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An International Symposium
"SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE 1918-1995"


Publisher: Croatian Heritage Foundation & Croatian Information Centre
For the Publisher: Ante Beljo
Expert Counsellor: Dr. sc. Dragutin Pavlicevic
Editor: Aleksander Ravlic
Graphic Design: Gorana Benic - Hudin
Printed by: TARGA
Copies Printed: 2000
ISBN 953-6525-05-4

IMPRESSUM

CONTENTS


 

 


Prof. dr. Andrija Bognar
Professor at the Faculty of Natural Science
and Mathematics at the University of Zagreb:
apart from geomorphology works on political and
demographic problems of SE Europe 1
Prirodnoslovno matematicki fakultet
Kralja Zvonimira 8
10 000 Zagreb-CROATIA

THE STATUS OF HUNGARIANS IN VOJVODINA FROM 1918 TO 1995

INTRODUCTION
Following the First World War, Hungarians in Vojvodina and the entire nation shared a tragic fate. This was the result of the Trianon Peace Agreement (June 4, 1920). Approximately 189,797km or 67.10% of 282,870 km of territory belonging to the Kingdom of Hungary2 was lost. According to a 1910 census, 10,649,416 citizens or 58.31% of Hungary’s population before the war (18,264,533) had lived in the lost territory. The national composition of the population in the territory lost by the Trianon Peace Agreement consisted of the following: 3,213,631 or 30.18% Hungarians, 2,919,747 or 27.42% Rumanians, 1,781,084 or 12.66% Slovaks, 1,348,763 or 16.72% Germans, 463, 207 or 4.53% Ruthenians, 435,345 or 4.09% Serbs, 220,273 or 2.07% Croatians and 267,366 or 2.51% other nationalities. This data undoubtedly illustrates the injustice of the peace agreement which 1/3 of the Hungarian nation was annexed to the Kingdom of Rumania, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and the Republic of Austria. Due to the unmistakable and unfavourable political relations between Hungary and the little Entente (Yugoslavia, Rumania, and Czechoslovakia) between the Two World Wars, a general conclusion can be made that the status of Hungarians in these states were exceptionally difficult.

This was also the case in so-called Vojvodina which was annexed to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia), despite the fact that Hungarians comprised the majority of the population according to the 1910 census (32.08%, see Table 5). We are referring, of course, to the part of Vojvodina (Backa and Banat) that belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary up to 1920. If, however, we take into consideration the entire territory of "today’s" Vojvodina, which includes a part of the former Srijem County, which was part of the Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia until 1918 (3,885 km2 and 234,413 citizens)3 The national structure becomes more favourable for the Serbs (a relative majority of 33.80% - see Table 6). However, this can hardly account for such a great territorial gain for the Serbs. Furthermore, it should be made clear that it was almost impossible to establish ethnic borders in Vojvodina due to the exceptionally complex national structure of the population. For this reason, it is surprising that the winning forces of the First World War did not adopt the principle of self-determination (which they themselves emphasized in the context of Wilson’s 11 Points) and conduct a plebiscite in Vojvodina. Moreover, the principle was not respected in Hungary’s case during the demarcation towards Rumania (the Transylvanian question ) and Czechoslovakia. The following data best illustrates the injustice of the Trianon Peace Agreement: approximately 10,000,000 Hungarians received territory totaling 93,000km 2,900,000 Rumanians received 103,000km 1,800,000 Slovaks received 62,000km etc. This territory refers to the entire territory of the former Hungarian Kingdom.

THE EVOLUTION OF THE HUNGARIAN NATIONAL ENTITY IN VOJVODINA UP TO 1918
The fact that Hungarians settled in Backa, immediately after they occupied the Carpathian basin, that is, the so-called Panonian area, is indisputable. The work by Konstantin Porfirogenet (translation Moravcsik Gy. 1950) from the middle of the tenth century irrefutably implies this as well. In his work, he suggested that Hungarians had settled the regions across the Danube River and the areas between the Danube River and the Sava River. Before the arrival of the Hungarians, the population was primarily comprised of Slavs4 However, during the Middle Ages, they were assimilated into Hungarians. Thus, the greater part of Backa was a part of the Hungarian national entity. In the eleventh century, according an analysis of toponyms (Kniezsa J., 1938), they were living intermixed with the Hungarians by the Danube in northwestern and southwestern Backa.5 In spite of the catastrophic consequences of the penetration of the Tartars in the thirteenth century, when 40-65% of the settlements in the Backa region and 50% of the settlements in the Bodrog region were destroyed, there were no significant changes until the sixteenth century (Györffy Gy., 1966).

