Vilmos Tánczos

Hungarians in Moldavia

Original title: "Hányan vannak a moldvai csángók?"
Published in Magyar Kisebbség 1-2 (7-8), 1997 (III), pp. 370-390.

Translation by Miklós Zeidler
Linguistic editing by Rachel Orbell

Published by Teleki László Foundation. Budapest, April 1988

Occasional Papers 8
(Editors: Nándor Bárdi, László Diószegi, András Gyertyánfy)

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1. The Term "Csángó"

Csángó is the official designation as well as the popular name for Hungarians living in Moldavia. (Ethnic Hungarians living in the Ghimeş/Gyimes Pass and in Sacele/Hétfalu near Brasov are also called Csángós, and the term is sometimes used even for those Szeklers who, having migrated eastwards to Bukovina in the late 18th century, were later resettled in the Carpathian Basin.) The etymology of the name of this ethnic group reveals an interesting detail in the history of the Csángós: according to a widespread, yet never fully verified hypothesis, the word Csángó derives from the verb csang/csáng (i. e. to wander, stroll, ramble, rove etc.) and thus the name of this ethnic group clearly refers to the migratory, colonising character of the Csángós. (BENKŐ 1990 p. 6., GUNDA 1988 p. 12-13., SZABÓ T. 1981 p. 520.)

The Moldavian Hungarians themselves do not constitute a homogeneous group, either historically or linguistic-ethnographically. The majority of researchers disagree with the use of the term Csángó as a general designation for them, preferring to differentiate between the earlier Moldavian Hungarians who were settled there in the Middle Ages, and the fleeing Szeklers who arrived in the 17th-19th centuries (most of whom arrived at the end of the 18th century). Some researchers speak about Moldavian Hungarians and Moldavian Szeklers (LÜKŐ 1936, MIKECS 1941), while others use the terms Csángó Hungarians and Szekler Hungarians to distinguish between the two groups (BENKŐ 1990). The use of the name Csángó in its broadest sense is quite common, however, even among historians, linguists, and ethnographers. Due to the processes of assimilation and acculturation, differences between the traditional folk culture, language, historical consciousness etc. of the two groups are disappearing to such an extent that the Szekler population whose ancestors never considered themselves Csángós now seem to accept this designation. Today, both groups use the term to describe someone who belongs to neither side, someone who is no longer either Romanian or Hungarian, while at the same time it has come to have the pejorative connotations of imperfection and degeneracy.

2. The Problem of Origins

References to Moldavian Hungarians appear in historical sources from the 13th century onwards. So far, however, there is no scientifically convincing explanation of their origins. One rather romantic view, according to which the Csángós are the successors of the Cumans (JERNEY 1851, MUNKÁCSI 1902, VERESS 1934), has long been refuted, while a small minority believe that the Moldavian Hungarians descend from a group of Hungarians who did not take part in the Conquest (RUBINYI 1901, DOMOKOS 1931, GUNDA 1988). Currently, it is generally accepted that Moldavian Hungarians arrived at their present settlements some time in the Middle Ages, and came from the West rather than the East (AUNER 1908, LÜKŐ 1936, NĂSTASE 1934, MIKECS 1941, MIKECS 1943, BENDA 1989, BENKŐ 1990). Ideas differ, however, as to when, and with what objective, the first settlements were established, and from which parts of the Hungarian-populated lands the migration towards Moldavia began. Most researchers see a relationship between this group and the Hungarian population of the Someş/Szamos Valley and the Upper Tisa/Tisza Region (LÜKŐ 1936, NĂSTASE 1934, MIKECS 1941, MIKECS 1943, BENDA 1989). According to a theory based on linguistic geography, the majority of the Csángós broke away from the Hungarian population of Câmpia Transilvaniei/Mezőség in Inner Transylvania (BENKŐ 1990). It is possible that, in addition to the non-Szekler Hungarian population, there were also some Szeklers who settled in Moldavia as early as the Middle Ages. Presumably, they populated mainly the southern parts, i. e. the lower regions of the Siret/Szeret and Trotuş/Tatros rivers (LÜKŐ 1936, MIKECS 1941).

It is generally accepted that the original Csángós settled in Moldavia as part of a systematic Hungarian imperial policy. Their task was to control and defend the eastern frontier of Hungary. This border ran along the River Siret/Szeret, an indication that in medieval times, the eastward movement of the Hungarian ethnic collective did not stop at the Carpathians. The kings of Hungary wanted to exercise military control over the lands outside their borders and their watchtowers, outposts and border forts were pushed forward as far as the Dniester and Danube Rivers (Kilia, Cetatea Alba/Dnyeszterfehérvár/ Akkerman, Brăila, Orhei/Őrhely etc.). The systematic settlement, which was intended to safeguard the border region, could not have been carried out before the very end of the 13th century. The earliest possible timing for the establishment of the first Moldavian border guard settlements is after the 1241-1242 Mongol Invasion, and later in the early 14th century. In the course of the 15th century, the number of Moldavian Hungarians increased due to the arrival of Hussite heretics who had left Southern Hungary to escape from the Inquisition.

There is no scientific backing for the Romanian view that Moldavian Csángós are Romanians who were Magyarised by the Catholic Church. Today, this ideologically-based theory aims at the "re-Romanianisation" of the Csángós (MĂRTINAŞ 1985). Historical documents (see DOMOKOS 1987, BENDA 1989, HORVÁTH 1994), place names and proper names (ROSETTI 1905, VERESS 1934, LÜKŐ 1936, MIKECS 1943, BENKŐ 1990) and ethnographic evidence (KÓS-NAGY-SZENTIMREI 1981) attest to the fact that in certain areas of Moldavia - especially in the river valleys at the approach to the Carpathian passes, i. e. the most important locations from a military and strategic point of view - the Hungarian presence preceded the Romanian influx.

3. History, Internal Classification, Historical Demography

Prior to the Mohács catastrophe in 1526, Moldavian Hungarians, an ethnic group vital to imperial policy, had enjoyed the security provided by a powerful, centralised Hungarian Kingdom. Historical documentation proves that at the turn of the 16th century, the 20 to 25 thousand-strong Hungarian population was the largest non-Romanian people within the ethnically mixed Moldavia (DOMOKOS 1938, MIKECS 1941, BENDA 1989).

The Hungarian settlers occupied the wide and fertile river flats of the Siret/Szeret and, in particular, the territories around the deltas of its western tributaries (Moldova/Moldva, Bistriţa/Beszterce, Trotuş/Tatros). At this time, the territories populated by Hungarians were composed of enclosed settlements, interconnected by unbroken lines of dwellings (e. g. between Suceava/Szucsava and Roman/Románvásár, around Bacău/Bákó, right of the Siret/Szeret river, in the Lower Trotuş/Tatros region etc.). Even towns were established in places of strategic economic, commercial and military importance, with majority Hungarian and partly German population (Roman = Román[vásár]i, Bacău = Bákó, Adjud = Egyed[halma], Trotuş = Tat[á]ros, Târgu Ocna = Aknavásár, Baia = [Moldva]bánya, Iaşi = Jász[vásár], Huşi = Husz, Bârlad = Barlád etc.). Urban life and trade developed in Moldavia in the 15th and 16th centuries due to the activities of the Hungarians and Germans. (A very telling piece of evidence is that the Romanian word "oraş", i. e. town or city, is borrowed from the Hungarian "város".) Urban development, however, was halted as early as the late 16th century because of the unfavourable politico-military situation, and was entirely destroyed as a result of the 17th-century Tartar and Cossack military campaigns. The artisan and merchant population of the market towns, mostly ethnic Hungarians, were subsequently assimilated into the Romanian majority (MIKECS 1941 p. 168-178., BENDA 1989 p. 35-37.).

