From the beginning, at the time when the files of those who were to pass into

“unmaskings” were compiled, students were divided into two groups according to their

soul’s strength or to the role played as members of the resistance organizations. The first

category consisted of the less spirited students with an indeterminate record of activity,

who thus were not good timber for the making of the “new man,” but whose weakness

was yet not sufficient reason to exempt them from unmaskings. They also were passed

through the entire gamut of disintegration but usually with less insistence and not very

extensive tortures. These were the ones who fell earlier than others when the question,

“You bandit, have you decided to make your unmasking?” was put to them. Their number

was not very large in relation to the total number arrested. They were named by the

unmaskers gugustiuci, an ironic term meaning “wild pigeons,” in other words, creatures

not entirely responsible for their present plight.


The second category, which gave the initiators many a headache although it suited their

purposes better, included the more spirited, fanatical students, those who resisted a long

time, those who had to be passed through a second cycle of tortures before being

broken. These were called “Catholics.”


One of the tests for the fanatical students was forced gymnastics, especially the

semi-squat or “frog.” To touch the heels with the buttocks was not permitted, and the

hands had to be held laterally the whole time, stretched out, or raised high above the

head. During this semi-squat posture, the student had to raise and lower himself in time

to a rhythm set by the re-educator by hitting on wood with a stick hours on end,



Normally and without any coercion, a man in good physical condition can do up to fifty

flexions of this kind, after which his legs begin to stiffen. The student A.D. from the

Faculty of Letters in Bucharest, arrested in 1948 and sentenced to ten years, did in a

single night, above the portable toilet, over one thousand. When he stepped down he still

had the strength to continue; it was the fatigue of the rhythm-beater which stopped the

performance. To what mysterious force can be attributed this physical resistance on the

part of a man exhausted by malnutrition, sleepless nights, and the obligatory positions

imposed on him in the days preceding this test? For this case is but one from among the

hundreds of victims who managed to pass the one thousand-mark of such flexions

without breaking down. Only strength of will, a manifestation of spirit, could thus

temporarily overcome the body’s fatigue and successfully control it.


The student M.M., also from the Faculty of Letters in Bucharest, was subjected to the

following procedure. After everything else had been tried on him, including beating till his

body became almost insensitive to further blows, he was forced one day to lie down on

the floor in the middle of the room. Other students, chosen according to their degree of

“banditry” (i.e., resistance), were forced to lie down on him, one after another, until in all

there were seventeen all those, in other words, who were in the process of unmasking in

that cell at that time. On top of all then climbed the individual who was committee chief in

the room. Under the pressure of all this weight the student could no longer control

himself; the muscles of his abdomen gave way and everything that had been forbidden

him to do over the toilet he did there in the cell.


What followed enters directly into the domain of madness. Under the pretext that he had

broken rules and dirtied the room, and that no washing of clothes is permitted outside a

scheduled time, the poor student was ordered to clean his underwear by mouth. His

refusal to submit to this command infuriated the committee chief so much that he

grabbed a chunk of wood and crushed the student’s fingers beneath it, then trampled the

student underfoot till he became unconscious. He then had water brought to restore

consciousness water which had been refused earlier for cleanliness. The student’s head

was then knocked against floor and wall and he was dragged around the room by his feet

until blood flowed out of his mouth freely. Finally he could no longer resist.


In the face of such pain there can be no hero.


The student A.O. of the Faculty of Theology, one of the most “fanatical” mystics in the

cells of Pitesti, was forced to move his bowels into his mess-pan, then to receive his meal

without being permitted to wash it. What he had to suffer until his resistance and

abhorrence broke in him, is diflicult to describe. But in the end he had to yield and to eat

everything in the dish.


Prisoners were obliged to stand on their feet without so much as moving a muscle. They

were forced to wipe the floor over and over for whole days at a time, carrying two, or

sometimes three other prisoners “piggyback” as they pushed the cleaning rag.


Heavily tortured were those students who, unable to endure any longer but also unwilling

to yield, tried to commit suicide. Such attempts, however, were made almost impossible

by preventive measures taken by the re-educators and the frequent inspections by

O.D.C.C. committees and by the administration. Besides, there was practically no object

with which to commit suicide. Still, some cases of its having been tried are on record.

Those who failed in the attempt were tortured as were also those suspected of

contemplating suicide.


The student R.M. at the Polytechnical School of Bucharest had kept his spectacles in the

cell as a result of his own honest mistake and because of the committee’s lack of

attention. One day, as he was being beaten, they broke his glasses. R. was forced to

pick up the pieces, under blows, and to reconstitute both lenses. Although he searched a

long time, he could not find the last small piece. Accusing him of having hid it in order

later to commit suicide, the student, Diaca, of the Faculty of Medicine of Iasi who was

charged with his surveillance, beat him in such a manner that R. urinated blood. Nobody

was troubled by this and no doctor was summoned to look after him.


The student C.S. of the Faculty of Law of Cluj, endowed with an amazing capacity of

resistance, finally came to realize that he could not hold out much longer and decided to

commit suicide. But how? He could find nothing at hand. In desperation he ate a pound

of soap kept under the bed for writing declarations! As he later revealed to me, even

though the soap was made from petrol residue, he suffered not even the slightest

intestinal upset!


A student of the Faculty of Theology of Timisoara, N.V., after failing to die from slashing

his wrists, thrust his head into the food barrel, hoping to die burnt from the hot meal. But

this, too, failed, and at enormous cost to him. He was beaten until his lungs were

dislodged, and when he shared the same cell with me five years later, he was still

suffering from that painful infirmity. All because he failed to kill himself.


Many were those who tried to cut their veins with a scrap of sheet iron found somewhere,

or with wood chips, or pieces of glass, or tried to crush their skulls against walls, etc.

There were also some who tried to sever their arteries with their own teeth. That is why

every effort was made to prevent such “sabotaging” of the “campaign of unmasking.”


The student Gheorghe Serban, from the little town of Murfatlar, was arrested in Bucharest

in 1948, condemned with a large number of others and sent to Pitesti where he was

subjected to the usual unmaskings. One day, however, as he was taken out into the hall,

he succeeded in ending his torment by jumping from the prison’s third floor down the

stairwell. When those from whom he had escaped reached the ground floor in panic,

Serban had passed into the other world, uncompromised. The measure taken by the

administration to prevent such a thing happening again was to stretch wire nets between

floors. At the same time surveillance inside the cells was intensified, and fresh

inspections, this time made by prison guards under the supervision of the prison’s

director, Dumitrescu, emptied the cells of everything that could possibly serve as a

means of suicide.


