FEDERATION OF HUNGARIANS
H – 1052 Budapest, Semmelweis u. 1-3.
Tel.: [00-36-1 / 06-1] 267-45-10
Fax / Tel.: [00-36-1/06-1] 485-40-60
Justice for Europe!
– 5th Attachment
Two Thousand Years of Prison
Recommendations for the Solution
of the Transylvanian Question
Following World War II, the Transylvanian
Hungarians worked out five plans for the solution of the Transylvanian
question. They did this even though
they knew for certain that they were putting their lives in danger, for they
could be executed for this activity.
In fact, this was exactly the fate of the Roman Catholic priest,
Aladár Szoboszlai and Kálmán Sass, the pastor of the
Reformed Church in Érmihályfalva, who were executed and whose
names became well-known in the course of the notorious political trials.
outside world – and sadly the Hungarian public too – knows very
little about the endeavors of the Transylvanian Hungarians. Now that the World Federation of
Hungarians has initiated the re-examination of the Peace Treaties of Trianon
(1920) and Paris (1947), it is necessary that we introduce to the world public
opinion the initiatives which were aimed at solving the Transylvanian question.
I. The initiative of Áron
Márton, Roman Catholic Bishop from Transylvania.
The historical Transylvanian-Hungarian Churches
and the institutes established by the people – the
Transylvanian-Hungarian Economic Association and the centers of all the
associations – all gathered in support of Áron Márton, the
Roman Catholic Bishop of Gyulafehérvár. In the fall of 1945, the
group of leaders recommended to the temporary Hungarian National Government
that they should make every effort to re-annex the border counties of Northern
Transylvania (Ugocsa, Szatmár, Bihar and Arad) to the motherland. The Hungarians of Transylvania wished
for a larger and stronger Hungary,
so that there would be protection and backing for them.
Modeled on the Saar-land, they wished the peace
conference to organize an international inspection of Historic Transylvania
every 10-15 years, or place it in the hands of a governor-general, in such a
way that the government of Transylvania be undertaken by the two principal
ethnic groups, the Hungarians and the Romanians, alongside the
governor-general, and these two groups would each send representatives to take
part in the government. Áron
Márton and his group would only entertain this suggestion if they were
successful in annexing Transylvania to Hungary. Contrary to this suggestion, one section
of Hungarians wished to have government in Transylvania along ethnic
lines: they would divide Transylvania in two, so that there would be a Romanian
Transylvania and a Hungarian Transylvania.
This division would not be done just along the lines of the ratio of the
two peoples to each other, but also from the economic standpoint of the
Hungarian motherland. The Hungarian
Government should therefore make sure that they obtained for the Hungarians the
territories which were rich in ores – Nagybánya,
Felsőbánya, Kapnikbánya, Erzsébetbánya.
The executive committee of the Hungarian
which was under Communist influence, on November 17, 1945, pressed by Dr. Petru
Groza, the Romanian head of state and Vasile Luca/Luka László, a
Communist leader, accepted a manifesto which supported the restoration of the
Trianon Hungarian-Romanian border.
Some weeks later, under the leadership of
Áron Márton, Roman Catholic Bishop, several leaders of the
Transylvanian Hungarians came together in a meeting in Kolozsvár. They decided that they would turn to the
Great Powers with a memorandum in which – among other things – they
would state that the Hungarian Peoples’ Alliance, under Communist
leadership, did not represent the majority of Transylvanian Hungarians and that
they would ask that the wishes of the Transylvanian Hungarians be also taken
into account. They attached a map
to the memorandum, in which they illustrated how Transylvania
should be divided between the Hungarians and the Romanians. According to this map, the northern
Transylvanian counties, which were inhabited by a Romanian majority, would
remain under Romanian power, while a stretch of Szekler-land, in a „wide
corridor”, comprising of
would be attached to Hungary. As a result, 1,350,000 Hungarians and
850,000 Romanians would fall under the government of Hungary. Those Hungarians remaining in southern
Transylvania would be allowed to voluntarily relocate to Hungary in a population
exchange. This memorandum was
signed by the Roman Catholic Bishop, Áron Márton, the Bishop of
the Reformed Church, János Vásárhelyi, Dr. Pál
Szász of the EMGE, Ede Korparich of the Kaláka Association Center
and István Lakatos, President of the Cooperative Society Center. Sándor Nekám, the leader of
the Hungarian Political Mission in Bucharest
presented this memorandum and map to the West, but it had no influence on the
position of the Great Powers in regard to Transylvania.
