Endre Tóth:
The first bilateral discussions between Czechoslovakia and Hungary (1921) – Bruck an der Leitha (1st part)

From the Czechoslovak-Hungarian relations’ aspect, 1921 can be viewed as an important year. After two years of difficult coexistence in the first part of the mentioned year, in Middle-Europe that was newly arranged after the war, the backgrounds for, even if not friendly relations, but traditional communication between the governments of the two countries were set, of which all the necessary conditions – through the signing and ratifying the Trianon Peace-Treaty by the Hungarian National Assembly – were define from the previous year.

The first bilateral discussions on Ministry level took place in Lower Austria, Bruck an der Leitha, on 14th – 15th March 1921 – when the leading politics of the newly-formed Czechoslovakia and the post-war Hungary met: Edvard Bene¹, Czechoslovak Foreign Minister, and his Hungarian partner, Gratz Gusztáv, and Teleki Pál, Hungarian Prime Minister – as a result of the series of secret discussions that began in autumn 1920. This first meeting determined the process and character of the discussion that run in the spirit of mutual recognition of the viewpoints concerning the parties’ development of Middle-Europe and of the arrangement of the relations of the two parties. This meeting on ministry level meant the clash of the two discussion conceptions at the same time. While the Czechoslovak party, in contrast with raising political questions, initiated mainly to discuss the economic questions, while the Hungarian party connected the discussion of political issues with raising economic questions. Moreover, this Ministry-level discussion was not only of informative character, but there were concrete results. Both parties agreed on establishing four professional committees – political-legal, financial, transport and economy –, within the framework of which the most fundamental issues of the normalisation of neighbour relations can be solved. Although, the possibilities of solving the joint problems were very soon broken by Habsburg Károly’s first restoration attempt.

Aranka T. Sápos:
The Tõketerebes district’s ethnical composition during the dualism

In modern story writing the numerical development of population – reproduction, stagnation, and decline – is the fundamental prerequisite of knowledge of society. My study is about the population’s development in the villages located in the middle area of Zemplén County during the dualism, mainly about the Terebes district that is an area that during the period of dualism was not an administrative unit. Determining the researched region and finding its source materials was a more difficult task, but these obstacles were eliminated. Recently, this area of Slovakia is one of the smallest administrative units, to which the whole Felsõ-Bodrogköz belongs. The primary reason of why I have chosen this area is that from ethnical and religious point of view it was diversified and it has remained its characteristics up to these days. It was a place, where through centuries the Hungarian-Slovak-Ruthenian ethnical language boundaries have met. The religious division of the areas’ majority and the presence of three religions – Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, and Calvinist – living with each other up to these days, reflect its complexity.

As far as I know no such work has been published that describes a location that went through similar multiple administrative re-organisations as the Terebes district.
The majority of works that have been published examines only the population’s nationality from the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic to the present times. In literature works that deal with population of small regions, administrative units, or geographical areas are very rare. In my study I have tried to present the district’s number of population, and its decreasing or increasing tendency, division by gender, age, ethnical composition, religion, state of education, process of main indicators of emigration. Eighty-eight locations are analysed from these aspects.

The analysis of ethnical composition became one of the central parts of the study. The difficulty was in the fact that three ethnical borderlines have to be monitored. We take into consideration not only the official data of population censuses, but also the records and registries of place names before the dualism. While analysing and comparing the data we found out that one can not draw improvident consequences. The comparing method is a necessity in order to find the differences in the source materials and to point out the real situation, since there are serious differences between the language boundaries of the years 1773 and 1851. The task of examining the population’s ethnical classification from the second part of the 19th century seemed to be easier. The official population censuses of the years 1880, 1900, 1910 showed the Hungarians’ stabilisation. That large temporary area that was traced out according to Fényes Elek’s data had disappeared. The Hungarian language area gradually extended to north. The Hungarian-Slovak ethnical border spread on the line of Kolása, Alsómihályi, Velejte, Gercsely, and Hardicsa, but the number of population with Hungarian language in north also increased. From the Slovaks’ point of view this period meant both losses and gains. On the southern parts of the Gálszécs district their number decreased in favour of the Hungarians, but the Slovak-Ruthenian language border moved in favour of the Slovaks. From the three language borders the Ruthenians lost gradually. Further processes and changes showed the Ruthenians’ vast assimilation.

