Fórum Kisebbségkut. Int. -> Publikációk -> Fórum Társadalomtudományi Szemle -> III.évfolyam, 2001/2. szám


Zsuzsa Árendás:
Resettled Hungarians from Slovakia: interethnic relations, strategies of integration and acculturation

Due to the Czechoslovak -Hungarian population exchange between 1947-48, several ethnic Hungarians from Southern Slovakia became resettled to Hungary by forced transports. Part of Hungarian families from Galánta county, Taksony, Hidaskürt and Fels?szeli villages became resettled to Baranya County (Southern Hungary), into the village Hird, inhabited by ethnic Germans (Schwabs) and Hungarians. The analysis follows integration of those 11 Hungarian families from Slovakia to the village community of Hird, and their sustained kin-relations, friendships with the community of origins in Slovakia. Main objective of the research was to discover the interethnic settings of Hird, and those homeland community versus resettled community connections, attempting to discover certain correlations between those two systems of ethnic networks.

Characterizing the second type of relationships, that is external group dynamics with home community, it has been concluded that integration of resettled Hungarians from Slovakia into their new social environment, as well as the interethnic relationships in Hird, interactions framed as ones taking place between 'native Hungarians', Germans (Schwabs) of the village, and Hungarians from Upperlands (Felvidék) played a decisive role. Quality and force of these identifications, or 'success', intensity and 'depth' of integration, indirectly affected the future of their contacts with the community of origins.

Resettled families form Upperlands (Felvidék) chose the individual way of integration to the new environment. Dilemma between complete segregation or smooth integration had never really appeared in such a form. After a relatively short period following the population transports marked by strong personal grievances (longing for home environment), a process of integration has started. Several decisive reasons determined the choice for individual strategy for integration: (1) the resettled group of ethnic Hungarians from Slovakia arrived to their 'home-county' from a minority status, that is, one cannot speak about a classic immigrant situation in their case; (2) they arrived to a Hungarian language environment where no linguistic obstacles stood in their way of social integration; (3) cultural, social and economic differences between the arrived group of resettled Hungarians and the 'native villagers' (Germans and Hungarians) were negligible, that is, such differences did not provide basis for persistent group distinctions, ethnic conflicts or violence, or ethnic gaps; (4) there was no religious distinction as both the newly arrived 'Upper land Hungarians' (felvidékiek) and the old villagers from Hird were Roman Catholics.

Historical injustice experienced by Hungarians in Slovakia, political, legal deprivations of the period between 1945-47 figured as additional motivations in their relatively smooth integration in Hird. The way back home was practically unfeasible, and the minority situation in Slovakia seemed to be still unchanged and unattractive for the families forced to immigrate. They soon realized that the new situation in the mother-country is a relative improvement in their lives both in terms of social status and rights, as well as financially. In general, for all their life span better perspectives appeared. Special geographic situation of Hird (situated next to the country center Pécs), also the rapid economic changes brought by the social industrialization played an advantageous role, providing good workplaces, stable income, and financial improvement. In the new industrial sector (in Pécs area, mining and concrete-industry had a leading position) the social exchange of goods, information, money, and work force improved in a rapid way.

Among resettled Hungarians from Slovakia a stable and long-term solidarity, 'group-ness' did not take shape for several contingent reasons. They never formed one village-community before settlements (as it happened in case of some other communities from Slovakia), but were collected from various, often rivalry neighboring villages in Galanta County. In the relatively 'fluid situation' of early times in the new environment, in sharp competition of 'survival' (finding the best living conditions, enough land, or appropriate financial compensation for the property left behind at home) rather tuned those resettled Hungarians against each other, instead of bringing them to 'the same camp'. A 'puffer effect' of collective protection did not emerge either, as there was no 'real' danger from 'outside' (that is from 'native groups') to defend themselves as a group, or to find useful economic niches on such basis. Instead, industrialization brought together members of various groups and origins, developing a common platform for everyday cooperation, or at least neutral co-living.

