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Sighet Museum: Room 71 -Young people in prison

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SONY DSCBetween 1948 and 1989 there were thousands of arrests and deportations of lycée students. Statistically, they accounted for two per cent of all political prisoners.
The number of those recorded in our files—obviously far from the true figure—is 1,876 (the names are inscribed on the walls). Most of them—disgusted at how they were being schooled or later inspired by the resistance in other countries—formed anti-communist organisations (“leagues”, “movements”, “societies”) that swore oaths of secrecy, obtained weapons, wrote and disseminated manifestos, and prepared to help the resistance groups in the mountains or to flee the country. Some even went up into the mountains and joined the partisans. For some, it was just a case of youthful rebelliousness: defacing or tearing up official posters and portraits, telling jokes, writing epigrams, drawing caricatures, but the Securitate took it seriously, arresting and interrogating them, handing down harsh sentences meant to deter others.
Finally, young people were also among the more than ten thousand dispersed on the night of 2-3 March 1949 or deported to the Bărăgan steppe on the night of “Black Whitsun” (17-18 June 1951).
One hundred and seventy-five young people (including even primary school pupils) were wounded or interrogated by the communists in December 1989. Forty died as part of that “children’s crusade”, which formed the pure and innocent heart of the Romanian Revolution.