Hirm – Small but Beautiful

The village of Hirm, which until 1921 was called Félszerfalva, is in Mittelburgenland and its history reaches back to a distant past beyond our short historical overview. Archeologists have found remains of settlements from the Copper Age, burial mounds from the Bronze Age and the remains of an estate from the Roman period. As a border town between the Habsburgs and Osmans, the village underwent centuries of attacks and wars and lost almost its entire population in massacres or through migration. Along with other parts of Burgenland, the Habsburgs recurrently attempted to repopulate the uninhabited areas with Croatians and Hungarians. When Burgenland finally ceased to be a military front, the region was able to develop in a stable manner, a trend that was only periodically interrupted by natural catastrophes and an epidemic of cholera. 

In 1850, Peter Daniel Rothermann built a large and modern sugar factory thus making Hirm into the industrial center of an otherwise predominantly agrarian region. Rothermann’s sugar factory was incidentally the first one of its kind in what was then the Kingdom of Hungary.

In 1941, sugar production was put to a halt and the factory was converted to a peripheral branch of the Nazi’s war industry where thousands of forced laborers were put to work. In 1944, the US Air Force flew bomb attacks at the factory. After the war, the factory buildings fell more and more into decline until industries returned during the 1970s including the pencil factory Hardtmuth, ÖKI and Heinrich Sachs. The old derelict buildings were torn down and new ones were built in their place. Of the 900 inhabitants of Hirm, as one could imagine, almost all are dependent on the operations of “Brevillier Urban and Sachs”.