Endeavors to call the administration’s attention directly to their situation were made

several times by those enduring the tortures, but the administration remained deaf to all

complaints. Not only did it not respond as hoped, but on the contrary took harsher

measures against those that petitioned. They were put through what was called a

“supplementary unmasking.” Some examples of this follow.


The student A.R., who had performed a thousand flexions crouched over the toilet,

following several weeks of tortures, and though knowing what was in store for him, one

evening at closing time broke out from the second row where he was being supported by

re-educators, and stepped out in front of Director Dumitrescu, who had just arrived to

take the “counting.” A.R. reported everything going on in the cells and requested

Dumitrescu to intervene with his authority as director and order the tortures ended and

the torturers punished. He also said that he personally did not intend to make any kind of

unmasking, that he knew the reasons for his imprisonment which he did not regret and

consequently he should be left in peace to serve his sentence out, to decide for himself

what he thought detrimental to society.


The director listened attentively, simulating complete surprise. He answered that he did

not even suspect such things, such atrocities, were taking place. He could say this with

effrontery because although there were some among the “unmasked” present who had

been beaten by the director himself in Room Four, they could not speak for they were no

longer their former selves. It was too late to do anything about it that evening but

Dumitrescu promised to attend to this matter next day which he did: he sent Turcanu into

the cell to take revenge on A. R. for his indiscretion.


Another student, U.S., taking advantage one day of the door’s being left unlocked by a

careless guard, escaped from under the bludgeon and darted out into the hall intending

to get to the main office or even the director’s office. But to his surprise, he collided just

outside the door with the director himself! Dumitrescu had been looking through the

peephole to check on what was going on inside the cell. The student requested him in

strong terms to intervene in the cell and establish order, and demanded that he be taken

before the political officer who was the real director of the prison. Taken aback, the

director could not avoid saying something, so, to get rid of the angry student faster,

promised to ask the officer to see him. The student had to get back in the cell, where he

received appropriate punishment. The next day, called out early, he was taken not to the

political officer but to Turcanu, who during the interrogation toyed with a sharp razor in

his hands.


“You told the director that if he would not excuse you from the iinmaskings and take you

to see the political officer, you’d do anything in your power to commit suicide. Do you

have the courage for such an act? Look, I want to help you. Here is an ordinary razor.

Take it and commit suicide. But here in front of me, now.” And he stretched out his left

hand, offering the razor.


“A ray of hope engulfed me,” the student told me later in another Romanian Communist

prison. “If I had gotten hold of that razor for even a second, I could have cut his throat. I

could have found that much strength if I succeeded in catching him off guard, then I

would have killed myself. But nothing I hoped for happened. The moment I reached out to

take the razor, Turcanu pulled back his left hand and with his right struck me under the

chin such a blow that I fell flattened to the cement floor. He was powerful as a bull. Then

he jumped on me with both feet. How long this lasted I do not know, as I passed out

during this part of the ‘interview.’ When they took me out of the bathroom for all this took

place there three of my ribs were broken. The scar formed afterwards will remain with

me to my grave; the broken ribs will permanently keep the imprint of Turcanu’s feet.”


And to convince me of this he had me touch the broken ribs under the thin yellow skin.


Not only were these things all reported to the director, but the chief guards of the prison,

Ciobanu and Mandruta, received innumerable verbal reports of such atrocities. Mandruta

always swore and cursed and slammed the door as he left saying this was none of his

business, while Ciobanu merely shrugged his shoulders and said nothing. Later, in

Gherla prison, I shared a cell with Ciobanu’s father-in-law, but in telling him of these

atrocities, he could not believe that his son-in-law had ever been a witness to them as he

had never breathed a word at home about such things. During the two-year experiment at

Pitesti, perhaps he had had to go through a “school of threatenings” to get the job at all,

in the interior of the prison, and was afraid to tell of anything going on. But the guards, at

any rate, were only the facade to conceal the real authors of this villainy, the politruks of

the Communist Party.


* * * * *


Resistance in prisons depended naturally on the factor of moral order. As long as he

could retain self-confidence, the student defied his re-educators, though passively. I

know several hundred of the students who passed through unmaskings at Pitesti, having

spent years living with them in various prisons. I studied them under all aspects both

before and after the unmaskings, and I hold the firm conviction that at least fifty of them

would have stepped calmly before a firing squad, thus sealing their creed with the

supreme sacrifice, before the Securitate arrest and investigation. Who is not familiar with

the capacity for sacrifice of the Romanian youth in the war against Communism, willing

to die, even after the Communist occupation, in resisting it? The Legionaries Puiu

Constantin, Florescu, Spiru Obreja, Serban Secu, for example, who were executed on

order of the Military Tribunal of Bucharest in 1950-51, knowing they were to be killed,

refused to sign a petition of pardon presented by a special envoy from the Ministry of the



Eighteen others arrested in the Fagaras Mountains had the same fate in the summer of

1958. During these eight years, all over the country, people were shot by the hundreds,

with or without being sentenced, and died bravely. I knew before my own arrest many

students who were members of resistance groups and fled to the hills, where they were

pursued but fought the Securitate forces till they fell; few allowed themselves to be taken

prisoner. But those who got to Pitesti, collapsed morally. What accounts for this change

in behavior? Perhaps those who were still free to dispose of their own lives, preferred to

die at the hands of the enemy; while those who were captured, finding themselves no

longer free even to kill themselves, therefore collapsed.


But the intensity of the drama and the terror that dominated this period will never be



“What we lived through there,” said one student, whom I had known long before any

arrests, and who had passed through unmaskings as one of the most fanatical,

“surpasses what the human mind can imagine. Language is inadequate to completely

convey what everyone of us would have to say, even if we could say it.”


Hungry, tortured, humiliated for weeks and months on end; sleepless, terrified,

terrorized, struck by him who but an hour earlier had been his friend and brother in

chains; forced in his turn, through the threatening of Satan, to become a torturer of

others; without the slightest hope of escape; isolated from the world by a curtain of steel;

brought to the edge of the grave but denied the privilege of dying of such was comprised

the calendar of a student subjected to this experiment of de-personalization. In short, he

was subjected to the “ethics” of the Communist Party.


Under such treatment, I believe no man could successfully resist. Let me give two

examples pointing up the difference in reaction of two students under two investigations,

one after arrest by the Securitate, the other later at Pitesti, during unmaskings.


When being investigated, the student had, as did any other detainee, several elements in

his favor: he knew he would be arrested, he knew the methods of the investigators, and

he knew the Communist to be a foreign element, a stooge of the Bolsheviks, whom he

must confront. In other words, this meant a confrontation between two forces, the one

Romanian, the other the foreign element of occupation. Because the Securitate arrested

large numbers of persons at one time, and space was limited, they could not always give

individualized attention to each prisoner nor did this concern them; they knew that the

Pitesti Experiment would take care of the details. Their main concern was to get a

confession, true or false, as quickly as possible, and send him before the military judge

for sentencing.


