Franz Klein (local history researcher)

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Franz Johann Klein (born October 17, 1919 in Biled , Kingdom of Romania ; † August 15, 2008 in Vienna , Austria ) was a local researcher in the Banat and an official of the Banat Swabians in Austria.


Franz Klein, who grew up as a half-orphan in Biled, attended the commercial vocational and technical college in Timișoara , where he trained as a wood turner. After passing his master craftsman examination, he returned to his home town and founded his own company there. In Timișoara he joined the Banater Wandervogel organization in 1933 (under the direction of Nikolaus Hans Hockl and Peter Maurus ) and in 1938 he wandered through the Sathmarer Land with 16 boys and girls in order to help the local youth, who hardly speak German, with folk dance, singing and amateur play To win folk work. He was an avid athlete and founded the first field handball team in Biled.

Klein experienced the end of the Second World War on the Hochschwab ( Styria ). After his release from American captivity in 1945, Klein began looking after his compatriots who had fled to Upper Austria and Salzburg . He settled in Vienna in 1949 and was a founding member of the Banat Swabian Landsmannschaft in Austria . From 1972 he was deputy chairman and delegate of the association in the Danube Swabian Working Group (DAG) in Austria . In May 1983 Franz Klein was unanimously elected chairman of the association, which has since been renamed the Association of Banat Swabians from Romania in Austria ; he held this position for 17 years.

Franz Klein was buried at Vienna's Südwestfriedhof (group 31, row 5, number 14).

Journalistic activity

Klein researched the Viennese archives and libraries for several decades. There he collected historical material about the Banat and processed it in numerous articles, especially in the first part of his well-known book Billed , which was published in Vienna in 1980 . Chronicle of a home community in the Banat in sources and documents 1765-1980 . This book became the standard work and benchmark for local monographs and home books. His work was considered valuable by professional historians, so that well-known universities in the United States (including Harvard University ), in Russia ( Lomonossow University ) and Central Europe purchased the book. Klein published a large amount of previously unknown historical material on the Habsburg Monarchy and the 18th century, which earned him further recognition among historians. The work is currently being translated into English in the United States .

On the occasion of the 222nd year of Billed's founding (1986), Franz Klein published another book in October 1987, the illustrated book Billed - 222 Years of Maria Theresa's Model Village in the Banat in Pictures and Documents 1765-1987 . But Franz Klein also made valuable source material from the Vienna archives available to other homeland books, for example for the localities Weißkirchen , Lowrin , Neu-Arad , Marienfeld , Deutsch-Sanktmichael , Schag , Wiesenhaid , Ulmbach , Warjasch , Sanktandres , Guttenbrunn , Alexanderhausen , Mastort , Ruskodorf , Heufeld , Ruma , Slankamen , Schöndorf , Kreuzstätten , Segenthau , and others.

Franz Klein was considered an expert in the field of Banat history of modern times and the evaluation of the Viennese archive material about the Banat.


  • Billed. Chronicle of a home community in the Banat in sources and documents 1765-1980 , self-published by the Heimatbuch working group, Salzburg, 1980, 640 pages
  • Billed, 222 years of Maria Theresa's model village in the Banat in pictures and documents 1765-1987 (with 550 illustrations) , self-published, Vienna, 1987, 272 pages
  • Dramatic struggle for the Timisoara fortress 130 years ago. Two diaries report on the tragedy of those trapped in: Der Donauschwabe , Aalen, August 5 and August 12, 1979
  • The church records of the Banat communities in the state archives of Timisoara and Arad , in: Donauschwäbische Familienkundliche Forschungsblätter , 8 (1982), No. 23 (March)
  • The Vienna Hofkammerarchiv as an inexhaustible source of Danube Swabian settlement documentation. From the perspective of the family researchers , in: Donauschwäbische Familienkundliche Forschungsblätter , 7 (1981), No. 22 (December), pp. 67–71
  • List of names of the taxable persons of the "Marktes Billieth im Torontaler Comitat" from the year 1828. A contribution to genealogy and family research as well as to local knowledge by Billed , in: Der Donauschwabe , Aalen, 23 September 1979
  • Things worth knowing and interesting from the Hofkammerarchiv in Vienna , in: Werschetzer Zeitung , 8/1986
  • Johannes Nepomuk - patron saint of the Banat. A popular saint with protection , in: Der Donauschwabe , Aalen, June 6, 1982
  • The land of the "Great Swabian Train" 210 years ago , in: Der Donauschwabe , Aalen, June 7, 1981
  • Source material from the Hofkammerarchiv in Vienna. Banat homeland and family research. Inheritance claims from our ancestors to the Reich 1720-1800 , in: Der Donauschwabe , Aalen, March 4, 1984
  • The history of the Banat Germans - a "book with seven seals". Small witnesses to a great past , in: Der Donauschwabe , Aalen, June 28, 1981
  • Forgotten and abandoned in archives. The files from the time the Germans settled in the Banat are in Vienna's archives , in: Der Donauschwabe , Aalen, September 19, 1976, February 6, 1977, April 24, 1977, April 30, 1978
  • Foundation of the Banat Swabian Association in Vienna. From the annals of the “Association of the Banat Swabians” in Vienna. Study on the founding of the association, the activities and the journal of the association , in: Banater Post , Munich, issues No. 9, September 15, 1983; No. 11, November 15, 1983; No. 2, January 16, 1984
  • One hundred years of the Vienna People's Education Association. A Müller-Guttenbrunn, whom we do not know , in: Contributions to German Culture , Freiburg im Breisgau, IV (1987), 2, pp. 68-71

Social activity

After his retirement in 1979 and especially from 1983, when he became chairman of the Association of Banat Swabians from Romania in Austria , it was a matter of concern to Klein to give material support to his fellow countrymen living in his homeland. Together with aid organizations such as the Red Cross and Caritas , Klein led donation and aid campaigns for needy compatriots in Romania.

After the Romanian Revolution of 1989 , Franz Klein organized and accompanied aid transports to the Banat, during which the aid was distributed in 59 locations under his supervision.

For many years, especially after 1989, Klein's path led every afternoon to Vienna's Westbahnhof , where he waited for the Orient Express to provide advice and assistance to compatriots leaving Romania.



  • Hans Dama : Austria and the Banat Swabians , gift of honor for Franz Klein on his 85th birthday, Association of Banat Swabians Austria, Vienna. 2005
  • Franz Klein: Billed. Chronicle of a heather community in the Banat 1765-1980 in sources and documents. In the 215th year after Billed was founded by German colonists , the working group for promotion u. Edited by the Billeder Heimatbuch, Salzburg, 1980, 650 pages
  • Franz Klein: Billed, 222 years of Maria Theresa's model village in the Banat in pictures and documents 1765-1987 , self-published, Vienna, 1987, 272 pages

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Friedhöfe Wien , grabs search engine
  2. Franz Klein - Banatforscher, Hans Dama