Spring brought the escalation. The capital of this investment, accumulated with such

perseverance over the months, could not be allowed to remain idle. Under the direct

supervision of the Ministry of the Interior’s representatives, students were screened and

graded like so many cattle. Those considered “re-educated” but not capable of carrying

out specific missions, were sent to the “work colony” (actually an extermination camp)

along the canal that has never been completed to this day. With them were sent students

considered definitively “new men” and able to supervise not only the labor but also

qualified to control the “output in the area of education.” Those not sent to the canal were

distributed as follows:


a. The most reliably re-educated were sent to Gherla prison in the north of the country.

Their selection reflected indirectly the basis on which they were first separated into

categories on arrival at Pitesti and before re-education, according to their respective

sentences. Those who had been given the longest sentences, having received the

harshest treatment, furnished the largest contingent of the “trusted re-educated” going to

Gherla. Others in the shipment were those sentenced to less than ten years. These were

not considered sufficiently reliable in themselves but were included so as to be kept

under surveillance and eventually put under unmaskings once more as it turned out, soon

after their arrival at Gherla.


b. Students with diseases of the lung were sent to Targu-Ocna prison in the Bacau

region, which was reserved for them. It was called a sanatorium but the difference

between it and other prisons was in name only. All prisoners with infected or injured

lungs were sent there from all the prisons in Romania, but the number sent was

controlled, as the authorities’ objective was to exterminate, with as little commotion as

possible, but completely, as many as they could. In 1951, sick inmates numbered only

1,000; the majority of inmates at this prison were brought there from the re-educated

student group to carry out the unmaskings thoroughly and with dispatch, and actually

outnumbered their sick victims.


c. Students considered trustworthy but who had not received sentences from a court of

law were sent to the Ocnele-Mari prison in northern Oltenia, where many Romanians,

who had been arrested in 1948 but had never been tried or even accused, were confined

just for having been guilty of holding positions in the so-called bourgeois governments

prior to Communist occupation.


The Aiud prison, notorious for its own extermination treatment, was the only one to which

no re-educated students were sent, just why is not certain. One reason may have been

because it had been, since 1947, the prison to which any condemned person who was at

all prominent was sent, and consequently some attention of the West was already

focused upon it; sending re-educators to it might have revealed to the West the

Communists’ unique methods of “re-education.” On the other hand, the reason may have

been simply that there could not be spared enough re-educators to work over the 3,500

prisoners housed there it would have taken almost the entire output of reliable and expert

re-educated men to do it. But it was rumored among prisoners that Aiud was just being

left to the last.


There was, of course, some pretense that this distribution of the students was made on

their own initiative and that the Communist Party had no voice in it at all.


In the spring of 1951, long before the closing of Pitesti prison, a secret meeting was held

in which only members of the O.D.C.C. participated. It was chaired by Turcanu; no

official representatives of the Ministry of the Interior appeared. The “work” performed up

to this moment was evaluated. It was established that the “re-education of the students

was an accomplished fact and that the results were encouraging;” that through the

unmaskings “a great service had been rendered the Party and the working class”

because through them had been discovered all the “bandits who were not denounced in

the previous investigations,” and that all resistance “within the Pitesti prison” was broken.


These statements of Turcanu were followed by “propositions,” actually a memorandum

drawn up in which the approval of the Ministry of the Interior was requested for

expansion of the experiment to all the prisons in Romania, for the re-education of all



To what degree the “memorandum” came from the “initiative” of the students is plain, I

believe, from this account of the affair by the student S.B.:


“I had just been brought from the room in which I was undergoing the tortures of the

outer unmasking, into the cell that served as the O.D.C.C. office. I was to complete and

put down on paper some declarations I made the day before and inscribed on my soap

plaque. Turcanu and three or four other men were in this room evaluating declarations

made by those preceding me. I couldn’t make out what they were discussing as they

were speaking in such low tones. But suddenly a misunderstanding seemed to develop,

possibly over some statement in a declaration, and the discussion became louder and

more heated. One of the men, quite tall, whom I did not know, opposed Turcanu openly,

whereupon Turcanu jumped up as one possessed by a boundless fury and attacked him

unmercifully with blow upon blow. Not only was this man subsequently removed from the

unmasking committee, but he was downgraded to the “bandit” category and subjected

again to unmasking. And the beating, the demotion, renewed torture all this not because

he had failed to declare something, but simply because he had contradicted Turcanu!

But then, perhaps he was simply a scapegoat, as it would seem that every now and then

a loose-tongued collaborator, however willing, has to be sacrificed to stimulate blind



If a simple controversy like this, over a remark by a third party, could bring Turcanu to

such drastic action, then who would have the temerity to refuse to sign and applaud a

memorandum prepared by him? And one important enough that it was to be sent to the

Ministry of the Interior!


The contents of this memorandum compared to those of any resolution “adopted” in a

“Communist confab” were as alike as two drops of water. First came eulogies of the

Party, then a report of results, followed by the classic Communist “constructive

propositions” and finally the “pledges” to carry out to a successful conclusion the various

labors “for victory of the working class,” etc., etc. Rounding off the document like a seal

of approval was the series of well-known epithets against imperialists, Fascists, wealthy

landowners and all those who plot behind the scenes for the overthrow of the order

established with the help of the Soviet Union, et cetera ad nauseam.


After reading it aloud, Turcanu had the 40-odd O.D.C.C. members present sign it, then

forwarded it, according to the participants, directly to the Ministry of the Interior via the

prison’s political officer. This “initiative” was so much the more monstrous because the

motto: “Their destruction through themselves” was so evident throughout. But since

precautionary measures taken by the Communist Party had failed to cover up the

phenomenon entirely, the open participation of political officers in producing such

documents was necessary, to give the impression of normalcy and official sanction.


Now appeared on the scene, for the first time officially, a superior officer sent direct to

Pitesti by the Ministry of the Interior, one Zeller, a colonel from the General Directorate of

Penitentiaries. Even though he visited prisons dressed in a military uniform, Zeller was

actually only a colonel in the Securitate, and worked directly under the orders of another

such, Colonel Dullberger (later Dulgheru) and also General Nicolski, the General Director

of the Investigations Service in the Ministry.


