, 360.
^^^ Macartney, National states and national minorities, 381-382.
^^^ Azcarate, League of Nations and National Minorities, vii-viii, 57-58.
Macartney, National states and national minorities, 375-376.
George Cipianu & Gheorghe lancu, "Die Minderheiten im Rumnien der Zwischenkriegzeit und der
Vlkerbund." In Sorin Mitu & Florin Gogltan (ed), Interethnische- und Zivilisationsbeziehungen im
Siebenbrgischen Raum: historische Studien, (trans. Edit Szegedi & Ligia Ruscu.)
Cluj/Klausenburg/Kolozsvr: Verein der Historiker aus Siebenbrgen und dem Banat, "Babe-Bolyai"
Universitt, 1996, 282-283.
Macartney, National states and national minorities, 373.
Herman, "The League of Nations and its Minority Protection Programme", 51.
Macartney, National states and national minorities, 390-391.

"diasporas" was also of significance. ^^^ The ability of the League of Nations to protect
minorities was limited without the co-operation of the governments of the subject states,
which was often hard to gain/^^

However, from 1922 the Minority Section of the League carried out informal, closed door
investigations of some 758 of the minority petitions the League received (the remaining
192 were rejected as matters inappropriate to be brought before the League), and entered
into negotiations with the governments in question over many of them. The Minorities
Section was seen by the signatory states as a neutral, impartial body.^^^ As a resuh, it was
able to negotiate the "correction" of most of the breaches identified by the League.^ ^^
However, the League frequently "corrected" breaches by seeking compromises that, while
of benefit to the minorities, were often short of the obligations imposed on the states by the


This reflects the comparative weakness of the Minorities Section, whose only

form of coercion was to threaten to embarrass state governments by beginning formal

procedures in the League Council.^ ^^ Furthermore, the 'closed door' nature of the
negotiations, and the failure of the League to enforce the ftill rights outlined in the
Minorities Treaties, undermined the legitimacy of the process in the eyes of the
The petitions to the League varied in nature. Breaches of minority rights by central
governments (that is, acts of terrorism or legislated discrimination) were comparatively
rare. Macartney attributed this to the watchful eye produced by the Treaties system.^^^
However, when they did occur they were difficult to deal with. Far more frequent were
attempts by local authorities to obstruct minority life, either through direct action or covert


Fink, Defending the rights of others, 361.

Azcarate, League of Nations and National Minorities, 44-45.
Herman, "League of Nations and its Minority Protection Programme", 52-54.
Azcarate, League of Nations and National Minorities, 66.
Macartney, National states and national minorities, 370-371. See also Zach, "Der Vlkerbund und der
Minderheitenschutz in Rumnien 1920-1939", 43.
Herman, "League of Nations and its Minority Protection Programme", 53-54.
Ognyana Hrissimova, "The League of Nations and the problems of minorities in the Balkans after the end
of the First World War." In The League of Nations 1920-1946, 47-48.
Cadile Aylmer Macartney was secretary to the Minorities Committee of the Union from 1928 to 1936.
Macartney, National states and national minorities, 392.

discrimination. ^^^ Often, the role of discriminating majority and marginalised minority was
a direct reversal of the power structures before the War, and an element of revenge was
present in many cases/^^

A great many petitions to the League were generated by complaints over agrarian reforms,
which minorities frequently interpreted as ethnically motivated. In the most cases, the
League refused to recognise these, seeing them as class issues and therefore out of their
jurisdiction.^^^ This was criticised by Macartney, who considered that the processes of
expropriation, redistribution and compensation were often managed in an uneven fashion
that discriminated against minorities.^^^

However, the most frequent complaints regarded the right of use of mother tongue,
especially in regards to cultural organisations such as Churches and schools.^^^ Azcarate
considered the rights of private schools to be highly contentious. Certainly, it was easy for
governments to misuse their power of oversight over the education system to obstruct
minority education, especially as only language rights and not the contents of curricula
were protected by the treaties. It was possible, however, for minorities to misrepresent
almost any education policy they disliked as nationally motivated maltreatment. The
League often found its ability to act in these matters to be limited.

10 1

Language rights in

public schools were by comparison less contentious because most minorities preferred to

maintain their own private schools, with greater opportunities for minority control.
Breaches of minorities' linguistic rights in administrative matters generated fewer petitions,
but mainly because language rights were only protected with regards to the courts, and not
in other arms of the bureaucracy. ^^^ Particularly problematic was the legislated demand of
minorities to be loyal to the state, as a great range of dissenting activities could be
represented as "disloyal". Azcarate argued that loyalty could not be legislated; it had to be

Azcarate, League of Nations and National Minorities, 68-72.

Macartney, National states and national minorities,3^2-3^9.
Azcarate, League of Nations and National Minorities, 61-64.
Macartney, National states and national minorities, 389.
Hrissimova, "The League of Nations and the problems of minorities", 47.
Azcarate, League of Nations and national minorities, 73-82. Azcarate was Minorities Director at the
League from 1930.
Azcarate, League of Nations and National Minorities, 82-84.
Azcarate, League of Nations and National Minorities, 83-86.

earned by the state in question. In assessing the successes and failures of the minorities
protection system, Azcarate suggested that the main service of the League was to provide a
party for the minorities and the minorities states to blame for their misfortunes, rather than
blaming each other, and that this helped reduce the risk of conflict. ^^^
By 1930, minorities everywhere in Eastern Europe were threatened by the rise of right wing
nationalist movements and by the Depression, which undermined their security and
political rights.^^^ The Minorities Treaty increasingly lost legitimacy from Germany's entry
into the League of Nations, as Stresemann and his successors used the Germans abroad as a
means of advancing Germany's revisionist foreign policy. This was executed with
increasing aggression and clumsiness after Stresemann's death in 1929. The final collapse
of the minorities protection system followed Hitler's withdrawal from the League in 1933.
The main victims of the undermining of the minorities protection system were the
minorities themselves. ^^^
Alternative solutions to the "minority problem "
The division between "nations" and "members of national minorities" adopted by the
League was highly arbitrary. There was nothing inherent in Wilson's formulation of the
concept of national self-determination that on the one hand justified de facto recognition as
a nafion members of an ethnic community living as a Staatsvolk (for example, recognising
ethnic Germans in Germany or ethnic Hungarians in Hungary as constituting a nation)
while on the other hand denying collective recognition or rights to members of the same
ethnic community living just beyond those borders (for example, ethnic Germans in
Poland, ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania). Furthermore, the failure to draw borders along
the 'optimum ethnographic line' meant that the members of the ethnic community living
outside of the state were sometimes the majority population in the region in which they
Azcarate, League of Nations and National Minorities, 88-91.
Azcarate, League of Nations and National Minorities, 82.
^^^ Fink, Defending the rights of others, 295.
^^^ Fink, Defending the rights of others, 295-335.

lived. What's more, Wilson's formulation did not inherently require a people to be
sufficiently large to constitute a viable state.^^^ Dictated by the desire to prevented conflict
between states, the Minorities Treaties restricted minority rights more than they reinforced

Not surprisingly, the minorities themselves often understood national self-determination in

a far broader and more nuanced sense. This was especially the case regarding those ethnic
communities that were unable to form a nation-state. This understanding is more in keeping
with Guibemau and Tamir's interpretations of national self-determination as distinct from
statehood. However, many minority ethno-corporatist movements were unwilling to restrict
their claims to the cultural sphere as proposed by Tamir. Rather, they also sought various
forms of administrative and economic autonomy. These forms of autonomy were often of a
non-territorial nature.

During the War, numerous private minority organisations grappled with the issues of selfdetermination and minority rights. In 1915 and 1916 the Office of Nationalities [Office des
Nationalits] in Lausanne called for minorities to be granted local, municipal, scholastic
and religious autonomy. These were to be anchored in individual rights and appropriate
collective organisations. In 1917 the Association for a Durable Peace at the Hague called
for individual rights, minorities to have their own education system (including universities)
supported by a proportionate state subsidy, the right of minorities to levy their own taxes
for cultural purposes, for separate electoral colleges to ensure proportionate minority
representation, and for officials speaking appropriate languages in minority districts. The
most outspoken of the minority representatives were Jewish organisations, which could rely
on the Jewish populations in the Western states to lobby on their behalf The Committee of
Jewish Delegates [Comit des Dlgations Juives] petitioned the New States Committee of
the Peace Conference, which was then deliberating over the Polish Minorities Treaty, for
all minorities equalling at least 1 per cent of the population to be given extensive rights,
including: the right to constitute an autonomous body, to establish various cultural
institutions backed by a proportionate share of state funding, and to have proportionate
^^^ Binder, "The case for self-determination," 240-243. See also Emerson, "Self-determination", 464-472.

representation at all levels of government (achieved through separate electoral colleges). ^^^
The Jewish socialist organisation Poale Zion lobbied the Socialist International to recognise
the right of minorities to national self-determination and to self-administration. In 1919 the
Socialist International called for Jews to be represented at the League of Nations.
Non-minority socialist organisations also proposed a number of solutions. Socialist theories
of nationalism are never just contemplative, but are invariably practice-oriented.^^^ While
in Western Europe socialists saw nationalism as imperial and reactionary, in Eastern
Europe Marxists confronted with a weak working class looked to the nationally conscious
oppressed nationalities for support. Not surprisingly. East European socialists led efforts to
refme Marxist theory on nationalism.^^^ Perhaps the most imaginative solution to the
minorities problem was the theory of national-cultural autonomy advanced by Austrian
socialists Kari Renner in 1899^^^ and Otto Bauer in 1907^^1 Renner and Bauer aimed to
transform the Habsburg Empire into a multiethnic federal state. Austrian citizens would be
divided into self-declared nations, which would be granted corporate legal status.
Competence of governance would be divided between the state and the national
corporations, with the latter taking responsibility for cultural and educational matters.
Austria would be divided into districts, within which each nationality would raise its own
taxes and operate its own schools, theatres and so on. Non-cultural matters would be
decided in district assemblies and a federal parliament, in which all nations would have
proportional representation. Representation and resources would be determined by a
national land register (cadastre) in which citizens would declare their national affiliation
upon reaching their majority. Under such a system, there would be no dominant nation and
therefore no minorities. Renner compared this separation of nations and state to the
separation of religion and state in many Western democracies.

^^^ Macartney, National states and national minorities, 213-226.

Jenkins & Minnerup, Citizens and comrades, 12.
Jenkins & Minnerup, Citizens and comrades, 47-48.
^^^ Karl Renner, "State and nation." In Nimni (ed), National cultural autonomy and its contemporary critics,
Otto Bauer (Ephraim Nimni ed), The question of nationalities and social democracy. Minneapolis &
London: University of Minnesota Press, 2000.
Karl Renner, "State and nation" and Bauer, The question of nationalities and social democracy. See also
Ephraim Nimni, "Introduction: the national cultural autonomy model revisited" In Nimni (ed), National

Something similar to Remier and Bauer's proposal operated in Moravia (in a very
bourgeois form under a system of restricted franchise), where the German minority, which
was settled in non-contiguous, ethnically heterogeneous communities, but had considerable
influence due to the curial electoral system. The representatives of the Moravian Germans
reached a compromise with their Czech counterparts, under which the population was
registered in a national cadaster, by which each community received a share of state taxes,
ran its own schools and separately voted representatives to the Moravian Diet and Austrian
parliament. As a result, ethnicity was largely reduced as an electoral issue. However, the
national cadaster cemented ethnic identity by forcing individuals to chose between being
Czech and German. ^^^ Nonetheless, the Moravian Compromise was seen as a successful
model and was replicated in the multiethnic Habsburg crownland of Bukovina.^^^ In
interwar Latvia the Baltic German politician and journalist Paul Schiemann echoed the
Austro-Marxists form an avowedly liberal position, arguing for the recognition of "nations"
as corporate legal entities and the separation of nation from state, allowing cultural freedom
on similar lines to freedom of religion following the separation of Church and state. ^^^

While the Austro-Marxists rejected the nation-state, the Bolsheviks remained firmly
committed to territorial nationalism and the right of nations to secession from the Empire.
In 1903 the Russian Social Democratic Party called for autonomy for all nations and from
1913 recognised the right of all nations to self-determination, including secession, limited
only by the right of the Social Democratic Party, as the representative of the proletariat, to
judge whether or not secession was in the collective interest. The Bolsheviks' stance was
confirmed following the October Revolution in 1917, and Poland and Finland were allowed
to secede. Lenin was driven by his belief that revolution would soon sweep Europe, and
that the former members of the Russian Empire would join Russia in a federation
cultural autonomy and its contemporary critics, 1-14, and Ephraim Nimni, "Introduction for the Englishreading audience" In Bauer, The question of nationalities and social democracy, xv-xlv.
Pieter M. Judson, Exclusive revolutionaries: liberal politics, social experience, and national identity in the
Austrian Empire, 1848-1914. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, cl996, 262-263.
^^^ Irma Bomemann (Trans. Sophie A. Welisch), The Bukovina Germans. Ellis, Kansas: Bukovina Society of
the Americas, 1990, 6.
Hiden, John. "Paul Schiemann on reconciling "nation" and "state". In Maarit Leskela (ed), Outsiders or
insiders? Constructing identities in an integrating Europe. Publications of the Doctoral Program on cultural
interaction and integration, Vol 4. Turku: University of Turku, 1999, 221-227.

dominated by Germany. However, national self-determination was far from a universal

right in the USSR. Only large, compact minorities on the edge of the Russian Empire were
recognised as nations, with the expectation that recognition of the right would prevent those
communities from taking it. A number of nations, such as the peoples of the Caucasus,
were forcibly prevented from exercising national self-determination. The Bolsheviks
established a federal model for the Soviet Union, in which the different ethnicities were
granted self-administration ranging from autonomous regions to full Union Republics. In
theory, the Republics and Regions were granted great influence in parliament. However, in
practice power rested with the bureaucracy and not the legislative arm of government in the
USSR, this was meaningless. The regions were given almost no autonomy except in
cultural matters, where great steps were made, especially in regards to education. However,
even here many minorities were disadvantaged by the emphasis on the exclusion of
"bourgeois" culture. Under Stalin, as the possibility of pan-European socialism receded, the
Soviet Union moved from theoretical equality of the ethnicities to de facto Russian
domination and Russification, and ethnicities viewed as potentially disloyal faced
deportation to Siberia under murderous conditions. ^^^
At the end of the War, the German government also proposed cultural autonomy on the
basis of a national cadaster for the German citizens that it was expected to transfer to Polish
sovereignty. The German proposals were never seriously considered by the New States
Committee of the Peace Conference. ^^^ The German proposals were somewhat vague, and
were not aggressively advanced; in 1919 Germany was too weak and divided to withstand
the internal and international responses to championing minority rights.

A further defeated power that sought a solution to minority rights was the short-lived
Karolyi government that came to power in Hungary after the War. Oszkar Jaszi, Minister of
Nationalities, advocated the reorganisation of Hungary into the "Danubian United States", a

Jenkins & Minnerup, Citizens and comrades, 26-31. Also I[an]. Bremmer, "Reassessing Soviet
nationalities theory." In Ian Bremmer & Ray Taras (ed), Nations and politics in Soviet successor states.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993, 3-26. C.f. Macartney, National states and national minorities,
^^^ Macartney, National states and national minorities, 233.
Fink, Defending the rights of others, 242-243.

confederation of the five "historical" nations in the Kingdom of Hungary; the Hungarians,
Poles, Czechs, Croats and Serbs. Within this confederate system Jaszi advocated the
reorganisation of Hungary into an "eastern Switzerland" of cantons giving recognition to
ethnic minorities. The Danubian United States were in turn to make up part of a future
United States of Europe. Jaszi's "eastern Switzerland", motivated by his long objection to
Hungary's minorities problem, also aimed to preserve the pre-War borders of Hungary.
Thus, the organised ethnic minorities generally sought either autonomy or federalism (for
example the Croats in Y u g o s l a v i a ^ o r what Arend Lijphart has described as
consociational democracy. In consociational democracies ethnic groups gain proportional
representation in key political and administrative bodies, have institutional and sometimes
territorial autonomy, separate schools and community organisations. The groups share
certain overarching values, institutions, and i d e n t i t y . A few states incorporated limited
elements of the consociational model, and were highlighted by minorities as models for
reform in other states. The favoured examples were Finland, in which the Swedishspeaking minority was accepted as an equal partner (with identical cultural rights) to the
Finnish-speaking majority, and Estonia, where minorities could at the wish of a majority of
their members, develop autonomous councils to run all cultural institutions and receive
proportional funding from the state.

However, the majority of East European states were in theory liberal democracies, in which
ethnicity was deemed a private matter. Ethnic communities were allowed to maintain their
own schools and communal organisations at their own expense, but without right to special
recognition from the state, and emphasis was placed on common values, integration and the
assimilation of minorities. In practice, however, these functioned as "ethnic democracies".
Gabor Vermes, 'The Agony of Federalism in Hungary under the Karolyi
Regime, 1918-1919." East European Quarterly, Vol 6 Nr 4, January 1973, 487-503. See also Zsolt K.
Lengyel, Auf der Suche nach dem kompromi: Ursprnge und Gestalten des frhen Transsiivanismus 19181928. Studia Hungarica 41. Mnchen: Verlag Ungarisches Institut, 1993, 223-232.
For an overview of the turbulent relationship between Croats and the interwar South Slav state, see
Misha Glenny, The Balkans, 1804-1999: nationalism, war and the great powers. London: Granta, 1999.
Glenny, 402-412, 428-436.
Sammy Smooha & Theodor Hanf, "The diverse modes of conflict-regulation in deeply divided societies."
In Smith (ed). Ethnicity and nationalism, 32-33.
Macartney, National states and national minorities, 413-415, 406-408.

in which the dominance of one ethnic group was institutionahsed, formally in the
constitution and/or through symbols, official language, religion, immigration policy, and so
on. Coupled with this was the assumption that other ethnic groups have lesser claim to, and
are therefore less loyal to, the state/"^^ The constitutions of the new or reconstituted states
included a direct reference to the nation(s) that were to be the Staatvolk}^^ and many
included religious or other elements that indirectly marginalised minorities. Even the
limited protection granted by the Minorities Treaties was more frequently honoured in the
breach than through its application, and the League of Nations proved unwilling or unable
to enforce them. As a result, most minority ethnic communities were forced to look to
alternate solutions to their aspirations to self-determination.

The Germans Abroad

Of the minorities produced by the division of Europe into nation-states, the most
disadvantaged were those scattered populations classified by Macartney as 'colonists and
dispersed m i n o r i t i e s T h e y often were "nationally conscious" but owing to their small
numbers and lack of contiguous settlement could not hope to form their own state or play
an important role in any state to which they might be assigned. Such minorities, especially
Germans, frequently held a position of privilege that stemmed from the special rights
granted to them upon settlement. Those dispersed minorities that were made up of
prosperous farmers generally suffered economically through the land reforms after the War,
and those minorities that depended upon legal privilege for their status generally lost their
rights almost at once under the new system of nation-states. The introduction of universal
(mostly male) suffrage in the states of Eastern Europe, coupled with the adoption of
constitutions that in most cases emphasised the centralisation of power, the
individualisation of rights and the nationalist principles of the state, had the effect of
producing in many states a "tyranny of the majority"^"^^ on national lines. This was
Smooha & Hanf, "The diverse modes of conflict-regulation in deeply divided societies", 31-34.
Macartney, National states and national minorities, 209-211.
Macartney, National states and national minorities, 402.
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, London: Longman, Roberts & Green, 1869;, 1999. [21 January 2007.]

especially disadvantageous for the former ruling classes of the multinational empires,
whose influence had formerly been bolstered by restricted franchises, and who now found
they were living in states in which the social hierarchy had been turned on its head.
Macartney assessed that such groups were generally willing to accept the political ideals of
the new state, so long as they were granted the cultural freedom necessary for their own
ethnic development.

Of the "dispersed" or "diaspora" communities, the Germans abroad have been most studied
in regards to Brubaker's observation that minority nationalisms do not always match the
nationalism of the homeland. ^^^ Pieter Judson has argued that before the First World War,
the Germans of Habsburg Austria framed their national identity with little reference to the
German state. In Habsburg Austria, German nationalism was not associated with a place
("Germany") so much as representing a culture deemed superior (by its adherents) to those
around it. Austrian Germans envisioned themselves as engaged in a historic colonising and
civilising mission in East Europe. This was used to justify their privileged position in
Austrian society. Austrian Germans thought of themselves within the context of the
Habsburg Empire. Few indeed were concerned with forming a relationship with Prussian
Germany of any greater depth than a formal treaty, and Anschlu was the concern of only a
fringe minority. Even within Austria, self-identifying Germans of different regions had
strong local (Heimat) identities that limited their sense of common identity with one
another, let alone with Germans in Germany.^^^

There has also been a growing recognition that German nationalism was by no means
uniform and monolithic within Germany itself As well as a broad divisio^^^n between
Lutheran German nationalists in the North and Catholic German nationalists in the South,
there were many local understandings of Germanness, from the state particularism of the

Macartney, National states and national minorities, 402-404.

For example, see O'Donnell, Bridenthal & Reagin (ed), The Heimat Abroad.
Judson, "When is a diaspora not a diaspora?" 219-237.
Wolfgang Altgeld, "Religion, denomination and nationalism in nineteenth-century Germany." In Helmut
Walser Smith (ed), Protestants, Catholics, and Jews in Germany, 1800-1914. Oxford; New York: Berg, 2001,
and Helmut Walser Smith, German nationalism and religious conflict: culture, ideology, politics, 1870-1914.
Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, cl995.

German "middle states"^^^ to the local identities of the German "Homeland" [Heimat
movement. The focus has been upon the relationship between German nationalism and
local communities/^"^ Judson suggests that equivalent relationships outside of the German
state were of considerable importance, but these remain comparatively understudied.
The Germans Abroad attempted numerous responses to their minority status after the First
World War, both at the governmental level and through private means. Alongside this
effort was a growing association with German state nationalism, which Judson sees as
having developed only after the First World War. Furthermore, this was only one of several
responses that they might and did make to their changed circumstances. To Judson, it was
the collapse of Habsburg Austria (removing Vienna as a political centre for Habsburg
Germans) and the formation of new nation-states hostile to national minorities that pushed
Austrian Germans to look to Germany, both as a source of support and potentially for
territorial unity with the German state. ^^^ This development could be observed amongst
Germans living on the border of Germany [Grenzedeutschen] and thus potentially able to
seek unification (i.e. the Austrian and Sudeten Germans studied by Judson) or reunification
(i.e. West Prussians and Silesian Germans) with Germany. However, it was also observable
amongst "islands of Germanness" [Spmchinseln],^^^ isolated German communities (i.e.
Danube Swabians and, the subject of this study, the Transylvanian Saxons) located at
considerable distances from the German state.

As discussed above, the cultural contents of an ethnicity provided by its myth-symbol

complex is not static, but transforms in response to the changing circumstances and needs
of the community. In seeking different relations with the new nation-states, Germans
Abroad recast their ethnic identities in different ways. For Germans Abroad greatly distant
For example, Abigail Green, Fatherlands: State-Building and Nationhood in Nineteenth-Century
Germany. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2001.
For example, Celia Applegate, A nation ofprovincials: the German idea of Heimat University of
California Press. Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oxford. 1990, and Alon Confino, The nation as a local metaphor:
Wrttemberg, Imperial Germany, and National Memory, 1871-1918. Chapel Hill: The University of North
Carolina Press, 1997.
^^^ Judson, "When is a diaspora not a diaspora?" 220-223.
The translation "Islands of Germanness" is suggested from [O'Donnell, Bridenthal and Reagin,]
"Introduction", 2. The term Sprachinseln is slightly misleading as these were overwhelmingly mixedlanguage regions, in which the inhabitants were generally multilingual and many families included native
speakers of more than one language. Judson, "When is a diaspora not a diaspora?" 231.

from Germany, the emphasis on a relationship to Germany was not one of hoping for
political unification. Only the most ardent and optimistic German nationalist in the 1920s
would have hoped that the borders of Germany might one day extend to include the
German communities in, for example, Yugoslavia, Romania, and the Baltic States.
However, Germany could and did offer certain material incentives to such communities. In
addition, many Germans Abroad remained hopeful that diplomatic intervention from
Germany would improve their status as minorities. Nevertheless, association with the
German state first and foremost reflects a transformation of the myth-symbol complex that
defined the ethnic identity of the Germans Abroad. It is this development that needs to be

As discussed above, ethnic communities lack three closely interrelated properties

associated with the state: control over territory, control over the economic resources of
state, and control over citizenship (the ability to exclude "foreigners" from the ethnic
community's territory and the government bodies that administer them). In this thesis, I
argue that the strategies adopted by German communities in Eastern Europe were aimed at
meeting those deficits, both by mobilising the members of the community and by
negotiating with the states the necessary rights and recognition to compensate for the lack
of separate statehood. The nature of the nation-state is such that the vast majority of
minority communities in Eastern Europe were unable to secure these. (Partial exceptions
were the Swedish-speaking Finns in Finland and the Baltic Germans in Estonia.)

Identification with the German state by German communities located far from Germany's
borders did not compensate for problems of citizenship or land ownership. However,
Germany was able to provide extensive financial and cultural resources that greatly
strengthened the nation-building projects of local communities. Identification with other
German communities also gave the individual German settlements of Eastern Europe
(which Judson argues did not identify with one another prior to the First World War) the
framework by which to band together and pool their resources. This was most efficacious
where those communities found themselves in the same state, enabling them to for example
combine their political influence and lobby governments collectively.

For such relationships to work, German communities had to integrate their own mythsymbol complex with both the nationalism of the German state and the ethno-corporatism
of other German communities. This process was aided by two elements in German
nationalism. Firstly, the myth of the Drang nach Osten provided a rationale for the role of
Germans abroad in serving the German state. Secondly, the strain of German nationalism
that emphasised Heimat identity as an expression of Germanness made allowances for a
greater level of variation within the nation. Although this was a contested view of the
German nation, it was the understanding most popular with Germans abroad.
However, the integration of local identities with German nationalism was as much an act of
forgetting as remembering, of tailoring local histories to make them compatible with the
grand national narrative. Integration was by no means seamless by 1933. Furthermore,
while interactions between Germans abroad and the great cultural centres of Germany were
quite extensive before the First World War (especially for Protestant German communities
abroad), interactions between separate German communities in Eastern Europe were far
less extensive. Indeed, Judson argues that connections between even the separate German
communities of Austria were quite limited. Connections between communities that lived in
separate polities before the War were even weaker, as the example of Romania's Germans
will show. As the example of the Transylvanian Saxons demonstrates, connections between
German communities in Eastern Europe remained weak, especially where their mythsymbol complexes were dissimilar. (See Chapter 5.)
The radicalisation of German nationalism in Eastern Europe can be understood in part as a
reaction to the incomplete processes of national integration between German communities.
Radical nationalists presented a view of German nationalism that placed emphasis on unity
while paying lip service to Heimat loyalties. At the same time, the radical emphasis on
mass participation disseminated German nationalism to new segments of the population.
However, at its core, radical nationalism was first and foremost a response to the
deficiencies in the nation-building projects of stateless minority communities. The radical

nationalist emphasis on soil, blood, and collective, ethnically exclusive economic practices
aimed to compensate for the lack of control over land, citizenship and resources that wouldbe stateless nationalists faced. Social changes, the weakness of democratic institutions, the
Depression and the success of the NSDAP in Germany all contributed to the success of
radical nationalism in almost all German communities in Eastern Europe by 1933/^^
However, the radical strain of German nationalism was first and foremost a response to
statelessness. Radical nationalists also responded to a fourth attribute of the state that
minority communities lacked: coercive force to ensure collective unity.

Case Study: The Transylvanian Saxons, 1919-1933

The Transylvanian Saxons provide a not atypical example of a small, nationally conscious
minority in East and Southeast Europe. As their traditional privileges came under threat
from the late eighteenth century, the Saxons increasingly identified themselves in ethnic
terms, first to bolster their corporate rights and later to replace them as a new basis for
forming a community. The development of Saxon ethno-corporatism led the Saxons to for
the first time frame their identity in terms of belonging to a broader German culture, and to
identify to varying degrees with the German nation.

Despite losing the legal privileges of estatehood in 1876, the Saxons retained many
remnants of their former status, dominating economic and political life in the areas
previously governed by the estate. Transylvanians differ from the Habsburg Austrian
Germans studied by Judson in that they occupied the position of a minority within a nationstate from the 1868 Ausgleich. Nevertheless, the remnants of their former status continued
to provide them with a measure of protection.

In itself, the transference from a Hungarian nationalist state to a Romanian nationalist state
did little to change the Saxons' status as a minority. However, the introduction of universal
(male) suffrage drastically undermined Saxon political influence. This was coupled with
^^^ In particular, Judson sees a more radical German nationalism as the product of the Great Depression and
the success of National Socialism in Germany. Judson, "When is a diaspora not a diaspora?" 238-239.

increasing state centralisation, which reduced the authority of local administrative bodies in
which minorities could more easily wield power. Transference to a new state also placed
Saxon politicians in a new and unfamiliar political landscape, in which it was necessary to
develop new alliances and strategies.

Economically, the War had a very negative impact on Saxon financial institutions, which
had invested heavily in war loans to the Central Powers. Many were forced to sell shares to
recapitalise, and consequently they lost much of their formerly charitable character.
Furthermore, during the interwar period Romania initiated the most sweeping land reforms
in Eastern Europe, as a means of both shoring up peasant support for Greater Romania and
of undermining the influence of the frequently non-Romanian elite in Romania's new
provinces. Privately owned Saxon landholdings were generally too small to be effected, but
communally owned village land was greatly reduced, and the property of the Saxondominated Lutheran Church was approximately halved, undermining the financial stability
of Church and schools. To meet the shortfall, the Church raised a tithe on its congregants.
This was collected alongside a "national tax" raised by the DSVR. The two together
represented a very significant financial burden, especially as the economic climate declined
in the late 1920's.

In addition, Saxon politicians faced the need to integrate the small but significant Saxon
working classes, who previously had lacked the property requirements for suffrage. There
was a deep fear of socialism in this period, especially as Romania directly bordered the
Soviet Union, and Saxon politicians were concerned that the close ties of most workers to
rural communities might easily lead to socialism spreading to the countryside where most
Saxons lived. Furthermore, social changes also altered gender relationships within the
Saxon community, and politicians, clerics and advocates of the women's movement
struggled over how to integrate women into new roles.

Ultimately, this thesis is a study of the interaction between a locally constituted imagined
community and a broader, trans-state nationalism. Studies of the local within German
nationalism have tended to treat the two as a binary relationship, without consideration of

other forms of collective community. This thesis attempts to avoid this by placing German
nationalism within the context of other broader collectivities within which Saxons
attempted to situate themselves in the interwar period.

Saxons attempted to frame their claims to ethno-corporatism in a number of different ways,

reflecting different forms of legitimisation and different strategies for maintaining their
imagined community and position of relative privilege. Chapter 1 charts the development
of Saxon collective identity to the First World War, from its predominantly legal and
religious origins through the development of Saxon ethno-corporatism. Special attention is
paid to the self-identification of Saxons as Germans, and to the place of Germans Abroad
within German nationalism.

The next three chapters examine alternative understandings of the Saxon community that
co-existed with the understanding of Saxon as German. Chapter 2 deals with the attempt of
Saxon politicians to frame the Saxon community in the context of Romanian citizenship, by
gaining collective legal rights as a national minority. At its core, this approach required the
transformation to some degree of Romanian nationalist ideology, such that the Romanian
nation-state would become a nations-state. As in most other East European nation-states
facing similar demands at the time, this proved to be unpalatable to Romanian nationalists.
The high level negotiations between Saxon parliamentarians and successive Romanian
governments reveal the gulf between the expectations of the two sides. And yet, a closer
examination of the political rhetoric advanced by Saxon parliamentarians to their
electorates suggest that the framework of Saxons as Romanian citizen had little public
appeal. Rather, Saxon parliamentarians emphasised struggle with the Romanian nation as a
means of shoring up support within their own community.

Chapter 3 also deals with a broader, multi-ethnic identity, rooted not in the state but in the
region. Transylvanianism posited a regional identity that united Transylvanians of different
ethnicity while separating them from their co-ethnics elsewhere, as the basis for collective
action and some level of autonomy. Interwar period accounts of Transylvanianism and the
current historiography alike blame the failure of Transylvanianism on the fact that the

multi-national framework it offered appealed only to minorities unable to secure/join their

own nation-state. However, an examination of Transylvanianist writings suggests that
Transylvanianism foundered because, as I will suggest, it was as much about maintaining a
separate status for the nationalities of the region as it was about uniting them.
Chapter 4 examines Saxon ethno-corporatism in the framework of Lutheranism. The close
association of the Saxon community with Lutheranism that began with the first stirrings of
Saxon ethno-corporatism continued undisturbed in the interwar period. Of all the strategies
pursued by Saxon ethno-corporatists, framing the Saxon community within Lutheranism
offered the greatest material outcomes. While attempts to gain recognition for minority
communities languished, freedom of religion allowed great scope for action for ethnic
Churches. However, it will be argued that although Saxon ethno-corporatists viewed the
Saxon community as Lutheran, the Lutheran Church in Transylvania acted more to frame
the Saxon community within Germanness than within a religious identity.

Chapter 4 leads into the remaining two chapters, which examine Saxon ethno-corporatism
in the context of Germanness. Chapter 5 considers the way in which Germanness provided
a rallying point tying the Saxon community to other German communities in Eastern
Europe, as well as to Germany itself. In the existing literature on local identities in
Germany, there is an ongoing debate as to whether the local mediated between the
individual and the national, or whether localness became a metaphor for the nation. For
Saxon German nationalists, the relationship between Saxon and German nations was fluid.
At times, Saxons felt themselves very much on the periphery of the German nation. At
other times, there seems to have been no distinction in Saxon imaginings of the Saxon
community and the German nation. Germanness was proscriptive in that it set a model for
Saxon behaviour. However, Germanness was also imagined through the lens of the Saxon
myth-symbol complex, becoming Lutheran, bourgeois, and so on. This provided the criteria
for a hierarchy of Germanness that influenced relationships between the Saxons and other
German communities.

While these four understandings of the Saxon community all reinforced the existence of a
separate and distinctive Saxon identity, they were nonetheless integrative in that they aimed
to integrate the Saxon community within a broader social framework. However, it was the
understanding of the Saxon community as German that increasingly came to dominate.
Within this context, a radical, "National Socialisf understanding of the Saxon community
gained hegemony by the end of 1933. The fmal chapter examines the radicalisation of
German/Saxon ethnocentrism and nationalism. The existing literature is firmly divided as
to whether National Socialism was a foreign import or whether it had deep roots within
Saxon ethnic identity. This thesis argues that, as with other aspects of Saxon-German
nationalism, vlkisch nationalism was on one hand proscriptive, on the other hand it was
understood through local Saxon experiences and needs. As with other understandings of the
Saxon community, radical Saxon-German nationalism was a response to local conditions,
albeit a quixotic one.

Chapter 1: Saxon community and ethno-corporatism, 1121-1914

This Chapter explores the formation of Saxon ethno-corporatism, and traces its roots in
older forms of collective identity from the first settlement of German-speaking hospites
in Transylvania in the twelfth century onward. I will argue that Saxon ethnocorporatism was a response to the growing nationalism in the region and the
undermining of older forms of community such as Church and estate. From the end of
the eighteenth century, the Saxon community increasingly adopted elements of
nationalism. However, the Saxons' aims never extended to a state of their own. Saxon
ethno-corporatists drew upon pre-existing communities of estate and religion, as well as
reinterpreting older understandings of ethnicity in constructing claims to ethnocorporatism. These older communities contributed to the creation of the Saxon mythsymbol complex. I shall highlight this older heritage in the consideration of Saxon
stereotypes of Self and Other.

Saxon ethno-corporatism was not rooted only in reinterpretations of the past. Saxon
ethnic ethno-corporatists increasingly felt themselves to be part of a broader German
community and were influenced by broader currents of German nationalism.
Germanness was adapted to meet local concerns and local needs. Saxons identified only
in a limited sense with the German state and only in specific contexts with other
Germans before the First World War. Nevertheless, the foundations for closer ties were
laid before the War.

Pre-modern foundations of the Saxon community

Collective identities accumulate gradually, in much the same way as the formation of
what Gramsci describes as "common sense". ^ New layers gradually accrue over old, and
past understandings of collective self are reinterpreted to meet new conditions. Saxon
ethno-corporatism drew upon a range of pre-modem imagined communities, especially
the Saxon estate, the Lutheran Church in Transylvania, and the German ethnic
community in Transylvania. These communities existed in close parallel with one
' Antonio Gramsci (ed. & trans. Quinton Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith), Selections from the prison
notebooks. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1978, 324.

another. However, they were not legitimised by ethno-corporatism as such. Rather, they
represent the quarries from which the building blocks of the Saxon ethno-corporatist
myth-symbol complex were selectively mined.

Perhaps the most important precursor to the ethno-corporatist Saxon community was the
natio Saxones, or Saxon estate. As Miroslav Hroch has argued, the memory of former
estate status formed the core of many nationalist movements in Eastern Europe. The
Saxons entered Transylvania as hospites, or guests of the Hungarian crown, and were
settled on crown land (the Knigsboden)? Privileges granted for settling on the
Hungarian frontier gradually accumulated until the Saxons were granted the status of an
estate in 1486."^ The estate was one of three in Transylvania, the others being the feudal
nobility and the Szeklers, an estate of ennobled (but for the most part untitled) border
guards. (See Figure 1.) In 1437 the estates formed the Union of Three Estates^ to
defend their privileges against an uprising of peasants allied with the lower gentry. The
Union formed the basis of the Transylvanian Diet, in which each estate had equal
representation. As such, the Saxons viewed themselves as part of the privileged elite,
rather than as members of a minority.^

" Hroch, "From national movement to the fully-formed nation", 83-85.

^ Harald Roth, Kleine Geschichte Siebenbrgens. Kln: Bhlau Verlag, 1996, 32-33.
^ Konrad Gndisch, Siebenbrgen und die Siebenbrger Sachsen. Studienbuchreihe der Stiftung
Ostdeutscher Kulturrat 8. Mnchen: Langen Mller, 1998, 38-43 c.f. D[avid] Prodan, Supplex Libellus
Valachorum, or the political struggle of Romanians in Transylvania during the eighteenth century.
Bibliotheca Histrica Romaniae Monographs 8. Bucharest: Academy of the Socialist Republic of
Romania, 1971, 65.
^ The universitas trium nationum is most frequently translated as the Union of Three Nations. However,
although the Latin term ""natio" is the root of the English "nation," it does not indicate a nationalist form
of identification. Rather, it denoted a loose, politically enfranchised corporate body united by common
rights and privileges. (On the evolution of the term natio to the modem English term "nation", see
Greenfeld, Nationalism, 4-9.) While language and ethnicity might be indicators of membership of a natio,
they did not define membership, as in a modem nation. Numerous communities of German-speaking
hospites lay in the counties outside the Knigsboden. As such, they did not belong to the natio, and were
reduced to serfdom by the nobility. (Gellner, "The coming of nationalism and its interpretation", 104-105.
On the Saxon natio, see Paul Philippi, "Nation und Nationalgefihl der Siebenbrger Sachsen 17911991." In Hans Rothe (ed). Die Siebenbrger Sachsen 1791-1991. Studien zum Deutschtum in Osten, 26.
Kln; Weimar; Wien: Bhlau Verlag, 1994, 70.) The term natio is best translated as "estate". (Peter F.
Sugar, "The principality of Transylvania." In Peter F. Sugar (ed), A History of Hungary. London: Tauris,
1990, 121-122.) Furthermore, the title is somewhat anachronistic, as the estates were not granted the
status of natio until 1463 or later. (Prodan, Supplex Libellus Valachorum, 65.) This understanding o natio
continued to colour understandings of nationhood in Hungary well into the nineteenth century. (Katherine
Verdery, Transylvanian villagers: three centuries of political, economic, and ethnic change. Berkely; Los
Angeles; London: University of Califomia Press, 1983, 116-117.)
^ Philippi, "Nation und Nationalgefihl", 73.

The three estates were reinforced by complementary rather than competitive economic
interests. While the nobility monopolised serf labour in agriculture, and the Szeklers
dominated the livestock industry, the Saxon estate consisted of towns engaged in
manufacture and supported by an extensive free peasantry. This peasant base, and
extensive trade with the less developed voivodes of Wallachia and Moldavia, enabled
the Saxons to retain their legal status and exclude feudal relations from the
Konigsboden. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the Saxon estate also benefited
from its location on the principal trade route between Europe and the Orient.^

The system of three estates survived the collapse of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1526,
and the formation of a near-independent Transylvanian principality under Ottoman

suzerainty. However, the estates came under threat when Transylvania was annexed by
the Habsburg Empire in 1690. While the Habsburgs undertook to respect the estate
system in Transylvania, in practice the estates found their rights under constant attack.^
During this period, the three estates emphasised the memory of an autonomous
Transylvania, and their separate status within the Empire, as a means of legitimising
their tradition rights. This state-based identity, emphasising heterogeneity of cultures
and religions, continued to be rooted in an estate-based notion of identity.


rivalries between the estates limited any sense of common identity. ^^

^ Katherine Verdery, "On the nationality problem in Transylvania until World War I: an overview." East
European Quarterly, Vol 19 Nr 1, March 1985, 18-23. Also Verdery, Transylvanian villagers, 144. On
the economic niche occupied by the Szeklers, see Gabor Barta, History of Transylvania, Budapest:
Akademiai Kiado, 1994, 178-180. The complimentary role of the estates did not prevent some
competition for power, particularly between the nobility and the other estates. Sugar, "The principality of
Transylvania", 121-125. The principle trade routes East from Transylvania were as follows. From
Kronstadt: to Cimpulung in Wallachia, thence south to Giurgiu or eastwards to Brila, both on the
Danube. From Hermannstadt: through the Red Tower Pass towards Arge, and then on to the Danube post
of Calafat. The great "Tartar" route passed from Wallachia through Moldavia to the Genoese town of
Caffa on the Black Sea. Another route led to Chilia in the Danube Delta, and to the Genoese town of
Moncastro (Roumanian "Cetatea Alba", Russian "Akkerman"). R.W. Seton-Watson, A History of the
Roumanians: From Roman Times to the Completion of Unity. [Hamden, Conn.]: Archon Books, 1963, 25.
To the West, the principle trade route ran from Hermannstadt through Klausenburg and Grosswardein to
Buda[pest], and thence to Central Europe. Paul Robert Magocsi, Historical atlas of Central Europe from
the early fifth century to the present. London: Thames & Hudson, 2002, 35.
^ Roth, Kleine Geschichte Siebenbrgens,A9-51.
^ Seton-Watson, History of the Roumanians, 169-171.
Mitu makes this point with regards to the nobility. Sorin Mitu, "Illusions and facts about Transylvania."
Hungarian Quarterly Vol 39 Nr 152, Winter 1998, 71. c.f Horst Haselsteiner, "Cooperation and
confrontation between rulers and the noble estates, 1711-1790." In Sugar, (ed) A history of Hungary, 140.
Seton-Watson, History of the Roumanians, 171-172.

In addition to centralising pressures from the Habsburg state, the Saxon estate had to
contend with the declining significance of the overland trade routes between East and
West. Furthermore, in local trade the estate experienced increasing economic
competition from merchants foreign to Transylvania, especially Armenians and "Greek"
merchants. At the same time, the nobility began to move from agriculture into
manufacturing, bringing them into competition with the Saxons. This further
undermined the role of Saxons in Transylvania's mercantile and manufacturing
economy. Nevertheless, small-scale manufacture in Transylvania remained concentrated
in the Konigsboden, and some Saxon industries, most noticeably the textile trade,
managed to consolidate sufficiently to compete.^^

The decline of the Saxon estate was gradual. Under the Josephine Reforms from 1781
the Saxon estate lost its right to exclude members of other estates from membership and
land ownership in the Konigsboden. In 1784 the estate lost its collective powers of selfadministration and the Transylvania's administrative units were redrawn without regard
to precedent. Efforts were taken to combine the nobles, Saxons and Szeklers into a
single "Transylvanian estate". The reforms provoked widespread resistance.'^ The
restoration of 1790 was welcomed by the Saxon political leadership, but the powers of
the Saxon estate were weakened, especially in the Diet where estates no longer voted by
curia, but by individual representative, and where the right of veto was lost.''^ This
reduced Saxon influence in the Diet and precipitated the Saxons viewing themselves as
an embattled minority rather than as part of the state's elite. Furthermore, the Saxon
estate did not regain the right to exclude members of other estates from owning property
in Saxon t o w n s . T h e reforms had a lasting impact on Saxon historiography. The first
Saxon histories (as opposed to localised chronicles of individual towns, guilds and so

Verdery, Transylvanian villagers, 141-148. Also Verdery, "On the nationality problem in
Transylvania", 24-26. The Saxons' "Greek" competitors were mostly Greek-speaking Vlachs mainly
from Maschopolis in the Ottoman Empire. On the growing role of foreign merchants, see Hidas, Peter I.
"The role of Greeks, Armenians and Jews in the economic life of Transylvania in the Eighteenth
century." The Writings of the Historian Peter I. Hidas. [22 July 2003], and Bein, Daniel. "Armenier in Siebenbrgen: Anmerken zur Identitt einer
'kleinen Minderheit'." Z/SZ, Vol 21 Nr 2, 1998, 143-167, 148-156.
Roth, Kleine Geschichte Siebenbrgens, 85-87.
On the impact of the Josephine Reforms on the Saxons, see Andreas Mckel, "Geschichtsschreibung
und Geschichtsbewusstsein bei den Siebenbrger Sachsen." In Paul Philippi (ed), Studien zur
Geschichtsschreibung im 19. Und 20. Jahrhundert. Siebenbrgisches Archiv 6. Kln & Graz: Bhlau
Verlag, 1967, 2-3, and Seton-Watson, History of the Roumanians, 173-174.
Philippi, "Nation und Nationalgefhl" 71-73, and Mckel, "Geschichtsschreibung und
Geschichtsbewusstsein." 2-3.

on) date from the end of the eighteenth century. These were primarily legal histories,
devoted to recording the rights of estate, and to raising public consciousness of them.
Legalistic arguments for estate rights, based on precedent and positive law, were of
significance so long as all legislation produced by the Transylvanian Diet had to be
approved by the Emperor. ^^
The estate came under threat once again during the 1848 Revolution, when the Kossuth
government attempted to annex Transylvania, establish Hungarian as the language of
governance, abolish medieval corporations such as the estates and guilds. ^^ To shore up
support from the Romanian Orthodox peasantry against this, the Saxon universitas
reluctantly granted equal rights to all inhabitants of the Konigsboden, including the right
to settle in Saxon towns.^^ Although the estate was restored in 1849, its rights were
largely ignored under the Bach Regime. ^^ Inhabitants of the Konigsboden remained
equal. However, the death knell of the estate was the Ausgleich, the compromise
Emperor Franz Joseph was forced to accept with Hungarian nationalists in 1868. The
Habsburg Empire was dividing into two politically equal halves, Austria and Hungary.
In Hungary, Hungarian nationalism and liberalism based on limited suffrage became the
dominant principles of government. Although the estate system was permanently
abolished in 1876, Saxon politicians did not drop their demands for the reinstitution of
the Saxon estate until 1890.^^
The Saxon myth-symbol complex was also deeply influenced by religion. As settlers
from the Holy Roman Empire, the hospites were members of the Western Church. This
united them with the broader community of Western Christendom, which in
Transylvania included most nobles and Szeklers, and many of the peasantry. It
distinguished the hospites from the members of the Eastern Church, including
Mckel, "Geschichtsschreibung und Geschichtsbewusstsein." 4-5. On the narrow focus of Saxon
chronicles before this date, see Adolf Armbruster, "The portrayal of the Transylvanian Romanian in
Saxon historical writings between the fifteenth and the eighteenth centuries." In Adolf Armbruster, Auf
den Spuren der eigenen Identitt: ausgewhlte Beitrge zur Geschichte und Kultur Rumniens. Bukarest:
Editura Enciclopedic, 1991, 181-182.
Dek, Istvn. "The Revolution and the War of Independence 1848-1849." In Sugar, (ed) A history of
Hungary, 214-221.
Seton-Watson, History of the Roumanians, 281-282.
Gndisch, Siebenbrgen und die Siebenbrger Sachsen, 138-139.
Andreas Mckel, "Kleinschsisch oder Alldeutsch? Zum Selbstverstndnis der Siebenbrger Sachsen
von 1867 bis 1933." In Walter Knig (ed), Siebenbrgen zwischen den Beiden Weltkriegen.
Siebenbrgisches Archiv 28. Kln; Weimar; Wien: Bhlau Verlag, 1994, 130-134.

predominantly Romanian and Slavic elements in the peasantry, and the rapidly
disappearing Orthodox nobility. The Western Christians of Transylvania, and to some
extent the Eastern Christians, were united by a common perception that they acted as a
religious bulwark, protecting (Western) Christendom from the East, for example from
the Mongols and Ottomans.^^ However, the hospites were also distinguished within
Western Christendom by the separate religious privileges granted to them, including the
right to elect their own priests, and to pay their tithes directly to them. From 1502, most
hospite parishes united under the authority of the newly created Deanery-General^^ of
Mediasch.^^ The boundaries of the Deanery-General did not match that of the
Konigsboden; they excluded some congregations within the estate, while including
some hospite settlements in the Counties. As such, although the boundaries of estate and
faith overlapped considerably, they were not identical.^"^

The Reformation reinforced social divisions within Transylvania. Lutheran texts first
arrived in Transylvania in 1519, when Saxon merchants brought them back from the
Leipzig Fair. The Deanary-General formally adopted Lutheranism in 1545. In 1553 the
Dean-General of Mediasch was elevated to Bishop. Lutheranism united the Western
Christian parishes of the Konigsboden into a single faith, and extended beyond the
estate, mainly to predominantly ethnic-German communities in the counties of the


By comparison, the nobility, Szeklers and Western Christian peasantry

embraced Calvinism or Unitarianism, or remained Catholic.


On the myth of Transylvania as the bastion of Christianity in Saxon identity, see Roth, Harald.
"Autostereotype als Identifikationmuster: zum Selbstbild der Siebenbrger Sachsen." In Gndisch,
Konrad, Wolfgang Hpken & Michael Markel (ed.), Das Bild des Anderen in Siebenbrgen: Stereotype
in einer multiethnischen Region. Siebenbrgisches Archiv 33. Kln; Weimar; Wien: Bhlau Verlag,
1998, 179-180. The m3^h was shared by Hungarians (George Barany, "Hungary: from aristocratic to
proletarian nationalism." In Peter F. Sugar & Ivo J. Lederer (ed). Nationalism in Eastern Europe. Far
Eastern and Russian Institute Publications on Russia and Eastern Europe, 1. Seattle; London: University
of Washington Press, 1969, 260) and Romanians (Sorin Mitu, National identity of Romanians in
Transylvania, Budapest: CEU Press, 2001, 178). Interestingly, the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
recently used this shared claim as an argument for accession to the European Union; see Jozsef Martin,
Accession of Hungary as a 'win-win' situation: is it possible to fall in love with the EU internal market?
Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, [No date], 4.
^^ Generaldechant.
^^ Binder, Ludwig. Die Kirche der Siebenbrger Sachsen. Erlangen: Martin Luther-Verlag, 1982, 13-23.
See also Teutsch, Fr[iedrich]. "Zur Geschichte der Schsischen Nationsuniversitat." DPHVoX 5 Nr 8-9,
August - September 1925, 1-2.
Philippi, "Nation und Nationalgefiihl", 70.
^^ Barta, History of Transylvania, 287. Also Louis J. Elteto, "Reformation literature and the national
consciousness of Transylvanian Hungarians, Saxons and Rumanians." In John F. Cadzow, Andrew
Ludanyi & Louis J. Elteto (ed), Transylvania: The roots of ethnic conflict. Kent, Ohio: Kent State
University Press, 1983, 61-68.

The creation of the Lutheran Church had a deep and lasting effect on Saxon cultural and
intellectual life. The Church represented a highly developed and organised institution,
supported by extensive land holdings. The Church established its first printing presses
in the first half of the sixteenth century. Sectarian schools predated the founding of the
Lutheran Church, but were greatly expanded in the latter half of the sixteenth century.
The Church produced and often employed the educated elite that dominated Saxon

Lutheran Pastors played an active role in rural Saxon communal life, mainly

through the Brotherhoods^^ of unmarried young men. Sisterhoods^^ of unmarried young

women, and Neighbourhood Associations^^ of married adults, which provided support
networks for the community and which ordered both public and personal behaviour.

In 1557, the Transylvanian Diet granted the Lutheran, Calvinist and Catholic Churches
the status of Received faiths (recepta religio). This status was extended to Unitarianism
in 1563.^^ The Transylvanian system granted greater religious freedoms than offered
elsewhere in Europe, and while the Treaties of Augsburg and Westphalia left choice of
religious confession to monarchs only, individuals held that right in Transylvania.^^
However, the Transylvanian system should not be confused with modem religious
freedoms. Rights were not extended to other Protestant sects, or to the Orthodox
Church. Indeed, Orthodoxy was merely "tolerated", and operated under many
restrictions.^^ Although the two were not coterminous, the patterns of adoption of the
new religions had close parallels to the existing social structure in Transylvania.
Religion reinforced estate boundaries, as privileges were reserved for members of the
three estates and the four received religions. The separation of religious communities
^^ Elteto, "Reformation literature and the national consciousness", 66-68.
^^ Bruderschaften.
^^ Swesterschaften.
^^ Nachbarschaften.
^^ Adolf Schullerus, Siebenbrgisch-schsische Volkskunde im Umri. Leipzig: Quelle & Meyer, 1926.
(Augsburg: Weltbild Verlag, 1998.), 146-156. One of the most interesting accounts of the Neighbourhood
Associations, which continued to opperate until the imposition of communism in Romania, is Michael
Wagner, Schicksale und Erinnerungen: Zeitgeschichten aus der Vergangenheit eines siebenbrgischen
Dorfes. Hermannstadt: hora Verlag, 1998. One of the most comprehensive English-language accounts is
still Charles Boner, Transylvania: its products and its people. London: Longmans, Green, Reader and
Dyer, 1865, 203-208.
Istvan Lzr, Transylvania: a short history. (Trans. Thomas J. DeKomfeld), Budapest: Corvina, 1997,
^^ Bla K. Kiraly, "The Transylvanian concept of liberty and its impact on the Kingdom of Hungary in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries." In Cadzow et al (ed), Transylvania, 71-73.
^^ Sugar, "The principality of Transylvania", 126-7.

also had the effect of reinforcing ethnic boundaries, as minority members of

congregations tended to assimilate into the majority.^^

The religious freedoms granted to Lutheranism and the other Received faiths came
under pressure during Austrian rule. The Habsburgs favoured Catholicism, and the
eighteenth century was marked by settlement of Austrian Catholics in Saxon towns, as
well the conversion of some Saxons.^^ The combined need to defend Lutheranism and
the Saxon estate from Habsburg dominance led to an increasing identification of the two
identities as synonymous.^^

The third source of the Saxon myth-symbol complex was German ethnicity. As in other
parts of East and Southeast Europe, Transylvania witnessed considerable social
stratification on ethnic lines. The term Saxones was not a predominantly ethnic
description. Rather, it was applied by Hungarians and Southern Slavs to (predominantly
German-speaking) settlers and miners from Western Europe.^^ The hospites were of
mixed origin, including Germans [Theutones, Theotonici] and Flemings [Flandreuses],
as well as French [Latini\. They were joined by Hungarians, Szeklers, Romanians and
Cumans already living in the region. However, the predominance of German-speakers
amongst the disparate settlers resulted in a gradual adoption of the self-description
''deutsch" [German].^^ To some extent, ethnicity acted as an indicator of estate in
Transylvania. While the Saxon estate was predominantly ethnic-German, the nobility
was predominantly ethnic-Hungarian (although there were also some German and
Romanian nobles.).

While the origin of the Szeklers is unclear, they came to identify

as a subgroup within Hungarian ethnicityFinally, although there were considerable

Verdery, "On the nationality problem in Transylvania", 20-22.

^^ Harald Roth, "Ethnikum und Konfession als mentalittsprgende Merkmale: zur Frage konfessioneller
Minderheiten in Siebenbrgen." ZL Vol 24 Nr 1, 2001, 79.
^^ Fr[iedrich] Teutsch, "Die evang. Kirche und das Volkstum." Ostland Vol 4 No 7, July 1929, 198.
^^ Roth, "Autostereotype als Identifikationmuster", 183.
^^ Armbruster, Adolf "Wandel im Nationalgefiihl der siebenbrger Sachsen", In Armbruster, Auf den
Spuren der eigenen Identitt, 37-41.
^^ Domonkos, L. S. "The multiethnic character of the Hungarian Kingdom in the later middle ages." In
Cadzow et al, (ed), Transylvania, 45-46.
Although their own myths of ethnogenesis trace their ancestry to Attila's Huns, the Szeklers were more
probably Kabers who migrated into the Danube Basin with the Hungarian tribes and later assimilated
linguistically. Roth, Kleine Geschichte Siebenbrgens, 29-32. See also Barta, Histoiy of Transylvania,

numbers of Hungarians and smaller numbers of Germans amongst the peasantry, the
majority came to be ethnic-Romanian."^^

Ethnic boundaries also paralleled religious ones to varying degrees. The strongest divide
was between Romanians as Eastern Christians and other ethnicities as Western
Christians.After the reformation Lutherans tended to be German, with German
communities not belonging to the estate also embracing Luther's teachings.^^ Ethnic
Hungarians were divided between Calvinism, Unitarianism and Catholicism. At certain
times, especially during the reformation, the parallels between religion, ethnicity and
estate could be very unclear.^"^ However, social stratification was sufficient to
concatenate ethnic with legal and religious stereotypes.

Anderson has famously described the nation as an "imagined community", emphasising

that the key to the nation is not some objective criterion but the sense of national
The nature of Transylvania's peasant population remains contentious. Romanian historiography favours
the view that the region was inhabited by a mixture of indigenous Dacians and Roman colonists who
settled Transylvania after the Emperor Trajan (b. CE 53 r.98-117) conquered it in CE 106. From these
peoples, nationalists trace Romania's ethnogenesi s. Romanian nationalists also hold that Daco-Roman
occupation of Transylvania has been extensive and without interruption. (For example, see Virgil Cndea,
"The 'dark millenary' in the history of the Romanians as seen by Constantin G. Giurescu." In Stephen
Fischer-Galati, Radu R Florescu & George R. Ursul (ed), Romania between East and West: historical
essays in memory of Constantin G. Giurescu. East European Monographs, Boulder. New York: Columbia
University Press, 1982, 115-126. Also Kurt W. Treptow, A history of Romania. Romanian Civilization
Studies 7. Iai: Romanian Cultural Foundation, Center for Romanian Studies, 1995, 46-47. Although
Treptow is himself American, the majority of contributors are Romanian, and the tones of this work
strongly reflect the myths of Romanian national identity.) Hungarian historiography, by comparison,
favours the view that Transylvania had been largely depopulated by preceding migrations through the
area, such that any inhabitants were thinly spread, of mixed origin, and largely restricted to the
mountainous border areas. As such, it is argued that Romanians formed only a small minority. (For
example, see Barta, History of Transylvania, 56-61 & 97-106, Laszlo Kontler, Millennium in Central
Europe: a History of Hungary. Budapest: Atlantisz Publishing House, 1999, 69 and Lzr, Transylvania,
21-31.) A conclusive answer to this dispute is made difficult by the fragmentary nature of the evidence,
and in any case falls beyond the scope of this study. It is of greater importance here to recognise the
historical significance of this debate in the claims to the region made by Hungarian and Romanian
nationalists. (White, Nationalism and territory, 129-131.) For this reason, academic writing on the topic
has frequently been coloured by nationalism. (This point is made by, amongst others, Laszlo Pter,
"Introduction", 3-6, and Kosary, Domokos. "Historians and Transylvania", both in Laszlo Pter (ed),
Historians and the history of Transylvania. East European Monographs 332, New York: Columbia
University Press, 1992.) Whatever the Romanian population before the tenth century, it was increased in
size by migration from the voivodates of Wallachia and Moldavia in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries,
accelerating with the expansion of the Ottomans into Wallachia and Moldavia in the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries. The majority of these migrants were absorbed into the peasantry. (Domonkos, "The
multiethnic character of the Hungarian Kingdom", 51-53.)
Roth, "Ethnikum und Konfession als mentalittsprgende Merkmale", 75-76.
Paul Philippi, "Die sozialpolitische Bedeutung der siebenbrgisch-schsischen Kirchengemeinde
whrend 800 Jahren", ZL Vol 24 Nr 2, 2001, 182-183. Regarding non-German Lutherans, see Roth,
"Ethnikum und Konfession als mentalittsprgende Merkmale."
For example, see Edit Szegedi, "Schsische Identitt im Klausenburg des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts "
Z / S Z V o l 2 2 N r 1, 1999, 14-21.

consciousness of the nation's members.Ethnic identity is as much an imagined

community as is national identity

The self-identification of the Saxons as German did

not indicate a sense of shared identity with other ethnic Germans settled elsewhere, even
those with similar privileges such as the Zipser Saxons settled in northern Hungary
(modem day Slovakia)."^^ Nor did ethnicity tie the Saxons to the Holy Roman Empire.
For example, the collapse of the Kingdom of Hungary broke the connection between the
Saxon estate and the crown (the source of the estate's privileges), and led to a search for
new forms of legitimisation. The Theory of Germanic Continuity, advanced in 1591,
argued that the Transylvanian Saxons had not originated in the Holy Roman Empire, but
were the descendents of the Goths, Gepids, Dacians and other supposedly Germanic
peoples who had inhabited or passed through Transylvania. As "Dacian" rather than
"Teutonic" Germans, the Saxons predated the other inhabitants of Transylvania, giving
their privileges precedence. The Theory of Germanic Continuity was also used to
counter a less pleasing thesis, first advanced in 1650, that the Saxons were descended
from the children stolen from Hamlin by the Pied Piper."^^ The Theory of Germanic
Continuity was not inspired by a sense of nationalism but by the desire to preserve
medieval estate rights and privileges, which were threatened by Transylvanian
autonomy. 49

Anderson, Imagined Communities.

Barth, "Introduction", 13-15, and King, Jeremy. Budweisers into Czechs and Germans: a local history
of Bohemian politics, 1848-1948. Princeton University Press: Princeton & Oxford, 2002, 6-8.
Roth, "Autostereotype als Identifikationmuster", 183.
Roth, "Autostereotype als Identifikationmuster", 180-182. Another attempt to trace the origins of the
Saxons hypothesised that some Saxons were of Jewish origin, and had been called to Transylvania by the
Dacians to aid them in their fight against the Romans. (Badrus, Nadia. "Das Bild der Siebenbrger
Sachsen ber die Juden. Einige Anhaltspunkte." In Gndisch, et al (ed.) Das Bild des Anderen in
Siebenbrgen, 86-87. See also Gyement, Ladislaw. "The Romanian Jewry: historical destiny, tolerance,
integration, marginalisation." Journal for the study of religions and ideologies, Nr 3, Winter 2002, [15 December 2004], 86.) This theory also supported a Saxon presence in
Transylvania before the founding of the Kingdom of Hungary.
The limits of German identity were also revealed by those scholars such as Marcus Fronius (16591713) who refused to abandon the Theory of Daco-German Continuity even after it had been discredited.
Fronius, a Lutheran cleric leaning towards Pietism, continued to view the Saxon dialect as being of DacoGerman origin. Fronius was one of the first scholars to explore Saxon customs and traditions. However,
he did so not out of an interest in Saxon ethnicity per se, but rather to identify how Saxons might best
relate to the Lutheran Church. Szegedi, Edit. Konfession, Dialekt und 'regionale Identitt' bei Marcus
Fronius." In Mitu, & Gogltan (ed), Interethnische- und Zivilisationsbeziehungen im Siebenbrgischen
Raum, 163-179.

Habsburg rule ended the need of the Saxons to emphasise a local identity as the source
of their privileges, and in 1698 the Theory of Germanic Continuity was discredited.^^
Ethnicity did not play a significant role in forging a common sense of identity between
Saxons and Austrian Germans, who were after all divided by religion.^^ There were also
limits to the extent to which Transylvanian Germans viewed themselves as belonging to
the same ethnic community as the Austrians. Although the Saxons referred to their own
language as "detsch'' [deutsch, German], they referred to standard German by the
derogative mueseresch, or 'soldier's language', after the use of standard German by the
Austrian military.

Saxons also showed little sense of common identity with Catholic

Germans settled in Transylvania.^^ Similarly, Saxons were slow to accept Lutheran

Germans from outside of Transylvania. For example, in the mid-eighteenth century the
"Landler", deported Austrian Lutherans, were settled in a number of Saxon villages. In
three villages (GroBpold, Neppendorf and GroBau), the Landler formed the majority,
and maintained their dialect and costume. In these settlements the Saxon and Landler
communities remained separate, despite sharing a common religion and place of
worship, and despite the Landler being granted the same legal status as the S a x o n s . A
sense of common identity with other Germans emerged only in the nineteenth century,
as discussed below.

Thus, it can be seen that there was broad overlap in membership of the Saxon estate, the
Lutheran Church in Transylvania, and German ethnicity. It can also be seen that,
following the annexation of Transylvania by Austria at the end of the seventeenth
century, these communities came increasingly to be seen as interrelated. This process
was by no means complete by the end of the eighteenth century. On the margins of the
converging legal/religious/ethnic communities were Catholic Germans, Lutheran
Roth, "Autostereotype als Identifikationmuster," 181. See also Custred, Glynn (California State
University, Hayward) "Dual ethnic identity of the Transylvanian Saxons." East European Quarterly Vol
25 No 4, January 1992, 485.
Armbruster, "Wandel im Nationalgefhl der siebenbrger Sachsen", 47-48.
^^ Paul Philippi, "Zum Selbstverstndnis der Siebenbrger Sachsen im Zeitalter des Nationalismus und
danach." In Ingeborg Weber-Kellermann (ed), Zur Interethnik: Donauschwaben, Siebenbrger Sachsen
und ihre Nachbarn. [Frankfurt am Main]: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1978, 233.
^^ Roth, "Ethnikum und Konfession als mentalittsprgende Merkmale", 79. See also Krista Zach,
"Religise Toleranz und Stereotypenbildung in einer multikulturellen Region: Volkskirchen in
Siebenbrgen." In Gndisch et al (ed ), Das Bild des Anderen in Siebenbrgen, 128. This point is also
made by Boner, Transylvania, 519-520.
Martin Bottesch, "Frend- und Selbstbuilder in einer Siebenbrgischen Gemeinde: Siebenbrger
Sachsen, Landler, Rumnen und Roma in Gropold." In Gndisch, et al (ed.) Das Bild des Anderen in
Siebenbrgen, 195, 200-207. C.f. Zach, "Religise Toleranz und Stereotypenbildung in einer
multikulturellen Region," 128.

Germans excluded from the estate, Lutheran non-German members of the estate, and
even Lutheran German members of the estate such as the Landler, who were
'latecomers' to Transylvania. Nevertheless, the convergence of these three communities
formed the basis of Saxon nationalism from the end of the eighteenth century.

Saxon ethnic corporatism

The formation of Saxon ethno-corporatism was a response to two broad socio-political
trends that affected the Habsburg Empire from the last decades of the eighteenth
century. The first was the increasing centralisation of the state, coupled with the
individualisation of rights. This process, beginning with the Enlightened Despotism of
the Josephine Reforms, and continuing in Hungarian liberalism in 1848-1849 and after
1868, was inimical to the Saxon estate. The second trend was the increasing nationalism
of the ethnic communities of the region, especially Hungarian but also Romanian
nationalism. These challenged the cultural distinctiveness of ethnic Germans in
Transylvania and demanded their assimilation.
In considering the formation of Saxon ethno-corporatism, it is insightful to compare it to
the development of German nationalism. German nationalism was first and foremost the
product of the Bildungsburgertum, the university-educated middle classes.Too well
educated to accept their status as members of the middle classes, locked out of noble
society, given only limited employment prospects because of the preponderance of the
gentry in the bureaucracy, the Bildungsburgertum struggled to find their place in
German society. This left them deeply embittered. Turning first to Pietism and then to
Romanticism, they finally combined their romanticism with nationalism after the
French Revolution.^^

From the end of the eighteenth century, the Saxon educated middle class, known locally
as the Literati, also became the first segment of Saxon society to develop an ethnocorporatist viewpoint. Enlightenment thought and the French Revolution influenced the

^^ Greenfeld, Nationalism, 279-395. C.f. Jenkins & Minnerup, Citizens and comrades, 45-46.

Literati via freemasonry and the accessibility of German literature.^^ They readily
identified themselves with the revolutionary role of the bourgeoisie.^^ However, the
great difference between the Saxon Literati and the Bildungsbrgertum in Germany was
that the Saxon estate and the Lutheran Church afforded the Literati a measure of
protection from competition from the gentry and nobility. As a result, the first stirrings
of nationalism in Transylvania came from the predominantly Hungarian nobility. The
Josephine Reforms raised the language question in the Habsburg Empire by making
German the language of state. This was advantageous to the Literati, who were already
familiar with Standard German through the bible, but was stridently opposed by
Hungarian nationalists. As the tide of Hungarian nationalism rose in the first half of the
nineteenth century, frequent calls were made for the "Magyarisation" of minorities and
the centralisation of administration, which threatened the rights of the Saxon estate. In
their opposition to this, Saxon leaders defended the cultural and linguistic rights of all
"Peoples" {Vlker) in Transylvania.^^ In this period, members of the Saxon estate felt an
increasing sense of connection to ethnic Saxons living under noble rule.^^

However, as I mentioned earlier, the Literati continued to cling to the rights of the estate
as long as these could be preserved, and after that for as long as hope remained that the
estate could be restored. This was because while as an estate the Saxons constituted one
of the ruling groups in Transylvania, and provided protection from competition from the
nobility, as an ethnically constituted community in a modem democratic state they
could only form a small minority, even within Transylvania. For this reason, proEnlightenment Saxons in the late eighteenth century were hesitant supporters of the
principles of equality, as by the eighteenth century, ethnic-Romanian Eastern Rite
Christians, excluded from the estate, made up an absolute majority of inhabitants of the
Knigsboden. For this reason, Saxon intellectuals favoured positive law over natural

^^ On the influence of freemasonry on the Saxons, see Pter, "Introduction", 23. There were lodges in
Kronstadt (founded 1767) and Hermannstadt (founded 1783). Hildrun Glass, Zerbrochene
Nachbarschaft: Das deutsch-jdische Verhltnis in Rumnien (1918-1938). Sdosteuropische Arbeiten
98. Mnchen: R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 1996, 484-485.
^^ Mckel, "Geschichtsschreibung und Geschichtsbewusstsein", 3. See also Kroner, Michael.
"Stephan Ludwig Roth ber das Zusammenleben der Siebenbrgischen Vlkerschaften." In Gndisch et
al (ed), Das Bild des Anderen in Siebenbrgen, 169-170.
^^ Kroner, "Stephan Ludwig Roth ber das Zusammenleben der siebenbrgischen Vlkerschaften", 1 SSIS 8. It should be noted that this did not extent to defending the equality of Romanians living on the
Knigsboden, as discussed below.
^^ Philippi, "Nation und Nationalgefuhl", 70.

law.^^ Similarly, during the 1848-1849 Revolution, Saxon leaders also continued to
champion the estate, which they justified both through legal precedent and as a means
of preserving the Saxon people. Due to the absolute majority of inhabitants of the
Konigsboden being Romanian, they feared Romanianisation more than Magyarisation.^^
Nevertheless, the dual process of the modernisation and increasing nationalism of the
state eventually led to the permanent dissolution of the Saxon estate. As such, it
undermined the basis for the Saxon community. For the Saxon community to survive
the loss of privilege, it had to be reconstituted on new lines. For this, there were few
alternatives to ethno-corporatism. One alternative was religion. Both the Jews of
Hungary and the Armenians of Transylvania continued to function as religious
communities despite the rapid Magyarisation of their members in the nineteenth

century. A community constituted on religious lines could, however, operate in

relatively few spheres of life in an increasingly secular society.
Ethnic distinctiveness was not sufficient in itself to ensure the development of Saxon
nationalism, as shown by the rapid ad for most part willing Magyarisation of German
and Jewish urban communities in Hungary.^^ However, the close association of the
Saxon estate with German ethnicity in Transylvania, along with religion, provided the
basis for the creation of a Saxon ethno-corporatist community. The formation of a
Saxon ethno-corporatist movement was in large part due to the Saxon estate. Estates and
other privilege corporations formed the basis of a number of nationalist movements in
the region,^"^ not least the noble estates in Hungary,^^ and the Danube Principalities,^^
Mckel, "Geschichtsschreibung und Geschichtsbewusstsein", 4-5.
For example, Kroner, "Stephan Ludwig Roth ber das Zusammenleben der siebenbrgischen
Vlkerschaften", 166.
The Transylvanian Armenians Magyarised while retaining their religious identity as members of the
Armenian Catholic Church. See Bein, "Armenier in Siebenbrgen." As in other parts of Hungary Jews in
Transylvania rapidly Magyarised (with the partial exception of those in the North), especially after
emancipation in 1867, and played an important role in the Magyarisation of Transylvania, without losing
their religious identity. Randolph L. Braham, Genocide and retribution: the Holocaust in Hungarianruled Northern Transylvania. Boston, The Hague, Dordrecht, Lancaster: Kluwer-Nijhoff Publishing,
^^ Oszkar Jaszi. The dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy. [Chicago]: University of Chicago Press 1961
[cl929], 303-304.
^ Hroch, "From national movement to the fully-formed nation", 83-85.
^^ Barany, "Hungary:ft-omaristocratic to proletarian nationalism", 261. This point is also made by White,
Nationalism and territory, 68-69 and Paul Ignotus, Hungary. London: Ernest Benn Ltd, 1972, 48.
^^ Stephen Fischer-Galati, Twentieth Century Romania. New York: Columbia University Press 1991 P 13.

which became associated with Hungarian and Romanian nationalism respectively.^^

Privilege corporations often provided a sense of historicity and possessed a capable and
energetic intellectual class. Furthermore, ethnic stratification and wealth meant that
many corporations shared a common language and script, as well as high levels of
literacy and urbanisation, all characteristics that Gellner highlights as advantageous to
the development of nationalism.^^

Anderson describes the dissemination of a sense of national identity to the reading

classes through literature and the press.^^ Certainly, the Saxons benefited from an
extensive press industry dating back to the first half of the sixteenth century. Publication
of German language periodicals in Transylvania began in the final quarter of the
eighteenth century, and expanded considerably in the mid-nineteenth century to include
newspapers, cultural publications, professional and scientific journals and almanacs.
The most important newspapers were the Kronstddter Zeitung (KrZ), founded in 1848,
and the Siebenbilrgisch Deutsche Tageblatt (SDT), founded in 1868 and becoming a
daily in 1874. The SDT acted as the semi-official publication of the Saxon Party, with a
readership extending beyond Hermannstadt and in some cases beyond Transylvania.
The KrZ filled a similar role in Kronstadt and its surrounds (the Burzenland). By the end
of the nineteenth century, most Saxon towns had their own weekly or daily

The authors of the print texts (predominantly historiography) that defined and
disseminated Saxon ethno-corporatism in the nineteenth century were drawn
predominantly from the clergy, and from teachers at the schools of the Lutheran

^^ Likewise, Greenfeld sees English, French and Russian nationalism as products of aristocratic
nationalism. She considers the middle-class origins of German nationalism as an exception to the norm.
Greenfeld, Nationalism, 111.


On the characteristics advantageous to the development of nationalism, see Gellner, Nations and
Nationalism, 35-36, 46-47. On the superficial similarities between nations and some pre-national
corporations, see Gellner, "The coming of nationalism and its interpretation", 104-105.
^^ Anderson, Imagined Communities, 37-46, 61-64.
^^ My (ed). Die siebenbrger Sachsen, 76-82, 391-395, 579. See also Meschendrfer, Hans. Das
Verlagswesen der siebenbrger Sachsen: Ein berblick. Mit einem Vorwort von Hans Bergel.
(Verffentlichungen des Sdostdeutschen Kulturwerks Reihe B: Wissenschaftliche Arbeiten, Vol. 36.)
Mnchen: Verlag des Sdostdeutschen Kulturwerks. 1997, 39-71, and Wolff, Karl. "Aus meinem Leben.'
In Wolff, Karl (ed Michael Kroner). Schriften und Reden, Kriterion-Bcherei 10. Bukarest' Kriterion
Verlag, 1976, 59-62.


This continued a tradition dating back to the Reformation, of the clergy


forming the basis of the Saxon intelligentsia.

The intellectual role of pastors and

teachers in Lutheran schools was greatly broadened by the Enlightenment, leading to

involvement in civil life, economic associations, political organisations and so

The Lutheran Church, commonly known as the Evangelical Provincial Church in

Transylvania, C.A.^"^ was the primary institution to produce and disseminate Saxon
ethno-corporatism.^^ This process was carried out via the pulpit, and also via the Church

Gellner argues that a uniform education system instilling a uniform culture is

an essential precondition for the dissemination of nationalism.^^ The Church imposed a

common curriculum on its schools from 1870/71, and by the end of the nineteenth
century, 96.78 percent of school-age Saxon children were attending the Church
These activities reflect the self-image of the Church as a Volkskirche. In this context, the
term Volkskirche had a different meaning from that in Western and Central Europe,
where it referred to a territorial Church whose denomination was determined by the
beliefs of the ruler (as set out by the Treaty of Augsburg). In Transylvania, where
individual conscience determined faith (within certain restrictions), Volkskirche referred
to a religious institution in which faith and ethnicity were considered to be one and the
same. In theory, a Volkskirche included in its congregation the overwhelming majority
if not all of an ethnicity (and only that ethnicity). The clergy recognised the Church as a
national organisation and actively worked to further the interests of the ethnic
community. A Volkskirche was marked by a strong emphasis on homogeneity and
conformity, produced by the central role of the Church in communal life. Disputes

For a brief account of the Saxon intelligentsia during the period of formation of national identity, see
Boner, Transylvania, 224-5.
^^ Elteto, "Reformation Literature and the national consciousness", 66-68.

Binder, Die Kirche der Siebenbrger Sachsen, 54.

^^ Evangelische Landeskirche in Siebenbrgen, A.B.. It was more formally known as the Evangelical
Church of the Aubsburg Confession [Evangelische Kirche Augsburgischen Bekenntnisses].
^^ Compare this to Gellner's claim that only Churches with the backing of the state can provide the
education necessary for the nation. Gellner, Nations and nationalism, 38.
^^ Philippi, "Nation und Nationalgefiihl", 78.
78 Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, 37-38.
Roth, Walter. "Der Ausbau des deutsch-evangelischen Schulwesens durch Georg Daniel Teutsch." In
Knig, Walter (ed), Beitrge zur siebenbrgischen Schulgeschichte. Siebenbrgisches Archiv 32 KlnWeimar; Wien: Bhlau Veriag, 1996, 265-266.

within a Volkskirche were kept private or suppressed. A Volkskirche worked to protect

its congregation from internal and external threats, real or imagined/^

Current historiography tends to accept the claims of nineteenth century clerics and
historians that the Lutheran Church was a Volkskirche ^^ These claims are, however,
complicated by the presence of sometimes substantial numbers of non-German
Lutherans,^^ as well as by a considerable minority of Germans in Transylvania
practicing Catholicism. Ultimately, it lies beyond the scope of this thesis to consider the
claim that of all the Churches in Transylvania, the Lutheran Church most closely fit the
description of Volkskirche. It is more important to note that the leadership and much of
the laity of the Church viewed it as such. Within the Church the terms evangelisch and
schsisch were treated as synonymous.^^
History forms a key plank of the myth-symbol complex of national movements.
Nationalists construct a single, unifying history through a selective reading of the plural
pasts of the community. In doing so, they represent the nation as natural and
progressive, and aim to mobilise the population through a dramatic and inspiring
representation of the past.^^ Particularly influential in the formation of the Saxon mythsymbol complex was the six volume History of the Transylvanian Saxons for the Saxon
People^"^ by Pastor Georg Daniel Teutsch (1817-1893), published between 1852 and

1858.'-^ Teutsch was Rector of the Mediasch Gymnasium, and was influential in
education reforms within the Church schools. His work represented the adoption of a
Saxon ethnic identity, as indicated by the title of his work. Teutsch's history represented
the Saxons as entirely at home in Transylvania. He was greatly influenced by the premodem self-image of the Saxon natio, and reinforced the historical myths that had been
central to the identity of the Saxons since their original settlement in Transylvania: that
they had brought civilisation and culture into the East, that they were defenders of

Philippi, "Die sozialpolitische Bedeutung der siebenbrgisch-schsischen Kirchengemeinde", 180-182

Also Zach, "Religise Toleranz und Stereotypenbildung in einer multikulturellen Region," 110-113.
See Zach, "Religise Toleranz und Stereotypenbildung in einer multikulturellen Region," especially
139-142. Also Philippi, "Die sozialpolitische Bedeutung der siebenbrgisch-schsischen
Kirchengemeinde", 182-183.
Roth, "Ethnikum und Konfession als mentalittsprgende Merkmale."
^^ Ludwig Binder, "Die evangelische Landeskirche A. B. in Rumnien 1920-1944." In Knig (ed),
Siebenbrgen zwischen den beiden Weltkriegen, 238-239.
^^ Smith, Ethnic origins of nations, 177-183.
Geschichte der Siebenbrger Sachsenr das schsische Volk.
^^ Mckel, "Geschichtsschreibung und Geschichtsbewusstsein." 8-9.

