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Romania, Hungarian experts discuss Valea Uzului cemetery controversy

valea uzului romani

Romanian and Hungarian experts have discussed the controversial situation of the Valea Uzului cemetery at a working meeting. 

Romania's Ministry of National Defence (MApN) reports that the working meeting of the experts was held in Bucharest on Wednesday in an attempt to look into shared interest in war cemeteries and memorials. 

According to the ministry, the agenda of the meeting included the war hero cemetery at Valea Uzului, a multinational war necropolis. 

"The sides underscored the importance of open and pragmatic communication without emotional accents, in accordance with the European and Euro-Atlantic values and the strategic partnership between Romania and Hungary, which can lead to solving problems of any kind and can iron out possible misunderstandings. In this respect, a trip was agreed to be made at a jointly agreed date by a committee made up of representatives of all countries whose war dead are buried at the Valea Uzului Cemetery for carrying out a research on the entire area of the war necropolis, based on archival documents held by the parties involved," says MApN. 

The Hungarian delegation was welcomed by Secretary of State for Defence, Planning and International Affairs Nicolae Nasta, who emphasised the importance of a bilateral dialogue in the field of commemorating war casualties and caring for graves and monuments dedicated to them. 

The dialogue took into account the principles and rules of international humanitarian law, the provisions of the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949 on the Protection of War Victims and their Additional Protocols of June 8, 1977; the provisions of the international treaties relating to the field and relevant national legislation in force, as well as those provided by the agreement between the Romanian and Hungarian governments on the legal status of Hungarian war graves in Romania and Romanian war graves in Hungary, signed in Bucharest on March 6, 2008. 

MApN indicates that the Romanian side informed the Hungarian side of an ongoing analysis into taking over for management the hero cemetery of Valea Uzului, taking also into account the fact that war heroes of several nationalities are buried in the necropolis. 

"During the conversations, we also shared information on the implementation of projects for the restoration/redesign of monuments and cemeteries of war heroes, as well as on the state of maintenance of some memorials of interest, all to be looked into and materialised in accordance with the provisions of the bilateral agreement on war graves," MApN pointed out. 

The heads of the two delegations expressed their wish for co-operation between Romania and Hungary to continue in the field of the commemoration of the war dead and care for the war graves and memorials dedicated to them. 

The Cemetery of War Heroes at Valea Uzului came into existence in 1926-1927, as a result of an extensive activity of gathering together the remains of war heroes discovered at Valea Uzului, carried out by the Cultul Eroilor Society. 

"Although statistics on the Valea Uzului are not unequivocal, the multi-national character of the cemetery is evident, as war heroes of several nationalities have been centralised. According to statistics of January 18, 1928, near the tombs of the 350 war dead of 1917, the society centralised the remains of 847 war dead, out of which 170 were identified by name (Hungarians 108; Germans 43; Romanians 8, Russians 4; Serbs 3; Italians 2, and Austrians 2), 435 not nominally identified (Hungarian - 336; Germans - 78; Russians - 18, and Romanians - 3) and 242 unknowns," according to MApN. 

In all, the remains of 1,197 war dead (135 in 1917 and 847 between 1926 and 1927) were centralised in the Valea Uzului cemetery. 

According to documents drawn up by the Romanian Red Cross dating back to the 1970s, in 1944, 40 German soldiers were buried in the cemetery, 27 of whom were nominally identified and 13 not nominally identified. 

As for the number of Romanian soldiers buried in this cemetery, compared with the statistics of 1928 (when 11 Romanian war heroes are mentioned, 8 with their name and three without a name), a 1988 list of cemetery records (which does not mention any documentary source), mentions 148 Romanian wartime deaths, as those who produced the 1988 list included 19 Romanian war dead nominally identified that died in the Uzului Valley and 130 nominally identified Romanian war dead who died in the Uzului Glade, a WWI burial site that was disbanded during the interwar period, with the human remains being removed to and centralised in a hero cemetery in Comanesti, Bacau County.

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