Land grabbing of Burgenland

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The disputed area (_red) was annexed to the Republic of Austria in 1921 .

The land acquisition of Burgenland describes the political, police and military measures to annex a part of Hungary to Austria and the creation of Burgenland from 1919 to 1921.

Treaty of Saint-Germain, Treaty of Trianon

In the Treaty of Saint-Germain , signed by State Chancellor Karl Renner on September 10, 1919 , western parts of the Wieselburg , Ödenburg and Eisenburg counties (today: Győr-Moson-Sopron counties and Vas county ) were assigned to the new state of Austria (Article 27, Point 5). This wish of the Austrian delegation during the negotiations was complied with because it was important to the victorious powers that the new Austria could cope with its economic difficulties and that sufficient agriculturally fertile area was available close to the populous city of Vienna . The negotiations were under the influence of the communist council republics in Bavaria and Hungary. When the contract was signed in September 1919, the communist rule under Béla Kun had already been overthrown by the former Rear Admiral Nikolaus Horthy and his supporters. In the Trianon Treaty of June 4, 1920 between the Entente and Hungary, Hungary had to agree to significant territorial losses, including the loss of parts of western Hungary to Austria.

The Burgenland area designation established in Saint-Germain slowly gained acceptance. The Horthy government was unwilling to cede the area to Austria and left no stone unturned in domestic and foreign policy to prevent the cession.

Administrative office for Burgenland

As early as May 25, 1919, an inter-ministerial commission had been formed in the State Office for Internal Affairs and Education in Vienna, which was called the administrative office for the connection of German-West Hungary . The social democratic mayor Anton Ofenböck of Wiener Neustadt was also a member of the administrative office. Even under the rule of Béla Kun, the State Office in Vienna began to organize border protection against Hungary. With the colonel of the gendarmerie Georg Ornauer one was in Wiener Neustadt Gendarmerie Border Protection line for Lower Austria in the field of Hainburg to the southern border of the district Wiener Neustadt- established, the weekly reported back. With the “First Burgenland Act” of January 25, 1921, the administrative office for Burgenland was created with twelve members and six substitute members; it was constituted on March 15, 1921 in the Federal Ministry of the Interior in Vienna. The chair was chaired by an official, the section chief Robert Davy . The other members were Franz Binder , Rudolf Gruber , Franz Luttenberger , Gregor Meidlinger for the Christian Social Party , Ernst F. Beer , Max Jungmann , Eugen Schuster , Alfred Walheim for the Greater German People's Party , Johann Fiala , Oskar Helmer , Ernst Hoffenreich , Anton Weixelberger for the Social Democratic Party . Substitute for Oskar Helmer was the social democratic deputy mayor of Wiener Neustadt Josef Püchler . Adalbert Wolf , imprisoned in Győr for high treason from 1919 to 1921 , became a member of the Burgenland administrative office on January 27, 1922.

Political parties

In the association founded with Gregor Meidlinger from Frauenkirchen in 1907 for the preservation of Germanism in Hungary , Thomas Polz from Mönchhof formed the local group of German compatriots from West Hungary in 1913 , which in March 1919 became an action committee for the liberation of West Hungary . Alfred Walheim, deputy Thomas Polz, secretary Georg Meidlinger, deputy Oskar Lentsch, paymaster Rosa Reumann and Alfred Schmidt, advisory board members Karl Rausch, Josef Reichl and Eugen Schuster became chairman of the action committee . Other notable members were Adam Müller-Guttenbrunn , Ernst Beer and Josef Vukovits.

Johann Fiala, founder of the Ödenburg workers' education association and chairman of the social democratic organization in Ödenburg, had emigrated to Austria under the Horthy government and now lived and worked in Wiener Neustadt. Here he also found contact with other refugee workers' leaders from West Hungary, such as Adolf Berczeller, Ludwig Leser and Franz Probst, as well as with Social Democrats in Vienna. The social democratic party executive in Vienna commissioned the member of the Lower Austrian state parliament and editor of the party newspaper Equality Oskar Helmer to set up a regional organization for the future Burgenland. On January 9, 1921, Helmer invited to a constituent state conference in Wiener Neustadt. 48 delegates accepted the invitation, where Johann Fiala was elected regional chairman. The place of the further meetings was the Wiener Neustadt workers' home.


Austrian Legion

At the end of 1920 / beginning of 1921 recruiters for the Austrian Legion appeared in Wiener Neustadt . The Legion was founded with the aim of overthrowing the Renner III state government, intervening in a possible civil war and invading Austria. This Austrian Legion , tolerated with goodwill by the Hungarian government , had its seat in Csot in Hungary. Major Schwerdtner was in command of the Legion. On January 12, 1921, five legionnaires who were armed with chloroform, cyanide, opium cigars and weapons were arrested by the police in the Café Bank in Wiener Neustadt . One of the legionaries, an air officer from Tyrol, had the plan to hijack an aircraft from the hangars at Neustädter Flugfeld and bring it to Hungary. The other four legionaries were planning a robbery on a Viennese merchant in order to remedy the legion's lack of money after the usual monthly allowances from Vienna had not been paid.

