[Table of Contents] [Previous] [Next] [HMK Home] THE NATIONALITIES PROBLEM IN TRANSYLVANIA 1867-1940

Chapter IV

Education and Cultural Development among the Romanians of Hungaryi

The character of a nation finds expression above all in its language and culture. All nations cling to their cultural heritage, at first instinctively, then consciously, as they realize that their identity as a nation is intimately connected with it. A nation becoming conscious of its national identity, its culture, language, traditions, history, customs, etc., strives not only to retain these but is eager to see them flourish. In fact, one of its major preoccupations is to pass on its national culture to posterity. This preoccupation is tantamount to national self-preservation, since a nation passes on its culture to its youth in order to preserve its national character for the future. It is for this reason that schools play a decisive cultural role in the life of nations.

However, the transmission of culture takes place not only in a school setting; cultural organizations, associations, the press, and the theater also assume an important role in defining and spreading popular culture. The cultural development of the people is the result of the combined work of all these entities. Hence the cultural situation of Hungary's Romanian population was determined by its schools, its associations, its press, and theater. We need to survey their work to gain an understanding of this situation.

Primary Schools

The Nature and Number of Schools

As in most other countries, education in Hungary, during the Middle Ages and well into modern times, was in the hands of the churches. Before 1867 there was not a single state elementary school, since all schools were run by the churches. Apart from the need for religious instruction, establishing schools hinged on financial considerations; churches which were financially better-off developed a network of schools sooner. The Uniate and Orthodox churches were rather late in organizing their educational system, as compared to the Roman



Catholic and Protestant churches. Since it was in a relatively better financial situation the Uniate Church established schools in the middle of the 18th century, before the Orthodox Church. From the middle of the 19th century the number of Uniate schools began to grow rapidly, and an increasing number of Romanian children received a regular primary education. At the time of absolutist Austrian rule, under the wise leadership of Archbishop Saguna, the education provided by the Orthodox Church, which had been lagging somewhat, attained a level comparable to that of the Uniate Church. Even then not every village had a school, but where there was one, it now functioned more regularly. The Hungarian element took over political control in Hungary as a result of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise. The Hungarian leaders established the foundations of primary education in the country as early as 1868, when parliament approved the public education system proposed by Baron Jozsef Eotvos, the Minister of Religious Affairs and Education. This proposal led to Act XXXVIII of 1868 regarding education in public (including religious) schools, which anticipated similar basic measures in the United Kingdom, France, and Italy.

As a Romanian author notes, this Act was based on two principles: compulsory schooling for all, and freedom of choice of instruction. 1Parents who disregarded the principle of compulsory schooling were penalized according to Article 4 of the law and fined by the Treasury. Freedom of choice of instruction was guaranteed under Article 6. It stated that "parents and guardians are free to have their children educated in the home, or at a private or public institution sponsored by any church, wherever that educational institution may be located.,,

Article 10, pertaining to support for the schools, stated that "institutions of public education in our country may be established and financed in a manner determined by law, by religious groups, various associations, individuals, communities, and the state." According to Article 11, the religious groups could establish schools, appoint their own teachers, and determine their own textbooks and curriculum in every community where they had followers. The curriculum had to, however, include subjects required by the state, and they had to receive equal time. 2 The church sponsoring the school was free to determine its language of instruction. In addition to this law, Article 26 of Act XLIV of 1868 granted churches the right to establish and finance schools, and emphasized that public schools established by religious denominations enjoyed equal status with similar-level state schools.

As can be seen from this text, the Act attempted to provide public education primarily through denominational schools. The denomina-


tions were mentioned first in the list of those financing schools. The right to set up schools in the community was granted first of all to the denominations. The list then went on to mention associations, communities, and, in last place, the state. According to Article 23, the communities had a duty to establish a school wherever the denominations did not maintain a public school in accordance with the prescriptions of the law. Wherever state schools came into being they were usually converted Hungarian religious schools.

According to this master plan, the establishment of state schools was a last resort. According to Article 80, the Minister could call for the construction of "educational establishments required by local conditions purely with state funds" if and when it deemed these necessary. The small number of state schools demonstrates that in most places they were not deemed necessary. Forty years after the adoption of the Act, state schools still continued to be no more than 14.1% of all primary schools. 3 In 1918, in formerly Hungarian areas then inhabited by Romanians, only 28% of all schools were state schools, while the others were denominational. 4

Through the above Act the Hungarian government broadly guaranteed the establishment of Romanian denominational schools. If a community school was organized in a locality that already had a denominational school, those residents who contributed to the maintenance of such a school by paying over 5% of their income tax for the purpose were, according to the provisions of the Act, exempted from the burden of having to support the community school. Thanks to this exemption, Act XXXVIII of 1868, the residents of Romanian communities could not be made to bear the burden of providing for the maintenance of two schools at once. On the contrary, the Act allowed real estate taxes in the community earmarked for education to be turned over to the denominational school if there was no community school.

The Romanians raised no objections to this Act, either then or later. In 1877 the periodical Biserica si Scoala, in a survey of the more important basic laws, criticized only those parts of the Education Act that related to state supervision, since the Romanian attitude at the time was not to recognize the government's right to any kind of supervision. Even so, the periodical stressed that it did not intend to attack the Act on public education which "provides many attractive rights to the denominations." Unfortunately, ,'our denomination," it added, "does not have the means to take advantage of these rights, and therefore our schools can develop to the extent advocated by the country's law only by making supreme efforts." 5


If applied to the Romanian Orthodox Church, this statement was entirely warranted. At that time, in the seventies, this church had but meager resources. According to the census taken at the turn of the century the Orthodox parishes owned teachers' or school plots amounting to a total of 6,736 holds, an average of no more than 3.5 holds per parish. 6 It was difficult to finance a school and pay a teacher in accordance with the prescriptions of the law, which required a well-lit room, limited the number of pupils per classroom, and prescribed the preparation of the teachers. It is clear that if the Hungarian state had been antagonistic to Romanian denominational instruction, it could have found pretexts enough for putting a stop to all instruction in the Romanian language at the primary level. But Eotvos sincerely wished to see Romanian denominational instruction thrive, and therefore he manifested infinite patience towards those schools which did not meet the requirements set by the law. For decades his successors exhibited the same kind of patience with regard to the deficiencies of Romanian schools. It was thanks to this attitude that the schools sponsored by the Romanian churches managed to take hold and do a creditable job instructing Romanian children in their mother tongue.

After the adoption of Act XXXVIII of 1868, the Romanian parishes organized denominational schools wherever they could. According to Romanian church laws, every parish with over 30 children between the ages of 6 and 12 was obliged to set up a primary school. 7 Within a few years the two churches established more than 2,000 primary schools where instruction took place solely in Romanian. In a few hundred villages, Romanian language community schools were set up instead of denominational schools. No prior authorization of any kind was required for setting up a school. The church administration simply reported the existence of the new school to the Ministry, which took cognizance of its existence, and thus the school became official.

