The First Historical Records The area where nowadays there are the villages forming the Tormac Commune has been mentioned in records since the Roman period, the soldiers injured in wars being sent back then to the Buziaş Baths, at the thermal springs, in order to recover and rest. In 849 came the hordes of the Huns, who have settled in this area, later fighting fiercely against voivode Glad. He was defeated in the end, the Huns occupying the present territory of the Timiş county. The new rulers installed captain Kund as first leader. He divided the territory at his own will, but his rule did not last for long, the internal rivalries leading to the succession of several pretenders to the rule of this land. The locality of Şipet appears in the historical records since the Middle Ages, in documents dating back to 1462, where it can be found with the name of “Magyarzebenth”. During the Ottoman rule, this was one of the most populous Banat villages. The Hungarian historians consider that Șipet had been inhabited in the beginning by Hungarians or by Slovaks, even though in the last centuries it has been a Romanian village. At the 1717 conscription, it appears with the name of “Schipeth”. In the 19th century, the Șipet domain entered the possession of the Duca family, by means of an Imperial donation, as a result of Field Marshal Petre Duca (1755-1822)’s feats of arms in the Napoleonic wars. The village lay on an older hearth, located in the area called “Satul bătrân” (The Old Village), but, around 1894, it moved on a new one, because of the continuous attacks and plunderings of the rebel Hungarians from the neighbouring village, Tormac. The cholera epidemic of 1873 reduced the village population by half. During the Hungarian rule, it was called “Sipeth”, “Sipet”, “Sebed”. With the financial support of the Bessarabian Maecenas Vasile Stroescu, the Orthodox confessional school was built. The foundation stone of the Orthodox church was laid on 25th August 1935, in the presence of bishop Vasile Lăzărescu. In an Ottoman register dating back to the year 1554, the Cadăr village is mentioned as having 8 houses. In the 19th century, the Cadăr domain belonged to the Duca family, by means of an Imperial donation, along with the Şipet domain. In September-October of the year 1817, baron Petre Duca accompanied Emperor Francisc I and his wife, Augusta Carolina, in their journey across Banat. The First Colonists of Tormac Over the time, several wars related to the Citadel of Timişoara, peasants’ rebellions (the most important being that of 1514, led by Gheorghe Doja), the Turkish occupation (1551-1716) took place, until the great Occidental powers decided to embark together on a military action against the Turks. The leader of these armies was Emperor Leopold, and in the Timişoara area they were led by Prince Eugene of Savoy, who began the siege of the Timişoara citadel on 15th August 1716, and on 1st October he managed to enter the citadel. This is how the 164-year-long Turkish occupation of these territories came to an end. At the suggestion of Prince Eugene of Savoy, King Karol III of Hungary assigned to the Count of Mercy the task of organizing this region. He restored the roads, drew the first military map of the region, brought colonists from Germany, France, Italy, and Poland and started the deforestation of the land, giving it back to the farmers – a fertile, black soil, but one that was very difficult to work. The colonization of the “Lunca Timişului” area was started after the retreat of the Turks, in 1716, and it lasted until 1787, as a first phase. The first colonists were moved there from the Szabolcs and Pest Hungarian districts, being Catholics. After the passing away of Empress Maria Theresa, the throne of the Empire was occupied by Emperor Josef II, who issued another colonization decree in 1782, but this proved to be a failure. In 1784, he issued another decree, with practical effects: the building of houses for the new colonists, in the places where it had been established to found new settlements. Every locality had prepared for distribution to the colonists grains, dairy cattle, fodder, waggons, horses, household utensils, including dishes. All this was distributed for free. During this period, in addition to the colonies Niţchidorf, Bacova, Ciacova, Deta, Recaş, Liebling, Rittberg was also colonized, having a number of 234 inhabitants. At its founding, the great Rittberg commune was part of the territory of Southern Hungary, which encompassed the territories between the Mureş, Tisa and Danube Rivers, and the Apuseni Mountains, respectively. In 1900, the surface of the Rittberg locality was of 10.367.115 acres and it had a population of 3.060 inhabitants and 400 house numbers. The lands belonged to the Hungarian Kingdom Treasury until they were bought by Baron Sina Simion, and subsequently by the Neuman brothers, from Arad (a descendant of the Neuman brothers is still alive today, in Canada, bearing the name of Neuman de Végvári). The Hungarian Colonists The Swabian colonists were unable to adapt to living in the new colony: they had conflicts with the inhabitants of the neighbouring village, Şipet, the land was difficult to work, and the harvest was not always reflecting the work they had invested in it. After five years, in 1794, led by their preacher, Kropf Felician, the colonists left the locality in just one night, settling in present-day Darova. Only eight families stayed in Rittberg. The lands from this area became the property of the Hungarian Treasury, and the Hungarian Government, being aware of the investments that had been made in this colony, decided, in 1794, to bring here other colonists, from the Tisa and Hungarian Cenad regions, the Csongrad and Bekes districts. Altogether, 150 Hungarian colonists were initially brought, occupying the houses left empty by the Swabians. Changing their domicile, they started a new