The Memorial of Pain and The Man with No Memory

The Memorial of Pain and The Man with No Memory

Everyone must have heard about Harry Potter: there were some characters in the book called the Dementors, who, by their presence and terrible kiss, sucked the strength, the happiness and all positive thoughts of their victims…This is how I felt after visiting this museum Sighetu Marmaţiei– without strength or optimism

Try to image yourself in a simple room whose walls are covered by several maps of Romania. The visitor can hear the serious and sad voice of the poetess Ana Blandiana, while his eyes are terrified by the number of white crosses that marks the penitentiaries, the places where forced labour was carried out, the so called psychiatric asylums, the places where people were executed and the common graves. In the next room, a few panels cover most of the political events of the years that turned Romania into a political camp – too many years of abuses. And this is only the beginning.

A short visit The Memorial of the Victims of Communism and Resistance has no point. It is as looking through a book without reading its content and then trying to discuss it. Maybe there are people who know more about the real atrocities, but I tend to believe that most of the visitors who passed without stopping there were people like me, happy ignorants with no victims in their families, who refused to look for details, who understood the seriousness of the facts but not their proportion. I looked at the texts and photos from the walls trying not to burst into tears. Although I left the museum after a few hours, I could not read everything because there was too much information.

Each room, each cell has its concept, its history and its tragedy. And their number it is not modest, they are extended on three levels, including the ground floor. When I visited the place, the translations were missing. I found a few loose pages, but they were not enough for a foreign tourist who might have wanted to learn more than an image could provide. Beside this, the conception of every room is up to the mark, making this museum unique in the European landscape. I had not visited such a place before, but seeing the testimonies of those who could make the comparison was enough for me.

What could I say more? Far too less to reflect the reality… 600 000 of arrested and convicted Romanians between 1945 and 1989! Other 200 000 deported and transferred people. Names such as those of Iuliu Maniu, Ion Mihalache, Bratianu, the genocide on the culture and art, the imprisoned academicians, the torture, the uprooting of the faith, the verses transmitted from cell to cell by Morse language, the small objects of the arrested women, the kitsch of the Communism of Ceausescu… all these details and proofs can seriously shake the belief that a people which was knelt for such a long time could ever stand up and fight for the future.

« Look behind only to go foward » used to say Vladimir Ghica or « The man who forgets his past is condemned to repeat it » draws us the attention George Santayana.

It is exactly what this museum tries to do : to fight against one of the greatest victory of the communism : the man with no memory, hoping that one day the incredible percentage of Romanians that regrets the communism would understand the history and would not repeat infinitely the same mistakes. Do you believe this would be possible? Which are the chances that our children have in this context? Go over there, read, try to understand, suffer because you do not know the answer! Then rest outside, in the interior yard and look at the endless list of the names of the victims. Watch the statues that head inevitably towards a wall. And spread the message…

Opening hours:

From Monday to Sunday: 9h30-19h30(15 April-15 October)

From Thursday to Sunday: 10h00-16h00(10 October-14 April). Closed on Mondays.

A ticket is worth about one euro.

Romanian version: Roxana Farca

English version: Mihaela Florea

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Antreprenor şi fondator al, Roxana a părăsit o carieră de 14 ani în publicitate pentru a se dedica unei mari pasiuni: călătoriile. În prezent studiază artele plastice și fotografia, iar când rămâne timp mai scrie despre călătoriile pe care le face cu familia, despre cultură, natură sau oameni şi despre toate experienţele pe care le trăieşte în lumea cea mare.