11 mai 2008

For Rumiana Mestrovic

Dear Prof. Mestrovic,

Thank you so much for posting your comment on my blog re: the new statue of Carol I at Pta Revolutiei. I'm very flattered that you took the time to do so and would like to know if you would mind my putting it where my readers can also profit. (Dear all: you can click on the second entry of 'derniers commentaires' on the right to see what this is all about)

I realised of course, that it had caused a scandal, but not for the reasons you so clearly outlined in your mail. Of course, looking at the two statues - that sculpted by your father-in-law and that of Codre - the likeness is striking. With, as you say, a certain weirdness.

Wikipedia said the following: 'Prior to 1948, an equestrian statue of Carol I of Romania stood there. Created in 1930 by the Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović, the statue was destroyed in 1948 by the Communists, who later had to pay damages to the sculptor. In 2005, the Romanian Minister of Culture decided to recreate the destroyed statue from a model that was kept by Meštrović's family. In 2007, the Bucharest City Hall assigned the project to the sculptor Florin Codre, who is going to design an original statue of Carol inspired by Meštrović's model.'

Hence, I was of the impression that Codre had been commissioned to create the statue based on the original and therefore that similarity would have been quite normal. But 'original' means 'different'. Not copied. I stand corrected. It certainly isn't 'inspired'.


Roumania is a democratic country, full of (on the whole) intelligent and law abiding citizens, though I can't speak for the people at the top who run the show. In them I have little confidence and I'm not the least bit surprised that the Mayor didn't have the decency to contact you. Democracy takes time. First it must be understood and then it must be applied. Starting at the top of the pile, not from the bottom.

I apologise for replying to you via the blog, but there was no address left for contacting you.

Thank you once again for taking the time to read my blog and then to write to me. I would be very grateful if you could keep me up to date with the proceedings. I'm very interested to know what happens next. The people of Roumania have been squashed and flattened far too often and for far too long by those 'up there' and I'd be delighted to see someone say 'no!' for once. Laws are laws and must be adhered to if Roumania is ever going to be truely European, earning the respect that its people so richly deserve. I couldn't agree with you more.

I wish you every success in your battle and eventual peace of mind.

Very best wishes, Sarah

For other articles on afore-mentioned statue (in Roumanian), see: http://www.evz.ro/articole/detalii-articol/801483/Statuia-lui-Carol-I-din-Piata-Revolutiei-umbreste-Teapa-lui-Ghildus/


Posté par Sarah in Romania à 22:50 - Commentaires [2] - Permalien [#]


P5100002Dear All,

Just a brief update of today to save time tomorrow. Private classes this morning and then met Brigitte at Icoanei Park. We found Romulus Cristea already waiting  (see http://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romulus_Cristea) at Cafepedia, a very nice, rather luxurious café on the corner of bd. Elisabeta and str. Academiei, which specialises in.....Chocolate! Rararara! I am very grateful to Brigitte for introducing me to Romulus, a journalist for Romania Libera, who has 5 books to his name on the Revolution (personal accounts, témoignages, info and details) that Brigitte intends to have translated and published in French by Acte Sud. I certainly hope Romulus1she succeeds, as such literature should be read all over the world if Roumania and its people are ever going to be accepted internationally, let alone understood and accepted for who they are. If the dreadful ignorance across the globe which instigates the racist attitude that Roumania has only two features - Dracula and Gypsies - is ever going to change, these kind of books need to make an impact.

He's a very interesting and engaging chap, is Romulus. You can go and see his blog (in Roumanian) to find out more - there are 60 other blogs of his all linked to the main one, where you can discover such fascinations as the tunnels that run under Bucharest, the interior of Becali's kitsch palace (also sent to me by Nicole), see pix of the revolution, his interviews and a mass of other serendipidy: http://romuluscristea.wordpress.com. Do check it out.

