|THE NATIONALITIES PROBLEM IN TRANSYLVANIA 1867-1940|
Romanian Officials and the Professional Intelligentsia in 1914.
If we examine the state civil service and the autonomous administrations on the basis of the census of 1914, we get the following picture of the Romanian presence: in Budapest, among the judges sitting on the Hungarian Royal Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals we find Dr. Alexandru Onaciu, Dr. George Plopu, Dr. Kosmutza, and Dr. Silvius Rosa. Judge Iosif Pop of the Supreme Court died in 1910. The Romanian calendar of the following year commemorated him in the following terms: "He was an honest soul, an ardent nationalist who, even in those high circles which he had attained thanks to his competence, always supported the just demands of the Romanian action with force and courage.'' 128 We find Romanians in the ministries as well:
In the Ministry of the Interior there was section chief Vasile Dumbrava, chief accountant Todor Labentiu, and interpreters Nicolae Diamandi and Dr. Leontin Pallade. In the Statistical Office there were under secretary Dr. Ion Bud and clerk Ion Lucaciu. In the Ministry of Finance we find under secretary Dr. Titus Dragonescu, chief accountant Ion Nicara, the secretary of the Direction of Finances of the county of Pest Iuliu Moldovanu, and reporters Dr. George Medici and Dr. Felix Dumitreanu. In the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Education we find section chief Dr. Petru Ionescu, reporter Victor Papp-Szilagyi, councilor George Cioara, auditors Nicolae Chizan and Ion Rosca, controller George Tartis, and clerks Romul Cristea and Nicolae Tifan. In the Ministry of Justice there was the clerk Dimitrie Lazarel. In the Ministry of Defense, the chief of Section I, Colonel of the General Staff Alexandru Aldea, the intendant Alexandru Abraham in Section VI, the intendant Otto Damianu in the Budget office, assistant secretary Dr. Vasile Nicoara in section 20/e, apprentice reporter Iuliu Puscariu in section 23, clerk Traian Bogyi, and Second Lieutenant Aurel Capitan. In the Ministry of Agriculture there were ministerial councilor Ion Serban as chief superintendent, chief engineer Livius Martian, and veterinarians Tiberiu Cristea and Ilarius Noaghea. There were high ranking Romanian officials at institutions other than the ministries. For instance, in the Committee on the State Administration there was Judge Alexandru Brabat and Dr. Eugen Barbul at the University Library. There were seven Romanian officials in the Central Direction
of the Railroads. There were Romanians even at the royal palace, two crown guards and two royal guards.
In the joint army the president of the military tribunal, Jeno Pap, was also Romanian. 129 The joint army provided good opportunities for Romanian youth even after the compromise. Those who understood German, or were willing to learn, were well received in the officer schools. The Romanian newspapers regularly published announcements and articles regarding the requirements of a military career, admission to officer school, and the favorable conditions prevailing there. More than once they explicitly appealed to young Romanians to apply in as large numbers as possible for admission to officer school. Interested young Romanians could gain much information regarding the lifestyles of Romanians serving in the joint army, regarding respect for the soldier's national sentiments, regarding their chances for promotion, etc. On the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the foundation of the 62nd Infantry Regiment, stationed at Marosvasarhely, a Romanian group dressed in Romanian national costume and decorated with the Romanian national colors put on a show of folk dances. Just before that, Captain Nestor Onciu addressed the Romanian troops in Romanian, with great enthusiasm. Half the regiment was Romanian. In addition to the Captain, four or five Romanian officers served with the regiment named after the Bavarian Prince Ludwig. The dances were organized and led by First Lieutenant Alexandru Bales. The Prince and his retinue, took part in the ceremony as did the municipal and county officials; they watched the Romanian folk dances with pleasure. 130
Officers of Romanian nationality were not by-passed in promotions. In the joint army they could attain the highest ranks faster than the Hungarians. Occasionally, Romanian newspapers recorded the activities of the Romanian staff officers with pride. In 1882 Leonida Pop, a Romanian officer from Naszod, was promoted to general, and the following year was appointed to head the Emperor's Military Cabinet. In 1903 there were two Romanian generals on active duty: one in Galicia, the other in Transylvania, at Gyulafehervar [Alba Iulia] the capital of a county with a Romanian majority. 131 It should come as no surprise, then, that the military bands of the regiments stationed on Transylvanian territory occasionally played the Romanian anthem of Transylvania, "Romanian Awake from Your Slumber."
As the above examples indicate, Romanians living under Hungarian rule did not experience any handicap in the joint army on account of their origins. It seems that the highest Austrian circles trusted their loyalty to the state and their devotion to the monarchy. The leaders of the joint Ministry of Foreign Affairs also trusted Romanians. In 1894, 59
the joint Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gusztav Kalnoky, appointed Constantin Teodor Dumba, a Romanian, as the Monarchy's charge d'affaires in Bucharest. Later Dumba was appointed to Washington and to Stockholm as the Ambassador of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. A Romanian newspaper of Transylvania devoted space to a discussion of his Romanian background and of his estates in Romania. 132
Thus, in the offices of the joint ministries of the Monarchy, there was no mistrust of any sort towards employees of Romanian nationality. As mentioned, a diplomat of Romanian background was appointed to head the mission in Bucharest, the capital of the country which was lending support to anti-Hungarian irredentism; and this was in 1894, at the time of the Memorandum trials which stirred up so many passions. This appointment was the handiwork, it so happens, of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Kalnoky, the scion of an ancient Szekely family of Transylvania. It is plain from all this that the Hungarian Kalnoky had the same trust in Dumba as his Austrian successors, notwithstanding the fact that the legation in Bucharest was indeed an important and sensitive post from the point of view of Hungarian interests, one where the personal attitudes and convictions of the ambassador played an enormous role. Yet all this presented no obstacle to Dumba's appointment nor to his eventual assignment to the United States and to Stockholm.
