Germans in Hungary, 1950-1990

Principal investigator: Ágnes Tóth

Period: 2015-2022

Grant, funding agency: NRDIO 116209

Research questions and objectives:

The basic aim of the research is to monograph the history of the German minority in Hungary between 1950–1990. It examines the social integration (or assimilation) of the German nationality in the context of the government's minority policy. Therefore, it is necessary to explore and periodize the characteristics and changes of this minority policy.

Research history:

In recent decades, several studies and publications have been published on the post-World War II economic and social situation of national minorities in Hungary, the minority policy of the Communist Party and the government. The connections between the forced migration processes between 1945 and 1948/1950 have been revealed, including the role of the Slovak–Hungarian population exchange, the retaliation against the German minority, the circumstances of their deportation measures (confiscation of property, internment, restriction of their civil rights), and its role in the new power structure. Until now, less attention has been paid to the changes of the minority policy in Hungary between 1950–1989, its role in the assimilation of each nationality group, and to the contradictions between the possibilities created by legal regulation and their practical implementation. Previous studies and source publications mainly concerned Hungary's minority policy and the situation of each nationality group locally, especially in terms of education and cultural self-organization.

Research methods:

Methodologically, monographic processing and a nuanced approach to the topic require the collision and analysis of various sources (including archival documents created at different levels of public administration, social statistics of the period, a national daily newspaper and the German national press) as well as consistent validation.

Research results in 2019:

I successfully defended the manuscript “Germans in Hungary 1950-1970” on April 30, 2019, as an academic doctoral dissertation. The preparation for publishing the manuscript has begun.

I continued the exploratory work in the National Archives of Hungary for the period 1970–1990 with the following documents: minutes of the Council of Ministers, documents of the Prime Minister's Office, documents of the Legislative Department of the Ministry of Justice, documents of the Ministry of Education, documents of the Patriotic People's Front,  and documents of the National Association of Germans in Hungary.

In accordance with the previous practice, I made a cadastre of the explored and photographed documents.

During 2019, the content exploration and partial analysis of the Neue Zeitung for the period 1970 and 1990 was completed. The editorial principles of the weekly newspaper of the German community and the content and tone of the articles in this period not only reflect the agenda of minority politics, but also allow an insight into the internal cohesion and operation of the community.

From July 1 to August 3, 2019, I carried out research at the Politisches Archiv in Berlin, where I reviewed the files of the Akten des Ministeriums für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten und Auslandvertretungen der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik (1949–1990), which are relevant to my topic. The focus of the content of the documents is the relations between the German Democratic Republic and Hungary. Within this, a significant part of the document refers to bilateral political and economic relations, to the position of the two countries on international issues: armaments, the German issue, and economic change. In addition, the opportunities for cultural cooperation have been relatively emphasized in bilateral relations. It was interesting to observe how the two German states competed for the status of German motherland in relation to the German minority living in Hungary. A significant part of the Germans in Hungary was resettled in the territory of the later West Germany, but there was no diplomatic relationship between the two countries until the early 1970s, and the countries' affiliation to opposing political camps made it difficult to build a relationship. Nevertheless, from the very beginning, West Germany claimed the motherland status of the Germans in Hungary. This was jealously watched and neglected by the GDR leadership, and it encouraged East Germany to take into account the interests of the German community in Hungary in the field of culture in the form of teacher trainings and sending lecturers, books, and cultural groups, even though the minority issue in the GDR, unlike in Hungary, did not play a role.

Previous research results:

Presentation of research results at a conference:

