Home » English » Sighet Museum » Virtual Visit » First Floor » Sighet Museum: Room 38 – Dignitaries’ Room

Sighet Museum: Room 38 – Dignitaries’ Room

posted in: First Floor

Sala 38

A room dedicated to the political elite that was eradicated at Sighet. Following the Decree establishing penal servitude colonies in April 1950, the regional branches of the Securitate drew up lists of all those who had played a role in the country’s political life prior to communism. On the list of former dignitaries, one of the thousands on the basis of which arrests were made, the following resolution was included: “All elements who played a role in the country’s political life. Motives for trials to be found”.
On the night of 5-6 May 1950 vans transporting a first batch of around eighty  prisoners arrived at Sighet. They were later joined by dozens of other “hostile elements” who had not been at home on the first night of arrests. The detainees were held at Sighet for one year without any legal warrant. It was not until 1 August 1951 that matters were “legalised”: by decision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, eightynine former  dignitaries were “transferred” to a labour unit “for twenty-four months – special record,” in spite of their already being there. The codename for Sighet was “Danube Labour Colony”. On 6 August 1953, their sentences were increased by sixty months by Decision No. 552 of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. On 15 August 1951, those convicted in the National Peasant Party trial of November 1947 were brought to Sighet, having previously been held in Galați. They included Iuliu Maniu and Ion Mihalache. The bureaucracy, terror and chaos were so great that some political prisoners were “convicted” a second time after their deaths.
The numerous photographs and biographical outlines of prisoners lend this room a solemn and tragic air.