[Table of Contents] [Previous] [Next] [Index] [HMK Home] TRANSYLVANIA AND THE THEORY...



The Transylvanian Hungarians, this over two million strong minority is suffering under the heavy-handed ethnic policy of the Socialist Republic of Rumania. Recent arrivals of refugees in the West uniformly tell of the horrors of ethnocide. Their case, I feel, should be brought to the notice of a growing number of Rumanianists outside of Rumania.

As far as I can tell, Western publications dealing with Ru- mania have been quite tolerant and accepting of the govern.- ment's policies. Recent Rumanian versions of their history and ethnic origins have been written by politically motivated writers and are blatantly biased to the point of falsifying and inventing historical events. These works have not been looked at critically by Western scientists; in fact, they are rapidly being incorporated into recent publications as truly trust- worthy material. I shall group my findings under five different topics.

1. Ethnocide in Rumania

Let me give an operational definition of ethnocide. Any action by representatives of a dominant culture which aims at obliterating another sociocultural tradition through a coercive policy of assimilation is ipso facto ethnocide. Whatever the means, if any ethnic group loses its identity against its will, then we may talk about ethnocide. (For further clarification, see Jaulin 1970) Rumania employs two forms of ethnocide against its minorities: violent and non-violent. The uniqueness of ethnocide against Hungarians is its magnitude. Symptoms of minority dissatisfaction in Rumania include out-migration, formal (constitutional) grievances, public disclosures by Ru- manian citizens and by the international press, observations regarding the changing socioeconomic status of minorities, and demographic stagnation.

During and after the Hungarian revolution of 1956, the Rumanians government feared that Hungarians in Rumania would engage in a similar radical movement. The government allowed the detention of four revolutionary leaders (among them Prime Minister Imre Nagy) on Rumanian soil and carried out mass arrests. A document smuggled out of Ru- mania (see The Observer' April 14 and May 5, 1963) indicated ''wide-scale arrests, deportation, and in some cases even exe- cutions of Hungarians" (Schöpflin 1966:133). The Congres- sional Record (August 8, 1964) revealed that close to 40,000 Hungarians were arrested, and in 1958 alone 56 of them were tried, of whom 10 were executed. Bailey (1964:26) reported that "thousands of Hungarians were arrested, perhaps hundreds put to death. In one trial alone in Cluj, thirteen out of fifty-seven accused were executed."

More recently, according to the Committee for Human Rights in Rumania (1977), in April 1977,

as a part of a sweeping effort to silence all possible signs of inde- pendent-minded expressions within the Hungarian minority, the Rumanian secret police arrested scores of Hungarian intellectuals [who] were largely unknown to one another .... [They were] sub- jected to savage beating and other forms of torture .... The follow- ing are eight persons whose names are known: Jenô Szikszai, teacher from Brasov, Mrs. Jenô Szikszai, Brasov, Sandor Kuti, teacher from Brasov, Zoltan (?) Zsuffa, teacher from Covasna, Istvan Kocsis, dentist from Sfintu Cheorghe, Jozsef Haszmann, teacher from Papaut, Pal Kallay, clerk from Covasna, Peter Eros, librarian from Sfintu Gheorghe .... Jeno Szikszai, completely ruined physically and psychologically by torture, was found in the attic of his home shortly after his release -- dead by hanging.

Nonviolent persecution affects not just isolated individuals, but an entire minority group (Schöpflin 1966:133):

There is little doubt that Bucharest is working for the total fragmen- tation and assimilation of the Hungarian minority. Recent reports from Transylvania indicate that an atmosphere of terror is strongly in evidence there .... [Rumania] is probably the only place now under communist rule where one still finds such manifestations -- once characteristic of the Stalin's era -- as fear of contact with foreigners. Pressure on Hungarians to ''denationalize'' themselves is intense and unremitting.

