Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Sociology


Saxons--Romania--Transylvania--Social conditions; Saxons--Ethnic identity; Ethnology--Romania--Transylvania; Transylvania (Romania)--Social life and customs


This thesis focuses on the social structure of a small German minority in Transylvania, Romania. As the first inhabitants of this region, the history of the Saxons in Transylvania is a long and rich one. Social institutions and organizations core to the structure of the community are the result of hundreds of years of development. As the Saxons are a German minority, they imported most technological and cultural revolutions from Germany. The tie to Germany remains unbroken to this day. However, the bond with Germany would, in this century, cause catastrophic outcomes for the Saxons. Their association with Nazi Germany during World War II led to massive deportations, accounting for thousands of deaths in the Saxon community. Later in this century, as borders to the West opened, over 90% of the Saxon community took advantage of the age-old tie to Germany and emigrated. From a peak of 300,000 Saxons before World War II the community holds on to fewer than 17,000 today. The focus of this study is how the remaining community, most of whom are elderly, holds on to its identity as such a tiny minority. To prove the assertion that the Saxon community is still strong, I focus on its social organizations and institutions, most importantly churches and schools. These entities, as I outline in my paper, are highly effective and largely responsible for maintaining a strong community in the face of very disturbing demographics.


Includes bibliographical references (page [72])


71, [1] pages




Northern Illinois University

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