Slovakization or Slovakisation is a form of cultural assimilation process during which non-Slovak nationals give up their culture and language in favor of the Slovak one. This process has relied most heavily on intimidation and harassment by state authorities. In the past the process has been greatly aided by deprivation of collective rights for minorities and ethnic cleansing, but in the last decades its promotion has been limited to the adoption of anti-minority policies and anti-minority hate speech.
The process itself is limited mostly to Slovakia, where Slovaks constitute the absolute majority by means of population and legislation power as well. Slovakization is most often used in relation to Hungarians, who constitute the most prominent minority of Slovakia, but it also affects Germans, Ukrainians, Rusyns (Ruthenians), Poles, and Jews.
- 1 Hungarians
- 1.1 After World War I
- 1.2 The aftermath of World War II
- 1.3 During Socialism
- 1.4 Since the independence of Slovakia
- 2 Rusyns
- 3 Poles
- 4 See also
- 5 Notes
- 6 Citations
- 7 Sources and general references
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
After World War I
The process of slovakization was present in the Kingdom of Hungary presumably ever since the appearance of the Slovak nation itself, but up until the foundation of Czechoslovakia the process was entirely voluntary. This early form of slovakization can be observed in detail in noble families' personal correspondence. Another example of pre-WWI Slovakization is the assimilation of the Habans, a Hutterite group settled in the Nagylévárd (today's Veľké Leváre) area in the 16th century, into the Slovak majority.
The accelerated, forced nature of slovakization began with the defeat of the remaining Hungarian armies in 1919, which laid foundations to the creation of Czechoslovakia, a state in which the Slovaks have gained a de facto political power for the first time in the nation's history. The Paris Peace Conference concluded by the Treaty of Trianon in 1920 set the southern border of Czechoslovakia for strategic and economic reasons much further south than the Slovak-Hungarian language border. Consequently, fully Hungarian-populated areas were annexed to the newly created state.
When Czechoslovakia arose as a new country in this situation, previously prohibited Slovak schools were established, while some Hungarian schools in largely Hungarian regions remained Hungarian and some German schools in largely German regions remained German. The Hungarians, for example, had 31 kindergartens, 806 elementary schools, 46 secondary schools, 576 Hungarian libraries at schools in the 1930s and a Department of Hungarian literature was created at the Charles University of Prague. The number of Hungarian elementary schools increased from 720 in 1923/1924 to the above number 806. The Hungarian University in Bratislava/Pozsony was immediately closed after formation of Czechoslovakia 
According to the 1910 census conducted by the Central Statistical Office of Hungary, there were 884,309 people with Hungarian as a mother tongue, constituting 30.2% of the population, in what is now Slovakia compared to the 9.7% number recorded in the 2001 census, amounting to a 3 fold decrease in the percentage of Hungarians. The first Slovak census in 1919 in what is now Slovakia recorded 689,565 Hungarians constituting 23.59% of the population. According to the first Czechoslovak census in 1921 there were 650,597 Hungarians in Slovakia, constituting 21.68% of the population. The Czechoslovak census of 1930 recorded 571,952 Hungarians. All censuses from the period are disputed, and some give conflicting data for example in Kosice according to the Czechoslovak censuses 15-20% of the population was Hungarian. However during the parliamentary elections the Ethnic Hungarian parties got 35-45% of the total votes (excluding those Hungarians who voted for the Communists or the Social democrats). The whole matter is complicated by the fact that there was a high percentage of bilingual and similarly "Slovak-Hungarian" persons who could claim being both Slovak and Hungarian.
Slovak sources usually do not deny that many Hungarian teachers (replaced in Slovak schools by Slovak and Czech teachers), railwaymen (on strike against new Czechoslovak republic on February, 1919), postmen, policemen, soldiers and civil clerks (replaced by Czech and Slovak soldiers, policemen and clerks) were forced to leave or left for Hungary voluntarily, the numbers however are unclear but census do show a rapid decline in the number of people with Hungarian as a mother tongue. Some teachers and civil servants were expelled from Czechoslovakia while some left due to the harsh circumstances. There are many examples of Hungarians who were forced to leave their homes from this territory (two famous ones are the families of Béla Hamvas, and of Albert Szent-Györgyi). The high number of refugees (and even more from Romania) necessitated entire new housing projects in Budapest (Mária-Valéria telep, Pongrácz-telep), which gave shelter to refugees numbering at least in the ten-thousands.
During the Dual Monarchy there was strong anti-Hungarian sentiment among certain sections of the Czech and Slovak population, and not surprisingly this persisted to some extent in Czechoslovakia. It seemed to hit the city of Pressburg (soon to be renamed Bratislava) the most: one of the very first measures brought by Samuel Zoch, the newly appointed župan of the city was the forced disbandment of the Elisabeth Science University, the only Hungarian university in Czechoslovakia, and the intimidation of its professors by the police in 1919, immediately after the formation of the country. Most of the professors and former students then left Pressburg for Budapest (with the university later being re-established in Pécs). Zoch had previously stated "...but the question of minorities will be fully solved only after our public perception of morality will condemn ethnical oppression just as much as the oppression of religion".
