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March 24, 2023

Reburial of writer Nyiro Jozsef cancelled

Hungarian Embassy official summoned by Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry. Politicized criticism within Hungarian community.

The reburial of writer Nyiro Jozsef, scheduled to take place yesterday in Odorheiu Secuiesc, 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 Balazs Adam was summoned at the Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) yesterday 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 Nyiro Jozsef,” MAE points out. Approximately 2000 persons carrying wreathes had gathered yesterday in Odorheiu Secuiesc 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 Odorheiu Secuiesc Mayor had issued. “On May 25, Mr. Frater Oliver Balazs, a Hungarian citizen, asked the Odorheiu Secuiesc City Hall for a permit to rebury Nyiro Jozsef, 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, Odorheiu Secuiesc Mayor Bunta Levente (UDMR) stated in a press communiqué that he regrets “politics interfered with the fulfillment of Nyiro Jozsef’s last will,” pointing out that the burial permit issued respects all legal conditions. The speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, Kover Lazslo, present yesterday in Odorheiu Secuiesc, harshly criticizing Romanian authorities’ disapproval.

According to Mediafax, he said that “the unfriendly, uncivilized and primitive attitude of the new Romanian Government of denying Nyiro 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 reburial was nevertheless politicized within the Hungarian community itself. UDMR President Kelemen Hunor stated on Friday that UDMR representatives will not attend the reburial ceremony because the event is Szasz Jeno’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 Molnar Miklos stated yesterday, referring to Odorheiu Secuiesc’s UDMR Mayor. Other organizations that oppose UDMR criticized the cancellation too. Arus Zsolt, President of the National Szekler Council in Gheorgheni, 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.

Empty burial urn

On Saturday a burial urn in which the writer’s ashes should have been was discovered in a car driven by a Hungarian official towards Sumuleu Ciuc. 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 Odorheiu Secuiesc. The Romanian government opposed the reburial because in its view Hungarian poet Nyiro Jozsef 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 Jozsef Nyiro’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.


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