Ciuchici
Ciuchici 327080, Romania
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Trying to escape from communist Romania

Available in: English | Română

Unsatisfied with his life under the communist regime, Ioan Marin tried to cross the Romanian-Yugoslavian border with two close friends , Ion Iordan and Constantin Stanciu, in July 1961 when he was seventeen. They had chosen a crossing location at a spot called Ciuchici, a village near to Oravița. Before crossing the border, the boys stopped to buy supplies from a local store without realizing that because they were so close to the border they would raise suspicion from the villagers. Consequently, one of the store employees informed the authorities, and the three young men were soon surrounded by militia, arrested and questioned. “A citizen saw us there. He was a snitch, as they often are near the border. We got closer. We were so close to the border that we could already see into Yugoslavia. I said: ‘We've prepared, let's go, it's getting dark.’ We got into a hollow. Between Timişoara and Jimbolia there's this little corner. We wanted to cross the border there because it was less secure since everybody was afraid of this little corner, which was the narrowest. And I said, ‘Here's the weakest guard!’ And I got down into a pit, to wait there until it was dark. I said, ‘Let's eat, get ready and when it gets dark, we'll go’. One of the citizens from the store went and reported us to the militia and the border patrol. They surrounded us. The police was there first. I realized something was wrong when someone appeared on the coast. I said: ‘If he runs away, he might have blown the whistle on us and we might get caught.’ It was our clothes that gave us away. We were wearing city school uniforms, while people in the village, in Ciuchici, wore other clothing. The food we had gotten also made us stand out... So I said: ‘Pack up, let's get out of here!’ We hadn't started packing yet when the policeman appeared. He pulled the trigger, an automatic firearm, and told us: ‘Come on! Get out!’ He stripped us naked and got us out of the pit. Bare-naked, we were taken to the local police station in Chiuchici,” Marin recalled.

Ioan Marin

Ioan Marin

Ioan Marin was born on March 22, 1944 in Popeşti-Leordeni, Ilfov County. He finished 7 classes, having attended school in the village, even though his parents didn't want him learning. At school, he was close friends with Ion Iordan, the son of the village's church singer, who was just a few months older than him. After completing primary school, he wanted to go to a vocational school in Bucharest. However, after failing to take the exam and having quarreled with his parents, he stayed in Bucharest, working as an unskilled electrician on a construction site. Because of the particularly heavy work he was doing on the construction site, and his participation in rebellion against the Communist regime, at just 17 years old Ioan Marin decided to leave the country at all costs and convinced his friend, Ion Iordan – who was studying at a high school in Bucharest – to join him. They chose France as a destination and drew up plans to cross the border illegally. Constantin Stanciu, another 17-year old young man, joined them as well. In July 1961, he tried to cross the border together with two other friends at Ciuchici, a village near to Oravița. Before crossing the border, they stopped to buy supplies from a store, without realizing they were too close to the border and could therefore raise suspicion. One of the employees in the store informed the authorities, and on July 6, the young men were surrounded by militia officers, arrested and questioned at the local militia station. They were then transported to Oravița, where the interrogation continued until Constantin Stanciu admitted to having planned to cross the border illegally and flee to France. From Oraviţa, they were sent to Timișoara, where they remained under investigation for approximately 6 months. Following the trial from December 1961, Ioan Marin was sentenced to 2 years in prison for "attempt of illegal border crossing". His friends, Ion Iordan and Constantin Stanciu, were sentenced to 3 and 2 years in prison respectively. He executed his sentence in the Timișoara and Jilava prisons. Despite the torment he endured, communist prisons offered Ioan Marin the chance to meet numerous intellectuals, and acted as spaces for expressing solidarity, fellowship and generosity towards people around him. He was released from jail on January 17, 1963, based on a pardon decree.

Ciuchici

Available in: English | Română

Ciuchici is a commune in Caraș-Severin County, in Banat, Romania, which is situated 15 km away from the city of Oravița and is bordered to the south-west by Serbia. It currently has a population of 1,092 inhabitants and 682 households, and administers a total number of four villages: Ciuchici, Macoviște, Nicolinț și Petrilova. The place was first mentioned under the name of Tyuko in a charter of King Matthias, which dates back to the 15th century. In 1690 it was mentioned as part of Palanka District, and in 1717 record referring to Ciuchici were under the name of Zuchis. Due to its proximity to the border to Yugoslavia, during Communist times, Ciuchici was considered to be a potential border crossing point by Romanian who wanted to be free of their country.

Ciuchici

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Trying to escape from communist Romania

Trying to escape from communist Romania

Ioan Marin
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