Mirel Marin Stănescu

* 1940  

  • "And the guard was opening the peephole with the lever from the corridor, from where they were watching these cells. When they took you to the toilet, you were only allowed to stay in there for a minute. God forbid, had someone been constipated or something! After one minute you would hear a knock on the door: 'Enough, out with you! Faster, get out! ', they didn't let you stay longer. And you had to carry your own urine, with glasses on. Imagine having to walk with that pot full of urine, blindfolded! So they gave you the goggles on the peephole and you had to take your pot and put the goggles on, then you were taken to the toilet to empty the pot and also to urinate. The food was awful. I remember that at the Securitate the food was full of flies. The guards would always change, they were working shifts so we were watched day and night. They would observe you through some small peepholes. There was the cell peephole through which they put the bowl with food and there was also the watching eye so small, you never knew when it was there, observing. And I remember - I have a rather unpleasant memory etched in my mind - this food full of flies. My God, what food we were given! It was full of flies! ‘Here old man, take this and eat. It's chicken.' How ironic, chicken, as in dead flies, that's what he meant to say, and the old man, that was me, sixteen of age."

  • "...I remember at Jilava they had some cells made of clay, near the gate. Frozen, I was dressed poorly, I don't even know if I had any clothes on, however I believe I had a twilled coat. It was cold and they kept us out in the cold for several hours, until all the formalities were done. Then a convoy of guards formed on both sides, also with female guards among them. The cells I am talking about were outside the prison, at the entrance, about fifty meters from the main prison gate. You had to get out of the van on the double, and go through the gate where the guards were welcoming everyone with truncheons in their hands: ' Make it fast, on the double!'. There were also other detainees, from other lots, in other vans, because I remember a large convoy had formed. So the guards with truncheons were lined up at the entrance on one side and the other shouting and screaming ' On the double!' At one point I felt a strike on my back. When I looked back, it was a woman who had hit me with a truncheon: 'What are you looking at, you bandit? You've never been to prison if you didn't get a beating'."

  • "I: My mother taps on my window: 'There are two men at the gate looking for you.' I go open the gate and they come in. It was morning, in the summer, I was wearing shorts and an undershirt. He says: ' We'd like to talk to you for a second.' They entered the house, I had my books on the table (my school books, and I also used to read DOXs, those were at that time)... R: Yes. I: I don't know if you've ever heard of them. R: The Adventures of the Submarine DOX [a noir-fiction literary serial written by Henry Warren] I've heard of them. I: The Adventures of the Submarine DOX, with Pongo and Marian. R: Yes, I've heard of them. I: The Adventures of the DOX crew or of the DOX Submarine. There were some fascicles left from the 1940s, before the outbreak of the war. They used to be read 'under-the-counter'. R: Why under-the-counter? I: Well, they were forbidden. R: The DOX series? I: Well of course. R: Well, there was nothing subversive about them. I: It was considered decadent literature. It was not allowed. R: Really? I: Yes, of course. They were not read. Only under-the-counter, they were moved around like that... And they come in, these two guys, dressed as civilians, and they ask for my ID. I give it to them... R: What year was it? I: It was 1957. R: In 1957, what grade were you in? I: I was in tenth grade. It was the summer between the 10th and the 11th grade. So, they looked through the library, through books, here and there, under the table, I had a shelf, they also looked under that shelf. They grabbed these books, they were colorful and had brightly colored covers, I don't know if you have seen these colorful fascicles from the DOX novel. Have you ever seen them? R: Yes, they were reddish. I: 'Look what he's reading here! Decadent literature, take a look at what he is reading! Get dressed, you're coming with us!' I said to them: 'Where do I have to go?'' You are going to give a statement'"

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    Constanţa, România, 20.05.2010

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The minors sentenced for political reasons were considered to have political judgement from 14 years old.

Mirel Marin Stănescu
Mirel Marin Stănescu
photo: Arhiva foto a Memorialului Victimelor Comunismului şi al Rezistenţei

He was born on September 8, 1940 in Constanţa.Mirel Stănescu attended primary and secondary school at the General School No. 6 in Constanţa, and then studied at the Mihai Eminescu High School in the same city.Growing up in an environment, which was hostile towards the communist regime, while still in high school, Mirel Stănescu decided to leave the country. He talked about his decision, but also expressed his views against the communist regime, with several colleagues and friends, as well as with his neighbour, Valentin Beer. The latter then approached a sailor, Vasile Grigoras, who had promised to help them flee the country by boat.The Securitate finally found out about their plans. As a consequence, on August 13, 1957, Mirel Stănescu, who was in 11th grade at the time, was arrested and taken to the Securitate headquarters in Constanţa. While in the custody of the Securitate, he learned about Valentin Beer’s and Vasile Grigoraş’ arrest, who had been detained a few days earlier.After several months of investigations, at the beginning of November 1957, following a trial by the Constanţa Military Court, Mirel Stănescu was sentenced to 3 years of imprisonment in a correctional institution for “hostility towards the popular democracy regime” and “preparatory acts for crossing the border.” Vasile Grigoraş was sentenced to 5 years, while Valentin Beer to 4 years in prison.In January 1958, although still a minor, Mirel Stănescu was transferred to the Jilava Penitentiary, where he spent one month in a prison cell along with other 80 detainees. In February 1958, he was transferred to the Cluj Penitentiary for juvenile offenders. He remained here until May 1958, when the prison was closed down, and the inmates were transferred to Ocnele Mari. Mirel Stănescu was detained here until reaching the age of 18 years. In September 1958, he was transferred to the Gherla Penitentiary, and then, in May 1959, to the Periprava labour camp on the Great Brăila Island, where inmates were used for harvesting rush, agricultural work or the construction of dams.He was released from prison on September 1, 1959.After his release, he continued to be kept under surveillance by the Securitate until 1978. After the end of his prison term, Mirel Stănescu managed to get a job at the Mechanical Shipbuilding Plant, where he was harassed, threatened and interrogated by officers of the Securitate.He is currently living in Constanţa. He is a member of the Association of Former Political Detainees in Romania.