Talking about the home-community as a potential source, engine of sustained 'ethnic' identity, based on origins and community belonging, one has to notice various 'waves', changing dynamics between the resettled and the village community (among them relatives, friends, good neighbors), with different interests, motivations on the two sides. Even among resettled people, different generations were driven by various, changing motivations. Among the so-called first resettled generation (those being adults or youngsters beyond the teenage level) never really integrated into their new environment. Feeling of nostalgia, longing for native land followed them all through their lives. For those people belonging to 'younger first generation' emotional ties, childhood memories played an important role as well, but their active years, family founding, carrier, adult friendships already connected them to Hird. Their village of origin played a symbolic role, figured rather as a 'place of memory' (lieux de memoire).

Before the 1989 political-economic transition in the region, family visits besides the nostalgia of first generation, became marked by strong economic motivations, dominant at the second generation of resettled in Hird. They found visits to Czechoslovakia a good occasion to do their shopping, compensating those 'infamous' gaps of the socialist shortage economy, developing a special strategy of special economy of survival, benefiting from their 'international' family ties within the communist 'block'.

For relatives living in Slovakia, primary motivations for sustaining cross-border family relationships were completely different. For a relatively long period, practically till l956, Hungarians in Slovakia were not able to travel abroad (did not get a passport at all, or obtained visa only with serious difficulties). When they were already allowed to travel, their primary interest was to see their relatives and their new living conditions, to visit them in the home country (Hungary) with all its cultural, tourist advantages and appeals. In parallel, special consumer interests, desires developed in Slovakia as well, targeting the 'luxury products' of the Hungarian light industry (cosmetics, fashion clothing, etc).

During the political-economic transformation characteristic for our region up to present, the social background of these family relationships radically changed. Markets and provisions of the two countries became somewhat equalized, thus financially motivated trips, so-called 'shopping-tourism' disappeared in these families. Free travel and the new 'political climate' opened up several other opportunities to visit their 'home-country' for 'Hungarians living outside the borders' (as the national terminology goes for ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia) besides family visits. Furthermore, the first generation of resettled for whom the native-village meant primarily emotional ties, is gradually disappearing, and even younger first generation members are aging, unable to sustain close family ties. Most such attempts became reduced to the level of postcards, short telephone calls for special occasions (anniversaries, Christmas, etc), and larger family meetings take place mostly on funerals, as last acts of these dissolving family ties.

Terebessy Sápos Aranka:
The migration process of Middle Zemplén in the period of dualism

In modern story writing the numerical development of population - reproduction, stagnation, and decline - is the fundamental prerequisite of the knowledge of society. My dissertation is about the population's development in the villages located in the middle area of Zemplén County during the dualism, mainly about the Terebes district, which is an area that during the period of dualism was not an administrative unit. Determining the researched region and finding its source materials was a more difficult task, but these obstacles were eliminated. Today, this area is one of the smallest administrative units of Slovakia, part of which is the whole Fels?-Bodrogköz. The primary reason of why I have chosen this area is that from ethnical and religious point of view it was diversified and it has kept its characteristics up to present. It was a place where through centuries the Hungarian-Slovak-Ruthenian ethnical language boundaries met. The religious division of the areas' majority and the presence of three religions - Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, and Calvinist - living with each other up to these days, reflect its complexity.

As far as I know, no such work has been published that describes a location that went through similar multiple administrative re-organizations as the Terebes district.

In my dissertation, I have tried to present the main indicators of the emigration process in the district. Consequently, 88 territories have been examined.

