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                   The migration of Czechs in Banat took place mainly between 1823-'28. This was actually an internal colonization [ie "migratio colonorum"] within the same state [during that period of time Bohemia and Banat were part of the habsburgic state] done, in the first stage, by a private person.
The reasons for coming and settling down in this region were of economic and social nature. It was an unpropitious period in Bohemia: persistence of serfdom among the rural population; the taxes were high due the bankruptcy of the Habsburgic state in 1811 as a result of Napoleon's continuous and exhausting wars; and the military services lasted 6-7 years.
The new colonists / each family were promised to have great advantages and facilities:
   -10 "chains" [ie 10 Joch] of land [~4.5 ha]
   -tax exemption
   -military service exemption.
   -each family member will receive 6 Austrian Forints per month.
   -the priest will have a yearly salary of 400 Austrian Forints.
These attractive promises brought many Czechs from different localities to the Banat Mountains [in a region named also Banatul Montan / Banater Bergland / Bánsági Hegyvidék] which was an unpopulated region near the Danube River, in the south-western corner of today Romania. The settlers travelled from Vienna to Banat, at Moldova Noua [ie Neumoldowa / Ujmoldova], for whole weeks and they made the trip on the Danube River with the raft. Some of them died on the way and others have been born.
                    The first wave of colonists was brought by a hungarian intermediary named Janos Magyarly, who was a contractor in Oraviţa [ie Orawitz / Oravicabánya] and tenant of the large forests in the Locva Mountains, above the Danube River. In search for cheap laborers to clear the large pristine forests of the Banat, Magyarly sent recruiting agents to Bohemia and Moravia. Magyarly manages to attract in this rarely populated region some hundreds of colonists from Bohemia. He needed these people for clearing forests, for preparing and transporting cheap timber and for preparing wood coal. Therefore, in 1823 he founded the Sfânta Elisabeta [Saint Elisabeth] village and one year later, the Sfânta Elena [Saint Helena] village. It seams that the name he used for these two villages are the names of his daughters. Magyarly made lots of promises to the colonists but he never kept them. The majority of the emigrants were poor people. Upon their arrival, after a two-month journey, they discovered that their homeland was a rocky terrain high in the mountains completely untouched by civilization, and almost unfavourable to human habitation. Stranded in the hills, the labourers and their families built log cabins and set to work. They have been cheated, because instead of land they received forests, out of which they were supposed to make fields. Men used to cut trees and women uprooted logs. Several years later when the forests had been cleared, Magyarly disappeared and was never heard from again. Having overcome the extremely difficult beginnings by this time, the immigrants were settled and decided to stay on in these villages, many of which exist today. After their request, in 1826, inhabitants of both villages joined the body of the military frontier guards of the 13th Military District located at Caransebes. The local Austrian military bodies [mainly Colonel Floria von Machio, the commander of the local regiment] initiated the second wave of Czech colonists, because the authorities needed new frontier guards and wanted to colonize the entire region.
                    The second wave of Czechs colonization was limited to the so-called "Military Border(s) of Banat ", toward which the majority of settlers were going. But, within this territory, there were different laws and other juridical standards as in the monarchic regions. The new colonists were promised to have great advantages and facilities. So, between 1827-'28 Czechs have colonized the almost unpopulated territories in the Almajului Mountains. They settled down in the following localities: Bigăr, Eibental, Frauenwiese [ie Poiana Muierii], Ravensca, Şumiţa, etc. Once arrived there, they were forbidden to return home. However, in the first year, 70 persons from Gârnic fled crossing the Danube to a manufacturer of czech origin. At the beginning, the plane was to colonize only Gârnic [with a field of 500000 ha and 400000 ha for grassland]. Gârnic, today the largest locality with Czech inhabitants from Romania, was located at approximately 15 km northeast of Sfanta Elena.
Around the middle of the XIX century two of these villages with Czech population disappeared, namely Sfânta Elisabeta / Svatá Alžběta [due lack of water] and Frauenwiese [Frauvízn, Poiana Muierii; disappeared around 1860]. In each of the other six villages, the Czech population represents at least 90% of the total number of inhabitants. Together they number approximately 2400 persons. But even this second wave of colonisation was a difficult one. For example, the first shelters were underground, where due to humidity their entire fortune got musty and only after 24 years of struggle, in 1850, Colonel Floria von Machio [the commander of the local regiment] succeeded to receive from the Bishop of Hradec Kralove, a priest for this region. His name was Frantisek Unzeitig and he used to be chaplain in Lichve. Machio's requests were the following:
   -a priest, who really cares about the souls of his parishioners and their welfare [to lead them]
   -to have a good influence upon them
   -to love the nature
   -without any personal interests
   -to be trustful
   -to know, besides German, the Czech language perfectly
   -to encourage the agricultural work
   -to turn the thoughts of those intending to return in the homeland
   -to lead them to welfare.
Father Frantisek Unzeitig was deceived as well, because he was told that the church and parish are ready. In reality they were ready only on paper. Despite of this, he stayed and was buried in Banat.
                    In 1861 Banat becomes subordinated again to the Kingdom of Hungary [starting 1868 inside the imperial dualism of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy], excepting the military border [where the Czech villages are also], which was still subordinated directly, up to 1873, to the Imperial authorities from Vienna. Therefore, the hungarian government organized the third Czech colonization wave, this time in already existing localities with mixed populations. Thus, in 1862 Czechs settled down in Clopodia, a village in Caras Severin County [together with romanians, germans, hungarians and serbs]. In 1863 they settled down in Peregul Mare in Arad County [together with carpathian russians and serbs] and between 1863-1865 in Scăiuş [which until than was inhabited only by romanians. Simultaneously with the Czechs also came here Greek Catholics from eastern Slovakia]. Presently, there are not more than 150 czech inhabitants in all these three localities together.
                    Besides these three waves of Czech colonization on Romania's present territory, individuals came during the XIX century and settled down in big cities like Bucharest, Ploiesti, Craiova, Resita, Timisoara, Arad, Cluj, Sibiu, Brasov, Petrosani, Medias, Lugoj, Galati, Oradea, etc. The majority of them were handicraftsmen [especially shoemakers, tailors, weavers], musicians, soldiers, miners, glassmakers, qualified workers and foremen, financial and industrial clerks, tenants, merchants, manufacturers, etc. Excepting some of the Bucharest inhabitants [during the 1992 census a number of 119 persons declared themselves of Czech nationality], the descendants of these Czech colonists have already been assimilated.
                    During the repatriation, between 1947-'49, approximately one third of the Czech population from Romania returned in their ancestors' homeland [original villages around Plzen / Pilsen and Domazlice region], but also aiming to populate [together with Czechs from other lands] the border territories from where the German population was expelled. The population from Banat alone represented approximately 500 persons of Czech nationality or origin.
                    After 1990 some other hundreds of Romanian Czechs left Romania for returning to the Czech Republic. According to unofficial estimates up to now they number 700-900 persons. According to the last official census, which took place in 1992, there are still 5800 Czechs in Romania. Approximately half of these persons originate from the villages colonized in the first three colonization waves. Presently, Czechs still represent minority communities in Romania in several cities, where they moved during the so-called secondary colonization from the localities mentioned above. In Caras-Severin County these localities are: Moldova-Noua, Zlatita, Resita, Berzasca, Lipova, Cozla, Bozovici [18 families], Prilipeti, Mercina, Anina-Steierdorf, Caransebes, Jupa, Baile Herculane etc. In Mehedinti County these localities are: Orsova, Turnu Severin and Iesalnita. Among the large cities in which Czechs are living we have to mention: Timisoara, Bucharest, Arad, Resita, and others.

