Even Paul Goma has characterised this document as a tragi-comical one. The note contains a list of the Militia officers who were involved in his case, whom the Securitate officers asked their superiors to reward for helping in this mission. The rewards were: 3 metres of cloth and a leather folder for the commander, watches, leather briefcases, leather wallets and radios for the others. Usually, the Securitate rewarded its informers with small amounts of money and some cheap products. They rather preferred to facilitate various services. This note is unusual because this is about rewarding some Militia officers. Besides the amusing aspect regarding the modest level of this reward, the document is relevant for the relation between the secret police, the Securitate, and the Militia, because the money for procuring these items originated from the Securitate’s financial funds. The document qualifies as a masterpiece of the collection especially because of its uniqueness, which can be explained only by considering how unusual was the emergence of the Goma Movement for the Romanian secret police. The Securitate officers faced for the first time the taking shape of a large coherent movement, so they used all possible methods in order to curtail its development. This small document is a rare piece of evidence regarding the subordination of the Militia to the Securitate, which otherwise it is not obvious from the documents in the CNSAS Archives (ACNSAS, Informative Fonds, File I 2217/10, f. 113-114).
The Goma Movement Ad-hoc Collection includes numerous plans of action against the individuals involved in supporting the open letter of protest against the violation of human rights in Romania which was to be addressed to the CSCE Follow-Up Conference in Belgrade. Each Securitate informative surveillance file contains periodically updated plans of action, but these usually required only the approval of the high-ranking Securitate officer in charge of the case of the person in question. What is remarkable about this plan of action, which is part of Goma’s personal file, is its endorsement by the highest possible office holders in the Ministry of the Interior, to which the Direction of State Security was directly subordinated in 1977: the plan was countersigned by Nicolae Pleșiță, first deputy minister, and finally approved by Teodor Coman, the minister of the interior himself. Obviously, the hierarchical level of those who endorsed this plan indicates the great importance attached to this case. It is worth noting that the “successful” handling of the Goma Movement, in which Pleșiță involved himself and acted as Goma’s head interrogator, led to his promotion to the rank of lieutenant general in 1977. The same year, he coordinated the repressive measures taken by the regime in the aftermath of the Jiu Valley miners’ strike of August. Pleșiță remains notorious, however, for his actions while head of the Centre for Foreign Intelligence between 1980 and 1984, in particular for the 1982 failed attempt at suppressing Goma while in exile in Paris, and for the 1981 bomb attack on the RFE headquarters in Munich, for which the Securitate seems to have hired the infamous terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal. After 1989, Pleșiță showed no remorse for his misdeeds, and all attempts to hold him legally responsible for these wrongdoings eventually failed.To return to this particular Securitate plan, its content and date of issuance illustrate that it was just an intermediate stage in the devising of actions meant to disintegrate the emerging movement. Chronologically, the date of issuance, 17 March 1977, is over a month after the open letter of protest against the violation of human rights was made public by Radio Free Europe, and thus it is entitled “plan of action for continuing the actions for annihilating and neutralising the hostile activities which Paul Goma initiated, being instigated and supported by Radio Free Europe and other reactionary centres in the West.” At the same time, it is a plan one step short of Goma’s arrest, which occurred two weeks later, on 1 April 1977. The document includes four separate types of action. The first type consists of the so-called “actions of discouragement, disorientation and intimidation,” which were directed mainly against Goma, but the necessity of tackling his supports separately is also mentioned. This type of action consists mostly of various forms of harassment up to the level of deporting him outside Bucharest in order to seclude him from his channels of communication across the border. These actions of rather soft repression were to be accompanied by attempts bring this problematic episode for the Securitate to a faster and neater end by convincing Goma to either give up or emigrate. The second category of actions included the use of the foreign press and publications in the attempt to compromise Goma and implicitly the movement for human rights initiated by him among the Romanian emigration and the Western audience. The third category referred to actions of counterbalancing the denigrating messages broadcast by Radio Free Europe, which was the radio agency that helped Goma the most. Finally, the fourth category consisted of actions to compromise Goma among the personnel of Western embassies in Bucharest, with the aim of depriving him of his channels of communication with RFE or other members of the exile community (ACNSAS, Informative Fonds, File I 2217/6, f. 109-112). All these measures failed, and thus Goma was eventually arrested and brutally interrogated, including by First Deputy Minister Pleșită himself, but liberated approximately a month later, on 6 May 1977, due to the massive protests of the Romanian emigration in Paris, which managed to convince many outstanding personalities to sign a petition for his release. This plan of action testifies to the Securitate practice of spreading calumnious rumours about all those who spoke against the regime in order to defame and isolate them. As Goma himself observes, “a document of great importance for me. (…) I knew that (…) the [calumnious] rumours and gossip (…) were inspired by the Securitate. Now I have the proof that the Securitate was not only inspiring, but also authoring them” (Goma 2005, 397).