The Backa and Bodrog regions were relatively densely populated areas at that time. There were 82 settlements in Bodrog in the first half of the fourteenth century and 225 by the end of the fifteenth century and in Backa, respectively, 127 and then 332(Györffy Gy. 1966 Csánki D., II, 1894). The tax documents from 1522, 4 years prior to the Mohacka Battle, (Szabo I.,1965) were of great significance in establishing the ethnic structure of the Backa6 population. The names of the settlements, as well as the names of the tax payers, were documented. The head of each family, paying taxes in 164 settlements (29.4% of all settlements in the Backa and Bodrog region), was listed totaling over 4,000 names and surnames. If we assume each family consisted of 5 family members, the approximate number of citizens per settlement at the time would amount to 120. Without entering into a detailed, scientific, onomastic analysis, it certainly can be inferred that the great majority of the Backa population (approximately 90%) was Hungarian. Amongst the Slav names (approximately 10% of the names and surnames), the surname "Toth" is predominant. "Toth" is the terminology the Hungarians used when referring to the Slavs who settled in today’s Slavonia and Srijem during the Middle Ages (Szabo J., 1965, Kniezsa I., 1938). Considering the fact that only 1.79% of the names listed were characteristic of Orthodox Christians, it is obvious that the listed Slavic Backa population, at the time, was predominantly Croatian Catholic. At that time, both Croats and Serbs were fleeing north from war-torn Srijem and northern Serbia. Since only 30% of the settlements are documented, the Slavic population was probably significantly greater, especially Serbs in southeastern Backa. Furthermore, it is difficult to say whether a portion of the documented Slavs referred to the older native population from the Middle Ages.7

In the first half of the sixteenth century, the penetration of the Turks in the Panonski area had catastrophic effects on the demographic development and deployment of the Hungarian population in Vojvodina.

PICTURE 1

Picture I. The evolution of the Hungarian nationality in Vojvodina from the11th century until 1991 (according to K. Kocsis,1995.)

Although the area was not occupied until 1543, Hungarians almost completely disappeared due to infectious diseases, the migration of numerous armies, the Dozs Györgya peasant rebellion, and the raids by the so-called emperor (Jovan Nenad’s gangs, deportations and murders, and banishment). Subsequently, the Serbs settled Backa and Banat and the remaining portion of today’s Vojvodina) Popovic J.D.,1957). While during Turkish control, the permanent residents lived primarily in the cities because the Serbian population was constantly on the move due to the nature of their livelihood (soldiers and cattle-breeders).

PICTURE 2

Picture 2. Ethnic map of individual settlements in Vojvodina in 1910 (according to Kocsis, 1995). Legend;A= absolute or relative majority-1.Serbs, 2. Hungarians, 3.Germans, 4. Croats, 5. Slovaks, 6. Rumanians, 7. Ruthenians, 8. border of 1995. Czechs; a=national border 1995, b=southern Vojvodina

