Gergely Csoma

Banished Words

Remnants of the Hungarian Moldavians’ written language

Details from the Foreword:

"I have been going to the Hungarian villages in Romanian Moldavia since 1977. And ever since, there has been a lump of overwhelming emotion in my throat that I can’t escape. I can recall countless incidents of violent, forced assimilation, voluntary merging and gentle defiance.

I spoke Hungarian with the people everywhere, I sang their songs and listened to their ancient magic incantations in the Aknavasar, Bako and Roman vicinity.

The pain of those condemned to assimilation is what made me a photographer - I had never photographed before.

I searched for any traces of written memories. Crosses falling over in the graveyards, bells in church towers full of pigeons and cobwebs. I befriended women who sing and church cantors*; the caretakers of the persecuted and disdained Hungarian language. I saw the last Moldavian Hungarian language pilgrimage leaders at Csíksomlyó, I saw the keening at wakes and riotous weddings in many villages. All of these have convinced me: it is a lie to say that the Hungarian Moldavians are an illiterate ethnic group that does not have a written language. "

Price: 4200 HUF