Hungarian irregulars

In the early summer of 1921, the administrative office had to deal with numerous lawsuits and requests for help from German West Hungary, which were caused by the armed volunteer formations set up with the full support of the Hungarian government. The irregulars were mainly recruited from disarmed officers, students, expellees from Slovakia, Transylvania and Croatia, and adventurers. They gathered around two free corps leaders of the so-called white counter-revolution, Lieutenant Colonel Hussar Pál Prónay and First Lieutenant d. R. Iván Héjjas , and called themselves the Royal Hungarian West Hungarian Insurgents . At the top stood the later Prime Minister Gyula Gömbös . They wore bourgeois clothing - armbands indicated that they belonged to a formation - and were armed with steel helmets, cartridge belts and cartridge pouches, rifles, bayonets, machine guns and hand grenades. The Hungarian army provided cars and armored vehicles, the authorities provided equipment and supplies. However, the information on strength varies widely, from 2,700 to 30,000 men. Presumably, however, there were never more than 10,000 men, whereby they succeeded in simulating a higher team strength through high mobility and focus on attacks.

After the failed restoration attempt by Emperor Karl I of Austria at the same time as King Charles IV of Hungary , an increase of legitimist formations arose, which struggled for their preservation and armament, which under the name Reserve Gendarmerie Battalion No. 2 under Major Julius von Ostenburg-Morawek in the area Ödenburg-Eisenstadt were concentrated after this had previously been set up in Stuhlweissenburg from mostly Hungarian volunteers of the Honvéd Infantry Regiment No. 69. The former Prime Minister Stephan Friedrich also recruited a volunteer corps among Budapest university students, which was later referred to as Friedrich Freischärler . After the withdrawal of Ostenburg's unit (the "Osztenburg Detachement") to Ödenburg, this group bore the brunt of the resistance in the Eisenstadt area. Another smaller unit loyal to the king, which was the only one of these mentioned associations to have many volunteers from western Hungary in its ranks, gathered under Count Tamás Erdődy in the Güns-Steinamanger area and later actively participated in combat operations in the Oberwart area . However, these formations loyal to the king were soon viewed as dangerous rivals by the anti-Habsburg militants around Prónay and Héjjas.

During September 1921, after various regroupings, the irregulars were divided into six corps:

  • I. Freischler Corps: Oberwart command post; Commander First Lieutenant Árpád Taby
  • II. Freischärlerkorps: Oberpullendorf command post , then Lackenbach ; Commander Captain Miklós Budaházy; The area of ​​application ranged from the Rosaliengebirge to the sources of the Güns
  • III. Freischärlerkorps: Command post Eltendorf , then Güssing ; Commander First Lieutenant Endre Molnar
  • IV. Freischärlerkorps: Command post Parndorf , later Neusiedl am See ; Commander Lieutenant Iván Héjjas
  • V. Freischerkorps: command post Mattersburg ; Commander Captain Viktor Maderspach, then Captain Paul Gebhardt
  • VI. Freischärlerkorps: Eisenstadt command post; Commander Dezső Wein

The first three corps were subordinate to Pál Prónay , which Héjjas only joined in the second half of September, while the last two corps were considered loyal to the king. In addition to these associations loyal to the king, there was also the "Osztenburg Detachement", which had withdrawn from Eisenstadt to Ödenburg.

Failed takeover in August 1921

An Inter-Allied General Commission , composed of 30 officers and their entourage, was entrusted with the peaceful transfer of the area to Austria . On August 17, the military arrived in Ödenburg and later split up among the advancing Austrian units. The conquest of the land should begin on Sunday, August 28th, the eastern border should be reached on August 29th and Burgenland should be handed over to Davy (the section head of the administrative office for Burgenland ).

At a meeting on May 4, 1921, announced the Federal Ministry for the Armed Forces with the country manager Davy that the conceived only in preparation Armed Forces in case of resistance to the occupation could not interfere. On June 2, 1921, however, the Federal Ministry issued an instruction that two battalions in each of the six brigades of the Austrian Armed Forces were to be kept ready for external use . Colonel Brigadier Rudolf Vidossich , in command of the 1st Brigade, was appointed contact man for Davy on June 11, 1921 and was supposed to plan the conquest. The Inter-Allied General Commission, which was commissioned by the Paris Ambassadors' Conference of the Entente in Ödenburg to mediate and monitor the handover, did not agree to an invasion of the armed forces and only allowed the gendarmerie and the customs guard to cross the border.

The detailed plan for the land acquisition stipulated that a total of almost 2000 gendarmerie and customs guard, divided into 11 columns, should occupy the so-called line A on August 28th , which from Heiligenkreuz - St. Michael - Kohfidisch - Stadtschlaining - German Gerisdorf - Oberpullendorf - Agendorf - Mörbisch - Frauenkirchen - Halbturn - Zurndorf - Kittsee was enough. The next day, the units were to reach line B , which corresponded to the Trianon border line , and the Södenburg area should be handed over to the state administrator by the Inter-Allied General Commission.