One of the many missions entrusted to Colonel Zeller was the supplying of labor hands

(i.e. prisoners) to the canal camps. At this time he was empowered to select students

“who were fit to leave.” As a matter of fact, the majority of students were of the opinion

that he should know because they were sure it was Zeller himself who directed the

unmaskings, or at least was among those directly responsible for them. Here are some

details to support this conviction:


The qualification for being “fit” for canal work was to have undergone unmasking, though

officially this was called being “physically fit.” Preceding the medical examination which,

by the way, was perfectly inhuman, lacking the most elementary human decency Zeller

would turn to Turcanu who was seated next to him, and ask, “Does he deserve to go to

work?” And on the answer given by Turcanu depended Zeller’s decision.


The goings-on in the cells at Pitesti were reported directly to Zeller in a full unmasking

session by bloodied students. Likewise, at Gherla, a desperate prisoner, perhaps

imagining that a vestige of human feeling yet remained in the heart of a Communist

officer, stepped out of line and bekan to relate with tears in his eyes what he and others

in cell 99 on the fourth floor were suffering in the autumn of 1951. Zeller, though he

feigned surprise, took no steps whatever.


He personally saw to it that no student left for the canal before having “made his

unmasking.” Ironically, in 1952, when the Pauker-Tescovici faction was liquidated and

the Experiment suspended for the time being, Zeller put a bullet through his own head in

an orthodox cemetery, at that! Sometimes destiny is just: Zeller committed suicide among

the dead whose faith he had labored so hard to destroy.


That the regional Securitate of Pitesti knew everything that happened in the prison, is

pretty well proven by the testimony of O.C., a student from the Polytechnical School in



“I was arrested in Bucharest several weeks after most of my colleagues had already

passed through the Rahova Road [Bucharest’s Securitate. Ed.] and the Ministry of the

Interior investigations. Because the dossiers for the whole group were almost completed,

the interrogating officer did not insist too much on details from me. But after declarations

were made by those who preceded me in unmaskings at Pitesti, the Ministry requested a

Supplementary investigation of me. Since it was considered unnecessary to transport me

to Bucharest for the investigation, an officer of the Pitesti Securitate was charged with

completing it, and this took several days. It so happened that I had known this officer in

my high school days and we were both naturally greatly surprised to confront each other

in these circumstances, but since there was another officer with him, he pretended not to

know me. But the next day, when the investigation became more or less routine, the

officer was unaccompanied by the second one and, miraculously, his tongue loosened.


“At one point, he changed the tenor of the discussion entirely, and asked me somewhat

parenthetically about what was going on in the prison. I had not yet made my unmasking

and had no suspicion of the horrifying reality of tragedy after tragedy being enacted

there, possibly in the very cell next to my own. I had heard shouts and thuds that

penetrated the walls somewhat, but did not realize what caused them. Without realizing it,

I was being put through the ‘waiting period’ or psychological preparation of my nervous

system screams and thuds heard later would already have been registered in my nervous

system as ordinary happenings. So I told the officer honestly all I knew about the prison

up to that time. He stood a moment, thinking. Then he asked me:


“‘What do you know about unmaskings?’


“‘What are those?’ I asked in my turn, surprised.


“‘Listen to me well,’ answered the lieutenant. ‘In your prison some unusual things that

have not ever happened before are now taking place. I cannot give you details, but I can

advise you as a friend not to resist anything demanded of you, for it is useless and very

dangerous. Make your unmasking, in other words, relate everything you know which you

may have neglected to declare in the Securitate’s investigation. But to make it still easier

for you, I suggest you ask to report to the prison’s political officer he is in a position to

advise you better. Tell him you want to unmask yourself but that you do not know how to

go about it, and he will help you.’


“I wanted to get more information on this, and asked him to explain further, but it was no

use ... When I returned to the cell I requested the chief of my section to allow me to

report to the political officer.


“Now, although I am naturally timid and was still suspicious of the deceptions practiced

by the Ministry of the Interior, particularly at the office of the Malmaison [Military Prison

in Bucharest] secret police, I somehow never suspected my former schoolmate, the

lieutenant, of possible duplicity, and in fact complied with the advice he gave me almost

at once without a second thought. My hasty decision I now regret, frankly speaking, only

to the extent to which the evil I did to those who came my way after my unmasking was

not justified by my own suffering. But the example of those who suffered so much before

I did what I had to do is quite eloquent: with or without suffering, I would have ended in

the same place.


“As I was saying, I asked to be taken out of my cell to the political officer in order to

make my unmasking, though I had no idea what this meant. To my surprise, they came

the very next day to take me to Turcanu!! He was awaiting me in the shower room and

expressed surprise at my request, for I was the only one, he said, who had asked

permission to make his unmasking without being tortured, without even being asked to

make it. He was surly in manner, but seemed to have some good will toward me,

explaining in some detail what was expected of one in unmasking (we were speaking of

the outer unmasking only) and especially insisting on my being absolutely sincere,

pointing out the consequences of any attempt to deceive.


“As during the Malmaison investigation, I was faced with making some declarations that

broke my morale; what I added to them at Pitesti did not carry much weight. I thought

that this interview was all there was to unmasking. But upon being taken to another cell

and placed in the position of ‘assisting,’ I was terrified by what I there witnessed. But any

resistance was impossible; even if possible it would have been worse than futile. Then

followed the catastrophe, my inner unmasking and its consequences ...”


With the exception of those with tuberculosis, O.C. was the only student I knew who

made his unmasking without first passing under the bludgeon. His was in fact a case

entirely separate from all others, for much later at Gherla he was to play one of the

dirtiest possible roles, long after other students had recovered from their “purification.”








Under the direct supervision of Colonel Zeller, the students from Pitesti were divided into

several categories on the basis of the severity of their sentences, their physical

condition, and especially their relative trustworthiness.


Those considered unfit for work, the irrecoverable tuberculosis cases, were sent by van

to Targu-Ocna prison, ironically called a “sanatorium,” where, of course, there were

invalids transferred from other prisons. Immediately on arrival all prisoners were

subjected to unmaskings, under the direction of Nuti Patrascanu, a medical student from

Bucharest. In this case the approach used was different from that of Pitesti. There were

no beatings, except when other methods failed. But these methods were much harder on

the sick and the infirm. Those chosen to undergo unmaskings were confronted with the

following ultimatum: “If you want to get medicine, you have to undergo your unmasking,

you bandit!” Anyone refusing to cooperate was faced with confinement in a dark cell,

devoid of fresh air, or a reduction to half rations, or both.


“Look, bandit, your health is imprisoned here. If you choose to undergo unmasking, you

shall receive the medicine you need, get well, and go home before the end of your

sentence. You could see your mother, family, live freely, and continue your education.