I had a pen and paper to write down all the stories they both told me about the Revolution (both there), but somewhere between cocktails, tapas and vodka, I lost my pen and forgot to write anything anyway. Next time... suffice to say the tales were both amusing and sad, both thought-provoking and tragic (from queueing for toilet rolls to being battered black and blue by the miners who'd Romulus3been fired up and manipulated by Iliescu). I was agog. All ears. I'll have more of the same on Monday evening as I've been invited to the 21st DecemberDec_Club Club of which Brigitte and Romulus are both members. I can't tell you much about it for the moment, but will report back Monday night. All I know for now is that all members were present on Piatas Revolutiei and Universitatii when the Revolution exploded in 1989. I'll talk to very interesting people, hear more stories and experiences and meet a certain George Enescu 2nd - news on that too, when mission accomplished!

We moved on from Chocolate Haven to Festival 39 to drink some very delicious cocktails and talk some more. In my case, absorb. To have lived through something like that is unimaginable. Even less imaginable is the terrible sufferance that preceded for so many Romulus4years. We can empathise and be compassionate all we like, but we 'from the west' can never understand such terror, hunger, humiliation and hardships unless we've lived through them. It hurts me to say that, for this is so part of me, this country of my heart, that I feel almost guilty for not having suffered all that, too. I wish I could take its past pain and assuage it, make it better somehow...all we can do now is teach, educate and stop the stupid notions and preconceptions of Roumania outside the country, help restore its reputation, making the potentially successful and promising future more attainable, easier to see, feel, believe in. Teach its music, literature, poetry, history...if you knew it, you couldn't help but love it. Believe me.

Festival 39 has a nice terrace where we went and sat until it became tooP5100005 chilly. Birdsong and sunlight. Hanul Lui Manuc is being done up and looks nothing less than a building site. A street puppy came up the steps to beg cuddles and wasn't disappointed, little darling.

P5100007Back at the cave now with a lot to think about (and a bit of a headache), I wait with impatience for Monday evening. The meeting is held in str. Batistei bang across the road from what used to be the Securitate building. I'll be too late for the actual meeting (it's very serious apparently), but will arrive just in time for palinka and social free for all. Far more up my street. It'll be nice meet to Romulus again and see Brigitte.

BregovicOther news: A very successful and popular Goran Bregovic gave a free concert in Iasibregovic2 today with songs from his album 'Tales & Songs For Weddings & Funerals'. Zucchero is in Cluj. Nana Mouskouri has donated a load of money to a maternity hospital here in Bucharest. The EuropaFest Festival has begun. A new hospital,The Third Millenium, has opened. Nice news for once.

EuropafestPhone call this morning from Dan, a friend of Nicole and Serge, who is completely dedicated to saving the beautiful architecture of Bucharest. He spends a huge amount of time and energy doing conservation work for the city. A fountain of knowledge and information, I'm told, and I'll meet him week after next. I'm looking forward to that. Nicole has also put me in touch with another friend of her's, Gabriela, back here after years living away in the States. It's so lovely to have new people to meet, make new connections, hear more stories and experiences. I regret not having a dictaphone, really. By the time I get to the blog of an evenig, I've forgotten so much. That's what comes of having a brain like a lump of Gouda.

Tomorrow: packing, packing and more packing. Lucia, George and Mircea in the evening.

More when back.

Love Sarah xox

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 00:25 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

10 mai 2008


P5090034Dear Everyone,

Rosie and I are just back from a great night at Lola's - bbq managed by Flori and BogdanP5090041 on the covered patio, kitchen duty (potatoes, crepes, salad etc) carried P5090051out by Aless and Lola. I was on surveillance duty, which involved pouring wine, holding cigarettes, rescuing would-be cremated crepes and doing nothing in particular. So much wonderful food that we never made it past first course. Lola's crepes with blackcurrant jam and icecream will have to see another P5090058P5090081day and the cheese will be Lola and her family's breakfast for the next year. Delicious mici, chops, sausages and fillets, baked potatoes, stuffed mushrooms, green salad, risotto and a deliciously smooth (and rather fatal) cabernet sauvignon, not to mention mad and utterly off the wall silliness resulted in such a lovely evening. We missed P5090077P5090073Gaby very much, and assuaged that by watching her dancing a spoof to 'Only You' at Lola's Xmas Party last year! Brilliant! Gaby, give up the day job and hurryP5090045 home. That's enough, now!