On the basis of the annual reports of the Hungarian Ministry of Education, and the evidence provided by Romanian ecclesiastic organizations, the number of schools with Romanian as the language of instruction was as follows during the Compromise period: 8

1869 1872 1877 1880 1884 1890 1906 1911 1914

2569 2878 2773 2756 2843 2582 2985 2813 2901

Thus, the number of schools with Romanian as the language of instruction did not vary considerably in the period from 1868 to 1914. Two to three hundred schools may have become defunct, but within five


or ten years an equal number of new ones were founded. From 1869 to 1872 the original figure, 2,569, increased by 309. By 1890 the figure had decreased by 292. Before the Apponyi Laws there were almost three thousand; when these laws were introduced the figure once again dropped by several hundred, but by the first year of World War I there were 348 more schools than in 1869. Romanian Orthodox Church schools increased from 1552 to 1640, especially after the Apponyi Laws, between 1911 and 1914.9

By making full use of the provisions of Act XXXVIII of 1868, and thanks to the benevolence and understanding of Hungarian governments, the churches were able to maintain an impressive number of primary schools with Romanian as the language of instruction. The schools established at the beginning usually had but one teacher and a tiny classroom. The room was often no more than an ordinary hut built of adobe. Moreover, the children attended schools only in the winter months. Instruction took place without textbooks or any other kind of instructional material. Fines collected by the authorities were used to cover the cost of whatever equipment and instructional material was available. Fines were assessed because of deficiencies and, according to Article 4 of the Act on Public Education, such moneys were reserved for the school fund. Apart from fines, the cost of maintaining the schools was borne by the community itself, though there were additional contributions in the form of profits on school land (wherever there were such lands), private donations, and state subvention.

The Uniate schools functioned without serious difficulties, because the church was considerably better off and received assistance from the Catholic Religious Foundation, which enjoyed as official status in the Hungarian state. But the majority of the Orthodox schools could exist only because of the leniency and understanding of the authorities. Ten years after the adoption of the Eotvos Act on Public Education, in 1878, the periodical of the Orthodox theological institute of Arad, described these schools as follows:

Our schools are most primitive; they do not meet the requirements set by law; nor do they satisfy the demand for educational services they fail altogether to fulfill their lofty mission. In fact, in some places they are outright scandalous - repulsive, tiny, dark, filthy; except for one of two toilets these schools have absolutely nothing. They do not have the necessary materials, textbooks, or anything at all that is required for effective learning. The school is often too far from where the children live. Neither the townspeople, nor the parents are truly con-


cerned; in fact they are tired of the school. The people think of it as a serious burden and a nuisance; instead of expressing interest, feeling enthusiastic, or making sacrifices, the people eagerly await an opportunity to rid of it.10

A few decades later, by 1902, the situation had improved somewhat. In a conference held on May 1, 1902, Demeter Comsa, president of the Association of Orthodox Teachers, stated that only about half of the schools were clean, and that their yards and equipment generally met the standards required by law. The rest were unclean. At many schools the floors and windows were not washed or swept for months at a time. The podiums, blackboards, and benches were seldom cleaned. Few schools had a furnace. The courtyards were choked with weeds, rags, and filth. No one wanted to take the responsibility for these shortcomings: the priest blamed the teacher, the teacher blamed the judge, the judge blamed the notary; but it was the teacher who received most of the blame. Few deacons took the trouble to supervise the priests with sufficient enthusiasm and perseverance to encourage, in turn, the priests to mind the schools. Many large and prosperous Romanian communities did not maintain their school building. In Felkenyer [Vinerea], for instance, the school was the most beautiful structure in the village, yet it was sadly neglected because the parish did not maintain it. "This is a sin that reflects on all of us," concluded the president of the Association of Romanian Teachers. 11

In the years preceding World War I the situation of the Romanian schools had improved a great deal as compared to the seventies. But even then, about 30% of the schools fell far short of the standards set by the law, and 700 to 800 schools could have been closed down for noncompliance. In many places the buildings were entirely inadequate, or even outright hazardous. In one village, instruction took place in rented rooms, since the school did not have its own building. 12 In many instances the two Romanian churches could only muster a common school, which was then dominated by the larger of the congregations. 13 In the eighties the bishops of Nagyszeben and Balazsfalva had reached an agreement regarding schools to be built and maintained jointly. They stipulated that in those Romanian communities where one of the denominations could not build a school on its own because of the small size of its congregation, the two churches would pool their resources and bear the expenses jointly. The costs would be divided proportionately. Following the agreement in principle between the highest church officials, many communities reached an agreement at the local level regarding a combined school. For instance, in the community


of Tordas [Turdas] near Szaszvaros, the priests of the Orthodox and Uniate churches reached an agreement in 1897. They agreed, in Szaszvaros, in the presence of their deacons and other church officials, that the Uniate school in Tordas would close down, but members of the Uniate Church would contribute proportionately to the extension of the building of the Orthodox school, and the new, enlarged school would then serve the educational needs of Uniate children as well. Consequently, a nice new school building was built, and it was dedicated on October 25, 1898. The Romanian notary, Ioan Rosu, contributed considerably to the construction and opening of this new combined school. 14

The Hungarian Ministry of Religious Affairs and Education did not forbid such agreements. What mattered was that the school building satisfy the standards set by law. Although the Act of 1868 did not provide for such combined schools, the Ministry allowed them to function because it stood for the principle of unlimited freedom of instruction, and denominational schools had the right to accept anyone as students. Not a single school was closed down on this account. Repeated postponements were granted where there was any possibility that the standards set by the law would eventually be met. As regards the Romanian schools, the Apponyi Laws were carried out only three or four years after their adoption. Since in many places Romanians refused to accept the curriculum prescribed by the state which was a prerequisite of state support ensuring the normal pay of teachers about 300 Romanian schools were closed down as a result of these laws. By then Romanians were in a much better economic situation than they had been at the end of the 19th century, hence they were able to satisfy the requirements of the law in most places. Elsewhere denominational schools were transformed into Romanian-language community schools. When six Romanian schools of the Szekely-land were closed down as a result of these laws, the Romanian weekly of Szaszvaros commented sadly ,'that these schools were lost through our own fault rather than because of the regime. In one place the priest failed to inform the people in time as to what must be done, while elsewhere the people refused to undertake sacrifices." 15

Cases of neglect were rather frequent in the Dual Monarchy; but ingenuous Romanian school officials soon found the remedy. They sought patrons in the Romanian kingdom who were prepared to make sacrifices and were willing to provide financial support to the schools. This support was at times given in secret, but at other times was even mentioned in the press. In 1898 readers of the official paper of the Orthodox Church could read the good news that lady Elena Turnescu,


a resident of Romania, had donated 1,000 lei for the construction of the Romanian school in the community of Markos [Markos] 16 Even greater publicity was given to Constantin Mille, the editor of Adevarul, a Romanian daily, who launched a collection for the Romanian schools of Hungary by means of an appeal published in his paper; the campaign continued for a while until a few thousand lei had been collected. The sum was then transferred to the Romanian schools of Hungary, which were not prevented by anyone from accepting donations from abroad. As the Romanian daily of Transylvania was to write, "Indeed, no one can be prevented from accepting a gift from whoever they wish." 17 The sponsors of the Romanian school of the community of Kaca [Cata], near Kohalom, acted in a similar manner in 1914. Their school, the most beautiful in Transylvania, was constructed entirely from funds collected in Romania. Dr. Ioan Ursu, a Romanian professor at Iasi University, and the Mircea brothers from Bucharest contributed all the funds needed for the construction of the building in Romanian national style. A ceremony, including a dramatic performance, was organized at the school on January 7, 1914, in their honor, and it was attended by one of the brothers. He enjoyed himself until the wee hours of the morning and provided yet another contribution for a piano. In the morning the youths, carrying Romanian national banners and singing national songs, accompanied him to the station whence the generous donor traveled straight back to Bucharest. 18

