'Vinegar on Old, Open Wounds'

Saturday, August 26, 2006

As a Romanian American businessman who came to the United States as a political refugee in the late 1960s because of the gross terror my family experienced in Romania under communism, I resent the casual way the July 28 news story "U-Md. Teacher Heads Inquiry in Romania" dismissed widespread anger at the appointment of Vladimir Tismaneanu to lead an official inquiry into communism in Romania.

Tismaneanu was an enthusiastic Communist Party activist into his thirties and a member of the most elite circles of Romania's nomenklatura . His father was sent by the Politburo in Moscow to help establish the communist terror in Bucharest in 1945. Tismaneanu's doctoral thesis, published in 1976 by a top Communist Party publishing house, is a vitriolic indictment of Western values.

The crimes committed by communists in Romania, such as jailing and murdering priests, intellectuals and businessmen and purging from schools liberal professors and children seen as "sons and daughters of the enemies of the people, or anti-communists," are analogous to Nazi-era crimes. Is it imaginable that the son of a Nazi general who had himself served many years in the SS would be invited to lead an official inquiry into national socialism?

In the article, Tismaneanu said that his task is to combine "analysis and compassion." Compassion for communism? For murderers, thugs and totalitarians bent on the destruction of the West? This looks like a major whitewash in the making.

Yes, communist crimes must be condemned. The appointment of Vladimir Tismaneanu, unfortunately, throws vinegar on old, open wounds.

-- Victor Gaetan


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