Anti-communist armed resistance in Romania consisted of more than 60 groups spread across the country, most of which retreated to the mountains to actively fight against the regime and hide from the Secret Police. Two of the groups that developed armed resistance were based in the Banat and the Făgăraș Mountains in Southwestern and Central Romania, respectively.
The stories of these two groups present both similarities and differences, related to the ability of their members to act, the ultimate objective and method of their resistance and their recipe for survival. Both groups were provided with food and clothing by relatives (wives and sisters) and, in some exceptional cases, women even followed their men into the mountains. However, the rift between the resistance fighters and their neighbours in the local villages caused by their views on communism and their attitude to the authorities ultimately led to acts of betrayal, even between relatives and friends.
Hence, the history of anti-communist resistance is one of two opposing communities that co-existed in Romanian mountain villages between the late 1940s and the mid-1950s: one that disapproved of communism and fought against it by supporting the armed resistance and one that actively sought to capture resistance fighters and deliver them to the Secret Police. Both the archives and oral history interviews show that the Securitate invested large resources in capturing members of the anti-communist resistance. Not only did they blackmail villagers but they also bought their support by promising favours in exchange for information or betrayal.
Members of the resistance were, eventually, captured, imprisoned and, mostly, executed. Their wives were also arrested, leading to family traumas and deep divisions. The schism that was created between villagers – between supporters and opponents of the resistance – remained for many years. Upon their release from prison, former supporters of the resistance returned to a home that no longer wanted them and was populated by neighbours who had betrayed them.
On the basis of interviews from the archive of the Oral History Institute in Cluj-Napoca as well as documents from the Securitate archives, this paper examines the role of women in supporting the anti-communist resistance by comparing the Banat and Făgăraș groups. It will then go on to highlight the objectives and motives of the resistance.
The end of the Second World war did not mean the end of violence for many regions in Eastern Europe. The establishment of Communist-led governments often met not only civil but also armed resistance. These actions were taken by partisan groups and paramilitary forces which in some cases had been formed already during the war to support axis forces. In other cases – like Poland’s Armia Krajowa – they fought Nazi and Soviet occupiers with the same fervour. The aims of the ﬁghters were the end of Communist rule and – like in the Baltic region – independence from the Soviet Union. Diﬃculties in accessing sources and research taboos as well as a focus on other aspects of the Cold War are reasons why violent resistance in Europe after the Second World War is a topic yet rather underestimated and comparably little investigated by historiography. This book gives a comprehensive ﬁrst overview of the ultimately futile attempts to end the rule of Moscow and her proxies.