Newest Victims of Rumanian Terror
The Reverend GEZA PALFY of Szekelyudvarhely
(Odorhei) spoke in his church on the observance of religious holidays,
mentioning the fact that while in Hungary the regime tolerates
these holy days, the Rumanian government does not. The very same
day Rev. Palfy was arrested for "agitating against the government,"
taken away and delivered one week later to a hospital, where he
died shortly. Though an autopsy report was never officially released,
it is common knowledge that his liver and his kidneys were completely
crushed and shattered due to the beatings he received while in
In Csikszereda (Mercuriu Ciuc)
factory worker Lorant Hadadi, 26, was beaten to death on May
26, 1984, because he refused to speak in the Rumanian language
with his wife while waiting for the bus.
In Melegfolvar (Fehoara) Ferenc
Bako and his wife Anna Bako, both field workers, were arrested,
beaten and imprisoned without any trial due to an argument concerning
In Fuzes (Fizes) Antal Zsigmond,
laborer, age 66, spoke up angrily about having to stand in line
for bread in spite of last years record wheat crop. "If they
just wouldn't take everything out of this country to feed their
big bellies in Bucharest!" he exclaimed. The official Rumanian
bread distributor sent for the police, Antal Zsigmond was pulled
out of the line, beaten and taken to Szamosujvar (Gherla). This
happened on April 22,1984. As of June the 6th no one in the village
had heard of him.
Lajos Szakacs, 22, and Istvan
Birtalan, 21, of Kispujon (Puin) were arrested on May 21, 1984,
severely beaten and deported into an unknown location for singing
Hungarian folk songs while intoxicated.
Pilgrimage on Rusty Nails and Broken Glass
Mrs. Elizabeth Szakats, prominent
Transylvanian Hungarian journalist living today in West Germany,
visited her homeland during the summer of 1983 with a group of
tourists eager to take part in the famous pilgrimage of Csiksomlyo.
She writes: "Already on the tour bus we had to endure the
offensive attitude of the Rumanian government agent disguised
as a tour guide, who was constantly entertaining us with obscene
jokes aimed at church and priesthood. As we drove through the
once properous Hungarian farming villages which, our "guide"
insisted were inhabited by Rumanians only, groups of emaciated
children clothed in rags were running along our bus begging for
a piece of bread. In Csiksomly6 thousands and thousands of Hungarians
were gathered for the occasion. But on the way up to the many
centuries old shrine the dirt road was covered with broken glass
and rusty nails which is one of the attempts of Rumanian
government agencies to discourage religious activities
and since most of the pilgrims from the nearby Hungarian villages
were without any footwear, on both sides of the road we could
see men, women and children trying to bandage each others bleeding
Worst Police State
"Rumanian, Europe's Worst
Police State" writes Tom Kennedy in the Calgary Sun (Jan.26,
After this statement Kennedy goes
on to say: "And let's not fall for the muchtouted line
of an independent Rumanian foreign policy, because there is no
such animal. There never was, except in the uncluttered minds
of naive Western diplomats.
"Ceausescu is a brazen and
dangerous opportunist. He has stupidly turned his country, blessed
with an abundance of beauty and natural riches, into an economic
basket case, where people are told by the conspicuously wellfed
Great Leader to lose weight in order to cut down further on an
already meagre diet.
Rumania has been repeatedly condemned
at every free world forum for the way it treats national minorities.
THAT TREATMENT, ACCORDING TO WITNESSES'
ACCOUNTS, BORDERS ON GENOCIDE."
Amnesty International Reports:
In the Tsango region of Rumania
there used to be 72 Hungarian schools. Today there are none. Ethnologists
predict that the Hungarian minority is threatened with cultural
and linguistic extinction as the result of the Rumanian government's
Swiss Magazine Condemns Rumania for the Persecution
of Hungarian Churches
Under the title "The Calvinist
Church of Transylvania Fights a Losing Battle Against Rumanian
Oppression" the renowned Swiss periodical GLAUBE IN DER WELT
published in its newest issue (198412, Jahrgang 2) a twelve
page report on the deplorable situation of the Hungarian Calvinist
Church in Transylvania.
"The Calvinist Church of
Transylvania is one of the largest minority churches in Europe"
the article states "with more than one million members living
within a well defined geographical unit. They are exclusively
Hungarians who are proud of belonging to one of the oldest protestant
churches of Europe, which was founded in 1529 and gained official
recognition in 1559, when freedom of religion was enacted as law
of the land by the Hungarian General Assembly in the city of Torda."