  • Change of regime and society in the Carpathian Basin. The effects of changes in sovereign power on society (16th–20th centuries). Conference organized by the Hungarian Historical Society in Tengelic on August 14–16, 2019. Title of paper: Germans in Hungary 1944–1953.
  • April 26, 2018, Ulm. Organizer: Donauschwäbische Zentralmuseum.
  • September 20, 2017, Budapest. Organizer: Neue Zeitung Foundation. Conference title: 50 years of the Neue Zeitung. Paper title: Die deutschsprachigen Medien - Freies Leben, Neue Zeitung (1950-1970)
  • October 13, 2017, Mezőberény. Organizer: Department of German Foundations, University of Pécs, National German Self-Government, National Slovak Self-Government. Conference title: Protestant communities in Southeast Hungary. Paper title: The performance of the Lutheran Church for the benefit of non-Hungarian-speaking believers during the period of deportation.
  • December 5, 2017, Budapest. Organizer: Institute for Minority Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Conference Title: The Politics of Remembrance. Paper title: Memorials to the abduction and deportation of the Germans in Hungary (1952–2015).
  • October 6–8, 2016, Innsbruck. Organizer: Komission für Geschichte und Kultur der Deutschen in Südosteuropa e.V. Paper title: Korrekturen der stalinistischen Nationalitätenpolitik in Ungarn? (1950–1965).
  • November 2, 2016, Boatman. Organizer: German Minority of Hajós. Paper title: Integration in theory - discrimination in practice. Germans in Hungary 1948–1956.
  • November 11, 2016, Pécs. Organizer: Koch Valéria Schulzentrum. Paper title: Integration im Principle - Discrimination in Der Practice. Die Deutschen in Ungarn 1948–1956.
  • March 31, 2017, Tata. Organizer: Kuny Domokos Museum. Paper title: Minority Policy in Hungary 1950–1970.

Publications, databases:


Ágnes Tóth: Gesichtspunkte der Überwachung und überwachte Personen in einer multinationalen Gemeinde. Waschkut/Vaskút 1950-1957. In. Aus den Giftschränken des Kommunismus. methodische Fragen zum Umgang mit Überwachungsakten in Zentral- und Südosteuropa (Hgg. Florian Kührer-Wielach, Michaela Nowotnick). Regensburg, Verlag Friedrich Pustet. 271-294.

Dokumentumok a magyarországi németek történetéhez 1944-1953./ Quellen zur Geschichte der Deutschen in Ungarn 1944-1953. A dokumentumokat válogatta és a bevezető tanulmányt írta: Tóth Ágnes. Budapest, Argumentum, 2018.

Márkus Beáta – Tóth Ágnes: A németek elhurcolásának és kitelepítésének magyarországi emlékhelyei (1952-2015). In: Ünnep és felejtés. Emlékezet, identitás, politika. Szerk.: Filep Tamás Gusztáv. Budapest, Pesti Kalligram, 2018. 142-171.

Ágnes Tóth: Zwangsmigration und Machtumstrukturierung in Ungarn 1944-1948. In: Krieg und Zwangsmigration in Südosteuropa 1940-1950. Pläne, Umsetzung, Folgen. Hg. Mathias Beer. Stuttgart, Franz Steiner Verlag, 2019. 243-261.


Tóth Ágnes: A német-magyar államközi kapcsolatok és a Német Szövetség 1950-1970). In: Globális vetületek. Ünnepi kötet Fischer Ferenc 65. születésnapjára. Szerk.: Vitári Zsolt. PTE BTK Történettudományi Intézet – Fakultás Kiadó. Pécs-Budapest, 2018. 315-324.

Tóth Ágnes: Közösségi igények és politikai elvárások között. A Német Szövetség tevékenysége (1955-1970). Századok, 152.évf. (2018). 4. szám. 841-868

Tóth Ágnes recenzió: Gerhard Seewann: A magyarországi németek története. Budapest, Argumentum Kiadó. 2015. Hungarian Historical Review.Volum 7. (2018) Number 1. 170-174.


Tóth Ágnes: A nemzetiségpolitika újragondolása (1965-1970). In: Kisebbségkutatás, 2017. 26. évf. 1. szám. 7-31.

Tóth Ágnes: A nemzetiségi iskolák szakfelügyelete. In: Regio, 2017. (25. évf.) 1. szám. 72-108.


Tóth Ágnes: Integráció elméletben – diszkrimináció gyakorlatban. Németek Magyarországon 1948-1956. In: Pro Minoritate, 2016. nyár. 47-55.

Ágnes Tóth: Möglichkeiten der Familienzusammenführung der in die DDR vertriebenen deutschen Familien aus Ungarn (1948-1950). In: Uta Bretschneider, Sönke Friedrich, Ira Spieker (Hg.): Verordnete Nachbarschaften. Transformationsprozesse im deutsch-polnisch-tschechischen Grenzraum seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg.Thelem. Dresden, 2016. 181-205.

Tóth Ágnes: Emberek-sorsok-hivatalok-eljárási módok. In: Sed intelligere. Tanulmányok a hatvanötéves Gyarmati György tiszteletére. Kronosz Kiadó. Pécs, 2016. Szerkesztette: Slachta Krisztina, Bánkúti Gábor, Vonyó József.  251-265.