The failure of the “Pitești” type re-education in Târgu Ocna

At Targu-Ocna, re-education was not successful because it did not benefit from isolation and the element of surprise. A re-education floor was created, but everyone was vigilant. Among those proposed for torture was V.I. (Virgil Ionescu, after Aristide Lefa), a thoroughbred intellectual with an excellent philosophical and literary background. He was held in high esteem by the students, being older than them.

His re-education had begun in Pitești. There, one day, a blanket was put over his head and he was dragged by his headband into a cell with a single bed, on which two strangers in civilian clothes were sitting. He thought they were from the Security Service. He saluted them as the guards stared out of the bean slot. Instead of answering, he was cursed and punched, trampled on, beaten with a crowbar, thrown against the walls, doused with water to recover, and beaten again so badly that he was crushed. At night a noose was tied around his neck, like a leash, and he was beaten with clubs to make a ‘ring’ around the cell. He would fall and be hit again. Over the next few days he was beaten and at night the march continued. He felt like falling asleep on his feet, but was awakened by the club. Thoughts began to swirl inside him. His mind went dark. He often lost touch with reality.

– Who are these people, what do they want from me? He asked himself.

For four days he could not say a word. He was exhausted, dizzy, and shattered. When Țurcanu, for he was the one with the bloody club in the cell with blood-splattered walls and floors, told him dryly:

– “Bandit, I’ve had enough of your blood. I know you well. I know you are a great figure in the Legion, but we are determined to exterminate you. So choose, die or accept the re-education!”

He’s been given paper for his self-denial. He’d already been beaten for not being “sincere”! Finally, he was taken to a cell with some young men he knew and was friends with. This is where the “restructuring” took place. The food was of the smallest portion. All day long they did nothing but unravel and blame everything that had been, all the people, all the ideas of the past, and at the same time master the thinking of historical materialism. They spied and betrayed each other. They feared each other, but V.I. told one another:

– You see that you have crossed all limits and if you don’t stop you will never find your way back!

For this he was tortured again, for his friend had revealed it. It was interesting to note that these young people, who had not studied Marxism-Leninism, were now deciphering its deepest structure and trying to make it their own. Some did it out of fear, some out of skill, but many had begun to really believe in it.

When V.I. was taken to Târgu-Ocna and re-educated again – for daring to reveal it publicly – he took advantage of a lull and the carelessness of the man supervising him and cut deep into the veins of both hands. Then he tucked his arms under the blanket, closed his eyes and felt the blood drain from him like a lifeline. It was the only way to escape the “restructuring”, the mutilation of the soul, which was harder to bear than all the physical and moral tortures he had endured. Blood poured through the mattress and pooled on the mosaic. The guard sounded the alarm. All the prisoners began shouting at the windows:

– They’re killing us, help, let the Security Service come!

It was May Day. People in the street heard. The scandal became public and re-education stopped for a while. V.I. was saved from death, but later he showed himself to be mentally alienated: he talked a lot, fast, excited and frightened.

(Ioan Ianolide – Return to Christ. Document for a New World)

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