The history of Romanian communism is not enough known even though 19 years passed since the events of 1989. During these almoust two decades the acces of the historians to the documents pertaining to the communist period was a difficult one and only in the last few years we may indeed talk about the opening of the archives.
The project Online communism photo collection was initiated as a result of an increased interest of the public towards the communist regime in Romania and because of the unavailability of the photographic sources for the respective period. The project became possible in July 2007 after the real and total opening of the archive of the communism preserved by the National Archives of Romania.
On 14th of November, 2008, the National Archives of Romania and The Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes in Romania, concluded an agreement of cooperation in order to bring into being the Online communism photo collection, which is the first and the largest Romanian free data base, containing photos from 1945-1989 and 1921-1944 , available on the Internet.
The object of the Agreement
The Agreement stipulates that NAR sustained by IICCR will identify, process, organize and make available the photographic sources in any format, created during/pertainig to communist regime in Romania, in order to be used for free by all the users on the Internet.
Acording to the Agreement NAR provided with the photographic sources (black and white and colored photogrammes, on paper etc.) pertaining to the communist period in Romania from its own holdings, and IICCR processed (photocopy, scanner, digitalize photo) the relevant photos and financed the achievement of the search engine, especially desingned, and of the data base. NAR and IICCR post on their websites the Online photo collection, the search engine and make available the photos from the data base for free for all the users on the Internet..
The accomplishement of the data base
At the begining NAR identified the photographic sources necessary to initiate the project. In repositories of the National Archives we may find today thousands of photos in different formats, from different organizations of the communist state. Most of these photos are from the archive of the former Institute of the Communist Party History (Institute for Historical and Political Studies). Equally important are those from Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej and Ceausescu photo collections.
The photos cover a vast period and a huge number of events, from inter-war period, the World War II and Ceausescu dicatorship. There are images from communists’ meetings in illegality, portraits from their youth, photos from the prisons where the communist leaders were locked. Most of the photos pertain to the period 1944-1989: the entering of the Red Army in Bucharest, the political events from 1944-1947, the visit abroad of some communist leaders, aspects from the private life of Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej and Nicolae Ceausescu, official visits in the country, Communist Party’s conventions, cultural reunions, communist nomenclaure on different hypostasis, manifests, meetings, official portraits, public events etc.
After the photos were identified and the priorities were established, experts from IICCR initiate the scanning process. Up to now images from the Institute of the Communist Party History (Institute for Historical and Political Studies) – selections from Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej and Ceausescu photo collections have been scanned. Also, images of communist activists of Hungarian origin in Romania; “building of socialism”; albums presenting Nicu and Zoe Ceausescu on hollyday in Moldavia and Danube Delta in the summer of 1976. We also should mention the photos from a special fund-Retrase (Removed), which was available only on management’s approval, containing images of the entering of the Red Army in Romania, the period September 1944-November 1946, different communist conferences and demonstrations etc.
Considering that the amount of scanned photos is large (over 3500) a selection on ilustrative criterion has been made and the photos have been processed in order to improve the quality.
In the first stage the Online photo collection will contain 1500 photos and other will be added periodically.
The photos within this data base were made between 1945-1989. However, photographic documents pertaining to the Romanian communism prior to 1945 may be found. The users should understand that most of the photos from this data base were made for propaganda purpose. ANR and IICCR specify that the photos’ captions are the original ones wroted down at the time when the photos were made and do not represent the version of NAR and IICCR experts.
In order to obtain proper acces to Online communism photo collection, to quote correctlly and to find out the user’s liabilities please read Instruction for utilization and Photos’ reproduction. In case you have any questions,suggestions and comments related to this project, please inform us by using our contact data from Contact section.
This project would have not been possible without the involvement of the following:
National Archives of Romania: Dorin Dobrincu, Alina Pavelescu, Claudiu Dincă, Gabriel Catalan, Mugur Gheorghe, Viorica Bălan, Floarea Dinu, Nicoleta Meşca, Daniela Buşcan, Ştefan Borcea, Adriana Rusu, Diana Şipu, Marioara Neciu, Otilia Dodoţ, Simona Florea, Andrei Muraru.
The Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes in Romania: Marius Oprea, Cosmin Budeancă, Andrei Lascu, Dumitru Lăcătuşu, Constantin Petre, Constantin Vasilescu, Alin Mureşan, Florin Soare, Adelina Ţinţariu.