The following table shows the deployment station as well as intermediate destinations and destinations of line A of the individual columns:

Gendarmerie unit Deployment station Intermediate destinations and destinations
Column 1 mountain Kittsee
Column 2 Bruck ad Leitha Halbturn, Frauenkirchen
Column 3 Ebenfurth Eisenstadt, Rust
Column 4 Wiener Neustadt Mattersburg , Agendorf
Column 5 Hochwolkersdorf Lackenbach , St. Martin market
Column 6 Kirchschlag German Gerisdorf
Column 7 Friedberg Pinkafeld , Oberwart, Stadtschlaining
Column 8 Hartberg Allhau market , Oberwart
Column 9 Burgau Kohfidisch, St. Michael
Column 10 Fürstenfeld Rudersdorf , Kukmirn , Gerersdorf , Heiligenkreuz
Column 11 Fehring Mogersdorf , Neumarkt an der Raab , Tauka

On August 28, the head of the police in Wiener Neustadt, Government Councilor Alfred Rausnitz , reported that 100 men with the destination Rust (column 3) and 270 men with the destination Ödenburg (column 4) had marched off. The gendarmerie columns were received by Entente officers at the Leithabrücke while still on Austrian territory and were supposed to be in Mattersburg at 9.30 a.m. While the occupation in northern Burgenland succeeded without significant resistance, things turned out differently in southern Burgenland.

In the Oberwart area not only the Hungarian Reserve Gendarmerie Battalion No. 1, but also various groups of irregulars were assembled. In Pinkafeld, under the leadership of Lieutenant László Kuti, about fifty men were waiting, the 202 gendarmes and 22 customs officers coming from Friedberg. The English Entente officer, whom the irregulars allowed into the city, drove ahead of the Austrian unit in a carriage. The following gendarmerie unit, however, was shot at from two nests of resistance east and west of the advance road. The commander of the leading group received a bullet in the thigh. The gendarmes then took cover and dispatched two raiding parties, who succeeded in eliminating the western nest of resistance and killing two militants and wounding another five Hungarians. One of the shock troops also succeeded in penetrating into the center of Pinkafeld and there contacting the British Entente officer, who ordered the gendarmes to retreat to the Styrian Sinnersdorf for that day . The next day, Column 7 renewed its advance on Oberwart. Since the irregulars had withdrawn there during the night, Pinkafeld was occupied without resistance at around 1.30 p.m. This was only available again in front of Oberwart, so that the gendarmerie unit had to withdraw to Friedberg for good after this second failed attempt.

Columns 8 and 9, advancing further south of Hartberg and Burgau, were also shot at by militants after they had crossed the borders and suffered casualties from injuries. Another attempt by Column 8 on August 29th failed due to the resistance of the irregulars under Count Erdődy. Since the positions reached in Heiligenkreuz and Mogersdorf had to be given up at dawn on August 29, the seizure of the land in the south was deemed to have failed after two days.

In Agendorf , the suburb of Ödenburg agreed for August 28, the 400 Austrian gendarmes came under fire from snipers from a 120-man Héjjas detachment. It was possible to force the irregulars out of the village; but without machine guns and hand grenades holding the village seemed questionable. Country representative Davy and his companions Hofrat Rauhofer and a detective , who left Wiener Neustadt in a car at 1 p.m. and were on their way to Agendorf via Ödenburg, were not informed about the fighting and were blocked by armed rioters. They let the government commissioner Antal Graf Sigray show them the open order , but refused to continue and Davy had to return to Ödenburg. After a related report to the General Inter-Allied Commission, the attempt was repeated in the company of two Entente officers, an Englishman and an Italian. Unimpressed, the irregulars threatened to hang the three civilians. A passing hussar patrol with an Osztenburg lieutenant allowed us to continue to Agendorf, where the battle had already ended. Davy then set up the administrative office for Burgenland in Mattersburg. Another vehicle, which left Agendorf, was arrested by rioters and the inmates, Major Adolf Paternos of the police department and the director Hamburger of the Daimler works in Wiener Neustadt, were taken prisoner and brought to Ödenburg. Both managed to place themselves under the protection of the inter-allied general commission and returned to Austria after a few days.

In the evening hours of August 28, 1921, the news of the fire attack in Wiener Neustadt arrived. A special train made available at the station with the new Burgenland officials with the destination Agendorf was evacuated and the special train was designated for 200 Gendarmerie auxiliaries who were supposed to aggravate the situation. This decision was made with Josef Püchler , who was a civilian locomotive driver and led the train to Agendorf. After the gendarmerie in front of Agendorf came under fire, the village was taken after a halt with the consent of the Entente officer, and a Héjjas man was killed.

On August 29, 1921 it was reported that Austrian gendarmes were shot at in Sankt Margarethen , one of whom was killed and several injured. The irregulars had also kidnapped a Viennese who was married to a local resident into a forest and shot him there. The gendarmerie deployed was no match for the superior strength of the militarily well-equipped and trained militants. As a result, panic spread among the population. At the end of August and beginning of September whole columns of refugees from the Eisenstadt area moved to Ebenfurth and later to Wiener Neustadt.

