On Wednesday, November 16, the Cultural Alliance of Hungarians in Sub-Carpathia (KMKSZ) organized a memorial march of nearly thirty kilometers from Mukachevo to Svaliava to commemorate the men abducted for the Malenkiy Robot (to perform forced labour).
The all-day long demonstration called for the rehabilitation of tens of thousands of deported men. More than five hundred pilgrims remembered the deportees and wreathed nameplates at the Svaliava Memorial Park.
Ferenc Kálmán, the Commissioner responsible for neighborhood policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Economy of Hungary, was the first to speak at the memorial park set up at the site of the former collection camp.
“We pay great respect to the memory of our innocently deported compatriots and remember the terrible human tragedies,” said the Commissioner. Speaking about the deprived situation of the Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia, he emphasized: “It must be accepted that all nations have a right to exist, and the Ukrainian people have also suffered a great deal in their history.”
“In spite of all the tremendous trials and losses, we are, exist, grow and continue to build the nation that has lasted for the past 1100 years. Today, one of the principles of the Hungarian government’s national policy is that all Hungarians matter: those who have lived in the past, those who live in the present and the generations to come” – emphasized Ferenc Kálmán.
László Brenzovics, President of the KMKSZ, said that the Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia has shown that it will continue to stand up for its past and future, and we will continue to fight for the preservation of our rights and for the Hungarians living here to remain in their homeland and be able to use their native language freely. He recalled that this is the year of round anniversaries for the Sub-Carpathian Hungarians, since region had been annexed to Czechoslovakia a hundred years ago, was invaded by the Soviet troops 75 years ago and about 30,000 Transcarpathian Hungarians and Germans were taken to camps. This is also the year of the thirtieth anniversary of the KMKSZ. He added that 122 monuments have been erected in the region to commemorate the victims of the Stalinist terror, and the names of 12,000 victims were written on the 100 plaques in the memorial park. He said it was unfortunate that this was the third time that a memorial service had to be organized, since the innocent Hungarian victims of the Soviet terror had not yet been formally rehabilitated in Ukraine.
The commemoration ended with a common prayer and wreaths were laid at the memorial plaques.