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A Special Relationship


(Own report) — The Hun­gar­i­an Nation­al Assem­bly com­mem­o­rat­ed the post World War II “dis­fran­chise­ment and expul­sion of Hun­gar­i­an Ger­mans” on Novem­ber 16, with the pres­i­dents of the Ger­man and the Euro­pean par­lia­ments in atten­dance. The occa­sion was a con­fer­ence on the 60th anniver­sary of the relo­ca­tion of the eth­nic Ger­mans of Hun­gary. The con­fer­ence had been ini­ti­at­ed by the social demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­dent of the Hun­gar­i­an Par­lia­ment, Katal­in Szili. She sees the post war relo­ca­tion deci­sions, which were derived from the Pots­dam Con­fer­ence, as “doc­u­ments of shame”. She also rejects the Czech gov­ern­men­t’s Beneš Decrees and recent­ly called off a vis­it to Slo­va­kia, because, con­trary to Budapest — the par­lia­ment in Bratisla­va did not annul the 1945 relo­ca­tion deci­sions. Pre­ced­ing the Novem­ber 16 ses­sion, the Pres­i­dent of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Dis­placed Per­sons (Bund der Ver­triebe­nen BdV), Eri­ka Stein­bach, award­ed Szili with the asso­ci­a­tion’s Medal of Hon­or. Hop­ing to prof­it from the annul­ment of the post war order, Budapest is coop­er­at­ing with Berlin. Hun­dreds of thou­sands of mem­bers of the Hun­gar­i­an speak­ing minor­i­ty in Slo­va­kia are hop­ing for repa­ra­tions and resti­tu­tion if the Beneš Decrees are abro­gat­ed. The Ger­man-Hun­gar­i­an revi­sion­ist axis had been forged long before the 1989 upheaval and con­sol­i­dat­ed through gov­ern­ment accords. Its offen­sive against Poland, the Czech Repub­lic and Slo­va­kia is gain­ing momen­tum.
No Taboo
Promi­nent Hun­gar­i­an and Ger­man politi­cians are tak­ing part in the Hun­gar­i­an Nation­al Assem­bly’s com­mem­o­ra­tion con­fer­ence on the “60th Anniver­sary of Dis­fran­chise­ment and Expul­sion of Hun­gar­i­an Ger­mans”. Speak­ers will include rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the “Hun­gar­i­an Ger­mans”, the Min­is­ter of the Prime Min­is­ter’s Office, Peter Kiss, and the Minor­i­ty Ombuds­man of the Hun­gar­i­an par­lia­ment. The Pres­i­dent of the Ger­man Bun­destag, Nor­bert Lam­mert, as well as the Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, Hans-Gert Pöt­ter­ing will also par­tic­i­pate in the con­fer­ence at the invi­ta­tion of Katal­in Szili, Pres­i­dent of the Hun­gar­i­an Par­lia­ment. In June 2006, at the inau­gu­ra­tion of a memo­r­i­al ded­i­cat­ed to relo­cat­ed Ger­mans, near the Hun­gar­i­an cap­i­tal, Katal­in Szili had already made her rejec­tion of the 1945 relo­ca­tion deci­sions clear, declar­ing: “the Ger­mans’ dis­fran­chise­ment, their expul­sion from their moth­er coun­try can no longer be treat­ed as a taboo.”[1]
Post War Order
Like the relo­ca­tion of Ger­mans from Poland and Czecho­slo­va­kia, the relo­ca­tion of the “Hun­gar­i­an Ger­mans” was part of the Euro­pean post war order as decid­ed by the vic­to­ri­ous allied pow­ers. This relo­ca­tion was stip­u­lat­ed in Chap­ter XIII of the Pots­dam Treaty and — anal­o­gous to Prague’s Beneš Decrees — was imple­ment­ed in Budapest by nation­al pro­vi­sions. With these relo­ca­tions, the Allies drew the con­se­quences of not only the Ger­man “Volks­grup­pen” pol­i­cy (an eth­nic based 5th col­umn pol­i­cy) for the desta­bi­liza­tion of East­ern Europe, that had reached its cli­max in the so called Sude­ten regions, but also of Nazi crimes in the occu­pied coun­tries, with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Hun­gar­i­ans and “Hun­gar­i­an Ger­mans”. Hun­gary, which became Ger­many’s ally in the war, annexed part of today’s Slo­vak ter­ri­to­ry, only weeks after the Ger­man inva­sion of Czecho­slo­va­kia. His­to­ri­ans esti­mate that approx­i­mate­ly 120.000 of the 470.000 “Hun­gar­i­an Ger­mans” reg­is­tered in a 1940 cen­sus, fought in the Nazi SS divi­sions.
