The Transylvanian Mind:
Ambiguity of Ethnic Identities
and Conflict Resolution

Vilmos Ágoston

Copyright (c) 1998 by the Slavic Research Center. All rights reserved.

A paramount aim in the Europe of today must be to reduce, where possible and as far as possible, the importance of the existing political, economic and cultural frontiers (...) This however, is only possible when the various minorities on the wrong side of these frontiers possess the fullest cultural development in their own tongue and no longer stand in fear of assimilation.*1
R. W. Seton-Watson

For a long time I have not understood it why officers at the Romanian border sometimes ask questions of tourists coming from the western countries concerning their ethnic origin. One could say that the officers always put these questions, so you needn't bother about such behavior. However, taking into consideration the fact that officers never ask questions by chance (they ask what they are told to ask, so they always represent the social, cultural and mainly ideological aspects of a state) one realizes at once that one enters a country where ethnic origin is a very serious matter.
I happened to find one explanation in a Romanian newspaper, in the "letters to the editor" column: "My name is Vera Medrea - we are informed in the letter - and my former name was Spitzer. I am of Jewish origin and now I live in Germany. On the 15 September 1996, while traveling to Romania I was happy to find out that I regained my Romanian ethnic origin. This happened at the frontier of Romania."*2She further relates, that while she lived in Romania, she was considered a Jew, but on emigrating to Germany with her spouse she was considered to be a Romanian. She was told by the officer that those who are of Romanian ethnic origin are not obliged to pay a fee on the entry visa, regardless of their citizenship. So her family name - Medrea - was evidence that she is of Romanian origin. However, two months later while arriving at the same border, she found out that only her children were considered as being of Romanian origin. "It's evident, you are not a Romanian because your former name was Spitzer! You must be of German ethnic origin - said the officer - not of a Romanian one."
This story reveals several aspects of the ambivalent realities of the post-communist period in Romania. Those having knowledge of the issue can easily understand that it has more reference to socio-cultural and political matters than it does to economic demands. It demonstrates that paying the fee for an entrance visa to Romania is only a slight impediment for a person coming from Germany and it has been found out that even the state may renounce it for national purposes. The first conclusion might be that promoting the national image of the state is considered to be superior to economic demands. The development of this principle has a long history, but it was a dominant and characteristic feature of the so called "Golden Age of Ceausescu". One should ask, of course, as Katherine Verdery very properly does, "Why did a Marxist-Leninist regime employing a symbolic-ideological mode of control give so much weight to an ideology that was national?"*3
This question has been handled by a number of political scientists, most of whom see the answer in the regime's need for public support, either in general or in its quarrel with the Soviet Union. The Ceausescu leadership used nationalism as the main instrument for legitimating its rule with the populace and for keeping intellectuals subservient. However, Verdery sees the national ideology that became a hallmark of Ceausescu's Romania as having several sources, only one of which was its purposeful instrumentalization by the Party. She argues that the Party "was forced onto the terrain of national values (not unwillingly) under pressure from others, especially intellectuals, whom it could fully engage in no other manner".*4
By the Romanian nationalist concept, Romanians were superior to the contaminating nomadic tribes (Hungarians and Slavs) that surrounded and debased them. "This construction of a unitary Romanian Party-Nation as an extreme instance of symbolic control was taking place" says Verdery, "in the context of centrifugal tendencies perhaps worse than those of the interwar years, themselves so productive of national rhetoric".*5 She also realizes that if there was an ideology in Ceausescu's Romania that had potentially hegemonic force, it was national ideology. "Virtually all Romanians accepted and still accept the importance of the national idea, with its accompanying unification of the social world."*6 The discourse about unity and continuity of the nation (intending to preserve Transylvania as the native land of the Romanian nation) overwhelmed a person concerned with differentiation and changing Marxism.*7 Yet she also mentions that Romanian intellectuals in Transylvania spoke with intense passion of their projects to develop a Transylvanian cultural politics, "opposed to what was happening in the center".*8

We have to clarify in advance, that the term Transylvania is more a geopolitical, symbolic, even aesthetic*9 than a geographic term for this multiethnic region. The territory, including also the former Partium and Banat, is larger (almost 102,000km2) than the historical Transylvania (57,000km2). The territory was brought to international attention by the violent ethnic clashes at the very beginning of the post-Ceausescu period in Romania and many of the analysts considered these events as totally unexpected. As Shoflin states, "nation, nationalism and the problems of ethnic minorities have spread like maladies with an unexpected and unpredicted force all over the post-communist world".*10 It is true that the process has an open character, not a hidden one, but compared to its long history, the troubled region has a greater possibility now for mutual understanding than ever before. As it is known, Transylvania belonged to The Hungarian Holy Crown (until 1526), it was a Separate Principality being a vassal to the Ottoman Empire under Hungarian princes (until 1699), then became a province of the Habsburg Empire as a separate political unit. For a short period it was united with Hungary during the revolution of 1848/49, then went back to Austria, and again became a part of Hungary due the Austro-Hungarian Compromise in 1867. After World War I it was united with Romania, then its northern part was reattached to Hungary (1940-1944), and from the end of World War II it belonged to Romania.*11
The name Transylvania is the Latin translation of the original Hungarian name Erdély (formerly Erdöelve, in Romanian Ardeal) as it was used in the 10th, and 12th centuries A. D. It's meaning is "Land beyond the forest".
