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Approximate area in south Slovakia inhabited by ethnic Hungarians. Hungarians are the largest ethnic minority of Slovakia, numbering 520,528 people or 9.7% of population (2001 census)

Slovakization (or Slovakisation; Hungarian: szlovákosítás; Ukrainian and Rusyn: Словакізація) is a term used to describe a cultural change in which ethnically non-Slovak people are made to become Slovak. In terms of historical context Slovakization can refer to the government policies in either Slovakia or the former Czechoslovakia in imposing a nation-state.

The term is used for example in relation to Hungarians,[1] Ukrainians, Rusyns (Ruthenians),[2] Poles[3], Germans[1] and Jews.[4]




After WWI

Map showing the border changes after the Treaty of Trianon. As a result, Hungary lost over two-thirds of its territory, about two-thirds of its inhabitants under the treaty and 3.3 million out of 10 million ethnic Hungarians.[5][6] (Based on the 1910 census.)

After the defeat of the remaining Hungarian armies in 1919 the Paris Peace Conference that concluded the Treaty of Trianon in 1920 set the southern border of Czechoslovakia due to strategic and economic reasons much further south than the Slovak-Hungarian language border.[7] Consequently, fully Hungarian-populated areas were annexed to the newly created state.[8]

When Czechoslovakia arose as a new country in this situation, many Slovak schools were established, while some Hungarian schools in largely Hungarian regions remained Hungarian and some German schools in largely German regions remained German. The Hungarians, for example, had 31 kindergartens, 806 elementary schools, 46 secondary schools, 576 Hungarian libraries at schools in the 1930s and a Department of Hungarian literature was created at the Charles University of Prague. The number of Hungarian elementary schools increased from 720 in 1923/1924 to the above number 806.[9] The Hungarian University in Bratislava/Pozsony was immediately closed after the Czechoslovak occupation of the town.[10]

According to the 1910 census conducted by the Central Statistical Office of Hungary, there were 884,309 ethnic Hungarians, constituting 30.2% of the population, in what is now Slovakia compared to the 9.7% number recorded in the 2001 census, amounting to a 3 fold decrease in the percentage of Hungarians. The first Slovak census in 1919 in what is now Slovakia recorded 689,565 Hungarians constituting 23.59% of the population. According to the first Czechoslovak census in 1921 there were 650,597 Hungarians in Slovakia, constituting 21.68% of the population[11]. The Czechoslovak census of 1930 recorded 571,952 Hungarians. All censuses from the period are disputed, and some give conflicting data for example in Kosice according to the Czechoslovak censuses 15-20% of the population was Hungarian. However during the parliamentary elections the Ethnic Hungarian parties got 35-45% of the total votes (excluding those Hungarians who voted for the Communists or the Social democrats).[12] The whole matter is complicated by the fact that there was a high percentage of bilingual and similarly "Slovak-Hungarian" persons who could claim being both Slovak and Hungarian.

Slovak sources usually do not deny that many Hungarian teachers and civil clerks were forced to leave or left for Hungary voluntarily, the numbers however are unclear but census do show a rapid decline in the number of Hungarians. Some teachers and civil servants were expelled from Czechoslovakia while some left due to the harsh circumstances. There are many examples of Hungarians who were forced to leave their homes from this territory (two famous ones are the families of Béla Hamvas[13], and of Albert Szent-Györgyi). The high number of refugees (and even more from Romania) necessitated entire new housing projects in Budapest (Mária-Valéria telep, Pongrácz-telep), which gave shelter to refugees numbering at least in the ten-thousands.[14]

The aftermath of World War II

Preparations for a post-war Czechoslovak state without Hungarians

"After this war there will be no minority rights in the spirit of the old system which began after the First World War. After punishing all the delinquents who committed crimes against the state, the overwhelming majority of the Germans and Hungarians must leave Czechoslovakia. This is our resolute standpoint... Our people cannot live with the Germans and Hungarians in our fatherland."

Edvard Beneš's opinion about the Kosice Government Program[15]

In 1945, at the end of World War II, Czechoslovakia was recreated and Czechoslovak politicians aimed to completely remove the German and Hungarian minorities from the territory of Czechoslovakia via ethnic cleansing.[note 1] Both minorities were considered "war criminals" because representatives of those two minorities, such as Konrad Henlein and János Esterházy, and their two mother countries were instrumental in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia before World War II, via the Munich Agreement and the Vienna Awards.[9][16]

