The story of a letter confiscated by the Security Service

Love Letter

“Dear wife, I have not seen you and the children for a long time and I miss you very much. And I cannot see you. But God is with everyone and watches over everyone…” So begins a note confiscated by the Security Service in 1953. It was written by Gheorghe Hașu, a member of the resistance group against communism in the Făgăraș mountains. Eugenia was 24 years old, had two children, several bugs in her house and several arrests. She was constantly followed, beaten and investigated, and the Security Service tried to force her to betray her husband – an enemy of the regime.

Gheorghe Hașu had denounced the abuses of communism and was hiding in the mountains with 11 other members of the resistance group led by Ion Gavrilă Ogoranu.

The letter never reached its destination. The person to whom it had been entrusted was arrested and handed over. Only the beginning can still be read, in a file in the CNSAS archives. Gheorghe Hașu was arrested in 1955. Two years later he was executed in Jilava. He didn’t have the chance to say goodbye to his wife, but he sent her a last message before his arrest: “Tell her to forgive me. And may she bring up the children as God will help her”.

Two years of marriage

Gheorghe Hașu was a wealthy farmer from the village of Pojorta, Făgăraș County. He had never been involved in politics. He was known as a skilled carpenter and roofer. Wounded and decorated in the Second World War, he returned home in a hurry to find a wife. A childhood friend, the leader of the resistance group he was to join, recalled years later: “After the army, Ghiță spent a winter sledging through the villages, through the villages, and to the envy of so many girls, he chose as his bride a girl of 16, small, cheerful, so cheerful that she forgot to cry when the wedding carriage took her to his house. “[1]

Eugenia Comanici and Gheorghe Hașu were married on 2 February 1947. He was 25 and she was not yet 18. Their first child was born the following winter. Their marriage lasted for two years. Then came 50 years of communist persecution.

The escape

In February 1949, the Hașu household was raided by the Security Service. No warrant, no explanation. A rifle was found in the chimney of the house. “It was a ZB rifle that my brother and I had confiscated a month earlier from poachers caught on our land. We shouted at them, they left the rifle and ran away” – Ghiță said in later investigations by the Security Service.

Gheorghe and his brother Andrei were not at home; their father had been taken away. He returned three days later, beaten and changed, and advised his sons to hide if the new state agents came looking for them. “I didn’t trust them to deal with the matter fairly. I went into hiding because I didn’t want to risk any injustice that might be done to me. There were rumours all over the village, there were arrests everywhere. “[2]

Andrei and Gheorghe slept in a hole dug in the stable, under the cattle shed. From there they silently watched the increasingly frequent Securitate searches, the beatings and humiliations endured by their parents, their three sisters and Eugenia, who was pregnant with their second child. At night they searched for their friends in the surrounding villages. That’s how they found out that others were in hiding, being watched by the Security Service: sons of the bosses, members of the historic PNT or PNL parties, students, pupils, peasants who opposed the regime. The meetings began and ended with a prayer – the first Securitate informers report.

It was Andrei Hasu’s idea to go to the mountains. In the spring of 1950, the 12 young people fled to the mountains, waiting for the right moment to overthrow communism. They knew that there were other resistance groups in Romania and hoped that the Americans would not accept that the countries of Eastern Europe should remain under Soviet domination.

The first conviction

A few months after fleeing to the mountains, the partisans were tried in absentia for “forming a gang with terrorist intent and the crime of sedition against the regime”. In July 1951, the verdict was posted on the Hașu family’s house in Pojorta. As the first leader of the resistance group in Făgăraș, Andrei Hașu was sentenced to death and confiscation of property. A year later, in February 1952, he was killed by the Securitate, betrayed by a villager who knew where he was hiding. His brother Gheorghe was sentenced to 25 years’ hard labour. The way back from the mountains was closed forever.