Given the agricultural characteristics of the territory, the location's sustainability (capacity to support itself) has radically decreased. Surplus in labor force supply is also present, which neither the towns, nor the industry were able to absorb. This process resolved in migration. The intensity of emigration was not proportional in different parts of the state. Zemplén County belonged to those places that released the most emigrants. The most seriously affected territories were those where different ethnical groups lived. Such phenomena were present not only in the Terebes County, but also in whole Hungary. Research conducted in the region also affirmed this fact. Minorities emigrated mostly from territories with mixed ethnic groups. All parts of the region dwelled by Slovaks were affected by emigration, especially Gálszécs and the neighboring villages. We have obtained a very interesting picture about judging emigration through the contemporary papers. This way not only the data and the official reports were examined, but also the judgments of people. We learned from the "gossips" about the behavior of those who came back, their stories, and experiences from the "other side of the ocean". The frame of the work did not allow analyzing the consequences and reason-effect relations of the emigration. Discovering this needs further research.

Finally, I would like to draw attention to the emigration data. Data present in this dissertation slightly represent the emigration and mainly its motives. They expressly point out the fact that the migration was motivated by geographical and economic factors, and not by violent national politics.

Ferenc Danis:
Agriculture of Hont county in the 19th century to 1919

From the agricultural point of view, the county can be geographically divided into three regions. In its northern part, the Banská ©tiavnica mountain range is situated; its highest peak is Szitnya, (1000 m). The average temperature is 7.5 °C; therefore, the area is not suitable for the cultivation of maize and grape. The continuation of the ©tiavnik mountain range to northwest is the Pukanec Highland. On its slopes even plough-lands can be found. Due to their lower productive capacity undemanding cereals, like rye, oat, and potato and some of the leguminous plants can be cultivated there. Towards the north, between the valleys of Krupina and Ipe?, the Ostrovsky Mountain stretches. Its slowly inclining hills run to the south to Ipo? and Duna. Here maize and tobacco, and on its hills grape can be cultivated. In the south, the Börzsöny mountain range closes the county's territory. The richest agricultural land can be found in the valley of Ipoly and its tributaries, Krupina and ©tiavnik. In the flood plains, there are meadows, and on the terraces above them, there are fertile plough-lands.

The feudal system before 1848 allowed only very extensive farming. The lordship and the poorest agrarians ploughed only with wooden ploughs, the pads of which were from iron. Since landowners had villains for the cultivation of their lands, they scarcely kept more draught animals when they needed for the provision of urgent works around the house. To reserve land productivity, they used fallow, while in every third year they let their land rest. The good farmer was one who had "old wine, old hay, and old bacon", i.e. cultivated more than he was able to consume with his family during the year. They wove clothes from hemp. The oil was also home-"stroke" by cold pressing and even the traces were homemade. They did not spend money for anything that could be produced at home. Even in this period, the county authorities tried to move production. The district administrator's role was to control whether villages bought healthy and strong breeding animals. The creation of the Hontifiók Gazdasági Egylet (Economic Association) in 1838 was of great importance and successfully operated until 1846.

Hard work and tenth ended after 1948. Consequently, the large estates did not yield too much, for they did not have the equipment for farming. The estate manager of that time of the estates of Esztergom primateship and cathedral chapter, János Forster, with his purposeful economic reforms achieved that the estates of Hont county after mere 1-2 years yielded much more than during the feudal system. A lot of outstanding farmers followed his example and revived their estates. At the end of the 19th century, the proportion of plants cultivated on the territory of the county was as follows:

  • Autumn cereals (autumn wheat, autumn rye, autumn barley) 45,43 %
  • Spring cereals (spring wheat, spring rye, spring barley, oat, millet) 30,93 %
  • root-crops (maize, potato, carrot, red beet, melon) 11,20 %
  • leguminous plants (pea, bean, lentil) 0,53 %
  • industrial crops (rape, hemp, flax, poppy, tobacco, seasoning paprika) 0,74 %
    greens 0,13 %
  • field forage (clover, alfalfa, leaves of green maize, mixtures) 11,04 %

Hont County was famous for its fruit- and vine-growing even in the 19th century. In 1879, for the initiation of a parson in Prenčov, Andrej Kme», the Fruit-growing Association of Upper Hont County (Felsőhontmegyei Gyümölcstermesztő Egyesület) and later the Fruit-growing Association of Hont County (Hontvármegyei Gyümölcstermesztő Egyesület) was created, led by László Czobor, sub-prefect of the county. The beginnings of our vine-growing trace back to the middle ages or to even further. It was developed to a large extent during the time of the Sag convent. In the 1870's, it was interrupted by the devastation of grape phylloxera, but their production was revived in 1905.

