The anti-communist resistance in Arad

From the spring of 1948, after the communists had started the mass arrests of their alleged political opponents, as was the case all over the country, several groups of fighters from different social categories, but mainly peasants, began to form in Arad County.

The most important group was the one initiated by Cantemir Gligor, from Hălmăgel, son of a priest, with resistance points in the valley of Crișului Mountains.

The aforementioned, with a law degree and an imposing stature, had the presence of a born leader; a tough, firm man with the power of conviction, he quickly gained the trust of those he subordinated.

In the autumn of 1947, while staying in the house of Creța Pavel in Iosășel, near Gurahonț, with his high school student Jurcuța Ioan, he came into conflict with the head of the gendarmerie, who, under pressure from the communist activist Șerb Pavel, tried to surprise and arrest them.

Armed, the two met them and forced them to stand with their hands up until they had crossed the edge of the forest.

The postmaster was also dismissed.

The first of the group to be arrested, on 1 January 1949, were Faur Ioan from Baltele and Bacoș Pavel from Valea Mare, near Gurahonț, after Cantemir Gligor had also been arrested.

The first armed confrontation between the Securitate and the fugitives took place at dawn on Monday 12 April 1949 at the mill in Iosășel, owned by Motorca Ioan and his sons Ilie and Iancu, after the traitor Bocu Petru had informed the Securitate in Arad by telephone of their presence at the mill.

At that time, the Security Service troops, together with some party activists from the surrounding villages, under the command of the Security Service lieutenant Maier Lazăr, surrounded the mill, the house and the miller’s stable.

According to the testimony of Ilie Motorca, the shooting began at 4.30 a.m. and continued until 9.30 a.m.

Those in the house, namely the miller and his children, together with Jurcuța Ioan, were ordered to come out, which they did, at which point Jurcuța was shot in the stomach by the guard Maier.

Also in the mill were Hagea Iulian, known as Leanu, Dărău Igna from Cil and Lazăr Ioan from Roșia.

Leanu threw a grenade into the mill’s stable, seriously injuring Lieutenant Maier.

The other two surrendered, leaving only Hagea Iulian in the mill, who, when asked to surrender by the guard Haiduc, who told him that nothing would happen to him, replied that he would never surrender to those who wanted to destroy the true Romanians.

Two other fighters, Lulusa Pavel and Lupei Ioan, also armed, managed to sneak out of the mill, going down the canal that supplied the mill with water, with their weapons ready to fire, but they were spotted by the secretaries, who opened fire, wounding Lupei Ion in the shoulder, and Lulusa surrendered.

When Hagea Iulian remained in the mill and refused to surrender, the secretaries set fire to the mill.

After the flames had engulfed the roof of the mill, a burst of gunfire and the explosion of Hagea’s remaining cartridges were heard. At this point, the Arad Security Service commander, Rafila, arrived and witnessed the removal of the fighter’s body and found that he had shot himself.

His legs were burnt from the knees down, as were both his hands.

Jurcuța Ioan died on the way to hospital.

Dozens of arrests followed, so that in Iosășel alone, which had 120 houses, a total of 18 citizens were involved in the movement, of whom 10 were convicted and 8 were detained for investigation.

A second group of fighters, belonging to the same anti-communist organisation and led by Cantemir Gligor, operated in the forests of the commune of Chisindia and consisted of Mercea Gheorghe from Chisindia, Lulușa Ioan, Dobrei Pavel and Ienciu Teodor from Revetiș, Birău Zaharie from Bârsa, Zâmbreanu Ioan from Almaș and Cornea Ioan from Chisindia.

They became refugees in the winter of 1948, after the arrest of Cantemir Gligor, when the mass arrests began in the villages of the Crișului Mountains valley, and they remained in this situation until 4 November 1951, when, at the place called Ciuad, in Chisindia, the Security Service launched a massive attack on the group of fighters, thanks to information received from one of its informers, called Pantea, from Minișul de Sus.

Surrounded and ordered to surrender by Hegheduș, a Security Service officer from Sebiș, they refused, and gunfire broke out between the two sides.

Lulușa Ioan, who had climbed a tree to assess the situation, was shot dead, as was Dobrei Pavel, and the others, with the exception of Mercea Gheorghe, were captured.

Mercea Gheorghe managed to escape the siege, but he too was later captured after he betrayed a peasant from the village of Păiușeni, having been wounded in the leg. Sentenced to 18 years of hard labour, he was released in 1964.

After his release, while settling in Livada, near Arad, he was hit on the head with a piece of wood by a party activist and died in 1978.

His children’s complaints to the militia were unsuccessful.

In his memory, the A.F.D.P. Arad erected a beautiful trophy in Chisindia, on the spot where the battle took place, surrounded by a beech forest and the sound of the nearby valley.