Since the 1989 upheaval, Budapest — in con­tra­ven­tion to the Pots­dam Treaty and the post war order this treaty estab­lished — has been ful­ly com­ply­ing with the demands of the relo­cat­ed Ger­mans. Already March 28, 1990, the Hun­gar­i­an par­lia­ment alleged that the relo­ca­tion of “Hun­gar­i­an Ger­mans” was in vio­la­tion of the Uni­ver­sal Human Rights and there­fore ille­gal. Two years lat­er, 1992, a law was passed grant­i­ng repa­ra­tions to the “Hun­gar­i­an Ger­mans”. Even though these repa­ra­tions were usu­al­ly grant­ed in the form of coupons (“repa­ra­tions coupons”) for invest­ing in shares or apart­ments, the relo­cat­ed often lost their ben­e­fits through shady trans­ac­tions with their coupons. Still, more than 11 mil­lion Euros were paid to the “Hun­gar­i­an Ger­mans,” in addi­tion to their shares. In the mean­time, the approx­i­mate­ly 62.000 “Hun­gar­i­an Ger­mans” who are still liv­ing today in Hun­gary, enjoy exten­sive eth­nic priv­i­leges (“minor­i­ty rights”), since 1995 they have their own polit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion (“Lan­des­selb­stver­wal­tung”) and are part of a pan-Euro­pean net­work of Ger­man speak­ing minori­ties, that is instru­men­tal for the Ger­man min­istry of the inte­ri­or to have influ­ence on the poli­cies of oth­er Euro­pean nations (ger­man-for­eign-pol­i­cy-com report­ed [2]).
Col­lab­o­ra­tion Ben­e­fits
In spite of the Ger­man’s enhanced sta­tus, Budapest is prof­it­ing from the Ger­man-Hun­gar­i­an revi­sion­ist pol­i­cy. If the Beneš Decrees are abro­gat­ed in Slo­va­kia, the Hun­gar­i­an-speak­ing minor­i­ty, of approx. 600,000, can hope for repa­ra­tions and resti­tu­tion. In the after­math of World War II, because of Budapest’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the break-up of Czecho­slo­va­kia, along­side the Ger­man, the Hun­gar­i­an minor­i­ty was expro­pri­at­ed and a pro­por­tion relo­cat­ed. Fol­low­ing an ini­tia­tive tak­en by the Slo­va­kian “Par­ty of the Hun­gar­i­an Coali­tion” (SMK) call­ing for the abro­ga­tion of the Beneš Decrees, the par­lia­ment in Bratisla­va reaf­firmed Sep­tem­ber 20, their invi­o­la­bil­i­ty. Hun­gar­i­an politi­cians have been up in arms ever since. Pres­i­dent Las­z­lo Soly­om, who in the 1990s had worked with an influ­en­tial Ger­man “Volks­grup­pen” spe­cial­ist [3], vis­it­ed the Hun­gar­i­an minor­i­ty com­mu­ni­ty in Slo­va­kia and sharply crit­i­cized the Beneš Decrees. The par­lia­men­tary pres­i­dent, Szili, indig­nant­ly renounced a vis­it to the Slo­vak cap­i­tal. Prime Min­is­ter Fer­enc Gyurcsany threat­ened that the Beneš Decrees are “not only in vio­la­tion of the prin­ci­ples of good neigh­bor­ly rela­tions, but also in vio­la­tion of basic EU principles.”[4] Last­ly, on demand of an SMK par­lia­men­tar­i­an, the Inte­ri­or Com­mit­tee of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment is now tak­ing up the ques­tion.
Already before the 1989 upheavals, West Ger­many had enticed Hun­gary with the prospects of a Euro­pean revi­sion and won the sup­port for its demands for the relo­cat­ed as well as for the “Hun­gar­i­an Ger­mans” who remained in the coun­try. Already in the 1950s, Budapest per­mit­ted the found­ing of a “Fed­er­a­tion of Hun­gar­i­an Ger­mans” and con­tin­u­ous­ly extend­ed its scope of activ­i­ties. In 1984, the for­mer chair­man of the orga­ni­za­tion of the relo­cat­ed, the “Lands­man­nschaft of the Ger­mans from Hun­gary,” report­ed that the “injus­tice of the relo­ca­tion” is becom­ing a theme of dis­cus­sion in the Hun­gar­i­an cap­i­tal. In 1985 the first “Hun­gar­i­an Ger­man” asso­ci­a­tion (“Niko­laus-Lenau-Kul­turvere­in”) was found­ed in Pecs, fol­lowed by numer­ous oth­er “eth­nic group” orga­ni­za­tions toward the end of the 1980s. In 1987 Bonn achieved a break­through. On Octo­ber 7, the gov­ern­ments of the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many and Hun­gary signed, a joint dec­la­ra­tion, that pro­vid­ed for a spe­cial pro­gram “to pro­mote the Ger­man minor­i­ty and the Ger­man lan­guage in the Hun­gar­i­an Repub­lic”.