Financial support from Romania, was, of course, a cumbersome and slow solution. Church officials who knew the people well and had organizational talent also knew that a faster and more secure way of obtaining support for the schools was awakening the Romanian peasantry's willingness to sacrifice all the more, as economic conditions of this segment of society had been steadily improving. When the Hungarian Minister of Religious Affairs and Education decided to raise the salary of teachers and obliged the sponsors of the Romanian schools to follow suit, Cristea Miron, the Bishop of Karansebes, appealed to the people to take up the cause of the schools. Not hundreds of thousands but millions were donated, and schools were built or restored in over sixty communities, while the salaries of 272 teachers were adjusted to meet the norms of the state. 19

A multitude of data proves that the Hungarian government did not use the dilapidated state of the Romanian schools, their deficient equipment, the non-compliance with the requirements of the law, or assistance obtained from Romania and confessed in the press, as weapons against the schools. Otherwise it could have found a thousand-and-one reasons for closing them down. It resorted to this measure only


when there was no hope that the given school could ever be legally viable. The good intentions of the government are shown by the fact that it is continued to allow access to the Romanian schools; indeed, the Romanians raised no complaints on this account. In accordance with Eotvos's Laws on public instruction, no ministerial authorization was required for setting up a new primary school. The organization or construction of a school was merely reported to the Ministry by the church authorities. schools thus registered were considerate the equivalent of schools, their public nature was taken for granted, and there was no need to make a special request to legalize their status.

The Students

According to Article 6 of the Eotvos Act anyone could register in a Romanian primary school. Freedom of choice of instruction was unlimited during the entire period: in other words, parents could send their children to whichever school they wished. The school administration could take in any pupil it wished without regard to religion or nationality. Thus, there were no legal impediments to accepting pupils of Hungarian ethnic background or of another religion, for that matter. In many communities with a mixed population there was but one denominational school, with Romanian as the language of instruction, catering to the children of Hungarian parents as well. Where the number of Hungarian residents did not exceed one hundred, or was under one hundred and fifty, there was usually no state school with Hungarian as the language of instruction, hence Hungarian children in that village had no choice but to attend a school where the language of instruction was Romanian. In villages with a mixed population Hungarian children who were in a minority attended stale-supported Romanian schools. These children did not study in their mother tongue they could read and write only in Romanian. The process often resulted in the Romanianization of the children. The Apponyi Act XXVII of 1907 was designed to remedy this situation by stipulating that if there were twenty or more children of Hungarian background attending a Romanian school they had to be instructed in Hungarian.

Comparing the number of Romanian schools with the number of Romanian inhabitants or the number of Romanians of school age, we may ask: A public elementary school with autonomous jurisdiction and with Romanian as its language of instruction catered on the average to how many Romanian residents or Romanian children? In the years preceding World War I, one school catered on average to 90 - 110 children. There was one Romanian denominational school for every


1,100 inhabitants of Romanian extraction. The ratio was less favorable for the members of the Orthodox Church: according to the official church census, in 1914 there were 1,640 Romanian language public schools for 1,885,173 inhabitants. In 1913-14, in the 47th year of Hungarian rule, there was one Orthodox school with Romanian as the language of instruction for every 1,149 Orthodox residents 20 - In Romania in the same period there were 4,913 schools for 7,771,914 inhabitants, that is one public elementary school for every 1,582 inhabitants! 21 Thus the Romanian students could attend the primary school sponsored by their own church and receive instruction in Romanian, since in the years preceding World War I, 75% of the purely Romanian communities had a denominational public school where instruction took place in that language. In 1914, of the 1,867 parishes of the Orthodox Church 1,395, or almost 75%, had their own school.

In general 75% was the ratio for the population as well: 22 on the average 75% of children of school-age living under Hungarian rule could attend public denominational schools where the language of instruction was Romanian. What percentage of school-age children actually attended is a different matter. In 1913/14, according to the already quoted official publication of the Romanian Orthodox Church, 128,959 of the 280,786 children of school age who belonged to the church (between the ages of 6 and 15) attended denominational schools where the language was Romanian, whereas 59,935 attended other schools. About 90,000, that is more than 3056 of all Romanian school-age children, attended no school at all, 23 which meant that when World War I broke out not quite one-fourth of the children of school age belonging to the Orthodox religion attended school in other that their mother tongue, whereas the others attended their own schools or did not attend at all.

Some Romanian children attended state schools where the language of instruction was Hungarian, and sometimes denominational schools where the language of instruction was German. They were sent there because their parents felt it necessary to learn these languages. They could not expect to accomplish this in a Romanian-language school because, as one of the Romanian papers of the Banat noted: "our schools leave a lot to be desired in comparison with foreign schools when it comes to direction and supervision." 24 Of course, from the start the Romanian press prodded all Romanians to support only their denominational schools. Indeed, this propaganda had its effect. Yet there were areas where the parents actually believed the state had more to offer, hence neglected the Romanian denominational school. 25


The Eotvos Act XXXVIII of 1868 which ensured freedom of choice of instruction, that i6 the right of the parents to select the school of their choice, remained in effect throughout the Hungarian regime. Registration at state schools, as we shall see below, was never compulsory, and parents continued to send their children where they wished. Anyone could be registered in any school without special permission.

Hundreds and thousands of children of Hungarian background were registered in schools where instruction took place in Romanian. The recently acquired Romanian national feeling continued to be reinforced even under Hungarian rule among the children of Romanianized Hungarian families. It occurred to no one to restrict the parents' right to chose schools on account of ethnic or religious differences, or even to favor state schools. We find no complaints in the official publication of the Orthodox Church, even after the introduction of the Apponyi Laws, albeit this publication never failed to report grievances. 26

The Situation of the Roman an Teachers

In the first years of the Compromise the Romanian denominational schools were directed by the churches without any state interference. They trained and certified their own teachers without state supervision or control. Their teachers' colleges followed a curriculum of their own. Until 1879, that is in the first twelve years of Hungarian rule, the government issued no directives, not even regarding the teaching of the official language. It was the Romanian church authorities that placed teachers once the latter had completed their preparation at Romanian teachers' colleges. No state authorization was necessary, either beforehand or afterwards, to enable a teacher to occupy a post or to gain tenure. 27

Thus the Hungarian government granted broad rights to the Romanian churches regarding the schools for the training of teachers, their selection, and the granting of tenure. The Romanian churches took full advantage of these rights. Where trained teachers were not available they employed individuals who had completed a few years of elementary school. In 1877, ten years after the beginning of Hungarian rule, only 32 out of 216 teachers were certified in the schools under the jurisdiction of the Orthodox consistories of Arad and Nagyvarad. Altogether 184 teachers, of whom 97 had never attended a teachers, college, taught without certification. Thirty-three posts could not be filled even with untrained teachers. 28

From 1879 the government began to supervise the work of Romanian teachers' colleges and the situation of the teachers more systemati-


cally. The aim of this supervision was, on the one hand, to ensure familiarization with the official language, resulting in the effective teaching of the language at the primary level and, on the other hand, standardizing teachers' salaries.

