Magazine article World Literature Today

Prison Poetry: Sighet, Romania

Magazine article World Literature Today

Prison Poetry: Sighet, Romania

Article excerpt

Sighet Prison, located in Sighet Marmatiei, Romania, was opened in 2000 as a museum archiving the long history of the building as a prison, factory, and warehouse. Inside the museum are cells containing information that chronicles the history of the building and Romania under Soviet occupation.

The Sighet prison, which opened in 1897 under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was mainly used for common criminals after 1918. In 1944 the Soviet Union invaded Romania, and by 1948 the prison was used for political dissidents, mainly students and peasants from Maramures. In the 1950s, dignitaries from all over the country were transported to Sighet, most of them over sixty years old and working as ministers, academics, military officers, journalists, politicians, historians, bishops, Greek and Roman Catholic priests, and economists. The prison was known as the "Danube colony" and considered to be a "special work unit." However, the prison was used as an extermination site for the elites in the country. …

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