MÁV may change its mind about memorial to homeless Roma hero 

October 20, 2017

MÁV CEO Ilona Dávid said that the state-owned railway company is willing to re-evaluate its strict rules in order to reach an agreement with Roma activists over the placement of a memorial plaque to a Roma hero at Nyugati railway station, reports hvg.hu.

Béla Puczi was a Roma leader in Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureș, Romania) situated in Transylvania, the part of Hungary awarded to Romania after the First World War. In 1990 Romanians attacked a peaceful assembly of ethnic Hungarians demonstrating against the communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu, resulting in violent clashes. The ethnic conflict, set off by a radical right-wing Romanian movement, could have led to more deaths if an armed group of Roma, led by Puczi, hadn’t appeared to protect the Hungarians, after which the attackers dispersed and the violence came to an end.

MÁV previously referred to its internal regulations that would require Puczi to have worked for them for his plaque to be placed on the railway station’s wall. Ilona Dávid said she had only heard about the plans of the Roma activist group, the We Belong Here Association (Idetartozunk Egyesület), when “the conflict was already unavoidable.” Activist Jenő Setét, who initiated the idea of the plaque, said the group would place it at Nyugati, where Puczi lived homeless in the last years of his life, even without MÁV’s consent. Responding to Setét, Dávid said she hopes it’s possible to find a solution, and after re-evaluating MÁV’s strict internal rules she wants to offer concrete proposals.