life that was tough, but full of hope. The colonists chose to come to this new region, which had become uninhabited, because in their place of origin they no longer had optimal conditions to form new families, on account of the scarce land and of the large number of children in every family. The first years were difficult ones, they had to resort to great efforts, but, as the existing documents show, in 1800 they were negotiating with the representatives of the Government in order to obtain certain advantages, arising from obligations the Hungarian State had towards the colonists. On 7th June 1800, a treaty was signed by the representatives of the Timişoara Treasury, Baron Boselli, Konig Antal, the Reformed priest Boros Istvan, the mayor of the locality, Korsos Peter, respectively by 144 Reformed inhabitants. Through this agreement, the Hungarian colonists received houses or building materials, arable land, fields for viticulture, already-dug wells and help for their maintenance. In exchange, this agreement forced the colonists to not leave the area, to be diligent and take good care of their households. The colonists organized themselves, they elected Szuts Ferentz as mayor and the first notary was Kava Samuel. The priest Boros Istvan came, together with a part of the congregation, from Magyar-Ittebe, nowadays part of the Serbia-Montenegro, respectively Voivodina territory. The first schoolmaster, Szedery Janos, came from Szentes. Some of the colonists had come from the region adjacent to the Tisa River, where the land was easy to work, the living conditions were good, and, after the first years, they returned there. Other colonists were brought and occupied the houses left empty, but it is impossible to establish exactly where they were coming from. Harder times followed in the colonists’ lives, since in 1810, Rittberg, as a Royal donation, became the property of Prince Meriadec of Pohan Guemeni Lajos Victor, from whom it was bought by Earl Voikffy Istvan. In 1829, these domains became the property of Baron Sina Gyorgy, being successively inherited by his son, Baron Sina Simion, by the latter’s daughter, Annasztaziana, and by the Earl Wimpfen Simon. Most of the owners, until Sina Gyorgy, refused to respect the provisions of the agreement that had been signed in 1800, no longer granting the local people’s privileges. After 1834, the locality began developing again, and the new owner, Baron Sina, renewed the signed agreement and granted the colonists’ rights. The locals started the building of a church and Baron Sina donated money for this purpose. But the year 1847 was a particularly difficult one, with poor harvests, and the funds gathered from different donations in order to build the church were distributed among the people in need and even among the more well-to-do householders. So great was the famine, that the owner of the neighbouring village domains, Gătaia, landowner Gorove Istvan, sent help to the inhabitants of Rittberg and ordered clothes and shoes to be made for the children of the wealthier householders. This gesture also contained an electoral element, because the local elections took place that same year, and the landowner wanted to keep his position. But, despite his attempts, the elections were won by his opponent, Ambrozy, who became Timiş subprefect. Notwithstanding all the hardships that its inhabitants had endured, eventually, in 1848, Rittberg had become a locality respected by the other ones, that were inhabited by people of other nationalities. Rittberg During the 1848 Revolution Rumors about the revolution had spread to Rittberg, too: the colonists started having great expectations, the serfs believed they would become free, the householders wanted to be the owners of the land they were cultivating. The landowners, the Earls and the Barons did not want to lose the great domains, the forests. Although Baron Sina was the owner of the land since 1834, only then did he consider appropriate to be vested, in the presence of a big delegation from Timişoara, which included the subprefect Ambrozy, great landowners from the region, representatives of the Catholic Church, etc. On 11th April 1848, serfdom was abolished, people no longer did compulsory work, and they became the owners of the land they were cultivating. When the revolution reached Rittberg, Baja Jozsef and Szabo Mihaly became mayors until December, when they were handcuffed and taken to Timişoara. The Reformed preacher’s name was Gonczy Zolnay Daniel, and the schoolmaster was Jager Janos. At the first recruitment, in Rittberg, 40 Hungarian soldiers, including young and older people, enlisted. They did not spend too much time reflecting; the next day after the recruitment, led by old Talyai Mihaly, aged 60, they left towards the battalion they were assigned to. A lot of them lost their lives in battle, including their leader, Talyai, all of them being considered heroes of Rittberg. Altogether, during the three recruitments that took place, about 80 local people enrolled in the Hungarian soldier troops. In addition to the battles that took place on the battlefield, those left at home had to endure the raids of the people from the neighbouring villages, who were supporting the Imperial troops. The response of the occupying troops from Timişoara did not take long to appear. The commander sent an infantry battalion with four cannons, followed by the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages, eager to plunder. On 10th December 1848, the frightened population began leaving the locality, the Emperor’s troops started plundering and pillaging the locality and the people they caught. A disorder beyond description was created, until the strong intervention of the armed troops. Hardly did they manage to stop the plundering and to bring the local people back to their homes, when they started the trial of those guilty of what had happened. The mayor was