[Table of Contents] [Previous] [Next] [HMK Home] Stephen Borsody: The Hungarians: A Divided Nation

B. Hungarians in Romania

1920 June. Under the provisions of the Peace Treaty of Trianon, Romania annexes from Hungary an area of 102,000 sq. km. with a total population of 3.5 million of which (according to the 1910 census) 1,664,000 are Hungarians. Napkelet, the first literary magazine of the Hungarians in Romania, is launched at Kolozsvar (Cluj); editor: Arpad Paal

1921 January 23. An appeal is published by prominent Hungarian writers at Kolozsvar (Cluj) denouncing chauvinism and urging peaceful coexistence with the Romanian people

March 19. Hungarian bishops of the Roman Catholic, Calvinist, and Unitarian churches take the oath of allegiance to the state of Romania

June 5. The Hungarian People's Party is founded at a meeting in Banffyhunyad (Huedin); president: Lajos Albrecht; secretary: Karoly Kos


July 6. With the aim to secure nationwide political representation of the Hungarians in Romania, the Hungarian Association is established at Kolozsvar (Cluj); presidents: Samu Josika and Gusztav Maller; secretary: Karoly Kos

July. The literary periodical Pasztortuz is launched at Kolozsvar (Cluj); editor: Sandor Remenyik

1922 February 12. A second political party, the Hungarian National Party, is founded

December 28. The two political parties of the Hungarians in Romania are merged into the National Hungarian Party. The political review Magyar Kisebbse'g is launched by Elemer Jakabffy at Lugos (Lugoj); achieving international recognition, it will continue publication until 1942

1923 March 29. Promulgation of the new Romanian Constitution, guaranteeing equality before the law to all citizens of the country, but without specifying the minority rights pledged in the 1918 Alba Iulia declaration or those guaranteed by the Paris peace treaties

1924 June 26. The Primary Education Act places the regions in habited by national minorities under special administration and provides special benefits for Romanian teachers engaged in educating persons "denationalized by alien elements" The Hungarian publishing house Erdelyi Szepmives Ceh is founded at Kolozsvar (Cluj) The periodical Geniusz is started at Arad; editor: Zoltan Franyo

1925 The law on private education makes obligatory the teaching of the Romanian language, as well as of Romania's geography, history, and constitution in Romanian; teachers have to pass Romanian language examinations

1926 The progressive literary magazine Korunk is launched at Kolozsvar (Cluj) by Laszlo Dienes; editor from 1929: Gabor Gaal

July 18. On the initiative of Janos Kemeny, the literary society Erdelyi Helikon is established at a meeting of Hungarian writers at the Kemeny castle in Marosvecs

Chronology 359

1927 April 22. The so-called statute of cults deprives the churches of their autonomy and places them under state supervision Summer. The left wing of the National Hungarian Party secedes and organizes itself again as a Hungarian People's Party; leaders: Endre Antalffy, Karoly Molter, Karoly Kos, Geza Tabery. On the extreme left, Hungarian Communists are active in the underground Communist party of Romania

1928 Foundation of the periodical Erdelyi Helikon, which will re main until 1944 the representative literary organ of the Transylvanian Hungarian writers; its successive editors: Lajos Aprili, Miklos Banffy, Karoly Kos, Aladar Kuncz, and Laszlo Kovacs

1930 According to the Romanian census, there are 1,425,507 people of Hungarian "nationality" (7.9 percent of the country's total population), while 1,554,525 (8.6 percent) claim Hungarian as their "mother tongue"

September 2. The Hungarian party of Transylvania files complaint at the League of Nations against the "cultural zones" for violating the provisions of the Paris peace treaties on the protection of minority rights

1932 January 10. An editorial in the newspaper Ellenzek, under the title, "Let's Build a Bridge," urges reconciliation with the Romanian people September. Falvak Nepe, a paper intended for the Hungarian pesantry, is launched by Janos Demeter but is suppressed in February 1933 because of its radical political coloration