Tensions mounted further in Bratislava as soldiers of the Czechoslovakian legion fired volleys at civilians, leaving 7 dead and 23 wounded. Most of these soldiers played the main part in the destruction of Hungarian and Habsburg statues and monuments.
Another aspect of the anti-Hungarian sentiment was the hatred of all the statues and monuments representing Austria-Hungary or Hungarian historical people. National socialist MPs of the Czechoslovak National Assembly have been calling for the demolition of such works of art as early as 1920. The hatred however was not limited to sculptures only: Hungarian books were burned in Poprad and possibly other locations as well. Concurrently some of the statues were destroyed as well: the millennium monument along with the Árpád statue in Devín was blown up using dynamite, the statue of Maria Theresa in Bratislava (pictured) was brought down using ropes tied to trucks. Statues of Lajos Kossuth were destroyed in Rožňava, Lučenec, Dobšiná and Nové Zámky, also a statue of Ferenc Rákóczi in Brezno and numerous others. In almost all of these cases the perpetrators were the soldiers of the Czechoslovakian legion. The police and government officials watched the process idly and decided to intervene only after the mob had begun to take over shops and properties of German entrepreneurs. Hungarians (and other minorities e.g. Germans and Rusyns) were excluded from the constituent assembly, barring them from having any influence on the new Czechoslovak constitution. Later on, all the minorities gained the right to use their languages in municipalities where they constituted at least 20% of the population even in communication with government offices and courts. However due to gerrymandering and disproportionate distribution of population between Bohemia and Slovakia the Hungarians had little representation in the National Assembly and thus their influence on the politics of Czechoslovakia remained limited. The same considerations have limited the Slovak intelligentsia's political power as well.
The aftermath of World War II
Preparations for a post-war Czechoslovak state without Hungarians
In 1945, at the end of World War II, Czechoslovakia was recreated and Czechoslovak politicians aimed to completely remove the German and Hungarian minorities from the territory of Czechoslovakia via ethnic cleansing.[note 1] Both minorities were considered "war criminals" because representatives of those two minorities, such as Konrad Henlein and János Esterházy, and their two mother countries were instrumental in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia before World War II, via the Munich Agreement and the Vienna Awards. As Edvard Beneš said:
"After this war there will be no minority rights in the spirit of the old system which began after the First World War. After punishing all the delinquents who committed crimes against the state, the overwhelming majority of the Germans and Hungarians must leave Czechoslovakia. This is our resolute standpoint... Our people cannot live with the Germans and Hungarians in our fatherland."—Edvard Beneš, 1945 
During the last years of the war, Beneš, the leader of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile, worked toward resolving the minority problem of Czechoslovakia. This meant that the German and Hungarian minorities of Czechoslovakia had to be transferred or assimilated, because they were the biggest obstacle standing in the way of forming postwar Czechoslovakia into a nation-state. The idea that the Hungarian minority in Slovakia must be destroyed dominated Czechoslovak national policy for an extended period. Meantime, Klement Gottwald, leader of the Czechoslovakian communists had set up a rival government in Moscow. In April 1945 Gottwald and Beneš met in Kosice and they created the new Czechoslovak government, the National Front which was a coalition of the Soviet supported Czechoslovak communists and non-communists. The members of this new political unity agreed that the country should be formed into a nation state.
Soon, -under the supervision of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks)- the National Front announced the "Košice Government Program" (Košický vládny program). After the proclamation of the program, the German and Hungarian population living in the reborn Czechoslovakia were subjected to various forms of persecution, including: expulsions, deportations, internments, peoples court procedures, citizenship revocations, property confiscation, condemnation to forced labour camps, and forced changes of ethnicity referred to as “reslovakization.” The Hungarian question is mainly dealt with in Chapters VIII; XI and XV out of the 16 chapters of the programme. Chapter VIII deprived the Hungarian and German inhabitants of their citizenship. Chapter XI declared the confiscation of Hungarian landed property while chapter XV ordered to close ethnic schools. From chapters VIII and IX, adopted by the cabinet council on April 5, 1945:
"As to the Czechoslovak citizens of German and Hungarian nationality, who were Czechoslovak citizens prior to the Munich Pact in 1938, their citizenship will be confirmed and their eventual return to the Republic may be permitted only in the following categories: for anti-Nazis and anti-Fascists who fought against Henlein and Hungarian irredentism, who fought for Czechoslovakia, and who after the Munich Pact and after March 15 were persecuted for their loyalty to Czechoslovakia...The Czechoslovak citizenship of the other Czechoslovak German and Hungarian citizens will be cancelled. Although they may again express a choice for Czechoslovakia, public authorities will retain the right of individual decision."—Chapters VIII and IX of the "Statute issued in Košice" (1945)
"We have decided now that our liberated State shall be a national state, rid of all hostile elements, living in brotherly harmony with the family of Slav States and in friendship with all peace-loving nations of the world. (§ 9)"[...] "The Czechoslovak Republic is a unitary State of two Slav nations possessing equal rights, the Czechs and the Slovaks. (Article II/1 )"—The Constitution of the Czechoslovak Republic; Constitutional Act of May 9th, 1948.
