Prison life was filled with work in the shops, with discussions between students or with

other re-educated prisoners, with constant hunger, and with fear of the administration.

Some prisoners counted the days, others did not. But here again we were taken by

surprise, and the monotony of prison life was broken by a typically illogical proceeding

by the Communist management.


On the fifth of December, the day preceding St. Nicholas’ Day, 1953, I was working in

the tinsmith shop located in the yard of the main building. When we were let out for

lunch, those who worked in the technical bureau went out with us and I had managed to

gain the confidence of one of them, a former pupil in a trade school and rightly

considered one of the most dangerous informers among the re-educated prisoners.

Stopping for a moment near me and looking around to be sure he was not observed by

any fellow informer, he whispered, “A great screening of the prisoners is in the making

and all those considered ‘bandits’ will be confined to their cells for the whole day. Only

those considered inoffensive or devoted will go out to work.”


“Where did you get this information?” I asked.


“From Lieutenant Mihalcea.”


“What do you know about me, did you see the list?”


He did not answer, but only bent his head.


The next morning, St. Nicholas’ Day itself, just a little before opening the doors to let us

out for work, Eugen Munteanu, the real head of the labor and wages office, entered our

cell and announced that only those hearing their names called out should step out and go

to work. Mine was not called. This measure was not a clear-cut punishment; we were

locked in the cell, but nothing further was done to us! So those of us whose names had

not been called considered it a great favor, especially now that winter was coming. Most

of those left in the cell had arrived at Gherla from the canal labor camp or other prisons

after unmaskings had been abandoned in other words, they had not undergone the

experiment. The majority of the re-educated prisoners, however, continued to work in the



The Ministry’s orders in reality had provided that all work was to stop completely in order

to reorganize the prison internally, but since various jobs for the military still had to be

completed (we worked exclusively for the Military units of the Ministry of the Interior), it

could not be stopped. Besides, we had ten vans for transporting prisoners under

construction for the Ministry’s own use and these had to be delivered by February, 1954.

So, though many were idled, quite a few had to be left working.


The transition of this state of idleness was accompanied, as was to be expected, by

transfers to other cells, and by deprivation of walks, of mattresses, and, naturally, of the

meager food supplement given us when we were working. But this situation also did not

last very long. Only two months later another shift was made, this time of a more severe



It was the morning of February 20, 1954, and still dark, when everybody, whether

working or not, was routed out and assembled in the lobby of the prison’s first floor. In

between floors netting had been suspended and on it placed hundreds of yards of straw

matting, so that no one could see to the other floors. We could not imagine what was

going to happen. A large number of surly officers and militia sergeants, some of them

new and unknown, walked among us, forbidding any kind of talking. Accompanying them

was Director Goiciu and the two political officers, both Hungarian, carrying a pile of

papers on which presumably were written the prisoners’ names.


The atmosphere was unusually tense. A fear which seemed to be contagious could be

seen on all faces. Even the faces of the re-educated prisoners were contorted as if

reflecting there the terror of their souls. The terror that was on the face of the student in

cell X when the joke about Turcanu’s coming back to Gherla was told, was now to be

seen on the faces of all the re-educated prisoners. I happened to be standing by a

student with whom I was on friendly terms. He was one who had experienced a recovery

from unmasking. Taking advantage of a moment of lack of vigilance on the part of the

officer who was near us, he passed into my palm a very beautiful cigarette holder carved

out of an ox horn. Then he asked me the question I had anticipated but for which I had

no answer:


“Do you think the unmaskings are going to be resumed?”


What could I say? I tried in two or three words to calm him, maybe rather to calm myself.

The approach of an officer prevented, however, any further speech.


More than two hours went by with us still standing around in the lower hall that morning

and with nothing happening, except that certain non-commissioned officers from the

main prison ofnce came in, reported something to the director in a low voice, and left

again. Some time after seven a.m., a strange roll call of prisoners was made, names

being called in alphabetical order. Then, in accordance with their “political hue” as shown

by their dossiers and reflected in the length of their sentences, the prisoners were

divided into two groups, one composed of those with sentences of ten years or less, the

other of those with longer terms. No importance was attached to type of punishment, as

some in each group had been officially condemned to hard labor, while others only to

correctional confinement.


Thus, on February 20, 1954 began the permanent isolation which even today is in force

and which constitutes one of the most terrible methods of slowly killing the soul and

wrecking the nerves.


One by one, in the order in which they had been called, the prisoners disappeared up

the stairs that morning, to which floors we could not tell, where officers were waiting to

lock them up in their cells. From that day on I was not to see again many of my prison

comrades and good friends; and I did not see them again, even though for several years

I lived under the same roof with them. Many it will be impossible ever to see again for

they will have preceded me into the Great Beyond.


I was sent, along with about 35 or 36 others, to a cell on the fourth floor. Almost half my

companions were re-educated prisoners! When we got to the cell, we all tried to find a

spot close to the window or to a friend, or lacking this, closer to an acquaintance. In

such moments of uncertainty, every prisoner tries to be close to someone he can trust,

under the illusion that perhaps this time it will do him some good! Each one, when he

found a place, put down beside him the handful of clothing yet remaining after years of



The shock of this maneuver had brusquely and profoundly impressed those who had

passed through unmaskings. Even a large number of those who had begun to snap out of

the lethargy into which they had sunk recoiled abruptly, adopting a “wait and see”

attitude, with the obvious intention of sliding back to the side of those who had steadfastly

maintained themselves as “convinced” re-educated.


Even on that first day of isolation, St. Nicholas’ Day in December 1953, many of the

re-educated students, who had been willing to discuss things and had begun to shed the

“re-educated” posture, were stimulated to reconsider. Those who had taken part in

unmaskings, particularly as heads of committees, thinking that a new period of

re-education was about to begin, prepared for work! As a starter, they began by

threatening former colleagues who were now openly opposed to a resumption of

re-education. But to show you how well-conditioned reflexes still worked, even after two

years, let me cite the following:


The student A.B., who proved himself a decent enough fellow after unmaskings were

abandoned, and denounced no one, staying in the good graces of the administration by

working like a slave, changed on December 6th, suddenly denouncing his own uncle,

who had been permitted to visit him just a few days before!


“Why did you denounce him, when nothing justified you whatsoever?” I asked him later,

when he told me about it.


“If unmaskings were to begin again,” he replied, “the first accusation against me, which

would be sufficient in itself to put me again through the whole works, would be that I had

not denounced anybody. So, after December 6, being convinced that unmaskings would

soon re-commence, I began taking my own precautionary measures.”