The prospect of Hun­gar­i­an ben­e­fit from the revi­sion con­tributed — in Sep­tem­ber 1989 — to Hun­gary’s head­long surge to open its bor­ders to Aus­tri
a lead­ing to the col­lapse of the social­ist state sys­tem. It was not by coin­ci­dence that promi­nent mem­bers from the entourage of the “relo­cat­ed” asso­ci­a­tions were on hand with much pub­lic­i­ty for the first — ille­gal — bor­der crossings.[5] While Budapest quick­ly com­plied with all demands of the relo­cat­ed Ger­mans, the gov­ern­ments of both coun­tries worked on the Ger­man-Hun­gar­i­an Friend­ship Treaty [6] that was signed in Feb­ru­ary 1992. Arti­cle 1 declares the goal to be a “close, part­ner-like and, in accor­dance with the spe­cial rela­tions enjoyed by the two coun­tries, coop­er­a­tion at all lev­els.” Arti­cle 2 ele­vates “nation­al minori­ties” to “nat­ur­al bridges between the peo­ples.” Arti­cle 19 explic­it­ly defines the spe­cial rights to be enjoyed by the “Hun­gar­i­an Ger­mans” (the Ger­man minor­i­ty). Only a few months lat­er, in Sep­tem­ber 1992, this para­graph was made more pre­cise through a joint dec­la­ra­tion of the two gov­ern­ments “con­cern­ing the demands of the Ger­man minority.”[7]
Inter­nal Struc­ture
With the pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Par­lia­men­t’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the “com­mem­o­ra­tion con­fer­ence” in Budapest, the EU is being impli­cat­ed in the Ger­man Hun­gar­i­an revi­sion attempts — at a time when Berlin is tak­ing the offen­sive in its attempts to erect a “Cen­ter against Expul­sions.” The attacks are being accom­pa­nied by the edi­fi­ca­tion of a Euro­pean wide relo­ca­tion asso­ci­a­tion, that is to be pre­sent­ed to the pub­lic at the begin­ning of Decem­ber (german-foreign-policy.com report­ed [8]). Ital­ian orga­ni­za­tions are play­ing an impor­tant role in this effort. While the EU is pro­gres­sive­ly draw­ing clos­er togeth­er, to be bet­ter able to glob­al­ly com­pete, inside the union, a revi­sion­ist alliance is con­geal­ing, com­prised of the losers of World War II. This pro­vides a glimpse at the inter­nal struc­tures and the hege­mon­ic hub of a future world pow­er.

[1] Rede zur Ver­lei­hung der Ehren­plakette des BdV an die ungarische Par­la­mentspräsi­dentin Dr. Katal­in Szili durch BdV-Präsi­dentin Eri­ka Stein­bach MdB am 16. Novem­ber 2007 in Budapest
[2] see also Aktion­sein­heit­en
[3] see also Die zweite Welle and “Transsil­vanien ist unser”
[4] Ungarn — Slowakei: Ungarn empört über slowakische Bestä­ti­gung der Benes-Dekrete; Die Presse 28.09.2007
[5] Im Spät­som­mer 1989 lief ein Foto durch die Presse, das Wal­bur­ga von Hab­s­burg, die Tochter des ehe­ma­li­gen öster­re­ichis­chen Thron­fol­gers Otto von Hab­s­burg (CSU), beim Durch­schnei­den des öster­re­ichisch-ungarischen Grenz­za­uns zeigt. Bei­de arbeit­eten damals an führen­der Stelle der “Paneu­ropa Union” — gemein­sam mit deren heutigem Präsi­den­ten Bernd Pos­selt. Pos­selt ste­ht heute auch der Sude­tendeutschen Lands­man­nschaft vor, in der das Haus Hab­s­burg hohes Anse­hen genießt. See also Paneu­ropa-Pick­nick
[6] Ver­trag zwis­chen der Bun­desre­pub­lik Deutsch­land und der Repub­lik Ungarn über fre­und­schaftliche Zusam­me­nar­beit und Part­ner­schaft in Europa, unterze­ich­net am 06.02.1992
[7] Gemein­same Erk­lärung zwis­chen der Regierung der Bun­desre­pub­lik Deutsch­land und der Regierung der Repub­lik Ungarn über die Förderung der deutschen Min­der­heit und des Unter­richts von Deutsch als Fremd­sprache in der Repub­lik Ungarn, unterze­ich­net am 25.09.1992
[8] see also Beachtlich­es Gewicht, Heute ist es das Gle­iche and Revi­sion­sof­fen­sive


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