Military border protection

Memorial plaque for the fallen of September 5, 1921 in Kirchschlag
Information board for the monument in Kirchschlag

Because of the failure of the conquest, the 2nd Battalion of the  5th Infantry Regiment of the Austrian Army was sent from Vienna to Wiener Neustadt and finally stationed in Kirchschlag on August 30th, by an evening resolution of the Council of Ministers in Vienna  . Over the next few days, the following four further battalions were gradually moved to the Lower Austrian border:

  • 1st Battalion / IR 1 to Wiener Neustadt
  • 2nd Battalion / IR 1 to Bruck an der Leitha
  • III. Battalion / IR 1 half to Bruck an der Leitha and half to Hainburg
  • III. Battalion / IR 2 to Ebenfurth

Colonel Brigadier Rudolf Vidossich , who set up his headquarters in the castle of Wiener Neustadt, which was no longer used as a military academy, was appointed to command the border guard troops .

Infantry and machine-gun companies of Alpenjäger regiments 9 and 10 were sent to the Styrian border to secure the border crossings from Fehring to Sinnersdorf . On the night of September 3, a serious incident occurred near Sinnersdorf when a gendarmerie patrol was ambushed by militants. One soldier was shot in the thigh, while the other soldier was shot in the stomach, as a result of which he died two days later in Wiener Neustadt.

In the first days of September, the gendarmerie border police in Wiener Neustadt reported worrying gatherings of troops in southern Burgenland on the border with Styria , led by Hungarian, Austrian and Imperial German officers. These were units from Oberwart under the command of Lieutenant Arpad Taby, which were relocated to Günseck and Langeck on August 4th . Reinforced with parts of the notorious Héjjas militants, they attacked the Austrian gendarmerie of Column 6 in the Zöbern valley in the morning hours of September 5th . At Deutsch Gerisdorf, 17 gendarmes, some of whom were seriously wounded, fell into the hands of the militants, while their comrades fled towards the pilgrims' village. But even of these units, only a few were able to escape across the Lower Austrian border to Kirchschlag, while many others went into captivity.

Chasing militants encountered the 2nd Battalion of Infantry Regiment No. 5 at Kirchschlag, which was able to withstand the attack, but only with the loss of 7 dead and 15 wounded. Two soldiers were taken prisoner and were shot or hanged by Héjjas militants, as witness statements later revealed. But the Hungarians also suffered great losses in the battle that lasted until 1 p.m. with 9 dead and an unknown number of wounded. This attack caused panic among the border population, which resulted in parts of them fleeing. By the evening the Armed Forces moved the II. Battalion / IR 1 from Ebenfurth and the III. Bataillon / IR 2 from Wiener Neustadt to Bucklige Welt . In addition, the 1st Battalion of Infantry Regiment 4 was drawn from Vienna as a replacement to Wiener Neustadt.

This situation was considered particularly dangerous because an Austrian counterattack could possibly have provoked the open intervention of the regular Hungarian army, which at that time had a manpower more than twice as large as the already largely disarmed armed forces. Two Hungarian mixed brigades and some special units were available for any intervention in the vicinity of Burgenland .

In order to counter the threatening danger posed by the Hungarian irregulars, the army command transferred further troops to the east of the federal territory. From the 4th Brigade from Linz the brigade staff, the 7th Alpenjäger Regiment and other smaller units were transferred to Vienna. The 6th Brigade from Innsbruck sent its staff, three battalions and artillery units to Vienna.

On September 8th at 5 a.m. there was an attack by regular Hungarian troops and Hungarian Freischärler (Friedrich Freischärler) on the Austrian gendarmerie in Agendorf . When the arrival of the Ostenburg troops was reported, the gendarmerie withdrew to Mattersburg with a waiting train, with the order to build a line of defense there. In these skirmishes, the Austrians lost one dead and two seriously wounded, while the Hungarians lost three dead and two seriously wounded. On that day, Colonel Theodor Körner reported from Wiener Neustadt to Vienna that the gendarmerie was now in a panic, exhausted and tired. With the Central Director Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Gampp, Regional Gendarmerie Director Ornauer and a crowd of volunteers, I managed to persevere in Mattersburg. The country administrator Davy requested the replacement of the gendarmerie by the armed forces but was rejected by the Entente. He himself relocated his office to Vienna in his old premises in the Ministry of the Interior.

Up to this point in time, the gendarmerie had lost 6 dead, 12 seriously wounded and 18 slightly wounded. From Klagenfurt , the army command with the 11th Alpenjäger Regiment from Klagenfurt relocated further units to the east. Thus by the middle of September the armed forces had assembled 17 infantry battalions directly at the border or in reserve in Vienna, as well as numerous special units of cavalry, artillery and pioneers .

