Germans of Romania

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Germans in Romania
Germanii din Romania (2002).png
Distribution of Germans in Romania (2002 census)
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Transylvania, Banat, and Bukovina
Mainly German (Hochdeutsch) but also Romanian and Hungarian
Majority: Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism minority: Orthodox Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Mainly Germans and Austrians; see also below

The Germans of Romania or Rumäniendeutsche are an ethnic group of Romania. During the interwar period in Romania, the total number of ethnic Germans amounted to as much as 786,000 (according to some sources and estimates dating to 1939),[2][3] a figure which has subsequently fallen to circa 36,000 as of 2011 in contemporary Romania.

Overview and classification[edit]

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).

The Germans of Romania are not a single, unitary, homogeneous group, but rather a series of different sub-groups, each with their own culture, traditions, dialect(s), and history; this stems from the fact that various German-speaking populations arrived on the territory of present-day Romania in different waves or stages of settlement, initially as early as the High Middle Ages, 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 Banat), as well as in other areas of contemporary Romania (such as Dobruja).

Map depicting the traditional settlement areas of the Romanian-Germans in Transylvania and Banat, historical regions situated in central, respectively south-western present-day Romania.

Therefore, given their rather complex geographic background, in order to understand their language, culture, customs, and history, one must regard them as the following independent groups:

Contributions to Romanian culture[edit]

The Black Church (German: Die Schwarze Kirche, Romanian: Biserica Neagră) in Kronstadt/Brașov, 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[edit]

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 Wallachia and Moldavia and then, eventually, also over the unified Kingdom of Romania both during the 19th and 20th centuries; 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 King Carol II of Romania young.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 Margareta 1 March 2016 present

Twentienth century population transfers[edit]

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

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 Ceausescu's regime in December 1989, around 200,000 Germans left their homes in Romania.[18]


Historical population
1887 50,000—    
1930 745,421+1390.8%
1939 786,000+5.4%
1948 343,913−56.2%
1956 384,708+11.9%
1966 382,595−0.5%
1977 359,109−6.1%
1992 119,462−66.7%
2002 59,764−50.0%
2011 36,042−39.7%
Starting with the 1930 figures, the reference is to all German-speaking groups in Romania.

Current by settlement[edit]

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 be estimative.

Brebu Nou (German: Weidenthal), Banat
Cârlibaba (German: Mariensee/Ludwigsdorf), Bukovina
Biertan (German: Birthälm), Transylvania
Hărman (German: Honigberg), Transylvania
Cisnădie (German: Heltau), Transylvania
Mediaș (German: Mediasch), Transylvania
Sighișoara (German: Schässburg), Transylvania
German minory population by settlement (Source: 2011 Romanian census)
Romanian name German name Percent[19] County
Brebu Nou Weidenthal 30.2 Caraș-Severin
Petrești Petrifeld 27.8 Satu Mare
Urziceni Schinal 23.9 Satu Mare
Cămin 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 Caraș-Severin
Ațel Hatzeldorf 5.3 Sibiu
Cârlibaba Mariensee/Ludwigsdorf 5.1 Suceava
Saschiz Keisd 5.0 Mureș
Biertan Birthälm 4.6 Sibiu
Ardud Erdeed 4.5 Satu Mare
Vișeu de Sus Oberwischau 4.0 Maramureș
Deta Detta 4.0 Timiș
Tomnatic Triebswetter 3.9 Timiș
Semlac Semlak 3.6 Arad
Peregu Mare Deutschpereg 3.5 Arad
Sântana Sanktanna 2.9 Arad
Jimbolia Hatzfeld 2.9 Timiș
Jibert Seiburg 2.8 Brașov
Măieruş Nussbach 2.6 Brașov
Căpleni Kaplau 2.4 Satu Mare
Lovrin Lowrin 2.3 Timiș
Carei Grosskarol 2.3 Satu Mare
Parța Paratz 2.1 Timiș
Buziaș Busiasch 2.1 Timiș
Periam Perjamosch 2.1 Timiș
Sânnicolau Mare Grosssanktnikolaus 2.1 Timiș
Pâncota Pankota 2.1 Arad
Cristian Neustadt 1.9 Brașov
Lenauheim Schadat 1.9 Timiș
Lugoj Logosch 1.9 Timiș
Miercurea Sibiului Reussmarkt 1.8 Sibiu
Rupea Reps 1.7 Brașov
Sânpetru Petersberg 1.7 Brașov
Ungra Galt 1.7 Brașov
Reșița Reschitz 1.7 Caraș-Severin
Ciacova Tschakowa 1.6 Timiș
Cisnădie Heltau 1.5 Sibiu
Mediaș Mediasch 1.5 Sibiu
Moșna Meschen 1.5 Sibiu
Sighișoara Schässburg 1.5 Mureș
Oțelu Roșu Ferdinandsberg 1.4 Caraș-Severin
Timișoara Temeschburg 1.4 Timiș
Nițchidorf Nitzkydorf 1.4 Timiș
Hălchiu Heldsdorf 1.4 Sibiu
Merghindeal Mergeln 1.3 Sibiu
Beba Veche Altbeba 1.3 Timiș
Iacobeni Jakobsdorf 1.3 Sibiu
Lipova Lippa 1.3 Arad County
Homorod Hamruden 1.2 Brașov
Hărman Honigberg 1.2 Brașov
Matei Mathesdorf 1.2 Bistrița-Năsăud
Sebeș Mühlbach 1.1 Alba
Becicherecu Mic Kleinbetschkerek 1.1 Timiș
Caransebeș Karansebesch 1.1 Caraș-Severin
Bod Brenndorf 1.1 Brașov
Brateiu Pretai 1.0 Brașov
Bocșa Neuwerk 1.0 Caraș-Severin
Satu Mare Sathmar 1.0 Satu Mare
Sibiu Hermannstadt 1.0 Sibiu
Mănăstirea Humorului Humora Kloster 1.0 Suceava
Agnita Agnetheln 1.0 Sibiu
Hoghilag Halvelagen 1.0 Sibiu
Dumbrăveni Elisabethstadt 1.0 Sibiu
Șeica Mare Marktschelken 1.0 Sibiu
Codlea Zeiden 1.0 Brașov
Gătaia Gattaja 1.0 Timiș
Măureni Moritzfeld 1.0 Caraș-Severin