After discussing the many encroachments
and harrasments the church is exposed to by the Rumanian government,
the article concludes:
"Today, the approximately
two and a half million Hungarians in this once free country are
fighting a losing battle against Rumanian oppression and terrorism,
whether they belong to the Calvinist, Unitarian, Roman Catholic,
Lutheran, Baptist or the Greek Catholic faith."
The Transylvanian World Federation Reports:
"May 22, 1984.
Submitted by Lord Bethel, the
Delegate of Great Britain, the full session of the Europe Parliament
in Strassburg unanimously passed the resolution to condemn Rumania
for barbaric acts committed against members of the Hungarian minority,
especially for the torturedeath of Reverend Geza Palfi."
The protest of the Europe Parliament
was officially presented to the delegate of the United Nations.
The Transylvanian Holocaust
The Transyluanian Quarterly
Attrocities committed by the Rumanian
authorities against the native Hungarian population of Transylvania
In DesDej: Telleres Janos,
Demeny Zoltan, Tobias Tibor and Barath Pal, members of the Hungarian
Calvinist church were arrested July 18,1984 and charged with "subversive
activity against the State". Their crime was to demand that
their minister be released from prison or another minister be
allowed to take his place. Their whereabouts are unknown.
In Marosfalva: Gabor Andras, his
wife and three children, aged 4, 6 and 9, were dragged out of
their home during the middle of the night on August 6, 1984, loaded
into a van and taken away. Rumor says that one of the new residents
of the village, a Rumanian from Moldova, reported to the police
that the Gabor children allegedly told his children that Marosfalva
was a Hungarian village. Two weeks later the authorities settled
a Rumanian family into the Gabor home. Nobody seems to know whether
the Gabor family is still alive or not.
In Biharalmas: Dobozi Laszlo and
Ferenci Tibor, aged 16 and 17, were arrested and beaten by the
police for singing Hungarian songs. Dobozi was released two weeks
later with two broken arms, while Ferenci is allegedly still in
the prison hospital with bleeding kidneys. This happened sometime
during the third week of August, 1984. Correct time not yet available.
In Marosnemeti: Paal Gabor, former
high school teacher who served three years in the Salcia slave
camp digging the Canal, after which he was transferred as a chicken
coop cleaner to the state owned egg farm in this village, was
beaten to death by the police for criticizing the management.
He was 71.
In Fenes: Former landowner Ferenc
Foldvary, who was crippled in 1945 from the tortures he suffered
at the hand of the political police and was interned for the last
twelve years as a welfare case to this village, died of hunger
on August 29, 1984. According to reliable sources the Rumanian
welfare administrator of the district refused any kind of aid
since July 1983, because Foldvary was registered as "class
enemy" and "enemy of the Rumanian people."
In Marosheviz: A group of West
German tourists hiking in the Kelemen mountains discovered in
July that the chief of police in this town was a perverted child
abuser. During the last three years about twentysix children,
boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 12 were abused by this
man, under the disguise of "questioning" them in connection
with some crime the parents were accused of having committed.
The German tourists reported the case to authorities in Bucharest
and in the second week of August a Rumanian police commission
arrived to Marosheviz. After three days of investigation the commission
cleared the chief of police of any accusation and ordered the
arrests of Dukas Sandor, Kovago Denes and Botor Pal. all three
parents of young children for "malicious slander" against
the Rumanian police force. News received from this town on August
the 29th claims that the three men were still in custody, but
the chief of police was moved from Marosheviz to another town,
allegedly to Deva.
Followup: In the July 1984 issue
of the Transylvanian Newsletter it states that Lajos Szakacs,
22, and Istvan Birtalan, 21, of Kispujon (Puin) were arrested
on May 21, beaten and deported into an unknown location for singing
Hungarian folk songs. On August 12, Birtalan was delivered to
the Radulescu Hospital in Bucharest with broken ribs, bleeding
kidneys and inflamed liver, the usual symptoms of police beatings.
On his entrance sheet the cause was listed as "accident at
work" Our informant was unable to talk to him. The
whereabouts of Szakacs is still unknown.