1934 August. The progressive opposition within the Hungarian Party of Romania constitutes itself into the National Union of Hungarian Workers (MADOSZ)

1935 September 25. The National Union of Hungarian Workers and the Romanian Ploughmen's Front hold a joint conference

December 6. The Democratic Bloc of Romania, the Plough men's Front, the National Union of Hungarian Workers, and the Independent Socialist party form an antifascist democratic front


1936 A new trade law dissolves the Hungarian industrial corporations and assigns their property to the state-managed chambers of industry

1937 October 2-4. At a meeting at Marosvasarhely (Tirgu Mures), representatives of the Hungarian youth of Transylvania adopt an antifascist resolution urging collaboration with Romanian democratic elements

November 14. The National Union of Hungarian Workers, member of the antifascist democratic front, holds a mass meeting at Brasso (Brasov)

1938 Royal dictatorship under King Karol II is proclaimed. All political parties are disbanded. Rights of Romania's national minorities are further curtailed contrary to the provisions on international protection of minority rights

May 4. To create the impression that the new Constitution is concerned with minority rights, a high commission for the minorities is appointed at the Romanian prime minister's office; it is later converted into a Ministry for Minority affairs

August 14. The Public Administration act, dividing the country into ten provinces, secures the ethnic predominance of Romanians within each unit

1939 February 11. In response to the rising international crisis, a Hungarian People's Community is formed under the auspices of the Front of National Rebirth; president: Miklos Banffy; secretary: Imre Mako

June 27. Hungary's Council of Ministers declares: "Should Romania fulfill the Soviet Union,s territorial demands of

June 26, it must also comply with Hungary's territorial claims"

1940 August 16-23. Direct negotiations between Hungary and Romania on frontier rectification end in failure

August 30. The Second Vienna Award returns to Hungary northern Transylvania and other territories annexed by Romania after World War I; of the total population of 2,185,546 transferred to Hungary, 51.4 percent are Hungarians and 42.1 percent Romanians

Chronology 361

September. Hungarian troops occupy the territories reannexed from Romania

November 1. A nonparty group of Transylvanian members of the Hungarian Parliament is formed in Budapest, headed by Gabor Paal December 14. The nonparty group of Hungarian Transylvanian deputies is dissolved and the Transylvanian Party is formed; president: Geza Ember; secretary-general: Bela Teleki In the course of boundary changes between Hungary and Romania, 200,000 Romanians leave Hungary and some 60,000 Hungarians move to Hungary from areas remaining under Romanian rule

1941 June. 800 Communists are arrested by the Hungarian authorities in the repossessed territories Repatriation to Hungary of ca. 13,500 Szekelys who settled in Bukovina in the eighteenth century

1944 August 23. The Soviet Red Army breaks through the German-Romanian frontier at Jasi; Romania sues for an armistice

August 25. Romania declares war on Germany

September 12. Romania concludes an armistice with the Soviet Union; according to the armistice, Transylvania, "or the greater part of thereof," will be returned to Romania

September 16. A memorandum of Transylvanian Hungarians, presented by Miklos Banffy to Regent Horthy, urges Hungary to conclude an armistice September 23. The Soviet Red Army crosses the Hungarian Romanian frontier October. Romanian administration is restored in the territories reannexed by Romania. Terrorist commandos of the Peasant Party, the so-calle Maniu gardists, commit a series of massacres in Hungarian villages

October 16. Vildgossag, the first postwar Hungarian paper of Transylvania under restored Romanian rule is published at Kolozsvar (Cluj); editor Edgar Balogh (Communist)


At a meeting in Brasso (Brasov), a National Union of Hungarian Workers of Transylvania is formed; president Gyarfas Kurko (Communist). Nepi Egyseg (People's Union), is launched

October 25. Soviet military administration is temporarily restored in northern Transylvania to stop the anti-Hungarian atrocities

