Bečej (Serbian: Бечеј or Bečej, Hungarian: Óbecse, Rusin: Бечей, Croatian: Bečej, German: Altbetsche, Romanian: Becei) is a town and municipality located in the South Bačka District of Vojvodina, Serbia. The town has a population of 25,703, while Bečej municipality has 40,877 inhabitants.
Bečej was mentioned first during the Hungarian Kingdom
in 1091 and later in 1238, in which is mentioned under Hungarian name Becse. In the 15th century (from 1419 to 1441) it was a possession of the Serbian
despot Đurađ Branković
. In the [17th century] the settlement was populated by new colonists who ran away from the Turkish conquest, mainly by ethnic Serbs from the South. Between 1702 and 1751, the town belonged to the Tisa
section of the Habsburg Military Frontier
. After the abolishment of this part of the Frontier in 1751, many Serbs
that lived in the town emigrated to Russia
(notably to New Serbia
). To prevent this emigration, the Habsburg authorities formed autonomous District of Potisje
with seat in Bečej. District of Potisje existed between 1751 and 1848. The three privilegies were given to the district in 1759, 1774, and 1800. First privilege of the District defined its autonomous status, while the second one allowed ethnic Hungarians
to settle in the district. In the following period many Hungarians settled in Bečej and they replaced Serbs as a dominant nation in the town. According to the 1910 census, the population of Bečej municipality numbered 54,275 people, of whom 30,465 spoke Hungarian
and 22,821 Serbian
Since 1918, Bečej was part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and subsequent South Slavic states. During the Hungarian Axis occupation, in 1942 raid, 215 inhabitants of the town were murdered, of whom 111 were men, 72 women, 13 children, and 19 old people. By nationality, victims included 110 Jews, 102 Serbs, and 1 Hungarian. In 1944 October 9. raid, about 500 inhabitants (mainly Hungarians, and Germans) of the town were murdered by Yugoslavian partisans. They also demolished the synagogue after the war. The town also had small ethnic German population, which was relocated from the area after World War II, as a consequence of the war events, and of a Serbian retribution.
Bečej municipality includes the town of Bečej and the following villages:
Note: For the inhabited places with absolute or relative Hungarian ethnic majority, the names are also given in Hungarian.
Demographics (2002 census)
Bečej is an ethnically mixed town and municipality.
Ethnic groups in the Bečej municipality
- Hungarians = 20,018 (48.84%)
- Serbs = 16,832 (41.07%) (*)
- Yugoslavs = 1,070 (2.61%) (*)
- Roma = 479 (1.17%)
- Croats = 437 (1.07%) (*)
- Montenegrins = 229 (0.56%) (*)
(*) Total number of South Slavs (Serbs, Yugoslavs, Croats, and Montenegrins) that live in the municipality is 18,568 (45.30%).
Settlements by ethnic majority
Settlements with a Hungarian ethnic majority are: Bačko Petrovo Selo (Hungarian: Péterréve) and Mileševo (Hungarian: Istenföldje). There is one settlement with a Serb ethnic majority: Radičević. Two settlements: Bečej (Hungarian: Óbecse) and Bačko Gradište (Hungarian: Bácsföldvár) are ethnically mixed, with the largest ethnic group there being the Hungarians.
Ethnic groups in the Bečej town
- Hungarians = 11,725 (45.49%)
- Serbs = 11,197 (43.44%) (*)
- Yugoslavs = 808 (3.14%) (*)
- Croats = 298 (1.16%) (*)
- Roma = 185 (0.72%)
- Montenegrins = 172 (0.67%) (*)
(*) Total number of South Slavs (Serbs, Yugoslavs, Croats, and Montenegrins) that live in the town is 12,475 (48.40%).
Languages in the Bečej municipality
Languages spoken in the Bečej municipality include:
- Hungarian (50.29%)
- Serbian (46.63%)
- Other. (3.08%)
Historical population of the town
- 1961: 24,963
- 1971: 26,722
- 1981: 27,102
- 1991: 26,634
Seats in the municipal parliament won in the 2004 local elections:
Results of 2008 local elections in Bečej municipality:
- Hungarian Coalition - Pásztor István - Sándor Pál - 6.366 votes- 29.63% - 13 seats
- Movement for Bečej - Dušan Jovanović - 3.859 votes- 17,96% - 8 seats
- For a European municipality of Bečej - Boris Tadić - Budislav Medurić - 3.646 votes- 16,97% - 7 seats
- Coalition "Serbian unity for Bečej" - SRS - DSS - NS - Dragan Živkov Džaja - 3.236 votes- 15.06% - 6 seats
- Kao jedna kuća - Mint egy ház (As an one home) - Goran Sadžakov - 1.128 votes- 5.25% - 2 seats
- List "For Our Municipality" - Coalition of PUPS and CG "Successful people" - Milovanov Živko Braca - 756 votes- 3.25%
- Liberal democratic party - Old Bečej - New people - Čedomir Jovanović - 732 votes- 3.41%
- Movement for turn-over - Jovan Ječanski Jole - 673 votes- 3.13%
- Socialist Party of Serbia - Dr Zora Apić - 627 votes - 2.92%
Municipaly Assembley, counting 36 members, according to party's membership:
- Movement for Bečej (Pokret za Bečej - PzB) - Dušan Jovanović - 8 delegates
- Vojvodian Hungarians Union (Savez vojvođanskih Mađara - SVM) - 6 delegates
- Serbian radical party (Srpska radikalna stranka - SRS) - 5 delegates
- Vojvodian Hungarians Democratic community (Demokratska zajednica vojvođanskih Mađara - DZVM)- 5 delegates
- Democratic party (Demokratska stranka - DS) - 4 delegates
- Kao jedna kuća - Mint egy ház (As an one home) - 2 delegates
- Vojvodian Hungarians Democratic party (Demokratska stranka vojvođanskih Mađara - DSVM)- 2 delegates
- G17 Plus - 2 delegates
- League of socialdemocrats of Vojvodina (Liga socijaldemokrata Vojvodine - LSV) - 1 delegate
- Democratic party of Serbia (Demokratska stranka Srbije - DSS) - 1 delegate
Local Government is consist of: Movement for Bečej, As an one home, Vojvodian Hungarians Union, Vojvodian Hungarians Democratic party, League of socialdemocrats of Vojvodina, Democratic party and G17 Plus.
Local Parliament's Speaker is Dušan Jovanović (PzB).
Mayor is Péter Knézi (SVM), and his deputy is Budislav Medurić (DS).
Members of Municipality Council are: György Ricz (SVM - healthy and social work), István Acsai (SVM - local communities and civil organizations), Ilona Varnyú (DSVM - education and culture), Dušan Radivojević (PzB - economz and investitions), András Boja (PzB - agriculture), Marjan Radičević (G17 Plus - National investiotion's planning), Endre Szabó (Kao jedna kuća - implementation of Local Strategy for enterpreneurship's development), Pál Sándor (LSV - national relationship and relations with religious communities) i Dragan Mesaroš (DS - small and medium enterprises)
- Slobodan Ćurčić, Broj stanovnika Vojvodine, Novi Sad, 1996.
- Zvonimir Golubović, Racija u južnoj Bačkoj 1942. godine, Novi Sad, 1991.
- Jovan Mirosavljević, Brevijar ulica Novog Sada 1745-2001, Novi Sad, 2002.