Following the liberation from the Turks, the mass colonization began of Serbs from Kosovo and Serbia (40,000 families). This was conducted under the leadership of the Patriarch Arsenije Carnojevic (1690). Croats- Bunjevac began to settle the Subotica region in 1687. According to the censuses conducted by Austria in 1715 and 1720, Serbs and Croats comprised of 97.6% of the Backa population. There were only 530 or 1.9% Hungarians and 0.5% Germans (Kocsis K., 1989). Following the Pozarevac Peace Agreement of 1718, mass colonization of the area began. Until then,and according to the 1720 census (Kocsis K., 1995)  there were only 0 to 5 people per km2. Only after the Serbs left, Germans settled in the Banat territories and in the territories of Apatin and Odzak in Backa. After 1740, Marija Terezija carried out the settling of Hungarians, Slovaks, and Ruthenians8 Hungarians settled the Northeastern portion of Backa by Tisa. Which Serbs had left after the abolishment of the Croatian Military Border of the Tisa Basin (1741), the Subotica territory, the plain of Telecka, and the surrounding areas of Sombor. These were primarily immigrants from Dunántula, central Alfeld, and the Csongrad region. The first large group of settlers arrived from 1742 to 1750 and settled in Bezdan, Doroslovo, Backa Topola, Bajsa, Kula, etc (Bodor A., 1914 - Kocsis K., 1989). Serbs still were the majority of the population according to the census of 1773 (Lexicon 1920). However, the number of other nationalities had considerably increased, so that Backa served as an area with an exceptionally complex ethnic structure.

TABLE 1: ETHNIC STUCTURE OF THE POPULATION OF BACKA FOR THE PERIOD 1910-1991

From 1720 until 1787,9 the number of citizens in Backa and Ban at increased seven times because of immigration. At the end of the eighteenth century, the settling of Germans continued during the reign of Josip II, expressing the political tendency of "germanization" of this extremely valuable agricultural area. The majority of Germans came from Franconia, Baden Wurtenberg, and the Rhine Valleys (Kocsis K., 1989). At this time, the settling of Hungarians decreased (Feketic, St. Moravica, Pacir, etc. - that is, the Telecka area - Koscis K., 1989). During the first half of the nineteenth century, planned colonization came to a halt. This made the spontaneous settling of Hungarians and Slovaks possible. Midway through and during the second half of the nineteenth century, once again, Hungarians became the dominant nationality in Backa (relative majority) and a significant number of Hungarians settled in the northern and central part of Banat (partially due to planned colonization) and Srijem.

TABLE 2: ETHNIC STRUCTURE OF THE POPULATION OF BANAT FOR THE PERIOD 1910-1991

At the beginning of our century, following great migratory movements during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the ethnic picture in Backa had finally stabilized. Hungarians dominated the northern and northeastern part of Backa, where Croats (Bunjevci) also appeared as a great enclave in Subotica. The Serbian ethnic picture showed signs of regression alongside constant migration. They primarily remained in the southeastern part of the region called Sajkaska. They made up enclaves in Sombor and in parts of Southwestern Backa. Germans were predominant but lived intermixed with Croats, Serbs, Hungarians, and Ruthenians in the southwestern and western part of central Backa. Slovaks made up a relatively large enclave west of Novi Sad (see illustration #6). From 1880 until 1910, the Hungarian population increased greatly in the towns. This was primarily due to a natural growth in the population, new immigration and assimilation of Germans and Croats (Subotica) into Hungarians.

THE PERIOD BETWEEN WARS, 1918 TO 1941
From November 7 to 19, 1918 Serbian troops occupied southern Hungary with the Entente’s blessing. The Novi Sad Assembly (November 25, 1918) proclaimed Vojvodina’s union with the Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs with no consideration of the wishes of the Hungarian and German population of 54.41% of the total population which made up Vojvodina (Backa, Banat). De facto, 29.33% of the Backa and Banat population of Serbs in 1910 made the decision to annex the area to the Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs. This was sanctioned by the Trianon Peace Agreement on June 4, 1920, when Backa’s 8,558km and Banat’s 9,324km were joined with the Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs.

TABLE 3: ETHNIC STRUCTURE OF THE POPULATION OF SRIJEM FOR THE PERIOD 1910-1991

The Serbian minority gained power and the liquidation of the existing national organization and the economic and political destruction of the Hungarians immediately began.

