In recent times we have heard more and more cries for help from the Csángó Hungarians of Moldova, who number more than 100,000. These cries for help are directed toward the Székely Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin. They cry out that they are perishing and that they have almost lost their ancient language.
The Transylvanian newspapers publish heart-rending articles about the plight of the Csángó Hungarians in Moldova. Recently, Hungarian linguists, historians and ethnographers have often come to the villages of Bakó and Putna and other Csángó villages in Román County, with the purpose of trying to save the drastically diminished populace of Csángó Hungarians. Their Székely Hungarian relatives, living under the oppression of the Romanians, try to offer help to the even more oppressed Csángos. The Romanian government has often raised insurmountable obstacles in front of the Székely Hungarians who wish to help. Pál Péter Domonkos, in his book Moldvai Magyarság, describes the inhumane conditions under which the Csángós live. His goal is to reach people who live outside of Moldova and bring to their attention the plight of the Csángós and elicit their support. The Romanian historians obviously wish to prevent this and they try to prove that the Csángó Hungarians have no connection with the ancient Cumanian people who preceded them in this territory. We Hungarians would like the world to know the truth. The Romanian propaganda is built on half-truths. They emphasize that the Csángó Hungarians, under the leadership of Kuthen, fled from the Tatars to Hungary and settled there, which is partly true, because the descendents of Kuthen are the Hungarians living in Kiskunság and Nagykunság. But the Romanian historians do not mention that this Cumanian settlement in Hungary was just one tribe of the Cumanians who lived at one time in the Cumanian Empire. The majority of the Cumanians remained in their territory in Moldova and those who survived the Tatar invasion were the ancestors of the present day Csángó Hungarians. From time to time, during the Habsburg Empire, some Székely fugitives fled to Moldova and were accepted by the Csángós. At that time these Székelys established villages which are still in existence in Moldova, such as Szabófalva, Újfalu, Girizd, Jugány, Zsudufalu, Miklószeny and Istenhozott.
This is proven by documents from the reign of Béla IV., in which he mentions Ciumana. In 1228, the Cumanians became Christians. Bogdan Petriceicu Haedeu, the vajda (prince) of Moldova, and Rosetti, a Roman historian, also name the Cumanians as the first to populate this territory. These statements are also supported by the numerous Hungarian geographical names in the valleys of the Szeret and Tatros rivers.
The city of Román is the administrative center and market city of the Csángó Hungarians. The language which is spoken here is a mixture of the ancient Hungarian language and Romanian. Demeter Lakatos, a Csángó poet, lives in the village of Szabófalva. He is twenty-five years old and he graduated from a Romanian school. From his early childhood he has been writing poems and plays which depict the life of the village people. Demeter Lakatos established a group of travelling actors. He writes the plays, directs and produces them, is one of the actors and takes care of all publicity. This little company is welcomed wherever they appear. One day he could not resist going to visit Bucharest. He took with him a collection of his poems, written in Romanian and received the first prize in a poetry writing contest. The Romanian press published reports about him and he became very popular in Romania. He came to the notice of Cuza, an antisemitic Romanian politician and professor, who used him to write poems which were Romanian propaganda. He wrote these poems for the well-known Romanian newspaper, Altina. His Romanian education and his success almost overshadowed his feeling for his origins. One day, a poem of a Hungarian poet, Sándor Reményik, came into his hands. As he read it, all of a sudden, the almost suppressed Hungarian feelings came to the surface. He left the Romanian newspaper, returned to his compatriots in the Csángó land (Moldova) who were still suffering, and began to write poems in the ancient Csángó Hungarian language. The Transylvanian readers cannot get enough of his poems which stir their hearts. Two of his poems are: „The leaves are falling” and „The wind is blowing”. The beauty of the Hungarian language inspired him to write his poems in Hungarian and he gave up his fame and riches to return to his Hungarian roots which he had almost lost, and now he lives as a poor poet in the village of Szabófalva.
Translated and abbreviated from a report in Szittyakürt – September- October, 2003