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SZÉKELYFÖLD TIBETJE: KOMMANDÓ

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Kommando is the highest settlement of the historical haromszek, or today’s Kovaszna county, it is situated exactly where the Carpathians form the sharpest angle, people say it is on the top of the world. Kommando is the most famous logging industrial settlement of Sekler’s land, it is situated in the picturesque valley of the Baszka sream surrounded by mountains at about 20 km far from Kovaszna. A well maintained wood way leads from the town to Kommando through the wonderful Tundervolgy (Fairy Valley).

BEMUTAT

Kommando is an independent village, its name was given by the old bordrer guards as this place used to be a boder guarding unit when the borders of the country were here. The settlement itself is quite a young one, but its history goes back many centuries. In the 17th century this place used to be a huge forest which belonged to the Mikes family from Zagon, who got this land as a gift from the Hungarian king for their services and loyalty. Mikes Pal’s fortune was confiscated after he fought against the emperor’s army as Tokoly Imre’s follower and leader, and the forest land was divided into pieces. In 1764 there was already a Sekler Borderguard Unit functioning here which stopped its activity in 1848 and from 1867 there was established a Customs Unit instead. The owner of the forest, Zathureczky Gyula sold the wood in 1882 to a businessman from Pest who originated from Felvidek, Horn David, who later on started enormous building work in the mountains and founded the Tranylvanian Wood Industry joint stuck company.

The first lumberyard was named after the owner Gyulafalva, in a few years a second sawmill was established and that was the date when Kommando actually came to life. For the workers, the number of whom was constantly growing, they built hutments-like buildings which were enough for fourty families. In 1889 there were people of nine different ethnic backgrouds living here together. In Horn’s time there were already three sawmills functioning , a school, hospitals, the lumberyards had electricity while in Brasso the streelights were still lit by gas.  At the same time with the building of the factories Horn dreamt of circular railways and gradients among the mountains, and he started the construction works too, but after a while he had to sell his business because of financial reasons. The railway system was finished ten years later, two gradients were built still in Horn’s time and two more were built by the Groedel family, the new owners. The gradient is the genial idea of the 19th century engineering. It was built based on the plans of engineer Lux Emil and it was used to transport wood from the forests. It functions according to the idea of falling on declined plan and it did not use any fuel. From these gradients we can see only the remainders of the one built on the Sisak mountain, which stands as a unique exhibit of the history of industry in Europe. On the 1268 meter long course there were two carts and between the highest and lowest parts there were 327 meters; the carts which were loaded with wood used their own weight as they were descending to pull the empty carts up on the parallel railways. This construction was the only connection with the other settlements for years, because during the 108 years of its life it did not only transport wood, but also people.

This was the only transportation means of the Kommando people until 1970, when the wood road between Kovaszna and Kommando was finished. The gradient had to be fixed several times, it burnt down twice and from 199 it stopped working. The dolly-type industrial railway was the most important woof railway in the historical Hungary. The railway system was longer then 120 kms in the golden era of wood industry, which was very interesting taking into account the characteristics of the area; but now only a small part of it exists. Sometimes tourists are taken on tours on the old railways.

Wood industry meant economic power to Kommando, and at the end of the 19th century the settlement began to develop. Famous experts lived here who established civilized and culturally demanding lifestyle here. The owners of the sawmills, the third generation of the Groedel family were so indebted that they could not pay their workers any longer in 1931. The son named Bubi of a merchant called Lichtenstein sponsored the workers for a year trying to keep them there. The last Groedel paid their debt. The workers started a strike in 1936 and their movement was dissipated by the provost legion called by the owners. In the same year the settlement was named a village. In the memory of the strike as a sign of respect there is  a memorial board on the wall of the old office made by the succession. After the second World War there was only one functioning sawmill at Kommando, which still had good profit mainly because of the isolation of the village. The sawmill from Gyulafalva was closed before the whole village became part of Kommando.

The Kommando factory’s decay started in 1960. According to a law the machines could not be repaired locally and the tools that were sent away for repairing work, many had not been ever sent back. A final blow was the storm in 1995 when 2.5 million stere wood collapsed and parts of forests were completely destroyed. Until the regeneration of the forests rules were introduced to limit the amount of wood cutting which lead to the bankruptcy of wood industrial companies. The factory worked exactly 110 years, it was closed on the 17th of October in 1999 at 10 am. Smaller sawmills still work in the area, but most of the private wood is transported from here by trucks. Kommando’s birth and life was marked by wood industry, so its decay had a big impact on the life of the local people.