Withdrawal of the gendarmerie

The Austrian federal government decided to withdraw beyond the state border, since the conquest of western Hungary was not possible with the forces of the gendarmerie. On September 9, 1921, state administrator Davy gave the state gendarmerie director Georg Ornauer and the head of the Wiener Neustadt police department Alfred Rausnitz the task of clearing Burgenland from our entire apparatus , with the exception of Mattersdorf. The following day, in the middle of the evacuation, it was recognized that Mattersdorf could not be stopped either, Rausnitz also had Mattersdorf evacuated, but held Bad Sauerbrunn and Neudörfl . This evacuation triggered a stream of refugees from the Austrian-friendly population of western Hungary across the border and led to great unease in the coal mines near Neufeld .

After the withdrawal, on September 11, 1921, Federal Chancellor Johann Schober and representatives of the Allied General Mission held a meeting. Austria was promised to secure the Wiener Neustädter Basin and to secure the coal mines of the city of Vienna near Wimpassing an der Leitha with a security zone in Burgenland . On September 19, 1921, a meeting of the Social Democratic Party took place in the Brauhof in Wiener Neustadt, at which the MP Karl Renner gave a lecture, with which the workers politically supported Burgenland.

From mid-September there were perceptions that there was formation of Hungarian vigilante groups in the Mattersdorf, St. Margarethen, Müllendorf , Krensdorf area , some of which appeared in hunter clothing, some with boy scout hats with feather headdresses, and others in civilian clothing with armbands.

Border protection was also reorganized at the end of September. The . Brigade Command No. 3 adopted on 28 September 1921, the command for the border section of Lower Austria; The location of the command was Neukloster Abbey , Colonel Brigadier Vidossich remained Commander-in-Chief. In Wiener Neustadt he was subordinate to a reserve of four battalions and four batteries, at Wiener Neustadt fortifications were built analogously to Bruck an der Leitha and Neufeld, and Tyrolean troops were relocated to Ebenfurth.

At the request of the British military attaché Colonel Cunningham for information on the gangs in western Hungary , Chief Commissioner Adolf Paternos prepared a report on September 21, 1921 at the Wiener Neustadt police station. In it he announced that the total strength of the irregulars in Ödenburg County was 4,000 men and in Eisenstadt County 12,000 men and that it was calculated in Budapest that a total of 40,000 men could be raised by irregular military. The irregulars received 600 kroner a day , 200 kroner from the Hungarian military and 400 kroner from the respective mayor's office. The ammunition and weapons depots were distributed in manors, castles and monasteries. The castle of Count Sigray was named. The headquarters of the irregulars were in the respective counties in sea huts and inns. The irregulars against communists and social democrats were bellicose. Legitimistic circles of the irregulars envisioned the formation of a new monarchy consisting of Bavaria, Austria and Hungary. The Hungarian Military Commission in Vienna was named as the headquarters of espionage activities.

Guerrilla State of Leitha-Banat

The ultimatum of September 23, 1921, which the ambassadors' conference in Paris had addressed to Hungary, with the mandate to vacate Burgenland by October 4, 1921, was unsuccessful. Although the Hungarian government withdrew the military, which had supported the irregulars at Kirchschlag and elsewhere, from Zone A of Burgenland, it emphasized that it had no influence on the irregulars. The irregulars proclaimed the independent state of Leitha-Banat , in Hungarian: Lajta-Bánság , in Oberwart on October 4, 1921 .

Venice Protocol

Since Austria and Hungary had long since agreed to an offer of mediation from Italy , the Ambassadors' Conference on October 2, 1921 also approved this mediation. The negotiations were held in Venice , where an agreement on the loss of Ödenburg and the rescue of the rest of Burgenland became apparent. The request of Chancellor Johann Schober, who represented Austria, to hold a referendum on the whereabouts of Ödenburg near Hungary was granted. On October 13, 1921, Federal Chancellor Johann Schober, Count Bethlen and Count Nikolaus Banffy for Hungary and the Italian Foreign Minister Marchese della Torretta signed the Venice Protocol . Hungary agreed to end the insurgent movement within three weeks in cooperation with the General Inter-Allied Commission . Eight days after calming down, the referendum was to take place in Ödenburg.

The development of the situation up to the final conquest

Second attempt at restoration by Emperor Charles in Hungary; Karl walking off the company of honor at the train station in Ödenburg on October 21, 1921. Empress Zita behind him on the right
Memorial in Friedberg / Pinggau, which commemorates the accident of an army truck on November 1st, 1921

