The D4 motorway near Bratislava (Screenshot from Magyar Hang YouTube video)

This joint project between the Hungarian-language Slovak daily Új Szó and the independent Hungarian newspaper Magyar Hang examined the continuing impact of the 1945 Beneš Decrees, which regulated the expulsion of ethnic Germans and Hungarians from what was then Czechoslovakia and the confiscation of their property.

The investigation highlighted that the Slovak Land Fund (SPF) expropriated land from hundreds of Hungarian landowners in southwestern Slovakia, in the area where the D4 highway is being constructed, without any financial compensation. Authorities have said that the land should have been confiscated from its Hungarian owners a long time ago, and that this “administrative error” has been corrected now – 70 years later. The expropriated property is worth millions of euros.

Új Szó and Magyar Hang analyzed official legal documents and available data issued by state institutions and interviewed legal experts and politicians. Their reporting sparked a public debate both in Hungary and Slovakia. Their research took them to Brussels as well, where News Spectrum Fellow Anna Bugárová interviewed experts in this field, questioning the legal basis for this expropriation and the legitimacy of the controversial Beneš Decrees.

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