The key parts of the ethnic policy were written by the VIP members of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, like Klement Gottwald, Bohumír Šmeral, Jan Šverma and Vaclav Kopecky. Gustáv Husák said:
"The past seven tormenting years have changed our opinion and the opinion of the majority of the world on the minority politics. This is the fourth lesson we are drawing from the fall of 1938, a lesson pointing to the historic crime of the Hungarian and German minorities in the destruction of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, a lesson showing the sufferings of the population of Czechoslovakia, a lesson on the inevitability of expelling and exchanging the minority populations in the interest of the European peace and the peaceful coexistence of the nations."—G. Husák "Poucenia z jesene (1938)" (1945)
Because the German and Hungarian minorities were pre-war Czechoslovak citizens, Beneš had to adopt decrees that deprived them of their citizenship. In 1945, President Edvard Beneš revoked the citizenship of Germans and Hungarians by decree #33, except those with an active anti-fascist past (see Beneš Decrees), and Czechoslovakia maintained that the peace agreement must include a provision stating that "Hungarians whose Czechoslovak citizenship will now be revoked will be recognized by Hungary as Hungarian citizens and will be settled on its territory, and Hungary will bear responsibility for these individuals from the moment they cross Hungary's border and will provide for them".
The forced deportation of the Hungarians
The resettlement of about 700,000 Hungarians was envisaged at Kosice and subsequently reaffirmed by the National Front. However, the success of the Czechoslovak deportation plan depended on the decisions of the Great powers. In 1943, before the end of the war, Beneš already had the necessary approval of the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union to transfer the German and Hungarian population out of Czechoslovakia. But at the end of the war, when the American and British leaders saw the blueprint of Beneš's plan, they didn't support it. However, this solution fit into Joseph Stalin's Central European policy, and on March 21, 1945, Molotov informed Beneš that the Soviet Union will try to support him to achieve his goal. Zdeněk Fierlinger informed the Czechoslovak government that "Stalin has an utterly positive standpoint on our demands in the matter of the transfer. He will allow us to carry out the transfer to Germany and Hungary, and, to a certain extent, also to Austria" The Potsdam Agreement approved the deportation of Germans from Czechoslovakia, but the removal of the complete Hungarian population proved to be more difficult, and finally failed. The post-war Czechoslovak government attempted to apply the Potsdam Agreement on the Hungarian population too, but the Western powers rejected this conception, and they also refused putting the Czechoslovak demands into the peace treaty with Hungary. The Hungarian government protested against the expel of the Hungarian population from Czechoslovakia and requested intervention from the Allies. When the Czechoslovak government realized that they had lost the support of the Western powers, who advised and supported negotiations with Hungary, they turned to an internal solution, and decided to eliminate the Hungarian minority by Slovakization and Slovak colonization.
"As we are throwing out three million Sudeten Germans, perhaps we could settle 300,000 Hungarians in this territory"
Decree NO. #071/1945 ("Presidential edict concerning forced labor services of persons who had lost Czechoslovak citizenship; September 19, 1945") and #88/1945 ("Decree of the President on the General obligation to Work (abrogated by law No. 65/1965)") authorized the Czechoslovak administration to draft people into labour service for one year. Under the disguise of 'labor recruiting' the deportation of Hungarians from South Slovakia began to the recently vacated Czech borderlands, and their properties were confiscated. The transit trains were marked with the signs 'voluntary agricultural workers'. In fact, the real goal was to alter the ethnic composition of South Slovakia. These 'labor recruitings' were named by Czech historian Karel Kaplan as 'internal colonisations'. According to him:
"[...] the political aim (of the internal colonisation) of which was to transfer a part of the Hungarian minority away from the Hungarian border and to destroy it as a compact territorial unit. This colonisation also had an immediate industrial golal -to provide the depopulated areas with a workforce"—C.M. Breuning; Power and the people: a social history of Central European politics, 1945-56; (2005)
Between July and August 1946 under the slogan "Slovak agricultural labour assisting the Czech lands" more Hungarians were deported to Bohemia. Eventually 40,000-45,000-50,000 Hungarians were deported to Czech territories recently cleared of Sudeten Germans, and their properties were confiscated by the state. According to the Slovak National Archives, 41666 Hungarians had been deported from southern Slovakia.
