The two martyred lawyers “Traian”

This is the place to unveil a unique episode in the history of Romanian prisons, among which those of the Antonescu era and, before that, those of the Carlist dictatorship take pride of place. It is true, however, that the prisons were more ‘humane’ in every respect. The case of the two veterans, Traian Marian[1] – a lawyer – and Traian Trifan – a doctor[2] from Brașov, who were taken over by the communist dictatorship in 1944 as the criminal legacy of the old Antonescu police, remains a reminder of Christian patriotism here on the Lower Danube.

Between 1962 and 1964, Dej brought a spirit of liberalisation to Romanian prisons, when many “politicians” were released. The two martyrs behind bars – forgotten in Aiud cells since 1941 – had already served 20-22 years. And they were told that they were free. For them, however, freedom no longer had a human, historical, immanent meaning… but had become a glimpse of an eternity they had won and could no longer give up. Outwardly, they were only toothless, earless ghosts, completely depilated, frozen, frighteningly ascetic, like all those who had suffered only in this illusory and transient world. They were more like ghosts detached from the contingent, like flags torn in wars; they were the work of imprisonment in the zarca of Aiud, on empty straw, in cells with broken glass, in the bitter frost of Faur. To the astonishment of the prison administration, they refused to be released from the dungeon. Their contact with Earth and the world had long since been severed. In fact, they had already been set free and entered the holy and eternal freedom. They declared themselves, with serenity and determination, convinced anti-communists and active to the death, adding that they would continue to pray, as they had been doing for two decades, for the planetary defeat of the Red Mafia – which had sickened Romanian society and tried to take it away from the Son of God, who had also died for the Romanians. They asked for icons, for oil for vigil lamps, for the Bible as a map of the future, and with great joy they preferred to die where the One above had sent them to do a hermit’s work.

(Vasile Scutăreanu – Through the Wallachian Gulag, Majadahonda Publishing House, Bucharest, 1995, p. 14)

1. In the original book, the memoirist confuses the name of Traian Marian with that of his father “Ion Marian”.

2. Traian Trifan was not a doctor but a lawyer, but with a doctorate in law(!), hence the memoirist’s confusion “doctor = medic”.

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