Ethnically and religiously homogeneous, and making their living mainly from cultivation, the population of the Csángó villages in the flat lands were free tenants which meant that the communities paid corporate taxes directly to the Hungarian authorities in Transylvania, the Voivodes, without the intervention of the Moldavian nobility (boyars). Presumably, free Romanian villages in Moldavia adopted certain Csángó farming techniques and legal customs (e. g. certain forms of self-government, "arrow-lot" in the periodical distribution of village lands, the role of clan groups in land-ownership, etc.) (MIKECS 1941 p. 158-165.). In the Middle Ages, the inhabitants of the free villages in Moldavia were called "răzeşi", which derives from the Hungarian "részes" (share-farmer). The settlement system marked by plot-groups and blind alleys, which illustrate clan relations, has survived in certain villages (KÓS-NAGY-SZENTIMREI 1981 p. 17-22.).

Certain Moldavian place names, as well as the existing documentation and the location of villages which were later Romanianised, clearly suggest that the territory inhabited by the medieval Moldavian Hungarian settlers was considerably larger than that which their successors occupy today. Over the years, the Hungarian ethnic population disappeared from certain regions, both as a result of war, and of linguistic and religious assimilation. In other areas, villages were divided and the territories occupied by Hungarians shrank. There are only two language enclaves where the descendants of the medieval non-Szekler Moldavian Hungarians have survived: the "northern Csángós" north of Roman and the "southern Csángós" in some villages south of Bacău. The central geographical location of these villages and their favourable economic conditions suggest that they were among the first settlements to be established in this province. Both northern and southern Csángós are characterised by archaisms in their language (e. g. the sibilant pronunciation of the consonant "sz" - between "sh" and "s" -, the archaic pronunciation of the diphthong "lj" - today spelled "ly" etc.), as well as by their folklore which has retained many ancient elements.

The largest and most central villages of the northern Csángós are Săbăoani/Szabófalva and Pildeşti/Kelgyest. In a few of the Catholic villages around them (Iugani/Jugán, Traian/Újfalu, Bărgăoani/Bargován etc.) there are still some elderly people who speak Hungarian, while in other villages, the Hungarians have been completely Romanianised. The heart of the northern enclave, Săbăoani/Szabófalva, was the mother community of Băluşeşti/Balusest and Ploscuţeni/Ploszkucény in the lower Siret/Szeret region which were established later.

The most important villages of the southern Csángós (living south of Bacau/Bákó) are Valea Seacă/Bogdánfalva, Galbeni/Trunk, Valea Mare/Nagypatak, and Gioseni/Gyoszény, the last of which shows strong Szekler influence. Valea Seacă/Bogdánfalva is the mother community of Nicolae Bălcescu/Újfalu, founded after World War I. In Pădureni/Szeketura, only the older generation speaks Hungarian.

The number of Hungarians in Moldavia was reduced significantly in the 16th and 17th centuries by wars, epidemics and, importantly, by linguistic and religious assimilation to the Romanians. Numbers began to rise again only in the 18th century as a result of the increasing rate of emigration among Szeklers. In particular, many eastern Szeklers moved to Moldavia after the Siculeni/Madéfalva Massacre in 1764. Most of the existing "Szeklerised" Csángó villages date back to this time. Since there was little in the way of arable land in the economically backward Szekler regions, over-population in these areas meant that the flow of Szeklers into Moldavia continued into the 19th century. Emigration was given new impetus at the turn of the century, although now it was the larger towns in the Romanian Kingdom (Regat) which were the targets of the Szeklers' trans-Carpathian exodus.

A minority of the emigrants were Calvinists who were soon assimilated into the Catholic majority. Even in those villages where Calvinists formed the majority (e. g. Sascut/Szászkút, Pralea/Prálea, Vizantea/Vizánta), their original religion did not survive. It is clear that present-day Calvinists living in the region do not descend from the Moldavian Csángós; the 518 Hungarian Calvinists recorded in Moldavia in the 1992 census are more recent immigrants.

Moldavian settlements with Szeklerised Csángó inhabitants are markedly different from one another:

a.) When emigration was at its height (i. e. at the end of the 18th century), large homogeneous groups set out towards the east and, once in Moldavia, generally stayed together. This is probably the period when regions which were sparsely populated, or uninhabited, witnessed the emergence of the biggest ethnically and religiously homogeneous villages belonging to the Moldavian Szeklers (Pustiana/Pusztina, Frumoasa/Frumósza, Lespezi/Lészped, Pârgăreşti/Szőlőhegy and its vicinity, Arini/Magyarfalu, Vladnic/Lábnik, Călugăreni/Kalugarén etc.). Given that the best agricultural land was already "taken", the newcomers had to confine themselves to the narrow valleys of small rivers and streams. Even relatively large Szekler villages in these areas thus have a kind of "mountain" atmosphere.

b.) There are several villages in which it seems that a previously existing Hungarian population, sometimes dating back to the Middle Ages, was later joined by Szeklers who had a significant effect on the language and culture of the village. This is clearly what happened in the villages of Gioseni/Gyoszény, Luizi-Câlugăra/Lujzikalagor, Cleja/Klézse and Fărăoani/Forrófalva in the region of the river Siret/Szeret, and possibly also in Fundu-Răcăciuni/Külsőrekecsin and Sascut-Sat/Szászkút (SZABÓ T. 1981 p. 518.). The Hungarian population of Grozeşti/Gorzafalva, Târgu Trotuş/Tatros and Oneşti/Onyest along the Trotuş/Tatros and its tributaries may also have been established earlier. However, because the strong Szekler influence tended to submerge the original dialects, categorisation of such villages proved problematic for researchers using the methods of linguistic geography (LÜKŐ 1936, SZABÓ T. 1981). It is interesting to note that the northern Csángós never mixed with the Szeklers, perhaps due to the higher population density in the northern Csángó territories and to the high number of villages.