Hungarians who stayed in Slovakia became the targets of the extremely strong Slovak assimilation efforts.
|District||Number of Hungarians (1930)(1)||Deported Hungarian families||Deported Hungarian persons|
|1||Šamorín (now part of DSD)||27030||767||3951|
|2||Dunajská Streda District||39070||698||3551|
|7||Hurbanovo (now part of Komárno District)||36940||966||3960|
|8||Štúrovo (now part of Nové Zámky District)||39483||1008||3956|
|9||Želiezovce (now part of Levice District)||24164||864||3282|
|12||Jesenské, Rimavská Sobota District||25 195||547||2156|
|15||Kráľovský Chlmec (now part of Trebišov District)||24514||116||590|
|16||together||448 481||9610||41 666|
(1) In 1930, according to the Czechoslovak census
Hungarian-Slovak population exchanges
The Czechoslovak leadership pressed for a complete cleansing of the country and the deportation of all Hungarians; however, the Allies prevented a unilateral expulsion, and instead they advised to solve the minorities' problem on via negotiation. As a result, the Czechoslovak government resettled more than 40,000 Hungarians to the Czech borderlands, but this action evoked the protest of the United States and Hungary, and for the latter one, it was a warning. Hungary proposed the re-annexation of the solidly Hungarian areas (achieved in 1938 via the First Vienna Award, but on February 10, 1947, the Treaty of Paris declared it null and void), however, Czechoslovakia rejected this offer. After this, Czechoslovakia pressed for a bilateral population exchange, to remove Hungarians, and gain Slovak population, to change the ethnic makeup of the country. This plan was initially rejected by Hungary. However, one of the unconcealed purpose of the deportation of the Hungarians to the Czech lands was, to force Hungary to sign the bilateral population exchange compact with Czechoslovakia. Soon, Hungary realized, that the Allies are not interested in the fate of the Hungarian minority, and they won't halt the deportations (the peace treaty signed on 1947 did not include any provision concerning the protection of minorities). Under such a circumstances, Hungary finally signed the bilateral agreement with Czechoslovakia in Budapest, on February 27, 1946. The Hungarian government considered the birth of the contract as a big fiasco. The signatories were Vladimír Clementis, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Czechoslovakia and János Gyöngyösi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary. The Czechoslovak government planned the removal of 250000 Hungarian people from South Slovakia to Hungary, but only 44,129,-45,475 -generally well-to-do businessmen, tradesmen, farmers and intellectuals- had been transferred under the bilateral exchange, while 71787 or 73200[note 2] Slovaks from Hungary were resettled in South Slovakia. Slovaks leaving Hungary moved voluntarily, but Hungarians leaving Czechoslovakia were forcibly deported and their properties were taken away. 30,000 Hungarians - who arrived to the country in 1938, thus they were not Czechoslovak citizens before- left the territories that were re-annexed by Hungary in 1938 (see Vienna Awards) and then re-attached to Czechoslovakia after World War II. This was due to dropping out of the pension, social, and health-care system. In all, 89660 Hungarians arrived to Hungary from Czechoslovakia between 1945 and 1949. Due to the dissatisfication with their new properties, soon half of the Slovaks who joined the relocation program moved back to Hungary.
|Appointed for the bilateral Czechoslovak-Hungarian population transfer||Number of persons|
|Under article V. of the contract||105047 (27718 families)|
|Under article VIII. of the contract||65200 (23552 families)|
|De facto transferred||Number of persons|
|Under article V. of the contract||45475|
|As war criminals, article VIII. of the contract||2905|
|"R" transport (regimists)||1034|
|Before the contract came into effect||11837|
|From the liberation until the inauguration of the Czechoslovak administration||10196|
|After the contract came into effect, but beyond from it||11057|
|After the contract came into effect||1083|
In 1946, another method -the process of "Reslovakization", (or re-Slovakization) the forced acceptance of Slovak ethnicity- was engaged by the Czechoslovak government with the objective of eliminating the Hungarian ethnicity. The Slovak Commissioner of the Interior on June 17, 1946 (decree No.20,000/1946) initiated the "Reslovakization" program. This process based upon the Czechoslovak assumption that in fact there never had been any Hungarians in South Slovakia, only "Hungarianized Slovaks" who lost their Slovak national identy through the centuries of Hungarian rule. As Anton Granatier, officer of the Resettlement Bureau said: „We want to be the national state of Slovaks and Czechs, and we will be. This monumental programme includes re−slovakization, already under way in whole Slovakia! Within the scope of this action everyone who feels to be Slovak by origin will have the chance to declare it freely whether they want to become Slovaks with all its consequences or want to share the fate of those without citizenship.“ In the spring and summer of 1945, a series of decrees stripped Hungarians of property, from all civil rights and from their citizenship. Hungary itself gave the Slovaks equal rights and demanded the same solution to the issue from Czechoslovakia. Since Hungarians in Slovakia were deprived of many rights, and were the target of discrimination, they were pressured into having their ethnicity officially changed to Slovak, otherwise they dropped out of the pension, social, and healthcare system. 400,000 (sources differ) stateless Hungarians applied for, and eventually 344,609 Hungarians received a re-Slovakization certificate by the Central Committee for Reslovakization, and thereby Czechoslovak citizenship. Therefore the number of Hungarians in Slovakia dropped to 350000. According to Russian archives, 20000 Hungarians declared themselves as Slovak at the beginning of the year 1949, and eventually 360000 Hungarians changed their ethnicity to Slovak, according to Slovak historians. The fear was so big among the Hungarian population, that only 350000-367000 claimed themselves Hungarian in the 1950 census, and only after ten years -when the reslovakization program was revoked- began to rose and reached 518000.