Since a very early age, living in the town of Tâargu-Mures (Marosvásárhely), mostly inhabited by Hungarians in Transylvania*12- (its name became famous when the first Hungarian statue was knocked down on 13 May 1919 by the Romanians, and again in March 1990, due to the clash between the Romanian and Hungarian masses in the early post-communist period) I realized early that it would be an illusion to dream of a Transylvania as a separate state like Switzerland. Although multiethnic Switzerland, with its special canton autonomies, stands as an attractive yet unattainable dream in an ideal conflict-resolution process of the minority problems to most ethnic minorities. Not only in Romania but in all of Eastern and Central Europe, the politicians belonging to ethnic minorities often mention in their speeches the positive image of the Swiss model and the examples of South Tyrol, and Belgium. But no one who really takes into consideration the present demographic and economic situation in Romania and the unwillingness of the supranational organizations to urge a resolution like this would opt for a secession of the territory. I certainly wouldn't argue for an autonomous Transylvania as a separate state with redefined boundaries. The word "autonomy" itself has an ambiguous character. It is differently perceived by Romanian and Hungarian politicians as well. The Romanians use this word to describe the phenomena pointing to the past, the dismembering the nation-state and the secession of Transylvania, while the Hungarians in Romania meant only municipal or county self-government, legally defined rights to use their language in public life and to promote their own culture and education at all levels.
The terminology of "Transylvanism" is a traumatized moral and aesthetic category.*13 It has been used by ethnic minorities (the Romanians and Germans in the 19th century, and the Hungarians, Germans, Jews and others during the 20th century) to counter-balance the oppression of the nation-state by referring to the positive possibilities of the multicultural values of Transylvania.*14
The Hungarian writer Károly Kós (1883-1977) is often quoted on this issue: "For a thousand years in the land of Transylvania a splendid phenomenon has been occurring: three peoples and three cultures have lived their lives alongside or rather amongst each other in such a way that all three have preserved - because this has been possible - their own individuality, but at the same time they have taken on a common character, one that differs from that of all the neighboring peoples, whether foreign or related to them."*15
Although we can't speak of an articulated common identity, because the descendants belonging to different nations have their separate historical experiences based on special sufferings caused by each other during the past centuries on a territory that was the buffer zone of three great powers, respectively, the Austrian, Russian and Ottoman Empires. With the exceptions of Jews and Armenians who have never come to power as a nation-state constituent ethnic element in Transylvania (but they have contributed very much to the process of modernization) and the Gypsies, that are presently undergoing their nation-formation process, all the others participated actively whenever the power structure permitted discrimination toward others. In addition to this the territory is a crossroads where the Roman-Catholic Church meets the Byzantine Orthodox faith, followers of Calvin and Luther, the Unitarians, the neoprotestants and some of the older representatives of the Jewish communities as well.

