Local Issues of Northern Transylvania 1944-1945

(Transilvania du Nord / Északerdély)

Under Construction


The territory of Transylvania, in the northwestern part of present-day Romania, was incorporated into Hungary until the Treaty of Trianon (June 4, 1920), at which time it was awarded to Romania.  As a result of the 2nd Vienna Award (August 30, 1940), the northern portion of this territory was returned to Hungary.  Following World War II, it was again incorporated into Romania.  These facts alone give this region a rich and interesting postal history.

Picture post card to Budapest, with special VISSZATÉRT ("returned") cancel of
Kolozsvár (Cluj in Romanian) and separate Sept. 13, 1940 Kolozsvár  datestamp.
The Hungarian stamp commemorates the return of Northern Transylvania.

What is little known, even among philatelists, is that Northern Transylvania achieved a degree of quasi-independence (in civil matters) under the occupation of the Red Army.  Romania, one of the Axis powers, surrendered unconditionally on August 23, 1944, shortly after her borders were crossed by Soviet troops.  

Censored cover dated August 23, 1944
 (date of the coup d'état that overthrew the Antonescu government).

On September 12, 1944, an armistice was concluded in which the USSR promised to return Northern Transylvania to Romania, and Romania agreed to commit its military forces to the allied cause.  The 1920 frontier was formally re-established by the peace treaty of February 10, 1947.

Soviet and Romanian troops first entered Northern Transylvania on September 21, 1944, and on October 25 finally succeeded in clearing the entire region from the defending Hungarian and German troops.  In spite of the armistice agreement, Romanian civil officials were not allowed to assume civil control.  The Red Army continued to hold the area under military occupation, granting autonomy to each district in civil matters.

8 Oct. 1944 , Romanian forces in Northern Transylvania.
Post card from FPO 941 (21st Infantry Division), unit cachet with handwritten censor notation.

Some civilian officials, including postal personnel, accompanied Romanian military units into the southeastern portion of the region, but were quickly ordered to leave by the Soviets.  Some supplies of Romanian postage stamps were, however, left behind.

Permission to resume civil control over Northern Transylvania was granted on March 11, 1945, and Romanian administration resumed in fact on April 9th.  Thus there existed an interregnum period of almost six months, during which Northern Transylvania was neither part of Hungary nor part of Romania, but was also not an independent state.


Northern Transylvania is a 16,830 square mile area situated in the Carpathian Basin.  The 1940 population was approximately 2.5 million, with about equal numbers of ethnic Hungarians and Romanians.  In addition, there was a substantial German minority.  Hungarians were generally predominant in the urban areas.  



Under Construction


1.   All bilingual proper names will be expressed in the form "Romanian Name / Hungarian Name".
2.   Individual stamps are shown at 150 dots per inch (dpi); covers and blocks are at 100 dpi.
Larger items may be shown at 75 dpi or smaller and will be so noted.
3.   In the case of overprinted stamps, Scott and Michel catalog numbers are used to refer to the basic stamps.  


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