There was likewise no manifestation of distrust on the part of the Hungarian prime-ministry when the Romanian desk in the translation bureau was filled by a native Romanian. It was up to him to decide what kind of information was to reach members of the Hungarian government about materials published in the Romanian press of Romania and of Hungary. He was the one to evaluate and select the material which the ministers and heads of departments who knew no Romanian had to read in Hungarian translation. And he decided, in late 1893, that the materials on the debates which lasted for days in the Senate and House of Representatives in Bucharest need not be communicated to official circles in Hungary. The subject of the debates was Transylvania, the relationship between Romania and the Monarchy, the demands of the Romanians of Transylvania, and the objectives and methods of the irredentists all matters of prime interest to the Hungarian government. Since the Romanian translator did not translate the pertinent materials the members of the government gained no knowledge of the parliamentary speeches delivered in the Romanian capital, and of the vitally important revelations regarding the irredentism of Romanians living in the Hungarian state precisely at the time of the Memorandum trials.
The Romanian experts were well-acquainted with the chauvinist, racist methods employed in Romania to fill any state position, in contrast to Austro-Hungarian practice. There the deciding factor was whether or not the candidate was a pure, native Romanian (roman din nascere). If he was not, he could not expect an appointment. Even recipients of academic awards had to be of Romanian ethnic background. The case of Dr. Loebell, Professor of Medicine, provides clear evidence on this point.
Loebell had been the most outstanding student of the Romanian scientist Victor Babes, who transferred from the University of Budapest to Bucharest. Loebell decided to follow him, and became Professor Babes' First Assistant; later he moved to the University of Iasi, where he lectured in pharmacology. He was a respected lecturer, regarded as a pride of the university. His appointment to tenure, however, was vetoed by the Romanian government because his background was not Romanian but Jewish. The professors at the University of Iasi gave him their unanimous backing and protested against the government
measure. In vain! The government did not heed the protest. In fact, the government went a step further: it ordered Dr. Loebell to resign from his post because the government intended to fill it with a native Romanian. 133
The racist chauvinism applied in the case of Jews and other nationalities of Romania found support in the columns of the Romanian newspapers of Hungary. The representatives of this press noted with disdain the Hungarian measures which did not discriminate among candidates for vacant posts on racial or ethnic grounds. The style in which one of the Romanian weeklies of Transylvania described the role of Hungarian civil servants of Romanian ethnic background - when it came to anti-state agitation - is quite illustrative.
A gendarme of Romanian background filed a denunciation against eight peasants from Debra for singing anti-Hungarian songs.
The sheriff from Marosillye, also of Romanian background, forwarded the denunciation to the office of the royal prosecutor. The Romanian prosecutor at Deva [Deva] placed charges against those denounced. The council, presided over by a Romanian judge and with the participation of another Romanian voting judge, decided to accept the charges. The royal treasurer and his son, also Romanians, appealed the decision. It was up to the
whole bench of judges, complemented by a Jewish judge to boot, to save the principle of an unrecognized Hungarian state. 134
This sarcastic, arrogant description reveals not only the ethnic chauvinism of the writer, but also sheds light on the lack of chauvinism among the Hungarian authorities when it came to filling state positions. Gendarme, prosecutor, head of jury, voting judge, lawyer for the defense each of them was a Romanian employed in one of the most important institutions of the Hungarian state. This was practically beyond the comprehension of the author of the article; after all, he was well aware of conditions in Romania and of the sentiments of Romanians who served the Hungarian state.
In addition to judgeships, a number of important positions in other areas were filled by Romanians as well. There were a number of Romanians on hospital staffs. At Lugos the commander of the gendarmes was a Romanian (Ion Rusz). In addition to state civil servants there were a number of officials at the county and municipal levels who were elected and confirmed, as well as notaries and district physicians in the villages. In 1914, the 47th year of Hungarian rule, there was no lack of Romanian officials in any important field. The registry reveals the following financial officers: the financial councilor at Brasso, Ion Hobian; the internal revenue controller at Brasso, Jacob Paptea; the financial deputy secretary at Lugos, Valeriu Tabacaria; the chief accountant at Lugos, V. Petrovics; the treasurer of the internal revenue office at Oravica, Mihai Opra; the councillor at the direction of finances at Marosvasarhely, Ion Mirulescu; the tax collectors at Gyulafehervar, Ignea and Victor Velicen; Valeriu Muresan, the deputy secretary of the direction of finances at Nagyvarad; Ion Cipu, the deputy financial director at Sepsiszentgyorgy [Sfintu Gheorghe]; and the secretaries of the direction of finances at Temesvar, Zamfred Rosescu and Dr. George Pintea. In addition to these there were a number of Romanian officials at lower level posts with various tax agencies.