Those acts were determining that after the war of independence the peasantry could own lands, for 76 per cent of the population was involved in prime production (agriculture). The Fruit-growing Association of Hont County (Hont Vármegyei Gazdasági Egyesület) was the initiator of the new law, headed by Igó Horinszky, Sándor Nagy, and János Bolgár. They wanted to ennoble cattle-population of Hont County with imported Swiss bulls. Therefore, a new type was born, the "Ipolyvölgyi" (valley of Ipoly). The mating stations created by the state in five places promoted horse breeding. The domestic "white curly-bristled" was in pig-breeding the most popular. Credit need of the county's farmers was satisfied through saving banks, Ipolysági Takarékpénztár being the first of them. At the beginning of the last century, co-operative credit associations began to emerge; they operated in 8 places in 1905. In these years, industrial production of agricultural equipment began; Károly Kachelmann's iron foundry in Vihne was exemplary.

The WWI ceased the well-developing agricultural production of Hont County.

Ferenc Boros:
The period of the "Peace" Treaty of Trianon

The study comprises the first two parts of the fifth chapter of the manuscript ("A magyarok és a szlovákok. Múlt és jelen", in translation: "Hungarians and Slovaks. Past and Present") which is ready for edition and deals with the issues of Hungarian-Slovak relations and correlation from the Hungarian conquest to the present times. The author discusses the topic by using her previous archival research. In the first part, in connection with the development of the Horthy-system, she examines the Hungarian policy related to the Slovak issue. In the second part, in this context, she covers the period of the Paris Peace Negotiations and the signing of the Treaty of Trianon. Moreover, analyzing the efforts of the Hungarian government and peace delegation, she points out the political attitudes of the Great Powers and the Successor State.

From the contextual point of view, the study suggests that the Great Powers and the Successor States, which influenced the Peace Treaty, accepted "the defeat of the proletarian state" with satisfaction, but the consequent tension and controversial processes of Hungarian internal politics and foreign policy efforts caused doubtfulness. These were disadvantages for the Hungarian efforts to change the extremely strict peace conditions at the Peace Negotiations, although the support had its bases in the circles of the Great Powers.

In the second part, while searching the reasons of unsuccessfulness, there is a reference to the fact that the proclamation of integration revision had fundamentally internal political reasons, but the chances for compromise (ethnical limits) from the Hungarian side were given. Its proposal, and/or more resolute representation, in the function of a better future prediction, would have been primarily the role of the Great Powers. The Great Powers neglected this. This situation drifted the Hungarian politics towards extremes even in the summer of 1920.

Gábor Hushegyi:
Kálmán Brogyányi's activities as a scientific writer and art critic in the first Czechoslovak Republic and Slovak Republic

