Tuesday, 23 August 2011 16:36

A Voice Crying Out. Transylvania, Banat, the Körös region and Máramaros for the Hungarians!

Written by  Transylvanian Monitor


  • PERIOD / EPOCH: First half of the twentieth century
  • ORIGINAL TITLE: Kiáltó szó. Erdély, Bánság, Kőrösvidék és Máramaros magyarságához!
  • CATEGORY: Manifestos
    “Transylvanism” manifesto called “Crying Word” (a clear reference to the biblical phrase of “The Voice of One Crying”, or “Kiáltó szó” in Hungarian) became an important guide of consolation for the loss of the mother country, and an ideology to re-organize the Transylvanian Hungarian community.
  • DATE: June, 1921
  • AUTHOR(S): Kós, Károly
    Kós, Károly
    The Treaty of Trianon was the peace agreement signed in 1920, at the end of World War I, between the Allies of World War I and Hungary (a successor state to Austria-Hungary). The treaty greatly redefined and reduced Hungary's borders. From its borders before World War I, it lost 72% of its territory, which was reduced from 325,111 square kilometres (125,526 sq mi) to 93,073 square kilometres (35,936 sq mi).

The Treaty of Trianon was the peace agreement signed in 1920, at the end of World War I, between the Allies of World War I and Hungary (a successor state to Austria-Hungary). The treaty greatly redefined and reduced Hungary's borders. From its borders before World War I, it lost 72% of its territory, which was reduced from 325,111 square kilometres (125,526 sq mi) to 93,073 square kilometres (35,936 sq mi). 

It also lost 64% of its total population, which was reduced from 20.9 million to 7.6 million, and 31% (3.3 out of 10.7 million) of its ethnic Hungarians, who suddenly found themselves living outside the newly defined borders of Hungary. Hungary lost five of its ten most populous cities and was deprived of direct access to the sea and of some of its most valuable natural resources. 

The principal beneficiaries of territorial adjustment were Romania, Czechoslovakia, and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. In addition, the newly established state of Hungary had to pay war reparations to its neighbours. The Hungarian delegation signed the treaty under protest on 4 June 1920 at the Grand Trianon Palace in Versailles, France. 

Transylvania and other Hungarian territories like Bánság, Kőrösvidék and Máramaros were attached to Romania. 

“Transylvanism” is an ideological movement created in 1921 by Károly Kós, a polymath leader (architect, writer and publisher) of the Hungarian minority. He urged for political loyalty towards the new ruler of Transylvania, the Romanian state, without giving up the Hungarian cultural identity. His manifesto called “Crying Word” (a clear reference to the biblical phrase of “The Voice of One Crying”, or “Kiáltó szó” in Hungarian) became an important guide of consolation for the loss of the mother country, and an ideology to re-organize the Transylvanian Hungarian community.

“... And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then they said unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 

He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” (Gospel according to St John, 1:21-23) 

Our eyes have been turned westwards now for two bitter years. We have seen how the sun has declined there. Our hopeful, trusting, yearning and pained eyes watched as the tears trickled out from them. 

For the sun continued to descend, steadily waning; slowly at first, then fast, finally it failed, leaving only blood-red clouds in the sky. 

And now we can rub our eyes: for the time being there is no way forwards. The sun has failed. It is over. And we can dry the tears from our face. All trace of them. 


Somewhere something was signed, somewhere something was created, somewhere something was shared out; somewhere a door was slammed, to remain shut for ever. 

From the place where with our own strength, with the work of a thousand years we had climbed, seeing every step with our own muscles and mind, to the enormous rock soaked with our own blood: from there they threw us down. We know why.


Our old flag is torn to shreds, our weapons dented, our souls are in shackles. But I know we must still rise to our feet. 

And I know we must begin once more this harsh toil of sweat. I know we will, into hard, rugged rocks, cut the road on which a tough ancient people will step with us and after us, once more only upwards. 


We hear, we see and we know now, because it is reality: the old Hungary is no more. 

She did not die when they held her funeral in Paris, but when she herself announced that indeed, ‘I am not what I used to be.’ This is the truth! 

It is seventy years since our forefathers pronounced the word with one will, and half a century since the thousand-year dream was realized: Hungary, on whose head sentence was passed in Paris. 

The one Hungarian land lived for fifty years, the great, youthful, strong Hungarian workshop. It was not to be left so to work furthermore. 

The Hungarian people of Transylvania, Banat, the Körös region and Máramaros: it is we who have been cut off, thrown out of the workshop which was once built up with our sweat and hard work. 

We were not asked whether this is what we want. 