After February, the more severe isolation period began, when political officers punished

the slightest offences, prisoners who had been through unmaskings were sure the

system was being re-instated. In our cell, on the very first day, for instance, the

viciousness of the political officer, Sebesteny, proved itself on the back of the cell leader

he himself had chosen! Just because at the time he entered the cell, the leader did not

call “Attention!” loud enough, Sebesteny punished him with 24 hours in leg-irons and

hand-cuffs in the notorious incarceration box. When the victim returned next day to the

cell, his hands were covered with blue stripes and both legs were bleeding from the irons.


His return triggered a dramatic development. Some of the prisoners were ready then and

there to re-constitute a re-education committee within the cell. This did happen in other

cells where the re-educated were in the majority with no one to oppose them and rally the

non-re-educated prisoners to establish order. But our cell was more evenly divided, and

three groups were formed almost from the start. The two extremes were represented by

the Pitesti group and those openly opposed to them; in the center were the timorous

ones, who did not take sides but awaited developments. At heart they were with us, but

they were afraid of betraying themselves to the re-educated.


The first three or four days we spent in mutual surveillance. We were waiting to see what

the administration’s next move would be, and the re-educated were waiting for a

go-ahead signal from the political officer to recommence the unmaskings! Since we were

familiar with the sequence of the unmaskings, we decided that should they be resumed,

in no case would we let ourselves be caught off-guard, and that we would defend

ourselves even to the death, committing suicide if possible. So we kept in a group in one

corner by the window, with our backs protected by the walls.


Our taut nerves were close to snapping. Every time the door opened, all eyes turned that

way, but for different reasons! Expecting the command, we prepared.


When we could see the administration was limiting itself to keeping internal order,

needless to say with an extremely severe regimen, we decided to take advantage of the

situation by taking the initiative. We started by approaching first the timorous group,

which we needed to add to ours in order to match the number of re-educated prisoners.

Since they were afraid to talk with us, we contrived to discuss the situation so they could

overhear us but did not need to respond. In a matter of a few days most of them

appeared to be more favorable toward our group. We sarcastically called these

discussions “ARLUS meetings,” which was a direct allusion to the Communist

propaganda organization camouflaged under the title, “The Association for the

Strengthening of Cultural Ties with the Soviet Union.” These “ARLUS” discussions were

not at all in a serious vein, but made up of many jokes about Russians, putting the

Communists to ridicule on the one hand, and on the other to show that we were not afraid

of the re-educators.


The result was quite positive. We had known even before imprisonment that jokes with a

political slant hostile to Communism were quite effective, and that if anything could keep

hostility toward the Russian invaders alive it was the anecdote. The danger that humor

represented to the Party was recognized, as witness the extensive repressive measures

taken against it; there were Romanians sent to prison for ten years only because they

told a joke ridiculing Communism.


After a while the situation changed: there were now only two groups in our cell. The

timorous had become courageous and joined our open discussion before the entire cell.

Among the re-educated whom I knew was a Hungarian, who reported to Messaros, the

political officer, everything that went on in our cell. Why steps were not taken to stop us

or investigate remains a question. Only once, when I was called out as a result of my

admitting to a guard that a chess game found in the cell was mine, he gave me to

understand that he knew everything being discussed in the cell, and it would be better for

me not to fall into his hands. Upon my denying it, he even told me the name of my



Among the re-educated in our cell, the most dangerous at that time was one Gheorghe

Calciu, a former medical student nicknamed “L’Eminence grise[1] of Director Goiciu.”

He was one of the most devoted and determined products of re-education, and to some

extent he took Turcanu’s place. But in the cell, he was not at all on the defensive, as were

the others in his group, he was in fact relaxed, almost jovial. He went so far, one

afternoon, as to recite the well-known poem by Makarenko, the “Pedagogical Poem!”[2]


Without going into the cultural value of this verse, the very fact that he would dare to

mention a Soviet writer in the cell, even one very much appreciated by the Party, brought

laughter, at least for the time. Everyone began comparing Makarenko’s “pedagogy” to

Turcanu’s, and the unmaskings at Pitesti were then and there labeled “Pedagogic Poem.”

It wasn’t very long before Turcanu was being called, in the cell, “Evghenii Simionov

Makarenko,” and if someone wanted to know whether you had passed through

unmaskings, he asked if you had read the Pedagogic Poem. This allusion implied, of

course, that the system of re-education was also of Soviet origin.


If Calciu could no longer even “in part” apply his re-educative methods in our cell, still he

could not be prevented from keeping under perfect control those who had been his

collaborators in the workshop. He did not stay in the cell very long; he was taken out by

the political officer and sent to the infirmary. After his departure the atmosphere cleared

completely, and the rest of the re-educated, little by little, without being pushed, or even

challenged, began to find themselves. The month of May came, and with it an almost

complete healing of wounds with the integration of almost all who had undergone

unmasking, into the normal monotony of prison life.


The few who held out through despair or stubbornness, were left to grind their teeth in

impotent anger and alone.


Although our cell attained peace, the same could not be said of other cells. Where the

re-educated felt they could still apply some of their nefarious methodology, there were

quite serious disorders. In one cell, the re-educated severely beat the cell-mates who

defied their orders; in others where they were few and tried to act as informers, they

were themselves beaten and isolated by being completely ignored, as though they were

not there at all.


It is possible that some offences of the re-educated were occasioned by the others’ lack

of tact. I talked with one who continued to denounce even after the February isolation,

and I asked him why he was doing this when no one forced him to. He replied, “It is well

that a wounded dog be left alone in peace to heal his wounds by licking them. If no one

can help him, it’s best that nobody irritate him, lest he bite, out of pain or despair.”


There were some real family dramas. Take, for instance, the two brothers M., who both

had been through unmaskings. The younger was sent to the canal labor camp with a light

sentence, the older to Gherla, where he became head of the labor and wages service.

After the canal was closed down, younger M. was sent also to Gherla; but now he was

completely healed of his wounds. The older brother, however, continued to maintain

himself “in position,” and considered his young brother a “bandit and saboteur.”

Consequently he punished him by cutting him off the list for food ration cards!


Nevertheless, the younger brother wanted to convince the older of the absurdity of

continuing his role, but this he could not do because their cells were in opposite ends of

the prison. As a desperate stratagem, he declared a hunger strike and told the director

he would not eat till he was moved into the same cell with his brother. In reply, the

director had him put in irons, in isolation, where he persisted in his hunger strike and

continued to lose weight. The administration told him falsely that the Ministry of the

Interior alone could make cell assignments, and that the matter had been referred to it.