An important issue with the slovakization procedure was, that the "reslovakized" Hungarians did not take the forcible change of ethnicity seriously, because it is impossible to force someone to forget his culture and language suddenly. A Slovak journalist wrote the following about the "reslovaklized" city of Nové Zámky (Hungarian: Érsekújvár):
„80% of the Hungarian population of Nové Zamky re-Slovakized . . . On the other hand, the fact remains that one can barely hear Slovak spoken in Nové Zamky. You will never find these 80% Slovaks. Only a few government employees speak Slovak here and there. What happened to the re-Slovakized persons?“—J. Miklo; Nás Národ (1947)
After October 1948
With the disappearance of Eduard Benes from the political scene, the Czechoslovak government issued decree No. 76/1948 on April 13, 1948, allowing those Hungarians still living in Czechoslovakia, to reinstate Czechoslovak citizenship. A year later, Hungarians were allowed to send their children to Hungarian schools, which had been reopened for the first time since 1945, although Hungarians remaining in Slovakia were subjected to extremely heavy pressure to assimilate, and complaints reached Moscow about forced enrollment of Hungarian children in Slovak schools.
Most Slovakized Hungarians gradually readopted their Hungarian ethnicity. As a result, "The Re-Slovakization Commission" ceased operations in December 1948.
Despite their promises to settle the issue of the Hungarians in Slovakia, in 1948 Czech and Slovak ruling circles still maintained the hope that they could deport the Hungarians from Slovakia. According to a 1948 poll conducted among the Slovak population 55% were for "resettlement" (deportation) of the Hungarians, 24% said "don't know", 21% were against. Under slogans for the struggle with class enemies, the process of dispersing dense Hungarian settlements continued in 1948 and 1949. By October 1949 preparations were made to deport 600 Hungarian families.
Finally, at 25. July 1949, Czechoslovak and Hungarian delegations signed the Štrb protocol which ended the law disputes between Hungarian and Czechoslovak property and legal question and compensation of deported Hungarians.
The current Slovak-Hungarian political standpoint on the expulsions
In 2002 before Slovakia and Hungary joined the European Union in 2004, Hungarian politician Viktor Orbán demanded the repeal of the Beneš decrees, but the European Parliament asserted that "the decrees did not constitute an insurmountable obstacle to accession." Slovak politician Monika Beňová-Flašiková accused the Hungarian politicians for pushing "revanchist" policies which could destabilize Europe. Later on the Hungarian members of the Slovak parliament requested for compensation and for a symbolic apology to the victims of the expulsions. As an answer, the Slovak government adopted a resolution in September 2007 which declared that the Beneš decrees are inalterable.
Czechoslovakia (being a Socialist country at that time) financed the following purely Hungarian institutions for the Hungarians in Czechoslovakia as of early 1989: 386 kindergartens, 131 elementary schools, 98 secondary schools, 2 theaters, 1 special Hungarian language publishing house (6 publishing houses also publishing Hungarian literature) and 24 newspapers and journals. The first Hungarian-language university in Slovakia was opened only in 2004 - the Selye János University.
According to The Minorities at Risk Project:
|“||During the socialist regime, Slovak nationalism was largely kept in check by the strongly centralist Prague regime. The 1968 switch to a federal arrangement gave greater scope to Slovak nationalism, however. New policies of assimilation included progressive Slovakization of education, elimination of Hungarian place-names from signs, bans on using Hungarian in administrative dealings and in institutions and workplaces, and pressure to Slovakize Hungarian names. Nonetheless, the most significant exclusionary factor in Hungarians’ social situation under the socialist regime was most likely their own refusal to integrate into the Czechoslovak system and to learn the language. Without a fluency in the official language, their economic and political opportunities were severely limited.||”|
However, some Slovak sources[who?] claim that:
- the federalisation was only notional (see e.g. Slovak Socialist Republic)
- no change to the minority laws occurred with respect to the year 1968
- during this time the number of Hungarian language schools and Hungarian-speaking people increased in Slovakia
Since the independence of Slovakia
Hungarian minority parties
The Party of the Hungarian Coalition (SMK) and Most–Híd are the major Hungarian minority parties in Slovak politics. Since 1993 a Hungarian minority party has always been a member of the parliament. As of 2012, a Hungarian minority party spent 10 out of 19 years in government.
Under Communism, the Hungarian minority issue was confined invariably to the position of Slovaks within the Czechoslovak state, and therefore it was ignored in any systematic way. But the fall of Communism reinforced national identities and demolished the ideology of 'the socialist unity of nations'. The break-up of Czechoslovakia was a process of national redefinition and assertion in Slovakia.