1945 February 6. The Statute of Nationalities decrees that all citizens of Romania, regardless of race, language, nationality, and religion, are equal

March 6. Petru Groza (Communist), leader of the agrarian socialist Ploughmen's Front, forms a new government and pledges fair treatment of the national minorities

March 9. Romanian administration is restored throughout the reannexed territories

March 23. Decree on the land reform is promulgated; some 300,000 Hungarian small land holders in Transylvania are hard hit

March 30. The Citizenship Act leaves some 200,000 Hungar ians in an uncertain status; thousands of them are forced to leave Transylvania

April 2. A decree issued in Kolozsvar (Cluj) orders the legal use of minority languages. Bilingual signs are made obligatory for the postal service and railways

May 29. A Hungarian university, the Bolyai State University, is ordered to be organized in Kolozsvar (Cluj). In November, its medical faculty is transferred to Marosvasarhely (Tirgu Mure's)

1946 February 4. The Szekely Allami Szinhaz (Szekely State Theater) opens at Marosvasarhely (Tirgu Mures)

June 18. The Hungarian People's Union of Romania, at its Congress at Szekelyudvarhely (Odorheiu-Silvaniei), reports that 1,680 Hungarian primary schools and 127 secondary schools are functioning in Transylvania and other territories under Romanian rule

June 22. The literary weekly Utunk is started; editor Gabor Gaal

Chronology 363

November 19. The Hungarian People's Union receives 670,000 votes at the general elections and is represented by 29 Hungarian deputies in the Romanian parliament

1947 February 10. Signing of the peace treaty with Hungary in Paris. Pre- 1938 boundaries are restored, but citizens of Romania, regardless of race, language, religion, or na tionality, are to have equal rights, full enjoyment of human rights, fundamental freedoms, including free expression of opinion in the press and other organs of information and in public meetings, as well as freedom of religion and freedom of assembly. However, even the relatively tolerant Groza government carried out these provisions only on a limited scale

June. Obligatory language examinations for railwaymen of Hungarian nationality are abolished August. Hungarian schools for the Hungarians of Moldavia (the Csangos) are established; these schools will be abolished in the 1950s

December 5. According to a language decree, judges and lay assessors must speak the minority language wherever thirty percent or more of the population is non-Romanian speaking

December 30. King Michael abdicates; Romania is proclaimed a republic 1948 January. According to the official census there are 1,499,851 Hungarians (9.4 percent of the total population) living in Romania

March 6. The first "people,s democratic", (Communist) Constitution is promulgated

August 3. The new education law secularizes schools and introduces seven- year compulsory education

September. The Hungarian Opera of Kolozsvar (Cluj) reopens

1949 June 21. Aron Marton, Hungarian Roman Catholic bishop, is imprisoned. He will be released in 1955 but will remain under house arrest until 1967

October. Accused of high treason, the leaders of the Hungarian


People's Union are tried and sentenced to imprisonment. They will be set free in 1955, except the union's president, Gyarfas Kurko, who will be released only in 1965

1952 September 24. Promulgation of the new People's Democratic Constitution; four counties with solidly Hungarian (Szekely) population are united in a Hungarian Autonomous Region and granted some measure of self-government

1953 The Hungarian People's Union is dissolved. Igaz Szo, a literary periodical, begins publication

1956 October. Sympathy demonstrations with the Hungarian Revolution in many parts of Transylvania; mass arrests, deportations, and imprisonments of Hungarians follow

1957 The prewar progressive periodical Korunk resumes publication in Kolozsvar (Cluj)

1958 As a reward for Romania's loyalty to the Soviet Union during the Hungarian Revolution, Soviet troops are withdrawn from Romania. A new wave of oppression of the minority nationalities begins

1959 February 22. The Bolyai Hungarian University of Kolozsvar is united with the Babes Romanian University also of Kolozsvar (Cluj). Hungarian schools throughout the country are united with Romanian schools