c.) New settlements were founded in and around existing Romanian villages by Szeklers who arrived in small, isolated groups, as well as by those who arrived later (in the 19th century) or those who moved away from the Moldavian villages. It is possible that certain villages had a mixed Szekler and Romanian population. The small, ethnically mixed villages (Gârleni/Gerlény, Lilieci/Lilijecs, Tărâţa/Szoloncka, Floreşti/Szerbek, Verşeşti/Gyidráska, Enăcheşti/Jenekest, Turluianu/Turluján, Bogata/Bogáta, Dărmăneşti/Dormánfalva, Valea Câmpului/Szárazpatak etc.) situated in the valleys of small rivers (Trotuş/Tatros, Tazlău/Tázló, Bistriţa/Beszterce and other minor rivers), and several of the villages near the river Siret/Szeret (Chetriş/Ketris, Furnicari/Furnikár, Gheorghe Doja/Újfalu/Dózsa etc.) belong to this third multi-ethnic category of Szeklerised Csángó villages. Villages in the Carpathian highlands also witnessed a similar ethnic mixture (Ciugheş/Csügés, Brusturoasa/Bruszturósza, Gutinaş/Gutinázs, Ferestrău-Oituz/Fűrészfalva, Vizantea Mănăstirească/Vizánta etc.). Small Hungarian villages can be found at the heads of mountain streams or above the Romanian villages situated along the lower reaches of the streams (Cucuieţi/Kukujéc, Bogdăneşti/Ripa Jepi, Lărguţa/Lárguca, Neszujest (Strugari/Esztrugár), Valea Rea/Váliri (Livezi), Butucari/Butukár (Berzunţi/Berzunc), Seaca/Szálka, Cireşoaia/Szalánc, Cerdac/Cserdák, Capăta/Kápota, Pralea/Prálea etc.).

Generally speaking, Szeklers who arrived in Moldavia in the 18th and 19th centuries occupied relatively large territories in the mainly mountainous, unpopulated regions which offered only a limited scope for cultivation and viticulture, as well as for animal husbandry or forestry. The population of Szekler villages was generally smaller than that of the medieval Moldavian Hungarian ones. In many cases, this population was made up of sporadic groups within a multi-ethnic and multi-religious environment, another factor which helped to further their linguistic assimilation to the Romanians.

Table 1
Number of Catholics in Moldavia

Time Number of Catholics Source
Early 16th century ca. 25-30,000
(20-25,000 Hungarians)
   MIKECS 1941 pp. 245-246 (estimation)
1591 15,000
   BENDA 1989 p. 31. (Church census: B. Bruti)
1646   5,577
   MIKECS 1941 p. 245. and BENDA 1989 p. 31.
   (Church census: M. Bandinus)
1696   2,799
   BENDA 1989 p. 31. (Church census: unknown)
1744   5,500
   AUNER 1908 p. 48. (R. Jezierski, Bishop of Bacău)
1807 21,307
   AUNER 1908 p. 48. (Consul Hammer)
1851 45,752
   DOMOKOS 1987 Pp. 116-119. (Church directory)
1859 52,881
   Official census return. (Quoted by SZABADOS M. 1989)
1875 58,809
   DOMOKOS 1987 Pp. 116-119. (Church directory)
1902 64,601
   AUNER 1908 p. 79.
1930 109,953  
   Official census return.[2]
1992 240,038  
   Official census return.[3]

The huge increase in the Catholic population over the last two centuries cannot be considered to result exclusively from the immigration of Catholic Szeklers to Moldavia. The number of Catholics living in Moldavia more than doubled between 1930 and 1992, and this 118% increase significantly exceeds the similarly remarkable 67% growth in the population of Moldavia. However, it is important to bear in mind that during "socialist industrialisation", overpopulated Moldavia was the greatest supplier of human resources in Romania, and in this period there were many Moldavian Csángós, as well as Romanians, who moved to towns in Transylvania and to the southern industrial regions of the country. An estimated 50,000 people moved to Transylvania while some 15,000 people moved to Wallachia and Dobruja.[4] We do not have figures for the huge number of Csángó guest-workers labouring in foreign countries - particularly Israel, Hungary and Russia - at the time the census was made (January 1992). However, if we take into account the high numbers of Csángós living outside Moldavia at the time of the census, it is our contention that the increase in population since 1930 is closer to 180% than 118%, which would mean that the population of Csángó origin has almost trebled during the last sixty years.

4. The use of the Hungarian Language - Linguistic Assimilation

Missionary reports from the 18th and 19th centuries already speak about the linguistic, and often religious, assimilation of Moldavian Catholics to the Romanians. Later accounts by Hungarian travellers in Moldavia confirm that the process of assimilation had resulted in the increasing loss of the population's mother tongue. The lack of detailed historical sources, however, means that we can only estimate on the varying degrees of assimilation in the different regions and villages. Given that official Romanian policy has never acknowledged the presence of ethnic Hungarians in Moldavia, the results of censuses taken this century concerning national identity among the Csángós and the use of the Hungarian language, cannot be regarded as a sound basis for reference. Only those census returns relating to religious distribution can be considered as generally correct. Results regarding mother tongue, nationality and ethnic origins are not reliable. The published figures are full of inconsistencies. The 1859 census records 37,823 Hungarians in Moldavia (71.6% of the Roman Catholic population) while the 1930 census found only 23,886 (21.7%). The 1992 census - discounting those Hungarians living in the Ghimeş/Gyimes Pass who belong administratively to Bacău from the total of 4,759 Hungarians within the present borders of the county - records only 1,800 Csángó Hungarians (0.7%) in the Moldavian counties. This figure is, quite obviously, only a fraction of the real number of Hungarian-speaking Catholics in Moldavia.

We will now introduce some so far unpublished data regarding the Csángós' use of the Hungarian language, based in part on on-site research.[5] Then, comparing the present situation with the supposed conditions in 1930, we will aim to underline some of the characteristics of the process of linguistic assimilation.

Table 2
Situation of Hungarian Language in Moldavian Csángó Villages

Settlement[6] Population in 1992[7] Catholics in 1992[8] Hungarian speakers among Catholics Catholics in 1930[9]
Number[10] Ratio[11]

Northern Csángós
9,879 9,806 3,000 30% 4,374
3,779 3,760 3,100 82% 1,506
1,045   972   300 31%   339
2,061 2,034     50   3%   701
2,262 1,268   600 47%   567
1,357 1,055     30   3%   984
2,557 2,199 1,100+30     50%[12] 1,220
  21,094   8,180   9,691

II. Southern Csángós (sibilant "sz")
  355   345     20   6%       244[13]
  Valea Seacă /Bogdánfalva
3,125 2,837 2,400+30 85%     2,257[14]
  Nicolae Bălcescu/Újfalu
3,698 3,385 2,200 65%       961[15]
1,309 1,299   900 70%   565
3,243 2,288     2,000+400[16] 87%   833
  Valea Mare/Nagypatak
?[17]     2,825[18] 2,000 70%     1,773[19]
  12,979   9,520   6,633