Busy day tomorrow, with private classes in the morning then Brigitte and Romulus late afternoon . News as it happens.

Have a great weekend.

Love Sarah xox

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 01:26 - Commentaires [1] - Permalien [#]

09 mai 2008

Pépé gets a haircut, Rosie gets a good laugh...

Poor Pépé the Perv has been to the hairdressers...

PB250001Before and after...


P5090031P5040011Oh, the humiliation. Poor Pépé. Rosie thinks he looks gay, whilst Kitzu just attacked him...it's the tail that does it.

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 17:10 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

08 mai 2008

Rocky Horror...

RH1Damn! Damn!! Damn!!!

Tickets start at 160 RON - daylight robbery and utterly ludicrous. So, it'll be the dvd round at mine instead, okay girls? The 'dress as vamps' code still stands! We'll be near enough to the Kristal Glam to hang out the window and have a look at the guests from four floors up! Maybe they wouldn't dress up anyway, which would kind of spoil half the fun of going to the real thing....

Love, Sarah xox

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 20:28 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

07 mai 2008

Rocky Horror Comes To Bucharest!

RH11Dear Everyone,RH12

Look what I just found! I'm sooooo excited! At laaaaaast! 29th May is a Thursday, though, so I'll be nose to grindstone...however, that's the premiere. Hopefully there'll be weekend shows, too. Oh...wow! But how to sing The Time Warp in Roumanian (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdu7xoHU9DA)? If you don't know this show, my dear Roumanian friends, see http://archive.filmdeculte.com/culte/culte.php?id=33 in French, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rocky_Horror_Picture_Show in English for plot and utter silliness.

PS. Where and what is the Kristal Glam Club?!!!! Just googled it and guess what?! It's only on str. J.S.Bach!!!!! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Apparently, it resembles the Crystal Ballroom, Dagenham in 1977...Morte de rire! Bring it oooooooooooon! Pix at the bottom of this post from Nine O'Clock.

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” premieres in Bucharest

  Rocky_Horror1published in issue 4175 page 12 at 2008-05-07

RH7The musical “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, directed by Alexander Hausvater, will have its Eastern-European premiere on May 29, in a Bucharest club. The show, created by Richard O’ Brian, was performed for the first time in 1975, in London and then conquered some of the most prestigious stages of Broadway, Western Europe, Australia, Africa or Asia.RH2

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is considered the most successful RH5musical of all times all over the world, and it represents a parody of horror and SF films, combined with irony and sensuality, outlined by music, dance and theatre. The British musical also inspired the 1975 music comedy “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, starring Susan Sarandon, Tim Curry, Barry Bostwick and Meat Loaf.

The performance tells the story of Janet Weiss and Brad Majors, a newly engaged RH8young coupleRH3 on atrip. Unfortunately, their car breaks down and they must seek accommodation at the castle of the transsexual doctor Frank’N’ Furter, an eccentric scientist leading terrifying and unpredictable experiments.

In Romania, the show will be performed weekly at Kristal Glam Club in Bucharest. The cast includes eleven Romanian actors, including Victor RH10Bucur, Sanziana Tarta, Filip Ristovski, Dana Rotaru, Silvia Launeanu, Matei Chioariu, Tica Alexe, Mirela Boureanu, and Marius Stanescu.RH4

According to the organisers, the creator of the musical Richard O’ Brian himself is expected to attend the premiere in Bucharest.

by Nine oClock

Kristal Glam Club, str. Bach, nr.2 pix:

Kristal2Kristal3KristalYup, okay...point taken! But it'll be fun fun fun!!!!