Christianity, and that they were an educated democratic people in a barbarous land.^^
The ethno-corporatist identity that emerged from Teutsch's writings combined the preexisting Saxon legal (the natio) and religious (Lutheran) identities with liberal and
romantic values that had come to carry a new weight in European identities and politics.
The ethno-corporatism he espoused was intellectually articulate, emotionally inspiring
and, therefore, politically useful.^^ In 1867 he became the Bishop of the Saxon Lutheran
Church, and as such was in a position to influence the school curriculum and the
contents of parish sermons. He was also an active player in the political arena, with
considerable influence in the press.^^ As such, it is not entirely surprising that, as one
observer in the 1860s noted (no doubt exaggerating considerably), every Saxon family
seemed to own a copy of his works.^^ Ethnography also played a significant role in the
formation of Saxon ethno-corporatism, particularly in the work of folklorist Josef
Haltrich, a teacher in the Lutheran Gymasium in SchaBburg.^^

Intermittently to 1876, Saxon ethno-corporatists also benefited from the Saxon estate
with its limited state-like powers. As an ethnic community, the Saxons continued to
benefit from many of the advantages of privilege even after the abolition of the estate.
They owned the bulk of land in the former Konigsboden, either directly, collectively as
parish land, or indirectly through institutions such as the Church and the Universitas!^^
Saxons also dominated urban life in Southeast Transylvania, and towns such as
Hermannstadt, Kronstadt and SchaBburg remained largely German in terms of their
cultural, political and economic institutions, even as the Saxons became outnumbered

An English language outline of the themes of Teutsch's work is provided in Boner, Transylvania, 90ff
For analysis of Teutsch's historiography, see Roth, "Autostereotype als Identifikationmuster." 185-6. See
also Mckel, "Geschichtsschreibung und Geschichtsbewusstsein", 6-11.
^^ Philippi, "Zum Selbstverstndnis der Siebenbrger Sachsen", 236-237.
^^ Gustav Gndisch, "Bedeutende Siebenbrger Sachsen im 19. Jahrhundert." Anzeiger der
stereichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften: philosophisch-historische Klasse. Vol 121 Nr 1-9, 1984,
Boner, Transylvania. 360.
Haltrich, Josef. Schsische Volksmrchen aus dem Sachsenlande in Siebenbrgen: Dritte, vermehrte
Auflage. Wien: Cari Graefer, 1882. Gutenburg-DE. [9 July 2002]. See also
Boner, Charles, Transylvania. 225-226.
The former governing council of the Saxon estate, also known as the Nationaluniversitt, survived after
1876 as the financial managing body of the lands (mainly forests) formerly directly owned by the estate,
with its income divided between the cultural and religious institutions (of all ethnicities) of the former
Knigsboden. Most of its lands were confiscated during the Agrarian Reforms (1921-1923), and the
Universitas finally dissolved in 1937. My (ed), Die siebenbrger Sachsen, 365.

Furthermore, in 1872 the first Saxon Conference^^ was held to make plans for a future
without the estate, resulting in the founding of the Saxon People's Party^^ to represent
the Saxon community in the Hungarian state parliament. Following 1876, the People's
Party became the ethnically organised German-Saxon People's Party^^ [DSVP] to
enable inclusion of non-Saxon Germans in Transylvania.^^ The Saxon Party benefited
from the property and education requirements that limited suffrage in Hungary, such
that in 1914, only 6.5 percent of the population of Hungary were enfranchised.^^ Saxons
were over-represented amongst those able to vote. For example, before the First World
War, there were only 14,600 eligible voters living on the iormtv Knigsboden, of which
10,700 were German, 3,000 Romanian and 800 Hungarian, giving the Saxons a 73
percent majority. In total, the Saxons had 22 parliamentarians at the end of the War.^^
This relative strength allowed Saxon parliamentarians to reach an accord of sorts with
the major Hungarian parties, especially after it accepted the dissolution of the estate in
1890. The first manifesto of the Party (the Nationalprogramm, 1872) continued to be
framed in terms of estate rather ethnic identity. It was only in 1890 that the Saxon Party
adopted a new manifesto {Volksprogramm) that replaced the emphasis on regaining the
Saxon estate with the pursuit of the interests of the ''siebenbrgen-schsischen Volk''
and their "cultural determination".^^ Indeed, it is interesting to note the shift from
Nationalprogramm in 1872 (in which "nationaF refers to the natio) to the use of the
populist and in this context ethnic, but not necessarily nationalist term Volk.'^^ From
1890, the term ''parted increasingly fell out of usage, being associated with artificial,
divisive, individualistic politics, and the DSVP became known as the German-Saxon
People's Organisation.


^^ Schsisches Volkspartei.
Deutsch-Schsisches Volkspartei.
^^ Roth, "Ethnikum und Konfession als mentalittsprgende Merkmale", 79-80. c.f. My (ed), Die
siebenbrger Sachsen, 426, and Roth, Harald. Politische Strukturen und Strmungen bei den
Siebenbrger Sachsen 1919-1933. Studia Transylvanica 22. Kln; Weimar; Wien: Bhlau Verlag, 1994,
^^ Jszi, The dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy, 226-227.
^^ "Volkstag der Sachsen in Schburg." SDT26 November 1919, 2.
^^ Kulturbestimmung. Mckel, "Kleinschsisch oder Alldeutsch?" 131-134.
^^ The four National- and Volksprogrammen are reproduced in Emst Wagner (ed), Quellen zur
Geschichte der Siebenbrger Sachsen 1191-1975. Schriften zur Landeskunde Siebenbrgens, 1. Kln;
Wien: Bhlau Verlag, 1976.
Deutsch-Schsisches Volksorganisation. See My (ed), Die siebenbrger Sachsen, 426.

Another important avenue for the dissemination of ethno-corporatism was through

voluntary associations. Voluntary associations were formed in the Habsburg Empire
from the eighteenth century and expanded rapidly in the first half of the nineteenth
century. Following the decline of the corporate rights of towns {Brgerrecht), they
provided a context in which Burghers and members of the bourgeoisie could interact
with a minimum of government interference. As such, voluntary associations became
centres of liberalism. ^^^ Similarly, the first Saxon voluntary associations were the
Freemasonry lodges and reading circles of the late eighteenth century. These were
followed in the first half of the nineteenth century by scientific associations such as the
Association for Transylvanian Studies

(1480) and the Transylvanian Association for

1 Ci"^

Natural Science

(1849), as well as economic bodies such as the Transylvanian Saxon

Rural Economic Association^(1845). In addition, a number of trade and industry

associations were founded in key Saxon towns in the 1840s. However, as the bourgeois
class was smaller in Transylvania and as the rights of burghers were preserved until
later through the corporate rights of the estate, real growth of Saxon voluntary
associations occurred only from the 1870s. These included voluntary fire brigades,
hiking clubs, sports and gymnastic associations, music and art societies, choirs, youth
groups and women's associations, as well as further economic associations, professional
bodies and academic groups. This process was influenced by the further expansion of
voluntary associations in the Austrian crownlands in the same period. However, by this
stage voluntary associations had become as much ethnic as liberal associations. They
aimed to spread "German" (formerly liberal, bourgeois) values to the German lower
classes, and to unite the population in resistance to impingement of "German" status and
resources by members of other ethnic communities. Consequently, voluntary
associations became the main venues for defining and disseminating German identity. ^^^
Judson, Exclusive Revolutionaries, 11-28.
Verein fr Siebenbrgische
Siebenbrgische Verein fr Naturwissenschaften.
^^^ Judson, Exclusive Revolutionaries, 193-222. The nationalist role of seemingly apolitical cultural
associations is well recorded in Germany and other regions of Central and Eastern Europe. For example,
consider the role of Singing groups {Liedertafeln) in propagating nationalism in Germany (John Daverio,
"Einheit - Freiheit - Vaterland: Intimations of Utopia in Robert Schumann's late choral music." In Celia
Applegate & Pamela Potter (ed), Music and German national identity. Chicago and London: University
of Chicago Press, 2002, 62-63), and in providing a venue for Estonian nationalism in the Russian Empire.
(Ellen Karu, "On the development of the association movement and its socio-economic background in the
Estonian countryside." In Alexander Loit (ed), National movements in the Baltic countries during the
nineteenth century. Acta universitatis stockholmiensis: studia baltica stockholmiensis Vol 2. Stockholm:
Centre for Baltic Studies, University of Stockholm, 1985, 271-282.)

Similarly, while some Saxon associations, especially those of a scientific nature,

fostered closer links with non-Saxons and included many non-Saxon members, most
organisations (as was typical of voluntary associations in Transylvania) were formally
or informally Saxon in membership.

These voluntary organisations were in part a response to the loss of estate. Taking
advantage of the relative freedom offered to private institutions in liberal society, the
voluntary associations provided niches in which activities could be pursued with
minimal interference from the Hungarian government. ^^^ Voluntary associations might
subscribe to journals and newspapers for the benefit of their members, and organise
educational talks and lectures on topics ranging far from the narrow focus of the
association itself

One of the most important voluntary associations was the General Lutheran Women's


It was founded in 1885 to provide an avenue for Lutheran women to

serve the Church and their community. From 83 regional organisations upon its
formation, few of which had previously existed, the number of organisations affiliated
to the Lutheran Women's Association grew to 246 by 1925. Activities included
decorating local churches, tending graveyards, providing charity to the disadvantaged
(the poor, the aged, the infirm and orphans), supporting schools and kindergartens and
running women's education in the form of reading circles, classes and so on. Reading
circles frequently dealt with material of an ethno-corporatist nature.^^^ The Women's
Association is discussed further in Chapter 4.
Among the most influential voluntary associations were the co-operatives supported by
the Saxon banking industry. Hroch notes that a key goal of nationalists in Eastern
Europe was to create a "complete" social structure for their community.^^^ Closely
associated with this aim was the desire to create a complete "national" economy as a

Ernst M Wallner, Strukturen und Funktionen des Siebenbrgisch-schsischen Vereins-,

Genossenschafts- und Verbandswesens." Forschungen zur Volks- und Landeskunde (herein FzFLK), Vol
36 Nr 1, 1993,27.
Gndisch, Siebenbrgen und die Siebenbrger Sachsen, 153-155.
^^^ Allgemeine evangelische Frauenverein.
Hilda Schullerus, "Ansprache zur Erffnung der Hauptversammlung des Allgemeinen Frauenvereins
der ev. Landeskirche." KBl Vol 17 Nr 20, 14 May 1925, 217-220.
Hroch, "From national movement to the fully-formed nation", 81.

key element of self-sufficiency/^^ In the Austrian crownlands, German ethnocorporatists worried about increasing the overall wealth of the German community (the
Nationalbesitzstand), improving economic opportunities and preventing the penetration

of non-Germans into "German" areas. In Transylvania, financial organisations

formed on ethnic lines and used the appeal of ethno-corporatism as a marketing
technique. Furthermore, they also engaged in social engineering, attempting to improve
the financial well being of their ethnic community.^ ^^ The Saxon banking industry was
particularly strong, with Saxon banks controlling 47.8 percent of all banking assets in
Transylvania in
Most Saxon banks included in their constitutions an obligation
to charitable work for the community. The most important was the Hermannstadt
General Savings Bank^^^ [HAS] (founded 1887), which under the directorship of Carl
Wolff made many contributions to Saxon society. Wolff (*SchaBburg 1849, t
Hermannstadt 1929) was editor of the 57)7(1874-1885, member of the lower house of
parliament (1881-1887), and from 1890-1917 chair of the DSVP. He was also Curator
of the Lutheran Church (the highest lay position).
Wolff was key author of the DSVP's 1890 manifesto, which called for closer cooperation with Hungary, emphasised an ethnic identity for the first time, and laid out
plans for greater activities through voluntary economic associations. In pursuing the
latter, Wolff used the resources of HAS to found rural co-operatives on the Christian
principles proposed by William Raiffeisen. By 1910, some 207 Saxon co-operatives
were active in the villages. Local pastors and teachers led most rural co-operatives.
Most were savings and loans societies committed to the modernisation of Saxon
agriculture and the purchasing of additional land for the community. This was of
especial importance in managing the process oi''Kommassatiorf\ or the consolidation
of small strip fields into larger contiguous land holdings more suited to modem forms of
''' Smith, Ethnic origins of nations, 161-165.
Judson, Exclusive Revolutionaries, 193-218.
Verdery, Transylvanian villagers, 206-208. See also Abraham Bama, "The Idea of Independent
Romanian National Economy in Transylvania at the Turn of the 20th Century." In Balzs Trencsnyi,
Drago Petrescu, Cristina Petrescu, Constantin lordachi & Zoltan Kantor (ed), Nation-building and
contested identities: Romanian and Hungarian case studies. Budapest; lai: Regio Books & Editura
Polirom, 2001., 209-226. For a later example, see also Moshe Ussoskin, Struggle for survival: a history of
Jewish credit co-operatives in Bessarabia, Old-Rumania, Bukovina and Transylvania. Jerusalem:
Jerusalem Academic Press, [1974], 129ff.
Verdery, Transylvanian villagers, 208.
Hermannstadter Allgemeine Sparkassa.

agriculture, which most Saxon villages had completed or were undertaking by 1910.
They also made numerous contributions to cultural and social bodies, mainly those
associated with the Church. In addition, there were a smaller number of consumption
co-operatives. It is interesting to note that the introduction of consumption co-operatives
in 1905 was to provide a specifically Saxon alternative to the Hungarian Hanya ["Ant"]
consumption co-operatives that began to spread into Saxon communities.^^^ Finally,
there were a very small number of urban manufacturing co-operatives. While advocates
of the co-operative movement tended to view the co-operatives as a continuation of the
guilds, abolished in 1872, in reality most of the co-operatives formed at that time were
short-lived, with only three in Bistritz surviving to the War.^^^
Thus, the politicisation of Saxon ethnicity was a response to the rising nationalism in
the region and the loss of privileges of Church and estate. Especially lamented were the
loss of the estate's right to exclude "foreigners" (physically, economically and
politically), and to regulate its own administrative and financial affairs. Saxon ethnocorporatists responded to the loss of privilege by adopting increasing elements of
nationalism. The Lutheran-Saxon privilege-based community was gradually
transformed into an ethnically defined politically mobilised community of theoretical
equals pursuing autonomy in cultural, educational, economic and administrative
matters. However, Saxon ethno-corporatists did not adopt the core goal of nationalism:
the territorial nation-state. Rather, they pursued their goals through private institutions
within the Austro-Hungarian state, aided by their extensive resources (both land and
capital) and by the decentralised state administration with its restricted franchise.

Schullerus, Siebenbrgisch-schsische Volkskunde im Umri, 2-3.

There are a range of sources that consider Saxon banking and co-operative associations. Recent works
include My (ed), Die siebenbrger Sachsen, 143-144, 280-282, 579, Ernst Wagner, "Das
Genossenschaftswesen in Siebenbrgen bis zu seiner Aufhebung im Jahr 1948." SSM Vol 8 Nr 1-2, 1994,
75-90, and Ambrosi, Gerhard Michael. Carl Wolffund das Banken- und Genossenschaftswesen in
Siebenbrgen: Erweitertes Manuskript eines Vortrags anlsslich der Gedenkveranstaltung 'Carl Wolff
(1849-1929) und die Modernisierung der siebenbrgisch-schsischen Gemeinschaft' zu seinem 150.
Geburtstag. Oktober 1999. [14
March 2003]. Contemporary sources include Gnter Wehenkel, Deutsches Genossenschaftswesen in
Rumnien, Stuttgart: Ausland und Heimat Verlags-Aktiengesellschaft, 1929, 11-56, Konrad Ulrich, Die
volkswirtschaftliche Bedeutung der Siebenbrger Sachsen fr Rumnien, Leipzig: A. Deichertsche
Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1930, 116-140, and Gustav Filff, Geschichte und Gegenwart der siebenbrgischschsischen Genossenschaften, Stuttgart, Ausland und Heimat Verlags-Aktiengesellschaft, 1931. Also of
interest is Wolff, "Aus meinem Leben.".
Wagner, "Das Genossenschaftswesen in Siebenbrgen", 76-77.

As Saxons turned to ethno-corporatism, they increasingly looked to German nationalism

as a model for emulation. Nevertheless, the relationship to the German state was far
from straightforward.

Saxon ethno-corporatism and German nationalism

The lack of a single German state before 1871 resulted in the lack of a single unified
image of the German national community before and long after that date. In central and
sourthem Germany especially, German nationalism was highly contested with
nationalists of different persuasion advancing different models of the nation and the
nation-state. The broadest division was between kleindeutsch ("small German") and
grodeutsch ("greater German") understandings of the state. Advocates of the
kleindeutsch model favoured a Prussian-dominated Germany that was rooted in
Protestantism, modernity and high culture. This understanding of Germanness was
homogenising and emphasised a strong, centralised state. The grodeutsch model
favoured an Austrian-dominated Germany that was more accepting of Roman
Catholicism by separating religion from nationalism. This understanding of Germanness
was more heterogeneous and gave greater space for expression of local traditions and
customs, and of loyalties to older communities such as locality, region, religion and so
on. The grodeutsch model favoured a decentralised state. North Germans (especially
Prussians) and Lutherans tended to favour kleindeutsch nationalism, while Southern
Germans, Catholics and the medium-sized German states favoured grodeutsch
nationalism. ^^^

Relative military strengths led to the formation in 1871 of a German state on the
kleindeutsch model, with the exclusion of the Habsburg Empire. However, the
centralisation of the German state was incomplete, and the smaller states continued to
act as administrative units alongside Prussia. Nor did unification result in a uniform
understanding of Germanness. Within Germany, medium-sized German states such as
Baden-Wrttemberg and Saxony, which had already embarked upon a program of state
nationalism before German unification, favoured a decentralised "state particularism"
Altgeld, "Religion, denomination and nationalism in nineteenth-century Germany", 52-58. Also
Walser Smith, German nationalism and religious conflict, 19-41.

that recognised the local character of, and gave autonomy to, the formerly independent
states that made up Germany. "Particularist" identities acted as a counterpoint to
Prussian dominance, in opposition to the centralised state. As Abigail Green
demonstrates, the emphasis of a local identity did not indicate opposition to German
nationalism. Rather, it offered a different model of Germanness in which local identity
formed a means of integrating into the German nation, through expression of localness
as a form of Germanness. ^^^

These particularist identities, formed with the backing of the local state, were distinct
from the predominantly urban middle class Heimat or "homeland" movement, which
yearned for a largely imaginary idyllic rural past. Heimat identities placed a strong
emphasis on local histories, landscapes, folk customs and dialects. Celia Applegate
argues that Heimat identities did not form in opposition to German nationalism; rather,
the Heimat served as a mediator between individual and nation by making the abstract
nation knowable and familiar. To express one's local identity was to express one's
Germanness. Furthermore, Heimat identities sometimes served as a means of resisting
the influence of neighbouring medium states, and not necessarily as an expression of
hostility to Prussian-dominated Germany.^^^

Alon Confino argues that the official, Prussian-dominated nationalism of Wilhelmine

Germany proved to be a poor means of uniting the disparate communities of Germany,
especially in the German south. As a result, German nationalists adopted a more
pluralistic understanding of Germanness. While Applegate sees the Heimat as a
mediator. Confino argues that the German nation was in itself envisioned as a standard
trope of localness, into which Heimat identities could be easily integrated. The German
nation was embodied by images of the local, especially the small, socially orderly
German town centred on its Church. ^^^ Confino's approach has not been without
criticism; he has been accused of over-generalising and of drawing on too narrow a
range of sources to be able to represent the Heimat image of German society as a

Green, Fatherlands.
Applegate, A nation of provincials.
^^^ Confino, The nation as a local metaphor.

whole. ^^^ Nevertheless, Confino successfully identifies broad themes common to many
representations of the Heimat, and which were also present in Saxon representations of
Transylvania, as discussed in Chapter 3 of this thesis.
Heimat identity therefore allowed for an element of plurality in German national
identity, albeit limited by the need for the Heimat identity to conform to the broader
German whole. The extent to which pluralistic understandings of German nationalism
were universally adopted should not be overstated; there remained considerable tensions
between national and regional identities and between the identities of different
regions. Nevertheless, pluralistic understandings of Germanness formed a powerful
rhetoric with which nationalists in Germany could reach out to the diverse German
communities of Eastern Europe. In Germany, interest in the scattered German
minorities of Eastern Europe emerged simultaneously with the development of
Germany's small colonial empire after 1884-1885.
The scattered settlements of ethnic Germans in Eastern Europe frequently held positions
of relative privilege, and their status was held as evidence of the superiority and
civilising influence of German culture. ^^^ This view of German settlement in Eastern
Europe reflected the myth of the ''Drang nach Osten" [pull to the East], the ideology
developed from the 1860s that the German nation had an historical mission to bring
civilisation to the 'barbaric' Slavic peoples of Eastern Europe. This national myth
played an important role in North German nationalism (especially in justifying the
Prussian occupation of parts of Poland). ^^^ This myth in turn justified German colonial
efforts abroad. 1 0 T'
The supposedly positive characteristics of German minorities in East Europe were also
held up as essential characteristics of Germanness. For example, Nancy Reagin has
^^^ Jennifer Jenkins, "The Nation as a Local Metaphor." Journal of Social History Vol 33 Nr 1, Fall 1999,
223-5, and Celia Applegate, "The Nation as a Local Metaphor." Central European History Vol 33 Nol,
2000, 109-15.
For example, see Green, Fatherlands and James Retallack, "'Why Can't a Saxon be More Like a
Prussian?' Regional Identities and the Birth of Modem Political Culture in Germany, 1866-67." Canadian
Journal of History. Vol 32 April 1997, 26-55.
^^^ "Introduction" In O'Donnell, Et. al (ed), The Heimat Abroad, 2-3.
Michael Burieigh, Germany turns Eastwards: a study of Ostforschung in the Third Reich. Cambridge,
New York, Port Chester, Melbourne, Sydney: Cambridge University Press, 1989, 3-7.
"Introduction" In O'Donnel (ed), The Heimat Abroad, 2-3.

shown that German women abroad were frequently praised for their cleanHness and the
orderly nature of their households, which was taken as evidence of their superiority to
their non-German neighbours. In this way, a characteristic that in Germany was merely
bourgeois became German abroad, and in turn became an indicator of Germanness in
and out of Germany. A similar process occurred regarding the supposed efficiency and
productivity of (male) German farmers and artisans.^^^ Interest in Germans abroad also
grew in response to the assimilatory pressures faced by Germans in Russia and
Habsburg Hungary, and the perceived decline in status of Germans in Habsburg Austria.
A number of public organisations were formed for the purpose of providing aid to
Germans abroad, especially in terms of education. However, while Germans abroad
served an important role as cultural symbols for nationalists, this interest was not
reflected at the government level until after the First World War.^^^

However, it is not clear that the self-identity of Germans in Eastern Europe was centred
upon the German state. In his analysis of Germans in Habsburg Austria, Pieter Judson
argues that the late formation of the German state, the lack of interest from Germany in
the Germans abroad, and the distinction between ethnicity and citizenship in Austria,
resulted in an understanding of Germanness that was not associated with a place
("Germany") so much as representing a culture deemed superior (by its adherents) to
those around it. Austrian Germans envisioned themselves as engaged in a historic
colonising and civilising mission in East Europe. This was used to justify their
privileged position in Austrian society. Austrian Germans thought of themselves within
the context of the Habsburg Empire. Few indeed were concerned with forming a
relationship with Prussian Germany of any greater depth than a formal treaty, and
Anschlu was the concern of only a fringe minority. Furthermore, even within Austria,
Germans of different regions had distinct histories, social structures, folk cultures and
dialects, and were often also divided by religion. As a result, they had strong local
identities that limited their sense of community with one another, let alone with
Germans in Germany. ^^^

Reagin, Nancy. "German Brigadoon? Domesticity and metropolitan Germans' perceptions of

Auslandsdeutschen in Southwest Africa and Eastern Europe." In O'Donnell et al (ed), The Heimat
Abroad, 248-266.
Brubaker, Nationalism Reframed, 115-117.
Judson, "When is a diaspora not a diaspora?" 219-237.

The Transylvanian Saxons occupied a position similar but not identical to that of
Austrian Germans with regards to German nationalism. As has been discussed earlier,
before the nineteenth century a majority of Saxons identified as German, but this did not
lead to the formation of common community with other Germans in the region or
elsewhere. Nevertheless, during the first half of the nineteenth century, the Saxons
began to develop a sense of possessing a dual identity, of being both Saxon and
German.^^^ The 1814-1815 War of Liberation [Freiheitskrieg] against Napoleon
fostered a sense of belonging to a broader German cultural community, and Saxon
identity became linked to German identity. ^^^ This sense of German identity was
strengthened by the 1848 Revolution in Germany, and by the Frankfurt Assembly, to
which some Saxon organisations sent letters of support. ^^^
Connections to Germany were also strengthened by the number of Saxons who spent
time there before returning to Transylvania. Saxon priests and teachers, who
customarily spent one to two years in training at German universities, were influenced
by the nationalism of the student associations, and brought these ideas back with them
upon their return. University students were not the only Saxons to have contact with
German institutions. Saxon apprentices also studied in G e r m a n y . I t is also worth
noting that by the early twentieth century at least, some Saxon peasants were engaged in
seasonal work in the mining industry (for example in the Ruhr), although it is difficult
to determine when this practice started. ^^^ However, such ideas were for the most part
restricted to the educated, and remained a secondary form of identification to
privilege. ^^^
The sense of dual identity was strengthened by linguistic developments. The Saxon
vernacular was used as the language of education. Church services, administration and
governance in the Knigsboden until the mid-Nineteenth Century. The Saxons referred
to this dialect of German as ''Detsch'' (the local pronunciation of Deutsch). It was not
until the adoption of Standard German {Hochdeutsch) as the language of education and
^^^ Custred, "Dual ethnic identity of the Transylvanian Saxons", 486.
Philippi, "Nation und Nationalgefhl", 73.
Philippi, "Zum Selbstverstndnis der Siebenbrger Sachsen", 238-239.
A somewhat later example of an apprentice's experiences is provided by Gustav Zikeli, Bistritz
zwischen 1880 und 1950: Erinnerungen. Mnchen: Verglag Sdostdeutsches Kulturwerk, 1989, 47-57.
See for example Politisches Archiv des Auswrtigen Amts [Political Archive of the German Foreign
Office, herein AA] Abt. IIb, R73649.
Philippi, "Nation und Nationalgefhl", 74.

sermons by the Lutheran Church in 1848 (a reform not fully implemented until
approximately 1900), and its establishment as the language of governance in
Transylvania after the Revolution, that the Saxons began to refer to their own dialect as

(Saxon). It was only once the Saxons stopped considering themselves in

isolation and began to consider themselves as part of a broader German identity that
they had any need to identify their dialect as anything other than German. The decision
to adopt Standard German at a time of nationalist ferment in Transylvania also indicates
a growing sense of German identity, and that the Saxon dialect had ceased to be
considered German in a political sense. ^^^

Saxon ethno-corporatism differed from Austrian German ethno-corporatism in that the

Saxons began to experience the pressures of being a minority in a nation state from
1868. Nonetheless, this did not lead to a strong sense of connection to the German state,
due to distance, the lack of interest from Germany in the Germans abroad, and the
success of the Saxons in maintaining their privileged position after the loss of the estate.
Furthermore, while the founding of Germany in 1871 reinforced the Saxon sense of
Germanness, it also excluded the Saxons fi-om it as Germans abroad. ^^^

One indication of growing ties to Germans elsewhere is the effort to encourage new
waves of German settlement. In the mid-1840s Stephan Ludwig Roth attempted to
attract new German settlers fi-om the German Confederation to Transylvania, to
strengthen the Saxon population relative to the other communities. However, this
project was unsuccessful due to Hungarian nationalist opposition.^^^ In the 1890s the
journalist, banker and politician Karl Wolff revitalised Stefan Ludwig Roth's scheme.
Wolff successftilly organised the settling of Lutheran Swabians from the Banat in three
villages where former Saxon communities had died out. German-Romanian relations in
one of these villages, Benzenz, have been studied in great detail in a landmark study by
Katherine Verdery.^'^^ Wolff also assisted in the re-establishment of a further village.

^^^ Roth, "Autostereotype als Identifikationmuster," 183-184. See also Philippi, "Nation und
Nationalgefuhl", 78.
Mckel, "Geschichtsschreibung und Geschichtsbewusstsein", 12,
Kroner, "Stephan Ludwig Roth ber das Zusammenleben der siebenbrgischen Vlkerschaften", 164.
Verdery, Transylvanian Villagers, 207-209.

WeiBkirch (near SchaBburg) by settlers from a range of different Saxon communities.''^^

The small number of such settlements, despite the considerable support Wolff could
draw upon in Saxon politics and finance, may have been due to fears of provoking
Hungarian hostility, as occurred with Roth's proposals in the
Although Saxon ethno-corporatism drew on German nationalism, Germanness did not
become the basis for political action. For example, Georg Daniel Teutsch primarily saw
Saxons as sharing a local (Saxon) identity. For him, the term ''deutsch" did not carry
national-political significance. Rather, in the 1850s it was an ethnic term, indicating a
certain way of life romantically imbued with a high e t h o s . T h i s perspective came to
be known as the "small-Saxon"''^'^ view of the Saxon identity, which drew on
Bismarck's concept of the "Small German solution".'"'^ It implied a Saxon identity
exclusive of other German groups, be they in Eastern Europe or Germany itself. This
view came to dominate within the Saxon Party. It was opposed by the pan-German'"'^
view, which was inspired by the Pan-German League''^^ founded in 1891 in reflection
of Germany's desire for colonies. It referred to an all-inclusive German identity, in
which the Saxons were one of many g r o u p s . T h e pan-German perspective was
encouraged by the activities of a number of German nationalist organisations actively
supported ethnic "Germans" in Eastern Europe. Organisations such as the Austrianbased German School Association'"^^ (founded 1880) and the German-based Association
for Germans Abroad'^^ [VDA] (founded 1881) actively encouraged German language
education for Germans living in majority non-German areas of Austria-Hungary. These
organisations encouraged a sense of common German identity.'^'
This settlement was founded at the tum of the twentieth century and attracted around 40 families of
settlers from 17 Saxon communities. My (ed), Die siebenbrger Sachsen, 571 and R.B., "Bilder aus der
Diaspora." KBl Vol 22 Nr 23, 5 June 1930, 213-214.
C.f. Verdery, Transylvanian Villagers, 209. Similar resettlement projects, on a much grander scale,
were attempted by the Sdmark association in Styria. However, Styrian Germans did not have to face an
overtly hostile nationalist government. Judson, Exclusive Revolutionaries, 217.
Philippi, "Zum Selbstverstndnis der Siebenbrger Sachsen", 237-238.
kleindeutschen Lsung.
^^^ alldeutsch
Alldeutscher Verband. This organisation was founded as the General German League [Allgemeiner
Deutscher Verband] and changed its title to the All-German League in 1894.
Mckel,. "Kleinschsisch oder Alldeutsch?" 129.
Deutscher Schulverein.
^^^ Verein fr das Deutschtum im Ausland. The VDA was founded as the General German School
Association, Allgemeine Deutsche Schulverein, and changed its title in 1908.
Mckel,. "Kleinschsisch oder Alldeutsch?" 132-133.

Judson sees the activities of these groups in Habsburg Austria as successfully creating
the groundwork for closer relations in the interwar period, though failing to establish a
strong connection to the German state before the First World War.^^^ They met with
similar results in Transylvania. The division in understanding Saxon identity manifested
itself politically in the debate over Saxon assistance for other Germans in Hungary.
Germans such as the Banat Swabians, were also feeling the pressure of Magyarisation,
and generally lacked the resources and organisation of the Saxons to resist. The
leadership of the Saxon Party favoured a "small Saxon" position. They were keen to
show their loyalty to Hungary, if necessary at the cost of other German groups. One
Saxon delegate went so far as to support the assimilation of other German groups in
Hungary into the broader Hungarian population as an indication of Saxon loyalty to the
state. By comparison, "pan-German" politicians such as Rudolf Brandsch and Lutz
Korodi were strong advocates of a common identity with the Hungarian Germans. ^^^
Although they remained a minority amongst the Saxon elite before the First World War,
Brandsch especially was to play an important role in Saxon politics in the interwar

As German nationalism and the use of Standard German strengthened from the last
decade of the nineteenth century, there was also an increased interest in Saxon dialects,
history and folklore. Scholars such as Friedrich Teutsch (son of Georg Daniel Teutsch
and future Lutheran bishop of Transylvania) and Adolf Schullerus expressed the idea
that the Saxons related to their German identity through their specific local culture,
which was rooted in village life.^^"^ By 1900, Saxon dialects had regained some of their
prestige, and most Saxons were diglossic. Ethnographic investigations emphasised both
the uniqueness of Saxon culture and its close kinship to the culture of Germany. ^^^ Such
an understanding of Germanness reflects the pluralistic German nationalism of the state
particularist and Heimat movements in Germany.

Thus Saxon ethno-corporatists were increasingly aware of belonging to a broader

German community and looked to Germany both as a model for Saxon ethnocorporatism and as a source of cultural and material resources. Nevertheless,
Judson, "When is a diaspora not a diaspora?" 229-231.
Mckel,. "Kleinschsisch oder Alldeutsch?" 133-140.
Philippi, "Nation und Nationalgefhl", 80
Custred, "Dual ethnic identity of the Transylvanian Saxons." 487-488.

Germanness served first and foremost to bolster the Saxon community in relation to its
local concerns, rather than to tie Saxons politically to German communities elsewhere.
Despite the growing influence of German nationalism on Saxon identity, the Saxon
myth-symbol complex was rooted in its heritage from the estate, the Church and
Transylvanian German ethnicity. This is explored below, with regards to stereotypes of
Self and Other.

Stereotypes of Self and Other

Although Saxon ethno-corporatists were increasingly influenced by German nationalism
in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Saxon ethno-corporatism remained
firmly rooted in local Saxon identity, and continued to draw upon the pre-modem
communities of estate. Church and ''Detsch" ethnicity. Nowhere is this more apparent
than in Saxon stereotypes of Self and Other. Contrasting by means of stereotyping is a
key element in the construction of national identity. ^^^ The nation, as imagined by its
members, is a conjunction of myth and historical fact, tradition and modem practice,
regionalism and cosmopolitanism. These contradictory and conflicting elements
manifest in descriptions of the national 'character' and in stereotypes of the national
Other(s). These images take on standardised forms, marking the difference between
authenticity and foreignness.^^^ Stereotypes act to simplify the experienced world and to
make it understandable, to explain real, imagined and idealised relationships between
groups in terms of the perceived characteristics of the parties. They treat social and
cultural characteristics as ethnically based and inherent, ignoring the social and
economic conditions that produced such characteristics. ^^^ However, such images do
more than mark the boundaries of belonging. They also play a role in legitimising
competing claims for resources within and between nations. In Eastern Europe
especially, nationalists influenced by Herder's notion that every People has its own
specific genius, engaged in heated debates over the exact nature of the 'character' or
'specificity' of their nation. Different interpretations of the national character
Thomas Hylland Eriksen, "Place, Kinship and the Case for Non-Ethnic Nations." In Guibemau &
Hutchinson (ed), History and national destiny, 57.
Gutirrez, "The study of national identity", 10-11.
Mitu, National Identity of Romanians in Transylvania, 224-225. See also Ildik Melinda Mitu & Sorin
Mitu, "Die Magyaren ber die Rumnen. Zur Entstehung ethnischer Stereotype in der Neuzeit." In
Gndisch, et al (ed) Das Bild des Anderen in Siebenbrgen,, 68-69.

legitimised competing demands for resources, both between nations and also between
competing groups within them.^^^ As forms of legitimisation, stereotypes of Self and
Other influenced both the shape of Saxon ethno-corporatism and the kinds of
relationships the Saxons sought with their neighbours.
In Transylvania, because of ethnic stratification within the social order, ethnic
stereotypes came to reflect social niches with which those ethnicities were associated.
Thus, the Saxon self-image became indistinguishable from the self-image of the Saxon
estate, the image of Hungarians in Transylvania became inseparable from that of the
nobility and Szeklers, and images of Romanians became synonymous with those of the
peasantry. Representations of religions became similarly bound to estate and ethnicity,
especially Lutheranism and Eastern Rite Christianity. Stereotypes of ethnicity, estate
and religion were absorbed and reinterpreted in ethno-corporatist representations of Self
and Other.
The Saxon self-image reflected the qualities associated with the burghers and free
farmers of the Saxon estate, particularly diligence, thriftiness, skilled work, honesty,
canniness and collective loyalty. Saxon self-descriptions as being circumspect, prudent
and productive can be traced back to the mid-fifteenth century. These characteristics
were internalised as collective values over the centuries.^^^ First as Roman Catholics
and then as Lutherans, Saxons identified as Western Christians, although the definition
of Christendom altered during the Reformation. As such, the Saxons saw themselves as
a bulwark, first against invasion from the non-Christian (or heretical) East, and later as
protectors of other Protestants in Central Europe. Transylvanian Lutherans saw
themselves as highly educated. They also viewed themselves as missionaries in the
East.^^^ Related to this, Saxons took pride in their role as traders with the Orient.
Under the influence of ideas of the Enlightenment in the Eighteen Century, Saxons
increasingly identified themselves with Western culture. They cast themselves as the
bourgeoisie, reinterpreting their estate rights and guild system as evidence of a natural
tendency towards equality and democracy. The connection between mid-nineteenth
Verdery, "Introduction."
Armbruster, "Wandel im Nationalgefuhl der siebenbrger Sachsen", 42.
Roth, "Autostereotype als Identifikationmuster", 188-190.

century German nationalism and liberalism lent itself to an increased Saxon interest in
their German "roots". For the Saxons, German identity indicated an inherently Western,
modernizing character. Their own German origins served to link them to the West in
ways that geography could not. The connection to Germany was used by the Saxons as
legitimisation of their claim to being fundamentally Western, despite their geographic
location, and therefore at the peak of the hierarchy of more "Eastern" ethnicities they
perceived to exist in Transylvania. The sense of connection to Germany led to the
reinterpretation of the Saxon religious role in Transylvania as a cultural role, spreading
Western civilisation in the East.^^^ The connection between Saxon ethnicity and German
ethnicity allowed Saxons to take pride in German achievements, which by extension
became their own achievement. The characteristics of Germanness selected for praise
reinforced older images of the Saxon Self For example, in a schoolbook published in
1844, Transylvanian Saxon bishop Georg Binder wrote that the Germans were

Forsooth a great, powerful People. It must be our pride to belong to them.

The Germans were already in olden times an especially excellent People: of
very great stature, strong, swift, skilled with weapons, pious, loyal, full of
heroic courage... Even now no People is more developed, good-natured,
God-fearing, courageous, competent persevering and just to others than the
Germans; indeed in many respects they exceed all other People in the world.
None have heroes, inventors, artists, scholars, in short great men of all kinds
to offer, like the Germans.^^^

Furthermore, values that had previously been bourgeois, and before then perceived as
typical of the Burghers (the estate), now became "German".

Similarly, the leitmotifs

of "German ways"^^^ and the "German spirit"^^^ run through Georg Daniel Teutsch's

These self-attributed characteristics are briefly listed and exploded as largely mythical in Roth,
"Autostereotype als Identifikationmuster", 188-190.
Frwahr ein groes, mchtiges Volk. Diesem anzugehren mu unser Stolz sein. Die Deutschen waren
schon in den alten Zeiten ein besonders ausgezeichnetes Volk: Von sehr hohem Wuchs, krftig, behend,
gebt in Waffen, fromm, treu, voll Heldenmuth ... Noch jetzt ist kein Volk gebildeter, gemtlicher,
gottesfrchtiger, tapferer, tchtiger, ausdauernder und gegen andere gerechter als das deutsche; ja es
bertrifft in vielen Beziehungen alle anderen Vlker der Erde. Keines hat Helden, Erfinder, Knstler,
Gelehrte - kurz ausgezeichnete Mnner aller Art auszuweisen, wie das deutsche. Quoted in Philippi,
"Nation und Nationalgefhl", 73-74.
On the transofmation oibrgerlich into liberal-bourgeois characteristics, and bourgeois characteristics
into norms of Germanness, see Judson, Exclusive Revolutionaries, 12 & 199-201.

historical work, despite his emphasis on a "small Saxon" identity.

From the

nineteenth century these characteristics of the Saxon Self were increasingly viewed as
historical, as virtues lost in part through the fault of the Saxons. There was a strong
sense that the Saxons had declined. ^^^ This was also reflected in Saxon historiography,
which had its roots in the defence of the estate, and saw in the loss of the estate
evidence that the Saxons as undergoing a period of decline. ^^^
Not all Others were of equal significance to the Saxon Self As Barth has argued, the
most significant Others are not those with which the Self is most familiar, or that are
most different to the Self, but by which the Self most feels threatened. Beyond these lie
what West describes as Undifferentiated Others, who remain too remote from and
irrelevant to group consciousness to play a significant role as Others against which to
structure the Self ^^^ Of the "Differentiated Others", four stand out as particular
importance: Romanians, Hungarians, Jews and Roma. These are discussed below.

As the largest population on the Konigsboden, and as the Staatsvolk during the interwar
period, Romanians came to be the most significant Other for the Saxons. As the
dominant national group in Transylvania since 1918, images of the Transylvanian
Romanian Self and of the Transylvanian Romanian Other have been extensively



The image of the Romanian Self and Other has been heavily influenced by

the traditional connection of Romanian ethnicity with the politically unrepresented

peasantry and the merely "tolerated" Orthodox Church. As a result, the very similar
Philippi, "Zum Selbstverstndnis der Siebenbrger Sachsen", 236.
Armbruster, "Wandel im Nationalgefuhl der siebenbrger Sachsen", 42.
Mckel, "Geschichtsschreibung und Geschichtsbewusstsein." See also Philippi, "Nation und
Nationalgefhl", 86
B[arbara] A. West, "Segments of Self and Other: the Magyar Hungarian case." National identities, Vol
2 Nr 1,2000, 53.
The most significant work on the Transylvanian Romanian self-image is Mitu, National identity of
Romanians in Transylvania. Examinations of the Romanian Other include Armbruster, "The portrayal of
the Transylvanian Romanian in Saxon historical writings", Mitu & Mitu, "Die Magyaren ber die
Rumnen", and Klaus Heitmann, "Die Rumnen Siebenbrgens aus deutscher Sicht im 19. Jahrhundert:
das Portrt der Ethnie von Rudolf Bergner (1884)." In Gndisch, et al (ed.) Das Bild des Anderen in
Siebenbrgen, 33-56. Heitmann's most significant work in the area. Das Rumnenbild im deutschen
Sprachraum 1775-1918: eine imagologische Studie. Studia Transylvanica Vol 12. Cologne, Vienna:
Dhlau Veriag, 1985, is of limited utility for my study as he makes no attempt to distinguish between
German writers on the basis of their place of origin. (Das Rumnenbild im deutschen Sprachraum, 5-8.)
As a result, it is extremely difficult to isolate specifically Saxon examples from his work. Verdery,
Transylvanian villagers, while considering a non-Saxon German community in Transylvania, is also of
great value.

Saxon and Hungarian images of the Romanian Other reflect typical attitudes of
dominant estates towards an ethnicity identified with the peasantry. Such imagery was
an act of social mastery. For example, the unwillingness of the peasantry to work
became a reflection of innate laziness, rather than being seen as due to the lack of
incentives in the feudal system. Innate laziness in turn legitimised the continuing
1 TO

coercive elements of feudal relations.

The Romanian Other was cliched as the

shepherd, which signified transhumance and a simpler material culture that was
contrasted to the settled, often-urban Western culture of the Hungarians and Saxons.
Romanians were also represented as apiarists, wheelwrights, chimney sweeps, servants,
fishermen, hay carters, and sextants for plague victims, all at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale. Negative images of Eastern Orthodoxy, to which most ethnic
Romanians belonged, as ignorant, superstitious and heretical, also played a role in the
formation of the Romanian O t h e r . T h e s e images were not always negative; by the
early twentieth century some Saxon scholars viewed the rural Romanian population and
their rich oral tradition as charming subjects of study.
The image of the Romanian Other was shaped by periods of sharp conflict, and the
Romanian Other was characterised by memories of peasant uprisings. ^^^ In the
eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the Saxons became increasingly concerned
that the numerically superior Romanians living in the Konigsboden might overwhelm
them.^^^ This produced a greater sense of conflict with ethnic Romanians and coloured
the emerging Saxon image of the Romanian Other. This image was rooted in older
stereotypes. The Romanian was viewed as a mountain dweller, but also as being the
"stepchild" of nature, abused by that environment. This view of the mountain dweller
also reflects the pre-Romantic European horror of the mountains. ^^^ As a result, the
physical appearance of Romanians was often judged to be mal-shaped and bestial. The
Woodcock, Shannon. The Tigan is not a man: the Tigan Other as catalyst for Romanian ethnonational
identity. Thesis (Ph. D.) Dept.'of History, Faculty of Arts, University of Sydney, 2005, 73-74.
Armbruster, "Portrayal of the Transylvanian Romanian in Saxon historical writings", 181-182. Also
Mitu & Mitu, "Magyaren ber Rumnen", 68-69. Although Mitu and Mitu focus upon the Hungarian
image of the Romanian Other, they identify similarities in Hungarian and Saxon perspectives that permit
a certain level of generalisation.
Anneliese Pomciuc, "Protective snakes and frightening fairies: a Transylvanian Saxon's view on
Romanian folklore of the early twentieth century." Romanian Civilization Vol 9 Nr 1, Spring 2000, 7378.
Armbruster, "Portrayal of the Transylvanian Romanian in Saxon historical writings", 181-182, Mitu &
Mitu, "Magyaren ber Rumnen", 68-69.
Heitmann, "Die Rumnen Siebenbrgens", 35.
Simon Schama, Landscape and memory. London: Harper Collins, 1995, 411-423.

elites' traditional fears of violence and rebellion from below continued to be reflected in
the Saxon stereotypes. Romanians were characterised as mistrustful and hateful of all
other people. ^^^

Such Saxon stereotypes of Romanians were reinforced by the transformation from

liberal into ethno-corporatist values. Judson highlights that the freedoms liberalism
promised the enlightened, financially independent citizen implied a lack of
representation for the "dependent citizen" (those who were uneducated, financially
dependent, underage or racially inferior). With the nationalisation of liberal values in
Austria, non-German culture (particularly those cultures associated with the peasantry)
became understood as politically inferior. ^^^ Saxon stereotypes were also influenced by
Balkanism. Todorova distinguishes between Orientalism, which is predicated upon a
theory of opposites and Balkanism, which is about ambiguities. The Balkans are
invariably seen as a bridge, a half-way point between East and West, half-way along the
evolutionary chain from Oriental to Western. Whereas the Orient was exotic, sexy and
wealthy, the Balkans were seen as poor, concrete and unromantic, providing the
excitement not of sex but of intrigue. Any Balkan glory was a poor reflection of the

The second significant outgroup for the Saxons examined here were the Hungarians.
Before the First World War, Hungarians were the primary ethnic Other against which
the Saxon Self was defined. ^^^ Nevertheless, there is comparatively litfle literature in

this area.

Saxon writers of the mid-nineteenth viewed Hungarians as fellow members

of Western civilisation, albeit as migrants from the East who had adopted Western

^^^ For Saxon images of the Romanian Other, see Heitmann, "Die Rumnen Siebenbrgens", 35-37. On
the imperviousness of stereotypes to underlying social and economic causes, see Mitu & Mitu,
"Magyaren ber Rumnen", 69. On the impact of Enlightenment values on the Romanian Self and
Romanian Other, see Mitu, National Identity of Romanians in Transylvania, 84-91, 133-141.
Judson, Exclusive Revolutionaries, 2-4.
1 sn _
Todorova, Maria. Imagining the Balkans. Oxford University Press. New York, Oxford. 1997. pp.l318.
Heitmann, for example, notes that images of Hungarians were considerably more common than images
of Romanians before the First World War. Heitmann, "Die Rumnen Siebenbrgens", pp.33-34.
^^^ Andras Bahlogh, "Die Siebenbrger Deutschen in der Ungarischen Literatur" In Gndisch, et al (ed).
Das Bild des Anderen in Siebenbrgen, 285-286. This absence reflects the comparative lack of
importance of Saxon-Hungarian relations relative to Saxon-Romanian and Hungarian-Romanian relations
since 1918.

1 QO


This emphasis on the non-European origins of the Hungarians placed them

upon a lower rung of the hierarchy of civilisation than the Saxons, whose German
origins were perceived to connect them to the West.^^"^ Further, the sharpening conflict
over estate rights between the Saxon and noble estates, especially from the Seventeenth
Century, coloured the Saxon image of the Hungarian Other. Hungarians were firmly
associated with the nobility who, according to Enlightenment perspective, were a
product of the past, holding back progress. This provided a strong contrast to the
Saxons, who represented the bourgeois future. ^^^
A further significant Other, although less central to Saxon self-identity were the Jews.
Interest in Saxon involvement in the Holocaust, and in the roots of Saxon National
Socialism, have generated considerable research into Saxon representations of the

Jewish Other.

Medieval Saxons' attitudes to Jews were shaped less through actual

contact than by traditional religious stereotypes. However, from the mid-nineteenth

century an influx of Ashkenazi Jews from Galacia into Hungary and Transylvania led to
greater contact between Jews and Saxons, and consequently Jews came to be seen as a
danger to society. They were perceived as being responsible for spreading industrial
capitalism, and for bringing demoralisation and poverty to the land. A diffuse antiSemitism formed which was to be adopted and propagated by Saxon intellectuals in the
first half of the Twentieth Century. However, the Jewish population in areas of Saxon
settlement remained small, reducing the perceived threat they represented. Following
1848, Transylvania's Jews rapidly assimilated, first adopting German and then
Magyarising in Hungarian-dominated areas. Those Jews living in Saxon-dominated
areas continued to speak German, although many also knew Hungarian. Yiddish also
continued to be spoken. ^^^
183 Kroner, "Stephan Ludwig Roth ber das Zusammenleben der siebenbrgisehen Vlkerschaften", 167168.
This contrast between 'Western' culture and 'Eastern' origins also played a central role in the
self-image. West, "Segments of Self and Other", 55-56.
Kroner, "Stephan Ludwig Roth ber das Zusammenleben der siebenbrgischen Vlkerschaften", 169170. See also Judson, Exclusive Revolutionaries, 17.
For example, see Glass, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, and Nadia Badrus, "Debates on Jews and
Judaism in the pages of the Sibiu Periodical "Kirchliche Bltter" in 1919-1944." Transylvanian Review
Vol 6 Nr 3, Autumn 1997, 72-77. Also of interest are the papers given at the conference "Waren wir gute
Nachbarn?" held at the Evangelischen Akademie Siebenbrgen in Hermannstadt on 7-8 November 1997,
and published in Zugnge Vol 22, December 1997.
Badrus, "Das Bild der Siebenbrger Sachsen ber die Juden", pp.85-97. Gyemant, "The Romanian
Jewry", 89-90. Ezra Mendelson, The Jews of East Central Europe between the World Wars.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1983, 173, 177.

The final outgroup used to construct a sense of Saxonness were the Roma. Very little
work has been carried out with regards to Saxon stereotypes of the ''Zigeuner" (Gypsy)
Other. Woodcock has suggested that the gulf between on one hand those who identify
as Roma in Romania, and on the other hand the popular stereotypes in Romania of the
" p g a n r Other is so broad that it is necessary to treat Roma (a self-identifying group)
and Tigani (an externally identified group) as separate entities. Nor does the English
"Gypsy" capture the sense of the Romanian stereotype. ^^^ For the same reason, I shall
distinguish here between the self-identifying Roma and their representation by Saxons
as the Zigeuner Other.
Roma occupied an ambivalent position in Transylvanian society. On one hand, Roma in
Transylvania formed a unique class of artisans in the Transylvanian feudal economy,
engaging in metal- and woodwork, gold panning, horse breeding and petty trade, as well
as agricultural work. On the other hand, while they retained their individual liberty on
the Knigsboden (being reduced to serfdom elsewhere in medieval Hungary), they
remained socially marginalised, and excluded from the estate. Attempts by
Enlightenment monarchs to assimilate the Roma through forced settlement,
reclassification as "new peasants" of another ethnicity, ^^^ obliging Roma to marry out of
their communities and finally the forced removal of Roma children to be brought up as
non-Roma, were ultimately unsuccessful. ^^^
The traditional Saxon image of the Zigeuner Other is captured in Saxon proverbs and
anecdotes, collected by Saxon nationalists in the mid-nineteenth century. The most
significant collection was Josef Haltrich's Schsische Volksmrchen aus dem
Sachsenlande in Siebenbrgen [Saxon folktales from the Saxon Land in Transylvania],
first published in 1856 and in an expanded edition in 1882.^^^ As Haltrich did not
indicate the provenance of his collected tales, it is difficult to assess how representative
or widespread they were. However, his methodology included interviewing the students
188Woodcock, The Tigani is not a man, 14-18.

In German neu Bauer, in Romanian trani noi, or in Hungarian uj magyarok, (literally new
Woodcock, The Tigani is not a man, 63-67.
^^^ Haltrich, Schsische Volksmrchen aus dem Sachsenlande in Siebenbrgen, especially "Der Zigeuner
und die drei Teufel" and "Der Zigeuner, der Wolf, der Fuchs und der Esel in der Wolfsgrube", and also
"Die drei lustigen Brder", "Der seltsame Vogel" "Die beiden Lgner", "Suche nur, es gibt noch
Dmmere" and "Der Fuchs und die Schnecke".

at the gymnasium in SchaBburg (at which he was a teacher), who were drawn from
Saxon settlements throughout Transylvania.

1 QO

In reflection of the important economic roles filled by Roma, the Zigeuner was credited
with being capable of good craftsmanship, especially blacksmithing. However, as
typical of characterisations of cultural groups associated with serfdom, the Zigeuner was
also characterised as crafty and cunning but lazy and dishonest, prone to alcoholism and
petty theft but not especially violent. Irreligious, they belonged neither to heaven nor to
hell, but were wholly creatures of the earth. Zigeuner women were however considered
to be of somewhat higher moral fibre.

It is interesting to note that Zigeuner are the only non-Saxons to regularly appear in
Saxon folk tales. It is difficult to determine whether Hungarian and Romanian
characters were absent from Saxon folk tales or whether such tales in which they did
appear were excluded by Haltrich. A similar absence of non-Germans can be seen in
collected German folk tales from the Sudetenland.^^^ The Zigeuner most frequently
appears as a character in Saxon animal fables. His presence (representations were
predominantly of males), especially given the exclusion of other ethnicities, implies a
sense of mastery not available over others. The appearance of the Zigeuner Other in
animal stories separates him from other Transylvanians and denies his basic humanity.

The Saxon stereotype of the Zigeuner differs little from other representations of Roma
in Central and South-Eastem Europe. ^^^ The image of the Zigeuner contrasted strikingly
with the supposed honesty, industriousness and forethought of the Saxons. From the
publication of Heinrich von Wlislocki's work on the Roma in the late nineteenth
Boner, Transylvania, 225-226.
This point is made in Eagle Glassheim . "Review of Karen Hobbs, ed, One Hundred Tales from
HABSBURG, H-Net Reviews, September, 1999. URL: 0644938118516.
For example, the qualities of the Zigeuner Other closely resemble Romanian representations of the
Tigan Other. Woodcock, The Tigani is not a man, 117. However, Woodcock judges the Tigan as the
primary Other against which the Romanian ethno-national Self was constructed, except in the interwar
period, when the Hungarian presence in Transylvania temporarily usurped the position of the Roma as the
most threatening minority ethnicity. For this reason, Romanian representation of the Tigan Other was at
times especially hostile. Certainly there is no evidence that the Zigeuner Other played as significant a role
for Saxons, and the imagery is correspondingly less hostile. Interestingly, Mitu's analysis of Romanian
national identity in Transylvania lacks Woodcock's emphasis on the Zigeuner Other. (Mitu, National
identity of Romanians in Transylvania, 75-79. This point is made by Woodcock, The Tigani is not a man,
13-14.) This is perhaps a reflection of the extent to which ethnic stratification in Transylvania made
social divisions also ethnic divisions, and of the relative unimportance of the Roma in such conflicts.

century, Transylvanian Roma came under occasional study by Saxon ethnographers.

Such accounts continued to view the Zigeuner

as a ''NaturvoW\

stereotypes/^^ Similar Saxon stereotypes of the Zigeuner,

and to reinforce older

continue into the present. ^^^

Thus, Saxon stereotypes of Self and Other underline the development and continuing
inheritance of the Saxon myth-symbol complex as a local identity, shaped by local
conditions and older communities within Transylvania. Furthermore, the Saxon selfimage underlines the way in which German nationalism was understood in a local
context, as legitimising a claim to cultural and therefore social superiority within
Transylvania. Pre-war Saxon ethno-corporatism was then characterised by a provincial
outlook, despite the growing ties to Germany forged before the First World War.

In this Chapter, I have demonstrated that Saxon ethno-corporatism was a response to the
growing nationalism in the region and the undermining of older communities of Church
and estate. Saxon ethno-corporatists increasingly adopted elements of nationalism from
the end of the eighteenth century onwards. However, Saxon ethno-corporatists did not
adopt the core goal of nationalism: the territorial nation-state. Rather, they pursued their
goals through private institutions within the Austro-Hungarian state, aided by their
extensive resources (both land and capital) and by the decentralised state administration
with its restricted franchise.

I have argued that German nationalism provided a key model for Saxon ethnocorporatists, and that the foundations of the interwar relationship of Saxons to Germany
and other German communities were laid in the pre-war period. However, as I have
shown, Saxon ethno-corporatism remained at its core a local response to local
circumstances. Through Saxon stereotypes of Self and Other, I have attempted to
highlight the continuing influence of memories of the estate and the Church, as well as
local expressions of local identity, in shaping the Saxon myth-symbol complex.

Horst Schuller Anger, Kontakt und Wirkung: literarische Tendenzen in der siebenbrgischen
Kulturzeitschrift "Klingsor". Bukarest: Kriterion Verlag, 1994., 100-101.
Bottesch, "Fremd- und Selbstbilder in einer siebenbrgischen Gemeinde", 211-212.

The pre-War heritage of Saxon identity continued to play a central role in Saxon ethnocorporatism in the interwar period. In Chapter 3 I examine attempts to reframe Saxon
ethno-corporatism within the context of Transylvanianism, by drawing upon memories
of Transylvanian autonomy under the three estates and four received religions. In
Chapter 4,1 consider the ongoing influence of the Church on and in Saxon identity. In
Chapter 5,1 explore the continuing role of local identity in shapng Saxon perceptions of
Germanness. In Chapter 6 I investigate increasingly radical attempts to draw upon
memories of corporate community and voluntary associations to achieve autarchy and
isolation from non-German "foreigners".

Before the First World War, Saxon ethno-corporatists depended on both a positive
relationship with the state and extensive private resources with which to compensate for
the "deficiencies" inherent in their lack of independent statehood. The leadership of the
DSVP continued to pursue these goals within Romania after the War. At the same time
however, I have highlighted the negative stereotypes Saxons held of the Romanian
Other. The tensions between on one hand the desire to have positive relations with the
state and on the other hand the negative view of the Romanian Other, was exacerbated
in the interwar period by the dstabilisation of the autonomy and financial security of
the Saxon community. These tensions are explored in Chapter 2.

Chapter 2: Saxon nationalism and the Romanian state

In this Chapter, I consider the relationship between the Saxons and the Romanian state,
as represented by the politicians of the DSVR. The Saxon community was inspired by
the far-reaching goals of minority rights activists in Eastern Europe after the conclusion
of War. They were confronted by a state seeking to produce a homogenous unitary
nation. The strategy adopted by the DSVR, to pursue an improvement in conditions
through a close relationship with successive Romanian governments, was modestly
successful. However, this strategy became increasingly unpopular with the Saxon
community. In the first part of this Chapter, I briefly outline the process by which
Transylvania became part of Romania. Following this, I outline Saxon aims at the
beginning of the interwar period, and contrast these to their experiences of integration
with Romania. I then outline the chief Saxon political organisations, and consider the
tactics adopted in response to integration with Romania. Following this, I explore the
use of myths and stereotypes in Saxon politicians' representations of the relationship
with Romania. Finally, I use two opposition movements, the Social Democrats and the
"Dissatisfied", to explore the Saxons' relationship between on the one hand
representations of the relationship with the state and on the other internal divisions
within the Saxon body politic.

First World War and Unity with Romania

Romania entered the War on the side of the Entente on 27 August 1916, after it was
promised Transylvania for doing so. The Romanian army briefly occupied sections of
Transylvania, but was prevented from taking either Kronstadt or Hermannstadt. In
December 1916 the German army provided aid to the stretched Austro-Hungarian army
by invading and occupying Romania, which was forced to sign the punishing Peace of
Bucharest on 7 May 1918. (German military action in the region brought Saxon and
German soldiers into contact, with effects that are discussed in Chapter 5.)

On 31 October 1918 the Karolyi government in Hungary declared independence from

the exhausted Habsburg Empire. Karolyi and his Nationalities Minister Jaszi offered the
Transylvanian Romanians autonomous status within the newly independent Hungary.
However, the offer was rejected. Romania re-entered the War in November 1918,
shortly before the Armistice, occupied Transylvania and ensuring its place at the Peace
Conference. On 1 December 1918 a Grand National Assembly of Transylvanian
Romanians took place in Karlsburg. Organised by the [Romanian] National Party of
Transylvania^ and the Social Democrats, it was attended by 1,228 official delegates and
more than 100,000 members of the public. The Assembly issued the Declaration of
Karlsburg, proclaiming the independence from Hungary of Transylvania, the Banat and
Romanian-inhabited parts of Hungary proper and declaring their intent to unify with
Romania. Transylvania became autonomous under a "Directing Council" located in
On 2 November 1918 the DSVR had formed an emergency council, the German-Saxon
National Council for Transylvania,^ which provided leadership through the dissolution
of Austria-Hungary."^ The National Council was initially hesitant to accept unification
with Romania, preferring to remain in more familiar Hungary and accept the canton
system proposed by the Karolyi government. However, the Saxon leadership was also
optimistic that, regardless of whether Transylvania came under Hungarian or Romanian
rule, the province would remain autonomous and the Saxons themselves would have an
increased measure of independence.^ Saxon public opinion was divided between
favouring Romania and Hungary, with a few individuals advocating an independent
Transylvanian state. It quickly became apparent that unity with Romania was inevitable,
and on 8 January 1918 the National Council meeting at Mediasch issued a declaration
accepting Romanian rule.^
' Partidul National.
Livezeanu, Cultural politics in Greater Romania, 130-133.
^ Deutsch-schsischer Nationalratfr Siebenbrgen
^ Harald Roth, "Abschlieender Bericht des Deutsch-schsischen Nationalrats fr Siebenbrgen (5.
November 1919)." SSblVoX 6 Nr 1, 1992, 55-65.
^ Letter Rudolf Brandsch (Budapest) to Vorsitzenden der deutsch-schsischen Vollzugsausschussess
(Hermannstadt), 15 November 1918. Romanian State Archives, Sibiu/Hermannstadt (Arhivele statului,
Sibiu, herein StAH) Fond Consiliul National Ssesc (Saxon National Council [Volksrat], herein Fond
CNS) 54/1918. The "German-Saxon Executive Committee" was a variant name for the Volksrat. Roth,
"Abschlieender Bericht des Deutsch-schsischen Nationalrats fr Siebenbrgen", 55.
^ "Mediasch Anschluerklrung des erweiterten schsischen Zentralausschusses." In Wagner (ed),
Quellen zur Geschichte der Siebenbrger Sachsen 1191-1975, 266-268. See also Walter Knig, "Haben

Romanian occupation of Transylvania was followed by a reign of terror lasting several

months, in which Hungarians were especially targeted.^ Numerous Hungarians fled

Transylvania for rump Hungary in this period. While there was also some harassment
of Saxons, this was of a considerably more local nature, and was largely prevented by
the establishment of local militias to keep the peace.^
Under the Treaties of Trianon and Saint Germain, Romania was awarded extensive new
territories, as its reward for supporting the Entente powers and on account of the
territory's majority ethnic-Romanian population. As well as Transylvania, Romania
received from Hungary portions of the Banat, along with the counties of Arad, Bihar
Szilagy, Satzmar and Maramures to the West and North of Transylvania. Romania also
gained Bucovina from Austria and Bessarabia from Russia. The new provinces
increased Romania's territory from 137,000W to 295,049W. (See Figures 2 and 3.)
In addition to its territorial gains, Romania more than doubled its population from
7,250,000 to 18,000,000.^^

Saxon aims
Saxon hopes and aspirations for their relationship to Greater Romania were defined by
three documents: the Declaration of Karlsburg issued by Transylvanian Romanian
representatives on 1 December 1918; the Declaration of Mediasch issued by the German
Saxon National Council of the DSVR on 8 January 1919; and the 1919 programme of
die Siebenbrger Sachsen und die Banater Schwaben 1918/1919 bedingungslos dem Anschlu an
Rumnien zugestimmt?" ZL Vol 2 Nr 1, 1979, 101-107, Carl Gllner, "Die Stellungnahme der
siebenbrger Sachsen zur Vereinigung Transsilvaniens mit Rumniens." FzVLKVoX 9 Nr 2, 1966, 29-38,
and Vlaicu, Monica. "Die Sachsen und die Vereinigung Siebenbrgens mit Rumnien im Jahr 1918."
FzVLK. Vol 21 Nr 2, 1978, 23-26.
^ Azcrate, League of Nations and National Minorities, 70-72.
^ Exact figures for the migration of Hungarians from Transylvania and the Banat to rump Hungary are
difficult to determine but exceed 160,000. Motives for migration differed considerably, from economic
self-interest to flight due to harassment (real or feared) and expulsion. The most detailed study is Istvan I.
Mocsy, The Uprooted: Hungarian Refugees and Their Impact on Hungary's Domestic Politics, 19181921. East European Monographs No. CXLVII New York: Social Science Monographs-Brooklyn
College Press. Distributed by Columbia University Press, 1983. Corvinus Press. [2 April 2005].
^StAH Fond CNS 58/1919.
Andrei Corbea-Hoiie, "Rumnien - vom National- zum Nationalittenstaat." In Roth, Harald (ed),
Minderheit und Nationalstaat: Siebenbrgen seit dem ersten Weltkrieg. Siebenbrgisches Archiv 31.
Bhlau Verlag: Cologne, Weimar & Vienna, 1995, 44.

the DSVR, produced at the party congress in SchaBburg, as discussed in the

Introduction. All three documents reflect the influence of the minority rights debate that
had been taking place in Eastern Europe since the turn of the century, a debate that
increased in intensity in the context of the Peace Conference. These influences included
collective rights for minorities, extensive cultural and linguistic rights, and measures of
self-government on ethnic lines, all legitimised by the principle of self-determination.

The Declaration of Karlsburg took an inclusive approach to the minorities, recognising

them collectively as "Peoples" (rather than individually as "members of minorities")
and guaranteeing them extensive rights. Article III.l resolved to grant "Full national
liberties for all cohabiting peoples".^^ For each People, individuals from that community
would administer education, governance and the courts their own language. Each
People would be represented proportionately to their numbers in elected bodies and the
government (Art. III.l.). All religions were to be free and fully autonomous (Art III.2).
Elections were to be held on the basis of universal (male and female) suffrage (Art III.3)
and Transylvania was to remain autonomous until a constituent assembly could be
elected for Romania (Art I). Less pleasing to the Saxons, the Declaration also demanded
radical agrarian reform (Art 111.5).^^

The Declaration of Mediasch, issued on behalf of the Transylvanian Saxon Volk,

recognised the right of Transylvanian Romanians to national self-determination,
declared brotherly feelings towards the Romanian people and pledged Saxon loyalty to
Romania. The Declaration also declared the Saxons' own right to self-determination,
which was legitimised by reference to the Saxons' nearly eight centuries of settlement
in Transylvania, the estate (which was reinterpreted as an ethnic unit that had been
unjustly abolished) and by reference to the Peace Conference's commitment to justice
and freedom for all peoples, large and small. The Mediasch Declaration made Saxon
loyalty conditional on the granting of the national, political, economic and cultural
rights of all Peoples pledged in the Declaration of Karlsburg. ^^

^ ' Deplin liberiate national pentru toate popoarele conlocuitoare.

"Rezolutiunea Adunrii Nationale de la Alba lulia din 18 Noiembrie/1 Decembrie 1918." CIMECInstitutul de Memorie Cultur. [4 Aprii 2005.]
"Mediasch Anschluerklrung des erweiterten schsischen Zentralausschusses." See also Knig,
"Haben die Siebenbrger Sachsen und die Banater Schwaben 1918/1919 bedingungslos dem Anschlu an
Rumnien zugestimmt?" 101-107.

The 1919 Programme was also issued on behalf of the Saxon Volk. However, it framed
the Saxons within the "German nation in Romania" and asserted the right of the German
nation to organise politically to pursue its cultural, national and economic goals. Thus,
the Programme emphasised natural law (national rights) more strongly than had
Mediasch, and references to positive law (historical precedent of the estate) are absent.
This reflects both the political unification of Germans in Romania (discussed below)
and the emphasis in the Peace Conference on national self-determination over legal
While Mediasch speaks in generalities, the 1919 Programme provides a clear picture of
Saxon aims and clearly reflects the influence of the debate over minority rights
following the Peace Conference. Reasserting Saxon loyalty to Romania on the basis of
the Declarations of Karlsburg and Mediasch, the Programme called for freedom of
language use at all levels of government, the official use of German place names, the
right to run schools and educate in German, and the right to display ethnic colours, flags
and symbols. Elections at all levels of government were to be held on the basis of ethnic
colleges determined by an ethnic cataster. State administration at all levels was
wherever possible to be on ethnic lines. The Programme claimed the right of the
German nation to tax its own community for cultural purposes, and to receive a share of
state funding for schools. (This latter point was preceded by commitments by Romania
to increase state subsidies for Saxon cultural bodies, above the very low level previously
received from Hungary. The Programme also supported the maintenance of
Transylvanian autonomy, with only a gradual incorporation of the new provinces into
Romania. It stipulated that Saxon parliamentarians could work only with other parties
that supported the provisions of the Declaration of Karlsburg. ^^
The Programme can be seen as compensating for the lack of a Saxon nation-state in a
number of ways. By arguing for government on ethnic lines wherever possible, as well
as voting by ethnic electoral colleges, it sought to exclude non-Saxons from the Saxon
administration as much as possible (in some ways paralleling the state's ability to
Cornelius R. Zach, "Der status der siebenbrger Sachsen in Rumnien - gesetzHche Verankerung und
Wirklichkeit 1919-1933." In Edgar Hsch & Gerhard Seewann (eds), Aspekte ethnischer Identitt.
Mnchen: R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 1991, 234-235.
^^ "1919 Volksprogramm des 4. Sachsentages in Schburg." In Wagner (ed), Quellen zur Geschichte der
Siebenbrger Sachsen 1191-1975, 268-271.

exclude "outsiders"), as well as securing guaranteed access to state resources. Cultural,

linguistic and educational rights, central to the perpetuation of the community and to
producing the standardised culture Gellner sees at the heart of the nation, ^^ were to be
secured by state funding and the right to tax the Saxon community. Finally, by insisting
on maintaining German place names, the Programme was staking at least a symbolic
claim to the former territories of the Knigsboden.

The Programme did not envision a relationship between individual citizens and the
Romanian state. Rather, the Programme envisioned a relationship between on the one
hand the Saxon People as a Volk (and more broadly the German Nation in Romania)
and on the other hand the other Vlker in Romania, above all the Romanians
themselves. In this context, the nation was envisioned as a collective legal entity.^^ This
becomes apparent in the address made by the chair of the conference, the cleric and
politician Adolf Schullems:

In full consciousness of our responsibility at this turning point in our

People's history we take our destiny in our own hands. Making use of the
right to self-determination, we shape for ourselves our own future...
Shoulder to shoulder with them [the Romanian People], as our brothers,
we share with them the same air and the same heavens, we have been
rooted in the same soil for almost a thousand years, we share with them
the same labour and the same rights. ^^

Despite some reservations about Romanian rule, the Congress was marked by a sense of
general optimism about the overall future of Romania. ^^ This was in marked contrast to
the views privately expressed by Saxon representatives to an American fact-finding
Commission that visited Transylvania in February 1919 gathering intelligence for the
Peace Conference. Then, Saxon representatives suggested that while for the most part
Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, 35-50.
Zach, "Der status der siebenbrger Sachsen in Rumnien", 234.
In vollem Bewutsein unserer Verantwortung nehmen wir an diesem Wendepunkt unserer
Volksgeschichte unser Schicksal in unsere eigene Hand. Gebrauch machend von den Recht der
Selbstbestimmung, schuffen wir uns unsere eigene Zukunft... Schulter an Schulter mit ihnen, als unsern
Brdern, teilen mit ihren dieselbe Luft und dieselben Himmel, auf demselben Boden sind wir seit bald
einem Jahrtausend eingewurzelt, teilen wir mit ihnen dieselbe Arbeit und dasselbe Recht. "Volkstag der
Sachsen in Schburg." 26 November 1919, 1-2.
^^ Zach, "Der status der siebenbrger Sachsen in Rumnien", 237-238.

Romanian rule had been no worse than that of its predecessor Hungary, they had serious
doubts that Romania would afford the Saxons greater autonomy than had Hungary.^^ As
discussed below, this less optimistic prediction proved the more accurate.

Romanian integration and minority rights

The politicians of Greater Romania faced significant challenges in forging a unified
state from the "Old Kingdom" [the ''Regaf; pre-War Romania] and the "new
provinces" gained as a result of the War. Romanians in the new provinces had strong
regional identities and local party loyalties. The regions' separate historical experiences
were reflected in the local traditions, different legal and political systems, and different
images of the shape Greater Romania was to take.^^ Romania's political integration was
made more difficult by a divided political spectrum. No single party had supporters in
all the provinces of Romania, old and new. Rather, they were restricted to specific


The ethnic diversity of Romania also increased dramatically, from 11 percent

non-Romanian in 1899 to over 28 percent in 1920 and 1930. (See Tables 1 - 3.)
The challenges facing political integration can clearly be seen in Transylvania. Most
Transylvanian Romanian nationalists were supporters of the National Party. Before the
First World War, the predominantly middle class and democratic National Party had
shown little interest in political unity with Romania. The dominant parties in pre-war
Romania represented the nobility, finance and industry. The electoral system gave the
bulk of the population only very limited, indirect representation. Changes in
government were firmly controlled by the crown: the caretaker government appointed
by the crown to hold elections invariably won the elections, a practice that continued in
the interwar period (except in 1919 and 1937). Faced with this lack of democratic
tradition in Romania, the National Party pursued autonomy within the Habsburg
The meeting occurred on 12 February 1919 between the American Commission led by Mr Storey and
Mr Davidson, and Saxon representatives. StAH Fond CNS 58/1919.
Livezeanu, Cultural politics in Greater Romania, 19.
^^ Shapiro, Paul A. "Romania's past as a challenge for the future: a developmental approach to interwar
politics." In Daniel N. Nelson (ed), Romania in the 1980s. Boulder: Westview Press, 1981, 21.
Michael Kroner, "Das Parteisystem Rumniens in der Zwischenkriegzeit 1918-1940." In Knig (ed),
Siebenbrgen zwischen den beiden Weltkriegen, 33-37. Constantin lordachi, "Citizenship and national

It was only after the discrediting of the Habsburg Monarchy during the War and the
influence of Wilson's 14 Points that the National Party reconsidered its relationship to
Romania. The promised introduction of universal male suffrage in Romania went some
way to encourage this. Even so, the Declaration of Karlsburg set a number of conditions
for unification with Romania. The Declaration called for Transylvania to retain
autonomy during an undefined but lengthy period of transition. It was imagined that the
final form of Greater Romania would reflect the qualities of all its regions.^'^
Transylvanian autonomy also benefited the National Party because it dominated
Transylvania politically.^^

Bolstered by the introduction of "universal" adult (21 for the lower house, 40 for the
senate) male suffrage in 1919, the National Party, in coalition with the formerly
marginalised Peasants Party^^ of Wallachia, won Romania's first post-War elections in
November 1919. Their platform included implementation of a federal model for
Romania, in line with the Declaration of Karlsburg. However, they did not win the
favour of the monarch, King Ferdinand I (*1865-tl927, reigned 1914-1927), who
dissolved the government and called new elections. Throughout his life, Ferdinand
favoured the Old Kingdom-based National Liberal Party^^ (representing finance and
industry), and, closely related to the Liberals, the newly formed popularist People's
Party^^ of war hero General Alexandru Averescu (* 1859-11938).^^
The People's Party held office from March 1920 to January 1922, followed by the
Liberal Party to March 1926, the People's Party to June 1927 and, following unusually
violent elections, the Liberal Party again until November 1928. Successive Liberal Party
identity in Romania: a historical overview." Regio, 2002, 9, and Stephen Fischer-Galati, "Romanian
nationalism." In Sugar, & Lederer (ed). Nationalism in Eastern Europe, 387-388. See also Livezeanu,
Cultural politics in Greater Romania, 21 -22, and Elemer Illys, National minorities in Romania: change
in Transylvania. East European Monographs, Nr CXII New York: Columbia University Press, 1982.
Corvinus Press, [12 February 2005], 30.
^^ Livezeanu, Cultural politics in Greater Romania, 132-134.
^^ Shapiro, "Romania's past as a challenge for the future", 25-27.
^^ Partidul Trnesc.
^^ Partidul National-Liberal.
Partidul Poporului.
^^ Kroner, "Parteisystem Rumniens", 37. The former alternative Old Kingdom government to the
National Liberal Party, the pro-German Conservative Party [Partidul Conservator], representing great
landowners, was discredited during the War by the German occupation, and further undermined by
universal suffrage and agrarian reforms, and ceased to have significant influence. South-Eastern Europe:
a political and economic survey. London: Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1939, 67-68.

and the People's Party governments pursued a program of rapid centralisation and the
imposition of the Old Kingdom model on the provinces. The legitimising ideology for
this was assimilatory nationalism.^^

In 1920, the People's Party dissolved the regional governments of the provinces,
declaring the period of integration to be over. Old Kingdom legislation was imposed
upon the provinces without regard for their previous legal systems. Local autonomy was
reduced in favour of direct control from Bucharest, increasingly facilitated by the direct
appointment of officials.^ ^ The number of electorates for state elections was reduced,
especially in the provinces. A higher level of centralisation was achieved in Greater
Romania than in pre-War Hungary, due in part to technological developments and the
proximity of Transylvania to Bucharest (as opposed to Budapest).^^ Key to this process
was the 1923 constitution, drafted by the Liberal Party, which reaffirmed the
centralisation of Greater Romania.^^

In 1926, the National and Peasants Parties unified to form the National Peasants Party.^^
In November 1928 the regency of King Michael (Mihai) I (*1921, reigned 1927-1930,
1940-1947) called the National Peasants Party to office for the first time since 1920.
The new government was confirmed by a large majority in elections in December 1928,
and held office until 1934, with an interruption from 1931-1932 when Carol II (*1893,
reigned 1930-1940, tl953) called to office a non-partisan "Cabinet of Experts" under
the historian Nicolae lorga. Neither the National Peasants Party nor lorga made any
attempt to overturn the centralisation of state authority, or to implement a federal model
in line with the Declaration of Karlsburg. By uniting with the Peasants Party, the
National Party had become a state-wide organisation, and was no longer interested in
diluting state authority through regional autonomy.^^

Fischer-Galati, Stephen. 1993. "National minority problems in Romania: continuity or change?"

Nationality Papers, Vol 22 Nr 1, 1993, 71-2. Also Fischer-Galati, Twentieth Century Romania, 29-30.
From 1926, two fifths of municipal officials were appointed by the Ministry of the Interior. In the most
significant towns (including Hermannstadt and Kronstadt), including the mayor. Lengyel, Auf der Suche
nach dem kompromi, 141-142.
^^ Roth. Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 35-36.
^^ "Constitutiunea din 1923." DSCLex. [4 April 2005].
Partidul National Trnesc.
^^ Shapiro, "Romania's past as a challenge for the future", 27.

The second challenge faced by Romania's politicians was to respond to the large
minorities in Greater Romania. Before the First World War, Romania's population was
culturally relatively homogenous, and the political system unwelcoming of minorities.
The "foreign" elements in the nobility firmly embraced Romanian nationalism in the
nineteenth century.^^ The Roma were enslaved until 1864, and politically and socially
marginalised thereafter.^^ Jews formed a large minority in urban centres, especially in
Moldavia. However, most were banned from citizenship and their activities were greatly
restricted. When Romania gained Northern Dobrudscha (with large Bulgarian and
Turkish populations) in 1878, despite attempts to provide minority protection through
the Treaty of Berlin, the region remained under special administration until 1913 when
migration, assimilation and changes in land ownership had made the region suitably
"Romanian". Even then, "foreign" merchants in Dobrudschan towns (mainly Greeks,
Armenians and Jews) continued to be denied citizenship. To all intents and purposes,
Romanian citizenship was inextricably bound to Romanian ethnicity.^^
Romanian expansion resulted in a far more diverse population. Furthermore, the
minorities of the new provinces were not marginalised as in the Old Kingdom. Rather,
they tended to form the political and economic elites of the provinces, especially the
urban centres.^^ This can clearly be seen in Transylvania, where Hungarians and Saxons
formed the political elite as well as dominating urban life.^^ Although Romanians
constituted a considerable proportion of urban Transylvanians, this was concentrated in
the smaller market towns. In the larger centres, the interplay of cultural and economic
factors left them physically relegated to the outer suburbs and socially relegated to
menial jobs. Transylvania's large towns remained overwhelmingly Hungarian or
German in character."^ ^

^^ Fischer-Galati, Twentieth Century Rumania, 16.

