In the meantime, the Hungarian Bolyai Farkas Lyceum’s students began a sit-in strike: they wanted to force the immediate restoration of education in their mother tongue.
On January 30, I went to my old school (my father, brother and sister had also obtained their graduation certificates there), and in the headmaster’s office, in the company of teacher László Lőrincz, the Vice-Chairman of the Nationality Committee of the National Salvation Front, I tried to convince the students’ committee and the parents’ committee that they should accept the January 19 resolution of the County Council of the National Salvation Front.
This being, that they should not restore the Hungarian lyceum until the autumn.
I stressed that it was not possible to achieve Hungarian equality while at the same time disregarding Romanian sensitivities. I said it could not be claimed that Hungarian rights were being infringed just because the Romanian students and their teachers did not have to change school in mid-year. I added that the fact that this very thing had been done to the Hungarians in the 1961 school merger should not be a reason for a similar step now. I said the time had come to put an end to the exchange of blows.
Nationality education must be ensured by the Education Act, and this should not be made the object of local bargaining. My words were supported by László Lőrincz, who also warned that ultimata only added grist to the Romanian nationalists’ mill.
One parent there said to my face that I was a traitor to the Hungarians, and that I was unwilling to assert just Hungarian demands in order to further my political career. He asked who had authorised me to behave in such an opportunistic way. His words were acclaimed by some present.
Teacher Matei, the Romanian deputy headmaster of the Bolyai Lyceum, could hardly believe his ears. (He speaks Hungarian well.) But it is characteristic that he never said subsequently in any Romanian forum: “Stop. Exactly the opposite of what the Vatra alleges about Kincses is true: Kincses resolutely opposed the immediate removal of the Romanian students from the Bolyai.” I am curious whether he will ever be willing to tell of all this...
Incidentally, a video film was made of this encounter. And thus it can be confirmed at any time that I am writing the truth. I represented the same view in my interview to Budapest Television on February 4.
Now, some time later, I can only say that the Hungarians were not wrong when they thought that if the Bolyai was not to become a Hungarian school at once, it would not become one after the elections either! The logic being that the government elected then would not fulfil the promises of the National Salvation Front.
The school affair snowballed.
The Deputy Minister for Education, engineering Professor Attila Pálfalvi – a Hungarian was relieved of his post in order to give the impression that he had initiated this divisive separation of the schools, although it had been the government’s stated programme. As one consequence of Attila Pálfalvi’s removal, the cause of the Hungarian schools came to a halt. When the RMDSZ protested, Pálfalvi was appointed deputy minister in an industrial ministry.