Several days later they told him his brother had been transferred to another prison and

he would have to give up his hunger strike. But the price he had to pay was high: he ate

only once in three days, slept on iron bars without a mattress or cover. A categorical

disposition of the case by the Ministry of the Interior interdicted the sharing of the same

cell by members of the same family, and the interdiction was zealously extended to apply

to known friends as well as relatives.


Personally I had to deal with a case as painful as it was strange. A student of

mathematics from the Polytechnical School of Bucharest, condemned to 25 years, who

still maintained his posture of re-educated even after the isolation, was caught by a guard

with a soap tablet on which he had made some mathematical calculations. He was given

40 days in isolation in a cell adjoining ours. I tried to talk to him by means of adapted

Morse code, but he did not know these signals. I noticed that the windows of his cell and

ours were at right angles to each other, and not far apart. As a heavy shutter protected

us from the eyes of guards in the courtyard below, and I placed a cell-mate as guard at

our door’s peephole, I was able to converse with the engineering student at the window.

He was obsessed with the idea that the Russians were all-powerful and was convinced

they would rule the world.


“You will see,” he said, “maybe later, but certainly, that the Russians will conquer the

entire world. It cannot be otherwise.” And again: “The West is morally decomposed; it is

a swamp in which everything that is pure drowns. The Russians will bring their

punishment, for the West, when it had the power, made no use of it when it could; now it

is too late; the Russians are a sort of destiny!”


He was a man of superior intelligence, but all my efforts to show him that everything he

had been saying was only a reflection of his subconscious terror ended in failure.


Several days later I, too, was put in isolation for 10 days to sleep on iron bars in a

heatless cell (this was February, 1955) and for what reason? The excuse was that I was

accused of having written on the wall paragraphs in several foreign languages, including

German (a much decried language at the time, of course), and since I was the only

member of the cell who knew German, I was guilty. When I was returned to the cell after

isolation, I could not learn if the fellow in the other cell had changed his thinking or not,

because he had been transferred somewhere else.


Penalties inflicted by Director Goiciu on students were incomparably greater than those

given non-students. He was constantly trying to regain some of his lost ground, but in

vain. Contempt for him only increased. If an ordinary prisoner received two weeks of

isolation, a student prisoner got twice that, plus a severe regimen. Take the case of the

student Petre N., for example, who had the temerity to stand up to the political officer

when the prison van delivered him to the Gherla depot. He was immediately sent to

isolation with 20-pound leg-irons for a month in the dead of winter in addition to the

severe regimen. When he had served out his time, the political officer asked him if he

did not regret his impudence at the depot.


“Your regulations,” replied the cold, starved student, “do not include any punishment

strong enough to match the utter contempt I have for all of you.” So uncertain of itself

had the administration been that the official merely gnashed his teeth and turned his

back on the student, leaving him in peace.


After things returned to normal, I tried many times to compare the way a man behaved

after he recovered from re-education with the way he had behaved before undergoing

unmasking. At first sight, I could not see a great deal of difference: the same

self-contained bearing, the same serious preoccupations, the same goodness and

benevolence. But unseen was a real abyss between what he had been and what he had

become. The unmaskings left scars on the surface, and down deep there was still an

open, bleeding wound. I could but wonder about a meeting between such men and their

victims, if they were to meet in freedom even though almost all prisoners understood the

drama and did not harbor resentment against those who had denounced or tortured

them. Man can forgive, because he must; but he can never forget, for forgetting is not in

his power. What was done cannot be undone; and the persecutor can forget no more

than the victim, whether or not he did it against his will, against his faith.


I could not but wonder whether these men would ever be able to return to normal living, or

would be able only to simulate having done so, remaining in the depths of their souls

forever ruined, crucified on their own helplessness.





       -A sardonic allusion to Father Joseph, the outwardly austere and unassuming, but

wily and feared, confidential coadjutor of Cardinal Richelieu. Romanians translate this

“gray eminence” as “The Brain.” (Tr.)



      -Anton Semenovich Makarenko (1888-1939), a Soviet poetaster, was best known for

his “Pedagogical Poem,” a dreary effusion in Russian verse filled with the factitious (and

fatuous) sentiment that characterizes all the “literature” manufactured for the Bolsheviks

as part of “proletarian culture.” The “Pedagogical Poem” was first published in 1935, and

has been frequently reprinted in Russia. The humor in the reference to Turcanu in the

next paragraph lies, of course, in using the Russian form of Turcanu’s first name

(Evghenii for Eugen), alluding to his ancestry with a middle name that resembles

Makarenko’s, and then giving him the Soviet hack’s last name. (Tr.)







I return to A. Camus’s words quoted in the first chapter: “Philosophy can change

murderers into judges.”


The tragedy of the Pitesti prisoners, too, has its fatal denouement like any other drama.


There exists an ineluctable “truth,” naturally Communistic, that anything that serves the

Party is “just,” is appreciated and encouraged. If later, for reasons never sufficiently

clear, this “just” no longer serves some new Party line, it immediately becomes “unjust”

and is condemned, “reproved with indignation.” I do not think examples are here

necessary. The numerous “ideological leaders” who took the road to exile or the firing

squad in the Soviet Union during the last decade alone are sufficient proofs of this

policy. Throughout my years in prison, I often shared a cell with former Party members.

Among them were some who had done great service for the Party and had spared no

effort to apply “the line.” They were made scapegoats and classified with the enemy

without the slightest hesitation. In response to their protests at such treatment, they

always and everywhere received a stereotyped answer something like this: “For your

good accomplishments the Party will raise a statue in your honor; for the bad ones, you

are paying right now,” even if what they had done was simply carry out with strict fidelity

the Party orders before they changed direction.


In the case of unmaskings, it was only logical that those who voluntarily offered

themselves to start the experiment should have been rewarded with freedom at the end of

their term of service. Rewarded they were, but with the fire from an automatic pistol!


The whole experiment had been born out of evil and lies. It was through wickedness and

deception that it had to end. But in order that everything might be consummated within

the framework of “Communist legality,” and bear the imprint of “justice,” a trial was

staged. In the dock sat the victims; official representatives of the Party, the real

implementors of the crime, sat on the bench.


There had been many so-called “sensational” trials. The Communists saw to it that people

became accustomed to them and, seemingly to keep the memory fresh, would stage

another every now and then. To Westerners, this may seem an odd way of administering

justice, but of course, they are used to “bourgeois” justice and do not comprehend the

higher form of Marxian dialectics.


