Let me start saying that my relationship with my father was not so good. He was almost always nervous and dissatisfied, sometimes punishing me and my brother more than our mistakes. Well, now I understand that he had his reasons, a very difficult life that hit him hard; but I, child, I did not understand that, it was he who had to adapt and understand that I was a child who saw this world with the eyes of someone who was still learning.
During the Second World War, he was a lieutenant because everyone with a university degree (my father had a law school at his belt) was incorporated as an officer when called to fight for their country. He received a medal of bravery, Tudor Vladimirescu, the highest medal offered by the Romanian army of the time, for courageous acts during the war.
OKAY. So my father was an effective lawyer before communism struck Romania unexpectedly. But before 1947 (when communism was imposed in Romania), because my father's boss was a member of the Liberal Party, my father worked for the liberals, and that was one of the things in my father's story who sealed his fate. And that was more: when the Communists appropriated the farmers’ properties, my father defended them against government abuses. And that was the last mistake.
One night, the police passed, arrested him and he was sent to a concentration camp, without trial, was never tried. He spent time on this campus for about two years.
I do not know much about his life in prison, he was very careful not to tell us about it (me and my brother); he was afraid we were talking at school and that was a big problem, the secret police had eyes and ears everywhere, even in schools among children ... What I know is what I heard when he was talking to his friends; I was playing or pretending to sleep, but my ears were turned to the conversation of the big ones ... and, by the way, I never talked about what I learned to anyone, but after the fall of communism, when I was 35 years old.
But what I remember is enough to fill me with horror every time my memory goes up. In this campus where my father was detained for two years, there was no air conditioning and the heating system was very bad. They did not wear the detainees' uniforms, but what they had when they were arrested, and after a while their clothes were torn apart. The food was poor, and the little story I remembered was so inhuman, that, perhaps, determined to hate the communist system all my life, starting with early childhood, I could never go beyond it.
For several months in a row, they fed only on sweets (marmalade) and fats. Some of them with fats and others with sweets, in two different rooms, so they could not make exchanges; some of them kept their food in their mouth, and when they went out into the yard, they made the exchange, the fats for the sweets. My dad was in the marmalade group, and one day he did the exchange, but after a while he swallowed the fat; and even after so many years, when he told the story to his friends, he remembered how sorry he was that he could not keep the fat in his mouth any longer.
After two years, he was released unexpectedly. In law school, he had a colleague, Pescaru, who was a communist, who reached to be an important member of the Communist Party; and this guy heard about my dad and found a way to get him out.
Note: A few years later, Pescaru, very disappointed with the direction the Party took, resigned from all roles, demanding early retirement. My father and Pescaru became very good friends until the death of my father at the age of 57 following complications related to diabetes and finally to cancer.
I was born almost two years after my father went home, and in the family photo above, with my mother, father and brother, I am the tallest child, 15 months senior my brother.