|Witnesses to Cultural Genocide|
I exposed this system of psychological torture and verified i twith an ample collection of examples in my study WHITEWALLS, completed in 1975. Although the vast majority of examples will be new, it is unavoidable that I should use a number of examples from the book when I wish to characterize the totality and permanence of the methods now being used. In WHITE WALLS, I classified Rumanian actions against the minorities according to type: discrimination in schools; apartheid in contacts with visitors from other countries; historical falsification, and so on. In the present chapter of this work I follow another principle of classification, choosing as its leading theme, those kinds of disadvantage, discrimination, and psychological or even physical torture which affect the Hungarian minority in Rumania from birth. On this, I seek to tie the precedents which may, in other ways as well, present a complete and graphic picture of Ceausescu's regime.
"Rumania belongs to the Rumanians, and only the Rumanians, because only they live here, even though other languages are spoken among us!" Ceauescu made this statement at a discussion of Nationality in Bucharest in the autumn of 1971.
It is this environment into which the Turkish, Bulgarian, Gypsy, Ukrainian, Ruthenian, Jewish, Serbian, Slovak, German and Hungarian child is born. The father goes to the council house to report a birth. The population of a community may be entirely one nationality, but its officials are for the most part Rumanian. If not, they are either unprincipled collaborators or converts who have abandoned their own people and seek to become more Rumanian than the Rumanians. The official enters the data and then poses the big question: What will the child's name be? If the Hungarian father says Jozsef, he immediately writes down Iosif. If Janos, he writes Ioan. While this should not matter, because the official is merely translating it into the official language of the state (in fact, a Rumanian sounding name might even make it easier for the child later on in life), the real trouble is that if someone's name is written in Rumanian, he is counted as a Rumanian throughout his entire life. If he were to protest this later on, the authorities could accuse him of anti-nationalism and incitement against the Rumanian people. In fact, the matter may even have many other consequences. For example, on the occasion of the 1977 national census, the census-taker insisted upon listing a Marosvasarhely family as being Rumanian because the wife of one of the sons had a name that was not Hungarian. The father used here as an example knows about such things, and because of them, tries to find a name which has no Rumanian equivalent. That is why in Transylvania today there are so many children named Attila, Elod, Kond, Tass, or Emese, Gyongyver, Csilla, Reka ,etc.
But, let us assume the father does present a Hungarian name. The matter does not end there because the official raises his eyebrows and says: "There is no such name!" Thus the wrangling begins. The other officials gather for the verbal duel, and as many as five or six of them begin to berate the poor Hungarian. One can easily understand that under such circumstances, many parents will give up trying to have a Hungarian name recorded for their child, written according to Hungarian usage and in Hungarian spelling, as provided for by law. It often happens, however, that when a father gives an untranslatable name, the official, without saying a svord, writes something in Rumanian, something which cannot be translated into the Hungarian language. In other cases, the official may refuse to enter the name, dismissing the parent and bidding him return when he comes to his senses. But let us assume that in the end the father succeeds in having his son's Hungarian name registered. Do not think that no further dangers exist concerning the nationality of the new citizen. A Rumanian name can be entered later, at any phase of life, when an individual comes into contact with the officials of society.
But still further, let us look at another aspect of births in Rumania. At least ten years ago the authorities introduced the practice of bringing pregnant Rumanian wives from across the Carpathians into Transylvania. Since there was no place left for them, the young local mothers were taken out to the Regat. For a long time, the purpose of this was not clear. We regarded it as just another quirk of state bureaucratic thinking until the authorities announced that the Hungarian institutions and cultural facilities would have to be terminated or reduced because the composition of the population had changed in recent years. When the Hungarians expressed surprise at this, the birth registries were shown to them. It was at the same time that the government began to count the Hungarian children registered in old Rumania as Rumanians.
This is the kind of situation that minority children are confronted with in Transylvania. The pain and anguish it causes the parents are obvious, but be that as it may, a child is born and grows up. He learns to talk from his mother, and gradually he goes out into the world of the stree - something which is another constant cause of uneasiness for its parents, even more so because pure nationality towns and even villages are becoming fewer and fewer in Transylvania. For decades the state has been settling Rumanians here, and they are the ones who receive the free apartments and the good positions.
