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Austria Reminded Of Its Bloody History With Romania through An Open Letter

December 15, 2022
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Ethnographic map of the Austrian Monarchy from 1855

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Sorin Iliesiu, a Romanian journalist and former senator, sent an open letter to Neil Krammer following Austria’s Schengen veto. He reminded the chancellor of the Austrian atrocities against 11 generations of Romanians.

On December 8th, Austria blocked Romania from becoming a member of the Schengen Area, despite positive reports and strong support from the other EU countries. As expected, citizens and public figures were not pleased and even started boycotting Austrian-owned companies in Romania.

Prof. Sorin Iliesiu, a former senator, decided to send a very acid open letter to Neil Krammer, reminding him of the bloody history between Austria and Romania, and about the atrocities they have inflicted on 11 generations of Romanian citizens, which could never be repaid. The letter was sent through the Ambassador of Austria in Romania.

Below, we reproduce the letter translated by Professor Smaranda Cazan-Livescu.

Contemporary engraving of the execution of Horia, Closca, and Crisan

This is in response to the unjustified vote of the latter against Romania (and Bulgaria) gaining permission to receive Schengen statutes

Through an open letter, former senator Prof. Dr. Sorin Ilieșiu of Romania, delivers a history lesson to the Austrian chancellor, reminding Nehammer that Austria exploited eleven generations of Romanians.

Even if the Post Scriptum should, of course, be found at the end of this letter, here it is as an open gate to the documented message addressed actually to the world and not only to the EU and Austria:

POST SCRIPTUM. I ( Sorin Iliesiu) emphasize the fact that the harm done to Romanians by Imperial Austria for over two centuries could in no way be “equivalent” to correcting your (last week) vote against Romania’s entry into the Schengen Area.

To the Chancellor of Austria KARL NEHAMMER

Through the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Austria in Romania, H.E. Ms. Adelheid Folie

For your knowledge:

To:

Mrs. President of the European Commission URSULA VON DER LEYEN

Mrs. President of the European Parliament ROBERTA METSOLA

To the President of the European Council CHARLES MICHEL

Mr. Chancellor,

Do you think that Romania could ever ask Austria for damages for the illegitimate possession of two Romanian territories: Transylvania (between the years 1691-1918) and Bucovina (between the years 1774-1918)?

Could Austria award damages to Romania for the exploitation of eleven generations of Romanians (representing in total several tens of millions of people) as well as the huge natural wealth in these territories? (will Austria return the Romanians, including the gold from the Carpathians that arrived illegitimately in Vienna?)

Do you think that Romania would be entitled to ask Austria for damages for the „killing in effigy” of the Romanian people by impaling dozens of leaders of the revolution led by Horea, Cloșca, and Crișan (Romanians of Transylvania NN)(1784-1785), a revolution which, through a few among its ideals, inspired the French Revolution that began four years later, in 1789?

To be noted the fact that nowhere in Europe at that time were such bestial executions practiced as those by which Horea and Cloșca were martyred, according to the order given by the emperor of Austria: „Let all the limbs of their bodies be broken with the wheel, starting from the bottom in above, namely first to Cloșca and then to Horia /…/ and their bodies to be split open and cut into four, the head and the parts of the body to be placed on wheels by different roads».

At that time, the Imperial House in Vienna had appointed Baron Samuel von Brukenthal as governor of the Grand Principality of Transylvania.

During the revolution of 1848-1849, 40,000 Romanians gave their lives for the cancellation of the illegal union of Transylvania with Hungary, but also for the „triumph of Austria”. 

As „gratitude”, after 18 years, in 1867, the emperor of Austria imposed the annexation of Transylvania to Hungary, knowing that such an act could lead, after about 100 years, to the disappearance of the Romanian people from Transylvania by Hungarianization, respectively by banning the Romanian language, by forcing the change of Romanian names with Hungarian names and by switching from the „Romanian religion” (actually Christian Orthodox,  Catholic a.o.) to the „Hungarian” or „Austrian” one.

Fortunately, after 50 years, in 1918, the Annexation was abolished by the Union of Transylvania with the mother country, Romania.

Do you think that Romania would be entitled to claim damages for everything the Romanians endured during those 50 years of terror (1867-1918), as a result of Austria’s decision to annex Transylvania to Hungary? 

We also mention with regret the incredible attitude of the emperor of Austria in 1892 when he refused to receive – let alone read – the Memorandum for respecting the rights of Romanians in Transylvania. 

Later, the emperor consented to the imprisonment of the Romanian leaders, even though the most loyal subjects of the Empire, for over 200 years, were the Romanians.

Let’s not forget the fact that during these two centuries, millions of Romanians from Transylvania and Bucovina, subjects of the Emperor of Austria, were forced to fight in the wars of the Austrian and Austro-Hungarian empires. Romanians were sent to the front line, being appreciated as „ideal soldiers”. In all these wars, the most decorated heroes and the most deceased were the Romanians.

In the First World War, Romanian soldiers in the Austro-Hungarian army were disqualified and forced to fight even against their brothers in the Kingdom of Romania, although they could be sent to other fronts.

Do you think, therefore, that for all this, (and for many other documented situations, T.N.), Austria could ever decide to grant moral and material damages to Romania?

Finally, but not least, Austria must not forget that in 1918 the Romanians saved it from the communist regime. At the end of the First World War, Austria’s capital, Vienna, was on the brink of a Bolshevik revolution, with the Austrian army in disarray after losing the war.

In order to prevent communism to settle in Austria, Iuliu Maniu, the leader of the Romanians in Transylvania, and Ioan Boeriu, a Romanian general (field marshal) in the imperial army (elevated to the rank of baron in recognition of great victories in the war), asked the Ministry of War in Vienna to the military units in Austria, made up almost exclusively of Transylvanian Romanians, to be subordinated to them.

The request was immediately approved, and the army led by Boeriu and Maniu, with 160,000 soldiers, almost all Romanians, restored order in Vienna (and then, shortly, in Prague), making it impossible to establish the Soviet regime in 1918, right in the heart of Europe (we mention that in August 1918, the Romanian army – at the request of the Allies who were terrified of the danger of communism taking over Europe – occupied Budapest and also destroyed the Soviet regime established in Hungary by Lenin’s agent, Bela Kun, in March 1918).

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