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 21:53 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

05 mai 2008


Dear Everyone,

I'd like to apologise for having included a certain Nina Cassian in the below post. I hadn't done any research, and hadn't any idea of her history further than what was written in Blouse Roumaine. This morning I decided to dig a bit deeper because her photo gave me goose pimples in a baaaaaad way and...aie aie aie, is all I can say. Paragraph on N.C. removed at 21h this evening. She's gone never to return, at least to this blog, and probably to Roumania, too. George Bush deserves her, but the American people sure as hell don't.

So sorry.

Love, Sarah

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 23:35 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

04 mai 2008

Womens voices of Roumania

books2Dear Everyone,

Below, some incredible extracts taken from a beautifully written book, "Blouse Roumaine" (inspired by a Matisse painting) by Constantin Roman. It is a tribute to the voices of Romanian women, both heard and unheard. You can find the link to this wonderful book on the right of the page. The likes of Ana Pauker and the unpronounceable wife of Ceausescu aren't included, of course. This is a place for those I admire, and not those I abhor. Please read on, and spare these women and their experiences tender thought and much affection. Remember that these are only a few - their voices represent the thousands of other women who also lived through and survived (or sadly not) the same persecution, terror and unimaginable cruelty, during our lifetime. Here. In Romania. The country of my heart. Our neighbour. So nearby....

Pastors_WifeSabina Wurmbrand (Sabina Oster)
Missionary of the underground church, Pastor’s wife, Political Prisoner, Exile, (1913, Romania – 2000, California, USA)

"...I was marched to the guard-room and put into a carcer. It was asabinaWurmbrand_id narrow cupboard built into the wall in which you could just stand. The iron door had a few holes to admit air... After a few hours, my feet were burning. The blood in my temples beat with slow, painful thuds. How many hours could they keep me here?... Drops of water were falling from somewhere on the roof of the box. It was a desolate sound. I counted them to make time pass... I don’t know how long I did this, but at a certain moment I simply began to cry aloud to avoid despair.

"One, two, three, four," I cried, and again, "One, two, three, four..." After a time the words became inarticulate. I didn’t know what I said. My mind had moved into rest. It blacked out. Yet my spirit continued to say something to God.” (“The pastor's wife”)

Beaux_JoursAna Novac
“The Romanian Anne Frank” - Playwright, Holocaust Survivor, Exile, (b. Transylvania, 1929), living in Paris since 1969.

“I was born in 1929 in Transylvania (Romania). One good morning, when I was 11 years oldAna_Novac I woke up to be a Hungarian citizen, without having moved to another place, another street, or even without having changed my shirt. At the age of 14 I was deported to Auschwitz, as a Jew. On my release in 1945 I had become again a Romanian citizen. That is why I have the greatest difficulty in establishing my nationality, other than from my identity papers which specified that I was Jewish.” (“Les beaux jours de ma jeunesse”, Ed Gallimard, Paris, 1996)

“If there is little mystery as to how one was exterminated in the camps, one knows relatively little as to the “conditions of life” on a day-to-day basis. What would be like to be an inmate of that hole, five minutes before he would clap out during a fight for a bed cover, a dish or a spoon…

How one was living in tattered clothes, hungry, weak, but preserving one’s sarcasm and aggression, an unimaginable vitality in civil life.

That raucous laughter! This is perhaps what is missing from the posthumous documents! That grotesque, ferocious and blunt side, which sharpens our misery much more than lamentations or tears. All in all a strange planet, inhabited by strange martyrs (without any vocation of sainthood), with an exorbitant rage for life, controlled by a sole rule of law – the survival.”
(“Les beaux jours de ma jeunesse”, Ed Gallimard, Paris, 1996)

225Monica Lovinescu
Romanian exile writer and broadcaster, anti-Communist fighter, (b. 1923, Romania) living in Paris

