Page 11

A Historical Outline

From the settlement to 1918

a part of the Dinaric landscape, which is not marked by high mountains, but rather by dynamic karstic plateaus and valleys with a typical karstic surface. The German linguistic area extended mostly in the karstic hilly and forested terrain, with three mountain ranges running from the northwest to the southeast: Kočevska Mala Gora with Kočevski Rog (also known as Rogovsko Višavje), Stojna (in literature referred to as Fridrihštajnski Gozd and Kočevska Velika Gora), and Goteniško–Reško Pogorje with four larger valleys: Dragarska Dolina, Goteniško– Reška Dolina, Kočevsko Polje, and Črmošnjiško–Poljanska Dolina. It encompassed about 800 square kilometres and was from east to west about 42 km long, and from north to south around 30 km. This geographically very diverse area was called by German geographers Oberland (the upper country, from Mala Gora to Mozelj), Unterland (the lower country, from Mozelj towards the south), Hinterland (the back country, between Grčarice and Kočevska Reka), Hochtal von Suchen (Dragarska Planota), Walden (forest – Kočevski Rog), and Moschnitze (Črmošnjice – Poljanska Dolina). The criterion according to which an individual settlement was included in the German linguistic island was simply whether or not in the 1880-1910 Austrian population censuses its inhabitants predominantly used German as their language of communication or not. According to the data obtained from the Austrian population censuses, the German linguistic island in the Kočevje region encompassed 21 municipalities, along with a large part of or whole villages from 8 other municipalities. All these municipalities were located in the districts of Kočevje, Novo Mesto, and Črnomelj; the German-populated areas within them included about 17% of villages and 18% of the population in 1880. In the Kočevje district the German linguistic area contained 116 (28%) villages, 39% of the population, and 42% of the houses. It included the municipalities of Stari Log, Nemška Loka, Polom, Gotenica, Kočevje, Knežja Lipa, Novi Lazi, Koče, Livold, Mala Gora, Stara Cerkev, Mozelj, Borovec, Koprivnik, Kočevska Reka, Črni Potok, and Briga, in part also the municipality of Dolenja Vas. In the Novo Mesto district the German linguistic area encompassed the municipalities of Poljane, Črmošnjice, and Smuka, a total of 43 villages, or about 8% of villages, population, and houses in the district. The only entirely »German« municipality in the Črnomelj district was the municipality of Planina, while only individual villages in five municipalities were included into the German linguistic area; Bistrica and Zaderc in the municipality of Čeplje; Rodine in the municipality of Talčji Vrh; Miklarji, Mavrlen, and Bistrica in the municipality of Dobliče;

Germans in Slovene ethnic territory Germans living permanently in the Drava Banovina before World War II, excluding several thousand Germans from the Reich or empire, arrived in Slovene ethnic territory in three ways. The German political lordship brought German secular and ecclesiastical lords to the area. They were later also joined by German townspeople, and in more recent centuries by representatives of big enterprises and the intelligentsia. They were mostly town- and market-based, where they owned houses, factories, worked as freelance professionals, craftspeople, and were landowners or, in some areas, even farmers. Their number was larger before World War I; however, white-collar professionals (professors, teachers, officials) emigrated to Austria after the establishment of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs or the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes in the autumn of 1918. The second group consisted of Germans who settled Slovene ethnic territory during the colonisation of highland areas in the Middle Ages. Those were, first and foremost, the Gottschee Germans, who arrived after 1330 and retained their Germanness, and the Sorica Germans, who settled the Selca Sora Valley after the thirteenth century and, having been encircled by the Slovene population, mostly lost their German awareness. Both colonizations, that in Kočevje and Sorica, are the most recent agricultural colonizations in Slovene ethnic territory. The third group consists of Germans who were cut off from the more or less compact German territory by the Treaty of Saint-Germain in 1919. These were the Apače Germans, who were left outside Upper Styria due to the border on the Mura River, and Germans in four villages to the south of the stream Kučnica, in the north-western part of Prekmurje, since the border was delineated along the stream. The German linguistic island in the Kočevje region The authors use the term Kočevsko, the Kočevje region, for the area of a more or less ethnically mixed enclave encircled by Slovenes that was populated by the German population (the Gottschee Germans or Gottscheers) for six centuries, up to 1941. However, we are aware that Kočevsko, in fact, is a broader area, one that also comprised areas populated solely by Slovenes. The Kočevje region lies in Slovenia’s south-eastern part and is not a closed and bounded geographical entity. It is


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Lost Gottschee villages in Slovenia: Part 1A–J  

The first part of the historical and topographical survey of the Kočevje region entitled The Lost Villages of Gottschee is an update of the...

Lost Gottschee villages in Slovenia: Part 1A–J  

The first part of the historical and topographical survey of the Kočevje region entitled The Lost Villages of Gottschee is an update of the...