Artisans and Nobles: The von Kraus Family Across 350 Years of War and Social Change in Eastern European History

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Artisans and Nobles: The von Kraus Family Across 350 Years of War and Social Change in Eastern European History

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Title: Artisans and Nobles: The von Kraus Family Across 350 Years of War and Social Change in Eastern European History
Author: von Kraus, Rudiger H. ORCID  0000-0002-0699-6692
Citation: von Kraus, Rudiger H. 2017. Artisans and Nobles: The von Kraus Family Across 350 Years of War and Social Change in Eastern European History. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
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Abstract: The recorded history of the von Kraus family started in 1663 with the birth of Thomas Kraus who was ennobled thirty-nine years later by Leopold I of Austria for bravery in the 1697 Battle of Zenta. The patent of nobility entitled Thomas to pass on the honorific and indemnity privileges to all his “heirs in eternity.”

This study attempts to show how Thomas and his heirs used (or ignored) their elevated status over the span of eleven generations against the backdrop of three-and-a-half centuries of social, political, and economic change.

There are three overarching factors that impacted the family’s history. First, Saxon ethnicity pitched it against its Hungarian and Romanian neighbors. Second, the minority status this ethnicity accorded it throughout its history. And third, Transylvania was the geographical location of the family for most of its history. These factors added a unique flavor to the family’s history.

As time went on the indemnity privileges that came with the ennoblement petered out in Fogarasch, the locality of the original branch of the family, while they were not even allowed by statute in Zeiden, the location of a first transplant more than a hundred years after the ennoblement. The honorific privileges, however, continued at both locations, intermittently in some family lines or with uses that were not necessarily envisioned by the patent. These privileges also ceased to exist when they were outlawed by Romania’s communist regime in 1947; only to be picked up again starting in the 1960s by some of the family members who succeeded in emigrating to West Germany.

The thorough research that I undertook for this study did not unearth any other publicly available history of a Saxon family of lower nobility such as the von Krauses.
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33825889
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