On June 21, 1949, Áron Márton, a
Roman Catholic Bishop, one of the greatest Hungarians of the twentieth century,
was arrested and imprisoned in a most deceitful way and, in August, 1950, in a
mock trial, he was sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor. He was freed in February, 1955 but, for
the following fifteen years, he was not allowed to leave the Bishop’s
Palace in Gyulafehérvár.
Márton’s unique position of authority is proven by the fact that,
in the middle of the 1950’s, in connection with the Transylvanian
question, the organizers of the plans and programs influenced by the 1956
Hungarian Revolution, independent of their denominational allegiance, asked
advice of the Bishop of Gyulafehérvár, that is, asked him to
accept their plans.
The proposal of the Roman Catholic priest,
Aladár Szoboszlai, for the solution of the Transylvanian question
Aladár Szoboszlai, Roman Catholic priest
in Magyarpécska, later in Arad,
Temesság and Őbéb, in the middle of the 1950’s, worked
out his own plan for the solution of the Romanian-Hungarian
„dispute”, that is, the creation of a United Europe. He was hoping that, from the Geneva
Conference in November, 1955, there would open up a possibility for free
elections in the Soviet Bloc, and the creation of political pluralism. The program of the Christian
Workers’ Party, prepared in 1955, and translated into Romanian,
German, French and English, was the first attempt in Central and Eastern Europe
at the creation of a political party based on Christian ideology within the
framework of Socialism.
Aladár Szoboszlai, executed at the age of
33, just like Christ, envisaged that the Christian Workers’ Party would
be established at the same time in Hungary and in Romania and that a coup
d’état would erupt at the exact same time in both countries
and overturn the Communist power.
He looked for the solution to the Transylvanian
question in the program of the Christian Workers’ Party, particularly in
the study entitled: Confederatio
(Confederation). He announced
that Hungary should
establish connections with the western states, primarily with the United States of America. „The
Christian ideals form the direction of our foreign policy from the point of
view of economics and trade. The long-term goal of our Party is a Confederation
of the Danubian States, in which our neighbors will think along the same lines
as us. We support the idea of a United Europe.” According to his vision, the
Transylvanian question could only be solved by a Romanian-Hungarian
Confederation, which later, Austria
would also join. This Danubian
Confederation would not be identical to the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy!
Confederation, we do not refer just to the Transylvanian Romanians but to all
of them. In other words, there is
not one Romania
in the Confederation and another outside of it. The peoples should conduct
their separate national politics through their own national Ministry of
Culture. In their arguments, the
peoples would relinquish the advantages due to them by historical right, like
the superiority of ethnic numbers.
Within the framework of the Confederation, there can be no borders. Every state should live its own life but
there should be a common financial, economic, foreign and military policy” – wrote Aladár Szoboszlai.
His plan won the support of a large number of Romanians – even
Orthodox priests. It even attracted
a number of the dissatisfied Romanian military elite.
The plan was torpedoed. Approximately 200 people were arrested
from all parts of the country and, among them, 57 were tried before a military
court. As a result of the trial,
which was the most important political trial in Romania in the 1950’s, ten
people were sentenced to death. The
death sentences were executed in the Securitate prison in Temesvár on September 1, 1958. Forty-six of the accused were sentenced
to hard labor, from three years to life. With the exception of those who were
executed, the total number of years of sentencing exceeded 1300 years.
III. The Canton plan of Kálmán
Sass, the pastor of the Reformed Church
After his expulsion from Romania,
Kálmán Sass, the „Messiah” of Érmellék,
already in 1939, became deeply involved in the problem of the
Transylvanian question. For a year
and a half, he studied Theology on a scholarship in Switzerland. He was very familiar with the workings
of the Swiss cantons. In his study
entitled: A Szent István-i
Magyarország kisebbségi kérdésének
megoldása elé (The solution to the question of the ethnic
minorities in the Hungary of
Saint Stephen), he made a detailed outline of the Canton plan. In my opinion, it is still today one of
the great studies worthy of consideration.
Kálmán Sass promoted the reestablishment of the thousand
year-old Hungary. He saw the solution to the minority
question in the establishment of a canton for each minority group, like the
Swiss cantons, with the exception that there be no language border to the
canton. In other words: the
Hungarians of Bucharest, Jászvásár or the ancient Kingdom
would be just as much a member of the canton of the Transylvanian Hungarians as
the Hungarians of the pure Hungarian territory of the Szekelyland
(Szeklerland). Everyone would have
the same rights and responsibilities.