III. Szeklerised Csángós

A. Along the River Siret/Szeret
  833   791   250 31%   409
2,108 1,917 1,917+191 100%   1,058
  Gârlenii de Sus/Rácsila
1,581 1,398 1,398+183 100%         235[20]
1,627   608   200 33%     91
1,605   252   200 79%     82
  697     57     40 70%         68[21]
  778   666     10         1%[22]   330
5,227 5,198 4,700 90%     2,848[23]
      ?[24]     3,472[25] 2,600 75% 1,757
4,331 4,235 3,800 90%     2,249[26]
1,666 1,659 1,650 100%     898
  Valea Mică/Pokolpatak
  705   676   600 88%       283[27]
  Gheorghe Doja/Újfalu/Dózsa
1,057   674   550 81%       261[28]
  493   492   400 81%   179
1,913 1,903 1,903 100%     842
  304     94     40 42%   129
    1,137[29]   371   200 53%   114
2,781   387   100 25%   244
1,337 1,325 1,325 100%         843[30]
  941   904   904 100%         615[31]
2,178   615   400 65%       399[32]
1,190     94     10 10%     80
  750   505   100 20%   341
  518   104     10 10%     69
  28,397   23,307     14,424  

B. Along the River Tazlău/Tázló
3,550 2,116     1,900+200[33] 90%   903
2,070 2,055 2,055 100%   1,153
  Bogdăneşti/Ripa Jepi
    71     45     30 66%         56[34]
  979   380     80 20%       278[35]
1,363   110     30 27%   109
  613   540   300 55%       370[36]
1,211   216     40 18%       296[37]
  299   296   250 85%   144
  931   927   850 91%       411[38]
  394   364   250 70%   289
  905   215   100 46%       138[39]
  912   138     20 14%   171
  810     97     20 20%     79
1,145   160     10   6%     61
1,029   215     20 10%   143
2,711   774   100 13%         371[40]
  212   122     20 16%     36
  480   126     20 16%   235
1,578     48       5 10%     44
  8,944 6,100   5,287

C.) Along the River Trotuş/Tatros
  849   122     20 16%     69
      2,178[41] 1,396     1,200+800[42] 85%   771
3,608   746   100 14%         426[43]
25,020   1,577   200 12%         549[44]
25,560   1,365     50   3%         462[45]
13,883   1,623         550[46] 34%   745
2,920   190 -     0%         463[47]
  - Seaca/Szálka
  455   374   200 53% -
  - Valea Câmpului/Válé Kimpuluj
      1,096[48]   224     20   9% -
  - Bogata/Bogáta
  816   326     30   9% -
  Târgu Ocna/Aknavásár
13,939   1,220 -   0%       2,539[49]
  - Păcurele/Degettes
        860[50]   235   170 70%   170
  - Gura Slănic/Szalánctorka
-   110           20[51] 18% -
  Slănic Moldova/Szlanikfürdő
1,929   494     30   6%         998[52]
  - Cerdac/Cserdák
1,571   559 250+50 42% -
  - Cireşoaia/Szalánc
1,811 1,783 1,110 62% -
  Târgu Trotuş/Tatros
1,946 1,241   600 50%       1,796[53]
  - Tuta/Diószeg
1,949 1,935 1,700 88% -
1,202 1,039   800 77%       1,133[54]
  - Satu Nou/Újfalu
1,699 1,687 1,687 100%   -
  - Nicoreşti/Szitás
  902   901   901 100%   -
  - Bahna/Bahána
  594   528 410+40 77% -
6,938 4,018 2,400+100 60%       1,873[55]
1,036   427   300 70%   259
57,333   5,884       1,500[56] 25% 1,236
  Valea Seacă/Szárazpataka/Váliszáka
        798[57]   394   100 25%   231
  592   123     20 16%   148
  803   660   100 15%   248
  Vizantea Mănăstirească/Vizánta[58]
1,658 1,018   700 70%   488
  32,129   15,158     14,434  
  103,543     62,265     50,469  

An analysis of the above figures leads to the following conclusions:

1.) There is sound evidence which proves the mainly Hungarian origin of Moldavian Catholics. Today, however, only 43% of them (103,543 out of 240,038) live in settlements where Hungarian is still spoken. In fact, the majority of the Catholic population has been entirely Romanianised linguistically. Today, the number of Hungarian-speaking Catholics in Moldavia is an estimated 62,000 which is only a quarter of the whole Moldavian Catholic population.

The tables indicate those districts and villages on the outskirts of Moldavian towns in which Csángós live in their own traditional village structure (e. g. at Oneşti/Onyest, Târgu Ocna/Aknavásár, Slănic Moldova/Szlánikfürdő). However, the tables do not give figures for Csángós who have moved into Moldavian towns and cities (Bacău, Roman, Iaşi etc.), many of whom - depending on where they were born - may well still speak Hungarian. On the other hand, it is precisely in the newly built housing estates and industrial zones of Moldavian towns that the rapid, almost immediate assimilation of Csángós[59] has taken place, and therefore to allow for any "Hungarian population" in these towns, would lead to a meaningless relativisation of the above figures.

For similar reasons, we cannot include in our calculations the Hungarian-speaking Csángós who moved to the Transylvanian towns and industrial zones (which we estimated above to total 50,000). Transylvanian Catholics who came from Moldavia have likewise become assimilated to the Romanians and the situation in the Szekler Land is also very similar.

Finally, it is also possible that there are some other Moldavian settlements overlooked by researchers where elderly people still speak or understand Hungarian.[60] But even if there are such villages the total number of their Hungarian inhabitants cannot possibly be more than a few hundred which does not change the picture as a whole.

2.) In 1930, there were 50,469 Catholics living in the above settlements where Hungarian is still spoken. This figure should be taken as a basis for estimating the number and ratio of Hungarian speakers. However, part of the Catholic population in the settlements shown in the tables, definitely did not speak Hungarian in 1930, if we take into account the fact that the use of the mother tongue had already started to disappear in the villages. In the south, Pădureni/Szeketura was one such village, while in the north Iugani/Jugán, Băluşeşti/Balusest, Bărgăoani/Bargován and Săbăoani/Szabófalva witnessed the same process. Some forty small Szeklerised villages in the region of the rivers Siret/Szeret, Trotuş/Tatros and Tazlău/Tázló had also been largely Romanianised. Studying the contemporary accounts, it is hard to imagine how, in certain settlements, the Hungarian language survived at all. Therefore, we have to decrease the figure 50,469 by at least 5-6,000 in order to get the number of Hungarian speakers in 1930. But presumably, sixty to seventy years ago some members of the older generation still spoke Hungarian in villages which have since been completely Romanianised (and which are not reproduced in the tables). In the north, Gherăeşti/Gyerejest and Dochia/Dokia were certainly in this situation, together with Sărata/Szeráta, Horgeşti/Horgyest, Văleni/Valény and maybe some other small villages in the vicinity of Bacău. The number of elderly Hungarian speakers, however, could not possibly be more than 1-2,000 in 1930. Taking into account all these calculations, the number of Hungarian-speaking Csángós in Moldavia could have been around 45,000 in 1930, about 40% of the entire Catholic population of the province. [61]

3.) The total number of Hungarian speakers increased by 37%, from 45,000 to 62,000 between 1930 and 1992. If the number of Hungarian speakers had increased at the same rate as the Moldavian Catholic population as a whole, that is, by 118%, there would have been another 53,000, a calculation which gives some idea of the rate of assimilation. In other words, in the absence of linguistic assimilation, the number of Hungarian-speaking Moldavian Csángós would have reached the mythical 100,000 by now. Because of assimilation, however, the number of Hungarian speakers fell by 40,000, and thus, in spite of a moderate increase, the proportion of Hungarian speakers among Catholics went down from 41% in 1930 to 26% in 1992. In the final analysis, the main features of the demographic behaviour of Moldavian Csángós are a high fertility index and rapid linguistic assimilation.

