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Life under occupation

Around 90,000 people found themselves under the Hungarian occupation, of which about 15 thousand were Hungarians. The gained territory was considered by the Hungarians as part of the lost southern provinces (Délvidék).

The particularities of Prekmurje in both the occupation and border delimitation were intertwined, prompting a mixed response from the population. The Hungarian minority and part of the pro-Hungarian population favored Hungary, and their expectations were met when the Germans handed over Prekmurje to the Hungarians. At first, part of the Prekmurje population - partly because of their temporary work experience in Germany, partly because of Nazi social demagogy - was passionate about Germany. The Germans living in the villages of Goričko were quite pleased about joining the Reich. The Volksdeutschers of Prekmurje had to stay despite the promise of relocation, although they did not suffer under Hungary. The people of Prekmurje were exposed to forced Magyarization, mobilization and other measures by the Hungarian authorities. New transport lines with Prekmurje were established for the Slovenes of Porabje, making contact with relatives easier. The settlers who immigrated to Prekmurje during the interwar agrarian reform were interned at the Sárvár internment camp. The Jews of Prekmurje got the worst when they were deported to concentration camps in 1944 with only a few survivors. A similar fate awaited the Roma population of Prekmurje, but fortunately, it did not fulfill.

The exact number of casualties of war in Prekmurje is unknown, but the approximated figures range between 1000 and 2000 (around 1.6% of the population), but many categories (e.g. death toll of forcibly mobilized) are not fully covered. For the time being, it is estimated that the number of victims was below the Slovenian average (6.6% of the population) due to the more tolerant attitude of the Hungarians towards the people of Prekmurje (»The Wendish«).

»The people were more inclined towards the Germans /.../. The Hungarians here (in Gerlinci) were stricter and the occupation complete. What happened in the neighboring village of Fikšinci (under German occupation)? During the war, they paved the road from Austria all the way to the village center. /.../ They took care of the infrastructure. Those people were a bit more satisfied. Nothing was done here.« (Alojz Grah, Gerlinci, April 14, 2018). Author:Božidar Flajšman.
»The people were more inclined towards the Germans /.../. The Hungarians here (in Gerlinci) were stricter and the occupation complete. What happened in the neighboring village of Fikšinci (under German occupation)? During the war, they paved the road from Austria all the way to the village center. /.../ They took care of the infrastructure. Those people were a bit more satisfied. Nothing was done here.« (Alojz Grah, Gerlinci, April 14, 2018). Author:Božidar Flajšman.


»We had four lots on the German side /.../. We hauled the feed across the border. I was on the cart. The Germans were not that strict; the Hungarians were worse. They carried bayonets on their rifles, poking them inside the feed to see if we're smuggling something across the border /.../ The German side was more abundant compared to the Hungarian one.« (Emil Stojko, and his wife Katarina, Veščica, January 25, 2020). Author: Božidar Flajšman.
»We had four lots on the German side /.../. We hauled the feed across the border. I was on the cart. The Germans were not that strict; the Hungarians were worse. They carried bayonets on their rifles, poking them inside the feed to see if we're smuggling something across the border /.../ The German side was more abundant compared to the Hungarian one.« (Emil Stojko, and his wife Katarina, Veščica, January 25, 2020). Author: Božidar Flajšman.


Attila and István Kovács (right): »In the autumn of '44, two Hungarian soldiers came to us /.../. They visited us every day, sleeping there. They collected things for the army throughout the villages, requisitioning. Then in the spring of '45, when the front was pretty close and the Russians were nearing, they left ...« After the war, he reconnected with the family of one of them. (István Kovács, Dobrovnik, January 26, 2020). Author: Božidar Flajšman.
Attila and István Kovács (right): »In the autumn of '44, two Hungarian soldiers came to us /.../. They visited us every day, sleeping there. They collected things for the army throughout the villages, requisitioning. Then in the spring of '45, when the front was pretty close and the Russians were nearing, they left ...« After the war, he reconnected with the family of one of them. (István Kovács, Dobrovnik, January 26, 2020). Author: Božidar Flajšman.


»There were Slovenian teachers all over Prekmurje who did not speak Hungarian at all. They are gone /.../. There (new) teachers were appointed by the Hungarians. Some came from there, some from here since they spoke Hungarian and could teach in elementary schools.« (Jozsef Biro, Lendava, January 26, 2020). Author: Božidar Flajšman.
»There were Slovenian teachers all over Prekmurje who did not speak Hungarian at all. They are gone /.../. There (new) teachers were appointed by the Hungarians. Some came from there, some from here since they spoke Hungarian and could teach in elementary schools.« (Jozsef Biro, Lendava, January 26, 2020). Author: Božidar Flajšman.