^^ Woodcock, "The Tigan is not a man 52-77. See also Hancock, Ian. The Pariah Syndrome: An
account of Gypsy slavery and persecution. Patrin Web Journal. 1999-2000.
http://www.geocities.coni/Paris/5121/pariah-contents.htm [28 February 2001], Ch. V & VI.
^^ lordachi, "Citizenship and national identity in Romania", 11-15. See also Fink, Defending the rights of
others, 6-37.
^^ Livezeanu, Cultural politics in Greater Romania, 8-11.
For example, of the 49 towns and cities in Transylvania and the Banat at the time of annexation, 32 had
a Hungarian majority, 9 had a German majority, and only eight smaller towns had a Romanian majority.
Illyes, National Minorities in Romania, 58.
Livezeanu, Cultural politics in Greater Romania, 136, 151-153.

Romania's territorial gains were confirmed at the Peace Conference, but on the
condition that Romania sign a Minorities Treaty. Romania's Prime Minister Bratianu
(of the Liberal Party) led the opposition of East European states to the Minority
Treaties. As a result, it was perceived at the Peace Conference that minorities in
Romania would need a higher level of protection and the Treaty signed with Romania
was more stringent than, for example, Czechoslovakia. The Western Powers began with
the Declaration of Karlsburg as their negotiating point. In the end the treaty, negotiated
by the Liberals and signed by the National-Peasants Parties coalition on 9 December
1919, was little different from those of other states, obliging Romania to treat its
citizens equally, grant them freedom of religion, permit free use of minority languages
in private and public life such as before the courts, maintain private schools at their own
expense, and provide minority language classes in public schools in mixed areas. In
addition. Article 10 guaranteed a measure of state ftinding for minority institutions:
In towns and districts where there is a considerable proportion of
Roumanian nationals belonging to racial, religious or linguistic minorities,
these minorities shall be assured an equitable share in the enjoyment and
application of the sums which may be provided out of public funds under the
State, municipal or other budget, for educational, religious or charitable

The clauses specific to the Romanian treaty were primarily concerned with citizenship.
However, the most important for the Saxons was Article 11 : "Roumania agrees to
accord to the communities of the Saxons and Czecklers in Transylvania local autonomy
in regard to scholastic and religious matters, subject to the control of the Roumanian

For Romanian nationalists in Transylvania, unity with Romania offered a unique

opportunity to correct centuries of marginalisation. As discussed in Chapter 1,
'Treaty between the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and Roumania [Romanian Minorities
Treaty][1920] ATS W Australian Treaties Series, AustLII, 1999,
<>. Accessed 28 February 2005. See also
Zach, "Der status der siebenbrger Sachsen in Rumnien", 238-240, and Macartney, National states and
national minorities, 231-233, 244-247.
"Treaty between the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and Roumania". See also Zach, "Der
status der siebenbrger Sachsen in Rumnien", 238-240, and Macartney, National states and national
minorities, 231-233, 244-247.

historically, the Romanian population in Transylvania had been largely excluded from
the estates on the basis of their Orthodox faith, while those ethnic Romanians found
within the estates had generally assimilated. While the Eastern-Rite Uniate Church had
been less marginalised than Orthodoxy, it too had struggled against the dominance of
the Western Churches. While serfdom had ended in the mid-nineteenth century, patterns
of land distribution kept feudal relations alive until the end of the First World War.
Although serfdom had not existed on the Konigsboden, Romanians there had
nevertheless been excluded from membership of the estate until 1848 (and from settling
in Saxon towns) and remained underrepresented politically thereafter. Although a
Romanian middle class had emerged in the nineteenth century, it had remained
marginalised within Hungarian society, and subject to assimilatory pressures from the
state. Furthermore, the restricted suffrage had denied most Romanians the right to vote.
Transylvanian Romanian nationalists were deeply concerned about two interrelated
issues; towns and schools. Towns were seen as bastions of "foreign" culture in
Transylvania. Closely related to this was the perception that "foreign" schools were
responsible for assimilating the Romanian middle c l a s s e s . T h e assimilatory role
played by Hungarian and to a lesser extent Saxon schools was deeply resented by
educated Transylvanian Romanians who felt they had been humiliated by the education

The Directing Council therefore made determined efforts to Romanianise government

schools that were in majority-Romanian areas. This generally required the replacement
of skilled Hungarian teachers (who lacked Romanian language skills or who reftised to
take an oath of allegiance) with hastily trained and often incompetent Romanian
teachers. Parallel classes in minority languages could continue if student numbers
warranted it, but the hostility of Romanian officials coupled with the lack of Hungarian
teachers who would take the oath often prevented it. The Romanianisation of public
cultural institutions occurred throughout the new provinces and was especially
disadvantageous to the Germans of Bucovina, who had benefited from an extensive
public school system in German, as well as courses taught in German at the University

Livezeanu, Cultural politics in Greater Romania, 154-155

^^ Livezeanu, Cultural politics in Greater Romania, 143-151

of Czemowitz. In Transylvania, the Hungarian-language University of Klausenburg was

also Romanianised.'^^

Private schools were largely insulated from the process of Romanianisation.

Nevertheless, the Directing Council saw the founding of numerous new (mainly
Hungarian) schools that sprang up as an alternative to public schools as an abuse of the
rights they had granted to minorities. "Romanian" students (those with Romanian
surnames or suspected Romanian origins) were forbidden to attend minority schools,
and many such schools were forcibly closed down. Similarly, many voluntary
associations such as youth groups were closed as suspected hotbeds of Hungarian
nationalism. However, this impacted less on the long-established Saxon schools, as
Saxons were seen as less of a threat to the goals of Romanian nationalism. Nevertheless,
there were disputes regarding German secondary education, which was not protected
under the Minorities Treaty."^^

With the end of Transylvanian autonomy, the crucial framework for the treatment of
minorities was determined under the People's and National Liberal Parties. As before
the War, Old Kingdom politicians for the most part viewed the minorities as a threat to
the unity of the state. Minority elites in the new provinces were also viewed by Old
Kingdom politicians as a potential challenge to the authority of Bucharest."^^ Although
citizenship and basic rights could not be denied to the minorities due to Romania's
international obligations, the Liberal Party and People's Party acted to marginalise them
politically and to foster assimilation. The centralisation of the state and the enlargement
of electorates acted to limit the local self-administration of minorities.

The 1923 constitution granted a number of important individual rights to all citizens,
including linguistic and religious rights to minorities, in keeping with the Minorities
Treaty. However, collective rights were absent from the constitution, as was any
recognition of minority "Peoples" as in the Declaration of Karlsburg. (Such recognition
Livezeanu, Cultural politics in Greater Romania, Chapter 2, and Sophie A. Welisch, "The BukovinaGermans in the interwar period." East European Quarterly Vol 14 Nr 4, Winter 1980, 423-437.
Livezeanu, Cultural politics in Greater Romania, 155-182.
Fischer-Galati, "National Minority Problems in Romania". 71-2. Also Fischer-Galati, Twentieth
Century Romania, 29-30.
On the reforms carried out by the People's Party, see Fischer-Galati, Twentieth Century Romania, 2930, and Livezeanu, Cultural politics in Greater Romania, 19.

was not granted to the Saxon community until 1940, as a sop to Hitler.^^) While
asserting the equality of all Romanian citizens regardless of ethnicity, language or
religion (Article 5), the Romanian constitution emphasised the ethnic (Romanian)
component of citizenship more strongly than did any other in Eastern Europe in the
interwar period^ \ While asserting religious equality, the constitution recognised only
the Orthodox and Uniate Churches as "Romanian" (Article 22).^^
The instruments of government in the new provinces were rapidly Romanianised. This
process began under the National Peasants Party, through the imposition of language
requirements and the rapid employment of Romanians to replace those minority public
employees who were unwilling to work with the Romanian state or who were perceived
to be disloyal. A system of preferential employment existed in practice. The rapid
employment of large numbers of Romanians redressed the imbalance in the public
services of the new provinces where, excepting Bucovina, Romanians had been largely
excluded from public service. However, many of the new employees were poorly
trained. Cultural institutions such as theatres and museums were also Romanianised.
Romanian place names replaced or existed side by side with minority place names; this
too remained a running dispute until 1940.^^ Even so, Romania generally provided a
higher level of German-language services in German-speaking parts of Transylvania
than did other states for similar minorities, albeit below proportional population needs.^"^
Education was extremely contentious as, because the denominational schools in
Transylvania had operated almost without oversight under Hungary, any level of
government control under Romania would be seen as an imposition.^^ Schools were not
spared from centralisation. Reforms to the education system through the 1924 Primary
School Bill, 1925 Private School Bill and 1928 Secondary Education Bill reduced both
the autonomy of the Lutheran Church's schools and the use of German as the language
50 Zach,

"Der status der siebenbrger Sachsen in Rumnien", 234.

By referring to "Romanians" rather than "Romanian citizens" (e.g. Article 5), the constitution
underlined an ethnic component. Macartney, National states and national minorities, 209-211.
^^ Constitutiunea din 1923. See also Zach, "Der status der siebenbrger Sachsen in Rumnien", 240-241.
^^ On Romanianisation, see Verdery, Transylvanian villagers, 287-288, and Fischer-Galati, Twentieth
Century Romania, 30-31. Also Roth, Harald. "Die Bukarester "Minderheitenministerien" der
Zwischenkriegszeit." SSbl Vol 5 Nr 1, 1991, 55, Welisch, "The Bukovina-Germans in the interwar
period", 427, and Zach, "Der Vlkerbund und der Minderheitenschutz in Rumnien", 46. On place
names, see Zach, "Der status der siebenbrger Sachsen in Rumnien", 237.
^^ Macartney, National states and national minorities, 412-413.
^^ Azcrate, League of Nations and National Minorities, 80-81.

of instruction. The rights of Saxons and Szeklers to autonomous school systems,

protected by the Minorities Treaty, were never enacted.^^ However, as will be discussed
in Chapter 4, Saxon schools were able to maintain a high level of autonomy, especially
in key subject areas such as German, Religion and health science (the latter being
concerned primarily with population increase and eugenics).

The impact of economic reforms on Saxon life was even greater than
cultural/administrative reforms. The extensive network of Saxon private and religious
institutions was funded by the wealth of the Saxon community and the Lutheran
Church, and by donations from Saxon banking and industry. Saxon wealth was reduced
through investment in war bonds of the Central Powers, but the situation was
exacerbated by the low valuation of the Austro-Hungarian Kron against the Romanian
Leu during currency conversion, which approximately halved the currency holdings of
Transylvanians relative to the Old Kingdom.^^

Although currency concerns were significant, the biggest impact on the Saxons was
land reform. In 1921, agrarian reforms were introduced, dividing large estates into small
land holdings for the peasantry. The land reforms were applied with greater fervour in
the new provinces than in the Old Kingdom. In addition, industries belonging to
"enemies" of the Romanian state were confiscated and used to grant sinecures to the
Romanian gentry in return for loss of land. Although the vast majority of Saxon
landowners owned small farms that fell below the threshold for redistribution, the
holdings of communally owned parishes were reduced by 55 percent, and the remnant
estates of the Universitas were subdivided entirely. This undermined the wealth of the
Church, schools and other social, cultural and economic institutions.^^

Integration with Romania was not entirely contrary to Saxon economic interests. Saxon
industry benefited from tariff-free access to the Romanian markets on which it had long
depended. Saxon industrial concerns were much more influential in Romania, where
they played a leading role, than in Hungary where they lay on the periphery of the state.
Nevertheless, Saxon businesses suffered from the lack of capital that was endemic to
^^ Macartney, National states and national minorities, 411.
^^ Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmmungen, 84-85.
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmmungen, 85-89. On land reforms, see also Fischer-Galati,
Twentieth Century Romania, 31-36, and Verdery, Transylvanian villagers, 278.

interwar Romania, and that saw interest rates reach 35%. Saxon poHticians were unable
to get the Liberal Party to shift its opposition to foreign credit, which contributed to the
shortage. On the other hand, Saxon businesses benefited from the Liberals' policy of
economic protectionism.^^ By the time the National Peasants Party came to power in
1928 and lifted the restrictions on foreign investment, the worsening world economy
made foreign credit largely unavailable.

Finally, administrative reforms undermined Saxon political influence. The increasing

centralisation of the state undermined the Saxon communities' ability to exercise
autonomy through local government bodies. Appointed officials - almost always
Romanians - wielded increasing influence at the local government level in minority
areas.^^ More significant again was the introduction of universal male suffrage,
dramatically reducing levels of Saxon representation compared to that under limited
male suffrage in Hungary, as discussed below. In addition, in 1926 Romania adopted a
new electoral system modelled on that of Fascist Italy. The electoral list winning the
largest amount of votes (and at least 40 percent of the total votes cast) was
automatically granted more than 70 percent of seats in the lower house. While this
primarily reinforced the government's ability to ensure its own return, it also forced
minority parties to form electoral alliances with the larger parties, or else face greatly
reduced representation.^^

Despite the promises made in the Declaration of Karlsburg, which were reaffirmed in
electoral promises in 1928, the National Peasants Party made no substantial concessions
to minorities upon return to office. The government faced accusations from the National
Liberal Party opposition of being insufficiently patriotic, and was unwilling to be seen
as compromising on national issues. Instead, it continued the process of
Romanianisation. If anything, the National Peasants Party government offered fewer

^^ Vasile Ciobanu, "ber die siebenbrgisch-schsische industrie whrend der Zwischenkriegzeit. FzVLK
Vol 36Nr 1, 1993,78-83.
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmmungen, 35-36. During the interwar period, Saxon newspapers
frequently carried reports regretting the increase in Romanian influence over formeriy Saxon-dominated
towns. For example, see "Aus unsem schsischen Stdten", SDT13 February 1922, 3 and "Aus unsem
schsischen Stdten", SDT 16 February 1922, 4.
Kroner, "Das Parteisystem Rumniens in der Zwischenkriegzeit 1918-1940", 35-37.

concessions to minorities.

Thus, the treatment of minority rights in Romania supports

Kymlicka's assertion that in Eastern Europe minority rights have been considered
primarily in terms of state security, and that such regimes have been for the most part
hostile to minority autonomy.^^

The League of Nations took a strong interest in Romania, partly due to the proximity of
the USSR and fears that dissatisfied minorities might come under Soviet influence.^"^
Romania generated the greatest number of petitions to the Minorities Section, mainly
from Transylvanian Hungarians (especially Szeklers).^^ The vast majority of these
petitions were unsuccessful. The numerous Hungarian petitions came to be seen as
Budapest-inspired acts to harass the Romanian govemment.^^ The Minorities Section
introduced the practice of frequent informal visits to Romania to "advise" the
government and local officials.^^ However, they did not make much headway. The
Romanian government made no effort to curb the anti-minority sentiments of its local
officials,^^ and attempts by the Minority Section to for example better the situation of
Hungarian schools were largely unsuccessful.^^

Thus, there was a gulf between Saxon aspirations and actual conditions in Romania.
While the Saxons hoped for a consociational democracy, in which they would be equal
partners of the Romanians, they were met with an ostensibly liberal democracy that in
practice functioned as an ethnic democracy. The state was avowedly Romanian
nationalist, and minorities were politically and socially marginalised. In this regard,
Romanian rule was not greatly different for the Saxons than had been rule from
Budapest. However, three factors combined to make the Saxon community's position
more precarious. Firstly, universal suffrage undermined the Saxons' ability to influence

^^ Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 141-142. Also Fischer-Galati, Twentieth Century
Romania, 34-45. And Ciobanu, Vasile. "Die Minderheitenfrage in den Programmen Rumnischer
Parteien whrend der Zwischenkriegzeit." In Roth (ed), Minderheit und Nationalstaat, 63-68.
^^ Kymlicka, "Justice and security in the accommodation of minority nationalism." However, Kymlicka
does not consider the interwar period, and his arguement that West European nations see minorities in
terms of civil rights is perhaps less accurate for that period.
This assessment was made by the German Legation in Bucharest of Eric Colban's visit to Bucharest in
1924. Koepke to Foreign Office, 10 November 1924, AA Abteiling lib, Politik 6, R73650.
^^ Hrissimova, "The League of Nations and the problems of minorities in the Balkans",47.
^^ Cipianu & lancu, "Die Minderheiten im Rumnien der Zwischenkriegzeit und der Vlkerbund", 282283.
^^ Fink, Defending the rights of others, 280.
^^ Azcrate, League of Nations and National Minorities, 44.
^^ Azcrate, League of Nations and National Minorities, 81-82.

the state. Secondly, centralisation undermined the Saxons' ability to achieve informal
self-administration by dominating local government. Thirdly, and in many ways most
importantly, economic reform undermined the financial security of the Church, schools
and voluntary associations through which the Saxon community had pursued its
cultural, social, political and economic aims in the absence of a Saxon nation-state.
Below, I consider the political organisations the Saxon community entrusted to respond
to these transformations, and evaluate the forms that their responses took.

Saxon political representation and parliamentary campaigns

Saxons were represented by a string of organisations. While some represented the
Saxon community alone, others were umbrella organisations for the broader German
community in Romania. These umbrella groups tended, however, to be dominated by
Saxons and to reflect Saxon interests first and foremost. Below, I outline the political
organisations representing the Saxon community. I then outline the tactics and strategies
they adopted in the pursuit of ethno-corporatism. Finally, I consider the use of
stereotypes of self and other by Saxon parliamentarians in order to legitimise their

Saxon political organisations

The dominant Saxon nationalist political body in the 1920s and early 1930s was the
German-Saxon National Council for Transylvania,^^ herein the DSVR, founded in 1872
as the German-Saxon People's Party [DSVP]. Membership was open to all (adult male)
Saxons and Germans in Transylvania who pledged allegiance to its Programme. ^^ The
DSVR got its name fi-om its governing body, the German-Saxon National Council. To

^^ Deutsch-Sachsischer Volksratfilr Siebenbrgen.

^^ My, (ed). Die Siebenbrger Sachsen, 426.

distinguish between the two, I shall refer to the organisation as a whole as the DSVR,
and its governing body by its German name, the Volksrat.

During the interwar period, the DSVR consisted of a series of directly elected regional
assemblies, representing the adult male Saxon and German^^ population of
Transylvania. The regional assemblies sent representatives to the Volksrat, which was
called into existence by the 1919 Programme. Saxon parliamentarians were
automatically also members of the Volksrat. The Volksrat was characterised by indirect
representation and had a tradition of 'top-down' rule that made the DSVR unresponsive
to democratic pressures. It functioned less as an expression of Saxon popular will than
as an instrument for harnessing the votes and other political activities of the Saxon
community. Although it was not nepotistic, personal connections and careerism were
important elements in success within the DSVR. Rather than to make decisions,
elections were generally held to confirm decisions imposed from above. The Volksrat
made decisions by consensus, publicised through its semi-official organs, the



The DSVR in many way conformed to the German liberal-national parties in Austria in
the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Although, on one hand, the parties pursued an
ethnocentric platform that integrated growing segments of the population, they also
remained driven by the smaller circles of upper middle class liberals that had founded
them. While members from the lower classes of the German community were
encouraged to join, they were expected to adopt the bourgeois values of the liberals,
emphasising personal achievement, wealth, culture and education as the values that
defined Germanness.^"^ This process of expansion occurred later in Transylvania than in
Austria because of the more restricted franchise under Hungarian rule. Although the
DSVR broadly conformed to the norms of democratic procedure, members of the Saxon
community faced great moral pressure to conform to decisions from above.

^^ That is, later German settlers to Transylvania such as the Landler, Swabians and so on, as discussed in
Chapter 1.
^^ On the DSVR see Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmmungen, 31-52 and Bhm, Johann. Die
Deutschen in Rumnien und die Weimarer Republik 1919-1933. Ippesheim: AGK-Verlag, 1993, 162-163,
181-185. On social hierarchies within the organisation, see Roth, 74-76. C.f Bhm, 181-183.
Judson, Exclusive Revolutionaries, 193-201.

The DSVR had close ties to the Lutheran Church. The Lutheran Bishop was, as an ex
officio member of the senate, also an ex officio member of the Volksrat. The chair of the
Volksmt from 1919-1928 was Adolf Schullerus, Stadtpfarrer of Hermannstadt. Other
parliamentarians held lay positions in the Church. Furthermore, parish priests frequently
represented the DSVR at the village level or were involved in regional assemblies. As a
result, pronouncements of the DSVR often carried the moral authority of the Lutheran
The decline in wealth of the Saxon community undermined the financial security of the
DSVR. After the War, the DSVR was obliged to impose an unpopular "People's tax"^^
on members to support its mounting costs, supplemented by funding from Saxon
business, especially the banks. Such frinding was insufficient and the Volksrat became
insolvent in late 1927. It finally reached bankruptcy in 1932, forcing a reduction in
support staff The DSVR was forced to look to the other German communities to share
frinding for many of its polifical activities, and in the process was obliged to surrender a
measure of control to those communifies.^^
The Volksrat was not a parliament, and in theory contained no independent parties.
There were, however, a number of factions, defined by the personal rivalry between the
two leading Saxon parliamentarians, Rudolf Brandsch and Hans Otto Roth. While
Brandsch advocated strong support of the National Party, Roth advocated good relations
with successive Romanian governments of all political colours. In 1922, Brandsch lost
to Roth his position of leader of the German Party over this.^^
Brandsch was supported by the Hermannstadt Citizens' Association (herein the HBA),^^
founded in about 1905 to represent the interests of the lower middle and working class
Germans of the ''Unterstadf\ Hermannstadt's new quarter. The HBA revitalised and
^^ Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmmungen, 92-93 and Bhm, Die Deutschen in Rumnien und die
Weimarer Republik, 181-183. Saxon clerics in the German Party included ex officio Senators Teutsch and
Glondys, Senator Schullerus and MP Gustav Kstner. Lay officials in the Church included Arthur Polony,
Michael Ambrosi, Wilhelm Binder, and Hans Otto Roth, who was the Church's lawyer from 1927 and
Curator (the highest lay position in the Church) from 1932. Balling, Mads Ole. Von Reval bis Bukarest:
statistisch-biographisches Handbuch der Parlamentarier der deutschen Minderheiten in Ostmittel- und
Sdosteuropa 1919-1945, Kopenhagen: Dokumentation Verlag, 1991, 607-631.
^^ Volkssteuer.
^^ Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmmungen, 49-52.
^^ Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 75-80.
^^ Hermannstdter Brgerabend.

united the Saxon neighbourhood associations in the area and acted as an interest group
within the DSVR, dominating the Hermannstadt regional assembly. It supported
Brandsch as its representative in the Hungarian parliament before the First World War,
where he had advocated a pan-German, anti-Hungarian line out of keeping with the
majority of Saxon delegates, and it continued to support Brandsch in the interwar

Although the Roth/Brandsch dispute remained subdued for much of the 1920s, it
intensified following the National Peasants Party's return to power in 1928. From 1929,
the HBA represented itself as a separate party within the DSVR. In response, in 1931,
the majority members of the Volksrat formed their own party, the Saxon People's Party
(the original title of the DSVR). The split was primarily a matter of personalities and
not of substantial political differences.^^ This fact notwithstanding, there were some
differences in the social support bases of the two factions. While the HBA drew upon
the lower middle classes {Kleinbrgertum) of Hermannstadt, Roth was supported by the
Literati, the upper middle class and the peasantry (the latter via politicians such as Fritz
Connert, who was chair of the Transylvanian Saxon Rural Economic Association).^^
These "parties" continued to co-operate within the DSVR. Nonetheless, tensions in the
DSVR regularly spilt out into the Saxon press.^^

The Free Saxon Women's Union

While the DSVR was in theory an organic representation of the Saxon People, in
practice its membership was defined by the electoral legislation of the Romanian state.
For example, as women were not given the vote in Romania, they were granted only
very limited representation in the DSVR. In 1917 the Hungarian government considered
extending suffrage to educated women. As most Saxon women met this requirement
(unlike in other ethnic communities), the DSVR favoured the proposal as a means of
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 101-103. See also My, (ed). Die Siebenbrger Sachsen,
^^ Kirchholtes (German Legation, Bucharest) to Foreign Office, 27 March 1931, AA Abteilung IIb,
Politik 6, R73652.
^^ Private Letter Freytag to Legationssekretr von Grundherr, [14 September 1923?], AA Abteilung IIb
Politik 6, R73650.
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 164-170.

increasing the proportional strength of the Saxon vote. When the debate moved to
universal female suffrage (which offered no proportional advantage), the DSVR quickly
lost interest in the matter. The issue surfaced again in December 1918, in response to
the pledge of universal suffrage in the Karlsburg Declaration. The 1919 DSVR
Conference rejected universal female suffrage in the DSVR as the Karlsburg
Declaration had not yet been enacted, but it expressed the hope that the next conference
would be able to fully enfranchise women. However, regional assemblies were obliged
to include a limited number of female representatives. Women were also granted full
equality in the Kronstadt Assembly of the DSVR and limited voting rights in the
Hermannstadt Assembly.

In 1921, a Free Saxon Women's Union^^ was founded, with 13 member organisations in
most Saxon towns by 1922, 17 by 1925 and 20 member organisations by 1934. Its
chairs included Adele Zay (1923-1925) and Lotte Binder (1925-1930). The Women's
Union lobbied for equal representation in the DSVR.^^ These appeals were legitimised
by claims that female suffrage would be in the interest of the community, rather than by
claims to female equality.^^ (Indeed, the Women's Union remained committed to
divided gender roles.

In this regard, the Women's Union harnessed the same

ethnocentric arguments (serving the Volk)to justify its platform as those used by the

In 1929 the Romanian electoral law was modified to allow some women (those with
secondary education, war widows, those decorated in war or who were leaders of
voluntary associations of good character) to vote in local elections. The
disproportionately high levels of secondary education (and of women's voluntary
associations) amongst Saxons meant the electoral laws slightly increased the
community's proportionate influence at the ballot box. The Volksrat was quick to come
Harald Roth, "Zur Diskussion ber das Frauenwahlrecht unter den Siebenbrger Sachsen 1918-1920.'
SSbll Vol 6 Nr 2, 1992, 152-160, and Ingrid Gabel, '"Frei woollen wir sein, un zu dienen': Der 'Frei
schsische Frauenbund' von seinen Anfngen bis 1933." ZL Vol 22 Nr 1, 1999, 67-69.
^^ Freie schsische Frauenverband
^^ Gabel, '"Frei wollen wir sein, un zu dienen'." See also [Adele Za]y, "Der Freie Schsische
Vol 17 Nr 21, 21 May 1925, 230.
^^ For example, "Heltauer Vortrge fr Frauen." KBl Vol 14 Nr 18, 4 May 1922, 140-143.
^^ For example, Lotte Binder, "Erziehungs- und Bildungswert der Vereine." Brandsch, Heinz (ed).
Mdchenbildung und Frauenberufe. Bcherei des siebenbrgisch-schsischen Lehrers 4. Schburg:
Verlag der Markusdruckerei, 1930, 213-317.
^^ Roth, "Zur Diskussion ber das Frauenwahlrecht unter den Siebenbrger Sachsen 1918-1920."

out in support of women voters and to direct the regional assemblies to follow through
with the electoral changes.^^ Saxon women voters made a significant difference to the
outcome of local elections, for example turning out in significant numbers in SchaBburg
and Hermannstadt in 1932 when male Saxon participation was comparatively low.^^

Enfranchised Saxon women gained voting rights in Regional Assemblies of the DSVR
on local matters. From 1931, the Volksrat declared the Women's Union (renamed the
German-Saxon Women's Union^^) to be an integral part of the DSVR and called for
extended voting rights (active for enfranchised women, passive for non-enfranchised
women) in Regional Assemblies.^^ Thus, rather than being driven by matters internal to
the Saxon community, and rather than being responsive to arguments legitimised by
ethnic corporatism, membership of the DSVR, and voting rights therein, reflected state

The League of Germans in Greater Romania

The Saxons formed one of several German communities in Greater Romania. Other
Germans included small non-Saxon communities in Transylvania, as well as the
Swabians of the Banat and Arad, and of the counties of Satzmar, Maramarosch, Bihar &
Szilagy (to the West and North of Transylvania). There were also numbers of German
settlers in Bucovina and Bessarabia. Smaller German colonies were to be found in
northern Dobrudscha and in the urban centres of the Old Kingdom. (See Table 4 and
Figure 4.) These settlements for the most part had their own traditions and senses of
identity that separated them from the Transylvanian Saxons. Despite these separate
identities, Romanian Germans shared an emerging sense of common identity. (See
Chapter 5.)

Form letter Hans Otto Roth to Kreisausschsse 9 August 1929. StAH Fond CNS 15/1929.
Lautz (German Consulate, Kronstadt) to Foreign Office, 15 December 1932, AA Abteilung IIb Politik
6, R73652.
^^ Deutsch-schsische Frauenverband
^^ Gabel, '"Frei woollen wir sein, un zu dienen'", 73-75.

In 1919 the Germans of Romania committed to the formation of a League of Germans

in Greater Romania.^"^ The League was to provide common leadership and to act as the
embodiment of their common German identity. This was finally realised in 1921, and its
founding chair was Rudolf Brandsch. Although it was envisaged as the peak political
body of the Germans in Romania, personal antagonism between Brandsch and Roth and
differences between the German communities rendered it largely inactive, and the
People's Councils^^ of each German community retained real political influence.
Brandsch's main areas of activity were on the international stage, in the Minority
Congress and the League of German Ethnic Groups in Europe,^^ of which he was cofounder and chair until 1931. Because of the inaction of the League, the Saxon Volksrat
managed many of its activities. Furthermore, until 1931 the program of the League was
the Saxon Programme. This contributed to feelings amongst other ethnic German
communities that the Saxons were dominating Romanian German politics to their own

The League was reformed in September 1931. It developed its own National Program
for all Germans in Romania, and instituted the re-election of leadership every two years.
All German groups were represented in the new League, and Banat-Swabian Senator Dr
Kasper Muth (a supporter of Hans Otto Roth) was elected to the leadership.^^ However,
in the period under examination the League remained secondary to the German Party,
discussed below.

The German Party

From 1920 Saxon MPs sat as members of the German Party^^ which united the elected
representatives of the German communities. Despite its name, the German Party was
less a party than a coalition of individual parties representing the different areas of

Verband der Deutschen in Grorumnien.

^^ Volksrte.
^^ Verband der Deutschen Volksgruppen in Europa.
^^ Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 52-57. c.f. Bhm, Die Deutschen in Rumnien und die
Weimarer Republik, 162-164.
^^ Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 56-57.
^^ The German Party was known at various stages as the German People's Party [Deutsche Volkspartei],
German Parliamentary Party in Greater Romania [Deutsche Parlamentspartei in Grorumnien], and the
German Parliamentary Faction [deutsche Parlamentsfraktion].

German settlement. Saxon MPs played a commanding role within the German Party,
which was chaired by Rudolf Brandsch from 1919-1922, and Hans Otto Roth from 1922
to the dissolution of all parliamentary parties in Romania in 1938. The Saxons, who had
far greater political experience and levels of organisation than most other German
communities in Romania, tended to dominate the German Party. While members of the
German Party were expected to represent the interests of all Romanian Germans, in
practice Saxon MPs tended to favour the interests of the Lutheran Church, and of Saxon
business interests and agricultural co-operatives.

Thus, although Saxon conservative politicians formally united with the other Germans
of Romania, in practice most decision-making remained within the context of the
DSVR. Democratically deficient, the DSVR suppressed internal rivalries through
appeals to collective unity and communal discipline. This approach was increasingly
relied upon in response to the shift from a limited franchise to universal male suffrage.
When divisions did break the surface, the DSVR was ill equipped to respond to them.
However, as the dominant faction in the German Party, the DSVR was well positioned
to determine Saxon responses to Romanian rule. The tactics adopted by Saxon
parliamentarians are discussed below.

Tactics and strategies

From 1919-1922, under Rudolf Brandsch, the German Party supported the National
Party as the author of the Karlsburg Declaration, and in reflection of Brandsch's
personal ties to the National Party leadership. This relationship had some limitations.
The DSVR and the National Party differed in their interpretation of the Karlsburg
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 47, 64-69, and Bhm, Die Deutschen in Rumnien und
die Weimarer Republik, 163-164. Parliamentarians involved in the Transylvanian Saxon Rural Economic
Association included Michael Ambrosi, Gustav Kstner and Fritz Connert, who was director from 19191942. Hans Hedrich and Hans Otto Roth both held positions in the banking industry, notably as president
of HAS from 1928-1932. Arthur Polony was Director of the Union of Transylvanian Industry from 19191931. Balling, Von Reval bis Bukarest, 607-631. As Balling did not list directorships in private businesses
(with the exception of the major banks), this is an incomplete listing of the economic influences on Saxon
parliamentarians. On Hans Otto Roth, see also Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 11

Declaration, and the DSVR objected to the preferential employment of Romanians over
Saxons in the civil service even during the period of Transylvania's autonomy.
Nevertheless, the German Party remained supportive of the National Party throughout
Brandsch's leadership.

However, following the dismissal of the National Party/Peasants Party government in

March 1920, and the installation of the Averescu government, it became increasingly
apparent that this policy was provoking opposition from other parties. In 1922 Brandsch
publicly criticised the Liberal Party government while the German Party was in the
midst of delicate negotiations over minority schools. He was forced by his party to
resign and was replaced by Hans Otto

Roth led the German Party into a series

of pragmatic alliances with the governing party of the day, beginning with the 19221926 Liberal Party government. The decision to form closer ties to the Liberal Party
was in part motivated by the fact that the king declared the 1922 parliament to be a
constitutional assembly, charged with producing a new constitution.

Roth's policy was to engage in direct community-to-community negotiations with the

Romanian government of the day, regardless of its alignment. This approach was
responsible for a number of important successes. Firstly, the co-operative approach of
the Saxon parliamentarians resulted in a more positive attitude towards them from the
government, and a reduction in efforts at Romanianisation. The Saxons were able to
convince the divided Banat Schwabian politicians to adopt their approach, rather than
agitating for reunification with Hungary. As a result, Romanianisation efforts directed at
the Banat Schwabs largely ceased. This must be compared to the approach of
Transylvanian Hungarians who refused to acknowledge Romanian rule throughout the
early 1920s, and especially the Szeklers, who engaged in armed resistance in 19181919. As a result, there were continuing and determined efforts at Romanianisation of

Roth, "Die Bukarester "Minderheitenministerien" der Zwischenkriegszeit", 55.

Freytag, German Legation Bucharest to Foreign Office, 10 April 1922. AA Abteilung IIb Politik 6,
R73650. Brandsch's strident criticisms of the government had already earned him the ire of his colleagues
before this event. For example, see "Neue Beschwerden aus Siebenbrgen." Pester Lloyd, 27 October,
"Rede des Abg. Dr. Hans Otto Roth ber die politische Lage." SDT2A January 1923, 1.

the Hungarian minority, motivated by the belief that the Hungarian population remained

The German Party's approach to successive governments placed Saxon

parliamentarians in a position to influence proposed legislation. A very good indication
of the limits and possibilities of this strategy is provided by negotiations over the 1923
constitution. The German Party aimed to enshrine in the constitution the collective
minority rights outlined in the Minorities T r e a t y a n d the Declaration of Karlsburg, as
well as the less influential Declarations of Czemowitz and Kischinew.^^^ These included
the right to use minority languages in the administration and courts, minority
representation in local government, and guaranteed autonomy for minority schools. The
German Representatives were also concerned that the constitution referred to
"Romanians" rather than "Romanian Citizens". The German Party also remained
committed to a federal structure that would restore Transylvania's autonomy.^^^
In private negotiations with the German Party, the Liberal Party government took the
position that they would not grant general minority rights, allegedly out of fear that the
Hungarian minority would abuse them. However, they offered to consider specific
Saxon concerns. The German Party was therefore able to secure a number of reforms,
including a strengthening of general rights, and the removal of some restrictions that

This was the assessment of the German consular staff in Romania. For example, Hautz, German
Consulate Kronstadt to Foreign Office, 12 March 1923, AA Abteilung IIb Politik 6, R73650. This did not
prevent occasional accusations even from relatively pro-minority parties that the Saxons' claims to
collective rights were tantamount to forming a state within a state. For example, see ""Volkstag der
Sachsen in Schburg." SDT26 November 1919, 2-3, and Hans Otto Roth, "Professor lorgas und der
'Patria' Kritik am deutschen Wahlprogramm." SDT 3 December 1919, 1-2. On Hungarian passive
resistance and armed resistance by the Szeklers, see Lengyel, Auf der Suche nach dem kompromi, 103111 & 160-167, and Mcsy, The Uprooted, 27-35. On the shifting Schwabian attitude to Romanian rule,
see Lengyel, Auf der Suche nach dem kompromi, 79-82.
For example, see Hans Otto Roth, "Die Stellungsnahme der Deutschen in Grorumnien zum neuen
Verfassungsentwurf" SDT \1 February 1923, 1.
Minorities were also national rights in declarations of unity with Romania issued by Romanian
national assemblies in Bessarabia (Kischinev, 27 March 1918) and Bucovina (Czemowitz, 28 November
1918). Ciobanu, "Die Minderheitenfrage in den Programmen Rumnischer Parteien whrend der
Zwischenkriegzeit", 60. These predated the Declaration of Karlsburg. However, Transylvania's size and
the political significance of the National Party of Transylvania ensured that the Declaration of Karlsburg
was the key document regarding minority rights in interwar Romania. The precedents set by the three
Declarations were raised to the Romanian public by Rudolf Brandsch in the Romanian newspaper
Universul. He did not receive sympathetic treatment from the newspaper. "Die Minderheitenrechte in der
neuen Verfassung." SDT24 February 1923, 1-2.
Roth, "Die Stellungsnahme der Deutschen in Grorumnien zum neuen Verfassungsentwurf, 1. The
specific legislative changes the Saxons sought are listed in "Die deutschen Forderungen zum
Verfassungsentwurf" 5^)725 February 1923, 1.

would have impinged upon their practices. For example, although they were unable to
secure the school autonomy on communal lines guaranteed in the Minorities Treaty,
they were able to provide a framework in which minority language secondary education
remained possible, which exceeded the primary school education provided for in the


Although the constitution fell far short of Saxon expectations, and the

German Party ultimately found itself unable to approve it, they were able to modify it to
their advantage.
Similarly, the German Party was able to secure concessions on the 1924 Education Law
through the Party's positive relationship with the govemment.^^^ The German Party also
secured government support for a tithe on Lutheran congregants, thereby offering a
measure of security for the Lutheran Church, although that organisation secretly
remained dependent on foreign aid.^^^ In addition, the DSVR approached the state
authorities over a wide range of matters, including but not limited to negotiations over
the application of land reforms, the treatment of Saxons in the army, funding for the
German theatre in Romania, the payment of state pensions, seeking state funding for the
Church, correcting abuses of Saxon communities by local authorities, the administration
of Saxon voluntary associations and even opening negotiations regarding the return to
Romania of unhappy Bessarabian German migrants to Brazil.^ ^^ The DSVR was
frequently unable to achieve its aims in these negotiations. Nevertheless, its policy of
co-operation with the state ensured that successive Romanian governments were at least
willing to talk with the DSVR, and enabled Saxon representatives to achieve many more
improvements than did more hostile minority organisations such as the Hungarian Party.

Electoral discipline enabled the DSVR to mobilise almost the entire Saxon adult male
population to maximise its representation. However, Saxon representation was

On the resulting "favoured" position granted to Saxons during negotiations over the constitution, see
Hautz, German Consulate Kronstadt to AA, 12 March 1923. AA Abteilung lib, Politik 6, R73650.
Freytag, German Legation Bucharest to AA 30 January 1924, AA Abteilung lib, Politik 6, R73650.
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strommungen, 69-74.
' ' ' Evidence of negotiations with local officials and Romanian governments may be found in the
following archival sources from the StAH: On land reforms see for example Fonds Fond CNS 46/19191922 and Fond CNS 64/1919, on Saxons in the army Fonds Fond CNS 49/1919-1920, Fond CNS
91/1919-1921 and Fond CNS 92/1919-1920, German theatre in Romania e.g. Fonds Fond CNS 56/19191922, Fond CNS 7/1921-22 and Fond CNS 2/1923, pensions Fond CNS 12/1922, funding for the Church
Fond CNS 65/1919, abuses by local authorities Fonds Fond CNS 82/1918-1919, Fond CNS 85/19191921, Fond CNS 27/1920-1921 and Fond CNS 13/1926), administration of Saxon voluntary associations
Fonds Fond CNS 30/1920-1922 and Fond CNS 3/1921 and on the return of Bessarabian German migrants
to Brazil see Fond CNS 18/1926. This list is not exhaustive.

proportionately lower than it had been under the limited franchise in pre-War Hungary.
For example, in the November 1919 elections a total of Saxon 8 MPs and 5 senators
were elected. These were the best results of the interwar period; a steady reduction in
the number of parliamentarians overall led to a reduction also of Saxon


Following the adoption of the Fascist-inspired electoral law in

1926, the German Party almost invariably entered into an electoral alliance with the
governing party of the day, which was almost invariably returned to office. By doing so,
the German Party maximised its representation in parliament. Coalitions with the
German Party were of particular value to the major Romanian Parties because of the
Saxon "electoral discipline".^^^ Table 5 shows Saxon representatives elected to the
lower house and Table 6 to the upper house for the period 1919-1932. Figure 5 shows
the electorates for the lower house.
Because the German Party greatly benefited from its reputation as being non-irredentist,
Roth was very hesitant to consider an alliance with the Hungarian Party, despite appeals
from both the Hungarian Party and the Hungarian Government. It was only after the
Hungarian Party officially accepted Romanian rule and formed coalitions with the
mainstream Romanian parties that the German Party considered entering into a coalition
with it. In 1927, when the anti-minority Liberal Party looked to be returned, the German
Party avoided an alliance with any Romanian Party, preferring to form a "Minority
Bloc" with the Hungarian Party. In electoral terms, the alliance was not a success. As a
result of Romania's electoral system, it was the worst result for the German Party in the
period 1919-1933. (See Table 5.) The Minority bloc was not renewed, and the German
Party returned to running with the government of the day, starting with the National
Peasants Party in 1928. Far more successful, however, were alliances at the local
government level, where Saxons and Hungarians were able to maintain their control
over key Transylvanian towns by forming common fronts against the Romanian

1 14

Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 31-32.

Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmmungen, 46-47.
' Lorant Tilkovszky, "Die Weimarer Republik und die Nationahtten in Sdosteuropa, mit besonderer
Bercksichtigung der deutschen und ungarischen Minderheiten in Rmanien." In Knig (ed),
Siebenbrgen zwischen den Beiden Weltkriegen, 115-127. The most insightful source regarding SaxonHungarian relations at the political level is a 13-page report on the matter written by Hans Otto Roth to
the German Foreign Office. Hans Otto Roth, "Unsere Beziehungen zu den Magyaren." 15 March 1926.
AA Abteilung IIb, Politik 6, R73650. On the value of alliance in local elections, see also Lautz, German
Consulate, Kronstadt to Foreign Office, 15 December 1932, AA Abteilung IIb, Politik 6, R73652.

In April 1931, Rudolf Brandsch was offered and accepted the position of State
Undersecretary for Minority Affairs by the "Cabinet of Experts" under the prime
ministership of Nicolae lorga. However, the appointment co-incided with the height of
Brandsch's dispute with the German political organisations over the restructuring of the
League of Germans in Greater Romania. Furthermore, Brandsch had recently published
an article highly critical of the "irredentism" of the Hungarian minority in Romania.
Romanian politicians used the article to criticise both the Hungarian and German
minorities, alienating Brandsch from both. As a result, Brandsch's time as
undersecretary was hindered by poor relationships with the leadership of Romania's two
most politically significant minorities. Furthermore, despite a long history of cooperation with minorities, especially with the Saxons, lorga proved unwilling to enter
into any significant reforms. This, and the short period that Brandsch held the office,
made the Undersecretariat ineffectual.^^^
Overall, despite its limited successes, the German Party was not able to achieve the aims
set out in the Declaration of Mediasch and the 1919 Programme, and that Saxon
politicians judged to be guaranteed by the Minorities Treaties. At a number of times, the
German Party considered the possibility of appealing to the League of Nations.
However, there was hesitation to do so, because a successful ruling was by no means
certain, and because any such appeal would be certain to provoke Romanian ire.^^^
When Adolf Schullerus informally approached Erik Colban, the Director of the
Minorities Section of the League of Nations, about the failings of the constitution, he
did not receive a sympathetic hearing.^^^ Before Germany's admission to the League in
September 1926, it was also considered that German minorities had little hope of a fair
hearing. Even after Germany's increased agitation for minority rights from 1928-1929,
no formal application was made, as the risk of alienating the Romanian government was
seen as too great. The DSVR remained committed to solving its differences with the
state through direct negotiation.

Roth, "Die Bukarester 'Minderheitenministerien' der Zwischenkreigszeit", 58-66. See also Roth,
Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 167-170, and Michael Kroner, "Nicolae lorga und die Deutschen
Rumniens." Sdostdeutsche Vierteljahresbltter Vol 39 Nr 4, 1990, 331-338.
For example, Hans Hedrich, "Unsere Stellungnahme in der Verfassunsfrage." SDT 1 March 1923, 1.
Cipianu & lancu, "Die Minderheiten im Rumnien der Zwischenkriegzeit und der Vlkerbund", 284285.
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmmungen, 81-83.

While unable to secure its goals of self-administration and access to state resources, the
DSVR was able to preserve the cultural and pedagogic interests of the Saxon
community, and to ameliorate many of the hindrances imposed upon it by the state.
These successes particularly stand out when compared to the embittered position of
Hungarians in Romania in the same period. The comparative experiences of the Saxon
and Hungarian minorities suggest that in such environments agitating for selfdetermination, in the absence of realistic hopes of international support, may be
counterproductive. Nevertheless, in the period to 1933, the DSVR became increasingly
unpopular with the Saxon community.^^^ To understand this, it is necessary to consider
how the DSVR represented to their constituents the relationship the Saxon community
had (and ought to have) with the state. I examine this below.
The following analysis is based upon an examination of reporting in the SDT {diS the
primary organ of the DSVR) and the Deutsche Politische Hefte aus Grofirumdnien
{DPH), published by the League of Germans in Greater Romania from 1921-1927 and
serving as Brandsch's mouthpiece.The focus has been on the election campaigns of
the DSVR. In addition, I have also considered reports of key events such as the debate
over the 1923 constitution and commentary on the events such as 10* anniversary of the
Declaration of Karlsburg.
In theory, members of the Romanian parliament were elected as representatives of their
entire constituency, and not simply as the representatives of their supporters. In practice,
however, the situation was quite different. As indicated above, the Volksrat viewed their
position within the state as a relationship between co-habiting nations. Saxon politicians
saw their constituents as an ethnic community {Volk) and themselves as the leaders of
Bhm, Die Deutschen in Rumnien und die Weimarer Republik, 162-163.
The DP//folded for financial reasons in 1927. However it was continued hy Nation und Staat,
published from Vienna by the League of German Ethnic Groups in Europe. (Rudolf Brandsch, "An
unsere Leser." DPHWol 7 Nr 11-12, November - December 1927, 185.) Brandsch chaired the League of
German Ethnic Groups in Europe from 1921 to 1931, and remained on the editorial board of Nation und
Staat from 1927-1931. (Balling, Von Reval bis Bukarest, 614.) Nation und Staat became the most
important German-language minorities journal of the interwar period, and was surreptitiously bankrolled
by the German Foreign Office. (Fink, Defending the rights of others, Note 24, 229.)

that community. ^^^ They saw the major Romanian parties as the representatives of the
Romanian nation rather than of the state. Consequently, descriptions of the major
poUtical parties, and with the majority population of Romania, were heavily influenced
by Saxon stereotypes of the Romanian Other, and by the Saxons' own self-image,
which both provided legitimisation for the claims made by the DSVR and limited the
range of possible relationships that Saxon politicians were prepared to consider.
The tone of Saxon descriptions of the Romanian nationalist majority parties varied
considerably in the period 1919-1933. Initially, descriptions were for the most part
positive, emphasising "brother" Peoples living peacefully together.^^^ This is in some
ways surprising, given that Romania had unexpectedly invaded Transylvania in 1916,
an event that the Saxon press had compared to the invasion of the Mongols. In addition,
the Saxons had been on the losing side of the War. However, the Romanian army had
soon been forced to retreat, and Romania itself occupied by the German army. Saxons
did not feel that they had "lost" the War with Romania; defeat had occurred on the
distant battlefields of Western Europe. For this reason, there was relatively little
lingering hostility after the War.^^^
Even so, traditional understandings of the Transylvanian social order coloured Saxon
representations of Greater Romania. Saxon politicians attempted to legitimise their
platform by laying claim to greater political experience than (by implication but never
stated) that of the Romanian leadership. They represented themselves as the inheritors
of political instincts developed through centuries of accumulated political experience,
passed down from generation to generation. ^^^ This was rooted in memories of the
estate as an ethnic body, and also reflected the Saxons' traditional self-image as a
Kulturvolk, in contrast to the Romanians whom they viewed as a Jungvolk. Here one
can also see the influence of the myth of the Drang nach Osten, legitimising a civilising
role for the Saxons. (See Chapter 1.)
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmmungen, 69.
See the quote from Schullerus above, from ""Volkstag der Sachsen in Schburg." SDT26 November
1919, 1-2.
Bernard Bttcher, "Kontinuitt des Ersten Weltkrieges im Frieden? Kriegerdenkmler und Heldenkult
bei den Siebenbrger Sachsen nach 1918." In Mariana Hausleitner & Harald Roth (ed). Der Einfluss von
Faschismus und Nationalsozialismus auf Minderheiten in Ostmittel- und Sdosteuropa. Mnchen- IKGS
Verlag, 2006, 61.
For example, Hedrich, "Unsere Stellungnahme in der Verfassungsfrage", 1.

Saxon politicians were reluctant to criticise the entire Romanian nation. Rather, they
targeted specific parties, especially the National Liberal and People's Parties. Saxon
politicians distinguished between party and populace by arguing that the party in
question had failed to represent the true character of the Romanian people. For example,
the hostility of the Liberal Party and other Old Kingdom politicians towards minority
rights was explained in terms of their lack of experience of ethnic minorities (in contrast
to the National Party), rather than due to any property of the Romanian nation. ^^^

As time passed and Saxon expectations of the state were not met, descriptions became
increasingly negative, and explanations of inexperience were no longer accepted. ^^^ The
heavy-handed agrarian reforms in Trasylvania contributed significantly to souring
Saxon public opinion.^^^ For example, in January 1922, Rudolf Brandsch (then leader of
the German Party) strongly criticised the dominance in Romanian politics of demagogy
and political machinations over political programmes and ethics of service. He blamed
this on the lack of democratic traditions in the Old Kingdom, the influence of
Bolshevism in Bessarabia, and the granting overnight of suffrage to a largely
uneducated population. He had greater faith in the Romanians of Transylvania who, for
all that they had been neglected by the Hungarian state, had nevertheless possessed
higher levels of political culture. ^^^ Brandsch explained the struggle occurring in
Romanian politics as one between East and West, demagogy and democracy:

He who investigates these things finds without difficulty the principle

causes of the Romanian crisis, which manifests so unpleasantly in the
frequent changes of government. In the images of this crisis before our
eyes an historical opposition between East and West, between the Old
Kingdom and its Western provinces, in the high point of which we live
today, finds consummation. The outcome of this struggle cannot be

For example, Hans Otto Roth at the Saxon Conference. "Volkstag der Sachsen in Schburg." SDT21
November 1919, 2. Reporting on Roth's speech on this point is incomplete due to the actions of the
For example, see '"Terra incognita.'" SDT. 2 September 1921. p. 1.
Zach, "Der status der siebenbrger Sachsen in Rumnien", 237-238, 240.
[Rudolf] Br[andsch], "Grundursachen der rumnischen Krisen." DPH, Vol 2, Nr 1, January 1922, 1-2.

doubtful: the future, even the entire future existence of our state, depends

upon it that the East is not victorious.

1 oo

In a following article Brandsch argued that the "Transylvanian spirit" was the only one
that could triumph over the spirit of the East and reform Romanian politics. ^^^ These
criticisms reflected both traditional Saxon stereotypes of Romanians as less civilised
than the Saxons and broader European "Balkanist" stereotypes of South-East Europe.^^^
By comparison, the comparative Western status of Transylvanian Romanians reflects
the perceived civilising influence of the Saxons, as discussed further in Chapter 3.

Brandsch was also participating in a related debate in Romanian nationalist circles, over
the "national character" or "national essence"^^^ of the Romanian nation. Romanian
nationalists belonged to two broad camps. While Westerners or Europeanists considered
Romanians to be of Latin origin, and therefore argued that Romanians should
westernise and industrialise. Traditionalists or Indigenists argued that Romanians were
of local, Dacian origins, and should continue to pursue a rural existence guided by
Romanian Orthodoxy. Both positions perceived the debate in terms of whether Romania
should pursue a Western/Occidental or Eastern/Oriental path.^^^ To Brandsch, the
Romanian nation was prone to both Eastern and Western tendencies, and the state's
politics could be understood as a struggle to see which would dominate. (Brandsch's
analysis differed from the Romanian prespective in that the National Liberal Party saw
itself as promoting Westernisation and industrialisation.) Brandsch's characterisations
supported the Saxon self-image as offering a higher standard of culture and civilisation
to the state, for one of the qualities of Transylvania was the presence of the more
"Western" minorities. This played on the older self-image of the Saxons as bearers of
culture in Eastern Europe. (See Chapter 1.)


Wer diesen Dingen nachgeht, findet unschwer die Grundursachen der rumnischen Krise, die sich in
dem hufigen Regierungswechsel so unliebsam ausdrckt. Der Ausgang des Kampfes kann nicht
zweifelhaft sein; es hngt die Zukunft, ja der ganze Bestand unseres Staates davon, da der Osten nicht
siegt. Br[andsch], "Grundursachen der rumnischen Krisen", 3.
[Rudolf] Br[andsch], "Siebenbrgen und Grorumnien." DPHVoX 2, Nr 2, February 1922, 3.
Todorova, Imagining the Balkans.
national specific.
Kieth Hitchins, "Orthodoxism: polemics over ethnicity and religion in interwar Romania." In Banac &
Verdery (ed), National Character and National Ideology in Interwar Eastern Europe, 135-136. Also in
the same volume, Verdery, Katherine. "National ideology and national character in interwar Romania"

The failure of the Liberal Party to enshrine the Declaration of Karlsburg or collective
rights in the constitution led to increasingly negative imagery of the Romanian parties.
For example, in his 1926 campaign speech to his constituency in SchaBburg, Hans Otto
Roth Roth injected an element of desperation absent in Brandsch's comments in 1922:
"The life of a minority is a ceaseless struggle, held with the People administering the
state over the most vital questions of existence and the cohabitation of both nations.
Roth pointed to a few successes achieved by the German Party, namely the inclusion of
some key individual rights in the constitution. However, he placed more emphasis on
the setbacks faced by the Saxon community: increasing state control over confessional
schools; declining local autonomy and the continuing financial uncertainty of the
Lutheran Church.^^^ Almost all Romanian nationalist parties were criticised for having
failed to support collective minority rights in the constitution. ^^^ Despite this, when the
1926 elections were held under Romania's Fascist inspired electoral law, the German
Party ran in electoral coalition with the People's Party to maximise its vote.
Nevertheless, this alliance was described as a pragmatic decision necessary to maximise
the number of German parliamentarians under the new electoral laws. Roth underlined
that the alliance was only for the election, and that the German Party would remain
independent in parliament. ^^^

The comments of German Party candidates in the 1927 elections were marked by even
greater bitterness towards the Romanian parties. Roth described in harsh terms the
events leading up to the elections, in which the Liberal Party had brought down a
government of national unity through internal politicking to gain power at a time when
the king was in ill health. To Roth these were evidence of the Eastemness of Romania:
"The farce of this crisis has played itself out in front of us in a harsh light, illuminated
by all the colours of the Orient."^^^ The chaos and despotism of the political
machinations in Bucharest were compared to the calm and ordered "Westemness" of the

Das Leben einer Minderheit ist an sich ausschlielich Kampf, gefiihrt mit dem staatsverwaltenden
Volke um die letzten Fragen der Existenz und des Zusammenseins beider Nationen. "Whlerversammlung
des Grokokler Komitates." SDT12 May 1926, 1.
135 "Whlerversammlung des Grokokler Komitates", 1.
The only acception was the Peasants Party. "Whlerversammlung des Grokokler Komitates", 2.
"Whlerversammlung des Grokokler Komitates", 2.
In grellem Lichte, beleuchtet von allen Farben des Orients hat sich das Schauspiel
dieser Krise vor
uns abgespielt. "Dr. Hans Otto Roth vor seinen Whlern." SDT. 3 July 1927. p.l


Saxon politicians were especially bitter at the continued failure of the

Romanian parties to grant minority rights. Saxon MP Hans Hedrich argued that while
his People had a duty to be loyal to the state, which they had fulfilled, they were also
entitled to expect that the state fulfil its reciprocal duty to extend full rights to
minorities. The state had failed to do this^'^^
In 1927, the German Party rejected coalitions with mainstream Romanian parties,
arguing that while a further alliance with the anti-minority Liberal Party was
unconscionable, the National Peasants Party could not hope to win the election.
Furthermore, it was argued, the National Peasants Party had an inconsistent record on
minority r i g h t s . T h e German Party aimed to rise above the petty bickering and
internecine politicking of the major Romanian parties (as Saxon politicians described it)
by forming a minority bloc with the Hungarian Party. The other minority parties were
either too disorganised to be valuable allies or were already committed to alliances with
Romanian parties. The Hungarian community was described as having the same
qualities of sincere, ordered political life that were attributed to the Germans.


electoral results for the German Party were worsened by widespread electoral
manipulation and intimidation of voters, at a scale worse than seen in previous
Romanian elections. The widespread electoral fraud was seen as further evidence of the
triumph of the spirit of the East over the West.^"^^

The representation of the National Peasants Party changed dramatically in character in

late 1928, when the National Peasants Party was called to office and pledged to reform
the Romanian political system in line with the Declaration of Karlsburg. Saxon circles
greeted the return of the National Peasants Party to office with great enthusiasm because
they had held the National Peasants Party in general, and its leader luliu Maniu in
particular, in high regard. The National Peasants Party was described as a "national
H[ermann] Pl[attner], "Deutsche Wahlen." SDT2 July 1927, 1.
Hans Hedrich, "Ein Mahnwort zur Wahlentscheidung." SDT1 July 1927, 1.
"Dr. Hans Otto Roth vor seinen Whlern", 1-2.
For example, Pl[attner], "Deutsche Wahlen", 1.
For example, see [Fritz] Th[eil], "Deutsche Politik in Romnien." SDTl July 1927, 2. Electoral fraud
and intimidation of voters continued to be the main theme of reporting in the SDT from immediately after
the election until pushed from the front pages by the death of King Ferdinand on 21 July 1927 ("Knig
Ferdinand I. von Rumnien t", 1). Key examples include [Fritz] Th[eil], "Wahlbilder." SDT 9 July 1927,
1-2. Also Rudolf Brandsch "Wohin treiben wir?" SDT 16 July 1927, 1. And H[erman] Pl[attner], "Das
Brandmal der letzten Wahlen." SDT 17 July 1927, 1. The "Drreturned to the topic periodically'
throughout August 1927.


rising above party politics to represent the will of the Romanian Volk}^^

The Party also continued to be seen as the receptacle of that which was Western and
Transylvanian in the Romanian national essence. The Saxons had high expectations of
the National Peasants Party, which ran for election in 1928 on the slogan "legality,
honesty, justice". The 5Z)r hoped the National Peasants Party would reform the political
system, enact the Declaration of Karlsburg, and even partially reverse the agrarian
reforms that had undermined the wealth of the Saxon community. These expectations
were rooted in the high opinion Saxons had of Maniu, as primary author of the
Karlsburg D e c l a r a t i o n . T h e height of Saxon enthusiasm is surprising as the DSVR
was privately concerned that the new government might well not offer improved
minority conditions. While hopeful that the National Peasants party would be more
forthcoming regarding minority schools and Churches, they were concerned that the
government would put up a fierce fight for control of the Transylvanian towns that they
viewed as key to the Romanianisation of the region.

However, Saxon politicians did

nothing to keep the Saxon public's expectations in proportion.

Neither the National Peasants Party nor the Cabinet of Experts under Nicholae lorga
lived up to Saxon expectations. Instead, as discussed above, conditions for minorities
worsened in this period. As a result, Saxon political rhetoric returned to the extremely
critical stance it had taken before 1928. For instance, in the 1932 elections (which
confirmed the replacement of the Cabinet of Experts with the National Peasants Party,
with which the Saxons had an electoral alliance), Saxon politicians condemned the
National Peasants Party in as strong terms as they had praised it in 1928. For example.
Senator Wilhelm Binder accused the Romanians of Transylvania in general, and Maniu
in particular, of being responsible for the fact that the "spirit of the East" had come over
Transylvania, and that the "spirit of the West" had not instead moved East:

H[ermann] Pl[attner], "Die ersten Schritte der neuen Regierung." SDT\% November 1928, 1.
For example, see H[ermann] Pl[attner], "Die Regierung Julius Maniu." SDT11 November 1928, 1.
Also H[ermann] Pl[attner], "Die ersten Schritte der neuen Regierung." SDTX'^ November 1928, 1. Also
"Die neue Regierung ind die Minderheiten." SDT\^ November 1928, 1. Also H[ermann] Pl[attner], "Die
Wahlentscheidung des schsischen Volkes." SDT25 November 1928, 1. Also H[ermann] Pl[attner], "Der
Gedanktag von Karisburg." SDT 2 December 1928, 1. And "Die neue Kurs unserer Volkspolitik." SDT 6
December 1928, 1-2.
Von Mutius to Foreign Office, 20 November 1928. AA Abteilung IIb, Politik 6, R73652.

Our homeland is in misery: a new spirit has come over Transylvania, a spirit
that does not understand the Peoples that live here, and that does not want to
know Transylvania, its history and its characteristics, its conditions and its
traditions... Mr Maniu and his circle are guilty for this, that the East has
moved over us, and that the spirit of the West has not been carried from here
to the East.^"^^

Saxon politicians were no more praising of the departing government. To Fritz Connert,
the cabinet of experts was an experiment that had failed. It had used the same tactics in
local politics as had previous governments, stacking local councils in minoritydominated areas with ethnic-Romanian direct appointees, and otherwise using its
powers to further Romanianise the state. This had not been mitigated by the
appointment of Brandsch as the Undersecretary for Minority Affairs.

The rhetoric of Saxon politicians, then, was marked by a firmly ethno-corporatist

worldview and demonstrated the continuing influence of traditional stereotypes of Self
and Other. Overall, Saxon politicians portrayed the Romanian parties in a very negative
light, in spite of entering into alliances every election from 1926 (except 1927), and
despite the moderate successes achieved through the conciliatory approach of the
German Party. The strategy of co-operation, and the results it achieved, is almost
invisible in the speeches of the Saxon politicians, who represented the relationship with
the majority parties as one of disappointment after disappointment, as each party
refused to fulfil the Declaration of Karlsburg. This representation was despite awareness
amongst Saxon politicians that such rights were simply unachievable. This had been
expressed to the American Commission in as early as 1919 (as mentioned above), and
leading members of the DSVR continued to be aware of it throughout the period. For
example, in 1926 Hermann Plattner, argued in Ostland (a journal aimed at the political
leadership of the Germans in Eastern Europe) that the time for constitutional reform in
Eastern Europe had passed, and in those states such as Romania where the German
minority had failed to secure collective rights, they would just have to manage as best as

Unsere Heimat ist im Elend; ber Siebenbrgen ist ein neuer Geist gekommen, ein Geist, den die
Vlker nicht verstehen, die hier leben, und der Siebenbrgen nicht kennen will, seine Geschichte und
seine Eigenart, seine Verhltnisse und Ueberlieferungen... Herr Maniu und sein Kreis sind schuld daran,
da bei uns der Ost en eingezogen ist und nicht der Geist des Westens von hier nach Osten getragen
wurde. "Whlerversammlung in Schburg." SDT. 17 July 1932, 1
Programmrede des Abgeordnetenkandidaten Fritz Connert." SDT 16 July 1932, 1-3.

they could.

Despite this, under Plattner's editorship, the

(aimed at the general

Saxon population) continued to call for the fulfilment of the Declaration of Karlsburg,
which remained the key plank of the platform of the DSVR's Programme. By
comparison, the real reason for forming coalitions with major Romanian parties was
obscured: despite the Romanian parties' refusal to legislate the Karlsburg declaration,
close co-operation still produced lesser dividends for the Saxon community.
The hostility of the rhetoric of DSVR politicians reflects the very real discrimination
faced even by "favoured" minorities such as the Saxons in interwar Romania. It can also
be understood in part as a means of explaining to their electorate why the DSVR had
failed to achieve the unachievable. However, the sense of failure was in part produced
by the fashion in which Roth and others underemphasised their successes through
behind the scenes negotiations. The sense of failure was also produced by the gulf
between the expressed aims of the Volksrat - collective rights in the area of culture,
religion, education and administration - and what was achievable. The continued
emphasis on the unfulfilled Declaration of Karlsburg reflects both the strength of ideas
of ethno-corporatism at the time, ideas strengthened in the deep and abiding sense of
Saxon legal identity that had originated in the natio. It was unthinkable to abandon the
central plank of the DSVR. Nevertheless, to fully understand the use of increasingly
hostile rhetoric by the DSVR it is necessary to consider its role in the internal politics of
the Saxon community. This is discussed below.

Political Divisions
As discussed above, the DSVR developed in a political system marked by a restricted
franchise. This origin is apparent in its narrow socioeconomic focus. The DSVR
reflected the interests of the Saxon industrial and financial sectors, the Church, the
agricultural co-operatives (and thus indirectly the peasantry) and especially the Literati.
However, the last quarter of the nineteenth century was marked by the growing
assertiveness of the lower middle class, who challenged the Literati's dominant
position. (The HBA can be seen as an expression of this.) Although these tensions were

Hermann Plattner, "Minderheitsnation und Staatsnation." Ostland Vol 1, Nr 5, May 1926, 119.

judged to have largely ceased by the First World War/^^ they emerged again by the
mid-1920's, as discussed with regards to the Saxon Union below. Furthermore, Saxon
society had diversified before the First World War, with the growth of a small but
significant Saxon working class. Although this group remained politically insignificant
due to the restricted suffrage before the War, it gained in importance in the interwar

period. Similarly, universal male suffrage gave new political significance to the
Saxon peasantry. As discussed in Chapter 1, there were some 10,700 Saxon voters
living in the former Konigsboden}^^ Under universal suffrage, this increased threefold
to approximately 33,000 Saxon voters.^^^ The social challenges that the DSVR faced
were similar to those faced by the Austrian liberal-nationalist parties in the final quarter
of the nineteenth century, where lower middle class and working class Germans began
to reject the leadership of the upper middle class.^^^
Potential tensions were exacerbated by the changed economic circumstances of the
Saxon community. The loss of community wealth left the DSVR dependent on financial
support from rank and file members of the community, in the form of the People's Tax.
The People's Tax began in 1918 as a call for voluntary donations (replacing a prewar
"People's Charity"^^^) for the fiiture of the community. Church and schools. At this
stage it was not compulsory, but local assemblies were advised to apply moral pressure
to ensure payment. ^^^ By 1920 it had taken on the form of a tax, with the assumption
that individuals and communities were obliged to pay.^^^ The tax was a considerable
^^^ Rudolf Brandsch, "Volksfragen." DP//Vol 7, Nr 7-8, July-August 1927, 134-135.
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 105.
^^^ "Volkstag der Sachsen in Schburg." SDT26 November 1919, 2.
At the beginning of the interwar period the average size family in the Landeskirche, where the parents
had been married for 6-20 years, was 2.94 children. (Calculated from Siegmund, Heinrich (ed).
Schsisches Wehr- und Mehrbuch: ein Volksbuch. Mediasch: Verlag G.A. Reissenberger, edition,
1922, Table 12, 445.) The figure of one (adult male) Saxon voter per five Saxons is at best a crude one, as
it does not take into account families where the parents were married for less than six or more than 20
years, families married outside of the Church, unmarried adults or families in which one or more parents
had died. Furthermore, it includes non-Saxon Lutherans belonging to the Landeskirche. (On the limits of
using data from the Landeskirche as an indicator of Saxon population levels, see Alfred Csallner, "Zur
landeskirchlich Statistik." KBl Vol 18 Nr 25, 24 June 1924, 312-315.) However, it serves as an indicator
of approximate numbers of voters. Given a Saxon population figure of 224,067 in 1920 (See Table 4),
and assuming that 75 percent of Saxons (168,050) lived on the Knigsboden (Philippi, "Nation und
nationalgefhl", 70), this gives a figure of 33,610 Saxon voters.
Judson, Exclusive Revolutionaries, 233-234.
''' StAH Fond CNS 40/1918-1919: "An unser Volk!" 1 December 1918 and Letter deutsch-schsisch
Nationalrat to Kreis-Nationalrte 1 December 1918.
Minutes of Volksrataussschuss fr Volksbesteuerung [Volksrat committee for taxation], 28 February
1920. StAH Fond CNS 37/1920

burden/^^ and from the beginning local officials in the DSVR had to go to considerable
lengths to persuade their members of the need to pay.^^^ The tax was especially
burdensome as it co-incided with a similar "Church tax" raised by the Lutheran Church.
(See Chapter 4.) One source of difficulty was that initially at least non-Lutheran
Germans perceived of the People's Tax as a form of Church tax and refused to pay.^^^

The burden became increasingly substantial from the economic downturn that began in
1927. There was considerable resistance in some quarters to paying the national tax, at
the same time as having to shoulder the burden of the Church tithe. A number of the
local assemblies, charged with collecting the unofficial Saxon community taxes, refiised
to do so.^^^ The People's Tax depended upon the same political discipline that ensured
that Saxons toed the party line and maximised Saxon representation in parliament. But,
as the economic situation worsened in the late 1920s, public willingness to meet the
People's Tax declined. In addition, a number of opposition movements emerged in the
Saxon body politic in the mid-1920s, which threatened to undermine the political
discipline maintained by the DSVR. As Harald Roth has argued, the DSVR lacked the
democratic traditions to resolve disputes of this nature. Disagreements could only lead
to suppression of one side, or to sharp open conflict, as increasingly occurred from the
end of the 1920s.^^^

The Volksrat attempted to find other solutions to its financial needs. These included
calling on Saxon businesses and communities to offer some other form of part-time paid
work to the employees of the DSVR (for example as directors of firms or as
administrators in Church parishes) to supplement their meagre wages.Nevertheless,
the expenses were considerable. The DSVR maintained offices in Hermannstadt and
Bucharest (the latter separate from those of the German Party), which placed a
considerable financial burden upon it. The DSVR began to suffer financial difficulties
The town/county rate in 1920 was 2 Kroner, 20 Heller/1 Krone, 25 Heller respectively, although
regional assemblies were permitted to restructure it as a progressive tax so long as averages were
maintained. (Form letter, Volksrat to schsischen Kreisausschsse, 18 May 1920, StAH Fond CNS
37/1920.) In 1921/22 the town/country rate was 1 Leu 25 bani/65 bani respectively. (Form letter, Volksrat
to schsischen Kreisausschsse, 26 November 1921, StAH Fond CNS 37/1920.)
For example, Letter Kreisausschuss Agnetheln to Volksrat 12 June 1921, StAH Fond CNS 37/1920.
Burzenlnder schs. Kreisausschuss to Volksrat 3 December 1921. StAH Fond CNS 37/1920.
Roth. Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 49-52.
Roth. Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 69.
Form letter Volksrat to Kreisausschsse, 15 January 1924. StAH Fond CNS 9/1924. Companies were
called upon to provide "afternoon employment" [Nachmittagsbeschftigungen].

from the beginning of the financial downturn in 1927, before finally becoming bankrupt
in 1932.'^^

Below I shall explore the challenges faced by the DSVR via two dissident groups within
the Saxon community: the Social Democrats and the "Dissatisfied". The Social
Democrats highlight the difficulties faced by the DSVR in integrating new segments of
Saxon society. The "Dissatisfied", foreground both the tensions between the lower
middle classes and the Literati, and the impact of the People's Tax on the popularity of
the DSVR.

Social Democrats

Social Democracy gained new significance in the interwar period due to the proximity
of the Soviet Union and the alternative model of minority rights offered by the Soviet
model of administrative territorial autonomy. Social democracy offered an alternative,
class-based understanding of identity that challenged the ethno-corporatist claims of the
DSVR. It also offered the only alternative means to the DSVR for Saxons to pursue
minority rights.

While Germans were to be found in considerable numbers in most of the Social

Democratic organizations in Romania's new provinces, the Social Democratic Party in
Transylvania had relatively few Saxon supporters. Its supporters were mostly
Hungarians and Romanians. Many Saxon industrial workers came from a background of
skilled artisanry, and were too socially conservative to be attracted by socialism. ^^^
Despite this, the DSVR retained a strongly anti-Socialist position. In the 1920 election
Social Democrat Rudolf Mayer was amongst the candidates that ran against Rudolf
Brandsch in Hermanstadt, and although Brandsch won with 2746 votes Mayer came a
close second with 2113 votes. ^^^ This triggered the beginning of an anti-Socialist
campaign by the DSVR, which, under the auspices of Brandsch, kept careful watch on
^^^ On the Volkssteuer and the bankmptcy of the Volksrat, see Roth, Politische Strukturen und
Strmmungen, 49-52
Glass, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 136.
^^^ G\2LSS, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 136, 142.
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 97-98. Also [Wilhelm Depner], "Zur Kammerwahl im
Bm-zenland."^/-Z5 July 1932, 1.

the Socialist Party's German publication Wahrheit}^^ While most of Mayer's supporters
were not Saxon, socialist propaganda targeted the Saxon artisans and small shopkeepers
that formed Brandsch's support base in the HB A. Brandsch argued strongly that one
could not be Saxon and socialist because Socialism meant internationalism, which
meant assimilation into the Romanian majority.^^^
In December 1923, as part of the Soviet Union's efforts to reclaim Bessarabia from
Romania, the Comintern ordered the Romanian Communist Party to support the selfdetermination of the new provinces of Romania. As a result, in 1924 the Communist
Party was banned in Romania, although the Social Democrats continued to operate
legally.^^^ Socialist numbers in Romania remained very low, and by 1926 members of
the Saxon educated elite concluded that socialism posed little danger of spreading
against the nationally conscious Saxon working class. ^^^
Nor were all Saxon socialists opposed to the DSVR. At the National Congress in 1919
the workers' representative Ludwig Knopp pledged loyalty to the Saxon Programme,
provoking a warm response from the assembled Saxon delegates. Knopp was from
Kronstadt, a more industrial town than Hermannstadt, but where the Burzenland
Assembly of the DSVR had targeted workers with its propaganda and where Saxon
businesses had since the turn of the century made efforts at social reform. Moreover,
Knopp also warned that if class divisions were not overcome, then workers might lose
their Saxon consciousness and become "international". ^^^ In 1919 Michael Kniges of
Zeiden (near Kronstadt), a critic of the Lutheran Church tithe, unsuccessfully
challenged Fritz Connert for pre-selection to represent the German party in the
Burzenland (Kronstadt). In northern Transylvania the editor of the Bistritzer
Deutsche Zeitung (BDZ) Gustav Zikeli ("the Red Zikeli") was both a passionate

StAH Fond CNS 10/1920

170 Glas,
Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 142-145.
Kroner, "Das Parteisystem Rumniens in der Zwischenkriegzeit 1918-1940", 43-45.
^^^ 0[tto] F[ritz] Jickeli, "Kastengegensatz und Klassengefahr bei den Siebenbrger Sachsen." Ostland
Vol 1, Nr 3, March 1926, 107-112. Emil Neugeboren, "Eine wirkliche Klassengefahr bei den
Siebenbrger Sachsen." Ostland Vo\ 1, Nr 11, November 1926, 426-429.
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 97-98.
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 97-98. Also [Wilhelm Depner], "Zur Kammerwahl im
Burzenland." J^rZ 5 July 1932, 1.

socialist and a member of (and sometimes office holder in) the Nosner regional
assembly of the DSVR. The BDZ was the official organ of the assembly. ^^^
The worsening economy in 1927, along with the emergence of an alternative Saxon
party, the Saxon Union (See below), led to the DSVR taking steps to ensure working
class support. Writing in the DPH 'm mid-1927, Rudolf Brandsch judged bringing the
Saxon working class back into the national fold to be one of the most important tasks
facing the Saxon Volk^^ The Lutheran Church held similar concerns in the same
period. (See Chapter 4.) In the state elections in July 1927, the workers' representative
Michael Kautz was included in a largely symbolic position on the German Party's list
for Hermannstadt. ^ ^^
The treatment of Kautz's election campaign by the 6!Drprovides an interesting example
of the relationship between the Volksrat and the workers' movement. At a campaign
meeting on 3 July 1927, Kautz emphasised the need to raise ethnic consciousness
amongst German workers, arguing that the Germans in Romania were too few to be
able to afford class divisions. ^^^ Such commitment to the political unity of the Saxon
community was well received. ^^^ He also recanted his previous opposition to the
Lutheran Church and its school system. However, although Kautz's expressions of
loyalty to the Saxon community were reported upon in some detail, the detail of his
comments on economic matters, presumably of central importance to a workers'
candidate, were barely mentioned by the SDT}^^
The treatment of Saxon socialists by the Volksrat demonstrates the utility of appeals to
ethnic loyalty as a means of integrating potential opposition movements within the
community and ensuring that the Saxon body politic remained united. The status of
Saxons as an ethnic minority, and the perception of the Romanian majority as hostile to
Saxon interests, provided powerful motivations for setting aside divisions. However, the
discomfort with the economic messages of socialist candidates reflects an unwillingness
to make substantial concessions to workers' interests. Saxon ethnicity continued to be
Glas, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 146. See also Zikeli, Bistritz zwischen 1880 und 1950.
^^^ Rudolf Brandsch, "Volksfragen." DPH Vol 7, Nr 7-8, July-August 1927, 134-135.
"Whlerversammlung in Hermannstadt", SDT6 July 1927, 1-2.
"Whlerversammlung in Hermannstadt", SDT 6 July 1927, 1.
"Versammlungen im Hermannstdter Wahlkreis." SDT 7 July 1927, 3.
180 "w^hlerversammlung in Hermannstadt", SDT 6 July 1927, 1-2.

framed by memories of the estate and the Church, both interpreted from the late
eighteenth century as bourgeois in nature (as discussed in Chapter 1). The failure of the
DSVR must be compared to the social policies of the Renewal Movement, discussed in
Chapter 6. A further opposition movement emerged in response to worsening
economic conditions. The middle class "Dissatisfied" movement, directed primarily at
the Church, is discussed below.

The "Dissatisfied" and the Saxon Union

The "Dissatisfied" movement originated as a protest against the high cost of the Church
Tax, and the expenses associated with the Church and its schools. (See Chapter 4.) The
title 'the "Dissatisfied"' was originally an epithet applied by opponents of the
movement, and later adopted by its supporters, hence it always remained in
quotations.^^^ An identifiable movement coalesced in Hermannstadt in 1924. The initial
movement was middle class, anti-Church and anti-intellectual in nature, reflecting the
pre-War struggles between the lower middle classes and the Literati. ^^^
In 1925, the "Dissatisfied" unsuccessfully petitioned parliament to restrict the Church's
right to tithe its congregants. The petition provoked widespread accusations that the
Dissatisfied had betrayed the Saxon Volk}^^ In the SDT, Hermann Plattner compared
former prefect of Hermannstadt Albert Drr - the leader of the "Dissatisfied" - and his
colleagues to the individuals in Germany, widely considered traitors, who advocated
separatism for the Rhineland. Plattner's accusations provoked a successful lawsuit from
Drr. Plattner was obliged to pay a small fine and to publicly acknowledge that it was
the legal right of all Romanian citizens to petition parliament.

The public response to the "Dissatisfied" petition is indicative of the relationship

between Saxons and the Romanian state. Although the petition was not, as Drr
"Volksverrat!" ^-^Vol 2 Nr 5, 31 January 1926, 1.
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 111-112, c.f. Bhm, Die Deutschen in Rumnien und die
Weimarer Republik, 185.
^^^ For discussion of this in the SV, see "Volksverrat!" "KVol 2, Nr 5, 31 January 1926, 1. The ^'Falso
printed a compilation of quotes from the 5 D r and similar publications, providing an indication of the kind
of rhetoric used to describe it. "Wahrheit und Dichtung", "F Vol 2, Nr 18, 2 May 1926, 1-2.
^^^ Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 116-117.

successfully argued in court, treachery to the state, it was widely interpreted as

treachery to the Saxon Volk, because by revealing divisions within the Saxon
community, it exposed the Saxons to external attack. The instruments of the state were
perceived to serve ethnic Romanians only, and to be hostile to Saxons. Drr was equally
criticised for pursuing Plattner through the Romanian courts because it was considered
unacceptable to go beyond the Saxon community to solve an internal dispute. There is
some irony in this, given that the Church's right to tithe its congregants had been
secured through parliament.

In 1925, Drr founded the Schsisches Volksblatt (SV), to act as the organ of the
"Dissatisfied". Although the primary target of the "Dissatisfied" was the Lutheran
Church (See Chapter 4), the SFalso criticised the DSVR for being expensive and
wasteful, and for not being responsive to the needs of the community. The SVwas
deeply critical of the DSVR for forming alliances with the Liberal Party, as the party
had failed to support the Karlsburg Declaration. The

demanded that the DSVR make

a public stand, and withdraw all support from parties that failed to acknowledge the
Karlsburg Declaration. ^^^


criticised the electoral alliance between the German Party and the People's

Party in 1926, for much the same reason. ^^^ The DSVR responded by making calls for
unity within the Saxon community. This was often done indirectly, by comparison to
ethnic-Romanian politics. In May 1926, for example, Rudolf Brandsch expressed
concern at the great divisions in the Romanian state caused by party politics. He saw the
influence of the "Romanian mentality" as corrupting, and causing dissent. In doing so,
he drew a distinction between Romanian and Transylvanian mentalities. Brandsch
characterised Saxon politics as unified, resting upon "pure", "German" roots, and above
all emphasised the need to protect their "German" (Western, dissent free) way of life. ^^^
By criticising the Romanian politicians for engaging in the 'Eastern' practices of
demagogy and placing party struggles above the good of the nation, the Saxon
conservatives were also indirectly criticising dissenters amongst their own ranks.

