Mission to Bucharest

I learned from the Hungarian journalist Gyöngyi Bodolai that the local Hungarian Vörös Zászló newspaper had become the Népújság. Since the last December 22  issue of the Vörös Zászló had published an article by the Bishop of Oradea, László Papp, basely slandering László Tőkés, I thought how beautiful it would be if the first number of the reformed Népújság could publish the truth about the Tőkés affair. I went home and started to write the article. But I got a phone call that I should travel to Bucharest as the designated leader of the six-member (three Romanians, three Hungarians) deputation committee from the county. I therefore decided to write my article in Romanian so that the Scînteia (the former Romanian Party daily) should also be able to publish it. Let the Romanian population of the whole country also learn the truth about the Tőkés affair, I thought. To write my article I needed my file, and therefore I went to my office. The building was closed, but the light was on in the office of Justin Ene, the Romanian chairman of the court. I threw a pebble at the window. He greeted me with great joy and invited me to his office. We emptied our glasses to victory: Justin Ene, Romanian vice-chairman Emil Nuţiu, Dorin Stefanelli, the Romanian chairman of the municipal court, and I.

It was during the small talk that Ene informed me how he had worried about me, because I had been on the Securitate’s death list.

I took this opportunity to arrange with the relevant authorities that the Hungarian workers Mihály Szenczi and Márton Tordai should be set free next day. The two friends were sentenced to six months’ imprisonment during the recent Party Congress because they had painted anti-Ceauşescu caricatures and slogans on the pavement. The Hungarian Television made a report about the terrible tortures that Szenczi and Tordai had gone through. This report was finished as early in February, but unfortunately was not broadcast at the time.


At 10:00 on December 23 the six of us set out in two jeeps which we had filled with fine foods from the Party stores so that the television people and their defenders should not go wanting (they had told us by phone that they did not have sufficient food). The six-member delegation was made up of Attila Jakabffy (H), myself (H), Dana Olaru (R), Alexandru Pal (R), Vasile Pol (R), and Ferenc Salati (H). All of us had the Romanian tricolour on our arm, and our jeeps carried the Romanian flag with the hole ripped in the middle (where the Communist crest had been), Károly Király gave us written credentials as the delegates of the Mureş County Fraternity Democratic Forum.

On the way to Bucharest we saw only happy people. Everybody greeted us with the victory “V” sign, and nowhere did we see any of the formerly omnipresent roadside billboards with Ceauşescu quotations, portraits, etc. The dictator had vanished as if he had never existed. At least, so we thought then.

In Braşov we drove down a 300-metre stretch of road while a machine gun rattled constantly nearby. We were often stopped by civilians, soldiers, policemen, and asked to identify ourselves. But the credentials issued by Károly Király helped everywhere.

We arrived in Bucharest as it was getting dark. We had difficulty getting in through Gate No. 2 of the television centre. We had to dim our headlights, as we were in the middle of fighting. They did not want to admit us to the main building, saying that it was dangerous and that too many delegations had already appeared on screen anyway, etc. Finally, Attila Jakabffy and Vasile Pol somehow got in and shortly afterwards they appeared on television. Jakabffy spoke in Hungarian. Both stressed the great understanding between Romanians and Hungarians in our county. Equality was emphasized.

I can only give such a brief account of their message because while we listened to them, the shooting resumed. This somewhat diverted my attention.