Hermagor-Pressegger See (Slovenian: Šmohor-Preseško jezero) is a
municipality with 6886 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2020) in the
Hermagor district in Carinthia, Austria. The city was named after
the early Christian saint Hermagoras, who, according to legend, was
the first bishop of the Patriarchate of Aquileia.
Finds show that today's municipal area was already settled in pre-Roman times. The oldest known finds in the area around Hermagor belong to the so-called Urnfield Period (1200 to 1800 BC) and are partly depot and litter finds. This includes a deposit from Dellach, formerly the municipality of Egg, which was recovered in 1889 under a stone slab. It contained two large, medium-sized rag axes, one with faceted lobes and two bronze rings. A handlebar dagger, typical of the older Urnfield period, was found in 1937 at an altitude of around 1400 m on the Jadersdorfer Ochsenalm, Gitschtal. He points to the influences from the southwest and northern Italy. Iron ore was mined here and exported to the Mediterranean. Around 15 BC The Celtic Kingdom of Noricum and thus also today's municipality was occupied by the Roman Empire and incorporated into the empire. Around this time, the Hadn Wall was also located, a dam that ran through the valley near Rattendorf and was supposed to protect Gurina.
The parish Hermagor was first mentioned in a document in 1169, its titular saint Hermagoras refers to a foundation by Aquileja. Conveniently located at the crossroads from Gitschtal to Kreuzbergsattel, the place was created as a planned market, was granted market rights in 1288 and developed into the capital of the Gailtal. In the 15th century the Turks invaded and devastated the villages in the entire Gail Valley. From the 16th century, the Hermagor market belonged to the rulership rights of the County of Ortenburg.
In 1779 Franz Xaver Freiherr von Wulfen discovered the Wulfenia flower named after him on the Gartnerkofel.
1868 the place became the seat of the district administration and
thus the center of the district of the same name. During the k. u.
k. Monarchy was Hermagor garrison of the 1st and 2nd battalions of
the k. k. Landwehr Infantry Regiment No. 4.
In 1880 the then market town of Hermagor had 709 inhabitants. All of them belonged to the German language group. At that time, the place was located immediately northwest of the language border. The villages from Potschach and Fritzendorf, which today belong to Hermagor, were Slovene-speaking. While the Slovenian ethnic group was almost entirely Catholic, Hermagor also had a Protestant minority. This was to be found in almost all German-speaking villages in the area and in 1880 made up the majority in the villages Achleiten, Aigen, Danz, Jenig, Kameritsch, Kreuth ob Rattendorf, Liesch, Radnig, Radnigforst, Rattendorf and Watschig, which are now part of the municipality.
With effect from October 10, 1930, the Hermagor market was elevated to a town by resolution of the Carinthian state government. The occasion and background of this town elevation were the events surrounding the Carinthian defensive struggle (1918–1920) and the Carinthian referendum of October 10, 1920.
In April 1938, Hermagor was declared a so-called “Führergemeinde”, as there was not a single “no” vote in the entire community against the annexation of Austria to the National Socialist German Reich. In the course of Aryanization, the general store of the Jewish trader Arthur Glesinger was forced to close. The Hermagor-based doctor Albert Menninger-Lerchenthal was transferred to Magdeburg in January 1943 due to his Jewish roots and died during a home leave in the summer of 1944 under unexplained circumstances on the Radniger Alm near the city.
More than 3000 young women were in the so-called "Maidenlager" of the Reich Labor Service in the upper part of Hermagor during the war years. The female workers, mainly from Styria and northern Germany, support the agricultural businesses in the community.
In April 1942, several Carinthian-Slovenian families were forcibly resettled or deported from the Hermagor community. The main local responsibility for this was borne by the National Socialist district leader of Hermagor Julian Kollnitz, who was sentenced to ten years imprisonment in the course of the denazification in 1949.
The city of Hermagor was also the location of the "Haßlacher"
company, which manufactured wooden barracks for the Wehrmacht and
Air Force. Some British and Soviet prisoners of war, the latter
under particularly adverse circumstances, also had to work here.
Starting in October 1944, this led to several Allied bombing raids
on the southeastern part of Hermagoras, in which the aforementioned
arms factory and the train station were located. On May 8, 1945,
British units advancing from the Plöckenpass reached the city of
Hermagor. The association “Erinnern Gailtal” counts more than 200
victims of National Socialism in the Hermagor district and in the
rest of the Carinthian Gailtal, but the estimated number of
unreported cases is significantly higher.
In 1958 Möschach was attached and in 1973 the large community of Hermagor-Pressegger See was created through the incorporation of Egg, Mitschig, Görtschach and parts of Rattendorf.