Germans settled in the northern territory of the Kingdom of Hungary (territory of present day Slovakia) from the 12th to 15th centuries (see Ostsiedlung), mostly after the Mongol invasion of 1241. There were probably some isolated settlers in the area of Pressburg earlier. The Germans were usually attracted by kings seeking specialists in various trades, such as craftsmen and miners. They usually settled in older Slavic market and mining settlements. The main settlement areas were in the vicinity of Pressburg and some language islands in the Spiš and the Hauerland regions. The settlers in the Spiš region were known as Zipser Sachsen. Until approximately the 15th century, the ruling classes of most cities in present day Slovakia consisted almost exclusively of Germans.
The Carpathian Germans were, as the Slovaks, subjected to Magyarization policies in the latter half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. However many Carpathian Germans as Germans in general voluntary magyarized their names because they saw that act as a tool (and possibility) of getting higher on the social and economic ladder.
During the First Czechoslovak Republic (1918-1938), Carpathian Germans had a specific political party, the Zipser deutsche Partei (1920-1938) of Andor Nitsch, who was elected from 1925 to 1935 on a common Hungarian-German list for parliamentary elections. In 1929, another party, more nationalist-oriented, was formed in Bratislava, the Karpathendeutschen Partei, which made a common list at the 1935 parliamentary elections with the Sudeten German Party, whose leader Konrad Henlein became its head in 1937 with Franz Karmasin as deputy. In 1935, both parties obtained a seat in both parliamentary assemblies. In 1939 the KdP was renamed Deutsche Partei with as führer Franz Karmasin, who had become in October 1938 state secretary for German Affairs in the Tiso government.
The status of Slovak Republic as a client state of Nazi Germany during World War II made life difficult for Carpathian Germans at the war's end. Nearly all remaining Germans fled or were evacuated by the German authorities before the end of the war. Most Germans from Spiš evacuated to Germany or the Sudetenland before the arrival of the Red Army. This evacuation was mostly due to the initiative of Adalbert Wanhoff and the preparations of the diocese of the German Evangelical Church, between mid-November 1944 and January 21, 1945. The Germans from Bratislava were evacuated in January and February 1945 after long delays, and those of the Hauerland fled at the end of March 1945. The Red Army reached Bratislava on April 4, 1945.
After the end of the war, one third of the evacuated or fugitive Germans returned home to Slovakia. However, on August 2, 1945, they lost the rights of citizenship, by Beneš decree no. 33, and they were interned in camps (German: Sammellager) in Bratislava-Petržalka, Nováky, and in Handlová. In 1946 and 1947, about 33,000 people were expelled from Slovakia by the Potsdam Agreement, while around 20,000 persons were entitled to remain in Slovakia because they chose the "Reslovakisation" process , which meant that they declared themselves as Slovaks and changed their names into their Slovak equivalent or simply Slovakized them. Out of approximately 128,000 Germans in Slovakia in 1938, by 1947 only some 20,000 (15.6% of the pre-war total) remained. The decree was revoked in 1948.On the other hand 270 civilians from Dobšiná, mostly Germans fled to Czech lands as refugees and intended to return home after the war. Czechoslovakian soldiers forced them off the train at the train station of Přerov and ordered them to dig their own graves before butchering all of them including small children. When Communists took power in 1948 they made research of the site and investigation of the massacre impossible.
In 2004 there were fewer than 6,000 Germans in Slovakia. The Carpathian German Homeland Association exists now to maintain traditions. The most prominent member of this group is the former Slovak president and politician, Rudolf Schuster.
|i.||Sudeten Germans in the Czech area and the Hungarians in the south of Slovakia also lost rights to citizenship (see First Vienna Award).|