4. There are differences among Csángó settlements in terms of the intensity of linguistic assimilation. The degree of assimilation substantially affected the ratio of Hungarian speakers: in some villages the assimilation was complete, or almost complete, while in others there was a significant increase in the number of people who (also) spoke Hungarian.

With regard to Csángós living in sporadic groups, the number of Hungarian speakers either decreased or remained the same in villages with small, mixed populations and/or surrounded by a predominantly Romanian environment - more than 50 villages altogether. (The fact that there was no increase in the number of Hungarian speakers - e. g. in Traian/Újfalu, Băluşeşti/Balusest, Ploscuţeni/Ploszkucény, Floreşti/Szerbek and Oneşti/Onyest - at a time when the fertility index was high, also indicates the high degree of assimilation.)

Only 25 to 30 settlements, the largest and most significant of the Csángó villages, witnessed any definite and substantial increase in the number of Hungarian speakers between 1930 and 1992. The increase occurred mainly in the ethnically homogeneous and more populous villages, where the danger of linguistic assimilation only became apparent during the last few decades. (These are generally villages in which, according to the tables, the proportion of Hungarian speakers is above 80%.) In many villages the number of Hungarian speakers is twice as high as the number of Catholics in 1930 - sometimes even higher. Of the northern Csángó villages, only Pildeşti/Kelgyest shows an increase in the number of Hungarian speakers, while in the other villages, the substantial drop in the number of Hungarian speakers brought this linguistic enclave to the verge of total disappearance. The situation of the southern Csángós is only slightly better: here, only the relatively rapidly assimilating Nicolae Bălcescu/Újfalu and Valea Mare/Nagypatak show any increase in the number of Hungarian speakers together with Gioseni/Gyoszény whose classification as a southern Csángó settlement, however, should be taken with reservations. The greatest increase has occurred in the ethnically homogeneous Szeklerised Csángó villages where certain favourable conditions (e. g. the proximity to and closer relations with the Szekler Land, the fact that the dialect is closer to literary Hungarian, that the settlements were established relatively recently, that there is a stronger awareness of Hungarian origins, that there is no surrounding Romanian population and that there are still people who remember the Hungarian schools of the 1950's etc.), have slowed down the process of assimilation. Twenty villages belong to this category: Lespezi/Lészped, Luizi-Călugăra/Lujzikalagor, Fărăoani/Forrófalva, Cleja/Klézse, Şomuşca/Somoska, Valea Mică/Pokolpatak, Ciucani/Csík, Fundu-Răcăciuni/Külsőrekecsin, Arini/Magyarfalu, Vladnic/Lábnik, Frumoasa/Frumósza, Pustiana/Pusztina, Lărguţa/Lárguca, Coman/Gajdár, Ciugheş/Csügés, Tuta/Diószeg, Pârgăreşti/Szőlőhegy, Nicoreşti/Szitás, Satu Nou/Újfalu, Bahna/Bahána.

It would be misleading to state that the balance has tipped in favour of Hungarian speakers without emphasising at the same time that the increase is due to the high fertility index and that it was produced within - and mostly in spite of - an omnipresent and strong tendency towards assimilation. Thus, the figures indicate an increase even in places where young people speak very little, if any, Hungarian (Nicolae Bălcescu/Újfalu, Galbeni/Trunk, Lilieci/Lilijecs, Gârleni/Gerlény, Târgu Trotuş/Tatros, Grozeşti/Gorzafalva, Ferestrău-Oituz/Fűrészfalva, Vizantea Mănăstirească/Vizánta etc.). Today, however, the figures no longer indicate those with Hungarian as their mother tongue or even those who use Hungarian in every-day life: much of the time they refer only to those who have some degree of knowledge of the language. In many villages the figures indicate linguistically well-assimilated young people whose first language is Romanian, but who, in certain situations, can use a dialect of Hungarian as a second language without it being likely that they will pass this language on to their children. Consequently, the increase of 17,000 in the number of Hungarian speakers between 1930 and 1992 is very "fragile" compared to the growth of the population as a whole, and does not suggest potential for further increase. Sixty to seventy years ago, at a time when the traditional village lifestyle was still in place, Hungarian speakers would use Hungarian dialects as their first language or mother tongue. Since then, modernisation and the greater degree of social mobility has diminished the importance of these dialects - for young people, the dialect has been downgraded to the position of a second language, at best, which they feel ashamed to use in public. Thus when comparing the 1930 and 1992 data on Hungarian speakers, it is important to remember that the background to the two sets of figures is very different.

5. Csángó Identity and its constituent features

Of the 250,000-strong originally Hungarian Csángó population, a remarkable 62,000 still speak Hungarian. However in 1992, only 1,800 of them considered themselves ethnic Hungarians. 1,301 of these people lived in towns, which means that according to the census, only five hundred ethnic Hungarian Catholics were living in the Moldavian villages - the authentic Csángó settlements. This figure is arrived at by the manipulative, distortional methods used in the carrying out of the census - commissioners were ordered to cover up the presence of ethnic Hungarians and Hungarian speakers, the Church conducted a powerful propaganda campaign among the Csángós, those who declared themselves Hungarian were threatened with forced repatriation to Hungary, and the whole census was carried out in an atmosphere of nationalism fired by the mass media etc.[62] - and by the unique identity concept of the Csángós.

Moldavian Csángós living beyond the Carpathian mountains played no part in the great historical movements of the first half of the 19th century which created the modern Hungarian nation and society (language reforms, political and cultural movements of the "Reform Age", the 1848 War of Independence). The Moldavian Csángós were therefore the only group of Hungarian speakers who did not become part of the Hungarian nation. Consequently, the most important factors for unification are absent: 1.) Beyond its practical role as a means of communication, the Moldavian Csángós do not attribute any symbolic or cohesive value to the Hungarian language. (Their relation to language use is free of ideology, thus they regard the phenomenon of language loss as an inevitable part of modernisation rather than as a tragedy.) Nor do they consider their Moldavian dialect to be identical to the one spoken in the Carpathian Basin - ignoring the fact that Hungarian dialects are all simply variations of the same language. 2.) They are unaware of the national values contained within folklore and folk culture, and of the fact that traditional culture can be a powerful means of strengthening national unity. 3.) They have virtually no contact with Hungarian "high culture" of which the values remain out of their reach due to the absence of a proper institutional network and the low levels of literacy in Hungarian. 4.) Since their migration, the history and historical awareness of Csángós has been distinct from that of the Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin. The consciousness of common origins is fading away even among Szeklerised Csángós.

