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Genocide in Transylvania
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Many of my colleagues here talked about the influence of the new fast growing community world wide, “the netizens”. We talked about the “Internet Miracle”, about the many great advantages that Internet brought in every day life: on-line shopping, chatting, conferencing etc. We also talked about its disadvantages, especially its main disadvantage: Internet is a young media, tending to swallow all the other mass-media resources. Internet is Television, Internet is audio, Internet is Video and newspaper, Internet is everything (and this is its disadvantage). m2k6ko
As mentioned, the Internet is growing ever-faster starting 5-6 years ago. There is absolutely freedom of speech over the net, if you have an idea, just publish it on the net and everybody will know your point of view. Who could ever dream for more? The absolute expression of democracy… You only need a computer and an Internet connection to be worldwide known, no matter what you have to say, good or bad, dumb or extremely intelligent.
Well, what if you have nothing to say, yet? If you need only to gather some information, what would you do? Go to a public library? No, it’s too far and crowded, too dusty. Thus, you get a grip on the net and start searching pictures, videos and memos of the things you’re interested in. That’s just what I’ve done, several months ago, when I was interested in creating a media gallery about the Second World War atrocities.
I began searching for “genocide”. I found over 170.000 web pages containing some sort of data about this subject. Between the themes you may have expected to find, like: Nazi’s genocide over Jews, Rwanda genocide ans., one of them got my attention. The title of the page was “Genocide in Transylvania”.
When I was a child, I went on a trip around Transylvania, following the most important battles on Ardeal’s territory in the Second World War. I heard about the horrible crimes committed by the Horty’s army in Transylvanian villages Ip and Traznea, where hundreds of Romanian peasants were tortured and killed.
Thus, in the above mentioned page I was expecting to find detailed information about those crimes.





To my great surprise, the page Internet address was: www.hungary.com/corvinus. The site contained many books printed in the Free World (i.e. USA), in the 70’s and 80’s, most of them treating the “Hungarians across the borders” and Hungary’s territories in the last centuries, nations’ everlasting upset.

I followed one of the links and began reading:

“This work is dedicated to the conscience of all world free men and women, and it is based on the Christian doctrine that all of us and everyone of us is responsible for the well being of others. This responsibility demands that we aid the oppressed and defend the victims of terror.
We, Americans of Hungarian descent, have been ringing the bells and lighting the torches for many years now, in order to turn the attention of this indifferent world to the sufferings of our Hungarian brethren who are being murdered, tortured and persecuted daily by their Rumanian task masters in the land of Transylvania.It is indeed the shame of our civilized word that the native population of the very land where tolerance and religious freedom was first legalized and practiced on the face of this Earth many centuries ago, must suffer today, forsaken by everyone, from the most barbaric terror and savagery that land has ever seen.
That you are going to read here is true. It was compiled from newspaper reports, from the Congressional Reports, from letters, eyewitness testimonies and articles written and published by those few who strive for a better future and a lasting peace.”

I became more and more surprised going on reading about the Hungarians mass killing (never demonstrated but contiguously suggested in this pages) in Communist Romania, about all the prosecutions the Hungarian minority was submitted to, about the atrocities committed in the name of the Communist Party. Almost nothing to object. It is well known Ceausescu’s National Communistic doctrine. The only thing that the author should have mentioned is the fact that, along with Hungarian minority, harassed by Communists (a distinction has to be made between harassment and genocide), along with killed Hungarians lie thousands of Romanians which shared the same fate. Stating that the Danube-Black Sea Channel was build on Hungarian blood is somehow exaggerated and badly intentioned.
"Finally the Grand Canal is completed. The Ethnic Minorities of Rumania have paid for it with their blood, with the lives of their children, with their broken bodies and shattered souls. Several hundred thousand have found their final resting place in the Danube Delta, buried in mass graves along the sides of this glorious Rumanian project, the Great Dream of President Ceausescu”. ( by Mr. Alexander Kolozsy, President of the Sydney Branch of the Transylvanian World Federation).
The site is full of affirmations like: Romania, the most chauvinistic country in the world, Romanians -; the champions of anti-Semitism.
“With the Rumanian annexation of Bukovina, Bassarabia and the thousand year old Hungarian Transylvania, the various national minorities faced a horrible chapter of their history as the victims of Rumanian super nationalism. “ (Excerpts from the "Study On Rumanian Anti Semitism and Anti Hungarianism "prepared by Prof. Andrew Haraszti for the Transyilvanian World Federation Committee on International Relations, 1982.)
While reading these lines I became more and more amazed about the one-faced coin stated all over. That is: the big bad Romanian wolf butchers the Hungarian innocent Lamb. This was my first impression. Then I wondered how is possible for such old materials (nota bene that the books were printed in the 70’s and 80’s) to appear on the Hungary’s official Web-page, in the year 1999, when relations between Hungarian minority and the Romanians are posted as an example for the western world.



This got my interest and I began collecting some materials for my present work. I not pretending that I’ll cover all the aspects of this complex problem, this study being a comparative one, trying to offer some very summary answers, primarily based on tolerance and good-sense.

