Category Archives: Romania

An aching love

  Before I left Romania, I considered myself a citizen of the world. Once I left, I became the guy from Fagaras, my hometown. I’m not talking about how other people saw me, but rather about how I saw myself. … Continue reading

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Constellations and Nationalism

  Around 20 years ago, I was working at the French Cultural Institute in Bucharest. One day, wearing my ID, I reach the entrance door at the same time with an older man, probably in his late 70s. I stop … Continue reading

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The longing for Bessarabia

Today my heart was filled with desire: I was overwhelmed by my longing for Chisinau, a beautiful city in Eastern Europe, the capital of present day Moldova, and the place where I felt truly alive. It is a strange thing … Continue reading

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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 Garden of the Lord’s Mother

Photo from the Museum of the Village in Bucharest I am in a place that I will always call home, regardless of where my life will take me: Romania. I wrote about it before: I can never say why I … 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 … 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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A victorious army of grandmas

Photo by Ioana Hasu My life would be completely different today if it were not for my mama-mare and tata-mare (grandma and grandpa), but especially my mama-mare. Mama-mare, the beautiful. She told me stories and she prayed with me. I should rather … Continue reading

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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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