Germans of Romania
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Germans of Romania

Germans in Romania
Germanii din Romania (2002).png
Map depicting the distribution of ethnic Germans in Romania (according to the 2002 census)
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Mainly Transylvania, Banat, and Bukovina
Mainly German (Hochdeutsch)
Majority: Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism
Minority: Orthodox Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Mainly Germans

The Germans of Romania or Rumäniendeutsche represent one of the most important ethnic minorities of Romania. During the interwar period, the total number of ethnic Germans in this country amounted to as much as c. 800,000 (according to some sources and estimates dating to 1939, just on the verge of World War II),[2][3][4] a figure which has subsequently fallen to c. 36,000 (according to the 2011 census).

Overview and classification of Romanian-Germans

Topographic map of Romania, highlighting the three most important areas of settlement of the Romanian-German community: Transylvania (German: Siebenbürgen), Banat (German: Banat), and Bukovina (German: Buchenland or Bukowina).

The Germans of Romania (or Romanian-Germans) are not a single, unitary, homogeneous group, but rather a series of various regional sub-groups, each with their afferent culture, traditions, dialects, and history. This claim stems from the fact that various German-speaking populations had previously arrived on the territory of contemporary Romania in different waves or stages of settlement, initially starting with the High Middle Ages (see also Ostsiedlung), firstly to southern and northeastern Transylvania (some of them even crossing the outer Carpathians to neighbouring Moldavia and Wallachia), then subsequently during the Modern Age in other Habsburg-ruled lands (such as Bukovina, at the time part of Cisleithania, or the Banat). Subsequently, the Romanian Old Kingdom was also colonized by Germans, firstly in Dobruja and then gradually in Moldavia and Wallachia.

Detailed map depicting the traditional settlement areas of the Romanian-Germans in Transylvania and Banat, two historical regions situated in central, respectively southwestern present-day Romania.

Therefore, given their rather complex geographic background, in order to understand their language, culture, customs, and history, the Germans of Romania must be regarded as the following independent sub-groups:

Contributions to Romanian culture

The Black Church (German: Die Schwarze Kirche, Romanian: Biserica Neagr?) in Bra?ov (German: Kronstadt), a representative landmark of the German community in Romania.

Throughout the passing of time, the German community in Romania has been actively and consistently contributing to the culture of the country. The most noteworthy examples of such contributions are visible in the following aspects:

Royal House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in Romania

In the time of Romania's transition from a middle-sized principality to a larger kingdom, members of the German House of Hohenzollern (hailing from the Swabian Principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, part contemporary Baden-Württemberg) reigned initially over the Danubian United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia and then, eventually, also over the unified Kingdom of Romania both during the 19th and 20th centuries. Consequently, the ruling Romanian monarchs who were part of this dynastic branch were the following ones:

  Denotes Regent
King Reign Claim
Portrait Name
Reign start Reign end Duration
1 Carol I of Romania king.jpg Carol I
15 March, 1881 10 October, 1914 33 years, 209 days Ruled beforehand as Domnitor (i.e. 'Prince') (1866-1881)
2 King Ferdinand of Romania.jpg Ferdinand I
10 October, 1914 20 July, 1927 12 years, 283 days Nephew of Carol I
3 Michael I of Romania (1927).jpg Michael I
20 July, 1927 8 June, 1930
2 years, 323 days Grandson of Ferdinand I
-- 1903Nicholas-09.jpg Prince Nicholas
20 July, 1927 8 June, 1930
2 years, 323 days Son of Ferdinand I
4 Carol II, King of Romania, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.jpg Carol II
8 June, 1930 6 September, 1940
10 years, 90 days Son of Ferdinand I
(3) Mihai I.jpg Michael I
6 September, 1940 30 December, 1947
7 years, 115 days Son of Carol II

Pretenders to the throne of Romania (after 1947, when King Michael I was forced to abdicate):

Portrait Pretender Pretending from Pretending until
1 King Michael I of Romania by Emanuel Stoica.jpg Michael I 30 December, 1947 1 March, 2016
2 Princess Margarita of Romania.JPG Crown Princess Margareta 1 March, 2016 present

Recent history (20th century onwards)

The Small Square (German: Der kleine Ring, Romanian: Pia?a Mic?) in Sibiu (German: Hermannstadt)

Between the two World Wars, namely in 1925, c. 20,000 Swabians from Timi? County had to be relocated to Arad County in order to create an ethnic balance in the respective administrative unit.[20]

Large numbers of Romanian-Germans were deported to the Soviet Union as forced labour after World War II, and later in the 1950s the B?r?gan deportations forcibly relocated many from near the Yugoslav border to the B?r?gan Plain. Survivors of both groups generally returned, but had often lost their properties in the process.[21]