Even the most cynical of assassins seeks a loophole in his indictment and even a

madman does not receive a death sentence with joy, but under Communism everything

can be easily arranged ahead of time by means of torture and lies, such as “a publicly

admitted mistake is half forgiven.” That is, until the compromising declaration is obtained

from the victim! The rest is only too well known; when the hangman’s noose tightens

around one’s neck, anybody is willing to make a small concession if it will save his life

rather the hair than the head, as the proverb goes.


In the Communist type of justice the trials are not to find proof of guilt as such but to

provide a pretext for a condemnation demanded by the Securitate a condemnation not of

any deed, but of a person as a potential enemy or as no longer useful. Thus the

Bucharest Tribunal that tried Turcanu and his fellows was seeking a justification for

condemning those who for three years had done nothing but execute with zeal the orders

given them by the initiators of the experiment. How the declarations of the prisoners were

obtained is not known, but we do know the general methods employed.


The initial intention, according to what transpired unofficially, was to stage a public trial

with newspapermen and “indignant” workers’ delegations, with photographers and plenty

of publicity. But something made the Tribunal change its mind, possibly the pre-trial

interrogations of the various witnesses who were to testify. There was some risk of an

upset, and the Party could have then been exposed in its true light just at the critical

moment when it wanted to conclude the drama of its experiment with a “legal” finale.


Why did they feel a trial necessary? Liquidating those who “knew too much” could have

been accomplished more simply and quietly, at night somewhere, for “trying to escape

while under escort,” a procedure that was not new and had produced satisfactory results

some years earlier when, on the night of November 30, 1938, Codreanu and thirteen of

his followers were assassinated by King Carol’s henchmen. Did they need a justification

in legal form for concluding an unsuccessful experiment and eliminating those who might

talk inopportunely? Perhaps in time we shall know.


At any rate, the “show trial” to teach the people a lesson never took place, but instead

hearings were held behind closed doors, attended only by prison directors, interrogating

officers, and Communist political personalities little known or completely without any

contact with the people.


One was able to learn very little of what went on in the secret proceedings and nothing at

all of what the accused had to say. Some aspects of the trial were learned from Party

members who could not keep their mouths shut and from the forty witnesses, who were

all prisoners who had passed through unmaskings or were victims of some sort.


By collating this information with various slips of the tongue on the part of political

officers in the prisons, the course of the trial can partly be reconstructed. Witnesses

testified separately, none being allowed to be present at any proceedings except the one

at which he answered the questions asked him by the Tribunal’s president. They were

not told who were the members of the Tribunal, whose names were never made public,

but they could see that the judges and the prosecutor were superior officers, perhaps

from the cadres of military justice.[1]


It would seem impossible for the Communists to find a way of exculpating themselves,

but, no matter how absurd it sounds, they found one: they alleged that the unmaskings at

Pitesti had been initiated by the leaders of the nationalist student group!! Crimes were

committed against the prisoners by these nationalists in order to blame the Communist

regime and discredit it in the eyes of the people and of international opinion!


The military prosecutor demanded punishment of the “nationalist” defendants for crimes

against humanity, for all the crimes were blamed on them. And to bolster the monstrous

lie and make it hold together, they implied that there was someone from the outside who

must have given directives to those inside the prison who were “in the conspiracy.” It was

then no problem at all to prove that there must have been a responsible person who

established the liaison between the leader from abroad and those in prison. Several

persons were considered for this role, among them a lawyer from Iasi, but in the end

they decided upon a student. If my memory serves me well, he was named Simionescu;

in any case, whatever his name, he was tortured for months in the Ministry of the

Interior, and kept continually in leg-irons and handcuffs, to force him to recite the

testimony dictated by the Securitate.[2] But Simionescu refused. Had they really insisted

very much, and been determined to produce the testimony they wanted, they could, of

course, have done so; all they would have needed was time to brainwash the unfortunate

individual whom they chose and teach him his “confession.” But a sudden and

inexplicable urgency did not allow time for proper preparation. After three years of

pre-trial investigations and interrogation of over a hundred prisoners who had passed

through unmaskings, the case was brought to trial with a haste that can be explained only

by a sudden need[3] to dispose of it as quickly as possible.


In the end, allegations of the responsibility of persons outside the prison were discarded

or suppressed, leaving the only responsible head Turcanu!


Prisoners put in the dock as defendants at this trial were: Eugen Turcanu (“And lo! his

name led all the rest!”); Alexandru Popa, nicknamed Tanu; Martinus; Constantin

Juberian; Cornel Pop; Levinschi; Doctor Barbosu, official physician of Gherla prison,

now become useless and therefore dangerous; and several others.


The trial was started in October 1954, but it is not known how long it lasted. Testimony of

the 40 witnesses for the prosecution took several days. Sentences were pronounced

around the middle of December, but news of the trial did not reach our prison till

February or March 1955, coming first through Jilava or some other prison from which a

prisoner was transferred. I learned it from a person in the prison’s infirmary, who

transmitted the news by a hand put through a crack in the window shutter. Later, several

prisoners confirmed the report, as did, indirectly, the Military Tribunal of Bucharest when

it published the death notice of-one of the condemned.


The witnesses testified under heavy guard and were “closely counseled” by the officers

interrogating them at the Ministry. As before mentioned, they were introduced into the

hearings one at a time, so they knew nothing of the over-all proceedings.


Nothing was withheld during the hearings. The smallest details of the unmaskings were

fully described, from the beatings to the ordeal of the mess-pan filled with feces; from the

torturous squatting to the insulting of everything the prisoner held dear. But accusations

were brought only against those who had actually inflicted the tortures, and who now sat

in the dock as the accused. In reality, everyone present knew that they were merely the

front men for the real culprits.


Among the witnesses were two workers from Gherla, one of whom, it will be remembered,

pleaded with the inspector to end the unmaskings, and the other, who attempted to

commit suicide by slashing his wrists in the isolation cell with broken glass from the

window pane. They told of the promises made to them by the officers to whom they

reported the state of affairs, and of the fact that their subsequent tortures became more

brutal and bloody than before. The president of the Tribunal tried unsuccessfully to divert

their answers by claiming that they were not relevant to the questions asked, which

pertained only to the defendants and the crimes they allegedly had committed.