With regard to the employment of Romanian judges the Hungarian state was acting in accordance with Act 1868: XLIV, the so-called Nationalities Law. As regards the jurisdiction of the judges the general prescriptions of the Nationalities Law were complemented, in specific terms, by Act 1869: IV. Paragraph 4 of this Act contained the following regulation:
Special attention should be paid, in filling judgeships, to appointments to district courts and to specific benches within those courts; in addition to the background specified in para-
raphs 6 and 7, due regard should be paid to the nationalities residing in the judicial district, n accordance with paragraph 27 of the law of 1868: XLIV.
Acordingly there was always a fair number of Romanian nationalson the courts and in administration. According to the census of 1914 the judges included the following Romanians: county judges Dr. Honor Curucin at Felsoviso [Viseul de Sus] and Inreu Pascu at Szatmarnemeti [Satmar], notary of the council and judge in service Dr. Emil Hatiegan in Kolozsvar, count judge district judge Alexandru Ancean at Szamosujvar [Gherla], judge on court of appeals Mozes Szava at Deva, district judge Dr. Nicolae Pap at Algyogy, district judge Victor Javian and register of lands Sebo Negru at Hatszeg, district judge Victor Ancean at Korosbanya [Baia de Cris] district judge Nicolae Onucsan at Puj [Puiu], notary of the district court Nicolae Mognean at Vajdahunyad [Hunedoara], judge of the court of appeals Romulus Presia at Gyulafehervar, notary of the court Sempronius Muntean and judge of the court of appeals Romulus Papp in Kolozsvar, district judge Dr. Alexandru Bohoczel at Banffyhunyad [Huedin], judge of the court of appeals Iuliu Muntean at Nagyszeben, judge of the court of appeals Pompeius Miksa, district judge Alexandru Broban, and deputy district judge Elemer Hosszu at Szaszsebes; district judges Iuliu Moldovan and George Repede at Dicsoszentmarton [Diciosanmartin], judge of the court of appeals Petru Ungur at Kezdivasarhely [Tirgu Secuiesc], deputy judge of the court of appeals Victor Constantinescu at Szekelyudvarhely, judge of the court of appeals Dr. George Popa at Arad, assistant judge of the district Dr. Sever Barbura at Borosjeno, district judge of the council at the circuit court of Temesvar and chief royal prosecutor Dr. Alecu Gojdu at Temesvar, district judge Emil Popotiu at Detta [Deta], district judge Alexandru Tripan at Karansebes, judge of the court of appeals Nicolae Comsia at Lugos, judge of the court of appeals Aurel Radu at Temesvar, and district judge Ion Candrea at Lippa [Lipova].
here were probably further Romanians in addition to these, inasmuch as the registries provide no indication of ethnic background. In fact, many names with a Hungarian sound (e.g. Pap) or even with a Slavic sound (e.g. many of those ending in "vics") may have belonged to persons with a Romanian background; on the other hand, certain names with a Romanian sound may well have belonged to individuals with Hungarian sentiments. According to the registries the following Romanian officials were employed by the autonomous governments in 1914: at Tovis [Teius], sheriff Dr. Aurel Szava; at Arad, public prosecutor Dr. Ilies Prokupas and Titus Vakuleszku, sheriff of Ternova
[Kokenyes], in Arad county; at Beszterce, prosecutor Dr. George Linul and sheriff Ladislau Ghetie; at Oradna [Rodna], George Hojda; at Brasso, public prosecutor Dr. Eugen Metianu and notary of the orphan's court Petru Muntean; at Fogaras, public prosecutor Dr. Andrei Micu; at Arpas, in the county of Brasso, sheriff Emil Botta; at Deva, clerk of the orphan's court Valeriu Candrea; in the county of Hunyad, the sheriffs Amosz Gligor, Dr. Ivan Bagya, Victor Rimbas, and Vasile Jasza; at Lugos, chief county notary Pavel Serbul; at Bozovics [Bozovici], clerk of the orphan court Dr. Nicolae Prostean and sheriff Samuil Argelas; at Resica [ReSita], sheriff Ion Csimponeriu; in the county of Maramaros, Lord-Lieutenant Vasile Negrea; at Marmarossziget [Sighetul Marmatei], county public prosecutor Dr. Ion Mihalyi and deputy prosecutor Dr. George Mihalka; at Szeben, chief county notary Stefan Stroia and deputy notary Oprea Steflea; at Nagydisznod [Cisnadie], sheriff Dr. Ion Miclea; at Szelistye, sheriff Petru Dragita; at Szerdahely, sheriff Dr. Robert Baku; in Zilah [Zalad], chief county notary Dr. Octavian Felekan; at Temesvar, president of the orphan's court Dr. Ilies Bob; at Varszo [Varsea], sheriff Coriolan Pincu. Leading officials at the municipal level were: at Szaszvaros, chief municipal notary Dr. Constantin Sotiv; at Szaszsebes, clerk of the orphan's court and in charge of the register, Vasil Aldea and controller George Cretariu; at Temesvar, municipal engineer Stan Vidrighin and councillor Nicolae Dreia, municipal judge at Abrudbanya [Abrud]; at Brasso, municipal notary Dr. George Baku. Romanian municipal leaders were in a majority at Karansebes and Lugos. At Lugos we find the mayor Dome Fiorescu, the chief notary and deputy mayor Dr. Ion Baltescu, chief of the internal revenue office Izso Kirtza, chief clerk Antal Rubian, controller Nicolae Petrovits, auditor Coriolan Brediceanu, tax officer Traian Lupu, public guardian Petru Calesian, recorder Remus Milkovits, executors of estates Adrian Damea and Szilard Cserogar, director of municipal parks Ion Csingitze, and controller of weights and measures Alexandru Damaszkin. At Karansebes we find the mayor Octavian Bordan who was also the president of the orphan's court, councillor Aurelian Dobosan, chief notary Teodor Dragomir, treasurer Petru Punkov, auditor Iosif Andrei, tax recorder Petru Florian, archivist Ion Duru, and director of parks, George Jumanea. 135
