AHF Action Alert: April 9, 2008
Only a few days left! On September 20, 2007, the Slovak Parliament adopted a resolution proposed by extremist Jan Slota ratifying and confirming the Benes decrees. Slota said "Hungarians are the cancer of the Slovak nation, without delay we need to remove them from the body of the nation." This is unacceptable. Make your feelings known. Signed petitions will be delivered to the European Parliament on April 22nd. The American Hungarian Federation is planning an extended petition drive to coincide with a planned symposium in US Congress in September.
In a statement released after the shocking September confirmation, the Federation said: ""Having taken a step that has fueled ethnic hatred and assaulted good relations with Hungary, the Slovak Parliament on September 20, 2007 adopted a resolution proposed by extremist Jan Slota ratifying and confirming the Benes decrees. Those decrees shamefully imposed collective guilt on the Hungarian (and German) population of Czechoslovakia .... The concept of collective guilt is abhorrent to Americans and to anyone committed to the rule of law, human rights and democracy. Rather than affirm the inviolability of the Benes decrees, Slovakia should reject them, provide legal redress to remedy their continuing and discriminatory effect and thereby adopt the values shared by the trans-Atlantic community of nations." [read the full statement]
About the Benes Decrees:
The 1945 Benes Decrees claimed collective World War II responsibility of Germans and Hungarians living in Czechoslovakia, and deprived them of their rights, their property and expelled many of them from the country. According to the Decrees, 2.5 million ethnic Germans (Sudetendeutsch) and approximately 40,000 Hungarians were lost their Czechoslovakian citizenship, their land was expropriated and they were exiled. This transition was carried out over 1945-46, and was in many cases badly administered and brutal. Many people lost their lives. Ethnic Czechs were moved in to fill the empty towns.
The peace treaty of Trianon (1920) resulted in the dismemberment of the thousand-year-old Hungarian Kingdom. The consequence to Hungary was a loss of 71.5% of its territory and 63.6% of its population. Trianon forced three and a half million Magyars to live, without their consent, in Czechoslovakia, the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenians (Yugoslavia), and Rumania, with the stroke of a pen. The right of self-determination of nations, solemnly promised in the 14 points of US President Woodrow Wilson, was forgotten.
There are presently about 578,000 ethnic Hungarians, or Magyars, living in scattered settlements along the southern border areas of the Slovakia and constitute the largest ethnic minority in the country. This is 10.8% of the Slovak Republic's population of 5,353,000 as estimated from a 1991 census and country population review from the UN. These numbers are easily argued as many ethnic Hungarians do not self-identify to avoid discrimination. In either case, these Magyars are what remains of the Hungarians in what was "Upper Hungary" for about 1000 years until 1919, when "Czechoslovakia" was crea ted.
How to Help!
[Sign the petition] and read more about the cruel [Benes Decrees] which unjustly expelled thousands of Hungarian families from their ancestral homelands. See where the [demonstrations] will be held and get involved!. From the organizers: "A világ nagyobb városaiban április 19-én meg vannak már szervezve a tiltakozások: Amerika, Ausztrália, Európa, Dél-Amerika is velünk tart. Április 19-ét követö héten, április 22-én Strasbourgban fogunk tiltakozni és az Európai Parlament képviselöinek átadjuk a petíciót."