The Bible as Romanian Toilet Paper
June 14, 1985
The Wall Street Journal
by Peter K. Keresztes
"In all of the diabolical
manifestations of Adolf Hitler's hatred for God and all religions
keeping in mind that he burned Torahs I don't think
even he conceived of anything so ugly."
So fumed California Rep. Bob Dornan
at a GOPorganized press conference last week on rights abuses
in Romania. He was describing samples of toilet paper with Biblical
words such as "Esau," "Israel," "Jeremias,"
"Satan" and "Isten" (Hungarian for God) imbedded
in the tissue. The sample panels are "incontrovertible evidence,"
Rep. Dornan said, that 20,000 bibles donated in the 1970s by the
World Reformed Alliance of the Transylvanian Magyar Reformed Church
with the permission of Bucharest were diverted to a mill in Braila,
as labels on the rolls indicate, for recycling into toilet paper.
The highquality Western paper and ink, however, resisted
the smashing, and the Biblical words are clearly legible in the
In lobbying for renewal of their
Most Favored Nation trading status with the U.S., the Romanians
in the past often cited the agreement to distribute the Bibles
as an example of their magnanimity.
This barbaric profanity is but
one example cited of charges over the past 20 years from Romania
(Bucharest has flatly denied them) over minority and religiousrights
violations. Laszlo Hamos, chairman of the New Yorkbased
Committee for Human Rights in Rumania, which has monitored the
situation there over the past nine years, says that "over
the past two years physical brutalities, imprisonments, house
searches and beatings against minorityrights advocates have
markedly increased." Although the 2.5 million (officially
1.8 million) Hungarians Europe's largest national minority
in that country of 23 million have been hit the hardest,
Mr. Hamos says, ethnic Germans and Jews have also complained of
abuses. Here are some examples:
The death last year of the Rev.
Geza Palfi, who during his 1983 Chistmas homily bemoaned an edict
by President Nicolae Ceausescu making Christmas a "day of
The Roman Catholic priest was
arrested the following day by Securitate agents, according to
the underground Hungarian Press of Transylvania, and died three
months later of internal injuries, at the age of 48. This sort
of brutality parRomania.
( Six other known deaths in recent
years of Roman Catholic, Pentacostal and Baptist clergymen that
occurred during or following interrogation.
( The "correction" of
Romanian authorities of a construction error of one meter on a
church by leveling it with a bulldozer.
So where are the indignant headlines
and commentaries in the mainstream press? Nowhere. To the contrary,
Flora Lewis, filing to the New York Times oped page last
week from Bucharest, warned against the "verbal fist"
that she saw in the call for a tougher U.S. stand by Ambassador
David Funderburk as he resigned last month after 8º frustrating
years in Bucharest. "Life is very difficult" in Romania,
Ms. Lewis counseled, and "Policy requires nuance." Meanwhile
the Capital Hill exposure of the desecration scandal got little
ink outside the ethnic press.
Why doesn't the State Department
act more resolutely? It quietly protested the death of Father
Palfi, but, Mr. Hamos says, the U.S. delegation to the current
Ottawa human rights conference in its statment, "Discrimination
Against National Minorities," overlooked the plight of Europe's
largest national minority. The Romanians, he adds, have been known
to agree to bilateral talks at such conferences in exchange for
suppression of criticism.
Mr. Funderburk's advocacy while
ambassador of a harder U.S. line against Bucharest was easy for
the State Department to ignore because of President Ceausescu's
image as a "maverick" who dares to stand up to the Soviets
and who therefore could be beneficial to U.S. interests.
But in fact, the price for Mr.
Ceausescu's "independent line" is exacted from the hides
of minorities and the devout in Romania, as part of a transparent
deal with the Soviets whereby they tolerate Mr. Ceausescu's unorthodoxy
as long as he keeps Romania from drifting in the direction of
Last week's news conference, nevertheless,
signaled a maturing U.S. attitude toward Romania. Michigan Rep.
Mark Siljander has proposed legislation (HR 2596) to change the
JacksonVanik amendment to the 1975 Trade
Act. The change would like Most
Favored Nation trading status to a country's progress in correcting
ethnic, religious and cultural persecution, in addition to the
current requirement relating purely to emigration. The new law
would be a powerful economic weapon in its own right that could
be leveled on dictatorships, left and right.