It is interesting to note the ethnic composition of the body of functionaries in towns with a mixed Saxon-Romanian population. Only on the rarest occasion did the Saxons allow Romanians to participate in municipal agencies. At Beszterce, Medgyes [Medias], or Segesvar [Sighisoara] the municipal leaders were exclusively Saxon, even though
the number of Romanians in these cities grew by leaps and bounds in the period of the Dual Monarchy. 136
In some towns and counties with a mixed population the leaders of the various nationalities managed to reach some agreement regarding representation. Such agreements were reached in Szaszvaros in the county of Szeben, and some smaller localities. In Szaszvaros an agreement came about in 1899 involving the Saxons, Hungarians, and Romanians. According to this agreement the Saxons received' 26 posts on the municipal council, the Hungarians 23, and the Romanians 19. The Saxons being the majority, the office of mayor was reserved for them; one senatorial position was reserved for a Hungarian, the other for a Romanian. The nominations were effected by the municipal club or council of the particular nationality. Each ethnic group accepted the obligation not to nominate candidates for any position reserved for another nationality. Peace prevailed between the nationalities for a long time as a result of the agreement. After 1907, however, the Saxons gradually departed from the spirit of the pact. In 1909 the second senator of the city died. According to the pact the position belonged to a Romanian, since it had always been a Romanian who occupied it. This time, however, the Saxons nominated a Saxon candidate, whereas the Hungarians presented a Romanian candidate, but one who was not popular with the Romanian club. The Saxons were worried about the growing number of Romanians in the city. The Romanians became extremely upset. "The Hungarians," observed the Romanian paper,
did not present a strictly Hungarian candidate, and thus have lived up to the agreement in form if not in spirit. This is not the case with our Saxon compatriots. Because of them even the post of chief notary was taken away from our man; they have now presented a Saxon candidate without any ado and are taking over a Romanian position by force.
Since the Romanians boycotted the elections, the Saxons won, hence the position reserved for a Romanian was filled by a Saxon official. "But their victory," writes the Romanian chronicler, "was a shameless robbery of a position reserved for Romanians by contractual agreement drafted and signed by both parties." Repelled by such "animal greed", on the following day the Romanians solemnly rejected the pact, inasmuch as the signers, particularly the Saxons, had already set it aside.
Because of them we have lost everything that is valuable to us in this town; let U8 therefore return the favor in kind: We don't care, from now on, whether the Saxons or the Hungarians are in charge. Since, however, of the two evils the Hungarians were not as greedy in regard to us, let us return the favor by leaving them the opportunity to obtain any position they desire. Therefore, in the future, they may count on Romanian support. The Saxons will be able to obtain the position of mayor only if the Hungarians do not want it. The Romanians will no longer lay claim to any position in the municipality let the Saxons and the Hungarians fight it out. The Romanians will support the Hungarians because, whatever they say, as partners they did not trample over the agreement as rudely as the Saxons did.137
The following year, much as in the case of Szaszvaros, the Saxons of Szeben likewise turned against the Romanians; disregarding an earlier agreement, they elected only one Romanian magistrate to the county assembly of Szeben instead of three. In following years the tension between Saxons and Romanians of Szeben became even more acute. 138 Romanian professionals were not excluded from the post of district physician in the counties. We have seen that until 1898 they could practice medicine in the country even with diplomas acquired abroad (Bucharest, Paris). The situation did not deteriorate even after the equivalency examination was introduced, since this examination was not designed to make candidates fail. The Hungarian universities did not introduce anything like a numerus clausus in the admissions examinations. We know of no law, no directive, no practice, the purpose of which would have been to deter Romanian candidates or to ban them from learning, i.e. from obtaining diplomas. We find no complaint to this effect among the offenses listed by the Romanians. According to the medical yearbook of 1914 we find the following Romanian district or regional doctors among the district or hospital doctors in state service: at Balazsfalva, Alexandru Bordia; at Tovis, Aurel Ijac; at Fletot [Taut], Demitru Popa; at Mariaradna [Radna], district physician Athanaz Bredean; at Oszentanna [Comlaus], Vasile Cucu; at Borgoprund [Prundul Birgaului], Nicolae Hanganutz; at Nagyilva, Tivadar Miron; at Nagyasz [Osoi], Szilard Titieni; at Naszod, Teofil Tance; at Belenyes, hospital physician Coriolan Nyes; at Geszt, deputy circuit physician Alexandru Roscu; at Gyergyotolgyes [Tulghes], Emil Ternovean; at Fogaras, George Moldovan and physician in charge of the hospital Dr.