In fact, this Rumanian colonization is intended not only to ensure that no towns or villages will be left untouched, but also no residential areas or streets. This means that the minority person will never be able to feel himself at home anywhere. Minority children, of course, speak their native language among themselves, but the Rumanians quickly shout at them: "What kind of people are you, talking such a gypsy language?" In the end, there is usually a quarrel or sometimes a fight. It goes more smoothly if the Rumanians beat up the minority children. The little ones go home where the mother dries their tears and says: "Our name is 'Be Quiet' because we are only Hungarians!" It is far worse if the minorities beat up the Rumanians' children for their parents become incensed and to their assistance come the militia, the council, the armed civil guards and the political police; in other words, the entire state police force. I have even been told of an instance in which the town of Kezdivasarhely was occupied by soldiers, all because of a children's fight.
To anyone unfamiliar with present Rumanian, and particularly Transylvanian, conditions, the above statements may be questioned. While I can understand the doubt, I do ask the doubter to take into account that in the Rumanian Socialist Republic today, the whole media organization occupies itself with nationalistic incitement. Anyone can experience this for himself by tuning in to Bucharest radio or television, or by looking at the products of the press. For this reason, I shall cite only a few examples here. Let us begin with Nicolae Ceausescu, who in April,1977 spoke in Bucharest at an agricultural conference, reported in the 22 April 1977 edition of the Bucharest newspaper, ELORE. Let us look at certain portions of the speech. (The italics are my own.) "The large conference of agriculturalists was at the same a vigorous political manifestation by all the village workers and peasantry without nationality difference; it bore witness to our undaunted resolve to conclusively realize the party's internal and external policy which completely meets the interest of the entire nation. "(Loud, prolonged applause.) Ceausescu has well adapted the deceitful language of traditionally two-faced Rumanian politics. Here, for example, he was able in one sentence to state that, although there are nationalities in the country, the population still a single nation. But let us look at another portion of the speech: "I repeat and say proudly what magnificent people we have in our villages and throughout the whole country! People with a healthy judgment who believe firmly in the policy of the party and resolutely, simply, and without circumlocution, say in the language of their ancestors what they want to...in that language which gave birth to wonderful songs and ballads and formed the basis of the establishment of our language. . . that language in which our poets sang so often and so beautifully, and which our entire nation speaks today.." (Participants in the Congress arose, applauding long and wildly.) Cheers and the slogan, "Ceausescu RKP (Romanian Communist Party), resounded inthe great hall.) "We can really say, comrades, along with the poet: 'Our native tongue rings clear, this is our dearest treasure, enchanting music of pleasure, it nowhere has a peer. "'
In the spring of 1977, Rumanian agriculture was in a very serious situation. Loans from West European banks had been used up by then, and although a tremendous amount of machinery and equipment had been poured into this economic sector, production results and production costs lagged far behind the anticipated level. On the other hand, the state had undertaken significant agricultural exports, largely in return for the loans, and when I visited Transylvania in February 1978, it was not only the food stores in the cities which echoed emptily, but also the population in the villages were going hungry. What could Ceausescu say to this situation at the congress of Agricultural Workers? To be sure, he made use of his oft-used phrase: "There is no bread, but here, take a bit of nationalism!"
