|Senator Charles J. Hokky : Ruthenia|
E L E C T I O N A L A B U S E S
Lloyd GEORGE had admitted in his courageous and manlike speech at the Queen's hall in l936 that the Czech statistics had been false and the Peace Treaty of Trianon unjust. "I regretfully have to admit that our decisions became the cause of many injustices, We had adjudged some parts of Hungary on the basis of statistics believed irrefutable. Since then the proof arrived that these territories had sent only Hungarian delegates to the Czechoslovak parliament. "
But how many more would have been elected, if the electoral mathematics had not permitted that in Bohemia only half as many votes were necessary to elect a representative, as were required in the Hungarian populated area or in Ruthenia? This was most evident in the relation of Prague and Ruthenia. Prague had elected 19 representatives, while Ruthenia, theoretically, only nine. Dr. Endre KORLATH won almost 35,000 votes during the election of representatives of 1935, still he was unable to enter the first scrutiny. With the same number of votes two delegates could have been elected in Prague.
Still the elections of 1935 ended with an ignominious defeat for the Czechs. Dr. NEMEC was compelled to admit: "But the figures of 1935 also appear to show, besides the gains of the Communists and increase in the votes for the autonomous groups. . . . of nine deputies elected to the Prague Parliament from Ruthenia, only three went with the Government while six joined the opposition. In other words, in spite of all its work and some excellent (? - The Author) results the Prague Government was not able, after sixteen years, to gain the confidence of even half of the population of Ruthenia. " 1 - Do we need better justification for those who stated that Prague was only the usurper of Ruthenia, and had no right of possession?
Furthermore, as I already mentioned, there had been more than 90 thousand people without citizenship, who had no right to vote. If we count only their wives and one adult child, it would amount to at least the same, i. e. another 90 thousand votes.
"In a number of communes the local officials deleted the names of the parties from the lists and inserted that of the Agrarian Party (at Ivanovje and although in these communes the KURTYAK Party was successful, the lists were transferred to the Agrarians. " 2
Moreover Ivan KURTYAK complained after the elections of 1929, that in the Verchovina in some communes the entire urns were exchanged.
Every Czech party had some trump to seduce, deceive, or to intimidate the people. Most of the officials were members of the National Socialist(BENES)party. People always had some business where the kind disposition of a particular official was necessary: This way they influenced the votes. The Tradesmen's Party lured the voters with settlement of certain concessions and applications.
The agents of the Czech Agrarian Party came with the slogan to one of the elections; "The Land-Dividers are coming", However, after the Agrarian Reform they did not dare to use the slogan again, since they would have been driven out of the villages. Then they came waving large red - white - green (Hungarian) national flags. The Hungarian population was not allowed to display the Hungarian colors of the Hungarian national flag. They were brandishing those because they knew these colors were dear to Hungarian people. The strong desire for the prohibited is human characteristic. The desire is even stronger if the prohibition is illegal and unjust. If on any Hungarian national holiday, (the celebration of those were also prohibited), anyone had displayed just a tiny red-white-green cocarde on his suit or coat he was dragged to the police and punished. All this in a small republic which had nine different nationalities and these nationalities represented more than a half of the population. When a young girl appeared on the street dressed in Hungarian costume, it was torn off her. I well remember this incident which occurred in the city of Beregszász, a city of pure Hungarian population.
In some of the villages, if people went to a wed ding, or on a national holiday, dressed in Hungarian
costume, they cut the hair of the girls ! 3 The Czechs perhaps remembered these actions from the stories of their fathers since after 1848, in the BACH-era, similar incidents also occurred; and the policemen of the Austrian oppression at that time also consisted mostly of Czechs.
When at Ungvár, on a March 15, which is a Hungarian national holiday, people were singing the Hungarian national anthem in the church, several participants were arrested. Dr, Endre KORLATH was released sooner from the jail than a noble lady. The latter was welcomed by KORLATH with flowers. He was jailed again. "Perhaps, because the color of the flowers was red-white- green" - the English newsmen sarcastically remarked. 4
If one received some punishment from administrative authorities, it was frequently remitted if the person concerned became an agent of a Czech party, especially if he acted successfully.
Meetings organized by the Autonomous League of Farmers were dissolved by the authorities upon some impossible pretext, or sanction for holding such meetings was refused. "I have lists of the places where these things happened" - wrote Sir R. DONALD. 5
The circular of Zhupan SLAVIK, stating that anyone calling himself a Ruthenian is guilty of propaganda for the Hungarians, had caused official terror, of which I gained personal knowledge while traveling across Zemplén. It is my duty to object in the name of the Ruthenians, and to declare that if the proclamation of SLAVIK would stand, the result of the census of Zemplén would not and could not be just for the Ruthenians, therefore I request to effectuate energic regulations in order to secure the consolidation of the Ruthenian element in Czechoslovakia. - Dr. ZATKOVIC, Governor.
Dr. ZATKOVIG further added: "These (and) acts of denationalization were probably performed all through the neutral territory which would be in favor of the Ruthenians. An honest understanding of their justified desire for a Czechoslovak and Ruthenian mixed committee to direct the census justly was never achieved.
