Hungarians fear a new threat from the south, migrants

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Istvan Barna, 36, cuts grass in the village of Bacsszentgyorgy, Hungary, April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo SEARCH "SZABO BACSSZENTGYORGY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A cross is seen in the village of Bacsszentgyorgy, Hungary, March 31, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo SEARCH "SZABO BACSSZENTGYORGY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Domonkos Szucs, 8, and Nikolett Vajda, 11, dress for mass in the village of Bacsszentgyorgy, Hungary, March 31, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo SEARCH "SZABO BACSSZENTGYORGY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Istvan Barna, 61, stands at his home in the village of Bacsszentgyorgy, Hungary, April 3, 2018. "My brother lives in Germany, and even he wants to come back. He says every evening when you go to the supermarket it fills up with migrants. He feels unsafe. We are safer here," said Barna. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo SEARCH "SZABO BACSSZENTGYORGY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
An abandoned house stands in the village of Bacsszentgyorgy, Hungary, April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo SEARCH "SZABO BACSSZENTGYORGY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Tombstones are seen in the cemetery of the village of Bacsszentgyorgy, Hungary, April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo SEARCH "SZABO BACSSZENTGYORGY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A stork flies above the wire border fence near the village of Asotthalom, Hungary, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo SEARCH "SZABO BACSSZENTGYORGY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
The wire border fence stands next to the village of Roszke, Hungary, March 11, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo SEARCH "SZABO BACSSZENTGYORGY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Locals participate in an Easter procession in the village of Bacsszentgyorgy, Hungary, March 31, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo SEARCH "SZABO BACSSZENTGYORGY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A Hungarian soldier stands at the Hungarian-Serbian border near to the village of Bacsszentgyorgy, Hungary, April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo SEARCH "SZABO BACSSZENTGYORGY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
The wire border fence stands next to the village of Asotthalom, Hungary, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo SEARCH "SZABO BACSSZENTGYORGY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Houses stand near to the village of Asotthalom, Hungary, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo SEARCH "SZABO BACSSZENTGYORGY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Trees stand near to the village of Asotthalom, Hungary, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo SEARCH "SZABO BACSSZENTGYORGY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Timea Komaromi sits in front of her house in the village of Bacsszentgyorgy, Hungary, April 3, 2018. Previous waves of migration, mostly from the former Yugoslavia and Kosovo, caused her no fear. "I even fed goulash to some of those families. These people now are different. They are not Christian," said Komaromi. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo SEARCH "SZABO BACSSZENTGYORGY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Terez Majsztrovics, 84, sits next to her house in the village of Bacsszentgyorgy, Hungary, April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo SEARCH "SZABO BACSSZENTGYORGY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A football pitch is seen in the village of Bacsszentgyorgy, Hungary, March 31, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo SEARCH "SZABO BACSSZENTGYORGY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A caravan stands in an empty field in the village of Bacsszentgyorgy, Hungary, March 31, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo SEARCH "SZABO BACSSZENTGYORGY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
The wire border fence stands near to the village of Bacsszentgyorgy, Hungary, March 25, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo SEARCH "SZABO BACSSZENTGYORGY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
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BACSSZENTGYORGY, Hungary, April 5 (Reuters) - During her long life, Terez Majsztrovics has never left her small village, hidden at the end of an asphalt track amid the rolling hills of the Hungarian lowlands.

But the world came to her, in wave after wave.

Born in 1934, she saw German, Russian and Hungarian troops march across the area in World War Two, then, once the Yugoslav border was established, she spent a few decades "three hills away" from a frontier fortified by Communists.

During the harshest days of Stalinism, Hungary built a fence along the border, complete with a minefield. It was an "Iron Curtain," built against a perceived threat from the South.

In the 15-kilometer military zone citizens, especially ethnic Serbs like Majsztrovics, were closely monitored. When relations eventually thawed in the 1950s, that fence came down.

But, sixty years later, another one went up, and the border was sealed off again.

Majsztrovics, who can now hardly walk without a cane and spends most of her days in a wheelchair, said she was afraid of a new threat from the South: migrants.

Truth be told, it has been some time since she last saw one. It was during the great rush, when hundreds of thousands crossed here en route to Germany in 2015.

"The problem is they are not Christian," she said last week, sitting in a chair by her small, crumbling house at the edge of the village closest to the border. She was there "car-watching" as a new border crossing point was opened that day.

She was worried about traffic, as the previously dead-end asphalt now extended to Serbia and beyond.

"Sixty-three cars I counted already," she said. "It's too much."

 

RAZOR WIRE, ELECTION

One of those cars belonged to the foreign minister, she was told. She smiled. She likes the government. Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party is good for Hungary, so Fidesz should stay, she said.

In all likelihood, Fidesz and Orban will remain in power after elections on April 8, thanks in large part to their unrelenting opposition to migration and the symbol of that opposition: the double razor wire fence along the border.

It is visible in the distance from Bacsszentgyorgy. And there are border patrols there. She likes the soldiers.

Timea Komaromi, another of the 80 Bacsszentgyorgy residents, is also wary of the migrants.

"They never touched anything or anyone, never caused any problems."

Still...

Previous waves of migration, mostly from the former Yugoslavia and Kosovo, caused her no fear.

"I even fed goulash to some of those families. These people now are different. They are not Christian."

The villagers get their news from state TV, controlled by the government, which puts out anti-migrant propaganda. Their fears mirror that.

When a photographer appears to document the fence and their life next to it, they invite her to the local church and ask her what she is up to. Whatever she says, they are convinced she is an agent from Brussels, out to unleash migrants upon them.

It's not a personal grudge. They like the photographer. They feed her mutton stew.

It's a long drive back to Budapest.

 

(Writing by Marton Dunai Editing by Andrew Bolton)

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