185"Unsere Politik", 5FVol 1, Nr 2. 8 November 1925, 1.

For example, "Die Nationalpartei." -F Vol 2, Nr 19, 9 May 1926, 1-2. Also "Ein Erfolg des
Vol 2, Nr 24, 13 June 1926, 1.
"Whlerversammlung in Hermannstadt." SDT23 May 1926, 4-6.

In September 1926, Drr and others founded a political party, the Saxon Union
Sachsenbund], to act as an alternative to the DSVR. Most of the Saxon Union's
policies were directed towards internal Saxon matters, namely reforming the Volksrat,
the Lutheran Church (see Chapter 3), and the Cultural Office (see Chapter


regards to the state,the Saxon Union committed itself to fulfilling the Declaration of
Karlsburg. ^^^ In this, it differed little from the DSVR. However, the Saxon Union
reftised to support any party opposed to the Karlsburg Declaration, arguing that the
National Peasants Party was the only Romanian party with which an alliance could be
formed. ^^^ Support for the Saxon Union declined amongst the middle classes of
Hermannstadt following Dorr's court case against Plattner. However, the party gained
support in a number of rural communities opposed to the Church tithe. Interestingly,
supporters included the social democrat Michael Kniges of Zeiden.^^^

The Saxon Union criticised the Minority Bloc in the 1927 elections, arguing that the
Hungarian Party was irredentist and that by allying with it the German Party ran the risk
of appearing to be disloyal to the state. Rather, the Saxon Union allied itself with the
National Party and ran against the DSVR.^^^ This decision was made by the party
leadership in Hermannstadt without negotiation with the party branches, as there had
been no time for consultation. ^^^ The Volksrat responded to the separate Saxon Union
list by appealing to Saxon voters to remain unified. It did so in strongly nationalist
terms, emphasising that political unity was the duty of Saxons as Germans as members
of a small minority.

Loyalty between People and leadership was represented as a

German quality and contrasted to the superficiality of Romanian politics, which was
characterised as fractious, divided and self-serving. ^^^

"Entwurf fr die Satzungen des Sachsenbundes!", "FVol 2, Nr 36, 5 September 1926, 1. This was in
keeping with the stated position of the "Dissatisfied": "Zum Eingru", "FVol 1. Nr 1. 1 November 1925,

"Entwurf fr die Satzungen des Sachsenbundes!",

Vol 2, Nr 36, 5 September 1926, 1. This was in
keeping with the stated position of the "Dissatisfied": "Zum Eingru", 1.
"Die erste Bundesversammlung des 'Sachsenbundes'." SV, Vol 3, Nr 17, 24 December 1927, 1-3.
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 119.
Vibo, "Vor der Wahl!" SV, Vol 3 Nr 27, 3 July 1927, 1-2.
"An unsere Gesinnungsgenossen in Stadt und Land!" SV, Vol 3 Nr 26, 26 June 1927, 1. Also "Auf
welche Liste werden wir stimmen?" SV, Vol 3 Nr 27, 3 July 1927, 1.
For example, Hans Hedrich, "Ein Mahnwort zur Wahlentscheidung." SDT1 July 1927, 1.
See the earlier quote from Pl[attner], "Deutsche Wahlen", 1.

In its election propaganda, the DSVR did recognise the right of individuals to criticise
anything that was bad in Saxon community life, including the policies of the DSVR.
However, it called upon Saxons to do so through the structure of the DSVR, and never
to criticise the DSVR itself, again underlining that the Saxon Union had broken external
solidarity. ^^^ The declining economic environment was represented as a crisis, requiring
even greater unity. ^^^ The Volksrat also took advantage of the minority bloc to argue
that a state of heightened conflict existed with the Romanian majority, and that to give
votes to a Romanian party was an act of disloyalty. To vote for a Romanian party (via
the Saxon Union) was to separate oneself from the German People.^^^ This strategy was
successful, triggering internal conflict within the Saxon Union. The Union performed
dismally at the elections, winning no seats. Although the German Party's performance
was also poor, this was due to the lack of preferences from Romanian parties, rather
than competition from the Saxon Union/^^ Thus, although the "Dissatisfied" were
rarely referred to directly, and never explicitly called traitors, they were nevertheless
indirectly accused of being disloyal and un-German, and of supporting the Romanians
(the National Party) against their own People. The Volksrat organised tours of
politicians to reinforce this message in Saxon communities where support for the Saxon
Union was strongest.^^^

The alliance between the German party and the National Peasants Party in 1928, while
in direct contradiction with the position taken in 1927, was hugely popular with Saxon
voters and left the Saxon Union without a clear platform to campaign on. As a result, it
did not contest the election. The ^DJtook this as evidence that the divisions in the
Saxon community had healed, a judgement that the

hotly denied.^^^ Membership of

the Saxon Union, greatly reduced after 1927, continued to decline, and each annual
general assembly reported representatives from fewer party branches than the year
before.^^^ The

ceased publication at the end of 1930 due to financial pressures.^^

From 1930, the Saxon Union was largely moribund.^^"^

For example, Rudolf Brandsch in "Whlerversammlung in Hermannstadt." SDT 5 July 1927, 2.
For example, Hans Hedrich, "Ein Mahnwort zur Wahlentscheidung." SDT 1 July 1927, 1.
^^^ H[ermann] Pl[attner], "An die Wahlurne!" SDT6 July 1927, 1.
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 128-130.
For example, "Whlerversammlung in Fogarasch-Groschenker Wahlkreis." SDTl July 1927, 3.
^^^ "Die deutsche Parlementspartei in Nten." SV 13 January 1929, 1.
^^^ Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 130-132.
^^^ "Die vierte Bundesversammlung des 'Sachsenbundes'." SV\9 October 1930 2
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 157-158.


The response of the DSVR to opposition from factions such as the Social Democrats or
the Saxon Union was to use demands for ethnic unity to undermine its opponents and
maintain its monopoly on political representation of the Saxon body politic. At the same
time, the DSVR attempted to co-opt organisations and individuals that might be used to
strengthen support for the existing conservative policies of the Volksrat (for example,
the worker's candidate Kautz). However, they were unwilling to significantly alter their
platform (for example integrating some of the demands of less extreme Social
Democrats) to integrate disaffected members of the community. By playing on the sense
of crisis within Romania, the Volksrat was able to create a sense of urgent need for
unity. It is interesting to note that the greatest threat provided by the Dissatisfied and the
Saxon Union, in 1926 and 1927, co-incides with the strongest use of rhetoric against the
Romanian nationalist parties. By comparison, when the Saxon Union was entirely
marginalised in 1928, the political rhetoric of the German party favoured of the National
Peasants Party. While there was not a simple causative relationship between the success
of Saxon opposition movements and the use of inflamatory nationalist rhetoric, both
were reflective of the growing dissatisfaction in the Saxon body politic.

The use of such ethnically charged rhetoric had a significant impact on Saxon relations
with the state. Saxon ethno-corporatism became associated with a single party; failure to
support the DSVR was un-Saxon/un-German and an act of disloyalty to the Volk. The
Volksrat pushed for collective status within the state, and saw the DSVR as the only
legitimate representative of that collective. At the same time, the rhetoric of crisis
produced a heightened state of opposition to the Romanian state; to turn to the
instruments of state (or in 1927 even to lend support to a Romanian party) was seen as
an act of disloyalty to the Volk.

However, against this the German Party continued to enter into electoral pacts with
mainstream Romanian parties, including the National Peasants party in 1932, despite
the disappointment with that party when it had last been in office. The contradiction

between rhetoric and practice became an issue of great significance in the early 1930s
with the formation of the NSDR, as discussed in Chapter 6.

At the start of the First World War the Saxons shared the hopes of other European
minorities that, through a legal framework, they might secure access to resources that
would compensate for their lack of a nation-state. These claims were rooted in two
distinct forms of legitimisation. The first was an appeal to universal rights and the
principle of self-determination. The second was made on the basis of historical
precedent, and on the special status of the Saxons as a civilised and civilising People, in
short, on the basis of Saxon myths of Self and stereotypes of the Romanian Other.
The Saxons were confronted instead with a homogenising nation-state with little
tolerance for minority claims. Rather than finding themselves in improving
circumstances, the Saxons experienced the centralisation of power in the state, a
weakening of their political influence through universal suffrage and the undermining of
the community's wealth. This wealth had been crucial to supporting the numerous
Saxon private institutions and religious bodies. This too was explained in terms of the
Saxon myth-symbol complex as the result of an ongoing struggle in Romania between
West and East, between civilisation and barbarism. As discussed in the Introduction,
one of the frinctions of nationalism is to confer dignity upon the individual. The failure
of successive Romanian governments to "recognise" the special status of Saxons as a
Kulturvolk became a matter of humiliation. This is further highlighted in Chapters 3 and

The Saxon politicians of the DSVR responded to their changed circumstances through
two sets of action. The first was to seek the best possible relationship with the
Romanian government, so as to mitigate the harm done by their changing
circumstances. The second was to exhort the Saxon public to make greater sacrifices
(financial and otherwise) for the good of the community. The first strategy paid modest
but not inconsiderable dividends, especially when compared to the fate of more
belligerent minorities. The second strategy was achieved by emphasising the state of

crisis in which the Saxon community found itself. This crisis, expressed in terms of the
struggle between West and East, proved to be an effective means by which the DSVR, a
socially unrepresentative party, could unite the disparate segments of the Saxon
community and maximise their negotiating power with the state. However, the apparent
gulf between, on one hand, the close relationship the German Party pursued with the
government, and on the other the constant emphasis on a state of struggle, did much to
alienate the Saxon community from its representatives. Furthermore, by suppressing
social differences rather than responding to them, the DSVR alienated additional
segments of society. In the long term this alienation had disastrous consequences, as
discussed in Chapter 6.

The failure of the DSVR to secure the desired rights for the Saxon community led some
individuals to pursue these rights by other means. One such means was
Transylvanianism, the expression of a regional, multi-ethnic identity that in theory
offered a counterweight to the influence of the Old Kingdom. The role of the mythsymbol complex in shaping Saxon responses to their minority status, discussed above,
becomes increasingly apparent in Transylvanianism. This is explored in Chapter 3.

C h a p t e r 3: Transylvanianism

From the mid-1920s until the early 1930s, "Transylvanianism" became for
Transylvanian Saxon, Hungarian and to a lesser extent Romanian intellectuals an
alternative to the centrist, homogenising model adopted by the state. Transylvanianism
posited the existence of a common "Transylvanian People", into which the Saxons,
Hungarians and Romanians of Transylvania were subsumed, but within which they
retained their ethnic distinctiveness and separate communities. This common identity
was in turn the justification for a measure of autonomy for the Transylvanian Heimat or
"homeland". Transylvanianism was predicated upon the belief that all Transylvanians
shared a common culture underpinned by a shared history, a common set of myths and
symbols and a shared connection to the Transylvanian landscape.

If the success of a political ideal is to be measured by its practical application, then

Transylvanianism must be deemed a failure. Transylvanianism remained restricted to
small circles of Transylvanian Saxon and Transylvanian Hungarian intellectuals. It had
an even smaller following amongst Transylvanian Romanians. Practical manifestations
of a common Transylvanian identity were few, and, as discussed in Chapter 2,
Transylvanian autonomy was not restored after 1920. Just as Transylvanianism was
predicated upon a common identity, it foundered due to the very significant differences
in the interpretations Saxons, Hungarians and Romanians made of their shared history,
landscape and culture. Nevertheless, as an attempt to redefine ethnic relations,
Transylvanianism provides insights into the role of the myth-symbol complex in
shaping Saxon ethno-corporatism.

In this Chapter, I begin by considering the "Klingsor circle", the main Saxon proponents
of Transylvanianism. I then briefly examine the Minority Block of 1927 and the
coalition with the National Party of 1928 as imperfect examples of Transylvanianism. I
then turn my attention to the idea of Transylvanianism itself, and attempts by Saxons to
demonstrate a common identity based on a shared landscape, history and culture.
Although Transylvanianists claimed to be apolitical, Transylvanianism had clear
political aims, and these are explored in the next section. I then consider the limits of

Transylvanianism. I argue that Transylvanianism aimed to separate the dominant

ethnicities in Transylvania just as much as it aimed to unite them, and that this double
burden was the downfall of the theory. I argue that the Saxon stereotype of the
Zigeuner, which was the antithesis of Transylvanianism, was in practice far less
threatening to Saxons than were Transylvanian Hungarians and Romanians.

The "Klingsor Circle " and Transylvanianism

In the mid-1920's, as party-political efforts for Transylvanian autonomy waned (see
Chapter 2), a new "apolitical" Transylvanian movement emerged amongst Saxon
intellectuals.^ In February 1926 an essay by Fritz Theil was published in Ostland, in
which he explored the nature and origins of a posited common Transylvanian identity,
and argued for the importance of autonomy and collective rights on ethnic lines.^ This
was followed in April by a very similar article in Klings or by Egon Hajek.^ Then in
May and June 1926 the DPT/published a lengthy essay by Hermann Mller,"^
republished in expanded form as a pamphlet later that year.^

The interest of Ostland and the DPH in Transylvanianism was short-lived. Both
journals were committed to fostering a strong sense of common ethnic identity amongst
Romanian Germans, which contradicted Transylvanianism's focus on interethnic
regional identity. (See Chapter 5.) However, the "Klingsor Circle" maintained a
sustained interest in Transylvanianism. This informal grouping of young Saxon
intellectuals was named after the journal around which they coalesced, Klingsor:
siebenbrgische Zeitschrift (1924-1939). Klingsor was founded in Kronstadt by Gust

' Miklos Lacko, "Die Zeitschrift "Erdelyi Helikon" und die ungarisch-schsischen Beziehungen in
Siebenbrgen zwischen den beiden Weltkriegen." In Knig (ed), Siebenbrgen zwischen den beiden
Weltkriegen, 219-220. c.f. Wolfgang Knopp, "Der Transylvanismus als erklrtes Programm in der
Siebenbrgisch-schsischen Literatur zwischen den beiden Weltkriegen." Neohelikon, Vol 19 Nr 1, 1992,
98. Although Knopp traces the origins of Saxon Transylvanianism to 1920, his examples of
Transylvanianism date from 1926 or later.
^ Fritz Theil, "Die siebenbrgische Seele." Ostland. Vol 1 Nr 2, February 1926, 77-83.
^ Egon Hajek, "Vom Siebenbrger Menschen. " Kl Vol 3 Nr 4, April 1926, 137-139.
M[ller], H[ermann]. "Gedanken ber ein autonomes Siebenbrgen", DPHNoX 6 1926: Nr 4, April; Nr
5, May, 74-79; & Nr 6, June, 100-104.
^ Mller, Hermann. Das autonome Siebenbrgen: Studien aus der politischen Vergangenheit des
Siebenbrger Landes und Unregungen zu seiner Ausgestaltung in Rahmen des rumnischen Staates.
Hermannstadt: Jos Drotleff, 1926.

Ongyerth and Heinrich Zillich (the editor of Klingsor from 1924-1936).^ As the by-hne
of Klingsor suggested, it aimed to be a "Transylvanian Journal". As a German-language
journal focusing on art and culture, Klingsor remained the only such publication in
Transylvania during its print mn7 Members of the circle tended to be young men,
drawn from the generation that had fought in the Great War. Separated from the
establishment by their less conservative political views, they were effectively prevented
from holding power within the Saxon elite.^ From the start, Klingsor took a position of
polemic opposition to the "bourgeois" worldview, a reoccurring critique of taboo
themes, a conscious effort to lead to something new, and attempts at social education.^
Klingsor published a range of essays on Transylvanianism, Hungarian and Romanian
works in translation, and reviews of books, concerts and other cultural events by the
various communities in Transylvania. These activities took place within the framework
of a wider engagement with the ethnicities of Greater Romania and beyond. ^^ Although
interest in Transylvanianism was strongest in the period 1926-1929,^^ Klingsor
continued to publish Transylvanianist essays until after 1933.^^ The interest of Saxon
intellectuals in Transylvanianism reflected widespread Saxon disappointment with the
political process in Romania, especially with the centralising tendencies of the 1923
constitution, the intransigence of successive Liberal and People's Party governments,
and the seeming inability of the National (Peasants) Party to return to office. ^^

^ For publication details of Klingsor, see Meschendrfer, Verlagswesen der sieb. Sachsen, 61-62.
Klingsor was named after the wizard of the same name, from Wagner's opera Parsifal. From the late
nineteenth century the name Klingsor became an artistic symbol used by German romantics, with whom
the Klingsor circle identified. Klingsor was in turn inspired by the wizard 'Clinschor' in the thirteenth
century poem Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach. There were also attempts at the beginning of the
twentieth century to trace the Klingsor story back to Hungary, which may have created a greater sense of
connection to the name for Zillich. Schuller Anger, Horst. Kontakt und Wirkung, 28-31.
^ Schuller Anger, Kontakt und Wirkung, 16-24.
^ Harald Roth, "Zum Wandel der Politischen Strukturen bei den Siebenbrger Sachsen 1918 bis 1933." In
Roth (ed), Minderheit und Nationalstaat, 108-109.
^ Schuller Anger, Kontakt und Wirkung, 53.
Schuller Anger, Kontakt und Wirkung, 126-177. For examples of review articles, see Ludwig Gyrgy,
"Das geistige Leben der siebenbrgischen Ungarn seit 1919." Kl Vol 3 Nr 7, July 1926, 257-264, and
Alexander Keresztury, "Die kulturelle Lage der Siebenbrger Rumnen in der Gegenwart." Kl Vol 3 Nr
10, October 1926, 376-384.
" c.f. Lack, "Die Zeitschrift 'Erdelyi Helikon'", 219-220.
Knopp extends his analysis of Transylvanianism to the mid-1930s. Knopp, "Transylvanismus als
erklrtes Programm in der Siebenbrgisch-schsischen Literatur zwischen den beiden Weltkriegen".
Hajek, whose contribution to Klingsor invited by Zillich, put the increase in interest down to certain
ideas being "in the air". Hajek, "Vom Siebenbrger Menschen," 139. Zillich himself identified the
upswell of support for a regional identity as being in part the result of misrule by Bratianu, leader of the
National Liberal party. Heinrich Zillich, "Siebenbrgische Diskussion." Kl Vol 3 Nr 6, June 1926, 237.

Saxon Transylvanianists shared the frustration of the DSVR with the state's poHtical
and administrative structures. (See Chapter 2.) They resented the widespread removal of
Saxon, Hungarian and even Transylvanian Romanian administrators after the
annexation of Transylvania, in favour of Romanians from the Old Kingdom. They
judged the administrators from the Old Kingdom to be poorly educated, incompetent,
lacking any tradition of public service, and unwilling to learn about, or honour, local
customs. Saxon Transylvanianists also resented the increasing centralisation of power in
Bucharest. They perceived the source of this conflict to be the fundamentally different
culture, history and soul of the Old Kingdom, which the Transylvanianists viewed as
simple, homogenous, underdeveloped, technically and socially backwards, Eastern and
Balkan. ^^

While nineteenth century and earlier arguments for Transylvanian autonomy had been
predominantly legalistic, "Transylvanianism" was deeply influenced by the
Enlightenment and the model of nationalism. Transylvanianism argued that the Saxon,
Hungarian and Romanian inhabitants of Transylvania shared a common identity,
expressed in such ideas as the "Transylvanian soul", "Transylvanian people",
"Transylvanian thought", "Transylvanian discussion" and simply "Transylvanianism". 15
The existence of a distinct Transylvanian people was held to legitimise a measure of
self-determination for the region. Such ideas were not entirely new. Transylvanian
Saxon, Hungarian and Romanian intellectuals and politicians were already expressing
similar views in the period before the passing of the 1923 constitution.^^
Transylvanianism, however, greatly expanded upon these ideas in justifying
Transylvania's special status. Furthermore, while Transylvanianists ultimately placed
their hopes in political parties such as the National (Peasants) Party, they sought more

This was a constant theme in Saxon Transylvanianist essays. Some examples include Mller, Das
autonome Siebenbrgen, 17-23. Theil, "siebenbrgische Seele," 78-80, Friedrich Mller-Langenthal,
"Die siebenbrgische Seele." Kl Vol 3 Nr 7, July 1926, 256, Zillich, "Siebenbrgische Diskussion",
Heinrich Zillich, "Was die siebenbrger Sachsen von den Rumnen halten." Kl Vol 3 Nr 10, October
1926, 386-387, and Emst Jekelius, "Brief an einen rumnischen Freund." Kl Vol 6 Nr 8, August 1929,
297-301. It also featured in Saxon fiction, for example Zillich, Heinrich. "Der Bauemprfekt." Kl Vol 3
Nr 8, August 1926, 286-291.
^^ Siebenbrgische Seele, siebenbrgischer Mensch, siebenbrgischer Gedanke, siebenbrgische
Diskussion, TranssyIvanismus. Knopp, "Transylvanismus als erklrtes Programm in der Siebenbrgischschsischen Literatur zwischen den beiden Weltkriegen", 98.
For example, Brandsch, "Grundersachen der rumnischen Krisen" and Brandsch, "Siebenbrgen und
Grorumnien." See also Zsolt K. Lengyel, "Kulturverbindung, Regionalismus, fderativer Kompromi.
Betrachtung zur Geschichte des frhen Transsiivanismus 1918-1928." Ungarn Jahrbuch Vol 15 1987

immediate action in forging interethnic ties between Transylvanian individuals and


The "Klingsor circle" made consistent efforts to foster closer relations with
Transylvanian Hungarians and Romanians, and to promote a sense of common
Transylvanian identity. Transylvanianism, as pursued by the Klingsor circle, was aimed
primarily at intellectual exchange. ^^ The articles published in Klingsor, especially those
by Zillich himself, focused on engagement with Transylvanian Romanians over
Transylvanian Hungarians. The relative political influence of the two communities
made Transylvanian Romanian support for Transylvanianism the more important.
Despite the efforts of the Klingsor circle, few Transylvanian Romanians responded to
efforts to foster a multiethnic Transylvanian identity. During the interwar period,
Transylvanian Romanian intellectuals were preoccupied with the construction of a
unitary Romanian nation to accompany the recently created unitary Romanian state. ^^
The previously distinct Transylvanian Romanian literature was gradually integrated into
the broader Romanian whole, such that by 1930 it was indistinguishable from that of the

Old Kingdom.

This did not indicate the disappearance of a Transylvanian Romanian

regional identity; Transylvanian Romanians periodically expressed dissatisfaction with

the policies of the Old Kingdom elite. However, this dissatisfaction often included
frustration at the Old Kingdom's failure to provide sufficient support in Romanianising
Expressions of a regional identity (multiethnic or otherwise) by Transylvanian
Romanians were severely criticised by the Old Kingdom elite. The People's and
National Liberal Parties especially viewed Transylvanianism as motivated not culturally
but politically, and treated it as an irredentist movement. However, there were

^^ For example, Zillich, Heinrich. "Der schsische Dichterabend in Klausenburg." Kl Vol 5 Nr 12,
December 1928, 441-443.
Knopp, "Transylvanismus als erklrtes Programm in der Siebenbrgisch-schsischen Literatur
zwischen den beiden Weltkriegen", 98.
^^ Lengyel, "Kulturverbindung, Regionalismus, fderativer Kompromi." 61-62, and Ion Chinezu, "Two
decades of Transylvanian literary and artistic life." In Ion Chinezu (ed. Ion Vlad), Aspects of
Transylvanian Hungarian literature (1919-1929). Bibliotheca Remm Transsilvaniae 16. Cluj-Napoca:
Centrul de Studii Transilvane, Fundatia Cultural Romn, 1997, 160.
Chinezu, "Two decades of Transylvanian literary and artistic life", 152-168. This was recognised by
some Transylvanian Romanian intellectuals at the time, for example, Keresztury, "Die kulturelle Lage der
Siebenbrger Rumnen in der Gegenwart", 376-384.
Livezeanu, Cultural politics in Greater Romania, 161-162, 183-187.

Transylvanian Romanians intellectuals that supported Transylvanianism.^^ These

included Lucian Blaga, and also Sextil Pucariu, who published a short-lived
multilingual journal Cultura (1924) that included the works of leading Saxons and
Hungarians. The journal's early closure may have been due to pressure from Old
Kingdom nationalists.

The Klingsor circle's overtures received more positive responses from Transylvania's
Hungarians. Transylvanian Hungarians expressed dismay at Romanian rule. Their
response was one of defensive withdrawal, isolationism and irredentism.^"^
Transylvanian Hungarians had come to view themselves primarily in terms of a broader
Hungarian identity, such that, for example, Transylvanian literature had become
integrated into the Hungarian literary whole. In the early 1920s, Hungarian intellectuals
in Greater Romania directed their efforts at responding to the end of Hungarian rule and
the undermining of their connections with Budapest. Efforts by the journal Pdsztortuz
(1921-1925) to pursue Transzilvdnizmus were primarily directed at forging a common
"Transylvanian Hungarian" identity that would unite Hungarians and Szeklers in
Transylvania and the Banat, rather than seeking a common multiethnic Transylvanian

However, in 1920 Karoly Kos advanced a model of Transylvanianism that was a

precursor of many of the ideas adopted by Saxon Transylvanianists in the mid 1920's.
Kos argued that Transylvanian autonomy was justified by the existence of the
"Transylvanian people" and the "Transylvanian soul". These were characterised by
being Hungarian, Romanian or Saxon, and by being Transylvanian. To Kos, the
combination of one of those ethnic identities with being Transylvanian produced an
identity that was incomprehensible to outsiders. Kos argued for a system of nonterritorial cultural autonomy within Transylvanian territorial autonomy.^^

^^ Lengyel, "Kulturverbindung, Regionalismus, fderativer Kompromi." 59-62. Also Livezeanu,

Cultural politics in Greater Romania, 184-185.
^^ Knopp, "Transylvanismus als erklrtes Programm in der Siebenbrgisch-schsischen Literatur
zwischen den beiden Weltkriegen", 114-118.
Lack, "Die Zeitschrift 'Erdelyi Helikon'", 220-222, and Lengyel, Auf der Suche nach dem
Kompromi, 160-167.
^^ Chinezu, Aspects of Transylvanian Hungarian literature, 44-49. See also Kinga-Koretta Sata, "The
Idea of the "Nation" in Transylvanism." In Trencsenyi et al (ed), Nation-building and contested identities,
^^ Lengyel, "Kulturverbindung, Regionalismus, fderativer Kompromi." 58-59.

In 1926 the literary association Erdelyi Helikon [Transylvanian Helicon] was founded,
and in 1928 began publishing a journal of the same name. The Helikon provided the
venue for explorations of a common Transylvanian multiethnic identity. Closely linked
was the Transylvanian Artists' Guild


publishing house, which published several

volumes a year, including a number of Transylvanian- and Romanian-German books in

translation. 28 A number of Saxon Transylvanianist texts were republished in Erdelyi


In 1929 the Writers' Guild published Kos' manifesto of Transylvanianism,

Transylvania: an outline of its cultural history?^ This is discussed fiirther below.

On 17 November 1928 the Helikon organised a Saxon-Hungarian literary evening in
Klausenburg, in which numerous members of the Klingsor circle contributed.^^ The
Klingsor circle reciprocated in Kronstadt six months later. These events marked the
beginning of a period of close co-operation between the Klingsor and Helikon circles
that continued until 1933. In 1931, one issue of Helikon showcased work by members of
the Klingsor circle translated into Hungarian.^^ There were also a few
Hungarian/German cultural events elsewhere, for example in Sachsisch-Reen in 1930
and in Mediasch in 1931.^^

Political Transylvanianism? The Minority Bloc (1927) and coalition with the
National Peasants Party (1928)
Moves towards Transylvanianism occurred in parallel to efforts at the party political
level at fostering closer political co-operation between Saxons and Hungarians. Despite

Erdelyi Szepmines Ceh.
^^ On the founding of the Helikon, see Karoly Kos, '"Erdelyi Helikon'." Klingsor, Vol 5 Nr 8, August
1928, 313-314. On the role of the Helikon and the Artists' Guild in Transylvanian Hungarian literature,
see Sata, "The idea of the "Nation" in Transylvanianism", 42-43. Also Chinezu, "Two decades of
Transylvanian literary and artistic life", 169-170, and Istvan Nemeskrty, "Karoly Kos's Transylvania."
In Karoly Kos, Transylvania: an outline of its cultural history. Budapest: Szepirodalmi Knyvkiad,
1989 [1934], iii-iv.
For example Folberth's "Die drei Durchbrche" from Klingsor (1929) was republished in Hungarian in
1931. Knopp, "Transylvanismus als erklrtes Programm in der Siebenbrgisch-schsischen Literatur
zwischen den beiden Weltkriegen", 100.
^^ Nemeskrty, "Kroly Kos's Transylvania", iii.
Zillich, "Der schsische Dichterabend in Klausenburg."
^^ Lack, "Die Zeitschrift 'Erdelyi Helikon'", 219-228.
^^ Knopp, "Transylvanismus als erklrtes Programm in der Siebenbrgisch-schsischen Literatur
zwischen den beiden Weltkriegen", 120. Also Lack, "Die Zeitschrift 'Erdelyi Helikon'", 233.

strains over Magyarisation before the First World War,^"^ and over the Saxons' support
for Transylvanian unity with Romania in 1918, there were discussions at the 1926
election about the possibility of forming a Minority Bloc with the Hungarian Party.^^ An
actual coalition was formed in the 1927 election, as discussed in Chapter 2.
The Minority Bloc was not strictly speaking a Transylvanian coalition. It had originally
been envisioned as extending to all ethnic non-Romanians in Greater Romania.
However, a lack of political organisation or an unwillingness to participate on behalf of
most minorities reduced the Bloc to a German-Hungarian alliance. Even so, the Bloc
extended beyond Transylvania to include Hungarians in the Banat and Germans
scattered throughout Romania. Nevertheless, within Transylvania and in Transylvanian
publications, the Minority Bloc was justified in terms of a shared Transylvanian spirit
and the common shared fate of Germans and Hungarians in Romania as minorities.^^
However, despite the pledges of brotherhood with the Hungarian Volk, Saxon
politicians paid little attention to shared status of the Hungarians and Saxons as
minorities. Rather, they emphasised the minority bloc as a means to rise above the
sordid nature of Romanian politics.^^ This pragmatic approach may have reflected
negative memories of Magyarisation efforts before the First World War, as alluded to
by one candidate, Michael Kautz.^^ Certainly, the 5'Fwas a critic of Hungarian-Saxon
interactions, on the grounds of mistreatment under Hungarian rule.^^

Although the Bloc was not renewed in 1928, Saxon politicians continued to express
Transylvanian fraternity with Hungarians. Hans Otto Roth emphasised that Saxons
considered themselves and the Hungarians to belong to a common "community of
fate","^^ and promised to continue to act in the best interests of all minorities, especially
the Transylvanian Hungarians.However, 1927 was to prove to be the peak of
Hungarian-Saxon co-operation. The 1928 election alliance between the German and
Lacko, "Die Zeitschrift 'Erdelyi Helikon'", 219.
^^ "Whlerversammlung des Grokokler Komitates." SDT\2 May 1926, 2.
^^ For example, H[ermann] Pl[attner], "Deutsche Wahlen." SDT2 July 1927, 1.
^^ For example, the speech by Wilhelm Binder in "Deutsch-ungarische Whlerversammlung in
Mediasch." SDT 8 July 1927, 1-2.
^^ As Kautz was a workers' candidate (as discussed in Chapter 2), and less politically experienced than
other DSVR politicians, he was perhaps more willing to speak his mind openly. "Whlerversammlung in
Hermannstadt." SDT 6 July 1927, 2.
^^ For example, "'Deutsche u. Magyaren gehren zusammen.'" SF Vol 4 Nr 36, 2 September 1928, 1-2.
^^ Schicksalgemeinschaft.
"Die Wahlentscheidung des schsischen Volkes." SDT25 November 1928. p.l

National Peasants Parties was similarly described as a manifestation of the

Transylvanian spirit. However, the alliance excluded Transylvanian Hungarians while
including Germans and Romanians beyond Transylvania's borders. As a result, it too
was not strictly speaking a manifestation of Transylvanianism. Furthermore, the
disappointments experienced by the Saxons under the National Peasants Party
government soon ended any discussion of a common spirit. Rather, as discussed in
Chapter 2, the National Peasants were blamed for allowing the spirit of the East to
overcome Transylvania.

Overall, Transylvanianism extended little further than the intellectuals of the Klingsor
and Helikon circles. Although the appeals to a common Transylvanian spirit
periodically made by Saxon politicians, especially in 1927 and 1928, suggest that
Transylvanianism had the potential for greater appeal, it was ultimately a political
failure. But what exactly was Transylvanianism to its supporters, and why was it so
unsuccessfiil? The next two sections of this Chapter attempt to answer those questions.

What was Transylvanianism? Despite the extensive body of writing on the topic, no
author, as Wolfgang Knopp has pointed out, clearly defined what exactly
Transylvanianism was."^^ However, imagined communities are rarely precisely defined.
Saxon commentators agreed that the term Transylvania delineated more than a
geographical region, or a defunct administrative unit. Rather, Transylvania continued to
exist as a "spiritual centre""^^ linking those who lived there."^"^ Some commentators
described Transylvanianism as a form of nationalism."^^

The comparison with nationalism is apt, as Transylvanianism was clearly influenced by

the idea of nationalism. While pre-modem interest in Transylvanian autonomy had
Knopp, Transylvanismus als erklrtes Programm in der Siebenbrgisch-schsischen Literatur
zwischen den beiden Weltkriegen", 98.
''seelisches Zentrum".
Hajek, "Vom Siebenbrger Menschen", 137. Others also addressed the Transylvanian soul (Seele), for
example Theil, "Die siebenbrgische Seele." 77-83. Also Mller-Langenthal, "Die siebenbrgische
Seele." 252-257.
Theil, "siebenbrgische Seele", 78-79. Also Hajek, "Vom Siebenbrger Menschen", 139.

emphasised legal precedence and privilege, interwar Transylvanianism drew instead on

history, landscape, and culture and "mentality"'^^ for legitimacy. Such ideas reflected
both the long-standing influence of nationalism in the region and the emphasis on
national self-determination as the model for ethno-corporatism following the First
Worid War.

However, Transylvanianism was complicated by the existence of numerous ethnic

identities in the region. For Transylvanianism to have currency, it had to emphasise
common community across ethnic fault lines. Identities are multiple and many-layered,
and it is quite possible for the same individual to belong to seemingly contradictory
regional and ethnic communities. Nevertheless, proponents of Transylvanianism were
faced with the difficulty that the region's ethnic communities were deeply rooted in the
public consciousness. Furthermore, the 1920s were marked by intensification of ties
within the three dominant ethnicities of Transylvania, as well as efforts to strengthen
ties between them."^^

Transylvanianists did not seek to undermine the ethnic communities of Transylvania.

For example, Ernst Jekelius wrote in Klingsor in May 1926 that:
How sweet to me is the homeland with the lofty ridges and wide hilly
landscapes, its massive oak forests, the fast-standing Church-fortresses of the
Saxons, the acacia-scented Hungarian villages, and realms of high-stemmed
firs, in which the flute-playing Romanian shepherd rules."^^
Such descriptions of the Transylvanian "homeland" [Heimat] emphasised both the
landscape and the natural place of Transylvanians in it. Jekelius characterises
Transylvanians as ethnically distinct from one another, as indicated by ethnic signifiers
("Saxon", "Hungarian", "Romanian"), by architecture (Hungarian "villages", Saxon
"church-fortresses"), profession (Romanian "shepherds") and location in the landscape
(Romanians in the fir-clad mountains). Ethnic differentiation in the landscape was a
Geist, Seele.
Lengyel, "Kulturverbindung, Regionalismus, fderativer Kompromi." 50-55.
Wie lieb ist mir die Heimat mit den erhabenen Kmmen und weiten Hgellandschaften, ihren
wuchtigen Eichenwldern, den festgefgten Kirchenburgen der Sachsen, dem Akazienduft ungarischer
Drfer und dem Reiche hochstmmiger Tannen, in dem der Flte spielende Rumne Schaerden
weidend, herrscht. Emst Jekelius, "Siebenbrger Rumnen." Kl Vol 3 Nr 5, May 1926, 183.

standard in descriptions of the Transylvanian homeland, which emphasised "the Saxon

town, the small Szekler market town, and the Romanian village"."^^ Nevertheless, the
image represented above is one of interethnic harmony; Jekelius expresses fondness for
(and familiarity with) all aspects of the homeland regardless of ethnic difference.
Transylvanianism then did not aim to extinguish local ethnic communities but to
integrate them into an inter-ethnic Transylvanian whole. In this, Transylvanianism bears
considerable comparison to the pluralistic, homeland-oriented nationalism advanced by
some Germans. (See Chapter 1.) Indeed, to Heinrich Zillich, Transylvanianism
embodied a sense of "Heimatlichkeif

[literally "Homelandliness"; perhaps best

rendered "the property of belonging to the Homeland"].Just as in German nationalism

the expression of local Heimat identity was a means to express one's German identity,^^
for Transylvanianists to express one's (Transylvanian) Saxon, Hungarian or Romanian
identity was to express one's common Transylvanian identity.

Localness and familiarity played an important ideological role in integrating the

disparate ethnicities within Transylvania. In Germany, Heimat acted as a means of
maintaining a "sense of belonging together"^^ despite increasing membership of
broader, less personal identities.^^ Transylvanianism aimed to play a similar role,
forging a sense of "common fate".^"^ Through emphasis of the common, the familiar, the
local, Transylvanianism attempted to forge a common Transylvanian identity that would
unite Transylvanians of different ethnicity without eclipsing their separate ethnic

The imagery invoked by Jekelius is typical of positive representations of Transylvania's

multiethnic landscape and was informed by older representations of the ethnicities of
the region. (See Chapter 1.) An interesting comparison is provided by Emil Sigerus'
Through Transylvania: a journey in 58 pictures.^^ First published before the First World
die schsische Stadt, der Szekler-flecken und das rumnische Dorf. Hajek, "Vom Siebenbrger
Menschen", 138.
Heinrich Zillich, "Siebenbrgen und der 'Curentul'." Kl Vol 5 Nr 8, August 1928, 315.
^^ Applegate, A nation of provincials, 15.
^^ Zusammengehrigkeitsgefhl.
^^ Applegate, A nation of provincials, 6.
Schicksalsgleichheit. Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 3.
^^ Emil Sigerus (ed). Durch Siebenbrgen: eine Wanderung in 58 Bildern. Hermannstadt: Krafft &
Drotleff A.G., 1929.

War, it went through several new editions, and was adapted to the new circumstances of
interwar Transylvania. The photographs were titled and accompanied by an introductory
text, providing a valuable insight into what the editor wished the viewer to take away
from the collection.^^ The collection aimed to encourage tourism to Transylvania, rather
than achieve any overt political goal. Nevertheless, the photographs reflect the same
symbolism as Transylvanianism. Amongst them (paralleling those described by
Jekelius) are photographs of fortified Saxon churches such as that in Heltau (Figure 6),
Romanian shepherds in the mountains (Figure 7) and a Hungarian streetscape (Figure
8). Other images included panoramas of Saxon towns such as Hermannstadt (Figure 9),
the castle at Vajdahunyad (Figure 10), a Romanian Orthodox wooden church (Figure
11) and numerous ethnographic images of the peasantry (Figures 12 - 16). Of the
images, apart from some unpopulated mountain landscapes, only Vajdahunyad Castle
lacks any clear ethnic title in both its caption and the accompanying introduction. This
was perhaps because the individual associated with the castle, known by Hungarians as
Janos Hunyadi and by Romanians as lancu Hunedoara, is a hero to both nations.^^
However, Sigerus referred to Vajdahunyad by its Hungarian name, rather than the
Romanian Hunedoara. The choice of imagery may have been influenced by numerous
factors, not least the expectations of tourists, and the availability of photographs.
Nevertheless, in representing what he considered to be the best of Transylvania, Sigerus
selected photographs that demonstrated and celebrated the ethnic diversity and
historicity of the region.

The imagery utilised by Transylvanianists reflects broader processes in the construction

of identity. National (and ethnic) identities are continually reconstituted through a
process of selection of symbolic elements from a supposedly particular heritage of
values, symbols, memories, myths and traditions.^^ Nations strive to demonstrate
authenticity, originality and continuity as part of their self-legitimisation.^^ In the
struggle for recognition, Transylvanianists turned to the region's shared landscape,
common history, and common mentality (expressed as common culture) for symbols of
the Transylvanian collective identity.
^^ On the use of iconotexts, see Peter Burke, Eyewitnessing: the uses of images as historical evidence.
London: Reaktion Books, 2001.
^^ White, Nationalism and territory, 96-97, 150-151.
^^ Smith, Anthony D. "Interpretations of national identity." In Dieckhoff, & Gutirrez (ed). Modern
Roots, 30.
^^ Gutirrez, "The study of national identity", 5-6.

The role of landscape as a source of symbols to demonstrate a nation's authenticity and

originality is well recognised.^*^ Landscapes play a key role in the naturalisation of
nations (that is, creation of a sense of naturalness). Natural features were seen as key to
defining a nation's character and to legitimising the "natural" borders of its territory.^^
This role is especially important for those nations such as Switzerland where the use of
ethno-linguistic criteria would lead to dissolution. The then fashionable "principles of
ethnic psycho-geographical depiction"^^ played a key role in efforts to naturalise and
legitimise Transylvanianism. Saxon Transylvanianists looked to Transylvania's
geography as a primary force in shaping a shared "emotional landscape"^"^ and, from
this, a common Transylvanian identity.^^ The natural landscape of mountains with their
high pastures and fir forests, the rolling hills and sheltered river valleys of the lowlands,
and the flat stretches of the Transylvanian Heath, offered symbols that might appeal to
all Transylvanians.
The most richly symbolic analysis of the Transylvanian landscape was that of Otto
Folberth in his 1929 article Die drei Durchbruche: Eine Vision der siebenbUrgischen
Landschaft [The three breaches: a vision of the Transylvanian Landscape]. Folberth
drew upon the powerful Christian symbology of a trinity in unity, using the landscape as
a metaphor for the creation of a single unified culture. He began with a genesis-like
description of the creation of Transylvania, as a triangle delineated by three mountain
chains (the East Carpathians, South Carpathians and Transylvanian Range), in which
there are three river systems (the Alt, Mieresch and the Samosch), each of which exits
Transylvania through one of three channels which pierce the mountain walls, to the
South, West and North. It was divine will that three Peoples would each enter the land
through one of these three passages. The three Peoples were scattered throughout the
land, so all but the smallest villages were trilingual. As a result, all three Peoples had

Gutirrez, "The study of national identity", 6.

White, Nationalism and territory, 50-51.
^^ Zimmer, Oliver. "Forging the authentic nation." In Dieckhoff, & Gutirrez (ed), Modern Roots, 95-117.
^^ volkspsychologisch-geographische Darstellungsprinzipien. Schuller Anger, Kontakt und Wirkung, 121122.
^ landschaftliche Geihlswelt. Theil, "siebenbrgische Seele", 77.
^^ Knopp, "Transylvanismus als erklrtes Programm in der Siebenbrgisch-schsischen Literatur
zwischen den beiden Weltkriegen", 100-101.

their own associations with all aspects of the landscape, and this had resulted in so much
shared symbolic meaning that all three Peoples were of a common consciousness.^^

Transylvanianists had differing opinions as to on the impact of the landscape on the

Transylvanian personality. To some writers, while the formidable Carpathians separated
Transylvania from the Old Kingdom of Romania, the lower Western Mountains left it
open to influences from the West. This was reflected culturally in a separation of
Transylvania's "Western" values from the "Eastern" culture of the Old Kingdom.^^ To
others including Folberth, the Carpathians separated the region from all neighbouring
lands, producing a unique Transylvanian "Cosmos".^^

Saxon Transylvanianists also disagreed on how to characterise the patterns of settlement

of the three dominant ethnicities of Transylvania. There existed in Transylvanianism a
strong tendency to associate the ethnicities with specific landscapes, for example
Hungarians with the plains, Saxons with the river valleys, Romanians with the
mountains.^^ Other Transylvanianists adopted a more sophisticated analysis, seeing the
ethnicities as scattered through all the landscapes of the region.^^ However, they
differed on the impact of such a diffuse pattern of settlement. Hajek viewed this in a
positive light, as something that had produced common understanding.^^ Similarly,
Friedrich Mller-Langenthal argued that the narrow valleys had produced
Transylvania's diversity of cultures, and the tolerance of cultural difference.^^ On the
other hand, the impassability of the mountains between the valleys, which had served as
the fastness of bandits, produced the element of the Transylvanian spirit that was
mistrustful of strangers.

^^ Otto Folberth, "Die drei Durchbrche: eine Vision der siebenbrgischen Landschaft. Kl Vol 6 Nr 9,
September 1929, 321-323.
^^ Theil, "siebenbrgische Seele", 79-80. Also Zillich, Heinrich. "Kulturelle Zusammenarbeit in
Rmanien." Kl Vol 8 Nr 11, November 1931, 422-423.
^^ Mller-Langenthal, "siebenbrgische Seele", 252. Also Folberth, "Die drei Durchbrche", 321.
^^ For an example of the latter, see the eariier quote from Jekelius, "Siebenbrger Rumnen." This
tendency was criticised by Hajek, "Vom Siebenbrger Menschen," 138.
For example, Hajek, "Vom Siebenbrger Menschen," 138, Mller-Langenthal, "siebenbrgische
Seele", 253, and Folberth, "Die drei Durchbrche", 322-323.
Hajek, Vom Siebenbrger Menschen," 137-139.
^^ Mller-Langenthal, "Die siebenbrgische Seele", 253.
^^ Mller-Langenthal, "Die siebenbrgische Seele", 253.

Saxon Transylvanianists attempted to produce a common history uniting the three

dominant ethnicities of Transylvania. They provided a model by which Transylvania
might further develop its political unity, autonomy and ethnic tolerance. As discussed in
Chapter 1, nationalists frequently drew upon and reinterpret "memories" of older, prenational structures in constructing national identity. Transylvanianists' representations
of the past built upon Transylvania's previous autonomy and its "golden age" of
independence, and its internal political traditions, especially the three estates and four
established religions. The estates and Churches, which Saxon Transylvanianists
reinterpreted as ethnic bodies, were thought to have provided freedom for the ethnicities
to develop according to their own trajectories, while maintaining overall unity.

The most detailed Transylvanianist history was written by Hermann Mller. Mller
emphasised the themes of autonomy, equality and harmony, which he saw as emerging
from the struggle with the Hungarian nobility, who dominated the Hungarian and
Romanian peasantry.According to Mller, the system of estates and Transylvania's
long-standing autonomy from Hungary, Turkey and Austria gave all Saxons, the
Hungarian nobility, the Szeklers and those Romanians living on the Knigsboden a
strong measure of autonomy and self-sufficiency. This manifested in areas of
administration, justice, culture, language, schools and Church, and was comparable to
the leading models of tolerance at the time: Switzerland and England under the Magna
Charta. Mller held this view despite the fact that most Romanians and Hungarians
were excluded from the estates, and that the nobility dominated the political system,
Furthermore, he argued, Transylvania was developing in such a way as to naturally
result in the same rights being extended to all Romanians.^^ Thus, not only was
Transylvania represented as a model of tolerance, diversity and equality equal to the
greatest European examples of the time, but the region had been in the process of
teleological evolution towards further rights that would have included the
disenfranchised Romanians. Mller's model is ahistorical, drawing no distinction
between the peak of the estate system in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and
tentative moves towards equal rights for Romanians in the nineteenth century. Mller
argued that Transylvania's progress had been interrupted by the 1848 revolution and

^^ Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 5-7. This charge against the Hungarian nobility was echoed by
Mller-Langenthal, "Die siebenbrgische Seele", 254.
^^ Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 8.

Hungarian nationalism, preventing the development of full equal rights/^ By

representing Transylvania's historical development of towards ethnic harmony as
having been interrupted by assimilationist Hungarian nationalism, Mller condemned
by implication assimilationist trends in Romanian nationalism.

Transylvanianism shared characteristics of both ethnic and civic nationalism. The civic
component to Transylvanianism is easy to identify. Any definition of Transylvanian
culture had to be sufficiently broad to encompass multiple languages, religions and folk
customs. Furthermore, Transylvanian culture was already the subject of pre-existing
nationalisms, which were focused upon demonstrating cultural distinctiveness. Rather,
Transylvanian culture was described as a mindset. Supporters did not view
Transylvanian identity as eclipsing other ethnic or national identities, but rather as
preserving cultural diversity within a common political structure and a number of
loosely defined cultural values.^^ Egon Hajek described Transylvanians as sharing a
metaphorical language of common values, a shared "spiritual centre" which overcame
the "Babel" of languages in the region.

Saxon writers perceived that this common

culture united all Transylvanians, and separated them from their co-ethnics in
surrounding lands.

To Transylvanianists, the shared history and landscape of Transylvania produced a

common culture.^^ The common culture was perceived to stem from two influences
rooted in the region's landscape and history. One of these was Transylvania's
'Westemness'. It was argued that the region had historically belonged to Western
Europe (Hungary and the Habsburg Empire) and that it was geographically more open
to the West. This gave Transylvanians a tendency towards calmness, rationality, and
orderliness. Transylvanianism as a "Western" culture was often distinguished from the
perceived "Eastemness" of the Old Kingdom.^^ On the other hand, Transylvania was
also geographically isolated and had experienced centuries of autonomy. This
contributed to a strong emphasis on self-governance and local autonomy on ethnic lines.
^^ Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 8-12.
^^ For example, Mller-Langenthal, "siebenbrgische Seele", 253.
^^ Hajek, "Vom Siebenbrger Menschen", 137-139.
^^ Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 3. See also Mller-Langenthal, "Die siebenbrgische Seele", 252.
Zillich, "Siebenbrgen und der 'Curentul'", 315-316. Also Heinrich Zillich, "Zur Diskussion ber das
Siebenbrgertum" Kl Vol 5 Nr 9, September 1928, 355-356., and Heinrich Zillich, "Geistige Strmungen
in Rumnien." Kl Vol 5 Nr 10, October 1928, 381-387.

Transylvania's system of estates and received religions was reinterpreted as evidence of

a high tolerance of ethnic and religious difference.^^ Thus, the core elements of
Transylvanian culture were Westemness, tolerance and diversity.

Cultural differences were seen as distinguishing Transylvanians from their co-ethnics

elsewhere. Saxon Transylvanianists used arguments of cultural difference (framed in
terms of Eastemness and Westemness, as seen in Chapter 2) to distinguish between
Transylvanian Romanians and Old Kingdom Romanians.^^ However, cultural difference
was also used (albeit less frequently) to distinguish between Transylvanian Saxons and
Germans elsewhere. Nevertheless, Transylvanianism had a strongly ethnic component.
Proponents of Transylvanianism included only the three "historical" ethnicities of the
region - Romanians, Hungarians (Magyar and Szekler) and Saxons - while ignoring
Roma, Armenians, Jews and the other long-term inhabitants of the region.^^ This focus
on only three ethnicities distinguishes Transylvanianism from pluralist models of
nationalism. The exclusion of these other ethnicities on "historical" grounds was
somewhat arbitrary; after all, Roma had inhabited Transylvania from at least the
fifteenth century, Jews from the second half of the sixteenth century, and Armenians
from 1672. Rather, the discrimination of ethnicities seems to have reflected their
relative political influence.^"^ Furthermore, as non-Christians, Jews were perhaps seen as
alien to Transylvania's "Christian" culture, as were the Roma, whose Christianity was
frequently viewed as suspect. (The exclusion of the Roma is discussed further below.)

Transylvania's civic values also had an ethnic origin for many observers. For many
Saxons, the "Western" culture of Transylvania was "German" culture. For example, in
considering the differences in ways of thought between Transylvania and the Old
Kingdom, Mller emphasised the alienness of the Old Kingdom's system of
administration, which was modelled on the French constitution, to the Transylvanian

Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 8.

^^ For example, "Was die siebenbrger Sachsen von den Rumnen halten", 385-386.
^^ This trilogy of ethnicities was repeated throughout the debate about Transylvanianism; for example see
Folberth, "Die drei Durchbrche", Hajek, "Vom Siebenbrger Menschen", Jekelius, "Siebenbrger
Rumnen", Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, Mller-Langenthal, "siebenbrgische Seele", Theil,
"siebenbrgische Seele", and Zillich, "Siebenbrgen und der 'Curentul'."
^^ Interestingly, Mller-Langenthal used a similar understanding of "historical" as applying only to those
groups forming polities in his treatment of the denial of rights to the Romanian peasantry. By failing to
maintain an ethnic Romanian elite, Transylvanian Romanians had been "ahistorical", justifying to MllerLangenthal their exclusion from the Transylvanian political process. Mller-Langenthal, "Die
siebenbrgische Seele", 255-256.

system of administration which Mller believed replicated the German model.^^ Fritz
Theil identified Transylvania as belonging not to Western culture in the sense of French
culture, but to a "Central European West", the influence of which had extended over the
Transylvanian Romanians and separated them from their co-ethnics in the Regaf.

The West rules up to the Carpathians, on the other side of the Carpathians
mles] the East. This West was never identical to French Westemness, that
could only impress upon us through Central European sifting and
transfiguration. Through their entire past and fiindamental philosophy the
Transylvanian Romanians belong to this, to the Central European West; the
component of the population of the Romanian Old Kingdom to the East with
its Western whitewashing.^^

This reflected both the traditional Saxon belief that they had brought culture and
civilisation to Transylvania (itself an aspect of the myth of the Pull to the East), and also
the tendency to view Mitteleuropa as synonymous with German culture and civilisation.
Ernst Jekelius claimed that the Saxons had taught the Transylvanian Romanians the arts
of printing, ploughing and building, legal principles and "to serve a spirit other than that
learnt by your brothers on the other side of the mountains".^^ Similarly, to Zillich the
presence of the Saxons in Transylvania was justified by their efforts in educating the
other peoples of Transylvania, sharing with them West European culture. This idea of
civilising the East was, Zillich recognised, hardly new, but a reformulation of an older
component of Saxon self-identity.^^ Furthermore, to Saxon Transylvanianists the Saxon
estate had formed the pinnacle of historical Transylvania's virtues. For example, Mller
argued that the Saxons:

^^ Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 23.

^^ Bis zu den Karpathen herrschte der Western, jenseits der Karpathen der Osten. Dieser Western war
neimals identisch mit dem franzoesischen Westlertum, das nur in der mitteleuropaeischen Durchsiebung
und Verklaerung zu uns dringen konnte. Das siebenbuergische Rumaenentum gehoert seiner ganzen
Vergangenheit und Grundeinstellung nach zu diesem, dem mitteleuropaeischen "Western", das
Bevoelkerungselement des rumaenischen Altreichs zum Osten mit seiner westlerischen Tuenche. Theil,
"siebenbrgische Seele", 79-80.
^^ und dem Geiste zu dienen, anders, wie es Ihre Brder jenseits der Berge lernten. Jekelius, "Brief an
einen rumnischen Freund", 298.
^^ Heinrich Zillich, "Die Ideen der Zeitschrift 'Klingsor'." KBl Vol 21 Nr 2, 10 January 1929, 17.

had ... brought with them the in conformity with customs of the time German
law and practices, lived under their own rulers in the fashion of their own
laws and own norms of administration, which in contrast to the Hungarian
county nobility were invested with general, full autonomy and full equality of
rights. [On the Konigsboden] there were no privileged nobility, no powerless
bondsmen, every Saxon was free and fully equal - a democratic system the
likes of which was still to be encountered only in Switzerland, and which
came at the same time to a model of the most modem democracy.^^

This reflects the self-identification of the Saxons from the eighteenth century with the
modernising influences of bourgeois life (see Chapter 1).
It is insightful to compare the Saxon conception of Transylvanianism to that of
Transylvanian Hungarians. Karoly Kos' Transylvanianism shared many parallels to the
Saxon perspective. The Transylvanian "spirit" or "psyche" was rooted in the region's
geographical isolation, as well as its long history of separate cultural development.^^
These features "destined" Transylvania for a separate political life.^^ In keeping with
this, Kos criticised both the unconditional unification of Transylvania with Hungary in
1848/1868, and the unconditional unification of Transylvania with Romania in 1918.^^
Kos viewed the system of estates as a model of medieval democracy and social
harmony, far ahead of its time.^^ He argued that the estate system had been evolving
towards inclusion of the Romanians as a fourth estate when this process had been
derailed by chauvinistic nationalism.^"^ Kos saw Transylvania as both a meeting place
and a place of conflict between Western and Eastern cultures.^^ He viewed the
ethnicities of Transylvania as having highly distinct and sometimes contradictory
cultures. Nevertheless, he still saw common aspects to those cultures as having evolved


hatten... dem Brauch der Zeit gem, deutsches Recht und Sitte aus dem Mutterlande mitgebracht,
lebten unter ihrem eigenen Richter nach eigenem Recht und eigenen Verwaltungsnormen, die ihnen zum
Unterschied vom ungarischen Komitatsadel allgemeine, vllige Autonomie und volle Rechtsgleichheit
verliehen. Dort gab es keinen bevorrechtigten Adel, keine rechtslosen Hrigen, jeder Sachse war frei, und
vllig gleichberechtigt - ein demokratisches System, wie es nur noch in der Sweiz anzutreffen war und
dem Vorbild der modernsten Demokratie gleich kommt. Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 6-7.
^^ Kos, Transylvania, 11-12, 80-81, 109-111.
Kos, Transylvania, 43.

^^ Kos, Transylvania, 106-107.

^^ Kos, Transylvania, 42-50.

Kos, Transylvania, 93-99.
^^ Kos, Transylvania, 11-12, 26-27.

through shared experiences and close cohabitation.^^ As with many Saxon

Transylvanianists, Kos credited the Saxons for having introduced many (Western)
elements of Transylvanian culture.^^ However, he did not view Transylvania's history
primarily in the context of the myth of the Drang nach Osten, as did Saxon
Transylvanianists. Rather, Kos integrated Transylvanian history into Hungarian
nationalist mythology, crediting the region for preserving the best of Hungarian culture
during the long period of Ottoman rule.^^ In short, Transylvania was for Kos first and
foremost Hungarian.

Transylvanianism as political theory

Transylvanianism provided principles both for Transylvania's relationship with
Romania and for relations between the ethnicities within Transylvania.^^ The main
political function of Transylvanianism was to provide an alternative to the centralising,
assimilating tendencies of Greater Romania and allow the three dominant ethnicities of
Transylvania to express and further develop their cultures in harmony. To
Transylvanianists, the peculiarities of Transylvanian culture and the region's perceived
high level of civilisation justified a measure of autonomy for the region. This autonomy
was to protect and allow expression of those specific cultural characteristics. The loss of
collective (estate) rights and the adoption of a system of individual rights were seen as
the biggest blow to the maintenance of the Transylvanian "soul".^^^

However, Transylvanianism did not entail a rejection of the state. Saxon proponents of
Transylvanianism continually professed loyalty to the Romanian state, and represented
Transylvanianism as a means by which Romania's ethnic non-Romanians might relate
to the state of which they had recently become citizens. ^^^ By resolving conflicts
between ethnic identity and citizenship, Transylvanianism enabled the minorities to

^^ Kos, Transylvania, 86-87.

^^ Kos, Transylvania, 28-35.
Kos, Transylvania, 42-43, 66-67.
^^ Lengyel makes this point regarding Hungarian Transylvanianists. Lengyel, "Kulturverbindung,
Regionalismus, fderativer Kompromi." 63.
Theil, "siebenbrgische Seele", 80-81.
Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 27-29.

1 07

commit themselves wholeheartedly to the Romanian state. Such approaches

envisioned a relationship between regions (Transylvania and the Old Kingdom) rather
than between individual citizens and the state. Saxon Transylvanianists aimed to restore
autonomy for Transylvania, even if only temporarily. Hermann Mller argued that the
differences between Transylvania and the Old Kingdom of Romania were so great that
it was necessary to establish a transition period of at least 25 years, during which the
gradual reform of Transylvania's administration, and of that of the other parts of
Romania, could be carried out. Local autonomy would extend to local communities,
towns and counties, so that they could follow their own traditions. Minorities would
have fiill rights of language, religion and education, and be represented in
Transylvania's administration.^^^ Mller's recommended political reforms were at least
as much about reforming the culture of the Old Kingdom as they were about reforming
that of Transylvania.
In this representation of the relationship with Romania, Transylvanianism borrowed
from the German model of nationalism, in which, considerable autonomy was granted
to the German Lnder (frequently also Heimaten), each of which was in theory seen as
equally German. As discussed earlier, Saxon writers were quick to dismiss the French
culture that formed the model for political life in Greater Romania, favouring the
Transylvanian system of decentralisation and local autonomy, which they saw as
"German" in character.Zillich argued that Germany's political system had allowed it
to overcome cultural divisions between North and South. He advocated the German
model for Romania to heal its East-West division. ^^^
Saxon Transylvanianists shared the wider Saxon hope (see Chapter 2) that the National
(Peasants) Party would exert an influence on the Romanian political process on behalf
of all Transylvanians.^^^ However, they saw a special role for the "culturally superior"
Saxon and Hungarian minorities in influencing the friture development of Romania. For
example, Heinrich Zillich argued that understanding between Transylvania and the Old
Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 29.
Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 23-27.
Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 23-24.
^^^ Zillich, Heinrich. "Kulturelle Zusammenarbeit in Rmanien," 422-423.
For example, Theil, "siebenbrgische Seele", 81-82. Also Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 24-25.

1 HT

Kingdom was only possible through a long process of cultural exchange.


himself translated and published considerable amounts of Romanian literature through

Klingsor. Saxon observers considered the Transylvanian "soul" to be the region's most
important contribution to Greater Romania/^^
Saxon Transylvanianism advocated devolving authority to local communities, to give
the widest possible representation to specific cultural groups. This approach sought
legitimacy in the ethnicised understanding of the traditional autonomy of the estates. A
further model for an autonomous Transylvania was Switzerland; a multi-ethnic state in
which the inhabitants preserved their sense of ethnic identity without expressing loyalty
to the surrounding nation-states.^^^ This was clearly influenced by Oszkar Jaszi's
proposals to transform Hungary into an "eastern Switzerland", as discussed in the
Introduction. Direct comparisons of Swiss identity to Transylvanianism were
complicated by Romanian rule. Nevertheless, it was argued that the Swiss model would
prevent Hungarian irredentism while preserving Transylvanian Romanian ties to the
Romanian state.^^^ In this, Switzerland was envisioned less as a multi-ethnic state than
as a union of single-ethnicity cantons, providing administrative autonomy on ethnic
lines at the level of local government.

The Swiss model was not without its opponents. In his 1926 article in Ostland calling
for Saxons to accept the political realities of Romanian rule (discussed in Chapter 2),
Hermann Plattner singled out the Swiss model for criticism. Plattner argued that the new
or expanded states throughout Eastern Europe had already passed constitutions
excluding the possibility of political autonomy for minorities. The correct goal at this
stage, he argued, was to work to secure cultural and administrative rights within the
existing nation-state system.^^^ Furthermore, not all Transylvanianists advocated
canton-style autonomy. In 1927 Fritz Theil argued that nobody expected the restoration
of the political autonomy of the Konigsboden. Rather, German politicians aimed for

^^^ Zillich, "Kulturelle Zusammenarbeit in Rmanien," 422-428. Also Heinrich Zillich, "Die Ideen der
Zeitschrift 'Klingsor'.", KBl Vol 21, Nr 3, 17 January 1929, 23.
^^^ For example, Zillich, "Kulturelle Zusammenarbeit in Rumnien", 423-425 and Theil, "siebenbrgische
Seele." 82-83.
Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 27-29. Also Mller-Langenthal, "siebenbrgische Seele", 254255.
Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 27-29.
Plattner, "Minderheitsnation und Staatsnation."

cultural autonomy, especially for church and school.

It should be noted that both

Plattner and Theil were closely associated with the conservative Volksrat, and that
neither were members of the "Klingsor circle".
As with Transylvanian Hungarian intellectuals, Saxon Transylvanianists extended their
thoughts on cultural autonomy within Transylvania to a United States of Europe. ^^^
Hermann Mller expressed the hope that Transylvanian autonomy would be a first step
towards an ending of national conflict in Europe,^

and the building of a "United States

of Central or all Europe".^ ^^ Zillich also viewed Transylvanianism within a broader

framework, tying it to the broader role of Germans in Europe. To Zillich, Europe was
facing a growing threat from the non-Western peoples. Europe, constantly undermining
itself through its internal divisions, had to reform to protect itself He believed that the
future of Europe lay in the hands of the German People. Although the German state
begun by Bismarck was still unfinished, Germany would nevertheless step forward to
complete the "United States of Europe" that Zillich saw as essential to Europe's
salvation. Peoples would achieve their own improvement through the recognition and
protection of the national rights of their minorities. The self-evident rights of Peoples
would be exercised directly without being diluted and undermined by the democratic
structure of the modem European state. Through this, the "worthy" states were to be
victorious in Europe.^^^

Transylvanianism posited a multi-ethnic community united by its common culture,

history and landscape, and therefore was entitled to a measure of administrative
independence. Within Transylvania the three dominant ethnicities would also be
autonomous. And yet, I have argued, as a political theory, Transylvanianism had very
little impact. The weaknesses of Transylvanianism are discussed below.

Th[eil, Fritz]. "Deutsche politik in Rumaenien." SDT7 July 1927, 1-2. The title of the article suggests
that Theil was describing the politics of all Germans in Romania. However, the article focuses on the
circumstances of the Saxons. On the tendency of Saxon commentators to use the term "German" to mean
"Saxon", see also Chapter 5.
On Transylvanian Hungarian visions for a United States of Europe, see Lengyl, "Kulturverbindung,
Regionalismus, fderativer Kompromi," 58. Lengyl argues that this broader picture was lacking from
German and Romanian writings about Transylvanianism. C.f Lengyl, "Kulturverbindung,
Regionalismus, fderativer Kompromi." 56.
' Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 29.
Vereinigten StaatenMittel- oder ganz Europas. Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 31.
Zillich, "Die Ideen der Zeitschrift 'Klingsor'." 17-23.

The limits of Transylvanianism

Historians, especially German and Hungarian scholars, have been for the most part very
positive about Transylvanianism, viewing the intellectual current as a genuine effort
towards interethnic understanding in a region that continues to be fraught with ethnic
tensions.^^^ Interest in Transylvanianism has in part been motivated by the search for a
model for solutions to current problems. Confronted with the failure of
Transylvanianism, historians have tended to seek external explanations, in the form of
radicalising nationalism imported from abroad: from Germany, Hungary and the Old
Kingdom. The radicalisation of Transylvanianists on ethnic and national lines has been
blamed on such influences.^^^ This approach reflects the interwar Transylvanianists'
own analysis of the influences of nationalism on Transylvania. ^^^ However, to
emphasise external causes for the failures of Transylvanianism is to ignore the tensions
and contradictions within Transylvanianism itself.

By positing the existence of a distinct Transylvanian identity, Transylvanianists

differentiated Transylvanian Romanians, Hungarians and Saxons from their co-ethnics
elsewhere. This challenged Romanian, Hungarian and German unitary nationalisms.
Romanian nationalists, who strove in the interwar period to forge a unitary Romanian
nation from the state's regional components, especially felt the threat of regional
identities. The fostering of a specifically Transylvanian Hungarian regional identity was
also judged in some quarters to represent a threat to Hungarian national unity, a unity
already weakened by the division of the Hungarian nation-state. ^^^ Transylvanianism
also challenged Saxon ties to a broader German community. (See Chapters 4 and 5.)
However, for Saxon Transylvanianists the contradiction between regional and broader
identities was mitigated in part by the identification of Transylvanian culture as German

For example, Lengyel, "Kulturverbindung, Regionalismus, fderativer Kompromi." 63. Also Knopp,
"Transylvanismus als erklrtes Programm in der Siebenbrgisch-schsischen Literatur zwischen den
beiden Weltkriegen" and Lack, "Die Zeitschrift 'Erdelyi Helikon.'"
For example, see Lack, "Die Zeitschrift 'Erdelyi Helikon,'" 229-230.
For example, Folberth, "Die drei Durchbrche." 324-326.
Chinezu, Aspects of Transylvanian Hungarian literature, 48-49.

The suggestion that Transylvanian Romanians, Hungarians and Saxons had more in
common with each other than with their co-ethnics in other regions, and that this
legitimised an autonomous Transylvanian polity, threatened the unity of the Romanian
nation-state. Transylvanian Romanians stood to gain the least from Transylvanianism.
While they often regretted the policies issuing from Bucharest, Transylvanian
Romanians benefited from the state's policy of Romanianisation and remained
committed to the Romanian unitary state. In contrast, Transylvanianism presented less
of a challenge to Hungarian and German nationalism. For Germans and Hungarians,
Transylvanianism offered the possibility of spaces for cultural expression lacking in
Greater Romania. Nevertheless, the notion that regional unity might have greater
significance than national ties significantly contradicted nationalist ideology.
To succeed, then, Transylvanianists had to create a sense of regional loyalty strong
enough to compete with nationalist ties. The Transylvanianists themselves had only a
limited sense of belonging to a multi-ethnic Transylvanian community. For example,
the political importance of Transylvania's Romanians merited them special attention
from Saxon Transylvanianists. Representations of the Romanian peasantry in
specifically Transylvanianist texts were almost always positive. For example, Jekelius
described the Romanian peasantry in a positive but patronising light as children of
nature, emphasising their simplicity and joyousness:

In the midst honourable patriarchs, who have been ennobled by a life frill of
toil, white haired matrons, who ceaselessly spin at their spindles, and in the sun
playing children... The men who lead the plough fully resigned to God's will.
The women whose worn hands cunningly create genuine artworks with
embroidery needle in snowy linen. The figures of the youths, bold with strength
and courage. And the light-footed maidens, whose beauty and grace
bewitches. ^^^

Inmitten ehrwrdiger Patriarchen, die in Leben voll Arbeit geadelt hat, weihaariger Matronen, deren
Spindel sich unermdlich drehte, und in der Sonne spielender Kinder... Die Mnner, die voll
Gottergebenheit den Pflug filhren. Die Frauen, deren feldgewohnte Hand mit der Sticknadel im
schneeigen Linnen wahre Kunstwerke zu schaffen wei. Die von Kraft und Mut khnen Gestalten der
Jnglinge. Und die leichtfigen Mdchen, deren Schnheit und Anmut bezaubert. Jekelius, Emst.
"Siebenbrger Rumnen." Vol. 3. No. 5. May 1926. p.l83.

Otto Folberth adopted similar language in his description of Romanian rural life. The
Romanian village itself was a disordered place, in which the houses blended into the
landscape. It was a simple, untroubled life in a state of natural existence before the


Almighty. Descriptions of Hungarian communities were less frequent and recognised

in their subjects a higher level of cultural sophistication but equally positive. ^^^

However, in Saxon Transylvanianist imagery, Transylvanian Romanians were

predominantly located in mountain villages and fir forests typical of the Carpathian
Mountains; that is, far from the low-lying valleys settled by Saxons.This is despite
Romanians constituting an absolute majority of inhabitants of the Knigsboden and
most other areas of Transylvania. Placing Transylvanian Romanians in the mountains in
part reflected Romanian national mythology, which viewed the Carpathians as an
historical refuge for Romanian culture during periods of invasion. ^^^ However, the
extent of ethnic segregation in Transylvanianist imagery suggests that there were further
factors involved. Geographical stratification reinforced older social structures and
transformed Romanian and Hungarians into interlopers when present in the "Saxon"
lowlands. To return to the earlier quote from Jekelius' essay "Siebenbrger Rumnen",
Saxon church-fortresses, Hungarian villages and the alpine forests of Romanian
shepherds are described as geographically separate locations, despite the fact that, as
Folberth and others recognised, most Transylvanian settlements were multilingual. The
same ethnically-defined imagery can be seen in the photographs collected by Sigems in
Durch Siebenbrgen. 1 OA
Saxon Transylvanianist imagery revealed social as well as ethnic divisions. Egon
Hajek's description of Saxon towns, Szekler markets and Romanian villages reveals a
descending hierarchy of urbanisation. Architecturally, Saxons tended to be represented
by fortified village churches (places of piety, learning and democratic co-operation) and
towns (places of wealth, learning and industriousness). While Hungarians were
Otto Folberth, "Rumnisches Gebirgsdorf." Kl Vol 2 Nr 7, July 1925, 264-267.
For example, Jekelius described the Szekler farmers as hard-working, thrifty, serious people. Ernst
Jekelius, Besuch bei den Szeklem." Kl Vol 9 Nr 6, June 1932, 202-208.
For example, Folberth, "Rumnisches Gebirgsdorf, 264-5 and Jekelius, "Siebenbrger Rumnen",
White, Nationalism and territory, 147.
Natural landscapes form an exception, but of the images of humans or human architecture, only one
location in the collection. Bad Salzburg, is described as a mixed ("Romanian- Hungarian") settlement.
Sigerus, Durch Siebenbrgen, 10.

represented as dwelling in smaller market towns and large villages, Romanians were
presented as living in small villages and hamlets scarcely distinguishable from nature
itself. This social hierarchy reflected both broad trends in social stratification and
traditional ethnic stereotypes in the region (see Chapter 1).
The Transylvanian social hierarchy was also reproduced in images of the peasantry. For
example, in the ethnographic photographs published by Sigerus (Figures 12 - 14),
while Saxons and Hungarians were represented indoors, surrounded by examples of
their folk culture, the Romanian peasantry were portrayed outdoors surrounded by
nature. The contrast becomes all the more striking when one considers Figure 7 of a
Romanian shepherd alone in the misty wilds of the Carpathians. Likewise, the

Romanian peasant is also represented as a shepherd in written works.

This reflects the

social evolutionist anthropology of the time, which viewed the settled, agricultural
Saxon peasant as representing a higher stage of civilisation than the Romanian peasant
who practiced only transhumance animal husbandry. It also reflects Saxon stereotypes
of mountains as wilderness, as discussed below. Mller-Langenthal stressed that
shepherds were never Saxons, with the exception of where a community1 might reserve
the job for a physically or mentally disabled Saxon as an act of charity.

The same

hierarchy can be seen in the portrayal of Romanian Orthodoxy, which was characterised
as the embodiment of simplicity rather than learning (as by Jekelius),^^^ or as deeply
superstitious. ^^^
Given the assertion that Transylvanians shared a common culture, one might predict a
favourable reaction to an end to stratification. However, most Transylvanianists
exhibited discomfort at the ongoing socio-economic transformation.^^^ For example, an
examination of Saxon writings about the Saxon peasantry reveals few references to the
other ethnicities inhabiting Transylvania. Despite the multi-ethnic nature of most towns
and villages within Transylvania, ethnographic descriptions of interactions of the
^^^ For example Jekelius, "Siebenbrger Rumnen", quoted above.
Friedrich Mller-Langenthal, "Werden und Wesen des sieb.-schs. Bauertums." Kl Vol 4 Nr 3, March
1927, 89.
Jekelius, "Siebenbrger Rumnen".
For example, Mller-Langenthal noted that although the Lutheran priesthood had ended the practice of
exorcism, Romanian Orthodox village priests continued to perform the rite for the Saxon peasantry.
Mller-Langenthal, "Werden und Wesen des sieb.-schs. Bauertums", Kl Vol 4 Nr 2, February 1927, 6466.
Egon Hajek forms a rare exception to this. Hajek, "Vom Siebenbrger Menschen."

peasantry with non-Saxons were infrequent in these sources. When non-Saxons did
appear in these texts, the Saxon identity of the communities was emphasised. NonSaxons were interlopers, present to perform some task and then disappear.
Ethnographical texts portrayed the peasantry in the context of an idealised past, where
Saxon hegemony (and separatism) remained undisturbed.


Saxon commentators were also ambivalent about non-Saxon cultural borrowings by

Saxon peasantry. Conservatives such as Schullerus and Mller-Langenthal were
generally willing to recognise some cultural borrowings, although they saw them as
interpreted through the Saxons' firmly German culture. Radicals such as ethnologist
Misch Orend went to great lengths to explain that, for example, common symbols were
interpreted in such culturally different ways as to indicate little cultural commonality. ^^^
Such ethnic divisions were largely imposed by folklorists rather than reflecting real
differences in folk culture.

Saxon Transylvanianists were similarly uncomfortable with the presence of non-Saxons

in the formerly Saxon-dominated urban centres of the Knigsboden. Towns such as
Hermannstadt and Kronstadt were seen as bastions of Saxon culture, learning religion
and manufacture, capable of weathering many external assaults (especially from the
East). The governance of the towns by guilds according to "German city law"^^^ was
seen as evidence of the democratic nature of Saxon society. ^^^ Towns were also places
from which non-members of the Saxon estate had traditionally been excluded.

Despite the loss of estate rights, towns continued to play a central role in Saxon ethnocorporatism, as centres of political, religious, cultural and economic leadership, and as
administrative bodies that the Saxons could hope to control. The former restrictions on
non-Saxon settlement meant that Saxons continued to be concentrated in the old

^^^ See for example, Schullerus, Siebenbrgisch-schsische Volkskunde im Umri and Mller-Langenthal,
"Werden und Wesen des sieb.-schs. Bauertums." Kl Vol 4 Nr 4, April 1927, 151-152.
Misch Orend, "Vom Wesen der Volkskunst." Kl Vol 1 Nr 5, May 1924, 184-6.
This point has been made with regards to Transylvanian material folk culture by Monica Broscatan,
"Vernacular furniture decoration, tradition and influences." Romania: a crossroads of Europe. Seventh
international conference of the Centre for Romanian Studies, 4-5 July 2001.
^^^ Deutsches Stadtrecht. Hermannstadt and Mhlbach practiced the Iglau (Jihlava) variety of German
city lav^ (in Hermannstadt from 1224), while Bistritz, Kronstadt and Schburg followed South German
law. Magocsi, Historical atlas of Central Europe, 37-41.
Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 6-7.

quarters within the former town walls. This facilitated the enforcement of ethnic
difference. The "German" character of the Saxon urban centres was perceived to act for
the scattered rural settlements as a symbol of Saxon spiritual leadership and of ethnic
unity. In the organic imagery of the time, the towns were the heads and the hearts of the
"body of the People".^^^
Towns also provided considerable opportunities for social mobility, in which the Saxons
could not be assured of maintaining their dominant position. As discussed in Chapter 2,
Transylvanian towns became sites of struggle between middle-class Romanians and the
established Saxon and Hungarian urban elite. This impacted strongly on
Transylvanianist representation of the Transylvanian Romanian urban elite. While
representations of the peasantry were for the most part positive, the Romanian middle
classes were largely unwelcome in "Saxon" towns. This dichotomy was clearly
expressed by Heinrich Zillich, in an essay ostensibly aimed at promoting open dialogue
between Saxons and Transylvanian Romanians. He began by proclaiming Saxon
admiration for the Transylvanian Romanian peasant, whom he characterised as simple
and honest. 138 This he contrasted to the Transylvanian Romanian urban middle classes:
Only in the town is he in some ways unwelcome, because he, in that he was
provided with education, he lost culture, which is explicable through two
things: through the lack of his own traditions in the lower middle classes and
though the overvaluing of external values noticeable in all upstarts. Of urban
types we are sharply conscious of the pope, the lawyer, the teacher, the
merchant. ^^^
Thus, the image of the Romanian peasant was used as a means of chastising Romanians
in other socio-economic roles. Most noticeably, Romanian professionals practicing in
traditionally Saxon towns were resented for competing with their Saxon peers. The
language of architecture gave Zillich another means of criticising changes in the social
Volkskorper. For example, see H[ermann] Pl[attner], "Fr den deutschen Charakter unserer Stdte."
SDT.2A October 1919, 1.
Zillich, "Was die siebenbrger Sachsen von den Rumnen halten", 385.
Nur in der Stadt wird er in mancher Hinsicht unerfreulich, weil er, indem er sich mit Bildung versah,
Kultur verlor, was durch zweierlei erklrbar ist: durch den Mangel an eigenen berlieferungen in den
kleinbrgerlichen Schichten und durch die bei allen Emporkmmlingen bemerkbare berschtzung
uerlicher Werte, An stdtlichen Typen sind uns schaf bewut der Pope, der Rechtsanwalt, der
Professor, der Kaufmann. Zillich, "Was die siebenbrger Sachsen von den Rumnen halten", 385-386.

order, praising for example the medieval "German" architecture of his hometown

and the village-like simplicity of the Romanian quarter outside of the town

centre, but attacking the more modem architecture of the upwardly mobile Hungarian
quarter. 141

Zillich also condemned the construction of Romanian Orthodox Churches in the centre
of formerly Saxon-dominated towns and villages, a practice widely resented by Saxons
for the symbol of shifting power that it represented.

For example, Zillich denounced

the construction of an Orthodox Church in the market place of Mediasch, despite the
opposition of the majority-Saxon population; it particularly rankled that the decision
had been forced through by Romanian local government officials directly appointed
from Bucharest.

Zillich was also critical of Romanian monumental architecture,

which drew on Roman and Byzantine influences in the design of civic buildings. Zillich
viewed the style as a pastiche without organic roots, and entirely out of keeping with
Transylvanian architecture.

