Over 12,000 people were deported in the Kárpátalja region (which today belongs to Ukraine, with a considerable number of ethnic Hungarians) in 1944 and 1945 by the Communist dictator Stalin, just because ‘they were Hungarians’.Commemorating events were organized in Beregszász (Berehove), at the monument of the victims, and Szolyva (Svalyava), where the internment camp was set up.
On Friday, 15 November 2013, hundreds gathered in Pushkin Square at the monument to Kárpátalja’s deported men to commemorate Stalin’s terrror. First, President of the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Kárpátalja, László Zubánics, talked about the fate of Hungarian and German men, aged between 18 and 50. They were told to go to the ‘lager’ for a three-day ‘malenky robot’ (small work in Russian). Most of them never returned. Some of them got back to their fatherland after many years of suffering.
Secondly, Beregszász’s Hungarian Mayor, Zoltán Babják spoke to the crowd. Then Calvinist bishop Sándor Zán Fábián prayed for the victims, emphasizing that it not is enough to remember them. ‘We christen fewer and fewer children. Not because the parents don’t want to christen them, but because those children have never been born. We must understand: we can built a better future through our children’, he said. Sándor Petőfi Seniors’ Association of Beregvidék (Bereg region) commemorated the deported relatives and friends with songs and poems.
The next day, Saturday the commemoration continued about 60 km from Beregszász, in Szolyva, at the place of the detention camp. A black marble wall commemorates over 12,000 victims of Stalin’s terror in the Memorial Park of Szolyva. President of Szolyva Memorial Commission, Mihály Tóth presented a book on the undiscovered Soviet documents of the era, entitled ‘Internation and deportation of Hungarians and Germans in Kárpátalja in 1944-45’. This is the first publication to present the brutal events of the era from reliable sources. The Hungarian translation could be publsihed next year. Secretary of the Commission György Dupka said that not only the Jewish holocaust should be remembered, but the victims of the malenky robot are just as much of a pain for the Hungarian nation.
Furthermore, Hungarian MP of Jobbik, President of the Cabinet of National Politics, István Szávay made a speech on the victims of Stalin’s communism. Revenge was also taken on those civilians, juniors and seniors who never participated in the fights. Quoting famous Hungarian writer Sándor Márai he said: ‘Just because they were Hungarians.’
Szávay also sent his message to the political leaders in Hungary and called for a brave, powerful representation of Hungarian interest instead of empty tunes of cooperation and good relationship with Hungary’s neighbours. ‘Those who commited such crimes must get their fair share of punishment,’ he said.
Hungarian MP in the Ukrainian Parliament, President of the Hungarian Democratic Association (UMDSZ) István Gajdos emphasized that the victims’ only sin was that they were Hungarians. The local community could hardly survive such a disaster. The wound is still painful. And these Hungarian and German men have not been rehabilitated and compensated,’ he said. He has submitted a proposal to the Ukrainian Parliament in which he called for the rehabilitation of all the victims of Hungarian and other nationalities.
Consul for Hungary in Beregszász, Ferenc Mélykuti and representives from Felvidék (Hungarian region of Slovakia) László Köteles and István Orbán also expressed their solidarity with the victims and their families. After the commemoration of the pupils of the Hungarian primary school in Szolyva and a common prayer for the victims, Mayor Zoltán Babják and István Orbán revealed the new memorial plaque of the park.
by J. Woods
Photos: Daily News Hungary