Among the complaints widely reported in the world press we find the testimonies of communists (hardly a source of "anticommunist agitation" or "ad hoc political bloc"). First, there is evidence presented by Károly Király, vice-president of the Hungarian Nationality Workers' Council, alternate member of the Rumanian Communist Party's Politburo until 1972, and Central Committee member until 1975. In his letter to another member of the Central Committee (translated for the New York Times: Király 1978) he wrote: "Anxiety and concern compel me to write you about the manner in which the nationality question has been handled in our country of late .... " Enumerating blatant violations of the constitution (i.e., school policies, minority language usage curtailment, the elimination of Hungarian officials from towns and cities with a large proportion of Hungarians), Király continues:

It is clear from only this much that a multitude of factual realities violate the Constitution . . . . the tendency is to forcefully assimilate nationalities in Rumania .... for millions of citizens it destroys their confidence in socialist society .... I am writing to you with a deep sese of responsibility, as I am one of those Communists who is con- vinced of the truth of our ideals .... We nationalities -- Hungarians, Germans, Serbs, Sews, Gypsies, and so on -- feel a deep respect for the Rumanian people and wish to live in harmony with them.

Michael Dobbs, a reporter of the Manchester Guardian' quotes Király, by then in internal exile in Caransebes (Washington Post' March 2, 1978):

Government action includes the deployment of armed patrols, house to house arrests and the harassment and interrogation of hundreds of Hungarians .... He named 16 prominent Romanians who have asked to be associated with the appeal. Among them are Ion Cheorghe Maurer, a former Prime Minister, and Janos Fazekas, a Deputy Prime Minister and member of the decision-making political executive committee of the Romanian Communist Party.

Eric Bourne adds the following (Christian Science Monitor' May 2, 1978):

Last week' three more protests became known. Their authors were: Hungarian-born Deputy Prime Minister Janos Fazekas' who listed minority grievances in a letter to the party. Transylvanian writer and candidate member of the party committee András Sütô, who protested restrictions on Hungarian-language education. Lajos Takacs, a former rector of the Cluj (Transylvanian) University, which had separate Romanian and Hungarian faculties until the mid-1450's when all were merged under mainly Romanian direc- tion . . . Mr. Takacs itemized 18 areas in which, he said, laws on minority rights were not being observed.

2. Ethnic policy and the Rumanian Legal code

The Nationality Statue of February 6, 1945, protected nationalities but was discarded after the 1947 peace treaties of Paris. In their Section II (Political Clause, Article 3), these treaties guaranteed equal rights to the inhabitants of Rumania without regard to race, language, religion, or ethnicity (see Bulletin of the International Commission of Jurists 1963). As early as April 2? 1949, the United Kingdom and the United States filed a strong letter of protest with the Rumanian government for the violation of human rights.

The Land Reform of March 23, 1945, while not overtly antinational, acquired an anti-Hungarian edge with expressed itself in the confiscation of Hungarian agricultural lands. The vast majority of those affected were Hungarians who had fled southern Transylvania during the ''Antonescu terror.'' Also affected were "relocated" groups, soldiers in the Rumanian army, disabled soldiers, persons under medical treatment, the elderly unable to cultivate their land, and persons, who, in possession of a valid passport, happened to be in Hungary after August 1944. Only in exceptional cases were the officers of the Land Reform Committee Hungarian. While thousands of Hungarian peasants lost their land, among Rumanians even aristocrats were able to keep it.

Further confiscations of Hungarian property occurred under the C.A.S.B.I. Ordinance ("Cassa pentru Administ- rarea si Supravegherea Bunurilor Inamice '). The Hungarian Folk Federation protested these acts on more than three occasions in 1945 alone.

The New Citizenship Law of March 30, 1945, denied social benefits to those who were not in Rumania on October 11, 1944 (during the height of the terror just mentioned). This law was aimed directly at Hungarians who at this time were outside of Rumania or had opted for citizenship in northern Transyl- vania (which belonged to Hungary). It was supplemented by an executive order (August 17, 1945) declaring noncitizens all those who had escaped during the evacuation of northern Transylvania with the Hungarian or German armies. This law affected 300, 000-400, 000 refugees. Another decree, the so-called Patrascanu Decree 645, allowed the return of real estate to all Rumanians who for any reason whatsoever had alienated their land since 1940.

The constitutions of 1948 and 1952 guaranteed equal rights to nationalities and free use of minority languages in education and in political administration. These laws were systematically violated.