You must choose between life and death. Only you can decide ...” Even though the value

of the medicine was questionable, to the sick it held out a promise of miraculous powers

exaggerated in their minds by the fact that they could not get it, and the knowledge later

that such medicine was denied them accelerated the progress of their destruction.


This state of affairs caused a dramatic reaction. Virgil Ionescu, a law student from

Bucharest, who had partially undergone unmasking in Pitesti, tried to commit suicide by

slashing his wrists with a razor blade, in order to end his suffering. He was discovered

and bandaged, but only after losing a large amount of blood. This case was reported to

the administration, but unmaskings continued nevertheless. The other students went on a

hunger strike and warned the director that they would not quit until the prosecutor was

brought to the prison, told about what went on, and asked to put an end to the

unmaskings; but they were ignored.


One Sunday morning, a soccer game was being played on the sports field near the

prison, with a goodly number of civilians watching, among whom were many Securitate

officers part of the force guarding the hydroelectric works being built at nearby Bicaz.

Only a narrow strip of land, on which ran a railway line, separated the prison from the

soccer field, and when the students noticed the gathering at the stadium, they assembled

in the cells facing the game and from the windows began to shout, “We want the

prosecutor! We want the prosecutor! They are killing us! Help!” The prison personnel

were not able to shut them up right away and spectators at the game were intrigued by

the shouts for help which they could clearly hear.


This incident became the talk of the town for a while, and the Securitate officers,

following several indiscretions of prison personnel, came in and questioned the director.

Others, especially civilians, informed the prosecutor of the Bacau tribunal. And the

commandant of the Securitate, probably on his own initiative without instructions from the

Party, ordered an investigation into the matter. It turned out to be only a formal inquiry,

and the prisoners were then promised that no one would touch them and the guilty

parties would be appropriately dealt with. But though the beatings and the blackmail

stopped, and unmaskings for all practical purposes terminated, those who had tortured

the students went absolutely scatheless, continuing to make life miserable for the

prisoners and at the same time to hold the best positions in the prison.


In the Ocnele-Mari prison the unmaskings did not become any milder. In the large prison

population there, in addition to the “political detainees,” there were a great many

“criminals,” who were included with the political prisoners because their crimes, for the

most part minor ones, were considered to have political overtones. (These crimes

included possession of firearms, attempting to flee the country, cursing prominent

Communist personalities, etc.) The greatest proportion of them, though elderly, were able

to hold tools in their hands, so the Directorate of Penitentiaries opened a large furniture

workshop in which all those capable were obliged to work. This arrangement precluded

the rigorous isolation possible at Pitesti and prisoners could meet more freely and

exchange either information or rumors from the interior of the prison, particularly while in

the workshop.


The arrival of students changed all this. All the work in the corridors was taken care of by

students; the kitchen, watchmen’s duty, distribution of meals, the shower room, laundry

room, etc. became the responsibility of the students, a fact which created envy and later

hatred on the part of the common criminal prisoners who up to that time had had the

benefits of these jobs. Gradually the entire life of the prison’s interior fell under the

control of the students. They circulated freely along the corridors, entered cells whenever

they pleased, under pretext of housecleaning or any other excuse, eavesdropping by cell

doors and recording anything discussed inside, especially if the cells were occupied by

more important political personalities. They mixed unnoticed among groups in the

courtyard when outings for fresh air were permitted; they were to be found everywhere,

their ears peeled, gathering information for the “dossier” of those to be put through the



The first victims were chosen and isolated in the small cells of the prison’s north wing.

Among whom were: Atanase Papanace, a prisoner for three years but still not tried or

sentenced; the lawyer Mateias from Fagaras; the worker Gheorghe Caranica, a prisoner

since Antonescu’s time, held for over nine years and although he had served his time,

the Communists would not free him; the lawyer Nicolae Matusu, former secretary of the

Peasant Party in Greece and a refugee in Romania during the war, etc. There were

about ten in this first group of victims.


The re-educators, as they later admitted, did not expect resistance from these people,

considering their age. But they were indeed surprised. Not only did those men resist, but

the other inmates heard about the situation very quickly, and reacted. Prominent

personalities, such as Professor Mihai Manoilescu, former cabinet minister; Solomon,

Gheorghe Pop, Petre Tutea, Vojen, and others, immediately warned the prison’s

administrator that if the tortures were not stopped, they would all declare a hunger strike

resulting in mass suicide. Because there was contact with the outside world through

visitors or through incoming common prisoners, the directorate of unmaskings was

worried lest information about the atrocities get out. As a result, he ordered that

re-education through violence cease.


A somewhat unique case is that of the camps for extermination by slave labor,

established at the Danube-Black Sea Canal.[1] Here, the principal means for

extermination was the brutally hard work. In its name the greatest abuses were

committed, as if for a mythical ruling deity, and the greatest crimes perpetrated. The

behavior of the re-educated students sent here by Colonel Zeller for “verifying the

sincerity of their conversion,” is here recorded.


The Peninsula Labor Colony was the pompous name for one of these camps which

nurtured crimes against human beings, crimes committed by the use of methods as

bestial as those in the extermination camps of Communist Russia. The Colony was

opened in the fall of 1950. In an open field on which the thistles grew and where in the

past grazed the sheep of the Valea-Neagra village, on the edge of the Siut-Ghiol lake, the

first barracks were built by common criminals and “pioneers,” after first surrounding

themselves with three rows of barbed wire.


Under the supervision of armed-to-the-teeth troops, there arrived from various prisons

throughout the country massive transports of those who, for the next three years, were to

fight hunger, cold, wet ground, and especially the viciousness of the Communists who

stood over them while they dug a simple hole in the ground several miles long, for no

other purpose than that of burying in it several thousands of exhausted bodies ...


From Pitesti were sent about 300 students, all of whom had passed through re-education

and were under sentence of less than ten years. When the first contingent of students

arrived the colony numbered over 3,500 political prisoners. The students were quartered

in barracks No. 13 and No. 14, each barrack having a capacity of 150-170 prisoners.

The students were put by themselves as a precaution, so they would not make contacts

which could “deteriorate” their condition, especially in the evenings after work, because

once inside the barracks, administrative control was next to impossible. A quartering of

students in scattered groups throughout the various other barracks in the camp would

have weakened not only the foundation of their new convictions but also their shock

potential, on which the Communists were counting greatly at the beginning.