In Europe it was the intellectuals who played the most important role in relating people to the nation's constituent features. In Moldavia, however, no ecclesiastical or secular intelligentsia emerged. The young Romanian state, which was established in 1859 and which won its independence in 1877 following the Russo-Turkish war, continues to hinder the formation of a Hungarian intelligentsia and an institutional network. It has always taken care to send to Moldavia priests, teachers and officials who were brought up in the spirit of Romanian nationalism, to act as channels of the official ideology (e. g. of the view that Csángós are Magyarised Romanians, Roman Catholics are, in fact, Romanian Catholics, Csángó "pidgin-talk" is something to be ashamed of, etc.).

The formation of the Romanian Catholic ecclesiastical intelligentsia resulted from the efforts of the seminar, and later the printing presses and cantor schools, of the Iasi bishopric established in 1884. This meant that the Catholic Church, which had been for centuries the most important factor in the separation of Moldavian ethnic Hungarians from the Romanians and in the survival of the Hungarian language, became, from the end of the 19th century, a vehicle of Romanianisation. After the establishment of a network of modern state-owned schools, the language of tuition in Moldavia became exclusively the state language. The speaking of Hungarian was forbidden in schools, and numerous accounts reveal that teachers punished students who used Hungarian, urging parents to speak Romanian, even at home. (Today, the need for such strict intervention in language use is disappearing since there are now virtually no villages in which schoolchildren still speak Hungarian to each other.) In the first years of the Communist dictatorship, between 1948 and 1953, the Hungarian People's Association ran schools in about 40-50 villages, but they did not play any significant role in the formation of national identity. The schools were poorly equipped and students from the first to fourth years were taught together in the same class by teachers who, in many cases, had been sent to Moldavia as a punishment. The religious population was not supportive of these Communist schools, while local Romanian intellectuals continuously stirred up opposition to them, and thus, in most of the villages, such schools proved short-lived.

Since the changes in 1989, between 100 and 200 Moldavian Csángó schoolchildren have been taught Hungarian each year in the elementary and secondary schools of the Szekler Land close to Moldavia. Dozens of Csángó youths pursue their university studies in Hungary. However, due to the hostile atmosphere and the lack of any institutional network, there is no chance for young people trained outside Moldavia to return as Hungarian intellectuals. The Hungarian Language Circle, founded in 1991 in Săbăoani/Szabófalva, was declared unconstitutional and was quickly banned despite the issue being raised in parliament by the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania.[63] The leaders of two Sunday schools in Lespezi/Lészped are permanently harassed by the police while the local intelligentsia and the Church do everything in their power to make their work impossible.[64] Nine Transylvanian Catholic priests who were born in Moldavia wrote a petition to Ioan Robu, Archbishop of Bucharest, in which they asked to be allowed to return to their homeland and say mass in Hungarian.[65] Their petition was declared "chauvinistic zealotry" and was refused by the archbishop.

The association for the defence of the political interests of the Moldavian Csángós, the Association of Csángó Hungarians, is based in Sfântu Gheorghe/Sepsiszentgyörgy and is led by Csángós who have left their homeland. The bilingual monthly Moldvai Magyarság has been published here since 1990 (until 1992 under the title Csángó Újság). In the Spring of 1995, politicians of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania intended to form a Moldavian association, based on local organisations, in defence of the political interests of the Csángós. The congress was to be held at Cleja/Klézse on April 29, but was abandoned when the delegates were chased from the village by drunken local inhabitants who had been set up to it, and who later set fire to newly acquired schoolbooks and other Hungarian publications.[66] Earlier, in November 1991, the Csángó cultural festival had to be cancelled as a result of similar manoeuvring.

The Romanian state does not officially recognise the existence of the Moldavian Hungarian ethnic group and, as it treats Csángós as Romanians, it does not grant them the most basic minority rights, thus forcing the complete linguistic and religious assimilation of this ethnic group to the Romanians. Local initiatives are occasionally taken to form or maintain Hungarian identity, but these are suppressed with the connivance, or the silent consent, of the authorities.

Bibliography - References

AUNER Károly
- 1908 A romániai magyar telepek történeti vázlata. [Historical Sketch of the Hungarian Colonies in Romania.] Temesvár. 94 p.

BENDA Kálmán (edited, foreword and notes by)
- 1989 Moldvai csángó-magyar okmánytár. [Documents on Csángó Hungarians in Moldavia.] I-II. Budapest. 849 p.

BENKŐ Loránd
- 1990 A csángók eredete és települése a nyelvtudomány szemszögéből. [Origins and colonies of the Csángós from a Linguistic Perspective.] Budapest. 40 p. (A Magyar Nyelvtudományi Társaság Kiadványai 188.)

- 1931 A moldvai magyarság. [Moldavian Hungarians.] Csíksomlyó. (Also 5th enlarged edition, Budapest 1987.)
- 1938 A moldvai magyarság történeti számadatai. [Historical Data of the Moldavian Hungarians.] Hitel, pp. 295-308. (Republished unchanged in: Honismeret 3, 1986 (XIV), pp. 16-22.)

- 1988 A moldvai magyarok eredete. [Origins of the Moldavian Hungarians.] Magyar Nyelv 1, pp. 12-24.

- 1994 Strămosii catolicilor din Moldova. Documente istorice. 1227-1702. [The ancestors of the Moldavian Catholics. Historical documents.] Sfântu Gheorghe. 128 p.

- 1851 Keleti utazása a "Magyarok" őshelyeinek kinyomozása végett. 1844 és 1845. [János Jerney's Oriental Journey to discover the Ancient Homeland of the Magyars. 1844 and 1845.] Pest. Vol. I-II.

KÓS Károly, Dr. - SZENTIMREI Judit - NAGY Jenő, Dr.
- 1981 Moldvai csángó népművészet. [Moldavian Csángó Folk Art.] Bukarest. 470 p.

LÜKŐ Gábor
- 1936 A moldvai csángók. I. A csángók kapcsolatai az erdélyi magyarsággal. [Csángós in Moldavia. I. Relations between the Csángós and the Transylvanian Hungarians.] Budapest. 208 p. (Néprajzi Füzetek 3.)

- 1985 Originea ceangăilor din Moldova. [Origins of Moldavian Csángós.] Bucureşti. 205 p.

- 1941 Csángók. [Csángós.] Budapest. 444 p. (Reprinted in 1989.)
- 1943 A Kárpáton túli magyarság. [Hungarians over the Carpathians.] In: Deér, József - Gáldi, László (eds): Magyarok és románok I. [Hungarians and Romanians I.] Budapest, pp. 441-507.

- 1902 A moldvai csángók eredete. [Origins of Moldavian Csángós.] Ethnographia, pp. 433-440.

- 1934, 1935 Ungurii din Moldova la 1646 după "Codex Bandinus". [Hungarians in Moldavia in 1646 according to "Codex Bandinus".] Arhivele Basarabiei 1934 (VI), pp. 397-414. 1935 (VII), pp. 74-88.

- 1905 Despre ungurii şi episcopiile catolice din Moldova. [About the Hungarians and the Catholic Episcopacies in Moldavia.] Bucureşti.

- 1901 A moldvai csángók múltja és jelene. [Past and Present of Moldavian Csángós.] Ethnographia, pp. 115-124, 166-175.