In 1952 Rumania formed the so-called Magyar Autono- mous Province, with a Hungarian population of 565,510. The proof that this province was concocted purely for propaganda purposes vis-a-vis the West is that it included only slightly over one-fourth of the Hungarians of Rumania and that it gave them no political or administrative power. Even this was re- placed in 1960 by the Mures Autonomous Province, with a loss of 15% of the Hungarian (but with an addition of 20% Ru- manian) population. In 1968 even the Mures Province was abolished, and the Hungarian members of the Provisional Advisory Committee and Executive Committee were arrested (Illyés 1976:123).

The constitution of 1965 does not reveal the country's departure from the foreign political, economic, and military policies of the Warsaw Pact nations. The equality of nationalities is reasserted in Decrees 57/1968, 24/1971, and 468/1971. In Section 22 the use of minority languages is guaranteed in those villages, cities, and counties were there is a "mixed population." The law requires the appointment of officials conversant in minority languages. In practice, however, Rumanian officials use only Rumanian. Király (1978) complains that the "use of the native tongue is severely restricted at meetings of the party, the Young Communist League, the trade unions, and the various workers' councils; indeed, the use of the native tongue is prohibited even at meetings of the Nationality Workers' Councils. " The violation of law with regard to the proportionate representation of minorities is reflected in Király's following words:

With regard to the question of personnel, the replacement of Hun- garian officials (where there still are any) with Rumanians is being carried out with incredible persistence. This applies equally to the politico-administrative apparatus and to the various economic and industrial enterprises. I don't even wish to think of such cities as, for example, Nagyvarad, where there is not a single party secretary of Hungarian nationality.

Since Hungarian (as well as Rumanian) newspapers are heavily censured, complaints are seldom voiced in journals. Yet sometimes one does get a glimpse from them of conditions in Transylvania. The Hungarian journal Korunk (Cluj), which is seldom allowed even to touch on minority grievances, braves the following statement (1971/10/:1467-68): ''Except for the counties of Hargita and Kovaszna, in general, public signs, advertisements, etc., appear in Rumanian only. The same language is used for public transportation, trade, and mail traffic," even in almost totally Hungarian communities.

To summarize the discrepancies between law and practice, I will again quote Király:

It is clear . . . that a multitude of factual realities violate the Con- stitution, the founding charter of the party and the fundamental principles set down and provided for in party documents. What is occurring in practice is not in harmony with the principles in these documents -- indeed it completely contradicts them -- and has nothing in common with Marxist-Leninism, fundamental human rights, humanism, or ethnical behaviour and human dignity ....

I will now turn to the economic plight of Hungarians in Rumania. I will limit my descriptions to the bare minimum.

Sweeping changes in socialist Rumania have had a profound effect on the ethnic minorities. Not only have Hun- garian "economic elites . . . experienced a fall from relatively high status," but workers and peasants have been short- changed by policies applied against them in the course in in- dustrialization, collectivization, and urbanization One aim of the government is to block the entry of ethnic groups into pre dominantly Hungarian urban areas as well as into industry (Erdelybôl jelentik 1977:61-62; Schöpflin 1966:133-34). Hun- garians cannot acquire residence permits in the largest Flun- garian cities -- Kolozsvar (Cluj), Nagyvarad (Oradea), Arad, or the capital city of Székelyföld, Marosvásárhely (Tirgu Mures). They are sent to either Rumanian or German cities. This is why Sampson (1976a:328) found an influx of Hun- garians into Feldioara. While more than an adequate number of Hungarian specialists is found in the vicinity of Hungarian cities, the general practice is to bring Rumanian skill there and locate Hungarian manpower in the "Old Kingdom" (Erdélybôl jelentik 1977:63). For example, when the Azomures Chemical Plant opened in Marosvásárhely, Rumanians constituted 90% of the factory's employees. Similar practices characterize the factories of Kézdivásárhely (Tirgul Secuiesc) and Sepsiszent- györgy (Sfintu Gheorghe), where the managers and skilled labourers are also Rumanians.

