CENTRAL SLOVAKIA’s mining region around Banská Bystrica and Kremnica was long known only by the name Hauerland. This is hardly surprising, given that its population was predominately German. The 1900 census, for example, showed that 675 Germans, 61 Hungarians and only 12 Slovaks lived there. Not far from Kremnica was a mining town named Johannesberg or Berg. As a result of mispronunciation, Slovaks soon started to call it Piargy. After World War II, it was given another name, Kremnické Bane (Kremnica Mines).
This postcard from the 1920s depicts typical mining houses that could once be found throughout the whole of Hauerland. In Piargy and its surroundings, mining operations were carried out in several pits.
As early as 1582, a school for German children from the region was built near a local church. Interestingly, a Slovak school was not opened in Piargy until 1928.
The more than 500-year history of the German Piargy miners ended with the Second World War. With the rising political tension in the mid-1940s, they became a frequent target of partisan attacks and many fled through the Czech lands to Germany. Most of them never returned to their homeland.
19. Jan 2009 at 0:00 | By Branislav Chovan