The living conditions and routine at this canal camp were totally different from those at

Pitesti prison. In place of the hermetically closed cell, supervised by the administration

through a peephole in the door, here you had barracks simply partitioned into four

sections, each holding forty beds each.


Prisoners left in the morning from an open area outside called the “plateau.” All work

brigades assembled there and one could talk more or less freely with other inmates quite

a contrast to the strictness and permanent isolation maintained at the Pitesti prison.

Although the administration’s orders forbade mixing of the brigades while preparing for

roll call, in practice the measure remained ineffective, for several thousand prisoners

stepping out of barracks in the half-dark of early morning could not be efficiently

controlled. Also the spirit of solidarity, which prevailed at that time at the canal among the

prisoners, demanded a measure of foresight in the administration to prevent an

immediate contamination, an inverse shock, as the students knew nothing, absolutely

nothing of what was going on in other prisons.


In addition to the two special barracks reserved for students, there were three reserved

for Legionaries who were considered dangerous to the colony’s discipline and who were

subjected to a very rigorous control and surveillance. These barracks were designated as

A, B, and C, and were closely watched because the solidarity of the Legionary group

was only too well known. Another barrack, designated O, held all those prisoners who

were being punished for acts inside the “camp.” They were almost all headstrong,

insubordinate, and were in permanent conflict with the officers there and the political

officials sent by the Ministry of the Interior.


In the two student barracks, a climate of terror like that at Pitesti was maintained to the

greatest extent possible from the very first evening. Some time was allowed for observing

the students’ first reactions. The shock was supported quite well, at least so the

experimenters thought, as the students did not falter in their habit of blind obedience.


The first mission entrusted to the students coming from Pitesti was that of overseeing

work on the construction site. Students were named brigade leaders, in other words,

made directly responsible for the output of those in their charge. They were ordered,

first, to increase the amount of work to be accomplished, and second, to see to it that

“bandits” were killed slowly by cumulative physical exhaustion without anyone’s being

able directly to prove premeditated extermination.


Many of the students fulfilled their “mission” with zeal. From among the names of those

who will not be easily forgotten, I give here several that are representative: Bogdanescu,

chief of all students at the canal and first brigadier; Laitin; the Grama brothers (one of

whom later hanged himself); Enachescu; Cojocaru; Climescu; Stoicanescu; Lupascu;

Morarescu; etc. In addition to their contribution to the construction of the canal, the

students had to continue the work of unmasking other prisoners. For this they resorted to

a new method which, besides producing the desired results, was supposed also to test

the feasibility of applying the system under different conditions. This method, broadly,

was as follows:


After the evening roll call, when in the camp’s interior any kind of movement was strictly

forbidden and the guards walked their beats armed, the individual in question was

discreetly asked to step out of his barracks and invited to follow the person waiting for

him, who was none other than a student from barrack No. 13. Usually the student

covered him with a blanket so he could not see where he was being taken. All of this took

place under the eye of the guards who pretended to see nothing. The only ones

permitted to walk between barracks after lights-off were the students charged with

bringing in victims.


Once the prisoner arrived at the students’ barracks he was subjected to the known torture

methods. But here in the camp one could not ignore the fact that the victims yelled. At

Pitesti the prison’s isolation made it an ideal place, but at the canal camp the proximity of

the other barracks created a great inconvenience. But this difficulty was resolved by the

use of an old method quite dear to the first police of the Communist regime in Russia. To

cover the shouts of the victims, a group of students was constantly engaged in making

noise! They would sing in loud voices (no large earth-moving machinery could be

brought into the camp to provide a racket) not exactly songs but what amounted to

frenetic shouts of joy, changing melodies, and explosive yells, in order to cover up the

agonized yells of the tortured victims inside the barracks.


Many were the victims of unmaskings at the Peninsula and some of them paid with their

lives for the mistake of accepting a student’s invitation. One among the victims in

particular, whose case shook the entire “colony,” was Dr. Simionescu.


Dr. Simionescu was a distinguished figure both in the old Romanian political circles and

in the medical societies. Professionally very well prepared, he was one of the best

surgeons in Romania before the war. He was a man of deeds; he occupied no definite

position in the hierarchy of officialdom.


Arrested in 1949, he was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for having “plotted

against the legal social order”!!! Although he had actually been in the past an active

member of the Cuzist Party,[2] he was arrested for having kept in touch with a group of

political personalities in the National Peasant Party. He was sent to Aiud to serve his

sentence where, in the spring of 1951, I shared the same cell with him for a while. At the

beginning of March he was with a large group of us prisoners brought by van to the

canal, where he was to continue serving his sentence at labor, even though his age was

too advanced for it.


I, who am endowed with a quite robust physique, was astonished that the elderly doctor

never complained, not even when we were obliged to unload wet dirt from freight cars in

bitter cold or freezing rain. After a short stop at the Poarta Alba camp along the canal,

we were sent on to the Peninsula camp on May 5, 1951. The presence of Dr.

Simioneseu in the camp was immediately noticed, for he was the only “cabinet member”

to have arrived up to then. (The Communist puppet directors of the Romanian prisons, in

their simplemindedness, referred to all former high government officials as “cabinet

members,” and they extended the designation to the doctor, even though he had been

only a highly respected professional man.) The re-educators turned him over

immediately to Bogdanescu. They could not forget that the doctor was a member of the

generation that had constituted a permanent stumbling block to Communism in Romania.


One evening he was invited into the students’ barracks, and it was at this time that his

Calvary began. I could not learn exactly which tortures were inflicted on him that night;

the doctor himself related nothing. But the traces left could not be hidden, for the next

morning, before the brigades went to work, the doctor went to the infirmary with three

broken ribs, and his whole body was black and blue, with here and there globs of

coagulated blood. At the infirmary, in addition to the regular personnel, the camp’s

director, Lieutenant Georgescu, was present; for no medical diagnosis was accepted as

correct unless it had been approved by one of the political officers.


The physician asked Dr. Simionescu about the cause of the lesions only as a matter of

form for he, as well as everybody else in the camp, knew very well by whom and how

they were inflicted. Simionescu replied briefly, without much detail, that he had been

taken to barrack No. 13, where he was tortured by the students for reasons unknown to

him. Then Lieutenant Georgescu, who had thus far watched the examination in silence,

intervened. He, whose duty it was to maintain “legality inside the camp”, shouted:


“Bandit, you are the victim of your own convictions! Those whom you, as a cabinet

minister, were charged to educate, have beaten you! It is a pity you escaped so lightly!