The testimony of the defendants is not known. Whether they defended themselves by

revealing the identity of those who were really responsible or assumed the entire

responsibility themselves, hoping thus to win the indulgence of the Securitate, is of little

importance, for they were not there to be tried, but to be condemned. It was reported

specifically of Turcanu that he had admitted everything and had assumed complete

responsibility for the crimes imputed to him. It did not matter whether he did or not; his

fate had in fact already been decided, and the presiding judge was the only one of those

on the bench who could be identified by any of the witnesses; a student, one who had

been previously arrested during the Antonescu administration, recognized him. The

judge’s name was Alexandru Petreseu and he was considered one of the most sinister

characters ever thrust from the law schools into Romanian society. In his way, he was

unique. A career military judge, he was Director-General of Penitentiaries during

Atonescu’s administration. The Legionaries knew him well, for often their fate had been

in his hands before his decision was reviewed by Antonescu. Although publicly a strong

supporter of Antonescu’s dictatorship, he was also a secret collaborator with the

Communists, facilitating their penetration into the Lugoj prison to aid Burah Tescovici,

alias Teohari Georgescu.[4] Apparently about to be purged in 1948, as were all of his

colleagues, he found himself elevated to the rank of general (he was a colonel) because

he agreed to preside over the tribunal that condemned Iuliu Maniu. In addition to scores

of death sentences attributed to him, he was credited with more than 100,000 man-years

of imprisonment pronounced in trials of Legionaries alone.


In the habit of blindly executing all the orders of the Securitate, Petrescu naturally in their

1954 “trial” pronounced the prescribed sentence: death for all defendants. The only

sentence about which there is some doubt is that of Doctor Barbosu; it is not known

whether he was condemned to die or be imprisoned for life. However, both sentences

are practically equivalent in Communist prisons.


The sentences were carried out. One of the victims, Martinus, was later called as a

witness for a subsequent trial, but in response to the order for his appearance in court, a

death certificate was produced, showing that he had died in 1955.


All those tried were, naturally, identified as “Fascists,” or agents of the American

espionage apparatus. It is not clear on what basis the persons selected for trial and

execution were chosen; certainly persons equally notorious for equally monstrous

ferocity such as Titus Leonida, Diaca, Coriolan Coifan, Hentes, and Bucoveanu, were

never brought to trial, although they were the peers of Turcanu and even the superiors of

Pop in sadistic accomplishments. Exempt from trial also was one of the worst offenders,

Ludovic Reck, a Communist, condemned to prison because he had been also an

informer in Antonescu’s police force.[5] With the help of Hentes and Juberian, he

murdered Flueras by beating him with sandbags till he spat out his lungs.


Also missing from the trial as defendants were: Captain Goiciu, Captain Gheorghiu,

Lieutenants Dumitrescu, Avadanei, and Mihalcea, whose direct responsibility for the

unmaskings was much greater than that of the students sentenced to death, whom they

had had under their control and who had done nothing without their supervision and



Because of “technical reasons”, it is said, a second “trial” was staged, with the same

kind of defendants, the main one this time being the student Gheorghe Calciu,

nicknamed Ghita by his “friends.”


He was moved from Gherla in the spring of 1954 to the Ministry of the Interior for

investigation. At the time of his departure he was still a convinced re-educator. I do not

know how long he remained so, but exactly two years later I had a unique opportunity to

learn directly from him about his passing through the hands of the Ministry and the

reception they gave him.


In 1956, in a cell of the main section of the Ministry on Victoriei Street, in fact right next

to the room of the officer-on-duty at the front of the building (also called the Section

Chief’s office), I found an inscription scratched on the wall, possibly with a needle, in

Morse code, which shook me considerably. The sentence read:


“Gheorghe Calciu, I was brought here to be murdered; I am innocent.”


Close by, also scratched in the wall, toward the left corner nearer the door but not visible

to anyone looking in through its peephole, I read the following:


“Gheorghe Balan, I am completely innocent.”[6]


In regard to Calciu’s trial, some fragmentary information leaked out. I learned about it

shortly before I left Romania. The trial was held in the summer of 1957, also in

Bucharest, and also before a military tribunal. Someone who witnessed it in an official

capacity leaked a few details which prove a good deal, and place Calciu in quite a

different light from Turcanu.


The presiding judge was the same General Petrescu. Following the reading of the

accusation, Calciu was called upon to answer, or rather to confess his “crime against

humanity.” To the amazement of all, but particularly of the investigators, the defendant

defied the entire tribunal and threw back in its face the truth without any reservations.

Calciu accused those who were in fact responsible for all the crimes committed. His

diatribe was so unexpected that the tribunal’s presiding judge, at the request of the

investigators assisting at the trial, suspended the proceedings till a later date. This

postponement had as its aim the utilization of the known “methods of persuasion”

frequently employed by the Securitate, this time to compel Calciu to retract his

accusation and “assume the entire responsibility for the crimes committed.” The trial was

resumed the very next day, perhaps because Calciu had agreed the night before to

modify his attitude. But despite the promise he probably gave under torture, the next day

he was even more categorical. In consequence, the trial was abruptly postponed sine

die. It is likely that Ghita Calciu never was tried and sentenced, but died a “natural”

death, a frequent phenomenon in prisons.


When I left the prison in 1956, the prisoners still heatedly discussed the tortures inflicted

on students and other prisoners. There still remained isolated in various prisons several

cases of which one can say that they have never recovered.


After the experiment at Pitesti, the methods of torture were no longer the same. Other

means of extermination, more scientific and more rigorous, drained away the minds of

political prisoners, reducing them to the condition of animals.


In order to explain more fully the system of lying and the paradoxical logic that made a

crime into a moral deed, an enormity into a virtue, I shall relate a conversation I had in

the winter of 1954 with a director-general in the Ministry of the Interior. (If he was not the

Director-General, he was, at least, a very important personage in the regime. Prisoners

are not told either the name or the position of the individual interrogating them.)


After being switched for almost two months from one investigating room to another, one

night at the beginning of March, I was taken into a room on the sixth floor and brought

face to face with this very important person who tried to convince me of some “truths”

which I had refused to recognize. Since this was not a run-of-the-mill type of

investigation, but rather a discussion pro and con on various subjects, I took advantage

of a propitious moment to ask him “whether it is true that at Pitesti were committed some

quite strange acts that caused the maiming and even death of some of the prisoners.”

Taken aback, he could not control an expression of shock, and immediately asked me:


“What do you know about the happenings at Pitesti?”


“Personally,” I hedged, “I could not learn much except some allusions by several students

in a discussion a long time ago,” and I hoped he would not press the question. He

seemed satisfied with my answer and seemed disposed to enlighten me.