                    Generally, it can be noted that the majority of Czechs living in south Banat kept their original dialects from the Plzen and Domazlice regions, their old customs, traditions and ceremonies unspoiled up to the present and even better than in their own homeland. Because of their isolation and the simplicity of their lives, they give us a glimpse of what life must have been like for our great-great grandparents [they are at the six's generation!]. We still have a number of six pure Czech and Roman Catholic villages in Banat. The exception is the village of Saint Helena, made up of Roman Catholics and Baptists [former Lutherans]. Unfortunately, presently the population is these villages become smaller and smaller.

                    Gârnic [ie Gernik / Weizenried / Szörénybúzás] (at 705 m over the sea level)
The church was built in 1857 [the parish was raised in 1850] and dedicated to Saint Joan Nepomuk, having its festival on the day of monk Saint Havel [October 16]. There were 469 czech inhabitants in 1830, 1389 in 1928, 1090 in 1930, 1400 in 1937, 733 in 1966, 868 in 1992, 620 in 2001 and 525 in 2002.
                    Sfânta Elena [ie Svatá Helena / Sankt Helena / Dunaszentilona]
The local church is dedicated to Saint Helena and its festival is on 28 September (Saint Vaclav). The church was built in 1879. There were 338 czech inhabitants in 1830, 960 in 1928, 935 in 1930, 510 in 1948, 605 in 1966, 790 in 1991, 729 in 1922, 360 in 2002.
                    Eibenthall [ie Tiszafa] (at 600 m altitude; administratively belongs to Dubova)
The church was built in 1912, replacing the one built in 1847 [when the parish was raised also], which was made of wood. Its festival is on Saint Havel's day, celebrated on October 16 and it is dedicated to Saint Joan Nepomuk. Presently, the village has 480 parishioners. The czech's number fluctuated in time: 356 in 1830, 837 in 1928, 582 in 1930, 591 in 1935, 700 in 1937, 513 in 1948, 441 in 1966, and 338 in 1991. The number of the parishioners in 2001 was 481 [all Czech]. The village is known also as Eibentál, Jeventál or Ajbentál.
                    Bigăr [ie Biger / Schnellersruhe / Bigér] (at 550 m altitude; administratively belongs to Berzeasca)
The Holy Trinity church was built in 1876. It is dedicated to Saint Juda and the festival is celebrated on Saint Havel's day. There were 266 czech inhabitants in 1830, 453 in 1928, 610 in 1937, 464 in 1948, 273 in 1991 and presently there are 254 parishioners. The german name of the village could be linked with the name of the General Andreas Schnelle, which, according to the legend, spend a night in the village.
                    Ravenska [ie Rovensko / Rawenska / Almásróna] (at 866 m over the sea level)
The church celebrates its festival on Saint Martin's day [November 11] and it was built in 1922. There were 237 czech inhabitants in 1830, 350 in 1928, 425 in 1937, 401 in 1948, 223 in 1991, 150 in 2001 and 130 in 2001.
                    Şumiţa [ie Šumice / Schumitza / Cseherdös] (administratively belongs to Lăpuşnicul Mic)
The church built in 1888 is dedicated to Saint Anna and the festival is celebrated on Saint Havel's day. There were 123 czech inhabitants in 1830, 510 in 1928, 425 in 1937, 460 in 1948, 384 in 1966, 206 in 1991, 148 in 2000 and presently [in 2002] the number decreased to 130 parishioners.

Note: the first name of each village is the official / Romanian name followed by the Czech / German / Hungarian names.
            Another comment on the  "Czechs in the Romanian Banat"

Web Sites for the Czech villages in Banat [lot of interesting pictures!]:
    http://www.journale.com [and search in the Archive section]
    http://www.divers.ro/minoritati/cehislovaci.htm [in romanian language]
    "The Czech ethnic minority in Romania"