During the last years of the war, Beneš, the leader of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile, worked toward resolving the minority problem of Czechoslovakia. This meant that the German and Hungarian minorities of Czechoslovakia had to be transferred or assimilated,[17][18] because they were the biggest obstacle standing in the way of forming postwar Czechoslovakia into a nation-state.[19] The idea that the Hungarian minority in Slovakia must be destroyed dominated Czechoslovak national policy for an extended period.[20] Meantime, Klement Gottwald, leader of the Czechoslovakian communists had set up a rival government in Moscow. In April 1945 Gottwald and Beneš met in Kosice and they created the new Czechoslovak government, (and announced the "Kosicky vladny program" in English: "Kosice Government Program") which was a mixture of Soviet supported communists and non-communists. All political groups (including the members of the post in-exile and the new government) of Czechoslovakia agreed that the country should be formed into a nation state.[17]

Edvard Beneš (1884-1948)

The Kosice Government Program -under the supervision of the Central Committee of the All-Soviet Communist Party-[21] was created under this spirit. The Hungarian question is mainly dealt with in Chapters VIII; XI and XV out of the 16 chapters of the programme. Chapter VIII deprived the Hungarian and German inhabitants of their citizenship. Chapter XI declared the confiscation of Hungarian landed property while chapter XV ordered to close nationality schools. From chapters VIII and IX, adopted by the cabinet council on April 5, 1945: "As to the Czechoslovak citizens of German and Hungarian nationality, who were Czechoslovak citizens prior to the Munich Pact in 1938, their citizenship will be confirmed and their eventual return to the Republic may be permitted only in the following categories: for anti-Nazis and anti-Fascists who fought against Henlein and Hungarian irredentism, who fought for Czechoslovakia, and who after the Munich Pact and after March 15 were persecuted for their loyalty to Czechoslovakia...The Czechoslovak citizenship of the other Czechoslovak German and Hungarian citizens will be cancelled. Although they may again express a choice for Czechoslovakia, public authorities will retain the right of individual decision."[22] According to the constitution promulgated in May 9, 1948: "We have decided now that our liberated State shall be a national state, rid of all hostile elements, living in brotherly harmony with the family of Slav States and in friendship with all peace-loving nations of the world. (§ 9)"[23] furthermore "The Czechoslovak Republic is a unitary State of two Slav nations possessing equal rights, the Czechs and the Slovaks. (Article II/1 )"[23] The key parts of the nationality policy were written by the vip members of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, like Klement Gottwald, Bohumír Šmeral, Jan Šverma and Vaclav Kopecky.[24] Gustáv Husák said: "The past seven tormenting years have changed our opinion and the opinion of the majority of the world on the minority politics. This is the fourth lesson we are drawing from the fall of 1938, a lesson pointing to the historic crime of the Hungarian and German minorities in the destruction of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, a lesson showing the sufferings of the population of Czechoslovakia, a lesson on the inevitability of expelling and exchanging the minority populations in the interest of the European peace and the peaceful coexistence of the nations." [25] Because the German and Hungarian minorities were pre-war Czechoslovak citizens, Beneš had to adopt decrees that deprived them of their citizenship.[26] In 1945, President Edvard Beneš revoked the citizenship of Germans and Hungarians by decree #33, except those with an active anti-fascist past (see Beneš Decrees), and Czechoslovakia maintained that the peace agreement must include a provision stating that "Hungarians whose Czechoslovak citizenship will now be revoked will be recognized by Hungary as Hungarian citizens and will be settled on its territory, and Hungary will bear responsibility for these individuals from the moment they cross Hungary's border and will provide for them'.[20]

The forced deportation of the Hungarians

"When President Beneš" was in Moscow, I learned from him that the Soviet government agreed to his proposals to deport approximately two-thirds of the German and Hungarian minorities from Czechoslovakia"

A letter from A. Kerr to V.M. Molotov April 11, 1945.[20]
Czech landowners are examining and selecting the free Hungarian workpower at the Czech borderlands.

The resettlement of about 700,000 Hungarians was envisaged at Kosice and subsequently reaffirmed by the National Front.[27] However, the succes of the Czechoslovak deportation plan depended on the decisions of the Great powers.[17] In 1943, before the end of the war, Beneš already had the necessary approval of the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union to transfer the German and Hungarian population out of Czechoslovakia.[17] But at the end of the war, when the American and British leaders saw the blueprint of Beneš's plan, they didnt support it.[17] However, this solution fit into Stalin's Central European policy, and on March 21, 1945, Molotov informed Beneš that the Soviet Union will try to support him to achieve his goal.[28] Zdeněk Fierlinger informed the Czechoslovak government that "Stalin has an utterly positive standpoint on our demands in the matter of the transfer. He will allow us to carry out the transfer to Germany and Hungary, and, to a certain extent, also to Austria"[28] The Potsdam Agreement approved the deportation of Germans from Czechoslovakia,[28] but the removal of the complete Hungarian population proved to be more difficult, and finally failed.[28] The post-war Czechoslovak government attempted to apply the Potsdam Agreement on the Hungarian population too, but the Western powers rejected this conception,[28] and they also refused putting the Czechoslovak demands into the peace treaty with Hungary.[28] The Hungarian government protested against the expel of the Hungarian population from Czechoslovakia and requested intervention from the Allies.[29] When the Czechoslovak government realized that they had lost the support of the Western powers, who advised and supported negotiations with Hungary, they turned to an internal solution, and decided to eliminate the Hungarian minority by Slovakization and Slovak colonization.[29]