And we, to this day, shrank from believing that this had happened, that this could happen. 

And it is two years since we worked. But we have been waiting. We have been waiting in hope, with trusting faith, that the sun would rise for us: would rise in the west! For two years we dreamt and wanted to know nothing of Life, who dashed and bustled around us. We wanted to see and hear nothing, nor to feel or live, we wanted only to believe and trust and dream and wait for miracles, which would awaken us. 

Because we had grown accustomed to the old, we loved what we had once created. We believed it was ours for time eternal, because we had made it for ourselves. 

But now everything is clear. After two years of bitter waiting, of numb sleep, it is revealed that all in which we believed, trusted and hoped, all was a mirage. It was revealed that the sun does not rise where it set. Let it be said: our faith is greatly disappointed. 

Let it be said: the disappointment hurt; it hurt to have to jettison faith from our souls, because it was not a true faith. 

The two million Hungarians of Transylvania, Banat, the Körös region and Máramaros, it is not I who tell you, but the amputated Hungary passes sentence on us: ‘I cannot do otherwise; I accept the sentence read out, promulgated and executed in spite of my will and belief; I renounce you, who have been violently stripped from me.’ This is the truth! 

Who says otherwise is lying; who believes otherwise is dreaming; who hopes otherwise is chasing a mirage. 

We must learn the lesson; we must confront the mercilessly cruel reality, and not allow ourselves to be beguiled. We must work if we want to live, and we want to live, so we shall work. 

But only among ourselves, from now on, for ourselves. Let us no longer look to the western setting sun. It merely makes our hearts heavy and our eyes sore. There the sun has failed, only the sky glows red, and in the sky billow the heavy clouds of fate. All it does is prick a tear from our eyes. 

Beware! Tears are precious and – let no stranger see what hurts us. 

But with thousand-year pride we hold our heads over the ridge of our mountains, for it is here that our dawn will have to break. 

The old Hungary no longer exists for us; but Erdély, Ardeal, Siebenbürgen, Transylvania, or whatever name the world has given and gives it, has risen again and is, just as it was when we ourselves, because we wanted to, thought that it was not, that there was only Hungary. But it was then, and it is now, and whatever any willpower wishes, it will be for ever and ever. 

A barrier has been dropped across a beautiful, fifty-year: no entry. With our thousand-year Transylvanian tools, our tried and tested ancient strength, we must forge new roads, but for ourselves alone. 

With old tools we must forge new weapons, better than those which were laid down, broken, wrenched from our hands. 

Nobody will help us; but then let nobody feel sorry for us. 

We must build! And build we shall, new strong castles to the old God. The One, the Just, the Strong God. Who once sent us here from mysterious Asia, and whom we brought with us. Who protected us all this time, and whom we too protected for ourselves. 


 ...Well, old Hungary has been buried. It was a fine funeral. Flowers were planted in the grave, and a carved headpost at the head. That we who still live might grieve, might be able to grieve, that life dare not come to mind, but that we should for ever see the mound, and on the flowery mound the carved, starry headpost, like a mace. 

We were not even invited to the funeral... We acquiesce, because we have to acquiesce to this too and – we believe in our eternal life. 

We set out on a new path, but we carry with us the memory of the great funeral and a splinter from the cross on which the country was crucified. 


It is two years ago now that many of us learnt to pray, and many to curse too. And many learnt to dream, and many to weep too, but most of us watched the waters, our waters, as they roared on their way down from our mountains to the Great Plain. Many of us watched the waters, and many of them set out, alongside the waters, from the mountains, to the setting sun in the west. Never to return. 

But the time for praying is now over. So is the time for cursing. Dreaming has come to an end; weeping too. Who has set out alongside the waters can nevermore return. Whichever of us leaves, let him never desire to return to us; he will never have a place here, nor a share. 


We have awoken. We want to see clearly. We want to look Life in the eye, we want to be fully aware of our position. We want to know ourselves. We have to take stock of our strength, we have to organize the work, to know the goal we want to achieve.

Whoever is scared, cowardly, whoever has no faith, or is weak, let him step aside. May he go. Whoever makes problems for us, hampers our work; he puts a stumbling block before our feet, he is a traitor to us! 

Let us grieve no one who leaves here. Let us hold no one back. And let us encourage those who hesitate; this is no place now for waverers. I am a voice crying out: this is what I cry! 


The sentence has been executed: The two million Hungarians of Transylvania, Banat, the Körös region and Máramaros have been embraced by Romania... 

We make no recriminations. We do not seek traitors, let us not seek the opportunists, the cowards, the guilty, or the scapegoats. Let us not, in cowardice, console ourselves, saying we have erred. But let us bear our fate as it has been measured out to us. 

