Úz Valley Cemetery

Animal remains, not Romanian soldier’s bones in Úz Valley

Last year, the biggest interethnic conflict of Romania, between the Hungarian and Romanians living in the country, was triggered by the problems surrounding the Úz Valley cemetery, more specifically, when residents of a Romanian town, Dormánfalva (Dărmănești), occupied a part of the Austro-Hungarian military graveyard. According to the mayor of Dormánfalva, 149 Romanian soldiers are buried in the cemetery; that’s why he ordered, illegally, the construction of 52 crosses and a big Romanian Orthodox cross in the graveyard. Hungarians from all over Transylvania tried to stop the inauguration of the newly built Romanian parcel, but they could not fight off the Romanian crowd… (read more here).

At that time, Romanian nationalist organizations claimed that they had found the remains of the 150th Romanian soldier outside the cemetery. But now it seems they made a huge mistake, as the bones are, in fact, the remains of an animal.

The bones were examined by the Forensic Institute of Jászvásár (Iași). The prosecutor’s office from Mojnest (Moinești) informed Zsolt Árus, the president of the Szekler Observer Foundation, about the results of the analysis, and he posted the response of the office on social media, Hungarian news agency MTI reports.

Mihai Tirnoveanu, the president of the nationalist Calea Neamului Association (The Way of the Nation), which organized several Romanian nationalist movements in the graveyard, announced on September 23 that Vasile Boboc, a treasure hunter with a metal detector, had found the remains, bones and armament of a Romanian soldier, killed during the World War I, next to the graveyard. The nationalist organizations claimed that these were the remains of the 150th Romanian soldier, buried in the Úz Valley cemetery. That is why they organized a torch-lit march with 150 torches on October 25, the Day of the Romanian Army.

Zsolt Árus told MTI that he had contacted several Romanian state institutes with requests for data of public interest. The officials from the Department of Emergency Situations confirmed immediately that they found armament, which they removed from the scene. But he received the official announcement about the bones only on Monday. Árus further told MTI that it was a clear misguidance to claim that the remains found next to the cemetery were the remains of a Romanian soldier and that it may be a good idea to press charges.

The Romanian nationalist organizations supporting the issue of the Úz Valley and the council of Dormánfalva, which registered the land of the cemetery as its own public property, ignored the opinion of the competent Romanian authorities regarding the soldiers buried in the graveyard. The National Office For Heroes Cult (ONCE), subordinate to the Romanian Ministry of Defense, published a report about the actual number of Romanian soldiers in the graveyard. According to them, there are a total 11 Romanian war heroes entombed there. This is far less than the 149 circulated by the mayor of Dormánfalva, whose village illegally erected 52 concrete crosses in the graveyard. According to the authority, there are 130 Romanian soldiers that were buried in the Úzmező (Poiana Uzului) cemetery, but their remains were then moved to the military graveyard of Kománfalva (Comanesti) in Bákó County between the two World Wars.

Title image: The Hungarian wood and the new Romanian crosses in the military graveyard

Author: Orsi Sarány