"As we are throwing out three million Sudeten Germans, perhaps we could settle 300,000 Hungarians in this territory"

Voroshilov to Clementis[30][31]

"I remember the successive waves of hatred against the Hungarians, especially in the time after the war, when we focuse on our small Slovak revenge, taking no account of political affilitation or religion, when we were willing to come to terms even with Benes if he transferred enough Hungarians to the Sudeten lands, when we persecuted the Hungarians not as collaborators but just as unwanted aliens, when we hated not just Hungarians, but even their language. We need to apologise humbly for each Slovak misdeed, for the suffering thus caused to every individual Hungarian. It is not wolves, but of our citizens that we speak."Memoirs of Vladimír Mináč (1922-1996), member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, chairman of the Slovak Matica, and writer. (1990)[32][33]

Decree NO. #071/1945 ("Presidential edict concerning forced labor services of persons who had lost Czechoslovak citizenship; September 19, 1945") and #88/1945 ("Decree of the President on the General obligation to Work (abrogated by law No. 65/1965)") authorized the Czechoslovak administration to draft people into labour service for one year.[33] Under the disguise of 'labor recruiting' the deportation of Hungarians from South Slovakia began to the recently vacated Czech borderlands,[33][34] and their properties were confiscated.[33] The transit trains were marked with the signs 'voluntary agricultural workers'.[33] In fact, the real goal was to altere the ethnic composition of South Slovakia.[33][34] These 'labor recruitings' were named by Czech historian Karel Kaplan as 'internal colonisations', and according to him: "'internal colonisation', the political aim of which was to transfer a part of the Hungarian minority away from the Hungarian border and to destroy it as a compact territorial unit. This colonisation also had an immediate industrial golal -to provide the depopulated areas with a workforce".[33] Between July and August 1946 under the slogan "Slovak agricultural labour assisting the Czech lands" more Hungarians were deported to Bohemia.[33] Eventually 40,000[29][35]-45,000[36]-50,000[34] Hungarians were deported to Czech territories recently cleared of Sudeten Germans, and their properties were confiscated by the state.[37] According to the Slovak National Archives, 41666 Hungarians had been deported from southern Slovakia.[38] Hungarians who stayed in Slovakia became the targets of the extremly strong slovak assimilation efforts.[39]

Hungarian-Slovak population exchanges

Slovak and Hungarian officers are inspecting the relocation of Hungarians at Nové Zámky (Érsekújvár) in September, 1946.[40]

"The minorities in Central Europe must be liquidated, as they have been a source of trouble and a fifth column"

Joseph Stalin, ÚPV, govt meeting April 16, 1946, secret part[17]

Slovak propaganda poster encouraging Slovaks to move from Hungary to Slovakia via the Slovak-Hungarian population exchange. The text says: Slovak Brothers! Do you want to come to Slovakia, your native land? Do you want to settle down and live among your fellow brothers? Do you want to work on your own land? Do you want your children to go to Slovak schools? Do you want to be citizens of the victorious Czechoslovak state? Do you want to occupy the lands and assets, that are prepared for you? Do you want to find good paying jobs in factories? If you do, come along, the Czechoslovak Republic is waiting for you!

