Category Archives: Communist Persecution

Farewell! A poem by Valeriu Gafencu

The poem was written in communist prisons and memorized by Valeriu Gafencu’s friends. I would be happy and grateful for any suggestions for improving the translation. You can see the Romanian version below.  Farewell   Bleeding out from wounds so … Continue reading

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The Death of a Grandma after Years in the Gulag

We are getting very close to the publishing of Do Not Avenge Us, the book with testimonies of Romanian from Bessarabia deported to Siberia. It will come out in a month or so. Since I am reading the final edits, … Continue reading

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Understanding Evil (The Ghost of Pitesti)

Whenever I discuss the Holocaust or the communist persecution in class, there is always someone who says, “I will never understand why the Holocaust took place.” Or, “I will never understand why they persecuted people in communism.” Humans who have … Continue reading

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"There was no other choice"

Eugenia and Gheorghe Hasu. Photo from Ioana Hasu’s collection, used with permission. Let me tell you a story. After fighting as a soldier for his own country, a young man returns home. There is nothing special about him; he did … Continue reading

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Mary of Egypt and the communist prisons

Mary of Egypt had lived a dissolute life, giving herself to excessive sensuality. “Every kind of abuse of nature I regarded as life,”[1]she confesses to Fr. Zosima, from whom Dostoevsky may have taken the name for his character. One day, … Continue reading

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Country music and a mesmerizing feeling of freedom

  I listen to country music. For some reason, it’s really appealing to me, especially when I grade papers–and I do this quite often. To the majority of people who know me, this is a surprise; for them, I do … Continue reading

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Reaching ultimate harmony: The Concert

There is a lot of confusion at the beginning of The Concert. People yell, play music loudly and poorly at weddings, or get fake passports and visas right under the nose of the police. It is the craziness of a … Continue reading

Posted in Communist Persecution, Music | 2 Comments

Stories from communism

“Before the communists took our land, our parents always punished us when we, children, took an apple from a tree on the street or cherries from a neighbor’s garden,” a friend told me once. “It was theft, and such a … Continue reading

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Teaching suffering and forgiveness – the world of the living dead

Photo taken at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie, IL, by Amy Svob, one of my students.  I read last night a post that really struck a chord with me. Let me just say that when I … Continue reading

Posted in Communist Persecution, Education/Pedagogy | 1 Comment

What would I have done?

Jilava, Fort 13. Photo taken by Ioana Hasu I have often heard people wondering what they would have done if they lived during communism: would they have become persecutors or informants for the secret police? Would they have had the … Continue reading

Posted in Communist Persecution, Philosophy | 2 Comments