Repressive measures against Hungarian agricultural co- operatives deserve mention here. A complaint of refugees I have met is that the Rumanian government "borrows" agri- cultural equipment from Hungarian cooperatives during the summer months. Combines' tractors' and cultivators are taken to Rumanian agricultural regions where they are badly needed. At the end of the agricultural season they are re- turned -- in poor repair. Obviously, in these cooperatives tradi- tional forms of husbandry will survive longer than elsewhere.

3. Language usage and education in Rumania

One measure of ethnic policy in a nation in which 13 out of 1 00 persons claim to be members of minorities is the amount of freedom afforded to them in the use of their mother tongue in public life and education. The curtailing of minority language usage in Rumania was heavily underscored during the debates held by the Nationality Workers' Council on April 4-5, 1974. Here' the Hungarian' German, Serbian, and Ukrainian delegates protested against the Rumanianization policy of the Communist party. They were especially concerned over the impact of the Educational Reform of 1973 (which had a catastrophic effect on native-language usage in schools) and the general level of intolerance for the use of these languages in public. Party Secretary Ceausescu's reply to the exasperated delegates was, ''The task of the minorities is to acquire the Ru- manian language . . . /and to/ fulfil the plans of the Party' not to deal with such problems /as education and language maintenance/" (Illyés 1976:149-49, quoting Korunk 1974/4/: 521-23, translation mine).

Hungarian achievements in the arts and sciences in Tran- sylvania have a rich past. Protestant colleges played a pro- minent role in the history of European higher education from the 17th century on. These institutions today are victims of governmental policies. In the absence of Hungarian universities, Hungarians have turned to their traditional folk culture .

Ex-Congressman (now New York City Major) Edward Koch made the following observation for the Congressional Record (1977): "I am distressed . . . at reports that indicate that discrimination taints many aspects of life for the Hunga- rian speaking minority. Last year I was shown a copy of the Romanian laws that now require a minimum of 25 students for any grade school class to be conducted in Hungarian, while only two students are required to form a class taught in the Romanian language. " Statements similar to Koch's are found in the letter of Király (1978) cited earlier and in newspaper articles by Michael Dobbs ( Washington Post and Manchester Guardian' March 2, 1978) and Eric Bourne (Christian Science Monitor' May 2 and May 25, 1978). Official Rumanian statis- tics on the number of Hungarian schools are analyzed by Szaz (1977), Illyés (1976:189-222), and Erdélybôl jelentik (1977:50- 61). One of Szaz's observations (p. 494) is that between 1957 and 1961 the Hungarian network of schools was abolished basically because of the emphasis laid by the Ministry of Education upon the learning the state language and to "prevent'' national "isolation''. The Hungarian and Romanian schools of the communities were merged into one school, or at least Romanian sec- tions were opened in the formerly purely Hungarian institutions. The directors of the new school were in most cases Romanians with a Hungarian vice principal or vice director.

There was not only lively' but also deadly serious' interest in Hungarian-language maintenance at the Hungarian Bolyai University (Cluj) when it merged with the Rumanian Babes University in 1959. An unprecedented event in the history of academic institutions followed this forced integration (Schöp- flin 1966:133):

It appears that one of the pro-rectors of the Bolyai University, Laszlo Szabedi, his wife, and five other university professors com- mitted suicide. The impact of seven suicides on such a small town as Cluj was devastating and may have been one of the factors prompting Bucharest to carry out its policies more circumspectly.

The Times (London) correspondent Dessa Trevisan had this to say (January 24, 1978): ''The institute for medicine was also shut recently. By a special resolution, a Romanian faculty had been set up at the Hungarian academy for theatrical art which in effect meant the 'liquidation of the last little island of education in the Hungarian tongue."'

Of 186 Hungarian licees in 1947, there remained 76 in 1976. Rumanian licees increased in number from 217 to 568 between 1948 and 1968 (Committee for Human Rights in Ru- mania 1977:59).

A few words will suffice on the problems of mass com- munication in Hungarian. Even though ''there is a substantial effort in Romania to publish periodicals and books in Hun- garian," the Rumanian post office is sluggish in delivering them (when it does so at all). It complains of being overloaded. Subscriptions to Hungarian-language publications are taken at unannounced and random hours, and only one or two hours a month. Hungarian periodicals and newspapers are heavily censored and have very small circulations. The officials com- plain of a "paper shortage'' (for details, see Illyés 1976:297- 314). The content of Hungarian mass media programs is un- interesting and heavily burdened with political propaganda. There have been many complaints about the time schedule of these programs as well.