The 1920's are one of the unelaborated chapters of the Slovak art-history writing up to the present. The majority of artists and art critics in Slovakia, writing in European context, were of Hungarian, German, and Jewish origin, and had active relations with the Viennese Hungarian avant-garde emigrants, and with Berlin or Soviet-Russian avant-garde movements and personalities. One of the determining art-critics of the period, the mainly Hungarian, but also publishing in German, Kálmán Brogyányi (1905-1978), was very active primarily from the end of 1920 to 1945. His monographic study titled Festőművészet Szlovenszkón (in translation: Art of Painting in Slovakia), published in 1931 in Koąice, summarized Slovakia's art ambitions in the 20th century for the first time, and undertook the art-historical use of partial and classical modern scale of values of the avant-garde view of the century. A fény művészete (in translation: The Art of the Light), published two years after it by the Forum, was the first modern translation of contemporary photography in Hungarian and Slovak relation, as well. Brogyányi left behind significant editorial life work, of which the most substantial period was from 1931 to 1938, when the periodical titled Forum, focused on construction and fine art, was published in Bratislava. In the middle of the 1930's, significant changes occurred in his approach to art-criticism. He turned against the constructivist approach of Ernő Kállai, and considered the most important mission of fine art taking a role apart from art. Although one of the most significant writers of the Slovak art of the first part of the 20th century was out of step with the professional development of his Slovak, Czech, etc. colleagues, and with the artistic developments, he did not accept the new artistic thinking characteristic of abstractionism, constructivism, surrealism, and Marcel Duchamp. Still, his performance is considered the historical reflection of the Slovak fine art of the 20th century, honored by everyone.

Árpád Popély:
Historical Chronology of the Hungarian Minority in Czechoslovakia (1947-1954)

In the third part of Árpád Popély's chronological review he examines that the period of the deportation of the Hungarian community in Slovakia to Czechoslovakia and the interstate discussions between Czechoslovakia and Hungary on population exchange are in process that eventually began in April 1947. The second phase of re-Slovakisation also commences.

In February 1948, the communistic power change took place in Czechoslovakia, and although the repressive arrangements against the Hungarian community in Slovakia are still in process, the "comrade", internationalist policy created between Czechoslovakia and Hungary, that were in the communistic power zone, and as a result of strong national and internal pressure, slowly began to ease: this resulted that the publication of some papers (Új Szó (New Word), December 1948; Szabad Földműves (Free Agriculturist 1950; Dolgozó Nő (Working Woman), 1952; Új Ifjúság (New Youth) 1952) and books in Hungarian language were permitted, in 1949 the Csemadok (Csehszlovákiai Magyar Dolgozók Kulturális Egyesülete - Cultural Association of Hungarian Community Workers in Czechoslovakia), in 1950 Faluszínház and the first kindergartens and primary schools were established.

According to the final report of the Re-slovakisation Committee within the framework of re-slovakisation 282,594 persons of Hungarian nationality were granted the Slovak nationality. (According to the report executed for the Central Presidency of the Slovak Communistic Party this number is 326,679)

Within the frames of internal settlement, 5,011 colonial families settled in districts dwelled by Hungarians that is 23,027 persons who got 44,822.3548 hectare of land and 1,811 houses. From the local Slovaks 12,274 families received 26,785 hectare land and 706 houses from the confiscated possessions of Hungarians.

According to the report of the Slovak Settlement Bureau,k within the population exchange 59,744 Slovaks moved from Hungary and settled in Czechoslovakia. Apart from them another 13,499 persons settled in excess of the exchange quota, representing 73,273 Slovaks coming from Hungary to Czechoslovakia in total. From Czechoslovakia 89,660 Hungarians were settled to Hungary in total (of which 45,475 persons on the basis of the population exchange, 2,905 war criminals, 1,034 "regimists" with transports, and the rest was settled in excess of the agreement, allegedly 6,000 left voluntarily).

According to the Hungarian data within the exchange quota 60,257 Slovaks moved from Hungary to Czechoslovakia in total. On the other hand, 76,616 Hungarians were moved from Czechoslovakia to Hungary, but besides them, the number of those persons, for whom it was not possible to include in the exchange quota due to the Czechoslovak veto, is more than 10,000. Twelve percent of Czechoslovak Hungarians settled in Hungary after the WWII in total.

The Hungarians left 160,000 acres of land in Czechoslovakia (according to the Czechoslovak data 109,294 acres) and 15,700 houses, while the Slovaks left 15,000 acres of land (according to the Czechoslovak data 38,372 acres) and 4,400 houses in Hungary.