Hungarian educational policy sought to attain the first objective by adopting Act XVIII of 1879, Regarding the Teaching of Hungarian at Institutions of Public Learning. This Act prescribed the education of teachers capable of teaching the official language. It also made the teaching of Hungarian compulsory in the primary schools to the extent the teachers were able to master and teach it. According to Article 1 of the law, Hungarian had to be taught in sufficient number of periods in teachers' colleges where Hungarian was not the language of instruction, so that every candidate would be able to master it sufficiently in speaking and writing during the course. Young teachers who completed their studies after the above date could only obtain an appointment if they could master Hungarian sufficiently to be able to teach it as a subject in a primary school. The Hungarian superintendent of schools had to sign a certificate to that effect. If this was not the case, he did not sign the certificate, which remained invalid without his signature.

The teachers who graduated after 1872 were allowed a longer period in which to acquire the official language: four years from the date the law entered into effect. Teachers certified before 1872 who were older than 25 at the time the law was adopted were not required to learn the official language. They could continue to function to the end of their lives and Hungarian was not taught in their schools. But from 1883 on they could teach only in villages with a exclusively Romanian population. According to the law the villages with a mixed population of Hungarians and Romanians could employ only teachers who were able to teach Hungarian as a subject.

According to Act XVIII of 1879, after 1883, villages with a mixed population could employ only those Romanian teachers who, could teach Hungarian effectively even if they were less than 25 years old. The officials of the two Romanian churches objected to the law, because they claimed, the overwhelming majority of Romanian teachers could speak no Hungarian at all. 29 They were afraid that these teachers would find themselves in dire straits.

As we have seen, only those who completed their studies after 1872 were obliged to acquire the official language in four years. Older teachers, and even those over 25, were not compelled to learn the language. They could continue to function in peace in exclusively Romanian villages. Those teachers over 25 who did not know Hungarian well were scheduled to take proficiency examination in 1883.


The law concealed no serious danger to the nationalities. It contained no sanctions against those who did not familiarize themselves with the official language within the period allowed. They could continue to teach even if unsuccessful on the proficiency examination; at most, they were required to sign up for another course in the subject.

Indeed, the application of the law indicates that it was not designed as a measure against the Romanian schools. The government did not merely prescribe the need to learn the official language, but took care to provide the means as well. It organized courses at government expense for the benefit of Romanian teachers. The teachers received a per diem allowance for the duration of the course. The first such courses were offered at Arad, Kolozsvar, and other cities of Transylvania in 1879. The per diem, including a free sojourn in larger towns with opportunities for entertainment, proved so attractive that many signed up for the courses. But, as we may read in the Romanian school periodical, only teachers with a smattering of Hungarian were admitted, whereas the remainder were rejected. 30 The latter were not pleased, for they would have preferred greater compulsion to take the course.

The question is, what fraction of the Romanian teachers did not know Hungarian in this period? According to the Romanian bishops, the overwhelming majority had some knowledge of the language. Comparing this assertion with the data contained in the reports presented by the Minister of Religious Affairs and Education to parliament every year, we may conclude that in the 13th year of the Hungarian regime there were about 1,500 Romanian teachers on the territory of the Hungarian state who spoke not a word of the language, whereas about 600 had a smattering of it. Only a few hundred Romanian teachers knew enough to teach it as a subject. The frequently-organized courses, as well as the new crop of teachers graduating from college, gradually increased the percentage of those who knew Hungarian. But the slow and ponderous application of the law was also demonstrated by the statistics; in 1884 there were 450 who knew no Hungarian at all; in 1889 the number dropped to 221, and at the turn of the century there were still over 100 Romanian teachers with no knowledge of Hungarian. Yet they could retain their post in spite of their ignorance of the official language, and no serious measures were taken to introduce Hungarian in their schools.

Of course, this could only happen thanks to the large measure of understanding and indulgence on the part of the Hungarian authorities. The results of Hungarian language examinations confirms this assumption. We are acquainted with the process at one of these examinations from a debate which took place before Romanian public


opinion. The examination in question was administered in 1883 at the seat of Hunyad county, in Deva. Of the hundred Romanian teachers who took the exam, 49 passed and 51 failed. The president of the examination committee was Laszlo Rethy, the Hungarian superintendent of schools. After the publication of the final results, the Romanian weekly Gazeta Transilvaniei of Brasso attacked superintendent Rethy "for the excessive severity he manifested at the examination." It presented the issue as if Rethy had deliberately failed the Romanian teachers on specific instructions from the government. Then a Romanian teacher took the side of Rethy in the Orthodox periodical of Arad, refuting the attack in the Brasso paper.

Superintendent Rethy greeted us with the deference and good will one can expect of top officials; in fact, he was even considerate of our weaknesses to some extent. And this is not merely my personal opinion, but also that of several colleagues who were present at the examination.

It is true that many teachers failed, but this was not entirely due to the strictness of the Hungarian superintendent. "Without meaning to insult in the interest of objectivity my colleagues, or to downplay their merits as Romanian teachers, it must be admitted that among those who passed there were some who could speak not a word of Hungarian ,,31

Most proficiency examinations in Hungarian took place under similar circumstances, but without serious protest. Witness the fact that in the minutes of the meetings of Romanian church organizations, no grievances were recorded in connection with this issue.

In addition to intervening in the above matter, the Hungarian Ministry of Religious Affairs and Education also tried to intervene in the matter of teachers salaries at denominational schools, whether Romanian or of some other nationality. The consideration that prompted the Ministry and the government in this endeavor was the attempt to determine a minimum salary for teachers; higher pay would oblige the administration of schools to take advantage of state subvention and at the same time grant the state greater control over schools for the nationalities. The Hungarian government tried to attain this objective with Act XXVI of 1893, which prescribed minimum salaries churches were to grant their teachers. If the school-sponsoring church could not pay the required salary, it received state subvention. In return the law stipulated that the teachers had to adjust to the provisions of Act XVIII of 1879 regarding the teaching of Hungarian.


The law of 1893, however, did not make the teachers beholders to the state, since they continued to be employed by the school-sponsoring church to the end of their careers. Thus, someone who could not teach Hungarian effectively lost the government subvention but retained the post, since the school was not closed down. Unsatisfactory teaching of the Hungarian language did not entail the closing down of the school, since the state did not require those who knew no Hungarian to teach the official language.

This liberal measure is noteworthy, all the more so since at the same time the government of Romania penalized with the greatest severity those Greek schools where it felt Romanian was not being taught adequately. In 1905 the government closed down the private Greek schools of Tulcea and Constanca, because some pupils at these schools knew very little Romanian. In the eyes of the Romanian state this was sufficient proof that no care was taken to teach Romanian in those schools. Among the justifications adduced for closing down schools, the teaching of geographical and historical principles also played a part. It was alleged that these subjects were taught "in disregard of historical truth, against the interests of our people." The Greek school at Sulina was closed down roughly on the same grounds. Thus Romania was far removed from the spirit of liberalism and patience which the Hungarian government manifested towards the Romanian schools. 32

The Apponyi Laws

A change came about in the situation of the teachers as a result of the famous Apponyi Laws, particularly Act XXVII of 1907 which dealt with the "Legal Status of Non-state Public Schools and the Salaries to be Paid to Community and Denominational Public School Teachers." The goal of this law, according to the preamble provided by the Ministry, was to ensure a decent livelihood for public school teachers, as well as to safeguard state and national interests. The first sixteen paragraphs of the law contained significant new measures affecting the material and legal status of teachers.