Titus Tertin; at Torcsvar, Valeriu Negrila; at Boica [Baita], Coriolan Moldovan; at Brad, Tiberius Tisu; at Deva, head physician at the hospital Nicolae Motin; at Hatszeg, career physician Leo Pareca; at Hatszeg, Eugen Selariu; at Korosbanya, Nicolae Robu; at Puszta-Kalan [Calan], staff physician (retired) Ion Popa; at Szaszvaros, county physician Victor Markovinovich; at Vajdahunyad, district physician Agoston Dragits; in Kolozsvar, physician of the regiment Ilies Kimpian; at Boksangbanya [Bocsa], district physician Petru Barlovan; at Karansebes, chief physician in the reserves Virgil Budintian; at Mehadia, Virgil Namoian; at Nadrag [Nadrag], Ilies Petrasko; at Grevicsbanya, district physician Ion Mangoica; at Teregova, district physician Valeriu Olariu; at Deda [Deda], Petru Neagos; at Avasfelsofalu [Negrasti-Oas], Coriolan Circa; at Nagytalmacs [Talmaciu], Ion Petrascu; at Szaszsebes, Athanaz Oana-Moga; at Ujegyhaz [Nocrich], Hilar Russan; at Varmezo [Buciumi] in Szilagy county, Valeriu Ostatea; at Bethlen, Iuliu Chitul; at Des, Leonidas Domide; at Kapolnokmonostor [Copalni Manastur], district physician George Iuliu Anca and circuit physician Agoston Carlig; at Magyarlapos [Tirgu-Lapus], Valeriu Mustea; at Buziasfurdo [Buzias], circuit physician and work insurance controller physician Nicolae Dian and district physician Romulus Peretiu. 139
In addition to the Romanian physicians in the employ of the county, or the state, there were others, of course, who had a private practice among the Romanian population. These could continue their practice without interference: they were not discriminated against in tax assessments or in any other way on account of their nationality. While the Saxons of Szeben refused to accept any Romanian in the hospitals of Szeben in spite of a large number of applications, there were some Romanian doctors in state hospitals. In 1912 the Romanian newspapers published several articles discussing this grievance, but to no avail. In spite of the anti-state and anti-Hungarian attitude of many Romanian villagers in the years preceding World War 1, the Hungarian authorities did not prevent the Romanian communities from selecting Romanian notaries. Thus the career of notary was also open to members of the Romanian intelligentsia. Occasionally the magistrate forced his own candidate onto the village, but this was not a general phenomenon. In many places, however, notaries of Romanian nationality were not selected because the applicants lacked the qualifications required by law. When, however, some Romanian - often a native of the very village - did acquire the required qualifications, the village selected him for notary with great pleasure. This was the case, for instance, in the Magura community, county of Naszod, in 1908. The
community had a notary public post serving several villages. Since 1873 they had elected ten notaries. "The voters of the district," we may read in the Romanian report, "always voted up to expectations; within the realm of possibilities and of the law, theirs was always the vote of conscience dictated by their soul." Yet, in spite of this, only one notary out of ten was a native of the community during the 35 years. "The reason for this,,' writes the Romanian paper, "is that we did not have people with the background required by law, and thus we always had to choose from among strangers." Finally, when a vacancy occurred in 1908, one of the candidates was not only a native of the community, but had the prescribed qualifications as well. The Romanian priests of the community prepared everything. They visited George Hojda, the chief magistrate (likewise a Romanian), who may have had many reasons for resentment. They asked for his support. The judge was willing to give it and, indeed, "it was largely owing to him that the voting had such a fortunate outcome." From among some Jewish (according to the Romanian paper) and Romanian candidates of pro-Hungarian sentiments, the local Romanian candidate got elected. 140 Very simply, the Romanian notary was elected by public proclamation, as was the sub-notary in Szohodol [Sohodol] community, next to Abrudbanya, where the elections also took place amidst the goodwill of the magistrate and the great enthusiasm of the populace. 141 The election of a notary in the district of Burjanfalva [Paulis], Hunyad county, took place under similar circumstances. The magistrate of Deva "behaved honorably, in a liberal manner. They elected the Romanian Petru Popa as notary of the community of Kavecs.'' 142
On the eve of World War I the Hungarian state and its authorities did not attempt to curtail the numbers 0f Romanian notaries, to transfer or dismiss them. No such procedure was resorted to even in the counties neighboring Romania. As late as 1914, in Fogaras county which had an almost purely Romanian population and was adjacent to Romania, we find that the Romanian ethnic group lived its own life under an almost exclusively Romanian county administration and with very many notaries of Romanian nationality. In 1908 the Romanian newspaper of Szaszvaros noted with pleasure that at the county assembly of Fogaras "the Romanians enjoy almost the same power as they had at one time at the assembly of Zarand county." 143 The ratio of Romanian notaries of the county could not have been unfavorable from a Romanian point of view, since in 1914 the leadership of the association of notaries was as follows: president, Ion Marinescu; vice-president, George Ursu; chief notary, Ion Tulbura; assistant notaries, Daniel Serban and Ion Voda; treasurer, Matei Felea. 144
In the county of Brasso-Szoreny the situation was similar. Elsewhere the ratio of Romanians was somewhat less, but there was a good number of Romanian notaries everywhere; a list of their names would cover many long pages.