The great majority of Hungarian state officials were dismissed or forced to resign. At the end of 1918, 645 Hungarian elementary schools and 277 day care centers were in operation with 1,832 teachers employed (Deak L. in Viszatert delvidek, 1941). These schools were nationalized on August 20, 1920. By a process called denationalization in Vojvodina (Jojkic V., 1931), the "agrarian reform" was executed. It began on February 25, 1919. The majority of large estates, with an area of over 500 cadastral acres and later, those with an area over 100 cadastral acres, predominantly owned by Hungarians and Germans, was expropriated.10 The direct consequences of these measures were the destruction of a class of Hungarian large estate owners and indirectly, the Hungarian peasant and working class. In 1919, 57,631 people were without land (41.4% were Hungarian and 18.2% were German). Since the German and Hungarian populations were considered as an enemy, it is not surprising that they did not participate in the distribution of land taken away from large estate owners. In addition to this, according to the calculations of K. Kocis (1995), 14,345 Hungarians and 1,239 Germans (labourers and servants) were dismissed from the large estates, so that Serbian colonists and so-called volunteers could take their place.

The mentioned events had resulted in extreme demographic regression of Hungarians. Comparing the Backa and Banat census of 1921 with the census of 1910, an absolute decrease can be noted with respect to the number of Hungarians, approximately 50,000 citizens (relatively 12%). If however, we include the total territory encompassed by today’s Vojvodina, the decrease is somewhat larger, approximately 55,000 citizens or 13%. According to the approximate calculations of K. Kocsis (1995) in 1910, 52,000 citizens declared themselves as Hungarians. However, due to new unjust political and economic circumstances surrounding the census of 1921 and according to Svetozar Pribicevic’s11 analysis of surnames, these Hungarian citizens declared themselves as Germans (12,300), Serbio-Croatian Catholics (32,620), and others (6,850). Alongside this "dissimulation", 39,272 Hungarian officials, intellectuals, and proprietors were banished, exiled or repatriated from the end of 1918 until the beginning of 1921 (Nyigri I., 1941). This influenced the significant decrease of the Hungarian population in border areas, especially in Subotica and Sombor. In Subotica, Hungarians were no longer considered the majority, as a result of the application of Svetozar Pribicevic’s so-called method of surname analysis in assessing data from the 1921 census.

Congruent with Greater Serbian politics, the further development of the "agrarian reform" proceeded after 1921. It served the purpose of increasing the number of Serbs and destroying the ethnic block of Hungarians in northern Backa, especially in the Tisa river basin. Of 468,969 cadastral acres of agricultural area received due to the agrarian reform, approximately 20,000 families (45,000 Serbs and 300 Croats - Bunjevci) had settled primarily by the border by January 31, 1939 (Koscis K., 1995., using data from Jojkic v., 1931., Nyigri I., 1941., Gacesa N.L., 1968, 1972,1975, Mesaros S. 1981).

An especially perfidious act which served to impoverish the Hungarian, German, and Croatian population, was related to the realm of tax politics. The taxes charged to the Hungarians in Vojvodina per citizen were 3 to 4 times more than the taxes in Serbia Proper. Moreover, settlements with a Hungarian majority were burdened with special village taxes. In addition to this, Hungarian tradesman, industrialists, and merchants were burdened with taxes four times greater than the usual (Nyigri I., 1941). This resulted in an intense economic emigration of the Hungarian population from 1921 to 1929. During this time, 14,442 Hungarians (10,000 from Vojvodina according to Nyigri, 1941) emigrated to America and Australia from Yugoslavia. The data from the 1931 population census in Yugoslavia best illustrates the consequences. Despite a relatively favourable birth rate from 1921 until 1931 (7.5% amounting to 25-30,000 citizens), there was only a slight increase of the Hungarian population (approximately 5,000 in Banat and Backa and 3,000 in the entire territory of today’s Vojvodina) due to the mass Hungarian emigration to Hungary and abroad. However, there was also a relative decrease of the Hungarian population (26.62% of the entire Backa and Banat population, 22.97% in Vojvodina). At the same time, due to the immigration of 64,000 Serbs (Kocsis K., 1995), the Serbian population increased to 37.43%, thus altering the ethnic structure of many settlements which were, until then, primarily settled by Hungarians and Germans. 53 settlements with a Hungarian and German majority became predominantly Serbian settlements (see the corresponding population census).