In the first years of this century the financial condition of the teachers was far less secure than that of other professionals. Hungarian and non-Hungarian denominational teachers had to struggle to survive. At the meetings of Romanian teachers' associations the teachers demanded pay raises ever more insistently; they also demanded assurances of being paid on time. Their demands became known to Hungarian authorities from reports in the press and those submitted by school superintendents. Such demands were voiced, for instance, at the


Uniate Teachers' Association (named Mariana), which met at Beszterce on October 22, 1906. On this occasion a teacher named Bogdan voiced the general demands of the Romanian teachers. He pointed out that the pay of a teacher at a Romanian denominational school was below that of a bank-teller. In behalf of the teachers he demanded that the pay of Romanian teachers at denominational schools be raised to the level of state teachers salaries. 33 The complaints concerned not merely the negligible amount the Romanian teachers were paid, but also the fact that this pay was not disbursed. In many villages the teachers received only part of their pay, and they had to fight to obtain even that. In the community of Foldra [Feldru], for instance, the teachers at the Romanian denominational school received their pay only once every four or five months, and even then it was only partial pay. 34 Hundreds of similar cases can be cited from the period.

Such were the conditions that led to the famous Apponyi Law XXVII of 1907. Article 1 of this law defines the teachers at the community and denominational primary schools as civil servants, and that their pay is determined and supported by the public administration. In the following articles it defined in detail the amount of their salary, its nature and breakdown, the manner of paying and the sum to be received as state subvention. Even more important than the amount of salary defined by the state was its collection, as well as the possibility of obtaining state subvention. The application of these two principles soon improved the financial lot of the Romanian teachers.

Since taking advantage of state subvention entailed, according to the terms of the law, increased supervision by the state over the effectiveness of the teaching of the official language, as well as over the employment of teachers, Romanian society received the Law of Apponyi with a great deal of resentment and bitterness. The teachers themselves, however, were happy about the legal measures regarding their pay, and neither they nor the authorities of the church protested against these provisions. Indeed, the latter could not protest, because they were well aware of the difficult financial situation of the teachers, their associations had been trying to improve for so long. The church authorities could do but one thing, something they might have thought of sooner: They called upon the parishes to raise the pay of the teachers to the level prescribed by the Apponyi Law.

The entire Romanian press went on a campaign to this effect, citing those parishes which had already satisfied the requirements of the law as examples. Of course, by so doing they implicitly recognized the validity of the above prescription of the law, about which the teachers, who were most directly concerned, also had no doubts. "The pay raise


for teachers is required not only by the law," stated the Romanian weekly from Beszterce, ,'but by our age as well; after the pay of all civil servants, including the janitors, had been normalized, it was finally the turn of the educators of our people, those who carry the torch of enlightenment." 35 The press, the church officials the autonomous Romanian communities all competed with one another in promoting the cause of the Romanian teachers by demanding that their pay be normalized by the church authorities themselves, without having to rely on state subvention. Indeed, they soon achieved significant results. In a good many communities the salaries could be easily raised since, as we have seen, large masses of Romanians had attained financial security by then. Romanian banks and associations, growing in numbers in endowment, as well as the Romanian politicians in charge made sure that denominational teachers got paid wherever they intervened. Unfortunately, they did not think of it often enough; the altruistic feelings, so widespread at the beginning, had been increasingly displaced in the years preceding World War I, by concern for profit-making and the accumulation of capital. As the Tribuna freely noted, the resources of the Romanians of Hungary "had increased to such an extent during the previous six decades, that they should suffice to meet the general educational needs of the Romanians." But the Romanian committee had not dealt with the matter in time, and the banks provided little financial support. "Our Romanian financial institutions," continued the same periodical, "would do better to provide help for our schools rather than increase their endowment year after year from their net profits." 36

The banks rarely took this advice. The help they offered usually took the form of a one-time donation of a substantial lump sum on special occasions rather than regular contributions to help meet the expenses of the schools. Instead, the pay raise of the teachers at Romanian denominational schools was promoted by the Romanian Raffeisen associations.

The Apponyi Law was carried out three years after its adoption. Those in charge of the schools had three years, from 1907 to 1910, to normalize the pay of their teachers by providing the salary required by the law. Where the communities did not normalize the salaries after this period and did not apply for state subvention, the school-sponsoring church lost its rights of sponsorship.

During these three years the impact of the Apponyi Law on the financial situation of the teachers resulted in obvious improvement. In many places the parishes raised the teachers' salaries, while elsewhere they applied for and received state subvention. In the academic year


1911/12, according to the official statistics of the Romanian Orthodox Church, only 33 out of 418 in the diocese of Arad, 76 out of 242 in the diocese of Nagyvarad, and 41 out of 266 teachers in the diocese of Karansebes were not receiving salaries prescribed by law. In other words, in the first year of the application of the Apponyi Law, in 776 out of 926 Orthodox Romanian schools the salaries of the teachers had been raised, whereas the prescribed salary could not be granted in only 150. 37 Unfortunately, the data from the main see of Nagyszeben are not included in the official report of the church, hence we cannot gain an accurate picture of the situation throughout the church. The estimates are that in 1910/11 at least 50% of the Romanian schools were able to provide for the salary raise out of the resources of the school-sponsoring church. The Romanian population had sufficient financial clout to raise teachers' salaries everywhere, yet this endeavor fell short, partly for lack of organization, partly because of greed. Therefore the dioceses gradually turned to state subvention. They did not do so eagerly, but were compelled by the situation and by the law to accept the curriculum determined by the Ministry in order to become entitled to state subvention. In the beginning they feared that state subvention would lead to excessive interference in the affairs of the schools. But, as we shall see below, this worry dissipated in a few years, and soon not only the poorer parishes, but even the more prosperous ones applied for partial or complete state subvention. From then on the main source of complaint was rather that the state subvention applied for was not always granted. Nevertheless, according to the official reports of the Romanian churches, Hungarian state subvention to Romanian schools increased each year after 1910. Subvention to primary schools sponsored by the Romanian Orthodox Church amounted to 390,679.52 crowns in 1911/12, 517,720.60 crowns in 1912/13, while in 1913/14 it reached 778,990 crowns. In other words, it increased by 99.4% in three years. The rise in teachers salaries in certain dioceses was even more marked: the state subvention to teachers in the diocese of Arad grew by 129%, and by 228% in the diocese of Karansebes.38 The subvention to teachers in the schools sponsored by the Romanian Uniate Church was even greater; according to Ghibu the total amount of Hungarian state subvention to all Romanian primary schools amounted to about two million crowns in 1915. 39

Thus the teachers at Romanian denominational schools had attained a comfortable standard of living in the years preceding the World War. Act XVI of 1913, which placed teachers in different pay categories, and defined the base pay, fringe benefits, and child allowances, went into effect on January 1, 1913. On the basis of this so-called Janos Zichy


Law the Romanian teachers, like their Hungarian counterparts, received 3,200 crowns annually, a turn ensuring one a decent standard of living at the time. In addition to the salary, the Romanian teachers enjoyed all the benefits granted to Hungarian public and denominational school teachers by the state: they received a pass entitling them to half-fare on the railroads, they became pensioners and, after one year of military service performed in a volunteer capacity, i.e. as officer candidates, like the Hungarians, were promoted to officer if they passed the examination. Among the many complaints there were none about discrimination in the administration of officer examinations to members of ethnic groups.40

Their favorable financial situation, however, did not prevent the teachers, for the most part, from maintaining the nationalist atmosphere prevailing in the Romanian schools.