the first to be tried, being hit 20 times with a bat and sent handcuffed to Timişoara for his deeds. He was charged with tolling the church bells in order to alarm and instigate the locals. Probably the same punishment was in store for the priest Zolnay Daniel, but he got away unscathed, by hiding in the attic of a parishioner, as well as for the schoolmaster Jager Janos, the instigator of the Blajova crimes, who hid in the woods, after which nobody found him and neither did he return to the locality. The other participants could not be identified, so that the Baron confiscated all he could and returned to Timişoara with a huge tihte: he seized all the barley of the church, 20 cubic metres of wood and 20 cows. Afterwards, peace came over Rittberg. The last recruitment took place on 1st May 1849, and the last episode of this independence war was when the troops led by Lazăr Vilmos, after the battle of Timişoara, lost by Kossuth’s troops, retreated through Rittberg. Among the 15.000 Hungarian soldiers there were many young people from this locality. Rittberg Between 1867-1901 After Kossuth’ Hungarian soldiers lay down their arms, the lives of Rittberg’s inhabitants also calmed down. People attended to their business, receiving the help of the Timişoara Prefecture, and began the reconstruction of the locality from all points of view. After the signing of the 1866 pact with Austria, the Austrian-Hungarian dualism worked well for this locality, too. After the crowning of the Austrian Emperor in 1867, the people were no longer afraid. Local elections were organized, Babella Janos being elected as mayor, followed by zs. Kiss Sandor, and in 1870 by Szoke Mihaly, all of them being well-known and appreciated householders. The notary of the locality was Molitorisz Balazs, who took part in the 1848-1849 events as an officer in the Hungarian soldiers troops. He was the first clerk of the Postal Agency, founded in 1862. It was he, also, who organized and opened in 1881 the first Agency of the Loan and Savings Bank. After his retirement, in 1890, his son, Karoly, was chosen in his place, practising for 10 years, during which time Rittberg started to develop again: the present village hall was built, the problem of the land was solved by means of the registration in the Land Register, the railroad was made, etc. The tomb of the distinguished notary can still be seen today in the commune cemetery. During this period of time, at the celebration of the locality’s centenary, its name was also changed to Végvár. In 1901, schoolmaster Nikolenyi Istvan created a population register, where the following data were recorded: 130 births, 135 deaths and 27 marriages. In the commune there were 601 house numbers and 3060 inhabitants. At the 1861 parliamentary elections, the commune elected Baron La’Presti Arpad, the descendant of Baron La’Presti Fontana d’Angioli’s family, from Castile. In 1865, the representative of Végvár in the Parliament was Mocsonyi Sandor, and in 1868 the lawyer Nedeczky Istvan. Starting with 1870, the representative of the commune was Vargics Imre, for a period of time of 23 years. The population’s health status until the arrival of the first physician, Dr. Grun Ede, was a precarious one. The only doctor in the entire area was at Buziaş, but, on account of the bad roads and the poverty, the people did not have the possibility of taking the patients to be seen by him. People followed the advice of the barber or of the various women healers and used plant-based cures and blood-letting in order to get rid of the “bad blood”. The young doctor Grun Ede found out it was no easy task to convince the people to no longer follow the advice of the barbers or of the healers and give up the old ways of treating the diseases. Medical activity also developed thanks to the new pharmacy, which was opened in 1887. In Végvár there were at that time two financial institutions, namely: “The Végvár Savings and Mutual Help Association”, founded in 1891, and “The Communal Loan Cooperation”, founded in 1901. The Name of the Locality Rittberg - Végvár - Tormac The origin of the name “Rittberg” has remained unclear to this day, because several versions have been recorded: a. It is said that the locals, seeing the vast grasslands, rising above the neighbouring localities, named the new settlement Rittberg. b. The more credible version is that the Empress Maria Theresa had had as a lover an Austrian general called Rittberg (indeed, on the pedestal of a monument of the Empress appears a general with this name) and that this general would have been a close friend of the Chancellor Kaunitz Venczel, who would have named the new colony after his friend (there are other examples of this kind: the Niţchidorf village was named after baron Nitchi). c. A third version is that the father of Chancellor Kaunitz inherited certain territories, including a locality called Rittberg, and gave its name to the new colony. Studying the present map of Germany, we can see that there is, indeed, a locality with this name. Later on, at the centenary of the locality, the village received the name of “Végvár”, due to the Hungarian colonists who had settled there in 1794. The village elders decided they had to give the locality a Hungarian name, because there were very few local people of Swabian origin left, and, to the inhabitants of that time, the name of “Rittberg” had no significant meaning. Therefore, they chose that name: Végvár, meaning “The Last Citadel”, in which they had invested all their hopes, their dreams of a better and more prosperous life. The present-day name, that of “Tormac”, was given to the locality after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, at the end of the First World War. In the military archives there is an older map, according to which there would have been another locality before Rittberg, at about 1 km South of the present one, called “Tormas”.