The student Alupoaei, a former detainee of the Antoneseu regime, was arrested in the

summer of 1948 and accused of subversive activities against Communism. He was

investigated at the Iasi Securitate by officers Fischer and Pompilian, but despite all the

torture to which he was subjected, they got no compromising declaration out of him.

Their report to the Ministry of the Interior after several months of intensive investigation

still was the same they could not detect subversive activities by any youth organization in

the Suceava region. But at Pitesti, after the regime of unmasking, Alupoaei told

everything he knew, betrayed everything!


Another student, Gh. Cucole from Constanta, was also arrested in the summer of 1948.

He was interrogated by a long-time Communist, Campeanu, who had fought in the

International Brigade in Spain and was now a colonel in the Ministry of the Interior. (He

fell into disgrace later and was treated as he had treated others.) Cucole’s torturer was a

Lieutenant Botea, a Bulgarian[1] waiter considered one of the most brutal and cruel men

in the entire Communist police force. (Botea was later arrested himself.) Cucole was kept

in chains for months with only half a pound of bread and a cup of water for his daily

food. Depositions by colleagues or friends who had been active with him were placed

before him, but he denied them all. While he was incarcerated, his sufferings day after

day were noted by a fellow prisoner, Major X, who told me about him at Aiud in 1951,

speaking of him as of a hero. Cucole never did give the Securitate the confession they

wanted, so he was finally condemned to prison on the basis of depositions from others.

He was sent to Pitesti, and there he talked, revealing not only what he had done but also

what he planned to do, whom he considered an enemy of the regime, and whom he

suspected of subversive activity. As a result of his declarations, more than 60

Macedonians were arrested in the Constanta region and in Bucharest. D., a student from

Iasi, who was in the same cell, told me later that during Cucole’s unmasking he had to be

wrapped three days and nights in wet sheets to keep him alive after the day-long tortures

by Titus Leonida and Turcanu. I myself met him after the unmaskings, and I did not

recognize him. Not only was he not the man he had been but something in his very mind

was shaken.


I do not think there was a single student who declared everything under the Securitate

investigation. Everyone kept some secret, greater or smaller; but at Pitesti prison, no one

could resist. The number of those arrested as a result of testimony given or extorted at

Pitesti during the unmaskings was at least 3000!


Was anything left unrevealed at Pitesti? Very little, and that only because it was known

only to the individual under investigation. For if there existed the slightest suspicion that

someone else knew the secret, the one being tortured hastened to tell it lest the other

beat him to it and he be passed through unmaskings for the second or third time. Since

students were usually active in groups, it was difficult to keep anything back when one

knew that if the same system was being used in other prisons, a dossier would be

compiled from declarations made by fellow students incarcerated in Aiud, or Gherla, or

somewhere else. And no one coming to Pitesti from other prisons was ever able to warn

the students or tell them what was happening in the other prisons, as new arrivals were

isolated immediately; first, so that they could not transmit news from the outside world to

those undergoing unmasking, and second, so that the new arrivals could not receive any

kind of warning of what was in store for them before their turn came. Those who dared to

conceal some detail, however trivial, were found out a month, or a year later, and had to

pass a second or even a third time under the bludgeons of the torturers. And each time

the unmasking was more Draconian because the individual had continued being a

“bandit.” Nothing that two or more knew could be kept secret, for each would tell it,

having no way of knowing whether the other had already told it and had become in his

turn an unmasker. An infernal cycle from which there was no escape!


There is, for example, the case of student T. from Bucharest’s Faculty of Medicine. After

he passed through unmaskings and had convinced the O.D.C.C. that he had told

everything he knew, somebody from another room revealed facts he had withheld.


He was put through a second unmasking and tortured almost to disfigurement. He finally

admitted the facts he had concealed before, and added another detail. For this he was

taken through a third unmasking, but this time only as a viewer of the torturing of others,

being placed in “position.” As he had been seated alone on the edge of the bunk bed,

with no special attention paid to him, he took it upon himself to request the “watch” to call

Turcanu in, for he had something to tell him. Turcanu came in but refused to listen. Then

desperately T. implored him:


“This is the time to listen to me. I can no longer stand it; I must speak to you right now. If

you lose this opportunity, you will not get anything out of me even if you skin me alive

with a razor.”


Turcanu naturally took advantage of this psychological moment and listened. T. told him

everything, absolutely all that up to then he had managed to hide, and which was

infinitely more revealing than what he had told in the two earlier unmaskings. Several

years later he said, “I cannot understand what happened in my soul that I should have

volunteered to talk that time, especially when I was sure the O.D.C.C. had come to the

conclusion that I had already revealed everything.”


A second case was that of Teodoru, a medical student at Cluj. He was passed through

unmasking, tortured, and considered “irrecoverable” even though he willingly did and

said all that was expected of him. But when the unmaskings were over, and the terror of

“re-education” had lost much of its virulence, Teodoru switched to the other extreme,

becoming one of the most dangerous denouncers, with not the slightest excuse for this

change of attitude, this strange new viciousness.


And even stranger things happened, which might explain the numerous Moscow trials that

resulted in the liquidation of all those considered Stalin’s personal enemies. Crimes were

invented, not by investigators but by those being tortured by the investigators. A prisoner,

hoping to be spared further torture by convincing his unmasker that he had revealed

everything, the whole truth, would resort to lying, and invent things that could never have

taken place, not even in his imagination.


The Polytechnical student O.O., arrested for failing to denounce anyone during the first

phase of his unmasking, invented and made up from bits and pieces an entire subversive

organization into which he grouped, besides his own classmates, almost all the

instructors, the tutors, lecturers, even a few professors, making himself, naturally, the

leader. Many, fearing further torture at first, but later out of a new-found desire to

“restructure and re-educate themselves in the new spirit” (in other words, sheer

madness), tried to prove their “sincerity” by giving the names of their parents or relatives

as members of an organization of their own.


All verbal declarations were recorded on soap tablets and forwarded directly to the

O.D.C.C. Special Investigations Office, where they were transcribed and all declarations

from the beginning were screened, compared, and fine-combed to find any minute

discrepancies in reports from two or more individuals relative to the same fact. If the

screening turned up discrepancies of any importance to the Securitate, each prisoner

involved was called in to the office, made to put down his declaration on paper and sign

it, after which it was sent to the Ministry of the Interior through the political officer.