Under the premiership of Mečiar prone to populism, exclusivist Slovak nationalism, and the use of extralegal measures, independent Slovakia approached authoritarianism. Mečiar turned the Hungarian minority into a scapegoat for Slovakia's bad economic situation. Numerous articles and books containing anti-Hungarian propaganda appeared, and the Hungarians were accused for the destruction of the 'first Slovak state', and for the ‘one-millennium-long oppression’ of Slovak nation.
During the redrawing of the administrative boundaries of Slovakia, Hungarian politicians suggested two models; the so-called 'Komárno proposals'. The first proposal was a full ethnic autonomy of the southern Slovak districts with Hungarian majority, while the second suggestion was to create three counties in southern Slovakia to bring together the main centers of Hungarian population. Although a territorial unit of this name existed before 1918, the borders proposed by SMK were significantly different. The proposed region would have encompassed a very long slice of southern Slovakia, with the explicit aim to create an administrative unit with ethnic-Hungarian majority. Hungarian minority politicians and intellectuals thought that such kind of administrative unit is essential for the long-term survival of the Hungarian minority. Both proposals were rejected by the Slovak government in favour of an eight county model of north-south (and not east-west) governance, which has been seen to weaken the electoral power of Hungarians. According to Miklós Duray, a politician of the Party of the Hungarian Coalition: "Administrative jurisdictions of Slovakia were geographically modified in a clear case of gerrymandering. The administrative system governed by laws created in 1991,[note 3] included 17 primary jurisdictions and 2 secondary jurisdictions, with a majority Hungarian population. The 1996 law[note 4] eliminated this system of administration. In the reorganized system only 2 primary administrative jurisdictions have a Hungarian majority population (Dunajská Streda and Komárno). Furthermore, 8 secondary administrative jurisdictions were created, 5 with Hungarian populations in the 10 to 30 per cent range. In 1998, these jurisdictions had regional self governing communities, where the diminished proportion of Hungarians made certain they played a subordinate role in self government." After the regions became autonomous in 2002, SMK was able to take power in the Nitra Region and it became part of the ruling coalition in several other regions.
Before the Slovak independence two main issues appeared regarding language: the right to use non-Slovakized versions of women's names and the use of bilingual street signs. Non Slovaks were forced to Slovakize female personal names in official documents by attaching the Slovak feminine suffix '-ová'. Members of ethnic minorities were restricted in their choice of given names, as registry offices accepted only names from a limited list only. After ten years wrangling, the second Dzurinda cabinet eased these restrictions.
The use of the Hungarian language
The Slovak Constitution from 1992 asserts that the ‘state language’ on the territory of the Slovak Republic is Slovak. At the same time this constitution entails explicit provisions for minorities, including language right. These provisions were reinforced in 2001. International treaties like the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (ratified by Slovakia in 1995) or the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ratified by Slovakia in 2001) and the 1995 Treaty on Good Neighbourly Relations and Friendly Cooperations between Slovakia and Hungary protect the language rights of minorities. Article 34. of the 1992 constitution asserts that "citizens of ethnic minorities have the right to be educated in their language, the right to use it in dealings with authorities, and the right to participate in the solution of affairs concerning national minorities and ethnic groups". These provisions afford a high standard of protection, but still, these legislative instruments do not warrant the implementation of the postulated rights. In most cases the disfrancishement evolves when there is insufficient political will to legislate the provisions as laws. This happened between 1992 and 1998 (i.e. under Mečiar's government). Slovak nationalist demands for a language law detaining the use of Hungarian in public institutions already appeared in 1990. Finally, the Meciar government pushed through legislation restricting the use of minority languages in public institutions. In 1995, the Slovak Parliament passed Act No 270 on the State Language of Slovakia, which came into power on 1 January 1996. This act revoked the more tolerant Act No 428 passed in 1990. The 1995 act emphasized the significance of the Slovak language for Slovak nationalism and statehood, by consolidating the exclusivist monolingualism. The new act considerably limited the use of minority languages, that is, of Hungarian, which had featured on bilingual signposts with placenames in predominantly Hungarian areas, and in bilingual school certificates issued to students in Hungarian minority schools. According to Duray: "An official language law[note 5] was promulgated providing the legal framework for the official use of the Slovak language not only in official communications but also in everyday commerce, in the administration of religious bodies, and even in the realm of what is normally considered private interaction, for example, communications between patient and physician." In 1999, the Dzurinda government passed Act No 184 on the Use of the Languages of the Minority Communities, which reintroduced the institution of bilingual school certificates and provided that in communes with more than 20 percent of inhabitants belonging to a given minority, the minority language can be used in administration, and signposts with placenames can be bilingual. Furthermore, Article 10, prohibiting doing business and drafting contracts in any other language but Slovak, was abolished from the Act. However the act limits itself to only official contacts with the state and thus fails to overcome the 1996 act ensuring the use of Slovak in culture, schools and media. Language rights in education have also been a sphere of antagonism between the Slovak state and the Hungarian minority. Bilingual education in priamary and secondary schools is currently permitted. However, the array of subjects that should be taught in each language remained a highly contested issue. Government proposals prior to the 1998 elections (i.e. under Mečiar's government) even suggested that certain subjects should be taught only by teachers of 'Slovak origin' to ensure that the Slovak population living in areas with significant Hungarian populations should be able to assimilate themselves into mainstream Slovak life. According to Duray: "On March 12, 1997 (i.e. under Mečiar's government), the Undersecretary of Education sent a circular to the heads of the school districts making known the following regulations: In Hungarian schools the Slovak language should be taught exclusively by native speakers. The same exclusion criteria applies to non-Slovak schools in the teaching of geography and history. (The Undersecretary modified the language of this regulation later by changing the term "exclusively" for "mainly".) In communities where the Hungarian community exceeds 40% of the total population the teachers of Slovak schools receive supplementary pay. In all communities which include a Hungarians population and where there is no school or there is no Slovak school, wherever possible a Slovak school should be opened, but not a Hungarian one."[note 6] At the end of the 1998 school year a large number of Hungarian pupils handed back their school report that were issued only in Slovak.
