VERITAS Research Institute and Archives

The capital of Transylvania has returned to the motherland!  was the jubilant headline of the article describing the events of September 11th, 1940, in Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca) in the Hungarian-language newspaper Ellenzék (Opposition). Some passages have been translated below.

In the colorful atmosphere of an unforgettable experience, it is difficult to write an accurate report about yesterday's historic day for the Hungarians of Kolozsvár. Yesterday saw the first truly Hungarian celebration in Kolozsvár for twenty-two years. Is it possible to find the right words when, with tears of joy in our eyes, we have witnessed our most secret dreams and our hearts’ desires come true? The power of the printed word is not enough to reproduce the intoxicating beauty of the joyous celebration. Perhaps the words uttered by a publicly respected 80-year-old man when he saw the Hungarian soldiers were the most characteristic of the day. They were a thanksgiving, a moving exclamation to the Almighty. With tears of joy in his eyes, the man said to the younger generation celebrating around him: I am grateful for living long enough to see this day; now I can die in peace!

Indeed it was worth living for this day! It was ample compensation for the ordeals of the past twenty-two years! We were able to see Hungarian flags decorating our city and hear the wonderful melodies of our national prayers resounding within the ancient city walls. Every Hungarian from Kolozsvár had ardently longed to celebrate the arrival of our Army. The city had been in a festive mood from the early hours of the morning. In vain had been the order that flags and emblems in the national colors could be flown only after 8 AM. As early as dawn on the day of their arrival, the Hungarians of Kolozsvár had provided indisputable proof that this city was and had remained Hungarian. Groups in Bocskai costumes hurried towards the main streets. We were able to take delight in the beautiful Hungarian dresses of the girls and women.

The entry of the brunt of the troops did not begin until the afternoon. However, the Hungarians of Kolozsvár celebrated from the early hours of the morning. The arrival of the first Army officers' vehicles was a veritable triumph. Flowers rained down on them. Huge crowds surrounded the arriving troops. They were hugged and kissed. Everyone wanted to shake their hands. Cheers rose up to the sky. There was not a single house on the main streets whose windows were not full of onlookers. Large groups gathered even on the rooftops to watch the procession.

An honor guard surrounded the wonderful monument of King Matthias the Just. The people stood with their hats drawn in front of the Hungarian coat of arms, which announced that Matthias Hunyadi's birthplace had returned to the motherland.

The first Hungarian gendarme arrived from the direction of Gyalu. The enthusiastic crowd lifted him onto their shoulders and celebrated his arrival. On this joyous occasion, many people who had been forced to leave their homes returned to the capital of Transylvania. The actual celebration had not even begun, and already this true Hungarian celebration was so intimate that it could not have been organized through previous deliberations, even with the most ingenious skills of an organizer.

The wonderful melodies of a gypsy band showed that Hungarian song had regained its freedom. When the clock on the tower of St. Michael’s Church was turned back an hour, it was a sign that Kolozsvár was once again a part of the motherland’s circulatory system.

Several thousand people celebrated on King Matthias Square. Leading personalities from Kolozsvár society and noteworthy arrivals from Budapest took their places in the stands. At 1 PM, the procession of the various delegations began. Groups of Hungarian women's associations in festive dresses were reminiscent of Hungarian historical paintings. Old flags, carefully watched over, had been raised to triumphantly proclaim the glory of the Hungarian past, the happiness of the present and hope for the future. By 2 PM, all prominent guests had taken their places. Commander of the occupying Hungarian troops Lieutenant General Vitéz Gusztáv Jány arrived thirty minutes later. Then the national anthem rang out, which had never been addressed to the Almighty in a truer, more beautiful and more moving way.

It was approaching dusk by the time a radio message from Army headquarters was broadcasted to the people. This radio message addressed Kolozsvár first in Hungarian and then Romanian. The residents of Kolozsvár were assured that the troops would bring order and calm. The Hungarian government would make the economy flourish and offer equality to every citizen who kept the law. That the radio had broadcasted the message in Romanian also meant that the Hungarian state would give the Romanians who wished to adapt to the new conditions and continue living in Kolozsvár the opportunity to stay.

Evening was slowly approaching. Streetlights were lit and candles in every window announced the joy of the people. The whole city shone with lights. Tens of thousands of people celebrated.

The time for work has arrived, the difficult work of reorganizing the re-annexed Transylvanian territories. We should look back on this splendid Hungarian celebration with fondness as it will always give us faith and inspiration.