"In Alba Iulia, the winter dressed the city in white."The Great Union of 1918, seen through the eyes of a participant - Alba24

Time 03/03/2023 By myhoneybakedfeedback

Elena Căpâlneanu from the Second Union, one of the participants in the most important moment for the history of Romania, recalled, in 1968, on the half-century anniversary of the Great Union, the events in which she took part in 1918. We invite you to give yourself a few moments to relive, alongside this, the Great Union from Alba Iulia, as it was in 1918:

"Requested to write what I know about the Great National Assembly from December 1, 1918 in Alba Iulia, I could answer briefly to the questionnaire presented to me, but I think I am not wrong if I show some aspects from those times, more chosen because 50 years have passed since then and there are too few left who can still evoke the greatness of those days. The pebble that I am sending, with other more colorful, more precious stones, will form the historical mosaic of the "Union".

My memories of those days preceding the union of Transylvania with the "Mother" country are particularly clear to me, because the joy, the experience of those days of revival, were overwhelming.

A clean Romanian village, located on the Mures valley: Vereşmort. My husband, Iuliu Căpâlneanu, a Romanian Greek Catholic priest and parish priest there since 1910, was a great nationalist entertainer, holding the conference at popular gatherings throughout the Vinţu de Sus division and in other places where he was invited. At these gatherings, our young and old Romanians, women and men, were in a hurry to understand their towering Daco-Roman ancestry, the injustice of living in a foreign kingdom and the right desire for the union of all Romanians.

Romania's entry into the first world war against Austria-Hungary raised great hopes in the souls of Transylvanians. "Now or never," was sung silently in our homes. Not even the apparent defeat of the Romanians in Romania managed to extinguish hopes. My husband and I took advantage of every opportunity to come to the aid of those imprisoned in Cluj prisons for their Romanian attitude. Help, whenever possible, consultations with good lawyers and packages from which as many as possible can benefit. In the Hungarian Diet, our Romanian deputies, true sacrificial leaders of our nation, were more and more daring. In the autumn of 1918 the atmosphere was bursting. Glad news from the fronts. An itinerant merchant Burete Pompei, from our village, arriving on the morning of October 30 or 31, informed us that in Budapest the soldiers no longer obey their commanders, but that they return from the fronts in disarray. This news was encouraging. In the parish house there was a coming and going, of people commenting and conferring with each other. Besides, the consultations had started by order of the nationalist leaders a few weeks before. In our county, the lawyer Dr. Valer Moldovan was active in this way.

On November 1, the good news about the rebellion, i.e. the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was confirmed by the arrival of two former political convicts, traitors to the Hungarian homeland, released by the rebels from Cluj prisons, Dr. Aristotel Banciu from Bucharest and Prof. Giurgea. Given that the disorder was more and more accentuated, that gunshots were being fired in the stations, that the soldiers were tearing the rank-stars of the officers, the two were in a hurry to reach Wallachia before there was any obstacle to cross the Carpathians.

On the following day, November 2, early in the morning, I drove them by carriage to Rázboieni, where a train had arrived from Cluj with many other political convicts, who, recognizing the two comrades in suffering, happily shouted "Here go the hâzârlăii our". An unforgettable moment occurred, when those on the train together with the soldiers on the platform burst into cheers paying tribute to the nation's martyrs. The train left in loud songs shared by everyone in the station. "To arms!". After the train left, I found the carriage full of paper ribbons, because the Romanians no longer knew how to show their joy. After dinner that day, we went on reconnaissance in the neighboring commune (Vinţul de sus), with a Hungarian majority. On the way a group of Hungarian demonstrators. The Romanians there were worried. Returning to us, Father Căpâlneanu urgently proceeded to the constitution of the national guards, showing the grandiose moments we are experiencing and urging order and dignity.