According to him, the concept of the Hungarians in diaspora is
humiliating to all the Hungarians who actually live outside of Hungary and it
is a constant source of frustration to them.
Transylvanian Saxons and the Schwabs of the Partium would establish their own
cantons, just as the Slovaks, Germans and Serbs did in Hungary. In the cantons, the plurality of
languages would be effective, just as in Switzerland. Every official document would be
prepared in the major languages.
There would be no obstacle to the use of the mother-tongue in any
circumstances. The ratio of ethnic
numbers in a particular community would decide the language of instruction from
the elementary to the university level.
On those grounds, the Transylvanian Hungarians would gain more
universities, because of their superior numbers.
Kálmán Sass’ study,
entitled: Szegény Erdélyország
(Poor Transylvania) is one of the most
credible documents about the Romanian persecution of the Hungarians between the
two World Wars. He was the only
Transylvanian politician who, between 1940 and 1944, had any connection with any
of the members of the Hungarian government of the day. In his letter of April 14, 1946, he
warned of a danger in the forthcoming Treaty of Paris: on the one hand, the
so-called „Hungarian democrats” would betray the Transylvanian
Hungarians and, on the other hand, the Romanian nationalists would attack them
from behind. He clearly saw that
the Treaty of Paris of February 10, 1947, primarily „went after the skin
of the Transylvanian Hungarians”.
was arrested, along with 31 of his colleagues from Érmellék. The trial resulted in two death
sentences. Kálman Sass and
Dr. István Hollós, a former captain of the military court, were
executed on December 2, 1958 in the prison of Szamosújvár. They were not even allowed to look at
their executioners. They were shot
in the back. Out of the 31
prisoners, 14 were sentenced to hard labor for life. Romania is the only state in which
the families of those executed have no knowledge of where the remains of their
loved ones are laid to rest. Every
one of them deserves rehabilitation as a basic right.
The plan for population exchange, made famous
by the name of the international lawyer, Dr. Dobai István from
In his letter of June 18, 1848, to
Gábor Klauzál, Minister of Business, Agriculture and Trade, Baron Miklós
Wesselényi described how the Hungarians could only survive if they
congregated on a smaller territory, gave up Croatia, Slavonia and if they
organized a population exchange with the agreement of the different minorities.
Dr. István Dobai, in the spirit
of the Hungarian Revolution, (1848, or 1956?) placed this possibility for a
solution of the Transylvanian question under a microscope. He adopted the version, where all of
Transylvania would belong to Hungary,
where the Romanians and the Saxons would be assured complete autonomy, and
where the Romanian majority could at any time vote to belong to Romania. For this reason, he also adopted the
concept of an independent Transylvania. If Transylvania were to belong to Romania, then
the deprivation of civil rights and dispossession would continue.
Therefore, he proposed that Transylvania be divided into two equal parts and that the
Hungarian-Romanian population exchange be propelled forward. According to the opinion polls conducted
by the Dobai group, the majority of the Transylvanian Hungarians supported this
Nine of the Dobai group were
brought before the courts. Dr.
István Dobai and László Varga, a pastor of the Reformed
Church, were sentenced to hard labor for life. Joseph Nagy and Gábor
Kertész lost their lives in the course of the torture and beatings they
received in prison. The rest were
sentenced to prison terms of 6 to 25 years.
V. The plan of Pál Fodor, railway
engineer from Csíkszereda, for a population exchange
Entirely independently of
István Dobai, Pál Fodor, a railway engineer from
Csíkszereda, also saw the key to the solution of the Transylvanian
question in the Hungarian-Rumanian population exchange. He would have divided Transylvania
into two equal parts with a perpendicular line. He even planned on a map, that the
population exchange would take eight years to complete and would require
several thousand railway wagons.
István Dobai, a Protestant
and Pál Fodor, a Catholic, both asked advice and support from
Áron Márton. At the
Fodor trial, they brought forward Dr. Kálmán Csiha, who, after
1990, was a Bishop of the Reformed Church in Transylvania,
and three Franciscan brothers.
Pál Fodor was sentenced to 25 years of hard labor.
Romanian population exchange
While the Hungarian organizers of
plans for a population exchange were all condemned, the Romanian designers of
plans for population exchange were not at all worried. Sabin Manuila, the Director of the
Bucharest Central Statistical Institute, on October 15, 1941, presented Marshal
Ion Antonescu with his plan for the complete removal of all the ethnic
minorities from Romania. Altogether 3.8 million people would have
been removed. In 1943, Vasile
Stoica planned a population removal of 5 million ethnic minorities, so that Romania would
not give up the territory.