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“despite the tragedy of the communism, a glimpse of hope”

Memorial of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance
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Reviewed July 21, 2010

This is by far one of the best museums of the communism. This is not only a museum of the political prisoners - tortured savagely and killed - but also a museum against forgetfullness and inertia. One of the places that maintains the dignity of Romanian people. A must see if you travel through this side of the country!

Thank rabadac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"romanian history"
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"impressive museum"
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Reviewed March 22, 2008

The tragedy of the Romanian orphans, abandoned by women forced to bear children, was just one manifestation of the oppressive regime under Nicolae Ceausescu. Lesser known, was an even more tragic and profound action - the deliberate extermination of any opposition to the state from so called “class enemies”.

The Memorial of the Victims of Communism and the Resistance at remote Sighetu Marmatiei details the fate of about 200 political prisoners from 1948 – 55. Religious, political, academic and cultural leaders suspected of criticising communism were sent to Sighet. More than 50 died there, not gassed, or executed but slowly starved and overworked in harsh conditions, or given radiation treatments to produce a range of cancers.

The Memorial is situated in the original prison. The cells have been made into exhibition rooms, with the names and photographs of every prisoner. You walk from cell to chilling cell along cold concrete corridors; see the small iron beds, the bullet holes and blood stains on clothing, small personal items, and their writings. Composers, poets, authors, builders, craftsmen, doctors, lawyers or scientists - a generation of leadership and achievement was denied and destroyed. Many were buried anonymously in the Cemetery of the Poor outside the town, now a landscaped monument. In 2006 archaeologists began the task of trying to identify the remains of former Prime Minister Iuliu Maniu, former leader of the National Liberal Party Dinu Bratianu, and several Bishops.

The Memorial was founded in 1993 by dissident writer and poet Ana Blandiana, President of the Civic Alliance Foundation whose aim was to alleviate the consequences of communism in Romania and she made the presentation to the Strasboug-based Council of Europe.

“When justice does not succeed in being a form of memory, memory itself can be a form of justice,” she said.

The prison was built in 1897. After 1955 it reverted to a common prison until it was closed in 1977 and used as a warehouse. Work began on the Memorial in 1995 after the Council of Europe adopted the project, and ranked the site as one of the three most important memorials in Europe, alongside Auschwitz and Normandy Beaches.

In the courtyard there is a bronze statuary group, The Convoy of the Sacrificed by Aurel Vlad. The Memorial has a library of the 1945-89 period, more than 3000 hours of testimonies from the survivors of the Romanian Gulag, and an international study centre about communism.

1  Thank LaBohemeNZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2007

This is one of my favourite museums in the world. I knew nothing about the communist period in Romania and found it difficult to find out more, even in Bucharest. I spent a total of 3 hours here (had to come back for a second visit) and learnt an incredible amount in that time. The museum is laid out clearly, with each cell having a different theme. There is a substantial guide book in English which you need to ask for (not at the main desk but in a little room off to the side) and a very helpful lady who answers all your questions. So many of the exhibits are personal items which brings the story of the Romanian people at this time to life and makes a visit a moving experience. I found the exhibit about the Polish Solidarity movement very interesting too. Highly recommended.

1  Thank Trixie777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2006

The Sight Memorial to the Victims of Communism is located in Sighet in the far reaches of Transylvania, 2 kms from Romania's border with Ukraine. It's quite an amazing place - established by former dissident and poet Ana Blandiana and her husband Romulus Rusan on the site of a former Securitate (Romanian secret police) prison where the Romania's political elite was incarcerated during the Ceausescu regime. You can look at the former prison cells which housed some of Romania's foremost intellectuals and leaders; some of the cells have turned into exhibits on the history of the prison and communism (and persecution under communism) in Romania. There is a memorial wall reminiscent of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC, and despite an enormous effort at restauration (perhaps at times more than I would have preferred) you can still get a feel for what a desolate place it was in the 1940s and 1950s. While the memorial & museum did not get much public or government support initially, today this site has been designated by the European Council as one of three or four most important sites commemorating the victims of communism. Ask about the cemetary outside the city that is part of the Memorial - it's where executed prisoners or those wo died in prison are presumed to have been buried.

I visited Sighet in July 2006 to participate in a summer school conducted annually by the Sighet Memorial and had a fantastic experience with the students and other faculty.

Getting there: We took the overnight train from Bucharest (Sighet is one of the stops); for those who do not like to spend a night on the train I recommend flying to Cluj and taking a bus from there to Sighet (4 hours).

A very worthwhile experience is Transylvania is on your itinerary!

4  Thank ChristianDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 14, 2018
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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