“As a matter of fact,” said he, “it was quite a simple matter. A group of arrested students,

agents of American imperialism, stubborn and retrograde mystics, started to torture their

colleagues, in order thus to compromise the prison’s administration and consequently the



“But as I understood it,” I said, “this category of ‘retrograde’ students represented

approximately eighty per cent of all the students in prison. Whom did they fight?”


“They fought among themselves.”


“To what purpose?” I asked. “I do not quite follow how this would compromise the Party.”


“They received instructions from outside,” he explained, “from those who are abroad and

lead teams of spies and saboteurs; by torturing one another, the victims could accuse

the Party as the culprit.”


“Nevertheless,” I persisted, “this seems almost unbelievable, with prisons having such a

very strict system of internal supervision. How was it possible for these horrors to take

place without the immediate intervention of the Ministry?”


“We knew nothing of what happened there,” he replied. “When we finally learned about

these happenings, we took the necessary steps and punished the guilty in order to

discourage others from doing likewise.”


This was the kind of answer I had expected, for I already knew what had happened at

Turcanu’s trial. However, I could not keep from replying somewhat brusquely:


“I have been a prisoner for seven years and have passed through almost all the country’s

penitentiaries. Either isolated, or in common cells, never could we make the slightest

move without being seen by the guards in the halls, and I do not count the many and

various searches made unexpectedly in the middle of the night. The rigorous surveillance

to which we were subjected made impossible even the use of a sewing needle without the

consent of the guard. How could all these things have happened without the political

officers being immediately informed by the guards? Or is it that you had not one person

of trust in all these prisons, where the acts which you have just described took place, not

a single one to inform you of what was going on?”


“The prison administration was in the hands of some opportunists,” he said, “enemies of

the people who had infiltrated with the express desire to do harm. They collaborated with

the bandits; but they, too, have now been punished as they deserved.”


I said nothing to this, and did not tell him any more of what I had learned about the Pitesti

experiment. Nor did I mention that I knew that the “opportunists” he mentioned in the

prison administration not only were not penalized, but had received promotions to higher

positions; or that I knew that Turcanu, before coming to Gherla, had forwarded his

notorious memorandum to the Ministry of which my interrogator was a member; or that,

on the basis of extorted confessions during unmaskings, scores of trials were held after

the confessions had passed through the hands of the Ministry; or of so many other

details known to them only because they had been reported to them by the re-educators

or that, of course no remedial steps were ever taken.


Several months later I was freed.


Behind me I left the bars of various penitentiaries, Securitates, forced labor camps, and

“centers for re-education” where tens of thousands of prisoners languish and suffer with

no kind of amnesty in sight to lighten their punishment. Above them all, like the sword of

Damocles, hovers the ever imminent danger that another experiment similar to, or even

more “scientific” than the one at Pitesti may be staged at any time. I left behind tens of

thousands of fellow Romanians imprisoned under the care of the same directors-general,

subjected day and night to a program of gradual animalization, and the undermining of

physical and moral health through total inactivity, darkened cells, constant malnutrition,

isolation, a severe routine and chains always chains on wrists and legs!


Those who bore part of the responsibility are now in their graves. But they are not the

most guilty.


Some of the re-education’s victims too have left for a juster world (for not even in hell do

such cruelties take place). Perhaps there they will find understanding and maybe



On the other hand, still alive, though maimed and sick, are those who for the last ten

years have been suffering in isolation, as have the re-educated who recovered their

original equilibrium, now broken and isolated from every contact with the world.


Let us hope that some day these prisoners will have to be listened to;[7] let us hope that

the criminals who put and keep them there will one day be brought to justice, namely:


General Nicolschi, head of the investigation brigades in the Securitate;


Dullberger (later Dulgheru), head of the mobile brigades and transport;


Jianu and Tescovici (alias Georgescu), both former Ministers of the Interior;


Draghici and Borila, Ministers of the “People’s” Securitate;


Keller, Goiciu, Mihalcea, Avadanei, Gheorghiu, Dumitrescu, Kirion, Archide, Gal, the

guard Cucu, Niki, Mandruta, Ciobanu all implicated in responsibility for both the

torturings and the terror inaugurated by the O.D.C.C. in prisons and labor camps.


To the bar of justice may all these come, and let us hope that the passage of time does

not deprive them of the power of speech! (Various purges of the Party have been known

to bring about such a condition!)


Naturally, there are people who do not want to believe that the events which took place at

Pitesti and the other prisons were a scientific experiment, and claim that the supporting

evidence is circumstantial and not conclusive. Consequently, two theories have been

advanced. One, the more widely held, is that the Communist Party merely wanted to

annihilate the Romanian Nationalist Movement, which could only be done by destroying

the young who carried the Legionary ideas and traditions and were thus a link between

past and future.


But the unmaskings contributed nothing to the consolidation of the Communist regime

itself, for most of the anti-Communist resistance was already behind bars, and the

unmaskings in prison did not greatly help to round up the remnants of opposition outside.

The results did not justify the effort could not possibly have justified it. And this is why:


The years of imprisonment, with their savage privations and long duration, had already

killed or neutralized a large part of the youth of Romania. The majority of those who

passed through prisons and were released alive were in broken health or too

experienced to expose themselves again to useless suffering. The terror, the memories of

imprisonment, the deportations to Baragan, destroyed for all practical purposes any

possible reactivating an effective resistance. This is a verified fact. And the several

thousand men inside the prisons certainly could not change what had been decided by

the great Dividers of the World at the “Conference Tables” where Europe was



In the event the Party should fall from power at some future time, the crimes perpetrated

in the prisons would have made its record only so much more monstrous. The physical

extermination of the students of Romania, or even of all the political prisoners, would have

resolved nothing, for the People is a living organism that perpetuates itself by biological

continuity. Its potential will be restored, if it is allowed to exist and reproduce itself for a

sufficient length of time; the vacuum created by massacres will be filled by the People’s

fertility. Killing or incapacitating an entire section of the population does not necessarily

destroy an idea, for an idea is generated by the very biological structure of the nation in

question, not by a type of man belonging to a particular class or generation. Then, too,

there is the purely psychological factor. The persecution of an idea, especially by aliens

who have infiltrated and seized the nation that generated it, imparts to this idea only a

greater popularity.


The other theory was one held especially by many students that of pure irrational

revenge. The student movement had been throughout four decades, until the collapse of

the Romanian State, the most consistent enemy of Communism, the only formidable

obstacle to the growth of Communist power. Our enemies, repeatedly frustrated over the

years by the student movement, naturally accumulated in their minds a boundless and

infinite hatred that easily found expression in retaliation by ultimate brutality the moment

they achieved political power. Thus the “Pitesti Phenomenon” served only to prove further

the utter and inhuman depravity of the Bolsheviks.


