June 20, 2020

May 2020: Marina Constantinoiu and Istvan Deak,Romania

The silent migration and the killings at the borders of socialist Romania

The history lesson missing from school-books: the Romanian border-jumpers. Tales from Europe’s bloodiest border – The illegal escape from communist Romania (1948-1989)

Two journalists, Marina Constantinoiu and Istvan Deak, have launched a media campaign in March 2016 and still continue to write about this topic.

More than 100,000 Romanians succeeded to illegally cross the borders and get political asylum in Western countries only between 1969 and 1989, twenty years of constant violation of human rights behind the Iron Curtain of the “open-air prison” called Romania.

In those years, Romania was defending its borders with the guns turned towards its own territory. 30 years since the demise of communism, Romania is still only paying lip service to parting with its past. This is most conspicuous in the way it deals with crimes committed by the communist state against its own citizens. And not only.

Among those trying to illegally cross the Romanian borders were not only Romanian citizens, but also foreign ones, coming from different communist countries, but especially from German Democratic Republic (GDR). At least 800 East-Germans, 300 people from Czechoslovakia, but also Polish, Bulgarian, Hungarian and former USSR citizens came to Romania in order to try their chance at the borders.

Finding a way of dealing with current and past conflicts is one of the greatest challenges conflict and post-conflict societies are facing. The parties involved in the conflict often stick to their respective interpretations of what happened. Dealing with the legacy of human rights violations is necessary to keep conflicts from recurring and new ones from arising and as such an important element of conflict transformation.

This is one of the main reasons, SEEMO has been supporting this investigative research by organizing two presentations of the key findings in Vienna (2016) and Ljubljana (2018).

The current media campaign hosted by miscareaderezistenta.ro received several international media awards, including a special mention at the CEI-SEEMO Award for Outstanding merits in Investigative Journalism (2017) and the Dr. Erhard Busek SEEMO Award for Better Understanding in South East Europe (2017).

For more information, click here:

https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/eng/Areas/Romania/Fleeing-Romanians-The-Story-of-Those-Who-Made-It-Over-the-Border-173958 (English)

https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/en-roumanie-socialiste-mourir-pour-la-liberte (French)

https://www.freitag.de/autoren/jankavogel/flucht-durch-die-donau-nach-westeuropa (German)

https://miscareaderezistenta.ro/frontieristii/frontieristii-campanie-prezentare-forum-international-viena-37372.html? (Romanian)

https://ljubljana.mae.ro/local-news/1180 (Romanian)

https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/aree/Romania/Romania-socialista-morire-alla-ricerca-della-liberta-173612 (Italian)

https://www.rtvslo.si/svet/evropa/temno-poglavje-romunske-zgodovine-tragicne-utopitve-v-donavi-med-begom-na-zahod/478217 (Slovenian)