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Sighet Museum: Room 52 – Women in prison

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This is one of the museum’s most striking rooms. Besides mixed prisons, there were also prisons exclusively for women, Mislea, Mărgineni, Miercurea Ciuc, Dumbrăveni or Arad.
Birth and motherhood acquired a wholly different dimension in the prison world. Here we present two cases of women imprisoned and tragically separated from their children.

Iuliana Preduţ was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment for assisting the partisans in the Făgăraş Mountains. On 28 August 1958 she gave birth in Văcăreşti Prison to a girl whom she named Freedom-Justice. Three months after birth, the child was taken from her and transferred to Saint Ecaterina orphanage. A series of objects, which were provided by the women from her cell, are displayed.
Ioana Voicu Arnăuţoiu, daughter of Toma Arnăuţoiu and Maria Plop was born in
1956 at “Pine Cliffs”, a shelter on the southern slope of the Făgăraş Mountains,
where a part of the anti-communist fighters from Nucşoara had taken refuge. Her
father was executed in 1959 in Jilava and her mother, sentenced to life, hard labour, died in Miercurea Ciuc Prison in 1962. Her daughter was taken to an orphanage, only discovering her real identity in 1990.
Only two case studies are presented in this room. On the walls and ceilings of the
room are exhibited the names of 4,200 women, who endured prison as the mothers, wives or daughters of political prisoners, or because the communists saw them as a danger to the social order.
Objects salvaged from the period of imprisonment are presented in a glass cabinet. You may also listen to the voices of some of the women who suffered in the prisons, on a CD player available to visitors.