Miltiade Ionescu

* 1924  †︎ 2008

  • ".... I'll give you another example, which I found terribly accurate in depicting the guards' sadistic tendencies. In Aiud, when the food arrived - or at least what they called 'food' - it was brought in barrels from the kitchen and left there on the hallway in wooden buckets. This guard in particular went so far as to do everything he could to incite the prisoners in their cells, who were hungry and knew all the sounds made during this whole procedure of bringing and distributing the food. And, he would try to prolong the prisoners' ordeal. I was locked up with prisoners who - once they heard the first sound of the bucket being placed on the ground, until it reached the door, until the hatch was opened to distribute the food, would put their ear against the door, and just stay like that, paying attention to every little sound. And, of course, they would tell the others what was happening: 'Look, they just lifted the bucket! Look, they're on the hallway, they're coming, they got to this cell or the other....' As a result, the guard knew this whole story, and would stall as much as he had to obtain the maximum amount of suffering from this poor bastard who could hardly wait to get his share of the food."

  • ".... Not to mention the brutality of the guards, who didn't know anything except for swearing and insulting, and were never willing to make you any favors. I also witnessed situations like this one: someone started knocking insistently at the door because one of the prisoners was feeling sick. Then the guard came, opened the large hatch, and asked: 'What the hell do you want?' 'Well, this man is about to die in here.' 'So what, I don't have time for this!' And he closed back the hatch. Of course, this guy, who wanted someone to examine the sick man, started pounding against the door again. Suddenly the door opened, just like that, being smashed against the wall, and the angry and bitterly guard started shouting: 'What do you want, you bastard?' 'Well, sir, like I told you, this man is sick.' The guard replied: 'Let him die, that's what I'm here for! What do you think I am guarding?' So, that's pretty much the way prisoners interacted with guards, except for the corporal punishments they practiced once in a while--I mean, the beatings."

  • ".... From my point of view, which I hold very dear, this escape wasn't a chase for regaining freedom, because the large camp that was outside couldn't offer us that which excited us or which we were interested in. The meaning and the underlying reason for this escape lies somewhere else, perhaps. We wanted, for once, in that terror and fear that ruled over all of us, especially in that prison, to prove that this communist abstruseness, which they practiced with great success, didn't generally apply, and that this escape would turn more into a protest action rather than into an attempt to regain our freedom, because we knew anyway that there wasn't much we could do with freedom."

  • Celé nahrávky
  • 1

    Bucharest, Romania, 22.03.2001

    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Sighet Memorial - The Oral History Department
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

I‘ve always held on to this firm belief that what I entered into was not by chance, and that the path I‘m walking on is perhaps the right one....

Miltiade Ionescu
Miltiade Ionescu
zdroj: Arhiva foto a Memorialului Victimelor Comunismului şi al Rezistenţei

Miltiade Ionescu was born on November 24, 1924, in Galaţi, into the family of a tradesman by the name of Constantin Ionescu. He attended the elementary school in Galaţi then a the Military High School in Târgu Mureş until 1940 when, against the background of the outbreak of the Second World War, he transferred to Timişoara, where he graduated in 1943. Miltiade was soon accepted by the Faculty of Medicine in Bucharest, from which he graduated in 1949. After graduating university, he undertook a position as a physician at the prestigious Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, which was established in the inter-war period under the auspices of the Rockefeller Foundation. On November 17, 1951, after being accused along with several other doctors of having been involved in an anti-communist organization (an organisation that was in its early stages, with only a few meetings having been organized, one of the topics of discussions having been the idea of taking a stand against the regime), Miltiade Ionescu was arrested at his home and taken to the Ministry of the Interior from which he was then sent to Rahova, where he was investigated. In December 1951, he was transferred to the Jilava Penitentiary. Following the trial from April 1952, Miltiade Ionescu was sentenced to 15 years of forced labour for „machination against the socialist order.“  His colleagues received similar sentences, ranging from 10 to 25 years. After the trial, Miltiade Ionescu was transferred to the Baia Sprie labour camp where detainees were forced to work in a lead mine. Miltiade Ionescu worked as a physician in the underground mine. In December 1952, 200 political detainees from Baia Sprie were transferred to the Cavnic mine. Among them was also Miltiade Ionescu, who had been designated by the camp administration as ‚general practitioner‘. On June 6, 1953,  a group of 14 detainees, including Miltiade Ionescu, managed to escape from the Cavnic mine. Three days after their escape, Miltiade Ionescu was captured along with another fellow detainee, a doctor by the name of Paul Iovănescu. The last fugitives to have escaped from Cavnic were apprehended by the Securitate troops in September of 1953. After several months of investigation, in the spring of 1954, Miltiade Ionescu received a new sentence of 11 years for his escape. Following the trial, Miltiade Ionescu served his sentence in the Aiud and Gherla prisons, but also in the labour camps on the Great Brăila Island (Luciu Giurgeni, Strâmba, Salcia). He was released from jail on July 29, 1964 based on a pardon decree, after 13 years of imprisonment. After his release, Miltiade Ionescu managed to get a position in a dispensary on the periphery of Bucharest. After 1990, Miltiade Ionescu became a member of the Association of Former Political Detainees in Romania. He died on December 24, 2008.