Prevention of Romanian penetration into Saxon-dominated urban districts was seen also
as a priority by the DSVR. For example in 1930, as the economic climate worsened and
many Saxons found themselves forced to sell their property, the Hermannstadt regional
assembly of the DSVR became concerned that non-Saxon families were buying into

Zillich, Heinrich. Kronstadt. SchaBburg: Klingsor Verlag, 1925. (Innsbruck: Wort und Welt Verlag,
1982), 23-40.
Zillich, Kronstadt, 21-22.
Such struggles formed part of wider efforts between Hungarians and Romanians to shape
Transylvanian urban landscapes. The contemporary and ongoing aspects of this struggle, especially over
the main square of Klausenburg, are explored in White, Nationalism and territory, 95-96, 149-153. A
similar struggle has occurred over plans in 2001 to build a Dracula theme park at SchaBburg, the
birthplace of Vlad Tepe. While Tepe has taken on an increasingly important role in Romanian national
history, especially under Ceascescu, he plays no such role in Saxon national mythology. Saxons opposed
the development as out of keeping with SchaBburg's largely unspoiled medieval architecture, which has
UNESCO listing. After intervention from a range of international bodies and individuals, including the
Prince of Wales, the site of the proposed theme park was eventually relocated to near Bucharest, and the
project appears to have been abandoned. Tazim Jamal & Aniela Taase, "Impacts and conflicts
surrounding Dracula Park, Romania: the role of sustainable tourism principles." Journal of sustainable
tourism. Vol 13 Nr 5, 2005, 440-455. For Saxon responses to the proposal, see the coverage in the
Siebenbrgische Zeitung Online, Of particular interest is the
letter from Dieter Schlesak, 18 October 2001, posted at 1/HTML/000061 .html.
Heinrich Zillich, "Die Marktplatzenteignung in Mediasch." Kl Vol 5 Nr 5, May 1928, 194-196.
Heinrich Zillich, "Unser Bauelend." Kl Vol 5 Nr 3 March 1928, 115-116.

Saxon neighbourhoods. To prevent this, they attempted to match Saxon property sellers
with Saxon purchasers, thus keeping the property in Saxon hands.

The discomfort with the presence of Romanians in "Saxon" towns reflected the
patronising opinion of Romanian culture as peasant culture. Saxon Transylvanianists
viewed the Saxons as an older, wiser and more advanced people than the "younger"
Romanian nation. Zillich, who advocated and actively pursued Saxon-Romanian
dialogue through his editorship of Klingsor, envisioned these "exchanges" as a one-way
process in which the Saxons would educate their Romanian s t u d e n t s . T h i s reflects
Zillich's belief that German culture was to lead Europe, and that it was the task of the
Saxons to teach their neighbours (and not to learn from them).

Saxon attitudes to

urban Romanians point to a contradiction in Transylvanianism; the Transylvanian

Romanians were considered civilised through being Transylvanian (and through the
civilising influence of contact with the Saxons), but too barbarous to live in Saxon
towns. Such is the overlapping nature of identity that although the Transylvanian
Romanians were fellow Transylvanian Selves, they were at the same time Others to the

Cultural exchange was more extensive with Hungarians, who were seen as more
Western. Saxons had longstanding and continuing connections to the Hungarian
intellectual elite. The Saxons' fluency in Hungarian (a near-necessity for the middle
class in pre-War Hungary) made them more aware of intellectual developments in that
quarter than in the Romanian language sphere. As a result, descriptions of Hungarian
and Szekler rural communities generally lacked the orientalising attitudes expressed
towards Romanians. The rarer descriptions of the traditionally Hungarian areas of
Transylvania were little different to those descriptions of Saxon settlements. However,
the presence of Hungarians in Saxon towns was also judged to be evidence of moral


Furthermore, descriptions of Transylvanian Hungarians as distant and

The scheme was pubHcised through the Saxon neighbourhood associations, via the Hermannstadt
Citizens' Association. Form letter, St-Obmann Stellv. Heinz, Hermannstadt Citizens' Association to
Nachbarhann, 12 May, 1930. StAH Fond Brukenthal, Vol 105, KKl-31/94.
Zillich, "Kulturelle Zusammenarbeit in Rmanien".
Zillich. "Die Ideen der Zeitschrift 'Klingsor'." 17.
^^^ For example, Zillich, Kronstadt, 41.

confined to their own territories also reduced their impact, at least ideologically, on
Saxon communities.

Although Heimat identity gave German nationalism elements of plurality, German

national identity was not infinitely flexible. To fit comfortably into the nation, the
Heimat had to be subsumed into the national narrative.^^^ The occasional contradictions
between nationalist and Heimat narratives produced tensions within the German nation.
(See Chapter 1). Similarly, the forging of a common Transylvanian identity required
compromises in local ethnic identities to produce a coherent whole. This produced
tensions within Transylvanianism. Nowhere was this more apparent than in attempts to
produce a coherent unifying Transylvanian history. By the interwar period, the
Transylvanian past was subject to contradictory and mutually antagonistic ethnocorporatist and/or nationalist histories. While Saxons and Hungarians viewed the estate
system as positive, Romanians viewed it as exclusive and discriminatory. Romanian
national history portrayed the history of Transylvania as one of exploitation of
Romanians by the other Peoples. There was also little evidence that the Saxons and
Szeklers had made common cause with the enserfed peasantry. Saxon efforts to bridge
the gap between their and Romanian perspectives of the past were largely

By representing the history of Transylvania as a struggle of everybody else against the

nobility, Mller tailored his history to be as inclusive as possible. He was especially
careful to make it as palatable as possible to Transylvanian Romanians, whose support
for Transylvanianism was crucial, and who had perhaps the least incentives to pursue a
regional identity. Where possible, he minimised any mention of issues that conflicted
with Romanian national history. Saxons favoured the view that Romanians were late
arrivals to Transylvania, and that their increase in numbers in the fifteenth century was
marked by their "illegal" settlement in the Knigsboden and the theft of cattle. ^^^
However, as I discussed in Chapter 1, Romanians favoured the theory that Romanians
were the descendents of the original Dacian inhabitants of Transylvania and the Romans
that conquered them. Mller accepted the Daco-Romanian theory of continuity central
^^^ For example, Jekelius, "Besuch bei den Szeklem."
On plurality and the limits of diversity in the Heimat idea, see Confmo, The nation as a local

metaphor, 158-159.
For example, Schullerus, Siebenbrgisch-schsische Volkskunde im Umri, 8.

to Romanian nationalism, while locating the centres of Romanian habitation in forested

and mountainous regions, minimising their claim on the valleys settled by Saxons and
By locating Romanians in the mountains, Mller minimised claims that the Saxons had
oppressed Romanians. However, he was forced to recognise that Eastern Orthodox
ethnic Romanians living on the Knigsboden had been at considerable disadvantage in
relation to the enfranchised Saxons. Mller argued that while restrictions on Romanian
life in Hungarian areas were very great, in Saxon areas Romanians had been treated far
better. However, Mller was forced to recognise that Romanians had been excluded
from Saxon towns. He dealt with this exclusion by justifying it in terms not of the
privilege of one group over another, but as a necessary act by a small minority
attempting to preserve its traditions and customs from external foreign influences.
Finally, Mller relativised the experiences of Romanians in the Knigsboden by
comparing them favourably to both the treatment of Romanians under Hungarian rule
and of foreigners, especially Jews, in pre-War Romania. ^^^
Friedrich Mller-Langenthal, was particularly critical of the tendency of Romanian
scholars to view the history of Transylvania as one of social oppression, rather than one
of joint resistance against the Ottomans. He blamed the Romanian nobility for
"abandoning" their People and assimilating into the Hungarian nobility. He also argued
that conditions for the Romanian peasantry could not have been that oppressive because
if it had been then they would not have increased in number so rapidlyi!]^^"^
Nevertheless, Mller-Langenthal also criticised the Hungarian nobility for having
exploited the peasantry. He drew parallels with the present, identifying the new
Romanian elite as doing much the same.^^^ Some Saxon commentators took a more
conciliatory position. For example. Otto Folberth argued that all three Peoples had
abandoned Transylvanianism at times in the past.^^^ Similarly, Ernst Jekelius accepted
that Saxons had been harder masters than necessary in the past. However, he called
Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 3-4.
Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 7-8.
154 Mller-Langenthal, "siebenbrgische Seele", 254-256. Mller took a more moderate position in a
number of other ways. While he also claimed that those Romanians who were ennobled assimilated, he
acknowledged that the few Saxon nobles had done the same. Mller, Das autonome Siebenbrgen, 6.
^^^ Mller-Langenthal, Friedrich. "Die Siebenbrgische Seele." Vol. 3. No. 7. p. 254.
Folberth, "Die drei Durchbrche", 326.

upon the Transylvanian Romanians not to exceed Christian propriety in seeking

revenge for past injustices.^^^

The Transylvanian landscape proved to be equally problematic for Transylvanianists.

Although Saxons, Hungarians and Romanians shared a common landscape, the
meanings they ascribed to the landscape were strikingly different. In analysing the
emotional relationship of nations to territory and landscape, George White argues that
not all land associated with the nation is of equal importance. White argues that there is
a hierarchy of emotional relationships of the nation to nationally significant sites and
territories. ^^^ Similarly, while Transylvania was the Heimat of the Saxons, not all areas
of Transylvania were of equal significance in the construction of Saxon ethnic identity.
Those areas of traditional Saxon inhabitation - the Konigsboden - were more important
than areas in which few Saxons were found. Furthermore, the "core" areas of Saxon
habitation were described very differently from the non-Saxon periphery.
Although Otto Folberth claimed that the three Peoples of Transylvania were spread
throughout the land, he recognised that the populations were not spread evenly. Saxons
tended to be located in the north and south of Transylvania, Hungarians in the East and
West, and Romanians everywhere. ^^^ Folberth wrote a number of detailed descriptions
of some regions within Transylvania. He contributed two articles to Klingsor about his
birthplace Mediasch and the surrounding Greater Kokel Valley. Folberth's descriptions
demonstrate great familiarity and comfort with the region, and he explores at some
length the psychological impacts he perceives the landscape as having had on the Saxon
population. Folberth recognised localised imaginings of the Heimat within the Saxon
Volk, arguing that when the Mediascher thought of his Heimat, it was specifically of the
landscape of the Greater Kokel Valley that he thought. ^^^ As with the ethnographers,
Folberth provides a description of a monocultural landscape. Other inhabitants are
entirely lacking from his descriptions. ^^^ To him, to be a "Mediascher" was
automatically to be a Saxon. This is despite the fact that in 1910 Germans made up only

Jekelius, Emst. "Brief an einen rumnischen Freund." pp,297-298.

^^^ White, Nationalism and territory, 39-41.
Folberth, "Die drei Durchbrche", 323.
Otto Folberth, "Die Mediascher Landschaft." Kl Vol 5 Nr 6, June 1928, 204.
Otto Folberth, "Der Mediascher." Kl Vol 5 Nr 4, April 1928, 151-153, and Folberth, "Die Mediascher

44.8 percent of the population in and around Mediasch.^^^ By 1941, the Saxon
population of Mediasch had fallen proportionately to 35.7 percent.^^^ Ernst Jekelius
provided a similarly purely German representation of Hermannstadt.^^"^ Furthermore, it
is apparent that when using the term Siebenbrgen, Saxon observers were sometimes
primarily to the Knigsboden

Folberth also wrote at some length about the extensive area of rolling plains in northwestern Transylvania^^^ known in Romanian as the campia and in Hungarian as the
Mezoseg, a region, not traditionally inhabited by Saxons.^^^ Even though he was
describing a portion of Transylvania, the shared Heimat, his language was Orientalising
and exoticising. Folberth compared the landscape and its mixed Hungarian/Romanian
inhabitants to those of Russia and Asia. The cmpia was part of Transylvania, but
clearly not considered to be part of the familiar Saxon Heimat

Folberth adopted similarly orientalist tones when describing a Romanian mountain

village, as discussed above. ^^^ Mountains occupied an ambivalent position in the Saxon
ethnic landscape. As discussed above, the Carpathians played a key role in geographical
determinist understandings of the common Transylvanian identity. The mountains or at
least the passes through them commanded by towns such as Kronstadt, also played an
important role in Saxon ethnic identity. Transylvanianist descriptions, however, reveal a
lingering sense that the mountains were wild dangerous places passed through by
necessity rather than preference. ^^^ At the same time, the Saxons had experienced the
re-imagining of mountains as places of pristine beauty that had been experienced
elsewhere in Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Transylvanian
Carpathians Association {Siebenbrgische Karpathenverein, herein the SKV), founded
in 1880, fostered an interest in the natural landscape of the Carpathians and established
162 A Trtenelmi Magyarorszag atlasza es Adattra 1914, 73.
^^^ My (ed), Die Siebenbuerger Sachsen, 602.
Emst Jekelius, "Chronic einer siebenbuergischen Stadt." Kl Vol 8 Nr 8, August 1931, 292-297.
Lengyel, "Kulturverbindung, Regionalismus, fderativer Kompromi," 53.
The Cmpia lies between Neumarkt (Tirgu Mures, Maros Vsrhely) and Klausenburg, and is
bounded by three rivers, the Mieresch (Mures, Maros), Aranyos (Arie, Aranyos), and Samosch (Some,
Szamos). Boner, Transylvania, 347-348.
Cimp is Romanian for plain or field; likewise Mezo is Hungarian for field. It is interesting to note that
Folberth does not utilise the German name for the region, the Siebenbrgische Heide [Transylvanian
Heath], further underlining the alien character of the region.
Otto Folberth, "Die siebenbiirgische Steppe." Kl Vol 4 Nr 10, October 1927, 362-366.
Folberth, "Rumnisches Gebirgsdorf"
For example, Mller-Langenthal, "Die siebenbrgische Seele", 253.

a number of walking trails and camping huts.

The jewel in the crown of the SKV, the

resort camp Hohe Rinne near Hermannstadt, was featured in Sigerus' Durch
Siebenbrgen, along with a number of photographs of mountain landscapes. However,
whether the mountains were pristine or dangerous, to Saxon observers they remained
uninhabited by civilised Peoples. As a result, they played a different and less central
role in Saxon identity than in Romanian identity, where they were refuges of culture. In
addition, descriptions of the Transylvanian landscape had to overcome differences in
existing efforts to naturalise the Hungarian and Romanian nations. Hungarian
nationalists viewed the Carpathian Mountains as a defensive wall defining the natural
border of Hungary. Saxons adopted a similar position regarding the borders of
Transylvania. However, Romanian nationalists viewed the Carpathians as a fortress in
the heart of Romania, whose natural borders were defined by river "moats" (the
Danube, the Theis, etc.).

One of the key functions of Heimat imagery in Germany was to produce an image of a
familiar, socially harmonious landscape. However, it was hardly possible to produce an
ideal image of the Transylvanian social order that would be accepted by all. By
representing Transylvanian Romanians as peasantry, Saxon Transylvanianists were
unable to appeal to the growing Romanian middle classes. Recognising the expansion of
Romanians into urban centres and the professions was unpalatable to Saxons (and
Hungarians). Landscapes were ascribed with different meanings by different ethnicities,
as already discussed. Similarly, there were great difficulties in producing visual imagery
of the Transylvanian Heimat. Saxon images of Transylvanian secular architecture.
Churches and folk costume were almost without exception labelled indicating the
ethnicity of the subject. Traditional Transylvanian secular architecture and Churches
were distinct in style and for the most part readily identifiable. (Compare Figures 6 and
11.) Differences in folk costume were less extensive but reinforced by ideological belief
in separate folk customs (Figures 12 - 16). As Sorin Mitu has argued:

Perhaps the greatest obstacle in the way of a distinctly Transylvanian

awareness of history which could serve as a foundation for a possible
Heins Heitmann, "Zur Geschichte des Siebenbrgischen Karpatenvereins." In Heinz Heitmann &
Helmut Roth (ed.), Der Siebenbrgische Karpatenverein, 1880-1945. Wort und Welt: Thaur bei
Innsbruck, 1990, 11-12.
White, Nationalism and territory, 76-77, 138.

autonomy, is that there is no such thing as a single "Transylvania". There

are many Transylvanias. Though the same geographical space may be under
discussion, what Romanians mean by Transilvania is not what Hungarians
mean by Erdely; what Saxons meant by Siebenbrgen before they seized
the day and left the place, was something different again.

1 'yo

Saxon Transylvanianists utilised ethnic identity for contradictory and competing

purposes. Although Transylvanianism was about a common Transylvanian identity, it
was equally about providing spaces for ethnic difference and ethno-corporatism.
Furthermore, Saxons used ethnic difference to reinforce a social hierarchy with
themselves at the top. The gulfs between ethnic identities in Transylvania were wide,
and the ability of Transylvanianism to bridge them was undermined by its second role
as the champion of difference and separatism.

The antithesis of Transylvanianism - the Roma

An examination of Saxon Transylvanianist texts reveals a distinct hierarchy within
Transylvanianism, in which Saxons were considered most embodying the Transylvanian
spirit, followed by Hungarians and then Romanians. As discussed above,
Transylvanianism was constructed in the context of Romanian rule, and the greatest
tensions in Saxon Transylvanianist texts occur when describing interactions with ethnic
Romanians. However, although considered the most threatening, Romanians were not
considered the most Otherly of the inhabitants of Transylvania. This dubious honour
was reserved for the Roma. Saxon stereotypes of the Roma were the antithesis of
Transylvanianism. While the Transylvanian was European, civilised and settled, the
Zigeuner was Asiatic, uncivilised, nomadic and unprincipled. (See Chapter 1.) For
example, Misch Orend's description of the Zigeuner was little more than a regurgitation
of traditional stereotypes:

In the midst of us these black fellows live, wandering and begging; they are
greeted with curiosity and contempt, without it being possible to completely

Mitu, "Illusions and facts about Transylvania", 69.

understand their way of life. Their instinct for life is unshakable, which compels
them to spend their lives in the caravan and under the tent, summers and
winters, and to acquire their livelihood through begging, fortune telling and

Orend adopted this representation despite the existence of settled Roma communities on
the outskirts of nearly every Saxon village, and the traditional role of Roma as metal
workers, woodcarvers and other artisans, roles that continued to be important in rural
Transylvania during the interwar period, and which still have some currency today.
However, Orend's characterisation reflects his belief that only the nomadic Zigeuner
had "authenticity". ^^^ Although other accounts showed greater awareness of settled
Roma communities, the Wanderzigeuner or Wandering Gypsy was consistently
represented as the most authentic. ^^^ Similar representations of the Roma are to be
found in the Saxon press,^^^ and in Sigems' Durch Siebenbrgen, which included
images of "wandering Zigeuners'" and of a ''Zigeuner camp" (Images 17 and 18).
Placed towards the beginning of the collection, Zigeuner provided an element of
exoticism for the foreign reader. Representations of the Roma also reflect wider beliefs
of the inability of the Zigeuner to settle down or engage in other pursuits. This in turn
stems from Enlightenment frustrations at inability to overcome centuries of social
segregation by simply granting Roma plots of land and renaming them "new
peasants". ^^^

Surprisingly, the Roma were the ethnic Other whose presence was most frequently
recognised and accepted in Saxon descriptions of Saxon settlements. The Roma was the
only ethnicity to appear in ethnographic descriptions as a fixed and permanent part of

Mitten unter uns hausen diese schwarzen Gesellen, wandern und betteln; sie werden mit Neugier und
Verachtung angestaunt, ohne da es mglich wre, ihr Seelenleben ganz zu begreifen. Unfabar ist ihr
Lebensinstinki, der sie zwingt, ihr Dasein auf dem Wagen und unter dem Zelt zu verbringen, sommers und
winters, und durch Betteln, Wahrsagen und Stehlen ihren kargen Lebensunterhalt zu erwerben. Orend,
Misch. "Die Volkslyrik der Siebenbrgischen Zigeuner." Kl Vol 3 Nr 6, June 1926, 223.
Orend, "Die Volkslyrik der Siebenbrgischen Zigeuner", 224
For example, Erwin Wittstock, "Von den Zigeumem." Kl Vol 4 Nr 2, February 1927, 41-54.
For example, "Wanderzigeuner", SDT5 April 1923, 6.
This tendency was criticised by the Englishman John Paget in the 1830's: "How many kind-hearted
people have given clothes to the naked gipsy, and offered him the shelter of a roof, and have branded him
afterwards as incapable of civilisation, and as insensible to the commonest feelings of gratitude; because
he sold the one to supply himself with what he needed more, or forsook the other to seek some occupation
less foreign to his tastes and habits!" Paget, Hungary and Transylvania Vol 2, 174-5.

the Saxon village. ^^^ Although the bulk of Saxon ethnology was focused on the Saxonself during the interwar period, the Roma stand out as having themselves been subject
of a number of essays and articles, including the one by Orend quoted above. I argue
that the interest in the Zigeuner Other was because the Roma were perceived to have
been the only ethnicity that had remained in its "place" in rural society; at the bottom of
the social hierarchy. As such, they did not threaten Saxon hegemony in the villages of
the Knigsboden. As discussed in Chapter 1, negative representations of the Zigeuner
were an act of social mastery, holding him to his place.

Furthermore, from the late nineteenth century the German division between Volkskunde
and Vlkerkunde - between Ethnology and Ethnography, had come to include a division
between the study of Europeans (Volkskunde), and the study of exotic, primitive peoples
from other parts of the world {Vlkerkunde)}^^ As "non-Europeans", the Roma
provided a rare opportunity for Saxon commentators to engage in Vlkerkunde. The
Zigeuner Other was also distinguished from other ethnicities in Transylvania in that the
Saxons did not have to fear that their ethnographic assertions would be refuted by angry
intellectuals from the Roma community. This is not to say that there were no Roma
intelligentsia. Indeed, the interwar period saw the emergence of a number of Roma
collective organisations,^^^ as well as the publication of Roma journals.^^^ However,
from the Saxon perspective, educated Roma were no longer authentic Zigeuner, and
their speaking position thus carried no validity. Saxon scholars reacted with surprising
vehemence to dismiss claims of the existence of Roma scholarship. ^^^ This explains the
absence of Roma contributors to Klingsor, as mentioned above.
For example, Schullerus, Siebenbrgisch-schsische Volkskunde im Umri. 7-8.
Vermeulen, Hans. "Origins and institutionalization of ethnography and ethnology in Europe and the
USA, 1771-1845." Vermeulen, Hans F. & Roldan, Arturo Alvarez (ed.) Fieldwork and footnotes: studies
in the history of European anthropology. Routledge. London & New York. 1995. pp.47-48.
V^oodcock, The Tigani is not a man, 36-38.
There were a number of Roma journals being produced in Romania in the 1930s, including Glasul
Romilor [The Romany Voice] and Neamul Tiganesc [The Gypsy Nation].
^^^ For example, in November 1931, Zillich published a review of an article "Gypsies write " by R.
Kaltoffen in the journal Die Literatur (Stuttgart). Kaltoffen had suggested that the inhabitants of the
Soviet Russian Moldavian Republic (a region in part corresponding to modem-day Transnistria), being of
Romani origins, lacked a literature of their own. However, they were in the process of creating one from
scratch. Zillich was scathing of the suggestion that the literature emerging from the Moldavian Republic
as Romani. Zillich's scepticism stemmed in part from the fact that the journals were written in Romanian,
and in part from the communist tones of the titles (for example, Plugarul Rosch ["The Red Ploughman"]
Moldova Sozialista ["Socialist Moldavia"] and Moldova literar ["Literary Moldavia"]) and of their
contents. Zillich also doubted the Romani identity of the listed authors on the basis of their names
(Andrijewsku, Kastani, Pescar, Markow, Kornfeld and Lechtzer). Kaltoffen was mistaken in his analysis
of the origins of the Soviet Moldavian Republic, which was created to emphasise a Romanian-speaking

Most Saxon ethnographers of the Roma were primarily interested in Saxon folk culture,
and approached the Roma as a secondary subject. Nor were many involved in primary
research. The study of Roma folklore was not considered a serious discipline. The
dilettantish approach to Roma ethnography produced some unusual pieces of
scholarship. For example, Erwin Wittstock approached the topic through a strange blend
of ethnographic observations, humorous anecdotes and pure fiction represented as a
pseudo-autobiographical narrative. His essay for the most part consists of anecdotes and
rehashed stereotypes, becoming increasingly fictional as it goes, and ending in a
revitalisation of the old false legend of Roma kidnapping children, in which he cast
himself having been kidnapped as a child by Wanderzigeuner}^"^ This legend continued
to have currency in the Saxon press in the
Despite the constant use of stereotypical imagery of the Roma in the work of Saxon
folklorists, most of the descriptions expressed a certain fondness, and need, for the
Roma. The Zigeuner were mysterious, amusing, perhaps a little dangerous and thus
needing to be controlled, and yet easily predictable and - within certain bounds obedient to their place in society. Saxon mastery of rural society was maintained, albeit
over only one ethnic Other, and this generated considerable warmth for the Zigeuner.
The Zigeuner Other stood at a greater distance from the Transylvanian Saxon Self than
did the Transylvanian Romanian Other, considered to be more or less "European" and
supposedly a co-member of an overarching Transylvanian identity. However,
Transylvanian Romanians represented a greater threat to Saxon interests.

In their attempts to construct Transylvanianism, Saxon Transylvanianists drew upon the
model of the German nation, and its relationship to the Heimat. Just as the Heimat
Moldavian identity distinct from Romanian nationalism, and thus strengthen the Soviet Union's claims to
Bessarabia. (Magocsi, Historical atlas of Central Europe, 150-151.) He also appears to have been
mistaken as to the nature of the journals, which were Moldavian rather than Romani. Nevertheless, the
vehemence of Zillich's response is striking. Zillich, Heinrich. "Zigeuner schreiben " Klingsor Vol 8 Nr
11, November 1931,439.
Wittstock, "Von den Zigeumem." As an attempt to blend genres, this text is ultimately unsuccessful.
Schuller-Anger, Kontakt und Wirkung, 101.
For example, "Von Zigeunern verschleppt." SDT\6 February 1923, 3.


became a means of imagining the German nation, Transylvanianism attempted to reimagine the Romanian state in its own image as a multi-ethnic polity with a collective,
Western culture. Such an imagining was untenable, and explains the very limited
examples of practical Transylvanianism. Unlike the wholly ethnic-German Heimat,
which was well accepted within the German nation, multi-ethnic Transylvanianism was
viewed as a threat by Romanian nationalists. The dominant position of the Old
Kingdom within Greater Romania allowed for the imposition of a centrist model onto
the periphery, rather than allowing the periphery to influence the shape of the state.
Furthermore, Transylvanianism existed as much to separate Transylvania from Romania
as to unite the province with the state. As such it had a limited appeal to Transylvanian
Romanians, upon whose support it depended.

Within Transylvania, ethnic identity functioned in a fashion analogous to the Heimat

within the German nation. Saxon Transylvanianists repeatedly asserted that the
expression of Transylvanian Saxon, Hungarian or Romanian identity was an assertion of
Transylvanian identity. At the same time, Transylvanianism was also an expression of
localness and familiarity. Saxon Transylvanianists expressed a deep sense of familiarity
with all three Transylvanian cultures.

However, the limitations of Transylvanianism become apparent when one considers

Saxon imaginings of the common Transylvanian culture. While initially
Transylvanianism appears to be a composite of all three cultures, a closer examination
reveals that Saxon Transylvanianists imagined Transylvanianism as an extension of
German/Saxon culture. To Saxon Transylvanianists, Saxons formed the pinnacle of
Transylvanianism. Again, this can be seen as analogous to the relationship between
Heimat and nation: the abstract Transylvanian general is imagined through the local and
familiar Saxon particular.

It also becomes apparent that the extent to which Saxon Transylvanianists viewed
Transylvanian Hungarians and Romanians as sharing a common culture and identity
was sharply limited. These limitations were especially apparent in circumstances where
Saxon interests were perceived to be threatened. One measure of collective identity is
the extent to which individuals are prepared to make compromises for the good of the
collective. At times when Saxon interests were threatened, Transylvanian identity

quickly fragmented on the fault lines that had shaped images of Self and Other for
centuries. By comparison the Roma, excluded from the Transylvanian Self and
relegated as the most otherly of Transylvanian ethnicities, were nevertheless granted a
permanent place in the Saxon imagining of Transylvanianism because they did not
threaten the social order.

In Germany, the Heimat myth-symbol complex was selectively shaped to allow

integration with a broader German whole. By comparison, Transylvanianism aimed to
legitimise ethnic separatism at least as much as to unite Transylvanians. Consequently,
Transylvanianists found it extremely difficult to unify their frequently contradictory
ethnic myth-symbol complexes. Transylvanianism had to compete with Hungarian and
Romanian nationalism, as well as with the Saxons' growing sense of belonging to a
broader German community. It was ultimately unable to do so. Furthermore, the
growing radicalisation of Saxon ethno-corporatism increasingly undermined Saxon
Transylvanianism from the early 1930s. This is discussed in Chapter 6.

Local identity had a strong role to play in Transylvania. However, local identity
functioned along monocultural lines. Saxon representations of the Heimat had the
greatest symbolic currency when concerned with Saxon Transylvania, an ethnic
landscape delineated by geography (the Konigsboden), culture and linguistics. The
Saxon Heimat also integrated into a broader whole, a German ethnic community
extending from Germany to include the scattered Germans Abroad of Eastern Europe
and beyond. This theme is addressed in Chapter 5. However, in the following Chapter,
which focuses on the role of the Church, the divisions between local identities within
the Romanian German community can also be seen.

Chapter 4: The Lutheran Church and Saxon ethno-corporatism

Lutheranism played a central role in the formation of Saxon ethnic identity, as discussed
in Chapter 1. In the interwar period, the Lutheran Provincial Church in Transylvania
C.A. continued to view itself and operate as an ethnic Church [Volkskirche]. Protected
by laws of religious freedom, the Church was able to replicate some of the key functions
of the state for the Saxon community, and was the most important Saxon ethnocorporatist institution. Education is one of the key functions of the nation-state, allowing
it to produce a standardised national culture.^ For the Saxon community, the Church
with its extensive system of schools was the key institution fulfilling this role. Other
functions include providing for the basic needs (for example medical, social) of the
community.^ As a part of its Christian mission, the Landeskirche also traditionally
carried out welfare activities such as caring for orphans, maintaining hospitals, and
providing relief for the sick and the poor. Most important in this process was the
founding in 1920 of the Welfare Office [Frsorge-Stelle] under the directorship of
medical doctor Heinrich Siegmund, who led the office until his death in 1937.^ As part
of this, the Church engaged in long-term financial planning for the Saxon community,
replicating a further function of nation-states. Finally, a key function of the nation-state
is to enforce the rights and obligations of its citizens. Through its moral and religious
authority, the Church was able to play a significant role in ordering the communal life
of Saxons, especially those in rural areas.

At the same time, however, the moral authority of the Church faced increasing
challenges from within the community. As discussed in Chapter 2, the financial security
of the Church was undermined at the end of the War. To meet its shortfalls, the Church
imposed a Church tax on its congregants. The financial burden was significant, and the
Church frequently had to expend significant effort to extract the tax. This had a negative
effect on its standing in the Saxon community. The Church also experienced a
^ Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, 35-50.
^ The functions of the nation-state, as outlined by Guibemau {Nations without states, 17), have been
outlined in the Introduction.
^ On Siegmund's role in the Welfare Office, see Julius Ernst Gyurgyevich, Landeskonsistorialrat Dr.
Heinrich Siegmund, Stadtoberarzt d. R. 1867-1937. Sibiu-Hermannstadt: [No publisher], 1937, 5, and
Wagner, Ernst. "Heinrich Siegmund und die "volksbiologische" Forschung in der Zwischenkriegzeit."
Vol 6 Nr 2, 1983, 177-186.

transformation in its geographical scope and in the Volk it served. While before the War
almost all members had been Saxon, from 1922 the Church expanded to include almost
all of the Lutheran parishes in Romania. Although a majority of Lutherans continued to
be Saxons, there were also significant numbers of Lutherans in the other German
communities of Greater Romania. As a result, the Church began a transformation from a
Saxon ethnic Church to a German ethnic Church. The extent to which the Church
ceased to be a specifically Saxon institution remained contested throughout the period to
1933 and well after.

Many of the challenges faced by the Church also reflected long-term tensions in
Lutheran piety in Transylvania. One of these centred on the intersection of ethnicity and
religion. For some Lutherans, the civil mission of the Church as an ethnic Church was
in direct contradiction to its religious mission. For others, the Church had not made
significant enough efforts to bring its religious tenets into line with its ethno-corporatist
mission. A second source of conflict was over the role of the Church in society. While
some Saxons argued for a secular society, other Saxons criticised the Church for
insufficient piety and considered alternate faiths. These tensions led a small number of
Saxons to challenge the connection between Church and ethnic community.

I shall begin this chapter by exploring the relationship between Church and state, to
highlight the special status of the Church, enabling it to advance Saxon ethnocorporatism. Then I shall consider the interplay of ethnicity and religion. In this I shall
focus on three factors: the Church as a Saxon ethnic Church, the Church as a German
Church, and the conflict between being an ethnic Church and a World Church. In doing
so, I will argue that the Church placed greater emphasis on its ethnic role than on its
universal religious mission. I shall also argue that conflict remained between its roles as
serving Saxons and serving Germans. I shall then explore the ways in which the Church
carried out its ethnic mission, via education, youth work, the women's movement and
social work. I shall then explore various forms of opposition to the active role in secular
society adopted by the Church. In part, I shall do this by exploring the Church's
relationship to the workers' movement and to the "Dissatisfied". Finally, I shall
consider attempts to frame Saxon ethnicity without Lutheranism.

Church and State

The Lutheran Church benefited from the perception that while ethnic difference
represented a threat to the nation-state, rehgious difference did not. As discussed in
Chapter 2, in Romania the separation of faith from nation was incomplete; the
constitution gave special recognition to the Orthodox and Uniate Churches as
"Romanian' Churches. Nonetheless, the Lutheran Church was protected by Romania's
1923 constitution, which guaranteed religious freedoms for other mainstream faiths. As
a result, the Church was able to give protection to a range of social institutions
constituted on religious lines. The Lutheran Church also benefited from the policy of
co-operation with the state adopted by the German Party. As discussed in Chapter 2, the
German Party was able to secure legislative protection for the Church that it was unable
to secure for ethnic communities.
Nevertheless, there were points of conflict between the Church and the state. One of
these was education. Before the First World War, Lutheran schools had operated with
very limited government influence. The Landeskonsistorium (the governing body of the
Church) set its own curriculum, used German as the language of instruction, and taught
Hungarian only as a foreign language."^ Lutherans enjoyed levels of literacy
considerably higher than in the Old Kingdom, and also higher than the overall
Transylvanian average.^
In 1921 there were 255 Lutheran Volksschulen in Transylvania, providing education for
children from age six to their confirmation (at age 15 for boys and 14 for girls). Every
Saxon community had its own Volksschule, with one or more classes depending on the
number of students. There were also 11 schools of higher education, including teachers'
seminaries capable of training the staff to maintain the education system.^ In addition.

Walter Knig, "Das Schulwesen der Siebenbrger Sachsen in der Zwischenkriegszeit." In Knig (ed),
Siebenbrgen zwischen den beiden Weltkriegen, 265-269.
^ Knig, "Das Schulwesen der Siebenbrger Sachsen in der Zwischenkriegszeit", note 15, 271.
^ Knig, "Das Schulwesen der Siebenbrger Sachsen in der Zwischenkriegszeit", 287.On the age of
students, see Schullerus, Siebenbrgisch-schsische Volkskunde im Umri, 102. There were also a
number of professional schools teaching agricultural skills, trades and commerce. These had been
founded by a range of Saxon commercial associations and collectives, and remained outside of the
supervision of the Landeskirche. Walter Knig, "Das berufsbildende Schulwesen der Siebenbrger

the Church ran continuing education classes [Freie Arheitsgemeinschaften] in most

communities for students that did not go on to higher education after Volksschule^
As discussed in Chapter 2, protecting the education system from state interference
proved to be one of the main activities of the Vo Iks organisation during the interwar
period, occupying politicians such as Hans Otto Roth, and Senators Adolf Schullems
and Friedrich Teutsch. Initially following the First World War, the autonomy of private
schools in Transylvania increased greatly. The Minorities Treaty promised autonomy
for Saxon and Szekler schools. Hungarian language classes were dropped in November
1918 and not replaced with compulsory Romanian classes until September 1924. There
was no state interference in the curriculum. o
However, with the centralisation of the state from 1923 (see Chapter 2), increasing state
control was applied to religious schools. The school autonomy provisions of the
Minorities Treaty were not legislated in the 1923 constitution. This was followed by a
series of education laws that increased state powers of oversight, namely the State
Primary School Act (1924), Baccalaureate Act (1925), Private Schools Act (1925) and
Secondary Education Act (1928), each of which reduced the autonomy of the Lutheran
Church's schools. Of greatest significance was the 1925 Private Schools Act. Schools
were obliged to provide lessons in Romanian language, history and geography, using
Romanian as the language of instruction. Private schools were also obliged to as a
minimum fulfil the requirements of the state school curriculum. Furthermore, the 1925
Baccalaureate Act obliged students to sit their final exams in Romanian, making it
extremely difficult for students at non-Romanian-language schools to gain entry into
Romanian institutions of higher learning. Although these requirements perhaps do not
seem overly onerous by comparison to state oversight of private schools in most
Western countries today, they represented a significant reduction in autonomy, and gave
the state many opportunities to obstruct minority schools.^
Sachsen." ZfSL Vol 17 Nr 1, 1994, 32-52. However, these played far more specialised and less broadly
influential roles than the Church's education system.
^ "Richtlinien zu einem Arbeitsplan fur die Fortbildung der konfirmierten Jugend." Supplement to KBl
Vol 18 Nr 41, 14 October 1926. Also Klara Binder, "Arbeitsgemeinschaften und Volkshochschule." In
Brandsch (ed), Mdchenbildung und Frauenberufe, 57-65.
^ Knig, "Das Schulwesen der Siebenbrger Sachsen in der Zwischenkriegszeit", 270-273.
^ On legislative reforms, see Knig, "Das Schulwesen der Siebenbrger Sachsen in der
Zwischenkriegszeit", 275, 291-292. On state attitudes to minority schools, see Livezeanu, Cultural
politics in Greater Romania, 16-19, 44-45.

However, the Church successfully took steps to minimise state interference in the
schools. The schools were explicitly included in the Church constitution for the first
time in 1926, increasing the protection provided by guarantees of religious freedoms in
the state constitution.^^ In addition, guidelines for schools set by the
Landeskonsistorium included extensive self-administration of individual schools
(although the Landeskonsistorium reserved for itself ultimate authority over school
matters). The Landeskonsistorium retained relative freedom from the state in setting the
curriculum for its two most important subjects, German and Religion. The Church was
also able to negotiate a substantially different curriculum to the state standard for health
sciences (Gesundheitslehre), which formed a part of the Church's welfare program. ^^
However, as discussed in Chapter 2, the agrarian reforms undermined the financial
security of the Church. Before the War, the Church had been supported primarily by its
sizeable estates and by donations from Saxon industrial and financial concerns, as well

as by limited state subsidies.

After the War, the Agrarian Reforms reduced the

property of the Church by more than half. At the same time, the reduction in the wealth
of Saxon businesses removed another important source of funding for the Church. This
should have been mifigated by a state income-based school tax (10 percent in towns, 14
percent in rural areas), of which a percentage based on student numbers should have
gone to private schools. In practice, Lutheran schools received next to nothing before
1930, and very little after that.^^ The educafional system placed a tremendous strain
upon the Church during the interwar period. ^^ The Church became dependent upon a
voluntary tax from its congregants to meet the costs of the school system. The tax was
generally set at the same rate as (and paid in addition to) the state School Tax, although
where this was insufficient the Church tax could be doubled or tripled. ^^ Although
individual Saxon holdings were largely unaffected by the Agrarian reforms, the
communally held land of Saxon communities was effected. This, the depressed state of
agricultural markets in the 1920's and a shortage of capital all contributed to making the
Church tax a very significant burden. Throughout the period there were numerous calls
Binder, "Die evangelische Landeskirche A. B. in Rumnien," 239-240.
^^ Knig, "Das Schulwesen der Siebenbrger Sachsen in der Zwischenkriegszeit" , 277-281, 288-289.
Knig, "Das Schulwesen der Siebenbrger Sachsen in der Zwischenkriegszeit", 265-269.
^^ Knig, "Das Schulwesen der Siebenbrger Sachsen in der Zwischenkriegszeit", 281-283.
^^ Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 93.
Knig, "Das Schulwesen der Siebenbrger Sachsen in der Zwischenkriegszeit", 284-285.

from various quarters to reduce the scope and therefore cost of the Lutheran school
system, especially from the late 1920s. However, despite some administrative costcutting measures, the Church remained firmly committed to maintaining its education

The weak position of the Church schools in the interwar period resulted in an increasing
dependence on support from Germany and to a lesser degree Austria. Most importantly,
the German government secretly provided direct funding to the Church, without which
the continued functioning of the schools would simply have been impossible. ^^
Furthermore, the Church was able to circumvent the requirement that the Baccalaureate
be sat in Romanian by negotiating an arrangement with tertiary education bodies in
Germany and Austria that they would continue to accept the Lutheran schools' own
German-language final exams for determining whether or not to accept students. ^^
While offering little assistance to students wishing to attend Romanian universities, this
was of great value to the many Lutheran students that went on to universities in
Germany and Austria. This was one of a number of ways in which the Lutheran Church
and its education system was in effect sponsored by Germans elsewhere, especially in
Germany. This included numerous scholarships for students to study in Germany, at
university or through various youth organizations, often with a strong nationalist
focus.^^ At a less significant level, the German Consulate in Kronstadt wrote letters of
recommendation that Transylvanian Saxon students on tour in Germany be granted
concessionary rates to museums and the like as if they were German citizens.

This highlights a fiirther limitation of the Saxon education system. Apart from in a very
limited number of areas (mainly education), the Church could not provide tertiary
education, especially university education, to its students. Despite the existence of a


Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 133-135.

Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 135-140.
"Highly Confidential" form letter, Volksrat to Kreisausschuss, 10 October 1925, StAH CNS 18/1925.
From 1925, ethnic-German Romanian citizens wishing to study at Austrian Universities were given the
option of sitting a special entrance examination. Austrian State Archive [sterreichisches Staatsarchiv],
NPA [Neues Politisches Archiv], 661 20/1
Scholarships for German universities were applied for via the VDA. R. Csaki, Zentalausschuss fuer das
stipendienwesen der Deutschen Hochschueler in Rumaenien: Merkblatt fuer dienverteilung von
Stipendien fuer das Sommersemester 1926. StAH CNS 18/1925.
A number of examples may be found in AA Abt lib Politik 6, R73650. Students were to be identified
by a "note of endorsement" [Gesehenvermark] made in their (Romanian) passports by the German
consulate. Lautz, German Consulate Kronstadt to Foreign Office 8 November 1922.

small number of Saxon professional schools,

the Saxon education system existed in

what Gellner describes as a 'parasitical' relationship with the state education system in
Germany, Austria and Romania.

German and Austrian institutions provided at least

part of the training for many teachers and all pastors. Many Romanian-German students
benefited from study in Germany, and were often assisted in this by various German

The imposition of the Romanian-language Baccalaureate reduced

Saxon access to Romanian universities, increasing dependence on universities in

Germany and Austria.^"^ Similarly, as the state hospital system was Romanianised,
Saxon medical students found it increasingly difficult to gain internships. To counter
this, the German consulate urged the Foreign Office to offer places to Saxon medical

Despite increasing pressure from the state (specifically on language issues rather than in
religious matters) and financial difficulties, the Church managed to maintain its school
network and other social bodies, making it the most important Saxon ethno-corporatist
institution of the interwar period. The next section examines the role of the Church in
Saxon ethno-corporatism.



The Church as a Saxon ethnic Church

During the interwar period the Church continued to emphasise its role as a Saxon ethnic
Church. This was seen as unquestionable and self-explanatory; the obligation of serving

one's own People was represented as a divine command.

To Bishop Friedrich Teutsch,

the Church had 'always' represented the Saxon People. He argued that from the start,
the boundaries of the Lutheran Church were not entirely congruous with those of the
Saxon estate, but had extended to all German congregations in Transylvania. Teutsch
^^ Knig, "Das berufsbildende Schulwesen der Siebenbrger Sachsen."
^^ Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, 35-38.
^^ These are listed in Misch Orend, "Deutschland und die Auslanddeutschtum." Klingsor Vol 2 Nr 7, July
1925, 279-280.
The Baccalaureate Law was perceived to be a deliberate strategy to reduce the level of education of the
minorities in Romania, form letter, Volksrat to Kreisausschuss, 23 June 1925. StAH CNS 18/1925.
^^ Lautz, German Consulate Kronstadt to Foreign Office 8 April 1925. AA Abt lib Politik 6, R73651.
^^ Binder, Die Kirche der Siebenbrger Sachsen, 70-71.

interpreted this as indicating that the Church and Saxon People were not only congruent,
but also deeply connected.^^

Other leading clerics echoed his sentiments. Adolf Schullerus saw the Church as a
uniquely Saxon institution. Schullerus identified a number of peculiarities of Saxon
Lutheranism that permitted reference to a 'Saxon-evangelical' Church, including
elements of Catholic tradition retained in Transylvanian Lutheranism, aspects of the
local Reformation that specifically reflected Saxon society, the preservation of
traditional Saxon dress in Church costume, and the role of the church in community life,
through the neighbourhood associations, brotherhoods and sisterhoods that until most
recently ordered both public and personal behaviour. To him, these associations
represented a central component of Saxon ethnic identity, binding the members of the
community to each other, to the past, and to the Church. In his anthropological work,
Schullerus characterised the Saxon village of the late nineteenth century as surrounded
by well-ordered fields and centred on a fortified church, containing the school and the
priest's house. The inherent values were clear; order, prosperity, and community life
physically and morally centred on the Lutheran church.^^ Other leading clerics, such as
Friedrich Mller-Langenthal also identified a deep connection between the Saxons and

the Church.

These views were significant. In addition to the influence Teutsch,

Schullerus and Mller-Langenthal exercised directly through the Church and the school
system, their copious academic writings were widely read within the Saxon community.
Their audience extended well beyond the educated urban elite to rural communities,
where their texts were read in village reading circles.^^
The Church viewed its parishes as both Lutheran and Saxon communities. For example,
Teutsch was of the practice of making Episcopal tours to familiarise himself with
conditions in local parishes. His tour of the Hermannstadt district in 1924 was reported
at length by a number of different authors in the Kirchliche Bltter aus der

^^ Teutsch, "Die evang. Kirche und das Volkstum," 197-204.


See for example Schullerus, Siebenbrgisch-schsische Volkskunde im Umri, especially 1-2 & 146156. Also Adolf Schullerus, "'Schsisches' Christentum." KBl. Vol 18 Nr 45, 11 November 1926, 589593, and [Adolf] Schullerus, "Unsere Volkskirche." KBl Vol 20 Nr 1, 5 January 1928, 2-4.
^^ For example, Mller-Langenthal, "Werden und Wesen des sieb.-schs. Bauertums."
For example, see Anna Schuller[-Schullerus], "Unsere Frauenleseabende auf dem Lande." KBl Vol 19
Nr 47 24 November 1927, 511-515. Also Klara Binder, "Arbeitsgemeinschaften und Volkshochschule."

evangelischen Landeskirche A.B. in Siebenbrgen {KBl.f^ In the reports, local

communities were almost invariably judged on the basis of their commitment to both
Volk and Church, and some reports focused more on ethnicity than religion. The
communities were described variously as "Saxon" or "Saxon-Lutheran", but rarely as
just Lutheran.

In addition, commitment to the social organisations of the Church

(Neighbourhood Associations, Brother- and Sisterhoods, the Lutheran Women's

Association, choirs and so on) was taken as evidence of ethnic consciousness.

The Church as a German ethnic Church

As the Church expanded to include the other, predominantly German Lutheran parishes
in Romania, it increasingly cast itself as a German ethnic Church. The groundwork for
understanding the Church as a German ethnic Church had been laid before the First
World War. From the late nineteenth century, the Church had increasingly identified as
a German Church, reflecting the growing sense of Deutschtum amongst Transylvanian
Saxons.^^ In the nineteenth century Bishops Mller and G. D. Teutsch had emphasised
the German nature of Saxon/Lutheran culture. This was for the most part the diffuse
"cultural nationalism" favoured by Habsburg Germans, without any strong sense of
connection to the German state or other German communities abroad. (See Chapter 1.)
However, there were a number of connections to Lutheranism in Germany. As well as
many Saxon priests completing part of their training in Germany, the Church benefited
from the assistance of charities such as the Gustav-Adolf-Verein, which had been active
in Transylvania since the ISOs.^"^ Furthermore, the growth of ties between the Saxons
and Germany during the First World War had made the Church an increasingly German

^^ "Bischofstage in Hermannstdter Kirchenbezirk." KBl, Vol 16, 1924: Nr 25, 19 June, 237-238; Nr 27, 3
July, 257-258; Nr 30, 24 July, 300-301; Nr 31, 31 July, 305-308; Nr 33, 14 August, 333-334; Nr 35, 28
August, 358-360; Nr 36, 4 September, 368-370; Nr 37, 11 September, 377-378; Nr 47, 20 November,
486-488; & Nr 49, 4 December, 510-511. The KBl was pubhshed weekly from 1897-1948. My (ed), Die
Siebenbrger Sachsen, 392.
^^ Schsisch or schsisch-evang[elisch]. For example, "Bischofstage in Hermannstdter Kirchenbezirk."
ICBl, Vol 16 Nr 31, 31 July 1924, 305.
^^ Philippi, "Die sozialpolitische Bedeutung der siebenbrgisch-schsischen Kirchengemeinde", 183.
On the longstanding role of the Gustav-Adolf-Verein, see Binder, Die Kirche der Siebenbrger
Sachsen, 64-65.
^^ Teutsch, "Die evang. Kirche und das Volkstum", 201-202.

Most significantly, the transformation in 1922 of the Lutheran Provincial Church in

Transylvania C.A. into the Lutheran Provincial Church in Romania C.A.^^ brought with
it new parishes in the Banat, Bukovina, the Old Kingdom and especially Bessarabia.
Almost all Lutherans in Greater Romania were German, providing a dual ethnicreligious identity on which a common Church could be based. The Lutheran parishes of
the Old Kingdom were linked to the Transylvanian Church by long-standing
organisational ties, and many Old Kingdom Lutherans were of Saxon origin. As a result,
they were strong supporters of unification. However, there was a great deal of variation
in local ethnic and religious identities. Lutherans in the Banat and Bukovina did not
have pre-existing organisational links to the Transylvanian Church, but at least shared
the common experiences of Austro-Hungarian rule, producing certain similarities in
their religious structure. The Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Bessarabia,^^ however,
had been part of the Lutheran Church of Russia, giving it a very different history and
system of organisation. Having only won their independence from the Russian Lutheran
Church in 1918, the Bessarabian Lutherans were hesitant to subsume themselves in a
Romania-wide Church. Their eventual decision to do so was achieved only through
lobbying by Saxon politicians, who emphasised the greater political strength a united
Lutheran Church would have, and by the guarantee of relative autonomy for regional
churches within the new Church.^^

The re-imagining of the Church as a (Romanian-)German Church did not present a

problem for Saxon ethno-corporatists, as Saxons already identified strongly as Germans
and were increasingly coming to identify with other Germans, as discussed in Chapter
1. Furthermore, under the pluralistic Heimat-h2iS>Qd understanding of the broader
German community favoured by Saxons and other Germans in Eastern Europe, the
expression of a strong local identity did not preclude an equally strong commitment to a
broader German community. Thus, while to senior Saxon clerics the Saxons had a
special relationship to the Landeskirche, the Church was at its heart a German

^^ Evangelische Landeskirche in Siebenbrgen /Rumnien A.B..

^^ Evangelisch-Lutherische Landeskirche Bessarabiens.
^^ Binder, "Die evangelische Landeskirche A. B. in Rumnien," 237-238. On the Lutheran Church in
Bessarabia, see Cornelia Schlarb, "Der Vertrag zwischen der Ev. Landeskirche A.B. in Siebenbrgen und
der Ev. Luth. Landeskirche Bessarabiens." Museum und Archive des Heimatmuseums der Deutschen aus
Bessarabien. 1996, 20-34. See also Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 91-92.

institution,^^ and nothing prevented the other German Lutherans of Greater Romania
from having an equally deep (if different) relationship with it.

Furthermore, the expansion of the Lutheran Church provided few challenges for Saxon
ethno-corporatism because the Church remained predominantly Saxon in its makeup
and character. Although the Church expanded from 240,000 to around 380,000
adherents, Saxons continued to form the majority of congregants."^^ The pre-War Saxon
Church leadership under Bishop Friedrich Teutsch continued to dominate the Church
after the War. Thus, the Church did not experience sudden generational change in
leadership, or a sharp change in outlook. As well as being a highly respected individual
and the son of Georg Daniel Teutsch (Bishop 1867-1893), Friedrich Teutsch, benefited
from the authority gained through over 25 years in office (1906 to 1932)."^^ Furthermore,
despite the expansion to other areas of Romania, the Landeskirche in Rumnien A.B.
bore great similarity to its Transylvanian predecessor."^^ Although efforts were made to
recognise local ecclesiastic customs, Saxon practices formed the core of the 1926
constitution."^^ Efforts were also made to encourage Transylvanian practices as models
for other Lutheran communities in Greater Romania."^"^ Similarly, the welfare
programme of the Church (discussed below) was seen as Saxon-focused to the
disadvantage of other German communities."^^

The contents of the Church's journal also continued to be dominated by Transylvanian

issues. From 16 June 1927, the KBl became in theory a Romania-wide publication.'^^
However, the majority of contributors continued to be Saxon, and many of the articles
concerned themselves with purely Saxon matters, such as the history of key Saxon
fortified Churches. While Episcopal tours within Transylvania were extensively
reported, similar tours made outside of Transylvania in the same period were only
^^ Teutsch, "Die evang. Kirche und das Volkstum", 201-202.
Binder, "Die evangelische Landeskirche A. B. in Rumnien," 237-238.
^^ Binder, Die Kirche der Siebenbrger Sachsen, 66-71.
^^ Roth, Harald, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 92.
Bernhard Capesius, "Was gefllt dem Regatler Duetschen am Sachsen und was nicht?" Kl Vol 5 Nr 8,
August 1928,309-310.
For example, "Z.5719.1921 Rundschreiben an alle Bezirkskonsistorien, Reisepredigermter,
Presbyterien und Kirchenrte der ev.-luth. Landeskirche Bessarabiens, Bukowiner ev. Seniorat, Banater
und Bukarester Dekanat der ev. Landeskirche A.B. in Siebenbrgen betreffend die Empfehlung einer
Nachbarschaftsordnung fur Landgemeinden." KBl Vol 13 Nr 48, 24 December 1921, 224-225.
^^ Capesius, "Was gefallt dem Regatler Duetschen am Sachsen und was nicht?" 310.
This was indicated by a change in title, from ''Kirchliche Bltter aus der evangelischen Landeskirche Siebenbrgen" to "m Rumnien''.

briefly mentioned.'^^ Similarly, while the KBl occasionally turned its attention to the
plight of isolated Saxon diaspora communities in Romania and in North America,
reports on isolated non-Saxon communities were fewer in number.
There are other indications of a pro-Saxon bias in the Landeskirche. In 1927, a year
after unification, the printing house of the Church published the "Textbook for the
Confirmed Youth",^^ which carried the official commendation of the
Landeskonsistorium. Of the approximately 475 pages of this book, 208 pages were
devoted to ''Heimaf (The history and culture - especially religious culture - of the
Transylvanian Saxons, and a description of the landscape in which they lived), 76 pages
to the "Fatherland", Romania, and approximately 190 pages to the rest of the world,
predominantly focusing on Germany. Only 12 pages, at the end of the section on the
^^ Teutsch visited Iai and Bukovina in 1924, and Braila, Galatz and parts of Dobrudscha in 1925. Fr
Teutsch, "Zur efffnung der 32. Landeskirchenversammlung. KBl Vol 18 Nr 45, 11 November 1925, 588.
Shorter tours of the Bistritz and Burzenland regions in 1928 were given somewhat less coverage in the
KBl than the 1924 Hermannstadt tour. However, this was probably due to the decline in overall page
length of each issue of the KBl, as a cost saving measure. See J[ohannes] Reichardt, "Bischfliche
Amtsvisitation im Burzenlande." KBl Vol 20 Nr 26, 28 June 1928, 273-275. Also Daniel Fritsch,
"Bishfliche Visitation im Bistritzer Kirchenbezirk." KBl Vol 20: Nr 37, 13 September 1928, 385; & Nr
38, 20 September 1928, 389-390.
^^ Of Saxon settlements in Romania, Diemrich-Deva in Southwest Transylvania was of special interest
because it was growing rapidly and could demonstrate a strong sense of Saxon-Lutheran community.
Others included Discentmarton (in central Transylvania, near Mediasch), Elizabethstadt (between
Mediasch and Schburg), Weikirch (near Schburg) and Reschitza (in the Banat). For example, B.B.
"Aus unserer Diaspora." KBl Vol 13 Nr 36, 3 September 1921, 124-125. "Aus dem Frauleben in einer
Diasporagemeinde unserer Landeskirche." KBL Vol 14 Nr 23, 8 June 1922, 181-182. "Jahresbericht des
Allgemeinen Frauenvereins der evang. Landeskirche A.B. fr 1921." KBl Vol 15 Nr 6, 8 February 1923,
53-55. "Aus der Diaspora." KBl Vol 15 Nr 8, 22 February 1923, 74-75. "Ueber die Diasporagemeinde
Diemrich." KBl Vol 16 Nr 18, 1 May 1924, 172. "Bilder aus der Diaspora." KBl Vol 22, Nr 7, 13
February 1930, 53-54. R.B. "Bilder aus der Diaspora." KBl Vol 22 Nr 23, 5 June 1930, 213-214.
"Vierteljahrhundertfeier der Grndung der Diasporagemeinde Oberhellen." KBl Vol 23 Nr 14, 2 April
1931, 121-123. Joh. Matters, "Deutsches Leben in der Szeklerstadt Oderhellen." KBl Vol 23: Nr 24, 11
June 1931, 215-217; & Nr 25, 18 June 1931, 225-227.
On Saxon settlements in North America, see For example, "Ein schnes Bekenntnis." KBl Vol 14 Nr 19,
11 May 1922, 151. "Von unseren Landsleuten in Amerika." KBl Vol 14 Nr 32, 13 August 1922, 261 -262.
"Glaube und Heimat." KBl Vol 15 Nr 17 26 April 23, 171-172. "Glockenspenden unser "Amerikaner"."
KBl Vol 16 Nr 11, 13 March 1924, 100. G. A Sch[uster], "Von unseren Landsleuten in Amerika." KBl
Vol 16 Nr 19, 7 May 1924, 177-179. "Von unseren Landsleuten in Amerika." KBl Vol 17 Nr 4, 22
January 1925, 42-43. ""Nachrichten aus Zeit und Welt." KBl Vol 18 Nr 36, 9 September 1926, 446-447.
On the importance to the Church of funding from Saxons dwelling in North America, see also for
example "Erffnungsrede des Bischof D. Fr. Teutsch zur 29. Landeskirchenversammlung." KBl Vol 13
Nr 42, 12 November 1921, 161. "Von unseren Landsleuten in Nordamerika." KBl Vol 23 Nr 2, 8 January,
1931, 11.
For example, "Eine deutsch-evangelische Dobrudscha-Gemeinde." KBlVoX 15: Nr 8 22 February 1923,
77-78; Nr 9 1 March 1923, 81-82; Nr 10 8 March 1923, 89-90. Also "Gemeinde Campina." KBl Vol 14
Nr 20, 18 May 1922, 157.
Hermann Heinz & Friedrich Ziegler (ed), Lesebuch fr die konfirmierte Jugend. Kommissions-Veriag.
Honterus-Buchdruckerei. Hermannstadt 1927. See also Z. 1848/1927 "Ziegler und Heins: Lesebuch fur
die konfirmierte Jugend." KBl 17 May 1927, 215.

Fatherland, dealt with the other German communities in Romania. It is perhaps

revealing that the owner of the copy of the book that I examined amended the title to
read "Textbook for the Confirmed Youth of the Transylvanian Saxons".^^
The Saxon bias within the Church produced tensions with the other German
communities of Romania. Many non-Saxon pastors felt that unification with the
Landeskirche had brought with it greater bureaucratisation and centralisation but no
greater access to resources.

Saxon commentators were aware that non-Transylvanian

Lutherans were deeply frustrated by the often archaic and convoluted Saxon practices
that had been included in the 1926 constitution.^^ The

accused the Church of

imposing Transylvanian traditions upon other German settlements without respect for
local customs.^"^

Tensions between the different German communities were apparent in the Episcopal
election of 1932. Teutsch's retirement on his 80* birthday in 1932, after more than 25
years as bishop, marked the end of an era.^^ Throughout much of the 1920s, it had been
expected that, as bishop's vicar, Adolf Schullerus would succeed Teutsch. However,
Schullerus predeceased Teutsch in 1928. Favourite candidates in 1932 were Friedrich
Mller-Langenthal (Schullerus' successor as Stadtpfarrer of Hermannstadt) and Viktor
Glondys {Stadtpfarrer of Kronstadt and successor to Schullerus as bishop's vicar).
While Mller-Langenthal was the scion of a respected Saxon family, Glondys had been
bom in Silesia. In 1907 he had moved to Bukovina, before coming to Kronstadt in 1922.
Glondys also viewed Volk and Church as intimately connected,^^ although as a nonSaxon he was more interested in the Church as a German- than as a Saxon Church. The
election was also contested by two other candidates. Pastor Wilhelm Staedel (backed by
the Saxon radical right wing) and school director Hermann Jikeli.

Lesebuchir die konfirmierte Jugend der siebenbrger Sachsen; emphasis mine.

^^ For example, see the comments of Stadtpfarrer Arz of Czemowitz in "Der sechste Pfarrertag." KBl Vol
15, Nr 42, 18 October 1923, 441-442.
^^ Capesius, "Was gefllt dem Regatler Duetschen am Sachsen und was nicht?" 309-310.
^^ Der 'liberale' Geist in der evangelischen Kirche A.B." SV, Vol 5, Nr 17, 28 April 1929, 1-2.
^^ Z.3522/1932. "Rundschreiben an smtliche Bezirkskonsistorien, Presbyterien (Kirchenrte),
Mittelschul- und Seminardirektionen der evang. Landeskirche A.B. in Rumnien." KBl Vol 24. Nr 38, 19
September 1932, 345-347.
^^ For example, see Viktor Glondys, "Volksmission in der Diaspora und Volkstum." KBl Vol 21 Nr 42,
17 October 1929, 439-440.

The outcome of the election was a victory for Glondys, with 84 votes, followed by
Mller-Langenthal with 46, Jikeli with 5 votes, and Staedel with 4. In a gesture of

reconciliation, Mller-Langenthal succeeded Glondys as bishop's vicar. The KB I

emphasised consensus in its reporting, making it difficult to gain a clear picture of
voting patterns. However, by interviewing former members of the Landeskonsistorium,
Ludwig Binder has identified that although Mller-Langenthal gained a substantial
portion of the Saxon vote, Glondys benefited from support from Bukovina and
Bessarabia as well as from Kronstadt and the surrounding Burzenland. Balling suggests
that Arthur Polony, Saxon parliamentarian, director of the Union of Transylvanian
Industries and active in the Church in Kronstadt, was responsible for Glondys' election
as Stadtpfarrer in 1922 and bishop in 1932.^^ However, the preference of Bessarabians
and Bukovinans for a non-Saxon candidate suggests that local loyalties remained strong
within the Church, and that there was an element of dissatisfaction with Saxon
domination. Furthermore, The Saxon establishment within the Church often accused
Glondys of failing to understand Saxon traditions.^^ These regional divisions within
Romanian German identity are discussed further in Chapter 5.
A further challenge to claims of the Church to be a German Church was the presence of
numerous non-Lutheran Germans in Romania. Most Transylvanian Saxons were
Lutheran. German-speaking Roman Catholics in Transylvania tended to be non-Saxon
settlers from the period of Habsburg rule, and identified as German rather than Saxon.^
In fact, almost half of the Germans in Greater Romania were Roman Catholic, and a
small number of self-identifying Germans were Jewish. Thus, the claim to be a
(Romanian-)German Church was considerably more problematic than the claim to be a
Saxon Church.

'Die Bischofswahl." KBl Vol 24. Nr 46, 17 November 1932, 422.

^^ Balling, Von Reval bis Bukarest, 609.
^^ Binder, "Die evangelische Landeskirche A. B. in Rumnien," 238. The election was also interesting
because three of the four candidates went on to become bishop of the Landeskirche. Glondys remained
bishop until he was forced to resign due to German government pressure in 1940. He was replaced by the
pro-Nazi Wilhelm Staedel. In turn Staedel was forced to resign following the Soviet occupation of
Romania, when Mller-Langenthal, who was (relatively) untainted by ties to the National Socialists,
became bishop.
For example, see "Ein kirchengeschichtliches Zeitdokument." KBl Vol 15 Nr 45, 8 November 1923,

Attitudes of the Church to CathoHc Germans were in part influenced by the strongly
Protestant and often anti-Catholic heritage of German nationalism. During the
nineteenth century, Protestant German nationalists tended to believe in the need for a
single German religion to properly unite the nation. While Luther's Protestantism was
viewed as uniquely German, Roman Catholicism was seen as alien and oppressive.
While Protestant German liberals viewed the nation as modem, progressive and
rationalist, they viewed Catholicism as its antithesis; fanatical, internationalist,
conservative and superstitious.^^
Saxon Protestants tended to share this negative view of Catholicism. The failure of the
Catholic Church to represent German interests was popularly seen by Saxon
commentators as having led to the Magyarisation of many Catholic Swabians.^^ Where
Lutheran and Catholic interests conflicted, for example over the religion of children
bom in mixed marriages. Catholics were accused of being "fanatical" for failing to
acquiesce to Lutheran demands.^^ Catholics were commonly perceived to have a poor
sense of communal spirit, which would have a devastative impact on the Saxon
voluntary associations.^"^

Anti-Catholic sentiment was such that in 1927 Rudolf Brandsch felt it necessary to wam
his fellow Saxons that the precarious position of the Germans in Romania made ethnic
unity of greater urgency than religious divisions. Brandsch argued that while Lutheran
nationalists in Germany might be able to afford anti-Catholic chauvinism, their
Romanian-German counterparts could not.^^ The KBl was also willing to recognise
ethnic strivings by German Catholics, for example in 1923 when German Catholics in
Hermannstadt issued a declaration calling on the Catholic Church to end Magyarisation

Altgeld, "Religion, denomination and nationalism", 49-56, and Walser Smith, German nationalism and
religious conflict, especially 33-35, 61-62.
^^ For example, Csaki, Richard. "Wie weit sind wir auf dem Weg zur deutschen Volksgemeinschaft?"
Ostland Vo\ 2 Nr 1, January 1927, 1-3.
^^ For example, see A.K. "Anfechtungen und Nte in der Diaspora." KBl Vol 23 Nr 18, 30 April 1931,
^^ For example, [Albert Drr], "Volk und Kirche" SV, Vol 5, Nr 34, 25 August 1929, 1-2. c.f. Oskar
Wittstock, "Deutsches Werden und Gestalten in Siebenbrgen." In Oskar Wittstock (ed), Im Kampf um
Brot und Geist: Darstellungen aus Leben und Entwicklung der deutschen Frau Siebenbrgens. In cooperation with the Freie Schsische Frauenbund. Hermannstadt: Druck und Kommissions-Verlag
"Hontems" Buckdruckerei, 1927., 13.
^^ Rudolf Brandsch, "Volksfragen" DPHNoX 1 Nr 9-10, Sept - Oct 1927, 165.

in their parish and to properly recognise the cultural needs of the numerically superior
German parishioners.^^

Most Jews identifying as Germans lived in Bukovina, with far smaller numbers in
Transylvania.^^ While Jewish Germans were deeply problematic for many non-Jewish
Bukovinan German nationalists, they provoked little passion from Saxons. The majority
of Transylvanian Jews identified with Hungarian culture, and those who did identify as
German did not necessarily identify with the Saxon community.

Most Saxons simply

ignored those Transylvanian Jews who identified as German. Even Rudolf Brandsch,
who worked publicly for better relations with other minorities, and had positive
relations with Transylvania's Jews, had difficulties accepting that one could be
simultaneously Jewish and German.^^ In the 1920s at least the Church seems to have
viewed Jews in fairly neutral terms, as being either a distinct ethnicity or as assimilating

into the Hungarian community.

This is in accordance with the recollections of Saxon

of Jewish origin Rudolf Fischer that while in the 1920s Hassidic Jews were identified as
Jewish, most other Jews were simply considered Hungarian.^^ However, more negative
imagery of Jews emerged in theological discussions, as discussed in Chapter 5.
While the Church was unable to claim a monopoly on German identity in Romania or
even in Transylvania, it considered itself the most authentic religious expression of that
identity. The adoption of a broader German identity appears to have been extensive and
deeply ingrained during the interwar period. However, in most circumstances the
Church remained a Saxon-dominated institution, in which Saxonness was the most
common form of expression of Germanness. This had significant implications for the
Saxon understanding of German identity, as discussed in Chapter 5.

^^ "Ein kirchengeschichtliches Zeitdokument." KBl Vol 15 Nr 45, 8 November 1923, 475-476.

^^ Of 234,085 individuals in Transylvania identified as German in the 1910 Hungarian census, 16,465
were Jewish and 217,620 Christian. [Braunis,] "Die Deutschen in Siebenbrgen", 14.
^^ This is indicated by the unwillingness of Jewish and other non-Lutheran Germans in the Burzenland to
pay the Volkssteuer of the DSVR, because they perceived it as a form of Church tax. Kreisausschuss to
Volksrat 3 December 1921. StAH CNS 37/1920.
^^ Azzola, "Engnzende Anmerkungen zu offen gebliebenen Fragen einer um Aufklrung bemhten
Tagung", 87.
For example, "Krise des Judentums." KBl Vol 14 Nr 25, 22 June 1922, 203.
Rudolf Fischer, "Eine karpatische Gratwanderung." Zugnge Vol 22, December 1997, 51-61.

Ethnic Church versus World Church

As discussed in Chapter 1, ethnic imagery in Transylvania was closely associated with

religious imagery, such that the Orthodox and Uniate Eastern Rite Churches were
closely associated with Romanian ethnicity, Calvinism, Unitarianism and, less
exclusively, Roman Catholicism with Hungarian ethnicity and Lutheranism with Saxon
ethnicity. However, religious and ethnic identities were not as closely aligned as implied
by popular stereotyping. As well as there being non-Lutheran Germans, the Lutheran
Church in Transylvania had always included non-Germans. Their numbers increased as
a result of expansion of the Church to other parts of Romania. In 1929 Teutsch listed
five Hungarian, three mixed Hungarian and German, one Slovakian and one Romanian
congregation affiliated with the Church.

In addition, unmentioned by Teutsch were

substantial numbers of Roma Lutherans in the congregations of the districts of Bistritz


and Nsner.

Finally, there were also a number of Hungarian-speaking Lutheran

parishes not affiliated to the Landeskirche.

Non-German Lutherans drew attention to potential conflict between the universal
aspirations of Lutheran theology and the role of the Landeskirche as an ethnic Church.^"^
Cornelia Schlarb, discussing the interwar period as a whole, argues that by representing
itself as an ethnic Church, the Landeskirche scarcely concerned itself with welcoming
non-German congregants.^^ Certainly, conflict on ethnic lines had already contributed to
the withdrawal of Hungarian congregations from the Landeskirche in 1887. However,
until the early 1930's, senior clerics took steps to minimise ethnic conflict within the
Church. For example, Teutsch argued, in keeping with Protestant German nationalism,
that the Church had a God-given responsibility to care for the German Volk. However,
he emphasised that the Church had never ceased to care for its non-Saxon
congregations, which had complete freedom to choose their language of worship.^^

^^ Teutsch, "Die evang. Kirche und das Volkstum", 202.

^^ Roth, "Ethnikum und Konfession als mentalittsprgende Merkmale," 82. An example of attitudes to
Roma Lutherans is provided by Csallner, "Zur landeskirchlich Statistik", 312-315.
In this context, the term "universal aspirations" refers to the aim of Lutheranism to convince all
individuals, regardless of ethnicity, to embrace the Christian faith according to the guidelines of the
Augsburg Confession, rather than the, from a Lutheran perspective, heretical doctrine of "Universalism",
that is, the belief that all individuals will go to heaven regardless of their beliefs and actions.
^^ Schlarb, Cornelia. "Anste zum Weiterdenken." Zugnge Vol 22, December 1997, 50.
^^ Teutsch, "Die evang. Kirche und das Volkstum", 200, 203.

The actual experiences of non-German Lutherans within the Landeskirche varied

considerably due to a number of factors, including the extent to which they were
ethnically conscious, their standing within the hierarchy of ethnic stereotypes in
Transylvania, and whether they lived in ethnically homogeneous or heterogeneous
parishes. These factors are explored below with regards to four kinds of parishes: the
Romanian-speaking Saxons of ReuBendorfchen, the mixed Roma congregations of
northern Transylvania, the homogeneous Hungarian congregations of Transylvania, and
finally the mixed Hungarian-German parish of Klausenburg.

ReuBendorfchen and the mixed Roma congregations shared the common features that
German was the language of worship, and that the congregants had adopted Saxon folk
customs, such as folk costume and the Brother- and Sisterhoods. The population of
ReuBendorfchen (near Hermannstadt) was sharply divided between Lutheran Saxons
and Orthodox Romanians. However, the "Saxons" in question were of Bulgarian
Bogomil descent and spoke Romanian in daily life. Nevertheless, they had adopted
Saxon customs and costume, used German for religious purposes, and held themselves
separate from the Orthodox Romanians, a situation that continued throughout the
interwar period. The ReuBendorfchen Saxons were well integrated within the Church.^^

The Lutheran Roma of Northern Transylvania faced a very different situation. The
Roma had also adopted Saxon customs and costume and prayed in German, while
retaining their own language. In this, they were similar to the ReuBendorfchen Saxons.
However, they lived in mixed Saxon-Roma parishes, in which they were socially
segregated and marginalized,^^ as is indicated by the failure of Teutsch to count them
amongst the non-German Lutherans in the Church.

Both the ReuBendorfchen Saxons and the Lutheran Roma represented politically
inactive communities that had adopted Saxon dress and customs, especially in the
context of religious worship. The difference in experience between the two communities
can in part be explained by the comparatively low status of the Roma in the traditional
Transylvanian social hierarchy, as discussed in Chapters 1 and 3.
^^ Roth, "Ethnikum und Konfession als mentalittsprgende Merkmale," 81-82. Roth notes their
integration, their adoption of German as the language of daily life after the Second World War, and their
eventual "return" to Germany as Aussiedlern.
^^ Roth, "Ethnikum und Konfession als mentalittsprgende Merkmale," 82.

However, the marginalisation of Lutheran Roma was due also to their position within
ethnically mixed parishes, where their interests within the Church potentially came into
conflict with those of Saxon Lutherans
While neither Reuendrfchen Saxons nor the Lutheran Roma were ethnically
mobilised in a form that might challenge the Church's role as an ethnic Church, the
same cannot be said for Hungarian Lutherans. There were numerous Hungarianspeaking Lutherans in the Burzenland, who had been members of the Saxon estate and
who by the second half of the nineteenth century made up a third of the region's
Lutherans. Before the nineteenth century, the Hungarian Lutherans of the Burzenland
had been well integrated in the life of the Church and also in Saxon society, perhaps
better so than German-speaking Roman Catholics. A handful of other Hungarianspeaking Lutheran parishes in Transylvania were equally well integrated, demonstrating
the pitfalls of equating estate, ethnicity and religion.

The integration of non-German Lutherans was in part undermined by the increasing

nationalism of the region during the nineteenth century. In 1887, ten Hungarianspeaking parishes of the Burzenland withdrew from Landeskirche due to perceived
incompatibilities of their nationalist aspirations with the Landeskirche as Saxonoriented ethnic Church.^^ Nevertheless, a number of ethnically mixed and non-German
parishes continued to be members of the Landeskirche before the First World War. One
of the most problematic was the mixed Hungarian-Saxon parish of Klausenburg, which
by the end of the nineteenth century was divided between an ethnic-German majority
and an influential ethnic-Hungarian minority. In the view of the Landeskirche, the
^^ It is indicative to compare the fates of the Reuendrfchen Saxons and the Lutheran Roma after the
Second World War. Placed under pressure to Romanianise by the communist government, the
Reuendrfchen Saxons responded by emphasising their Saxonness and adopting German for daily use as
well as for religious purposes. After 1989, they were accepted into Germany as ''Aussiedler" (returning
migrants of German origins). Roth, "Ethnikum und Konfession als mentalittsprgende Merkmale", 8182. By comparison, the Lutheran Roma retained a Roma identity within parishes that were effectively
dominated by Saxons. Lutheran Roma were not recognised as Aussiedler and have remained in Romania.
It is significant that translation of the Lutheran service into Romany has begun only since these
communities have become homogenous Roma parishes with the exodus of the last Saxons after 1989.
Karin Achtelstetter, "Lutheran Roma in Transylvania: a minority within a minority." Patrin Web Journal,
2000. [30 July 2006].
Roth, "Ethnikum und Konfession als mentalittsprgende Merkmale," 76-81. The social divisions in
Kronstadt on religious grounds can be compared to the widescale segregation of Protestant and Catholic
life in Germany in the nineteenth century. See Walser Smith, German nationalism & religious conflict,
79-85, 95-102.
^^ Friedrich Teutsch, Kirche und Schule der Siebenbrger Sachsen in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart. W.
Krafft. Hermannstadt. 2"'' Edition. 1923 edition 1923 (sic).], 311.

parish of Klausenburg had increasingly come under Hungarian domination before the
War. German-language services had been reduced, and the Hungarian faction had
agitated for greater autonomy within the Church. The Landeskonsistorium had been
forced to make concessions because of fear of pressure from the state.^^
The annexation of Transylvania by Romania isolated the Hungarian-speaking parishes
from the Lutheran Church in Hungary. In 1922, three of the Hungarian-speaking
parishes of the Burzenland (Kronstadt-Blumenau, Ober Neudorf and Langendorf) that
had exited the Church in 1887 elected to return to the LandeskircheP The other seven
Hungarian-speaking parishes that had exited the Church in 1887 chose instead to join
with other Hungarian-speaking Lutheran parishes in the Arad district, which had
traditionally been part of the Lutheran Church in Hungary. These formed the
"Evangelical Presbyterian Synodical Church".^"^The Landeskirche made no attempt to
prevent this.^^
Although the Church had suffered from considerable tensions with its Hungarian
congregations before the First World War, and continued to do so in the interwar period,
such tensions were not automatic. Relations with the Church's homogeneously
Hungarian parishes were mostly positive. When, during the Episcopal tour of the
Hermannstadt region in 1924, Teutsch visited the isolated ethnic-Hungarian Lutheran
settlement of Sakadat, he made a point of delivering his sermon to the community in
Hungarian, which was met with great approval by the congregants.^^ Language of
service and language of education in the local parish school were determined by the
needs of the community. As such, the Church was able to grant full cultural autonomy
without any conflict of interest.^^ Hungarian-speaking congregations were willing to
publicly declare their loyalty to the Landeskirche. For example, during a dispute
between the Church and the Hungarian Press in 1929, the Presbyters of the Hungarianspeaking parish of Schelken (near Bistritz), released a statement arguing that the
^^ "Klausenburg und die ev. Landeskirche." KBl Vol 14. Nr 22, 1 June 1922, 170.
^^ Teutsch, Kirche und Schule der Siebenbrger Sachsen, 311.
^^ Teutsch, Kirche und Schule der Siebenbrger Sachsen, 311. Also "Klausenburg und die ev.
Landeskirche", 171-173.
^^ "Klausenburg und die ev. Landeskirche", 171-173.
^^ "Bischofstage in Hermannstdter Kirchenbezirk." KBl, Vol 16 Nr 33, 14 August 1924, 333-334.
^^ For example, see Jnos Mikola, Jzsef Guther and Sndor Szsz, "'Der Niedergang der in die
schsische Phalanx eingeteilten ungarischen evangelischen Kirchen.'" KBl Vol 21 Nr 8, 21 February
1929, 67-69.

subsidies they had received from the Church amounted to a larger sum than that they
had paid in Church taxes. Thus, the German communities of the Landeskirche were in
fact sponsoring Hungarian cultural activities.

o g

However, the situation was far more complicated in ethnically mixed HungarianGerman congregations. The most problematic parish during the interwar period was
Klausenburg, which became a battleground between Hungarians and Saxons. Hungarian
Lutherans argued that the Landeskirche had curtailed their rights by replacing
Hungarian language classes at the parish school with Romanian-language classes. The
school had previously taught some classes in Hungarian because it was compulsory
under Hungarian law; these classes were now switched to Romanian in reflection of
Transylvania's new allegiance to Romania.^^ The decision would have been especially
bitter for Hungarian Lutherans, given the pressures being applied to Hungarian schools
by the state at that time, as discussed in Chapter 2.
The conflict came to a head when the Hungarian-speaking Stadtpfarrer of Klausenburg,
Dr Gustav Kirchkopf was elected bishop of the Evangelical Presbyterian Synodical
Church, and the Hungarian minority in the Klausenburg parish decided over the wishes
of the German majority to break with the Landeskirche and join the Synodical Church.^
The Landeskirche prevented the move, and also opposed a division of the parish and its
property, arguing that the Hungarian congregants would have to withdraw from the
parish and establish a new parish should they wish to join the Hungarian Church. This
led to bitter recriminations from the Hungarian side that the Landeskirche was
attempting to Germanise Hungarian congregations. In response the Landeskirche
accused the congregants of introducing nationalist politics into Church affairs.^^ The
matter continued to simmer, with the Landeskonsistorium denying suggestions in 1924
that the remaining Hungarian communities were dissatisfied with their membership of

^^ Mikola et al, '"Der Niedergang der in die schsische Phalanx eingeteilten ungarischen evangelischen
Kirchen'", 67-69.
^^ Lengyel, Auf der Suche nach dem kompromi, 367. See also "Klausenburg und die ev. Landeskirche",
"Klausenburg und die ev. Landeskirche", 172-174.
^^ "Klausenburg und die ev. Landeskirche", 171-174. The dispute degenerated into a series of accusations
and counteraccusations between Baron Arthur Feilizsch, president of the Hungarian Lutheran movement,
and the Landeskonsistorium. For example, see "Irrungen und Wirrungen in der evang. Kirchengemeinde
Klausenburg." Supplementary to the KBl Vol 15 Nr 12, 22 March 1923.

the Landeskirche?^ Divisions in Klausenburg remained strong. In 1926 the KBl reported
that the Lutheran German families of Klausenburg had, in line with the
recommendations of the Church, formed a Neighbourhood Association. No mention of
Hungarian Lutheran families was made.^^ The KBl apparently did not view this apparent
ethnic segregation as remarkable, nor as regrettable.