Here is an official and indisputable statement, the declaration of Governor ZATKOVIC. It is obvious that the falsification of census registers was directed by the Czechoslovak high officials of the counties
themselves with the approval of the Czech government; which clearly proved that the intervention of the governor was unsuccessful. It is also a proof for us: if the Ruthens had been treated this way during the census - what could we expect in the Hungarian communes. This was presented to his readers in a convincing disclosure by Sir R. DONALD, who was present at one of the elections in Ruthenia. 6
Before an election the Czech parties raised the pay of the school-teachers, in order to win them as their agents for the elections. Several teachers were called upon to campaign. However, - commendably - there were very few among the Hungarian teachers who complied.
"The Russkiy Vistnik (No. 43 - 1928) /Dec. 28 1928/ gives another picture of the deplorable political exploitation of the Carpatho-Russians in an article describing the situation in two villages, Smerekovo and Zruzina, the nhabitants of which are struggling under heavy penalties imposed upon them by the Department of State Forestry for using their own forests. The use in question was granted them back in 1923 by the proper authorities. But this permit was revoked. In 1925, however, just before the parliamentary elections the free usage was given them again, and after the elections the permit was revoked again, and a criminal court procedure was put into motion against the peasantry of the two villages mentioned above. Notwithstanding the fact (that) the permit of free usufruct for the peasants was, upon the frequent appeals of the interested villages, corroborated by high officials of the Government, the peasants must now pay in Smerekovo alone, not less than 70,000 Kc as penalties for using their forests. It is a great deal of money for the famine stricken peasants, not taking in account the iniquity done to them. " remarked M. YUHAS. 7
Every party invented some kind of trick which they used hunting for v o t e s. The simple people believed those appearing as gentlemen, who promised but did not keep their promises.
"At Batar, candidates of the Christian Socialist and Hungarian Nationalist Parties were threatened
with imprisonment if they did not withdraw their candidatures. " 8
I believe that the examples listed sufficiently prove the abuses committed by the Czechs at the elections, but still we have to add hereto the important perceptions of Sir Robert DONALD, He had seen, already in 1928, what those who were destined to decide the fate of a hundred million becoming slaves behind the Iron Curtain, either failed to see, or were wicked enough to ignore. That is: the future suffering of these peoples. The author had written under the title "Breeding Bolshevism":
"The betrayal of Ruthenia by Gzecho-Slovakia and the growth of Communism in that territory is not a matter which concerns that territory alone. It effects the neighboring states. It is a European problem. It is a menace to Western civilization. After the Trianon an under Czech rule, Carpathian Russia, the Ruthenia of the Peace Treaties has become a breeding ground of Bolshevism. The inhabitants are Little Russians, their kinsmen are just on the other side of the Carpathians. They are in constant touch with Moscow. Soviet emissaries overrun the country and control an organization which receives liberal support from Moscow has had tentacles throughout the Republic "
"The Communists are the second largest party in the Czech Parliament. At the last general election in 1925 they obtained 833,700 votes and are represented by forty-one deputies and twenty senators. They are the only united party organized on national lines regardless of race and language. The majority of the members from Ruthenia are communists. "
"Ruthenia s t a n d s between Hungary, of which it formed a part for a thousand years, and Ukraine in Russian Poland. The Bolsheviks are still brooding over the failure of the Béla KUN Communist revolution in Hungary. " 9
It was characteristic of BENES that he did not keep his word even as the president of the Czechoslovak republic. When MASARYK resigned as president in 1935, BENES was not popular enough to be certain of his election. A bargaining started, similar to selling a cow; that he would grant
this and that, if elected. He invited the Hungarians also to such a negotiation. Géza SZULLO, Dr. János ESTERHÁZI, and Andor JÁROSS had been invited. They agreed to receive such and such rights in exchange for the Hungarian votes. The demands of the Hungarians were listed taxatively. BENES promised compliance with those.
The Hungarians honestly kept their word. I myself the author, am a key witness, since I was a senator at that time, and this election became very memorable. My father-in-law died on December 14, 1935. His funeral was on December 16. The elections were held the same day. I sent an urgent telegram that due to the funeral of my father-in-law I would be unable to be present at the election. Within a few hours I received an urgent telegram that I must be present under any circumstances. I did appear at the election, held on December 16.1935, at the Wladislaw Hall, and gave my vote for BENES. - My wife resented for a long time that I had left her alone at the funeral of her father.
BENES did not keep his word as President of the Republic. I had known this in advance, since I knew that only a gentleman keeps his word. However, he was punished with his own offenses: He always believed that STALIN would keep his word. But STALIN was more perfidious than BENES: he was pushed out of the presidency by the catchpolls of STALIN. There is a Slovak proverb: "Jaki diabol, taki cert" - "As the devil, so the Satan". BENES and STALIN were carved from the same wood.
As a matter of fact, the invitation of the Hungarian leaders and the promises made to them, could have been sufficient reason to annul the election. But BENES would have taken merciless revenge for that. We had our examples: STEFANIK, 'I'UKA, TISO, and others.
Foot notes to Chapter VII
1 Frantisek NEMEC: The Soviet Seizure, etc. p. 45
2 Sir R. DONALD: The Tragedy of Trianon, pp. 138-139.
3 Based on information of Aladár EGYED, Lutheran minister.
4 Sir R. DONALD, Op. cit., p. 138
6 Ibidem, pp. 43-46
7 M. YUHAS: Wilson's Principles in Czechoslovak Practice, p. 34
8 Sir R. DONALD, op, cit., p. 139
9 Ibidem, pp. 148-149
|Senator Charles J. Hokky : Ruthenia|