The Happiest Day in Siberia — the Death of Stalin



This is another fragment from Do Not Avenge Us: Testimonies from the Sufferings of Romanians from Bessarabia. Here, Margareta Cemârtan-Spânu remembers the day when they found out that Stalin had died. Stalin died on March 5th, 1953. He is considered responsible for the death of millions of people.


One week before Stalin died, I do not know what she dreamt, but bunica (“grandma” in Romanian) told us:
“It’s done, we are saved! They will let us go home!”
“But what happened?”
“Look, the tyrant Stalin will soon perish!”
I laughed:
“This is Satan, how could he perish?”
After a week, they called all of us to school, young and old, to tell us that Stalin had died. The teacher began crying: “Our poor man, our beloved leader…” and so on. First, we could not believe it. Then, all of a sudden, we all burst:
“Hooray!!! Hooray!!!”
The natives looked at us and smiled, even though not openly, because they also wanted to be free of this regime. To work so much and to have no bread in the house?! Poor people, they were like cattle, because this is what the soviet system considered them.
When she saw that instead of crying we were rejoicing, the teacher called the director. The director was not really sound because of an explosion during the war. When anger took a hold of him, we were running from his path. We immediately sat down and we waited. He came in and began yelling at us, Moldavians:
“You, the enemies of the people! Look, you have been staying here for so many years and to no end! You have not corrected yourselves; we cannot make anything out of you!”
But we could not care less. How long have we waited for this day! When we were there, this thing was on the lips of every Moldavian: when will Satan finally die, when will he go, so we can see us back home?
The director shouted even louder:
“You must cry, not laugh and jump around! You must cry because our beloved leader died, and it will be very difficult for us without him from now on.”
How come, difficult? However, to avoid contradicting him, two girls who were sisters, Dorica and Aurica, got an onion from a bag, bit from it, and started putting it around the eyes, to make themselves cry. But the boys, our Moldavians, all jumped around and shouted in joy.
This was the happiest day in Siberia!

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About Tavi's Corner

Blogging on ancient philosophy, communist persecution in Romania (including deportation to Siberia), and Orthodox Christianity. I've translated books from Romanian to English, and I also write about them from time to time.
This entry was posted in Bessarabia, Deportations to Siberia. Bookmark the permalink.

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