Not so far back in time

January 5, 2007

Vera Rich's acutely sensitive East European antennae have picked up something very important in Transylvania ("Tensions mount as staff fired for using Hungarian", December 15). Unfortunately, the erroneous date given for the merger of the Bolyai (Hungarian-language) and Babes (Romanian-language) universities suggests a wartime origin for the current strife. Without going into the details of the history of Romanian-Hungarian relations in Transylvania,Jit should be said that theJenforced merger took place in 1959, after the Romanians hadJbeen reassured by the Soviet-backed K d r regime that Hungary no longer had any claims on Transylvanian territory. (Rather than agree to the merger, the Hungarian rector of Bolyai University, the poet László Szabédi, committed suicide.) What the Hungarians want, therefore, harks back to the status quo pre-1959.

Peter Sherwood
Honorary senior lecturer in Hungarian language and literature
University College London

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