Bucharest television daily reminds the Rumanians that there are weeds in the sown field - and that they must be gotten rid of; and if by chance someone does not know what 'weeds' were meant, it is fully and immediately explained to him, even in scientific publications. To give just one example, the Bucharest weekly CONTEMPORANUL carried in its No 6, 1978 edition the combined thoughts of D. Berciu, university professor, and C. Preda, doctor of historical sciences, on the subject that the Rumanian people have been living in their present area at least 5,000 years, and that the Rumanians "in the beginning of the10th century AD, resisted the invasion (not the conquest) of the Hungarians into Transylvania. "No question here: the Rumanians are indigenous, the Hungarians invaders...with special emphasis on the fact that they were not conquerors of the homeland! This is how they interpret the fact that the Transylvanian Hungarian nationality which lives in its own homeland is the largest minority in Europe. Scientists, indeed! But a more commonly used official word is "intruders." It is understandable then, why in recent years, more and more Rumanian adults and youth hurl the phrase, "homeless tramp of a bandit," at Hungarians or other minorities. Since autumn of 1977, the situation has deteriorated still further, especially when Bucharest television aired its telecast series, "We Sing of Thee, Rumania!" The program manager is the well-known poet and instigator, Adrian Paunescu, and the telecast is always a part of the main Sunday program. I viewed it myself on 19 February 1978. In the middle of the program, Paunescu's face suddenly darkened, his voice became severe, and he urged viewers to give particular attention to the following scene: A girl appeared on screen. She told about a sharp, brave, intelligent, handsome, likable, honorable, helpful and kindly Rumanian shepherd who was led astray, ambushed and basely murdered by cowardly, stupid, weak, ugly unsympathetic, dishonorable, selfish and envious foreigners. Who are these foreigners? The unsuspecting outsider perhaps does not know, but the Rumanian youth newspapers, literary columns of newspapers and radio and television carry this incident repeatedly. Everywhere it is clearly written and stated that the foreigners were a Hungarian and a Saxon. The use of the substitute word, therefore, in the Szatmar telecast could be attributed to the restraint of Paunescu, the program organizer and director, and even to his refined psychological sensitivity, but I am inclined to believe that he was assuming a common knowledge: Everyone knows anyway who the murderers are. Well then, let us announce that they are foreigners. FOREIGNERS. Weeds in the garden!
In concluding the program, before reciting one of his ownpoems, Paunescu said: "Let anyone say what he will, but in Maramaros megye, the spirit of Menumarotu is especially alive and effective!" That is, the spirit of that Men-Marote, who, according to Bucharest historians, was one of the leaders of the "Rumanian" resistance to the Hungarian invasion in the 10th century AD.
So much for evidence. Perhaps it will be understandable, even from this much, why hatred against the nationalities is on the increase nowadays in Rumania. Naturally, this wave of fanatic nationalism does not pass the children by. Those little Rumanian tots who deserve a better fate may demonstrate their "patriotis", not only in the streets. On reaching compulsory school age, they enter school, and prior to that, perhaps also kindergarten. Suddenly there can be no separate and intact minority residential area. There can be no such school or kindergarten either. The Rumanian children have been enrolled everywhere, forcing out the minorities to a considerable extent.But if a minority child does get in, his situation steadily becomes an increasingly harried one, if only because the kindergarten teacher watched Adrian Paunescu's program on Sunday evening, and listened to the latest of Ceausescu's unending succession of speeches. And of course, on Monday morning they have the children sing and dance the Hora unirei. Or they bring out the story of the Rumanian shepherd and assign the roles. I need not even mention who has the role of the Saxon ambusher and that of the base Hungarian. Nor, if there is a dispute among the children, in whose favor the "patriotic" kindergarten teacher decides.
Under such circumstances as these, the Hungarian child we took as an example passes his days; the Hungarian child whose father fought to keep him from being registered with a Rumanian name. Then comes school. Several years ago a decree was passed that a Rumanian class could be started with only three children but a nationality class with only 25! This decree was made inoperative in many places by the resistance of the Transylvanian minorities and the indignation expressed abroad. Therefore, the authorities are trying new devices today. Apparently it is still a decree, but without a tangible, written text. One half of a class is Rumanian, the other half minority. The teacher is always Rumanian, or a Rumanianized member of a nationality. Thus parental conferences and teacher conferences are always conducted in Rumanian. But the class is always addressed in the "state language," especially if there is need for it to be present at some kind of patriotic event, or to do unpaid work. If the children do respond, the teacher turns to the minority group and says that they should now show what true sons they are of the homeland! But the nationality children are chosen to represent the State if there is need for applauding hands at some official parade. It is a strange situation. All the children sense this - not just the minorities. This is why Rumanian pupils are making fun of them lately, saying: "How enthusiastic you are! But nevertheless, you are still filthy foreigners!"
