The Pro Transylvania Association

the pro transylvania association Pro Transylvania opposed the cessation by Romania of Northern Transylvania to Hungary under Vienna Award of August 1940.

Under the Vienna Award of August 30 1940, Germany and Italy forced Romania to cede Northern Transylvania to Hungary. This was Romania's second loss of territory that year, following that of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, which had been annexed by the USSR in June. Yet a third territorial loss would occur in September, when Southern Dobruja was awarded to Bulgaria under the Treaty of Craiova. Northern Transylvania had almost 43,500 square km and some 2.4 million inhabitants according to a population census from 1930, with ethnic Romanians making up around 50% of the ceded territory and ethnic Hungarians 38%. The Vienna Award was the result of Hungary's revisionist policy after the 1920 Treaty of Trianon between the Entente and Hungary, which concluded WWI.

The forced cessation of Northern Transylvania was not without consequences, including persecutions against the Romanian and Jewish population, as well as expulsions and displacement, with around 500,000 Romanians, people from the administration and the elites, having to leave the area. Those who fled Northern Transylvania did not however, resign to the new state of affairs. On 15th November 1940, a group of young intellectuals established the Pro Transylvania association, which also had its own radio station, with the leader of the National Peasant Party Iuliu Maniu as honorary president. The aim of the association was primarily to condemn the loss of territory. Although the association was clandestine, its members did get hold of a military radio station which they used to broadcast for 2-3 hours a day from Brașov.

Professor Victor Marian was a member of the Pro Transylvania association and in 1997 he gave an interview to Radio Romania's Oral History Centre:

"It was a pirate station and we were constantly followed, so we kept moving from one place to another. After 41 Castelului street, we moved the station to Mount Tâmpa, in the hut of an abandoned sheepfold. The key figure of the station was Leon Bochiş, and he was joined by Lucian Valea, Iustin Ilieş and myself. I worked with them until mid 1942, when I got an appointment in the education system in Braşov, which made it harder for me to continue with the station."

The broadcasting station in question was called Free Romania, it used portable equipment and covered around 100 km. Victor Marian said the station had a good location and the information it broadcast into the occupied territory came via courier and even from the army:

"The station was well organised because broadcasting from Braşov it could be received easily, especially in the Szekler region and Târgu Mureş. I knew people from Cluj, which is 230 km away, who said they could often pick up this clandestine station. From Tâmpa, the station moved to Postăvarul Peak, and from Postăvarul to Piatra Mare mountain, but I'd already stopped working with them by that time. I heard about it from Leon Bochiş, who was a very good friend. From Piatra Mare they moved the station to Făgăraş mountains, and that was the final move, because they were tracked down and had to flee. They had to leave their equipment behind and the station no longer broadcast after that."

Victor Marian also spoke about the newspaper published by the Pro Transylvania Association, called Ardealul, and which had an equally important contribution to maintaining hope in the Romanian media:

"This newspaper, Ardealul, which was led by Anton Ionel Mureşanu, carried lots of reports about the movement of the frontline and other international events. So we knew about all the efforts made by Iuliu Maniu at an international level, in Stockholm, Ankara, Cairo, etc. We were up to date, so we were able to provide accurate information about these diplomatic efforts. When these reports appeared, we felt we were being followed, we could tell the station was being tracked, and would move immediately. We simply had to pack up and leave because as soon as we broadcast these reports about Romania wanting to leave the war, the Germans, who had much more sophisticated equipment, would have caught us in no time."

As the front line was advancing into the Soviet Union, the activity of the Pro Transylvania association was becoming more and more difficult, and it eventually closed in 1942. On the advice of Iuliu Maniu, the members of the broadcasting team fled, and the broadcasting equipment was abandoned in the mountains. Two years later, in 1944, the fate of history changed, and in 1947, Northern Transylvania, for which a lot of compromises that been made, was returned to Romania.
Publicat: 2023-05-22 14:00:00
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