According to information from the Croatian government, there are around 50,000 Croatians living in Hungary. They are divided into those from Burgenland, Pomurje and the Danube areas, and have been there since the 16th century. Back in 1863, a law regarding nationalities was passed in Hungary, which protected the minorities’ rights to use their mother tongues in school and church, and thus facilitated the development of the Croatian national movement.
HOSIG, or the Croatian kindergarten, elementary school, high school, and student dorm all in one, is active in Budapest. HOSIG was founded some seventy years ago, primarily as a south-Slavic, and later a Croatian-Serbian institution. Since 1993, it has been acting as an autonomous Croatian school, and is entirely incorporated into the Hungarian school system. The school is a place that preserves and nurtures the cultural heritage of Croatians in Hungary. It is attended by Croatians from Budapest and its vicinity, as well as Croatians from all over Hungary, and even some from Croatia, Vojvodina, and Bosnia and Hercegovina. Even those who aren’t necessarily of Croatian descent, but are interested in Croatian culture or the language, are motivated to enroll in this school. The school’s website, run by Anna Gojtan, proudly states that parents enroll their children into the school thanks to the warm familial environment they cultivate. The school maintains a friendly relationship to Croatian school, and their graduates go on excursions to Croatia.
Entrance to the student dorm
A visit of the students from the ‘Josip Hatze’ School of Music from Split, with Petra Filipović on violin, preparing to play Canzonetta by Croatian composer Dora Pejačević.
There are bilingual sings in Burgenland. They can, for example, be observed in Gornji Četar, which is also known as Felsocsatar.
Bilingual sign in Gornji Četar
The Hungarian post has published postal stamps dedicated to Croatians. Some of them include the Zrinskis and Frankopans, who were once the most powerful Croatian-Hungarian families, and were a result of the joining of the Šubićs of Zrin and Krka’s Frankopan counts. The most well-known representative of the family is certainly count Nikola Šubić Zrinski (1508 – 1566), who was made famous by defending the Sziget fort from a Turkish attack in 1566. With a small crew of 2,500 soldiers, he defended the fort heroically, and when he saw that his defeat was imminent, he charged with the head of his crew and died in battle.
There are also postal stamps dedicated to St. Margaret of Hungary (1242 – 1271), priestess and daughter of the Hungarian king Bela IV and Maria Laskaris, born in Klis near Split, where the royal couple lived in exile during the Mongolian invasion of Hungary. The parents vowed to have their unborn child dedicated to religion should Hungary be freed from the Mongols. Thus it was that Margaret, as a four year old child, was entrusted to the Dominicans in Vesprim. In her twelfth year she took her vows in the monastery in Budim, which the king had constructed for her. This is where she spent her entire life, performing penitent acts, wearing an iron girdle and sandals with nails in them, and doing the dirtiest tasks in the monastery. She healed the sick, and brought them back from the dead, and has twenty seven miracles attributed to her.
Stamps and remains from the monastery at Budim, where Margaret spent her life