History

Ethnic Hungarians ask Romanian PM to protect military graveyard

All three major parties of the ethnic Hungarian minority in Romania have raised their voices against the attempted takeover of an Austro-Hungarian military graveyard in Transylvania by a nearby Romanian town.

“Everyone has the right to establish a place of remembrance and to commemorate, but it is our firm conviction that no place of remembrance or commemoration should offend the sensibilities and dignity of (another) community”, Hunor Kelemen, President of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) said in a letter to Romanian premier Viorica Dăncilă.

The council of Dărmănești (Dormánfalva in Hungarian) – a small town with 8,600 inhabitants in Bacău (Bákó in Hungarian) County – recently set up Romanian war graves and a monument in a Hungarian military cemetery in the Úz Valley, on the territory of the neighboring County Hargita/Harghita.

The news caused outrage among Hungarians because the cemetery was founded by Austrians and Hungarians in 1917, and not a single Romanian soldier is buried. 650 Hungarian, Austrian and German soldiers rest in the cemetery which belongs officially to Csíkszentmárton (Sânmartin in Romanian) a small Székely village with 1200 inhabitants (98% of them Hungarians).

Kelemen said the move was politically unacceptable and administratively illegal.

Two other parties of the ethnic Hungarian minority in Romania, the Hungarian Civic Party (MPP) and the People’s Party of Hungarians in Transylvania have also raised similar concerns.

Title image: Austro-Hungarian military graveyard in the Úz valley, Transylvania (MTI/Edit Kátai)