As you can see, the Ministry had no official contact or concern with what went on at

Pitesti; in fact, the information thus extorted was only incidental to the real purpose. For

no matter how useful the students’ revelations might become, there must be no let-up in

the torment. The state of torture must continue for the simple reason that continuous

physical (and resulting moral) terror is indispensable to the flawless functioning of

conditioned reflexes reflexes that will go on functioning automatically long after the

subject of the experiment has passed through the fire and become himself a torturer of






       -The author uses “Bulgarian,” “Hungarian,” etc., to refer to the family background of

an individual, even though he may have been born in Romania. This has been common

practice in Romania to distinguish ethnic origins.







“I, the undersigned bandit (Name and biographical data inserted here) unmask!”


Thus began the “declaration” that was to take the student who consented to make it (and

who could refuse?) down the road of degradation to an enforced, inhuman

transformation of character inconceivable to a normal human being. Until this declaration

was made, the student had somehow kept some part of his personality intact his soul

proper was not irremediably affected, or so the unmaskers thought. He would not yet

readily betray those whom he, though under torture, had managed to protect during the

Securitate’s investigations.


The real tragedy, however, began immediately following the “outer” unmasking, and the

“prison activity.” It was necessary in the project to repress any tendency to return to an

anti-Marxist equilibrium, which was based on the following principles of life: faith in God,

tradition and family; trust in the political personalities who led the anti-Communist

resistance materially and morally; friendship; love in its usual worldly sense and love of

mankind in general; and, finally, one’s own ego, with its own intimate life and its

anxieties. Such, in fact, were the pillars sustaining the Romanian people, which was born

Christian, you might say. There is no recorded historical date of a transition from an

earlier faith to Christianity, as in the case of most European peoples. When the fusion of

conquering Romans and vanquished Dacians was consummated, the resulting nation

was both Christian and Romanian at the same time. From the moment of entering history

to the present day, with very few periods of peace in a long chain of painful tribulations,

the Romanian people defended equally their own independence as a nation and their

Christian faith a Latin island lost in a Slavic sea.


Attacked throughout the centuries by all nations which it has had the misfortune to have

as neighbors, Romania alone has never nourished any desire for conquest. Her

struggles have been for defense, for inner living, for getting closer to God. For the

Romanian, altar and plowed land blend together. When no ray of hope, of help, came

from anywhere, the Romanian has knelt in front of the despoiled altar to invoke God’s

help. Innumerable monasteries, retreats, and crosses set up throughout the countryside,

at almost every crossroad, are proofs of the place God occupies in the life of the

Romanian people. This faith constituted, and constitutes even today, one of the strongest

supports of the resistance to Communism. Romanians have today gathered in the

shadows of the altar, even though they know it to be the greatest of risks, whose

consequences cannot be guessed at by one who has not actually lived today’s drama of

our people.


If the Communists have not bothered the Church officially, it is because they feared the

consequences. Uprisings in the name of one’s faith, especially if supported by a nation

in the throes of despair, are much more dangerous than those of a strictly

social-economic nature. So out in the country, the Church was perforce allowed to

function within certain limits, but such toleration inside the prison walls was out of the

question. The churches of the old Aiud prison, for instance, were transformed into

coal-bins (the Eastern Orthodox), oats-bins for horses (the Catholic) and a wood-shed

(Protestant). The priests not only had no place to officiate, but they were even forbidden

to hold services in the cells.


In Pitesti prison the terror exceeded all limits, as this was the place where the prime

guinea pigs, the students, were brought. The cruelest torments fell upon the heads of the

“mystic” groups made up of the more intensely religious students, who had been first

imprisoned by Antonescu following the so-called “rebellion” of Jan. 21-24, 1941. Their

numbers were later augmented with numerous freshly arrested students, particularly from

the Faculties of Theology and Philosophy in Bucharest, Cluj and Timisoara Universities.

This persecution of Christian students, in intensity, length of time and more particularly in

method, perhaps surpassed that of the early Christian martyrs who died in the arenas on

crosses or at the stake, in pits with wild beasts, or as human torches, giving up the ghost

in a matter of minutes. In Pitesti, the martyrdom lasted for months, hour after hour.


What heathen emperors had demanded of the martyrs renunciation of faith, denial of

God and of Jesus was forcibly induced in prisoners. A simple denial, a formal promise

not to believe or pray or fight for this “false” faith, was not enough. It had to be

accompanied by a whole set of proofs, including first of all the ridiculing of the Savior’s

name by use of the most insulting epithets. Some accordingly alleged that Christ spent

the first thirty years of His life in India learning to be a fakir; others said He was a quack,

a cheat and speculator in the faith and superstition of the people, who were kept

uneducated by the priests. Some denied His historical existence. Others presented Him

is a utopian socialist revolutionary, initially animated by good intentions but in the end

coveting the throne of Judea; they said His condemnation resulted from a power struggle

between Him and leaders of the Hebrew people, who were subservient to and thus

accomplices of the Romans! His morals were placed under the microscope, and Gospel

references to Mary Magdalene interpreted to mean the relationship was one of worldly

love. The Virgin Mary, His Mother, was labeled a woman of loose morals who deserved

not sanctification but a prison sentence for adultery. And through it all, the Leninist

slogan, “Christian superstition, the opiate of the people” was the constant theme.


In order to extinguish the last trace of respect for holy things, ritual parodies of all

Christian ceremonies were arranged, with students of theology compelled to modify

prayer texts, substituting vulgar oaths for religious phrases. Holy Week and Easter were

made occasions of particular vilification by the O.D.C.C.


The “rehabilitated” were often obliged, if they did not proceed on their own initiative, to

stage spiritual orgies ridiculing Jesus. I shall relate only one scene of many. It took place

in the section occupied by those condemned to hard labor, at Easter 1950.


“Christ’s robe,” as the students called it, was improvised from a few white shirts and bed

sheets. Out of the soap used for inscribing declarations a masculine genital organ was

made and the theology student chosen to play the part of Jesus was forced to hang it

around his neck. He was compelled to walk about the room, receiving severe blows from

broomsticks, to symbolize the road to Golgotha. He was finally stopped by the window.

There the rest of the students had to file past him, making the sign of the cross and

kissing the piece of soap, exclaiming, “I pray to your omnipotence, only true master of

those who believe,” etc.


There was only one, a youth named B., who refused to stoop to this sacrilege. He was

only a high-school student, and although tortured for hours in front of the others in order

to force him to do it, he stood firm. Finally it was the re-educators who gave up, but no

one could find out what made them stop. This conduct was particularly strange, it being

the first time the tormentors had stopped short of achieving complete obedience to their

commands. Could it be that perhaps the tender age of the youth had aroused in their

dry, and at the same time terrorized, souls, a trace of pity? If so, the tender age did not

deter them from bludgeoning B. into unconsciousness several times.


