The Facts Behind the Black Sea Danube Canal
While some naive journalists in
the West are paying homage to President Ceausescu and the "heroic
labor" of the Rumanian people for the completion of the 60
Km. long Black Sea Danube Canal which cuts thorugh
the treacherous Dobruja swamps, it seems imperative that the truth
concerning this project be known worldwide: THE WORK WAS
DONE BY SLAVE LABOR AND IT COST MORE THAN A HALF MILLION HUMAN
The result of a long and thorough
research dealing with the subject was published in Australia in
August 1984 by Mr. Alexander Kolozsy, President of the Sydney
Branch of the Transylvanian World Federation.
We are quoting excerpts from Mr.
"At first the venture (of
building the canal) attracted thousands of enthusiastic volunteers
and youth brigades. But as the Stalinist era became more repressive,
so did the project. More than 60,000 dissidents, priests, minority
Magyars and landowners were put to work on the canal as slave
laborers. Most of them died within a few years under appalling
conditions". (Romania's Danube Connection, Newsweek, Jan.
30, 1984, written by Michael R. Meyer with Douglas Stanglin in
"The project became a great
financial burden, requiring a huge work force, preferably free
labor. President Ceausescu has devised an ingenious plan in order
to maintain the necessary quotas for the labor camps in the Danube
Delta and at the same time rid the country from the undesirable
minorities. According to the Transylvanian writer, Gizella Hervay,
during the 1950s about 80 percent of the Hungarian population
of the county Szilagyi was deported into the Dobruja labor camps
to work on the canal.
"During the last 30 years
about a half million people were used as free slave laborers on
the project, most of them Hungarians from Transylvania and Moldova.
Amnesty International reported that in order to ensure a constant
supply of free labor, new laws were passed ordering those who
publicly criticized the political or economic situation in Romania
or the treatment of the minorities, be sentenced to forced labor.
Decree 153/1970 was often used by the Rumanian authorities to
prosecute and sentence to forced labor, members of the NeoProtestant
community who participated in unauthorized prayer services. There
are thousands of cases on record where Hungarian factory workers
were arrested for speaking in their mother tongue during their
lunch breaks and sent to the death camps without any trial.
"Transportation to these
camps was by freight trains, with 100 to 150 prisoners crowded
into each of the railroad cars, chained to the benches, with no
sanitation at all during the three or four days journey to the
Danube Delta. Amnesty International reported several times during
those years that conditions of the labor camps along the Danube
Black Sea Canal were worse than deplorable and those
confined in the camps were subjected daily to degrading treatments.
"Conditions were similar
in all the camps, including Cemavada, Periprava, Medgidia, Galati,
Jncula Mare, Braeli, Gradina, Saicia, Stoenesti, Ghilia, Tataru,
Tichilesti and Valea Neagra. The inmates had to work 12 hours
daily, seven days a week. The work they performed was heavy manual
labor digging ditches, carting soil by wheelbarrow, loading
trucks. The scene was similar to the Egyptian or Roman Empires
of the past, when slaves were used to build pyramids or roads.
"Amnesty International reported
also that visits by relatives were not allowed. When foreign delegations
were shown around the construction sites, the prisoners were removed
and hidden behind reeds. On a few occasions even the watch towers
were knocked down before foreign visitors were led through the
area and the entrances to the forced labor camps were barricaded
with sacks of wheat and the camps were described to the visitors
as agricultural cooperatives. On such occasions the guards did
not wear uniforms, so foreign visitors and journalists would not
realize that what they saw was a forced labor camp.
"Most of the forced labor
camps in the Danube Delta did not have the basic sanitary facilities
and no medical care whatsoever. The food was poor, epidemics were
common, taking a heavy toll. The camps were shockingly overcrowded.
Those expressing dissatisfaction were accused of treason against
the state and punished with beatings.
"Amnesty International reported
in August 1977 that when the Jiu Valley miners were going on strike
due to the deteriorating economic situation, several thousand
of them, mostly Hungarians, were taken into these labor camps
and put to work on the canal without pay.
"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.
"What will happen now to
those Hungarians, Jews, Germans, Gypsies and other "unwanted"
elements who somehow still survived the barbaric purge of Rumania's
Great Master? Will they be allowed to exist in some hidden corner
their ancient homeland as second
class citizens or has Ceasar Ceausescu some other plans for their
Perhaps we find the answer to
this question in Mr. Meyer's and Mr. Stanglin's article in the
January 30,1984 issue of Newsweek:
"During the festivities President
Ceausescu announced that a second canal will be built soon
this one linking Bucharest, the country's capital to the Danube."
Since the navigable Dimbovita
River is already there, connecting Bucharest with the Danube,
one wonders whether the Great Nazi Leader of Rumania still has
too many ethnic and other undesirable elements in his empire which
have not yet been eliminated?
Rumania: the Most Chauvinistic Country on Earth
(Excerpts from the "Study
On Rumanian AntiSemitism and AntiHungarianism "prepared
by Prof. Andrew fHaraszti for the Transyivanian World Federation
Committee on International Relations, 1982.)
