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Children in the tumult of history

Innocent children in Romania, like all the children all over the world, paid too high a price for the tyrannical history.

Filmmakers from five countries took part in RFF source: Rroma Film Festival
Filmmakers from five countries took part in RFF source: Rroma Film Festival

, 12.02.2024, 14:00

Tyrannical political regimes, wars, genocides, displacements, pandemics, natural disasters have been the greatest trials that history has subjected individuals to, and with them, the society. The history of the 20th century is a champion in abusing the individual in all ways. In the confrontation with the ravages of time, children, the most sensitive and helpless beings, suffered the most. Romania’s history is no exception to the rule, as, in the 20th century, it recorded all the mentioned types of brutality. Innocent children in Romania, like all the children all over the world, paid too high a price for the tyrannical history.



The Oral History Center of the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Corporation has recorded disturbing testimonies of children’s suffering in times of austerity. During the Second World War, in Northern Transylvania occupied by Hungary, the Jewish population was sent to concentration camps.



Grigore Balea, a Greek-Catholic priest, in 1997 remembered how he witnessed terrible scenes when Jews were put on trains. His mother tried to offer a bucket of water to a Jewish family of 9 children awaiting deportation: One of the Hungarian soldiers who were guarding the Jews punched my mother in the back of the head. I will never forget my mother’s pain when she saw a population taken without any fault. Neither I nor my mother were present in Vişeu, but I found out that they were separated there. They put the little children on one side, on the platform, and the mothers on the other aside, and that’s where the tragedy started! The children were crying on the platform and screaming, the mothers on the other side were also crying.



Ileana Covaci was from Moisei, the place where the Hungarian army massacred several dozen innocent ethnic Romanians in October 1944. She recalled being deported to Austria by the Hungarian authorities, following a criminal investigation which she had nothing to do with: The Hungarian gendarmes came at night and took us out of the bed. We were minors, me and my younger sister, and they took us against our will to the Council and locked us up until morning! And I cried. They did not tell us why they did that. My father and mother also cried, they said that the girls were taken to work, that they don’t steal. After they released us, they told us that they would take us to Austria for three months.



Ana Darie from Săliștea de Sus, Maramureș, told how her daughters suffered because their father was an opponent of the communist regime, instated on March 6, 1945: They threw the girls out of school, only one of them could study. The girl kicked out of school befriended a Romanian teacher from Baia Mare, and she taught her outside the school system until she finished secondary school. And I had quite a lot of difficulties. When she went to high school, those from the Peoples Council threatened her, told her that if her father was a political prisoner, she could not study. But the school principal helped us, and the girl could study until she finished high school.



Imprisoned for 13 years in the communist prison in Aiud, Sima Dimcică had left three minor children at home. Upon returning, the reunion was mutually awkward: I arrived home where I had left three small children: one was only 6 months old, the middle one was 3 years old and the oldest was 5 and a half, almost 6 years old. When I was released and went home, the older one was 19-20, the middle one was 16 years, the youngest 13-14 years. I was ashamed, I was ashamed of them, they were ashamed of me. Where’s mom? I ask them. In Aiud! Yesterday, the police chief from the village came with a telegram and told mom to urgently report to the Aiud penitentiary. At nightfall we went to bed. I couldnt sleep a wink. All night I was thinking what to do? When I arrived home in Sinoe, my wife arrived in Aiud. For what reason I don’t know even now. They did that on purpose, to make us worry, they sent us on a fools errand.



Ion Preda helped a group of anti-communist partisans led by Toma Arnăuțoiu. Imprisoned and harassed for the rest of his life by the political police of the communist regime, in 2000 he assessed the consequences of his own decisions: I’m sorry that the children suffered because of me for years. The younger girl was taken to the orphanage, she stayed there for several years. When I came home they sent her back home, she continued high school and later married an aviator. I’m sorry that I lost the years of my youth, the most beautiful years of anyone’s life. But, on the other hand, Im proud of my creed for the country as it was: free, honest, democratic, not a dictatorship, with its citizens enslaved. (LS)

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