- 1989 A moldvai magyarok a romániai népszámlálások tükrében. [Moldavian Hungarians in the Romanian Censuses.] In: Magyarságkutatás. A Magyarságkutató Intézet évkönyve. Budapest, pp. 89-102.

SZABÓ T. Attila
- 1981 A moldvai csángó nyelvjárás kutatása. [Research on the Moldavian Csángó Dialect.] In: Nyelv és irodalom V. Bukarest, pp. 482-527, 599-609.

- 1934 A moldvai csángók származása és neve. [Origins and Denomination of the Moldavian Csángós.] Erdélyi Múzeum XXXIX, pp. 29-64.


[1] The majority of Catholics in Moldavia are of Hungarian origin, therefore the total number is a good indication of the approximate number of Csángós over the centuries. Even today, the population of Polish, German, Ukrainian, and Gypsy nationality totals only a few thousand out of the quarter of a million Catholics living in Moldavia. We lack historical data on the number of Romanians who left their Greek Orthodox faith and the number of Hungarians who converted from Catholicism to Greek Orthodoxy.

[2] Excluding Bukovina and, of course, Bessarabia. Results of the 1930 census concerning Moldavian Catholics are given by village, by DOMOKOS Pál Péter 1987 pp. 521-535.). The figures are based on the official Romanian edition of the returns (Recensământul general al populaţiei României din 29 Decemvrie 1930. Vol. II. Neam, limbă maternă, religie. Bucureşti, 1938.).

[3] Within the present borders of the Moldavian counties there are 243,033 Catholics altogether (125,805 in Bacău, 62,374 in Neamţ, 39,627 in Iaşi, 6,924 in Vaslui, 5,075 in Vrancea, 2,463 in Galaţi and 865 in Botoşani.) This number, however, does not include data from Ghimeş-Făget/Gyimesbükk which formerly belonged to Ciuc/Csík county and is now part of Bacău. The 3,095 Catholics recorded as living there in 1992 (2,933 Hungarians) cannot be counted among the Moldavian Csángós because of the reasons indicated in the preface. Nor does the total number include the 9,542 Catholics living in Suceava county, since almost the entire territory covered by this county used to belong to the former Bukovina, of which the figures were not incorporated in the Moldavian chapter of the 1930 returns. Today, more than half (4,882) of the Catholics of Suceava are of Polish, German and Ukrainian nationality, and therefore have no connection with the Csángós.

[4] The 1992 census recorded 79,337 ethnic Romanian Catholics in Transylvania. The majority live in the towns of the industrial regions of Southern Transylvania - in Timiş/Temes (14,436), Braşov/Brassó (9,835), Hunedoara/Hunyad (9,119), Caraş-Severin/Krassó-Szörény (6,269), Arad/Arad (5,743) and Sibiu/Szeben (2,000) counties - and of the Szekler Land - in Harghita/Hargita (3,357), Covasna/Kovászna (2,829) and Mureş/Maros (2,091) counties. Since these territories have been the target of the Romanian influx from Moldavia into Transylvania in the last decades, we have good reason to suppose that the majority of the almost 80,000 Transylvanian Catholics who consider themselves Romanians are of Csángó origin, and that the remainder is made up of assimiliated Transylvanian Hungarians, Germans and Slovaks. Ecclesiastical reports also attest to the presence of Csángós in Transylvania. Csángó migration towards the area south of the Carpathians was aimed at the petrol producing region of Ploieşti, the seaport of Constanţa and, in particular, the capital Bucharest.

[5] I have been conducting research - primarily of an ethnographical nature -in Moldavia among the Catholic Csángós since 1980. In addition to this, I studied Csángó identity in 110 Moldavian towns and villages between 1992-1996. In 83 of these, I have found a Hungarian-speaking population (V. T.).

[6] Table 2 contains those villages in which Hungarian is still spoken. In the identification of the variations of village names we made use of Magyar helységnév-azonosító szótár [Dictionary for the Identification of Hungarian Place-names], Lelkes, György (ed.), Budapest 1992, however, we give the present-day Romanian names as well. The figures for those village districts which the censuses (and sometimes the related Hungarian literature) treat rather arbirtrarily as separate villages, have been added to the data for the villages to which these districts really belong (e. g. districts of Valea Seacă/Bogdánfalva, Luizi-Călugăra/Lujzikalagor, Vladnic/Lábnik etc.). Where, on the contrary, the censuses have united separate villages, we have tried to give the corresponding figures separately (e. g. Fărăoani/Forrófalva and Valea Mare/Nagypatak, the villages attached to Târgu Ocna/Aknavásár and Slănic Moldova/Szlánikfürdő etc.).

[7] Census return.

[8] Census return.

[9] Census return.

[10] On-site estimation. In those villages where linguistic assimilation started only in the last decades, I have not included the number of children and young people who do not speak Hungarian at all in the number of Catholics. In those villages where Hungarian language is taught besides Romanian, I took the knowledge of Hungarian language as 100%. In the case of certain villages I have used a + sign to indicate the Hungarian-speaking Greek Orthodox population.

[11] Figure based on the estimated number of Hungarian-speakers. This figure also indicates the degree of assimilation in the village.

[12] Excluding the Hungarian-speaking Greek Orthodox population. (The same hereafer in similar cases.)

[13] Under the name Secătura.

[14] The 1930 census gives separate figures for the following districts of Valea Seacă/Bogdánfalva: Albeni, Buchila, Dămuc, Valea de Sus, Floreşti, Frăsinoaia and Rujinca. In 1992 only Buchila was listed separately.

[15] Under the name Ferdinand.

[16] Hungarian-speaking Gypsies. They follow the Greek Orthodox and Pentecostal faith.

[17] The 1992 census gives common figures for Fărăoani/Forrófalva and Valea Mare/Nagypatak: 5,400 Catholic and 51 Greek Orthodox people.

[18] Church figure. (Almanahul "Presa Bună". Iaşi 1995. p. 135.)

[19] With the population of the following districts: Costiţa, Valea Dragă, Valea de Jos (Mare), and Valea de Sus.

[20] Racila/Rácsila is actually (e. g. ecclesiastically) a part of the mother community Lespezi/Lészped.

[21] Berdila/Bergyila is one of the districts of the village Gura Văii which belongs to Racova village centre. Its census returns were not given either in 1930 or in 1992, however, it is definitely true that the majority of the Catholics of Gura Văii live in Berdila/Bergyila.

[22] Only those who married into the village from the neighbouring Catholic villages can speak Hungarian.

[23] With the population of Corhana and Osebiţi districts which the censuses treated separately.

[24] See note on Valea Mare/Nagypatak.

[25] Church figure. (Almanahul "Presa Bună". Iaşi 1995. p. 121.) The 1992 census gives common figures for Fărăoani/Forrófalva and Valea Mare/Nagypatak: 5,400 Catholic and 51 Greek Orthodox people.

[26] With the population of Alexandrina district treated separately.

[27] Under the name Valea Rea.

[28] Under the name Gheorghe Buzdugan.

[29] Almost all the figures for the mainly Catholic Berindeşti were incorporated with those of the almost entire Orthodox Gâşteni. In consequence, these numbers are relevant to both villages together.

