Today, she turns 88 years old. She witnessed the World War II, a communist dictatorship and hard-living conditions. Despite all, she remained free.
At 12, she was sent away to work as a house helper for a Hungarian notary office in Tinca. Some years afterwards, World War II came along, and with it, a growing intolerance. Her husband fought during the WWII and had little or no recognition afterwards.
But others suffered even more. She recalls large numbers of Jews being shot and burnt in a makeshift graveyards. Others were shot in nearby woods or simply disappeared being deported. The Hungarian troops came along and lastly, the Russian troops. Russians were the worst, she recalls. All young women were sent away from homes for fear of rapes and abuse. Russian soldiers would enter empty houses in Osand and search for “hazaika” or the woman of the house.
Soon afterwards, the communists surfaced ready to kill any trace of independence. But not everybody wanted to join them. Some of the old peasants such as Pilu had been to France and knew exactly what Communism meant for the average peasant. So a bunch of them remained free opposing the Communist regime for over 50 years.
She was among the free people. One of her frequent stories recalls the late night forced meetings in which independent peasants – infamously known as the Americans from Husasau de Tinca – were summoned at the town hall and asked time and time again to sign the registration sheet that certified the Communist membership. Nobody signed their independence away.
Some were beaten, thrown against the walls and some of them disappeared for days or forever. She survived to tell it all. Intolerance was the name of the game for each and every person that did not obey Communism.
Not much changed after the fall of the regime when the same executioners or persecutors became the architects of a newfound democracy being promoted to high-ranking political positions in Romania.
She warns me that freedom has no price and no age.
Happy Birthday, Grandma!