Bucharest University
Strada Edgar Quinet, Bucharest, Romania
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Against all odds

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Originally, Sybille Buhn wanted to begin her studies at the Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj. However, since the foreign-languages department that she favored no longer existed in 1983, she decided to study at the teaching institute in Bucharest instead. Here she met her future husband Giancarlo, an Italian lecturer. Through the connection to a foreigner, the Securitate became interested in the couple. Sybille was under the surveillance of the Securitate from this moment on, monitored by the secret service. The pressure was gradually increased until finally her papers disappeared, and the closet in her dorm was ransacked of her clothes, and so on. When these methods proved to be ineffective, Sybille was summoned to the secret police for interrogations and it was made clear to her that she ought to break up with the Italian lecturer. These developments in the end forced Sybille to think about emigration. The thought of emigrating was further encouraged by the birth of her son Lars in 1987 and her daughter Clelia in 1988. In the summer of 1988, she filed the first application to leave the country and after the Romanian Revolution and the end of the Ceausescu regime, on March 1, 1990, she was finally free to leave to Germany via Hungary.

Sibylle Buhn

Sibylle Buhn

Sibylle Buhn was born on July 15, 1965 in Neustadt, (Cristian). She belongs to a German-speaking minority living in Romania called the Transylvanian Saxons, (Siebenbürger Sachsen). After she had successfully completed her school-leaving exam, she began to study at the Bucharest University, where she met and fell in love with an Italian lecturer. Their relationship caught the attention of the Romanian secret intelligence service, the “Securitate,” which subsequently endeavored to complicate their life as much as possible. The couple was subjected to continuous threats and intrusions into their private life. It went so far that Sibylle and her boyfriend Giancarlo started to seriously think about leaving the country. This idea was further reinforced by the birth of their two children, Lars and Clelia. The parents didn’t want their children to have to grow up in a dictatorship. During the tumult that accompanied the Romanian revolution of 1989, the family’s fortunes were standing on a knife’s edge. However, after the death of the dictator Ceausescu, the young family was finally free to leave the country unharmed and settle in Heidelberg. Presently, the family lives in Nannhausen, a little village in Rhineland-Palatinate.

Bucharest University

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The University of Bucharest was founded in 1694 by Constantin Brâncoveanu, as the Academy of the Saint Sava, (Bucharest), and had initially Greek-speaking theology and philosophy classes. Its main building is located on the University Square in the city center. In mid-December 1989, a popular uprising against the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu erupted in Timişoara. On December 21, the revolt reached Bucharest since the Securitate troops, snipers and army units equipped with tanks had massacred the indignant crowd. Fires spread to the University Library. In Bucharest alone, there were about 500 casualties. On December 22, 1989, the state television TVR announced that Romania had been freed from tyranny.

Bucharest University

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Against all odds

Against all odds

Sibylle Buhn
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