The Atmosphere of the Romanian Schools

The atmosphere of the Romanian primary schools in the first decades after the Compromise was characterized by undisturbed manifestations of the Romanian national spirit. From 1867 to 1880, for twelve years, Hungarian was not even taught as a subject in the Romanian denominational schools, and the Hungarian government did not interfere in matters of instruction. 41 There was no systematic primary schooling in today's sense of the word. As we have seen, the schools were lacking in appropriate space, in textbooks and other teaching materials, and most of the teachers lacked adequate preparation. In 1874, 184 of the 214 teachers in the areas of the Orthodox consistories of Arad and Nagyvarad lacked certification, and 97 of them had never attended a teachers' college. 42 Assuming that the situation was similar in other Romanian dioceses, as is likely, at least 76% of the teachers at Romanian denominational schools taught without regular training. They were able to teach only the most basic skills: the "three R's" and singing. Their pedagogic competence and didactic skills were far behind what teaching at a higher level would have warranted. The Romanian church and education officials were well aware of this. The official paper of the Orthodox archdiocese continually encouraged the teachers to read and study the educational review. Unfortunately, the constant propaganda had little effect. Foaia Pedagogica, the only such review, tried in vain to awaken the teachers' interest in pedagogical matters. Very few of the almost 2,000 Orthodox parishes subscribed, while the teachers themselves were not ready to use money out of their own pockets. The Uniate teachers had no educational review at all.


This need not have deterred them from reading the only Romanian educational review, but it seems the teachers were generally uninterested in methodological issues. This is confirmed by the periodical of the Orthodox Romanian church which "deplored the lack of interest in the only educational review." 43

Under these circumstances the Romanian schools meant little in terms of a learning experience, but all the more from the point of view of fostering nationalist feeling. There were hardly any textbooks. Later the schools began to use textbooks published in Romania, since the textbooks at denominational institutions were selected by the school-sponsoring church, and no government authorization was required. But in most places instruction continued to take place without books, the amateur teachers trying to teach the children to read and write under primitive circumstances. The teaching of the Romanian language, religion, and singing had the greatest impact in the schools. Religion was taught by the priest, while singing did not require any particular skill, especially since church and national hymns were widely known. The best known Romanian song, taught in all the schools, was the anti-Hungarian Romanian anthem "Awake, Romanian, from your slumber."

The priests and teachers with certification, represented a pronounced irredentist sentiment. This becomes clear from contemporary press reports, especially in the church periodical edited by professors of the theological institute of Arad which trained priests and teachers. The ideas of the collaborators of this periodical were marked by a complete identification with Romania, openly advocating irredentism and making a conscious effort to isolate the Romanians from Hungarian public life. The readers of the periodical - priests, professors and teachers - could sense from most of the articles published that everything that happened in Romania was relevant to the Romanians, whereas what took place in Hungary was at best, of marginal importance. In vain do we look in this periodical for reports on Hungarian literary, educational or even religious movements. On the other hand, the readers constantly received detailed information on internal and cultural affairs in Romania, and even on the contents of speeches delivered in the Romanian parliament. It is obvious that the editors and contributors of the periodical, and even its readers, were completely attuned to what was happening in Romania, where they felt truly at home, whose affairs preoccupied them. They were not concerned with Hungarian problems, and did not even try to find out about them; after all, they hardly had the means to do so, since they spoke no Hungarian and the official language of the state was not taught in the primary schools or at the seminaries. The intensity of their irredentism was of course enhanced


by being sealed from Hungarian affairs. This became particularly obvious on the occasion of the Russo-Turkish war of 1878, when the Romanians of Hungary expressed their glee at the Romanian victories in nation-wide irredentist demonstrations. The periodical which, according to its title, dealt with ecclesiastic and educational issues, published a short poem on this occasion, in which it referred to Romania as the queen of queens and demanded that Romania secure the territories which had belonged to it at one time. 44

The Introduction of Hungarian as a Subject in the Schools

At this time the Hungarian government felt the time had come to introduce Hungarian as a subject in Romanian denominational schools. Apart from other reasons, the pertinent Article of Act XVIII of 1879 was deemed necessary in order to end the isolation of the Romanians from Hungarian society. One of the requisites was indeed acquaintance with the Hungarian language, with the help of which the Romanian masses might be able to escape from the charmed circle of Romanian politics and of the press reflecting the Romanian mind. The preamble to the law points towards this veiled objective in stating: "It being necessary that all citizens be given the opportunity to become familiar with Hungarian, as the official language..." etc. In accordance with this law, students at Romanian teachers, colleges were to be taught Hungarian. Hungarian language was to be introduced in all the schools to the extent there was a generation of teachers capable of teaching it.

The Romanian delegates and the school-sponsoring churches launched a major struggle against the law. They insisted unanimously that it was not possible to teach a language other than the mother tongue in the public schools. It could not be done in the Romanian schools, if only because so many of the teachers knew no Hungarian, and therefore could not possibly teach it. According to the Romanian delegate Nicolae Stravoiu, teaching Hungarian in Romanian schools would be a luxury because the Romanians had not attained the necessary level even in their own language. In view of the situation of the Romanian schools at this period, the statement of Stravoiu did indeed conform to reality.

On the basis of the knowledge available to us today we may contend that at the time the law was proposed, debated, and adopted neither Hungarians nor Romanians were candid about their motives. The Hungarians did not reveal the results they expected from the application of the law: to draw the Romanian ethnic group closer to the Hungarian way of life and away from the charmed circle of Romania.


There were even Hungarians who naively expected that knowing Hungarian would lead to feeling Hungarian. Thus the Romanian delegates could charge that "the objective of the law is the Hungarianization of other nationalities" (Alexander Roman) or that "the law was a crime against the nationalities" (George Popu). The Romanians likewise kept quiet about the underlying motive of their struggle against the law, namely that they did not even want to have Hungarian taught in the Romanian schools. As we have seen, the Romanian leaders tried systematically to isolate the Romanian masses from Hungarian ways and keep them exclusively under the influence of Romania. Apart from the atmosphere of the schools this is also indicated by the fact that they objected to having the official language taught in the primary schools, claiming that the right place for teaching languages was in the secondary schools; yet, in 1883, when it was the turn of the secondary schools to undertake the teaching of Hungarian, Romanians fought against this new law with the same vigor they showed in opposing Act XVII of 1879.

