1848–49 massacres in Transylvania

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The 1848–1849 massacres in Transylvania were committed in the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. According to Egyed Ákos, 14,000 to 15,000 civilians were massacred in Transylvania in this period. The victims were composed of 7,500-8,500 Hungarians, 4,400-6,000 Romanians, and about 500 Saxons, Armenians, Jews, and members of other groups.[1]

Massacres against the Hungarians[edit]

Through 1848 and 1849, the Hungarians in Transylvania became exposed to the oppositions and repressions of Romanians and Transylvanian Saxons.[2][better source needed] The Romanian massacres were a revenge for the Szekely offensive over the Romanian communities.[3]

On 18 October 1848, Romanians attacked and murdered the inhabitants of the village of Sângătin (Kisenyed), located near to Hermannstadt (Sibiu).[2][4] Another important event of the 1848–1849 conflict was massacre at Nagyenyed (today Aiud) (8–9 January 1849). During the event, Romanians massacred around 600 people in the town.[5] Additionally, the troops of Transylvanian Romanians organized by Avram Iancu, who were supporting the Austrian Emperor, fought the organized Hungarian forces from Zalatna (today Zlatna) and Körösbánya (Baia de Criş).[6]

During the fight of Zlatna (Zalatna), in October 1848 about 640 citizens[7] of the town were killed including the teachers, priests, doctors and merchants of the town. Thirteen thousand gold and twenty thousand silver coins were robbed from the town's treasury. The massacre was incited and led by a local Romanian lawyer called Petru Dobra.[8] Thirty Hungarians were killed in Boklya.[9] About 200 Hungarians were killed in Gerendkeresztúr (Grindeni)[9] and some 90 beaten to death near Marosújvár (Ocna Mureş).[10]

Massacres with Hungarian victims occurred in the following places:

Date Location Hungarian victims
12 October 1848 Kisenyed (Sângătin) 140[11]
8–9 January 1849 Nagyenyed (Aiud) 600[5]
October 1848 Magyarigen (Ighiu) 200[12]
24 October 1848 Ompolygyepüi (Presaca Ampoiului) railway station 700[12]
January 1849 Marosújvár (Ocna Mureş) 90[11]
1848 Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia) unknown[13]
October 1848 Naszód (Năsăud) unknown[13]
October 1848 Zalatna (Zlatna) 640[14]
October 1848 Borbánd (Bărăbanţ) unknown[13]

This number contains only the recorded victims. The real number could be much more, if we take in consideration those many hundreds who did not died because of massacres, but during of their imprisonment and dragging with force to Naszód, Hátszeg, or Monorfalva by the Romanians in the autumn of 1848, or those who disappeared.[15] So the exact number of the Hungarian victims is hard to be shown. The Habsburgs in 1850 made a census of the victims, but it was not in their interest to show the real number of the losing side's civilian victims. Their recordings were almost exclusively about the numbers of the Romanians and Saxons killed by the Hungarians and neglected the Hungarian victims.[16] Because of the impossibility to make immediately after the events an organised census showing the number of the Hungarian victims, an exact number is hard to tell, because in the events many archives disappeared, and in many the organised Hungarian life ceased. This is why there are no sources about these places. The sources which can be researched are: the churches recordings, memories, some contemporary articles in the Hungarian newspapers, researches made after the events (Szilágyi Farkas: Alsó Fehér vármegye 1848-49-ben. In. Alsó Fehér vármegye monmográfiája III. 1. rész, Nagyenyed 1898, Dálnoky Incze József: Irtóháború 1848 és 1849-ben in manuscript), etc.[1]

Massacres against the Romanians[edit]

The massacre of Mihalț on 29 June 1848 ended up with shooting of 50 Romanians by the Hungarian troops and injuring of another 70. The event got more attention after being published in the newspaper Der Siebenbürger Bote.[17]

In the autumn of 1848, dozens of Romanians from a village in Northern Transylvania who opposed the forced conscription into the Hungarian army were killed after the attack of a 200-man force.[18] On 10 September 1848 Hungarian military units from Arad killed several Romanians at Nadab, after a conflict with several thousand locals armed with scythes, who refused being recruited into the Hungarian Army.[19] On 12 September 1848, in the village Luna de Arieș (Aranyoslóna, Lone), the count of Turda (Torda), Miklós Thorotzkai, gave the order to fire on the crowd that opposed recruitment into the Hungarian army, killing 30 people [20] and wounding several tens.[19] On 18 October 1848 the Romanian peasant Ristea Tolcea (22 years old) was executed at Almas, for opposing joining the Hungarian army. For the same reason, three Romanians from Nădab were executed, while other were imprisoned at Oradea, Arad and Szeged.[21] The Romanian priests from Pleşcuţa, Poenari, Şteia and Vaţa de Sus were executed for opposing the policy of the Hungarian government.[21] The priests Sinesie Grozav (38 years old) from Aciuţa, Pavel Farcaş from Pleşcuţa, Eftimie Popovici (35 years old) from Hălmăgel, Iovan Jude-junior (26 years old) and Ioan Jude-senior from Poienari were hanged for reading to the people the Emperor's commands brought to them by Avram Iancu.[21]

After entering Blaj on 18 January 1849, Hungarian troops looted the town[19] and reportedly committed crimes against the Romanian population.[17]

