Carpathian Germans

Around the 12th century, several Germans settled in the area of what is now Slovakia, requested to do so by a local Magyar leader. Muennichwies was the village that was entirely inhabited by Roman Catholic Germans who had their own culture and spoke German.

The town was established in 1113 and in modern-day Slovakia the name is Vricko and in Hungarian, it’s called Turoczremete. Other ways the name was spelled are Mönch Wies und Mönchwiese (Mönch means monk, and Wiese is meadow).

Collectively, these Germans are called Karpatendeutsche (Carpathian Germans), as they were living in the northern portions of the Carpathian mountains (the northern great Carpathian arc). Don’t confuse these people with the Transylvanian Saxons, another group of settlers who lived in the southern portions of the great Carpathian arc around the same time. These people are sometimes also (mistakenly) referred to as Carpathian Germans.

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Carpathian Germans’ Emigration to the US

map1555The Period 1860 – World War I

In the years between the 1860’s and World War I, thousands of Carpathian Germans were emigrating to the United States. Several families settled in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, particularly from Muennichwies after 1900.

Thomas Kendrick, a direct descendant, estimated their number at some 300 families around the end of the 1930’s. Another Carpathian Germans group, from Metzenseifen, settled in the Cleveland, Ohio, to work for Theodor Kundtz, a Metzenseifener immigrant who by the end of the 19th century had become wealthy by building the wooden cases for White sewing machines.

Quite a descendants of these Carpathian German families (for example the Eiben, Kundtz, and Mueller families) are still living there.

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Immigration From Muennichwies To Charleroi, PA

Immigration List 1900 – 1921 from Muennichwies to Charleroi and the Mon Valley Area

1910 Census List (not in database) for Charleroi.

Immigration List Contributed by Thomas Tast, Germany

What follows is a list of those who emigrated from Muennichwies to the US, most to Charleroi and the Mon Valley area. Note that not all arrived through New York (Ellis Island). Others arrived in ports such as Baltimore. Unfortunately, records for ports other than NY are not yet available online. When known, the ship name is given followed by arrival port. The date is given in European style – date.month.year.

To complete and verify the information search for your ancestor at Ellis Island. Note that during this time Muennichwies was part of Hungary and in the last few years, part of Czechoslovakia. Its name in other languages is Vricko or Turocremete. You should also be aware that there were many misspellings. Be sure to look at a page before or after on the ship’s manifest as they typically took two pages. Here are the 1900 – 1921 listings:

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Museum of Carpathian German Culture – Bratislava

c_karpatske_nem_1Museum of Carpathian German Culture (SNM – Múzeum kultúry karpatských Nemcov)
Žižkova Street 14 / Vajanského nábrežie 2, PO Box 13, 810 06 Bratislava 16, Slovakia
Phone: +421 2 544 15 570 / +421 2 204 91 225-8
Fax: +421 2 59207241 / E-mail:
Opening hours: Daily except Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last admission: 4:30 p.m.)

The museum is part of SNM (Slovak National Museum) and opened its doors on January 1, 1997 as a specialized museum on the life of Carpathian Germans through the ages. The Department of History & Culture of Carpathian Germans, an organization that was founded in 1994 (on August 1) had proceeded the museum as part of the Historical Museum Section of SNM.

The Museum of Carpathian German Culture (MCGC) is collecting, preserving, protecting, processing, and showcasing materials, articles, and artifacts that demonstrate the life and culture in all its varieties through the ages of Carpathian Germans and it is the museum’s mission to treat their culture and history objectively.

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Muennichwies (a.k.a. Vricko or Turoczremete) was a town in what is present-day Slovakia. It was founded in 1113 by Germans who had emigrated there at the request of the local Magyar ruler. During the centuries that followed, the hard-working people developed their own culture and customs. At its height, the population of Muennichwies was 2924 almost all of whom were German-speaking, Roman Catholics.

Recent history has been less kind. The turn of this century saw an emigration to America, especially Charleroi, Pennsylvania, as the resources of the Carpathian Mountains became scarce. Following World War II, the German-speaking people of this area were driven from their homes. The Muennichwies refugees settled in war-devastated Germany, Austria, and elsewhere. There, with no possessions except the resolve and energy that has always been their hallmark, they built a new life.

This website was created to preserve the history of the village and is a project of three high school teachers who educate youth towards their GED diplomas with BestGEDClasses online prep. They work together with like-minded friends on both sides of the Atlantic. We seek to aide descendants of Muennichwies in tracing their family roots. If desired, we may also be able to establish connections between distant relatives.

Life in the mountain valleys of the Mala Fatra (Smaller Fatra mountain range) was rich in folkways, customs, and traditional practices. In the quiet, remote places the folkways could be preserved in nearly pure ways unaffected by outside influences.

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