The Czechoslovak leadership pressed for a complete cleansing of the country and the deportation of all Hungarians; however, the Allies prevented a unilateral expulsion,[17] and instead they advised to solve the minoritie's problem on a negotiative way.[29] As a result, the Czechoslovak government resettled more than 40,000 Hungarians to the Czech borderlands, but this action evoked the protest of the United States and Hungary, and for the latter one, it was a warning. Hungary proposed the reannexation of the solidly Hungarian areas (achieved in 1938 via the First Vienna Award, but on February 10, 1947, the Treaty of Paris declared it null and void), however, Czechoslovakia rejected this offer.[35] After this, Czechoslovakia pressed for a bilateral population exchange, to remove Hungarians, and gain Slovak population, to change the ethnic makeup of the country. This plan was initially rejected by Hungary. However, one of the unconcealed purpose of the deportation of the Hungarians to the Czech lands was, to force Hungary to signe the bilateral populaton exchange compact with Czechoslovakia.[41] Soon, Hungary realized, that the Allies are not interested in the fate of the Hungarian minority,[33] and they wont halt the deportations (the peace treaty signed on 1947 did not include any provision concerning the protection of minorities).[33] Under such a circumstances, Hungary finally signed the bilateral agreement with Czechoslovakia in Budapest, on February 27, 1946.[29] The Hungarian government considered the birth of the contract as a big fiasco.[42] The signatories were Vladimír Clementis, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Czechoslovakia and János Gyöngyösi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary. The Czechoslovak government planned the removal of 250000[29][43] Hungarian people from South Slovakia to Hungary,[29] but only 44,129,[29]-45,475[44] -generally well-to-do businessmen, tradesmen, farmers and intellectuals-[37] had been transferred under the bilateral exchange, while 71787 or 73200[8][45][46][note 3] Slovaks from Hungary were resettled in South Slovakia. Slovaks leaving Hungary moved voluntarily, but Hungarians leaving Czechoslovakia were forcibly deported and their properties were taken away. 30,000 Hungarians -wo arrived to the country in 1938, thus they were not Czechoslovak citizens before- left the territories that were re-annexed by Hungary in 1938 (see Vienna Awards) and then re-attached to Czechoslovakia after World War II. This was due to dropping out of the pension, social, and healthcare system.[47] In all, 89660 Hungarians arrived to Hungary from Czechoslovakia between 1945 and 1949.[44] Do to the dissatisfication with their new properties, soon half of the Slovaks who joined the relocation program moved back to Hungary.[33]

Population changes between Czechoslovakia and Hungary (1945–1949)[44]
Appointed for the bilateral Czechoslovak-Hungarian population transfer Number of persons
under article V. of the contract 105047 (27718 families)
under article VIII. of the contract 65200 (23552 families)
De facto transferred Number of persons
under article V. of the contract 45475
as war criminals, article VIII. of the contract 2905
"R" transport (regimists) 1034
before the contract came into effect 11837
from the liberation until the inauguration of the Czechoslovak administration 10196
after the contract came into effect, but beyond from it 11057
after the contract came into effect 1083
from Rusovce 73
voluntarily 6000
together 89660


" Slovakia, the party is breaking into factions. One of the factions is headed by the Representative of the Soviet of Plenipotentiaries, G. Husák. This faction includes Clementis, Novomecký and in general the Slovak intelligentsia and students. It displays a sharply nacionalistic, anti-Semitic, anti-Hungarian character. ... Anti-Semitism generally is widespread in the party"

A letter from Mátyás Rákosi to Joseph Stalin, dated 25, September 1948.[48]

In 1946, another method -the process of "Reslovakization", (or re-Slovakization) the forced acceptance of Slovak nationality[37][49]- was engaged by the Czechoslovak government with the objective of eliminating the Hungarian nationality.[37] As Anton Granatier, officer of the Resettlement Bureau said: „We want to be the national state of Slovaks and Czechs, and we will be. This monumental programme includes re−slovakization, already under way in whole Slovakia! Within the scope of this action everyone who feels to be Slovak by origin will have the chance to declare it freely whether they want to become Slovaks with all its consequences or want to share the fate of those without citizenship.“ The Slovakian Commissioner of the Interior on June 17, 1946 (decree No.20,000/1946) initiated the "Reslovakization" program.[37] In the spring and summer of 1945, a series of decrees stripped Hungarians of property, from all civil rights and from their citizenship.[35] Hungary itself gave the Slovaks equal rights and demanded the same solution to the issue from Czechoslovakia.[48] Since Hungarians in Slovakia were deprived of many rights, and were the target of discrimination, they were pressured into having their nationality officially changed to Slovak, otherwise they dropped out of the pension, social, and healthcare system.[50] 400,000 (sources differ) stateless[36] Hungarians applied for, and eventually 344,609[37] Hungarians received a re-Slovakization certificate by the Central Committee for Reslovakization, and thereby Czechoslovak citizenship. Therefore the number of Hungarians in Slovakia dropped to 350000.[36] According to Russian archives, 20000 Hungarians declared themselves as Slovak at the beginning of the year 1949, and eventually 360000 Hungarians changed their nationality to Slovak, according to Slovak historians.[51] The fear was so big among the Hungarian population, that only 350000 claimed himselfs Hungarian in the 1950 census, and only after ten years -when the reslovakization program was revoked- began to rose and reached 518000.[52]

