The Treasured Cluj Association (Kincses Kolozsvár Egyesület) is the association that has been organising the Hungarian Cultural Days of Cluj for nine years since its founding in the spring of 2010. Its primary goal was to fulfil a dream that seemed for many like an impossible mission, namely: to create the widest possible cooperation among the civil society, church-related organisations and the educational and political institutions existing in Cluj, and through their collective force to maintain annually the Hungarian Days of the city within the framework of a one-week festival, carried out in the public spaces of the city centre.
It is well-known that the capital city of Transylvania – together with its sixty thousand indigenous Hungarian population – was put in shackles by history for over half a century. While most of the country could breathe a sigh of relief when the forty years of communist dictatorship ended, Cluj – being considered the place that “cannot be given up” – couldn’t afford that luxury yet. Thus, history reserved another 15 years of extra suffering for this ill-fated city. Under the burden of this undeserved and unjustly lengthy punishment the Hungarian community of the town got ever more disorganised and its future became ever more questionable.
Looking back from the perspective of these nine years it may not seem an exaggeration to say that the Hungarian community of Cluj succeeded in rediscovering itself within the framework of these cultural events organised by the Treasured Cluj Association. After six decades the Hungarians living in the city – irrespective of their social, religious or political backgrounds, and thanks to the Hungarian Cultural Days – could once again enjoy the unique experience so fondly remembered by previous generations: that of living the joy of belonging, without restriction, to a healthy and vibrant community.
It is little short of a miracle that this goal has been achieved!
The communal experience of the festival gives support and self-confidence to people for an entire year. During these nine years the Hungarians of Cluj have managed to expel their fears and inhibition and to celebrate in a much more inclusive way, accepting more naturally that the Romanians living alongside them will also engage in their celebration. More and more people can feel – and quite rightly – that when the Romanians join in the celebration, they do not act against them but act for all our sakes! Perhaps we can rightly consider this trust-enhancing process the second great achievement of this festival and therefore of the Treasured Cluj Association too.
Founding members of the Association:
Balázs Gergely – archaeologist, historian and president of the Treasured Cluj Association
Emőke Fekete – lawyer, legal expert
† József Kötő – Transylvanian dramaturge, theatre historian
Gyula Szép – music teacher, director of the Hungarian Opera House in Cluj
Levente Csigi – economist, executive president of the Carpathia Hungarian – Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
László Vadas – stage director
István Székely – political scientist, president of the Jakabffy Elemér Foundation