The harassment of Hungarians in Slovakia continuing

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Secondary school geography teacher István Fehér of Komárom is the eighth ethnic Hungarian dual citizen who lost his Slovakian citizenship. He took the Hungarian citizenship oath and became a Hungarian citizen last September.

According to reports, the Nyitra District Registry Office has already removed his name from the list of Slovakian citizens. "I can't be intimidated by such actions," said the high school teacher; then, he added he would like to keep his Slovakian citizenship and won't obey government demands to hand in his papers to authorities.

István Fehér took the Hungarian citizenship oath on September 15, 2011. "It was a wonderfully organized event, one of the most moving experiences in my life" recalled his citizenship oath the 51-year old geography teacher.

The citizenship ceremony was held in the small Fejér County village of Isztimér. He has chosen this village for the citizenship ceremony for historical reasons: part of his mother's family was deported after the second world war in this tiny village due to the Benes Decrees that found ethnic Hungarians collectively guilty of being German allies. Isztimér was an ethnic German settlement before the war. After the war, the entire German population had been deported and their homes were used to house other deportees from Czechoslovakia said the teacher. The Czechoslovakian government stopped the deportations in 1947 due to growing international pressure.

"I'm not a fool and won't voluntarily quit my Slovakian citizenship" said the teacher.

"I have been paying taxes in this country for twenty-seven years, but they threaten me; if I don't quit my Slovakian citizenship I will have to pay 33 Euro penalty and police can arrest me. These intimidations recall the darkest days of Benes' era,” said István Fehér.

According to Fehér, it is particularly important that Hungary - as stated repeatedly - stands behind its new citizens. "We accept the financial help offered by the Hungarian government because without financial help we won't be able to continue our legal fight that might even force to us to go to Strasbourg” said the teacher.

Fehér would like to see more people coming forward openly admitting that they obtained Hungarian citizenship. As he put it: Slovakian authorities can easily punish a few people, but if masses are behind the cause it will be more difficult to delay solutions to the problem of dual citizenship said Fehér.

There is no need to be afraid of, we are not criminals, we are ethnic Hungarians who would like to continue living in this country as dual citizens said the teacher.

Fehér obtained Hungarian citizenship because he wanted to take advantage of the opportunity that Hungary offered. He also wanted some sort of compensation for what happened to his relatives after the second world war. The third factor was his conscience. I am a Hungarian man who respects the rights of all nationalities and I think we Hungarians are entitled to the same respect said the teacher.



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