Todor Bojan (30 years old), Igna Horga (34 years old), Jelina Pervez (41 years old), a widow, and her son George (16 years old), Thomas Arjan (60 years old), all from Buteni, together with Ioan Faur (35 years old, from Chisindia) and Zaharia Ţiurca (62 years old, from Bârsa) were killed for opposing robberies committed by Hungarians.[21][clarification needed]

According to the official lists (that were published in the newspaper Wiener Zeitung) 4425 men, 340 women and 69 children have been killed without trial by the Magyar military tribunals in Transylvania, exclusive of the ones who died in open fight. 4425 of the victims appear to have been Roumanians, 165 Magyars, 252 Saxons and 72 Jews, Gypsies[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Egyed Ákos: Erdély 1848-1849 (Transylvania in 1848-1849). Pallas Akadémia Könyvkiadó, Csíkszereda 2010. p. 517 (Hungarian)"Végeredményben úgy látjuk, hogy a háborúskodások során és a polgárháborúban Erdély polgári népességéből körülbelül 14 000-15 000 személy pusztulhatott el; nemzetiségük szerint: mintegy 7500-8500 magyar, 4400-6000 román, s körülbelül 500 lehetett a szász, zsidó, örmény lakosság vesztesége."
  2. ^ a b Wenkstern (1859), pp. 156-159
  3. ^ Freifeld p. 80
  4. ^ The British Quarterly review, February and May, 1851 VOL.XIII, p. 27
  5. ^ a b Gerő, Patterson (1995), p. 102
  6. ^ Berend (2003), p. 112
  7. ^ Fejőszék Százhatvan éve irtották ki Nagyenyedet a román felkelők
  8. ^ Róbert Hermann, Gábor Bona: 1848-1849 a szabadságharc és forradalom története Videopont, 1996 p. 188 [1]
  9. ^ a b Gracza, "Az 1848-49-iki magyar szabadságharcz története" volume II p.424
  10. ^ Gracza, "Az 1848-49-iki magyar szabadságharcz története" volume II p.422
  11. ^ a b Domokos Pál Péter: Rendületlenül, Eötvös Kiadó-Szent Gellért Egyházi Kiadó, 1989, 33.-34. old.
  12. ^ a b Mátyás Vilmos: Utazások Erdélyben, Panoráma, 1977, 56. old.
  13. ^ a b c Gracza György: Az 1848/49-es magyar szabadságharc története, Budapest, Wodianer F. és Fiai kiadása, 337. és 339. old.
  14. ^ Magyar Nemzet: Fejőszék Százhatvan éve irtották ki Nagyenyedet a román felkelők
  15. ^ Egyed Ákos: Erdély 1848-1849 (Transylvania in 1848-1849). Pallas Akadémia Könyvkiadó, Csíkszereda 2010. p. 516
  16. ^ Egyed Ákos: Erdély 1848-1849 (Transylvania in 1848-1849). Pallas Akadémia Könyvkiadó, Csíkszereda 2010. p. 507-509
  17. ^ a b (Romanian) Istoria României. Transilvania , coord. Anton Drăgoescu, Fundaţia "George Bariţiu", Cluj-Napoca, 1997 - Chapter VIII
  18. ^ Freifeld p.73
  19. ^ a b c Ela Cosma. Cronologia anilor 1848/1849 History Institute „George Bariţiu”, Cluj-Napoca. "10 septembrie 1848, Nădab – conflictul dintre câteva mii de români, înarmaţi cu coase, refuzând recrutarea în armata ungară, şi unităţile militare din Arad, ce omoară şi ucid mai mulţi răsculaţi."
  20. ^ "În toamna anului 1848 prima ciocnire violentă în care au căzut împreună ţărani români şi maghiari a avut loc în comitatul Turda, la Luna Arieşului, când comitele Thorotzkai Miklós a dat ordin să se tragă în mulţimea care se opunea recrutărilor. La 12 septembrie 1848 cad 30 de oameni" Gelu Neamţu. Maghiari Alături De Revoluţia Română De La 1848-1849 Din Transilvania. "George Bariţ” History Institute Cluj-Napoca
  21. ^ a b c d (Romanian) Dumitru Suciu, Soldaţi fără uniformă ai Landsturmului românesc şi starea protopopiatelor ortodoxe din Transilvania după Războiul Naţional din 1848 - 1849 p. 11-12. Accessed 2013-06-28. Archived 2013-06-30.
  22. ^ Robert William Seton-Watson. A History of the Roumanians: From Roman Times to the Completion of Unity


  • Alice Freifeld: Nationalism and the Crowd in Liberal Hungary, 1848-1914
  • GRACZA György: Az 1848–1849-iki magyar szabadságharc története. vol 1-5 Bp. [1895.] Lampel.
  • Pál Péter Domokos: Rendületlenül. Eötvös Kiadó, 1989 (Hungarian)
  • Wenkstern, Otto (1859). History of the war in Hungary in 1848 and 1849. London: J. W. Parker and son. 
  • Gerő, András; Patterson, James (1995). Modern Hungarian society in the making: the unfinished experience. Central European University Press. 
  • Berend, Tibor Iván (2003). History derailed: Central and Eastern Europe in the long nineteenth century. University of California Press.