The villagers received this task with indescribable enthusiasm and elected the only officer in the village, lieutenant Nicolae Iovian, as their commander, but only until the arrival of second lieutenant Gheorghe Maier in the village, who took command on November 3. If I had to name the guards, maybe I should name all the men in the village who could hold a gun. From the discolored Hungarian flag, I painted and made the first Romanian flag. With this flag in hand hair. Căpâlneanu passed through all the villages and with sincere, fraternal hugs, Greek Catholic and Orthodox priests seconded by teachers and day laborers organized these national guards. Splendid days of movement throughout the nation followed. He strengthened ties between the nets and the county, receiving instructions from the big men, in accordance with the time, who were in charge of the National Party. The Great Assembly was being prepared. Măhăceni commune, being in the middle of our grid, was chosen as the political center. From here, delegates were chosen to send their two members to the Great Assembly. Father Căpâlneanu and lawyer Pătăceanu Gheorghe from Turda were elected.

On the morning of November 30, I left with the carriage to Teiuş. On the way we reached columns of German soldiers who were returning defeated to their country. Almost all the men from Vereşmort left by train to Alba Iulia. In Teiuş at the station, I got out on the platform owned by the world. Trains, trains passed with Romanians from Târnave, Mureş, from the Maramureş lands, Cluj, Luduş, etc. The last one was the train from Uioara (Ocna Mureş) from which Filip Banciu, Marian Dreghici and others got off the platform. The train drawn by the miners there and the miners' marching band, intoned patriotic songs, calls to battle. The excitement of those who flowed like great waters was indescribable. I was the only one left on the platform with my husband and two young ladies, today Mrs. Fodor and Câmpianu, who with their beautiful voices accompanied by my husband's powerful voice could not stop singing. But there were still armed Hungarian soldiers at the station and I heard them say that they could not stand something like that and we ran out of the station and the darkness saved us because they fired at the train and towards us. The next day in Alba Iulia I found out that the flag bearer in Agriş Arion was shot.

In Alba Iulia, winter had dressed the city in white, but what warmth in our souls! The crowd arrived and went up to the fortress in songs, in cheers, in shouts of joy. In one place there was a compact mass of people with a red flag led by the great nationalists, Jumanca and Flueraş. The order on the streets was everywhere maintained by the battalion of moti guards dressed in peasant (white) mosti clothes. Tribunes everywhere, from which they spoke to the crowd.

At the Council of the Great National Assembly there were the leaders at the head with the bishops of the two churches Dr. Iuliu Hosu and Dr. Miron Cristea and the delegates. After the decision of the Great Council, at around 12 o'clock, the whole Council went out to the field of the fortress where the huge crowd was gathered around the tribunes and at the main tribune bishop Iuliu Hosu read the decision of joining willingly and forever with the motherland. At that moment there was a delirium that cannot be put into words. Songs, dances, hugs, cries of joy.

And now I answer the questionnaire:

The Romanian Greek Catholic priest from Vereşmort (now Unirea II), Iuliu Căpâlnean, participated in the Great National Assembly in Alba Iulia. He was elected as a delegate of the Romanians from the 17 villages that belonged to the Vinţu de Sus network. The quality ? He was a great animator of national consciousness, holding "popular lectures" throughout the county, starting right from his arrival as parish priest in 1910. He was Director of the "ASTRA" Separation - Vinţul de Sus, the initiator of the national guards after November 1.

Biographical notes: Born in 1885 to peasant parents. Primary school in Aiud. The High School and Academy of Theology in Blaj. Priest in Vereşmort until 1939, then Greek Catholic dean in Uioara (Ocna Mureş).

After 1918, he was elected deputy and senator several times, when he put himself at the service of the needs of the peasants and workers. Even today, factory workers and peasants can testify, from whose ranks he raised many intellectuals, today valuable people. Culturally, he worked exemplary, especially in the parish where he established a cultural house, a carpentry workshop, subscriptions to newspapers and periodicals, plays with roles played by even older peasants.

In 1919, didactic powers were missing. With much understanding, he agreed to cover a gap there as well, receiving the chair of history in Uioara.

Father Căpâlneanu stayed in Ocna Mures until 1946, when he retired to Cluj, where he died in 1951.

Pleasant be his start.

Elena Căpîlneanu

Widow of a Greek Catholic priest"

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