THE WAR PERIOD 1941- 1944
On April 6, 1941, German and Italian troops began military operations focused against the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Subsequently, during the period between April 11 - 14, 1941, Hungarian troops accomplished the occupation of Backa, Baranja, Medjimurje, and Prekomurje. On April 11, 1941, Germans occupied Srijem and Banat. Srijem was subsequently included in NDH. Banat was, in effect, no one’s territory but was governed by the local German population. Following the implementation of the Hungarian administration, the process of territorial pacification and deportation began of Serbs who had settled after December 31, 1918. At the same time, the colonization of Hungarians from Bukovina (Rumania) and Moldavia began. From May 11 until June 20, 1941, 13,200 Hungarians from Bukovina (3,279 families), 161 (53 families) from Moldavia (Rumania), and 481 aristocratic families (2,325 people) had settled in territories once settled by Serbian colonists. As a result of this colonization and return of citizens who were banished between the two World Wars, along with the arrival of numerous officials, the number of Hungarians in Backa, according to the 1941 population census and in comparison with the 1931 population census, increased by 80,000. The Hungarian portion of the total population increased from 34.2% to 45.4% . Hungarians especially marked a large increase (74.7% of the total population) in northern Backa and in cities of Subotica, Novi Sad, Sombor, Kula, etc. According to the 1941 population census, Hungarians marked the absolute majority in Novi Sad (50.4%). The tendency of a strong assimilation process with respect to Germans and Croatians, who expressed themselves as Hungarians in a relatively large number, was noted once again. The Serbian population was only a majority in southeastern Backa (called Sajkaska), where Partisan activities began in 1941. The Hungarian government executed pacification in this part of Backa. From 1941 until 1944, 4,629 Serbs and Jews were killed. 3,310 of these people were killed during the famous raids at the beginning of 1942 in Novi Sad12 It is interesting to note, and quite instructive as well, that the Yugoslavian government emphasises exclusively these crimes. Yet, they have never mentioned genocide against the Hungarian and German populations, executed by the Yugoslavian army during its occupation of Banat, Backa, and Srijem at the end of 1944. It was not until 1991 in Budapest that comprehensive information was issued regarding the bloody events that followed the entrance of National Liberation Army units and the Soviet army into Backa. The genocide that was performed against the Hungarian people has thus been consciously kept silent; until recently, not only the official Yugoslavian authorities, but also by the authorities in communist Hungary. The fact that members of military units whose holy goal included "brotherhood and union," "equality and freedom for people," and "proletarian internationalism" (at least at the time) executed systematic extermination, is appalling. In light of the new events in the former Yugoslavian territory, it is now clear that the genocide performed at the end of the Second World War was performed in the name of "Greater Serbianism" and the idea of so-called "Greater Serbia". According to data from Cseres Tibor (1993), 34,491 innocent Hungarian citizens were killed.13 Among those killed, were 15 priests and monks.

MAP 3

Picture 3. Victims of genocide upon the Hungarian population in 1944 (according from T. Cseres’ data, 1991, composed by A. Bognar ,1993).

Although these numerical references do not include victims from the Banat and Srijem territory, it is important to stress that despite the partial approximate characteristics of the number of victims, it is difficult to grasp the magnitude of these monstrous atrocities. Vladimir Zerjavic’s Yugoslavia’s Population Deficits in the Second World War (issued by the Yugoslavian Victimology Society, Zagreb, 1989) does not use data from the 1941 Hungarian population census. In addition, new sources are still unfamiliar (Cseres Tibor, 1993), which were subsequently issued including the calculated Hungarian casualties of war (approximately 1,000) which are unrealistic and completely unacceptable14 This observation is valid for the calculation of German victims (23,000) and Croatian victims (6,000) in Vojvodina. They are manifold times greater according to some German sources (68,000 Germans, Das Schiksal der Deutschen in Jugoslawien, München, 1984 - V. Zerjavic, 1989).

THE STATUS OF HUNGARIANS FOLLOWING 1945
At the end of 1944, the occupation of Vojvodina by National Liberation Army, Soviet and Bulgarian troops had difficult consequences on the status of Germans and Hungarians in Vojvodina. A significant number of Germans retreated with German troops (270,000)15 of which 68,000 were killed or had disappeared.16 Also, approximately 140,000 Germans were imprisoned in 41 concentration camps (K. Kocsis, 1995).