We seek no right, or unrighteousness, no justice or injustice, we expect neither fairness nor clemency. 

We do not seek out what kind of beggars' handouts the Treaty of Trianon – made without us, about us – prescribes for us. 

There is little sense in doing so. Our justice is in our strength.

What we can fight for, that will be ours. I cry out then to the brave, to those who want to fight, who know their duty, who want to see, who look forward. 

Stand up and be counted, do not be ashamed, do not sleep, do not sulk. Life does not wait; Life speeds on. With my voice crying out, this is what I cry! 


The base on which we can, with a clear conscience and a trusting soul, build is two million Hungarians. 

Two million Hungarians, aware of their thousand-year history and its lessons, in a geographically uniform region in the framework of a poor country of a non-homogeneous 13–14 million, living independently for hardly half a century, might cause a great difference of balance, according to whether they cooperate with it or work against it. 

We, the Hungarians of Transylvania, have to be reckoned with, by the one who extends his sovereignty over us. Romania too must reckon with us, if she wants this growth of area and population to represent a growth in strength too, rather than an unnecessary burden, a heavy weight. 

It must not be forgotten that we are not simply a number of souls, torn away from the unity of Hungarians, but a separate historical unit for a thousand years, with our own special Transylvanian identity, independent culture and esteem. We have been able to reckon with every situation, to govern and to rise up after grave defeats. We know our strength, we do not overestimate it, but neither do we minimize it: we have often tested how much we can bear. 

We, two million workers, tax-payers, citizens producing both material and cultural wealth, are a wonderful addition of strength to Romania. But we, two million non-workers, unproductive, hateful, false, internal enemies, are a terrible plague to Romania. 

However, we declare openly and honestly that we are rather loyal, than rebellious; we are rather builders, than destroyers; rather open friends, than secret enemies. 

But on the condition that in the new framework, we receive the minimum which as regards our national culture, our ancient customs, our racial consciousness, our social sensibility, our economic development, with the lessons learnt from our thousand-year history, we know is indispensible. 


On two million Hungarians as a basis we want to build, in the new framework, our national autonomy, partly promised to us by a law Romania passed of her own free will: the resolution of Alba Iulia, and partly it will be acquired by our will and strength, and by Romania's good sense. 

What we ask for ourselves, what we shall do battle for tomorrow and shall perhaps suffer for the day after, but what we shall finally secure according to our faith, our Saxon and Romanian national brothers in Transylvania shall also ask for, they shall fight for it, suffer and finally secure for ourselves [1].  

Openly and valiantly, I declare this our ultimate goal. Without any ulterior thoughts, honestly. And I believe this desire lies dormant in the souls of all of us, who try to see clearly in our new position a new goal. 

For we, Hungarians, may be destroyed (though this is unlikely) and the Saxons too may disappear from Transylvania, but even then Transylvania will live as a geographical personality, an economic personality, a historical necessity. 

Openly and valiantly I cry to Romania, swollen with us: We, the Hungarian-race, Hungarian-faith and Hungarian-speaking citizens of Romania want national autonomy, and in possession of this Great Romania will gain a trusty citizenry in us. We will not bargain. We feel strong enough to speak openly and honestly, and we stand firm on the declared base. The sure support of two million citizens, or their hostile passion cannot be a matter of indifference even to a far stronger, more consolidated, richer state than Romania. 


My wish has been to show realities; to cry out truths. Realities and truths, which hurt the cowardly, silence the traitor, corrupt the enemy, and halt the intending oppressor. Which give courage to the despondent, illuminate a world to those groping in darkness, and give a weapon to the defenceless. My wish was to cry this out and it may be that I am a voice crying in the wilderness... Yet cry out I shall! To you, the thousand-year Hungarian population of Transylvania, Banat, the Körös region and Máramaros: 

Awaken from your two-year sleep, open your eyes, look about you and stand among those who want to compete in the new life. 

Time hurries, and blares in your ear: enough of passivity. What until now was a remedy and perhaps a defence, and certainly a credit, from now on is poison and cowardice. I cry out the watchword: we must build, we must reorganize ourselves for work. I cry out the goal: the national autonomy of Hungarians. And I cry out once again: whoever is cowardly, sluggardly, who wants to bargain, is not one of us, for he is our true enemy: our traitor. I cry this out, and I want to believe that I shall not merely be a voice crying out in the wilderness...

[1] The Hungarian original has ‘magunknak’, ourselves; this may be a misspelling of ‘maguknak’, themselves. (Transl.) 

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