Get to work now and don’t let me catch you here again, for if I do, I’ll break your legs as

well!!” Naturally, the camp’s physician dared not recommend any kind of treatment.


From that instant, Dr. Simionescu was practically condemned to death. He was tortured

in the students’ barracks night after night; he was subjected day after day to toil beyond

his strength in the special brigade supervised by students. His body was enfeebled by so

many beatings at night; and when at work he could not perform the labors his tormentors

demanded, the students beat him into unconsciousness right under the eyes of the

Securitate’s guards. He was old enough to be the father of any of the students who

tortured him.


Another and more subtle form of torture was also applied to Dr. Simionescu. He was

forced to deceive his own family. At the canal, unlike the other prisons, prisoners were

allowed to communicate with their families under certain conditions. There was a

permanent shortage of foodstuffs, and in keeping with the Communist principle that “the

enemies of the people must not feed on the backs of the people,” the food distributed by

the camp’s administration was so insufficient that the inmates were subjected to a slow,

methodical starvation that could be relieved only by the packets of food that prisoners

were allowed to receive from the families outside. This provided a simple and easy

means of keeping the slave-laborers under perfect control, for, of course, the precious

privilege of receiving such indispensable nourishment was granted only to prisoners who

fulfilled their labor norms and obeyed every caprice of the administrators and guards.

The arrangement had the further advantage that it placed a great burden on the

impoverished families of the prisoners, who had to support their loved ones with goods

taken from their own meager rations. The added hardships and sacrifices thus imposed

on the families were, of course, not unpleasing to the Communists.


Dr. Simionescu took advantage of this privilege or “benefit” as it was called. So his

torturers forced him to write home the appeals they dictated. He was even visited by his

wife after a time. Throughout this visit a representative of the political officer was present.

The doctor had to lie, saying that everything was fine, that no one should worry about

him and he was doubtless glad to keep up the spirits of his wife, who did not even

imagine that she was seeing him for the last time!


From the parlor the doctor was taken directly to the students’ barracks. There he was

forced to crawl under the “brigadier’s” table, while above him Bogdanescu, together with

the re-education committee, feasted on what his wife, through hardship and privation,

had managed to bring him from home.


“You have sucked long enough the sweat of the working people, bandit! When you were

banqueting, the workers were shot because they fought for a piece of bread. Is it not so,

Mr. Minister? From now on it is your turn to suffer in order to pay for the sins of

yesteryear.” The derision was, as usual, followed by a beating, which was all the

half-starved man received for the food brought him by his wife who had, by the way,

been reduced to the utmost penury by the confiscation of all their property.


His anguish lasted quite a long time, until in despair he decided to cut the thread of his

life. In keeping with his principles, however, he wanted to die, not by his own hand, but at

the hands of his torturers. So in broad daylight, at work, although exhausted by beatings

and lack of sleep, and brokem by labor and unspeakable humiliations, he dared advance

toward the line of uniformed guards and try to cross over to the other side. But where? In

broad daylight and in the middle of a zone full of watchful eyes? Any of the Securitate

soldiers could grab him by the sleeve and bring him back. He could hardly walk. Thus, he

did not run. The gesture was premeditated and it was consummated as he had foreseen.

For the mission of those guards was not to preserve lives, but to liquidate as many as

possible, especially when they were given a “legal” opportunity. When Dr. Simionescu

reached the danger zone, a short burst of shots was heard: a Securitate man had

emptied his automatic pistol into the doctor, who had collapsed only a few yards from

him. Several men went to pick up the victim and bring him to the working area. He was

still alive, and could have been saved. But this was not to be. He was finished off before

the watching students, who, in their turn, were astonished by what they were witnessing

for the first time. The doctor’s body was carried into the center of the encampment so all

the “bandits” could see and take notice. Then it was hauled to the Navodari cemetery for

burial among his former companions-in-agony killed by bullets, hunger, or torture without

a service for the dead, without a cross, without a candle, just exactly in accordance with

Communist custom.


The soldier who shot Dr. Simionescu was rewarded with a bonus, a promotion, and a



Dr. Simionescu’s death could not be kept secret, as was that of so many who were killed

in prisons. Many outsiders knew what went on in the canal labor camps. Contacts

between prisoners and persons from the “greater prison” (as the canal laborers called

the Communist-occupied country outside) was inevitable, because quite frequently

outside technicians and engineers either sought the technical assistance and advice of

their confreres in the camp or used the brawn of inmates without “professional

qualifications,” which included lawyers, priests, doctors, and other well-educated men.

Many outside even had in the camp a brother, a father, a colleague or friend; or if they

had none of these, they saw in the prisoners their own brothers, i.e., people like

themselves. That is why the help of those who were still relatively free was

unquestioningly given, materially and morally, with all the risks that this involved. And not

a few men ended up behind barbed wire, side by side with those they had helped.


One such person, either directly or by letter, informed the doctor’s family. Someone

came and claimed the body. Someone else, it seems, requested an audience at the

Ministry of the Interior to get an explanation of why he had been shot to death. The

authorities could not pass this off with a casual explanation, and shortly thereafter, a

colonel in the Securitate, Cosmici, accompanied by his colleague Colonel Craciunas,

arrived at the canal to begin an investigation. Here, as is normal Communist practice,

you have superiors investigating their own subalterns, who had faithfully carried out

orders issued by the very Ministry of which the investigators were a part and which had

ordered the whole experiment in the first place!


Several persons were called into the office and interrogated quite summarily, more often

than not on matters quite unrelated to the matter in hand. Then the colonels departed for

Bucharest to report their findings.


At the beginning of September, or perhaps the very end of August, a group of about ten

students from the canal camp were selected to be sent somewhere. It was learned later

that they went to the Ministry of the Interior for questioning in connection with

Simionescu’s death, but the students, who had been told to bring all their baggage with

them, jumped to the conclusion that they were to be freed before the end of their

sentences for behavior conforming to Communist expectations, especially since they

recalled the semi-official promise given them at Pitesti. At the gate they were put in

chains! This was a special mark of attention enjoyed only by those sentenced to more

than fifteen years, or prisoners who were apprehended after escape, but the students

took the chains as being just another cover-up, concealing an intention to liberate them,

and so left the camp somewhat joyfully.


But the sight of chains on those departing students signaled a change which could have

been foreseen by the prisoners better initiated into the mysteries of Communist logic.

