Correcting Romania's record on 'takeovers' [Letter]

Transylvania united with Romania of its own accord in December 1918 ("Romania no stranger to takeovers," April 2). This took place at an assembly, freely elected by secret and universal suffrage where 1,228 delegates unanimously voted to join Romania. (For many years, Romanians, who always formed the majority of the population, were not necessarily opposed to living in Austria-Hungary but when that country found itself at war against Romania in 1916, they took a decisive turn toward union with their ethnic kin.) Soon after, the province's Saxon minority ratified the union. This was then internationally recognized by the Trianon Treaty in June 1920.

What happened in April 1919 is that the Romanian Army invaded Hungary in order to depose a repressive Soviet Republic that had taken power in Budapest. Once that regime was removed and order restored to Hungary, the Romanians withdrew in less than a year. It was actually in 1940 that Hungary received Northern Transylvania, but letter writer Margaret Kahla forgot to mention the name of the statesman who obliged Romania to cede this land: Adolf Hitler. There was no secret pact for Northern Transylvania's return. Between August 1944, when Romania joined the Allies and February 1947 when the Paris Peace Treaty settled Europe's postwar borders, there was deep uncertainty about Northern Transylvania's fate and it took a determined and very public diplomatic campaign by Romania to make sure the lost land would be returned.

Romania is an internationally recognized model of civilized treatment toward its minorities and I would suggest Ms. Kahla look into the historical record as well. She will find that even in the 1920s and '30s, the Romanian government lavishly funded Hungarian churches and schools to the extent that even church leaders admitted they were better off than under Hungary and that Hungarian candidates freely ran for and won seats in the Romanian Parliament as well as for their city and town councils. Hungarians suffered under communism but their lot was not especially worse than other Romanian citizens while several ethnic Hungarians held high office in the Communist Party.

I'm not sure what one of Nicolai Ceausescu's quirks (the ethnic German exit visa program) has to do with territorial expansionism. Yes, it was kind of weird, but in no way makes Romania's behavior an equivalent of the Kremlin's. Moreover, Romanians rose up to topple the Ceausescu regime, at the cost of 1,100 lives, the catalyst being official harassment of a Hungarian pastor to whose cause Romanians rallied.

Christian Suciu, Boston, Mass.

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