But if that had been the purpose, why was the insane fury halted short of total fulfillment

of its lusts? There was no economic, military, or (given the total secrecy) propagandist

reason why any Legionaries should have been spared the dehumanization, and certainly

no reason why any of the victims should have been permitted to recover their minds and

even to recount what they had experienced. The only plausible or even intelligible reason

for halting the application of the unmasking technique at that time is that the purpose of

its application had somehow been accomplished.


Re-education, therefore, cannot have been designed expressly to destroy a resistance

already become powerless, or even to inflict the utmost horrors in all whom the

anti-humans most hated. The aim of the experimenters seems to have been that of

determining, on the basis of scientific data, the extent to which a man could be robbed of

his personality and be completely and irreversibly restructured. The ultimate recovery of

the majority of the victims proved that the transformation thus affected was not






       -I.e., corresponding to the office of the Judge Advocate General in the United States

Army. (Tr.)



 It is noteworthy that only ordinary tortures were used, without recourse to the techniques

applied at Pitesti, and strange that the Tribunal did not think of using one of the

re-educated for this purpose. The inefficiency of Bolshevik underlings is often

astonishing. (Tr.)



       -Presumably orders from above. (Tr.)



       -Burah Tescovici (1908-?), a Jew who early adopted the Romanian name of Teohari

Georgescu to conceal his origin, became an active Communist agent and conspirator in

1929, if not earlier, and was considered one of the most dangerous aliens in the country.

After the Soviet occupation of Romania, he became one of the four chiefs of the

Communist Party in Romania and collaborated closely with the repellant and infamous

Jewess, Ana Rabinovich (Pauker). He became Minister of the Interior in the “Romanian”

government in 1947, and was purged in 1952. (Tr.)



       -See ch. XIII above.



       -They were probably accused of being “Fascists” and “in the pay of the American

imperialists,” terms which were synonymous in the Bolshevik propaganda in the

occupied countries of Europe charges of which the two men were, of course, innocent,

but to which Communist methodology required a “confession,” even when the “trial,” as

here, was to be kept secret and so could not be used in local propaganda. The need to

extort such “confessions,” known to be utterly false by all concerned and utterly useless

in secret proceedings, is one of the most curious and significant traits of an alien

mentality that the West can describe only as psychopathic. (Tr.)



       -This hope, formed in 1958, was, of course, in vain. (Tr.)







Before I conclude this record, I shall mention another kind of unmaskings, identical in

scope with those at Pitesti and Gherla, but conducted with a variation in method. The

main feature of these unmaskings was the fact that there was no effort to dissimulate the

administration’s participation in them in fact they were openly conducted by the prison

personnel, though through prisoners as instruments.


In the spring of 1950 a special room was prepared at Jilava in one of the barracks in the

courtyard for use in torturing prisoners who were awaiting trial.


The method was very simple. A guard, usually part of the outer watch, accompanied by

the head of the “secret” section, entered a cell and called out the name of the prisoner to

be investigated. In the corridor, the prisoner’s head was covered with a hood so he could

see nothing, The guard then took him by the arm and led him through the courtyard and

into that specially prepared room.


Here, his eyes still covered and with the guard’s grip still on his arm, he was subjected to

a stringent inquisition usually based on information gathered in his cell by informers

introduced for that function, or through the indiscretions of his various friends in other

cells, or directly from the files being compiled at the Ministry of the Interior for his

eventual trial. Identification of the interrogators was difficult, for the only means of

recognition was by their voices, and the victims naturally supposed they must be facing

officers sent from the Ministry of the Interior. Eventually, however, they learned that their

questioners were merely other prisoners almost exclusively chosen from among “former”

members of the Communist apparatus.


Presumably these old Communists had sinned by agreeing to become informers for the

Romanian Securitate during the government of Antonescu. Their leader or, in any case,

the one conducting the investigations and directing the torture, was named Mihailov, a

Bessarabian seemingly of Russian origin, arrested for having denounced several of his

fellow-Communists during the War. Among his collaborators at Jilava, assisting in the

“investigations,” the meanest and also the most savage was one by the name of Pascu, a

mechanic by occupation, and a Communist arrested for the same reasons as Mihailov. I

had occasion to meet him several years later, after he was sent to Gherla, where he

continued to serve the prison’s administration as informer. That was why he was charged

with the surveillance of the communal bath, a quite comfortable and especially convenient

spot, where he did nothing but oversee those who bathed, and could eavesdrop on every

word spoken. Another participant at Jilava was a Hungarian mechanic, Buchs, who was

sent to Aiud in 1951 and there was quite discreet, behaving relatively well. (It is possible

that the Securitate’s promises, later broken, had opened his eyes.) In addition, it was

reported that a simple worker, rather retarded mentally, was used particularly to conduct

prolonged beatings. The team of “investigators” numbered over ten, but only those I have

just mentioned were definitely identified.


The first discovery that the investigators were not political officers was occasioned by an

interesting coincidence. It so happened that before ex-Lieutenant Z. of the Medical Corps

was taken out of his cell for another interrogation, Mihailov had been replaced. So in the

barracks room, where Lieutenant Z. expected to hear Mihailov’s voice, the questioner

had a voice quite different. Already cruelly brutalized and being an independent spirit (in

fact, this is why he was sent off to Archangel while he was still a prisoner of war in

Russia), he became so irritated that he snatched off the hood covering his head. To his

stupefaction, seated at the investigating table were not the Securitate officers he

expected to see, but ordinary prisoners; and the person who had always led him from his

cell and now stood at his side was just a uniformed prison guard!


The atmosphere that prevailed at Jilava was totally different from that at other prisons,

especially because no one there had yet been sentenced and all imagined they would be

liberated before the Communists had time to try them.[1] This explains in part the

courage of various prisoners who refused to make “confessions” when taken before

Mihailov. It seems also, however, that the Ministry of the Interior was not very insistent,

for when word got around throughout the isolation cells, they “closed” the O.D.C.C. office

at Jilava, though not before scores of “political detainees” had been tortured into bloody



It could be that there was no direct connection between the unmaskings at Pitesti and

what happened at Jilava, but the coincidence in time and some similarity of method make

it impossible to deny that there was some coordination toward a previously

well-determined end. It should be remembered also that Pitesti, an execution penitentiary,

and Jilava, a stockade for the Ministry of the Interior, were the two prisons closest to

Bucharest; in other words, the most accessible to those who wanted to maintain close

supervision and rigorous control.


