The Memorial of the Victims of Communism
The Memorial is more than a museum, it is an accurate reminder, a gruesome and painful one, of the horrors commited by the communists not only in this prison but all over Romania.
The Memorial holds an impressive collection of testimonials, documents, pictures, personal belongings, various assets that belonged to the prison, etc. displayed in the former cells and other rooms of the prison. The exhibition halls are arranged on three levels and each one of them evokes a different episode in the history of the prison and in the metamorphosis of Romania into a communist state.
The building was errected in 1897 by the architect Wagner Gyula and has been awarded the title of 'Architectural Monument'. Together with the Justice Palace, they were forming a complex built to celebrate the shift into the 20th century. Starting in 1948, the prison became a political one, communists incarcerating here peasants that resisted collectivisation, students, priests, officials or academicians. The prison was ment to exterminate all those fighting agains communists also intellectuals or politicians discredited by the regime.
The prison functioned as a political one until 1955, the year Romania joined UN, when it became a regular prison. By then, the harsh detentions conditions, tortures, cruel interrogations, starvation and the lack of health services had made their mark. More than 50 inmates have died (no one knows the exact number), some have been transfered to other prisons were the nightmare continued and some were set free, although never recovering or forgetting the detention. In 1977 the prison was closed down and became a warehouse.
Several art pieces symbolizing the horrors and the sufferance endured by the emprisoned but also their hope for freedom are displayed in the Memorial. The most well-known and representative is "The Procession of the Sacrificed", a group of 18 bronze statues located in the backyard showing 18 human bodies walking towards a wall, a dead end, just like communism.
In the inner court of the Memorial we can also find "The Space for Prayer and Recollection", an architectural masterpiece reflecting the faith in God of the former inmates and proving the importance of religion in their daily life, as the last stand agains their persecutors.
The Memorial is open daily from 9.30 to 18.30 (April 15 - October 15) and Tuesday to Sunday, 10.00 to 16.00 (October 16 - April 14). The museum is located in Sighetu Marmatiei, Corneliu Coposu St, Nr. 4. For tickets price and other enquiries please call +40-262-316848 or go to www.memorialsighet.ro, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.