Ceausescu’s brand of Communism:
“When Ceausescu delivered his speech against the invasion of of Czechoslovakia (by the monica03Russians) he accredited the myth of the popular support he enjoyed. His acclaim by the crowds gathered in Palace Square in August 1968 lay at the basis of a suicidal complicity between the hangman and his victim. It is through this very act that we secured for ourselves our ‘originality’ within the communist context. The antagonism between “Them” and “Us”, which monica_02characterized the regime of Gheorghiu-Dej without as such circumventing its tragic dimension, dissolved in the derisive. On that tragic Shakespearean stage all characters of prime stature had disappeared leaving behind only the bafoons, whose whose ribaldry were empty of meaning..”
(“La apa Vavilonului 1960-1980”, Vol 2, Ed Humanitas, Bucharest, 2001)

Destruction of Romanian Élites:
“In Romania, the dissidence was an exception. Our rezistance was present when it did not exist in the other satellite countries and it ended just as it started with our neighbouring countries. We fought and died in the Carpathian mountains as the West was blind and deaf, soaking in its victory and forgetting its hostages. From the prisons where our Élite was destroyed came out in the 1960’s only the shadows of our earlier determination. Three succecive waves of terror – 1948, 1952 and 1958 had drained the collective organism. We caved ina quasy total silence. We sacrificed ourselves for nothing. With this sense of utter uselessness emerged from jails most of the survivors, some of whom, whilst “free”, remained at the beck and call of the Securitate.”
(“La apa Vavilonului 1960-1980”, Vol 2, Ed Humanitas, Bucharest, 2001)

CancicovMadelene "Madi" Cancicov
Lawyer, Political Prisoner, Writer, Exile
(25 June 1904, Bucharest – 6 June 1985, London)

Good and Evil :
“Evil is perhaps none other than the lack of courage to do Good. Because, as you can see, the Good is an uphill struggle, but Evil is a sliding slope.
What is extraordinary, tragic and dangerous in the realm of good faith is that one cannot suspect the existence of bad faith. “
“Le cachot des marionettes”

“ Judges are prodigal because their life is not at stake”.
“Le cachot des marionettes”

“Dear puppets on a string, I will have to bade you farewell (…) I have passed to you my poisoned chalice. You did not die of it but instead I could live.. I often asked myself: why do it? I could never remember it all and moreover I will never have the opportunity of putting it on paper. However I persevered so that such years of my life would not be completely wasted”
“Le cachot des marionettes”

“And the solitude: do you know what it means to forfeit one’s solitude?
“Le cachot des marionettes”

Oana_Orlea1Oana Orlea
née Oana Cantacuzino, Exile living in France, Political Prisoner, Writer, Exile, (b. 1936, Romania)

Prison Peep-hole:
“The eye of an evil God who hides his face and has absolute power over the prisoner.” (“Les Anées volées – dans le Goulag roumain a seize ans”, Seuil, 1991)

“The resistance in the (Carpathian) mountains was a dramatic episode. I realise that I do not know what name to give it, by what name to identify these men and women who died up there under Oana_Orlea2the bullets, or simply of cold and hunger. Such appellations were found (for others): The resistance is French,” as it fights the Germans, the partisans are Soviet, as they fight the Germans. There are also the desperados and the mudjahidins, but there is no word assigned to those who had fought, arm in hand, against the Communists, in the countries of Eastern Europe, occupied by the Soviet armies.” (“Les Années volées – dans le Goulag roumain a seize ans”, Seuil, 1991)

“The passion of the Russians for wrist watches was a classic: it was funny to see them display several watches to their wrist, or an alarm clock hanging round their neck.” (“Les Années volées”, Seuil, 1991)

Soviet female army officers:
“As to the females of the Soviet army, they discovered in Romania the existence of such underwear as the chemisette and the bra, which they were so proud of, that they would wear it over their uniform, but nobody had the guts to laugh at such things. When the first Romanian refugees who reached the West, brought with them such images, they were accused of being CIA agents.” (“Les Années volées”, Seuil, 1991)

Marta_PetreuMarta Petreu
Poet, Philosopher, Essayist, Academic
Living in Cluj, (b. 14th March 1955)

