When Communist Ideals Trump Everything Else

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Today’s Romanian politicians are rarely animated by genuine political ideals, and political parties are less defined by an ideology than they are by political opportunism and short-term programs. However, some of the early Communists were radically different from how politicians act, think and behave today. In fact, some of them believed so strongly in the Communist cause and ideals, that they were willing to sacrifice a lot. They would fight other people’s wars, spend years in prison, put up with torture and bad treatment, or lose their family and their loved ones, all in the name of Communism.  Just how much they were willing to lose, we’ll see in these two short episodes below.

Ana Pauker
Ana Pauker

Ana Pauker (real name: Hana Rabinsohn) was a prominent Communist leader during the Communist Party’s rise to power (1940-1960), holding several key positions: Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Directorate within the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Deputy-Minister within the Department of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vice-president of the Council of Ministers, etc. She was married to Marcel Pauker, who actually convinced her to join the Communist movement in the first place. Both of them lived in Moscow for several years. Despite being a strong supporter of the extreme left, Marcel Pauker soon became “inconvenient” to the Stalinist regime, because he freely expressed his dissent with the Soviet direction within the Russian Communist Party. As a result, he was sent to Siberia between 1930-1932, and eventually accused of espionage in 1937. After being arrested and tortured by the NKVD (Soviet secret police), he admitted the crime, and was sentenced to death by shooting. Interestingly, throughout the show trial, his wife, Ana Pauker, never doubted the legitimacy of the trial and the fairness of the sentence. Was it because she believed so strongly in the Communist ideals, and truly thought that her husband was guilty of treason? Was it because their marriage had fallen in disarray, as both of them had extramarital relationships? Was it because she was afraid that she would have the same faith as her husband, if she stood by him and defended him? I guess we will never know for sure…

Constanta Craciun, another prominent leader during the early years of Communism in Romania, held several key positions in the administration: member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Minister of Culture (1953-1957), President of the State Committee for Culture and Arts, Vice-president of the State Council, etc. Her brother, Gheorghe Craciun, was a strong opponent of the Communist movement, and — as such — was sentenced to forced labor for life in the labor camps of the Danube-Black Sea Canal. Hearing about her brother’s arrest, Constanta Craciun renounced him as a brother. Again, we will never know the true motivation of her actions, but it’s quite possibly due to her strong commitment to the Communist ideals.

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