The individual who related this event to me was at the time sharing B’s cell, and he was

himself a participating victim. I asked him how he felt when he saw that a man younger

than himself and not having his ideological background could have the strength to refuse

till the end.


“At first, pity,” he said, “because of the way he was tortured; then a kind of anger seeing

that he did not give in; and finally shame and contempt toward myself. At the moment I

became aware of the implications of harboring these thoughts, I experienced a real

shock of terror. If the person who had unmasked me, still in our cell, could have learned

my thoughts at that moment, he would have ripped me to pieces.”


“How could he find out,” I asked, “if this was only a thought?”


“All he had to do was to place me in the unmasking position and ask me to reveal my

thoughts at the time B. was refusing. In the end, I am sure I would have told ...”


Such travesties of this sort, some even more vile, were enacted in all cells Sunday after

Sunday. Each religious holiday was an occasion for some novel profanation.


Those who were undergoing unmaskings were watched closely especially in the evening,

because they were then permitted to lie down in bed and might seek solace in their faith.

A far-away look, prolonged staring at the ceiling, a look of serenity any of these was

considered sufficient indication of prayer, and he who was caught in such an attitude

was brought back to reality by a powerful bludgeon on his ankle bones. Next morning the

victim so surprised received from the committee his due.


A simple trembling of the lips was considered the equivalent to praying aloud. The

morning beating was mandatorily followed by a declaration made in front of all, in which

the inmate in question had to admit he erred, that the “bandit” within him was not yet

vanquished, that he had committed an unspeakable crime, and that he promised never

even to think of praying again; and furthermore that if he should catch someone else

seeming to commit the same crime of praying in bed, he would report him mercilessly

and thus help rid himself of “banditism” sooner.


All students were forced to deny and revile Christianity, whether they believed in God or



The Church had to be denounced as an organization under whose mask of faith swindles

were perpetrated, plots were hatched, extra-marital rendezvous were arranged with the

priest’s cooperation, young girls were corrupted, women came to show off and men to

seek bodies. Or the Church was described as the place where the fight against the

Communist Party was organized, where, in the shadow of the holy icons, arrangements

were made for the assassination of the leaders of the working people, etc. As there were

no priests among the students imprisoned at Pitesti, the O.D.C.C.’s anger was directed

against the sons of priests. Through their mouths must the Church be denigrated; they

themselves must delineate their fathers in the blackest possible terms, so that the others

would have this information from “eyewitnesses.”


Jokes and anecdotes about the clergy, that were making the rounds of Romanian

villages, were now naturally given the stamp of authenticity. The priest had to be

described as a drunkard, skirt-chaser, card player, and thief, contemptuous of the

misery of the people (and especially the peasants), an inveterate liar who had sold out to

the class of capitalist exploiters, had been an agent of the Nazis or of the former

Securitate, and was in fact responsible for the complete breakdown of village morality.


For all these epithets, proofs had to be found; whoever supplied the “proofs” had to

sound convincing so that his revelations would lead to other unmaskings. Both those who

made the required statements and those who directed the unmaskings knew that the

testimony was absurd, but the more monstrous these inventions were, the more pleased

were the unmaskers. Such lies made it impossible for those who told them to look parents

or friends in the eye ever again, or step over the threshold of a church, if they ever

regained their freedom. The memory of unmaskings would be a lingering torture after

their liberation.


The second principal element in the destruction of faith was denigration of the monastic

life. Students were forced to say that they heard things “with their own ears,” and saw

things “with their own eyes.” Any monk being discussed had to have on his record at

least several adulterous affairs in the villages near his monastery; the nuns several

abortions! Among the stories told by a student from Moldavia, I shall mention the following

monstrous lies. He said that at the request of a high dignitary (whose name escaped

him!) a small lake in the neighborhood of a convent was drained. On the bottom were

found several hundred skeletons of newborn infants, who had, of course, been drowned

so as not to compromise the convent. All this was done with the connivance of the Mother

Superior and the leading heads of the Church. If the whole affair was hushed up, it was

because the hierarchy desired it! Nothing was done to stop this lustful life, in fact it was

encouraged, and the only one to suffer was the individual who demanded an



As to the monks, it was positively affirmed that they were all spies for secret American

agencies, they would hide parachutists who came to commit acts of political and military

sabotage; they used their monasteries as storage places for weapons to be used the

moment war should break out; problems of faith concerned them not at all; persons

wanted by the Securitate for anti-Communist activity were given food and shelter by the

monks; all in all, the monks should be considered highway robbers rather than servants

of the people.


In order to make students bear witness to such things, a whole gamut of tortures was

necessary. But in this way, the first stage of the inner unmasking, that of breaking away

from God, was accomplished. Thus, the students were sufficiently prepared to go on to

the second stage, the breakaway from tradition.


The education of students, structured on everything they had already learned in the

home, was based on the cultivation of a healthy rural tradition on the one hand, and a

historical one on the other. The roots of the past were the foundation on which the

Romanian people leaned in time of vicissitude and trial. Remembering the past of their

nation, Romanians confront the trials of today with faith and hope for future freedom.

Especially in rural environments one finds even today traditional conservatism so deeply

rooted that it is the peasants or the peasants’ sons who give Moscovites the worst



Coming from such a background, the students in colleges kept unaltered their rural

culture and tradition. Their advanced education merely added the scientific and historical

knowledge needed to bolster their convictions.


Communist propaganda said that the majority of school children come from the middle

and upper classes and that the schools, like other institutions, were unequivocally in the

service of the ruling class. Previous to 1944, say the Communists, the school was a

reactionary institution whose purpose was not to prepare and educate “the sons of the

people,” but to prepare the recruits for the ruling class to assure continuity of the regime

in power. If they thought it not feasible or desirable to denigrate some well-known

representative of the intellectual world, they described him as a rare exception to the

general rule.


The following cliches about the academic system were repeated ad infinitum: “It was in

the service of imperialism;” “It sowed discord among ethnic minorities; falsified history;”

“It altered the student’s soul by a chauvinistic education which neglected every scientific

criterion;” “It ideologically nourished hatred of the Russian people in the past, now hatred

of Communism;” “It supported the Fascist war of 1941-44;” “It falsified the fact that the

Czar helped in gaining our independence in 1877, presenting the opposite of the truth.”