Current by county[edit]

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

County Percent[19]
Satu Mare county CoA.png Satu Mare 1.5%
Timis county coat of arms.png Timiș 1.3%
Actual Caras-Severin county CoA.png Caraș-Severin 1.1%
Sibiu county coat of arms.png Sibiu 1.1%

Administration, official representation, and politics[edit]

Historically, the German minority in unified Romania has 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, and the German People's Party (the latter two having a Fascist political orientation after 1930). All those parties are not politically active anymore.

Instead, the entire German-speaking community in post-1989 Romania is 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 a political platform that has a centrist ideology which aims to support the minority rights of the Germans from 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 (PNȚCD), most notably at local administrative level, in cities such as Sibiu (German: Hermannstadt), Timișoara (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 Group (between January and November of the same year).


In Bucharest there are two German schools, namely Deutsche Schule Bukarest and Deutsches Goethe-Kolleg Bukarest; the Deutsche Schule Bukarest serves Kinderkrippe, Kindergarten, Grundschule, and Gymnasium (high school).[20]

In Timișoara, 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 Romantic poet. Nowadays, the Nikolaus Lenau High School is considered the most important of its kind from Banat.[21]

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 are two Goethe Institut cultural associations in Romania: one based in Bucharest and another one in Iași.


The Allgemeine Deutsche Zeitung für Rumänien (ADZ) is the daily German-language newspaper in Romania, it is currently the only German-language newspaper from Eastern Europe.[22] Regional German-language publications also include the Banater Zeitung in Banat and the Hermannstädter Zeitung for the city of Sibiu.

Recent history[edit]

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 who has 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]

Notable German-Romanians[edit]

Below are represented several lists comprising selected notable German-Romanians by historical region.


See also[edit]


  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: Verlag W. Kohlhammer, 1958 Page 46
  4. ^ Monica Barcan, Adalbert Millitz, The German Nationality in Romania (1978), page 42: "The Satu Mare Swabians are true Swabians, their place of origin being Wurttemberg. They were colonized between 1712 and 1815, their most important settlements are Satu Mare/Sathmar and Petresti/Petrifeld in North- West Romania."
  5. ^ 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 17 June 2018.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ І. Я. Яцюк, Тернопільський національний педагогічний університет ім. Володимира Гнатюка, Наукові записки. Серія “Філологічна”, УДК 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.”
  8. ^ Forumul Democrat al Germanilor din Constanța (2003). "On the Germans of Dobrogea". Institutul Cultural Român. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  9. ^ Identity and multiculturalism in the Romanian Banat, Remus Creţan, David Turnock and Jaco Woudstra, p. 17-26
  10. ^ Perjamosch, Banat/List of Families Connected to Hubert Family
  11. ^ Association pour la promotion de l'Alsace en Roumanie: L’étonnante histoire des alsaciens et lorrains du Banat. (in French)
  12. ^ The French in Banat: Story on Tomnatic/Triebswetter
  13. ^ De l'Ouest à l'Est et de l'Est à l'Ouest : les avatars identitaires des Français du Banat, Smaranda Vultur (in French)
  14. ^ Dimitrie Macrea, "Originea și structura limbii române", Probleme de lingvistică română (Bucharest: Editura Științifică, 1961), 7–45: p. 32.
  15. ^ Academia Română, Dicționarul limbii române moderne, ed. Dimitrie Macrea (Bucharest: Editura Academiei, 1958).
  16. ^ Gabriela Pană Dindelegan, ed., The Grammar of Romanian, Oxford University Press, 2013, p. 3, ISBN 978-0-19-964492-6
  17. ^ 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)
  18. ^ Abraham, Florin (25 September 2017). Romania since the Second World War: A Political, Social and Economic History.
  19. ^ a b Denotes percent (%) of total population
  20. ^ "Entstehung." Deutsche Schule Bukarest. Retrieved on 20 February 2015.
  21. ^ (in German) Geschichte Temeswars Schulwesen
  22. ^ Allgemeine Deutsche Zeitung für Rumänien[permanent dead link], Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (in German)
  23. ^ Ziarul Româ | Klaus Iohannis: «Germanii din România sunt apreciați și respectați de toți 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 președintele ales al Germaniei (in Romanian)
  26. ^ - Kerwei