However to all these separating factors, there is a special Transylvanian mind. That one which distinguishes itself from the other members of the so called mother-nation: Romanians from the Former Romanian Kingdom (Regat), Hungarians from those living in Hungary. Also Germans (Saxons and Schwabs) have developed a different identity from those living in Germany. These identities of different nations based on a common territory of course preserve historic hatred but some kind of a mutual understanding as well. They hate immoderate nationalism, associating it with the other nation. "The other-nation-is-my-enemy" syndrome has served as an easy tool in the hands of populist political leaders for such a long time. Yet there is a mutual understanding and a special awareness of a Transylvanian mind. More than 160,000 Jews were deported from Transylvania by the Hungarians and many of them were exterminated by the Germans during the holocaust,*16 yet I have talked to several members of the community now living in Israel, who were proud to say, that they are from Transylvania and the older generation even speaks Romanian, Hungarian and German languages as well. Talking to emigrants having an Hungarian and Romanian ethnic origin from Transylvania in Sweden, Norway, Germany,*17and being a participant of the Summer Conference of Hungarians in The United States of America,*18I realized that the regional identity of Transylvanians is sometimes stronger than the national one. Even in emigration, Hungarians from Transylvania think and react differently than those of Hungary or the "Ardelean" Romanians from those of the former "Regat" (Romanian Kingdom) although they belong to the same nation. I don't want to create a false illusion; the Transylvanian mind is full of suspicions and prejudices acquired at home and was handed down from generation to generation as a staunch experience of oral history, yet it has a much greater awareness of the concept of polyethnicity and multiculturalism than those raised under homogenous socio-cultural conditions. Whenever the political circumstances make it possible one can appeal to their sense of tolerance and democratic sentiments. The concept of nationalism among the different nations in Transylvania also has an ambiguous character: although it originates from Western European Enlightenment that promotes the ideas of the modern society, yet adapting to the concrete, historical conditions essentially differs from Western developments. Resembling other East-European national concepts, the conceptual forms of the Age of Enlightenment have been used with different stresses in Transylvania too. In spite of the similarities (the anticlerical, constitutional and egalitarian orientation), nationalism in the West arose in an effort to build a nation in the political reality, or as a civil society with the struggle of the present without too much sentimental regard for the past, while nationalists in Central and Eastern Europe created, often out of myths of the past and the dreams of the future, an ideal fatherland, not primarily to transform it into a people's state, but to redraw the political boundaries in conformity with ethnographic demands.*19 As Iwan Griffiths formulated properly: "in this sense, nationalism became a tool of exclusiveness, and a justification for the messianic mission of a chosen group."*20Vlad Georgescu, analyzing the socio-cultural formation of Romanians comes to the conclusion that: "in Transylvania (...) the level of Romanian culture was superior to that on the other side of the mountains throughout the Age of Enlightenment, in sharp contrast to its status in the seventeenth century. Now there was constant, and fertile contact with the world of Austrian and Hungarian culture. The Romanian intellectuals in Transylvania felt they belonged to European culture (...) The Transylvanian intellectual elite without a doubt attained a higher level of culture than their counterparts in Wallachia or Moldavia, and they were more numerous as well. The newest and most radical political ideas, however - independence and unification - developed not in Transylvania but in the Danubian principalities. This seeming paradox demonstrates once again that the primary factor in the emergence of a national consciousness is less the general degree of culture in the population or the presence of Western cultural influences than the existence of strong local leaders willing and able to take independent political actions (...) Pro-Dacian sentiments arose almost exclusively among Moldavian and Wallachian scholars."*21It resembles very much the Hungarian and German experiences: the aspirations of unification of the territory into an exclusive nation-state were coming from outside of Transylvania. Such a state would prefer rather to exercise the ethnic privileges and homogenous principles than to give priority to social reforms. However we can't say that these ideas have not been internalized by the Transylvanian mind later.
In a typical, yet not properly analyzed example for the ambiguity of the national behavior of an outstanding Hungarian politician, ElemŽr Jakabffy, who promoted absolutely opposite principles by belonging to the Hungarian majority in the Hungarian Parliament, then becoming a member of the minority in the Romanian Parliament after the World War I.*22
Almost three months before the outbreak of the World War I, Tivadar Miháli, the deputy of the Romanian National Party in the Hungarian Parliament presented the demands of the Romanian ethnic minority living in Austro-Hungarian Empire.*23Among the list of their grievances they desired the following: l. Guarantees for a system of education and teaching in their mother tongue at all levels in the state, private and confessional schools; 2. Financial support and at the same time autonomy for their two different confessional churches; 3. An assurance of the freedom of press and cessation of the persecutions of Romanian publications; 4. The preservation of the racial characteristics and ethnic particularities of the Romanians, with the right of assembly and free public meetings for them is required; 5. An admission of the freedom of the Romanian National Party; 6. That the language used by the officials in administration in those parts of the country where the ethnic majority is of Romanian origin should be Romanian; 7. That in the parts of the country mostly inhabited by Romanians the Romanian language should be introduced at the tribunals and all levels of officials; 8. That the state should give the same financial support to regions inhabited by Romanian ethnic minority as to non-Romanians and help the Romanian enterprises in the same manner as the others. They also requested that economic and professional schools in the Romanian language be established; 9. That the state should cease any colonization that is against the Romanian people and sell the lands of the state to the Romanian inhabitants living there, considering the necessities of Romanians to establish new enterprises in the region; 10. That in the regions inhabited mostly by Romanians officials should be of Romanian origin; in the absence of these only those persons should exercise their work who have acquired an examination of written and spoken Romanian language; 11. That in order to have better participation in the political life of the country the law of parliamentary elections ought to be modified to assure that one-sixth part of the Hungarian Parliament would consist of Romanian deputies.