The partisans’ parents were forced to sign arrest warrants and pay court costs. In the hope that Gheorghe would appear at the trial, the v forced Eugenia Hasu to file for divorce. In the absence of both spouses, the court in Făgăraș pronounced the sentence. Eugenia returned to her parents’ village. The secretaries and informers who had followed her move in with her.

The last encounter

Eugenia Comanici gives birth to her second child in her parents’ house. Although it was risky, Gheorghe came down from the mountains to see his son. This moment is recounted by Ion Gavrilă Ogoranu – who, in the last years of his life, met the relatives of the partisans. He is the only one of the group who was not arrested by the Security Service:

“It was Sunday morning. The little girl woke up, sat on his chest, closed her eyes with her hands and commanded him: marry, father, marry. She was two years old. Next to her, her mother was breastfeeding her baby. It was so quiet in the house, in the village and in the world. (…) The secret police rushed to the locked gate and broke it down. Inside the house, Ghiță quickly gathered some clothes, took his rifle and pistol, jumped out of a window into a neighbour’s garden and ran away through the trees. The young woman covered the bed where her husband had slept, closed the window and hastily hid the clothes he had left behind, praying in her mind with the child in her arms. In her haste, she forgot the few strands of wild flowers that her husband had brought from the mountains and placed in a jar by the window. This aroused the suspicion of the secret police, who searched the house and found Ghiță’s hidden clothes and boots. One officer threw the child out of her arms and started beating her:

“Where did you hide the bandit, bitch? “[3]

Eugenia, together with her teenage brother and her parents, was taken to the Security Service police station in Făgăraș. Days and nights of nightmare followed: “The young woman knelt before them: “Let me go to the children. Believe me, I don’t know where my husband is. Or at least bring my baby so I can breastfeed him or he will die. “One less baby bandit , he can die!” “Then kill me too, let it be over!”

After a few days of beatings, they were released; after a while, they were taken away again, then again… Eugenia’s father was sent to the canal. Eugenia’s mother, like the parents of the Hașu brothers, was regularly followed, beaten and investigated.

Arrested and executed

Gheorghe Hașu was arrested in the summer of 1955, when the last partisans in the mountains were captured by betrayal. The Security Service framed them with the help of a former supporter of the group, who promised to arrange their escape to Greece.

Along with the others, he was sentenced to death by firing squad. The group’s best marksman in the mountains, he told the court: “Although I had a gun, I didn’t use it even when I had the chance. There were situations where I was 5 metres behind some soldiers, but I didn’t shoot because I didn’t want to commit murder. I never shot first in a confrontation. I only used the gun in defence when I had no other choice. In all those years I fired three times and never killed anyone. “[4]

An undercover informer was brought to his cell. In November 1955 he reported: “Gheorghe Hașu prays quietly, he continues to fast”. A story from the same Christmas fast: “Gheorghe Hașu was praying on his knees. The officer entered his cell and asked him what he was doing. He said he was praying to Christ. The officer forbade him to pray on his knees. Gheorghe Hașu did not answer, but continued to pray standing”.

He was executed in Jilava on 17 November 1957, together with the other partisans. Their bodies were dumped in a mass grave.

Gheorghe’s wife was not officially informed of his fate until 1990. Only then did the Security Service’s surveillance end. The two children had records as children, and the label “Sons of the Bandit” followed them to school and then to work. A few years after the events of 1989, one of Ghiță’s sisters dug up the only photograph of him that had escaped the Securitate’s surveillance.

In 2010, his son accidentally found photos of his parents’ wedding, which Ghiță had hidden in the attic of the house before fleeing to the mountains.

Eugenia Comanici is 83, has five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. It was only in 2012 that she found out about the note her husband sent her 60 years ago.

(Ioana Hașu – Orthodox Family Magazine no. 1 (48) of January 2013, pages 11-14)

1. Brazii se frâng, dar nu se îndoiesc

2. Gheorghe Hasu – 1957, CNSAS files

3. Brazii se frâng, dar nu se îndoiesc

4. CNSAS – statement from the trial

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