Árpád Popély: Additions to the History of Deportations of Hungarians Living in Slovakia to the Czech Country

Leaders of the re-newed Czechoslovakia at the end of the Second World War who aimed to build a Slavic national state neither during the war, nor at the Potsdam conference were supported by the winning great powers to deport the Hungarians. Consequently, they struggled to get rid of Hungarians living in Slovakia by the population exchange that was forced to Hungary, and parallel with it by the so-called re-slovakization.

The deportation that started in November 1946 was processed with the help of the great powers. The selected territory was surrounded by military units, and than curfew was imposed and public assembly forbidden. According to the name list that was prepared in advance, the selected families delivered orders for working in the Czech country, and the list of objects, foodstuff, and animals that they were allowed to take with themselves. Reception and separation of deported people – according to the testimonies – resembled slave markets. The deported persons had to wait in the unheated wagons at the railway-station or neighboring buildings until one of the Czech farmers who were interested in Hungarian labor force selected them.
According to the official Czechoslovak reports, during the deportations that lasted more than three months 9 610 families were deported to the Czech and Moravian country from 393 villages of 17 districts, that is 41 666 persons. Their houses and lands were given to Slovak families who settled there.
The vast majority of deported persons, i.e. almost 90% – partially in 1947—48 without permission, partially at the beginning of 1949 in organized form – returned to their native country. The settlement of the Hungarians living in Slovakia to the Czech country that was planned to be definite, with the other big deportation action and in contrast with the population exchange, had no lasting consequence and the deportations could not become the tools of changing the ethnic proportion of Southern Slovakia. Testimonies evidence that in the memory of the history of Hungarian minority living in Slovakia from the triple tragedy of Highland Hungarians after the Second World War – re-settlement to Hungary, re-slovakization, and deportation to the Czech country – because of the threat of expelling them from their native country, and consequently loosing their property and spreading in a foreign language environment, deportations mean the most painful grief up to these days.