It could be a very interesting experience of the 20th century minority issues if we modify the text by substituting the "Romanians" with that of "Hungarian" as the minority in present day Romania. We get a very similar program from the Hungarian Democrat Organization in Romania (RMDSZ), founded in post-Ceausescu period. The speech of T. Miháli caused a brief discussion in the Hungarian Parliament and the justified demands of the Romanian ethnic minorities were rejected on the basis that they contradicted the aims of the Hungarian nation-state. (The same happened to the requests of Hungarian minorities in the former Romanian parliamentary sessions.) The parliamentary proposal containing the refusal of the request of the Romanian ethnic deputy was presented by Elemér Jakabffy, being a Transylvanian himself. He was not only presenting the proposal that coincided with the pursuits of the Hungarian Government but also published an article in a leading Hungarian newspaper about the unity and national character of the Hungarian state.*24In this article he enumerates the most important principles that should be taken into consideration to preserve the unity and national character of a state. He considers that by putting the stress on the unity of the state, the majority of the deputies in the House wanted to express that: "henceforward in Hungarian institutions and its legal system only one spirit should be in force: the Hungarian spirit."*25
The national character of the state, says the politician, acts in two directions. First of all it means that the state has been created and supported by the Hungarian ancient common force ("öserö"), and while acting in solidarity with other states, it preserves its "special national personality and its special opinion about the law, ethic, freedom and other social institutions in conformity to its own development for one millenium".*26 He says that these national characteristics of the state will be enforced in the relation to other states and towards its citizens "for the benefit of the mankind". As a conclusion, he denies the possibility of understanding the ethnic based demands of the Romanians because introducing the Romanian language in local administration, for instance, in regions inhabited mostly by Romanians are demands that would destroy the unity and national character of the state. His opinions were not unique at that time and most of the arguments resembled another leading article from the same newspaper, that was published after the parliamentary debates, entitled "The Wallach Question".*27 In this article the fear of desintegration of the unitarian Hungarian state into Romanian, Serb and Slovakian administrative regions is formulated. "By a nation-state we mean that only one nation should be here, the Hungarian, only one language for the state, the Hungarian, one national culture, the Hungarian." In this article the idea of establishing a multiethnic state like Switzerland, said to be proposed by Romanian and Serb politicians is rejected. "This demand is perfidious and dangerous. Hungary can't be changed into a state like Switzerland (...) Hungary is strength and power, and as such its fate is linked to the united Hungarian nation."*28
Reading this argumentation, one can understand the historian Robert William Seton-Watson who was promoting the dismembering of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy seeing the rigidity and abuses of power in Hungarian political life. However the Hungarian historian, Domokos Kosáry, who had the opportunity to be a disciple of Seton-Watson was right when he pointed out to his professor the ambiguity of distinguishing peoples by having a "good" and others having a "bad" nationalism in East Central Europe.*29 Possibly R. W. Seton-Watson would have been astonished if he had read Ceausescu's speeches or the disputes in the post-communist Romanian Parliament concerning the national character of the state.*30
Let us return to Jakabffy, who was proud of contributing to the formulation of the Hungarian concept of the nation-state. Some months later, World War I broke out and ended with the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Elemér Jakabffy went home to preserve his land estates in Transylvania and found himself in the situation of the Hungarian minority in the new nation-state: Greater Romania. So he dedicated the rest of his life to protect and demand the same rights for the Hungarian ethnic minority that he had denied to the Romanians when he was in the Hungarian Parliament. He was struggling for an idea, (i.e. special rights to minorities) that he himself had rejected while belonging to the majority. He had suffered the injustice of the same argumentation of an exclusive nation-state exercised now by the Romanian officials. He had to fight for schools in the Hungarian language (the Hungarian university had been closed) and for the usage of the mother tongue in public places and before the court. He could hear political speeches of remarkable Romanian intellectuals such as: "Romania is made for the Romanians (...) We don't allow minorities to intervene in our affairs of state because the leadership belongs only to the ruling nation. We want to govern this country; we have to demand for a bloody Romanian politics because Romanian blood has been sacrificed for it."*31