(With regard to this last, no Romanian student was unfamiliar with the historical fact that

it was the intervention of Bismarck that induced the Russians to withdraw from our

Principalities[1] in 1880, and that, instead of being thankful for our help in the war

against the Turks, they took away from us again the three counties in Bessarabia![2] The

students also knew all too well that in 1924 Communist agents attempted an insurrection

in the Romanian province of Bessarabia the same Bessarabia that was to be kidnapped

for the third time in 1940, then again in 1944![3]


The school was also reproached for infecting children with Christian mysticism, causing

religious fanaticism and intolerance; for cultivating superstition in order to keep the

people in the dark and thus afford reactionaries the opportunity to oppress the people

more easily; and for “deforming history” to create “nationalism.” Beginning with the

elementary school teachers, and going all the way up to university professors, everything

that contributed to the education of youth was “corrupt, sold out, immoral, and

opportunistic.” The main preoccupation of educators was not quality of education but

their own careers, in particular their political careers, and the school was used as a

jumping board from which to spring to more interesting and remunerative positions.


Anecdotes were presented as fact, jokes were used as irrefutable argument. If, for

instance, a story was told of a teacher “accepting a bribe” from a pupil for promoting

him, it was implied that all teachers did the same thing. Those most blamed for

“indoctrinating” students were, of course, the university professors. Naturally, explained

the Communists, it was only because of such influential educators that there could

possibly be such a large number of students who opposed the Communist Party and

showed themselves enemies of the people and of scientific-realist-socialist progress!


The attack on learning opened the way for attacks on the creative elements in art and

literature. If the writers did not reflect “social reality” in their works, it was becausa their

education had detached them from the real problems that had to be dealt with in

literature. If poetry was symbolic, or folkish, or philosophical, the school was responsible

for this also. If a great part of novelists’ creations had a nationalistic character, that

proved the guilt of their teachers. Not even Eminescu,[4] whose memory the Communists

did not dare to denigrate publicly, was exempt from such criticism.


History also came under attack, especially that covering the monarchial period. The

O.D.C.C. had high on its list for destruction all sentiment of loyalty to the monarchy. Of

course, really damaging material was not lacking the scandals of Carol II, his ten years

of embezzlement of public funds, the murder of Codreanu and other officers of the

Legion in prison, or the massacre en masse of Codreanu’s followers throughout the

country on one night in 1939.[5] The Communists did not think it important to mention

that before Carol Romania had two highly respected and beloved kings; Carol’s

character and crimes were attributed to both. To further undermine loyalist sentiment,

specious arguments were cited from Communist history to the glorification of Stalin.


Up to this point, the trials which the student had to undergo following his outer unmasking

(physical torture in particular), were somehow relatively impersonal, external forces, even

when they touched on faith. But now came the most painful phase of all, and the decisive



The student had to renounce his own family, reviling them in such foul and hideous terms

that it would be next to impossible ever to return to natural feelings toward them again.


Although the most beautiful pages ever written have been in praise of a mother, at Pitesti

the most offensive of words were uttered to degrade her name. The prime character

which a student had to attribute to his mother during his unmasking was that of a

prostitute; and since only a moral prostitute could give birth to a moral monster, all

students before their unmaskings were, naturally, moral monsters. I shall give here,

almost in his very words, the forced statement of a student, which he, with agony of the

spirit, repeated for me more than two years after the frightful scene in a main-floor cell of

the Pitesti prison, where the “unmasking of his family” took place.


“I am the son of a fairly rich family in ____ ____. Of course the wealth amassed by my

father is the fruit of embezzlement while he worked as a purchasing agent for the

government. Having so much money at our disposal, we lived quite independent of one

another, more so than you would imagine. My father, for instance, met a young woman

who was married to a fellow government worker; he lived with her almost openly, sleeping

at her place almost every night. Although he left the greater part of his earnings there,

my mother did not object. On the contrary, she took advantage of the situation to find a

friend for herself no other than my father’s close associate. This was no secret to any of

us, for before they retired alone, ofttimes they kissed in front of us and my father left

them in peace, for he needed the freedom this afforded him to spend with his girl friend.

My mother’s friend had a daughter of about my age whom I knew better after my mother

entered into intimate relations with him; she also came to see us often. Encouraged by

both my mother and her father, I courted the girl and she did not repulse me; on the

contrary, she seemed to expect my advances. The same relationship developed between

us as existed between my mother and her father, who both encouraged us in our sexual

relations; they said it was only in this way that I could overcome my social inhibitions.

Once engaged in this sort of life, I introduced a student friend of mine to my sister, and I

started inviting him over more often. After a while, there was no need for my invitations,

for my sister brought him over herself, developing a relationship with him similar to that of

the others in our circle. As a matter of fact, influenced by what she saw at home, she

asked me to find her a friend of mine who was more ‘virile.’ Oftentimes in our home

orgies took place in which we all participated, exchanging roles and intermixing

promiscuously in the dark.” I cannot bring myself to put down on paper the rest of the

“testimony” he had to give at the orders of Turcanu.


When I asked him to try to explain to me why he said these things, he answered

unhesitatingly, but with pain born of grief, that the only motivation was hope that it would

mitigate his physical and moral suffering “in that hell.”


The father was likewise subjected to ridicule and opprobrium. The son’s degree of guilt

was measured by the status, attitude, and the family from which the father came.

Peasant parents were no exception; they had to be portrayed in most despicable terms

so the son would be shown to have inherited the character and personality of the one

responsible for his physical and moral existence.


The father’s shortcomings were determined by his occupation. If he was a simple

peasant, then he must have been the servant of the “boyar,” his informer, the denouncer

of the other peasants who opposed exploitation. If he was a merchant, then he must have

cheated on weight, selling cheap merchandise at high prices, failing to pay the clerks

and laborers, beating them when they demanded their rights, or threatening to denounce

them for Communist activity. If a teacher, he “falsified history,” persecuted workingmen’s

sons, promoted students for bribes, made use of students as laborers in raising his cattle

or in gardening, or making them work hard in difficult chores at his home so they could

not study properly and were thus unable to compete with the sons of the wealthy. If he

was a magistrate, he had sold justice for money and condemned workers to heavy

sentences on false charges in order to suppress any social aspirations they might have

had. When he presided at political trials, he was in league with the police and assisted in

condemning unjustly at least several Communists. (The number of active Communists in

all Romania had been only 822, according to the Party Secretary himself, Gheorghe

Gheorghiu-Dej!) Students whose parents were army officers were given special attention.

The slanders contained in Zaharia Stancu’s novel Barefoot or Eusebiu Camilar’s The

Mist, were almost pathologically exaggerated in order to demonstrate the guilt of “the

military in oppressing the working class and provoking war against the Soviet Union.”