The document that records the extent of the search carried out at the home of the Petrescus on 18 May 1983 is in the family’s private collection in an original copy, made out by the officers who took part in the event. Another two copies were kept by the communist authorities of the time. The minute records that the Petrescus were present at the search, as were two witnesses. It consists of four pages, very clearly written, and is made out in the name of the Iaşi County Inspectorate of the Securitate. Each page is signed both by the representatives of the forces of control and repression and by the witnesses and the couple themselves. The document lists the objects that were kept by the Securitate on this occasion: books; audio cassettes, including one containing a recording of Virgil Ierunca’s broadcast on Radio Free Europe in which he highly praised Dan Petrescu and other young intellectuals in Iaşi for their articles in the student magazines Dialog and Opinia Studenţească; rolls of recording tape; photographs; letters from various people; pages of notes; and a folder labelled “Furrows across the baulks – feuilleton novel of the collectivisation,” containing forty-five leaves of the manuscript of this collective novel. Among the books confiscated were some that later became classic works of critical analysis of the communist system, but which were very recent publications at the time, for example La Nomenklatura, les privilégiés en URSS by Mikhail Voslensky (1980) and L'Union soviétique survivra-t-elle en 1984? by Andrei Amalrik (1977). There were also critical works on Romanian communism published by Romanian writers in exile, such as La Cité totale by Constantin Dumitrescu (1980). The couple managed to save some books from confiscation, but of those removed from their home by the Securitate only one was given back to them, though it is not clear on which criteria this particular book, Les Sources et le sens du communisme russe by Nikolai Berdyaev, was returned – perhaps because it dated from 1938, so was much older than the others. Thérèse Culianu-Petrescu recalls how they managed to hide some of the most critical, and implicitly the most incriminating books: “The next day, 18 May 1983, at six o’clock sharp in the morning, the guys burst in. […] At first they were very pleasant. They gave us time to get dressed, and those minutes gave us a chance to remove some books, to give them to my aunt, who stuck them under her jacket, under her overcoat. Solzhenitsyn, for example. We saved the Gulag and a few others. My aunt took them into her room, where they had no mandate to enter and where they didn’t think of entering. [… Wherever they had a mandate,] they left nothing untouched. Nothing, nothing. You realised that you could hide something anywhere, in the garden, in the house, in the woodshed, and they would rummage around and they could find it. They were capable of moving everything, of going through everything.” And regarding the immediate consequence of the search, interrogation at the Securitate headquarters, she adds: “The search lasted approximately five hours. From six in the morning to eleven. […] Then they took us up – ‘up’ meaning to the Securitate. It was on a street named Triumfului. Now after 1989, the gangs of Securitate people have built a district of apartment blocks that they own.” Dan Petrescu adds, with regard to the manner in which those who came conduct the search acted in order to find what interested them, underlining that the Securitate was particularly interested in a cassette with the recording of a Radio Free Europe broadcast, in which some young Iaşi writers had been highly praised, among them himself, and in the manuscript of the collective novel: “They had come on the basis of information, for they were looking for certain things. They were looking for a recording of a broadcast on Radio Free Europe where [Virgil] Ierunca praised us and… they were looking for books […] They confiscated a lot of books from us. Only one was given back to us, after the search. Berdyaev – his book about the sources and the meaning of communism. At the same time they asked me about the novel [“Furrows Across the Baulks” revisited]. I said to them: ‘Why are you still looking for it? Because you’ve already got it.’ They had taken it from George Pruteanu. […] It didn’t exist in more than one manuscript. There were no copies. It passed from one to the next and each one added to it. They were also looking for letters in the search.” Dan Petrescu adds, to give a clearer picture of those months, another detail that casts a new light on that moment: “The search took place, at our home, in May 1983. In March, I found out later in documents at CNSAS, the Securitate guys had made new recruits in literary circles in Iaşi. Ten new names. In editorial boards of periodicals, publishing houses, that sort of thing.”
