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From the Banat to North Dakota: A History of the German-Hungarian Pioneers in Western North Dakota

By David Dreyer and Josette S. Hatter

Institute for Regional Studies, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, 2006, 231 pages, Softcover.


In the spring of 1889 a young family of German colonists struck out on a solo journey to America from their home in the Banat region of Austria-Hungary. Within days of their arrival at the Port of New York, Johann Braun filed a homestead claim in Stark County, North Dakota, establishing with his wife, Anna, and their two small daughters, the first German-Hungarian homestead in North Dakota. What forces led them to leave their colonial home in the Banat? Why, within a few years, did other families sell their farms and follow the Brauns to southwestern North Dakota?

From The Banat to North Dakota is the first collection of personal histories written by and about the North Dakota Banaters. The collection joins archival data about these pioneers with their individual stories; together they weave a poignant tale about ordinary people relying on their personal courage, community spirit and cultural heri­tage, to succeed in North Dakota.

Johann Braun, Nickolaus Schuld and Carol Vogel. All were originally from the Klein Jetscha area of the Banata. Notice the traditional long-stemmed pipes. Photograph courtesy of Ruth Brown Steiner.
Lefor Schuetzenverein and Lefor Band. Photograph courtesy of Bill Schiwal.

About the Authors

David Dreyer
David Dreyer received a BS degree in chemistry in 1954 and a PhD in organic chemistry in 1960, both from the University of Washington. Upon retirement, after a thirty year career as a research chemist, he has devoted himself to the study of ethnic Germans from the former Hungarian province of the Banat. He is the recipient of a Ehrenbrief from the Landsmannschaft der Banater Schwaben for his work on various aspects of Banat history. The originator and primary author of the Banat Family History Series, his research has also been published in German-American Genealogy, The Federation of Eastern European Family History Societies Journal and is freely available via the internet.

Josette Hatter
A descendant of the first German-Hungarian family to settle in North Dakota, Josette Steiner Hatter grew up in southwestern North Dakota. Her research in family history led to her collaboration with David Dreyer on this work. She graduated from North Daokta State University with a B.S. in psychology and received an M.A. in psychology from Wake Forest University. Employed as a counselor at the University of California, Irvine, she is also a free-lance writer. Her previous works have been published in North American Review and Riviera Magazine and German-American Genealogy. She lives with her husband in Dana Point, California.


From the Banat to North Dakota

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