He also had difficulties with the "freedom of the press". Just one example. In 1922 he published extensive statistics and responded to the distortions contained in the official publication, Dictionarul Transilvaniei, published by the heads of the provincial office of the Bureau of Statistics in Cluj.*32 In this work, the Romanian authors simply exchanged the Hungarian population of many communities of Romanians, where in 1910 there had not even been a dozen. Instead of responding with scientific arguments to Jakabffy's challenge, the Romanian authors turned to the court-martial authorities, which proceeded to confiscate all the copies of Jakabffy's publication and launched a court-martial proceeding against the author. Although the Romanian Constitution of 1923 guaranteed the freedom of press, according to its paragraph 25 "no censorship can be instituted, nor any measure restricting publications, or the sale and distribution of these", yet the censorship persisted in the Hungarian inhabited areas of Romania until 1928 and the prior censorship was reinstated by decrees of February 5, 1933 and December 3, 1933 throughout the country.*33One might have hoped that after the collapse of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, the new states would have learned from previous experiences. But the so-called nation states of the victorious powers of World War I, the new states, were in fact hardly more homogeneous ethnically than the dismembered regional administrative units of earlier times.*34 The German writer from Transylvania, Adolf Meshendorfer, who for seven years had edited a periodical entitled Karpathen*35 (1907-1919), having the aim of reconciliation among the nations in Transylvania, dedicated many gloomy pages to describing the effects of the Hungarian nation-state abuses in his autobiographical novel Die Stadt im Osten (The Town in East).*36 Among the most important grievances of the German people at the end of the last century were those Hungarian laws that threatened the education in their mother-tongue - Act XVIII of 1879, regarding the teaching of the Hungarian language at institutions of public learning, and Act XXVII of 1907 often mentioned as Law of Apponyi, according to which the remuneration of the teachers was to depend upon their knowledge of the Hungarian. He relates that the Hungarian authorities were even trying to forbid the use of the German place names of many towns although they were founded by the Saxons in Transylvania. This caused a general protest by the German population. So the Germans were waiting with great expectations for the fulfillment of the Romanian promises concerning the rights of the minorities in Great Romania. Very soon they realized that they found themselves in a worse situation than before. Although in the Decree Number I of 1919 the Governing Council stated that "every ethnic group may resort to place names in its own language",*37 ever since the censorship had been instituted by the Romanian officials, the censors prescribed the use of Romanian place names in the frontier zones. Towards the end of 1933 when the new censorship was exercised by the military authorities, they required the use of Romanian place names in the Hungarian and German press in all kinds of publications. From the end of 1936 the use of German place names was forbidden in the Saxon newspapers of Brasov.*38
It was strange to note that beginning with the year of 1959 (when the Soviet troops had been withdrawn from Romania as an appreciation of its reliability to the Soviet powers, as shown during the Hungarian revolution*39 of 1956) the officials in Romania began to replace the place and street names of the Hungarian localities with Romanian ones. Finally, at the end of the 1970s it was forbidden to use in the Hungarian and German press the names of many localities in their mother tongue. Under the circumstances of the totalitarian dictatorship no one could raise this issue and discuss it openly, as the Germans and Romanians from Transylvania could have done in the time of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. After the communist period was declared over in December 1989, the Hungarians from Transylvania thought it to be one of their civil rights to use their mother-tongue in public writing, so they tried to lay again on the roadsides the names of the places in the Hungarian language as well. This led to the first clashes between the Hungarians and Romanians in many localities of Transylvania.