At the beginning of October 1921 the insecurity of the population in the border area increased. The relocation of the 1st Brigade Command from Wiener Neustadt to Leobersdorf and the withdrawal of the field guard at Lichtenwörth , which was responsible for securing Neudörfl and the apron of Wiener Neustadt, increased the uncertainty. Government councilor Rausnitz protested to the ministry against these withdrawals on October 12, 1921, especially since Neudörfl was on Hungarian territory, but within the agreed demarcation line. The actions of the irregulars in the area around Neudörfl and at the Leithabrücke not far from Wiener Neustadt led to the post office and the border control point in Neudörfl being cleared and relocated to Austrian territory. On October 15, 1921, an appeal to the population, signed by the city council and mayor Anton Ofenböck , was published in the official gazette of the city of Wiener Neustadt , in which measures in the event of an attack by Hungarian irregulars were announced: In an emergency, it is important to keep calm in the houses to stay and brightly illuminate street-facing apartments. Furthermore, the military installations in the apron of Wiener Neustadt should be spared and respected. A sixteen-year-old Neudörfler was reported to the Leithabrücke gendarmerie exposure when he was trying to investigate the strength and precautions of the Austrian gendarmerie and the armed forces. Also suspected and reported to the public prosecutor's office in Wiener Neustadt was Peter Paul Storno, from an Ödenburg family, first lieutenant in the Hungarian army, who, disguised as a chimney sweep , had asked suspicious questions in Schattendorf in November 1921 . However, the cancellation was acquitted. There were also numerous negotiations in the district court of Wiener Neustadt about attempts to smuggle, mainly of food, in both directions.

After the second unsuccessful restoration attempt by Emperor Karl I (Austria-Hungary) on October 21 and 22, 1921, gang activity in Hungary weakened significantly. The reason for this decrease in activities on the Hungarian side was that the units loyal to the king (Ostenburg-Einheit, V. and VI. Freischärlerkorps) followed Karl on the way to Budapest. After the failure of the attempt, they were disarmed and were no longer a power factor in western Hungary. But the other irregular corps also withdrew temporarily to support the government troops in the fight against the royalists. When the militant corps returned on October 25th, they mainly occupied the area of ​​Ödenburg.

Despite the calming of the situation, the armed forces suffered heavy losses in the next few weeks, which were mainly caused by accidents. On November 1st, militants shot again at the Austrian outpost near Sinnersdorf . In addition to gendarmerie reinforcements from Friedberg and Pinggau, thirty soldiers from the Armed Forces from Hartberg who belonged to the 9th Alpine Hunter Regiment were called in. While the unit was being relocated, the chain of the vehicle broke on a sloping road in Friedberg, which then, unable to maneuver or brake, sped down the hill, rammed a lighting mast and a tree and finally overturned. In addition, an accompanying hand grenade exploded , so that this accident cost a total of 11 soldiers their lives. An accident claimed 13 deaths two days later in the Bucklige Welt, when an army truck crashed, trying to bring vacationers from Edlitz back to their units in Kirchschlag.

The general assumption that the second attempt to seize the land, with the Venice Protocol , would no longer be made by the gendarmerie but by the federal army, was not doubted by the Hungarians either; this contributed to further calming down. However, the elaborated planning in the Army Ministry in Vienna provided for the participation of the gendarmerie; a civilian commissioner at the highest military commander should pass on his wishes as an order to the gendarmerie. On November 9, 1921 - the highest command as Brigade Command Burgenland No. 1 under Colonel Brigadier Rudolf Vidossich was in Leobersdorf - it was decided that 100 gendarmes should be kept ready in Ebenfurth and in Wiener Neustadt, in accordance with the instructions of 6. Brigade to participate. The gendarmes in Wiener Neustadt were under Chief Gendarmerie Inspector de Gaspero.

Land grab

Invasion of the northern part of the country from November 13th to 17th, 1921

After the Inter-Allied General Commission officially approved the invasion of the Austrian Armed Forces into Burgenland, with the exception of the area around Ödenburg, on November 11, 1921, the conquest of the land began on November 13, 1921. The Wiener Neustädter Workers' Armed Forces, commanded by Vice Mayor Josef Püchler, had given the troops the weapons with which they had previously stocked up - with the knowledge of the Lower Austrian provincial government - in the Vienna arsenal; Nevertheless, due to the relatively low combat strength (7,200 rifles, 230 machine guns and 48 artillery pieces) and the negative experiences the gendarmerie made on the first attempt, the army command decided to initially only occupy the region north of Ödenburg.

The armed forces were divided from north to south:

  • 3rd Brigade with six battalions and two batteries near Bruck an der Leitha or north of it
  • 6th Brigade with seven battalions and two batteries starting from Wiener Neustadt
  • 4th Brigade with three battalions and two batteries south of the 6th Brigade
  • Reserve units in the form of four battalions and two heavy batteries remaining between Wiener Neustadt and Krumbach
  • The 5th Brigade initially remained on the Styrian border with four battalions and one battery

In total, the armed forces provided 17 battalions, 8 batteries as well as 2 technical companies and 3 liaison companies for the conquest of the northern part of the country.

The northern 3rd Brigade advanced from Wilfleinsdorf , Bruck an der Leitha, Rohrau , Hollern and Hainburg in five columns to Jois , Neusiedl am See , Parndorf, Neudorf , Pama and Edelstal . On November 14th she reached Frauenkirchen , Halbturn , Nickelsdorf , Deutsch Jahrndorf and Kittsee, a day later Podersdorf and Sankt Andrä am Zicksee . She finally reached her final destinations Andau and Pamhagen in the southeast corner of the Seewinkel on November 16 and 17. The procedure was made difficult by heavy snowfall, but only at Kittsee there was an exchange of fire with rioters.