Every year, on the 15th of August, the A.F.D.P. Arad, also thanks to the care of the A.F.D.P. Arad, organises a memorial service for these fighters at the roadside cross, which is attended by the villagers of Chisindia and the surrounding area, as well as a delegation of members of the Arad association.

In addition to the group mentioned above, there was another group of refugees from the village of Văsoaia, on the border of the commune of Chisindia, consisting of the teachers Stepici Dumitru from Revetiș and Oprea Petru from Joia-Mare, as well as the farmer Fărcaș Ioan from Joia-Mare.

Their names are inscribed on the roadside cross and they are commemorated every year on the 15th of August, since 1997, when the roadside cross was inaugurated.

The group is led by the student ADRIAN MIHUȚ, from the commune Măderat, 35 km from Arad, son of a doge master, the region being a wine-growing area.

He was born on 24. 09. 1922, he was an excellent pupil and student, with a pleasant appearance, voluntary and thoughtful in everything he did, particularly gifted for the exact sciences.

As a student of the Faculty of Mechanics at the Polytechnic University of Timișoara, Adrian Mihuț was one of the leaders of the student movement triggered by the Cluj students’ strike of 1946, after the workers of the Dermata factory had attacked the Avram Iancu student hostel, a strike that naturally broke out in Timișoara.

Having learned of the massive arrests by the communist authorities of many Romanians considered to be opposed to the establishment of communism in the country, and being wanted by the Securitate, he decided to leave Timișoara for his village, Măderat, and to seek shelter among the nearby vineyards, in wine cellars or with the villagers of Măderat and the neighbouring villages of Mâsca, Pâncota, Agrișu Mare, Iermata, Moroda and Ineu.

Together with his friend and colleague from high school and university, Gheorghe Poenaru from Ineu, he managed to form an anti-communist organisation composed of reliable people from the above-mentioned villages.

That was in the summer of 1949.

The first armed contact with the militia took place in the spring of 1951, in Ineu, when Adrian Mihuț, pursued by three militiamen, one of whom was the head of the local militia, managed to escape by shooting one of the pursuers in the leg.

In 1952 he was caught again by three militiamen, but this time he escaped by using his pistol without injuring the pursuers.

In 1954, Adrian Mihuț, armed, warned the President of the Moroda People’s Council in the Council building to stop the mischief against the peasants.

In the summer of 1956, he was surprised by a militiaman in the house of Suciu Pavel in Iermata, who was also on the run, but this time Adrian Mihuț managed to escape, wounding the pursuer in the left arm.

In November 1956, however, having been betrayed by a Securitate informer, Adrian Mihuț was shot in the right leg, crawled into a tiled shed, fired a pistol at his pursuers until he ran out of bullets, and shot and killed a Security Service officer. This took place on 16 November 1961. Along with Adrian Mihuț was Pavel Suciu, who managed to escape but was caught a few days later.

The trial involved 69 people from the organisation set up by Adrian Mihuț.

The investigation lasted from December 1956 to April 1957, when the trial of the first group of 20 people took place during Easter week.

The military tribunal from Cluj, sent to Timișoara, handed down sentences ranging from two years to life imprisonment, and Adrian Mihuț and Pavel Suciu were sentenced to death and executed in Jilava’s Peach Valley.

The other two batches, about which I have no information, are still being tried. The panel of judges consisted of Colonel Paul Finichi and four other colonels, and the prosecutor was Major Miclea.

It should be noted that Adrian Mihuț was drugged during the investigation.

For this group, we used the written and oral information provided by Prof. Gheorghe Poenaru, a close friend of Adrian Mihuț and his comrade-in-arms, who was also sentenced to 20 years of hard labour.

The national liberation movement. This anti-communist organisation gathered members from three counties: Arad, Bihor and Hunedoara.

It was led by the teacher Ioan Blăgăilă from Arad, who founded the organisation, and Ioan Grosolina from Tăgădău, Arad County, and its aim was to overthrow the inhuman communism imported from Russia.

37 members of the organisation were arrested and sentenced to years in prison, and the two leaders were sentenced to death, later commuted to life imprisonment.

This organisation was the victim of a diabolical plot by the Security Service, which, when it learned of its existence, sent a well-trained man who, under the guise of a commissar-voyeur, went around the villages in question and began the armed organisation of the members, promising to bring to a certain place the weapons necessary to launch an armed action.

Grosolina’s discovery of the true face of the alleged anti-communist came too late, and the men involved in this action were arrested by the Security Service before they could succeed.

These were the organised groups of Romanians who tried to resist the enslavement of the country, a particularly cruel regime installed in our country in 1945.

In my two books, entitled Journal of Political Detention, Arad 1945-1949 and Life as it was, I have tried to remind the readers of the names of more than 1500 inhabitants of the county who paid with their lives, some with their lives, others with hard years of imprisonment, for their daring to oppose the communist regime.

They join tens of thousands of other such Romanians from all over the country who sacrificed themselves for their homeland.

(Corneliu Cornea – Memoria Magazine)

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