TABLE 4: THE STARTING POINT AND THE DESTINATION OF THE POPULATION IN THE FORCED RESETTLEMENT IN THE AUTONOMOUS PROVINCE OF VOJVODINA FOR THE PERIOD 1945-48.

The majority of these prisoners were subsequently moved to Germany, but many died due to malnutrition and illness. In the 1948 census, a significant number of Germans declared themselves as Hungarians (40,000), Serbians (5,000), and Croatians (2,000)17 due to legal and political safety. All of this had influenced the fact that Germans almost completely disappeared from the Vojvodina territory, that is Yugoslavia after 1945.

Hungarians also marked a powerful demographic regression (see table 6). There are many reasons for this: the retreat of the Hungarian army caused, numerous administrative employees to leave as well; Hungarian settlers from Bukovina and Moldavia, who had settled during the war, experienced a similar fate; the genocide performed against Hungarians in Backa during the occupation of Vojvodina by National Liberation Army.

Since population censuses were not conducted in Srijem and Banat in 1941, exact the refore are unavailable. The summarized data for 1941 from table 6 are aproximate. For this reason, our demographic analysis will only be focused on the Backa territory.

By comparing the data from 1941 and 1948, we can observe that the number of Hungarians decreased by 51,188 citizens or 14.3%. However, the 25,000 German citizens (a total of 40,000 in Yugoslavia), who pronounced themselves as Hungarians in 1948, are not included in this number.18 This apparently minimized the real demographic losses which in effect amounted to approximately 76,000. This seven year interval had a natural population increase but did not occur during this seven year interval due to war casualties and the fact that approximately 40,000 Hungarians left Backa in 1944 and 1945 (Jelentesek...1988). For this reason, the data regarding genocide against the Hungarian population can be relatively viewed as correct.19

TABLE 5: ETHNIC STRUCTURE OF THE POPULATION OF PART OF VOJVODINA 1910-1991 (BAEKA, BANAT), WHICH TILL 1920 BELONGED TO HUNGARY

The ethnic triad established during the 18th and 19th centuries was destroyed. It ceased to exist because of the German disappearance, a decrease in the number of Hungarians, and extensive colonization of Serbs and Montenegrins (see table 4) from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia20 into previous German and Hungarian settlements. In order for such an extensive colonization to occur as part of the agrarian reform, 389,256 hectares of land owned by Germans was confiscated. The great majority of these properties (84%) was given to Serbian colonists while only 9.9% was given to Hungarians without land (K.Kocsis, 1995).

According to the first Yugoslavian population census of 1948, due to the enormous migratory movement, Serbians comprised 49.97% of 1,633,836 citizens in Vojvodina. Subsequently, in 1953, they had the absolute majority (50.61%). This illustrated that their Greater Serbian dream had finally been actualized and that the previous ethnic structure of Vojvodina was completely altered.

From 1948, a series of factors effected the status of Hungarians. They included the following: government politics towards minorities, the socio-economic development of Vojvodina within Yugoslavia, the assimilation processes, and methods used in certain population census’.

The fact remains that the natural growth of the Hungarian population in Vojvodina has been constantly decreasing since 1948. Moreover, this can be viewed as a general tendency of the demographic development of the Vojvodina population. According to K. Kocsis’ calculations (1995) between 1948 and 1993, including the data from K. Mirnic (1993, in K. Kocsis, 1995), the total natural growth of Hungarians from 1948 until 1993 amounted to 17,191 people or 4%. This was a consequence of a decrease in fertility (1953-19.5%, 1991-11.4%) and an increase in the death rate (1953-11.2%, 1989-18%). This resulted in an older Hungarian population. The index of elderly Hungarians increased from 63.9 in 1961 to 155.2 in 1991(K. Kocsis, 1995). At the same time, the demographic status of Serbs, Montenegrins, and so-called Yugoslavians was significantly favourable. Data regarding the natural growth further attests to this. For example, data from 1989 suggests that the natural growth of Yugoslavs was +11.3%, Montenegrins +4.2%, Serbs -1.1%, Croatians -4.9%, Slovaks - 6.4%, Hungarians -6.6%, and Romanians -8.0%.