Furthermore, during the 1970s and 1980s, tens of thousands of Romanian-Germans were 'bought back' by the West German government under a program to reunite families - and following the collapse of Nicolae Ceau?escu's regime in December 1989, around 200,000 Germans left their homes in Romania.[22]

Although the German minority in Romania has dwindled in numbers to a considerable extent since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the few but well organised Romanian-Germans who decided to remain in the country after the 1989 revolution are respected and regarded by many of their fellow ethnic Romanian countrymen as a hard-working, thorough, and practical community which contributed tremendously to the local culture and history of, most notably, Transylvania, Banat, and Bukovina, where the largest German-speaking groups once lived alongside the Romanian ethnic majority.[23]

Furthermore, the bilateral political and cultural relationships between post-1989 Romania and the unified Federal Republic of Germany have seen a continuous positive evolution since the signing of a friendship treaty between the two countries in 1992.[24] Additionally, on the occasion of the election of Frank-Walter Steinmeier as President of Germany in 2017, current Romanian president Klaus Johannis stated, among others, that: "[...] Last but not least, there is a profound friendship bounding the Romanians and the Germans, thanks mainly to the centuries-long cohabitation between the Romanians, Saxons, and Swabians in Transylvania, Banat, and Bukovina."[25]


Current population by settlement

The data displayed in the table below highlights notable settlements (of at least 1%) of the German minority in Romania according to the 2011 Romanian census. Note that some particular figures might represent a rough estimate.

Brebu Nou (German: Weidenthal), Banat
Cârlibaba (German: Mariensee or Ludwigsdorf), Bukovina
Biertan (German: Birthälm), Transylvania
H?rman (German: Honigberg), Transylvania
Cisn?die (German: Heltau), Transylvania
Media? (German: Mediasch), Transylvania
Sighi?oara (German: Schässburg), Transylvania
Agnita (German: Agnetheln), Transylvania
German minory population by settlement (Source: 2011 Romanian census)
Romanian name German name Percent[26] County
Brebu Nou Weidenthal 30.2 Cara?-Severin
Petre?ti Petrifeld 27.8 Satu Mare
Urziceni Schinal 23.9 Satu Mare
C?min Kalmandi 22.5 Satu Mare
Beltiug Bildegg 11.4 Satu Mare
Tiream Terem 10.9 Satu Mare
Laslea Grosslasseln 7.5 Sibiu
Anina Steierdorf 5.6 Cara?-Severin
A?el Hatzeldorf 5.3 Sibiu
Cârlibaba Mariensee/Ludwigsdorf 5.1 Suceava
Saschiz Keisd 5.0 Mure?
Biertan Birthälm 4.6 Sibiu
Ardud Erdeed 4.5 Satu Mare
Vi?eu de Sus Oberwischau 4.0 Maramure?
Deta Detta 4.0 Timi?
Tomnatic Triebswetter 3.9 Timi?
Semlac Semlak 3.6 Arad
Peregu Mare Deutschpereg 3.5 Arad
Sântana Sanktanna 2.9 Arad
Jimbolia Hatzfeld 2.9 Timi?
Jibert Seiburg 2.8 Bra?ov
M?ieru? Nussbach 2.6 Bra?ov
C?pleni Kaplau 2.4 Satu Mare
Lovrin Lowrin 2.3 Timi?
Carei Grosskarol 2.3 Satu Mare
Par?a Paratz 2.1 Timi?
Buzia? Busiasch 2.1 Timi?
Periam Perjamosch 2.1 Timi?
Sânnicolau Mare Grosssanktnikolaus 2.1 Timi?
Pâncota Pankota 2.1 Arad
Cristian Neustadt 1.9 Bra?ov
Lenauheim Schadat 1.9 Timi?
Lugoj Logosch 1.9 Timi?
Miercurea Sibiului Reussmarkt 1.8 Sibiu
Rupea Reps 1.7 Bra?ov
Sânpetru Petersberg 1.7 Bra?ov
Ungra Galt 1.7 Bra?ov
Re?i?a Reschitz 1.7 Cara?-Severin
Ciacova Tschakowa 1.6 Timi?
Cisn?die Heltau 1.5 Sibiu
Media? Mediasch 1.5 Sibiu
Mo?na Meschen 1.5 Sibiu
Sighi?oara Schässburg 1.5 Mure?
O?elu Ro?u Ferdinandsberg 1.4 Cara?-Severin
Timi?oara Temeschburg/Temeswar 1.4 Timi?
Ni?chidorf Nitzkydorf 1.4 Timi?
H?lchiu Heldsdorf 1.4 Sibiu
Merghindeal Mergeln 1.3 Sibiu
Beba Veche Altbeba 1.3 Timi?
Iacobeni Jakobsdorf 1.3 Sibiu
Lipova Lippa 1.3 Arad County
Homorod Hamruden 1.2 Bra?ov
H?rman Honigberg 1.2 Bra?ov
Matei Mathesdorf 1.2 Bistri?a-N?s?ud
Sebe? Mühlbach 1.1 Alba
Becicherecu Mic Kleinbetschkerek 1.1 Timi?
Caransebe? Karansebesch 1.1 Cara?-Severin
Bod Brenndorf 1.1 Bra?ov
Brateiu Pretai 1.0 Bra?ov
Boc?a Neuwerk 1.0 Cara?-Severin
Satu Mare Sathmar 1.0 Satu Mare
Sibiu Hermannstadt 1.0 Sibiu
M?n?stirea Humorului Humora Kloster 1.0 Suceava
Agnita Agnetheln 1.0 Sibiu
Hoghilag Halvelagen 1.0 Sibiu
Dumbr?veni Elisabethstadt 1.0 Sibiu
?eica Mare Marktschelken 1.0 Sibiu
Codlea Zeiden 1.0 Bra?ov
G?taia Gattaja 1.0 Timi?
M?ureni Moritzfeld 1.0 Cara?-Severin