"The presentlay Rumanian
government is internationalist in theory, but extremely chauvinistic
in practice" Prof. Haraszti ascertains in his report, "consequently
the Rumanians, who were illfamed concerning their extreme
and murderous antisemitism for several centuries, are treating
now the Jews of Rumania in a very interesting way. If a Rumanian
Jew happens to be orthodox, who considers his indentity as a nationality
or as a race, he can be persecuted just as before, during the
previous centuries. However, if an orthodox Jew proves himself
a good communist and good Rumanian at the same time, the government
will probably forget that he is "only a Jew". Now the
treatment of the neolog Jews is drastically different.
"Since most of the orthodox
Jews are from the territories of 'old Rumania', they are treated
by Rumanian officials with extreme chauvinism and hatred. A very
large part of the Transylvanian Jews assimilated into the Hungarian
culture a long time ago, and most of them considered themselves
as Hungarians with Jewish religious background. Since Hungarians
have been discriminated against and persecuted from the very first
day Rumania occupied the eastern part of Hungary, called Transylvania,
being a Hungarian Jew provoked the extreme of Rumanian antisemitism,
uniting antiJudaism with antiHungarian chauvinism
into one furious and brutal sentiment. Thus, Transylvania became
the land of the most brutal genocide.
Hannah Arendt, one of the most
experienced and most professional analyst of Totalitarianism writes
in her book '"Eichman in Jerusalem": "in Rumania
even the SS were taken aback and occasionally frightened by the
horrors of oldfashioned spontaneous pogroms on a gigantic scale.
They often intervened to save Jews from butchery, so that the
killing could be done in a more civilized way". It is hardly
an exaggeration to say that Rumania was the most antiSemitic country
of Europe." (For details read; Matatias Carp: Holocaust in
Rumania 19401945, ISBN 963 8412 02X).
Unquestionably, the Rumanians
became "champions of antisemitism" up to the end
of World War II. Did they change their antisemitic character
after 1945? Let us quote another author, Paul Lendvai. In his
book "Antisemitism without Jews" the author writes on
page 326: " When Nicolae Ceausescu succeeded GheoghiuDej
as First Secretary of the Communist Party in March 1965, at the
age of 47, a high Hungarian official in Budapest said that the
new party leader was antiHungarian and antiSemitic..."
Nicolae Ceausescu is actually
nothing else but a Rumanian chauvinist, and he is not different
from the most notorious Rumanian fascists.
His government is working very
hard to spread the myth that the Rumanians are the oldest and
most civilized race in Europe. All the others: Hungarians, Jews,
Bulgarians, Ukrainians, Serbians, Greeks, etc. are "barbarian
newcomers". This Rumanian myth is dangerously similar to
the Aryan myth of Hitler's Germany.
The essence of Rumanian chauvinism
was, and still is: to hate and persecute all those who are nonRumanians
and who are presumably against the predicted great role of Rumanian
With the Rumanian annexation of
Bukovina, Bessarabia and the thousandyearold Hungarian
Transylvania, the various national minorities faced a horrible
chapter of their history as the victims of Rumanian supernationalism.
In 1945 Rumanian chauvinism replaced the Swastika with the Sickle
and Hammer. Thousands of Transylvanian Hungarians became victims
of Rumanian terror, and hundreds of them were Hungarian Jews.
In 1958 Western sources reported
that over a hundred thousand Jews had registered for emigration
in Rumania. Following this, in February 1959, the Rumanian government
issued a statement accusing Israel and "other imperialist
sources" of unleashing a diversionist campaign. Bucharest
accused the Israeli embassy of spreading Zionist slogans among
Rumanian Jews. Dozens of Jews were arrested again and tried on
charges of treason.
Rumanian nationalists faced a
difficult problem. As antisemites, they were happy to get
rid of the Jews. But on the other hand, large scale departure
of trained Jewish personnel could have affected Rumanian economy.
Between 1960 and 1965 about 35,000 Jews left Rumania very quietly,
without "causing diplomatic troubles with the Arab friends"
Today, Rumanian diplomacy is performing
the unique feat of maintaining good relations with both Israel
and the most extreme Arab nationalists, simultaneously, although
Rumanian domestic policy is very quiet about the "Jewish
Question", there exists in Rumania a definite ceiling to
any Jewish advancement in the civil service as well as in the
academic and cultural fields.
The previously francophile, later
GermanNazi oriented, then StalinistCommunist oriented
Rumania, Professor Haraszti concludes in his book, "is today
still one of the most chauvinistic, most antisemitic country
in the world."
The Agreement concluded in February
1947 between the Allies and Rumania asserts in Part II, Section
1, Article 3 that:
"RUMANIA SHALL TAKE THE STEPS
NECESSARY TO SECURE TO ALL PERSONS UNDER RUMANIAN JURISDICTION,
WITHOUT DISTINCTION AS TO RACE, SEX, LANGUAGE OR RELIGION, THE
ENJOYMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS, INCLUDING
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, PRESS AND PUBLICATION, OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP,
OF POLITICAL OPINION AND OF PUBLIC MEETING."
These were the conditions under
which the United States, Great Britain, France and the Soviet
Union allowed the annexation of Transylvania by Rumania.
Since the Government of the Socialist
Republic of Rumania did not and still does not comply with these
conditions, the governments of the United States, Great Britain,
France, and the Soviet Union have the right as well as the obligation
to order the immediate return of these territories to Hungary,
or declare Transylvania an independent state under the protection
of the United Nations. They owe this to those millions of Hungarians,
Germans, Jews, Bulgarians and others whom they forced under the
terrorregime of the Rumanian government.