The Hungarians

None of the minorities living in Romania had a tenser relationship with the majority of inhabitants. Still, Romanians and Hungarians have been living together for centuries. The Hungarians in Transylvania praise their past, values and traditions within a context that permits their alterity, cultural, linguistic and spiritual diversity to be as such. BackgroundThe Hungarians have been present on Romanian territory (especially in Transylvania) since the 8th-9th century A.D. They have a long and rich cultural tradition and history; their presence within the borders of Romania cannot possibly be ignored. There are a multitude of events that are worth mentioning here, but we will stop at King Stephen the Holy (997-1038), who Christianized the Hungarians and founded the Kingdom of Hungary, Transylvania being part of this territory right from the beginning. The first document attesting the name Ultra siluam ("beyond the forest") dates back to 1075. The same century marks the usage of the name Partes Transsilvaniae ("areas beyond the forest") as referring to Ardeal, which from that moment on was called Transylvania in all Hungarian papers, written at that time in Latin. The popular name reflects the exact translation of the Latin term – Erdöelve in Hungarian, and Ardeal in Romanian. In 1526, the Turkish army defeats the Hungarians in the Mohács battle. Therefore, the Hungarian kingdom is divided in three parts: the central part, conquered by the Turks, the western part and the northern region, controlled by the Hapsburg Empire, and Transylvania which, in spite of taxes paid directly to the Ottoman Empire, remains independent as a state until 1690. It is worth mentioning that in 1598, the Transylvanian Diet accepted confessional freedom for the first time in the world, stating that "everyone is free to chose his own religion." After the Turks are driven out of Hungary at the end of the 17th century, Transylvania is conquered by emperor Leopold Habsburg of Austria. 1693 witnesses the splitting of the Hungarian administration from the Transylvanian one, the latter being governed directly from Vienna. In 1867, Austria and Hungary become equal parties in the empire, and Transylvania is again part of Hungary.  Hungarians in Romania after 1918 All minorities living on Romanian territory were present in 1918 at Alba Iulia, where the unification of Transylvania and Romania was decided and sealed. The Transylvanian Saxons gathered at Mediash on January 8, 1919, Swabians met at Timishoara two days later, as well as the representatives of the other minorities, such as Jews, Gypsies, all clearly expressing their will for unification. However, the leaders of the Hungarian minorities adopted a silent attitude, hoping that this union would be denied by the Peace Conference in Paris. The Peace Conference in Paris, in 1919, acknowledged the legitimacy of the united Romanian state, and inhabitants of Bucovina, Bessarabia and Transylvania earned Romanian citizenship. Thus, the Treaty of Trianon cemented the unification of Transylvania and Romania in 1920, on June 4. According to the statistics of the time, unified Romania recorded 28% Romanian citizens of other nationalities. Hungarians represented 7.9%. Transylvania was confronted with the same situation: the 52.12 % of the Romanian population was followed by the 26.46 % of the Hungarian population. Out of the 23 districts in Transylvania, 20 were inhabited by Hungarians, in the majority. After the Treaty of Trianon had been signed, the Hungarian representatives abandoned their silent attitude, trying to protect their own interests. This is how the Hungarian Union appeared in 1921 followed by the Popular Hungarian Party in 1922. The two organisations merged with the National Hungarian Party the same year, resulting in the Hungarian Party in Romania. The press cell of this organisation was "Keleti Uság". The leaders were old aristocrats, and the funds came from solid banking institutions, church, cultural associations, as well as from a dynamic network of farms. The Hungarian party declared itself the defendant of Hungarian interests for the entire minority, although some of the members shared different political views, such as the Communist or Socialist doctrines. There was much internal turmoil, as in any other political organisation. Romania went through an agrarian reform between 1918-1921. 206,265 Romanian citizens of various nationalities had been put in possession of land, of which 46,069 were Hungarian. A new problem emerged with this reform. The "opt outs" were landowners who lived in Transylvania, but who opted for Hungarian citizenship. Thus, the 260 people in this situation lost their land according to the Romanian land law. They accused the Romanian state of nationality discrimination, and asked for not being judged according to the laws. The Hungarian Party, supported by the government in Budapest, engaged in a campaign, carried abroad, accusing the Romanian government of not observing the minorities' rights as specified by the Treaty of Trianon. The campaign reached as far as the UN and the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Actually, the Hungarian party along with the government in Budapest intended to give this problem international accreditation, suggesting that a problem between minorities in Transylvania had been left unsolved by the Treaty of Trianon. Romania had to deal with the "opt outs" problem for seven