[30] Under the name Unguri.

[31] Podu Roşu/Podoros which is treated separately by the census (and sometimes in the Hungarian scientific literature) is a district of Vladnic/Lábnik.

[32] The census identified the Catholic district as Fântânele.

[33] Ca. 200 Greek Orthodox Gypsies and Romanians speak Hungarian as well.

[34] Under the name Râpa-Epei.

[35] Under the name Gura Solonţi.

[36] Under the name Sârbi.

[37] The Catholics live in Năsuieşti/Neszujest district of Strugari/Esztrugár, and in Cetăţuia and Răchitişu villages.

[38] In 1930, Găidar (369 inhabitants) and Coman (42 inhabitants) are listed separately.

[39] The village Váliri is a district of the newly built Livezi. Under the name Valea Rea in the 1930 census.

[40] In the villages Butucari, Dragomir, Martin-Berzunţi and Moreni together. Hungarian-speakers live mainly in Butucari/Butukár district.

[41] Together with the small Cădăreşti district listed separately. Ciugheş/Csügés is actually composed of two small settlements - Ciugheşul Român/Románcsügés and Ciugheşul Maghiar/Magyarcsügés - but this division is not reflected in the censuses. Cădăreşti district is a district of Ciugheşul Maghiar/Magyarcsügés.

[42] All the Greek Orthodox inhabitants of Ciugheşul Maghiar/Magyarcsügés and the majority of the Greek Orthodox population of Ciugheşul Român/Románcsügés can speak Hungarian.

[43] The censuses give detailed figures for the districts. The figures given here refer to the whole village. The majority of the Hungarian speakers live in Cuchiniş and Buruieniş districts.

[44] Total figures are given here in case of both censuses. Those Catholics who still speak Hungarian live mainly in Vermeşti village in the outskirts.

[45] Total Catholic population of Moineşti, Lunca Moineşti and Lucăceşti.

[46] Catholics live mainly in the district Brătuleşti/Magyardormán.

[47] Total Catholic population of Dofteana, Bogata, Valea Câmpului and Seaca which were not listed separately in 1930.

[48] Today Valea Câmpului is a district of the village Ştefan Vodă. The figures of the 1992 census refer to the whole village.

[49] The 1930 census found 2,539 Catholics in Târgu Ocna/Aknavásár and 998 Catholics in Slănic: the latter cannot be precisely identified today. Both settlements are composed of several villages and here it is impossible to give an adequate division of the figures by villages. It is true, however, that the 3,537 Catholics recorded by the 1992 census live in Târgu Ocna/Aknavásár, Gura Slănic/Szalánctorka, Păcurele/Degettes, Slănic Băi/Szlánikfürdő, Cireşoaia/Szalánc and Cerdac/Cserdák.

[50] The Catholic Păcurele/Degettes is a district of the Greek Orthodox village Poieni, a village on the outskirts of Târgu Ocna/Aknavásár. The census returns refer to Poieni but all 235 Catholics live in Păcurele/Degettes.

[51] Today the village is situated on the outskirts of Târgu Ocna/Aknavásár. Due to a lack of data, it is impossible to estimate the total population. The number of Catholics is given by ecclesiastical sources. (Almanahul 1995. p 134.)

[52] In the 1930 census: Slănic Băi. See note on Târgu Ocna/Aknavásár.

[53] The 1930 census incorporated the data from Tuta/Diószeg and Viişoara with the figures of Târgu Trotuş/Tatros. There are no Catholics in Viişoara. The total Catholic population of Târgu Trotuş/Tatros and Tuta/Diószeg is 1,796.

[54] The 1930 census incorporated the data from the Csángó villages of Nicoreşti/Szitás, Satu Nou/Újfalu, Pârgăreşti/Szőlőhegy and Bahna/Bahána with the figures of the Greek Orthodox village of Bogdăneşti.

[55] The village Călcâi listed in the censuses is a district of Grozeşti/Gorzafalva.

[56] The town has a traditional Hungarian district. The estimated population refers to this district while the ratio corresponds to the whole town. We do not have data on the population living in the housing estates.

[57] Today Valea Seacă/Szárazpataka is a district of the village Ştefan cel Mare. The figures refer to this village.

[58] The village belongs to Vrancea county.

[59] Social circumstances mean that newly married couples who leave the villages for the towns speak in Romanian, even if they both speak Hungarian well and occasionally use Hungarian in their native villages. The children of such families have already lost any ability to understand Hungarian.

[60] For example, we lack figures for the villages Fântânele[-Noi] (249 Catholic and 1800 Greek Orthodox inhabitants in 1992) and Iazu Porcului/Jázu Porkuluj (present-day Iazu Vechi with 272 Greek Orthodox and 56 Catholic inhabitants) in Iaşi county which Pál Péter Domokos considers as "pure Hungarian". (DOMOKOS 1987 p. 255.) In the latter village linguists from Cluj/Kolozsvár in the 1950's still found Hungarian speakers. (SZABÓ T. 1981 p. 518.) The 1930 census found 185 Roman Catholics and 266 (!) inhabitants who had Hungarian as their mother tongue in the mountain village of Podul Şchiopului in the former Putna (today: Vrancea) county.

[61] This number is 10,000 less than the estimation of Pál Péter Domokos in 1931 who at that time - still unaware of the 1930 census results - set the number of the Moldavian Hungarians at 55,000. Later, László Mikecs found this estimation "a little optimistic". (MIKECS 1941 p. 249.)

[62] In Romániai Magyar Szó 11th-12th April 1992 László Vetési reports on the intimidation of the population of Lespezi/Lészped. The same newspaper publishes the protest of G. Margareta Percă, census official in Săbăoani/Szabófalva, which she sent to various political and human rights organisations. She wrote: "From January 1, 1992 onwards, the commissioner of the Roman Catholic Episcopal Office of Iasi and the village priest systematically urged the population every day to declare themselves ethnic Romanian at the census. They argued that the expression Roman Catholic derives from the name «Romanian». The propaganda among the inhabitants reached its peak on 6 January when the priest menaced the parishioners saying that should they not declare themselves ethnic Romanians, the situation would be similar to that of 1940 when the transfer of the Moldavian Csángós to Hungary was on the agenda."

[63] The letter of Mihály Perka, leader of the language circle, to the leaders of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania is published in the Sfântu Gheorghe/Sepsiszentgyörgy periodical Európai Idő 5-6, 1993. p. 3. His interviews can be found in the Cluj/Kolozsvár journal Művelődés 1, 1992. p. 11 and Hitel 3, 1994. pp. 58-69. issued in Budapest.

[64] See Orient Expressz (Bucharest) 11th June 1993. p. 9. and Romániai Magyar Szó (Bucharest) 11th-12th April, 1992. Appendix p. a-b.

[65] See Európai Idő (Sfântu Gheorghe/Sepsiszentgyörgy) (21) 22nd May 1991. p. 8.

[66] Report of József Kötő, Vice-President of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania, in Szabadság (Cluj/Kolozsvár) 3rd May 1995.