Horror orphanages.  The Romanians want to resume the investigation

Horror orphanages. Children died en masse from starvation and neglect (Getty Images)

During the Romanian regime alone, between 1980 and 1989, 340 children with mental and neurological diseases died in the medical center in Séret. Death occurred as a result of starvation, poor treatment, and neglect. Romanian investigators into communist crimes are struggling to resume investigation into their case.


1. An opportunity to resume the investigation

During the regime of dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu in Romania, people with disabilities were placed in various institutions. When the leader was executed by firing squad in 1989, television showed images of thousands of children left in orphanages, often in deplorable conditions.

According to estimates 340 children with mental and neurological illnesses died at the Syrett Children’s Psychiatric and Neurological Hospital between 1980 and 1989 alone.. Throughout the facility’s operation, from 1956 until its closure in 2001, About 1,500 minors died there.

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Romanian investigators into communist crimes from the Institute for the Investigation of Crimes of Communism and the Memory of Romanian Emigration (IICCMER) are currently fighting for the resumption of the investigation into the deaths of children at Seretsky Hospital and, more specifically, they want to open an investigation into the deaths of 340 minors in the 1980s in a communist orphanage.

The Court of Appeal is expected to announce its decision in June. Earlier, in 2023, prosecutors closed the proceedings citing insufficient evidence.

Romanian historians documented the relevant documents and submitted them to the prosecutor’s office Orphans were also subjected to inhumane treatment and starvation in other centers, with the exception of the center in Siretamong others in Plataristi (4,436 deaths in the period 1978-1991), Pastravini (394 deaths in the period 1966-1990) and Sighetu-Marmatiei (279 deaths in the period 1973-1991).

Children in an orphanage in Voltrici municipality, Romania

Children in an orphanage in Voltrici municipality, Romania (Getty Images)

2. Genocide

Since 1966, under a decree issued by the then Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu to increase population growth, Abortion and contraception were banned in the country. Terminating a pregnancy is punishable by imprisonment, and police and services oversee compliance with regulations.

In such conditions, orphanages were full of abandoned, often sick, children.

Orphans and abandoned children were sent to orphanages or orphanages. Most disabled minors admitted to hospital homes after 1966 had congenital skeletal and functional anomalies. (Heart defects, abnormal limbs, problems related to the development of the brain and spinal cord, encephalopathy, Down syndrome, etc.) and eating disorders (dystrophy, rickets, etc.),” the Europa Libera Romana (Radio Free Europe) portal reported in November last year. .

Neglected children died in large numbers in orphanages. Today there is talk of “exterminating” them.. According to researchers, their deaths were often caused by inhumane treatment. An autopsy was not performed.

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