Ordeal of Romanian women victims of communism illustrated in exhibition at Moldovan Museum of History

The portraits of 71 women who were detained during the communist rule for political reasons and categorized as
“enemies of the people” are presented in an exhibition dedicated to Romanian women victims of communism, hosted at the National History Museum of Moldova. According to the organizers, the exhibition brings into view the black history that covered half, if not all of Europe, during the communist regimes and which must be known to the younger generations. “The Enemies of the People” exhibition is a project of the Civic Academy Foundation.

In addition to the 71 portraits, there is also a special section titled “The Youngest Detainees”, which tells the stories of several young girls who went through political detention because they were born in prison or because they were arrested together with their parents. The exhibition also presents aspects of the prison system through excerpts of memoirs or prison items.

The curator of the exhibition, Virginia Ion, said that it is important, especially for young people, to visit such exhibitions, because only by understanding what happened in the past, can we prevent similar things from happening in the present or in the future. “As we see today, unfortunately, things are not peaceful. Communism has not completely disappeared from the world”, added Virginia Ion.

The general director of the National History Museum of Moldova, Eugen Sava, said that this exhibition has a special, modern design and, from the point of view of the technical equipment, it differs from traditional exhibitions.

The Minister of Culture, Sergiu Prodan, mentioned that, as a film director, he was impressed by the women’s eyes, a fact that is largely due to the innovation and the new form of presenting the portraits. “In our history we have reason to be impressed. Communism will already forever be part of our DNA, regardless of which bank of the Prut River we are on, regardless of whether we were here in the Soviet Empire or Communist Romania. The scenario was the same, the methods were the same, the locations were different”, said the official.

The executive director of the Civic Academy Foundation, Ioana Boca, said the organization was founded in 1993 by the Romanian writers Ana Blandiana and Romulus Rusan, two important names in Romanian literature, but also of the civil society which in the 1990s started to debate issues regarding communist repression and the need to know and critically analyze the communist past.

The president of the Moldovan Association of Historians, Anatol Petrencu, said that this exhibition is a reminder of the crimes committed by the communist regime. The communists called women who had absolutely no fault “enemies of the people”. Each of the women who suffered could be a doctor, an agronomist, but their lives were broken because of barbaric policies, Anatol Petrencu added.

The exhibition will run at the National History Museum of Moldova during April 2-30.

The event was organized by the Civic Academy Foundation, in partnership with the National History Museum of Moldova, with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation Romania and the Hanns Seidel Foundation Moldova.

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