The support of Hungarian-language classes and activities in homogenously Hungarian

parishes, and the acceptance of the right of the same parishes to leave the Church if they
wished to, suggests that the policies of the Church regarding the Klausenburg parish
were not motivated by a desire to assimilate Hungarian Lutherans per se. While it was
relatively easy to meet the needs of non-German congregants where congregations were
homogenous, it was much more difficult where communities were mixed. Given the
language pressures already placed on Church schools by the state, to teach in two
minority languages in Klausenburg would have been extremely difficult. However,
given the emphasis placed by the Church on its role as an ethnic Church, it seems
unlikely that the same decision would have been made had it been German-speaking
students who were to be deprived of education in their native language.

The comparative treatment of the Reuendrfchen Saxons and the North Transylvanian
Roma, although complicated by the relative standing of the two groups in
Transylvania's ethnic hierarchy, reinforces this pattern. The Church was tolerant of
ethnic minorities where there was no conflict of interest with German Lutherans.
However, when faced with conflict between its role as a world church and as an ethnic
Church, the Church favoured the role of ethnic Church.

Social mission of the "ethnic Church "

The self-imposed mission of the Church as an ethnic Church was reflected in its
numerous social activities. The Lutheran Church in Transylvania always fulfilled a
strong social role that was not entirely in keeping with the admonishments of Luther to

^^ "Der Streit magyarischen und schsischen Lutheraner." KBl Vol 16. Nr 35. 28 August 1924, 361-362.
^^ "In Klausenburg."
Vol 18 Nr 6, 11 February 1926, 71.

remain uninvolved in secular matters.As the autonomy of the Saxon Natio decHned,
the Church became the most important Saxon institution. As such, it took upon itself
functions that in the modem state had become associated with the state itself, for
example education, health care and aspects of economic planning. In the process the
associations and schools that operated under the umbrella of the Church increasingly
became Saxon/German ethnic organisations, as well as having a religious focus.^^ This
section looks at the activities of the Church in a number of areas: education, the youth
movement, the women's movement and community welfare.
In Germany, with the individualisation of religion in the eighteenth and nineteenth
century, schools became the second most important site (after the family) for the
socialisation of religious beliefs, eclipsing communities of confession, corporation or
socio-economic class.^^ The same can be said of the Saxons in Transylvania, and can be
extended to ethnic identity. The Lutheran school system was expected to inculcate a
strong sense of German/Saxon and Lutheran identity in its students.^^ Religious classes
were to instruct the students in the tenets of Lutheranism, while at the same time being a
"lesson in Lutheran-Saxon convictions".^^ The education system also reinforced a sense
of connection between German and Saxon identity. In German classes, the students
were to learn to speak, write, feel and think German.^^ Saxon Studies^^^ was to be taught
as well, as a subset of German S t u d i e s . I n addition the schools also taught health
studies, which included a significant racial theory component; these courses are
discussed in Chapter 6.
Philippi, "Die sozialpolitische Bedeutung der siebenbrgisch-schsischen Kirchengemeinde", 188.
^^ Wittstock, "Deutsches Werden und Gestalten in Siebenbrgen", 14.
^^ Lucian Hlscher, "The religious divide: piety in nineteenth century Germany." In Walser Smith (ed),
Protestants, Catholics and Jews in Germany, 39-41.
^^ "Z.2007/1929: Lehrplan fr den Religions- und Deutschunterricht in den Sekundarchulen." Supplement
to KBl Vol 21 Nr 27, 4 July 1929, 1.
'^^evangelisch-schsischer Gesinnungsunterricht. "Z.2007/1929: Lehrplan fr den Religions- und
Deutschunterricht in den Sekundarchulen." All teachers in the Landeskirche schools were obliged to have
a minimum level of religious training, to ensure that religious instruction would form a component of all
classes, and not only those formally designated religious studies classes. Knig, "Das Schulwesen der
Siebenbrger Sachsen in der Zwischenkriegszeit", 277-281.
^^ ''Die Schller sollen im Deutschunterricht lernen: deutsch reden deutsch schreiben, deutsch fhlen und
denken.'" "Z.2007/1929: Lehrplan fr den Religions- und Deutschunterricht in den Sekundarchulen", 3-4.
"Z.2007/1929: Lehrplan fur den Religions- und Deutschunterricht in den Sekundarchulen", 5-6.

The Youth Movement

In addition to its direct educational activities, the Church played an important role in
fostering and directing youth groups. The majority of Saxon youth organisations ceased
activity during the War. The Church played a significant role in supporting the rebirth
of Saxon youth organisations in the interwar period.
1 AO

The Church dominated the General Saxon-German Youth League

an umbrella

organisation for Saxon youth associations that was founded in SchaBburg on


1922.^^^ The Youth League was chaired throughout the 1920s by school director Dr.
Heinz Brandsch. It loosely united local youth leagues, the brother- and sisterhoods, the
youth association of the Good Templars (a temperance society), the Wandervogel, the
Coetus youth groups of the Lutheran schools,

various sports groups, and the youth

branch of the Transylvanian Carpathians Association. The Youth League was active in
reforming the brother- and sisterhoods, to accompany the renaissance of the
neighbourhood associations.^^^ Relations with the Church were strong, and leading
clerics regularly gave talks at Youth League events.^^^ The League's organ was the
Jugendbundblatt (1921-1930), edited from 1922 by Friedrich Czikeli, professor at the
Lutheran seminary in SchaBburg.^^^ The Jugendbundblatt emphasised the connection

Allgemeine Siebenbrgisch-deutschen Jugendbund.

Bericht ber die Heltauer Jugendbundtagung." Jugendbundblatt Vol 6, September, October and
November 1926, 17.
The Coeten were founded in 1543 as student associations to direct the activities of school students. As
with the brother- and sisterhoods, they were also moral and disciplinary organisations. By the interwar
period, their function had been reduced to facilitating the after school activities of students. My (ed), Die
Siebenbrger Sachsen, 89-90.
^^^ Extract from "Deutsches Jungleben in Siebenbrgen." Das junge Volk, in "Wie man im Mutterland
ber uns urteilt." Jugendbundblatt Vol 3, November 1923, 6-7. See also Rosenauer, Michael. "Aus der
Tartlauer Bruderschaft." Jwgewi/ZjwAZfZi/fl/i Vol 3 April 1923, 7-8.
For example, "Ansprache gehalten von Sr. Hochwrdigen dem Herrn Bischof an die Jugend
Schburgs am 7. Oktober 1923. Jugendbundblatt Vol 3, October 1923, 1-3.
Founded 1921 as a supplementary of the Grokokler Boten, from the beginning of 1922 published in
Schburg by the Ausschuss zur Grndung des Allgemein Siebenbrgisch-deutschen Jugendbundes,
under the editorship of Brandsch. In June 1922 it was taken over by the newly founded Jugendbund-,
Friedrich Czikeli was editor from then until its closure in 1930. It was a monthly until 1928, when it
switched to fortnightly distribution during the first and last quarter of the year, remaining a monthly
publication for the second and third quarters. This proved to be short-lived, as in 1929 publication became
very irregular before ceasing in June 1929. The Jugendbundblatt made an appearance again in August
1930, but appears to have been unable to compete with the other youth publications, and its rebirth was

between the Lutheran Church and the Saxon Volk. As in the KBl, a careful balance was
drawn between the universalism of Christianity and the aspects of the Church peculiar
to the Saxons/^In addition to the prominent role of Lutheran school teachers in the
Youth League, pastors, preachers and teachers played a significant role in many of the
youth organisations that made up the Union. ^^^ However, the youth movement
experienced growing radicalisation in the interwar period, raising the concern of the
Church. This is discussed in Chapter 6.

The Women's Movement

Women played a very significant role in the ethno-corporatist mission of the Church.
Gender division marked nineteenth and early twentieth century German religious life.
Women, with fewer opportunities for formal education, tended to retain a more
conservative, communal faith,^^^ and were more likely to be regular church-goers than
men.^^^ Similar trends can be seen amongst Lutheran Saxons in Transylvania. As
discussed in Chapter 1, the main body for public social activity by Saxon women was
the Lutheran Women's Association, which included almost 200 affiliated associations
in 1921. The activities undertaken by the local associations included supporting schools
and kindergartens, caring for the poor, sick, elderly and orphans, holding classes in
breastfeeding, nutrition and cooking, holding reading circles and lectures, and
supporting community nurses. In addition, local women's associations decorated
Churches, tended graveyards and raised money, for example for replacing Church bells
melted down during the War.^^^

short-lived. Czikeli, Friedrich. "Neunthalb Jahre Jugendbundblatt." Jugendbundblatt Vol 9 Nr 6-7, 30

August 1930, 43-45. "Zum neuen Jahigangr Jugendbundblatt Vol 8 Nr 1, 5 January 1928, 1-2.
For example, C. "Pfingsten." Jugendbundblatt Vol 3, May 1923, 1-2. Also Schullerus, "Schsischer
Glaube", 4-5.
Hans Tobie, "Die Jugendbundtagung in Heitau." KBl Vol 18 Nr 27, 8 July 1926, 333-335.
Hlscher, "The religious divide", 39-41.
Walser Smith, German nationalism and religious conflict, 89.
For example, see Jahresbericht des Allgemeinen Frauenvereins der evang. Landeskirche A.B. fr
1921." KBl Vol 15: Nr 4, 25 January 1923, 33-35; Nr 5, 1 February 1923, 41-44; Nr 6, 8 February 1923,
53-55. From July 1924 the Church took over much of the burden of supporting community nurses.
"Bericht des Frsorge-Ausschusses ber das Jahr 1924." EF^r 3, 1925 {KBl Vol 17 Nr 12, 19 March
1925), 136. Replacing church bells melted down during the war was a key concern of many Saxon
communities in the interwar period.

Many of these activities were consciously ethnic as well as religious, and this was
recognised by the Church. Saxon clergymen credited Saxon women with preserving
both the Germanness and the Lutheranism of the Saxon People. For example Oskar
Wittstock, a pastor active in the woman's movement, reflected on the struggles of the
Saxons during their turbulent history: "the Saxon house and the housemother has very
little to regret; the latter did wide-ranging duty in the preservation of belief and
ethnicity, and in the future much more must be asked of her."^^^

This view of the Saxon woman as the anchor point in preserving ethnic and religious
communities through the home was the defining factor in the attitude of the Church to
Saxon women. Thus, the primary role ascribed to women by the Church was firmly in
the private sphere, a contribution that it considered to be more important than public

This image of the German woman as almost single-handedly transmitting

German culture from generation to generation was common to German portrayals both
in and out of Germany of the German woman abroad.^ ^^

However, the Church also facilitated most of the public activities of Saxon women,
albeit predominantly in the role of carers. Perhaps the most important instrument in this
was the Lutheran Women's Association itself The Church played a central role in
educating Saxon women to fulfil roles in the public sphere. Relative gender equality
was reached in the rural Volksschulen well before the interwar period. Opportunities for
secondary education also slowly expanded in the interwar period, in part due to
legislative pressure from the state.^^^ An important step in this process was the founding
of a female teachers' seminary in SchaBburg in 1904 under the direction of Heinz
Brandsch. Brandsch's views on gender issues were of significance because, as well as
running the seminary and chairing the Youth League, he played an important role in
setting curricula for the Lutheran schools during the interwar period.

das schsische Haus und die Hausmutter darin haben nicht wenig leiden mssen; die letztere hat sich
dabei um Erhaltung von Glauben und Volkstum weitgehende Verdienste erworben und die Zukunft mu
ihr dazu noch weit mehr Gelegenheit bieten. Wittstock, "Deutsches Werden und Gestalten in
Siebenbrgen", 6.
For example, "Bischofstage in Hermannstdter Kirchenbezirk." KBl, Vol 16 Nr 49, 4 December 1924,
This point is made by Reagin, "German Brigadoon?"
Minna Scheiner, "Die Frauenfrage und die schs. Frau." KBl Vol 17 Nr 19, 7 May 1925, 211.

In 1930, Brandsch edited a book titled Mdchenbildung und Frauenberufe [Girls'

education and women's professions], to provide guidance for young girls and their
parents.^^^ In it, Brandsch expressed support for expanded education for girls, so as to

give them better opportunities for future employment.

The Church maintained a

commitment to expanding education for girls through the 1920s, despite the
considerable drain the school system already made of the Church's finances, and despite
sharp criticism from the Dissatisfied Movement/^^
The increased commitment to education of girls did not indicate that parity was
achieved in the interwar period. Heinz Brandsch argued that the sexes had their separate
spheres, and that the striving for the same rights for girls and boys should not result in
their education taking the same form [Gleichfrmigkeit]}^^ Above the Volksschule,
curricula for the continuing education classes of the Freie Arbeitsgemeinschaften in
both urban and rural areas aimed to prepare men primarily for public life and paid
employment, while preparing women mainly for a role in the home. 121
Nevertheless, the Church prepared many women for employment in the public sphere.
The schools themselves were important employers. During the interwar period there
was an increase in the number of women teachers, which was produced by increasing
demand due to an expanded education system for women and which led to the Church
dropping its policy of forcing female teachers to retire upon marriage. By 1930, there
were more than 100 female teachers employed in Church schools.^^^ Women activists
saw this as a considerable victory for women, although they were less sanguine about
access of women to employment in other fields. ^^^

Mdchenbildung und Frauenberufe showcased work in a number of different areas as

suitable for Saxon women. The volume sheds light on the aims of the education system.
Brandsch, Mdchenbildung und Frauenberufe.
^^^ Heinz Brandsch, "Vorwart." In Brandsch (ed), Mdchenbildung und Frauenberufe, 9-13.
^^^ For example, "Wie finden wir wieder den rechten Weg?"" .SFVol 1 Nr 6, 6 December 1925, 1-2.
Brandsch, "Vorwart", 9-13.
For example, on education of women in the Freie Arbeitsgemeinschaften, which provided further
education for Saxon village youth, see "Richtlinien zu einem Arbeitsplan fur die Fortbildung der
konfirmierten Jugend." Also Binder, "Arbeitsgemeinschaften und Volkshochschule"
^^^ Arz, Hildegard. "Mdchenbildung und Frauenberufe bei den Siebenbrger Sachsen (bis 1948)." SSbll
Vol 6 Nr 2, 1992, 147.
Minna Scheiner, "Die Frauenfrage und die schs. Frau." KBl Vol 17 1925: Nr 19, 7 May, 212; & Nr
20, 14 May, 220-221.

Suitable professions for women included above all teachers of all levels, nursing and the
high arts, for example as a writer or painter. The further one got from the key tasks of
education and care, the less suitable professions became. For the lower middle classes,
shop keeping or working in sales could be acceptable but lacked kudos. Brandsch
advocated paid work to occupy women between graduation from school and marriage
and mainly serving to improve their marriage options. However, he also hoped that
some women would create for themselves careers that would extend beyond marriage to
occupy them for the rest of their lives. Nevertheless, women were expected to subsume
their interests to that of the People. For example, Brandsch (writing during the
Depression) argued that it was not in the interest of the community, or of individual
girls, to educate them for jobs that were not available to them (that is, were already
filled by men). Women were also expected to place their professional lives firmly below
fulfilling their duties to the home and People.

The conservative views of the Church contributed to the formation of The Free Saxon
Women's Union, discussed in Chapter 2. The Woman's Union shared many of the aims
of the Lutheran Women's Association but pursued a more radical commitment to social
equality, especially in regards to women's rights.^^^ The Women's Union criticised the
Church's education policies, arguing for the same education opportunities for men and
women.^^^ However, for the most part, activists in the women's movement appeared to
share a gendered self-image in which women were expected to place their duties in the
private sphere above those in the public sphere. Male supporters of the women's
movement were clear on this.^^^ Female activists were equally concerned with
highlighting the continuing commitment of women to the home. For example, while
Lotte Binder expressed a strong commitment to equality, she was at pains to emphasise
that most Saxon women would continue to be housewives. To her, the main function of
the women's associations (both those affiliated to the Church and those affiliated with
the Free Saxon Women's Union) was to assist mothers and future mothers in their task.

Brandsch, "Vorwart", 9-11.

Binder, "Erziehungs- und Bildungswert der Vereine", 213-214. Lotte Binder was chair of the Free
Saxon Women's Union.
Scheiner, "Die Frauenfrage und die schs. Frau", Nr 19, 211.
For example, Wittstock, "Deutsches Werden und Gestalten in Siebenbrgen", 11.

by better preparing them for it, by expanding their horizons within that role, and by
assisting them in times of need.^^^

Activists were more distressed about the very limited representation women had in the
Church/"' Not only were clergy male,

women were also very poorly represented in

the lay administration of the Church. Apart from a few representatives of female
organisations, only communities with over 1,800 souls (25 out of 250 in the Church)
were permitted to send female representatives to Church bodies,^^^ and even then the
number of female representatives remained proportionately low/^^ Other commentators
expressed similar concerns regarding the limited suffrage available to women in the


Anecdotally, Klara Binder noted that while young Saxon women in the

villages had little interest in state suffrage, they were far more interested in gaining
suffrage in the Church, so as to be able to influence Church policies regarding children
and youths.

This underlines both the importance of the policies of the Church to

Saxon women and the limited faith of Saxon women in the state. These concerns
occurred against a larger backdrop of disgruntlement regarding the (lack of) democratic
process in the Church.

Social Work

The self-image of the Church as an ethnic Church can also be seen in the activities of its
Welfare Office, founded in 1920. The appointment of Heinrich Siegmund as its
Binder, "Erziehungs- und Bildungswert der Vereine." A similarly home-oriented view of the Saxon
woman was expressed by author and pastor's wife Anna Schuller-Schullerus. For example, see A[nn]a
Sch[uller-Schullerus], "Die Frauenfrage - eine Kulturfrage." KBl, Vol 18 Nr 47, 25 November 1926, 618619 and Anna Schuller[-Schullerus], "Unsere Frauenleseabende auf dem Lande." KBl Vol 19: Nr 46, 17
November 1927, 499-501; & Nr 47, 24 November 1927, 511-515.
Scheiner, "Die Frauenfrage und die schs. Frau." Nr 19, 212.
While Pastors' wives held a quasi-official position in the Church, in that they held considerable moral
and social authority in traditional village life, and were often active in furthering the social welfare
activities of the Church, they too were expected to place their role as housewives and mothers over and
above any public role. See for example For example, "Die Pfarrfrau von heute." KBl Vol 15 Nr 41, 11
October 1923, 435 and Bertine Gleim, "Die Pfarrfrau von heute." KBl Vol 15 Nr 48, 22November 1923,
^^^ [Adele Za]y, "Das kirchliche Wahlrecht der schsischen Frau." KBl Vol 19 Nr 52, 29 December 1927,
"Die 32. Landeskirhenversammlung." KBl Vol 18 Nr 47, 25 November 1926, 620.
For example, Hermine Arz v. Struenburg, "Begrung der Frauentagung in Hermannstadt." KBl Vol
1 7 N r l 9 , 7 M a y 1925, 109.
Binder, "Arbeitsgemeinschaften und Volkshochschule", 60.

founding chair is of significance as the distinguished doctor had strong interests in

community medicine, social demography and racial hygiene. The welfare activities of
the Church were divided into two categories; social care [Wohlfahrtspflege] and "health
care" [Gesundheitspflege]. Social care included many of the Church's traditional
activities, such as caring for the poor, the sick, orphans, and alcoholics. The primary
aim of health care was to promote population increase and improve the wellbeing of
future generations. This included countering the economic decline of Saxons so as to
enable them to support a larger population, by increasing land holdings, improving land
use and preserving Saxon dominance of the trades. ^^^ The Church's health care
programme is discussed further in Chapter 6.

The social care policies of the Church included a range of different programs, from
social work and preventative medicine to economic reform. These were bound together
by an understanding of Saxon identity that was defined by ethnicity and religion, and
that viewed the Saxons as imperilled by external and internal forces. The activities of
the Welfare Office were to be implemented by a range of different organisations,
including local pastors and presbyters, women's associations, Lutheran schools, doctors
and community nurses, economic associations (especially the Raiffeisen associations)
and youth groups. From 1926, these activities were extended to Lutheran settlements
outside of Transylvania. ^^^

The yearly reports of the Welfare Office to the Landeskonsistorium suggest that the
program had far greater influence in Transylvania than in the new parishes of the
Church. Furthermore, despite the wishes of Siegmund and his colleagues, most of the
activities of district and parish welfare boards were directed at "social care" rather than

^^^ "Z.l 176.1921 Rundschreiben an alle Bezirkskonsistorien, Presbyterien und Pfarr- der Gemeinden
betreffend die Einrichtung der Frsorgeaussche." KBl Vol 13 Nr 11, 12 January 1921.
"Z.l 176.1921 Rundschreiben an alle Bezirkskonsistorien, Presbyterien und Pfarr- der Gemeinden
betreffend die Einrichtung der Frsorgeaussche." See also "Z.2304.1921 Rundschreiben an alle
Bezirkskonsistorien, Presbyterien und Pfarrmter betreffend die Arbeitsanleitung fr die Frsorgestellen
der Presbyterien. KBl Vol 13 Nr 44, 26 November 1921, 190-191. See also "Z.l 141.1921 Erla an die
Direktionen der Gymnasien, Seminaren und Brgerschulen sowie die Vorsitzer der
Bezirkslehrerversammlungen betreffend Gutachten ber den Unterricht in Gesundheitspflege in den
S c h u l e n . " ^ / V o l 13 Nr 11, 12 March 1921,31 regarding schools, "Z.2375.1921 Rundschreiben an den
evang. Frauenverein A. B. und dessen Bezirks vereine sowie smtliche Ortsvereine behufs Mithilfe an der
Arbeit der evang. Wohlfahrts- und Gesundheitspflege." KBl Vol 13 Nr 24, 11 June 1921, 74 regarding the
Lutheran Women's Associations and "Z.2376.1921 Rundschreiben an alle Bezirkskonsistorien und
Presbyterien betreffend die Pflege der Volks- und Jugendspiele." KBl Vol 13 Nr 24, 11 June 1921, 74
regarding sporting and youth groups.

"health care".^^^ These activities were in keeping with traditional Church activities, and
were often carried out by organisations that had been established before the interwar
period. These activities by necessity increased in scope as the Romanian economy
followed the world economy into decline in the late 1920s, and were further expanded
by the founding of the Charity for Poor Communities of the Lutheran Church, C.A..^^^
The recipients of the Church's welfare program were defined by ethnic as well as
religious criteria. The mission statement of the Welfare Office called for the Church to
care for the growth of the Volk because of the close connection between Chuech and
People: "Only a growing People is fit for life, fit to exist. The Lutheran social and health
care must therefore be directed at an increase in the numbers of the Saxon People."^^^
The ideological position of many of the activists in the Church's social welfare program
led them to advocate policies that differentiated between Lutherans on the basis of
ethnicity. For example, Pastor Alfred Csallner, (Welfare Office board member, from
1923 pastor of Roseln, from 1929 pastor of Stolzenburg) argued for the separation of
non-Germans in the formulation of statistics regarding the congregations of the
Landeskirche. He argued that the mixed Saxon/Z/gewer congregations of the Bistritz
and Nosner regions made ethnic distinction necessary so as to separate the very
different trends evidenced by the two populations. (He was particularly concerned by
differences in birth rate, infant mortality, illegitimate births, and interfaith marriages.)
Csallner's concerns were expressed purely in terms of needing more accurate statistics
to be able to help the Saxon/German population, rather than out of any desire to assist
Lutheran Roma. Conversely, Csallner was concerned at how to include data on Catholic
Germans in the Church's statistics. Csallner's concerns did not reflect official Church
^^^ For example, "Bericht des Frsorge-Ausschusses ber das Jahr 1924." EF^r 3, 1925 {KBl Vol 17 Nr
12, 19 March 1925), 135-136, A[lbert] v[on]. H[ochmeister], "Bericht des Frsorgeausschusses ber die
Jahr 1925, 1926 und 1927." Nr 7, 1928
Vol 20 Nr 28, 12 July 1928), 25-27, [Heinrich
Siegmund], "Bericht ber den Stand der Frsorge im Jahre 1925." H[einrich] Siegmund, "Bericht ber
den Stand der Frsorge im Jahr 1927." "Bericht ber den Stand der Frsorge im Jahr 1928." "Bericht ber
1 Stand der Frsorge im Jahr 1929."
HilA>erkfr arme Gemeinden der evang. Landeskirche A.B.. Fr[iedrich] Teutsch, "In emster Stunde."
ICBl Vol 23 Nr 4, 22 January 1931, 25-26 & "Z.5000/1930 Aufruf an alle evangehschen
Glaubensgenossen zur Untersttzung des Hilfwerks fr arme Gemeinden der evang. Landeskirche A.B."
KJBl Vol 23 Nr 4, 22 January 1931, 33-35.
Nur ein wachsendes Volk ist Lebens-, ist dauerfhig. Die evang. Wohlfahrts- und Gesundheitspflege
mu daher zur schsischen Volksmehrung werden. "Z.l 176.1921 Rundschreiben an alle
Bezirkskonsistorien, Presbyterien und Pfarr- der Gemeinden betreffend die Einrichtung der

policy. However, they reflect the attitudes of activists within the Church's social welfare
program/"^^ This is discussed further in Chapter 6.
The Church fulfilled a wide range of functions above and beyond its religious mission.
These included education, youth work, providing a social security net, outreach,
healthcare and attempting to formulate a communal economic policy. These functions
were frequently carried out by other organisations, such as the Raiffeisen co-operatives
and the Women's Association rather than by the Church directly. However, these were
frequently led at the local level by pastors or their wives. The Church was not always
able to implement its policies, as evidenced by the radicalisation of the youth movement
and by the emphasis in local parishes on social care rather than health care.
Nevertheless, the Church was able to provide many functions carried out by the state in
other societies.
The supporters of the Church were mobilised on the basis of a myth-symbol complex
that was disseminated by the Church, and that saw the Saxon community as defined by
ethnicity and religion. It was also a deeply gendered understanding of Saxonness. The
strength of this view is indicated by, for example, the fact that even 'freethinking'
organisations such as the Free Saxon Women's Union worked within a framework that
saw Lutheranism and the Church as at the heart of the Saxon community. However, in
the same period the leadership position of the Church came under increasing attack.
This is discussed below.

Dissent within the Church

During the period 1919-1939, the Church's claim to represent the interests of the
community was challenged from a number of quarters. These criticisms were often
couched in ethnic terms. The following section explores the underlying social and

Csallner, "Zur landeskirchlich Statistik", 312-315.

economic causes of dissent, and examines the manifestation of dissent in the workers'
movement and the "Dissatisfied" movement. The third significant dissenting movement,
the Renewal movement, is explored in Chapter 6.

Dissent within the Landeskirche took place against a broader backdrop of social and
religious transformation. Between the end of the eighteenth century and the First World
War, German Protestantism was transformed from a predominantly communal religion
to a predominantly individualistic one. On one hand, there was a division in the Church
between those who adhered to traditional dogma and those who advocated the use of the
sciences in interpreting the scriptures. This division between orthodox and liberals
coincided with the gradual withdrawal of the enforcement of religious attendance by the
coercive powers of the state and Church. Protestantism experienced an individualisation
of belief in which the worshipper reached his or her own understanding of Christianity.
At the same time, there was a gradual but dramatic decline in Church attendance.
The process of secularisation in Germany was uneven. Protestant church attendance
declined more rapidly than Catholic attendance. The sharpest declines were in urban
centres, especially large towns and cities, and were most marked amongst the industrial
working classes. Workers were most likely to enter into religiously mixed marriages,
and to abandon the rituals of Church baptism, marriage and funerals. Attendance was
stronger in smaller towns and amongst members of the old Mittelstand (artisan masters,
small merchants and store owners), state and municipal officials, long-established
families and amongst those dependent on the charity of the Church. Women of all
classes and all areas attended in greater numbers than men, although they too
experienced declining attendance during the nineteenth century. In the countryside,
lowland areas with high mobility and with large-scale farming practices that led to
numerous wage labourers were more likely to experience secularisation, while less
accessible highlands where partible inheritance and small-plot farming were the norm
experienced the least secularisation. Overall, Lutherans in religiously mixed areas were
more likely to attend Church than those who lived in homogenous areas.

Hlscher, "The religious divide", 34-39.

Walser Smith, German nationalism and religious conflict, 85-92.

The Lutheran Church in Transylvania did not experience the same dramatic decHne in
attendance as the Lutheran Church in Germany, and attendance rates remained high in
the interwar p e r i o d . S a x o n s tended to belong to those social groups from which in
Germany attendance had remained highest. In the countryside, mobility was often
limited, villages were frequently isolated, and where agricultural day labourers were to
be found, they were rarely Saxons. Saxon towns were small by German standards, and
the Saxon proletariat fairly limited in size. Proportionately, Saxons were
overrepresented in the Mittelstand. However, perhaps a more significant difference was
that religion served as a marker of ethnic community. In the opinion of Friedrich
Mller-Langenthal, the fact that the Church had acted as a centre of Saxon communal
Hfe since the dissolution of the Estate that is, a context in which for a Saxon
community to operate - acted to prevent the exodus from the Church experienced in

However, the relative stability of attendance did not mean that the Church was free from
similar currents and disturbances to those experienced in Germany. During the interwar
period, the Church experienced a constant sense of crisis that occupied the attentions of
many of its members, both clerical and lay. Some of these were theological. The Church
in Transylvania had experienced the same conflict between liberal and orthodox
theologians as had divided Protestants in Germany. By the First World War, the
Landeskirche had come to be dominated by liberal theologians.

However, during the

interwar period there continued to be Saxon Protestants who desired more rigorous and
pious modes of worship. The Community Movement led by Georg Scherg, pastor of the
Obervorstadter Kirche in Kronstadt, remained within the Church whilst striving for a
more fundamentalist interpretation of dogma. However, others joined minority sects
such as the Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Spiritualists, Faith Healers, Sabbitarians and
Millenarians. While these often remained formally within the Church, in part due to
Romania's hostile attitude to small sects, they were seen as a source of division within
the faithftil. Furthermore, many such sects were branded as undermining the connection

Friedrich Mller[-Langenthal], "Kirche und Gemeinde." KBl Vol 23, Nr 44, 29 October 1931, 412414.
Mller[-Langenthal], "Kirche und Gemeinde", 412-414.
Binder, Die Kirche der Siebenbrger Sachsen, 58-59.

of their members with the Saxon community.

On the other hand, at the far extreme of

liberaHsm some theologians led by Paster Misch Bergleiter attempted to reform the
Church to better fit their racialised views of German nationalism.

The "German

Christians" are discussed further in Chapter 6.

A further source of crisis for the Church was the modernisation of Saxon society, which
transformed rural and urban life and undermined the leadership position of the Church.
In the villages, the cessation of traditional agricultural produced increasing social
differentiation. This ended the practice of making communal decisions as to the use of
fields and the time of sowing and reaping, which had previously been made by the
presbyters in association with the pastor. Instead, individual landowners could farm as
they wished. The more successful farmers, referred to scathingly by one cleric as
"village magnates" [Dorfmagnaten],^^^ formed a growing secular rural elite that
challenged the leadership of the clergy.

This development provoked a range of responses. Wittstock was deeply concerned that
the increasing secular roles of the Church were undermining its spiritual mission,
welcomed the rural elite as freeing the pastor to concentrate on his religious role.^"^^
Mller-Langenthal accepted the development as inevitable,

while Viktor Roth, town

pastor of Broos, urged the clergy to bridge the divide between the worldviews of
peasants and pastors by themselves becoming farmers.^^^ By comparison. Deacon
Johannes Reichart worried that wealthy farmers were joining small sects within the
Church as an act of protest when they did not get their own way.^^^ The debate spilled
out into the pages of secular journals such as Klingsor; for example, Zillich defended
Johannes Reichart, "Sekten und Gemeinschaftsbewegung innerhalb der Landeskirche." KBl Vol 21: Nr
24, 13 June 1929, 239-243; Nr 25 20 June 1929, 249-251; Nr 26 27 June 1929, 264-268; Nr 27, 4 July
1929, 274-275; & Nr 28 11 July 1929, 281-282. On the Community Movement, see also Binder, Die
Kirche der Siebenbrger Sachsen, 73-74. See also Binder, "Die evangelische Landeskirche A. B. in
Rumnien," 244-245.
On the view that the "German Christian" movement represented an extreme of liberalism, see Richard
Steigmann-Gall, The Holy Reich: Nazi conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2003, 38.
Johannes Reichart, "Sekten und Gemeinschaftsbewegung innerhalb der Landeskirche." Nr 27, 275.
Oskar Wittstock, "Vom Amt und Berufe des evang.-deutschen Pfarrers in Siebenbrgen." KBl Vol 15
Nr 42, 18 October 1923, 444-445.
Mller-Langenthal, "Werden und Wesen des sieb.-schs. Bauertums." Nr 2, 68-69.
Viktor Roth, "Pfarrerund Landwirtschaft."
Vol 23 Nr 13, 26 March 1931, 106-108.
^^^ Reichart, "Sekten und Gemeinschaftsbewegung", 275.

the continuing role of the pastor in the towns in providing apoHtical leadership free from
commercial influences. ^^^

Not all Saxon peasants benefited from the individualisation of agriculture. As discussed
in Chapter 1, increasingly from the 1890s, poor and landless peasants migrated to the
urban centres in increasing numbers, where they were absorbed into the growing Saxon
working class located in the outlying suburbs. The emergence of a Saxon urban working
class perhaps provoked the greatest fears and concerns amongst Lutheran pastors. The
"healthcare" program of the Church opposed migration to the towns as undermining the
numerical strength of rural communities. The working class also lay out of the reach of
the village pastor and the churches of the old town centres. Many pastors felt the
proletariat to be in especial need of Christian moral guidance because of the "immoral"
nature of industrial working class life. These concerns become particularly clear in
discussions of women workers, since they were seen as having a central role in
preserving and continuing Saxon ethnic and religious identity. Most importantly, they
feared the possibility that the Saxon working class might be won over by atheistic,
internationalist socialism, and thus lost to both Church and Volk}^^ However, the
Church acknowledged industrialisation as a means of supporting a larger Saxon
population, and as preferable to landless Saxons migrating outside of Transylvania. ^^^

The Church was also perceived as losing its leadership role amongst the Burghers who,
as discussed in Chapter 1, were growing in number, education and influence. ^^^ This is
particularly apparent in the "Dissatisfied" movement discussed below.

At the same time as the traditional roles of the clergy were coming under threat, the
Church was adopting new leadership positions. As the educated class in rural areas, the
clergy and the teachers in the Lutheran schools continued to play an ever-expanding
role in Saxon voluntary organisations, especially in the village-level Raiffeisen

^^^ Heinrich Zillich, "Das Ende des 'Pfarrhauses'." Kl Vol 5 Nr 3, March 1928, 105-108.
For example, see Alfred Hermann, "Die siebenbrgisch-schs. Fabriksarbeiterin." In Brandsch (ed),
Mdchenbildung und Frauenberufe, 91-94.
"Z.l 176.1921 Rundschreiben an alle Bezirkskonsistorien, Presbyterien und Pfarr- der Gemeinden
betreffend die Einrichtung der Frsorgeaussche."
^^^ Wittstock, "Vom Amt und Berufe des evang.-deutschen Pfarrers in Siebenbrgen", Nr 42, 445.

collectives. The pastor was also a pivotal figure in the Church's welfare program, which
as discussed above greatly increased in scope from the early 1920s with the creation of
the Welfare Office/^^ Furthermore, as discussed in Chapter 2, pastors were often the
local representatives of the Volksorganisation, adding their religious authority to the
directives of the party. This role became especially important under universal suffrage,
in which the entire adult male Saxon population had to be mobilised to maximise Saxon
representation. In addition, a number of leading Saxon politicians were high-ranking
clergy (especially Schullerus and Teutsch). Conversely, a number of Saxon politicians
also held secular positions in the Church administration.
The growing worldliness of the clergy provoked concerns. This is clearly seen in the
Dissatisfied movement, discussed below. However, it was also questioned by a number
of pastors who feared that by becoming increasingly involved in the secular needs of the
community, the Church was losing sight of its religious mission. For example, Oskar
Wittstock struggled with the problem of balancing the needs of Saxons and Germans as
ethnic communities with the religious mission of the Church. He saw the Church as
offering much to the secular needs of the Saxons and Romanian Germans, but worried
that reducing the Church to a vehicle of ethno-corporatism was blasphemous. Wittstock
argued that the Church, which should have been above all "isms", was in danger of
losing itself in nationalism. His solution to this problem was to place the Church above
the Volk, and to view the Volk as a body adhering to the Church. This was a
reformulation of the argument advanced by Marcus Fronius (1659-1713), who explored
Saxon customs and traditions so as to identify how Saxons might best relate to the

Lutheran Church. Wittstock called for a reduction in the secular activities of the
clergy, and an increase in the autonomy of the local community to make its own
decisions without the emphasis on discipline imposed from above. ^^^
The tensions within the Saxon community were greatly exacerbated by the economic
instability of the Church. Pastors frequently expressed concern that their obligation to
be tax collectors for the Church undermined their spiritual role and soured their
For example, see H[einrich] S[iegmund], "Die Frsorgeausschu als arbeitshilfe des Pfarrers." FNr
7, 1927 {KBl Vol 16 Nr 32, 7 August 1924), 324-325.
Szegedi, Konfession, Dialekt und 'regionale Identitt' bei Marcus Fronius", 163-179.
Oskar Wittstock, "Deutsches Werden und Gestalten in Siebenbrgen", 17-18. Also Oskar Wittstock,
"Vom Amt und Berufe des evang.-deutschen Pfarrers in Siebenbrgen", Nr 42, 444-445.

relationship with their parishioners/^^ The Church had great difficulty collecting the tax
in some communities, and resorted to using its religious and moral authority to shame
wayward Lutherans into paying. For example, in January 1921 the KBl published a
model sermon, condemning an unnamed community for failing to pay its Church taxes.
The primary thrust of the message was religious; for rejecting the "mother" Church the
community was sentenced to the judgement of the Lord. By rejecting the Church, the
wayward congregants were not only rejecting the faith but also their Saxon "father";
language, culture and the Volk}^^ Thus, the Church used the language of ethnocorporatism as well that of religion to legitimise its activities. The leadership of the
DSVR also engaged in a propaganda campaign to increase support for the Church

tax. By 1925, Alfred Csallner somewhat hysterically warned that the situation was a
revolution in the making.^^^ By 1928, as the economic climate worsened, a significant
number of communities in the Bistritz district were forced to go into debt to meet the

However, it is also important to note that the Church was the primary employer, either
directly or through its schools, of the Bildungsburgertum, the educated middle classes.
Faced with increasing competition from Romanians in other spheres of employment (as
discussed in Chapter 2), the Saxon educated classes could look to employment as
teachers or priests as the one arena in which they were able to exclude competitors of
other ethnicity. This provided an additional motive for the educated classes, who
dominated the Church and also the DSVR, to defend the increasingly unaffordable
activities of the Church despite the burden their maintenance placed on the general
Saxon population, and despite numerous calls for a reduction in these activities. The
Church's responses to two dissenting movements are discussed in detail below: the
workers' movement and the "Dissatisfied".

For example, August Schuster, "Fragen innerkirchelicher Reformarbeit in unserer Landeskirche." KBl
Vol 16 Nr 32, 7 August 1924, 317-318. Also "Die Not der Pfarrer." KBl Vol 20 Nr 11, 15 March 1928,

"Erla eines Dechanten an eine Gemeinde, die die Landeskirchensteuer abgelehnt hat." KBl Vol 13 Nr
11,8 January 1921,5-7.
StAH Fond CNS 9/1924. Roth provides the most detailed account of the tensions produced by the
Church tax. Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 109-133.
Alfred Csallner, "Mehr 'Hinaufklrung'!" KBl Vol 17 Nr 31, 30 July 1925, 358-359.
Daniel Fritsch, "Bishfliche Visitation im Bistritzer Kirchenbezirk", 389-390.

Anxieties about the Saxon working class

Saxon anxieties regarding socialism have already been discussed with regards to the
DSVR in Chapter 2. On 20-21 August 1924, the same year in which the Communist
Party was banned in Romania, the Saxon proletariat were the subject of discussion at a
pastors' conference held in Heltau, a textile industry town with considerable numbers of
Saxon workers. Bishop Teutsch had visited Heltau as part of his Episcopal tour two
months earlier, and had praised the commitment of the local community to both Volk
and the Church, arguing that this demonstrated that industrialism and ethnic sentiment
did not have to be at odds with one another. ^^^ This reveals a common thread in the
Church's response to socialism: the use of both religious and ethnic rhetoric.

The opening speaker on the Saxon proletariat at the conference was Oskar Wittstock,
the local pastor. He argued that the Church was in danger of losing contact with
Lutheran workers, and that it had to create new structures and adopt new methodologies
to counter this problem. Wittstock claimed that the Church was big enough to
encompass all worldviews, and that the solution was to ordain some socialist pastors.
Wittstock's comments, if not the solutions he proposed, were echoed by Adolf
Schullerus. Schullerus expressed concern that the workers were being distanced from
the Church by anti-clerical socialism. He argued that the struggle against socialism had
to begin in the villages, a reflection perhaps of the fact that most Saxon workers were
first generation migrants to towns, but also Church fears that socialists were
encouraging opposition to the Church tax. The idea of actively seeking to bring Saxon
workers back to the fold received considerable support from priests with parishes with
considerable numbers of Lutheran workers, although some clerics saw the workers as
infected with "Jewish-socialist" ideals, and therefore as inherently hostile to the

However, the question of integrating Saxon workers into the Church received little
attention through the mid 1920s, a period of relative economic prosperity in Romania,

"Bischofstage in Hermannstdter Kirchenbezirk." KBl, Vol 16 Nr 35, 28 August 1924, 359-360.

"Hauptversammlung des Pfarrvereins in Heltau. KBl Vol 16 Nr 35, 28 August 1924, 353-355.

and nothing was done to follow on from Wittstock's suggestions/^^ It once again
became a significant issue in the early 1930s, when the Church became concerned that
economic hardships were further radicalising the proletariat. Once again, the problem of
reaching out to the workers was raised, again with the appointment of working class
pastors as a solution. ^^^ Nevertheless, most clerics continued to view socialist
internationalism as inherently opposed to the Church. ^^^ Appeals to workers in the KBl
prompted mixed responses. The KBl published a small but apparently representative
sampling of these. All expressed a sense of religiosity and connection, however
strained, to the Saxon Volk. While some applauded the efforts, others responded with
open hostility couched in terms of class conflict. All linked their lack of relationship to
1 n C\ .

the Church to material concerns produced by the depression.

The Church may have

won a measure of support through its charity activities; by 1931 one of every nine or ten
Lutheran households in Hermannstadt were dependent on handouts for food, fuel or
both. However, the moralising and paternalistic approach of the Church to its welfare
activities may also have alienated workers.^^^

It is clear that the Lutheran Church, while claming to be an ethnic Church, was aware
that it had not successfully won the support of all social classes in the community.
However, despite the forward-thinking suggestions of a few clerics such as Wittstock,
no significant efforts were taken to expand the social representativeness of the Church.
Workers' missions remained a theory rather than a practice. Instead, the Church made
appeals to ethnic unity and attacks on "internationalism" in an attempt to overcome
socioeconomic divides.

The "Dissatisfied"

The "Dissatisfied movement" emerged in Hermannstadt in 1924 as a protest movement

against the Church tax, as discussed in Chapter 2. It was represented from 1926-1930 by
Ad. Klein, "Kirche und Arbeiterschaft." KBl Vol 24 Nr 6, 11 February 1932, 50.
Klein, "Kirche und Arbeiterschaft", 51.
For an exception, see "Eine zweite Erwiderung zu: 'Kirche und Arbeiterschaft'." KBl Vol 24 Nr 16, 21
April 1932, 147-150.
"Zum Aufsatz 'Kirche und Arbeiterschaft'." KBl Vol 24 Nr 8, 3 March 1932, 80-82.
Hans Wagner, "Die Arbeitslosen- und Armen-Untersttzung der Hermannstdter eveng.
Kirchengemeinde 1931/1932. KBlWoX 24, Nr 28, 14 July 1932, 252-254.

the weekly Schsisches Volksblatt (SV), and from 1927-1930 by the Saxon Union,
which unsuccessfully challenged the DSVR for political leadership of the Saxon

Despite its political activities, the "Dissatisfied" remained at its heart a protest against
the burden of the Church tithe. The framework in which the movement operated was
one of Saxon ethno-corporatism. The "Dissatisfied" accepted the ideal of the Church as
an ethnic Church. However, it argued that by overtaxing the population for its own gain,
the Church lived up to neither its religious nor ethnic missions. The "Dissatisfied"
characterised the clergy as avaricious, self-serving and a burden on the community,
making increasing and unsustainable wage demands to support a life of luxury:

The giddy dance around the "golden calf has drawn all into its circle.
Automobile, parquetry floors, trips abroad, radio stations: what luxurious
objects, contrivances and undertakings are there, that could not be found
here and there in a parsonage in the postwar era? ^^^
This was perceived as having spread to the highest levels of the Church. 173

Nonetheless, the Dissatisfied represented themselves as defenders of the Church and

expressed support for the Church schools.

The constitution of the Saxon Union

explicitly expressed support for the Lutheran Church and its schools, while demanding
reforms to reduce costs and encourage greater vocational training at the expense of
academic teaching. ^^^ The

particularly saw higher education for female students as

unnecessary. The emphasis on academic education was seen as producing more scholars
than the community could afford to support, and leaving Saxon artisans and tradesmen

Der taumelnde Tanz um das,,goldene Kalb " hat sie alle in seine Kreise gezogen. Automobile,
Parkettfusbden, Auslandsreisen, Radiostationen; - was fr Luxus-Gegenstnde, -Einrichtungen undUnternehmungen gibt es, die nicht da und dort auf einem Pfarrhof in der Nachkriegszeit zu finden
gewesen wren? "Volk und Kirche" SV, Vol 5, Nr 33, 18 August 1929, 1.
"Wie finden wir wieder den rechten Weg?" Nr 6, 1.
For example, M. A. [Schuster], "Wir kmpfen nicht gegen, sondern fr Religion, fr Kirche, fr
Schule u. Volkstum." SV, Vol 2: Nr 11, 14 March 1926, 1; Nr 12, 21 March 1926, 1; & Nr 13, 28 March
1926, 1-2. Emphasis in original.
"Entwurf fr die Satzungen des Sachsenbundes." SV, Vol 2, Nr 36, 5 September 1926, 1. Also "Die
erste Bundesversammlung des 'Sachsenbundes'." SV, Vol 3, Nr 17, 24 December 1927, 1.

poorly equipped for their role in Saxon public life.^^^ Furthermore, the academicminded secondary schools, with their emphasis on abstract ideas and the classics, were
1 'yy

perceived to be alienating the youth from their own Volk.

As the economic climate

worsened in the late 1920s, the Saxon Union began to campaign for a move178to request
German-language teaching within the state school system in Transylvania.


surprisingly, this was opposed by the Church, which continued to protect its education
The position of the SV and the Saxon Union on the cost of education reflects the
oversupply of educated white-collar workers in Romania, especially amongst the
minorities, and the difficulties of the Saxon educated elite accessing state employment.
It also demonstrates a more conservative view of gender roles. However, the tone of the
implies a level of anti-intellectualism that Harald Roth suggests reflects anticlericism and the religious crisis of the 1920s, especially as there is little evidence that
the party leadership itself was greatly affected by the Church tax. He also sees it as a
middle class urban movement to gain greater political influence in the face of the

Church.^'" The newspaper pitched itself at an audience of artisans and small

businessmen, ^^^ suggesting that the divisions between the Saxon Burghers and the
Literati had not healed.
The "Dissatisfied" did not remain an urban middle class movement. As discussed in
Chapter 2, support for the Saxon Union declined amongst the middle classes of
Hermannstadt following Dorr's court case against Plattner. Instead, the party gained
support in a number of rural communities opposed to the Church tithe. Interestingly,

The crippling cost and negative impact of secondary schools was a subject of frequent discussion in
the SV, for example "Wie fmden wir wieder den rechten Weg?" SV, Vol 1: Nr 6, 6 December 1925, 1-2;
Nr 7, 13 December 1925, 1; and Nr 8, 20 December 1925, 1. The failure of the education system to meed
the needs of artisans and tradesmen was discussed at length in H. H. "An die gewerbetrbenden Brger."
SV, Vol 2, Nr 34, 22 August 1926, 1. The overproduction of scholars was discussed at the first assembly
of the Saxon Union; "Die erste Bundesversammlung des 'Sachsenbundes'", 2.
"Wie fmden wir wieder den rechten Weg?" Nr 8, 1.
"Die zweite Bundesversammlung des 'Sachsenbundes'." SV, Vol 4, Nr 42, 14 October 1928, 2-3. Also
"Dritte Bundesversammlung des 'Sachsenbundes'." SV, Vol 5, Nr 42, 20 October 1929, 2.
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 121-122. c.f Bhm, Die Deutschen in Rumnien und die
Weimarer Republik, 185.
The initial focus of the ^Twas very broad, covering the educated middle classes, artisans, peasants and
workers. "Wie finden wir wieder den rechten Weg?" Nr 6, 1. However, the K increasingly considered
the interests of the artisans, for example H. H. "An die gewerbetrbenden Brger", 1, and "Zwei
Vorkommnisse in dem Wirtschaftsleben unseres Volkes."
Vol 4, Nr 28, 8 July 1928, 1-2.

supporters included the social democrat Michael Kniges of Zeiden.

This suggests

that the Saxon Union's support base was shifting to the rural communities most affected
by the unequal Church tax, which, as mentioned above, was charged at a higher rate pre
capita in smaller communities to cover the costs of local schools. Although many of the
criticisms levelled at the Church by the Dissatisfied had wider currency in the Saxon
population, direct support for the Dissatisfied and the Saxon Union was largely to
Hermannstadt and a few of the surrounding communities.

In responding to the Saxon Union, the Church generally avoided the extremes of
rhetoric that Drr and his supporters frequently adopted. The Kirchliche Bltter
occasionally responded to specific charges levelled by the Dissatisfied Movement,
generally over accusations of breaches of Church regulations by the
Landeskonsistorium. In these cases, the responses tended to concentrate directly on the
specific criticisms, and then only in terms of legalities. In this way, the Church avoided
inflaming the situation by entering into a debate with the Dissatisfied Movement. ^^^ The
main combatants of the Saxon Union were the representatives of the DSVR, who as
described in Chapter 2 used the rhetoric of ethnic loyalty to criticise the dissenters.
However, the representatives of the Church were also increasingly willing to condemn
the Dissatisfaction Movement for failing to meet their commitments to both their faith
and their People. ^^^

As discussed in Chapter 2, support for the Saxon Union declined in the late 1920s, and
the organisation became moribund in 1930. At the same time, the Church made some
efforts to be seen to be attempting to find a solution to the problem of the Church tithe.
The 1930 Landeskirchenversammlung,

the annual assembly of the full administrative

body of the Church, was devoted to finding a solution to the Church's financial crisis.
Efforts were made to project an air of calm, competent leadership, of difficult but
crucial decisions being made by a careful process of consultation and consensus, and of
an avoidance of easy, popularist solutions that would do long-term harm to the Church.
A number of cost-cutting measures were taken, mainly in the form of reducing wages
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 119.
For example, "Kirchliche Fragen." KBl Vol 17: Nr 48, 26 November 1925, 566-567; & Nr 49, 3
December 1925, 579-581. Also "Das Recht zur Einhebung der Kirchensteum." KBl Vol 22 Nr 3, 16
January 1930, 23-24.
For example, see "Kjronstdter Bezirkskirchenversamlung." KBl Vol 18 Nr 2, 14 January 1926, 15-16.
Also "Der 'Sachsenbund'." KBl Vol 19 Nr 17, 28 April 1927, 142.

and administrative costs. However, the Church tax was not reduced and continued to be
defended in terms of appeals to both rehgious and ethnic loyalties.

Parishes were

expected to continue to pay the tax, and those who were in a position to do so were also
called upon to provide financial aid to communities that were facing serious hardship. ^^^
Opposition to the tax did not cease in 1930, and played a role in the campaigns of the
NSDR, as discussed in Chapter 6.

The freedoms in the constitution allowed the Church to fulfil many roles traditionally
preformed by the state, greatly furthering Saxon ethno-corporatism. This entailed an
increasing involvement in secular society. However, the role of the Church came under
increasing criticism fi-om on one hand a growingly secular and socially complex
community whose interests were not always reflected by the Church, and on the other
by a small umber of individuals who yearned for older, more fundamentalist
understandings of Christianity. These tensions were exacerbated by economic
hardships, combined with the imposition of the Church tax. The obvious solution, to
reduce the activities of the Church to a level more affordable by the economically
weakened community, were rejected by the community's religious and secular
leadership as harmful to the goal of ethno-corporatism. It was also harmful to the
interests of the Literati that made up the same clerical and lay leadership. To defend the
Church, they appealed to ethnic as well as religious loyalties. In the process, the Church
became legitimised by ethnic sentiments.

Saxon ethnicity without Lutheranism?

I have argued above that ethnicity became central to the Lutheran Church. However,
how central was Lutheranism to Saxon ethnicity? As shown in Chapter 1, Lutheranism
occupied a central position in the Saxon myth-symbol complex, and the Church played
a key role in disseminating Saxon ethno-corporatism. Nevertheless, small numbers of
Friedr. Walbaum, "Einige Bemerkungen zu den mit Geldfragen im zusammenhange stehenden
Vorlagen fr die Landeskirchenversammlung." KBl Vol 22 Nr 20, 15 May 1930, 183-184. Also "Die 33.
Landeskirchenversammlung." KBl Vol 22: Nr 29, 17 July 1930, 285-286; & Nr 30, 24 July 1930, 289291. Fr[iedrich] Teutsch, "In emster Stunde." KBl Vol 23 Nr 4, 22 January 1931, 25-26.
Fr[iedrich] Teutsch, "In emster Stunde." KBl 25-26. See also "Z.5000/1930: Aufruf an alle
evangelischen Glaubegenossen zur Untersttzung des Hilfwerks fr arme Gemeinden der evang.
Landeskirche A.B."

Saxons rejected the Church in the interwar period. This took a number of different

One of these was atheism. As with other European societies, a number of Saxons were
or became atheists during the interwar period. The numbers of atheists are difficult to
determine. Open expressions of atheism did not play a large role in Saxon discourse
about religion. Some observers considered the number of Saxons that lost their faith but
did not formally renounce the Church to be quite high.^^^ However, the decision of these
individuals to remain formal members of the Church suggests a continuing social and
cultural connection to Lutheranism, if not a religious one.

More challenging was the adoption of religions other than Lutheranism. There were, as
discussed above, Saxons that belonged to small Protestant sects, such as Baptists,
Jehovah's Witnesses, Spiritualists, Faith Healers, Sabbitarians and Millenarians. The
extent to which these individuals' beliefs were distinct from Lutheranism is difficult to
determine, as many sect members remained formal, and often participating, members of
the Lutheran Church. As in other areas of dissent, Saxon Lutheran clergy criticised
minority sect members for having a weak sense of connection to the


even when

they remained nominally within the Church. It was recognised that this was not the case
of all minority sect members, especially the Baptists who often remained contributing
and accepted members of the Saxon community. However, Baptists were also quite
likely to continue to participate in the religious functions of the Church, except infant
baptism. Thus, although membership of another faith did not automatically contradict
Saxon ethnic consciousness, the relationship was perceived to be stronger if one
1 87
remained within the Church.

More challenging was a complete withdrawal from the Church. In a lengthy editorial in


1929, Albert Drr advocated mass withdrawal to other religions, and


suggested Baptism as the most suitable.

Dorr's editorial was not followed by mass

conversions to Baptism. There is little evidence to suggest that his views were
widespread amongst supporters of the Union, let alone the broader Saxon population.
A.K. "Anfechtungen und Nte in der Diaspora." KB I Vol 23 Nr 17, 23 April 1931, 147-148.
Johannes Reichart, "Sekten und Gemeinschaftsbewegung" Nr 25, 249-251.
"Volk und Kirche" SV, Vol 5, Nr 35, 1 September 1929, 1.

The Union's manifesto continued to pledge support for the Lutheran Church, and Union
assemblies continued to advocate reform, rather than rejection, of the Church/^^
However, some Lutherans did leave the Church to avoid the Church tithe. This suggests
a weak sense of connection to the Church to renounce it for monetary advantage. In also
suggests, however, an equally weak sense of connection to the alternative Church. For
example, some members of the parish of Braller converted to Catholicism in the early
1920's. The Saxon community of Braller had experienced unusually high land loss to
non-Saxons, such that the burden of the Church tax may have been particularly sorely
felt.^^^ The local Catholic priest represented this as a return by the Saxons to their
ancestral (pre-Reformation) religion. However, the Lutheran pastor of Braller reported
that those who had left the Church had told him that they could continue to believe what
they wished on the inside, and that they had left the Landeskirche, but not Lutheranism.
They also expected to remain members of quasi-religious organisations such as the
village neighbourhood association.^^^ Thus, although the newly Catholic members of
Braller were unwilling to pay the Church tax, Lutheranism remained central to their
value system and social structure. Nor do they appear to have renounced their
connection to the Saxon community and its communal support mechanisms.

An alternative option for Saxons leaving the Landeskirche was to look outside of the
Abrahamic faiths entirely. Although Drr advocated Baptism for the Saxon People, his
own personal preference was for pantheism and veneration of nature, which he
recognised lay too far outside the Saxon mainstream to be a serious subject of
consideration for most.^^^ A paganist alternative to Christianity was proposed by
German nationalists early in the nineteenth century, as a means of avoiding the
Protestant-Catholic divisions in the German nation. Such ideas gained little support at
the time, but they re-emerged with the vlkisch movement of the


^^^ "Die erste Bundesversammlung des 'Sachsenbundes'", 2. "Die zweite Bundesversammlung des
'Sachsenbundes'", 2-3. "Dritte Bundesversammlung des 'Sachsenbundes'." SV, Vol 5: Nr 41, 13 October
1929, 1-2; & Nr 42, 20 October 1929, 2. Also "Die vierte Bunderversammlung des 'Sachsenbundes'." SV,
Vol 6: Nr 42, 19 October 1930, 2-3; Nr 43, 26 October 1930, 2-3; & Nr 44, 2 November 1930, 2.
It was the assessment of Alfred Csallner in 1930 that Braller was in danger of ceasing entirely as a
Saxon community as a result of land loss to non-Saxons. W. S. "Die Gautagung in Schburg." SHVo\ 9
Nr 13, 15 November 1930, 4.
"Pfarrerversammlung in Groschenk." KBl Vol 15 Nr 48, 29 November 1923, 507.
"Volk und Kirche" SV, Vol 5, Nr 34, 25 August 1929, 1.
For example, see Daniel Gasman, The scientific origins of National Socialism: social Darwinism in
Ernst Haeckel and the German Monist League. London: Macdonald & Co.; New York: American
Elsevier, 1971.

such individuals were hardly representative of broader religious trends. Paganism,

with its complete rejection of Christianity, had few Saxon advocates in the interwar
period. One was Misch Orend, a linguist, folklorist and author who had studied
Germanistik in Leipzig and Marburg.^^^ He argued that far from preserving the true
Germanic traditions of the Saxons, the Church had suppressed them and alienated the
Saxons from their "ethnic soul".^^^ However, as in Germany, there is little evidence that
the beliefs of most paganists actually progressed from a philosophical concept to
1 QT

anything like a religious practice. Furthermore, paganism was not a barrier to

membership of the Church. The Church remained a sufficiently broad institution to
tolerate (if not approve of) the paganising tendencies of the German Christians.
For the majority of Saxons then, despite the sense of crisis in the Church, the Church
remained a central component of Saxon ethno-corporatism, even if only as a social
institution. Although some individuals did formally end their connection to the Church,
most of these retained a link to at the least the cultural aspects of Lutheranism.
During the period under consideration, the Church was the best-positioned and most
influential of Saxon institutions within the Romanian state. Although hampered by
economic difficulties, laws of religious freedom allowed it relative autonomy in its
activities and in the curricula of its schools. During this period the Church saw itself in
the context of an ethnic Church. Although it continued to more or less meet its
obligations as a world Church, ethno-corporatism came first in points of conflict.
Lutheranism did not offer an alternative understanding of the Saxon community. Rather,
the Church became a vehicle for ethno-corporatism.
^^^ Altgeld, "Religion, denomination and nationalism", 49. A similar argument is made by StiegmannGall with regards to the religious beliefs of the Nazi leadership. Stiegmann-Gall, The holy Reich, c.f
Glasman, The scientific origins of National Socialism.
^^^ My (ed), Die Siebenbrger Sachsen, 376.
Volksseele. Orend wrote a number of articles in Klingsor in which he touched on matters pagan,
including Misch Orend, "Vom geistigen Leben in Siebenbrgen." Kl Vol 2 No 1, January 1925, 10-13,
Misch Orend, "Unsem Bauern und die Letzten Dinge." Kl Vol 4 No 6, June 1927, 223-228, and Misch
Orend, "Die Mrchen der Siebenbrger Sachsen." Kl Vol 5 Nr 5, May 1928, 185-190.
For example, see Steigmann-Gall, The Holy Reich, 87-113.

In the same period, the Church underwent a transformation from a Saxon ethnic Church
to a (Romanian) German Church. However, it remained strongly Saxon-centric.
Furthermore, in representing itself as a German Church, the Church ignored the
existence of a majority of non-Protestant Germans. These trends point to tensions within
the Saxon understanding of the Germanness, which are discussed further in Chapter 5.
For the vast majority of Saxons, the role of the Church as an ethnic Church remained
unquestioned, although there were protests at specific policies, especially taxation. For
most Saxons, a Saxon ethnic community without the Church was unimaginable.
However, the Church reflected and contributed to a sense of crisis within the Saxon
community, over taxation, social change, secularisation and socialism. This sense of
crisis contributed to the radicalisation of ethno-corporatism, as discussed further in
Chapter 6.

Chapter 5:
^^How far are we on the way to a German ethnic community?''
Saxon ethno-corporatism. Germany and the Germans Abroad.

In this chapter I explore the Saxons' relationships to Germany and to other German
communities in Eastern Europe, especially those in Romania. Both sets of relationships
were legitimised by the idea of "German ethnic community".^ Both relationships offered
much to the Saxons: from Germany increased resources and access to tertiary education,
and with other Romanian Germans pooled resources and shared political influence. As
discussed in Chapter 2, the German communities of Greater Romania formed a number of
overarching political organizations, enabling them to present a united face in the Romanian
parliament. The success of German ethnicity as a means of mobilising collective action is
striking when one compares it to, for example, the failure of Transylvanianism to produce
meaningful inter-ethnic co-operation. To a lesser extent, Saxons also co-operated with
Germans Abroad outside of Romania in international minority organisations. However,
these relationships functioned differently, and the Saxon commitment to them was uneven.
In this Chapter I will explore why on the one hand connections to Germany strengthened
throughout the interwar period, on the other hand, ties between German communities
within Romania remained weak and uneven. I will argue that the material concerns that
drove Saxon commitments to a broader German community were those that underpinned
ethnic corporatism. However, Saxons remained committed to maintaining their own distinct
community, limiting their willingness to integrate. Furthermore, and perhaps most
importantly, the sense of broader German community was restricted by the extent to which
other Germans reinforced the Saxon myth-symbol complex. Saxons projected their own
self-image upon other German communities, and judged them according to their ability to
live up to those expectations. The disparate nature of the Germans in Romania, and the
impact of Romanian-German unity on Saxon autonomy limited the development of a sense
of Romanian-German community for much of the interwar period.

' deutsche Volksgemeinschaft

In this Chapter I will begin by examining the functions of Germanness in the Saxon mythsymbol complex, as a moral principle for the internal ordering of Saxon society, as a
justification of the civilising myth that legitimised Saxon claims to special relationships
with their non-German neighbours, and as unifying principle conecting the Saxons to other
Germans. I shall then consider in turn the two sets of relationships the Saxons sought with
other Germans under the rubric of Germanness; those with Germany and those with other
Germans Abroad. In both cases, I shall consider both the relationships formed and the
symbolic functions those relationships played in reinforcing Saxon ethno-corporatism.

Functions of Germanness
German culture and Germanness were central themes in Saxon thought during the interwar
period. First and foremost, Germanness provided and legitimised a moral and social code.
This moral code legitimised a special set of relationships with non-Germans, casting the
Saxons in a special civilising role in Eastern Europe. Finally, and most importantly for this
Chapter, Germanness served as a unifying principle, tying the Saxons to a broader German
ethnic community. I will first discuss Germanness as a moral principle, and secondly
consider its role in legitimising relationships with non-Germans, before turning to
Germanness as a unifying principle.

Germanness as a moral principle

As discussed in Chapter 1, Saxons took pride in their "German" qualities, at a time when
the were suffering the indignity of loss of corporate status. Saxons shared the belief that
they belonged to a greater German cultural sphere and were participating in a civilising
project, the Drang nach Osten.

Germanness continued to form a central tenet of the Saxon myth-symbol complex in the
interwar period, acting as both a myth of origin and as a prescription for certain (contested)

forms of behaviour. Saxon culture, especially peasant culture, was seen as German and
traced back to the Rhine and Mosel regions in the Twelfth Century (and beyond that to a
distant pre-Christian past).^ For example, Misch Orend's seminal study using place names
to trace the contribution of varying regions of Germany to different waves of German
settlement in Transylvania was published in 1927.^ German origins were seen in biological
as well as cultural terms; conservatives and radicals alike judged Saxons to be racially
Germanic."^ Germanness also became a means of characterising the Transylvanian
landscape, as I argued in Chapter 3. The same representations can be seen in, for example,
Adolf Schullerus' descriptions of the Saxon village centred on its church, as discussed in
Chapter 4. Indeed, for the Saxons Lutheranism became first and foremost an expression of

Saxons took pride in what they perceived to be their strong and continuing commitment to
preserving Germanness across the centuries. A central role was ascribed to women in this
process.^ This role functioned as a controlling mechanism, obligating women to devote
most of their energy to the private sphere, and restricting involvement in the public sphere
to the roles of carer and educator. This message was frequently advanced by the Church, as
discussed in Chapter 4, and also with a different emphasis on public versus private roles, by
the various women's organisations. This was not restricted to the Saxon community. The
representation of the German woman as the preserver of the nation was a common theme in
interwar German literature on isolated German communities, and enabled bourgeois
cultural values to be reinforced using the model of the German woman abroad. (See
Chapter 1.) This in turn reflects the broader representation of women by most if not all
nationalist movements as the 'mother of the nation'.

^ For example, see Schullerus, Siebenbrgisch-schsische Volkskunde im Umri and Friedrich MllerLangenthal, "Vom Werden und wesen des sieb.-schs. Bauerntums", Nr 1, 9-19.
^ Misch Orend, "Zur Heimatfrage der Siebenbrger Sachsen: Vergleichung der siebenbrgisch-deutschen
Ortsnamen mit denen des brigen deutschen Sprachgebietes." Deutsche Dialektgeographie Vol 20, 1927, 1146.
Schullerus, Siebenbrgisch-schsische Volkskunde im Umri, 36-38, Orend, "Vom Wesen der Volkskunst",
and Siegmund (ed). Schsisches Wehr- und Mehrbuch (1922), for example "Aus deutsche Vorzeit" and
"Aufgaben der schsischen Rassenpflege".
^ For example, Wittstock, "Deutsches Werden und Gestalten in Siebenbrgen", 4.

Politically, both the DSVR and the Saxon Union drew upon Germanness to legitimise their
platforms. Germanness also played an important role in debates over the policies adopted
by Saxon cultural institutions, justifying for example competing views of the structure and
repertoire of German theatre in Romania.^ Germanness provided a model for economic
behaviour. The co-operatives and other economic bodies formed on ethnic lines in the
nineteenth century, discussed in Chapter 1, continued to have an ethnic focus in the
interwar period. Faced with the difficult task of rebuilding its resources at the onset of the
interwar period, the Union of Raiffeisen Co-operative Associations set itself the mission of
maintaining the "German" practices of the Saxons following the loss of "German"
influence in the region.^ In this case, Germanness appears to have indicated superior
economic practices and perhaps communal loyalty. Similarly, the radical economic
organisation Self-Help used Germanness to legitimate the model of economic behaviour it
claimed to represent, as discussed in Chapter 6.

Germanness and the civilising myth

German status also justified in the minds of the Saxons a special status within the
Romanian state, as I have shown in Chapter 2. They saw themselves as a cultured nation, as
teachers of the "young" Romanian People. These views were not restricted to the DSVR.
Klingsor editor Heinrich Zillich saw the transference of culture as one of the principle roles
of the Saxons in Transylvania. He saw it as the task of the Saxon Volk educate to the other
peoples of Transylvania, sharing with them the West European culture that the Saxons had
brought with them from the Rhine. This idea of civilising the East was, Zillich recognised,
a reformulation of an older component of Saxon self-identity.^ Zillich's comments were not
empty rhetoric. He wrote and published numerous articles encouraging better
understanding between the ethnicities of Transylvania and Romania. In 1931, he argued

^ For example, see Heinrich Zillich, "Zur deutschen Theaterfrage in Siebenbuergen." Klingsor Vol 1 No 2,
May 1924, 59-62, Heinrich Zillich, "Die 'Entwurzelten'." Klingsor Vol 1 No 3, June 1924, 98-103, Konrad
Nussbcher, "Deutsches Theater im Baltikum und in Rumnien." Ostland. Vol 1 Nr 2, February 1926, 83-8^
and [Fritz] Fabritius, "Deutsches Schauspiel?"
Nr 11, March 1928, 2.
^ G. A. Schuster, "Raiffeisen und die neue Zeit." SDT\1 December 1919, 1-2.
^ Zillich, "Die Ideen der Zeitschrift 'Klingsor'", 17.

that understanding between Western, European Transylvania and Eastern, Oriental

Romania was only possible through a long process of cultural transference. However, he
envisioned this as a one-way process, with Saxons as teachers and Romanians as students.^
Zillich criticised the Saxon political elite and mainstream press for failing to pursue this
goal of cultural transference, which he felt had contributed to Romanian mistrust of the
Saxons/^ He did not seem to consider the possibility that the emphasis placed on German
'superiority' by writers such as himself might have contributed to the mistrust. ^^

The German civilising mission in turn legitimised the alliances the DSVR sought with the
National (Peasants) Party, which was viewed as more Western than the Old Kingdom
parties because it was the representative of a Western culture that was ultimately German.
This extended, as explored in Chapter 3, to the belief that a common (German) culture,
disseminated by the Saxons, united all Transylvanians. However, Saxon Transylvanianists
viewed non-Saxon Transylvanians as "German" only so long as their activities did not
impinge upon Saxon interests. Where there were conflicts of interest, non-Saxons were
rapidly recast as Eastern and Germanness became a means of distinguishing between
Transylvanians, reinforcing Saxon perceptions of the 'natural' social order in Transylvania.
Germanness was also something that needed to be protected from the corrupting influence
of the ethnic Other. This was apparent in Saxon responses to the penetration of non-Saxons
into "Saxon" towns.

Germanness as a unifying principle

Germanness also united Saxons with other Germans on the basis of their alleged shared
code and shared historical mission. As shown in Chapter 1, a growing Saxon sense of
Germanness did not automatically translate to a sense of close community with other (non^ Zillich, "Kulturelle Zusammenarbeit in Rmanien", 422-428.
^^ Zillich, "Die Ideen der Zeitschrift 'Klingsor'", 23.
^ ^ By comparison, Richard Csaki of the Cultural Office (discussed below) encouraged a subtler approach of
cultural transference by example, by encouraging non-German participation in German cultural activities.
Richard Csaki, "Mglichkeiten auslanddeutscher Kulturarbeit." Ostland Vo\ 1 Nr 1, January 1926, 15. See
also Richard Csaki, "Zur Methode kultureller Verstndigung von Schicksalminderheiten mit den
staatsfhrenden Vlkern." Ostland Vol 3 Nr 3, March 1928, 85-98.

Saxon) Germans. For example, in pre-War Hungary, only a few Saxon politicians (for
example Rudolf Brandsch) pursued ties with the Banat Swabians. At the same time,
however, there was a growing Saxon sense of connection to Germany. (See Chapter 1.)
Although weak before the First World War, it was strengthened by the experiences of
Saxon and German soldiers fighting side by side against Romania after 1916, when the
German Army had swept into Transylvania to relieve their beleagured Austro-Hungarian
allies, and by the visit to Transylvania of the German Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1917.^^ The
growing sense of German community also translated into growing ties to other Germans
abroad. From the end of the First World War the DSVR united with the representatives of
the other major German communities in Hungary (the Banat Swabians, Zipser Saxons and
Burgenland Germans) to form the German People's Council for Hungary,^^ under the
leadership of Rudolf Brandsch. When ties to Germans in Hungary were disrupted by the
Romanian annexation of Transylvania and much of the B a n a t , t h e DSVR turned its
attention to the other German communities that found themselves in Greater Romania. As
discussed in Chapter 1, the Mediasch Declaration expressed a desire to achieve German
unity in Romania, and the 1919 Programme of the DSVR was predicated upon the
existence of "the German nation in Greater Romania".^^ Saxon politicians made many
expressions of unity with other Romanian Germans at the SchaBburg conference in 1919.
Arthur Polonyi pledged unity with other Germans in Romania on behalf of the DSVR. and
Hans Otto Roth stressed that the Saxon commitment to German unity was an idea
stemming from the War. Rudolf Brandsch underlined the strength gained when united with
the other Germans of Romania:

Our strength will depend upon the answering of the question of whether we will
remain a People of 230,000 individuals, or whether we would be a People of

^^ Philippi, "Nation und Nationalgefhl", 80. See also Bttcher, Kontinuitt des Ersten Weltkrieges im
Frieden?" 60.
Deutsche Volksrat fr Ungarn.
Lorant Tilkovsky, (trans Katalin Turfitt-Pitz, Introduction, pre-history and bibliography by Johanna Till)
Zeitgeschichte der Ungarndeutschen seit 1919. Mit einer Vorgeschichte. Budapest: Corvina, 1991, 31-32.
"Der deutschen Nation in Grorumnien". "1919 Volksprogramm", Article 3.

800,000 souls that stands united and closed-ranked behind its political
leadership. ^^
This last point was reiterated on Christmas Day 1919 by Hans Otto Roth, who emphasised
that although political unity was in part politically motivated, it was hoped that it would
also take on cultural, cultural, social and political forms:
It is self-explanatory that we may not view the German collective surety solely
from the perspective of political advantage. We hope from it for a rich
fertilisation of all areas of cultural and social life. It deepening will follow when
the different groups first get to know each other better in their individual
cultural and economic life.^^
Declarations of fraternity with the Germans of Germany were lacking in the public
speeches of prominent Saxon politicians in the early stages of unification with Romania.
This is hardly surprising; declarations of loyalty to Germany would have undermined the
relationship the Saxons strove for with the Romanian state. However, there was a rapid
increase in the number of formal and informal connections between Saxons and Germany
in the interwar period. Many of these were facilitated by the Cultural Office of the League
of Germans in Greater Romania, discussed below. As discussed in Chapter 4, the Lutheran
Church was also dependent on financial support from Germany. In addition, other
Romanian-German umbrella organisations (discussed below) formed ties with Germany.
However, although the relationships with Germany and with other Romanian Germans
were legitimised by the idea of ethnic community and were often pursued through the same
institutions, nevertheless, the relationships were of an uneven nature. While connections to
Unsere Kraft wird doch von der Erlllung der Frage abhngen, ob wir auch weiterhin ein Volk von
230,000 Menschen bleiben, oder ob wir ein Volk von 800,000 Seelen wirden wollen, die einig und
geschlossen hinter ihrer politischen Fhrung stehen. "Volkstag der Sachsen in Schburg." SDT 26
November 1919, 1-3 & 27 November 1919, 2-3The quote from Brandsch is from 27 November, 2.
^^ Es ist selbstverstndlich, da wir die deutsche Gemeinburgschaft nicht lediglich vom Standpunkt des
politischen Vorteiles ansehen drfen. Wir hoffen von ihr eine reiche Befruchtung auf allen Gebieten des
kulturellen und gesellschaftlichen Lebens. Ihre Vertiefung wird erfolgen, wenn sich die verschiedenen
Gruppen erst in ihrem eigenartigen kulturellen und wirtschaftlichen Leben nher kennengelernt haben
werden. Hans Otto Roth, "Die schsische Politik im neuen Staate." SDT 15 December 1919, 1-2.

Germany grew, ties between the Romanian German communities were marred by the
failure of the German Party to form a true party structure and the hmited activity of the
Union of Germans. Furthermore, as shown in Chapter 4, even the combined imperatives of
ethnicity and rehgion did not produce a harmonious relationship between Saxons and other
Germans within the Lutheran Church.

Below, I outline the activities of the most important institution to shape Saxon relationships
tot he broader German community, the Cultural Office, before considering Saxon
expressions of German community in greater detail.

Forging a Romanian-German


the Cultural Office

As the quote from Roth above indicates, Romanian Germans were aware that the broader
German community was not just something that they were joining. Rather, it was
something new that they were forging, and that would not come into existence
spontaneously but through deliberate effort. The institution vested with the responsibility
for creating a Romanian German community and uniting it with Germans elsewhere was
the Cultural Office [Kulturamt] of the League of Germans in Greater Romania. The
Cultural Office began operation on 1 March 1922 under the leadership of the Saxon cultural
historian Dr Richard Csaki. Csaki was very well connected to the pan-German movement
in Germany, and had a close friendship with Dr. Fritz Wertheimer, general secretary of the
Deutschen Aus lands-Ins titut}^ The activities of the Cultural Office depended upon
organisations in Germany that supplied much of the needed cultural material. Much of the
Cultural Office's funding in later years also came from Germany, especially as the
Romanian economy deteriorated from the late 1920s. By the beginning of the 1930s, the
Cultural Office was receiving most of its funding from the German Foreign Office. This
ceased abruptly in 1931, officially due to Germany's financial difficulties, precipitating the

Amongst other things, this becomes apparent in correspondence between the two. Bundesarchiv Koblenz,
R57 161. It is interesting to note that when Wertheimer was sacked in April 1933 because of his Jewish
origins, and Csaki replaced him as head of the DAI, Csaki unsuccessfully attempted to have him retained as
an employee. Glass, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 473-474.

closure of the Office.^^ However, in 1932 Csaki was appointed to fulfil the same role in the
revitalised League of Germans in Greater Romania. In 1933, Csaki was himself appointed
head of the DAI, which he led until his death in an aeroplane crash in 1943.^^

The mission of the Cultural Office was to: a) protect and defend the collective cultural
inheritance of the Germans in Greater Romania, b) strengthen through institutional ties the
sense of collective identity of the Germans in Greater Romania, and by this lead them into
cultural adjustment to one another, c) achieve this cultural adjustment evenly and not at the
expense of any one area of German settlement, by tailoring its activities to the needs of
individual communities and by withdrawing once the community was able to complete
those activities under its own leadership, and d) support connections with the German



This brief reveals both the perceived differences in cultural standing

between the German communities in Romania and the tensions over relative influence that
were already present within the Romanian-German community.
The activities of the Cultural Office were myriad, including publishing and distributing
books and pamphlets of value to Romanian Germans, running a subscription library for
technical books for German academics and professionals, providing travelling slide shows
(and the technology to display them), organising educational exhibitions, distributing
teaching material to German-language schools, organising visiting lecture circuits and
courses, supporting professional and amateur German theatre in Romania, maintaining
reading rooms, providing a press service for foreign German-language newspapers, hosting
German study trips to Romania, organising study trips to Germany and organising

The organisations that supported the Cultural Office included especially the VDA, the DAI in Stuttgart and
the Deutsche Schutzbund. Others included the Zentralinstitut fr Erziehung und Unterricht, Deutsche
Akadamie (Munich), Verband Deutscher Hochschulen (Kiel), Gemeinntzige Vereinigung zur Pflege
deutsche Kunst (Berlin), Notgemeinschaft deutscher Wissenschaft (Berlin), Bund der Auslanddeutschen,
Weltwirtschaftsinstitut der Handelshochschule Leipzig, Rhein-Mainischer Verband fr Volksbildung
(Frankfurt), Berliner Siebenbrgenbund, Sachsenfahrtbund Leipzig, Zentralverband Auslanddeutscher
Studierender (Leipzig), and Deutscher Akademikerverband (Elberfeld). Richard Csaki, Deutsches Kulturamt
in Rumnien: Ttigkeitsbericht 1922-1927. Hermannstadt: 1927, 2, 47-49. On funding from the Foreign
Office, see Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen. 61-63.
My (ed), Die Siebenbrger Sachsen, 92-93.
Csaki, Deutsches Kulturamt in Rumnien, 1-2.