years. WW II was to disrupt the rhythm of the entire Europe. In 1940, by force of the Vienna Diktat, northern Transylvania was given back to Hungary. The 1941 census reported 2.5 million people living on this territory, 52.1% being Hungarian and 41.5 % Romanians. The Transylvanian territory that stayed in possession of Romania hosted half a million Hungarians. After the war and the signing of the Peace Treaty in Paris, on February 10, 1947, the entire region of Ardeal was given back to Romania. In 1951, as a consequence of a new territorial division (confirmed by the Constitution of September 27, 1952), but also because of Russian pressure, Romania accepted the creation of an autonomous Hungarian region. For the next 8 years, the capital of the region was Targu Mures. The 1956 events in Budapest dramatically changed the relations between the Bucharest government and the Hungarians in Transylvania. 1959 was the year when the Communists decided to dissolve the Hungarian University in Cluj along with other Hungarian schools, replacing this educational system with a Romanian one. During the late 60s, the pressure on ethnic minorities was even more intensily felt by promoting Communism with a nationalist influence. Everybody in Romania suffered under the Communist regime, either from material shortcomings or from ethnic prejudices. The authorities seemed to plan their actions against the Hungarian community. They transferred Romanian families into territories inhabited by Hungarians, they reduced education in their native language, unofficial discrimination regarding high positioned jobs or public offices was common, even censorship of minority publications. The Communist party strived to break the connections between the communities and the traditional church, a solid landmark of spirituality. The silent and unorganised opposition against the Communist party took a special turn in the case of Hungarians. It was associated with both ideological resistance and national pride, or even territory.  After 1990 The 2002 census revealed that 1,434,377 Hungarian ethnics lived in Romania, that is 6,6 % of the country population. In 1992, the percentage indicated 7,6% (1,624,959). Most of these people live in the counties of Harghita, Mureş, Bihor, Covasna, Cluj, etc. Immediately after the Communist regime was abolished, the Democratic Hungarian Union in Romania (U.D.M.R.) was founded, whose promise was to protect the interests of the community. This union has local organisations, platforms, associated members (social and scientific groups, cultural or vocational societies). The union has its own administrative cell, with separate decisional factors, executive and leadership. The Congress is the Union's supreme entity. The first years after 1990 were shredded by minority tensions (the events of Târgu Mureş). The union was marginalised, and the interests it stood for were rather ignored. In 1996, a friendship treaty was signed between the governments of Romania and Hungary, and the situation loosened up. This was eased by the temporary absence of nationalist parties and by the participation of the Union to several governmental coalitions (next to Democratic Convention and Democrat Party – 1996-2000, being a partner for the Social-Democrat Party over the next years, and as a new partner in the governmental coalition since 2005). UDMR had their own election candidates for each election season in Romania. After the last round in 2004, the Union was represented by 22 deputies and 10 senators in the Romanian Parliament. The main national holidays for the Hungarians living in Romania are the same as everywhere: March 15 – celebration of the 1848-1849 Revolution, August 20 – Saint Steven Day, and October 6 (commemoration of the 1848-1849 Revolution martyrs). Many of the Hungarian personalities were born in Transylvania. Gaspar Heltai (1510-1574), a publisher who printed many Hungarian works; Ferenc Davis (1510-1579), one of the most original thinkers of the Hungarian Reform, founder of the Unitarian Church; Peter Pazmany (1570-1637), archbishop of Esztergom, cardinal, vibrant personality of Counter Reformation in Hungary, one of the pioneers of the literary Hungarian language. Among those educated at universities abroad we can mention Albert Szenczi Molnar (1574-1639), Reformed priest, one of the most influent men in culture, education, science; Ferenc Papai Pariz (1649-1716), doctor, scientist, author of dictionaries; Miklos Totfalusi Kis (1650-1702), printing worker and writer, well known for inventing the modern Hungarian spelling; Samuel Gyarmathy (1751-1830), doctor, linguist, first representative of Hungarian compared linguistics; Janos Kotsi Patko (1763-1842), the man who put together the first theatrical company in Cluj; Sandor Korosi Csoma (1784-1842), founder of Tibetan philology; Miklos Josika (1794-1865), Hungarian novelist; Samuel Brassai (1799-1897), professor at the university; Janos Bolyai (1802-1860) one of the most original mathematicians, founder of non-Euclidian geometry; Zsigmond Kemeny (1814-1875), writer and politician; Endre Ady (1877-1919), one of the most important Hungarian poets; Bela Bartok (1881-1945), piano player and musicologist, worldwide known composer.  Romania – Europe at a Smaller Scale, issued by the Department for Interethnic Relations of the Government of Romania

by Attila Markó; Marian Chiriac; Rodica Precupeţie; Alina Dodocioiu; Marius Jitea; Monica Presecan; Adrian Petraru