The 6th Brigade advanced in four columns on Sauerbrunn , Zillingtal , Höflein and Eisenstadt. Already on November 14th, she reached her destinations in Rohrbach near Mattersburg , Draßburg , Siegendorf , Mörbisch and Rust.

The 4th Brigade, which followed south of the 6th Brigade, had an easier time than the 3rd Brigade, which advanced far into the Seewinkel. After Neudörfl and Neufeld had been reached on the first day of the conquest of the land , the goal was reached on November 14th by advancing approx. 10 km into the new federal state.

On November 25, 1921, Colonel Brigadier Rudolf Vidossich handed over the civil administration of the part of Burgenland north of Ödenburg to state administrator Davy. Davy took over the administration of this sub-area and reported to the Federal Ministry for the Army that the seat of the State Administration Office was temporarily the Neukloster Abbey in Wiener Neustadt.

In 1922, the border to the new neighboring states was freshly measured and petrified . The approximately 4,100 boundary stones are regularly checked and maintained by the BEV .

Invasion of the southern part of the country from November 25th to 30th, 1921

Memorial stone in Sinnersdorf , which commemorates the deployment of the 7th Alpine Hunter Regiment in this area. Inscription: LINZER ALPEN RGMT. 7, I. TECHNICAL TRAIN, 1922

The 5th Brigade deployed on the Styrian border and the two Brigades 3 and 4 deployed in the north were intended for the occupation of central and southern Burgenland. This made it necessary to move ten battalions and four batteries from the north of the country by rail to the south. The land seizure began on November 25th at 10 a.m. by 17 battalions and 9 batteries as well as support troops.

The 3rd Brigade again formed the northernmost force group and advanced in four columns with 8 battalions and 3 batteries from Krumbach, Kirchschlag and Hochwolkersdorf to Bernstein , Lockenhaus , Draßmarkt and Lackenbach. The next day, she continued via Lockenhaus, Oberpullendorf , Stoob , Neckenmarkt and Kobersdorf , and finally reached the destinations of Lutzmannsburg , Nikitsch and Deutschkreutz on the new state border on November 27th .

The 4th Brigade, advancing from Hartberg, Lafnitz and Friedberg in three columns, made up of a total of 5 battalions and 3 batteries, reached Pinkafeld, Riedlingsdorf and Markt Allhau on the first day . At around 12 noon, the units line up on the main square in Pinkafeld and were cheered by the population. One day later the units were in Oberschützen , Stadtschlaining, Oberwart and Rotenturm. Then there was a rest day - following rumors - to look for rioters in the woods. But these rumors turned out to be baseless; there was no resistance to the conquest in the south. The brigade finally reached the final destinations Rechnitz , Hannersdorf , Kohfidisch and Schachendorf on the evening of November 28th despite heavy snowfall.

The southernmost force group, the 5th Brigade, advanced in four columns from Fehring, Fürstenfeld and Bierbaum to Jennersdorf , Eltendorf and Stegersbach. On November 26th she reached Deutsch Tschantschendorf and St. Michael in order to take a rest day the next day. Here, too, the search for alleged irregulars was unsuccessful. Due to the bad weather only small parts reached Güssing on November 28th; the new border around Heiligenkreuz was finally occupied on November 30th.

On December 4, 1921, the Burgenland No. 1 brigade command reported to the Federal Ministry for the Army that the pacification of the southern part of Burgenland had been completed, whereupon, on December 6, 1921, State Administrator Davy was also handed over the southern part of Burgenland.

Ödenburger Heimatdienst

Poster of the Ödenburger Heimatdienst for the vote
Ballot papers for voting

After the conquest of the land, both sides, in Austria and Hungary, began to commit themselves to influencing the referendum in Ödenburg . In Austria, the Ödenburger Heimatdienst was founded based on the model of the Carinthian Heimatdienst . With Oberleutnant Hans Steinacher an employee was won for the Ödenburger Heimatdienst who had already gained experience in the Carinthian defensive battle and had proven himself there. The Ödenburger Heimatdienst had its headquarters in Vienna and a branch in Wiener Neustadt at Frauengasse No. 14 as well as a local editorial office in Wiener Neustadt at Wiener Straße No. 21 for the newspaper Der Freie Burgenländer, which appears twice a week in Vienna . The referendum, which took place on December 14, 1921 in the city of Ödenburg and on December 16, 1921 in the surrounding rural communities of the city of Ödenburg, ended with a majority of 65.08% of the votes for Hungary. The Ödenburger Heimatdienst did not want to accept this result. With Colonel Brigadier Rudolf Vidossich, supported by Lieutenant Hans Steinacher and the commander of the Wiener Neustädter Workers ' Armed Forces , Vice Mayor Josef Püchler , the following plan existed: From Ebenfurth, the railway workers, who formed a well-trained military special force of the Workers' Armed Forces, should cross over with two improvised armored trains the Raaber Bahn as well as the Ödenburger line ( Mattersburger Bahn ) of the Südbahn to Ödenburg proceed with the aim of cordoning off the voting area at Kohlndorf. Protected by the two armored trains, they wanted to occupy Ödenburg with the workers' armed forces and 3000 workers from the Daimler works in Wiener Neustadt. Furthermore, the support of 300 air soldiers from Wiener Neustädter Flugfeld was expected. When the Austrian government became aware of these plans, it immediately took action against them. Friedrich Adler , chairman of the Austrian workers 'council, intervened against it, and at a meeting of the Wiener Neustadt district workers' council, where Josef Püchler passionately advocated the plan, the plan was rejected by a majority. In Hungary the irregulars planned under Prónay, Héjjas u. a. After the referendum in Ödenburg, which had a positive outcome for them, a major attack on Burgenland in January 1922, a project that failed due to the objection of the Hungarian government.

