Who lives (or is un-dead) in Transylvania?

Who lives (or is un-dead) in Transylvania?

  • Getting in practice for her lifelong habit of being in the ethnic and religious minority,
    Marianne was a Hungarian citizen but she never learned Hungarian.
    That's because, as her parents reminded her,
    "Du darfst nicht vergessen, daß Du Deutsche bist!"
    (You mustn't forget that you're a German.)

    The operative word was "volksdeutsch" (ethnic German)
    as opposed to "reichsdeutsch" (of German nationality).

  • The Siegmund family was descended from a long line of Transylvanian Saxons,
    a branch of German speakers that had been in Southeastern Europe
    since around the year 1100 or 1200 (whichever came first).

    One legend has it that the Transylvanian Saxons
    were the offspring of the children led away by the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

    A more reliable source tells us that the King of Hungary, Geysa II,
    made a request for Germans to come and make settlements in the area "beyond the woods."

  • The advantages to him were many, maybe even as many as three:
    1. the Germans were known to be efficient workers;
    2. the German settlers could serve as a buffer zone against the constant attacks of Turkish armies; and
    3. if the Magyar elections were deadlocked, the "Saxons"could help manually recount the ballots.
    (Just kidding on #3.)

  • These Transylvanian Saxons had nothing to do with the Kingdom of "Saxony." (What's more... saxophones hadn't even been invented yet.) They were a totally distinct group of German speakers that originally came, it appears, from an area between the nation of Luxembourg and the city of Trier (hometown of Karl Marx) near the Mosel and Rhine rivers.

  • It's definitely worth pointing out that the inventor of Lysol was a Transylvanian,
    and there has been a lot of "ethnic cleansing" in the area ever since.

  • Since towns in Transylvania have at least three or four names apiece,
    such as my wife's hometown:

    Székelyudvarhely (Hungarian)
    Odorheiu (Romanian)
    Odorhellen (German),

    or the town of some of her relatives:

    Segesvár (Hungarian)
    Sighisoara (Romanian)
    Schäßburg (German),

    it's clear that the German, Hungarians and Romanians
    have been in each other's face for centuries.

    More recent residents include Slavic and Gypsy groups.

  • What is Transylvania?

  • Where is this place?

  • Who lives (or is un-dead) there?

  • Does Transylvania have a normal history?

  • But what about Dracula and vampires?

  • Why would I marry a Transylvanian?