TABLE 6: ETHNIC STRUCTURE OF THE POPULATION OF VOJVODINA IN THE PERIOD OF 1910-1991

In order to carry out political "serbianization" in Vojvodina, a series of subjective methods were used to attempt denationalization or even outright assimilation of numerous nationalities. Constant disguised propaganda appeared regarding the existence of certain nationalities and their lack of prospect. For Hungarians, methods of discrediting were used, considering that Hungary was a member-country of the Warsaw Agreement and under Soviet occupation. Special attention was focused on reorganization and so-called "internationalization" of the Hungarian school system. As a result, Hungarian registration in Serbo-Croatian schools increased (1959/60 and 1989/90 from 13.1% to 20 % according to K. Mirnics 1993). To a great extent, an increase in the number of mixed marriages initiated the assimilation process. This is illustrated by the fact that a relative portion of ethnic homogenous marriages is constantly decreasing(1956-82.2%, 1988-73.6% - K. Kocsis 1995). Mixed marriages, combined with the political exaggeration of so-called "Yugoslavianism", unfavourable to the preservation and development of the culture and language of each individual nation, influenced the rapid and constant decrease of the number of Hungarians following 1961. A great deal of demographic losses experienced by Hungarians and other small ethnic groups can be attributed to an increase in the number of so-called "Yugoslavs". This was a category of people who did not declare their national affiliation in censuses from 1961 until 1991. The spreading of the "Yugoslavian" idea was particularly emphasized among younger groups of people who were reproductive and most active working part of the population. In fact, 71.2% of "Yugoslavians" were in 1991 under 40 years of age. (K. Kocsis, 1995) In addition to this, I wish to mention the significant external and internal migration of the active working populace, which serves as an important factor which influenced the demographic regression of Hungarians. According to data from the 1971, 1981, and 1991 censuses, where Hungarians and Croats were the majority (northern Backa), a great portion of the populace emigrated towards Western Europe and other continents because of economic reasons. At the same time, internal migration of the population was constantly aimed toward the city centers for work (Novi Sad, Belgrade, etc.). Here, assimilation processes were most explicit. How else could one explain the long stagnant qualitative development of Hungarians in Novi Sad, Zrenjanin, etc.? This was their rapid demographic regression illustrated by the 1991 population census, carried out in a significanty "greater Serbian" atmosphere. This also explains the unmistakable decrease in the number of Hungarians in the entire Vojvodina territory in 1991.

Today, the greatest portion of Vojvodina Hungarians live in the northern part of Backa.21

Where they comprise the majority of the population (56.5%) according to the 1991 census. Outside this territory, Hungarians were the majority in 20 Banat settlements, in eight southern Backa settlements, and in two settlements in Srijem.

MAP 4

Picture 4.Ethnic map of individual settlements in Vojvodina in 1991 (according to K.
Kocsis,
1995)

Legend: A= absolute or relative majority-1.Serbs, 2.Hungarians, 3. Croats, 4. Slovaks, 5. Romanians, 6. Ruthenians and Ukrainians, 7. Macedonians, 9. Germans, 10. Czechs, 11. Sloavks; a= natioanl border 1995, b= southern Vojvodina border of 1995.

The recent war leading to the breakup of Yugoslavia, significantly influenced the alteration of the ethnic picture in Vojvodina. It had a marked a negative influence on the status of Hungarians and especially Croats in Vojvodina. To avoid recruitment 25 to 30,000 Hungarians, primarily young males, emigrated to Hungary and other parts of the world, This had negative effects on the structure with respect to age, sex, and the reproductive capacity of the demographic body of Hungarians. Since the reproductive capacity of the Hungarian population in Vojvodina has not been favourable, due to aging and decrease in fertility, we can only await catastrophic effects in the further development of the Hungarian nationality. This is expected soon because Vojvodina, as a part of Yugoslavia since 1991, is experiencing a marked economic crisis because of the economic sanctions. It has impoverished a great number of citizens forcing them to leave and altogether decreasing the birthrate.

LITERATURE AND SOURCES

Prof. dr. Zef Mirdita: Albania in the Light of Serbian Foreign Policy


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