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Geography of the Region

Boundaries: Syrmia, which has also gone by the names Syrmien [German], Srem [Serbo-Croatian], Szerém [Hungarian] and Sirmium [Latin] is part of the Serbian portion of Yugoslavia between the Danube und Sava Rivers, comprising about 7,000 square kilometers. Today, about 2/3 of it belongs to the Vojvodina region of Serbia and 1/3 to Slavonia, which today is part of Croatia. The western border of Syrmia is not entirely fixed, particularly with respect to the assignment of several small communities. This uncertainty goes back to November of 1918 in fact. Therefore one tends to draw the line at the current boundaries of the districts of Wirowititz and Poschegg to the district of Syrmia.

History of the Region

In Antiquity the municipality of Sirmium (today Syrmisch-Mitrowitz) was the capital of the Roman province of Lower Pannonia. This name was later to be applied to the entire surrounding region. It was first settled by Germans during the Carolingian period and again later under the first kings of Hungary, the Arpads. The mountain range known as the Frankengebirge (or Fruska Gora) recalls the Frankish title to this territory.

An Eastern Orthodox Metropolitan had his seat at Sremski Karlovci. After 1557, the Serbian Patriarch at Pec (Ipek) had jurisdiction over this.

After 1526, the region fell to the Ottoman Empire, many of the previous inhabitants fleeing before them.

With the conquests by the Habsburg Empire under Emperor Leopold I, the Turks were expelled in 1687. A peace treaty signed at Sremski Karlovci (Karlowitz) in 1699 confirmed this. The rest of Syrmia, the southeast portion, was added at the Peace of Pozarevac (Passarowitz) in 1718. As the region was now significantly depopulated, the Habsburg authorities encouraged emigration from other parts of their Empire; thus did Syrmia become part of the Danube-Swabian migration with the first German settlers going to Semlin.

Emperor Leopold I first rewarded the Italian Odescalchi with Syrmia; later it came to the Albani. Following the peace treaty of Belgrade in 1739, German craftsmen and merchants settled in Peterwardein (Schwabendörfel, Mayerhof), Karlowitz (Deutsche Gasse), Mitrowitz and Vukovar. In 1745 the district of Syrmia was established with capital at Wukowar; its first governor was Baron Pejacevic (Pejatschewitsch) who in 1746 settled the first Germans on his property at Ruma. In the same year 10 to 30 kilometer-wide strips of formerly military territory along southern Syrmia were integrated into its territory. Previously this area had been directly administered by the Court Chamber (Hofkammer) in Vienna. The remainder belonged to various local nobles. In 1777, Friedrich Wilhelm (von) Taube, servant to the Court Chamber, secretly reported on Syrmia to the effect that due to the Turkish wars the land had become a wilderness and that the first immigrants had fallen victim to epidemics.

Some founding dates (according to: Günter Schödl, Land an der Donau):
1770: Stara Pasova (founded for Protestant Slovaks)
1783: Neu-Slankamen (in the Military Border region, founded by Germans among others)
1787: suburb of Semlin (like Neu-Slankamen)
1790: about 600 Protestant families from southwest Germany, via Ulm, went to Peterwardein
1790-1820: re-establishment of German communities in the Military Border region; the first was:
1791: Neu-Pasua (founded by 62 of the 600 families who had left from Ulm in 1790); Neu Banovci saw the arrival of more Germans and was almost fully German as of 1870.
post 1800: The daughter settlement of Sotin whose inhabitants came from Neudorf, just across the Danube.
1817: Neudorf by Vinkovci (founded for Protestant Germans)
In the course of the 19th century -- in particular in the years 1820 to 1850 -- settlements, particularly Opatovac, Lowas, Jarmina, Berak, Tompojevci, Tovarnik, Ilaca, Svinjarevci, Babska Nova and Orolik were strengthened by the influx of or establishments from daughter settlements in the Batschka. While this last group of settlements was all Roman Catholic, 1859 saw the start of another influx of Evangelical Lutheran settlers, this time into Sidski Banovci, Neu-Jankowzi, Beschka, Bingula, Krcedin and others.

1867 saw the division of the the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy into a western, Austrian and an eastern, Hungarian half, the latter of which included Syrmia. The aftermath saw a strong magyarization effort.

Syrmia remained in the Austrian Empire and then the Kingdom of Hungary component of Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of the First World War. At this time most of Syrmia apart from the extreme eastern portion joined the new nation of Yugoslavia as part of the Treaty of Trianon (June 4, 1920) to become part of the Vojvodina autonomous region of the Serbian republic. Administratively, it was part of the larger eastern section called Danube Banschaft, with a smaller western section belonging to the Save Banschaft. There was a strong slavicization effort, with which the Donauschwaben in Syrmia accommodated themselves well.

Even though the region was not absorbed back into Hungary during the years 1941-44 as other neighboring regions were Syrmia was not spared the cruel fate that most Donauschwaben regions experienced during and following the Second World War. Following it, Syrmia was again part of the Vojvodina within the Serbian part of the Yugoslavian republic.

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Associations and Societies

AKdFF Research Help:

Please note that except where otherwise noted, all the contacts are located in Germany; this should be taken into account when addressing letters.

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Colonies List

The Donauschwaben colonies in Syrmia are listed in Villages in Syrmien

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Books describing the history and genealogy of the entire region.

Books describing the history and genealogy of a specific community within the region.


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Other Internet Resources

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Last update: 23-apr-08 (mf/gj)
Monika (Kleer) Ferrier, Helmut Flacker,and Robert Goetz have contributed to this page.
Created by: Rick Heli.
Please forward any comments and additions to this WWW-page (include the name of this web page as we maintain many) to Rick Heli, email: or to: WebMaster