The main problem with the reslovakization procedure was, that the "reslovakized" Hungarians did not take the forcible change of nationality seriously, because it is impossible to force someone to forget his culture and language suddenly. A Slovak journalist wrote the following about the "reslovaklized" city of Nové Zámky (Hungarian: Érsekújvár): "80% of the Hungarian population of Nové Zamky re-Slovakized . . . On the other hand, the fact remains that one can barely hear Slovak spoken in Nové Zamky. You will never find these 80% Slovaks. Only a few government employees speak Slovak here and there. What happened to the re-Slovakized persons?"[53]

After October, 1948

With the disappearance of Eduard Benes from the political scene, the Czechoslovak government issued decree No. 76/1948 on April 13, 1948, allowing those Hungarians still living in Czechoslovakia, to reinstate Czechoslovak citizenship.[37] A year later, Hungarians were allowed to send their children to Hungarian schools, which had been reopened for the first time since 1945,[37] although Hungarians remaining in Slovakia were subjected to extremely heavy pressure to assimilate,[39] and complaints reached the Soviets about forced enrollment of Hungarian children in Slovak schools.[39]

Most re-Slovakized Hungarians gradually readopted their Hungarian nationality. As a result, the re-Slovakization commission ceased operations in December 1948.

Despite their promises to settle the issue of the Hungarians in Slovakia, in 1948 Czech and Slovak ruling circles still maintained the hope that they could deport the Hungarians from Slovakia.[51] According to a 1948 poll conducted among the Slovak population 55% were for resettlement (deportation) of the Hungarians, 24% said "don't know", 21% were against.[39] Under slogans for the struggle with class enemies, the process of dispersing dense Hungarian settlements continued in 1948 and 1949.[39] By October 1949 preparations were made to deport 600 Hungarian families.[39]

Finally, at 25. july 1949, Czechoslovak and Hungarian delegation signed the Štrb protocol which ended the law disputes between Hungarian and Czechoslovak property and legal question and compensation of deported Hungarians.[54]

The current Slovak-Hungarian political standpoint of the expulsions

In 2002 before Slovakia and Hungary joined the European Union in 2004, Hungarian politican Viktor Orbán demanded the repeal of the Beneš decrees, but the European Parliament asserted that "the decrees did not constitute an insurmountable obstacle to accession."[55] Later on the Hungarian members of the Slovak parliament requested for compensation and for a symbolic apology to the victims of the expulsions.[55] As an answer, the Slovak government adopted a resolution in September 2007 which declared that the Beneš decrees are inalterable.[55]


Czechoslovakia (being a Communist country at that time) financed the following purely Hungarian institutions for the Hungarians in Czechoslovakia as of early 1989: 386 kindergartens, 131 elementary schools, 98 secondary schools, 2 theatres, 1 special Hungarian language publishing house (6 publishing houses also publishing Hungarian literature) and 24 newspapers and journals. The first Hungarian-language university in Slovakia was opened at the beginning of the 21st - the Selye János University.

According to The Minorities at Risk Project:

During the communist regime, Slovak nationalism was largely kept in check by the strongly centralist Prague regime. The 1968 switch to a federal arrangement gave greater scope to Slovak nationalism, however. New policies of assimilation included progressive Slovakization of education, elimination of Hungarian place-names from signs, bans on using Hungarian in administrative dealings and in institutions and workplaces, and pressure to Slovakize Hungarian names. Nonetheless, the most significant exclusionary factor in Hungarians’ social situation under the communist regime was most likely their own refusal to integrate into the Czechoslovak system and to learn the language. Without a fluency in the official language, their economic and political opportunities were severely limited.[56]

However, some Slovak sources they claim that:

  • the federalisation was only notional (see e.g. Slovak Socialist Republic)[citation needed]
  • no change to the minority laws occurred with respect to the year 1968
  • during this time the number of Hungarian language schools and Hungarian-speaking people increased in Slovakia. (While in truth the share (percentage) of Hungarians decreased extremely fast from over 30% in 1910 to 10% today)[citation needed]
  • the names did not have to be Slovakized, it was only required that they have the non-Hungarian word order

Oppression since the independence of Slovakia

Independence of Slovakia from the former Czecho-Slovakia increased the hardship faced by the Hungarian minority[citation needed]. The 1992 Slovak constitution is derived from the concept of the Slovak nation state[57], to the exclusion of minorities.

According to Miklós Duray, a politician of the Party of the Hungarian Coalition:

"The oppression of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia gained momentum with the formation of the Slovak state in 1993, increasing even more sharply since Vladimír Mečiar came to power for the third time in December of 1994."