4. Rumanian historiography

''Recent Rumanian versions of their history and ethnic origins have been written by politically motivated writers and are blatantly biased to the point of falsifying and inventing historical events". Since this claim has been voiced time and time again in the West and the East, I will first quote one of the best-known authorities in the United States, Fischer-Galati (1978): "The political requirements made mandatory not only the reinterpretation of Rumanian history but also the falsifica- tion of data." Since the communist takeover, ''the essential task of Romanian historiography had been to provide a 'scientific basis' for validating the varying claims advanced by leaders of the Romanian communist movement in search of legitimacy . "

Rumanian histography points to Transylvania as the place of origin of the Rumanian people. Only Rumanian insist on the Transylvanian origin, and they have been maintaining it for the past two centuries without a shred of archaeological or reliable historical evidence. In recent Rumanian interpreta- tions of their origin taught in schools (see Istoria Romanei 1975, Giurescu 1968, Constantinescu 1970, Constantinescu and Pascu 1971), it is claimed that the present-day Rumanians are the descendants of Roman legionaries and the native Dacians, who mingled during the Roman occupation of Tran- sylvania (A.D. 105-271). (It might be mentioned in passing that the Roman legions were made up not of Italians but of Dalmatians, Greeks, Macedonians, Iberians' Egyptians' Jews, Syrians, North Africans, and others and that during the influx of settlers the population was also mixed (Eutropius Brevarzum historiae Romanae 8. 6. 2, quoted by Illyés 1976:360). Furthermore, even these ethnically mixed legions were frequently reshuffled in Transylvania within the provinces of Dacia and Traiana.) After the withdrawal of the legions, the descendants of the Romans and Dacians allegedly withdrew into the mountains, where so far Rumanian historians have failed to find any trace of them (Constantinescu and Pascu 1975:35, 55, 113-14, 118, 259, 297). Roman and Byzantine sources rich in observations regarding the Lower Danube region are silent on the Daco-Rumanians.

Rumanian scientists ignore reports written in the 1070s by the Byzantine general Kekaumenos, which represent the earliest and most authentic data on the Vlachs, the ancestors of the Rumanians (Litavrin 1972). While Kekaumenos main- tained that the Vlachs were the descendants of the Dacians and the Besses, he placed their origin where the Danube and Sava Rivers meet and not in Transylvania. That his geographic information rests on solid grounds is attested by the fact that the Roman government, after the abandonment of Dacia, transferred this name to the regions south of t he Danube. The memory of the short-lived Dacia Traiana and its original location were.forgotten by late antiquity. Kekaumenos clearly states that during the 11th century the Vlachs inhabited Edessa, Macedonia, and Hellas, that is, the Balkans, where their linguistic relatives have survived to the 20th century. His reports are incompatible with the aims of Ru- manian historians. Rumanian linguists claim the Rumanian language to be a Latinized derivative of the Dacian language. Since all linguistic data on this language have disappeared (Constantinescu and Pascu 1975:313-20), this statement is illegitimate.

Two medieval chronicles mention a people present in the general area of Transylvania at the time the Magyars arrived in the 9th century. One of these is the 11th-century Chronicle of Nestor(Povestz Vremennyz Let 1950, Trautmann 1932), the other the 13th-century Gesta Hungarorum (1975). Both are vague on the location of a people called "Voloch" (Nestor) or "Blachi" (Cesta). Since Rumanian historians refer to these Vlachs as their ancestors, it may be noted that all pastorals in the Balkans and in the Carpathian Basin were called Vlachs until at least the 13th century. While the Chronicle of Nestor is ambiguous as to the location of the Magyar-Vlach encounter, the Gesta's author is merely projecting his contemporary situation back 400 years. If we were to believe him in other respects, Hungarians would be the descendants of the Huns and would have been present in the Carpathian Basin early as the 5th century (Illyés 1976:356).