In 2003, there were 295 Hungarian elementary schools and 75 secondary schools in Slovakia. In most of them Hungarian was used as the medium of instruction, excluding 35 elementary schools and 18 secondary schools, which were bilingual.
After the parliamentary elections in 2006, the nationalist Slovak National Party (SNS) of Ján Slota became a member of the ruling coalition led by Robert Fico. In August a few incidents motivated by ethnic hatred caused diplomatic tensions between the countries. Mainstream Hungarian and Slovak media blamed Slota's anti-Hungarian statements from the early summer for worsening ethnic relations. (Further informations: 2006 Slovak-Hungarian diplomatic affairs, and Hedvig Malina).
In 2008, the dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church in Slovakia were reorganized. 8 dioceses were introduced in place of the previous 6. Until the reform the area of Žitný ostrov (Hungarian: Csallóköz), the Matúšova zem (Mátyusföld) and Poiplie (Ipolymente) - where a big portion of the Hungarians of Slovakia resides - belonged to the Archdiocese of Bratislava-Trnava. Now it belongs to four different dioceses. This triggered the protest of Hungarian catholic worshippers and priests. However, the reform was introduced by the Vatican, not by the Slovak Republic.
Also in 2008, Ján Mikolaj (SNS), minister of education propagated changes in the Hungarian schools of Slovakia. According to a new education law plan, the Hungarian language which was educated as mother tongue until now will be considered a foreign language - and taught in a smaller proportion of lessons. The only textbooks allowed to be used in Hungarian schools will be those translated from Slovak books and approved by Slovak administration.
In October 2008 Hungarian parents and teachers sent back Hungarian textbooks to the Minister of Education. The books contained geographical names only in Slovak violating the basic rules of the Hungarian language and the minorities' right of usage of their native language.
In November 2008 Prime Minister Robert Fico has again promised, this time at a cabinet meeting in Komárno (Révkomárom), southern Slovakia, that an ongoing problem with textbooks for ethnic Hungarian schools in Slovakia will be resolved. Though as of November 2008 Ján Slota still insists on the grammatically incorrect version (Slovak language names in Hungarian sentences) and having the correct Hungarian name only afterwards.  .
The Slovak authorities denied the registration of a Hungarian traditional folk art association, because they used the Hungarian word Kárpát-medence (Carpathian Basin). According to Dušan Čaplovič the word and the association is against the sovereignty of Slovakia, furthermore the word is fascist, it is familiar with the German Lebensraum, and Hungarians use it in this ideology.    On September 1, 2009 more than ten thousand Hungarians held demonstrations to protest against the so-called language law that limits the use of minority languages in Slovakia. The law calls for fines of up to £4,380 for anyone "misusing the Slovak language.
The particular anti-Hungarian edge of the Slovak public discourse reached its top in the 2010 parliamentary elections, when numerous parties have been campaigning with latent to openly anti-Hungarian slogans. The presently governing Smer has rented billboards that have warned that "They have given power to SMK! They will do it again!", alleging that forming a coalition with SMK would be dangerous. SNS went even further and published openly anti-Hungarian posters (see the picture on the right) asserting that Slovakia's on the brim of being conquered by Hungary due to the new Hungarian government's actions. Posters by SNS have been prominently featured in areas with predominantly Hungarian populace too.
In January 2011, a Hungarian sociologist László Gyurgyík expected that, by the May 2011 census, the number of Hungarian ethnicity citizens in Slovakia will be between 460,000 and 490,000. The actual figure recorded in the census was 458,467 or 8.5%, although the census data is affected by a high level of respondents (7%) not specifying their nationality.