The significant presence of Romanian notaries gave rise to interesting situations in hundreds of communities. Most Romanian villages lived completely under the domination of the Romanian intelligentsia. There was not a single Hungarian in these villages who could have monitored the administration or social life of the village. The Romanian village was usually dominated by the well-know trio of priest, judge, and notary. The most ardent and anti-Hungarian Romanian daily, the Tribuna, decorated all editions of its calendar with group pictures of this village triumvirate dressed in their national costume. In the group picture the priest is seated, the judge and notary on each side, and the caption supplied by the editors of the calendar reads: "Picture taken from life" [O icoana rapta din viata noastra]. 145 Indeed, the calendar was expressing a fact: in the period of the Dual Monarchy hundreds and thousands of Romanian villages lived under the domination of the Romanian intelligentsia. Depending on the district, there may have been one or more Hungarian gendarme squads, one or more Hungarian school teachers, here and there. But in most cases, especially prior to 1900, it was not possible to find members of the Hungarian intelligentsia in Romanian villages; sometimes not even after 1900. Unfortunately, we do not have complete registers from all counties, like the one we can compile regarding Torda-Aranyos county, bearing on this particular issue. Here, according to the calendar from 1914, and judging by the surnames, 71 villages were led by a purely Romanian intelligentsia; not a single member of the Hungarian intelligentsia lived there. For instance, in Mezoszentmargita [Sinmarghita] Ion Vlasza Jr. was the notary Avram Pop was the judge, and Gregoriu Nikola the Uniate priest. 146 It is quite likely that the situation was similar in the 71 communities of the county that had a mixed population, even as late as 1914. In Fogaras, Beszterce-Naszod, Hunyad, Krasso-Szoreny, Arad, Bihar, Maramaros, and other counties we would find the same situation in hundreds of villages. In fact, the situation amounted to Romanian administrative self-government.
The facts above explain what has seemed unexplainable and unbelievable to many until now: how several hundred Hungarian communities became Romanianized in the second half of the 19th
century. According to the incontestable computations of a great Hungarian scholar, the Romanization process of 309 villages was carried out from 1850 to 1900, in the Hungary that was denounced before the world as the ''oppressor." 147
The process got underway during the period of Austrian autocratic rule. Many members of the Hungarian lower nobility became impoverished after the emancipation of the serfs in the counties with a mixed Romanian-Hungarian population. The homes and belongings of the lower nobility and of Hungarian peasants got destroyed as a consequence of the events of the freedom fight of 184849. The fight failed and the impoverished and defeated Hungarians were further weakened by the continued oppression of the victorious Austrians. In many villages with a mixed population, even the church estates of the dispersed Hungarians were handed over to the Romanians. Romanians dominated the village, the district, the county. In many places this continued to be the case even after 1867 because, as we have seen, the Hungarian government did not harm or replace the officials of Romanian national background. Among these there were quite a few like Petru Vuia who, according to the Romanian assertion quoted above, was able to turn even stones into Romanians. What can we expect regarding the situation of the Hungarian peasant living in a village with a mixed Romanian-Hungarian population, especially in areas where the Romanians constituted the majority? The notary public was Romanian, as was the judge, the magistrate of the district, and the officials of the county; the Romanians kept together and supported one another on an ethnic basis. On the other hand, the Hungarian state paid no attention to him; in areas with a Romanian majority even solidarity was lacking among the Hungarians. Neither the state nor other institutions granted him assistance just because he was a Hungarian. if he needed money or a loan, the only bank nearby was Romanian. If he turned to this bank as a Romanian he was immediately granted the loan and was able to purchase land or home; the notary, the magistrate, the county officials suddenly became his well-wishing supporters. Between the Hungarian left to his own devices and the Romanian peasantry which enjoyed economic, social, and numerical superiority, it was the latter that had the potential to assimilate others. Indeed, the Romanians took advantage of the situation. Most villages with a mixed Romanian- Hungarian population became Romanianized in the period of the Dual Monarchy; after all, the primary condition of assimilation, a superior economic and social situation, was in favor of the Romanians. These villages were mostly those of the counties of Hunyad, Szolnok-Doboka, and Szilagy, but a similar evolution could be observed almost every
where. The journalist of the Tribuna was hinting at such instances when he stated with arrogant self-confidence that "there are villages, and entire regions, which were not Romanian before, yet have a purely Romanian population today." 148 Thus the Romanians were well aware of their advantageous economic and social situation, and in spite of the dissatisfaction constantly harped upon for the benefit of the outside world, they knew a process of Romanianization was taking place. When they wished to impress, as in the preceding instance, or at the time of the Romanian exhibition in Bucharest, they even bragged about the matter.