When it comes time for courses such as history, literature, language and geography, which for the time being can still be taught in the minority language, the class is divided into two parts. The nationality group sits apart, but do not believe that it studies the literature or history of its own people or nationality. But this division of the class is still a victory for the Rumanian cause because the minorities comprehend the materials written in Rumanian even more quickly than those written in their native language. Also, minority students are told that their people, their past and their literature are valueless, shallow and contemptible. In WHITE WALLS, I analyzed Rumanian history and literature books; the falsification of archeological finds, and the expropriation of historical documents. In another study entitled ATTEMPT, I characterized the methods and spirit of teaching literature and history. Therefore I shall add here but one other item: today, official musicologists and folklorists of Rumania frequently announce that the neighbouring people borrowed from the Rumanian dances and folk art. To support this thesis, they frequently refer to Bela Bartok since the composer and musicologist formulated in one of his works evidence that people living together have always had a mutual effect upon one another. The Rumanians, however, only quote that part in which Bartok refers to the Hungarians having borrowed certain elements of the kolinda. This is even sadder because Bela Bartok belonged to that great generation which before, and after World War I, still believed that the peoples living along the Danube would soon join hands in friendship.
This is how the compulsory school years pass, and if the child of the family we have taken as an example makes it through as a Hungarian, then high school, which is not compulsory, follows. A high school director in Brasso said to his class in the summer of 1977: "You have learned how to write, read and do arithmetic, but now that's enough!" Four years ago, the number of Hungarian high schools, or high schools with a Hungarian section, exceeded 100. Today there may be less than 40. It is understandable that the number of applications for admission is constantly increasing. The schools must be selective. Therefore, the weaker students are compelled to go to the Rumanian schools where there is plenty of room. Let us assume then that a child had succeeded in getting into a Hungarian language school, class, or at least, a class-section. But this is still as much of an illusion as it was in elementary school, since only a few subjects can be taught in the Hungarian language and these, too, are taught entirely in a typical Rumanian manner. Government leadership will not allow, for example, a Hungarian teacher to take his own section on a field trip. In Marosvasarhely, for example, one morning a teacher sent only the Rumanian section by bus for an officially authorized tour. Nationality teachers, however, even if they do teach in the Rumanian language, are hardly ever allowed to contact their pupils after school hours. If the children do visit the teacher at his home, the security office soon intervenes.
This is how high school years pass for a child. If he completes his examinations in an outstanding manner he may think of going on to a college or university. At this level, however, Hungarian-language teaching exists only in theory as Kiraly states in his report. But in this respect, too, the nationality student is better off if he applies to a university in the Regat. There they may not pay attention to his Hungarian background, but then again, perhaps they may. Just two years ago in Jasi, a young student applying for entrance in mathematics was givenan examination problem which had no solution. Since he could not solve it, he was rejected with a statement which said: "We always have trouble with you Transylvanians anyway." Last year, too, trouble broke out at one of the colleges because the Hungarian students there did not cheer for the Rumanian team in the soccer match against Hungary. Such examples are not unique. But now let us leave the field of education and assume that our young student is looking for work.
The following is a report by a young doctor: "I have been working in a small village for seven years in a poorly heated, drafty office, without plumbing, and with hardly any equipment. During this time seven doctors have moved into town, all of them Rumanians. On the other hand, for years I have requested in vain a transfer to another town because I am a specialist and my qualifications are badly needed by the hospital there. I commute daily, walking five kilometers from the railroad station to my office. Primitive equipment makes it impossible not only for me to carry out any further training, but also does not permit decent medical service for my patients. I could escape all this if I were to ask for a transfer beyond the Carpathians, since the current practice is that a Hungarian intellectual finds it easy to obtain a position in the Regat, and for intellectuals there, to get positions in Transylvania. But if I were to be separated from my native land, I would have great difficulty finding a Hungarian girl for my wife, in a totally Rumanian environment, and it would be even more difficult for me to rear my children as Hungarians, although the constitution of the Rumanians Socialist Republic and its laws guarantee such rights in principle, but fail to follow through in practice."
Principle and practice; the spoken word and the reality. Hardly any two things are farther apart in Rumania, particularly if one is dealing with the nationality problem. The laws and the official positions are for the most part carefully spelled out. But, if I even mentioned such things to the Transylvanian Hungarians, they would merely wave their hands and say,"Szanki!"