Since deputy prime minister Robert Fico declared the "wise historism" concept, the history books are getting rewritten in a faster pace than before, and in an increased "spirit of national pride",[not in citation given]  which Krekovič, Mannová and Krekovičová claim are mainly nothing else, but history falsifications. Such new inventions are the interpretation of Great Moravia as a (proto)-Slovak state, or the term "proto-Slovak" itself, along with the "refreshing" of many "old traditions", that in fact did not exist or were not Slovak before. The concept received criticism in Slovakia pointing out that the term proto-Slovak cannot be found in any serious publication, simply because it lacks any scientific basis. Miroslav Kusý Slovak political scientist explained that by adopting such scientificly questionable rhetoric Fico aims to "strengthen national consciousness by falsification of history".
The ethnic relationship of Prešov Region is complex and volatile. A long-term cultural and everyday cohabition of Rusyns, Slovaks and Hungarians, under the prepodence of the non-Rusyn element led to the linguistic Slovakization of Rusyns, while in some parts (in cities and ethnic islands in the south) they were Magyarized. Still, in both cases they preserved their religion (Greek Catholicism). Until the 1920s, the Slovak-speaking Greek-Catholics composed a transitional group that was connected with the Rusyns through religion and traditions, with Slovak as their language. Their number was gradually increasing with the transition of the parts of Rusyn population to the Slovak language. Slovakization of the Rusyn population increased in the times of the Czechoslovakian authorities (since 1920). The Greek Catholics and Orthodox started to perceive themselves as Slovaks. It is difficult to estimate the distribution of the Orthodox and the Greek Catholics by the language as well as to determine the number of Rusyns because both the Hungarian and Czechoslovakian censuses provided the incorrect number of Rusyns, but it contains roughly 50-100 000 people. According to censuses the decrease of the number of Rusyns was influenced not only by Slovakization but also by emigration of a significant number of Rusyns from Prešov, mainly to the Czech lands.
The Slovak pressure on Rusyns in Slovakia increased after 1919 when Czechoslovakia incorporated Transcarpathia to the east of the Uzh River. The Slovakization of Rusyns (and Ukrainians) was a part of the program of the Slovak People's Party, whose leader refused to cooperate with the Rusyn politicians of Transcarpathia but cooperated with Hungarian-speaking A. Brody. Therefore, the Rusyn politicians opened the links with the Czech political parties which were supportive of neutrality towards the Rusyn question. The cultural Slovak-Rusyn relations at the time were minimal.
The early Hungarian censuses ignored the Polish nationality, all ethnic Poles were registered as Slovaks. There was also a very strong process of Slovakization of Polish people throughout 18th–20th centuries, mostly done by Roman Catholic Church, in which institution the local aboriginal Polish priests were replaced with Slovak ones. Also the institution of schooling was replacing the polish language with slovak language during classes.
- Hungarian minority in Slovakia
- 2006 Slovak-Hungarian diplomatic affairs
- Hedvig Malina
- Ethnic minorities in Czechoslovakia
- Ethnic cleansing is a term that has come to be used broadly to describe all forms of ethnically-motivated violence, ranging from murder, rape, and torture to the forcible removal of populations (Carmichael, Cathie (2002). Ethnic cleansing in the Balkans: nationalism and the destruction of tradition (Illustrated ed.). Routledge. p. 2. ISBN 0-415-27416-8, 9780415274166 Check
- The exact number depending on the source used
- Law pertaining to Local Administration. Collection of Laws of 1990, number 472. Law pertaining to the territorial and administrative jurisdictions. Collection of Laws of 1990, number 517.
- Law pertaining to the territorial and administrative reorganization of the Slovak Republic. Collection of Laws of 1996, number 221.
- Language Law of the Slovak Republic. Collection of Laws of 1996, number 270.
- The circular issued by Undersecretary Ondrej Nemcok cites governmental decrees of the Slovak Republic, numbers 459/95, 768/95 and 845/95.
||Constructs such as ibid., loc. cit. and idem are discouraged by Wikipedia's style guide for footnotes, as they are easily broken. Please improve this article by replacing them with named references (quick guide), or an abbreviated title. (June 2010)|
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- Chapters VIII and IX of the "Statute issued in Košice" , Slovakia, April 5, 1945 (Program of the new Czechoslovak Government, the National Front of Czechs and Slovaks, adopted by the cabinet council on April 5, 1945)
- The Constitution of the Czechoslovak Republic; Constitutional Act ofMay 9th, 1948. Prague, Czechoslovak Ministry of Information, 1948.
- Lastovicka 1960, pp. 449–471
- G. Husak "Poucenia z jesene (1938)," Nove Slovo, vol. 2, no 20, October 12, 1945, 1-3
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- Ibid.,meetings Sept.11,1945,July 12, 16, August 9, 1946; SÚA, fond MV, a.j. 2308/2515 B, district security conference 1947
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- Mináč 1993, pp. 115–116
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- Nás Národ, September 7, 1947. (Article by J. Miklo.)
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