The council of the Transylvanian village of Csíkszentmárton (Sânmartin in Romanian) passed a decision on Tuesday to close the Úz valley military graveyard for 30 days – except for maintenance work – in an effort to prevent a group of Romanian Orthodox priests from inaugurating an illegally erected Romanian war memorial.
Last month the council of Dărmănești (Dormánfalva in Hungarian) – a small town with 8,600 inhabitants in Bacău (Bákó in Hungarian) county – set up Romanian war-era graves and a monument in a Hungarian military cemetery in the Úz Valley, on the territory of the neighboring County Hargita/Harghita.
The news provoked outrage among Hungarians because the cemetery was established by Austrians and Hungarians in 1917, and not a single Romanian soldier is buried there. The remains of 650 Hungarian, Austrian and German soldiers rest in the cemetery, which belongs officially to Csíkszentmárton is a small Székely village with 1,200 inhabitants (98 percent of them Hungarians).
Despite promises by Romanian government officials that the issue will be solved quickly and peacefully, it has aggravated to the point that local police harassed ethnic Hungarian politicians. As a result RMDSZ, the main political party of ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania has last week withdrawn its crucial support of the ruling Social Democrat-Liberal (ALDE) coalition.
Title image: Crosses recently erected by Romanians in an Austro-Hungarian graveyard in Transylvania (source: Úz valley action group Facebook page)