The Republican effort (Democrats
are also launching one) seems, at least as far as Romania is concerned,
to buck the position of the Reagan administraton, which last week
proposed extension of the country's MFN status another year. Curiously,
Rep. Sam Gibbons ID., Fla.) has yet to schedule the usual annual
hearing to review Romania's trade status.
While the ability to emigrate
is a fundamental human right, the prerogative to stay put and
still live in dignity is equally one. The Siljander measure would
provide leverage should the U.S. decide to exert pressure against
what has been aptly described as Romania's cultural genocide of
minorities the dispersal or exile of their intelligentsia;
official curtailment of their educational, language and religious
opportunities, and a campaign of intimidation against their cultural
and religious leaders.
Romania has variously ignored,
arbitrarily applied, and misused the emigration stipulations of
JacksonVanik to embarass the U.S. For exampIe, even Ms.
Lewis concedes that the recent dumping of a thousand or more wouldbe
emigres in West Berlin constituted a "miniMariel."
If the U.S. is to formulate an
honest and humane foreign policy toward Romania, it needs to peel
away the myths enshrouding the Ceausescu phenomenon and recognize
it for what it truly is.
Mr Keresztes is on the staff of
the Wall Street Jounial's editorial page.
Excerpts from an article by the
well known journalist of the Netherlands,
Alexander Mtinninghoff: "Evil in Rumania"
January 6, 1985
"Nowhere in Eastern Europe
did we meet with so much terror and misery as in Rumania. The
state police, called "SECURITATE" is of an ill repute
and everywhere present. Its power is unbelievable. They are especially
hard on citizens of nonRumanian nationality who have any
kind of connections with foreigners. One Transylvanian Hungarian
woman I met was tortured for days for speaking to me. A Protestant
clergyman I knew was beaten half to death just for talking to
a member of the American Embassy who visited his church. A Hungarian
woman who received medicine by mail from a foreign country was
interrogated for days.
"We were followed like criminals
wherever we went. In the Hungarian city of Marosvasarhely we were
the only people on the streets at 10 P.M., except those six or
seven grim looking individuals who kept watch over us. The once
so happy and exuberant city was dark and silent. It reminded us
of the streets of Holland at night during the bombings of World
War II. Twice we were reminded during our evening stroll by our
friendly guardian angels that just a few weeks before a foreign
journalist was beaten up by "unknown hoodlums" because
of his curiosity.
"Of course we knew quite
well why this special attention was focused on us. Transylvania,
populated by 3 million Hungarians was annexed by Rumania after
the war. The Rumanian government is trying to annihilate the Hungarians
by any possible means in order to turn this ancient bastion of
religious freedom and Hungarian culture into a Rumanian province,
and witnesses from the outside are not welcome."
In a Second Article: "Land
with a Double History", (Haagsche Courant, January 12, 1985)
Munninghoff describes the "cultural genocide," comparing
the situation of the Hungarians in Transylvania to that of the
Kurds in Turkey. He closes his firsthand report with these
"What is going on today in
Transylvania is the most inhumane assault against the identity
of a national minority our world has ever witnessed..."
Hungarian Dissidents in Transylvania Demand Autonomy
November 19, 1982
The Associated Press, Vienna
A group of ethnic Hungarians living
in Rumania have published a firmly worded petition demanding autonomy
for areas of Transylvania, freedom to travel to and from Hungary,
and other privileges.
In an appeal addressed to the
Madrid Conference on the Helsinki Agreement, the authors
accuse the Rumanian government
of persecution and of trying to stamp out Hungarian culture. Rumania's
Hungarian minority has long been a sore point in relations between
the two Warsaw Pact allies, even though it is seldom referred
to directly in official statements. Transylvania and other parts
of the old Hungarian empire were annexed by Rumania at the end
of World War I. More than 2.5 million Hungarians still live in
Rumania today, most of them in the West and Northwest.
"The State Powers treat us
as if we were foreign intruders in our own homeland," the
document claims, stating that "Intimidations by the SECURITATE
(political police) are of common occurrence. Even our professional
career is barred by the fact that we are Hungarians. We demand
that we be regarded and treated as bound by unbreakable bonds
to the Hungarian people."
The authors also demand freedom
to travel to Hungary, to accomodate visiting Hungarians in their
homes, and to subscribe to Hungarian newspapers and professional
publicatons. They call for amnesty concerning the jailed Hungarian
dissidents, for the reestablishment of their Hungarian language,
educational institutions, for freedom of religion, and for an
international commission to oversee the situation. They also demand
the reestablishment of the Autonomius Hungarian Province,
and the recognition of the Hungarian language as the second official
language of the land.
