The end of an all-powerful dictator controlling the whole country with all means available, secret police, the army, and the high-ranking party members is mind-boggling.
Most of my stories are during his reign.
The story of his shocking death did not make it into my book since it is not family related, but it is worth telling.
Few days before his tragic end…
The meeting he organized in the Bucharest central plaza turned nasty when someone fired a firework that triggered the people to run (forcing the police positioned in a circle around the plaza) and shout anti-communist slogans.
That moment the presidential couple, Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu, scared, flew in a helicopter.
About 80 kilometers north of Bucharest, the helicopter’s pilot, Vasile Malutan, had a radio conversation and told the president that they were identified and the helicopter could be shot down. Ceausescu ordered the helicopter to land.
The presidential couple descended and, accompanied by the bodyguard, stopped a car. It was a doctor, Nicolae Deca, going home.
Ceausescu told the doctor: “It was a coup, I organize resistance in Targoviste.”
Targoviste was about 100 kilometers away. But in the first village, Deca said that his car had some mechanical problems.
The bodyguard stopped another car, a man from that village, Nicolae Petrisor. After few stops, they reached a factory near Targoviste. Three police officers working there, Ion Enache, Constantin Paisie, and Andrei Osman, took them, intending to hide them in the police station in Targoviste.
But in Targoviste the people were on the streets shouting slogans. Afraid, the group waited for the night near a forest, and then, under cover of the night, they reached the police station in Targoviste.
As the official version of the event goes, “The following day, the Ceausescus were arrested by revolutionaries led by Ilie Stirbescu.”
They were moved to a military unit near Targoviste.
Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu were executed three days after their arrival in that military unit near Targoviste. It was a mockery of a trial, on Christmas day, December 25, 1989.
I saw that trial on TV, a few weeks later. Two lawyers were assigned to defend him. One of them did his duty and tried to defend the Ceausescus, but the other one, whatever he said, was more accusatory about the misfortune he brought over the country.
The Romanian History site says this: “The process started at 13.20 and ended one hour later at 14.30. The sentence was deliberated in ten minutes, read at 14.40. Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu were sentenced to death by shooting for ‘genocide, undermining state power, acts of diversion and undermining the national economy.’”
The Ceausescus were dragged out near a wall. Nicolae did not fight, but Elena did. As I heard some rumors, the execution squad fired, but some soldiers on platforms further away, who were on duty to guard the unit, fired too.
The judge who pronounced the sentence died by suicide a few months later.
Ninety percent of the population was happy that Ceausescu disappeared from the Romanian political stage.
Here is the end of the then-presidential couple as described in that History site:
“The bodies of the two were wrapped in a sheet of a tent and boarded in one of the two helicopters, which took off around 15.00. They also had the members of the panel on board.
The announcement about the trial and execution of the dictators appears in the media, only at 20.45.
Overnight, the bodies of the Ceausescus were ‘forgotten’ on one of the sports fields in the Ghencea complex, being recovered the next day, and deposited at the morgue of the Military Hospital in Bucharest.
Nicolae and Elena Ceuşescu were buried on December 30 - secretly - in Ghencea Cemetery.”
Today that military unit where they were shot is a museum. The wall where the presidential couple was executed was renovated, but local authorities want to tear down the plaster, so visitors can see the bullets’ traces.
Today, Ceausescu’s grave can be visited. There is a segment of the population regretting him.