AHF thanks US Ambassador to Rumania
9/15/2016 - AHF thanks US Ambassador for his "moral and political courage in being photographed with the Szekler flag... It is unacceptable for Romania to stifle measures by the Hungarian minority, such as using the Szekler flag, to preserve their unique culture in their ancient homeland and to overcome the effects of discrimination, persecution, and in some instances violence they have faced." The letter appears in full below or available for [download]
September 15, 2016
The Honorable Hans G. Klemm
Re: Szekler Flag and Minority Rights
Dear Mr. Ambassador:
We write to congratulate you for your moral and political courage in being photographed with the Szekler flag.
Founded over 100 years ago, the American Hungarian Federation has for decades promoted human and minority rights of Hungarians living in the countries neighboring Hungary, including Romania. See, [AHF issues statement on Minority Rights in Central and Eastern Europe]. The use of the Szekler flag by the members of the Hungarian community in Romania is merely an expression of a belief in a better future and an exercise in what we Americans cherish and deem to be non-provocative and protected freedom of speech. Nevertheless display of that flag is virtually treated as a criminal act by the Romanian authorities.*
It is unacceptable for Romania to stifle measures by the Hungarian minority, such as using the Szekler flag, to preserve their unique culture in their ancient homeland and to overcome the effects of discrimination, persecution, and in some instances violence they have faced. Far more tolerance and adherence to Western values are needed. For instance, Romania should be strongly encouraged at long last to return communal properties, e.g., churches, that were confiscated by the Communists, to its Hungarian minority.
Without further hesitation, Romania should also grant the Hungarian minority its legitimate demand for autonomy to enable members of that minority to preserve their culture. Autonomy is a democratic mechanism that is successfully used in Europe. It is a form of internal self-determination that leaves borders intact, thus also promoting democracy, stability and good neighborly relations. See,"Autonomy: The Path to Democracy and Stability in Romania," Foreign Policy Review
Again, we appreciate your sensitivity and attention to these important matters.
Go to [all news from Rumania]
9/29/2016 - The "Hungarian Free Press" attacked AHF for supporting a senior American diplomat who had the wisdom and courage to pose with the Szekely flag. While it is our general policy not to respond to such attacks, we make an exception when appropriate. AHF later thanked the publication for the resulting dialogue. [read more]
10/25/2016 - AHF sends follow up to US Ambassador to Rumania for praising Rumania's "model democracy." "Considering the irrefutable record of discrimination, intolerance, and anti-democratic attitudes, practices and policies by Romanian authorities, not to mention your experience relative to the Szekely flag, we are puzzled... by your statement last week praising Romania for being a model of democracy and observing the rights of minorities. [read more]
"Unfortunately we must continue to remember Trianon, not merely as a historical event -- “the greatest catastrophe to have befallen Hungary since the battle of Mohacs in 1526,” as noted by Sir Bryan Cartledge -- but as a current problem that needs to be judiciously addressed. What is the current problem ninety-one years after the Treaty was imposed upon Hungary? It is the discrimination, intolerance, and, in some cases, hatred directed toward the Hungarian minorities living in the Successor States. Steps must be taken to ensure that Western values, democratic principles and international norms and practices relating to national minorities will finally prevail in Central and Eastern Europe, thereby at long last relegating Trianon to the history books." - Frank Koszorus, Jr., AHF President
6/17/2014 - AHF Book Review: "Transylvania Today: Diversity at Risk," edited by Csaba Zoltani. Written by noted experts, describes the issues faced by minorities in Transylvania in their effort to retain their identity in an adverse environment. The essays of the book capture some of the fault lines in Transylvania, created by the incorporation of a territory with western traditions into one of Byzantine culture. Minorities, according to the official census, constitute nearly one-quarter of the population of Romania. Contributors include Amb. Geza Jeszenszky, Prof. Andrew Ludanyi, Tilhamer Czika, Viktor Segesvary, and Andreas Bereznay. [read more]
6/19/2013 - AHF submits memorandum to US Helsinki Commission in follow up to both the Congressional letter to Secretary John Kerry requesting that the “State Department vigorously engage the Romanian government to end the travesty of justice which it has perpetuated by failing to fully restitute properties illegally confiscated from religious denominations after 1945" and AHF's April 25th meeting with the Commission during which AHF expressed its deep concern about threats to democracy and human rights arising from discriminatory actions and policies affecting members of the Hungarian minority in some of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. [read more]
One thousand years of nation building successfully delineated groups based on culture, religion, geography, and other attributes to create the countries with which we are so familiar. While some Western European nations would continue power struggles and princely battles and civil wars, Hungary, founded in 896, was a peaceful multi-ethnic state for a 1000 years and her borders were virtually unchanged. Until 1920...
The Treaty of Trianon in 1920... in the aftermath of WWI, was extremely harsh on Hungary and unjustifiably one-sided. The resulting "treaty" lost Hungary an unprecedented 2/3 of her territory, and 1/2 of her total population or 1/3 of her Hungarian-speaking population. Add to this the loss of up to 90% of vast natural resources, industry, railways, and other infrastructure. The clear winner of the land grab, was Rumania, who, established only 60 years earlier, more than doubled in size overnight.
Ethnic Distribution in the Kingdom of Hungary in 1910 (Hungarians shown in red)
Hungarian populations declined significantly after forced removals such as the Benes Decrees and other pograms, the effects of WWI, and Trianon in 1920. With continued pressure and discriminative policies such as the 2009 Slovak Language Law, this trend continued over the past 90 years.
[read more on the Treaty of Trianon]