Witnessing Romania's Century of Turmoil

Witnessing Romania's Century of Turmoil

Memoirs of a Political Prisoner

Nicolae Margineanu

Translated by Calin Cotoiu

Edited by Dennis Deletant

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Combining the intimacy of memoir and the precision of history, the story of psychologist Nicolae Margineanu's imprisonment and survival conveys in striking detail the corrosive impact of Communist rule in Romania.
Nicolae Margineanu's journey started in 1905 in the village of Obreja in Transylvania and ended in 1980 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He began his life under Austro-Hungarian rule, was witness to the 1918 Union, lived under three kings (Ferdinand, Carol II, and Mihai), and survived all of Romania's dictatorships, from absolute monarchy to the Legionnaires' rebellion, the Antonescian dictatorship, and finally the years under Communist rule. Margineanu studied psychology at the University of Cluj and attended postgraduate courses in Leipzig, Berlin, Hamburg, Paris, and London. He was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship that enabled him to do research for two years in the United States, at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, the University of Chicago, and Duke. He returned to Romania and became chair of the psychology department at the University of Cluj.

In 1948, Margineanu was arrested on a charge of "high treason," based on his alleged membership in a resistance movement against Communist rule. He was sentenced to twenty-five years' imprisonment, of which he served sixteen, passing through the jails at Malmaison, Jilava, Pitesti, Aiud, and Gherla. This book, his autobiography, is a shocking testimony to the fate of the intellectual elite of Romania during the Communist dictatorship. It is a unique and invaluable addition to the literature in English on the experience of political prisoners, not only in Communist Romania but in authoritarian states in general.

Nicolae Margineanu (1905-1980) was a Romanian psychologist and writer who was a political prisoner during the period of Communist rule. Dennis Deletant is the Visiting Ratiu Professor of Romanian Studies at Georgetown University. Calin Cotoiu is a translator based in Bucharest, Romania.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dennis Deletant
The Beginning of the Road
In Blaj
In Orastie
Student in Cluj
The University of Leipzig
Hamburg University
The University of Berlin
My Postdoctoral Exam
Scientific Researcher for the Rockefeller Foundation
Harvard University
Yale University
The University of Chicago
Columbia University
The University of Chicago Once More
America's Scientific, Cultural, and Sociopolitical Landscape
At the Universities of London and Paris
At the Department and Institute of Psychology in Cluj
Democracy and Dictatorship
The Repercussions of the International Political Crisis
The Attack against Rector Goanga
The Vienna Award
The Legionnaire Insanity
Marshal Antonescu's Government
Under Stalinist Occupation
The Romanian-American Association
The United States Lectures
Dr. Petru Groza
My Dismissal from the University
The Ordeal
At the Interior Ministry
The Trial
The Calvary
In Aiud Penitentiary
Back to the Interior Ministry
In Jilava
Aiud Again
Jilava Once More
The Pitesti Penitentiary
In the Penitentiaries at Dej and Gherla
Appendix: Nicolae M?rgineanu, Curriculum Vitae


Margineanu's book is an astonishing tour de force. . . . [W]hat informs the book is the opposition between hate and ill will on the one side and the basic humanity and compassion on the other. . . . I recommend it highly. ROMANIAN STUDIES ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA JOURNAL

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