1960 December 24. The territory of the Hungarian Autonomous Province is revised and renamed Maros-Hungarian Auton omous Region. By comprising fewer Hungarians and more Romanians, the ratio of Hungarians is reduced from 77.3 percent to 62 percent, leading to a gradual liquidation of the autonomy of the province 1962 April. The socialist reorganization of agriculture, discriminatory to the Hungarians, is completed

1965 March 22. Nicolae Ceausescu is elected First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party

August 21. A new Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Romania is promulgated, stating that "Romania is a nation-state in which also nationalities are living"

Chronology 365

1966 According to the official census, 1,653,873 persons' mother tongue is Hungarian, while 1,619,592 declare themselves of Hungarian nationality 1968 February 16. Romania's Great National Assembly suppresses the Maros Hungarian Autonomous Region

November 15. A Council of Workers of Hungarian Nationality is formed, but with no legal status to represent the Hungarian nationality

1969 September. The department of Hungarian language and literature is reopened at the University of Bucharest

November. Romanian television begins to broadcast in Hungarian. In Bucharest, the Kriterion publishing house is founded for the non- Romanian nationalities with a branch editorial office in Cluj-Napoca (Kolozsvar's new name in Romanian)

1970 October. A Het, a Hungarian weekly, begins publication in Bucharest

1971 June. Zoltan Komocsin, a member of the Central Committee of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party, declares in Budapest that "Hungary is interested in the fate of the Hungarian national minority in Romania"

July. In a speech dealing with "ideological, political and cultural-educational" questions, Ceausescu declares: "We can have only one history, one conception of history"

1973 May 19. An educational reform act is published, favoring Romanian as the language of education

1974 Claiming shortage of paper, a decree on the press reduces the size of newspapers; the minority press is hardest hit

November. A law on protection of the nation's cultural assets declares that cultural heritage is "the property of the people." Centuries-old documents of the Hungarian Roman Catholic, Calvinist, and Unitarian churches, as well as of the Hungarian and Saxon towns, are threatened by sequestration by the state. The government's forcible assimilation policy against national minorities is gaining momentum


1975 A decree makes it obligatory for foreign visitors in Romania to stay in hotels; it is aimed, in particular, against Hungarians visiting relatives and friends in Transylvania

1977 June 15-16. Meeting between Janos Kadar and Nicolae Ceausescu in Debrecen (Hungary) and Nagyvarad (Oradea, Romania). The joint communique declares that minority "nationalities living in the two neighboring states should increasingly play the role of a bridge in the interest of rapprochement between the Hungarian and Romanian people"

1978 The Western press publishes letters by Karoly Kiraly, a prominent Hungarian member of the Romanian Communist party. Addressed to the party leadership, the Kiraly letters protest against the oppression of the Hungarian minority. Kiraly is denounced by the Romanian party authorities and forced into internal exile

1981 December. An underground periodical, Ellenpontok, of Hungarian intellectuals is launched

1982 September. Editors of Ellenpontok submit a memorandum to the Madrid conference reviewing adherence to the provi sions of the Helsinki Final Act; elaborating on oppressive policies of the Romanian government, the memorandum calls for the formation of an international commission to examine the situation in Transylvania

1983 May. Attila Ara-Kovacs, one of the authors of the Madrid memorandum, is expelled from Romania.

1984 July. Karoly Toth, another author of the Madrid memorandum, is expelled from Romania.

1985 September. Geza Szocs, the third author of the Madrid Memorandum, submits a petition to the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist party, demanding redress of Hungarian grievances on the basis of proposals drafted by the editors of the samizdat periodical Ellenpontok in 1982. The petition also demands the release of all political prisoners, including Erno Borbely, a professor of philosophy,

Chronology 367

and Laszlo Buzas, an economist, serving seven- and six-year sentences, respectively

1986 August. Geza Szocs is expelled from Romania

 [Table of Contents] [Previous] [Next] [HMK Home] Stephen Borsody: The Hungarians: A Divided Nation