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Page history last edited by linda 11 years, 3 months ago

"Wake up Mari! Are you dead?"

(This is a translation of the following article on Index.hu: http://index.hu/bulvar/2009/08/03/kelj_fel_mari_meghaltal/)


A Roma woman was shot and her daughter seriously injured in the village of Kisléta, in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county (NE Hungary). After the early Monday morning killing, the village, located about 30 kilometers from Nyíregyháza, was in upheaval, Index's correspondent reported from the scene. Bocskai street has been closed, law enforcement -- in this case National Bureau of Investigation employees -- process the scene for forensics, and Roma minority self-government, national, regional and local representatives, are present, as well as many representatives of the press.


The situation is tense, several times the local residents exchanged tense words with photographers, cameramen and other media staff, which is not surprising: most people are very afraid and do not want any photos or videos made of them -- they fear the killiers might return some night. Relatives of the victims told an Index reporter that the neighbors had heard shots around midnight. A few of them looked out to see what was happening on the street, but because they saw nothing unusual -- neither strangers nor an unknown car -- they thought that someone must have been setting off firecrackers, and so, reassured, they went back to bed.


If they take my mother, close the door


Mária B.'s sister Gizella made the terrible discovery in the morning. She arrived early to go to work with her sister and coworkers -- they cut tobacco in the nearby fields – and saw that her door was open. She found this odd, becuase "Why would Mari have left early, and leave her daughter sleeping at home alone?" Gizella went in and saw that in the room to the right, the girl was lying on the bed, her face contorted, pellet gun[1] wounds on her neck. She was conscious, but speaking incoherently.


Her mother was in the other room, to the left of the entrance, also lying on the bed, turned to the side. She was dead, pellet gun wounds on her abdomen, torso, everywhere.  "Wake up Mari! Are you dead?" – screamed Gizella, and the others ran in. They called an ambulance and police, and waited for a long time; more than half an hour elapsed before they arrived.


The relatives can only guess how the murder happened. Since, according to their descriptions, pellet holes can be seen in the window of the girl's room, in the direction of the bed, they suspect that first the window was shot at, and only afterwards were the sleeping residents shot. The girl was probably still lying in bed when she was shot.


The girl -- in hospital with serious injuries -- was taken out of the house in a state of shock, and did not fully grasp what had happened.  At first she thought the door had slammed from a draft, and that she had been cut by shards of glass. She also did not grasp that her mother had died. She was only able to guess that things might be more serious, as she told a relative, "If they take my mother, close the door."


The attackers could have come from behind the gardens


As the street is located on the edge of the village, it is easy to access it and be relatively unnoticed. Behind the gardens there are cornfields, a few hundred meters away from a lane leading towards Nyírbogát. The police also suspect that the perpetrators could have come from that direction, or gotten away that way.  The girl's grandmother -- mother of ten children -- asked tearfully, how could God allow the killing of her daughter, who herself was raising two children. She had somehow endured that God had taken one son -- an older son had died of illness -- but this, which had now happened last night, she would not be able to bear. 


The village (population: 1,870) has not had any major conflict between Hungarians and Gypsies; Roma make up 35 percent of the population. There are several major tobacco farms there as well, the Gypsies have been able to live normally, there is no one borrowing from loan sharks[2], they don't need it, everyone works, and the gypsy quarter is orderly. The mayor told Index that he does not believe there is a racist motive behind the incident, but did not go into detail as to why he thought that. 


The local residents also can't understand what happened. The mother was known as a person who could always manage to get by, 12 years ago her husband died and she had been alone since then, she had two daughters, the other daughter already has her own family.  The daughter living with her is described as a nice girl, lively, helpful. No one can imagine who could have harmed her and her mother.




  1. The correct translation into English of this term is not 100% clear. The Hungarian term is "Soretes puska" (apologies, I had to take out the diacritical marks, which this page was not displaying properly), used for shooting/chasing off rabbits and such. A license is required for this kind of gun in Hungary. A press release sent out by a Roma organization used the term "pellet gun" in English, so I've gone with this term in the translations. (thanks to verocska and jd for their help on this.)
  2. The Hungarian term here refers to something like "usury-loans". There has been a problem in Hungary with loansharking gangs exploiting the Roma community, and the police have looked into possible connections between loansharking and the previous attacks against Gypsies, but it seems unlikely.

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