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World Poetry Day

This #WorldPoetryDay we are highlighting a powerful Hungarian poem from our permanent exhibition entitled “Felsőszeli” – the name of a village from which the poem’s author, Béla Nagy, was forcefully relocated in 1947 during the reslovakisation process.

After the Second World War, entire populations were identified and expelled on the basis of their nationality. The aim was to create a Europe of nation states that were more ethnically similar than ever before. Many of those expelled were only given a few minutes to pack. Some were allowed to remain by changing their nationality.

Below is our translation into English. The image shows a replica of the original handwritten poem, provided to the House of European History by the Museum of the Hungarian Culture in Bratislava.

HU

Felső Szeli
(írta: Nagy Béla)

“Hangos motorzúgás hallatszik messziről.
Hurcolják a népet el, Felső szeliből.
Hangos sírás közt búcsúzkodik a nép,
Elviszik a Magyart, mindenkit, aki ép.
Számára nincs más mentség és nincs más segítség,
Csak a halál harangszava, áttelepíto lap, súlyos betegség.
Néhány bútorkaját autókra dobták,
Ott hagytak házat, lovat, marhát,
Amit ők szorgalmasan, kérges kézzel összeszedtek.
Értékét nem becsülve, semmibe sem vették,
Mindenét prédának ott hagyta a falu szegény népe,
Most hasadjon magyar meg, a te szíved érte.
De nem tehettünk semmik, mert nem volt irgalom,  
Hisz letiport mindent az erős karhatalom.
Egy szép, holdvilágos éjjel, csendes falu népe,
Csak arra ébredt, hogy nem volt menedéke,
Úton és útfélen portyázó járőrök,
Fegyveres katonák, csendőrök, rendőrök,
Az igazoltatásnak se szere, se száma,
Gyanús volt az ember saját falujába.”

 

EN

Felső Szeli
by Béla Nagy

“Motorbikes are roaring loudly from afar.
Villagers are deported from Felsőszeli.
People are in tearful farewell,
Hungarians are taken, every one of them.
There is no hope or any kind of help,
Only death, resettlement letter or illness can save them.
Some furniture is on the car, it is ready to go,
The rest is left behind though: field, cattle, home,
Goods that their hardworking hands collected.
Those values are neglected,
Now remain prey without any protection,
Hungarians, your hearts get broken.
There was no mercy; they did not have other choice left,
Police came and suppressed them.
On a moonlit night, people of a peaceful village were closed in,
But when they woke up, there was no shelter to flee,
Patrols marauded every now and then,
Soldiers, gendarmes and policemen,
Identity checks had no limit,
People were suspicious in their own village.”

GALLERY

Felső Szeli