This second edition of Taras Shevchenko’s Kobzar was published in Kharkiv in 1933, as famine raged in the Ukrainian countryside following rapid collectivization of agriculture. Vasyl Sedliar provided images for the volume (first published in 1931). His paintings appear to be autonomous representations of the enduring leit motif of Shevchenko’s poetry—the subjugation and suffering of universal man and the plight of Ukrainians, specifically, in the Russian Empire—paired with powerful lines from Shevchenko’s poetry.
Art historian Myroslava Mudrak notes that the works are executed in the embattled Boichukist style, which borrow directly from Byzantine religious imagery—both icons and, most particularly, mural painting—and also incorporate contemporary secular subject matter that drills deeply into the psyche of a subjugated nation. Sedliar’s individual approach infuses these works with an ethereal quality. Figures are not grounded solidly, but tend to be suspended, like spirits. Moreover, there is a preponderant anonymity, which appeals to the larger existential issues of the human condition under oppression. Sedliar was keenly aware of what was going on around him, but as an artist he expressed it transcendently. Both he and the editor of this volume were arrested and executed during the Stalinist purges of the 1930s, along with many of their colleagues who had helped create what became known as Soviet culture.
The collection of the prose memoir “Všecky krásy světa” (All Beauties of the World) originated from the initiative of the photographer Ondřej Rakovec, who asked Seifert to accompany his poetic pictures of Prague in the winter with words. Seifert’s memoirs were commissioned by the publishing house Albatros at the beginning of 1970s, but the manuscript was removed from the publishing schedule on request of Ministry of Culture in February 1972. Even after the rejection of his manuscript, Seifert continued writing his memoirs and offered them to publishing house Odeon in 1976. In the same year, his memoir’s texts were recited by the actress Vlasta Chramostová in front of three dozen guests in her flat. Extracts of Vlasta Chramostová’s recitation with Jaroslav Seifert’s introduction were later released in Stockholm on gramophone records by the Charter 77 Foundation with support of the publishing house Šafrán in Uppsala. “Všecky krásy světa” was also printed in exile, in 1981, to mark Seifert’s eightieth birthday. The book was published by Index in Cologne and by Sixty-Eight Publishers in Toronto. In the same year, the memoirs were also published in samizdat edition Kvart. “Všecky krásy světa” was later officially published also in Czechoslovakia, in years 1983 and 1985 by the Československý spisovatel (Czechoslovak Writer) publishing house. This “official” version was, however, censored – some chapters or names of “undesirable” people were left out. When Jaroslav Seifert was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1984, the manuscript of “Všecky krásy světa” was, with both exiled and official Czechoslovak editions as well as a list of the censored erasures, put on display in the hall of the Royal National Library in Stockholm. The third official Czechoslovak edition was published in 1992 and was based on the uncensored exile version of the memoirs. The book was later published several times in the Czech Republic, as well as translated into many other languages.
The manuscript of “Všechny krásy světa”, written between 1970 and 1975, is currently in the Literary Archive of the Museum of Czech Literature; the manuscript was officially bought by the Museum from the antiquarian bookshop on Wenceslas Square 41 in Prague in 1978.
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