Eugene Ionesco in Romania:
“He was cured as one would be, through a classic psycho-analytic therapy, by writing (like a writer would do, with all the pre-requisite exaggerations and not like a historian, with all its scientific precision), by stating the truth: this truth, which we no longer like.” (“Eugeen Ionesco in his paternal country”)

Legionary Movement:
“The Legionary Movement is our national product, the revolt of our nasty and vindictive petreu2collective subconsciousness”… “ I believe that the source of some of the excesses during the Communist period is to be found in the inter-war period and in its excesses. Likewise, I believe that the reason of so many failiures during the past ten years – corruption, politicking, improbable justice, undemocratic behaviour is to be found in our history since 1918.” (“"Adevarului literar si artistic" (Nr. 547/ 05.12. 2000)”)


Marta Petreu is professor at Cluj University, a poet, essayist and a Philosopher and at the same time Editor-in-Chief of the magazine “Apostrof”, a platform from which she directs her criticism at the right-wing extremist nationalism in Romania. It is to be noted that the very mayor of Cluj, as a proponent of extreme nationalism is a graphic representation of professor Petreu’s attention. The interest is reciprocal with the difference that instead of using the same means of criticism through publishing professor Petreu’s opponents indulge in tactics of the more basic petreu3variety, involving threats of physical violence. As a result, both Marta Petreu and her publication remain rather isolated in a climate where it had become increasingly difficult to speak one’s mind.

Under Ceausescu’s regime Marta Petreu would have ended in a lunatic asylum or in the kind of isolated prison camp described by Oana Orlea, Madeleine Cancicov, Annie Samuelli, Sabina Wurmbrand (q.v.) and thousands of women tortured like them under the Communist dictatorship. Instead, in the post-Communist transition period such treatment is confined rather to intimidation and regular death threats. This is clearly quite an achievement considering the starting point on the road to NATO and to the European Union, that Romania wants to join. It is little wonder that she is expected to align and apply it laws in compliance to accepted civilised standards, before entry to such Clubs may be achieved. It maybe that Marta Petreu’s treatment, and that of other people llike her, may be a test case.

In 2002 the Writer’s Union of Cluj nominated Marta Petreu for the 2001 Henri Jacquier Prize given by the Institut Francais for her book “Eugene Ionesco in his paternal country”. Earlier, in June 2001, in New York , Marta Petreu was given by the Human Rights Watch the presitigious Hellman-Hemmett Prize, as one amongst 27 world authors who suffered persecution in their own country.

One could say, without fear of contradiction that for her courage and obduracy, combined with an incisive analytical mind and high moral values Marta Petreu falls in a very special category of exceptional women.


Rizea1Elisabeta Rizea of Nucsoara
Peasant Farmer, Resistance Fighter, (b. ca 1912, Romania) living in the village of Nucsoara, Co Arges

“When these wretched communists came to power they took everything from us, the land, the wooden carts, -the hair off our heads – still, what they could not take was our soul.” (interview given on 20th May 2001, on the occasion of the private visit to her home of King Michael)


Elisabeta Rizea was born before the WWI, in a small village of the RizeaSouthern Carpathians, in County Arges. She was a peasant farmer with a minute plot of land, a modest wooden cottage, covered in shingles and a few animals. Her every day dress was the national garb, embroidered with intricate patterns. She left school at the age of 14 to do what was expected of her lot - to help make a meagre existence off her small allotment. Her fierce opposition to the Communist expropriation and her husband joining the guerrilla fighters in the mountains led to torture and long years of imprisonment. She was branded “an enemy of the people” (“dusman al poporului”) and her household labelled “a home of bandits” (“casa de banditi”) – the worst possible indictment in the Communist state. Once in jail, in the notorious Pitesti prison, Elisabeta Rizea was held in chains and put on death row. She outlived her death sentence to tell her story, after Ceausescu’s fall.



