Paul Păltănea, the historian with a perfect behaviour

Paul Păltănea, another fellow sufferer with us in the dungeons of Aiud. Paul Păltănea, with his impeccable manners and vast knowledge of history, did much to maintain our morale and courage in the face of all the diabolical attempts to exterminate us by means of hunger, cold and torture.

Born in Bucharest on 25 June 1924, his parents took him to the city of Galati (1926), where he attended primary school (1931-1935) and the “Vasile Alecsandri” high school (1935-1943). He enrolled at the University of Bucharest and studied at the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy, Department of History (1943-1947).

From 1947 to 1948 he worked as a substitute history teacher. Arrested on 17 May 1948, he was detained without trial (like other political prisoners) and released on 31 December 1952. He was arrested again on 17 April 1959, sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment and released on 30 July 1964. Between his two terms of imprisonment, he worked in a craftsmen’s cooperative and, between 1957 and 1959, he was a history teacher in the commune of Văcăreni, Văcăreni County, Tulcea.

From 1965 to 1974 he worked at the History Museum of Galati. In 1974 he was abusively transferred to the Galați County Library “V.A. Urechia”, on the imaginary grounds that he was providing anti-communist education to groups of visitors, where he worked as a librarian until his retirement (1 April 1990).

He holds a doctorate in history and is the author of the monumental work “History of Galați from its Origins to 1918”, as well as other valuable and numerous volumes, studies and articles on history. During his imprisonment he lived with the following cellmates: Ion Ageu, biology student (Cluj), Vasile Pohrib (Tecuci), Nelu Constantinescu, teacher (Țepu), Vasile Stoicescu (Tecuci), teachers Sevastre and Frunză (Tecuci), teacher Costache Caragață (Tichiriș, Vrancea).

(Costache Caragață – Caietele tristeții. The notes of a teacher in handcuffs for free children, edited by Gheorghe Nadoleanu, 2010, pp. 157-158)

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