Current population by county

Below is represented the notable German minority population (of at least 1%) for some counties, according to the 2011 census.

County Percent[26]
Satu Mare county CoA.png Satu Mare 1.5%
Timis county coat of arms.png Timi? 1.3%
Actual Caras-Severin county CoA.png Cara?-Severin 1.1%
Sibiu county coat of arms.png Sibiu 1.1%

Administration, official representation, and politics

The Lutsch house, the seat of the FDGR/DFDR in Sibiu (German: Hermannstadt).
The Schuller house, the seat of the FDGR/DFDR in Media? (German: Mediasch).

In the wake of World War I, the German minority in unified Romania had been represented by a number of political parties which gradually gained parliamentary presence during the early to mid-early 20th century, more specifically the Group of Transylvanian Saxons, the German Party (which briefly formed an alliance known as the Hungarian German Bloc with the Magyar Party), and the German People's Party (the latter two having a national socialist political orientation after 1930). In stark contrast to the political mutation of both aforementioned parties, the Anti-Fascist Committee of German Workers in Romania was formed shortly thereafter as a democratic counterpart. After the end of World War II, all of the political parties representing the German minority in Romania were either disbanded or ceased to exist.

Subsequently, just after the Romanian Revolution, the entire German-speaking community in post-1989 Romania has been represented at official level by the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania (German: Demokratisches Forum der Deutschen in Rumänien, Romanian: Forumul Democrat al Germanilor din România). The forum is therefore a political platform which has a centrist ideology aiming to support the rights of the German minority in Romania.

Since 1989, the DFDR/FDGR has competed both in local and legislative elections, cooperating in the process with two historical parties of the Romanian politics, namely the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Christian Democratic National Peasants' Party (PN?CD), most notably at local administrative level, in cities such as Sibiu (German: Hermannstadt), Timi?oara (German: Temeschburg), or Baia Mare (German: Frauenbach). The DFDR/FDGR also adheres to a pro-monarchic stance regarding the matter of monarchy restoration in Romania.

Until 1 January, 2007 (i.e. the date of accession of Romania to the European Union), the DFDR/FDGR was also an observing member of the European Parliament, briefly affiliated with the European People's Party (German: Europäische Volkspartei), between January and November of the same year.


Samuel von Brukenthal National College in Sibiu (German: Hermannstadt)

In Bucharest there are two German-language schools, namely Deutsche Schule Bukarest and Deutsches Goethe-Kolleg Bukarest. The Deutsche Schule Bukarest serves Kinderkrippe, Kindergarten, Grundschule, and Gymnasium (high school).[27]

In Timi?oara, the Nikolaus Lenau High School was founded during the late 19th century. It was named this way in reference to Nikolaus Lenau, a Banat Swabian Romanticist poet. Nowadays, the Nikolaus Lenau High School is considered the most important of its kind from Banat.[28]

In Sibiu, the Samuel von Brukenthal National College is the oldest German-language school from Romania (recorded as early as the 14th century), being also classified as a historical monument. It was subsequently renamed this way in reference to baron Samuel von Brukenthal, a Transylvanian Saxon aristocrat. Additionally, there is one Goethe Institut cultural centre based in Bucharest as well as five Deutsche Kultzertrum based in Ia?i, Bra?ov, Cluj-Napoca, Timi?oara, Sibiu.[29]


The Allgemeine Deutsche Zeitung für Rumänien (ADZ) is the daily German-language newspaper in contemporary Romania. To this day, it is the only German-language newspaper published in Eastern Europe.[30] Regional German-language publications also include the Neue Banater Zeitung in Banat and the Hermannstädter Zeitung for the city of Sibiu (German: Hermannstadt). Other historical German-language newspapers include: Arbeiter-Zeitung and Banater Arbeiter-Presse in Banat, Vorwärts in Bukovina, and Neuer Weg in Bucharest.


