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Trianon 100: Ethnic Hungarians in Neighboring Countries Commemorate Centenary

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.06.04.

Ethnic Hungarian parties and organisations on Thursday commemorated the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Trianon Peace Treaty under which Hungary lost two-thirds of its territory to neighbouring countries.

Over the past century, Hungarians living beyond the borders remained loyal to their nation by becoming law-abiding citizens of their new countries, the Party of the Hungarian Community (MKP) in Slovakia said in a statement, adding that ethnic Hungarians were assets, rather than a threat, to the central and eastern European region. The party said ethnic Hungarians should be compensated for the sacrifices they had made to preserve their identity over the decades by being guaranteed the right to a national identity.

Trianon 100: Hungary and Slovakia on Verge of Finding Common Ground?

István Pásztor, head of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians (VMSZ, Serbia), told a commemoration event that while the major European powers had “merely” wanted to “punish” the other countries on the losing side of the first world war, “they wanted to kill Hungary, and this can best be seen by how the nation was divided up.”

István Pásztor. Photo by Edvárd Molnár/MTI

“But since a nation cannot be executed with a single blow, what’s left is letting it bleed out,” he said, adding that the provisions of the peace treaty had humiliated Hungary. Pásztor said it was “practically a miracle” that 90 years after the signing of the treaty, “a nationally minded government” had declared the treaty’s anniversary the Day of National Cohesion.

László Tőkés, head of the Transylvanian Hungarian National Council, told MTI that the centenary could open up a path towards reconciliation between Hungarians and Romanians if Transylvanian Hungarians became fully fledged citizens of Romania, and Bucharest “breaks with its state-level expressions of anti-Hungarian sentiment”. He said Romanian leaders should follow the example of Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic, who invited ethnic Hungarians for a joint commemoration of the centenary and declared them fully fledged Slovak citizens. “The borders may have been redrawn, but no one can take away our homeland,” Tőkés said. “Let’s also be fully fledged citizens of today’s Romania.”

László Tőkés at the commemoration. Photo by Ildikó Baranyi/MTI

At an event in Alsónána, in southern Hungary, the state secretary for Hungarians across the border said that besides “mourning”, remembering the “Trianon trauma” must also be about “looking into the future”. Árpád János Potápi said Hungary had “lost” the 20th century.

Photo by Tamás Sóki

However, government measures introduced in the past ten years, such as granting citizenship to “all Hungarians” and introducing a new constitution, “may lead to us being stronger today,” he said.

Potápi warned that a revision of Hungary’s one-time borders was “unrealistic”. “The reality is that the Carpathian Basin is a shared homeland of Hungarians, Slovaks, Ukrainians … and other ethnicities that have been building [this region] in the past thousand years,” he said.

Featured photo by Edvárd Molnár/MTI