The Transcarpathian Hungarians suffered their greatest tragedy in November 1944. The Soviet troops occupying the county gathered Hungarian and Swabian men aged between 18 and 50 for „Malenkij robot”, and drove them on foot to the collection camp in Svaliava, and from there to Sambir. Those who survived the hardships were sent to the Gulag camps. More than 10,000 never returned home.
The victims were remembered on November 17th in Berehovo. The event started in the courtyard of the Ferenc Rakoczi II Transcarpathian Hungarian College of Higher Education, where the participants laid wreaths in front of the statue of Péter Matl.
Afterwards, they gathered for an ecumenical service in the local Reformed church, where János Molnár, parish priest of the Berehovo Roman Catholic Diocese, István Marosi, the Greek Catholic priest of the Ortutay Centre and Ferenc Taracközi, the senior pastor of the Reformed Congregation in Berehovo preached.
Ádám Stifter, Deputy State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, said,
– 79 years after the tragedy, we all have a great responsibility. Our task is to uncover the fate of our ancestors in as much detail as possible and to preserve their memory for posterity. For there is no future for nations who do not remember their own past.
The Deputy State Secretary stressed that support for the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia will continue.
– We are doing our best to ensure that Hungarian organisations in Transcarpathia can continue to operate in the current situation.
– Ádám Stifter said.
Afterwards, István Csernicskó, Rector of the Rakoczi College, recalled the events 79 years before.
After the speeches, the attendees read the names of the more than 300 victims one by one, and worshipped the memorial plaque in the hall of the Reformed Church.
Then the participants marched through the city with candles and laid wreaths at the memorial plaque at the entrance to the Taras Shevchenko Lyceum in Berehove and at the memorial on Széna Square.
The event was organised by the Pro Cultura Subcarpathica NGO, the Ferenc Rakoczi II Transcarpathian Hungarian College of Higher Education, the Mayor’s Office of Berehovo and the historical churches.