1. An official language law was promulgated providing the legal framework for the official use of the Slovak language not only in official communications but also in everyday commerce, in the administration of religious bodies, and even in the realm of what is normally considered private interaction, for example, communications between patient and physician.[citation needed] Since 23 January 2007, BBC's radio broadcasting was shut down by the local broadcasting committee giving the language law as the reason[58]

2. Administrative division of Slovakia were geographically modified in a clear case of gerrymandering. The administrative system governed by laws created in 1991, included 17 regions and 2 regions with a majority Hungarian population. The 1996 law eliminated this system of administration. SMK asked in vain for the creation of a Hungarian majority Komárno county. Although a territorial unit of this name existed before 1918, the borders proposed by SMK were significantly different. The proposed region would have encompassed a very long slice of southern Slovakia, with the explicit aim to create an administrative unit with ethnic-Hungarian majority. Hungarian minority politicians and intellectuals thought that such kind of administrative unit is essential for the long-term survival of the Hungarian minority. The Slovak government refused to draw any administrative border along ethnic lines.

In the reorganized system only 2 districts (Dunajská Streda and Komárno) have a Hungarian majority population. Furthermore, 8 regions were created, 5 with Hungarian populations in the 10 to 30 per cent range. After the regions became autonomous in 2002, SMK was able to take power in the Nitra Region and it became part of the ruling coalition in several other regions.

3. On March 12, 1997 (i.e. under Mečiar's government), the Undersecretary of Education sent a circular to the heads of the school districts making known the following regulations:

In Hungarian schools the Slovak language should be taught exclusively by native speakers. The same exclusion criteria applies to non-Slovak schools in the teaching of geography and history. (The Undersecretary modified the language of this regulation later by changing the term "exclusively" for "mainly".)

This measure was immediately changed by the Mikuláš Dzurinda government (1998).

In communities where the Hungarian community exceeds 40% of the total population the teachers of Slovak schools receive supplementary pay.[citation needed]

According to an unofficial website, which is run by a group of immigrants in Canada and definitely not very up to date, all communities which include a Hungarians population and where there is no school or there is no Slovak school, wherever possible a Slovak school should be opened, but not a Hungarian one.[57]

After the parliamentary elections in 2006, the nationalist party of Ján Slota became member of the ruling coalition led by Robert Fico. In August a few incidents motivated by ethnic hatred caused diplomatic tensions between the countries. Mainstream Hungarian and Slovak media blamed Slota's anti-Hungarian statements from the early summer for worsening ethnic relations. (Further informations: 2006 Slovak-Hungarian diplomatic affairs, and Hedvig Malina).

On 27 September 2007 the Beneš decrees were reconfirmed by the Slovak parliament which legitimized the Hungarians and Germans calumination and deportation from Czechoslovakia after World War II.[59]

Ján Slota, the chairman of Slovak government Party SNS, according to whom the Hungarian population of Slovakia "is a tumour in the body of the Slovak nation."[60][61][62]

In 2008, the dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church in Slovakia were reorganized. 8 dioceses were introduced in place of the previous 6. Until the reform the area of Žitný ostrov (Hungarian: Csallóköz), the Matúšova zem (Mátyusföld) and Poiplie (Ipolymente) - where a big portion of the Hungarians of Slovakia resides - belonged to the Archdiocese of Bratislava-Trnava. Now it belongs to four different dioceses. This triggered the protest of Hungarian catholic worshippers and priests.[63] However, the reform was introduced by the Vatican, not by the Slovak Republic.

Also in 2008, Ján Mikolaj (SNS), minister of education propagated changes in the Hungarian schools of Slovakia. According to a new education law plan, the Hungarian language which was educated as mother tongue until now will be considered a foreign language - and therefore taught in less number of lessons. The only textbooks allowed to be used in Hungarian schools will be those translated from Slovak books and approved by Slovak administration[64].
In October 2008 Hungarian parents and teachers sent back Hungarian textbooks to the Minister of Education.[65] The books contained geographical names only in Slovak violating the basic rules of the Hungarian language and the minorities' right of usage of their native language.[65]
In November 2008 Prime Minister Robert Fico has again promised, this time at a cabinet meeting in Komárno (Révkomárom), southern Slovakia, that an ongoing problem with textbooks for ethnic Hungarian schools in Slovakia will be resolved.[66]. Though as of November 2008 Ján Slota still insists on the grammatically incorrect version (Slovak language names in Hungarian sentences) and having the correct Hungarian name only afterwards.[67][68] [69] [70].