Romanian German exhibitions in Germany.

yearly summer college

From 1920, the Cultural office also ran a

in Hermannstadt, which drew on expertise both local and from

Germany to provide training on a broad range of topics. Themes varied, including religion
in 1922,^"^ ethnography in 1926,^^ art and culture in 1927,^^ and the study of nationalities^^
in 1929. In reflection of the worsening economic climate, the course in 1931 was devoted
to agricultural matters. Unusually, it was held in the village of Heldsdorf near Kronstadt.
Attendance rates were very high, with more than 500 Saxon farmers present.^^
The journal of the Cultural Office was Ostland: vom geistigen Leben der Auslandduetschen
Eastland: of the spiritual Hfe of the Germans abroad] (January 1926 - June 1931). The aim
oi Ostland was to combat the perceived declining status of the ethnic Germans of Eastern
Europe. Ostland aimed to represent ethnic Germans living east of Germany, "from Danzig
and Riga to Leutschau and Kronstadf. However, its editor Richard Csaki acknowledged
that, as Ostland was published in Hermannstadt, it would inevitably come to reflect Saxon
and Romanian German intellectual and cultural life above that of other Germans in Eastern
Europe. ^^


Csaki, Deutsches Kulturamt in Rumnien, 8-50. Rudolf Binder, "Aus der Arbeit der
Volksbildungsabteilung beim Deutschen Kulturamt in Rumnien." Ostland Vol 2 Nr 6-7, June - July 1927,
212-222. Also Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 60.
^^ Ferienhochschule.
^^ "Theologischer Hochschulkurs". Kirchliche Bltter. Vol. 14. Nr. 33. 17 August 1922. pp.269-271.
^^ Konrad Nubcher, "Zum Ferienhochschulkurs aus Volkskunde in Hermannstadt." Ostland Vol 1 Nr 9,
September 1926, 362-364.
^^ "Wissenschaftliches Programm des VIII. deutschen Ferienhochschulkurses in Hermannstadt." Ostland Vol
2 Nr 8, August 1927, 256-257.
^^ Richard Csaki, "Ein Hochschulkurs fr auslanddeutsche Bauern." Ostland Vo\ 6 Nr 3, March 1931, 40-41.
^^ [Richard Csaki,] "Zur Einfuhrung." Ostland Vol 1 Nr 1, January 1926, 1-3. See also Csaki, "Mglichkeiten
auslanddeutscher Kulturarbeit", 12.

The relationship to the German "Motherland"^^

The interwar development of a close relationship between the Saxons and Germany was
possible only due to a substantial shift in attitudes in Germany towards Germans abroad,
from relative indifference to great interest. This interest was directed primarily at so-called
border Germans, that might one day be (re)united with the German state. The loss of West
Prussia and Silesia under the Treaty of Versailles left a significant number of former
German citizens outside of Germany. As well as this, while rump Austria was prevented
from unifying with Germany, the Germans of Bohemia and Moravia were prevented from
unifying with Austria. This encouraged irredentism in Germany. Germans in Germany
were also sympathetic to the plight of Habsburg Germans who found themselves in new
and often hostile nation-states, and of Germans living in the Soviet Union. Interest in
Germans abroad was also encouraged by the weakness and crisis of legitimacy of the
Weimar Republic, which had the effect of fostering ethno-national rather than state-based
understandings of Germanness.^^

Interest in Germans abroad occurred at several levels. At the public level, there was a great
increase in the number of organisations aiding Germans abroad, and in the overall
membership of such organisations. Similarly, the academic and popular press devoted
considerable attention to the Germans of East Europe. There was a proliferation of
organisations directed at Germans abroad, such as the VDA and the DAI. In turn, Germans
abroad could exploit this interest to gain access to funding.^^ At the governmental level, the
Weimar Republic took greater interest in German minorities abroad, providing funding for
schools and financial aid to discourage ethnic Germans from migrating to Germany. This
was in part to avoid the expense of an influx of refugees. However, the Republic was also

In the terminology of Germans abroad in the interwar period, the state in which they lived was the
Fatherland [der Vaterland] and Germany the Motherland [die Mutterland]. This differs from the usage in
Germany, where Germany was the Fatherland. The difference reflects the desire of Germans abroad to
emphasise their loyalty to the state in which they lived. For the Saxons, Transylvania was from the second
half of the nineteenth century the Fatherland and Germany (as a geographical region) the Motherland.
Custred, "Dual ethnic identity of the Transylvanian Saxons", 488. During the interwar period, Saxons referred
to Romania as the Fatherland and Germany as the Motherland. By comparison, the Romanian term Patrie is a
feminine noun translatable as either Fatherland or Motherland.
^^ Brubaker, Nationalism Reframed, 115-120.
^^ Bridenthal, "Germans from Russia."

concerned to maintain the German population living in areas adjacent to Germany,

especially in West Prussia, so as to bolster territorial claims there. Germans further afield
were also looked to as potential economic contacts for German business, and as
representatives of German culture abroad.^^

For Saxons, increased interest in Germany manifested in a number of ways. One was the
establishment of new German consulates in areas of German settlement, including
Kronstadt. This was followed by co-operation between DSVR and Foreign Office.
However, this occurred on a limited scale, so as to avoid offending the Romanian parties.
While encouraging co-operation with the Hungarian minority in Romania, the German
Foreign Office supported the policy formulated by Roth of engagement with the Romanian
government of the day and avoiding being identified with Hungarian irredentism.^"^

There was also a hope that Germany could provide an element of protection for German
minorities in Eastern Europe. Although most Saxons had little interest in German domestic
politics, it was the assessment of German consular staff in Romania that on issues of
foreign policy the Saxons were in sympathy with the German extreme right.^^ That is, they
were bitter opponents of the Treaty of Versailles and hoped for a resurgent Greater
Germany that would include Austria and the German-inhabited regions adjacent to
Germany's borders. This is reflected in reporting in the Saxon press. By this, Saxons did
not aim to unify with Germany; in the 1920s only the most ardent and optimistic German
nationalist could hope for the borders of Germany to extend to Transylvania. Rather,
Saxons hoped that a strong Germany would be able to safeguard their rights. ^^ Although
the German Party maintained quiet communications with the German Foreign Office, few
Saxon politicians in the 1920s held great hope of political intervention in their affairs by
Germany. Constrained by the Treaty of Versailles, isolated on the diplomatic stage by the
Little Entente, and excluded from the League of Nations until 1926, Germany was

^^ Brubaker, Nationalism Reframed, 123-128.

Tilkovszky, "Die Weimarer Republik und die Nationalitten in Sdosteuropa", 115-127.
^^ Freytag, German Legation Bucharest to Foreign Office, 21 December 1924. AA, Abt lib, Politik 6,
^^ For example, [Fritz] Th[iel], "Das Deutschtumserlebnis: die Goslauer Tagung des Vereins fur das
Deutschtum im Auslande." SDT 18 June 1927, 1-2.

throughout the 1920s not in a position to provide much more than financial and material aid
to Germans abroad.

Moreover, hopes were raised by the Germany-Romania economic agreement signed in

November 1928, which included a clause guaranteeing the rights of Germans in Romania
within the existing Romanian legal framework.^^ The Economic Agreement was signed
against a backdrop of Germany championing minority rights with increasing aggressiveness
in the League of Nations, as discussed in the Introduction. In the end, the clause had no
practical impact. Nor, as discussed in Chapter 2, was the DSVR willing to participate in an
appeal to the League, which was seen as too damaging to the German party's relationship
to the Romanian parties. The first German government to take a strong interest in the
Germans in Romania was the Nazi regime.

Saxons also benefited from direct financial and material aid fi-om Germany. This included
funding for the Church, discussed in Chapter 4. In addition, for example, the Foreign Office
provided financial aid to the SDT, as well as mediating disputes between Hans Otto Roth
and Rudolf Brandsch over the Saxon press.^^ Other financial support for Saxon institutions
came fi-om various governmental and private organizations in Germany that provided
funding for Germans abroad. Many of the organisations providing aid did so through the
Cultural Office of the League of Germans of Greater Romania. As discussed above, the
Cultural office was also dependent upon funding and cultural material from a host of
German organisations and from the German foreign Office itself

Another important resource accessed by Transylvanian Saxons was education. As discussed

in Chapter 4, the Lutheran schools in Transylvania were dependent upon the German and
Austrian educafion systems. In 1927 the Zentralverhand auslanddeutscher Studiender
reported that its members studying in Germany included some 317 ethnic-German students

^^ "Rumnien und Deutschland." SDT\ 24 November 1928, 1-2; & 25 November 1928, 1-2.
^^ Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 102-104.

from Romania, and 456 in 1928.^^ Given the high standards of education and organisation
amongst the Saxons, it seems reasonable to assume that Transylvania would have been
proportionately over-represented in this figure. In addition, a number of German academics
and specialists gave lectures in Transylvania, and many participated in the
Ferienhochschulen. The exposure of Saxons to German education material and to the
German education system did much to reinforce a sense of connection to Germany.^^
An additional form of indirect aid was through economic co-operation between firms in
Germany and German firms in Romania. This allowed the transmission of important
technical and business skills, as well as providing lucrative financial opportunities for
Germans in Romania. In addition, Saxon scholars provided expertise on the Saxon
community and Romania for journals in Germany, especially those interested in the
Germans abroad. The Cultural Office and Saxon political leadership were active in
encouraging these forms of exchange."^^
While the Saxons' relationship to Germany fulfilled a number of functions, it did not
provide protection of their rights, however much this was wished for. It was not until after
1933 that a German government took a direct and aggressive stance on behalf of the
Germans in Romania (with unfortunate results). Rather, the Foreign office counselled the
German Party to continue in its policy of co-operation with the state. However, the German
government and quasi-governmental bodies such as the VDA and DAI were able to provide
material and economic support for many of the private and/or religious institutions through
^^ "Vom Zentralverband auslanddeutscher Studiender." Ostland Vol 2 Nr 8, August 1927, 295. Also "Zur
Statistik der in Deutschland studierenden auslanddeutschen Hochschler." Ostland Vol 3 Nr 6, June 1928,
Amongst the students whose education experiences in Germany strengthened their sense of connection to
the German state was Alfred Bonfert, later leader of the radical Wandervogel youth movement. For example,
see Alfred Bonfert, "Die deutsche Bauemhochschule in Liebenau." Siebenberger Raiffeisenbote Vol 15: Nr
9, 2 October 1924, 41-43; Nr 10, 14 October 1924, 50-52; & Nr 11, 30 October 1924, 56, and Alfred Bonfert,
"Bericht ber die Tagung der Deutschen Bauemhochschulen." Siebenberger Raiffeisenbote Vol 15: Nr 12,
10 November 1924, 59-60; & Nr 13, 18 December 1924, 70-72. Other students who wrote about their
experiences include Michael Rosenauer ("Bauemhochschule." Jugendbundblatt Vol 6, March 1926, 2-3) and
Winfried Schenker, ("Die Deutsche Burze zu Marburg." WV, 1 April 1930, 2-3, Beim Deutschen
Pfadfmderbund in Gttingen, WV1 July 1930, 1-2, "Wann ich das erste Mal auf die Bayern geschimpft
habe." WV 1 November 1930, 2 and "Quer durch Deutschland." WV 1 December 1930, 2-3) and Emo Connert
("Der Ttigkeitsbericht eines Einzelfassen." WV 1 April 1931, 3-4, "'Wenn wir ins Reich kommen...'." WV 1
October 1931, 1-2 and "Aus Deutschland." WV WV 1 October 1931, 2).
Csaki, Richard. "Siebenbrgens Beziehungen zu Deutschland." Ostland Vol 2 Nr 4, April 1927, 137.

which Saxons pursued ethno-corporatism. German businesses were also a potential source
of economic stimulus for Saxon concerns, strengthening the Saxons' financial position.
These forms of aid helped compensate for the loss of capital and land that had followed
unification with Romania. Access to German education further reduced Saxon dependence
on Romania at a time when access by minorities to state education was becoming
increasingly difficult. As such, while Saxons were denied access to the instruments of state
in Romania, Germany acted as a surrogate in the areas of education and economic

However, it would be a mistake to treat Saxon expressions of a connection to Germany as

mere cynicism. For Saxon ethno-corporatists, the moral and symbolic benefits of a
connection to Germany were often of far greater importance than economic matters. It was
also crucial to Saxon ethno-corporatists that they be contributors to the broader German
community and not just rely on charity from Germany. These aspects of the Saxon
connection to Germany are discussed below.

Symbolic functions of the connection to Germany

In considering the advantages gained by the Transylvanian Saxons through association with
Germany, it is important not to overlook the importance of the German national community
to the Saxon myth-symbol complex. A sense of connection with a broader German nation
reinforced Saxon myths, especially the sense that the Saxon People belonged to a great
civilisation, thus reinforcing Saxon claims to special status. As Germans, Saxons could take
a vicarious pride in Germany's achievements."^^

The connection between the Saxons and Germany was seen not only in ethnic but also
religious terms. For example, in a sermon to a VDA conference in Kiel in 1929 Viktor Roth,
the Saxon Stadtpfarrer of Broos, argued that the nation was God-given and therefore holy.

See for example Heinrich Zillich, "Deutschland, das Wunderland meiner Kindheit." Sdostdeutsche
Vierteljahresbltter Vol 19 Nr 2/3, 1958, 70-74.

and that Germans were united by the divine spirit of e t h n i c i t y a spirit centuries old
connecting the Germans abroad to the Germans of G e r m a n y . T h i s was an extension of the
role of the Church as an ethnic Church.

Saxon intellectuals also looked to Germany to counter their sense of isolation, a feeling
common to most intellectuals on the geographical margins of the culture to which they
belong. Collectively, the Saxons were not strong enough to stand alone, and geographically
they remained peripheral to the broader German worid."^^ This helps explain the importance
to intellectuals such as Zillich of the theatre as "the herald of West Europe for us, so that we
on the edge of the East may see the Evening-land [the West]"."^^ Germany became a source
of ideas and intellectual trends, which were often identified as "German" despite having
much broader origins, and which were often adopted in a prescriptive fashion. One
important example was the Saxon women's movement, which sought to emulate the
women's movement in G e r m a n y A n o t h e r social movement seen as stemming from
Germany was the youth movement. A ftirther example influenced and legitimised by trends
in Germany, discussed in Chapter 6, was the radical vlkisch movement.

The dignity that stems from membership of a nation presumes an ability to contribute, in
however small a way, to the good of the nation, as demonstrated in an extreme form by the
sacrifices made for the "national good" in times of war. It was important to the Saxons that
they percieve themselves not only to be benefiting from their relationship with Germany,
but also to be contributing to the broader German community in return. Saxons felt a
sincere commitment to a German community and were willing to make material sacrifices
for it. For example, in 1920 the Hermannstadt assembly of the DSVR sent 3 wagon-loads
of charitable donations to the children of Vienna, and in 1920-1921 many Saxon families
were hosts to Viennese Children."^^ During the 1923 hyperinflation in Germany, Saxon

^^ Volkstum.
^ V. Roth, "Heiliges Volkstum." KB/ Vol 21 Nr 35, 29 August 1929, 359-361.
Elteto, "Reformation Literature and the National Consciousness of Transylvanian Hungarians, Saxons, and
^^ "es ist der Verknder Westeuropas fr uns, die wir auf den Rndern des Ostens nach dem Abendland
sehen'' Zillich, "Zur deutschen Theaterfrage in Siebenbuergen", 59.
For example, Sch[uller-Schullerus], "Die Frauenfrage - eine Kulturfrage."
^^ "Whlerversammlung in Hermannstadt." SDT 16 January 1923, 1.

families were hosts to large numbers of disadvantaged German children during the summer
holidays."^^ In the same period, German consular staff reported that Saxons were responding
to requests for funds to assist the German population in the occupied Ruhr region, including
sending some funds to the NSDAP to raise a unit of "freedom fighters"^^ against the

Saxons also saw themselves as making broader contributions to the German community.
One of these was through the Saxons' continuing "civilising mission", by disseminating
German culture, economics and influence. Richard Csaki argued that through inclusion in
Romania the Saxons had gone from being a bulwark of the West on the edge of the East to
being a Western colony in the very heart of an Eastern state. With that shift, the
significance of their influence had increased considerably. Csaki argued that they were in a
position to work quietly for the good of Romania, by building ties to the Motheriand,
especially with regards to economic connections, cultural achievements and intellectual
influences. He emphasised economic matters, arguing that the Saxons stood to create ties
for Germany not only to Romania, but also to the entire Balkans.^^ Similariy, Hans Otto
Roth responded to the German/Romanian economic agreement of November 1928 by
representing the ethnic Germans of Romania as positioned to play a mediating role between
the two states.^^ This reflected the belief amongst Saxons that the Germans abroad had an
obligation to further the interests of Germany, in part because only a strong Germany could
safeguard their rights.

An important aspect of the growing role of Germany in the Saxon myth-symbol complex
was that Germany be seen to recognise the Saxons' contributions. The Saxons kept a close
eye on reports from Germany regarding the Saxons. These were frequently reproduced in
the Saxon press.

^^ StAH Fond CNS 8/1923.

Freytag, German Legation Bucharest to Foreign Office, 23 April 1923. AA Abt lib Politik 6, R73650.
^^ Csaki, "Siebenbrgens Beziehungen zu Deutschland", 136-137.
^^ Roth, Hans Otto. "Romnien und Deutschland." SDT 25 December 1928, 2.
For example, "Wie man in Mutterlande ber uns urteilt." Jugendbundblatt Vol 3, November 1923, 5-8, and
Richard Csaki, "Das Auslanddeutschtum im Unterricht." Ostland Vo\ 1 Nr 10, October 1926, 397-398.

A further and ideologically very significant contribution of the Germans of Eastern Europe
to the German community was to mainly take the form of traditional peasant culture, which
was perceived as having been better preserved in the isolated settlements of the East than in
Germany itself. The //e/maZ-focused understanding of German nationalism saw peasant
culture as the purest expression of the German nation.^^ Similarly, the openness to regional
differences meant that local cultural expressions were nonetheless considered
representative of Germanness overall. Saxon culture, which was understood to have broken
off from broader German culture in the twelfth century, was seen as preserving important
practices and traditions lost elsewhere. For the Saxons, the transmission of peasant culture
back to Germany was an important contribution to the community as a whole. ^^
Conversely, German folklorists looked to the Germans of Eastern Europe both for
traditions lost elsewhere but preserved there, and as an act legitimising territorial

The relationship between Heimat identity and German nationalism enabled it to fulfil an
integrating role, allowed Saxons to continue to preserve their distinct local identity while
increasingly expressing a broader Germanness and a connection to Germany. Saxons for
the most part found themselves able to reconcile their local identity with a connection to
Germany. Nonetheless, there were times when Saxons expressed awareness of differences
in identity with Germans. For example, in a discussion on Transylvanianism, Heinrich
Zillich advanced the argument that for Saxons, to be German was to be Transylvanian, and
to be Transylvanian was to be German. However, Zillich also recognised Transylvanianism
as separating Transylvanian Saxons from Germans living elsewhere.^^ His colleague Erwin
Reisner, bom in Germany but having lived most of his life in Transylvania, argued that it
was ultimately impossible to be both entirely German and entirely Transylvanian: "The

^^ Applegate, A nation of provincials, 9-11, and Confino, The nation as a local metaphor, 115-118.
^^ Csaki, "Mglichkeiten auslanddeutscher Kulturarbeit", 14-15.
^^ Burleigh, Germany turns Eastwards. A very interesting case study of Germany's interest in the folk culture
of Germans Abroad is provided in Philip V. Bohlman, "Landscape - Region - Nation - Reich: German folk
song in the nexus of national identity." In Applegate & Potter (ed), Music and German national identity, 105127.
Zillich, "Zur Diskussion ber das Siebenbrgertum", 356.


Saxon can be properly German only insofar as he is not a Transylvanian, and a

Transylvanian only insofar as he is not German."^^

There were times when local and broader cultures came into conflict. This was especially
the case with regards to Saxon peasant culture, which was seen as embodying both local
Saxon identity and the roots of Saxons' Germanness. This dual role was predicated upon
the assumption that Saxon peasant culture was indeed German. This "authenticity" was
challenged, however, by obvious cultural borrowings from, and shared cultural practices
with, the neighbouring Peoples of Transylvania and beyond. Responses to this were varied.
To Schullerus and Mller-Langenthal, these elements were part of the gradual accretion of
Saxon cultural customs, of great interest to the anthropologist and providing much of the
richness of Saxon culture. They did not represent a threat to the Germanness of Saxon
culture.^^ However racialists found cultural borrowings were more disturbing. Misch Orend
took an essentialist approach, seeing Saxon peasant culture as eternal and ahistorical,
stemming from the racial qualities of the Saxon People.^^ This position reflected the
popularity in the German-speaking worid of the theory of organic memory, the belief that
ancestral and racial memories were inherited by later generations.^^ Orend argued that
cultural borrowings were only of a superficial nature (literally; the cultural borrowings he
considered were for the most part decorative motifs). While they might be shared with nonSaxons, they were interpreted in an entirely Saxon framework, and their significance was
specific to the Volk.^^ In this fashion, he was able to treat non-German cultural borrowings
as insignificant to the German nature of Saxon culture.

A further source of tensions was the continuing role of the Saxon dialect {Schsisch)


opposed to standard German. Germans, Saxon or otherwise, in Greater Romania saw

^^ Der Sachse kann eigentlich Deutsche sein nur, sofern er nicht Siebenbrger, und Siebenbrger nur, sofern
er nicht Deutsche ist. Erwin Reisner, "Die nationalen Fehler der Siebenbrger Sachsen, wie der
Binnendeutschen sieht." Kl Vol 1 Nr 8, December 1924, 294.
This is indicated by the equanimity with which Schullerus and Mller-Langenthal dealt with cultural
borrowings. Schullerus, Siebenbrgisch-schsische Volkskunde im Umri, and Mller-Langenthal, "Vom
Werden und wesen des sieb.-schs. Bauerntums."
Orend, "Vom Wesen der Volkskunst."
^^ Laura Otis, Organic memory: history and the body in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Lincoln; London: University of Nebraska Press, 1994, 1-10.
^^ Orend, "Vom Wesen der Volkskunst."

fluency in standard German as an essential element in maintaining Germanness in

Romanian-German communities, even in communities that had historically only spoken
their own dialect.^"^ However, the significance attached to folk culture, especially with
regards to notions of authenticity, created a tension between the local and the national. The
use of Schsisch was in gradual decline from the nineteenth century, especially in urban
centres, such that by the interwar period a third of Saxons living in Hermannstadt spoke
only standard German. The decline of Schsisch was also seen as indicative of a declining
connection between urban and rural dwellers. There were occasional appeals in the Saxon
press for people to maintain Schsisch and to teach it to their children. There is no evidence
that such appeals were effectual, given the restricted and declining utility of the dialect.^^

The roles oiSchsisch and standard German also engendered a debate in literary circles
over in which dialect to write. ''Schsisch'' had never been a written language. However, by
the interwar period. Schsisch was perceived to better reflect the Heimat in which it had
developed than did standard German.^^ As such, literature written in Schsisch was
perceived to have greater authenticity. As Heimat peasant culture was seen as one of the
most important contributions Saxons could make to the broader German community, there
was a moral impetus to write in Schsisch. However, it also had an extremely small
potential readership. Saxon authors faced a dilemma as to whether to write in Schsisch and
remain only locally read, or to write in standard German, greatly increasing their potential
readership but undermining the "organic" connection between Heimat and language. A
small amount of experimenting aside, the significant Saxon authors of the period
consistently chose marketability over authenticity.^^

The decline of Schsisch points towards broader concerns about modernisation. Although
traditional peasant practices were far more widespread amongst the Transylvanian Saxons

^^ For example, Richard Csaki, "Sathmar." Ostland Vo\ 1 Nr 2, February 1926, 88-90.
^^ For example, A Scheiner, "'Dopelte Muttersprache.'" DPHVoX 1 Nr 3, March 1927, 74-75, and "Die
schsischen Predigten von G. A. Schullerus, nach ihrer Mundart." KBl Vol 14 Nr 5, 2 February 1922, 35ff.
For example, Adolf Schullerus followed a tradition of privileging language that had its origins in the work
of Herder and the Grim Brothers when he carefully analysed Schsisch for traces of bygone practices and
traditions. Schullerus, Siebenbrgisch-schsische Volkskunde im Umri.
^^ Schuller Anger. Kontakt und Wirkung. 122-123. Indeed, it may not have been possible to become a
significant author while writing in Schsisch.

than in most parts of Germany, by the interwar period they were perceived to be in a state
of decHne. This trend was deeply regretted by Saxon ethnographers.^^ The Church
encouraged Saxon women to maintain folk culture, including costume, and the Evangelical
Women's Association and the Saxon women's movement adopted this goal more broadly.^^
Youth groups also contributed to this work,^ as did the Raiffeisen Associations and the
Peasant College, discussed in Chapter 6. The irony of this trend is that much of the cultural
and technical knowledge necessary for the modernisation of Transylvanian Saxon
communities was being imported from Germany. Furthermore, Saxon ethno-corporatists
were actively involved in importing such cultural capital, especially the Cultural Office and
Saxon economic associations. The same organisations were often active in trying to
promote the preservation of Saxon culture. (See also the discussion of decline in Chapter
6.) Csaki, for his part, seems to have felt a need to distance the erosion of traditional culture
from German causes. He blamed the "mechanistic, inorganic" influences of the United
States of America, for the decline of "organic" peasant traditions. Thus the primary threat
was not the importation from Germany of industrialisation or modernisation as such, but
specifically that represented by America.^^

While Saxons were seemingly oblivious to the "Germanness" of modernising influences

from Germany, some German influences raised concerns. For example, Saxon women
distanced themselves from the full gender equality sought by some elements of the German

See, for example, Schullerus, Siebenbrgisch-schsische Volkskunde im Umri, 2-3, Csaki, Richard.
Ansprache bei der Erffnung der Siebenbrgischen Volkskunstausstellung in Berlin." Ostland Vol 2 Nr 5,
May 1927, 150-151, and Victor Roth, "Die Motive der siebenbrgisch-schsischen Volkskunst." Ostland Vol
1 Nr 9, September 1926, 354-359.
^^ On the position of the Church, see "Rundschreiben an die Bezirks- und Ortsvereine des Allgemeinen
Frauenvereines der evang. Landeskirche A.B. in Siebenbrgen." KBl Vol 13 Nr 26, 25 June 1921, 83-84.
Communities that preserved folk costume were highly praised, for example "Bischofstage im Hermannstadter
Bezirk." KBl Vol 16, 1924: Nr 27, 3 July, 257-258; & Nr 31, 31 July, 306, and Generalkirchenvisitation in
Schsisch-Regener Kirchenbezirk." KBl Vol 21 Nr 34, 22 August 1929, 349. On the position of the women's
movement, see "Heltauer Vortrge fur Frauen." KBl Vol 14 Nr 19, 11 May 1922, 146-147, Hilda Schullerus,
"Ansprache zue Erffnung der Hauptversammlung des Allgemeinen Frauenvereins der ev. Landskirche." KBl
Vol 17 Nr 20, 14 May 1925, 219, Sch[uller-Schullerus], "Die Frauenfrage - eine Kulturfrage", 619, Schuller[Schullerus], "Unsere Frauenleseabende auf dem Lande", Nr 47, 514.
For example, H.B, "Stadt und Land." Jugendbundblatt, Vol 4, January 1924, 3-6 and G.R. "Sonderhefte fur
VoXkskmidQr Jugendbundblatt, Vol 9 Nr 9, 20 October 1930, 70-71.
Richard Csaki, "Die kulturelle Arbeit der Minderheiten und die Stammvlker." Ostland Vol 3 Nr 10
October 1928,261-262.

women's movement.

Another social movement seen as stemming from Germany and

treated with some ambivalence was the youth movement. The significant role played by the
Church in the Youth League did not prevent fears that the youth organisations were being
influenced by radical elements in the youth movement in Germany. This was despite efforts
by the Youth League to distinguish itself from the youth movement in Germany and
emphasise its commitment to Church and Volk^^ (See also Chapter 6.) More broadly, many
Saxons, including some that came to support the NSDR by the early 1930s, were in the
1920s opposed to radical German nationalism.^"^ (See also Chapter 6.) At a more trivial
level, Zillich, who was a passionate defender of Standard German, was concerned at the
spread of informal slang from Germany.^^

Occasionally, Saxons expressed frustration that Germans of the interior took their relation
ship with Romanian Germans less seriously than Romanian Germans did. In June 1931
Richard Csaki expressed frustration that in economic matters, many German organisations
carrying out business in Eastern Europe chose to use non-German agents and contacts,
despite the fact that, in Csaki's estimation, the Germans abroad were generally better
skilled for the tasks, and despite obligations of ethnic solidarity. He also decried the
tendency of German academics and journalists to write about Eastern Europe and, worse
still, about the Germans of Eastern Europe without bothering to contact the ethnic Germans
in those countries. This frequently resulted in the publication of inaccurate information,
despite the wealth of knowledge available to Germans of the interior through their fellow
ethnic Germans Abroad.^^

^^ For example, Sch[uller-Schullenis], "Die Frauenfrage - eine Kulturfrage."

^^ For example, see A. H. "Ein Brief." Jugendbundblatt Vol 3, June 1923, 1-2, and Hans Tobie, "Die
Jugendbundtagung in Heltau." KBl Vol 18 Nr 27, 8 July 1926, 333-335.
For example, Heinrich Zillich criticised the Saxon press' tendency to slavishly favour the right wing in
Germany. Heinrich Zillich, "Das blau-rote Hakenkreuz." Kl Vol 2 Nr 8, August 1925, 317-320.
^^ Heinrich Zillich, "Unser Deutsch." Klingsor Vol 5 Nr 5, May 1928, 191-192.
^^ Csaki, Richard. Deutschland, deutsche Minderheit, fremdes Staatvolk." Ostland Vol 6 Nr 6, June 1931,
140-141. Expressions of frustration with German scholars and journalists publishing incorrect information
due to lack of consultation had previously appeared in Ostland in 1930. W. Schreiber, "Sitte und Brauchtum."
OstlandWoX 5 Nr 10, October 1930, 277-283. The timing of these complaints is of interest. Csaki was writing
in the June 1931 issue of Ostland, which proved to be the last to be published. In 1931, the Cultural Office
itself was also forced to close, due to lack of funds and a withdrawal of support from Germany. At that time,
any available business from Germany, for either Saxon businesses or for the Cultural Office itself, would
have been highly valuable, and the decision of German organisations not to co-operate with their Saxon
colleagues would have been particularly painful.

On occasion, Saxons also struggled with their relationship to German foreign policy.
Successive German governments treated German minorities in Eastern Europe as an
extension of their foreign policy, although the interests pursued by Germany were not
always those of the German minorities themselves. For example, Germany encouraged
irredentism in Poland and Czechoslovakia, regardless of whether the German populations
in those countries were better off seeking working relationships with the states in which
they lived. However, Germany encouraged more distant German minorities to seek positive
relations with the states in which they lived, while pursuing better rights and closer
relations with Germany.^^ While this offered few practical difficulties for Saxons, it did
raise differences of political principles. For example, an article by the Baltic German
publicist Paul Rohrbach^^ in Ostland in 1926 argued that while the principle of national
self-determination obligated Germans on the border of Germany to seek unification with
the German state, Germans at a greater distance had no choice but to do as best as they
could under the Minorities Treaties. Hermann Plattner responded in the SDTihdii


Germans had the right to national self-determination, but this meant striving to maintain
their Germanness (something that could be done regardless of citizenship or location), not
serving the German state. Germans on the border might legitimately chose to seek
unification with Germany, but it was a choice, not an obligation.^^ For his part, Rudolf
Brandsch argued through the Minorities Congress that all minorities should wherever
possible seek a solution to their minority status within existing b o r d e r s . O n an academic
front, Karl Kurt Klein argued that it was important that academics separate the scientific

^^ Brubaker, Nationalism refrained, 123-128.

^^ Paul Carl Albert Rohrbach (*1869 Irgen, Latvia, tl956, Langenburg, Germany), Lutheran theologian and
German publicist, authored seminal texts on German liberal imperialism before the First World War and a
passionate advocate of German territorial expansion at Russia's expense during the War. After the War,
advocate the primacy of foreign policy, the restoration of a Greater Germany, the right to national selfdetermination and the rights of the Germans Abroad. Josef Anker, "Rohrbach, Paul Carl Albert."
Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon, Verlag Traugott Bautz, 1994, Vol 8, 592-608 [4 February 2007], and Henry C. Meyer, "Rohrbach and his Osteuropa." Russian Review,
Vol 2 Nr 1, Autumn 1942, 60-69.
^^ H[ermann] Pl[attner], "Auslanddeutschtum und Grenzlanddeutschtum." 5Z)r6 June 1926, 1-2.
R[udolf] Brandsch, "Betrachtungen zur Nationalittentagung in Genf" DPH Vol 5 Nr 11-12, November December 1925, 4.

study of Germans Abroad from political agitation.^ ^ By comparison, Fritz Theil returned
from a conference of the VDA in Germany convinced that a Greater Germany including all
adjacent areas of German habitation was essential to the future of the entire German
community. ^^ Zillich's "United States of Europe" can also be understood as a hope that
German hegemony in Europe would provide protection for the Saxons. He believed that
Germany would dominate the new political structure, and that Peoples would achieve their
own improvement through the recognition and protection of the national rights of their



However, the relatively moderate German foreign policy before 1933 and the

distance of Romania from Germany made this a moot point for most Saxons.
Overall, it can be seen that in certain circumstances a broader sense of Germanness could
conflict with local Saxon identity. However, for the most part Saxonness could be
integrated into a broader sense of Germanness via the medium of Heimat identity.
Contradictions between local and broader identities were infrequent and of a limited nature
compared to the ways in which a connection to Germany reinforced the Saxon mythsymbol complex. The distance of Germany from Transylvania also reduced potential
conflict, giving Saxons relative autonomy in the expression of their Germanness. Similarly,
the need to avoid offending the major Romanian parties ensured that institutional
integration of the Saxons with Germany was limited. At the same time, Germany provided
many of the resources necessary for the continuation of the private institutes upon which
Saxon ethno-corporatism depended. Such resources were not necessary to produce a strong
sense of kinship between Saxons and Germans of the interior, as is shown by the strong
sentiments between Saxons and the Baltic Germans (discussed below). However, it greatly
strengthened the sense of kinship.

The growing relationship to Germany must be compared to the relationship of Saxons to

other Germans Abroad. Romanian-German unity under the banner of ethnic community
also offered the Saxons material and political advantages. Nevertheless, the Romanian^^ Karl Kurt Klein, "Wissenschaft vom Auslanddeutschtum." DPHWoX 6 Nr 6, June 1926, 107. Klein was
writing in response to the political overtones of J. W. Mannhardt, Grenz- und Auslanddeutschtums als
Lehrgegenstand, published in 1926.
^^ [Fritz] Th[iel], "Das Deutschtumserlebnis", 1-2.
^^ Zillich, "Die Ideen der Zeitschrift 'Klingsor'." 17-23.

German community was in many ways shallower than the Saxon connection to Germany.
This is discussed below.

Relationship to Romanian Germans

For the Germans in Romania, as for the Romanians and Hungarians, the 1920s were period
of 'ethnic consolidation', of strengthening intra-ethnic ties between previously isolated and
disparate communities.^"^ In many ways, integration of the Saxons into a broader RomanianGerman community was far more challenging to Saxon identity than were strengthened ties
with Germany. Integration within Romania entailed the pooling of resources with
communities often strikingly different to the Saxons, the forming of common institutions,
and the relinquishment of control over those resources to those institutions. Below, I briefly
outline the major German areas of settlement in Romania before considering attempts to
forge a common Romanian-German community.

The Germans of Greater Romania

In addition to the Saxons there were a number of other distinct areas of German settlement
in Romania, all constituting islands of Germanness. (See Table 4 and Figure 4.) The
Swabians of the Banat, as well as well as smaller settlements in Arad, Satzmar,
Maramarosch, Bihar & Szilagy, formed the largest German community. The Habsburgs had
gained the Banat from the Ottoman Empire in 1718, and had encouraged German
settlement (along with Hungarians, Romanians and Serbs) in an effort to repopulate it.
Government-assisted settlement occurred in three waves between 1718 and 1787, although
German settlers continued to colonise the area until 1829. Settlers were predominantly poor
farmers from Catholic Germany; though from a range of backgrounds, they became known
collectively as 'Swabians'. Protestant settlers were permitted only after the 1781 Edict of
Toleration. Being predominantly Catholic, the Swabians lacked a separate Church structure
Lengyel, "Kulturverbindung, Regionalismus, foderativer KompromiB," 51-55.

to that of the Hungarian Cathohcs of the region. As a result, they lacked the highly
organised denominational schools of the Saxons, and were unable to maintain Germanlanguage education during the period of Magyarisation. Their pattern of settlement also left
them less concentrated than the Saxons. The majority of Swabians were farmers, with
artisan- and middle-classes forming from the nineteenth century. There was also a
considerable proletariat, mostly engaged in mining and metallurgy. The middle classes
tended to associate with Hungarian nationalism and were divided before the First World
War between the (pan-German) German People's Party^^ (founded in 1905 with support
from Saxon parliamentarians Rudolf Brandsch and Lutz Korodi), and the Hungarian
parties. After the War, the Swabian vote was split between the German People's Party
(which sought an accommodation with Romania) and the pro-Magyar Swabian Autonomy


greatly weakening Swabian representation in pariiament. Although the two parties

were united in the German-Swabian People's Organisation^^ from 1921, strong internal
divisions continued. From the early 1930s two new opposition movements, the Free
German Community^^ and the Young Swabian Movement^^ emerged within the Swabian
community. These drew their support from the dissatisfied poor peasantry, artisans and
small traders.
Germans first settled Bucovina after Austria gained the region from the Ottoman Empire in
1775. The Bucovina Germans did not hold a privileged position in society. However, they
benefited from Austrian rule, under which German was the official language and was
widely used in education. The dozen or so ethnic groups in the region had considerable
autonomy, formalised in a voting system on ethnic lines from 1909. (See Introduction.)
German settlers were scattered throughout the towns and villages of Bucovina. Most were
small-scale farmers, although there was a considerable middle class concentrated in
Czemowitz and Radautz. Of the approximately 70,000 Bucovina Germans, 20,000 were

Deutsche Volkspartei. The German People's Party was known before the First World War as the Hungarian
Lands German People's Party [Ungarlndische Deutsche Volkspartei], but for simplicity its shorter, post-War
name is used throughout here.

^^ Deutsch-Schwbische
^^ Frei Deutsche Gemeinnschaft.
^^ Jungschwbische
Glass, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 32-35, 94-98. See also Sue Clarkson, "History of German settlements
in southern Hungary." FEEFHS, 1996.^history.html. [24 January 1999].

Lutheran and the rest CathoUc. Before 1918 the Catholic Church in Bukovina tended to
Polish nationalism. Romanianisation had a severe impact on the Bucovina Germans. Of the
73 German public schools in Bukovina in 1913, only one was in operation in 1928. The
University of Czemowitz was also Romanianised. A handful of private schools continued
to operate, most run by the Lutheran Church. The active German press in Bucovina had
been adversely affected by the Russian occupation, and also by Romanian government
censorship. There were nevertheless several German publications. Bucovina Jews
contributed to the German press, as well as producing several German-language papers of
their own. From 1897 many Bukovina Germans had been members of the Association of
Christian Germans,^^ an anti-Semitic cultural organisation that maintained its own German
Houses in fifty communities. This reflected a wider move amongst Christian Germans in
Habsburg Austria from the 1880s to distinguish themselves from and exclude Jewish
Germans. From 1918 the Germans of Bukovina were united in a Volksmt, the German
People's Council of Bukovina.^^ However, they remained divided on religious lines. The
Protestant-dominated German Freedom Party^"^ was supported by Lutheran Germans and
approximately half the Catholic Germans, and had the backing of the Association of
Christian Germans. Other Catholic Germans belonged to the Catholic-German Party.^^
Until 1925 the two campaigned against each other, with the result that neither was
represented in pariiament. After 1925 they combined forces and were able to secure a
single pariiamentarian between them. Their weak numbers limited Bukovinan German
influence in the German Party in the Romanian pariiament.^^
After Russia gained Bessarabia from Moldavia in 1842, Germans were sponsored to settle
the region from 1814-1842. They were overwhelmingly Lutheran, and mainly small
farmers with no significant urban middle class. The community enjoyed relative religious

Verein der christlichen Deutschen, renamed the "German Cultural Association" [Deutscher Kulturverein]
in 1931
^^ Judson, Exclusive revolutionaries, 223-226.
^^ Deutsche Volksrat der Bukovina.
Deutsche Freiheitliche Partei.
^^ Katholisch-deutsche Partei.
^^ Welisch, "The Bukovina-Germans in the interwar period", 423-433, Glass, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft,
103-105, Bomemann, The Bukovina Germans, 10-13, and Carl Petersen, Otto Scheel, Paul Hermann Ruth &
Hans Schwalm (ed), Handwrterbuch des Grenz- und Auslanddeutschtums. Breslau: Ferdinand Hirt Vol I

and cultural freedom, running its own schools until the First World War when these were
nationalised and Russified. Lutherans in Bessarabia were integrated into the Russian
Lutheran Church, and Bessarabian Germans looked towards the other Russian Germans for
political leaderhip in 1917. After Romania annexed Bessarabia, the formerly Lutheran
German schools were taken over by the Romanian state. The status of the schools remained
a subject of dispute throughout the interwar period. The Bessarabian Church was unable to
take on the burden of private schools, and the state schools were subject to efforts at
Romanianisation. Intervention with the Romanian government by the German Party
ensured at least limited German education until 1934. Bessarabians were united in the
German People's Council (Volksrat) of Bessarabia.^^ However, politically the Bessarabian
Germans were only weakly mobilised and representation in parliament was uneven at best.
From 1926-1934 Daniel Haase, Oberpastor of the Lutheran Church in Bessarabia, also
chaired the Volksrat, uniting secular and religious authority. However, this was insufficient
to unite the Bessarabian German community, which remained divided between the German
party and the Romanian parties.^^

Romania gained the territory of Northern Dobrudscha from the Ottoman Empire in 1878,
and Southern Dobrudscha from Bulgaria in the Second Balkan War (1913). This area had
been settled from 1842 by a series of mostly Lutheran German settlers, mainly from
Bessarabia and other parts of Southern Russia, who relocated to escape pressure from the
Russian government. They numbered 12,000 by the First Worid War, consisting mainly of
small-scale farmers with almost no middle class. They maintained a handful of schools,
most of which were Romanianised and offered German instruction only in German
language and religion classes. The community had a strong sense of separate identity to its
neighbours, but first organised politically in 1924.^^

^^ Deutsche Volksrat Bessarabiens.

On the Bessarabian Germans in the interwar period, see Hugo Schreiber, "Die Deutschen in Bessarabien
zwischen den beiden Weltkriegen." Jahrbuch der Deutschen aus Bessarabien: Heimatkalender 1997, Vol 48,
18-24, and Glass, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 52-54, 109-117.
^^ Kroner, Michael. "Die deutschen Kolonien in Rumnien vor 1918." Sdostdeutsche Vierteljahresbltter
Vol 40 Nr 3, 1991, 202-204, Petersen et al, Handwrterbuch des Grenz- und Auslanddeutschtums, Vol II
1936, 278-290, and Paul Traeger, Die Deutschen in der Dobrudscha: zugleich ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der
deutschen Wanderungen in Osteuropa. Stuttgart: Ausland und Heimat Verlags-Aktiengesellschaft, 1922.

In addition, there were a number of Germans living in the Regat. Although a number of
German settlements had been founded in the Old Kingdom between the thirteenth and
sixteenth centuries, these had completely assimilated by the twentieth century. New
German settlements were to be found in the major towns of Moldavia and Walachia, having
been invited to settle by the nobility in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The largest
settlement was Bucharest, where settlers came from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and
Transylvania. The 1840s and 1850s also saw efforts by the nobility to encourage Germans
to settle in rural areas and improve agricultural industry. The 1887-1889 tariff war between
Romania and Hungary inspired many Saxons to move their capital to Romania. By the First
Worid War there were about 17,000 Germans in Romania, (excluding the Dobrudscha

It can be seen, therefore, that the German settlements of Greater Romania were of disparate
character and origin. None approached the antiquity of the Saxons, nor did they have the
same tradition of having formed an estate. None were as politically united. The
communities were divided by their former political experiences and frequently by religion.
Only the Bukovinans came close to the levels of education and political experience of the
Saxons, but their small numbers greatly limited their influence. These differences shaped
the relationships Saxons formed with other Romanian Germans, as discussed below.

Strengthening institutional ties

As shown above, at the beginning of the interwar period, Romanian-Germans identified

predominantly in terms of local loyalties. The same may be said for the Romanian political
landscape as a whole, as discussed in Chapter 2. Shapiro suggests that the unification of the
National and Peasants Parties in 1926 marked the formation of the first truly state wide
Romanian political institution. ^^^ On one hand the Germans of Romania were able to
achieve the appearance of a state wide political (and non-political) institution by 1920. The

Kroner, "Die deutschen Kolonien in Rumnien vor 1918", 201-204.

Shapiro, "Romania's past as a challenge for the future", 27.

German Party sent to parliament approximately twice the number of representatives that the
Saxons would have been able to secure on their own. In theory, German Party candidates
represented the entire German community in Romania, regardless of whether one's local
member of parliament was German/^^ This enabled the Saxons to more effectively mitigate
the impact of Romanianisation and other state policies.

A further institution that united a number of Romanian-German communities was the

Lutheran Church (see Chapter 4), although this was limited to Lutheran Germans. In
addition, there were also a number of professional, economic, sporting and cultural bodies
that existed to pool the combined resources (both material and knowledge-based) of the
Romanian German areas of settlement. ^^^

The Union of German Gymnastic and Sports Associations in Romania^^^ was amongst the
first cultural organisations to form ties between Romanian-German communities, as was a
similar Musical Association. By the mid-1920s, the SKV had established new branches in
Bucharest and Czemowitz, and the Transylvanian Doctors' Association^^^ had made
connections to Swabian doctors in the Banat. There already existed a Romania-wide
League of German Jurists.

The Union of German Tertiary Students in Romania^^^ was

founded in 1922 as an expansion of the Union of Transylvanian Saxon Tertiary Students,

but was only able to make inroads in Czemowitz and the Old Kingdom. Students in the
Banat and a portion of those in Bucovina continued to belong to alternative organisations.
The Union of German academics in Romania^^^ was more successful. Attempts by the
Transylvanian Saxon Youth League to form a Ring of German Youth Organisations in
Romania^^^ had been largely unsuccessful due to the lack of similar umbrella youth
organisations in other areas of settlement. The two biggest German economic organisations,

"Whlerversammlungen im Nsnergau." "DJ 18 May 1926, 2.

Csaki. "Wie weit sind wir auf dem Weg zur deutschen Volksgemeinschaft?" 3.
Verband deutscher Turn- und Sportsvereine in Rumnien.
Siebenbrgische rzteverein.
Deutscher Juristenverband.
^^^ Bund deutscher Hochschller in Rumnien.


Bund deutscher Akademiker in Rumnien.

Ring deutscher Jugendverbnde in Rumnien.

the Rural Economic Associations of Transylvania and the Banat,^^^ were already working
closely together, and in Bucovina and Bessarabia similar organisations were being founded
that, it was hoped, might one day join in a Romania-wide rural economic association.
However, other forms of economic co-operation were less successful. The Saxondominated Union of Transylvanian Industrialists^ ^^ had joined the General Union of
Industrialists in Romania, in which Germans played a large role. In 1928 a German
Industrial Union^^^ was founded with representation in a number of German communities.
However, attempts by Hans Otto Roth and HAS to found a united Romanian-German
financial institution collapsed because unity could not be achieved within the Saxon
banking sector, let alone with other communities.^^^
Of all organisations, the Cultural office of the League was the most active organisation in
disseminating cultural material, informing the different Romanian-German areas of
settlement of one another, and in generally working to create a united Romanian-German
community. In doing so, it was frequently supported by the DSVR, as discussed earlier.
On the other hand, despite the impressive array of institutional connections Romanian
Germans created with one another in the early years of the interwar period, real unification
was achieved far more slowly. The activity of the cultural office highlights the inactivity of
its parent body, the League of Germans in Greater Romania. As discussed in Chapter 2, the
League was founded to produce the Romanian-German community. However it was largely
inactive, beyond providing representation for the Germans of Romania in international
minority organisations such as the Minority Congress and in the League of German ethnic
Groups in Europe.

Banater und siebenbrgische Landwirtschaftsvereine.

''' Bund siebenbrgischer Industrieller.
German Deutsche Gewerbebund.
Csaki, "Wie weit sind wir auf dem Weg zur deutschen Volksgemeinschaft?" 3-5. Csaki's representations
of Romanian-German institutions was on occasion overly rosy; see also Roth, Politische Strukturen und
Strmungen, 89-91 and Glass, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 305-321. On the failure to found a RomanianGerman youth league, see also Hans Tobie, "Ttigkeitsbericht."/wge^i/^w^zJ^/aiZ Vol 8 Nr 12, 20 September
' Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 52-57.

For its part, the German Party was less a political party than a coalition of German
members of parliament. One indicator of the extent of real political integration is whether
politicians from one German community were able to stand for election in another
community. In 1928, 1931 and 1932, parliamentarians from one German community stood
for election in counties inhabited by Germans of another community. This was due to the
electoral alliances formed between the German Party and the larger Romanian parties,
which occasionally left key German candidates without a seat in their own electorate. (See

However, these candidates were chosen by their own community

organisations, such as the DSVR in Transylvania, and not by the German voters in the
electorates in which they ran.

A further indication that Saxons had only a limited sense of community with other
Romanian Germans was the extent to which ostensibly Romanian-German organisations
were dominated by Saxons. This can be seen in the German Party, which was dominated by
the DSVR. Saxons were also seen as dominating the League of Germans. In part this was a
reflection of the League's inactivity; in its absence many of its functions were carried out
directly by the DSVR. This contributed to feelings amongst other ethnic German
communities that the Saxons were dominating Romanian German politics to their own
advantage.^ ^^ The inactivity of the League was itself largely caused by disputes between the
two leading Saxon politicians. Roth and Brandsch. Similarly, although the Cultural Office
was an institution shared by all Romanian Germans, it was until 1930 heavily dominated by
Saxons. Its library was open to the use of all Germans, but was physically located (along
with its offices) in the disused cemetery chapel in Hermannstadt.^^^ Csaki was a Saxon, as
were the majority of the members of its board of oversight. Furthermore, its activities were
very much focused on Transylvania. ^^^ Although a separate branch of the Culture Office
was opened in the Banat to meet local needs, its chief was Josef Oschanitzky, a native of
Hermannstadt.^^^ Other organisations were similarly Saxon-dominated. This has been seen

For a more detailed analysis, see loan Scurtu, "Beitrge zur Geschichte der Deutschen Parlamentsparti:
1919-1937." In Knig (ed), Siebenbrgen zwischen den Beiden Weltkriegen, 55-68.
Roth. Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, pp.52-57.
Roth. Politische Strukturen und Strmungen. p.60.
Csaki, Deutsches Kulturamt in Rumnien, especially 1-5.
Otto Alscher, "Gegenwrtiges von den Banater Schwaben." Kl Vol 5 Nr 9, September 1928, 349-350.

with regards to the Lutheran Church (Chapter 4), although this was a shghtly unusual
example as Saxons made up the majority of Lutherans.

There were a number of reasons why on one hand Saxons tended to dominate collective
organisations and on the other hand they were unwilling to surrender autonomy to the
broader Romanian-German community. The Romanian-German "nation" was in itself a
highly artificial construction, resulting from the boundaries of the Romanian state, rather
than forming due to any historical links between the separate German communities. As a
result, while the Saxons had pre-war ties to the Banat Swabians, there was a lack of
historical connections between the different German settlements in Romania. Many of these
communities were little known. The Germans of Bessarabia and Bukovina were so
unfamiliar to the Saxon populace that the

felt it necessary to publish an overview of

their political leadership when the German party was formed in 1919.^^^ The KBl had felt it
similarly necessary to introduce the unfamiliar Bessarabian Germans and Dobrudscha
Germans to its readers.^^^ Nor did familiarity necessarily engender interest. While the
Saxons initiated and briefly led the German People's Council for Hungary,^^^ once
Romania annexed Transylvania, they focused instead on achieving political union with the
Germans of Greater Romania. In doing so, the Saxon political elite lost interest in the
Germans remaining in rump Hungary, with whom they were as familiar as the Banat
Swabians that also came under Romanian rule.^^^

Comparative resources also had an influence on Saxon dominance of institutions. The

Saxons were the second largest German community in Romania after the Banat Swabians,
had a much larger educated class than other communities, and were already highly
organised on ethnic lines. They were also a relatively wealthy community, even after the
agrarian reforms, and "ethnic discipline" meant that the DSVR could draw upon a larger
"Die deutsche Volkspartei in Grorumnien." SDT19 December 1919, 1-2.
Cornelia Schlarb, "Bessarabiendeutsche im Spiegel der 'Kirchlichen Bltter' aus der Evangelischen
Landeskirche A.B. in Siebenbrgen bzw. Rumnien." Jahrbuch der Deutschen aus Bessarabien:
Heimatkalender 1997, Vol 48, 37-39, "Diaspora in Dobrudscha." KBl Vol 14 Nr 35, 31 August 1922, 285287, and "Eine deutsch-evangelische Dobrudscha-Gemeinde." KBl Vol 15: Nr 8 22 February 1923 77-78' Nr
9 1 March 1923, 81-82; Nr 10 8 March 1923, 89-90.
Tilkovszky, Zeitgeschichte der Ungarndeutschen seit 1919, 31-32
^^^ "Ueber das Deutschtum in Kleinungam." SDT A December 1919, 1.

range of resources through the People's Tax. Under those circumstances, the Saxons would
be hard pressed not to dominate Romanian-German institutions. A case in point is provided
in the Cultural Office. In Transylvania, Csaki argued, the groundwork for his work had
already been laid by the Church and the various German-Saxon institutions, as well as by
the extensive German language press. Thus, every Lutheran parish could act as an outlet for
material and publications provided by the Cultural Office. In other areas, especially the
Banat, Bessarabia, Dobrudscha and Sathmar, Germans were often not yet ethnically
conscious, and the weak German collective institutions there were only slowly correcting
this. German ethno-corporatism was more advanced in Bukovina, where Christian Germans
had for decades been active in the Verein der christlichen Deutschen. However, it appears
that the Bukovina Germans ran their own activities quite separately from the Cultural

By the late 1920s, the Saxon domination of the political bodies of the Germans of Romania
was generating increasing antagonism from other ethnic-Germans. ^^^ For example, until the
late 1920s, the DSVR carried out its activities with only limited consultation with the other
German communities. This only changed when, as discussed in Chapter 2, the DSVR came
into serious financial difficulties from 1927. As a result, the DSVR was forced to surrender
its Bucharest Office to the German Party. At the same time, the German Party gained
control of many of the political activities that the DSVR had previously managed
independently. Similarly, the decision to reform the League of Germans in Greater
Romania, and in 1931 to replace Brandsch with the Banat-Swabian Senator Dr Kasper
Muth, was largely motivated by the desire to reduce the authority of the DSVR, and to
create a more balanced power relationship between the areas of German settlement in
Romania, as well as to make the organisation more active.^^^ The Cultural Office, which
had ceased activity in 1931 due to financial pressures, became the core of the new League.

^^^ Csaki, Deutsches Kulturamt in Rumnien, 3-5.

For example, see Capesius, "Was gefllt dem Regatler Deutschen am Sachsen und was nicht?" 308-312.
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 45-51.
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 53-57.

Although Csaki remained its leader, its offices were relocated to Bucharest and its activities
were more evenly divided between communities. ^^^
This greater level of integration was, however, a response to the standoffishness of the
Saxons within Romanian-German institutions, and was made possible by the economic
weakness of the Saxons, rather than being due to an increased sense of commitment by the
Saxons to other Romanian German communities.
Similarly, in 1932 the non-Saxon Viktor Glondys was elected Lutheran Bishop, as
discussed in Chapter 4. However, this was due in part to voting by settlement area, and
generated considerable resistance in Saxon circles.
Thus, although the Saxons developed a strong and relatively unproblematic sense of
connection to Germany, their sense of common community with the other Romanian
settlements was weaker. This was even though both were legitimised by the idea of ethnic
community. And yet, Saxons were nonetheless determined to create such a community, as
indicated by the role of Saxons in the founding and running of the Cultural Office of the
League of Germans in Greater Romania, with the purpose of fostering ethnic community
amongst Saxons and other Romanian Germans, and the commitment of Saxon institutions
such as the Church and the DSVR to the Cultural Office. To explain this apparent
contradiction, it is necessary to consider the symbolic functions of the Saxons' connections
to other Germans Abroad, especially those in Romania. This is discussed below.
Symbolic function of the relationship with the Germans Abroad
In considering the symbolic importance of other Germans Abroad, it is of value to contrast
two separate attempts to bridge the differences between the Romanian German
communities. The first is an attempt to synthesise a common Romanian-German history, by
Friedrich Mller-Langenthal, while the second is a broader campaign by Richard Csaki and
128Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 59, 62-63.

the Cultural Office to produce a united German ethnic community. In 1925, the Saxon
Volksorganisation commissioned Friedrich Mller-Langenthal to write a common history
of all German areas of settlement in Romania. The briefing for the book was that it was to
renew and strengthen the spirit of the Volk, strengthen each community's faith in the fiiture,
but above all to emphasise the need for collective work.^^^ The book, Die Geschichte
unseres Volkes: Bilder aus Vergangenheit u. Gegenwart der Deutschen in Rumnien [The
history of our nation: pictures from the past & present of the Germans in Romania], was
printed by W. Krafft in Hermannstadt and launched on 15 March 1926.^^^ Faced with the
difficulty of integrating the very disparate and separate pasts of the German communities of
Romania, Mller-Langenthal approached the task by writing separate histories for the four
main German communities, and then bringing them together in a final chapter on events
since the First World War. The book included one chapter each on the Bessarabian and
Bukovinan Germans. These were the communities with the chronologically shortest
histories and, perhaps, the communities about which Mller-Langenthal knew the least.
There were also several chapters on the Banat Swabians, but the largest section of the book
by far was that on the Saxons. Mller-Langenthal included several chapters devoted to
Saxon and Swabian national heroes, but none to individual Bessarabian or Bukovinan
Germans. Dobrudscha Germans were overlooked entirely.^^^

Die Geschichte unseres Volkes had an initial print run of 27,800 copies. Initially intended
as a textbook in Lutheran schools, it ran afoul of the Ministry of Education. As a result, it
went on sale, but despite a low price and positive reviews in Revue Historique du Sud-Est
Europen, KBl and Klingsor, and being recommended as reading material for village
reading circles, sold only 5,000 copies in its first year, effectively saturating its market. In
1930, despite numerous copies having been freely distributed, half remained unsold.^^^ This
^^^ Ulrich Andreas Wien, "Friedrich Mllers pdagogische und publizistische Anfnge." ZL, Vol 21 Nr 1,
Wien, "Friedrich Mllers pdagogische und publizistische Anfnge", 53. However, this was shortlived, as
review in the KBl identified the publisher as early as in December 1926. (KBl Vol 18 Nr 48, 2 December
1926, 645.)
Friedrich Mller-Langenthal, Die Geschichte unseres Volkes: Bilder aus Vergangenheit u. Gegenwart der
Deutschen in Rumnien, W. Krafft: Hermannstadt, [1926].
Wien, "Friedrich Mllers pdagogische und publizistische Anfnge", 53. Reviews include KBl Vol 18 Nr
48, 2 December 1926, 645-646 and Heinrich Zillich, "Bcher." Klingsor Vol 3 Nr 5, May 1926, 200-201.
Zillich, who had been taught history at school by Mller-Langenthal, was especially praising of the book. For

seems to be a small market for a book aimed at "the common man,"^^^ and the book was
not considered successful. As Mller-Langenthal was a popular writer, this failure requires
some explanation.

Writing in 1926, the Saxon literary critic Kari Kurt Klein (living in Iai, Moldavia)
characterised Die Geschichte unseres Volkes as a book about "a Volk that does not exist,
that first would be [ c r e a t e d ] a n d in which it could not be denied that "we Germans of
Romania living outside of Transylvania feel treated in a stepmotheriy fashion". ^^^ The
failure oiDie Geschichte unseres Volkes suggests only limited Saxon interest in the other
German settlements in Romania; the focus of the text on the Saxons suggests a similar bias.
A similarly local focus can be seen in the Lesebuch fr die konfirmierte Jugend (1927),
discussed in Chapter 4, in which the text was overwhelmingly focused on the Saxons to the
almost complete exclusion of other German communities. Saxon understandings of
Germanness continued to be rooted in very strong expressions of local specificity. While
this remained a very powerful way of expressing Germanness within the local
community,^^^ it could not link Germans from different settlements in the absense of strong
institutional connections.

When considering the failings of Die Geschichte unseres Volkes, Kari Kurt Klein saw the
solution for the creation of a Romanian-German nation in the writing of an "Ethnography
of the Germans of Greater Romania",^^^ an as of yet unwritten book that he hoped would
give content to the empty title Romanian-German. ^^^ However, while Klein saw the
solution to German community in Romania in a deeper study of regional specificities that
would reveal common elements, Richard Csaki was engaged in a very different model of
Germanness abroad. Csaki characterised Germans of Eastern Europe to belong to a
the use of the book in women's reading circles, see Anna Schuller, "Unsere Frauenleseabende auf dem
Lande." KBl Vol 19 Nr 47, 24 November 1927, 513.
Zillich, "Bcher." Klingsor Vol 3 Nr 5, May 1926, 200-201.
"eines Volkes, das nicht ist, sondern erst wird". Karl Kurt Klein, "Siebenbrgisch-schsische
Volkskunde." Klingsor Vol 3 Nr 9, September 1926, 351.
"wir auerhalb Siebenbrgens lebenden Deutschen Rumniens uns darin stiefmtterlich behandelt fhlen".
Klein, "Siebenbrgisch-schsische Volkskunde", 351-352.
^^^ Applegate, A nation of provincials, 13.
Volkskunde der Deutschen Grorumaniens.
^^^ Klein, "Siebenbrgisch-schsische Volkskunde", 350-351.

"community of shared destiny".^^^ This was determined by the common themes in their

Our fathers were not adventurers fleeing the land, who were allured by an
uncertain fate in the unknown; they were invited by kings who allocated them
their territories because they needed their clearing arm, their warlike fist, their
courage, their loyalty, their craftiness. They came here so and won these lands
from the wilderness and the barbarian hordes, shaped the German East lands
from Danzig and Riga to Leutschau and Kronstadt - islands of German culture
with flourishing towns, rich villages and blessed fields, that still today stand
heavy in ears every summer, despite the crushing storms that have broken over

Csaki's view ignored local specificities and reduced Germanness in Romania (and indeed
in Eastern Europe) to a trope of common themes, in much the same way as local identity in
Germany could be reduced to a trope of localness that was compatible with German
nationalism/"^^ This imagining of the Germans abroad was heavily influenced by
representations of Germans abroad popular in Germany. It ignored the very real differences
between the different communities of Germans in Romania, instead concentrating on
common themes that could be easily applied to any community, namely the high status of
German culture, the preservation of that Germanness despite isolation and the passing of
centuries, and the dissemination of that German culture to the non-German populations of
Eastern Europe. Collective identities require the individual members of the community to
forget their differences as much as to remember their commonalities.


Many of these

Schicksalgemeinschaft. Csaki, "Mglichkeiten auslanddeutscher Kulturarbeit", 12-13.

Nicht landesflchtige Abenteurer waren unsere Vter, die ein unsicheres Glck in die Fremde lockte,
galaden waren sie von Knigen, die ihnen ihre Gebiete vergabten, weil sie ihren rodenden Arm, ihre
kriegerische Faust, ihre Mut, ihre Treue, ihren Kunstfleiss brauchten. So kamen sie her und gewannen diese
Lnder der Wildnis und den Barbarenhorden ab, schufen das deutsche Ostland von Danzig und Riga bis zu
Leutschau und Kronstadt, - Eilande deutsche Kultur mit aufblhenden Stdten, reichen Dorfen und
gesegneten Fluren, die noch heute jeden Sommer in schweren hren stehen, trotz der vernichtenden Strme,
die ber sie hinweggebraust. [Csaki,] "Zur Einfuhrung", 1.
^^^ Confino, The nation as a local metaphor.
Ernest Renan, "What is a nation?" In Stuart Woolf (ed), Nationalism in Europe, 1815 to the present: a
reader. London: Routledge, 1996, 50.

claims were of course more myths than demonstrable facts. For example, Csaki argued that
wherever ethnic Germans had managed to win for themselves a niche in the economic and
intellectual life of the "Fatherland" and had remained German, then their successes had
been achieved through their German culture/"^^ If a German minority retained its
Germanness and was successful in the society in which it lived, then how might it be
demonstrated that German culture was not responsible for that success?

In 1927, in an article titled "How far are we on the way to a German ethnic community?"
Csaki made a frank assessment of the progress made to date. He recognised that a common
German community in Romania had not yet taken hold of the imaginations of the
Romanian-German masses. The different areas of settlement were divided by differences in
origins, religion, history and socio-economic structure, as well as by distance. As a result,
the consciousness of the "simple man" was always bound to his own area of settlement.
However, he argued that the educated and leading classes in each community had embraced
both Germanness and Romanian-Germanness, and was confident that those leaders were
laying the foundations for further integration. ^^^ And yet, the commitment of the Saxon
educated classes to the Romanian-German project must be balanced against the "stepmotherly" attitude of Saxons towards the other German communities of Romania.

In German nationalism, local (Heimat) identities mediated between the individual and the
national by providing a means by which the individual could imagine the abstract nation in
concrete t e r m s . F r o m the 1880s, German nationalists projected the Germans abroad as an
ideal representation of Germanness.

Saxons judged the other Germans of Eastern Europe

in terms of a model of Germanness abroad that reflected their own self-image. Indeed,
Saxons believed that it was possible from the experiences of one community of Germans

Csaki, "Mglichkeiten auslanddeutscher Kulturarbeit", 13-14.

Richard Csaki, "Wie weit sind wir auf dem Weg zur deutschen Volksgemeinschaft?" Ostland Vol 1 Nr 12,
December 1926, 443.
^^^ Csaki. "Wie weit sind wir auf dem Weg zur deutschen Volksgemeinschaft?" Vol 2 Nr 1, 6-7.
Applegate, A nation of provincials, 15.
Reagin, "German Brigadoon."

abroad, such as the Germans of Romania, or more narrowly the Transylvanian Saxons
alone, to generalise the experiences and circumstances of all Germans abroad/^^

This becomes apparent if one examines Saxon representations of other communities of

Germans abroad. There is not a large body of such descriptions to draw on, in part because
Saxon nationalists were hesitant to portray other Romanian-German communities,
especially in a negative light, as this might cause friction. They were more likely to invite
members of that community to make their own representations. One organisation active in
portraying other German communities to the Saxons was the Cultural office. Csaki placed
an emphasis on securing material on different German communities in Germany and
Eastern Europe. These consisted of publications, as well as series of lantern slides and films
that toured the German settlements of Romania.

The journal O^i/a^zJ provides an

indication of the tone of the lectures and slide shows given by the Cultural Office.

One community described in glowingly positive terms was that of the Baltic Germans of
Estonia and Latvia. The Baltic Germans shared a number of features with which the Saxons
identified. Like the Saxons, the Baltic Germans had settled the region from the twelfth
century, had formed a privileged estate, were Lutheran, and retained much of the wealth
and culture accrued during their former privileged status. They shared a common place of
origin in Germany to the Saxons. They also differed from the Saxons, in ways to which the
Saxons were attracted. The Baltic Germans had been able to play a much closer role in the
cultural development of Germany. They had held influential positions in the government of
the Russian Empire. They formed the nobility of the region, unlike the Saxon peasants and
burghers. They had managed to secure wide-ranging rights of cultural autonomy from the
states in which they lived. ^^^ The Baltic Germans were used as a standard of excellence
against which the Transylvanian Saxons measured their own efforts, for example regarding
For example, see Rudolf Brandsch, "Unser Zeil." D P / / V o l 1 Nr 1, August 1921, 1. Also [Csaki,] "Zur
Einfuhrung", 2-3.
This is indicated by the correspondence between the Cultural office and the DAL For example, see BA
Koblenz, R57 161.
Richard Csaki, "Deutsch-baltische Gegenwart: siebenbrgisches Widmungsblatt den Freunden in
Estland!" Ostland Vol 3 Nr 2, February 1928, 33-35. On the similar origins of the Baltic Germans and
Transylvanian Saxons, see Mller-Langenthal, "Vom Werden und wesen des sieb.-schs. Bauerntums" Nr 1

German-language theatre and press.^^^ Csaki made a point of emphasising the similarities
between the Transylvanian Saxons and the Baltic Germans, which he identified in similar
cultural and political organisations. ^^^ The comparison served as a form of praise of Saxon
efforts where these Saxons had equalled the achievements made by the Baltic Germans, for
example in the area of tertiary education (namely the Ferienhochschulkurs)}^^

Another community against which Saxons compared themselves were the Zipser Saxons in
Slovakia. While this community, which was also Lutheran and of similar age, had once
held corporate rights comparable to those of the Transylvanian Saxons, it had declined in
significance and lost those privileges at a substantially eariier date. While the Baltic
Germans provided a model against which the Saxns could measure their successes, the
Zipser Saxons provided awaming of what could go wrong. Csaki compared the
Transylvanian and Zipser Saxons to one another so as to identify the reasons for the
comparative failure of the Zipser Saxons. While the similarities in origins and history of
these two communities made such an approach tempting, it was perhaps surprising in the
context of a journal supposedly aimed at an international audience. This once again
underiines the Saxon focus of Ostland. Csaki concluded that the difference lay in that the
Zipser Saxon "patrician" class tended to relocate to urban centres such as Budapest in
search of better opportunities, leaving the Zipser Saxons without leadership.

The accounts of the Baltic Germans and Zipser Saxons underline an image of the German
abroad with which Transylvanian Saxons could readily identify. Germanness abroad was
marked by a medieval pedigree, a tradition of wealth and privilege, and the maintenance of
extensive cultural institutions supported by an ethnically conscious educated class. It is of
interest to note that such a representation of the Germans abroad was shared by Baltic
Germans, who admired the same characteristics in the Transylvanian Saxons.^^^ It is

For example, Nussbcher, "Deutsches Theater im Baltikum und in Rumnien", 83-88, and Richard Csaki,
"Was wir von unserer auslanddeutschen Presse verlangen." Ostland Vol 1 Nr 5, May 1926, 182-183.
Richard Csaki, "Die Siebenbrger Sachsen als Volkspersnlichkeit." Ostland Vol 5 Nr 9, September 1930,
Richard Csaki, "Zehn Jahre deutscher Hochschulkurs in Hermannstadt." Ostland Vol4 Nr 10-11, October
-November 1929, 315.
Richard Csaki, "Besuch in der Zips." Ostland Vol 4 Nr 12, December 1929, 357-360.
For example, Paul Rohrbach, "Typen des Auslanddeutschtums." SDT11 August 1927, 1-2.

intriguing to consider that the prominent role of Baltic Germans in organisations in

Germany with an interest in the Germans Abroad, may have contributed to the formation of
an image of the German Abroad modelled upon the Baltic Germans, and therefore very
much compatible to the Transylvanian Saxon self-representation/^^

It is interesting to note that the place names Csaki listed in his description of the shared
history of the Germans Abroad were all associated with the oldest German colonies in
Eastern Europe: the Danzig (Prussia), Riga (the Baltic Germans), Leutschau (the Zipser
Saxons) and Kronstadt (the Transylvanian Saxons). Csaki emphasised the oldest, and
traditionally the most privileged, German colonies as his model for Germanness Abroad. It
is insightful to compare this representation to broader Saxon representations of the
Germans in Romania. The gulf between the two sets of images reveals the weaknesses in
the Romanian-German community.

Of the Romanian-German communities, the two most frequently described by Saxons were
the Bessarabian and Dobrudscha Germans. Although neither community was of great age,
wealth or privilege, both were predominantly Lutheran, which made them of interest to
Saxons for both religious and ethnic grounds. The Dobrudscha Germans in particular
lacked a developed educated class to produce counter views to Saxon representations.

Cornelia Schlarb has made a study of representations of the Bessarabian Germans in the
KBl from 1919-1940. There were only a few articles in the KBl on Bessarabia in the period
before the Bessarabian Lutheran Church fully integrated with the Transylvanian Church.
Nor was there a sudden increase in reporting after 1926, when the Lutheran Churches in
Romania were finally united under a single constitution, and the KBl allegedly began
serving a Romania-wide readership. This is in keeping with the Transylvanian and Saxon

For example, the role of Theodor Schiemann (1847-1921) as the founding director of the Seminar fr
osteuropische Geschichte und Landeskunde in Berlin from 1902. The Seminar pioneered and gave shape to
the discipline of Osteuropaforschung [East European Studies] in Germany, with its focus on the Germans
Abroad. Burleigh, Germany turns Eastwards, 3-32. See also Renate Bridenthal, "Germans from Russia: the
political network of a double diaspora." In In O'Donnell, Bridenthal & Reagin (ed), The Heimat Abroad, 187218.

focus of the KBl and the Church as a whole. Nor was there significant transfer of personnel
between the two Churches in this period/^^

Reports were aimed mainly at introducing the unfamiliar Bessarabian Germans to the
Transylvanian readership of the KBl or reporting the difficult circumstances of the Lutheran
schools in Bessarabia. Reporting in the KBl on the Bessarabian Germans was for the most
part positive. It portrayed the Bessarabian Germans by comparison, drawing similarities
between the work carried out to assist the Lutheran Diaspora by the Lutheran Church in
Russia before the War and similar efforts in Transylvania, and identifying similarities to the
Transylvanian brother- and sisterhoods in certain Bessarabian youth organisations. At the
same time, differences in liturgy were noted. Missing from the reports were recognition of
the history and structures of the Church in Russia before the War, as well as the significant
personal and theological disputes that divided the Bessarabian Church. As a result, the
Bessarabian Church were portrayed as a young Church, lacking the antiquity and cultural
inheritance of the Transylvanian Church, but forming harmonious, deeply pious
communities. Schlarb suggests that while this was a distortion of the Bessarabian Church, it
reflected the characteristics (unity and piety) Saxons felt were missing from the Church in
Transylvania, as indicated by the growth of the Community Movement there. Thus, while
the perceived lack of tradition of the Bessarabian Church became a feature that reinforced
Saxon superiority, the Bessarabian Germans also served as a model for emulation. ^^^
Indeed, the .SFheld up the Bessarabian Lutheran Church as a model against which to
criticise the Transylvanian Church. ^^^

Views in the KBl and the SDToi the smaller German community of the Dobrudscha were
very similar. Initially unknown to Saxons, the Dobrudscha Germans were admired for their
supposed piety and deep communal commitments, and for their maintenance of a handful
of schools despite the pressures of Romanianisation. The ethnic consciousness of a Catholic
German community in the Dobrudscha was also recognised. Saxon opinions of the
Dobrudscha Germans were partially informed by a study of their community by the
Schiar, "Bessarabiendeutsche im Spiegel der 'Kirchlichen Bltter'."
^^^ Schlarb, "Bessarabiendeutsche im Spiegel der 'Kirchlichen Bltter'."
Der 'liberale' Geist in der evangelischen Kirche A.B." 5FVol 5 Nr 17, 28 April 1929, 1-2.

German citizen Paul Traeger, who emphasised their piety and communal loyalty. Saxons
played a significant role in assisting the Dobmdscha Germans to organise politically for the
first time, and took pride in their involvement. Similarly, in reporting on the difficulties
faced by the Bessarabian Geman communities, the Saxon press emphasised the role of
Saxon politicians and the Transylvanian Church in championing their institutions. Thus,
both the Bessarabian and the Dobmdscha Germans formed on one hand a model of the
ideal Christian community, and on the other hand provided a source of pride in Saxon
leadership within the Romanian-German community.

These descriptions must be compared to communities viewed in a less favourable light. For
example, the German community of the Old Kingdom (especially Bucharest) was looked
upon with some mistrust. Of diverse background, the Germans of the Old Kingdom were
characterised as having abandoned their former homelands for personal advantage.
Although they had prospered, they were considered selfish and individualistic, supporting
only those German institutions that they benefited from personally. Being predominantly
involved in industrial trades, they lacked any rural communities to give a sense of roots and
permanence in their new homeland. They were considered to be rapidly assimilating,
especially through intermarriage. Their diverse backgrounds were also seen as contributing
to sharp divisions within the community.^^^ Against these negative qualities were arrayed
the positive values of the Transylvanian Saxons: permanence, a strong sense of community
feeling, unity, and a commitment to the preservation of culture. There was also a secondary
division between the urban/industrial nature of the Old Kingdom Germans, as opposed to
the rural villages and largely unindustrialised towns of the Saxons. This once again reveals
a discomfort with industrial life present in the Saxon self-image. It also underlines the class

On the Dobmdscha Germans, see for example "Diaspora in Dobmdscha." KBl Vol 14 Nr 35, 31 August
1922, 285-287. Also "Eine deutsch-evangelische Dobmdscha-Gemeinde." KBl Vol 15: Nr 8 22 Febmary
1923, 77-78; Nr 9 1 March 1923, 81-82; Nr 10 8 March 1923, 89-90. "Tagung der Deutschen in der
Dobmdscha." SDT19 May 1926, 3. "Der erste deutsche Volkstag in der Dobmdscha." SDT22> May 1926, 34. On Bessarabia, see for example H[ermann] Pl[attner], "Die Deutschen Bessarabiens fr ihre Schule." SDT
6 April 1923, 1. The SDr also published many sympathetic articles authored by Bessarabian Germans
regarding the plight of German schools in Bessarabia. Extracts of Traeger', Die Deutschen in der Dobmdscha
(1922) were serialised in the KBh "Eine deutsch-evengelische Dobmdscha-Gemeinde." Vol 15, 1923: Nr 8,
22 Febmary, 77-78; Nr 9, 1 March, 81-82; & Nr 10, 8 March, 89-90.
Bernhard Capesius, "Vom Deutschtum in Altmmnien." Ostland Vol 1 Nr 7-8, July - August 1926, 301302.

element in the Saxon representation of the German abroad, which - hke other Heimat
imagery - included peasants, burghers and nobles, but not the working class.

In turn, Saxon attitudes generally alienated the other Romanian Germans. For example. Old
Kingdom Germans were aware of, and resentful of, their image in the eyes of Saxon
nationalists. Saxons were respected for the national solidarity of their organisations, their
emphasis on tradition, the willing sacrifices they made for the Church, and their high levels
of intellectual achievement. However, other Romanian Germans viewed the Saxons as
closed and clannish, dominating, snobbish, intellectually haughty and excessively
conservative. ^^^ The Saxon political leadership was seen as biased in favour of Saxon
concerns, and as paying only secondary attention to Romanian German concerns outside of
Descriptions by Saxons of the Banat Schwabians and the Bukovina Germans were rarer.
This was probably in part because for Saxons to comment on the qualities and weaknesses
of these communities, which possessed their own educated classes, would have been
perceived as interfering and overbearing. Nevertheless, it is interesting to compare those
communities to the self-ideal held by Saxons. Neither had the antiquity of the Saxons, nor a
tradition of privilege. Neither could match the Saxons in political, social and economic
organisation on ethnic lines (although the Bukovina Germans came close). Both were
politically divided; the internal disputes of the Swabians were frequently reported in the
SDT. Both communities were majority-Catholic. The Saxon educated classes were larger
and more committed to ethno-corporatism than those of the other communities. Simply put,
the other German communities of Romania fell short of the Saxon ideal of the German
abroad because they were insufficiently Saxon. In 1930, the Wandervgel youth
organisation held a tour of Bucovina. In the lead up to the tour, the organisation's journal
Wandervogel published a number of articles introducing the Bucovina German community
to its membership. These articles included an introduction to the community, as well as an
exploration of its youth, authored by Michel Stocker, a Banat Swabian premanently living
Capesius, "Was gefllt dem Regatler Duetschen am Sachsen und was nicht?" 311-312.
Capesius, "Was gefllt dem Regatler Duetschen am Sachsen und was nicht?" 308-309.
Capesius, "Was gefllt dem Regatler Duetschen am Sachsen und was nicht?" 311.

in Czemowitz.^^^ Stocker portrayed the Bucovina German community as embattled, in

danger of assimilation, religiously divided, with only limited German-language schooling
and experiencing the rapid erosion of its folk culture. Stocker's concerns in part reflect the
far-right leanings of the Wandervgel, discussed in Chapter 6. His account would have won
considerable sympathy from Wandervgel members. However, Stocker's article underlines
both the gulf between the Saxon and Bukovina German communities. The publication of
the article shows attempts by the radical right to form a common German community,
discussed in Chapter 6. However, the need for the article highlights the comparative
unfamiliarity of the Germans of Bucovina to Saxon youth eleven years after unification
with Romania. ^^^

In keeping with their understanding of the Germans abroad as an extension of their own
self-image, Saxons looked to export Saxon modes of practice to other communities. This
has already been seen with regards to the Lutheran Church (see Chapter 4). However, the
Saxon Volksorganisation and economic associations were also advanced as models for
emulation, for example in Dobrudscha.^^^ The actions of Saxon nationalist institutions,
especially the Church, the Cultural Office and economic bodies, were also criticised by the
Saxon Union as forcing Saxon ways upon others.^^^ The Saxon Union advocated the
complete dissolution of the Cultural Office. ^^^ At the same time, however, the


closer ties with other German communities and with Germany, even though these goals
were not formally recognised in the constitution of the Saxon Union. ^^^ Furthermore, the
criticism made of these organisations was of their overbearing nature (discussed further
below), not of the goals they pursued. As such, it more likely reflects a further dimension of
On Stocker, see Glass, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 309.
Michel Stocker, "Wie siehts im Buchenlande aus?" WV1 March 1930, 3-4. Other articles on Bucovina
included Emo [Connert], "Geschichtliche Daten ber das Buchenland bis zum Jahre 1774." WV 1 April 1930,
3-4. fFFalso published articles on the history of North Transylvania (included in the same tour), suggesting
that the Bistritz region was to some extent also unfamiliar to South Transylvanian youth. However, there was
no perceived need provide an introduction to the North Transylvanian Saxon community in the same way as
the article by Stocker. Emo [Connert], "Aus Nsens Vergangenheit." WV 1930: 1 June, 1-2; & 1 July, 2-3.
"Tagung der Deutschen in der Dobrudscha." SDT\9 May 1926, 3. Also "Der erste deutsche Volkstag in
der Dobrudscha." SDT2?> May 1926, 3-4.
^^^ For example, "Zwei Vorkommnisse in dem Wirtschaftsleben unseres Volkes."
Vol 4 Nr 28, 8 July
1928, 1 and Der 'liberale' Geist in der evangelischen Kirche A.B." SV, Vol 5 Nr 17, 28 April 1929, 1-2.
^^^ "Die erste Bundesversammlung des 'Sachsenbundes'." SV, Vol 3 Nr 17, 24 December 1927, 2.
"Zum Eingru."
Vol 1 Nr 1, 1 November 1925, 1. C.f "Entwurf fur die Satzungen des
Sachsenbundes." SV, Vol 2 Nr 36, 5 September 1926, 1.

the dispute between the Saxon Union and the Saxon establishment than a rejection of a
broader German national community. However, the use of the other Romanian Germans for
the purpose of supporting a dispute internal to the Saxon community once again underlines
a lack of connection to other Romanian Germans.

