Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview

party. He was skilled in avoiding arrest and, while the entire leadership of the Communist party was in jail, Patrascanu directed the party's affairs from outside.

After August 23, 1944, when Romania changed sides in the war, Patrascanu was the first communist to become a member of the Sanatescu government. He led the Romanian delegation at the armistice negotiations held in Moscow. However, it soon became apparent that both the Muscovites, as well as the Gheorghiu-Dej-led "local" communists, considered Patrascanu a rival. His impeccable credentials made him a difficult target indeed; nevertheless, he was excluded from the post-1944 Politburo.

When the Tito-Stalin conflict came out into the open, Patrascanu became an obvious candidate for the role of a nationalist, a "Tito-deviationist" in Romania. He was singled out for criticism by the Muscovites in 1948 and was expelled from the Central Committee of the Communist party. It is most likely that he was imprisoned, although he was not put to a show trial as yet. However, Gheorghiu-Dej's (see Gheorghiu-Dej, Gheorghe) victory over the Muscovites in 1952, and Joseph Stalin's death a year later did not result in Patrascanu's release and rehabilitation. Instead, he was tried in April 1954, including former Stalinists Stefan Foris and Remus Koffler. Patrascanu was sentenced to death and executed. It seems that there were some old scores left unsettled between himself and Gheorghiu-Dej, and Patrascanu, although no longer representing a challenge, could not be trusted to remain passive. In 1968, however, Patrascanu's case was reopened at the orders of Nicolae Ceausescu (see Ceausescu, Nicolae and Elena). The Central Committee investigated the charges against him and found no evidence to support them. It was proven that Patrascanu had been interrogated on and off for two years and that he had been severely mistreated. It was found out that Gheorghiu-Dej was behind the events and that Alexandru Draghici (see Draghici, Alexandru), the secret police chief, personally assembled the false charges against Patrascanu. It was also shown that not only Draghici and Gheorghiu-Dej, but also the entire Politburo at the time, were aware of the falseness of the charges and of the tortures that Patrascanu was subjected to. Similar findings were announced in the cases of Foris and Koffler. Patrascanu was, therefore, posthumously rehabilitated, something that was not unusual among East European communists.


Bibliography

Behr Edward, Kiss the Hand You Cannot Bite ( New York, 1991); Floyd David, Romania: Russia's Dissident Ally ( New York, 1965); Ionescu Ghita, Communism in Romania, 1944-1962 ( New York, 1964).

Pauker, Ana ( 1902-1960). Pauker was born to a kosher butcher in the city of Iasi, but later she altered this fact by asserting that her father was a rabbi. In her youth, Pauker, a strictly orthodox young woman, was a teacher in an orthodox Jewish school. She visited Paris where she was converted to atheism and Marxism-Leninism. After her return to Romania, she became active in the underground Romanian Communist party. In 1935, she was arrested and sentenced to ten years in prison. In 1940, Pauker was exchanged by the Soviet Union for a captured Bessarabian nationalist

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