B bábi, Tibor

Bohemia, Hungarian Minority in

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Bohemia, Hungarian Minority in (Bohemia is now part of the Czech Republic) - A Czech Government Decree (Beneš Decree) in 1945 labelled all Germans and Hungarians as “collective war ciminals” and wanted to expel about 650,000 native Hungarians from former Northern Hungary (Felvidék, now Slovakia) in the spring of 1945; but the Treaty of Potsdam prevented this. However, as a consequence of the Beneš Decrees, the Czechoslovak Government stripped all Hungarians of their citizenship and jobs, confiscated their houses, their tools, their lands, their livelihoods, and seniors lost their pension. Their displacement to farmland in Western Bohemia followed. They were moved to replace the expulsed 3.5 million Germans originally of Sudetenland. About 12,000 Hungarians were moved in the first wave. The second wave counted about 32,000. It was a brutal wintertime maneuver. The Hungarians were obliged to move mostly from areas – where they formed the majority – from their original homeland in the Kingdom of Hungary. The Czechoslovak Government wanted to project an image to the Allied Powers that their Hungarian minority in Northern Hungary is similar in numbers to the 100,000 Slovak minority in truncated Hungary. Knowing the real numbers, the Hungarian Government did not want a population exchange and at the same time the Slovakian minority in Hungary was also reluctant to move to Slovakia. In turn, the Czech administration brought new regulations against the Hungarian minority. In view of all this, the Hungarian Government felt obliged to displace some of the Slovak population living in Hungary. That provoked a major Czech propaganda campaign and the repatriation of a limited number of Slovaks, while 100,000 Hungarians from the former Northern Hungary were expelled into the present truncated Hungary. Responding to international pressure, the Czechoslovak Government finally re-established the civil rights to their persecuted Hungarian minority. This was followed by the return of many older Hungarians into the former Northern part of Hungary. Lacking private financial support, the rest of the Hungarian minority stayed in the Czech mining region in Bohemia and was at the mercy of the authorities. Today, their descendants form the remaining local Hungarian minority. – B: 1219, 1020. T: 3240.→Beneš Decrees; Czechoslovakia, Hungarians in; Trianon Peace Treaty; Paris Peace Treaty.

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