When a change is in the making, even one of minor importance, there are clear

preliminary indications, the most obvious one being that the officials in charge are

removed. In Communist theory it is axiomatic that as an ideology, Communism is

infallible, and errors, when committed, are due to opportunism or the incompetence of

the individuals called on to apply the “Party Line.” Such being the case, the one who

pays the piper is naturally not the one who issued the orders, but the one who carried

them out and life-long dedication to the Party will avail him nothing. If Molotov could not

master all the working rules of Marxism in fifty years,[3] what can one expect of less

talented and less experienced individuals? Invariably, when any project or policy that is

initially applauded as a triumph of Communist genius and planning, is changed, the

blame for the change is laid on the shoulders of the individual who had the misfortune to

carry out the orders. The scapegoat idea is so deeply embedded in Communist practice

that it is considered a law. And this pattern was, of course, observed at the Peninsula.


The first obvious indication of coming change was the removal of Georgescu, the

administrative head though perhaps the man least responsible in reality, who was sent to

a post of lesser importance, but not otherwise punished. He was replaced by another

prison director, Captain Lazar, a militia officer notorious for the terror he imposed at the

Fagaras prison, where former army officers accused of collaboration with Antoneseu or

of having joined anti-Communist brigades were imprisoned, together with practically all of

the old regime’s police force. Each of the prison directors had a favorite means of

punishment and Lazar chose the beating pole.


Other changes followed at the Peninsula, as if by magic. Students were taken out of

barracks No. 13 and No. 14 and scattered throughout the other barracks. The special

work brigades which had inaugurated a terror theretofore unknown were disbanded, and

the re-educated students were removed from positions of trust which they had held. But

the change was even more far-reaching than this. Lazar himself became a different man.

In contrast to his brutality at Fagaras, he now appeared to be a civilized man with whom

one could talk!


He rejected carloads of carrots and pickles destined for the prisoners’ diet on the pretext

that one cannot accomplish work with undernourished men. Sanitary conditions became

tolerable; working hours were reduced; production quotas were reduced to more

reasonable levels. Except for those who were always disposed to interpret the course of

international politics by the degree of “the soup’s viscosity”, no one considered this

change as indicating a permanent new era, for what Lazar did was on orders from

Bucharest. But this change was truly amazing and unique, for no other director, either

before or after him, ever showed a similar attitude. And as an irony of fate, his own

daughter fell in love with a prisoner and did everything in her power to influence her

father to behave humanely.


The disbanding of the brigades headed by re-educated students and the replacement of

director Georgeseu produced an evolution of the Pitesti experiment along novel lines. It is

quite possible that the initiators of the experiment might have decided to test the

“re-educated” under conditions different from those under which they had undergone

their unmasking at Pitesti. The memory of those conditions was kept fresh in the minds of

the re-educated students by a sub-group completely loyal to the political officers at the

canal. Each group seemed to alternate in dominance, through conditioned reflexes

established at Pitesti. But what happened among the students thereafter deserves

particular attention because it discloses totally unforeseen aspects of the human soul at

least of the souls of those who for more than two years had been transformed into

something other than human beings.


Escaping from the terror of their former milieu, from that closed-in hell in which they

reciprocally tormented each other; seeing that the administration no longer supported

those in charge of maintaining the atmosphere created at Pitesti; and finding that on the

contrary they were looked upon with a significant “lack of understanding,” the students

gradually began to change their own attitude toward both their colleagues and the other

prisoners. Little by little, where before even the thought was impossible, some began a

process of self-examination, of critical analysis, or, as it was said back home, a digging

out of the problems covered by the ashes of terror. Timidly at first, then with greater

daring and in increasingly greater numbers, the students gradually began to see things

through their own eyes and to draw logical conclusions without quailing in fear of being

suspected of thinking other than as ordered.


This process was prolonged and quite painful. It seemed like a returning from Hell, on the

way out of a hideous, deformed world a return from other shores, or an awakening from

a long nightmare that left visible marks on body and soul. They were like blind men

beginning to see; they feared the light, were suspicious of it, considered it unreal,

impossible. But as a dam is slowly eroded by the water escaping from a fissure, so their

doubt was gradually worn away and slowly replaced by a love of life, of honesty, of

dignity, the beast of yesterday reverting to manhood.


The wide diversity of character among the victims accounted for the wide range of time

taken by their recovery. Some who had suffered less and were naturally more pliant

regained their old selves almost immediately. But for others the comeback was most

difficult much time had to pass, month upon month, their wounds being too deep to heal

rapidly. The deeper contoured structures, which had yielded with great difficulty and

shown the greatest resistance during the unmaskings, also retained the most stubbornly

the alien shape that had been imposed on them. Moreover, the students suddenly

expelled from barracks No. 13 and No. 14 and scattered among the other prisoners

found themselves in radically changed circumstances. They also had to reckon with

some of the political officers and the stool pigeons who served the Communists without

being forced and even without being asked, all of whom saw in the students’ possible

comeback a danger to their personal “careers,” (even though a decrease in the number

of informers would normally have enhanced each one’s value). In any case, a whole host

of different attitudes bristled and clashed under the horribly unnatural conditions of a

slave labor camp.


But in many of the students, little by little, the wounds of the past whose scars would

perhaps remain forever, began to heal, bringing a certain self-control, but not

forgetfulness that would never come.


But the Communists will not give up. They will only change the application of

“re-education” and perhaps improve the methods.[4]





       -A total of 11 camps, according to Ion Carja’s Intoarcerea din Infern ... pp. 12-14.




       -See above, p. xxx. It is noteworthy that while the party to which the doctor belonged

was emphatically patriotic and nationalistic, he was convicted of association with

members of the most “democratic” of the political parties, one whose leaders had on

several occasions sought “negotiations” with the Soviet. (Tr.)



       -Scryabin, better known under his Russian alias of Molotov, was one of the leading

agents of the Jewish revolution in Russia, having begun his criminal career as a

Communist conspirator in 1906, and held positions near the top of the Soviet government

ever since the overthrow of Czar Nicholas II. He was a member of the triumvirate that

succeeded Djugashvili (alias Stalin), but was, with his confederates, replaced by

Khruschev in 1959 and exiled to Outer Mongolia. Thus at the time that he missed his

footing, he had more than fifty years’ experience in the Bolshevik terrorist organization,

forty of them near the top of the managerial hierarchy. It is to this that the author here

refers. (Tr.)



       -It is not unlikely that the sudden change at the slave-labor camp was made to

determine the degree of permanence of the re-education in individuals of different

characters. (Tr.)