Based on these two chronicles, the officially approved Ru- manian historiography explains that the descendants of the Daco-Roman population survived to the present and that their indigenous status in Transylvania is a proven fact. For this reason Giurescu (a professor at the University of Bucharest) claims that ''Transylvania is par excellence the land of the Dacians, the Romanian people's forefathers" (Giurescu 1968: 134). Having finished this altogether politically motivated book of myths, often amusing in its invention and inversion of historical facts and names, the native reader may be indif- ferent to the total omission of the l,000-year-long role of Hun- gary in organizing the demographic, economic, political and cultural life of Transylvania. He may even question whether European maps made by geographers are telling the truth

While people outside of Rumania are fortunate to have a more balanced picture because of the accessibility of reliable scholarship, Hungarians and Saxons in Rumania, whose fore- fathers were the important political leaders of Transylvania, are denied knowledge of how their ancestors shaped their past.

In the opinion of serious scholars -- both Rumanian and foreign the Daco-Roman origin theory is merely wishful thinking. According to Dinic (1966:560),

The history of these people down to the later middle ages is obscure' and its origins are the subject of much discussion .... Outside Ru- mania' however' the more probable view is generally held that the origin of the Romanian people is to be found south of the Danube, in the romanised population of the Balkan peninsula which, after the Slav settlement, took themselves to the mountains to become a race of herdsmen.

Another authoritative source, George and Tricart (1954:239, translation mine) reflects upon Rumanian origins as follows: "The origins of the Rumanian nation have until the present been more obscure. The aforementioned theory of continuity' making the Rumanians the descendants of the Romanized Dacians, has now been abandoned.'' Other refutations of the Daco-Roman origin theory are found in Dami (1967:267), Densusianu (1901), Hurmuzaki (1876, 1878), Philippide (1975:112), Rosetti (1968), Stadtmüller (1950:207-8; 1965: 90), Arató (1975), Asztalos (1934), Bartha (1977), Gesta Hungarorum (1975), Hóman (1921, 1923), and Kniezsa (1938).

It is common European understanding that Rumania's acquisition of Transylvania was based not on ''historical rights'' but on international agreements in the 20th century by alliances that defeated Hungary in 1918 and 1945. The treaties made in 1920 (Trianon) and in 1947 (Paris) stipulated full political and human rights for the minorities. The fact that they have not been treated according to these inter national agreements has, in some measure, resulted in tension between Rumania and the Federal Republic of Germany and between Rumania and Hungary. Since Hungary has no recourse to active intervention on behalf of more than 2,000'000 Hungarians in Rumania, Rumanian xenophobia over Transylvania seems groundless. Therefore one may question the rationale behind what Fischer-Galati (1978) has called the ''invocation . . . of the lessons of Romanian history . . . for legitimizing Romanian nationalism."

5. Rumanian statistics

If anything characterizes Rumanian statistics, it is unrelia- bility. Ethnic minorities are notoriously underenumerated. This is a curious situation, since the growth of an ethnic minority usually enhances the international reputation of a country. Rumanian demographic data on ethnic minorities rest on two criteria: ''nationality" and ''language usage," as declared by the citizen. Eyewitnesses tell me that the Ru- manian census taker is usually a member of the major culture, empowered with modes of intimidation and underenumera- tion. He is also given a free hand in making arbitrary decisions for respondents who do not fully understand the meaning of the questionnaires. There is considerable advantage -- for furthering careers, getting special favours, etc. -- in declaring oneself Rumanian rather than a member of a minority, and people find it similarly beneficial to Rumanianize their names. It is a commonly accepted practice to record Greek Orthodox Hungarians as Rumanians.

The Rumanian demographer Satmarescu (who cannot be accused of harbouring pro-Hungarian and irredentist senti- ments) comments (1975:426) on the poor quality of published demographic data on Transylvania, the ''tendency to overesti- mate the Rumanian section of the population," and the ''fre- quency with which the basic territorial units for demographic tabulation have been modified," including the county of Brasov. He discusses the inadequacy of ''nationality" and ''language" as criteria for ''an entirely accurate statement on the minorities" and asserts that, since all these difficulties apply particularly to the Hungarian population, ''there is thus every likelihood that their numbers were significantly under- estimated in 1966" (p. 432). He continues: ''It is also rather surprising that the increase in the number of people with Hun- garian as their mother tongue over the intercensal period was significant." He goes on to mention the proportionately dec- reasing Hungarian urban population (p. 433): ''Whether or not it is a deliberate policy to reduce the strength of the Hun- garian minority in the urban areas of Transylvania, there is evidence of administrative measures, such as the discrimi- natory allocation of housing units, which make it more difficult for rural Hungarians to move into the large urban centers than (for) their Romanian counterparts."

