The erection of a monument for former SRI and former Securitate workers caused a major scandal, the monument being erected in Pitesti, where the terrible Pitesti Experiment took place.
Almost 100 people participated in the unveiling of the monument PHOTO argespress.ro
The monument, which has the shape of a carved wooden cross, was unveiled on September 14 in the Pitesti Military Cemetery, on the occasion of an action organized by the Argeș branch of the Association of Reserve and Retired Military Cadres from the Romanian Intelligence Service (ACMRR-SRI) . According to the organizers, the monument was erected in memory
“to the soldiers who worked on the “invisible front”, in the activity of defending Romania’s fundamental values”. Basically, the monument was erected both for the former workers of the SRI and of the former Securitate. And the tribute to the “heroes” of the former Securitate in the very city where the terrible Pitesti Experiment took place sparked a wave of revolt at the national level.
The Institute for the Investigation of the Crimes of Communism and the Memory of the Romanian Exile (IICMER) requested the removal of the monument from Pitesti.
“The truth” spoke, related to this controversial monument, with Maria Axinte – the founder of the Pitesti Prison Memorial, with Cristian Gentea – the mayor of Pitesti and with the reserve colonel Dumitru Șovar, president of the Association of Reserve and Retired Military Cadres – SRI Argeș, the organizer of the event.
The Pitesti experiment, “the most terrible barbarism of the contemporary world”
Between 1949 and 1951, the Pitesti Experiment took place at the Pitesti prison, considered to be the largest and most intensive program of brainwashing through torture in the communist bloc. Of the thousands of people who went through the Pitesti Experiment, less than ten are still alive today.
The writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – laureate of the Nobel Prize for literature – believed that the Pitesti experiment was “the most terrible barbarism of the contemporary world”, and the historian François Furet, a member of the French Academy, considered the “Pitesti Phenomenon” “one of the most terrible experiences of dehumanization that our era has known”.
Twelve young people died in the Pitesti Experiment and several thousand were tortured. Hundreds of former detainees were left with psychological or physical trauma for life.
11 years ago, some Pitesti residents led by a passionate young woman, Maria Axinte, had the idea of establishing the Pitesti Prison Memorial Foundation. And this foundation has been managing the part of the building that has preserved the appearance of a prison ever since. In order to create a professional visiting circuit, several investments were made here, thanks to the dozens of volunteers who got involved in the project. And in 2014, part of the former Pitesti prison was opened to the public. In the summer of this year, the world’s first Museum of Communism for Children was opened at the Pitesti Prison Memorial.
“The authorities should apologize to the victims of the communist regime”
“Although it was a “discreet” event, in the sense that the monument was probably erected for the ego of some “marking personalities” of the local intelligence services, the event in Pitesti once again accuses the sleepy and disrespectful consciences of the state institutions Romanian. Because, unfortunately, the Securitate, contrary to its noble name, dealt with systematic violence and continuous terror during the communist dictatorship. And many still remember it very well. And there are no excuses like “not all were bad”, because this institution had a clear mission, which some fulfilled with zeal, hence the general indignation”Maria Axinte, the founder of the Pitesti Prison Memorial, declared exclusively for “Adevărul”.
The monument unveiled on Thursday, September 14, at the Pitesti Military Cemetery is less than five kilometers from the former Pitesti prison. The event was attended by almost 100 military reservists of SRI, SIE and the Directorate of Military Intelligence from several counties and representatives of reservist associations of MAPN, MAI
“Everything is all the more serious as this monument was erected in the city where the Pitesti Experiment took place, right at the former prison that is today, partially, a memorial museum, right in the center of the city. And in which the “unseen” services were capable of such a violent and dehumanizing action against more than 600 anti-communist students that it became unique in the communist world. And let’s not forget the resistance groups and their supporters in the Muscel area, who were terribly tortured at the Pitesti Security and Pitesti Prison in the 1950s. Hundreds of women and men, of all ages and social categories, who decided to do something against the communist dictatorship. The local authorities should publicly apologize to by the victims and survivors of the regime for allowing the monument to be erected and to remove it”adds Maria Axinte.
“We did not want to offend the sad events that the Pitesti Experiment represented”
“Adevărul” also requested a point of view from Cristian Gentea, the mayor of Pitesti, related to the erection of the monument, which in just a few days caused numerous controversies and criticisms.
“I’ve been away on vacation for a week, I’m not in the country. Pitesti City Hall has no involvement in that event. I have no further comments to make”stated for “Adevărul” Cristian Gentea, the mayor of Pitesti.
“Adevărul” also spoke, related to the controversial monument, with colonel (r) Dumitru Șovar, president of the Association of Reserve and Retired Military Cadres-SRI Argeș, the organizer of the event.
“I am actually amazed at how this activity was interpreted. I can only say that we did not in any way want to touch or offend in any way those sad events that the Pitesti Experiment represented”says Dumitru Sovar.
Florin Şandru, the president of ICCMER, demands the removal of the monument, arguing that Securitate was not an intelligence service, but “the armed arm of the party, with which it killed those who opposed communism.”
“Most of the deaths of the fighters of the invisible front from the State Security Department took place during the confrontations with the real heroes of Romania, the officers, teachers, workers, peasants, priests and students, who resisted communism, imposed in Romania by the Red Army and the Romanian Communist Party”says Florin Şandru.
Dumitru Șovar denies the fact that the unveiling of the monument is related to former employees of the Security from before 1989. “IICCMER President’s statement is mind boggling. We have nothing to do with those events. We are decades away from that”says Dumitru Sovar.