Among students undergoing unmasking, there were a few, a little older than the others,

who came from the ranks of the military. Having been purged from the army when the

Russians occupied Romania and having no other means of livelihood, the more

courageous went to college to prepare themselves for another profession. In their

unmaskings they were forced to relate fabricated events so dreadful that they could

scarcely have been envisioned by the imagination of a sick man. The artillery captain

Coriolan Coifan, now an engineering student fallen under the bludgeon of the

re-educators, told of orgies that took place on the Eastern Front, unimaginable pillaging,

numberless assassinations, fantastic rapes, wanton arson of workers’ homes merely for

the sadistic pleasure of seeing fires, and executions of women and children who were

guiltless except of having been convinced Communists, “Stalin’s children.”


Blaming parents for their children’s faults, they tried to establish a “family culpability”

complex to convince the student that he was but a victim of his elders, and thus hasten

his breakdown. Here is an example to show how far they went:


When the political prisoners were sent to the Canal for work, their free relatives were

permitted to visit them and bring packages of food and clothing, for that supplied by the

administration was inadequate. A former military man named Dorneanu, who as a youth

had joined the cadres of the Legionary Movement where he received an education that

was staunchly Christian, patriotic and anti-Communist, received his mother on her first

visit to the Canal with the following greeting: “Get out of here, you whore; it is because of

the upbringing I received at home that I am now at the Canal. I do not want to see you

again. I have no mother!”


Another student who had passed through Pitesti, Enachescu, derived a special pleasure,

while at the Canal, whither he was sent following the unmaskings, in torturing his uncle,

Pitigoi, a former National Peasant Party congressman, now himself also a slave-laborer.

This the nephew did simply to demonstrate to the camp’s administration that he

definitively had broken with his family and the reactionary bourgeois way of thinking. The

misfortune of the poor ex-congressman was thus all the worse for having been put in the

brigade whose boss happened to be his re-educated nephew!


The degree of guilt ascribed to a parent was also determined by the “banditism” of which

his imprisoned son was accused. The greater the contempt in which a student was held

by the re-educators, the more he had to insult his parents, accusing them of heinous

sins. The accusations had to be justified with “irrefutable” proofs, which oftentimes were

so absurd as to have caused laughter anywhere but at Pitesti. Here is “the story about

my father” as told by a high-school student who at the time of the unmaskings was no

more than fifteen years old. It was told me by the boy himself in the prison at Gherla in

July 1953.


“My father,” he had said, “had a flour mill in X village in Muntenia; several peasants from

neighboring villages worked at the mill, but none remained very long because my father

replaced them frequently when they protested his failure to pay the wages agreed upon.

In order to avoid being sued, he never signed contracts with them. He fed them from our

leftovers, and mush from cornmeal like that used to feed hogs, which he raised nearby.

They had to sleep in a stable, without any covering and on a thin layer of straw; worked

16-hour shifts with no rest other than the noon meal eaten in the mill at their working

places. The work was very hard, consisting of unloading sacks, carrying them up to the

hopper, and then loading the flour into freight cars or wagons. If father thought they were

not working hard enough, he reduced the small wages they received; and if they

protested, he beat them. When a worker threatened to sue him, he beat him unmercifully

and denounced him to the gendarmes, accusing him of spreading Communist

propaganda. The worker would be arrested and taken away. My father systematically

cheated the peasants who brought in their grain to be milled. In order to get away with

this, he made certain of the complicity of an older mill-hand by giving him his share of

the ‘profits.’ Scales were so rigged that when weighing in the grain, they showed less,

and when weighing flour out, they showed more, than the actual amount in the sacks.

When an unusual amount of flour was stolen, sand was substituted to make up for the

lost weight. Peasants knew they were being cheated, but could not oppose him, for he

was on excellent terms with the mayor and other authorities, who refused to permit

operation of any but my father’s mill in the village. Part of what my father stole went to the

mayor and part to the gendarme chief; so if anyone complained, the matter went no

further than the gendarmerie of the village. Because I was his only son and the heir to

the mill, father began introducing me to the secrets of his occupation. He showed me

how to rig the scale so it would read falsely, how to add sand to the flour, how to cheat in

the process of drying grain to account for the moisture loss.”


After the boy related to me the story of his unmasking, I asked him how he could have

fabricated such a story, for he said his father was guilty of none of the accusations he

had invented.


“From the moment I realized I could no longer resist,” he answered, “and that I too would

have to tell about my father in the ‘unmasking of the family’s weaknesses,’ as the

committee head in our room was proud to say, it was quite simple. You see, during my

childhood I often went to the mill. In the evenings an old miller, whom I liked, told me

stories, among them that of Prince Charming and the Giant. I learned from these stories

how the Giant always tortured those he caught and put them to work in his mills; how he

fed them and how he beat them. Thus it was quite easy for me to substitute my father for

the bad giant, and tell the story as if it happened at our mill.


“As for the ‘political’ slant, namely, that about denouncing his workers as Communists, or

his arrangement with the gendarmes, I knew this before my arrest from the propaganda

spread in villages by the agitators against the ‘well-to-do,’ the opponents of

collectivization. The interesting part of it all is that in the same room with me were others

who knew my father. None of them, not one, questioned my story. On the contrary, they

affirmed that they knew these details, for their parents were among those cheated by my



“Every one of us knew we were all lying. But if by lying we could escape torture, then lie

we would! If someone dared say I was lying, he would not have had the freedom to

denigrate his own parents, for either I or someone else would have unmasked his lie.

Even when one fellow who knew my family became head of the committee and I related

at his request more lies, he dared not interrupt me. Because when he made his

unmasking, I was present and I heard everything he told about his parents lies likewise.

Thus we stuck together in lies and destroyed our souls only because we wanted to save

our bodies.”


Each “confession” was “evaluated” by the re-education committee, whose members were

now inflicting on others what they themselves had suffered a few months before, and

were furthermore stimulated by a maddening fear lest they be condemned to pass

through another unmasking, for any suspicion that they had been lenient in accepting a

“confession” made too easily or without the maximum debasement of the person making

it would be considered a grave relapse from their own state of “purification” and

punished accordingly. When the committee was at last satisfied that the victim had done

all that he could to defile his parents and himself with the vilest calumnies, to the truth of

which he in his wretchedness would frantically swear, they judged him ready for the next



The victim was now stimulated to revile and defame with repeated and invented lies the

teachers and writers under whose influence he had matured, and especially the political

thinkers and leaders whom he had revered and followed.


