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Remembrance Day 2009

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img_6310On Ascension Day, Thursday, 28 May 2009, Remembrance Day was held, a day for those who went through the communist prisons or deportation and for those who fought in the resistance against communism.  The event commenced with a series of debates and discussions chaired by the Director of the International Centre for Studies into Communism, Romulus Rusan.  Within the framework of these discussions, the following gave speeches: Octav Bjoza, President of the A.F.D.P.R., Vasile Ilica, of the Pro-Bassarabia and Bucovina Association, Petru Grior, President of the Golgotha Society, Chernivtsi, and Stefan Rotaru, President of the Pro-Radauti Foundation, who spoke about the victims of Stalinist terror in the former Bucovina; Ioana Raluca Voicu Arnăuţoiu; Teofil Botlung, leader of A.F.D.P. Timişoara; Paul Mitroi, former ombudsman; and others.

On the same occasion, two temporary exhibitions opened at the Sighet Memorial: “Peasants and Communism, curator Romulus Rusan, Director of the International Centre for Studies into Communism, to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the start of collectivisation, and “The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Execution of the Members of the Arnautoiu group”, dedicated to the “Haidouks of Muscel” resistance group, led by the Arnautoiu brothers, at whose opening was present Ioana Raluca Voicu Arnautoiu.  The book Collectivisation in Maramureş: Oral Histories was also launched.


The commemoration closed with a religious service officiated by Orthodox priests Gavril Burzo and Vasile Pop and Graeco-Catholic priest Marius Visovan, in the Paupers’ Cemetery, and the blessing of a wayside cross dedicated to the peasant victims of communism.

At this gathering were present more than one hundred and fifty former political prisoners from all over the country.  The next day, on 29 May, there was a round-table discussion entitled “Communism in the Mirror of Twenty Years”, organised in co-operation with the Northern University of Baia Mare.  At the beginning of the discussion, Romulus Rusan together with Ioana Boca, Andreea Carstea, Angela Bilcea, Virginia Ion, and Răzvan Ionescu, researchers from the International Centre for Studies into Communism, gave a presentation about the activity of the Centre during its sixteen years of existence.  The debate was continued by Dr. Călin-Andrei Mihăilescu, professor at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, Dr. Cosmin Budeanca, Head of the Museum Section of the Institute for Investigation of the Crimes of Communism in Romania, Liviu Ioan Stoica, writer and journalist, and Dr. George Achim and Dr Crina Bud from the Northern University of Baia Mare.  Former political prisoners and students from the Northern University of Baia Mare also took part in the discussion.