At the time the experiment at the canal came to an end, unmaskings at Gherla prison, on

the banks of the Somes River in northern Romania, reached an intensity that perhaps

surpassed even the most difficult moments at Pitesti.


In contrast with what was tried in the prisons already mentioned, the system at Gherla

was designed to push the technique to its utmost possibilities, extending it to categories

of prisoners other than the students.


For this purpose, a sizable group of re-educated students was sent by the Ministry to

Gherla as a sort of avant-garde charged with laying the groundwork by gathering

information about the atmosphere and outlook among the prisoners there. When others

capable of work at Pitesti were sent to the canal, Turcanu was sent to Gherla,

accompanied by his immediate entourage who were most devoted to him and also the

most adept at use of the bludgeon. They prepared the way for the larger contingents that

were sent later.


Special measures were taken by the political administration of the prison in advance of

Turcanu’s arrival. The entire fourth floor was evacuated for use in unmaskings, and

placed at Turcanu’s disposal. All the students from Pitesti were to be incarcerated in the

cells on this floor, the top one of the main prison building.


Gherla prison was second in importance only to Aiud. Originally a reformatory for minor

delinquents, it was adapted to other uses as the conflict between the Romanian populace

and their Communist masters developed. It was then equipped with special workshops in

which the condemned, without regard to length of sentence or state of health, were

subjected to working conditions much worse than at the canal.


The hundreds of students transferred to Gherla were all left on the fourth floor in their

cells for quite some time, completely isolated from the rest of the inmates. Then their

screening began anew, under the direct supervision of the Securitate Lieutenant

Avadanei, the new political appointee in charge of re-education. The students were then

re-grouped and sent into workshops, with specific missions to accomplish.


Contact between the new prisoners and the old was established then without any

difficulty. None of the older prisoners could even guess that those newly arrived were

living in a different world and governed by laws other than human ones. Their reception

was as natural as could be, with much warmth, even with joy and relief, for the placing of

a student corps in their midst was a pleasant surprise and considered by the workers as

probably a mistake on the part of the Communists![1]


Soon, however, a very few of the new arrivals tried to warn their destined victims, for

despite their inculcated terror, a small grain of humanity, encysted in their souls, could

not continue dormant under the warmth of their reception by the older prisoners at

Gherla. Among the hundreds of students there were several who mustered courage to

caution one or more of the older men to beware of them. Great as was the risk they took,

equally great was the inability of those being warned to comprehend what they were

being told. It seemed to them incredible surely these warnings must be prompted by the

Communists, who for a long time had been conducting a campaign of defamation against

the students as a class. If a student spoke evil of his colleagues, how could the individual

being warned verify the statements except by asking another student, whom he had

known on the outside as a dedicated anti-Communist? And the contingents of students

sent to Gherla pretended to be still staunchly anti-Communist in order to gain the

confidence of the older prisoners and learn from them everything that might be useful to

the administration.


The mad attempt by a few of the students to warn of what was to come was made in vain.

None of the workers would believe the monstrosities with which the students were

charged. For one thing, there was not much real opportunity for extended conversation to

elucidate the warnings, and there was always the risk of being overheard and reported a

danger that maintained the conditioned reflex of fear in the students. Although a few had

the courage to talk to workers in the prison shops, it did not enter their minds to discuss

among themselves the possibility of a general change of the state of mind induced by

their re-education at Pitesti. They dared not trust one another! So there was no

concerted effort made to warn the workers only a few scattered gestures by isolated

individuals here and there. But this did not prevent Turcanu from learning about what was

going on.


Among the students who arrived in the first lot was one named Rodas, originally from

Ploesti. When he first went to work, he met former friends in the underground, men in

whom he had complete faith. Taking advantage of a moment of freedom from

surveillance, he related to one of them the entire drama of Pitesti in simple words, trying

to make it clear to him as quickly as possible, as he knew he did not have much time. His

friend listened attentively, but could hardly believe what he heard. So he tried to verify the

story by asking another student whom he trusted. Actually, he hoped to get a repudiation

of a story that seemed perfectly incredible. And, as he had expected, the student put his

mind at ease, saying, “Rodas is an informer for the Securitate, and what he said is part

of an infamous plan set up by the Communists to compromise the students!” The worker

went to bed reassured; a heavy burden was lifted from his heart; and the next day he told

his friends to beware of Rodas. The informer immediately reported to Turcanu, for so far

as he was concerned, from his heart, too, was lifted a burden, for he, as it turned out,

was Rodas’s surveillant a pure coincidence!


The next day, Turcanu entered a cell on the fourth floor and ordered all the students to

face the wall. Then he called out, ordering somebody in the corridor to come in. When

the students were ordered to turn around, they saw standing beside Turcanu a person

with a sack over his head so they could not recognize him. And when in the silent cell

Turcanu jerked the sack off, they still could not recognize the man, for before them stood

a figure with a grotesquely disfigured head, his entire face one swollen bluish wound.

Large globs of blood covered his features, stringing downward over his clothes. The man

was visibly shaking on his feet, hardly able to stand upright. His whole body trembled as

though siezed with chills. A corpselike pallor spread over the faces of all the students as

they fearfully gazed, trying in vain to identify the victim and imagine a reason for such



“Rodas squealed,” said Turcanu, and then everyone understood. “I have ears

everywhere,” continued the monster. “A word to the wise ... to all who eventually may be

tempted to talk. This is the first case; the next one will not be brought before you to see,

for he will not live ... Just so you all may know.” This scene was repeated in almost all the

cells on the floor. After such a spectacle, could anyone contemplate warning the workers



I observed several times during my years in prison that witnessing the suffering and

torture of another often has a stronger psychological effect than one’s own suffering.

Prolonged physical torture eventually produces a sort of analgesia, which if it does not

deaden the pain of blows, at least diminishes its intensity. But invariably, when you see

someone else being tortured, the image produced in your mind becomes fantastically

exaggerated and has a truly polarizing effect on the consciousness. This phenomenon

was so useful to the Communists that they gave it a name, “witnessing-the-spectacle,”

and used it systematically in investigations in general, and particularly in unmaskings at

Pitesti. The individual who “witnessed the spectacle” was seized by such fear that his

very intestines froze within him.


The effect, then, that Rodas’s appearance had on the students at Gherla can be

guessed. Thereafter all the students were ostentatious in manifesting a provocative

anti-Communist attitude in order to obtain information for dossiers on their future victims.

In the evening they would dutifully prepare their reports for the committee, where

cross-checks were made.