One could ask of course why we hear about the less open contradictions between the Germans or Armenians, rather than those of the Hungarians and Romanians in Transylvania? One of the answers could be that the German population had been severely reduced during Ceausescu's period. It's a well-known fact that he has sold Germans and Jews for money in order to establish a homogenous nation-state. But he couldn't sell Hungarians, Gypsies and other nationalities, because no one would have paid for them. Along with this the Hungarian government was afraid of a mass immigration from Transylvania, so it urged Hungarians to remain in their native land by using severe restrictions in immigration policy. The ambiguity of Hungarian policy, that wanted to preserve the appearance of being a good communist neighbor to Romania and not letting Hungarians immigrate in Hungary,*40 resulted in a large number of Transylvanian Hungarians finding refuge in Sweden, Germany, Israel and in the United States. Thanks to this, we can speak now of an "international" Transylvanian Mind as well.
However, the present day economy of Romania is in a difficult situation.*41The last parliamentary elections held on November 7, 1996 showed an essential shift in the political opinion of the population in Romania. It resulted with an overwhelming victory of the Democratic Convention (Conventia Democrata), obtaining 30.7% in the House of Senate and 30.17% in the House of Deputies. The Democratic Convention together with the parties belonging to the group of Union of Social Democrats (Uniunea Social Democrata) invited the Hungarian Democrat Organization of Romania (RMDSZ) to participate in forming the new government.*42At the presidential elections held on the 17 of November, in which 75.9% of the whole population of the country participated, Emil Constantinescu (receiving 54.41% of the vote) won the presidency, as the leader of the Democratic Convention. It is strange to notice, that on a map presenting the results of the presidential elections considering the counties where over 50% of a given population voted for one of the two elective competitors, one can distinguish two different parts of the country: Transylvania and the former Romanian Kingdom. One part of the country voted in favor of the new president, whose principles are open to Europe, wanting to resolve the ethnic problems (these are mostly the counties from Transylvania) and in the other counties the more nationalist trend dominated, voting for the former leader, Ion Iliescu (45.59% of the vote), who turned toward an openly nationalist propaganda.*43
The aim of the new political trend is to promote a model of coexistence to overcome the economic difficulties of the country and to integrate it into the European Union and NATO. At present, two members of the Romanian government are ministers who belong to the Hungarian organization in Romania. One is charged with ethnic minority affairs (György Tokay) and the other minister (Ákos Birtalan) is dealing with tourism. The new governmental program is based on the idea of creating the conditions necessary to integrate the European Union and the Euro-Atlantic structures.*44 Among their first measures were a governmental decree for introducing the usage of the language of ethnic minorities in areas where 20 percent of the population is of an ethnic origin, trying also to find modalities to reopen a multicultural university in Transylvania, promoting those belonging to ethnic minorities, and in the counties populated mostly by Hungarians (Harghita and Covasna), nominating prefects belonging to the Hungarian ethnic minority. A high-level meeting of Hungarian and Romanian politicians has been organized, and for the first time for many years Göncz Árpád, the President of Hungary could visit Romania and Transylvania in May, 1997.
However, the general tendency of the government and a great part of politicians is to diminish the influence of earlier exclusive nationalism and find modalities of coexistence. The political opposition in parliament (formed mostly from parties promoting nationalism, xenophobia or ideas of left wing socialism (Party of Social Democracy of Romania (PDSR), the Great Romania Party (PRM), the National Unity Party of Romanians (PUNR), etc.)) try to accuse the government of having committed high treason by letting the minorities enter the power of the state, sarcastically labeling them as not a Romanian, but a "Romanian-Hungarian government".*45C. V. Tudor, the well-known exponent of the Romanian nationalism (who had published many nationalist books during Ceausescu's time, and after he became the leader of the Great Romania Party (PRM) and founder of its newspaper promoting Romanian exclusiveness and anti-Semitism) put the question in Romanian parliament when the new government was introduced, "The biggest mistake of the Convention Democrat from Romania (CDR) is letting the Hungarian Democrat Organization from Romania to take part in the government. Why have you tied this millstone round your necks, gentlemen?"*46

These tendencies and the general atmosphere of discontent could lead to unpredictable social and interethnic explosions that would be a threat for the security in East and Central Europe. Yet the model once found, involving the minorities in government may be lost by the short circuits of the economy, and the ethnic minorities could also be blamed for participating in the government of a state where the standard of life is plunging lower day by day.

