Repressive Mechanisms

English version by Eliza Biță

The work Repressive Mechanisms in Romania 1945-1989. A Biographic Dictionary ( represents an editorial project of NIST that materialises the results of the research undertaken between 2001 and 2011 by a collective coordinated by Assistant Professor PhD Octavian Roske. It is a unique work in the related Romanian literature, a fundamental documentary source for the study of the totalitarian phenomenon, which has been completely published, in 9 tomes, each having an average of 400 pages and including around 75000 micro-biographies, elaborated on the grounds of the documentation obtained from the study of hundreds of publications, until the year 2011.

The Dictionary was not intended to cover the complex sources of Romania’s history in the concerned period, or to become an exhaustive repertory; it gathers the information found in sources published in various tomes: monographs, syntheses, dictionaries, biographies etc. Important sources have been left out of this initiative, such as archive documents and periodical publications, whose systematic use would have exceeded the material and human resources that the NIST had available at that time. Supplementing the documentation is a desideratum for the new generations of researchers. Digital transfer allows, among other things, for an infinite number of unlimitedly vast updates.

We publish both the micro-biographies of the victims of the communist regime, and those of the members of the repressive apparatus. During the classification, data on executions ordered for political reasons have been recorded, as well as information on the opponents of the totalitarian regime having been sentenced to prison, confined in labour camps or in psychiatric asylums. At the end of each chapter of the repertory, the sources that have been used are mentioned. The work is supplemented by an ample bibliographic list.

Considering the documentary material that it includes and systemises the work may be considered as a reference title for all those who are interested in studying the communist regime of Romania: researchers, archivists, museographers, teachers, students, pupils, and the general public who is preoccupied with becoming aware of the realities of the communist period.

Based on such motives, the editorial project Digital instruments for the study of totalitarianism: Repressive mechanisms in Romania in 1945-1989. A biographic dictionary. Part I: Letters A – L, financed by National Cultural Administration Fund – AFCN (August - November 2015) intends to make public, in a format that is suitable for the 21st century, information on one of the Romanian contributions to the study of the outline of left-wing totalitarianism in Romania and of its forms of manifestation. This project intends to put in a complex digital format, whose value equals that of a database (a transposition in html and pdf formats on a dedicated webpage) all the data in the series of books published by NIST under the title Repressive Mechanisms in Romania 1945-1989. A Biographic Dictionary. Thus, we create and make available for all those that may be concerned a modern, interactive and very useful tool that is meant to use extensively gathered and systemised data on the history of Romanian communism, which, therefore, becomes accessible both on fixed and on mobile terminals.

The information that the above-mentioned editorial project provides may easily be juxtaposed to research on the other forms of Eastern-European totalitarianism, thus completing the picture of the history of communism. It is also worth noting that, by its structure and features (the translation of the general parts of the sections in English), the editorial project set forth by NIST also becomes very useful to foreign researchers that may be interested in the Romanian totalitarian phenomenon or in comparative studies, facilitating their online access to a database on the phenomenon of communism in Romania, to lists of one-author studies concerning particular issues etc.

The series of the reedited works has started in 2015 by digitising the series of volumes named Repressive mechanisms… Three parts are to be published, as follows: part I: letters A – L (approximately 1500 pages and approximately 17000 biographic information sheets), 2015; part two: letters M – P, 2016; part three: letters Q – Z, 2017.