by Dan Tanasă
I received a copy of this email signed by Valentin Prundaru, a Romanian living in Canada, and decided to post it on my blog. I hope the editors of ”Rough Guide to Romania” will have the decency to reply in a timely manner.
From: Valentin Prundaru
Date: Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 7:43 AM
I live in Canada, and I’ve read your book, “Rough Guide to Romania”.
My feedback for you is the following:
Generally speaking the book describes very well lot’s of places in Romania, and it’s a very good guide for somebody who has never been to this beautiful country. As a Romanian, who lived lot’s o years in Transylvania and visited all of it, from Satu Mare to Targu Secuiesc, and from Timisoara to Sighetu Marmatiei, I can say that the book is presenting in an unfair manner the Romanians, in relation with the Hungarians and Szekelys minority.
After reading the book, my feeling was that the authors are presenting Romania as a country that got lucky and after WWI it was rewarded with territories which didn’t deserve it and which belongs to Hungary.
Reading the book, i found out that most of thecities in Transylvania have written their Hungarian name as well; why is that? In a book about tourism, you don’t have to complicate the reader with other names, than the official ones!
How come is not mentioned the English name of Iasi (Jassy) but is mentioned the Hungarian name of Sovata (Szovata), which is pretty much the same with the official name. If this book is written for Hungarians it shouldn’t be written by the Americans authors under your prestigious editure!
There are some wrong statements, such as the one of page 208, about the city of Turda (I quote): “Modern Turda, with its 60,000 mainly Magyar inhabitants and a large Roma minority…”. If you read any article about Turda you will find out that the Romanians are 85%, and the Hungarians only 9%. Even more, in 1940 when Hitler has forced Romania to accept the “Diktat of Viena”, Turda was still in Romania.
Also you mentioned about the three big Magyar Cities (???): Targu Mures, Cluj and Oradea. For your information, although the Romanians were always a majority of Transylvania because of their orthodox religion they had a status of the second citizen nation and they weren’t part of the Union of The Three Nations (Hungarians, Germans and Szekelers). The Unio Trium Nationum was formed in order to suppress the revolt of mainly Romanians who were living mostly in the countryside.
On page 297, you are mentioning about Satu Mare that the Hungarian population has fallen from 75%, to only 30%. My questions are:
a. what is the relevance of this fact for a book about tourism?
b. if you have mentioned this issue, please explain why this happened? Were they expelled? Killed by Romanians? Emigrated to Hungary?
Of course, after 1920 they immigrated from the villages to the main cities but the balance of the Romanians and Hungarians for the whole Transylvania (including the 3 “Magyar” cities) it was pretty much the same. Nobody moved the Hungarians around or the Moldavians to Transylvania. For sure, there were some mixed marriages, some people moving in other parts of the countries, looking for jobs, but it was far from your tendentious presentation.
Another shocking thing in your book is that you are mentioning about the fact that Hungary lost 2/3 of the territory, and 1/3 of the population in 1920, because of the Trianon Treaty! This has nothing to do with Romania, and if this is your opinion you should put it in the Rough Guide of Hungary not of Romania!
The truth is (please read the history book!) Transylvania was NEVER part of Hungary. In 1867 it has been awarded by the Habsburg Empire, to be administrated from Budapest, when it was established the Austro-Hungary Empire. Without the Austrians Hungarians wouldn’t be able to do it. In fact the Great Hungary never existed as a country!
How could the authors explain that the Austrians have never claim Czech Republic, Slovenia or Bukovina?
Another misleading information is that the authors implies the fact that Moldavians and Wallachians were brought in Transylvania to change the demographics. This is easy to prove that is not true even only with the Szekely area; If it was how you suggested, do you truly believe that the demographic changes would not start with this area? The reality is that even on the North East Territory of Transylvania, which was incorporated by Hitler and Horthy into Hungary, the majority of the population was made up by Romanians.
Right now, in the whole Transylvania, including Banat, Crisana, and Maramures, there are 75% Romanians and only 20% Hungarians.
Yes, the history of Romanians and Hungarians in Transylvania in interfering each other, considering the fact that even two of their greater kings: Matthias Corvinus (Matei Corvin), and Janosh Hunyadi (Iancu de Hunedoara) were Romanians!
In all those territory, with “Magyar cities”, the majority of the population was always formed by Romanians and moreover, when the Red Army of the Communist Hungary (Bella Kun, in 1919) had attacked Romania, our army defeated it and has conquered Hungary, including Budapest, changing the Government.
In conclusion, next time, when you are doing the new edition (the 7th), I suggest you to take out from the book everything it’s not true, every insinuation that Transylvania was part of Greater Hungary because that country has never existed!
Maybe you, the authors of the book, Tim Burford and Norm Longley have a Hungarian background or maybe the Hungarian influence is so strong and people like Laszlo Tokes and Viktor Orban are paying big money to deform the reality, but it’s not fair to present a country, insulting, and denigrating their citizens!
Also, for the accuracy, I suggest you to separate Crisana (with Oradea city) from Banat, to separate Bukovina, from Moldavia, and to do a better delimitation of Moldova, Wallachia and Banat, because South of Galati, and Focsani, it’s Wallachia, and West of Turnu Severin it’s Banat.
I hope this feedback it will be welcomed, and you will consider it.
Victoria BC, Canada