History

Romanian minister says graveyard hijacking illegal, threatens fine

The attempted hijacking of an Austro-Hungarian WWI military graveyard in the Úz valley, Transylvania is illegal, Romanian Minister for Culture and National Identity Valer Daniel Breaz wrote in an official note to the municipality of Dărmănești, the culprit in the case.

As we previously reported, the Dărmănești council recently set up Romanian graves and a monument in a Hungarian military graveyard in the Úz Valley on the territory of the neighboring Szentmárton village, part of Harghita County. According to their plans, they will inaugurate the monument and the recently set crosses with a military parade on May 17. The action caused an uproar among Szekler-Hungarians, because crosses were mounted on top of the 10. Royal Hungarian Honvéd infantry regiment’s soldier’s graves.

Breaz wrote that the Dărmănești town council failed to obtain any permission for the construction, listing nine points which Dărmănești failed to meet legal requirements. He wrote the municipality should either submit all the documents listed in the missive or be subject to a RON 10,000 to 20,000 fine (EUR 2,100-4,200). Previously the Bákó/Bacău county building permission authority also ruled that the additions to the graveyard are illegal.

“In view of the above and lacking the ministry’s approval, you are legally unable to inaugurate the public monument,” Breaz wrote in an official notice to Dărmănești mayor Toma Constantin.

Hunor Kelemen, the president of RMDSZ and Călin Popescu Tăriceanu, the president of ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats) have met to discuss the unauthorized modification of the cemetery. Following the meeting, Kelemen said to the press that he had informed Tăriceanu about the situation and asked him to stop the ongoing modifications. Both the mayor and vice-mayor of Dărmănești are members of the ALDE party. Tăriceanu said that “the problem can be solved quickly and in a civilized manner”.

Ethnic Hungarians plan a march to the cemetery on Sunday, May 12 to defend the site.

Title image: Old and new crosses in the Úz valley military graveyard (MTI/Edit Kátai)