*RCP = Romanian Communist Party
The communism legitimized its power in the year 1946, by controling the elections. With this campaign, the communists sought to increase their popularity within the voting mass, thus ensuring their success. One of the communist’s main goals was to denigrate the political parties in the eye of the public opinion. The Romanian Communist Party created, together with other five political parties, The Democratic Party Assemblage which enabled them to focus the public opinion towards their goal of interest and to further boost their own voting rate.
In this campaign, Stalin’s own quotation was applied or had been foretold: It doesn’t matter who or how they vote, but what matters is who counts the votes. This is because the communists were unable to win the elections even though all the 1946 political campaign was dotted with violent actions and instances of law breaking even by representatives or sympathizers of the Groza (Petru Groza, Prime-Minister) government.
In Arad, amongst other violent actions, the one from the 10th of February stands out as being the most severe. Then, after a communist rally organized at 10 o’clock in front of the City Hall, whose participants were largely ITA (Industriile Textile Arad – Arad Textile Industries) employees, the convoy, backed up by a musical brass band, was heading towards the Arad headquarters of the National Peasant Party whose branch was then led by Iosif Nedici and Matei Mereg. The headquarters was on Horea Street nr.2, first floor, in the Szantay palace (see photo below), the latter also hosting the public notary office of Bujor Truia who, at the beginning of 1946 gave the rights to use the office to the party. Once they reached the HQ’s location, the communist rally’s participants started attacking the people in the office. These were: Dr. Alexa Botioc, the party’s vice president; prof. Constantin Teodorescu, the party’s general secretary and former deputy; the lawyer Ioan Drincu, school principal; Ioan Ungureanu, the president of the party’s youth branch; Lucian Emandi , the technical secretary and Aurel Mladin, a party member.
To intimidate the ones from within the HQ, the attackers started, from the building’s entrance, to fire several gunshots and afterwards went on to vandalize the HQ and attacking the people inside at that moment. Alexa Botioc falls and he’s being trampled on, after which two of the attackers started grabbing him by the legs, pulling him down the stairs towards the ground floor. He enters a state of coma, dies in 4th of March and before that in the 3th of March, the professor Constantin Teodorescu dies. Ioan Ungureanu, after being beaten and trampled on, was raised on a platform and carried on the Horia Street whilst facing sustained beatings from two individuals, Lascu and Crisan.
Interestingly enough, in the very proximity of the HQ where all these engagements manifested, a police precinct was functioning with police officers being present at the time of the attacks. According to the “Dreptatea” newspaper, in its 6th March 1946 edition, Dr. Ioan Drinciu, presenting a bloody and tumefied face, has taken refuge in the Police Quaestor’s office, right next door, requesting assistance. His request was rejected and sent over to the court house where the attorney general, upon being notified, refused any involvement and sent him back to the police. Iosif Nedici, the leader of the attacking group remained unpunished. Furthermore, he started maneuvering another communist group responsible for disrupting the funeral convoy of Botioc and his name is also linked up with other actions performed by the Arad’s communists. This incident, in the terms of prof. Viorel Baltoi, was one of the most dramatic and by far the last from the coming rounds of assasination.
The devastated HQ and its victims were photographed by a Peasant’s Party member who was shortly arrested and the pictures were sent to the Allied Commission of Control from Bucharest and to the newspaper “Dreptatea”, the party’s newspaper who published the material. With Iosif Nedici remaining unpunished, so was the notification sent towards The Allied Commission that remained without an answer.
On the 5th of May, the same year, The County’s Conference of the National Peasant Party was scheduled, due to being hosted in the great hall of The White Cross Hotel, currently the Ardealul Hotel. Upon hearing the news, one night prior to the conference, the communists have occupied the hall, refusing to leave. The peasant party’s members complained to the local police but, although benefiting from police presence at the hotel, the Quaestor Stanculescu told them that there is nothing he can do.
Only 1000 from the persons which were about to attend the conference were notified about its postponement while the rest started gathering on the Eminescu Street. There, a group of communists, workers at ITA and led by the same Iosif Nedici, attacked the peasant’s party members. People from both sides were injured. Simultaneously, on the major streets of Arad, communist groups started to attack many citizens, simple by passers subjected beatings and insults. A group of army men, who were by chance in the area, shared the same fate.
In the following days, tens of employees were fired from the ASTRA, ITA and TEBA (factories from the city) on the grounds that they took part at the congress. Also , the local committee of the labor unions in allegiance with the authorities ordered all the printing houses to stop editing the newspaper Romanul, the Arad’s National Peasant Party’s official newspaper even though it’s editing was authorized by the Ministry of Propaganda.
The Arad Free Tours team will soon provide a special tour which will teach you about the dark period in Romania’s history called the Communism!
Source: Blog Aradean
Author: Eugen Rogojan
Translated from Romanian by: Albert Reich