As far as the national-ethnic identity has its origin and has taken a complete hold on modern thinking, one could hope that the postmodern period will promote the compromises of the various forces in order to create at least a minimum living standard in society. These days we can observe a general tendency in East and Central Europe to crave for global resolutions, the firm desire of a civil society, political pluralism and making attempts to join supranational organizations as the European Union, NATO etc. One ought to consider that these countries have opened their markets not only to Western capital but also for the great companies from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan etc., and the daring enterprises from China are already present in the region. It seems obvious, if Japan has the intention to enlarge its presence in the markets of East and Central Europe, it would be advisable to back up those forces that promote the ideas of multiculturalism and open society by establishing newspapers, buying communication lines etc., instead of letting the region be dominated by the intolerance, xenophobia or hate*47of minorities and foreigners.


  1. R. W. Seton-Watson, Slovakia Then and Now (London, 1931), p. 54.
  2. Vera Medrea Heilbroun, "22" Bucurest, Anul VIII, NR 6 (364), 11 - 17 Febr. 1997.
  3. Katherine Verdery, National Ideology Under Socialism / Identity and Cultural Politics in Ceausescu's Romania (University of California Press: Berkley, 1991), p. 121.
  4. Op. cit., p. 122.
  5. Op. cit., p. 129.
  6. Op. cit., p. 11.
  7. Op. cit., p. 12.
  8. Op. cit., p. 130.
  9. Benkö Samu, Toleráns nemzeti kultúrák (Tolerant national cultures), in: Korunk, 1991. 10, pp. 1210-1212.
  10. Shöpflin, György, Kisebbségek és posztkommunizmus (Minorities and post-communism), in: Századvég, 1996. 3, pp. 3-22.
  11. Anne Fay Sanborn and Géza Wass de Czege, Transylvania and The Hungarian-Rumanian Problem (Danubian Press, Inc. Astor: Florida, 1979), p. 11. Cornelia Bodea and Virgil Candea, Transylvania in the History of the Romanians (Columbia University Press: New York, 1982), p. VI. See also the lecture Historians and Transylvania given by Domokos Kosáry on 4 May 1988, in the School Of Slavonic and East European Studies, London, in: Historians and The History of Transylvania (edited by László— Péter, Columbia University Press: New York, 1992), pp. 53-66.
  12. Târgu-Mures (Marosvásárhely) is mentioned as "a former Szekler settlement" even by Nicolae Endroiu and Vasile Puscas, The Hungarians of Romania (Fundatia Culturala Romana: Cluj-Napoca, 1996), p. 17. The division in percentage of the Hungarian and Romanian population of the town in 1910 was of a 78.4 % Hungarians and 6.7% Romanians. After the end of Ceausescu's period it showed an already changed balance of about fifty-fifty.
  13. Gáll, Ernö, A romániai magyarság identitásának változásai (The changing identities of Hungarians from Romania), in: Nemzetiség - dentitás (Nationality - identity, Ethnica, Békéscsaba, Debrecen, 1991), pp. 186-188. See also Cs. Gyimesi, Éva, Gyöngy és homok, egy jelkép ideológiája (Pearl and Sand - The ideology of an allegory), in: Korunk. 1991. 10, pp. 1201-1206.
  14. G. Baritiu, Despre istoria Transilvaniei (About the history of Transylvania), in: Transilvania 1868, p. 267.
  15. Kós, Károly, Erdély (Transylvania), Erdélyi Szépmíves Céh: Kolozsvár, 1929, p. 87. Fragment translated by George Cushing, Hungarian Cultural Tradition, in: Historians and The History of Transylvania (Columbia University Press: New York), op. cit., 130.
  16. R. L. Braham, Genocide and Retribution: Holocaust in Hungarian Ruled Northern Transylvania (Kluwer-Nijhoff: Boston, 1983), p. 223.
  17. Between 1990-1996 I have published several interviews with Transylvanian emigrants in Hungarian press: Magyar Nemzet, Köztársaság, Respublika.
  18. Lake Hope, Ohio, 1990.
  19. Peter Sugar, Nationalism in Eastern Europe (University Press: Oxford, 1994), pp. 171-174.
  20. Iwan Griffith, Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict (University Press: Oxford, 1993), p. 12.
  21. Vlad Georgescu, The Romanians, A History (State University Press Columbus: Ohio, 1991), pp. 114-115.
  22. Jakabffy, Elemér dr. (born Lugos, 1881 - died Satu-Mare, 1963), deputy in Hungarian Parliament between 1910-1918. Between the years 1928-1934 he was a member in the Romanian Parliament. Edited the review Magyar Kisebbség (Hungarian Minority, 1922-1942). In: Romániai Magyar Irodalmi Lexikon (Hungarian Literary Dictionary from Romania, Kriterion: Bukarest, 1991), Vol. II, pp. 462-464.