It is interesting to note that while the Romanian press unanimously supported the protests of the Romanians of Hungary against the laws of 1879 and 1883, the government used all available means to introduce the official language into the schools of the Kingdom of Romania. A few years after the introduction of Hungarian as a subject in the Romanian primary schools of Hungary, the Romanian parliament adopted the law about the organization of public education: in its preamble, the basic principles governing the relationship between schools and the state were spelled out. State and school are intimately related. The supervisory role of the state is not limited to policing the institution, but extends to maintaining the nation's traditions. If the state did nothing to "defend" the Romanian language this would amount to an abuse of the principle of freedom of instruction. The sorry fact, that in sizable portions of the country the residents "still do not know the language of their country, hence are unable to communicate with other citizens of the nation, can no longer be tolerated. All citizens must become acquainted with the common language, because without it they cannot know their rights and duties as citizens, and are therefore exposed to tyranny. Without a knowledge of the official language the individual "cannot be a free, independent citizen." 45

Indeed, school affairs in Romania were regulated according to this principle. Romania tolerated no language other than Romanian in its public schools. The children of citizens of other than Romanian background could study only in schools where Romanian was the language of instruction. The children of parents who were not yet


Romanian citizens (Greeks, Germans, etc.) could attend private schools, but even there they had to study Romanian, as well as geography and history taught in Romanian by native-born Romanian teachers, in accordance with the curriculum prescribed by the state.

Hungarian public education followed different principles. As we have seen, the government was extremely patient and lenient towards those of its citizens who spoke a different language. This explains why Act XVIII of 1879, intended to introduce them to the Hungarian language, was put into practice only decades later. It was carried out completely only after the adoption of the Apponyi Laws, around 1910. Even at the turn of the century, that is a full twenty years after the law was passed and thirty years after the beginning of Hungarian rule, there were several hundred Romanian primary schools where Hungarian could not be taught because the teacher was not familiar with the language. 46 Even where Hungarian was taught, instruction took place in Romanian because Hungarian was just another subject like geography, composition, etc. 47 Thus the compulsory teaching of Hungarian as a subject did not meet the expectations at all, partly because it took a long time to put the law into practice and few Romanian children ever learnt the language. In the 1907/08 academic year, almost 40 years after the law passed, only 38.11% of the graduates of primary schools where Romanian was the language of instruction could speak Hungarian. 48 Even most of these had probably learnt the language in the home rather than in school.

The Irredentism of Romanian Teachers

The atmosphere in the Romanian denominational elementary schools changed not a wit after the introduction of Hungarian as a required subject. The teaching of national songs had already deeply marked the children in a Romanian nationalist sense. This influence only increased after the Act of 1879. The songs, taught earlier without any manual, were published in book form in 1881, and they became one of the most popular readings of the Romanians of Transylvania for decades to come. Even the title of the individual songs in this collection "published for the benefit of both sexes,' 49 promised a lot. In three thousand or so Romanian primary schools operating freely on Hungarian territory the Romanian children sang songs with titles like ,'Awake, Romanian, from your Slumber," "The March of Unification,'' "The March of Iancu," "To the Romanian Army," "Long Live Romania," "To Free Romania," "The Romanian Fatherland," etc. The text of these songs carved the basic principles of Romanian national consciousness deeply into the souls of


the children. The pupils at Romanian primary schools learnt and sang for decades about the ,'barbarian tyrants" (i.e. the Hungarians), the anthem of the Romanians rising against the "cruel enemy" of the Romanian people; singing the march of Iancu they marched along with him in imagination, in order to chase away the barbarians (i.e. the Hungarians) with "cleansed weapons." Every day thousands upon thousands of "Romanian children hailed the Romanian army with lyrics of the song "The Free Romanian" or "the Romanian Homeland" which extends wherever the sweet sounds of the ancestral language can be heard, in the country which is called "great" (Greater Romania). For years and decades they hailed "the sweet Romanian language so dear, more harmonious than any language in the world." The Hungarian state did not close down a single school on account of these songs, not even on account of those whose title and lyrics required "hailing" everything that was Romanian the Romanian nation, the Romanians of Moldavia and Wallachia, the beloved Romanian language, or "Romanian unification, which we all desire." No Hungarian official sought to ban this collection of songs which appeared in several editions and circulated in many thousands of copies all over the country. The Romanian teachers, beginning with the author of the anthology himself, were well aware of this freedom, and took full advantage of it. The 1900 edition was still printed explicitly for "the youths of the schools," an indication of the leeway for a Romanian national education in the denominational schools of Hungary. 50 Finally one of the Hungarian ministers of Religious Affairs and Education had enough of the school use of this collection, and banned the book from the school premises. Yet it could go on being used outside of the schools and the songs became more popular than ever in the years preceding the war. 51

Of course, this national spirit of the Romanian primary schools thrived thanks to the teachers and other representatives of Romanian cultural life. Nor did the Romanians make any secret of the extent to which they adopted the cultural life of Romania itself. As the Tribuna of Nagyszeben explained in 1885 "the cultural cornerstone of the Romanians of Transylvania is the Romanian state,"52and everyone took this for granted. The teachers were completely captivated by this line of thought, not only outside the schools but within the school premises as well. Their concepts manifested themselves in the political arenas as well, as certain evidence indicates. When the authors who had besmirched the Hungarian state were sentenced by a Hungarian court in the famous "replica trial," the teachers of the Romanian primary school at Borgoprund cabled a message of support to the condemned. Hence the Minister suspended them from their post. 53


The political attitude and irredentist mentality of the Romanian teachers were so well known that unless these manifested themselves blatantly the authorities looked the other way and did not resort to any punitive measure. Hence the atmosphere of the Romanian schools reflected the ideals of Romania much as before. The children learnt to read, write and compose in Hungarian for two or three periods a week. In most Romanian primary schools nothing more was expected. In fact, as we have seen, in very many Romanian schools where the teacher did not know Hungarian even this much could not happen.

After the nineties the irredentism and anti-Hungarianism of the Romanian primary schools became even more pronounced; from year to year the teachers became more involved in Romanian social and political movements. They led the choruses and bands of the villages, organized the cultural events, mustered people for political gatherings. The conventions of the teachers, associations were excellent occasions for manifesting the Greater Romania yearnings of the teaching corps. For instance, the Romanian denominational teachers of the Orthodox diocese of Arad assembled at Nagyhalmagy [Halmagiu] on July 18 and 19, 1902; after the meeting the 130 or so teachers boarded a train for a pilgrimage to the tomb of Avram Iancu. Here they kissed the cross on Iancu's grave, and the oak of Horia. "After all this," wrote one of the Romanian newspapers, "they all returned to Brad singing the sounds of our national anthem." 54 There is no record whatever to the effect that this mass demonstration of the teachers had elicited any kind of intervention on the part of the Hungarian Ministry of Religious Affairs and Education, even though the superintendent of schools had, on several occasions, reported such manifestations. In the course of teaching Romanian language, Romanian history, and Romanian geography not to mention the teaching of national songs the teachers injected into the minds of the children respect for Iancu and Horia, "the brave leaders of the noble Romanian nation in its struggle against the barbarian Hungarians."