In view of this process we cannot help but wonder: How come the Hungarian state did nothing to counter this process? After all, it must have been aware of it. The newspapers and certain specialists often revealed details or the more noteworthy episodes, and even suggested ways of remedying the situation, occasionally referring to measures adopted by other states or nations. The Hungarian leadership had two options. One would have been the solution adopted by the Saxons within the country, and by the Russian and German governments abroad, for the benefit of their own people. The Saxons, as well as the Russian and German leaders strove to promote the material and ethnic interests of their own people by resorting to a variety of administrative measures and aggressive methods. They did everything to achieve their objective, from prohibiting settlement and making the purchase of land difficult, to state purchases of land and mass resettlement programs. Their measures were essentially in contradiction with the spirit of liberalism prevailing in the second half of the 19th century. The other option was to grant complete economic freedom, the principle of "laissez faire, laissez passer," in accordance with the tenets of classical liberalism.
Within Hungary the Saxons of Transylvania were subjected to a population pressure similar to the one the Hungarian population experienced. As a Romanian specialist observed, from the end of the 19th century on, as a "result of the higher birthrate and of increasingly improving economic conditions, the Romanians slowly began to weigh down on Saxon villages and estates." 149 The Saxons did not take the matter lightly. They resorted to every possible means to prevent purchases of land by Romanians or their settlement in Saxon areas. In the community of Szepnyir [Sigmir] they would not allow the Romanians to construct homes. Mihaiu Olinea had to appeal to the Minister in order to obtain a permit to build. In the community of Besenyo [Viisoara] only those Romanians who converted to the national religion of the Saxons, to Lutheranism, were allowed to build homes. In
communities with a mixed Romanian-Saxon population, the Saxons refused to hand over even one penny to the Romanians from the proceeds of the timber sold from community woods. In Szaszlekence [Lechinta] they likewise excluded the Romanians from all community rights. The Romanians once again went to the Minister with their complaints. The Minister did order that the rights of the Romanians be respected, but the local Saxon authorities refused to comply. 150 In other places there were even stranger goings-on. For instance, the Romanian inhabitants of the community of Repesz managed, over the years, by means of quiet perseverance, to purchase more than a hundred holds of land from the border areas of the neighboring Saxon community. They fenced in the lands they purchased, built homes and outbuildings on them, and planted orchards. The Saxons tried everything to halt the spread of the Romanian peasantry. They saddled the new Romanian settlers, under various pretexts, with one fine after another; yet they did not succeed in scaring the Romanian peasants away from their newly acquired holdings. Then the Saxons resorted to more aggressive devices. On November 21, 1908, seventy Saxon farmers armed with guns, pitchforks, and axes stormed the Romanian properties. They destroyed all the gardens, tore down the barns and other economic structures, and chopped down the trees. "Only at the time of the Mongols and of the barbarian hordes did such things happen," wrote the irate Romanian weekly. 151
The Saxons of Transylvania were not the only ones to resort to aggression against the economic interests of other ethnic groups. The Romanian peasant who read newspapers could often read about the measures the German government in Berlin had adopted to thwart land purchases by Polish peasants living under German rule. The holdings up for sale were purchased by the German state which then settled Germans on the property. Moreover, the state earmarked large sums to assist Germans in purchasing Polish holdings. 152 The Romanian newspaper of Szaszvaros described this measure as a "most accursed system of regulations." Later the Prussian Minister of Agriculture sponsored a law regarding the expropriation of Polish holdings. In vain did the most famous intellectuals around the world protest against this measure, in response to an appeal by the Polish writer Henryk Sienkiewicz; the law was applied in several instances by the Prussian government, and the lands appropriated from the Poles were resettled by Germans.
The leaders of the Hungarian state opted for the most liberal economic policies. They placed no restraints on the freedom of sales of estates, even with regard to foreigners. While non-citizens, could not purchase land in Russia or Romania, anyone could do so in Hungary.
The data regarding land purchase by Romanians, for instance, reveal the name of one Arthaxerces Tzaran, a resident of Romania, who bought more than 6,000 holds of forests in the vicinity of the community of Magyarbodza [Buzaul-Ardelan], in Haromszek county. 153 The leaders of the Romanians and Russians protected the land of the nation, and reserved them primarily for their own nationals. But the Hungarian governments of the Dual Monarchy acted differently. Their attitude deserves nothing but praise from the Romanians, certainly not accusations. Accusations would rather have to come from the Hungarian side. After all, in the period of the Dual Monarchy, the Hungarian nation lived under conditions more miserable than the Romanian. Emigration to America involved a much larger proportion of Hungarians than Romanians. For instance, among the immigrants to reach New York towards the end of February 1906 - were 779 Hungarians as opposed to 127 Romanians. 154 Thus Hungarians emigrated out of proportion to their numbers in the old country, while the number of Romanian immigrants was well below average. The discrepancy was so obvious that even the nationalist Romanian press had to deal with the issue: "The greater portion of those emigrating to America are of Hungarian nationality, because they will not put up with misery and are not as accustomed to suffering as we are," wrote the Romanian weekly of Szaszvaros, rather misinterpreting the causes of the phenomenon. As we have seen, the real reason for emigration was the greater misery of the Hungarian peasantry; and we find conclusive evidence of this misery both in the ratio of day laborers of Hungarian extraction, and in data from pawnshops.
