October 27th, 1907 – The Černová Massacre

Today-In-History

On October 27th, 1907, fifteen people were killed in what became known as the Černová Massacre. In the Hungarian half of Austria-Hungary police opened fire on a crowd gathered at a church consecration. This led to protests over the treatment of minorities in Austria-Hungary.

cernova village

The town of Černová

On the initiative of Andrej Hlinka, the Slovak parish priest of nearby Ružomberok and a native of Černová, people of Černová decided to raise money for the construction of a new church. The locals raised 80,000 crowns and the collections received minor donations from the Slovak Americans as well. The construction started in April 1907 and by the autumn, the church was ready for consecration.

The locals wanted the church to be consecrated by Hlinka, however, he was at the time suspended by bishop Sándor Párvy and sentenced to two years of imprisonment due to his pro-Slovak agitation during the election campaign of 1906 and the subsequent conviction of incitement. The people of Černová thus demanded the consecration to be postponed until Hlinka would be able to perform the ceremony. The bishopric denied their request and two Magyar speaking priests were appointed in his stead. First Canon Anton Kurimsky and after his refusal, Dean Martin Pazurik of Likavka.

cernova

The church in Černová where 15 were killed.

The ceremony was to take place on October 27th, 1907. The official procession arrived at the village accompanied by a squad of 15 gendarmes. It was protested against by the locals, who attempted to block its way to the church to prevent Pazurik from consecrating. The demonstration was peaceful in nature although some accounts report stone-throwing at a member of the gendarme escort. In panic the gendarme leader sergeant Ján Ladiczky, an ethnic Slovak, ordered his squad to open fire into the crowd without prior warning killing 15 of the protesting villagers, seriously wounding 12 and lightly injuring 40. According to historian Roman Holec, the majority of the members of the Hungarian gendarmes involved in the shooting were of Slovak origin.

Many attempted to capitalize politically on the events, Czech and Slovak nationalists in general, and Hlinka in particular. On the one hand, Hlinka’s appeal against his 1906 verdict was rejected, thus, on November 30th, 1907 Hlinka started to serve his jail term in the Csillagbörtön (Star Prison), Szeged. On the other hand, Hlinka appealed with success his suspension to the Holy See, so it was cancelled on April 8th, 1909. When Hlinka left the prison, Bishop Párvy appointed him again to his Ružomberok parish, and Hlinka consecrated the church in Černová with Párvy’s consent.

The tragedy sparked protests in the European and US press and it turned the world’s attention to the attitude to the minorities in Hungary. Important protesting European personalities included the Norwegian Nobel Prize holder Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, the Oxford historian Robert William Seton-Watson, and the speaker of the Austrian parliament.

“Today in History” on The Pandora Society dot com is primarily focused on Victorian and Edwardian history and does not always have a direct connection to Steampunk, Dieselpunk, or whatever punk; in fact it rarely does, but it is our hope that in sharing these historical events they might serve as some inspiration to the writers in our community to create potential alternative history stories which we look forward to reading 🙂


 

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