By forming collective organisations with the other Germans of Romania, the Transylvanian
Saxons were able to strengthen their strategy of engagement with the state and share the
burden of funding their private institutions. To a large extent, the pace of integration was
dictated by material need. For example, a minimum level of political integration was
rapidly achieved, enabling the pooling of electoral influence. However, a closer level of
collective decision-making was adopted only once Saxons became unable to maintain their
own political apparatus within the DSVR, parallel to the German party. The same can be
seen with the Cultural Office, which was able to remain Saxon-centric because its activities
were secured by funding from Germany. In this sense, the Saxon connection to Germany
acted to limit the integration of Romanian Germans.

The limits to the Saxon sense of community with Romanian Germans were not simply
determined by the self-interest of Saxon politicians. ^^^ Via the Cultural Office, Youth
League and other bodies, Saxons made sincere attempts to engage with other Romanian
Germans. The respect Saxons expressed towards the Baltic Germans, from whom they
received no material support, underlines that while material influences could reinforce
community, the relationship was not causal. Rather, the Saxon understanding of
Germanness remained deeply rooted in the Saxon self-image. For this reason, Saxons
remained ambivalent towards other Romanian-German expressions of local identity that
failed to meet their expectations.

C.f. Bhm, Die Deutschen in Rumnien und die Weimarer Republik, 161-162.

At the same time, Saxons began to see themselves as connected to Germany in poHtical
terms as well as along well-established cultural lines. By arguing that the wellbeing of the
Saxon community depended upon the ascendancy of Germany, they were no longer merely
identifying with the German people. They were also identifying with the German state, and
accepting an obligation of the Germans Abroad to serve Germany's interests. The extent to
which individual Saxons made this transformation varied, as can be seen in the different
positions adopted by Theil and Plattner. However, as Judson argues with regards to the
Germans Abroad in the period, the Saxon community was becoming a part of the German
diaspora. Through this process, Saxon ethno-corporatism was also drawing closer to
German nationalism, not by seeking to become a territorial part of the German nation-state,
but by subsuming itself to the needs of a German community that was increasingly
understood as embodied by Germany. The identification of Saxon ethno-corporatism with
German nationalism was taken far further by supporters of vlkisch radicalism in the Saxon
community. The radical Self-Help Movement also laid the groundwork for a stronger, more
unified sense of Romanian-German community that was to develop in the 1930s. Saxon
vlkisch radicalism is the subject of Chapter 6.

Chapter 6: Vlkisch pessimism and the NSDR

The October 1933 Congress of the DSVR marked a turning point for the Saxon community,
as I foreshadowed in the Introduction. The Congress abandoned the DSVR's policy of close
co-operation with state in favour of a much more aggressive position. The new Programme
emphasised a closed ethnic and racial community pursuing isolation and autarchy. It
embraced a far closer and more political relationship with Germany, to which the Saxon
community looked to provide the protection they had not achieved through the Romanian
state. These developments occurred under the rubric of fascism, as local fascists emulated
the German model of National Socialism. The change in the platform of the DSVR
reflected a broader shift in the mood of the Saxon community. Within the Church, liberal
theologians evoking the Lutheran mission of a universal Church were increasingly
challenged by clergy advocating an ethno-racial understanding of religious doctrine and
religious community. At the same time, groups such as the Klingsor circle largely
abandoned efforts at building alliances with other minorities.

In this fmal Chapter of the thesis, I shall argue that the Saxon fascist movement was rooted
in the experiences of the small minority community from which it originated. For this
reason, it is best understood through the lens of ethno-corporatism. As a political movement
with membership restricted to a small ethnic group, the NSDR could not hope to sieze the
instruments of state. Rather, they looked to replicate the functions of the state within their
own community.

I shall begin by highlighting the activities of a small but dedicated "core" of fascist activists
who throughout the 1920s disseminated vlkisch theories to the Saxon public via a wide
range of institutions, not least the Church. I shall demonstrate that these ideas were
widespread amongst the Saxon Literati, and that the activists frequently had the support of
the liberal elite in the first interwar decade. I shall argue that liberals supported the fascist
core because in the 1920s the efforts of the fascist activists were directed at local, narrowly
focused activities to build up the community, that were not of a party-political nature, and

that did not contradict the interests of the liberals. Rather, liberals and fascists shared
common goals and to different degrees may have shared vlkisch legitimising beliefs. I
shall argue that two developments permitted the shift from localised activites to a united
and politically mobilised fascist mass movement. The first was the Depression, which
destabilised the private institutions by which the Saxon community pursued ethnocorporatism. The second was the success of National Socialism in Germany. I shall argue
that while Saxon fascism was influenced by German National Socialism, the local Saxon
fascist movement should not be understood as imitative or as having been imposed by
Germany. Rather, fascism became the dominant expression of Saxon ethno-corporatism
because the National Socialist regime offered the hope that a resurgent Germany would
pursue an aggressive foreign policy, making it possible for Saxons to adopt a more
confrontational approach to their relationship to the Romanian state.

Fascism in small minority communities

Despite a marked tendency of ethnic minority communities to adopt fascism during the
interwar period,^ minority fascism is under-theorised, especially regarding minorities in
Eastern Europe. This is complicated by a tendency in the literature to treat fascism amongst
Germans Abroad as a carbon copy of fascism in Germany.^ In part, this perception reflects
the self-legitimising claims of interwar ethnic-German fascist parties in Eastern Europe.
Certainly, the spread of fascist influences from Germany throughout the German cultural
sphere is remarkable. Linz notes that it is extremely difficult to set up a Fascist
International along the lines of the Comintern because the ultranationalism of fascism
undermines international co-operation.^ Furthermore, local fascists responded to different
' Juan J. Linz, "Political space and fascism as a late-comer: conditions conducive to the success or failure of
fascism as a mass movement in inter-war Europe." In, Stein Ugelvik Larson, Bemt Hagtvet, & Jan Petter
Myklebust (ed), Who were the fascists? Social roots of European fascism. Bergen, Oslo, Tromso:
Universitetsforlaget, 1980, 161-162.
^ Ursprung, Daniel. "Faschismus in Ostmittel- und Sdosteuropa: Theorien, Anstze, Fragestellungen." In
Hausleiter & Roth (ed). Der Einfluss von Faschismus und Nationalsozialismus, 9-11, and Norbert
Spannenberger & Jzsef Vony, "Rezeption der national-sozialistischen Ideologie in Ungarn und die
deutschen Volksgruppe." In Hausleiter & Roth (ed), Der Einfluss von Faschismus und Nationalsozialismus,
^ Linz, "Political space and fascism as a late-comer", 153.

mobilising passions within each society, producing different styles of fascism."^ However,
the ultranationalism of National Socialism was not a barrier to Germans Abroad who
identified themselves as belonging to a broader German community. There was a marked
tendency of Germans Abroad to look for inspiration from the far right in Germany. This is
clearly demonstrated by the example of the Saxons. As discussed in Chapter 5, Saxons
looked to Germany as their window upon the West. Vlkisch (racialist, ultra-ethnocentrist)
German texts were transmitted to the Saxons before and during the interwar period through
a wealth of extracts, reviews and references of such material published in Saxon journals
and newspaper. As Zillich noted in 1925, the Saxon press reported the views of the right
wing in Germany with far greater frequency than the views of the left wing.^ This reflected,
his colleague Alfred Pomarius argued, the greater interest the German right wing expressed
in Germans Abroad than did the left wing. Furthermore, the German right wing's
preoccupation with how to strengthen and develop the German community was shared by
Saxon ethno-corporatists.^ By comparison, there was almost no interest amongst the Saxon
right in the theories of the Romanian far right. This was despite the geographical proximity
of, and parallels between, the two organisations.^ The experiences of Germans Abroad
suggest that while international or more precisely interethnic transmission of fascism was
difficult to achieve, the inter-state transference of far-right ideas was far more possible
within a single ethnic community.^

However, the treatment of German minority fascism as identical to German National

Socialism remains problematic. As an ideological latecomer, fascism had to win support in
a political spectrum already crowded with liberal, conservative, socialist and farmers'
parties. Dependent on those segments of society alienated from the established parties for

^ Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of fascism. London: Allen Lane, 2004, 39-40.
^ Zillich, "Das blau-rote Hakenkreuz."
^ Alfred Pomarius, "Unser politisches Wesen und die Reichsdeutschen Parteien."
Vol 12 Nr 11, November
^ On similarities between Self-Help and the Legionnaires, see Cornelius R. Zach, "Totalitre Bewegungen in
der Zwischenkriegszeit: Rumnen und Deutsche in Rumnien. Voraussetzungen, hnlichkeiten und
Unterschiede im rechten Spektrum." In Krista Zach (ed), Rumnien im Brennpunkt: Sprache und
Politik,Identitt und Ideologie im Wandel. Mnchen: Sdostdeutsches Kulturwerk, 1998. The one partial
exception was in the pages of Klingsor, which reviewed the work of Romanian philosophers later associated
with the Iron Guard, such as Nichifor Crainic. Schuller Anger, Kontakt und Wirkung, 129-146.
^ Ursprung, "Faschismus in Ostmittel- und Sdosteuropa", 10.

their initial support, fascist movements in different states varied according to their support
bases.^ Fascist movements also reflected the differing concerns that motivated
dissatisfaction with the status quo in their societies. ^^ The flexibility of fascism as an
emotive political theory rather than a reasoned philosophy enabled local fascists to adapt its
tenets to very different circumstances. As a result of the varied circumstances in which
Germans Abroad found themselves, their expressions of fascism differed from National
Socialism in Germany. Such adaptations were reinforced by the multifaceted nature of far
right thinking in Germany before the 1930s. Germans Abroad were influenced by a far
broader range of streams of German vlkisch thought than those of the NSDAP alone.
These factors inevitably produced distinct local fascist movements, at least until 1933 and
possibly until the Gleichschaltung^^ of Germans Abroad by Germany from 1940.^^

With regards to the Saxons, Bhm accepts the claim of the NSDR that Self-Help had
replicated National Socialism from its founding in 1922.^^ In doing so, Bhm distances
Saxon fascism from its local roots, arguing that it represented a complete rejection of Saxon
political tradition.Roth, Zach and Reinerth, amongst others, have argued that Saxon
fascism reflected the concerns of the local community, and that in this it was substantially
different from National Socialism.^^ Roth notes that the "National Socialist" character of
the Self-Help Movement in the 1920s was a matter of NSDR propaganda. ^^

^ Linz, "Political space and fascism as a late-comer", 155.

Paxton, Anatomy of fascism, 39-40.
'' "bringing into line": the process by which the NSDAP co-opted or suppressed other political forces in
Germany after 1933.
^^ On the tendency to treat fascism amongst East European minorities as a carbon copy of West European
fascism, and the need to treat them as distinct local movements, see Ursprung, "Faschismus in Ostmittel- und
Sdosteuropa", 9-11, 45-47. On the Gleichschaltung of the Germans in Romania, see Cornelius R. Zach, "Die
Siebenbrger Sachsen zwischen Tradition und neuen politischen Optionen 1930-1944." In Roth (ed),
Minderheit und Nationalstaat, 127-130.
Bhm, Die Deutschen in Rumnien und die Weimarer Republik, 189-190.
Bhm, Die Deutschen in Rumnien und die Weimarer Republik, 194. Against this, he suggests that the
German People are psychologically ill-suited to democracy. (159.) This falls into the category the Paxton
describes as "perilously close to a reverse racism." Paxton, Anatomy of fascism, 81-82.
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 106-108, Zach, "Siebenbrger Sachsen zwischen Tradition
und neuen politischen Optionen", 121, and Karl M. Reinerth, "Zu den innenpolitischen Auseinandersetzungen
unter den Deutschen in Rumnien zwischen den beiden Weltkriegen. In Knig (ed), Siebenbrgen zwischen
den beiden Weltkriegen, 153.
^^ Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 144-145.

Most attempts to explore the differences between minority fascism and Staatsvolk fascism
have focused on the heightened role of ethnic conflict in ethnic fascism as opposed to anticommunism in Staatsvolk fascism. Paxton notes the possibility of fascist movements
emphasising ethnic conflict in societies divided more by ethnicity than by class, but he does
not theorise it/^ Linz argues that ethnic minority fascist movements adapted the language
of class struggle to conflict between ethnic groups, representing themselves as poor
(stateless) nations struggling against rich ones {Staatvolk)}^ Ursprung also notes the
smaller role that was played by fear of the Left in small minority fascism. However, he
explains this difference by emphasising the role of Germany in spreading fascism to
Germans Abroad, rather than the role of ethnic conflict in promoting fascism. Curiously,
this emphasises the imported elements of fascism over its development to meet local
conditions, a position against which Ursprung himself argues. ^^

None of these theories ftilly account for the different environments in which minority
fascisms operated, or for the different goals they pursued. Small minority fascist
movements could not hope to achieve separate statehood, much less a takeover of the state
in which they lived, by means legal or otherwise.^^ Where unification with a "Motherland"
was impossible, they had to reconcile their goals with minority status. They could not hope
to exercise the powers of the state and had to look to other instruments through which to
act. For this reason, while ethnic conflict played a central role, nationalism provides a poor
lens through which to understand small minority ethnic fascism. Rather, I shall argue in this
Chapter, ethnic minority fascist movements sought isolation and self-sufficiency within the
state. Ethno-corporatism rather than nationalism provides the best framework for
understanding these goals. Furthermore, rather than ethnic differences being understood in
class terms as Linz suggests, I shall argue that class differences were understood in terms of

Paxton, Anatomy of fascism, 81.

Linz, "Political space and fascism as a late-comer", 161-162.
While Ursprung sees ethnic conflict as playing a role in forcing the old minority elite to reach a
compromise with fascist movements so as to avoid dividing the community and leaving it open to external
attack, he does not consider the role of ethnic conflict in popularising fascism in small minority communities.
Ursprung, "Faschismus in Ostmittel- und Sdosteuropa", 47-48.
Zach makes this point with regards to the NSDR. Zach, "Totalitre Bewegungen in der Zwischenkriegzeit",

ethnicity in ethnically divided regions, especially in Eastern Europe where minorities were
often associated with higher socioeconomic standing than the local Staatsvolk.

Vlkisch pessimism: creating space for fascism

As a political latecomer, fascism needed to create space for itself in an already crowded
political spectrum. Paxton sees the widespread acceptance of certain intellectual ideas as
central to the establishment of a fascist movement: a fear of decline and decadence, the
rejection of individualist liberalism and a biological understanding of enemies of the
community.^^ This intellectual current, found to varying degrees in all European societies in
the interwar period, is described by Stem as "the politics of despair", and Hermann as
"cultural pessimism". Social Darwinism and fears of degeneration combined with critiques
of liberalism, capitalism, urbanisation and industrialisation to create a belief amongst its
adherents that the respective ethnicities of Europe were in cultural, spiritual and biological
decline due to foreign and insidious influences. This state of decline in turn was used to
legitimise programs for radical and ruthless reform.^^ While intellectuals had little influence
on the practice of fascism, they played an important role in laying the groundwork for it by
distancing the population from liberalism.^^
While cultural pessimism was a common theme in European society, and by no means a
preserve of the right, it reached the Saxons mainly via Germany. In Germany cultural
pessimism took the form of Ultranationalist ''vlkisch racial pessimism", a blend of neoGobinian racial pessimism and Chamberlain's hope for redemption through regeneration of
the collective soul.^"^ Cultural pessimism reached Saxon society well before the First World
War. As discussed in Chapter 1, the nineteenth century Saxon self-image included the
belief that the Saxons were no longer of the same quality as their ancestors. This manifested
Paxton, Anatomy of fascism, 32-37.
^^ Stem, Fritz Richard. The politics of cultural despair: a study in the rise of the Germanic ideology.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1961, especially xv-xxvii, and Herman, Arthur. The Idea of decline
in western history. New York; London; Toronto; Sydney; Singapore: The Free Press, 1997.
^^ Paxton, Anatomy of fascism, 38-39.
^^ Herman, Idea of decline in western history, 68-75.

in Saxon historiography as a strong theme of decline, especially regarding the waning

powers of the estate, as for example in Friedrich Teutsch's historical writings. Only in his
later years did he come instead to see Saxon history as a series of challenges overcome, but
this more positive view emerged too late to have much influence on the Saxon mythsymbol complex?^ Saxons were also concerned about demographic decline, spurred by the
relatively small Saxon population and its slow rate of overall increase relative to the
Romanians. They were especially concerned by a local absolute decline in the Saxon
population in North Transylvania. These concerns are reflected in the demographic theories
of Heinrich Siegmund, who predicted as eariy as 1902/1903 that the Saxons were unable to
compete with their neighbours and were facing extinction. Siegmund interwove his theories
about impending demographic doom with fears about the racial degeneration.^^ Siegmund's
theory was widely disputed. However, his overall interest in demographic and racial decline
was widely supported. These were given expression in the Schsisches Wehr- und
Mehrbuch [Book of Saxon Protection and Increase], first published in 1914, and including
contributions and endorsements from many leading pre-War Saxon politicians, clerics,
doctors and leaders of voluntary associations.^^ Hildrun Glass also identifies more general
vlkisch ideas regarding racial and ethnic competition and decline, which were held by
luminaries in the DSVR, including Kari Wolff and Kari Ernst Schnell, long-serving mayor
of Kronstadt and chair of the Volksrat from 1928 - 1933.^^ Finally, Cornelia Schlarb
suggests that already before the First Worid War, Lutheran schools played a key role in
fostering a racialised sense of identity

Saxon concerns about decline were typical of

Germans in the Habsburg Empire. Austrian Germans, confronted by their declining status

^^ Mckel, "Geschichtsschreibung und Geschichtsbewusstsein", 14-15.

^^ Wagner, "Heinrich Siegmund und die "volksbiologische" Forschung in der Zwischenkriegzeit", 181.
Wagner attempts to distinguish between Siegmund's demographic theories and his racial ideas (185-186).
However, for Siegmund there was no clear distinction between the two in the arguments Siegmund put
^^ Michael Englisch, Rudolf Schuster & Heinrich Siegmund (ed), Schsisches Wehr- und Mehrbuch: ein
Volksbuch. Mediasch: Self-published, 1914. Contributors included parliamentarians Rudolf Brandsch and
Emil Neugeboren, and senior clerics such as Friedrich Teutsch, Adolf Schullerus and Julius Orendi (town
pastor of Broos).
^^ Glass, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 295-301. Wolffs vlkisch notions of decline come through in works
such as Karl Wolff, Das deutsche Volk in Europa: Erinnerungen und Gedanken ber den Wiederauau.
Hermannstadt: Jos. Drotleff, 1924. Although Glass focuses on the interwar sentiments of these individuals,
she notes especially with regards to Wolff that these ideas predated the War. (295-297)
^^ Schlarb, "Anste zum Weiterdenken", 44.

and loss of collective rights in the Empire, responded by embracing a more radical and
racialised sense of ethnic identity.^^

While an exhaustive study of Saxon cultural pessimism before the War is beyond the scope
of this thesis, these examples are indicative of a general level of concern amongst leading
figures of Saxon society about the declining biological and cultural status and numerical
strength of the community. These were clearly in response to the loss of the estate and the
growing importance of numerical strength in determining self-administration, as well as to
social changes produced by modernisation. The great irony of demographic concerns was
that overall, Saxon numbers were increasing.
At the nucleus of every fascist movement lies the "activist core" of early members who first
embrace and propagate fascist principles.^^ Most studies of Transylvanian Saxon fascism
focus on the savings and loans society "German-Saxon Self-Help" as the key fascist
organisation. Founded by Fritz Fabritius in 1922, Self-Help formed the core of the fascist
"Self-Help Movement" that coalesced under Fabritius in 1930 and eventually displaced the
Saxon liberal elite. By comparison, most studies treat only very briefly with the other
organisations that made up the Self-Help Movement from 1930. Instead, Bhm and Roth
place the Self-Help Movement in the context of efforts to reform and democratise the
DSVR. There are sound reasons for viewing the Self-Help Movement in this light; political
reform was an important component in the NSDR's platform and won it considerable
support.^^ However, in doing so, Bhm and Roth obscure the extent to which the fascist
core extended beyond the narrow confines of Self-Help, and the extent to which vlkisch
pessimist programmes were supported by the liberal elite in the 1920s. This creates the
impression that Saxon fascism was marginalised before 1930, and offers few explanations
for its striking popularity in the decade after that date.^^ Glass avoids this pitfall in her
study of German-Jewish relations in Romania. By placing Self-Help in the context of
broader trends in Saxon society, she is able to reveal a far more widespread, albeit latent.

^^ Judson, Exclusive Revolutionaries, especially Chapters 7 and 8.

Linz, "Political space and fascism as a late-comer", 156-157.
^^ For example, Bhm, Die Deutschen in Rumnien und die Weimarer Republik and Roth, Politische
Strukturen und Strmungen.
^^ Zach, "Siebenbrger Sachsen zwischen Tradition und neuen politischen Optionen", 118.

anti-Semitism in the community. However, Glass focuses narrowly on Jewish-German

relations and does not consider other aspects of Saxon fascism.^^

By beginning with broader institutions, many of which went on to join Self-Help, I shall
demonstrate that vlkisch pessimism was well established in a wide range of Saxon
institutions from the beginning of the 1920s, and that the "fascist core" also propagated its
vision of the Saxon community through these other organisations. I shall argue that the
formation of the Self-Help Movement reflects the increasing mood of despair amongst the
Saxon public. I shall begin with the Lutheran Church and social institutions with which it
was associated, such as the women's movement and youth groups. I shall then consider
economic organisations such as the Raiffeisen Associations, before concluding with
German-Saxon Self-Help. In this process, I shall demonstrate the widespread adaptation by
the fascist core of the intellectual tools of vlkisch pessimism to the goal of Saxon ethnocorporatism, and the support this received from mainstream Saxon institutions.

The Church

Any study of Saxon vlkisch pessimism must begin with the Lutheran Church. Vlkisch
thought emerged as a significant stream in thinking at two levels within the Church. Firstly,
the Church was influenced by currents in broader Lutheran theology such as radical
Protestant theology and the German Christian movement. Secondly, the welfare
responsibilities assumed by the Church required it to consider many of the issues that drove
cultural pessimism. As the dominant ethno-corporatist organisation in Saxon society, the
Church had unparalleled influence. Its education programmes were best placed to
disseminate cultural pessimism to the general population. Furthermore, organisations
affiliated to the Church, such as the Lutheran Women's Association and the Youth League,
extended the reach of the Church's message.

Glass, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft.

As discussed in Chapter 4, hberal theology dominated the Lutheran Church under Teutsch.
Nevertheless, the Church was a broad institution, and its clergy held a wide range of
religious views. This included a strong radical stream, influenced by the radicalisation of
Protestant theology in Germany. Between the Napoleonic and First World Wars, Lutheran
theology in Germany increasingly reflected belief in the divine rights of a strong Volk to
exercise its dominance over others, and in the rejection of individualism, cosmopolitanism,
liberalism, rationalism and materialism.^^ Such views became common in the
Transylvanian Church, especially amongst pastors whose worldview had been shaped by
their experiences of the First Worid War.^^ Coupled with this was a growing interest
amongst Saxon pastors in racial theory during the 1920s.^^
The spread oi vlkisch ideas amongst the War Generation extended beyond the clergy.
Heinrich Zillich argued that the War had left him, and many other young men who had
served during their formative years, deeply suspicious of bourgeois values, democracy,
scientific rationalism, inorganic industrial capitalism, urbanisation, mainstream Christian
theology, socialism, pacifism and cosmopolitanism. He identified the divine not in
Christian doctrine but in the struggle to preserve the Volk. He ascribed a mystical role to the
War, arguing that it had imbued its participants with a sense of purpose that he now missed.
Zillich rejected an automatic belief in the equality of mankind, support for universal (male)
suffrage, and female suffrage in the Landeskirche?^ Zillich's views did not constitute
fascism, which he continued to reject through the 1920s.^^ However, a rejection of liberal
values was as discussed above an important element in creating the conditions of fascism.

^^ Arlie J. Hoover, The gospel of nationalism: German patriotic preaching from Napoleon to Versailles.
Stuttgart: F. Steiner Wiesbaden, 1986.
^^ For example, this point is made in "Bischfliche Visitation im Bistritzer Kirchenbezirk." KBl Vol 20, Nr
37, 13 September 1928, 385.
^^ Badrus, "Debates on Jews and Judaism in the pages of the Sibiu periodical 'Kirchliche Bltter'", 73.
^^ Heinrich Zillich, "Aufruf." Kl Vol 1 No 1, April 1924, 1-2 and Zillich, "Die Ideen der Zeitschrift
'Klingsor'." C.f Schuller Anger, Kontakt und Wirkung, 40-41. Schuller Anger identifies in "Die Ideen der
Zeitschrift 'Klingsor'" a desire to promote understanding between generations, to heal post-War polarisation,
and to find alternatives to bourgeois life. He also identifies strong tones of mysticism.
^^ Schuller Anger argues that anti-fascist writers Klingsor before 1934 included Zillich, Hans Whr and Erwin
Reisner. Schuller Anger, Kontakt und Wirkung, 54.

As an anti-"anti-movement", defined more by what it opposed than by what it supported,

fascism rejected bourgeois materiaHsm, sociahsm, pacifism and cosmopolitanism."^^

A more extreme expression of Protestant nationaUst theology was the German Christian
Movement. German Christians argued that Christian purity could only be achieved through
a fully German Church purged of corrupting foreign, especially Jewish, influences. They
reworked Christ as a heroic figure of Nordic origins, struggling against Judaism. German
Christian theology called for the replacement of the Old Testament with Norse sagas and
other "Germanic" folktales."^^

The most passionate advocate of German Christian theology in the Transylvanian Church
was Pastor Misch Bergleiter of Menschen, who advocated German Christianity at pastoral
conferences and in the KBl throughout the 1920s.'^^ He lacked the support of a majority of
clergymen or of the Church hierarchy throughout the

The Church emphasised to

its Pastors the extent to which the Old and New Testaments were interconnected,"^"^
including organising lectures by the eminent Berlin theologian Hugo GreBmann (1877 1927) to defend the continuing importance of the Old Testament.^^

Juan J. Linz, "Some notes towards a comparative study of fascism in sociological historical perspective." In
Walter Laqueur (ed), Fascism: a reader's guide. Analyses, interpretations, bibliography. Berkeley; Los
Angeles: University of California Press, 1976, 15-23.
Helmut Baier, Die Deutsche Christen Bayerns im Rahmen des bayerischen Kirchen-kampfes.
Einzelarbeiten aus der Kirchengeschichte Bayerns Vol 46. Nrnberg: Verein fr bayerische
Kirchengeschichte, 1968, 3-8.
For example, see "Pfarrerversammlungen: Mediascher Kirchenbezirk." KBl Vol 15 Nr 33, 16 August 1923,
335-336, "Pfarrerversammlung des Mediascher Kirchenbezirks vom 3. Juli 1924." KBl Vol 16 Nr 37, 11
September 1924, 381-382, and Bergleiter, Misch. "Unsere Wochenfeiertage." KBl Vol 18 Nr 17, 29 April
1926, 208-209. Another prominent German Christian was Pastor Richard Gleim of Schnbirk. For example,
see "Pastoralkonferenz des Bistritzer Kirchenbezirkes." KBl Vol 17 Nr 9, 26 February 1925, 97-98.
Badrus, "Debates on Jews and Judaism in the pages of the Sibiu periodical 'Kirchliche Bltter'", 73-74. For
examples of Bergleiter's critics, many of them high ranking, see "Pfarrerversammlungen: Mediascher
Kirchenbezirk", "Der sechste Pfarrertag." KBl Vol 15, Nr 42, 18 October 1923, 442-443,
"Pfarrerversammlung des Mediascher Kirchenbezirks vom 3. Juli 1924", R - t h [possibly Viktor Roth], "Zur
Frage der Marientage: Eine Richtigstellung." KBl Vol 18 Nr 19, 13 May 1926, 228-229. Also Beyer, Philipp.
"Christentum und Volkstum." KBl Vol 18 Nr 40, 7 October 1926, 512-514.
^^ For example, "Theologischer Fortbildungskurs in Reps." KBl Vol 17 Nr 31, 30 July 1925, 357.
Gremann visited Transylvania in 1922 and 1925. "Theologischer Hochschulkurs". KBl Vol 14 Nr 33, 17
August 1922, 269-271. Also "Pfarrerversammlung des Schelker Kirchenbezirks in Seiden". KBl Vol 17 1925:
Nr 41, 8 October, 488; & Nr 42, 15 October, 494-497, "Pfarrerversammlung des Hermannstdter
Kirchenbezirks" KBl Vol 17 Nr 43, 22 October 1925, 508-510, and Hugo Gremann, "Die Entwicklung des
Gottesdankens im Alten Testament." KBl Vol 17 Nr 45, 5 November 1925, 529-533.

With the significant exception of the exclusion of Lutheran Roma (see Chapter 4), the
Church was not overtly racist in the treatment of its parishioners."^^ However, GreBmann
and Saxon defenders of the Old Testament such as Pastor Kari Reinerth alike defended the
Old Testament by distancing it and the ancient Israelites from modem Jews and Judaism,
rather than refuting anti-Semitic claims."^^ Although in 1928 the Church banned papers on
racial theology at pastors' conferences, on the grounds that the two subjects did not mix,"^^
the ban did not prevent the inclusion of texts on racial theory in the monthly reading circles
of the Pastors' Association.^^ Racial theory continued to be taught by Lutheran institutions
as part of the Church's "healthcare" policy (discussed below).

The influence of Lutheran pastors with radical views extended considerably beyond their
spiritual mission. The leadership role of pastors in Saxon lay society enabled them to shape
the activities and outlook of organisations as diverse as schools, youth groups and
economic associations, as shall be discussed below.

"Health Care"^^

The Lutheran Church founded its Welfare Office in 1920 to co-ordinate the "social-" and
"health-work" activities of the Church and its affiliated bodies, as discussed in Chapter 4.
The Office was directed by its founding chairman Heinrich Siegmund until his death in
1937. Siegmund was the most influential Saxon vlkisch intellectual of the interwar period.

For example, anecdotal evidence suggests that the Church did not discriminate against German-speaking
Lutherans of Jewish ancestry. See Rudolf Fischer's comments regarding growing up with Jewish ancestry in
Kronstadt (Fischer, "Eine karpatische Gratwanderung."), and Hanz Holztrger's experiences growing up in
rural Transylvania. (Hanz Holztrger, "Antisemitismus unter Siebenbrger Sachsen in Nord-Transylvanien."
Halbjahresschriftfiir sdosteuropische Geschichte, Literatur und Politik. Vol 9 Nr 2, 1997, 88-97.)
^^ For example, Karl Reinerth, "Christentum und Deutschtum." KBl Vol 24 Nr 8, 25 February 1932, 70-73.
See also Karl Reinerth. "Die deutsch-vlkische Bewegung in ihrer Auseinandersetzung mit dem
Christentum." KBl Vol 24 Nr 30, 28 July 1932, 274-275. C.f. Badrus, "Debates on Jews and Judaism in the
pages of the Sibiu periodical 'Kirchliche Bltter'" and Badrus, "Das Bild der Siebenbrger Sachsen ber die
Juden", 98-99.
R.Alberti, "Die Behandlung biologischer Fragen in unseren Pfarrkonferenzen." KBl Vol 20 Nr 25, 21 June
1928, 268-269.
For example, "Die Pfarrerversammlung des Hermannstdter Kirchenbezirks." KBl Vol 20 Nr 25, 21 June
1928, 269.

Although he did not go on to play a key role in the leadership of the DSVR, Siegmund
played a leading role in preparing the ground for Saxon fascism. He was the most important
publicist of vlkisch pessimism and the author of the most complete and articulate
expressions of Saxon racial and demographic anxieties. He expressed these fears in over a
thousand publications, including many articles in the Welfare Office's journal, the
Evangelischer Frsorger {EF).^^ However, his seminal works were the Schsisches Wehrund Mehrbuch, which was revised and republished in 1922 with Siegmund as sole editor
and main contributor,^^ and Deutschen-Dmmerung

in Siebenbrgen [German Twilight in

Transylvania] in 1931

Siegmund's theories underiine the interconnected nature of racial, demographic, economic

and social issues for the vlkisch pessimist. Firstly, as a social Darwinist, Siegmund was
greatly concerned by anything that weakened the relative strength of the Saxons to
Romanians and other Peoples in Transylvania. Secondly, Siegmund was concerned about
social change. He perceived almost all forms of change to be indicative of decline, and to
have a racial component. Siegmund was concerned that loss of agricultural land reduced the
Saxons' wealth and therefore their ability to support a larger population. He though that
Saxon wealth and health was being undermined by spending on alcohol, tobacco, gambling
and modem fashions, and that migration from rural to urban areas undermined Saxon
population growth due the lower birth rate and unhealthy living conditions in towns.
Siegmund shared a neo-Gobinian belief that the "Nordic" strain was the most important
element in the Saxon racial makeup. He was worried that this was being undermined by
racial interbreeding and by the degenerative effects of alcohol (foetal alcohol syndrome)
and tobacco consumption. Siegmund's solutions included: raising ethnic consciousness and
a connection to the Church so as to discourage intermarriage and encourage a willingness to
make sacrifices for the community; calling on families to have more children; discouraging

^^ The EF, founded in 1924, appeared as a monthly supplement to the Kirchliche Bltter.
^^ Siegmund (ed), Schsisches Wehr- und Mehrbuch, 1922.
^^ Heinrich Siegmund, Deutschen-Dmmerung in Siebenbrgen (Verdrangen oder Vernichtung?)
Hermannstadt: Vertriebsverlag der Honterus-Buchdruckerei, 1931.

migration to the towns; patronising Saxons' businesses and hiring Saxon labour wherever
possible; teetotalism and abstinence from tobacco use; and vegetarianism.^"^

In Siegmund's model, each perceived ill - low population growth, racial decline, land loss,
intermarriage, urbanisation, industrialisation, social mobility, class conflict, materialism,
drug use, sexual disease - was interconnected with all the others, and each exacerbated the
others, creating a crisis that threatened the very survival of the Saxon community. It is
insightful to trace these concerns through the focus of social mobility, which was altering
both relations within the community and relations with other ethnic communities.
Siegmund was deeply worried about social mobility, which was leading rural Saxons to
move to towns rather than remain in the countryside as landless workers. This, Siegmund
felt, had the effect of forcing Saxon farmers to higher non-Saxon labour, reducing the
wealth of the community and allowing non-Saxons to save up to buy Saxon land. The
penetration of non-Saxons into Saxon villages increased the dangers of intermarriage. In
addition, Saxons migrating to towns were more prone to intermarriage and had fewer
children, with racial implications. They were also more vulnerable to drug use and to
illness, especially sexually transmitted diseases. If they entered into factory work, they
were in danger of becoming "international" due to exposure to socialism, and therefore of
being lost to the community.^^

Within the towns, Siegmund worried that social mobility was leading Saxons to abandon
many of the trades they had pursued, taking on instead higher-status crafts or becoming
white-collar workers. Again, this allowed non-Saxons to take jobs in Saxon towns, forcing
Saxons to do business with non-Saxons, undermining the homogeneity of the towns and
encouraging intermarriage. The loss of these crafts also undermined an essential component
of Saxon culture. Saxon artisans were represented as followers of a noble path. Artisanry
was characterised by pride in one's work and by the familial relations that supposedly
characterised the small workplace. The decline in artisanry reflected not only a loss of skills

^^ The most complete articulation of these theories was the 1922 edition of the Schsisches Wehr- und
^^ Siegmund (ed), Schsisches Wehr- und Mehrbuch (1922), especially "Der schsische Landarbeiter",
"Bleiber im Lande!" and "Der Grobetrieb".

but a shift from a collective mentality to individualism and the pursuit of personal profit
over all else, values that could undermine ties of family, community, parish or People. At
the top end of the scale, some workshops were industrialising. This was also worrying as
Saxon big business was perceived to be in danger of becoming international under the
influences of world capitalism, and thus also being lost to the community. Siegmund
advocated that Saxons occupy every rung of the economic ladder, forming a complete
economy that would enable them to do business only with one another, keeping wealth
within the community and discouraging business relations with non-Saxons that might turn
into sexual relations. Siegmund and Alfred Csallner, his colleague on the board of the
Welfare Office, were both aware that the trades Saxons were abandoning, for example
brush making, were becoming increasingly marginal in the face of industrialisation.
Nevertheless, the desire for a complete economy dictated that Saxons must remain in the
marginal trades.^^

Siegmund's writings reveal a strong ethno-corporatist focus. He sought solutions to the lack
of a Saxon nation-state in control over economic resources through an internal economy
and control over territory through private land ownership. He also emphasised the
imposition of a strong code of rights and responsibilities through heightened ethnic
identification and the Church, care for the basic needs of the community through the
Church, and exclusion of "foreigners" through ethnic and racial segregation.

The 1922 edition of the Schsisches Wehr- und Mehrbuch included a forward by Bishop
Teutsch giving it his ftill support.^^ It also included contributions from a wide range of
leading figures in Saxon society, including liberal clerics and politicians, doctors, leaders of
financial organisations, and educators.^^ By appearing in the Schsisches Wehr- und
Siegmund (ed), Schsisches Wehr- und Mehrbuch (1922), especially "Krankheit der Schsichen
Gewerbes", "Der Grobetrieb" and "Der gebildete Mittelstand", as well as Alfred Csallner, "Statistisches
ber den Bistritzer schsischen Gewerbestand." DPHVoX 5 Nr 11-12, November - December 1925, 27-40.
^^ Friedrich Teutsch, "Zum Geleite." In Siegmund (ed). Schsisches Wehr- und Mehrbuch (1922), iii-iv.
^^ Contributors included members of parliament Rudolf Brandsch and Hans Otto Roth, Comes Friedrich
Walbaum (the leader of the Saxon Universitas) newspaper editor and former politician Emil Neugeboren,
Bishop Friedrich Teutsch, town pastors Carl Rmer (Kronstadt), Adolf Schullerus (Hermannstadt) and
August Schuster (Broos), medical doctors Georg Mller and Julius Oberth, Bank director Rudolf Rosier,
Secretary of the Union of Raiffeisen Co-Operative Associations G. A. Schuller, director of the Schbur'g
Lutheran Seminary Heinz Brandsch, director of the Schburg Gymasium Hans Wolff, Director of the

Mehrbuch they effectively endorsed the ideas of its editor. Siegmund's ideas led to his
appointment as chair of the Welfare Office and, at the same time, to the
Landeskonsistorium. That he held these positions despite his own leanings towards
Monism,^^ which brought him into conflict with a number of Lutheran theologians, 60
indicates the depth of the Church's support for his work and ideas. In addition to the issues
considered by Siegmund, his population growth policies supported the aims of the Church
and the DSVR. Population growth would in the long term improve the political influence of
the Saxons in Romania. Furthermore, increasing Saxon wealth would better enable Saxons
to meet the costs of the Church tax and the "People's tax" raised by the DSVR.^^

The Health Care policies of the Welfare Board in many ways reflected Siegmund's views.
"Health Care" was aimed at increasing the size, rate of growth and overall health of the
Saxon and, from 1926, Romanian German communities. Population increase was to be
achieved through preserving remaining Saxon landholdings, improving land usage,
encouraging thrift and by redirecting the excess rural population to urban employment,
which although undesirable was preferable to migration abroad. The wellbeing of future
generations was to be improved through racial care, combating racial degeneration and by
encouraging consciousness of ethnic customs and sentiment.^^ This was complimented by

Bistritz Agricultural School Michael Englisch, Hermannstadt Seminary teacher Robert Csallner and
Brgerschule teacher Helene Wachner.
^^ Wagner, "Heinrich Siegmund und die "volksbiologische" Forschung in der Zwischenkriegzeit", 184. The
philosophy of Monism, proposed by Ernst Haeckel, aimed to reconcile science and religion, and emphasised
oneness with nature. Ernst Haeckel, The Riddle of the universe at the close of the nineteenth century. (Trans.
Joseph McCabe.) London, Watts & Co., 1911. Haeckel emphasised that Monism aimed to reform rather than
replace Christianity. (119) Nevertheless, Monism differed from mainstream Christianity on most points.
Gyurgyevich, Landeskonsistorialrat Dr. Heinrich Siegmund, 5.
At the
Congress in 1919, Hans Otto Roth stressed with regards to ties to other Germans in Romania
that German survival in Romania depended upon an increase in both Lebensraum and numbers. On the other
hand, Adolf Schullerus provided a voice of moderation, reminding that predictions of doom had been made in
the past and not come to pass. "Volkstag der Sachsen in Schburg." SDT21 November 1919, 2. Immediately
after the end ofthat day's session of the National Congress, a public seminar was held on "ethnic increase and
ethnic protection" [Volksmehrung und Volksschutz]. The seminar, which was addressed by Siegmund and
other medical doctors, was well attended and reported in detail in the SDT. "Vortrge ber Volksmehrung und
Volksschutz." SDT
November 1919, 2-3. In the 1926 election campaign, Roth argued that one of the key
dangers still facing Saxons in the Greater Kokel Valley was their low numbers, which left some settlements in
danger. He believed that social and economic changes were necessary to solve these problems.
"Whlerversammlung des Grokokler Komitates." SDT 12 May 1926, 2.
"Z.l 176.1921 Rundschreiben an alle Bezirkskonsistorien, Presbyterien und Pfarr- der Gemeinden
betreffend die Einrichtung der Frsorgeaussche." KBl Vol 13 Nr 11, 12 January 1921.

the Welfare Office's Social Care program, which, as discussed in Chapter 4, provided care
for needy members of the community.

As the scale of such activities far exceeded the resources of the cash-strapped Church, the
Welfare Office aimed to mobilise a wide range of different Saxon voluntary organisations.
Local pastors were to chair welfare boards at the parish level, which were to bring together
women's associations, Lutheran schools, doctors and community nurses, economic
associations (especially the Raiffeisen associations) and youth groups. From 1926, these
activities were extended to Lutheran settlements outside of Transylvania.^^

The emphasis on volunteer work meant that parish welfare boards differed greatly in their
levels of activity. Yeariy reports of the Welfare Office to the Landeskonsistorium suggest
that the program had far greater influence in Transylvania than in other parts of Romania.
Importantly, most of the activities of district and parish welfare boards were directed at
Social Care rather than Health Care.^"^ Many local welfare boards failed to make any
mention of living space, inter-ethnic marriage or population growth in their reports, and the
number that did so appears to have declined in the late 1920s as the economic situation
worsened and their attention was increasingly devoted to Social Care.^^

^^ "Z.l 176.1921 Rundschreiben an alle Bezirkskonsistorien, Presbyterien und Pfarr- der Gemeinden
betreffend die Einrichtung der Frsorgeaussche." See also "7.2304.1921 Rundschreiben an alle
Bezirkskonsistorien, Presbyterien und Pfarrmter betreffend die Arbeitsanleitung fur die Frsorgestellen der
Presbyterien. KBlVoX 13 Nr 44, 26 November 1921, 190-191. See also "Z.l 141.1921 Erla an die
Direktionen der Gymnasien, Seminaren und Brgerschulen sowie die Vorsitzer der
Bezirkslehrerversammlungen betreffend Gutachten ber den Unterricht in Gesundheitspflege in den Schulen."
KBl Vol 13 Nr 11, 12 March 1921, 31 regarding schools, "Z.2375.1921 Rundschreiben an den evang.
Frauenverein A. B. und dessen Bezirksvereine sowie smtliche Ortsvereine behufs Mithilfe an der Arbeit der
evang. Wohlfahrts- und Gesundheitspflege." KBl Vol 13 Nr 24, 11 June 1921, 74 regarding the Lutheran
Women's Associations and "Z.2376.1921 Rundschreiben an alle Bezirkskonsistorien und Presbyterien
betreffend die Pflege der Volks- und Jugendspiele." KBl Vol 13 Nr 24, 11 June 1921, 74 regarding sporting
and youth groups.
^ For example, [Heinrich Siegmund], "Bericht ber den Stand der Frsorge im Jahre 1925." H[einrich]
Siegmund, "Bericht ber den Stand der Frsorge im Jahr 1927." "Bericht ber den Stand der Frsorge im Jahr
1928." "Bericht ber den Stand der Frsorge im Jahr 1929."
^^ For example, see [Heinrich Siegmund], "Bericht ber den Stand der Frsorge im Jahre 1925." H[einrich]
Siegmund, "Bericht ber den Stand der Frsorge im Jahr 1927." "Bericht ber den Stand der Frsorge im Jahr
1928." "Bericht ber den Stand der Frsorge im Jahr 1929."

One particularly active participant was Alfred Csallner. In May 1927 Csallner founded the
Association for the Joy of [Many] Children,^^ with the aim of encouraging Saxons to have
larger families and of discouraging ethnically mixed marriages.^^ Csallner aimed to achieve
this through a mixture of consciousness-raising and economic incentives.^^ Csallner and
Siegmund unsuccessfully lobbied the Church to change its tithing system to favour families
with many children.^^ Other measures included encouraging the founding of savings
societies, in which rewards for saving was linked to the number of children of the
members/^ The rewards from these societies were later also linked to abstinence from
drinking and smoking, which was seen as encouraging a healthier environment for
children/^ However, the Association remained limited in scope and there is no evidence
that it had any impact on birth rates.

Despite Siegmund's emphasis on race, which supposedly united all Germans, his ideas
reflected the strong Saxon local identity. Understandably, in 1922 he was still thinking
primarily of Saxons, as the Welfare Office didn't expand to other areas of Romania until
1927. However, activities outside of Transylvania remained subdued compared to within
Transylvania. In part, this was because, as discussed in Chapter 5, the Church had a long
history as the premier Saxon ethno-corporatist institution, which it largely lacked in other
areas of German settlement. However, Siegmund continued to focus on the Saxon
community after 1927, alienating other Romanian Germans in the process.^^

^^ Verein der Kinderfrohen.

^^ Csallner, Alfred. "Wie viel strker wir htten werden knnen - und wie wir selbst mithelfen, die andern
stark zu machen." Bltter fr Kinderfroh. Vol. 1 Nr. 1 October 1928. pp.4-8.
^^ Csallner, Alfred. "Rechenschaft." Bltter fr Kinderfrohe. Vol 1 Nr 1, October 1928, 2.
^^ This was foreshadowed in Csallner, Alfred. "Rechenschaft." Bltter fr Kinderfrohe Vol 1 Nr 1 October
For example, Csallner, Alfred. "Spargemeinschaften grnden!" Bltter fr Kinderfrohe Vol 3 Nr 1, 1 April
1930, 1-2.
"Rauchen und Trinken." Bltter fr Kinderfrohe Vol 3 Nr 2, 1 May 1930, 2.
^^ Capesius, "Was gefllt dem Regatler Deutschen am Sachsen und was nicht?" 310.


The main avenue of action for the Church's healthcare program was through education
programs. Schools at all levels were expected to address different aspects of Health Care7^
Romanian state schools also taught a strong component of eugenics in their syllabi/"^
However, the Lutheran Church had a free hand in setting its Health Care curricula in the
interwar period/^ which were set entirely independently of those of the state. The first
"health sciences"^^ curriculum was devised in September 1922. While previous curricula
had focused on individual health, the new curriculum placed individual health in the
context family, Volk and race. The fmal years of Volksschule particularly looked at Volk
and collective health. In addition, classes in "Lutheran ethics",^^ also set independently of
the state, dealt with racial theory and racial care, as well as illnesses of the Volk and their
treatment. The classes emphasised the welfare and health care programs of the Church as
solutions to these problems. Racial theory and Siegmund's population theories played a
larger role in the evening continuing education classes^^ that for many young Saxons
followed Volksschule^"^ Healthcare was also placed within the context of ethnicity and race
in the secondary schools,^^ and in the training of male and female teachers for Lutheran

^^ Z. 1201.1921. "Rundschreiben an alle Bezirkskonsistorien, Presbyterien und Pfarrmter betreffend die

Durchfuhrung der Frsorgearbeit."
Vol. 13 Nr. 13. 26 March 1921. See also "Z. 1141.1921 Erla an die
Direktionen der Gymnasien, Seminaren und Brgerschulen sowie die Vorsitzer der
Bezirkslehrerversammlungen betreffend Gutachten ber den Unterricht in Gesundheitspflege in den Schulen."
Maria Bucur, Eugenics and modernization in interwar Romania. Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh
Press, 153-186.
^^ Knig, "Das Schulwesen der Siebenbrger Sachsen in der Zwischenkriegszeif, 288-289.
^^ Gesundheitslehre.
^^ evangelische
^^ Z.4088.1922. "Rundscreiben an die lblichen Presbyterien und Direktionen der Brger- und Mittelschulen,
sowie der Lehrerbildungsanstalt in Hermannstadt und der Lehrerinnenbilhungsanstalt in Schburg betr. den
Lehrplan fur Gesundheitslehre." KBl Vol 15 Nr 1, 14 January 1923, 10-12.
As discussed in Chapter 4, the Church had a network of Untergymnasien and Obergymnasien.

schools.^^ The Schsisches Wehr- und Mehrbuch was recommended reading for teachers of
health care.^^

The Women's Movement

The Lutheran Women's Association and the German-Saxon Women's Union were also
supportive of the activities of the Church's Health Care program. Both organisations
warned their members about racial purity. The Women's Union organised lectures on racial
science for its members,^^ and its chair Adele Zay advised its members that when it came to
interbreeding with other Peoples, she drew no distinction between marriage and rape.^^
Both organisations played significant roles in the continuing education classes and reading
circles in Saxon villages, for which the EF was recommended reading.^^

The Youth League

As a Church-run organisation (see Chapter 4), the Youth League was an active participant
in the Church's welfare program. The Jugendbundblatt encouraged participation in
activities deemed beneficial to youth, such as hiking, ^^ while discouraging them from
harmful activities, especially the consumption of alcohol,^^ excessive consumerism,
immoral (non-German) modem dancing, and the nightclubs and coffee houses with which

^^ "Lehrplne fr Gesundheitslehre." KBl Vol 15 Nr 2, 11 January 1923, 19-20.

Z.4088.1922. "Rundscreiben an die lblichen Presbyterien und Direktionen der Brger- und Mittelschulen,
sowie der Lehrerbildungsanstalt in Hermannstadt und der Lehrerinnenbilhungsanstalt in Schburg betr. den
Lehrplan fr Gesundheitslehre."


For example, Fabritius lectured the Women's Association on racial matters in Hermannstadt on 8 February
1924. Glass, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 333-334.
[Adele Za]y, "Der Freie Schsische Frauenbund. KBl Vol 17 Nr 21, 21 May 1925, 230.
^^ Schuller[-Schullerus], "Unsere Frauenleseabende auf dem Lande", Nr 47, 512-513.
^^ For example, v.H. "Ferienfahrten." Jugendbundblatt Vol 3, February 1923, 2-5, and March 1923, 3-6, and
Gyurgyevich, Julius Ernst. "Natur- und Heimatschutz." Jugendbundblatt Vol 7, October 1927, 2-8.
^ For example, see Wilhelmine Schebesch. "Auf zum Kampf gegen den rgsten Fiend: den Weingeist."
Jugendbundblatt Vo\ 3, February 1923, 5-8.

they were associated.^^ In 1924 the Jugendbundblatt began pubHshing occasional articles
on racial theory.^^ Readers were encouraged to avoid racial mixing through marriage with
racially inferior Peoples, and instead to fmd blonde spouses.^^ The Jugendbundblatt
recommended the Schsisches Mehr- und Wehrbuch to its readers.^^

Individual youth organisations varied in their commitment to the Church's Welfare

Policies. One that stood out was the Good Templars^^ a temperance society on Masonic
lines with an active youth section.^^ The first Templar lodge was founded in Transylvania
in the early twentieth century. While in the Banat Templar lodges were not divided
according to e t h n i c i t y , i n Transylvania Saxon Templars had separate lodges. Heinrich
Siegmund became a Good Templar in 1904 and was from 1920 the Great Templar of the
'Second Great Lodge (German) in Romania'.^^ His fellow Welfare Office board member
Dr Richard Frank was leader of the youth wing, the Young Good Templars.^^ As with the
Youth League, the Templars were primarily concerned with improving the physical and
spiritual well being of the community via healthy activities (especially hiking) and by
discouraging the drinking of alcohol, smoking, gambling, foul language, materialism and
"foreign practices", such as modem dance (especially shimmying) and foreign songs. Its
opposition to foreign influences on occasion took on racial overtones.^^ The strict morality

For example, H.B. "Stadt und Land." Jugendbundblatt Vol 4, January 1924, 3-6. The writer's criticisms are
so strongly directed at women in particular that one wonders with whom he or she thought they were dancing,
attending nightclubs and drinking coffee.
^^ Stoll. "Rasse oder VoXkr Jugendbundblatt. Vol. 4. November 1924. pp.4-7, and December 1924. pp.3-4.
Hans Gottschick, "Rasse and Liebe." Jugendbundblatt Vol 9 Nr 1-2, 30 January 1929, 4-9. The article was
followed by an editorial comment to the effect that it shouldn't be taken too literally, as many assimilated
non-German families had made a valuable input to the Volk. The non-Nordic appearance of Karl Wolff was
offered as an example. See also G[ustav] Conrad, "Mensch, Rasse und Liebe." Jugendbundblatt Vol 5, June
1925, 1-3. Conrad also recommended the euthanasia of unhealthy babies.
^^ Jugendbundblatt \o\ 3, January 1923, 8.
^^ Guttempler.
^^ Originally founded in Utica, New York in 1850, they were one of many secret fraternal societies which
grew out of the temperance movement of the 1840s, and which were influenced by the regalia, ceremonials
and degree system of Freemasonry. Phoenixmasonry Masonic Museum: Temperance Orders.
< temperance_orders.htm> 1999-2002. [28
Aug 2002.] The first branch, along with a youth section, was established in Germany in 1893. Luise Olah,
"Unser Jugendwerk und seine Arbeit." Sonnenwende Vol 4, Nr 1-2, 15 April 1927, 3-4.
"Die schsischen Guttempler." KBl Vol 21 Nr 18, 2 May 1929, 179.
^^ Wagner, "Heinrich Siegmund und die "volksbiologische" Forschung in der Zwischenkriegzeit", 178.
^^ Jungguttempler.
^^ This mission was reflected in its journal ''Sonnenwende'": deutscher Jung- und Wehrtempler und alle
Freunde deutsche Art. (First appearing in 1924, Sonnenwende was edited by Richard Frank and came out 5 to

of the Templars exceeded that of the Youth League. This hmited the Templars' mass
appeal and tended to isolate its youth section from the rest of the youth movement.^^
Throughout the 1920s membership remained stable at around 600 members (half in the
youth wing), mainly centred on Mediasch.^^

The mission of the Welfare Office was also reflected in events such as the Youth League's
irregular conferences. The largest conference was held in Heltau on 26 - 29 September
1926 and attended by between 3 - 4,000 ethnic-German youths and youth leaders, mostly
from Transylvania but also from the Banat, the Old Kingdom, Bukovina and Bessarabia.
Lectures and public talks given included individual and public health issues, including
lectures on racial theory.^^^

The Heltau Conference marks a turning point in the radicalisation of the Youth
Organisations. At Heltau Youth activists and officials such as the chair of the League Heinz
Brandsch began to refer to a Youth Movement, and to emphasise their renewing and
transformative role in Saxon society.^^^ In Germany, the term "youth movement had
become associated with urban middle class youth organisations such as the Wandervgel
[Wandering Spirits, literally "Wandering Birds"], who before the First Worid War had
6 times a year in 1927-1928. In 1927 only, it was distributed with t\iQ Jugendbundblatt. From October 1930,
Sonnenwende became a supplementary of Selbsthilfe.) For example, see Luise Olah. "Unser Jugendwerk und
seine Arbeit." Sonnenwende Vol 4 Nr 1-2, 15 April 1927, 3-5, Emil Schneider, "Jugend von Heute!"
Sonnenwende Vol 4 Nr 1-2, 15 April 1927, 5-6, "Volktanz und Schimmi." Sonnenwende Vol 4 Nr 4, 31
November 1927, 2-3, M. H. "Wie sollen wir auf dem Dorfe benehmen?" Sonnenwende Vol 4 Nr 5, 24
December 1927, 4-6, "Aus dem "Eulenloch" der Zeit." Sonnenwende Vol 4 Nr 5, 24 December 1927, 6 & Vol
5 Nr 1, 29 February 1928, 11-12, Julius Emst Gyurgyevich, "Singen." Sonnenwende Vol 5 Nr 1, 29 February
1928, 8-9, and R[ichard] E. F[rank], "In Ketten..." Sonnenwende Vol 5 Nr 4, 25 October 1928, 1-3.
For example, see [Friedrich] Cz[ikeli], "Ueber unsere Tagung." Jugendbundblatt Vol 4, July 1924, 7. In
1927 the Jugendbund and Good Templars managed to overcome differences sufficiently to combine
distribution of the Good Templar journal Sonnenwende with that of the Jugendbundblatt. ("An unsere Leser."
Jugendbundblatt Vol 7, January - February 1927, 1-2.) However this arrangement proved to be unpopular
with members of the Jugendbund, and was dropped in 1928. Friedrich Czikeli, "Aus dem Bericht des
Schriftleiters ber das Jugendbundblatt" Jugendbundblatt Vol 8 Nr 13, 10 October 1928, 102-104.
^^ At the end of 1923, there were "hundreds" of Good Templars in Transylvania, and three hundred Young
Good Templars in Mediasch. Extract from "Deutsches Jungleben in Siebenbrgen." Das junge Volk, in "Wie
man im Mutteriand ber uns urteilt." Jugendbundblatt Vol 3, November 1923, 7. By 1929, there were still
only 398 adult members and 318 youth members in German lodges in Transylvania. "Die schsischen
G u t t e m p l e r . " V o l 21 Nrl8, 2 May 1929, 179.
^^^ Bericht ber die Heltauer Jugendbundtagung." Jugendbundblatt Vol 6, September, October & November
"Bericht ber die Heltauer Jugendbundtagung." Jugendbundblatt
1926, 18.

Vol 6, September, October & November

advocated generational conflict and a return to nature. Since the War, the youth
organisations of the different parties in Germany had become increasingly politicised and
violence often resulted. Furthermore, it became apparent that the youth organisations were
becoming influenced by the German Christian Movement and by paganism, as reflected in
the sermon by Pastor Wilhelm Staedel, deputy chair of the League, ^^^ on the "heroic"
qualities of Christ. ^^^

The SDT suggested that these developments stemmed from the actions of a small circle of
radicalised youth leaders.^^^ In part, this was true. As discussed in Chapter 5, many Saxon
youths completed their education in Germany. As well as strengthening their ties to
Germany, this also exposed them to far right politics.^^^ This increasing radicalisation of
youth activists was reflected in the Jugendbundblatt, which reprinted articles from the
''vlkisch'' German youth movement, ^^^ and published the observations of young Saxons
studying in Germany. The Jugendbundblatt provided a conduit for vlkisch ideals to reach
Saxon Transylvania, and these ideals were soon being reiterated by the Saxon youth.^^^ The
Jugendbundblatt published a number of articles emphasising the importance of community
1 n

within the Volk, in resistance to the outsider.

Articles encouraging friendly relations with

other Vlker were much rarer. ^^^

^^^ Glass, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 308.

"Bericht ber die Heltauer Jugendbundtagung." Jugendbundblatt Vol 6 September-November 1926, 26-28,
and [Fritz ]Th[eil], "Der Erlebniswelt der Jugend. Ein Epilog zur Heltauer Jugendtagung." SDT 2 July 1926,
1-2. On the Wandervogel movement, see also John Alexander Williams, "Ecstasies of the Young: Sexuality,
the Youth Movement, and Moral Panic in Germany on the Eve of the First World War." Central European
History Vol 34 Nr 2, 2001, 163-89.
Th[eil], "Der Erlebniswelt der Jugend", 1-2.
German diplomatic staff in Romania noted that Saxon students returning to Germany were almost without
exception vlkisch in outlook. Freytag, German Legation Bucharest to Foreign Office, 21 December 1924.
AA, Abt lib, Politik 6, R73650.
For an early but by no means unique example, see Neuendorff, Edmund. "Die unendliche Aufgabe",
reprinted from the Deutsche Jugendtumzeitung, m Jugendbundblatt. Vol. 3. February 1923. pp. 1-2.
For example, Conrad, Gustav. "Gegenwart und Zukunft'' Jugendbundblatt. Vol. 4. January 1924. pp. 1-3.
This strongly ethnocentric article, with an emphasis on youth-driven renewal, served as something of a
mission statement in the first issue of 1924.
Conrad, H. 'TrQundschaft.'' Jugendbundblatt. Vol. 3. November 1923. pp.1-3.
For example, Gyurgyevich, Jul[ius] E[mst]. "Wir und die andern." Jugendbundblatt. Vol. 6. December
1926. pp.6-8. This article is especially curious because Gyurgyevich's other contributions to the
Jugendbundblatt and to Sonnenwende generally extolled the more extreme views of vlkisch thought.

One student who studied in Germany was Alfred Bonfert, who while in Germany from
1923-1927, as discussed in Chapter 5, formed links with the radical German youth
movement. In 1929 he became the leader of the Romanian German Wandervgel
Information about Saxon Wandervgel activities before 1930 is limited.^^^ The first
Transylvanian Wandervogel "eyrie"^^^ had been founded in Schburg before 1914, though
it became inactive during the War. After the War, there were branches in Kronstadt and
Hermannstadt. The first interwar Wandervogel meeting in Transylvania was in Kronstadt in
the summer of 1923.^^^ At that time there were only a few active branches in Transylvania
in 1923, operating in much the same way as in Germany, encouraging a connection with
the landscape and ethnic community through hiking.^^^ The Wandervgel emphasised the
role of the youth in transforming and renewing society.^ ^^ The movement guided its
members in the area of "racial science"^^^ and the "renewal of life".^^^ In Germany,
individual or branches of Wandervgel could make their own decision whether or not to
include Jews; in Austria the movement as a whole forbade the membership of Jews, Slavs
and other non-Germans.^^^ The Saxon Wandervgel were a strongly ethnic organisation. In
1927 the "Working Party of Wandervogel Groups in Transylvania and in the Banat"^^^ was
founded. Alfred Bonfert took over its leadership in 1929. In 1929 the Working Party was
replaced by the Southeast German WandervgelThe

Wandervogel movement was

active in encouraging urban youth to spend time in nature, and had helped re-establish the

Due to the lack of a journal until relatively late, the activities of the Wandervgel in Transylvania during
the 1920s are largely unrecorded. The journal Wandervogel, published as a supplementary to Selbsthilfe from
January 1930, was predated by a Rundbrief der Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Wandervogelgmppen, but the
seventh issue of this appears to have come out only in early 1929. An extract from the Rundbrief was
reprinted in the Jugendbundhlatt\ Bonfert, Alfred. "Wie fahren wir ins Land?" Jugendbundblatt. Vol. 9. Nr.
3-4. 30 May 1930. pp.22-25. Also, the Rundbrief had not been previously mentioned in the Jugendbundblatt,
which occasionally mentioned other youth journals. This suggests that the Rundbrief was either relatively
new, came out only infrequently, or had only a small circulation.
Alfred Bonfert, "Jugendbewegung bei uns.'' Jugendbundblatt Vol 8 Nr 18, 30 November 1923, 137-138.
See also Glass, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 308.
Extract from "Deutsches Jungleben in Siebenbrgen." Das junge Volk, in "Wie man im Mutterland ber
uns utqW Jugendbundblatt. Vol. 3. November 1923. p.7.
This was the message taken away from the training courses by one young Wandervogel. See Binder, Klre.
"Unser Fhrertreffen." Wandervogel. Vol. 1. Nr. 1. February 1930. p.l.
Lebenserneuerung. "Von der Arbeit." Wandervogel. Vol. 1. Nr. 1. February 1930. p.4.
Glass, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 308.
^^^ Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Wandervogel-gruppen in Siebenbrgen und im Banat.
Sdostdeutsche Wandervgel. GXdiSS, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 330-331.

brother- and sisterhoods in Saxon towns. By 1928, Wandervgel were to be found

"throughout Transylvania"/^^ although for the most part limited to urban centres. In this,
the Wandervgel remained a middle class urban movement as in Germany.

The Union ofRaiffeisen Co-Operative Associations

Economic reform was a central plank of the Welfare Office. The most important secular
economic body to work with the Welfare Office was the Union ofRaiffeisen Co-Operative
Associations, which worked to improve agriculture in Saxon settlements. As discussed in
Chapters 1 and 5, the Raiffeisen Co-Operatives provided communal, predominantly rural
economic institutions on ethnic lines, with a strong ethno-corporatist component to their
activities. In the interwar period, the Union saw its chief role as helping Saxon communities
respond to the loss of land and capital under Romanian rule.

An indication of the activities of the Union is provided by the training courses it ran for
office bearers in its member organisations. One course in 1924, attended by 32 co-operative
office bearers and members, included 68 hours of classes in practical matters such as
meeting state administrative requirements, book-keeping, running religious services,
maintaining primary schools, and on recent agricultural developments. It also included 28
hours on Saxon history, Saxon names and dialects, racial theory and the health of the


In his speech closing the course, Karl Wolff admonished the members to commit to

ethnic solidarity, and not to become "internationalist".^^^ Other courses show a similar mix
of practical skills and racialised ethno-corporatism.^^^ An accountancy course in 1930 was
advertised in social Darwinist terms; self-sufficiency was a crucial element in the struggle

Bonfert, Alfred. "Jugendbewegung bei \msr Jugendbundblatt. Vol. 8. Nr. 18. 30 November 1928. pp. 137138.
"Kurs fr Raiffeisensche Genossenschaften." Siebenbrger Raiffeisenbote Vol 15 Nr 10, 14 October
1924, 45-47, "Unser kurs fur Raiffeisensche Genossenschaften." Siebenbrger Raiffeisenbote Vol 15 Nr 12,
10 November 1924, 57-58, and G. A. Sch[uller], "Unser Raiffeisenkurs." Siebenbrger Raiffeisenbote Vol 16
Nr4, 28 May 1925, 19-24.
^^^ Sch[uller], "Unser Raiffeisenkurs." Siebenbrger Raiffeisenbote, 23.
For example, [Misch Bergleiter], "Der 11. Buchhandlungskurs fur Raiffeisensche Genossenschaften.
Siebenbrger Raiffeisenbote Vol 19: Nr 2, 16 February 1928, 7-8; & Nr 3, 8 March 1928, 12. Also "Der Kurs
fr Raiffeisensche Genossenschaftsmitglieder." Siebenbrger Raiffeisenbote Vol 20 Nr 4, 4 March 1929, 19.

for ethnic survival and to be self-sufficient the co-operative associations had to be wellrun. 124 Attendance at such courses was generally low, often being less than 20 people. 125
However, attendees were leading members of their co-operative associations and generally
of their communities as well, giving them considerable influence and the opportunity to
further disseminate the values gained at the courses.

In 1924 the Union founded a "Peasant College"^^^ to help the Saxon peasantry preserve
their cultural inheritance of customs, costume, dialect, and woridview.^-^ The College was
based upon similar organisations started by Bruno Tanzmann in Germany, ^^^ and attended
by Saxon students such as Bonfert.^^^ Wolffand Union secretary Georg Adolf Schller^ ^^
contributed to the journal of the Peasant College movement in Germany.^^^ In 1927,
German Christian Pastor Misch Bergleiter became leader of the College and the Union's
Raiffeisen House in Hermannstadt.^^^ College courses included a mix of practical and
cultural/ideological content similar to those training Raiffeisen Associations officers. A
course for girls in 1924 included practical lessons in home economics, traditional weaving
styles, gardening and book-keeping, theoretical classes in natural history, anthropology, life
sciences, religion, history, and literature, as well as a lengthy discussion on racial theory

Hofgrff, "Der 2. Bilanzkurs." Siebenbrger Raiffeisenbote Vol 21 Nr 9, 22 September 1930, 38-39.
125 For example, figures for two accounting courses in 1930 reveal that they were attended by a total of 17
pastors, eight teachers, twelve peasants and one forestry manager. [Julius Gutt,] "Der erste Bilanzkurs."
Siebenbrger Raiffeisenbote Vol 21 Nr 5, 15 May 1930, 24, and Hofgrff, "Der 2. Bilanzkurs." Siebenbrger
Raiffeisenbote Vol 21 Nr 9, 22 September 1930, 38-40.
"Bauemhochschule". Siebenbrger Raiffeisenbote Vol 15 Nr 8, 22 September 1924, 34.
"Kleine Mitteilungen." Siebenbrger Raiffeisenbote Vol 15 Nr 9, 2 October 1924, 43. On Tanzmann, see
Alfred Bonfert, "Die deutsche Bauemhochschule in Liebenau." Siebenbrger Raiffeisenbote Vol 15 Nr 9, 2
1924, 42-43.
Alfred Bonfert, "Die deutsche Bauemhochschule in Liebenau." Siebenbrger Raiffeisenbote Vol 15: Nr 9,
2 October 1924, 41-43; Nr 10, 14 October 1924, 50-52; & Nr 11, 30 October 1924, 56, and Alfred Bonfert,
"Bericht ber die Tagung der Deutschen Bauemhochschulen." Siebenbrger Raiffeisenbote Vol 15: Nr 12, 10
November 1924, 59-60; & Nr 13, 18 December 1924, 70-72.
On the role of Schuller in the Raiffeisen movement in Transylvania, see "Zum Rcktritt des
Verbandssekretrs Dr. Georg Adolf Schuller." Siebenbrger Raiffeisenbote Vol 20 Nr 6, 30 May 1929, 27-28.
Their contributions to the quarterly Deutsche Bauemhochschule were reported in the Siebenbrger
Raiffeisenbote-, for example Vol 16: Nr 1, 2 January 1925, 4; Nr 2, 15 January 1925, 12; Nr 5, 23 July 1925,
3 2 ; & N r 6 , 17 August 1925, 36.
Misch Bergleiter, "Das Raiffeisenhaus." Siebenbrger Raiffeisenbote Vol 18 Nr 3, 3 March 1927, 9-10.

and German nationalism by Fritz Fabritius, and a lecture on Jewish race and religion by
Town Pastor August Schuster of Broos.^^^

The Union of Raiffeisen Co-Operative Associations was not a fringe group. Along with the
Saxon banks, the Union was one of the key Saxon economic institutions, and Wolff had
been, as discussed in Chapter 1, the leading light in Saxon politics and economics at the
end of the nineteenth century. The Union was an independent body, with no formal
institutional connections to the Church. The inclusion of ethnic, religious and racial
elements in its course underlines the extent to which, economic associations in
Transylvania were also ethno-corporatist. The Union's activities underiine the extent to
which the values of cultural pessimism were integrated into Saxon society. Furthermore,
the local leaders of Raiffeisen Co-operatives were frequently pastors or teachers in
Lutheran schools, as is supported by the lists of attendees at Raiffeisen courses. In this way,
the welfare responsibilities of a Lutheran pastor and his responsibilities as a co-operative
office holder were in accordance.

German-Saxon Self-Help
The Mutual Savings and Loans Society German-Saxon Self-Help^^"^ was founded in
Hermannstadt in 1922 by former officer Fritz Fabritius to allow pooling of resources, so as
to permit would-be property owners with little capital to purchase their own houses or
land.^^^ What began as an informal scheme by a few individuals to pool money to purchase
land and build houses for themselves on the outskirts of Hermannstadt, gradually grew to
include three "settlements"^^^ by 1925, encompassing 111 building sites. In addition, SelfHelp enabled members to access interest-free loans by pooling their resources. ^^^ From
"Bericht ber dem vom 5. September bis 16 November 1924 abgehaltenen Volkshochschullehrgang fr
Mdchen in Groschenk," Siebenbrger Raiffeisenbote Vol 16 Nr 2, 15 January 1925, 10-11.
Bausparkassa "Deutsch-Schsische Selbsthilfe ".
^^^ Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 106-108.
F[ritz] F[abritius], "Selbsthilfe." SH'^r 5, August 1925, 1, "Bisher geleistete Arbeit." S H ^ r 5, August
1925, 2, and "Baugenossenschaft." "//Nr 5, August 1925, 2. However, as late as 1927, sites remained for sale
in all three sites. "Wichtige Mitteilungen." SHl^r 8, September 1927, 4.

1928 Self-Help's emphasis shifted from developing its own sites to making loans available
throughout Transylvania, and later throughout Romania. At this time the organisation took
on a more formal structure. ^^^ Self-Help charged its debtors interest at a rate of one percent
or lower, to cover costs. ^^^ By comparison, commercial interest rates at the time could be as
high as 25-30

By 1931 Self-Help had made 169 loans to buy houses,

259 to relieve debt, 16 to buy (agricultural) land and 33 to assist students.^"^^

Fabritius' far-right leanings were well established from the beginning of the 1920s.
Fabritius worked for HAS under Kari Wolff, who sent him to Germany in 1922 to report on
the state of affairs there. During this time, according to NSDR propaganda, Fabritius met
and became a devotee of Adolf Hitler.

However, Hitler was but one of many leaders of

the far right in Germany, and despite some connections with the NSDAP over the next few
y e a r s , t h e r e is little evidence that he had a stronger influence on Fabritius in the 1920s 144
compared to other German vlkisch activists. ^^^ What is clear, however, is that Fabritius


Glass, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 324. Members were required to pay into the flind a security of 20
percent of the desired loan. The loan would be granted when the money became available, on a first-come,
first-served basis. When the loan had been completely repaid (at one percent a month over 100 months), the
twenty percent security would be returned. Dw. "Zur Aufklrung." S H ^ r . 10. February 1928. pp. 1-2.
In October 1928, for example, the rate was !/2% p.a.. "Richtlinien." "//Nr 12, October 1928, 3-6. By
March 1929, however, it had risen to 1% p.a.. "Auerordentliche Generalversammlung." S H ^ x 16, 1 March
1929, 1-2.
"Das Zinsennehmen." 5 / / N r 11, March 1928, 1. A similar estimate (25-30%) was given in Misch
Bergleiter, "Der auerordentliche Verbandstag des Verband Raiffeisen'scher Genossenschaften."
Siebenbrger Raiffeisenbote Vol 19, Nr 4, 19 April 1928, 14-15.
Glass, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 326.
W. Schunn, Weg und Feinde der NEDR. Sibiu-Hermannstadt: Verlag H. Schlosser, 1934, 13-14.
^^^ In 1923 Fabritius ordered 12 examples of the Vlkische Beobachter for his colleagues. Schunn, Weg und
Feinde der NEDR, 13-14. He may have been involved in efforts in Hermannstadt to raise money for Nazi
Freedom Fighters in the occupied Ruhr. Freytag, German Legation Bucharest to Foreign Office, 23 April
1923. AA Abt lib Politik 6, R73650. In 1926, he received a postcard from Rohm. Bhm, Die Deutschen in
Rumnien und die Weimarer Republik, 192.
Roth, Politische Strukturen und Strmungen, 144-145, and Glass, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 324. c.f
Bhm, Die Deutschen in Rumnien und die Weimarer Republik, 189.
Fabritius was also influenced by, for example, racial theorist Hans F. K. Gnther, (for example, "Die
Vertterung der Menschheit." SHl^r 11, March 1928, 4), General Erich Ludendorff, Mathilde Ludendorff,
Berthold Otto ("Mitteilungen." '//Nr 15, February 1929, 4, Misch Bergleiter, "Bcher." 5 / / N r 19, 1 June
1929, 5, and Berthold Otto, "Die Gefahr des Untergangs." 5 / / V o l 9 Nr 1, 1 January 1930, 3-4) and Paul
Legarde (For example, [Paul] Legarde, Zusammenschlu der moralischen Krfte." SHVo\ 9 Nr 3, 1 March
1930, 1. Also "Zum Todestage Paul de Legardes." SHWoX 9 Nr 3, 1 March 1930, 1-3.).

had strongly vlkisch leanings from the beginning of the 1920s. Fabritius was also an active
lecturer on racial theory.

From its outset, Self-Help had a strong ethno-corporatist mission, underpinned by strong
racism. As Self-Help's journal Selbsthilfe argued,^"^^ the society was formed in response to
disappointment with the state, and the belief that the Saxon community would have to take
economic matters into its own h a n d s . T h e state not only failed to reflect Saxon interests,
it actively opposed them by its "parasitical" actions. For this reason, Self-Help claimed to
serve the German People alone.

Self-Help hoped to construct an ideal "German ethnic

community"^^^, a "community of blood"^^^ from which would be excluded non-Germans

and also non-German practices, such as interest collection, individualism and selfishness.
Self-Help's main role in this was in freeing Saxons from dependency on foreign capital,
and the high interest rates it entailed, and in ending the practice of usury within Saxon


In doing so, it saw itself as solving the problems of capitalism through Christian

values.^^^ Indirectly, the purchasing of land and building of houses would strengthen the
Saxons financially relative to other ethnicities, and enable them to increase their settlement
in rural and urban areas.^^"^ The shortage of land and housing was seen as a matter of life
and death for the Saxons.^^^

For example, Glass, Zerbrochene Nachbarschaft, 333-334, "Uebersicht ber die Beratungsfragen fiir die
anllich der Jugendbundtagung in Heitau." SDT26 June 1926, 6, and Sch[uller], "Unser Raiffeisenkurs."
Selbsthilfe: Kampfblatt fuer das ehrlich arbeitende Volk. Zur Foerderung des Gartenbaues, der
Kleintierzucht, sowie der Kleinsiedlung. First appearing in 1922, publication was irregular and infrequent
until 1927. It came out more frequently from 1928. (February 1928 was the tenth issue.) From December
1928 the title was shortened to Selbsthilfe: Kampfblatt fuer das ehrlich arbeitende Volk. It became a monthly
in January 1929, and fortnightly from November 1930. Roth interprets this to have been an attempt to make
the newspaper less class-specific, as it reduced the emphasis on the agricultural sector. Certainly by the late
1920s Self-Help had a considerable membership, especially in Hermannstadt but also in the other Saxon
towns. In 1932 it became a weekly, and from June 1932 was replaced by the weekly Ostdeutscher
Beobachter: Kamplatt fuer das ehrlich arbeitende Volk.
"An die deutsch-schsische Bevlkerung von Hermannstadt und weiterhin im ganzen romnischen
Vaterlande!" SHVo\ 1, Nr 3, July 1922, 1. (Emphasis in original.)
H. Dolle, "Wie soll diese Selbsthilfe aussehen?" SH, Vol 1, Nr 4, September 1922, 2.
deutsche Volksgemeinschaft.
For example, [Fritz] Fabritius, "Tue ein jeder nichts als seine Pflicht!" 57/Nr 10, February 1928, 1, and
Fritz Fabritius, "Was wir wollen." SHVoX 9 Nr 15, 15 December 1930, 1-2.
"Ansprache des Gaufuhrers Dr. Wagner, Heldsdorf, in der Mitgliederversammlung vom 21. Juli 1930 in
Kronstadt." SHVol 9 Nr 9, 1 September 1930, 2.
"Auerordentliche Generalversammlung." S H ^ r 16, March 1929, 1.
^^^ W. S. "Die Gautagung in Schburg." 57/Vol 9 Nr 13, 15 November 1930, 4.

During the late 1920s, Self-Help became increasingly involved in new areas, including
agitating for economic, social and finally political reform. It is possible that increasing
inability to meet its original purpose drove this shift in focus.^^^ Members were encouraged
to do business with other Germans wherever possible, so as to retain the wealth of the
community. ^^^ Such messages increased in intensity as the economy worsened. ^^^ From
1929, there were increasing efforts to assist the Saxon unemployed.^^^

Self-Help saw itself as assisting to build a community that was racially sound in both mind
and body. Within this community, all healthy members were to be of equal value,
regardless of education, class or wealth. ^^^ Selbsthilfe frequently urged its readers to "close
the circle of the ethnic community"^^^ that is, to exclude outsiders. ^^^ Racial intermixing
was a source