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Germanization (Excerpts)
by Matjaz Klemencic

Excerpted from Rodna Gruda, English Section December 1985

The mid-19th century represents a very important turning-point in the development of the Germanization processes in Eastern and Central Europe. This period was also the time when statistical methods were introduced, including the first population censuses on the basis of nationality/ethnic structure. At the same time, this was a period in which, with the development of the capitalistic, social relations among the Slavic peoples, the Slavs became conscious of their existence and consequently became more sensitive to the Germanization processes.

The first population census in which language affiliation of the population was determined in the Slovene ethnic territory was introduced in Styria only in 1830. According to the data of this population census, in the whole land of Styria there were 342,013 Slovenes, or 38.72% of the population were Slovenes. This population census determined that there were only 200 Germans in the Celje District (Styria was then divided into districts; however, in such a way that only the Celje District constituted a wholly Slovene ethnic territory).

With the development of industrial society from the 19th century on the processes of Germanization continued to accelerate at a fast pace. We may follow these processes during this period first of all on the basis of official statistics. The first population >>census<< in which ethnic affiliation was determined in the Hapsburg Monarchy was introduced in 1846 for the western half of the Monarchy, and in 1851 for the eastern half of the Monarchy. Czoering's >>ethnographic statistics<< were in fact not a census in the true meaning of the word, but rather merely a poll in which the mayors of individual municipalities determined the ethnic character of individual settlements. Only after the calculation of the numbers provided by the population censuses of the years 1857 and 1869 did they get the absolute numbers for this population census according to individual administrative units.

The Slovenes and the Germans encountered one another on the Slovene ethnic territory at the bordering Slovene and German ethnic territories in Carinthia and Styria. At that time, in all of Styria they counted 640,332 or 63.84% German population and 362,742 or 36.16% Slovene population; and in Carinthia there were 223,033 or 70% Germans and 95,544 or 30% Slovenes. On the Slovene ethnic territory the Germanization processes expanded tremendously: from the year 1846 to 1910 the portion of Slovene population fell on the Slovene ethnic territory in Styria from approximately 96% in 1846, 85.5% in 1880, 84.6% in 1890 and 87.3% in 1900 to 81.7% in 1910. Furthermore, on the Slovene ethnic territory of Carinthia this portion fell from 95% in 1846, 70% in 1880, 64% in 1890, and 56% in 1900 to 45% in 1910. We may follow the processes in this period in detail also in the eastern areas of the German Reich, as well as in Galicia and Bukovina, where this matter is somewhat more complicated, for Czoering's poll takes into account also Yiddish as a language category, while it was not included in the population censuses according to language of communication from the year 1880 to 1910.

in the Austrian Monarchy the population censuses according to language of communication were, with their system of organization and implementation of individual population censuses, with their use of language of communication as the criteria as well as the results of the population censuses based on language of communication to solve the question of nationality/ethnicity, a means of pressure on the non-German peoples, especially in the ethnically mixed areas in the Austrian half of the Monarchy. The unreality of the results of the population censuses according to language of communication may be seen by a comparison of the detailed results of the population censuses made in each decade at the level of settlements and political municipalities; on the basis of comparison of the results of the individual population censuses containing school statistics on the mother tongue of the schoolchildren; and the data of the school statistics on the knowledge of languages of the schoolchildren; on the basis of the church data on the language structure of the parishes; and on the basis of official data on the ethnic origin of the population in individual regions.

About the populations census of 1900 there was much written in the Lower Styrian German periodical Marburger Zeitung. On November 29, 1900, for instance, the following statement appears in the above-mentioned periodical: >>The Population Census according to Language of Communication is not a population census according to nationality, and therefore the Slovene servants and girls who work for German landlords should be counted in the German language category<<. The Marburger Zeitung points out further that the results of the Population Census according to language of communication within a period of ten years - that is, until the next population census - will be the measure for determining which would be the official language of the administration and the courts. The newspaper warns the Germans of Lower Styria that the Slovenes will attempt to have the Population Census show results which would reveal that the German communities had a mixture of languages, meaning Slovene.

The population censuses in the areas along the ethnic borders (Italian, German, Slovene-German, Czechoslovakian-German, Polish-Ukranian-German) had the character of elections. I have prepared a statistical analysis of the state and develop'ment of ethnicity (nationality) at the level of political municipalities for Slovenian Styria. As is evident from the map, the change in the language composition of the population in Slovene Styria in this period was very interesting. The black shaded areas represent those municipalities in which the portion of the German population grew by more than 30% in a decade. Only in the first decade of the 20th century the portion of Slovene population fell by more than 30 % in seven political municipalities of Slovene Styria. The portion of population with Slovene as the language of communication according to the data supplied by the Population Censuses of 1900 and 1910 in the political municipality of Zenkovci in the Radgona Triangle fell 85% (from 100% to 15%). This drop in the portion of population with Slovene as the language of communication may be noted as a world record in (statistical) alteration in language structure of any territory without the sword. In this decade the Austrian Bureau of Statistics obviously purposely attempted - at least statistically to exterminate the Slovenes in the Radgona Triangle (today on the Austrian side of the triangle, between the Austrian-Hungarian-Yugoslav border).

Excerpted from Rodna Gruda, English Section April 1986

If we compare the official Austrian statistical data of all three of the postwar population censuses with the Nazi census of 1939 and with the data on schoolchildren in the year 1954/55, and attempt to ascertain the changes in the language composition of the population in the three above-mentioned municipalities, if we were not aware of the political background of the censuses, we could conclude that Austrian Carinthia - with its nationality/ethnic composition of the population is a unique demographic phenomenon unparalleled in the world. For we get, according to the logic of these manipulated statistical data on the language structure of the population, the impression that the Slovene ethnic community died-out in this municipality in one decade, only to be re-incarnated in the next decade by a new population census. On the basis of the example of St. Stephan an der Gail we could conclude that the Carinthian Slovenes in 1939 were in the majority, while in the 12-year period up to the first postwar official population census in 1951 they completely vanished, only to be reborn four years later as the children of the Carinthian Slovenes. In the municipality of Egg an der Gail apparently three-quarters of the population was German in 1951; but only three years later in 1954 three-quarters of the children were Slovene. In the municipality of Mieger, where in 1951 the majority were Slovene-speaking, in a period of ten years the so-called "Windisch" almost completely disappeared. They had not even existed in the population census of 1951, but in the census of 1961 constituted the majority, only to die out again in 1971.

The statistical data on the language of communication of the population according to the Carinthian municipalities give the impression in the censuses of 1951 and 1961 that in the provincial municipalities of Austrian Carinthia the number of Germans doubled, in some places even tripled, while the number of Slovenes is everywhere lower, and in some places increased. In none of the population censuses from the 19th century up to the present day in Carinthia has there been any intention to determine the actual number of Slovenes in Carinthia. Only of them, that is the Nazi Census of 1939 had the task of determining the settlement cores of the Slovene population in Carinthia with the aim of forcibly transporting the Slovenes with less difficulty; it also determined other demographic characteristics of the population and thus served only as a determinant of the ethnic structure.