The appearance of the students who were taken to the workshops was most deplorable.

The terror, hunger, and the regimen of isolation to which they had been subjected for

months on the fourth floor had turned them into living phantoms. Many workers, out of

love or charity, shared their own poor rations with them hoping to help. The student

accepted food, for hunger is invincible; but once his hunger was appeased, terror took

its place. And he would report in the evening that he had accepted Legionary help from

the so-and-so bandit!!


Little by little, day after day, the dossiers were being built up, with emphasis on

information leading to identifying workers who had the most influence in the prison.

Unmaskings were resumed, Room 99 on the fourth floor being retained for this purpose.

It faced northeast, away from the town, its windows looking down on the inner courtyard

of the prison, and was considered most suitable as no one from outside could hear the

screams and blows. It had two doors but was not contiguous to any other cell. Not far

away, however, still in the inner wing and on the same floor, were three smaller cells, 96,

97 and 98, which were kept for use in case of unusual resistance, as was another small

cell, 101, in the front wing. In these small cells veritable orgies of torture took place.


The activities on the fourth floor at Gherla could not be completely concealed from the

other inmates of the prison, especially those whose cells were on the floors immediately

below. They noticed first of all that while on the other floors members of the staff and

prisoners passed frequently along the railed balconies outside the cells looking on the

inner court, there was no movement on the balcony of the fourth floor. Some of the

prisoners wondered about this and guessed that something unusual must be happening

up there. Then one day they witnessed a remarkable scene. Suddenly, at one end of the

fourth-floor balcony, the door of a corner cell (Room 99) was flung open and out darted a

figure, his face covered with blood, who dashed along the balcony and down the stairway

pell-mell, yelling at the top of his voice that he was being murdered by his cellmates. In

hot pursuit came the O.D.C.C. boys out of Room 99, who caught him as he headed for

the administration office, and dragged him, screaming and struggling, back up the stairs.

Then all disappeared into Room 99.


The bleeding victim was a young student, Bubi Roman from Timisoara Polytechnical

School, who had been one of the most dedicated of anti-Communists.To quiet the talk

among the workers in the shops, the O.D.C.C. put into circulation the story that Roman

suffered from paranoia, and that his mental condition had deteriorated until his delusions

of persecution had become violent insanity. To make this fiction more plausible, for

several days thereafter they ostentatiously conducted Roman daily to the infirmary,

where Dr. Barbosu gave him hypodermic injections that were falsely described as

powerful sedatives.


After this incident, the surveillance over the fourth floor was intensified. The door of

Room 99 was never under any circumstances left unlocked; no one being subjected to

unmaskings was left unguarded for even a moment; and supplemental beatings were

administered for even the slightest gesture that could be interpreted as an attempt “to

sabotage the unmaskings.”


The director of Gherla prison at this time was a Securitate captain named Gheorghiu,

whose unique characteristic was cynicism. And he had a temper that would flare up, for

instance, if a newly arrived prisoner admitted he was condemned for only five or ten

years; but he was very happy when a prisoner admitted a 25-year sentence! “This,” he

used to say, “is Gherla University. When you graduate (but I do not believe you ever will)

you will be true men. Until then, I am your master.”


The political officer was Lieutenant Avadanei, a Moldavian from the Botosani region, and,

some say, a former elementary school teacher. Extremely evil, he felt some kind of

fiendish satisfaction in trampling upon the bodies of prisoners until they fainted. At

Gherla there was plenty of proof that bestiality, when unleashed, and nurtured by fear,

becomes a sort of necessity, an insatiable appetite that can never be satisfied, and

grows in direct proportion to its exercise.


At Gherla, one beat another only for the pleasure of it, no longer to destroy a belief or

supplant it with another, or extort secrets, or disfigure the soul. One beat senselessly.

Workers and students, young and old, educated and the illiterate, were all tortured the

same, even when they had nothing more to say, could not confess any more than they

already had, could not be any further degraded.


During the war, Captain Magirescu was sent to the Russian front whence he returned

without one of his legs. Arrested and condemned in 1948 at Iasi for anti-Communist

activity, he was sent to Gherla, where he worked in the workshop. Then he was put in

room 99 for unmasking. In the end, they beat him over the scar of his half-leg with

broomsticks until his mouth opened as did his wound.


Others at Gherla in room 99 while undergoing unmasking were forced to move their

bowels into the mess-pans in which they normally received their soup. They were then

forced, during continued beating, to eat their own feces from the dish.


The peasant Ball from the Hunedoara region was kept for several nights hanging by his

armpits, having a stone-loaded knapsack on his back, his feet hanging two inches above

the floor so he could not rest his weight. And because it seemed to his tormentors that

his burden was too light, they also would climb on his back. And his was not the only



Prisoners were forced to “polish” the “samot” (a kind of rubbery material covering the

floors) even though this was an impossibility; they scrubbed at this ridiculous task hours

on end with a dry cloth, while at the same time carrying piggyback two, three or more

committee members. When exhausted, their throats choked with the dry dust, they

collapsed, they were not allowed to lie there and rest, but were given more beatings.


Another interesting custom was that of requiring inmates to crawl under a wooden bed

from one end to the other, using only their elbows to propel them through, the body held

perfectly straight, without any help from the knees. As they came to each end they were

met by committee members with clubs to indicate when to turn around. For hours,

morning or afternoon, this sport was enjoyed by the re-educators whenever they felt the

urge. Only prisoners lucky enough to faint in the process were left in peace.


At other times, they were ordered to crawl part way under the bed, then suddenly stand

up straight through the bed-boards, throwing everything into disarray, messing up the

handful of clothing remaining to them after years of detention, and then ordered by the

use of clubs, to remake the beds in half a minute with the headrest just as high as before.


It was at Gherla also that prisoners were forced to “run the gauntlet” between two rows of

re-educators armed with broomsticks not just once, but back and forth again and again,

slowly. At this prison the use of lavatories was at times absolutely forbidden, with

consequences that can be imagined.


But sadistic torture was not the only kind indulged in at Gherla: there was also humorous

torture, accompanied by jokes! One victim, considered the greater bandit, was obliged to

stand on the shoulders of a lesser bandit, and from there launch himself into the air,

simulating an airplane at landing. This was repeated until he landed perfectly flat, or

broke his ribs.





       -The reader must remember the peculiar situation in Romania where university

students, being a select and intellectually superior group with a reputation for integrity,

patriotism and love of God, were highly respected. See pages xxiv ff. above. (Tr.)