Update: MAE reacts to DPA article reading that Romanians celebrate 100 years since annexing former Hungarian province of Transylvania. ZDF and DPA rectify the story


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The Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE) has reacted to the article released by the German Press Agency (DPA) reading that Romanians celebrate 100 years since annexing a part of Hungary. MAE argues that, beyond the tendentious approach, the article reflects lack of knowledge of history and deliberate ignorance of historic realities. On December 1, the German national TV station ZDF has broadcast the DPA story on Romania’s National Day.

MAE has informed Tuesday morning that it has taken note with consternation of the DPA article, which does not reflect the historical truth, respectively the will expressed by Transylvania to unite with Romania. MAE argues that, beyond the tendentious approach noticed in the title, the presented elements point to lack of knowledge in terms of history and the deliberate ignorance of historic realities. On December 1, 1918, 100,000 people decided the Union with Romania, with all political parties attending, all religious confessions and all social categories. The document was adopted in Alba Iulia, i.e. the Resolution of the National Assembly in Alba Iulia, first of all signed by the representatives of the German minority in Transylvania and Bukovina.

MAE also underlines the serious errors in the news, coming from lack of knowledge or from ill-faith, which do not meet the historical truth and the peace treaties in Versailles (1919) and Trianon (1920), whereas any attempt to truncate presentation or denigrate the moment’s significance is a deed contrary to the fundamental principles of mass-media’s mission to inform the public in a fair and objective way.

MAE says that, through the Romanian Embassy in Berlin, has made demarches to the DPA (Deutsche Presse Agentur) and ZDF for clarifications and for the rectification of the news.

The Romanian Ambassador in Germany, Emil Hurezeanu, has sent a letter to DPA, requesting the rectification of the story. “It is unbelievable how a press agency, be it private, can release such a story. In fact, it is an anonymous story.  A story should be the result of a concrete and normal analysis – it is beyond reason the way this text was published. It is obviously an error, which should be urgently corrected and this is what I have requested the Editor-in-Chief. A historian may criticize the events in 1918, can approach them with criticism, but the fact cannot be reinterpreted. (…) Hundreds of thousands of Romanians died for Romania’s reunification and everything was completed by means of international treaties, which cannot be challenged,” Ambassador Emil Hurezeanu said for Antena 3 TV private broadcaster.

The news released by DPA and broadcast by ZDF reads that: “Today, Transylvania is in central Romania. It hasn’t been always like this. Romania celebrates 100 years since annexing the former Hungarian province of Transylvania. By this territorial gain, following the fall of Austro-Hungary after the WWI, Romania has increased by one third its territory. In Transylvania, Romanians were already a majority. The representatives of the 800,000 Germans living there voted for the annexation by Romania. Most Germans that lived in Romania have emigrated in the meantime.”

ZDF and DPA rectify the title and the story

The ZDF news department has rectified the story taken over from DPA, by changing the title and the word in the text referring to the ‘annexation of Transylvania’. Actually, the word ‘annexation’ has been replaced by ‘adherence’. The rectification is posted on December 4, although the initial story was published on December 1, before noon, hotnews.ro reports.

Robert Schwartz, the head of the Deutsche Welle Romanian department, is more specific, arguing that those who believe the word ‘Anschluss’ should be understood, in the context of the Great Union in 1918, as negative, meaning ‘annexation’, these people are wrong.

“For any man with historical or philosophical knowledge, the word DPA made use of, in this specific context, marked by the emancipation of Romanians in Transylvania and by the fall of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, means ‘adherence’! The passionate reaction of some Romanian officials or ‘coryphaeus’ of the Romanian press seem hasty, exaggerated and out of line. In the given context, we find the word ‘adherence’ in several Romanian official and unofficial documents. (See the decree no. 3631/1918 regarding the adherence of Transylvania to the Romanian Kingdom, then on websites dealing with history or websites of TV stations). The aberrant, tough request from President Iohannis to contact Chancellor Merkel on this issue does not need, I believe, further comments,” Schwartz wrote on Deutsche Welle’s Facebook page.

German Embassy says is wrong interpretation

In a post on Facebook, the German Embassy in Bucharest says it is wrong interpretation, which does not represent the country’s point of view and has requested DPA and ZDF to correct the story.

“The Romanian modern state was born 100 years ago by the unification of several regions, among them Transylvania. We celebrated together the anniversary of the Romanian modern state on December 1. The Transylvanian Saxons have had their say, on their own initiative, in favour of the new state, in January 1919 at the Saxons Assembly in Medias. Public reports which contradict this fact or could lead to erroneous interpretations do not meet the Federal Government’s viewpoint. Consequently, we have requested the German Press Agency DPA and the public TV station ZDF to correct the fragments in the article ‘Rumanien feiert 100 Jahre Anschluss Siebenburgens’, released on December 1, 2018,” the Embassy representatives wrote on Facebook.


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