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Death of the Father
Media Sources: Ceausescu & Romania

NOTE: Images of the Ceausescu trial and execution used on this site are stills created from video obtained
from anonymous Romanian sources. The original footage was recorded on camcorder by a member of the group who captured, tried and executed the Ceausescus in Dec. 1989. Documentation was evidently seen as desirable and essential by the those spear-heading the events.. In watching the footage it is clear that what must have been the cameraman's extreme anxiety and shaking hands were translated directly into the footage. The blurry photos you see here are due not only to disintegration of a poor original image, but to this shaking. It is said that the execution squad was so nervous at the prospect of the approaching Securitate forces that gunmen shot the Ceausescus immediately after leading them outside, not giving the cameraman time to aim his camera. Although the sound of the machine gun fire was recorded, the cameraman could only manage to focus on the two corpses seconds after the gunfire ceased.

today's script

Image: A large portrait of Nicolae Ceausescu, one among thousands, is carried in a parade celebrating a Communist Party Congress(~1975). Different enterprises had the responsibility to bring their employees and supply flags, posters and banners extolling the virtues of Ceausescu, the Party, and various causes. (credit: TV news footage, courtesy of Romanian friends)

crowds at a parade cheering the Ceausescus, from a Romanian television news broadcast ~1975 (credit: TV news footage)
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keeping warm
Montage: Taking advantage of Cold War antagonisms for his benefit, Ceausescu is pictured here courting Soviet Premier Brezhnev, then President Nixon of the U.S. ~1969. (credit: montage created from what appear to be Romanian news photos, credit unknown)

Music: coming soon!

"They closed the portals, those our adversaries."
Dante: Inferno--Canto VIII: 115

Image: In late December 1989, with the "revolution" spinning rapidly out of control, Nicolae and Elena Ceauescu fled Bucharest by helicopter, were soon captured, then held at a military base in northern Romania. Here a makeshift courtroom has been arranged for their speedy "trial". Charges against the Ceausescus are formally read by the military tribunal, condemning them to death. Nicolae blusters "I do not recognize this." Bangs fist. "How can you condemn me?" Ordered to stand up Elena shouts "We are people. You can't treat us this way." The spokesman for the tribunal continues "In the name of the law of the people we are declaring you are condemened to death. All your possessions will be collected and transmitted to the people according to the penal code. We are pronouncing this public sentence today Dec. 25, 1989." (credits: cameraman at the trial).

Music: Excerpt from Litany by Arvo Pärt:

"O Lord Jesus Christ,
write me down in the book of life
and grant unto me a good end..."

"Child, don't tie me!"

Image: A soldier ties Elena Ceausescu's hands as she struggles and protests loudly. The captor holds Elena's wrist so the camera can record the expensive gold bracelet she is wearing.(credits: trial cameraman).

Soldiers with guns surround Nicolae and Elena and begin to tie their hands behind their backs to lead them outside to be executed; they protest loudly and struggle. Elena screams "Do not tie me up! What are you doing here? You don't have the right to tie me up. Child do not do this to me! Don't you listen? Stop touching me. Haven't you heard? What are you doing?" Nicolae tells Elena "Relax. Leave it be." "Let me go!" screams Elena. Let my hands go!" Nicolae shouts "How do you have the right to do this?" (Dec. 25, 1989) (credits: trial cameraman) --Load time: ~37 sec.

you say you want a Revolution?

Image: Members of the National Salvation Front broadcast from Romanian national television studio in Bucharest during the revolution to claim they are now leading the government.

sounds of the Ceausescu's execution, Dec. 25, 1989. (credits: trial cameraman). --Load time: ~25 sec.

Awaken Romania!

Image: A soup-kitchen in post-revolution Romania 1996, evidence of the continuing severe economic crisis resulting from the Ceausescu's economic policies and failed reforms by the new government. (photo credit: David Kideckel)

Romanian anthem "Awaken Romanian!" This anthem was not sung during the period of Ceausescu's rule. Lyrics:

"Awaken thee, Romanian,
shake off the deadly slumber
The scourge of inauspicious barbarian tyrannies
And now or never to a bright horizon clamber
That shall to shame put all your nocuous enemies.
Itís now or never to the world we readily proclaim
In our veins throbs and ancestry of Roman
And in our hearts for ever we glorify a name
Resounding of battle, the name of gallant Trajan.
Do look imperial shadows, Michael, Stephen, Corvinus
At the Romanian nation, your mighty progeny
With arms like steel and hearts of fire impetuous
Itís either free or dead, thatís what they all decree.
Priests, rise the cross, this Christian armyís liberating
The word is freedom, no less sacred is the end
Weíd rather die in battle, in elevated glory
Than live again enslaved on our ancestral land."
(performance credit by permission: David Driggs, E-Conflict World Encyclopedia
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(c) 1999 John Borneman & Linda Fisher, All Rights Reserved