Nicolae Lițoiu

* 1959  

  • "The food was horrible. What do you mean by horrible? I mean in terms of calories... we used to joke about it: „This food has calories until it gets cold. After it gets cold it has no calories left." The food consisted in a thin soup, a lot of cabbage and sometimes a bit of beet or a handful of rice. Sometimes there was also a piece of bacon with hair on it floating in the soup. Beans were more nourishing. In the evening, we were usually given pearl barley, unsweetened, only with salt. There was also rice. Those who didn't work got about 1.3 pounds (600 g) of polenta, a cube of polenta made of unsifted corn flour. I think for each ten grains of corn flour, there were five grains of sand, because your teeth would crackle. It was terrible. Before, when I arrived, they gave us so-called turtoi (flat bread), which was a mixture of water and corn flour, baked in a greased pan, apparently, with grease or oil. The taste wasn't that bad, but it had a disastrous effect on the digestive tube. It was probably infested with salmonella or something, because of the unhygienic food handling (in my case, I started feeling the effects after about a week). Apart from that, we also had the so-called „ciric”: 125 grams of bread (0.27 lbs). It was basically a bread cut in eight. A bread weighing about 800 grams (1.76 lbs) or so. I don't know if the numbers are correct, but I don't think it was larger than 1 kg (2.20 lbs). It was rye bread. Well, that was like cake for us. You would eat it, drank water and then say you ate something delicious (laughing). Those of us who didn't work got packages once every three months. And only five kilograms (11 lbs). If you worked, you were allowed to receive a package every two months. The effects of the flat bread were disastrous in my case. At my height and weight of about 101-102 kg (223 lbs) now, just imagine how I looked weighing 65 kg (143 lbs) less."

  • "Yes, one of the things they found great pleasure in: to check you after washing. They would take us to the shower once a week. Well, your pores open up when you wash, right? Just imagine. Hot water. They wouldn't let us combine it with cold water. So the shower was as short as possible. After that they would let cold water run. So it was a contrast. One prison mate, Victor Totu, fell in the bathroom because of this contrast and the lack of food. His heart started beating fast and he fell down. R: He felt sick. I: We helped him out of the bathroom. They also had checks. Every now and then.... Every month or one month and a half, we would take our mattresses and everything else we had out of the cell. On the hallway. We would lie facing the ground, not on the mattress, but directly on the cement floor. They would take us to the showers. And then, warmed up as we were, they would force us to lie on the cement floor. They would hold us like that until you felt sick, there on the cement floor. It's a miracle from God that I didn't get sick. I suffer from rheumatism, but nothing more serious than that, I don't have lung problems or something else."

  • "I: So I was taken to Rahovei transit camp, here, next to Bucharest. I was held there until November 1982. On November 17, 1982, I was boarded on a coach - destination: Aiud. They tied me in so-called gypsy chains. You placed your foot on an anvil and they would fasten it, so with the foot in the shackles, they would rivet the shackles. Others had shackles with a safety-lock, so they used a key to lock them. They riveted mine so I would remember. You can imagine, no matter how relaxed your foot was, being barefoot, you could feel those strikes and the whole vibration running through your body. It was horrible. R: How long did it take to get to Aiud? I: To Aiud? We left from Basarab station at about 10 A.M. and arrived in the night, at about 11-12 P.M. They took us on a regional train. And until they made all the necessary maneuvers to get it out, they held us for several hours. It was enough. Just think about it, we had to jump out of the train with both feet at once. Railway stations and trains are more civilized nowadays. But back then, you had to jump over two feet (60-70 cm) from the last step to the platform. And you also had to take your bag, then jump. Most of us fell to the ground. They hit us with clubs so we would get up. They immediately got us in a van. They drove us in the night to Aiud prison and placed us in a special room, along with common criminals."

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    Bucharest, Romania, 17.01.2008

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The bread, the meat, the eggs and other products were rationalized becuase of Ceauşescu and his wife, who declared that the Romanians would pay the external debt of the country even if they ate bark.

Nicolae Liţoiu în the 80's
Nicolae Liţoiu în the 80's
photo: Arhiva foto a Memorialului Victimelor Comunismului şi al Rezistenţei

He was born on March 25, 1959, in Mălăieştii de Jos, a village in Dumbrăveni, Prahova County. In 1978, Nicolae Liţoiu started working at the Plopeni Mechanical Factory, graduating from the Industrial High School in Plopeni in 1981. Together with his brother-in-law, Nicolae Gheorghe (who had been arrested twice: in 1967 for setting up an anti-communist group made up of several young people, and in 1974 for „attempt of illegal border crossing” after having talked to someone to leave the country by plain from the airport in Strejnic), in August 1981, Nicolae Liţoiu wrote several manifestos by hand that read slogans such as: „No bread without work, no work without bread! “, „Down with Communism!”, „Down with the shoemaker’s family!”, calling Nicolae Ceauşescu „dictator” and „tyrant”. The leaflets were distributed in the Plopeni Mechanical Factory and in Ploieşti. A few weeks later, Nicolae Gheorghe placed an explosive device in the Mercur bookstore in Ploieşti, in the shopfront where Nicolae Ceauşescu’s books were on display. The anti-communist actions of the two men culminated in them placing another explosive device and several manifestos at the County Council in Ploieşti, on September 19, 1981. Arrested on September 19, 1981, Nicolae Liţoiu was questioned at the Securitate headquarters in Ploieşti and in Bucharest for about eight months. Following the trial from April 14, 1961, Nicolae Liţoiu was sentenced to 20 years in prison - the sentence was later reduced to 15 years. Although having acted together with his brother-in-law, Nicolae Gheorghe was not arrested by the communist authorities in September 1981 and thus managed to cross the border illegally into Yugoslavia and take refuge in the West. He was tried in absentia in April 1981 and was sentenced to death. After seven years and three months spent in prison, in Ploieşti, Rahova, Aiud and Jilava, Nicolae Liţoiu was released on January 3, 1989. Shortly after his release, Nicolae Liţoiu converted to the evangelical faith. He is now living in Ploieşti and is preaching the Gospel within the church since 2003, but also to detainees in different prisons (Ploieşti and Bacău).