Sighet Memorial: Rooms 84-87 - Iuliu Maniu, a father of democracy
On the passage to the left of the passageway, above the Brătianu rooms, a number of other rooms, linked by arches, are dedicated to Iuliu Maniu, one of the fathers of Romanian democracy, who, like Gheorghe Brătianu, also died in Sighet penitentiary, in 1953. Thanks to his exemplary attitude in public life, Iuliu Maniu became between 23 August 1944 and July 1947 a symbol of democratic resistance to the country’s communisation. However, a show trial was held, in which he was accused of “high treason”. On 11 November 1947 he was convicted to life imprisonment, hard labour, at the trial of the National Peasant Party leadership, which followed the Tămădău incident, in which the leaders of the party were duped into attempting to flee the country. The photos and documents present familiar moments as well as aspects of Maniu’s political activity before 1918. A panel highlights the important role he played in the events that led to the Great Union. Further on, the images show how in the inter-war period and the Second World War, Iuliu Maniu opposed any form of authoritarian regime. The exhibition comes to a close with a presentation of several snapshots from his post-war political activity, from the time of the 1946 elections, as well as images and declarations from the National Peasant Party trial, which ended with sentences totalling hundreds of years. The value of the exhibition, created by the International Centre for Studies on Communism, is enhanced by the presence of objects that belonged to or were used by Iuliu Maniu, donated to the Sighet Memorial by Misses Clara Boilă from Cluj, and Aurelia Ghinea, Flavia Bălescu and Rodica Coposu from Bucharest. In front of the Iuliu Maniu room there is a group of photographs on the subject of Corneliu Coposu, one of the most important continuers of Maniu’s legacy. The objects, photographs, letters and documents evoke the professional and political career of the man who in the 1990s revived the National Peasant Party and the spirit of its historical leader.