  23. Magyar Országgyülési Napló, 1914. Márc. 6 (Memoranda of Hungarian Parliament on 6 March 1914), pp. 418-422.
  24. Jakabffy, Elemér dr. M. P.: Az állam egysége és nemzeti jellege (The unity and national character of the state), in: Budapesti H’rlap, 1914. Marc. 21, pp. 1-2.
  25. He uses the expression "magyar szellem" (Hungarian spirit). Jakabffy, op. cit., p. 1.
  26. Op. cit., p. 2.
  27. Az oláh kérdés (The Wallach Question). Without author, In: Budapesti H’rlap, 7 March 1914, pp. 1-2.
  28. Op. cit., p. 2
  29. D. Kosáry, op. cit., pp. 53-54.
  30. "Romania is a sovereign, independent, unitary and indivisible Nation State." - Article 1 (1) of The Constitution of Romania that caused many debates in the Romanian Parliament before being adopted on November 21, 1991. Translation by N. Endroiu and V. Puscas, op. cit., p. 88.
  31. From the speech of the poet and politician, Octavian Goga held at Craiova, October 31, 1933. In: Magyar Kisebbség, op. cit., 1933, p. 624.
  32. G. Martinovici si N. Istrati, Dictionarul Transilvaniei (The Dictionary of Transylvania: Cluj, 1921), in: Sándor Bíró, The Nationalities Problem in Transylvania 1867-1940 (Atlantic Research and Publications, Columbia University Press: New York, 1992), p. 636.
  33. Bíró, op. cit., pp. 628-641.
  34. Ferenc Glatz, Minorities in East-Central Europe (Europe Institute, Budapest, 1993), pp. 16-17.
  35. Adolf Meschendörfer, professor and writer (born in Brassó, Kronstadt 1877 and died in Brasov, 1963).
  36. A. Meschendörfer, Die Stadt im Osten (The Town in East, Verlag von Kraft u. Drotleff, Hermannstadt-Sibiu, 1933), in: Corona (Kriterion: Bukarest, 1983), pp. 231-242.
  37. Nagy, Lajos, A kisebbségek alkotmányjogi helyzete NagyRomániában (The Constitution Law and The Minorities in Great Romania: Kolozsvár, 1944), p. 115, point 43.
  38. The Kronstädter Zeitung (The Kronstadt Newspaper) of Brasov published directive 503/1936 of the prefect in which he informed the editors of the newspaper that from December 30 on the paper may print only official names of communities. Bíró, op. cit., p. 453.
  39. Welles Hangen, Rumania Backs Soviet on Rebels (The New York Times, November 3, 1956), p. 12.
  40. To this issue refers the basic story of my novel about a Hungarian family under the Ceausescu's dictatorship. They are trying to mislead both the Romanian and the Hungarian authorities by divorcing and "buying" a nominal marriage to Hungary. In: çgoston, Vilmos, Húzd a himnuszt, ne káromkodj (Sing the Anthem, Don't Curse, Szépirodalmi: Budapest, 1989).
  41. "Situatia economică a ţării este dezolantă, spirala preturilor tinde cu pasi repezi spre cele de pe piata occidentală, nivelul de trai rămine la cel al lumii a treia" (The economical situation of the country is very hard, the spiral of the prices shows a quickly ever rising tendency towards the prices of the west, while the standard of living is like that of the third world). Un moment de bilanţ (A moment of balance), Info Pro Europa, Buletin inf. al Ligii Pro Europa, Tirgu Mures, Nr. 1-2 / 1997, p. 1.
  42. Acord de solidaritate guvernamentală si parlamentară (Agreement of governmental and parliamentary solidarity). In: Romania Libera, 7 Decembrie, 1996, p. 2.
  43. Romania Libera, 20 Noiembrie, 1996, p. 2.
  44. Romania Libera, 13 Dec. 1996, p. 2.
  45. Bizalmatlansági indítvány (Proposal for the abdication of the government), in: Népszabadság, June 7, 1997, p. 3.
  46. C. V. Tudor, Romania Libera, 13 Decembrie, 1996, p. 2.
  47. "The problem of the right is not one of a couple of Skinheads, but the latent prejudices and sentiments that they express in their extreme forms" - Paul Hockenos, Free to Hate, The Rise of the Right in Post-Communist Eastern Europe (Routledge: New York, 1993), p. 318.