The Slovak authorities denied the registration of a Hungarian traditional folk art association, because they used the Hungarian word Kárpát-medence (Carpathian Basin). According to Dušan Čaplovič the word and the association is against the sovereignty of Slovakia, furthermore the word is fascist, it is familiar with the German Lebensraum, and Hungarians use it in this ideology.[71] [72] [73] [74][75] On September 1, 2009 more than ten thousand Hungarians held demonstrations to protest against the so-called language law that limits the use of minority languages in Slovakia.[76] The law calls for fines of up to £4,380 for anyone "misusing the Slovak language.[77]

"Wise historism"

Since deputy prime minister Robert Fico declared the "wise historism" concept, the history books are getting rewritten in a faster pace than before, and in an increased "spirit of national pride",[78] [79] which Krekovič, Mannová and Krekovičováare claim are mainly nothing else, but history falsifications.[79] Such new inventions are the interpretation of Great Moravia as a (proto)-Slovak state, or the term "proto-Slovak" itself,[79] along with the "refreshing" of many "old traditions", that are in fact did not exist or were not Slovak before.[79] The concept received criticism in Slovakia pointing out that the term proto-Slovak cannot be found in any serious publication, simply because it lacks any scientific basis.[80] Miroslav Kusý Slovak political scientist explained that by adopting such scientificly questionable rhetoric Fico aims to "strengthen national consciousness by falsification of history".[81]


The ethnic relationship of Prešov Region is complex and volatile. A long-term cultural and everyday cohabition of Rusyns, Eastern Slovaks and Hungarians, under the prepodence of the non-Rusyn element led to the linguistic Slovakization of Rusyns, while in some parts (in cities and ethnic islands in the south) they were Magyarized. Still, in both cases they preserved their religion (Greek Catholicism). Until the 1920s, the Slovak-speaking Greek-Catholics composed a transitional group that was connected with the Rusyns through religion and traditions, with Slovak as their language. Their number was gradually increasing with the transition of the parts of Rusyn population to the Slovak language. Slovakization of the Rusyn population increased in the times of the Czechoslovakian authorities (since 1920). The Greek Catholics and Orthodox started to perceive themselves as Slovaks. It is difficult to estimate the distribution of the Orthodox and the Greek Catholics by the language as well as to determine the number of Rusyns because both the Hungarian and Czechoslovakian censuses provided the incorrect number of Rusyns, but it contains roughly 50-100 000 people. According to censuses The decrease of the number of Rusyns was influenced not only by Slovakization but also by emigration of a significant number of Rusyns from Prešov, mainly to the Czech lands.

The Slovakian pressure on Rusyns in Slovakia increased after 1919 when Czechoslovakia incorporated Transcarpathia to the west of the Uzh River. The Slovakization of Rusyns (and Ukrainians) was a part of the program of the Slovak People's Party, whose leader refused to cooperate with the Rusyn politicians of Transcarpathia but cooperated with Hungarian-speaking A. Brody. Therefore, the Rusyn politicians opened the links with the Czech political parties which were supportive of neutrality towards the Rusyn question. The cultural Slovak-Rusyn relations at the time were minimal.

(from the Entsyklopediia Ukrainoznavstva)

See also


  1. ^ Ethnic cleansing is a term that has come to be used broadly to describe all forms of ethnically-motivated violence, ranging from murder, rape, and torture to the forcible removal of populations (Carmichael, Cathie (200 2). Ethnic cleansing in the Balkans: nationalism and the destruction of tradition (Illustrated ed.). Routledge. p. 2. ISBN 0415274168, 9780415274166. )
  2. ^ In 1930, according to the Czechoslovak census
  3. ^ The exact number depending on the source used


