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Reburial of disputed Hungarian writer cancelled

The reburial of Hungarian writer Nyirő József, scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 27. in the Transylvanian city of Székelyudvarhely, was cancelled, only a commemoration service set to take place instead. The reburial of the writer accused of collaborating with the fascist regime during 1941-1945 has generated a diplomatic row between Budapest and Bucharest, the Hungarian side sticking to its initiative despite Romania’s disagreement. According to Mediafax, Hungarian Embassy official Balázs Ádám was summoned at the Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) Sunday morning.

“MAE expressed its hope that the Hungarian side will not carry on with its initiative and no Hungarian official or embassy representative will get involved or take part in such a ceremony that comes in conflict with Romanian legislation and with the Romanian authorities’ decision,” a MAE communiqué shows, stating at the same time that it does not want bilateral relations harmed. “Subsequent to the talks, the Hungarian ambassador to Bucharest informed MAE by phone that no reburial will take place, only a religious service in memory of Nyirő József,” MAE points out. Approximately 2000 persons carrying wreathes had gathered yesterday in Székelyudvarhely in order to pay their last homage to the writer. The reburial was cancelled after Harghita County Prefect Augusta Cristina Urzica administratively attacked the permit that the Mayor of Székelyudvarhely had issued. “On May 25, Mr. Frater Olivér Balázs, a Hungarian citizen, asked the Székelyudvarhely City Hall for a permit to rebury Nyirő József, who died on October 16, 1953. Following the verification of the documents filed in support of the decision to issue the permit, I noticed that they refer to document 218 from 2012, a document that has nothing to do with the deceased’s death certificate which is registered under number 642 on October 18, 1953, in Madrid,” the Prefect argued. In reply, Székelyudvarhely Mayor Bunta Levente (UDMR) stated in a press communiqué that he regrets “politics interfered with the fulfillment of Nyirő József’s last will,” pointing out that the burial permit issued respects all legal conditions. The speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, László Kövér, despite requests by RMDSZ not to attend the reburial and thereby get involved in the Romanian campaign, had expressed his intetntion to go to the reburial of Nyirő’s remains. Meanwhile Romanian and Romanian-Hungarian politicians point out that Nyirő was “a fascist.”

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The Hungarian government might find this fact immaterial, but Romanian public opinion hasn’t “forgiven” Nyirő for his involvement in the fascist Hungarist Arrow Cross movement. Fidesz is not moved, and its leading politicians don’t seem to be terribly bothered by MSZP’s claim that Fidesz has moved to the far right of the political spectrum, right where Jobbik is. Kövér, present on Sunday in Székelyudvarhely, harshly criticizing Romanian authorities’ disapproval. According to Mediafax, he said that “the unfriendly, uncivilized and primitive attitude of the new Romanian Government of denying Nyirő the possibility of resting on his native land was highly surprising”. He also said there was a real hunting for the writer’s burial urn. The Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta stated that "the authorities wanted to avoid any incident between the Romanian and Hungarian party" on this subject. Ponta said he considers essential the continuation of the dialogue between the Romanian and Magyar authorities, without it being affected by today's incidents. "We will continue to observe the minority rights in Romania, and we are firmly committed to this direction which helps relations between our countries. But this does not mean that we tolerate gestures of some extremists, made solely for election campaign. Faced with some provocative and extremist acts, the Romanian Government will have an European attitude, in the spirit of law the law and the Constitution of Romania, a spirit that I have always had regarding promotion of minority rights. " PM Ponta also argued that the statements made in these days by some Hungarian officials, including President of the Hungarian Parliament, "are not in the line of good-neighborly relations between the two states", and that he will raise this issue in the first round of discussions that he will have with his Hungarian counterpart,  Viktor Orban, at the end of next week in Bucharest.

The reburial was nevertheless politicized within the Hungarian community itself. UDMR President Kelemen Hunor stated last Friday that UDMR representatives will not attend the reburial ceremony because the event is Szász Jenő’s (PCM) “electoral event.” “The burial was cancelled because our dear mayor issued a wrong permit and the Prefecture administratively attacked it. At this moment the permit is cancelled and we had to give up the reburial. We don’t know yet whether the mayor did this mistake on purpose or not,” PCM spokesperson Molnár Miklós stated yesterday, referring to Székelyudvarhely’s UDMR Mayor. Other organizations that oppose UDMR criticized the cancellation too. Arus Zsolt, President of the National Székely Council in Gyergyószentmiklós, stated that the recent events are embarrassing because “waging a war against a dead man is not dignified even if he might have been a serial killer.” “Even so I’d still say he’s been dead for over half a century so his reburial should be an emotional event, not an event for political disputes,” Arus Zsolt added. Last Saturday a burial urn in which the writer’s ashes should have been, was discovered in a car driven by a Hungarian official towards Csíksomlyó. The urn was empty. The Harghita County Police spokesperson stated that this was a surprise because the Hungarian official had told police officers that the urn contained human ashes and the paperwork confirmed that. The remains of the Hungarian poet that died in 1953 in Madrid were taken to Hungary at the Hungarian Parliament’s initiative, being incinerated on May 22. The burial urn containing the ashes should have been buried in Székelyudvarhely. The Romanian government opposed the reburial because in its view Hungarian poet Nyirő József cannot be given honors for an activity that does not deserve them, Premier Victor Ponta stated. MAE later expressed its disagreement concerning the reburial. On the other hand, the speaker of the Hungarian Parliament did not deny József Nyirő’s pro-fascist attitude but compared him to Romania’s Mircea Eliade, TVR Info informs. Eliade was a member of the Iron Guard but is nevertheless considered a national writer. Earlier, the Hungarian Embassy was defending the plan to rebury the ethnic Hungarian writer associated with the country's World War II fascist regime in his native Transylvania region of Romania. József Nyirő, who also served as a lawmaker in the Hungarian Parliament during its World War II alliance with Nazi Germany, fled the advancing Soviets in 1945 and settled in Spain where he died and was buried in 1953. The Hungarian Parliament has pushed for his body's repatriation to Romania, which has a sizable Hungarian minority population. The former Romanian government supported the reburial but new Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta has been resistant and said his government is opposed to a lavish ceremony. The Hungarian Embassy in Bucharest said last Friday that Nyiro's reburial would be a simple cultural event, with no political connotations.

Source: Mediafax; nineoclock.ro; mail.com

Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 09:11

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