Germans in Slovakia preserve their culture

The German minority is aging, and despite efforts, not many young descendants affiliate themselves with their origins.

Hauerlandfest is one of the bigger regional events.Hauerlandfest is one of the bigger regional events. (Source: Courtesy of the SNM – Museum of Carpathian German Culture)

“National costumes, typical for Kunešov, are too small to be worn by our women, and we don’t have money to alter them,” said Viliam Neuschl from Kunešov, an originally German village near Kremnica, central Slovakia. But who will wear them when young people are not interested?

SkryťRemove ad
Article continues after video advertisement
SkryťRemove ad
Article continues after video advertisement

That question of Neuschl’s sums up the concerns of those who care about the future of the German minority and its identity in Slovakia. Neuschl himself is an active pensioner involved in the local branch of the Carpathian Germans’ Club (KNS) in Kunešov. We should do our best to preserve our culture, he said, although he admits that the current situation “does not guarantee us the cultural development”.

A decreasing number of young people affiliated with the Germans as well as the ageing of the members remain the most serious problems identified by the minority itself in the recent reports prepared by the Office of the Government’s Proxy for National Minorities. Listed among other problems are the perception by the society and low interest of Germans to take a more responsible attitude towards their organisations.

The minority, which was still tens of thousands strong a century ago, currently counts only 4,690 people, based on the numbers from the 2011 census.

How the minority shrank

For centuries, the German community was strong in Bratislava, in the Lower and Upper Spiš regions (Gelnica, Levoča, Poprad, Stará Ľubovňa, Kežmarok), in the Bodva region (Košice, Medzev) as well as in the Hauerland region in central Slovakia (Nitrianske Pravno, Kremnica, Handlová). Given the 2011 census, the highest number of Carpathian Germans lives in Bratislava (963), and Hauerland – a group of 16 dispersed municipalities including Kunešov (730), Medzev (354), Chmeľnica (184), and Mníšek nad Hnilcom (97).

SkryťRemove ad

The lives of about 150,000 Germans after a thousand, more or less tranquil, years on the territory of Slovakia rapidly changed before the end of WWII, when the authorities of the Nazi Third Reich began evacuating Germans from Slovakia. After the war, those who stayed in the new state, Czechoslovakia, faced another hardship.

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk

Top stories

Nuclear physicist Martin Venhart.

Nuclear physicist on Ukraine plant: Fukushima more likely scenario than Chernobyl

Expert says best thing for safety of Zaporizhzhia facility would be Russian exit.


21 h
PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) is about to announce a salary increase for people working in the education sector on July 13, 2022, in Bratislava.

PM Heger’s reluctance to fire his party boss comes at a price

The coalition government is on the verge of losing its majority.


11. aug
SaS MP Peter Cmorej during a press conference on August 8, 2022.

On the way out, but SaS submits a major constitutional bill

The SaS party, which has left the coalition, is confident its constitutional bill on pensions can succeed in the house.


9. aug
The Pope meeting with bishops, priests, religious, consecrated persons, seminarians, and catechists at the Cathedral of St. Martin in Bratislava.

It's up to Pope Francis now. The chances of a new Slovak cardinal are slim

The Pope prefers candidates from developing countries.


10. aug
SkryťClose ad