“In our country, according to estimates, about 13 per cent of the total population of 23 million belong to an ethnic minority group. Most of the minorities live in Transylvania, the western part of Romania, covering about one-third of the country. According to the national census of 1992, Hungarians constitute 7 per cent (1,6 million) of the total population and 21 per cent of the 7,7 million inhabitants of Transylvania. Some claim that these figures are not correct, and that there are up to 2 million Hungarians in total (BALKAN WAR REPORT 1994, p.27). Around three-fifths of the Transylvanian population is Romanian.
The population pattern of present Transylvania is extremely complex and the distribution of the nationalities is uneven. Many of the population concentrations are ethnically mixed, but a compact Hungarian ’enclave’ of about 700.000 people can be found in the east of Transylvania. So-called ‘Szekler Hungarians’ populate this area (the area is called Székelyföld in the Hungarian language). These Szeklers have some typical cultural traditions that deviate from those of the Hungarians in Hungary, but in view of their language and cultural heritage we can call them Hungarians (or better Magyars). From the Szekler country to the west there is hardly any natural barrier: the road leads through wide valleys, and hills gradually slope down to the Great Hungarian Plain. But the territory in-between is for the most part populated by Romanians: only near the Hungarian border on the Romanian side do we find a Hungarian-speaking population. “

(Taken from Beitragen zur Regionalen Geographie, magazine of the Institut für Landerkunde in Leipzig, Germany, April/May 1997).

So, how the Hungarians got in Transylvania? Or how the Romanians got here? This is the main dispute, the main conflict theme (just like it would really matter, if you ask me). Making some research, we find two quite different stories.
The Romanian history on one hand, is speaking about the continuity of the Romanian people on these lands in 2000 years time, Transylvania being the core land of the Dacian Empire. The forming of the Romanian people started when Romans conquered Dacia in second century. The Romans left these territories in 271 A.D., but the new formed people remained and kept the Romanian culture alive, Transylvania being at the crossroads of the nomads who stormed Europe throughout the first millenium. One in the last nomads to came were the Huns, lead by Attilla, who settled in Panonia Great Field and Transylvania, land that they found largely non-populated. It must be emphasized that there were people (Romanians) living in Transylvania, as the meeting between Attilla and Menumorut is described in Hungarian archives.

In the Hungarian version, the Magyars in Transylvania belonged to the stream of Magyars who came from the region between the middle reaches of the River Volga and the Ural Mountains in the 10th century. They occupied the Pannonian lowlands and Transylvania, regions which they found largely unpopulated. According to this version, the Romanians came later: only in the 13th century did Romanian nomads and shepherds cross the Carpathian mountains, and the Hungarians were so kind as to give them the right to settle. (Supporting this idea is a letter from Pope Gregory IX to prince Bela, asking him to give shelter to some poor Valachian shepherds who crossed the Carpathian Mountains.)



Some questions must be asked. If Transylvania wasn’t populated, why it was part of the Hungarian Kingdom as and Independent province? The question must be asked considering the plenty of the province’s soil (in gold and silver) and knowing that in the 16th century, the Romanians were forming a majority… how was that possible? (not questioning shepherd’s virility here).
There are some interesting historical facts from 19th century. In 1838, at Poland’s Prince Adam suggests that a bigger Kingdom must be formed by uniting Romanian provinces Valachia and Moldavia, in order to weaken the three great powers merging on Romania’s provinces -; Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman and Russian Empires.
In 1848-1849, Hungarians started the War for Independence. The Romanians living in Transylvania joined the Austrian cause, against the Hungarians, which led to nomination of many Romanians as clerks. These advantages didn’t last long, because the compromise achieved in 1867 between Hungary and Austria, which led to discriminations on the Romanian side. However, they didn’t give up and using the influence of great personalities got the West’s attention. This was done by publishing many articles in western newspapers sustaining the Romanian cause in Transylvania, signed by the Romanian intellectuals living abroad.
This campaign irritated Hungarians, who considered themselves as a superior nation. This still remains one of the issues often emphasized by our neighbors. Another upset in the Hungarian side is the 1918 reunification, Transylvania being given to Romanian kingdom by the Trianon treaty, as a reward for Romania changing sides in the 1st World War.

Back in nowadays. What is going wrong? The minorities problem in Transylvania is somehow similar to that in former Yugoslavia, yet no major conflict appeared in the last 10 years, except the Mures riots in 26 March 1990. Is it possibly that this problem is overrated and exploited in political interests? Considering the global tendency towards unions and cooperation, a separation won’t do anybody any good.
I would like to present further some of the problems I encountered as a Romanian citizen living in Transylvania (better said, what bothers me).

- the history does not bother me. Who came first here? Who cares? We are sailing the same boat, aren’t we, that is the earth. Well, the earth is about to die and/or to be destroyed. So, what matters who came here first.
- Being addressed at first in Hungarian doesn’t bother me (as an example could be the traditionally “tesheg poftim” formulation that you encounter in some area). After stating my nationality, that person will speak to me in Romanian, hopefully.
- What bothers me is the total absence of Romanian vocabulary in some regions (i.e. Covasna and Harghita). I don’t like the intentionally bad Romanian language spoken by some Hungarians in my presence (this didn’t happen very often)

I would like to make a hierarchy, which is very well self-imposed. It is based on the cultural level of the individual. Communication and tolerance between people wasn’t known very well in the Stone Age, or medieval age, or when Second World War started. It is needed simply for solving problems.






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