István Gaucsík:
The creation of Hungarian and German banking associations of financial institutions in Czechoslovakia (1918–1920)

Except for the publications that are of economic-history character and deal with the situation of Hungarian national minority in Slovakia between the two World Wars, works on bank history are almost entirely lacking. The reason for this is that firstly the bank archive materials are not processed, and secondly the dominant position of political history in the Hungarian research strategies in Slovakia sets the study of economic issues into the background.

The study deals with the issues of Hungarian commercial banks in Slovakia in 1918-1920 – that were set up on ethnical basis and that remained their institutional/commercial state from before 1918 – and that integrated to the structure of credit organisation.

The study examines within the frameworks of economic disintegration of Middle-Eastern Europe after 1918 the Czechoslovak system of financial institutions (Czech country parts – specialised institution types, Slovakia and Sub-Carpathia – less specialised system) that was created from the bank system that had different developing models. The leading line of the work is the examination/comparison of bank division from the point of view of nationalities in Slovakia and Sub-Carpathia, using contemporary statistical data (number of institutions, introducing the items of their balances, division of their military loans).

He analyses the changes through the economic problems (consequences of cutting financial connections, the issue of the capital that remained in Budapest, foreign exchange problems, influences of the measures of Czechoslovak acts on banks and finances).

The author also deals with the banking system that was created on 19th July 1920 by the Hungarian and German nationality institutions (trilingual name: Pénzintézetek Egyesülete Szlovenszkóban és Podkarpatszká-Ruszban; Jednota peòa¾ných ústavov na Slovensku a Podkarpatskej Rusi; Verband der Geldinstitute in Slovensko und Podkarpartska Rus), with interest protection and implementation, in which the Hungarian banks were in majority (in 1919 the association had 147, and in 1922 173 members).

In conditions of Slovakia, their capital strength and influence in contrast with the Slovak banks decreased, because to increase their capital a permission from the government is needed that they did not received because of their economic difficulties (unclaimable foreign demands, military loans, deposit decrease), and because of the nationalistic disagreements of governmental circles.

Although, the sources evidence that the possibilities for economic co-operation – for the reason of dealing crisis situations – were created, therefore bilateral arrangement of interests took place (financial governance – Hungarian nationality bank, Slovak nationality bank – Hungarian nationality bank, Slovak bank association – Hungarian and German bank association).

The number of Hungarian banks did not decrease in consequence of the measures of the nationalistic Czechoslovak economy policy, but as a result of such objective economic processes (economic crises, structural changes of banking system) that required the relevant answers (mergers, bank solidarity).

Tamás Török:
Examination of the historical names of Zoboralja

When one sees the research work of historical material on names it is evident for the first sight that the designation of contemporary maps, property books is different from the designation of present spelling rules. In the above study the author looks for the answer of this question, examining Zoboralja’s historical names from the orthographic point of view. He classifies separately the designation characteristics of the sounds and the characteristics present in the way of writing of place names. When studying the sounds, he defines two sub-classes: the class of vowels and consonants. In the case of vowels, he emphasises three main characteristics: a) duration designation, b) vowel change, c) archaic forms. He also examines the designation of consonants, where he classifies five characteristics: a) duration designation, b) consonant change, c) consonant-dropout, d) palatalisation, e) archaic form. With his analyses the author wants to introduce writing method characteristics of map creators, influences of the dialect present in written documents, that the old – archaic – way of writing continues to live on on the maps of certain periods.

Ferenc Boros:
Nationality policy of the Dzurinda-government

The essay wants to find answers to the following questions: What changes did the Slovak elections in 1998 bring in relation to the Hungarian people? Where are the positive changes of the new government’s policy in comparison with the previous period? In which field did not the government fulfilled its obligations? Within the government coalition what kind of problems did arise? What factors did influence the government’s policy?