The 1906 Bucharest Fair

In 1906 the stratum of the middle class composed of the clergy and teachers among the Romanians of Hungary, and the educated Romanians in general expressed their irredentist feelings in an unusually strong and far-reaching manner; and since this demonstration led to the proposal of the famous school law of Apponyi, it warrants a more detailed discussion. That year, on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the rule of King Charles, Romania hosted a great fair in


Bucharest. The neighboring countries were invited to the fair, in order to enable the Romanians of the Balkans, of Bessarabia, of Bukovina, and of Hungary to participate. The Romanian middle-class of Hungary took part in the fair in large numbers. 55 A sizable fraction of the participants consisted of priests and teachers, that is of Hungarian citizens serving under the supervision of the Hungarian Ministry of Religious Affairs and Education. The first group, organized by the teachers' association of the four dioceses of the Banat, took the trip from the Banat under the leadership of Dr. Putici, the deacon of Temesvar. They were joined by members of the teachers' associations of Maros and of Karansebes, 600 teachers from the areas of Maramaros and Szatmar, and over one thousand from the core of Transylvania. On the afternoon of August 27, twenty-five choruses took part in the Romanian choral completion organized in the Arenele Romane of Bucharest. Sixteen of these came from Hungary, whereas Romania itself mustered only seven. With few exceptions, the leaders of the Romanian choruses from Hungary were teachers from denominational schools. Priests and teachers spoke without inhibitions about unification with Romania at the ceremonies held in their honor. The Hungarian government as well as public opinion in Hungary received detailed accounts of the behavior of the Romanians from Hungary in Bucharest based on the extensive reports published in the papers of Romania, the descriptions of the fair provided by Hungarian visitors, the reports which appeared in the Hungarian press, and the dispatches of the Austro-Hungarian legation in Bucharest. The attitude of the Romanians of Hungary towards the Hungarian state created a deep and painful impression in Hungarian official circles. Romanians from various countries organized special exhibits within the framework of the general fair. The Romanians of Serbia, Bessarabia, Austria, and Turkey exhibited objects of strictly ethnological significance in the room or hall reserved for them, in such a manner as not to offend or provoke the countries whence they came. They exhibited folk costumes and household or religious objects. Above the place of exhibit they wrote the name of their country Serbia, Austria or the name of their province Bessarabia, Macedonia. The Serbian flag was displayed in the exhibit hall of the Romanians from Serbia. The wardrobe in the hall was decorated with the Serbian colors, captions were exclusively in Serbo-Croatian, and under the captions the Serbian crowned seal was splendidly displayed above the portraits of Serbian King Peter. Not a single ribbon bearing the Romanian colors was to be seen anywhere at the Serbian exhibit. Similar restraint marked the halls where the Romanians of Bessarabia, Bukovina, and Turkey held their exhibits. In each place the Romanians displayed


their exhibits with the colors of the country whence they came. At the fair of the Romanians from Bessarabia the captions were strictly in Russian; Romanian language or Romanian colors were nowhere to be seen. The Romanians of Bukovina, under Austrian jurisdiction, likewise refrained from using Romanian colors in their exhibit hall: on the contrary, they displayed the Austrian flag, the description of the exhibits was in Romanian and German, and the place names were also given in their official German version. Thus the Romanians of all these areas went out of their way not to offend their country or province Serbia, Austria, Russia by displaying the Romanian national colors. The cautious, almost timid behavior of the Romanians from these countries indicated to what extent they feared sever reprisals, which they already knew from personal experience.

The Romanians of Hungary felt otherwise. They arranged their exhibit hall in such a manner that visitors could not possibly determine the country of which they were citizens. Unlike other groups of Romanians the inscription at the entrance simply read "Romanians from the other side of the border." Every exhibit was practically wrapped in Romanian colors. Neither the inscription above the entrance nor the list of exhibits nor the national seal or flag indicated that the Romanians exhibiting in the hall lived in Hungarian territory. Both the outside appearance of the hall and its interior showed only that the Romanians of Hungary did not belong to the Hungarian state, that they took its seal, its colors, its constitution, its official language for naught, that they were not afraid of official reprisals, that they considered the areas of Hungary they inhabited as separate Romanian states. The Hungarian authorities and public opinion found this attitude not only offensive, but downright provocative, since the Romanians of all other countries were loyal to their respective governments. They respected the name of their state, its colors and official language.

The Hungarian authorities found this attitude all the more provocative since they had raised no obstacle of any kind to the travel of large numbers of Romanians to Romania, while the Russian state had forbidden its subjects from participating in the fair. The provocative behavior was further enhanced by the irredentist speeches with which the Romanian authorities and organizers greeted the groups from Hungary. Most of the praise and exhortation were reserved for the teachers from Hungary. Speakers from the Romanian side described the teachers as "the heroes of the cause of the whole Romanian race" (Alex D. Florescu) who fight for a "united Romanian national culture." The


teachers could rest assured, they were told, of complete support of the part of the Romanian brothers. In their reply the Romanian teachers from Hungary expressed '"deep-felt emotions" which they dedicated to the "flowering of the Romanian race" (Dr. Putici). They expressed heartfelt gratitude for the beautiful Romanian national flag presented to them, and proudly insisted that the borders no longer meant anything, that the Romanians of Hungary shared a common heart with the brothers from Romania, "which beats for one another, for the same idea, without fear,' (Voina, the Deacon of Brasso). Romanian priests leading the groups of teachers assured those "from the mother country" that they were "raising sons dedicated to the national idea" (Greceanu), and once they returned to their homes (i.e. in Hungary) "they will fight ten times as hard for the interests of the race" (Amzea). They felt moved by the encouragement that there was no way of preventing "the unification of hearts and souls that were already in harmony" (i.e. those of the Romanians), because it was a matter of "historical and social necessity" (Dr. Stica), that the "Carpathians did not separate, but rather unite" (Barbu Delavrancea), that the Transylvanians were "returning home to Romania" (Florescu), that the Romanians had organized the fair to knock down "the international boundaries that separated the Romanians" a. Bratescu). The Romanian papers of Hungary wrote about the fair in a similar vein. "The Romanian choruses," wrote the weekly from Szaszvaros, "proclaim in their songs that 'unification is written on our banners' and proudly profess that they know but one tricolor flag in the world, their own." 56

All these professions of faith aroused the ire of Hungarian public opinion, and astounded Hungarian officials as well. They felt there had to be a response, for these declarations unequivocally threatened the territorial integrity and the borders of the country. Moreover, these manifestations played into the hands of extremist Hungarian nationalists who had always deplored the liberalism of the Hungarian policy with regard to the nationalities and the autonomy granted to the churches and schools of the nationalities, particularly the Romanians. They pointed out that the Romanians living in other lands Bessarabia, the Balkans did not enjoy half as many rights, yet behaved in a loyal manner. What would the Serbian, German, or even the French state do if its own citizens were to show such contempt for their country's flag, its seal, or its official language when abroad?

Such were the immediate antecedents of the drafting of the Apponyi School Laws. During his entire political career Count Albert Apponyi had fought for a stronger assertion of the Hungarian national character, for a clearer national expression with the Hungarian state as well as in


the joint army. One point of his program as Minister of Religious Affairs and Education was to increase control over the non-Hungarian schools, and transform their spirit for the benefit of the Hungarian state. He did not intend to close these schools down, but merely to alter the anti-Hungarian spirit which prevailed in them. This was the basis objective of his directives and laws.

His first measure affecting the Romanians, and which created a major stir, was issued in the Fall of 1906. In a circular the minister ordered a four-day pay cut for all those Romanian teachers who had postponed the opening of the academic year by four days on account of their extended sojourn at the Bucharest fair. The semi-official paper of the Bucharest government reported on the punishment in an article title "Rabid Hungarians." In the deduction of the amount corresponding to four days' pay the author of this ominous article saw evidence that "the work of mad Hungarianization was nearing completion by repressing self-consciousness, by brutally throttling racial and national feelings as well as the language." 57

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