By Soviet bloc standards, Hungary
is a prosperous country, where authorities permit some free enterprise
and even tolerate a measure of criticism of the government. In
Rumania food shortages are common and the regime is the strictest
and most despotic in Europe.
The Vienna newspaper KURIER reported
recently that poet Geza Szocs, and others associated with the
document, had been arrested. Their whereabouts are unknown.
The Transylvanian Quarterly
Threatening messages from Rumania
have been received recently by Mr. Istvan Zolcsik, Sao Paulo,
Brazil, coeditor of the Transylvanian Quarterly. Transylvanian
Hungarians who have applied for passports to visit relatives in
Brazil, were called to the office of the SECURITATE, (political
police) and ordered to contact Mr. Zolcsal: in Sao Paulo and tell
him that; IF HE DOES NOT CEASE HIS ACTIVITIES AGAINST THE COMMUNIST
GOVERNMENT OF RUMANIA HE WILL BE EXTERMINATED!
In a letter to Mr. Ilie Verdet,
prime minister of the Rumanian communist state, Mr. Zolcsak replied
to these messages and pointed out the obvious solutions to all
the ethnic problems in Rumania: the strict adherence to
the provisions laid down in the peace treaties, the Charter of
the United Nations, the Helsinki Final Act and the very constitution
of the Socialist Republic of Rumania. Copies of his letter were
sent to all the member nations of the U.N., as well as to the
office of the Secretary General of the United Nations.
Since the other editor of the
Quarterly, author, publisher and retired university professor,
Albert Wass de Czege has been exposed to similar threats in the
past and is being constantly threatened with trumped up charges
by Rumanian agents of being a "war criminal," it seems
necessary to comment on this highly unorthodox and unusual attitude
of the Ceausescu government toward the Transylvanian World Federation
and its efforts on behalf of the native Hungarian population in
Transylvania, today a province of the Socialist Republic of Rumania.
We are publishing the truth concerning
the situation in Transylvania, the culture and history of the
Hungarian nation in Transylvania and point out in detail the presentday
practices of the Rumanian communist government falsifying history,
using terroristic measures to eradicate the many centuryold
Hungarian culture of this part of the ancient Hungarian homeland
and annihilate the three million Hungarians who constitute the
native population of that land.
If the Rumanian government, with
all the unlimited financial resources at its disposal, is able
to prove, not with terror but with proper and aceptable scholastic
documentation, that we are wrong: they are indeed welcome to do
so. The very fact, however, that they have chosen the tactics
of dictators, intimidation and threats of murder the very
same tactics they use on their own subjects proves that
they themselves recognize the obvious weaknesses of their alleged
"facts" and seek remedy in brute force.
The Transylvanian World Federation
is always willing to participate in any open dialogue with the
representatives of the Rumanian government, provided that such
dialogue takes place in a free country and under the strict rules
of academic freedom and scholastic integrity.
Another Hungarian Family Disappeared
The Transylvanian Quarterly
Two Hungarian teenagers were brutally
beaten by the Rumanian police in the village of Noszoly. Soon
after the publication of our report, three members of an international
welfare organization stationed in Bucharest, Rumanian, visited
the location where the atrocity took place. They were accompanied
by an official of the Rumanian communist state to serve as guide
Arriving into the village of Noszoly
by automobile, the guide stopped in front of the mayor's office
to ask for directions to the Tokes home. Returning, he stated
that "the information received from America" must have
been false, since there is nobody by that name residing in the
The welfare workers, apparently
familiar with the methods practiced by the Rumanian authorities,
insisted on seeing the registration books in the office. After
some discussion, they were allowed to do so. The big, worn books,
containing the names in alphabetic order, were handed to them.
However, the third page in the letter "T" seemed to
be of a different color, much whiter and cleaner than the other
pages, and when one member of the group made an observation of
that fact, he was told by the interpreter who shrugged and said,
"last year a cat ran over the desk while the book was open
and spilled the inkwell over it. The page had to be replaced."
Of course, the name "Tokes"
was nowhere to be found and no one in the office ever knew a person
by that name. Thus one more Hungarian family disappeared from
Transylvania in a mysterious way.