Purchases of land by Romanians, loss of ground by the Hungarian peasants, and the ever-increasing rate of emigration finally induced the Hungarian government to undertake some resettlement. Between 1881 and the First World War, 21 settlements altogether were founded on estates belonging to the state or on lands bought with funds from the Settlement Foundation created by legislative act. Thus, in a period of 20 years, some 2,000 individuals were granted land in newly-created settlements. This meager result pales in significance when contrasted to British, French, Danish, or German efforts at resettlement, or with the complete Romanianization of 309 mixed Hungarian-Romanian
villages. At the time of World War I the Hungarian Settlement Foundation had reserves of about 700,000 crowns, and seven million in debts, whereas the Germans had 900 million, the British 2,400 million, the French 100 million, and even small Denmark 57 million earmarked for resettlement programs. 155 It is obvious that the Hungarian government regarded the resettlement of landless Hungarian peasants, inclined to emigrate, as a minor issue.
When the mass emigration of the Szekelys at the turn of the century aroused Hungarian public opinion, there were demands from all sides for effective state intervention. Effective remedy would have required land reform, but that was something all Hungarian governments shunned with horror because of their composition and their class interests. Instead of this, and under the influence of the Szekely conference at Tusnad [Tusnad] and similar activities, the Ministry of Agriculture set up the so-called sub-office of the Szekely land. Its objective was to mitigate the misery of the Szekely population by introducing new strains of cereals and animals to their land and by establishing farming associations. This sub-agency caused no harm whatever to the Romanians who lived in the area; in fact, it may have helped them, since its work was of general interest. The agency functioned for only a few years, because World War I put an end to its operations. Even so, its short lived operations elicited envious and resentful comments on the part of one of the Romanian newspapers. Although the misery and impoverishment of the Szekely population was common knowledge among the journalists of the time, the Romanian daily of Brasso damned the government for giving "the superfluous funds of the state to the pampered, lazy, and haughty Szekelys.'' 156
In the third year of World War I some of those who acquired wealth by war profiteering embarked on large-scale buying of estates. They bought the lands of individuals who had become impoverished as a result of the war. Then the government finally intervened and, in November 19 17, limited the sale of estates; in other words, state permits were required prior to further purchases of holdings. That this measure was not directed only against Romanians can be ascertained from an interesting episode. The chairman of the committee which controlled the sale of estates in Transylvania was the same Count Istvan Bethlen who had written a thorough study on the purchase of estates by Romanians; nevertheless, he authorized some purchases which resulted in the acquisition of holdings by Romanians even in those final years of the war.
Thus the Romanians of the Hungarian state were able to increase their holdings throughout the period of the Dual Monarchy until the collapse of 1918.
If we follow the development of the economic conditions of the various strata of Hungary's Romanian population from 1867 to 1918, all data point to an important fact: the Romanian masses, as well as a considerable segment of the Romanian middle-class and the intelligentsia, lived under definitely favorable economic conditions. In fact, these conditions improved from decade to decade. The Hungarian state did nothing to hurt the livelihood or thwart the economic progress of Romanians. To the contrary. It unquestionably promoted the enrichment of the Romanians and the growth of their economic power in many instances: in the case of the holdings of the 150,000 peasants of the Romanian border guard communities, in the case of the Romanians of the Kiralyfold, in the development of Romanian agriculture, in the discount loans granted to Romanian banks, etc. The Romanian peasantry living in Hungary was socially and economically better off than the Romanian peasants living in Romania or in Bessarabia under tsarist rule. The Hungarian state did not discriminate between the Romanian and the Hungarian peasantry, to the point where the latter lived under comparatively unfavorable conditions. The Romanians, with the help of financial institutions operating on an ethnic basis and of other economic organizations - associations, casinos, etc. - provided material support and chances of development for other Romanians in every area of economic life. Moreover, they demanded, and received, from the Hungarian state all the material advantages due to the Romanian nationality on grounds of equal rights and of liberalism. The Hungarian peasantry, on the other hand, had no financial institutions or economic organizations operating on the basis of nationality or of race. The Hungarian peasant received no support from any quarter merely on account of being a Hungarian - neither from the state nor from private organizations. While Romanian organizations kept tabs on the economic situation of their own nation and did not abandon their fellow nationals in areas with a mixed population, the Hungarians did not have such organizations at their disposal, with the exception of the EMKE, established in 1885. In areas of mixed settlement the Hungarian peasants, the intelligentsia, the landowners, and the Szekelys could not count on any kind of support on account of being Hungarian. As regards economics, state and society operated on the basis of total liberalism and did not indulge in economic chauvinism. On the other hand, the Romanians and the Saxons were both operating on the basis of economic chauvinism; the former promoted Romanian objectives with
the support of economic organizations, and promoted them effectively thanks to the benevolent consent of the Hungarian state and society.
|THE NATIONALITIES PROBLEM IN TRANSYLVANIA 1867-1940|