How Did He Subjugate So Many?

Doctors, Nurses highly compliant, Teachers through fear and extra pay, Churches acted as informants to the Securitate and were on Ceausescu’s payroll.


When I was growing up, I could not understand how an entire country was subdued into acceptance of their fate of living under the oppression of a tyrant installed in power by the Communist Party and the Soviet Bolshevik agents, a tyrant who was previously a shoe cobbler in his village of Scornicesti.

This “maverick” man was able to “erase the past and construct a new man and society dependent upon the Communist Party and its organs of terror and intimidation.”  People were kept under the heavy boot of oppression because they were hungry, cold, controlled by abject fear, disarmed, and starved into submission by a huge army of Marxist cadre and well-armed militias and soldiers, composed of brothers, fathers, neighbors, and friends.

There was no place to hide from the well-paid informants of the Communist Party

A few citizens in the more sparsely populated areas in the Carpathian Mountains, hid in the woods and kept their weapons, in opposition to the communists, but they were eventually rounded up and killed.

There was no place to hide from the well-paid informants of the Communist Party; often snitches were their own awfully close relatives, distant relatives, and even “best” friends turned informants, not because they believed in such an oppressive ideology, but because they wanted more food, medicine, medical care, and other scarce survival items.

Communist propaganda played each day on radio, television, political meetings, children’s shows, schools, and was printed in newspapers, magazines, and on glossy posters. The music accompanying the daily propaganda was martial, somber, frightening, and deafening.

The Dear Leader was spoken of in biblical terms, he was the “creator of thought,” the “giver of strength,” and, in a Ministry of Truth Orwellian vein, he was the One who gave meaning and justification to our thoughts and ideas. Without him, a God-like figure, we were worth nothing, we were dust under his shoes.

We owned nothing in that miserable life, but we were NOT happy about it, just controlled into submission by fear and indoctrination. And it showed! You would have been hard-pressed to meet one smiling person on the street. Everybody frowned and crowded in never-ending store lines, on buses, and on trains, like sardines in a can. The evil and guilty, being driven around in fancy government-owned cars, controlled the good and the innocent.

Nothing happened in Romania without Ceausescu approval

Ceausescu was compared by his apparatchiks, poets, teachers, movie makers, writers, reporters, to famous historical figures like Stefan Cel Mare (Stephen the Great), Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), the bloody thirsty prince from the mid-1400s who disposed of his enemies through strange methods of incarceration, torture, savage beatings, or summary and quite painful executions.

Ceausescu was, according to posters and recitations we had to make daily in meetings at school and work, the framer of the “multilaterally developed socialist society and Romania’s advance to communism.” All we knew was the reality of gurgling empty tummies, bare pantries, and headaches from insufficient daily intake of calories.

Ceausescu was aggrandized to the point that he was featured in every classroom, every office, every workshop, every factory, inside public buildings, outside buildings, in sculptures, portraits, military decorations, churches, icons, paintings, banners, statues, monuments, poems, plays, and monologues. Nothing happened in Romania without his approval. His elaborate portrait was next to those of ancient kings, princes, and voivodes.

On national holidays such as August 23, celebrating the victory over fascism, or the anniversary of the union of Transylvania with the rest of Romania, we had to march on the main boulevard, dressed in our pioneers’ uniform with the red bandana around the neck, carrying flags, placards with phrases like ‘Long live communism,’ and portraits of the Dear Leader; but it was not a real celebration for that occasion, it was a total deification of the tyrant, “the father of the country,” “the light of knowledge and wisdom,” and many other absurd and outlandish phrases invented by communists to venerate the cobbler dictator and his semi-literate wife who “owned” a scientific doctoral degree she never earned.



Ceausescu’s foreign bank accounts held millions of dollars while the oppressed masses starved

We lived in an alternate universe, The Twilight Zone of sorts, where bad people were in charge and good people were slaves to communism, to the Dear Leader and his family, who lived in the lap of luxury in exorbitant villas thanks to confiscatory stealing from citizens and the theft of the national patrimony and impoverishment of the country. His foreign bank accounts held millions of dollars while the oppressed masses starved.

During plenary meetings, worshipping party members and those in attendance stood up every two or three minutes, clapping and shouting praises for the glorification of the dictator Ceausescu. While it was standard protocol to stand during the entrance of a country’s leader, U.S. Ambassador David Funderburk refused to stand as often after the initial standing at his entrance, and was, according to his recollection, blacklisted.

The worshipping went so far that, on his 67th birthday, Ceausescu was compared to Orion (“Luceafarul”), born at Scornicesti, “Nicolae with a laurel crown.” Imagine the nausea of having to take part in such surreal events.

Nobody dared to mention God on Romanian television, because, to the communists, atheism was their religion and Ceausescu was god. The word God had not been mentioned in the media after the Bolsheviks took over the country.

Ceausescu had an army of controllers on the Communist Party payroll—the dreaded Securitate

But one man, Ambassador David B. Funderburk, dared to use the word God in his July 4, 1982, television address to the Romanian people. Ambassador Funderburk recounts in his book, that month’s later church goers in the far north told him how dear and meaningful the word God was to them, knowing that it came from the President of the United States at the time, Ronald Reagan. . …. “Let us pray that God will guide us and future generations in preserving the liberty that is the essence of the American spirit.” (David B. Funderburk, Pinstripes and Reds, Selous Foundation Press, 1987, p. 107)

Ceausescu had an army of controllers on the Communist Party payroll, i.e., the dreaded Securitate, the economic police, the street police, factory activists, school activists, and informants on every city block, street, apartment complex, and each entrance to the many public buildings, churches, schools, hospitals, factories, and libraries.

Nothing was left to chance and everything and everybody was constantly watched. His army worked hard to track the rest of us because they had low level technology, no Internet, computers, and smart phones.

Doctors and nurses were ardent supporters of the police state and highly compliant. Teachers followed the directives of the Ministry of Education. Fear and extra pay to help one survive were strong motivators.

We could not turn to churches for comfort because most priests were also informants to the Securitate and were on Ceausescu’s payroll. They helped keep the praying masses subdued and under control. Churches were kept open for baptisms, weddings, and burials and as a way for Ceausescu to know when the small underground opposition organized events.

Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh — Bio and Archives

Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, Ileana Writes is a freelance writer, author, radio commentator, and speaker. Her books, “Echoes of Communism”, “Liberty on Life Support” and “U.N. Agenda 21: Environmental Piracy,” “Communism 2.0: 25 Years Later” are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

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