The meaning of the word, "Szanki", can only be understood in context with its historical background. When Antonescu's openly fascist system came to power in Rumania in 1940, the Jews were shut up in ghettos and the Hungarian and Slav nationalities held in check through harassment. The Gypsy men were sent to labor camps. However, in the main area (in the Baragan) where the Gypsies were living, rumors circulated among the women that their husbands and sons were being mistreated. Therefore the Bucharest radio reporters went to Moldavia to obtain refuting statements from those men doing compulsory work. Of course, they were told first what to say. But one of them was very clever. "We are very well placed here," he said. "We receive good food. We do not have to work much, and the guards are good to us. Szanki!" The authorities were astonished that after such a favorable statement, unrest continued to grow in the Baragan. It did continue because in the Gypsy language the word, "Szanki", means deception or trickery. In other words, the man was actually saying, "Look! Exactly the opposite is true of everything I am saying!"
At this point in my thinking, another idea comes to mind; the concept of "equal rights." This is an idea which we, inhabitants of peaceful, or at least more tranquil countries, happily take for granted. But in the meantime, we are almost completely unaware that a minority's rights to equality with the majority is lacking as a matter of course even in the more liberal states, if for no other reason, just because of the difference between the sizes of the two groups. Even worse, the more complete the supposed equality, the more lacking it is in practice, especially in a hypocritical police state where the concept is actually treated as a dead issue. For this reason, in any state in the world where a small group of people, nationalities, or ethnic groups live together and take seriously their own survival, there, because of necessity, not equality but privileges, are guaranteed. In present-day Rumania, the equality of the masterpeople and the minorities is quite literally non-existent!
But to continue, let us assume that our young man, whether he has become a teacher, doctor, technician or skilled worker, has successfully avoided being directed to foreign regions. Only the lowest jobs are available to him, and he frequently works below his qualifications in a country which has a shortage of educated individuals. It is irrelevant that the number of jobs is increasing in Transylvania cities, for these jobs are constantly being filled by hundreds of thousands of resettled Rumanians. For them, also, it is a matter of compulsion - patriotic obligation - to accept the job, even though they may not want to leave their native land. But if a member of the minority, however, wants to migrate from the village where he works, the authorities refer to a decree according to which such migration is possible only if the person concerned has a place of work in another city. This should logically be followed by a search for a position, should it not? Ot course, but then he is told he can obtain employment there only if he has a permanent home in that city!
Thus, we have a vicious circle. Once we are born, we have to live; if we want to live, we have to eat. The minorities accept this as their fate, but not all of them. If one is willing to abandon his people, the authorities will immediately grant him all the rights and privileges which are guaranteed the Rumanians in Transylvania. In fact, such a person is often given a better than average position. Housing and salary are guaranteed. He is singled out for distinction. He is seated on a podium. This is actually good for their cause, because in reality, the Rumanians despise him for his conversion. Therefore, it is not really worthwhile to become a convert to their way of life.
But even with this complex system of psychological genocide, a total of 1,706,874 persons still declared themselves as Hungarians in the 1977 national census. This is no ordinary result if we realize that many census takers were obviously carefully trained scoundrels and deceivers for the state and if we consider the fact that in the past 60 years, based on the present area of the country, the Rumanian population, according to official reports, increased by 80 percent, while without exception the nationality populations declined. Now, let us examine once again what "full and equal rights" means in a country fired by nationalist hysteria.
-You may not be able to purchase a ticket at the railroad station unless you ask for it in Rumanian
.-You may not be served in a store if you speak in Hungarian,German, or in a Slavic language.
-Your waiter may ignore your table, and those sitting around you make derogatory remarks about you if you do not speak in the "peerless language of the glorious Dacians."
- The memorials of the Hungarians, Germans, Bulgarians, Serbs, Croatians, Ukrainians, Ruthenians, S!ovaks, Russians and Turks, and the statues of the great progressive men of these nationalities have been broken up and destroyed by the thousands since 1920.
-At Gyulafehervar, restoration of the almost thousand-yearold Catholic cathedral has been "in progress" for more than ten years, but in reality, the heaps of rubbish and construction props make it impossible to hold Mass, and also endanger the lives and limbs of visiting tourists.
-In Marosvasarhely, one of the oldest and largest Hungarian libraries, the Teleki Teka, the personnel is now almost entirely Rumanian, and if you ask for a Hungarian book, they cannot seem to find it, it was loaned yesterday, or it is in the bindery - etc., etc., etc.
