Confiscated stamp of a Hungarian Calvinist Church Choir in Romania



Confiscated stamp of a Hungarian Calvinist Church Choir in Romania


The first image comes from a photo album compiled by the Securitate on the Hungarian Calvinist Church Choir in the town of Ocna Sibiului (Vízakna). It shows a photocopy of a confiscated document, the last page of the choir’s president’s celebratory speech performed at the choir’s 80th anniversary. As with many of the group’s documents, it bears the official stamp of the choir. The second photo shows a document with a hand drawn replica of this stamp. This document, which is the last page of a handwritten copy of the choir’s Rules and Regulations from 1974 (its original was written in 1956), is still kept in the local Calvinist church.
The stamp, along with a large part of the choir’s documentation was taken during a secret police raid in 1973 when authorities accused the choir of nurturing nationalist-irredentist ideals behind the façade of their church functions and of being hostile to the socialist Romanian state. It was claimed that the choir’s real aim was to maintain the national identity of the local Hungarian minority and to instil Hungarianess in the next generation. Although the choir was allowed to operate after the raid, it was “robbed of its past” since none of the confiscated items were returned. Some attempts were made to compensate for this loss: for example, several documents were recreated by the choir’s former secretary who, in lieu of the missing stamp, created a hand-drawn replica when necessary. This practice serves as an example of how groups that had been pursued by the secret police tried to cope with the loss of their belongings: in this case the loss of the choir's recorded history and an important symbol of its legitimacy, its stamp.
The Ocna Sibiului Calvinist Church Choir was founded in 1889. From 1907 it officially operated as an association with a president, secretary, accountant and had its own banner and stamp. Its main task was to sing at the funerals of congregation members and at church services but was also central to organising community life for local Hungarians. The choir still functions today.

The first image comes from file CNSAS D 015847. The second was taken during ethnographic fieldwork in 2018.

For related entries see:


Communism and Christianity--Europe, Eastern
Communism--Europe--History--20th century
Communism--Europe, Eastern--History--20th century
Secret police (secret service)
Religion and politics--Europe
Religion and state--Europe
Religious groups
Communism--Romania--History--20th century
Nationalism and communism
Romania. Securitatea


Agnes Hesz


Consiliul Național pentru Studierea Arhivelor Securității
CNSAS D 015847


This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme No . 677355




The copyright for these images belongs to CNSAS








CNSAS D 015847


20th century
Romania, Transylvania

Bibliographic Citation

Agnes Hesz, "Confiscated stamp of a Hungarian Calvinist Church Choir in Romania,"

Date Created