In what extent did the government’s „policy concerning the Hungarian people” become an organic part of the society’s democratisation and of the Euro-Atlantic orientation? And how did this affect the external and internal (social) judgement and character of Slovakia?

If we want to answer the above questions generally, then we can say that comparing with the Meèiar-government period (1994–1998), significant changes were carried out in the Slovak government in the field of policy concerning the Hungarian people, although they were by no means in accordance with the expectations and given possibilities. A uniform viewpoint on solving the issue of the largest minority was within the government coalition not formed, often because of the lack of political will. The decisions were generally made with difficulties and amid sharp debates and in the majority of cases half-solutions were born that resulted doubt in the circles of the Hungarian people in Slovakia.

The author describes all those cases when the Party of Hungarian Coalition argued with the coalition partners during the almost four years. Firstly, he examines the issues of setting up the government in 1998, that after the elections the Party of the Democratic Left tried to left out the Hungarian party from the coalition party. Later, he writes about the restoration of bilingual certificates and the bilingual school documentation that were blocked by Meèiar. The author also describes the clashes between the Party of the Democratic Left and the Party of Hungarian Coalition in the issue of the National Land Fund. In the next part he deals with the debate that arose in connection with the financial support of the minority culture and he also introduces the process of passing the so-called Language Act that regulates the language usage of minorities. This act was passed by the Slovak Parliament, against the Hungarian representatives. In the next chapter the author introduces the dispute that arose in relation to the Act on regional and local government and also the disputes on the Slovak Constitution’s modification. Finally, he deals with the issue of the Bene¹ Decrees that still affects the Hungarians living in Slovakia.

Ilona L. Juhász:
Ethnography will still have subjects to research (Interview with Ujváry Zoltán, aged 70)

Ujváry Zoltán, professor of the Ethnological Department of the Debrecen University (former Kossuth Lajos University) turned 70 this year. The professor – who still works hard with a young spirit – was born in the village of Hét close to Gömör, commenced his studies at the grammar school of Rimavská Sobota, and later he studied at the Kossuth Lajos Unviersity. After receiving his diploma, he became an assistant at the Ethnological Department, and later he was appointed the position of ethnologist, Béla Gunda, head of this department. Then, in 1979, he commenced his researches in Gömör. Within the framework of this work he provided ethnological research with his students and other well-known experts on the territories of historical Gömör with Hungarian population, i.e. on the territories of present Slovakia. As a result of almost two decades of systematic research work 55 volumes were published in the Gömör Néprajza series, that was also edited by him, of which authors were well-known experts, and his students, as well. Recently, the first volume of his synthesis was published, introducing Gömör from the ethnologic point of view, that was planned to have four volumes. Ujváry Zoltán’s works are very rich and detailed. Primarily his works oriented on folklore dominate, but he was the author /or was the co-author/ of books on other fields of ethnology (e.g. eating habits, pottery). He was a pioneer in searching the folklore mask games. In Szatmár he found unbelievably rich materials on carnivals that had been undiscovered in literature. He extended the research on this topic to the territory of the whole country and he published its results in his 4 books titled Game and Mask. His life work is evidenced with dozens of books, but the number of books he contributed to is even higher. Among others, he launched the Néprajz Egyetemi Hallgatóknak (Ethnology for University Students) series, in which he introduced the numerous topics of traditional /and non-traditional/ ethnology. His famous work Szülõföldön hontalanul (In the Country of Birth with no Home), that have been published in more languages (Hungarian, Slovak, Czech), in which he describes the Calvary of Hungarian people living in Slovakia after the Second World War on the basis of the reminiscences of a villager. According to the Bene¹ Decree in the period of 1947-48, masses of Hungarian people were moved to Hungary or deported to the Czech Republic. This book evoked a strong reaction not only in Slovakia, but in the Czech Republic, too. A nationalistic Czech Parliamentary representative in his speech protested against publishing the book in Czech language.

Professor Ujváry Zoltán besides his scientific, educational, and writing activities, he always paid attention to and helped to people in Hungarian museums of Gömör in Slovakia and encouraged students to continue their ethnological studies at the Debrecen University.