Decision about Eisenstadt as capital

From the beginning, Ödenburg was planned as the capital of Burgenland. After the city remained with Hungary, a decision had to be made about the seat of the Burgenland provincial government. With the Federal Law Gazette No. 202/1922 of April 7, 1922, a provisional state order was published, which should come into force with the constitution of the state parliament, in which Bad Sauerbrunn was named as the provisional seat of the state government. However, there was a lack of space in Sauerbrunn. So other places were considered, also outside of Burgenland, such as Vienna with the still unused Augartenpalais and Wiener Neustadt with the Neukloster Abbey , the military academy and the building of the state dust-mute institute. The later governor Walheim prevailed against a provincial capital outside the country and stood up for Eisenstadt. After the first state parliament election in 1922, the Burgenland state parliament was convened in the Martin barracks in Eisenstadt. The final decision as to whether Eisenstadt, Mattersburg, Sauerbrunn or Pinkafeld would be the state capital was not made until 1925 for Eisenstadt.


Web links

Commons : Landnahme des Burgenland  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Province of Burgenland: The origin of the country name "Burgenland" (PDF) . Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  2. Federal Constitutional Law on the position of Burgenland as an independent and equal state in the Federation and on its provisional establishment, Federal Law Gazette No. 85
  3. Burgenland Landsmannschaft in Vienna: 70 years of Burgenland in Vienna (PDF; 710 kB) .
  4. Gerald Schlag: Born out of rubble - Burgenland 1918–1921. Eisenstadt 2001, p. 434 (PDF) .
  5. Gerald Schlag: Born out of rubble - Burgenland 1918–1921. Eisenstadt 2001, p. 396 (PDF) .
  6. Gerald Schlag: Born out of rubble - Burgenland 1918–1921. Eisenstadt 2001, p. 424 (PDF) .
  7. a b c Gerald Schlag: Born out of rubble - Burgenland 1918–1921. Eisenstadt 2001, pp. 401, 409 (PDF) .
  8. Hans H. Piff: From Pinkafö to Pinkafeld. A local historical walk. Project workshop Pinkafeld 2013, ISBN 978-3-200-03374-0 .
  9. Gerald Schlag: Born out of rubble - Burgenland 1918–1921. Eisenstadt 2001, p. 406 (PDF) .
  10. a b Certificates of the land grabbing of Burgenland. In: , accessed on January 17, 2015.
  11. a b Gerald Schlag: Born out of rubble - Burgenland 1918–1921. Eisenstadt 2001, p. 414 (PDF) .
  12. Hans H. Piff: From Pinkafö to Pinkafeld. A local historical walk. Pinkafeld project workshop 2013, ISBN 978-3-200-03374-0 , p. 469.
  13. Gerald Schlag: Born out of rubble - Burgenland 1918–1921. Eisenstadt 2001, p. 416 (PDF) .
  14. a b c d Gerald Schlag: Born out of rubble - Burgenland 1918–1921. Eisenstadt 2001, pp. 418, 420 (PDF) .
  15. Gerald Schlag: Born out of rubble - Burgenland 1918–1921. Eisenstadt 2001, p. 426 (PDF) .
  16. Gerald Schlag: Born out of rubble - Burgenland 1918–1921. Eisenstadt 2001, pp. 452-454 (PDF) .
  17. Hans H. Piff: From Pinkafö to Pinkafeld. A local historical walk. Pinkafeld project workshop 2013, ISBN 978-3-200-03374-0 , pp. 487-489.
  18. a b c d Gerald Schlag: Born out of rubble - Burgenland 1918–1921. Eisenstadt 2001, pp. 460-463 (PDF) .
  19. Landmarks are checked. In: ORF-Burgenland , June 20, 2015.
  20. a b c d Gerald Schlag: Born out of rubble - Burgenland 1918–1921. Eisenstadt 2001, pp. 462-465 (PDF) .
  21. Hans H. Piff: From Pinkafö to Pinkafeld. A local historical walk. Pinkafeld project workshop 2013, ISBN 978-3-200-03374-0 , p. 492.
  22. Federal Law Gazette No. 202/1922 of April 7, 1922 . Austrian National Library. Retrieved July 12, 2019.