Particular care was taken to befoul the reputation and character of three men of national

prominence, two of whom were still alive, incarcerated in Communist prisons in which

they would soon die, while the third, whose name the Communists most feared and liated,

had at that time been dead for more than a decade. The three were: George Bratianu,

who had been the head of the Liberal Dissident Party and was highly esteemed for

patriotism and foresight;[6] Iuliu Maniu, the leader of the National Peasant Party, on

whom, in the time between the Russian occupation and his imprisonment, had been

centered the hopes of all Romanians for eventual liberation from the Communists;[7] and

Corneliu Z. Codreanu, the educator of an entire generation of young men, to whom, after

he was murdered in 1938, his spirit was ever present: he still lives in the heart and soul of

all whom he inspired by his teaching and example.[8]


Each student, as part of his unmasking, had to give “lectures” in the most opprobrious

and filthy terms about the men whom he had most venerated, accusing them of every

conceivable vice and crime. Since the students were young and had only imperfect

recollections of Romanian political history before their own experience began, the

“lectures” were often ludicrous, containing accusations that were chronologically

impossible or politically preposterous, based on a confusion of one man with another or

of one event with another that happened years before or later.


Since Codreanu, the founder of the Legion, had had a moral and spiritual influence that

transcended his political leadership and endured, undiminished, after his death, and

since the elite among the students had dedicated themselves to the principles and ideals

of the Legion, all the old slanders that had been contrived by the leftist and

crypto-Communist press in his lifetime were endlessly repeated and, if possible,

improved upon, and his living followers who had taken refuge in the West were similarly

traduced and “presented in their true light.”[9]


In this unmasking, of course, everyone lied with a straight face and without the slightest

trace of embarrassment. The lying not only served the purpose of Communist

propaganda by heaping filth on the men who represented everything that was great and

true in the culture arid history of the nation, leaving in the mind a void that would be filled

by Soviet “internationalism,” but, more important for the purposes of the experiment, it

made the victim habitually and almost automatically subordinate truth to the most

monstrous and absurd falsehood. The victim, now accustomed to sinking ever deeper

into the quagmire by a kind of conditioned reflex, and conscious that he is destroying

himself, despises and hates himself for his submission to what he cannot resist. He has

thus been made ready for the final disintegration of himself: his “autobiography.”





       -The autonomous principalities of Walachia and Moldavia were united in the person

of their ruler when Alexander Cuza became Prince of both in 1859, but, at the insistence

of the European powers, separate governments were maintained in the two principalities

for some years thereafter. Romania became a kingdom in 1881.



       -When Russia declared war on Turkey in 1877, Romania, although she had painful

memories of the Russian occupation in 1853, which had been terminated only by

Austrian protests and pressure, allied herself with Russia, permitted Russian troops to

pass through her borders and base themselves on her territory, and sent into the field

her army, under the command of Prince Charles. The Romanian troops compensated for

the overconfidence and military ineptitude of the Russian forces, and thus made possible

the Russian victory in 1878. Romania recovered some territory from Turkey, but Russia

demanded from her ally the retrocession of Bessarabia, which had been a part of

Moldavia since 1856 and had a population that was almost entirely Romanian. The Great

Powers, who were most interested in forcing Romania to repeal provisions in her

Constitution that restricted the power of resident Jews to control the country by financial

manipulation, moral corruption, and political infiltration, abandoned Romania, which had

to yield reluctantly to Russian demands and cede part of her territory to the erstwhile ally

whom she had saved, if not from ultimate defeat, certainly from a prolonged and difficult

war. Even then, Russia delayed withdrawal of the troops that she had brought into the

territory of her ally during the war, and her claims were not finally settled until 1884. The

conduct of Russia at this time was such that the Prime Minister of Great Britain, although

himself a Jew residing in England, felt constrained to remark that “in politics ingratitude is

often the reward of the greatest services.”



       -Bessarabia was part of Moldavia since 1367. In the Sixteenth Century, Moldavia

was subjugated by the Turks, who, in 1812, ceded Bessarabia to Russia. Southern

Bessarabia was returned to Moldavia under the Treaty of Paris in 1856 and so became

part of Romania, which, as has been described in the preceding note, was forced to

cede the territory to Russia in 1878. After the Jews destroyed the Russian Empire in

1917-18, Bessarabia first declared itself independent as the Moldavian Republic and then

reunited itself to Romania in 1920. The Jews resident in Bessarabia and trained

Bolsheviks brought in from the Soviet attempted a revolt in 1924, but without success. In

1940, King Carol, ignoring the protests of the Legionary Movement, of many other

patriots, and of his own army, supinely yielded to a Soviet demand and surrendered

Bessarabia. The territory was regained by Romania in 1941 and remained a part of the

nation until it was occupied by Soviet troops in 1944; it was formally ceded to the Soviet

in 1947.



       -Mihail (Michael) Eminescu, who was born in 1850 and died in 1889, has been

compared to Byron, Heine, and Leopardi, and is generally regarded as the greatest of all

Romanian poets. In his biography of Eminescu, Professor Miron Cristo-Loveanu says of

him, “He unites and embodies the whole intellectual genius of his country.” An English

translation of some of his poems was published at London in 1930. The almost universal

veneration accorded Eminescu by the Romanian people made it impolitic for the

Bolsheviks to denigrate his memory openly.



       -See Cronologie Legionara, Munich, 1953, p. 182, which records for the night of

Sept. 21-22, 1939, the murder of 252 Legionaries throughout the country, a few from

each county plus others from three detention camps and a military hospital. (Tr.)



        -He was especially known and respected for his strenuous efforts to prevent King

Carol’s capitulation to Soviet threats in 1940. He is not to be confused with his relative,

Dino (Dinu) Bratianu, head of the Liberal Party, who promoted the treason that ended in

unconditional surrender to the Soviet in 1944; he, too, died in a Communist prison. On

the political history of Romania and the character of the men who were prominent in it,

for good or evil, see Prince Sturdza’s The Suicide of Europe (cf. p. xxxv above).



        -During the first years of the Soviet occupation, the young king was kept on the

throne as a useful figurehead and there was a pretense that the occupation was

temporary. Maniu was permitted to maintain an attitude of independence, and he was

widely believed in Romania to have influence with the government of the United States,

which, they fondly imagined, favored “democracy” and “self-determination of peoples,”

as stated in the propaganda disseminated from Washington. Maniu himself may have

entertained such illusions; he was elected to the Romanian Senate, arrested, given a

theatrical imitation of a trial, and sentenced to imprisonment for twenty-five years. On

Maniu’s character and career, see the work by Prince Sturdza cited above.



        -On Codreanu, see above, p. xxxi, and the work by Prince Sturdza, in which his

career and the activity of the Legion in the climacteric years of Romania’s history are

recounted in detail. The original text of Prince Sturdza’s book contains some fine

appreciations of Codreanu that are omitted in the heavily censored translation, but

enough remains to illustrate the greatness of the man. (Tr.)



        -One must remember that the young Legionaries who vilified Codreanu in their

“unmasking” venerated him as the father of their highest ideals, so that their “lectures”

were for them much more than lying defamation of a great man and made them guilty of

an ultimate blasphemy. (Tr.)