SandaStolojan11Sanda Stolojan
Novelist, Translator, Poet, Personal Interpreter of the President of France, SandaStolojanHuman Rights activist, Exile living in Paris

Romanian Spirit:
“There is a certain quality in being detached, a merit in renouncing the worldly, which include also the territory of the Spirit. In order to find the Romanian Spirit one has to travel far into the desert, where it took refuge a long time ago, when confronted to the devastating violence of History. In the desert, in the void of scepticism, which wiped the table clean, it seems that it is there the remarkable Romanian Spirit. At this stage it seems that it may have something to tell, a superior message, but what it has to tell is of little interest to matters of History. One may percieve even grandeur and distinction in this Spirit which refuses to adhere to the world, even a certain superiority in this refusal. But who ever cares about refusal, about the non-resistence to the crime which now, more so than ever, is at the heart of History,? What may be the use of renouncing action? Maybe writing aphorisms like Cioran, meditating about the furility of action…… Finally, whatever may be its loftiness, compared to the values of the Spiri,t I still suspect there is something illicit in the smile of the Wise…” (“Au balcon de l’exil Roumain a Paris”, Ed L’Harmattan, Paris, 1999)

Sanda Stolojan (b. 1919) belongs to a family of Romanian scholars and diplomats. Her experience of western European languages and cultures dates to her childhood. She spent time at the Uranus Military prison in Bucharest. Her husband spent many years in prison, and at the infamous slave labour camp at the Danube-black Sea canal. These experiences caused an interruption in Sanda Stolojan's literary career. In the early 1960s, the bankrupt communist economy in need of cash, Sanda Stolojan and her husband were bought by a relation in France, for 25,000, dollars and were allowed to leave Romania for the West. Sanda Stolojan became a Romanian interpreter for the French Presidency for thirty years, from De Gaulle to Jacques Chirac. This privileged position allowed her to return to Romania as part of the official French delegations. In France she was one of the leaders of the anti-Communist exile group who sought to restore Romanian dignity in the face of Communist secret service agression. This milieu is presented in her recent memoirs published in Paris and Bucharest. Sanda Stolojan is a former president of 'The League for Human Rights in Romania' (1984-1990).

HERE'S the site again. Please do go and check it out.

and if they make you want to dash to your local bookshop, try these, too:

Annie Samuelli

Annie_SamuelliIn 1949, Annie Samuelli and her sister Nora were seized by the Communists on trumped-up charges in a mass arrest of all Romanian nationals working for the U.S. and British Legations in Bucharest. After nine months of torture and interrogation, the two sisters were sentenced to long prison terms. Then, in 1961, after 11 years and 340 days in separate prisons and security cells, the two were quietly released from jail and exiled upon payment of ransom by a relative living in the United States. In this book, Annie Samuelli writes of those years of imprisonment with great sensitivity and a remarkable lack of bitterness. She describes her successful effort to sustain her own and others' spirits through the seemingly endless ordeal. This is an authentic, graphic record of one woman's odyssey in the shadow world of the Iron Curtain prisons. Reprint of 'The Wall Between'.


Lena Constante



Lena"I have lived, alone, in a cell, 157,852,800 seconds of solitude and fear. Cause for screaming! They sentence me to live yet another 220,838,400 seconds! To live them or to die from them."–from The Silent Escape

Victim of Stalinist-era terror, Lena Constante was arrested on trumped-up charges of "espionage" and sentenced to twelve years in Romanian prisons. The Silent Escape is the extraordinary account of the first eight years of her incarceration–years of solitary confinement during which she was tortured, starved, and daily humiliated.

The only woman to have endured isolation so long in Romanian jails, Constante is also one of the few women political prisoners to have written about her ordeal. Unlike other more political prison diaries, this book draws us into the practical and emotional experiences of everyday prison life. Candidly, eloquently, Constante describes the physical and psychological abuses that were the common lot of communist-state political prisoners. She also recounts the particular humiliations she suffered as a woman, including that of male guards watching her in the bathroom. Constante survived by escaping into her mind–and finally by discovering the "language of the walls," which enabled her to communicate with other female inmates. A powerful story of totalitarianism and human endurance, this work makes an important contribution to the literature of "prison notebooks."