Satmarescu argues (p. 536) that assuming [that the Hungarian population of 1.7 million in 1910 had] increased over the period 1910-66 at a) the average rate observed in Transylvania' b) the average rate observed in Romania, c) the average rate observed in Hungary, and d) the average rate of natural increase observed in Hungary' and making allowances for emigra- tion and reparations associated with the two world wars, suggests a minimum expected Hungarian population in 1966 of 2.0 million and a maximum of over 2.5 million.

In 1966 the official Rumanian statistics held the Hun- garian population to be only 1,600,000. Satmarescu concludes with scepticism that in 50 years the Hungarians lost between 400,000 and 900,000 of their numbers. This ''loss" is all the more curious, he notes (p. 439), since ''in most plural societies for which adequate information is available it is the minority groups that have the highest fertility rates and hence highest rates of natural increase."

A few more recentent measures may be mentioned here:

a) Confiscation of pre-World War II documents and archival materials. Under Decree Law 206/1974' the govern- ment is confiscating all personal, village, and organizational documents and placing them out of reach of their owners. Certificates of birth, marriage, death, and land ownership, wills, maps of townships, individual records of donation and sale, etc., have been removed from the possession of Hun- garians and other minorities. Anthropologists interested in the history of, say, land tenure, kinship, political organization, and religion among these minorities may be surprised to find that all the village notary can offer them is recent records of collectivization. This is especially regrettable in light of the fact that Transylvania is one of those rare places in Europe in which communal village landownership and shifting agri- cultural prevailed until the end of the l9th century.

Church documents have been removed from villages without receipts and in total disarray. Neuer Zuricher Zeitung' quoted by the New York Times (May 7, 1976), reasons as follows: "The intent behind the nationalization of the ecclesiastical archives is to sever the religious communities from their historical roots. A church without a past (tradition) has no future, especially one which represents a religious and national minority. The first victim of these war-like designs against the religious and cultural minorities by the Rumanian regime was the Hungarian Reformed church."

b) Ethnically homogeneous Szekler towns are being "inte- grated'' with Rumanian populations, even when neither social nor economic conditions warrant it. The sociopolitical and economic organization of the villages has changed drastically in the past 30 years' in each instance favouring Rumanians even where they are a tiny minority.

c) Economic, political, social, and educational discrimina- tion against Hungarian and other minorities at the national level. For minorities living in Rumania the term equal opportunity (which is guaranteed by the Rumanian constitu- tion) is meaningless.

d) Restriction of contact between Hungarians living in Rumania and those in Hungary by limiting an individual's travel between these countries to once every two years. In addition' Decree Law 225/1975 prohibits non-Rumanian citizens from staying with Rumanian citizens overnight. (Exceptions are children and parents.) Lack of facilities for accommodation in rural Rumania makes visiting by relatives practically impossible.

6. Pressure on Internationally known persons (i.e., Olympic champion Nadia Comaneci) to Romanize their names.

These examples are by no means exhaustive. Public ostracism of those speaking Hungarian outside the home, the assigning of Hungarian technical and educational experts to non-Hungarian areas, and many other practices have contributed to a rising rate of suicide, alcoholism, and demographic stagnation among the Szeklers.

The data cited here demonstrate that through political, legal (as well as illegal), social, economic, and educational means the Rumanian government aims to destroy Transyl- vanian Hungarian culture. Its motivation is obscure, since neither in Rumania nor in Hungary do Hungarians have any revisionist claims to Transylvania. The Hungarians of Ru- mania wish to live peacefully in a land they have inhabited for a millennium.

 [Table of Contents] [Previous] [Next] [Index] [HMK Home] TRANSYLVANIA AND THE THEORY...