  1. ^ a b J. Rieber 2000
  2. ^ Magocsi & Pop 2002, p. 75
  3. ^ Yeshayahu A. 1983, p. 185
  4. ^ Yehudah & Karády 1989, p. 216
  5. ^ Macartney, C.A. (1937). Hungary and her successors - The Treaty of Trianon and Its Consequences 1919-1937. Oxford University Press. 
  6. ^ "East on the Danube: Hungary's Tragic Century". The New York Times. 2003-08-09. Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  7. ^ Macartney 2001, p. 3
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  9. ^ a b Marko & Martinický 1995
  10. ^ Engemann 2008, p. 2
  11. ^
  12. ^ Kovács 2004
  13. ^ HamvasBé
  14. ^ Magyarország a XX. században / Szociálpolitika
  15. ^ Cas, Bratislava, vol. 2, no 19, May 12, 1945
  16. ^ Jablonicky 1965, p. 401
  17. ^ a b c d e f g Kaplan 1987, p. 26
  18. ^ Otáhoalová, op. cit., pp. 199-200, 294-6; J.W. Brügel, Tschechen und Deutsche, vol. II, Munich 1974; E. Benes, Demokracie dnes zítra, London 1946, pp. 176-7; J. Kŕen, "Odsun Némcú ve světle nových dokumentů" in Vídeňské svobodné listy, Vienna, vol.34; Klimeš et al.,op.cit., p.56
  19. ^ Kamusella 2009, p. 774
  20. ^ a b c J. Rieber 2000, pp. 84-85
  21. ^ J. Rieber 2000, p. 83
  22. ^ Chapters VIII and IX of the "Statute issued in Košice" , Slovakia, April 5, 1945 (Program of the new Czechoslovak Government, the National Front of Czechs and Slovaks, adopted by the cabinet council on April 5, 1945)
  23. ^ a b The Constitution of the Czechoslovak Republic; Constitutional Act ofMay 9th, 1948. Prague, Czechoslovak Ministry of Information, 1948.
  24. ^ Lastovicka 1960, pp. 449-471
  25. ^ G Husak "Poucenia z jesene 1938," Nove Slovo, vol. 2, no 20, October 12, 1945, 1-3
  26. ^ Kamusella 2009, pp. 774-775
  27. ^ Country Study 1987
  28. ^ a b c d e f Kaplan 1987, p. 27
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h Kaplan 1987, p. 29
  30. ^ Ibid.,meetings Sept.11,1945,July 12, 16, August 9, 1946; SÚA, fond MV, a.j. 2308/2515 B, district security conference 1947
  31. ^ Kaplan 1987, p. 32
  32. ^ Mináč 1993, pp. 115-116
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k C.M. Breuning, Dr. Lewis & Pritchard 2005, pp. 140-143
  34. ^ a b c J. Rieber 2000, p. 90
  35. ^ a b c Mandelbaum 2000, p. 40
  36. ^ a b c Kamusella 2009, p. 775
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h "Human Rights For Minorities In Central Europe: Ethnic Cleansing In Post World War II Czechoslovakia: The Presidential Decrees Of Edward Benes, 1945-1948". 
  38. ^ a b Slovenský národný archív, Bratislava (Slovak National Archives, Bratislava Acces date:2010-01-11) - Povereníctvo pôdohospodárstva a pozemkovej reformy - sekcia B ( ) box 304. tatistický preh ad náborom pracovných síl odsunutých na práce do iech.
  39. ^ a b c d e f J. Rieber 2000, p. 93
  40. ^ Rubicon, történelmi folyóirat, 2005/6 (in Hungarian) Rubicon Hungarian History Magazine, 2006/6.
  41. ^ Šutaj 2005, pp. 20-29
  42. ^ Kertesz 1985, p. 33
  43. ^ SNA, ÚV KSS, 789. d., Záznam o zasad nu tí roz ší re né ho Pred sed níc tva KSS, kona nomdňa 16. 6. 1945.
  44. ^ a b c Prof. PaedDr. Štefan Šutaj, DrSc. (2007). "The Czechoslovak government policy and population exchange (A csehszlovák kormánypolitika és a lakosságcsere)". Slovak Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 2010-01-10. 
  45. ^ Bobák 1996
  46. ^ Zvara 1969
  47. ^ Index - A magyarok kitelepítése: mézesmadzag a szlovákoknak
  48. ^ a b J. Rieber 2000, p. 91
  49. ^ Ther & Siljak 2001, p. 15
  50. ^ Szegő 2007
  51. ^ a b J. Rieber 2000, p. 92
  52. ^ Mandelbaum 2000, p. 43
  53. ^ Nás Národ, September 7, 1947. (Article by J. Miklo.)
  54. ^ Vladimír Draxler - Štrbský protokol
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  56. ^ March| Data | Assessment for Hungarians in Slovakia
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  59. ^ "The Beneš-Decrees Are Untouchable" (PDF). mkp. 2007. Retrieved October 2008. 
  60. ^ "Separatist Movements Seek Inspiration in Kosovo". Der Spiegel. 2008-02-22.,1518,537008-2,00.html. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  61. ^ Slovakia and Hungary just won't get along
  62. ^ Slovakia and Hungary 'Dangerously Close to Playing with Fire'
  63. ^ Nyílt levél a szlovák püspökkari konferenciához. (27th February 2008)
  64. ^ Sínen a školský zákon. Duray: ravasz módszerekkel próbálkoznak (05th March 2008)
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  66. ^ "SFico says Hungarian textbooks problem will be resolved". 2008-11-19. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  67. ^ "Slota: Meghátráltunk, kétnyelvűek lesznek a településnevek" (in Hungarian). 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
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  75. ^, (in ENGLISH) Nov 20, 2008 (BBC Monitoring via COMTEX)
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  77. ^ [2]
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