Mihail Decean Exhumation of martyr-heroes with an excavator
I did not give up

I did not feel discouraged and I did not give up looking for other allies, so I decided to write a book on the uncertainties regarding the exhumation of the national martyr heroes killed by the communist Securitate and thrown into mass graves. The starting point of this book would be our example. It was Mărioara who gave me the decisive impulse not to give up, writing a dedication for me in her book: For my cousin Mihai Decean, who gave me the impulse to write this book, and who was the initiator of our adventure on Muntele Mare (17 October 2010). I thank you with all my heart for everything you have done. I will always be grateful to you for having believed in this action and for having cherished my brother. We both had the same feelings and we both agreed that it was our duty to reveal the patriotic value of my brother’s sacrifice; he never hesitated to sacrifice his life for the generous idea of being a fighter for truth and democracy (Mărioara, Cluj, August 2012).

I approached Viorel Marineasa, a famous man of letters, writer and university professor in Timişoara, as I am familiar with his manner of thinking and writing, and I suggested that we should work together on a book project on this theme and, after previous documentation, to write the book.

Firstly, we used two published volumes: chapter VII of the book by Ion Gavrilă Ogoranu, Elis Neagoe-Pleșa and Liviu Pleșa, Brazii se frâng, dar nu se îndoiesc (Fir Trees Can Break, but They Never Bend, Marist Publishing House, Baia Mare, 2007) and Organizația de rezistență condusă de maiorul Nicolae Dabija (1948-1949) (The Resistance Organization Led by Major Nicolae Dabija (1948-1949) – (Edited documents, introductory study and notes by Liviu Pleşa, CNSAS Publishing House, Bucharest, 2009; cousin Mărioara gave me the first book as a gift, and the second I received as a gift from the Greek- Catholic priest Petru Stânea from Mihalţ).

After a while, Gheorghe Petrov helped me buy a third book on the same subject, which I mentioned before. I am giving all these details here because I think it is the right place to say how difficult it is to get these short-run books. The small print run favors selling them at higher prices and reveals a very unpleasant side of the patriotic common sense of Romanian authorities in relation to the popularization of our recent history.

We had an idea which was about to partially materialize: to complete our documentation by going to Bistra and Cluj-Napoca, to interview Emil Goia and his mother, Maria Balea, as well as my cousin, Mărioara, and to climb the mountain to the supposed location of the mass grave.

I went to Cluj-Napoca and to Bistra together with Viorel (I hope we will soon become good friends) and his younger colleague, philologist Mihai Crâznic from Timişoara, who is specialized in oral history. We intended to climb Muntele Mare, but we changed our minds because the weather was not very favorable in the second half of October 2012.

On our way by car to Cluj-Napoca, Turda and Bistra, along the Aries Valley, on October 11, 2012, Gheorghe Petrov invited us to have a coffee in a pub in Turda, his native town, as he wanted to meet my new allies. We informed him that we were trying to help him, by using the tools of the documentary literature, to obtain the official approval to exhume the partisans’ remains, as he was about to become the coordinator of this action.

I do not mean to upset anyone, but I have a strange, though not surprising feeling that makes me wonder if it was official caution that facilitated the beginning of the exhumation works before a book on its endless postponement would appear.

I have never doubted that the exhumation and burial expenses would be paid by the State that followed the murderous communist State, if the new State (the new political power) really appreciated the partisans that the former murderous communist State called bandits and/or terrorists. That is why I was very surprised to hear Gheorghe Petrov telling me that for the exhumation it was good and necessary for us to contribute “money, Mr. Decean, money”. And on the phone he added: “We’ll see how much we need there, at Bistra!”

We resumed our discussion on September 1, 2012, at the exhumation site, during the exhumation works. While Petrov was talking on the phone with Viorel Siserman, the chief military prosecutor in Cluj-Napoca, who had a professional interest in the case, the magistrate asked who would pay for the forensic expertise of the five exhumed skeletons. Petrov asked me who was going to pay, I told him to ask the prosecutor how much it cost, the prosecutor answered it cost 400 lei for a skeleton. Petrov understood the meaning of my silent answer to his question whether the partisans’ relatives would pay for these expenses and told the prosecutor that the money would come from IICCMRE.

So I told myself that even a Government employee may have common sense, and Gheorghe Petrov proved me right. He knew what to understand from my silence. He has plenty of common sense.