Úz Valley Cemetery

Úz Valley graveyard talks continue with on-site visit

“Based on the archive sources we’ve shown to the Romanian delegation, it is obvious that the illegally erected concrete crosses were placed on top of the remains of the Austro-Hungarian soldiers, and we have asked our Romanian partners to terminate the current desecration of the Úz Valley military graveyard,” Colonel Vilmos Kovács, commander of the Institute and Museum of Military History and leader of the Hungarian delegation in Bucharest, told MTI. Both delegations have emphasized the importance of open and pragmatic communication as the proper way to find a solution acceptable to all interested parties.

Hungarian-Romanian delegation
Hungarian-Romanian delegation at the first professional coordination meeting in Bucharest. Source: Mapn.ro

As we previously reported, 52 concrete crosses and war memorials to Romanian heroes were erected illegally in the Úz Valley military graveyard in April and forcefully inaugurated on June 6. The Romanian Ministry of National Defence invited a delegation of its Hungarian counterpart to discuss the issue of military graveyards in general, and the Úz Valley one in particular. The first professional coordination meeting took place yesterday, June 26, considering the principles and regulations of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the additional protocols adopted on June 8, 1977.

During the meeting both the Hungarian and Romanian delegations presented their archive documents pertaining to the Úz Valley military graveyard and allowed the other side to study them. From the perspective of the Hungarian delegation the first step would be the exhumation of the remains under the concrete crosses, while the Romanian delegation would extend it to the whole graveyard.

Considering that the documents shown by the National Office of Heroes’ Cult (ONCE) representing the Romanian side show that the graveyard was used to entomb fallen soldiers of multiple nationalities during World War II, they agreed to invite the military attaché of all countries involved: Germany, Russia, Serbia, Italy, and Austria.

The coordination meeting will continue in September with a visit to the Úz Valley military graveyard by a committee formed by representatives of every country involved to perform on-site research based on the documents the involved parties have in their archives. The exact date of the on-site visit has yet to be announced.

Title image: wood and concrete crosses in the Úz Valley graveyard. Photo: István Fekete

Author: István Fekete