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Remembrance Day 2021

On 10 June 2021, the Feast of the Ascension and Heroes’ Day in Romania, The Civic Academy Foundation hosted Remembrance Day – Open Day at the Memorial to the Victims of Communism and to the Resistance in the city of Sighet, honouring those who endured Communist prisons and deportations or participated in resistance movements against Communism. The event was attended by former political prisoners, deportees, their families and friends, students, historians, and journalists. Former political prisoners and deportees from Bucharest, Cluj, Brasov, Sighet, Târgu Mures, Constanța, Slobozia, Sf. Gheorghe, Miercurea Ciuc, Roman, Reșița, Făgăraș, Petroșani, Focșani, Bistrița, Piatra Neamț, Gheorghieni, and Brăila were present in Sighet for the commemoration.


The event, hosted and moderated by Ana Blandiana, took place in the cell block of the former prison, now transformed into the Memorial to the Victims of Communism.


This year’s talks centred on post-detention trauma, with a secondary focus on the deportations of 1941 and 1951. Former political detainees and deportees actively engaged in the discussion.

The event also featured book presentations covering political imprisonment and recent Romanian history. Speakers included Ana Blandiana, Ioana Boca, Andrea Furtos, Gh. Mihai Bârlea, Professor Liviu Țîrău from the Faculty of European Studies at Babeș-Bolyai University Cluj, and Gelu Hossu, the grandson of Cardinal Iuliu Hossu.


Additionally, the event featured an award ceremony honouring 20 students from Dragoș Vodă Upper Secondary School in Sighet who actively participated in the educational initiatives organised by the Sighet Memorial throughout the 2020-2021 school year. These students were presented with diplomas and books in recognition of their engagement.


A poignant highlight of the event, specially curated for the occasion, was a reading presented by actress Rodica Mandache, which drew from testimonies of victims of communism. Notably, this year marks the 80th anniversary of the deportations of Romanians from Bessarabia and Northern Bucovina to Siberia, as well as the 70th anniversary of the deportations from Banat to the Bărăgan plain. For her reading, Rodica Mandache selected texts focusing on these events.


Following the discussions and book launches, the attendees visited the Sighet Memorial. Subsequently, they made their way to Paupers’ Cemetery, an integral part of the Memorial to the Victims of Communism, which serves as the final resting place for those who were buried in unmarked graves. Here, a religious service was conducted by a group of Orthodox and Greek Catholic priests.


Concluding the day’s events, all participants were invited to a communal lunch.