If I mention the inquisitions at Jilava, pallid in comparison with those of Pitesti, but brutal

and sadistic, it is only to show that a single intelligence planned and directed the use of

prisoners to torture their fellow prisoners. Jilava was evidently a part of the experiment.[2]





       -In the early 1950’s, many Romanians believed the propaganda put out from

Washington! (Tr.)



       -If we had more detailed information about the procedures at Jilava, its function in

the experiment, as a “control group” or otherwise, might be clearer. (Tr.)







Perhaps more will be written about what happened at Pitesti and at the other prisons, if

the information ever penetrates the Iron Curtain.[1]


The contents of this little book of mine aim only to direct the reader’s attention to a

phenomenon too vast in its scope and application to permit the possibility of

ascertainment of complete factual information (what is available from Communist prisons

is very limited), and a definitive explanation of it in strictly psychological terms. In

addition to the strict supervision of prison life, my observations were limited by the

understandable embarrassment that the victims felt over many details of their experiences

and conduct. Nor were they a few who simply refused to discuss at all the most painful

sector of their lives.


But fragmentary as they are, the contents of this book are true. Nobody can deny this,

not even the “Communist authorities” at the helm of my country. I do not believe that a

better account of these events can be found than the one given by the victims of the

experiment themselves.


It is possible that the “Party” may not take notice of this work, or it may institute a

campaign of denial and slander against it, specifically by ordering those who were

tortured to “indignantly deny the lies put out in the service of capitalism.” If this proves to

be the case, it will not be without many precedents. I shall cite one here, since it involves

students, who, of all prisoners, suffered the most. This example comes from the

experience of students in the so-called “free” life of a Romanian university in 1956.


In those days, hope of liberation was less chimerical than it now is, and the West had not

yet proved conclusively that it is completely disinterested in human freedom. In Hungary

the students in Budapest joined forces with workers and, side by side with them,

endeavored to break their chains; they succeeded in visibly shaking for a short time the

rule of Satan. Their act had great repercussions in the universities of Romania,

particularly at Timisoara, the closest to Hungary, and at Bucharest, where the student

body was largest and the most agitated. A successful uprising in two colleges of

Bucharest university (Letters and Medicine) was quickly put down by force through the

power of the Securitate. But at Timisoara, events were more complicated.


To begin with, the Minister of Education, Murgulescu, tried to reduce tensions there but

to no avail. In fact, he only succeeded in stirring things up to such a pitch that,

notwithstanding his high position, he was forced to flee through a window of the cafeteria

under a bombardment of handfuls of mush thrown by irate students. As a result, the

demonstration which the students had planned for four o’clock that afternoon was

cancelled by the authorities, and several battalions of troops from the Securitate were

sent in and stationed around the dormitories.


In the evening, the Minister of the Interior himself arrived by plane and tried to pacify the

students. He promised to meet all three of their demands, namely: elimination of Marxism

and the Russian language as required subjects; liberalization of the whole university; and

the dissolution of the cadre of students acting as spies for the Securitate. But after

promising these things and getting the students quieted down and back to their rooms, he

gave them the real answer: machine gun fire! For over two hours, in order to give the

Securitate time to rush in reinforcements, the dormitory of the Medical College was kept

under fire from automatic weapons. Then the assault was staged, with soldiers rushing

into the building with arms at the ready. To oppose them the students had only their

books and marmalade jars. For several hours, students were arrested and hauled away

in trucks to an army camp unoccupied since the war, about 40 miles from Timisoara.

Then for three days a vigorous search was conducted for students in the streets and

homes of the city. Everyone whose card identified him as a student was arrested on the

spot with no reason given, then hustled out to the camp. Not until the Hungarian uprising

had been suppressed, however, were the arrested students given hearings. The majority

were then freed provided they signed a declaration that they would never again

participate in any action directed against the “Workers’ Party!” Several hundred were

expelled from the university. In all this, social status obviously played no part at all, for the

most rebellious of the students were those who came from poor families! Several score

were considered “instigators of the rebellion against the legal social order” and spent

some time in the cellars of the Securitate, then before the Tribunal, where sentences

decreed by the Securitate were pronounced. The sentences varied in length from five

years’ imprisonment to hard labor for life.


By late December of 1956, when the situation had quieted down and the Communists felt

secure of their victory, some strange “meetings” began to take place in various centers

throughout the country. Under strict supervision by the Securitate, students vigorously

protested “slanders in the capitalistic press,” which had reported, rather vaguely, some

“unrest” on the campuses. Speeches, previously written and dictated by the Securitate,

were “spontaneously” delivered from many rostra. These contained fulsome praise of the

Party and the Soviet and affirmed the “unconditional attachment” of all students to the

“working class in the People’s Romania”, expressing their deep indignation and their

“pledges” of vigilance against the “enemy [sic] of the Romanian people.” Such slop was

poured out for days. The same students in whom, several weeks earlier, had been stirred

a hope of liberation, now denied everything and professed loyalty to the regime.


It is not unlikely that a similar denunciation of this book will be launched, and a

comparable denial of its veracity manufactured by the same process.


* * *


These lines have been written to fulfill a pledge I made to several victims of the

unmaskings who, knowing that some day I would be able to smuggle the book through the

Iron Curtain, had confided to me, frequently with pain and great inner anxiety, everything

they thought it was man’s duty not to forget.


More than just a record of these events, this book is a warning; it is a voice from beyond

the grave, from the living dead behind the Iron Curtain. Let anyone draw conclusions

according to his own heart.


Lastly, I would like to say that while some died and some were obdurate, most of the

victims recovered. Man has within himself certain powers that nobody can destroy not

even himself; for man does not belong to himself, and the powers within him proclaim

Him Who created man.


Bucharest, 1958

Paris, 1962

New York, 1970





        -On the recent book by Dr. Carja, see the first footnote on p. x.    Editor.






Let not the reader imagine that there has been any change in the Beasts of the

Apocalypse or any “mellowing” or “relaxation” of their sadism in Romania or any other

country they have captured. In Romania, when the extraordinarily severe floods began in

May, 1970, the Communist Ministry of the Interior ordered the directors and staffs of the

prisons at Aiud and Gherla to abandon them after having locked the prisoners in their

cells. How many Romanians were thus disposed of at Aiud has not been learned, but at

Gherla 600 helpless men watched the waters slowly rise in their cells and were eventually