-You see three Hungarian-language books, compared to the hundreds of Rumanian books in the permanent and representative exhibits of the same library. They do away with, or simply expropriate one after the other, the legendary historical sites of the nationalities; the springs, mountains and fields as well as the pilgrim sites. For example, several years ago, the Saint Laszlo Spring in theTorda gorge was renamed the Alexander the Great Spring. The approach bridge was dismantled. Since then, the site is inaccessible.
-A Hungarian, German or any other minority member cannot teach in his own nationality school without a certificate, but he can teach if he becomes Rumanianized and accepts a post in a Rumanian school.
-If someone answers the telephone in Hungarian ("Hallo!")and not in Rumanian ("Alo!"), he may be insulted by being called a fascist at the other end of the line.
-If someone submits a request for a passport, he may have to wait ten years. When he finally receives it, the official will make some sarcastic remark such as, "Here it is. Now go on and hop over into your heaven!"
-If a member of a minority breaks into song in a public place,he will soon be rebuked with: "Sing in the language of theState, not the language of tramps!"
-I saw a Rumanian woman on the Szekely Circular Railway attack a young minority mother because she spoke to her children in their native language.
-On Colentiana Street in Bucharest they are holding at the time I am writing this, statues, paintings and books robbed from nationality intellectuals.
-In the cemeteries of once completely Hungarian or German cities, old coffins are being thrown out and the crypts painted over to make places for Rumanian occupants.
-In Nagyenyed, on the walls of the Hungarian college you can read in Rumanian that Alexander Chiome Chorosi was the first European to get to Tibet. The inscription does not mention the fact that his name was really Korosi Csoma Sandor, and that he was a Hungarian.
-The afore-mentioned Adrian Paunescu, said in the beginningof 1978 at a meeting in Nagyvarad: "Why should we have truncated rivers?" He was referring to the fact that the large rivers of Transylvania (the Szamos, Maros, the Korosok and Berettyo) all flow into the Tisza which flows through present-day Hungary.
-Kelemen Mikes and Avram lancu attended the Calvinist highschool on Farkas Street in Kolozsvar, but only the latter has a commemorative plaque. The one erected to honor Kelemen Mikes has been removed. At Kolozsvar, a Rumanian historical institute has been made of the place where King Matyas was born. A Hungarian may not enter, even as a visitor, and the great king's commemorative plaque is so faded that its text is illegible. The Hungarians have tried to initiate its restoration in vain.
-All archives are directly under interior affairs If a member of a nationality asks for researche permission, he is turned away on some pretex. If he does not accept the refusal as final, he is visited by the security office.
-Where Janos Jakab, a resident of Leszped (Moldavia) has been punished a number of times and is continuously harrassed. His name and terrible deed have been published frequently in the local movie house, all because at Christmas, 1975, he lodged a relative for a single night. There are hundreds of instances like this which can be attested to by anyone who visits Rumania.
-In the summer of 1977, on the main square of Arad, Rumanian youngsters kicked a portable radio from the hands of a little girl because she was listening to dance music being broadcast from Budapest: "When will you learn that if you eat Rumanian bread, you listen to Rumanian music!", they taunted her.
-At a German family gathering a Rumanian military officer who had married into the family got up and left the table when the guests began to sing German folk songs.
-I shall not continue, because it must already be evident that every day a member or members of the minority in Rumania receive some setback, injury or jeer.
This - the foregoing - I regard as the major characteristic of this modern genocide. But let me take the issue still further: There is no area of private or public life where this Rumanian nationalist incitement has not penetrated. Let us examine once more their methods.
The "Szanki", Announce a number of things and have them put solemnly into law. Then do exactly the opposite, using the declaration as a screen.
Gradualism. Do not eliminate nationality schools with one blow. Do not remove at the same time the locality and stree tsigns written in minority languages, or business and other signs. The statues of Lajos Kossuth, Jozsef Bem, Beethoven and Goethe, for example, were removed over the course of many years. Do not take away all non-Rumanian books at once only from ten to 20 at a time, with house-searches held on various pretexts, but in a sufficiently systematic and methodical manner.
Always turn the screw as much as possible, but only as much as will make it possible to further reduce the psychologica lresistance of the minorities in their downtrodden situation. This the Rumanian Government has been doing for 33 years,while we continue to accept it silently, here in Hungary as well as beyond our borders!
|Witnesses to Cultural Genocide|