See also


  1. ^ Official Romanian census from 2011
  2. ^ Dr. Gerhard Reichning, Die deutschen Vertriebenen in Zahlen, Teil 1, Bonn 1995, Page 17
  3. ^ Die deutschen Vertreibungsverluste. Bevölkerungsbilanzen für die deutschen Vertreibungsgebiete 1939/50. Herausgeber: Statistisches Bundesamt - Wiesbaden. - Stuttgart: Kohlhammer Verlag, 1958 Page 46
  4. ^ "Romania's ethnic Germans get their day in the spotlight". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ Monica Barcan, Adalbert Millitz, The German Nationality in Romania (1978), page 42: "The Satu Mare Swabians are true Swabians, their place of origin being Württemberg, in the land of Baden-Württemberg. They were colonized between 1712 and 1815. Their most important settlements are Satu Mare (German: Sathmar) and Petre?ti (German: Petrifeld) in northwestern Romania."
  6. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania (3 May 2013). "The 16th session of the Romanian-German Joint Governmental Commission on the problems of German ethnics in Romania". Press release. Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ Thomas Nägler. "The Germans in Romania". Institul Cultural Român (ICR). Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ Oskar Hadbawnik, Die Zipser in der Bukowina (1968) discusses the Zipserfest held in Jakobeny in 1936 to commemorate 150 years since the Zipsers migrated to Jakobeny in 1786.
  9. ^ ?. ?. ?, . ? ?, ? ?. "", 81'282.4:811.112.2(477): Lexikalische Besonderheiten Deutscher Dialekte in Galizien- und der Bukowina: "Die Siedler in den ursprünglichen Bergwerksgemeinden im Südwesten der Bukowina sprachen Zipserisch und zwar Gründlerisch, wie es in der Unterzips gesprochen wurde. Dabei wurde [v] im Anlaut wie [b] ausgesprochen: Werke - berka, weh - be, Schwester - schbesta. Anlautendes [b] wurde zu [p]: Brot - prot, Brücke - prik."
  10. ^ Forumul Democrat al Germanilor din Constan?a (2003). "On the Germans of Dobrogea". Institutul Cultural Român. Retrieved 2018.
  11. ^ Identity and multiculturalism in the Romanian Banat, Remus Cre?an, David Turnock and Jaco Woudstra, p. 17-26
  12. ^ Perjamosch, Banat/List of Families Connected to Hubert Family
  13. ^ Association pour la promotion de l'Alsace en Roumanie: L'étonnante histoire des alsaciens et lorrains du Banat. (in French)
  14. ^ The French in Banat: Story on Tomnatic/Triebswetter
  15. ^ Smaranda Vultur. "De l'Ouest à l'Est et de l'Est à l'Ouest: les avatars identitaires des Français du Banat". (in French). Retrieved 2020.
  16. ^ Dimitrie Macrea, "Originea ?i structura limbii române", Probleme de lingvistic? român? (Bucharest: Editura ?tiin?ific?, 1961), 7-45: p. 32.
  17. ^ Academia Român?, Dic?ionarul limbii române moderne, ed. Dimitrie Macrea (Bucharest: Editura Academiei, 1958).
  18. ^ Gabriela Pan? Dindelegan, ed., The Grammar of Romanian, Oxford University Press, 2013, p. 3, ISBN 978-0-19-964492-6
  19. ^ Hans Dama, "Lexikale Einflüsse im Rumänischen aus dem österreichischen Deutsch" ("Lexical influences of 'Austrian'-German on the Romanian Language") Archived 2011-08-18 at the Wayback Machine (in German)
  20. ^ "Istoria Transilvaniei - Istoria pân? la 1914". România Turistic? (in Romanian). Retrieved 2020.
  21. ^ Chuck Sudetic (28 December 1990). "Ethnic Germans in Romania Dwindle". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020.
  22. ^ Abraham, Florin (25 September 2017). Romania since the Second World War: A Political, Social and Economic History.
  23. ^ Ziarul Româ | Klaus Iohannis: «Germanii din România sunt aprecia?i ?i respecta?i de to?i românii» (in Romanian)
  24. ^ Ministerul Afacerilor Externe - 25 de ani de la semnarea tratatului de prietenie România-Germania (in Romanian)
  25. ^ | Mesajul lui Iohannis pentru pre?edintele ales al Germaniei (in Romanian)
  26. ^ a b Denotes percent (%) of total population
  27. ^ "Entstehung Archived 2015-02-15 at the Wayback Machine." Deutsche Schule Bukarest. Retrieved on 20 February 2015.
  28. ^ (in German) Geschichte Temeswars Schulwesen
  29. ^ Locations - Goethe-Institut (in English)
  30. ^ Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (in German)
  31. ^ - Kerwei

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