Posté par Sarah in Romania à 23:24 - Commentaires [5] - Permalien [#]

Weekly Update

P5010006Dear Everyone,

P5010003Not much more to report this weekend, apart from a lovely evening with Flori and Alina Friday which began at Festival 39, then continued on the roof of the National Theatre P5010004where there's a huge open space given to tables and chairs, bars and places that sell mici, sausages, fried potatoes and chicken drumsticks - all delicious. There's an area for experimental theatre and musicians, and the atmosphere fun and sociable. There's an indoor bar as well, a bit more well-to-do, which was closed.

Saturday morning early, I went for an hours walk with Rosie beforeP4250011 the rain hit to have a sigh at some of the beautiful houses in P4250009the side streets between Polona and Dorobanti, taking in str. Brasilia, str. Madrid and str. Prof. Ion Bogdan. I've no idea who livesP4250016 in any of them, and was stupid enough not to note the street numbers when I took the photos, but you can see why I stand in front of them and gaze in wonder. IfP5010001 you can't, well, look a bit closer! Even the houses which are neglected and falling to bits have such charm - each brick, each bit of plaster, tells its own story, has seen so much, could report on incredible events both tragic and marvellous throughout the history of this incredible city. There's still the Nicole Tour 3 to do, and for that, I'm waiting for energy and a beautiful day. It will be a lovely walk, I'm sure, full of the usual Nicole Research and Fascinating Facts.

A private class with Eugenia, a walk round the new quartier (see below) and then a weekend at the cave for back resting purposes, which has been exacerbated by the dreadfully wet weather meant I didn't go to Lola's bar-b-q. So sorry not to see the girls. It's been ages since we were all together at the same time! Instead, I stayed horizontal, computer on chest and had fun email exchanges with Nicole, who sent me beautiful photos of Fagaras, Piatra Craiului and other joys, bringing fresh air and sunlight to my cave.

I just saw Tantza and told her about my move. She was so sad, kept wiping her eyes, but said we'd visit each other and she'd still make me all my favourite grub! And was very insistent that I keep up the Reiki. Of course I will! Bless her. She understands why I must go, no need to draw a diagram. Just a shame I can't kidnap her and take her with me.

And that's all for now.

Love, Sarah xox

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 17:04 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

03 mai 2008

New Quartier

Dear All,

P5030025Having finished a private class near Pta Dorobanti today I decided to try to get some exercise despite screaming back ache (it's so wet and humid, I guess that's why...) and have a trot round my new quartier. It was a lovely surprise to discover it was rather nearer than I'd thought, as from the Piata and cutting through a side street its only a ten minute walk, though I was walking quite slowly for fear of my discal P5030029hernia going into an utter sulk. I can catch a bus on Dorobanti to Pta Romana or Dacia without any hassle at all, and Stefan cel Mare metrou is a mere ten minutes.

P5030030It's such a lovely green, quiet area, and str. Bach is nicely sandwiched between Bartok and Beethoven with Puccini just around the corner. Gardens on both sides, one of which, at the front, is a park (see pic, right) with benches, fountains, a playground...really lovely. I've a supermarket over the road as well as a flowershop, bakery, pizzeria, newspaper kiosk and other 'petits commercants' which will make life easier.

P5030027I told Mandita yesterday. I was dreading it but it was fine. She said it was better to have light and space, that she was very pleased for me, I was to come back and visit oftenP5030028 etc. I was so sure she'd be cross that I wasn't giving much notice, but not at all. I expectP5030031 she's delighted to be rid of this bourgeoise who does nothing but complain about things that don't work, fall off walls and feels the cold all the time! I haven't told Tantza yet. Yesterday was her birthday so it wasn't the moment and I haven't seen her since.

Lucia and George are back. They look well and rested after their break. It was so good to see them. Bucharest without them is a bit like Paris without an Eiffel Tower!

Have a good day. Until later, maybe.

Love Sarah xox

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 15:17 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

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