President Klaus Iohannis said during his visit to the National Council for the Study of Securitate Archives (CNSAS), where the former Securitate records are stored, Monday morning, that Romanians should give more importance to recent history and study the years of communism more. The head of state, who wants a more thorough study of recent history and reconciliation with it, reiterated the idea of organizing a museum of the communist regime to which CNSAS will contribute with both ‘pieces and concepts and conclusions’.
‘I wished to visit CNSAS’s archives because here is the place of documents for a very important part of our history. I am very glad I was welcomed by CNSAS’s management, who presented many interested things, the way this archive [of the former Communist political police ‘Securitate’] is built and exploited, and the problems it faces. Certainly many of these problems are relatively easy to solve. I understand that here, too, we face a funding issue; I think it is one of the problems that can be solved in a relatively easy way, to allow modernizing the archive and making work more efficient both for people currently managing the archive and for researchers who come studying specific cases. It’s a thing connected to a somehow older idea of mine, if I’m allowed to place ‘older’ between quotation marks. I have enunciated a couple of months ago a concept to which I am still attached, a museum of Communism in Romania, and surely this archive will contribute pieces to this museum, and also concepts and conclusions’ Iohannis declared after visiting the archive deposits of CNSAS in Popesti-Leordeni (near Bucharest).
‘We have failed to know our recent history sufficiently’
The President mentioned he has agreed with the managers of CNSAS to receive a memo of the most important issues faced by the institution; a meeting on these topics will follow.
‘It seems very important to me not to overlook our history too fast. I have said it, and unfortunately I can reassert it after my findings today: we have failed to know our recent history sufficiently; I am talking about the Communist years. We need a more thorough study and eventually reconciliation with our recent history. It did not happen so far, and without this step it’s hard to believe we would be able to simply move forward,’ the head of state concluded.
The President stated on Sunday on his Facebook page that the archives of the former Securitate represent “a part of Romania’s history,” adding that “the files compiled by the political police enclose in their pages countless lives of innocent people.”
“The archives of the former Securitate represent a part of our people’s history. The files compiled by the political police enclose in their pages numerous lives of innocent people. Tomorrow I will visit the archives kept by CNSAS at Popesti-Leordeni. After Germany and Poland, CNSAS holds the third-largest archive taken over from the former Communist secret services. The memory of communism is in these files and we do not have the right to keep it silent. On the contrary, it will have an important contribution to the opening of a Museum of Communism, one we talked about in Timisoara immediately after the elections,” the Head of State wrote.
Institution set up in 1999
CNSAS is an institution set up in 1999 in order to place at the disposal of Romanian citizens the files and documents compiled by the former Securitate until 22 December 1989, the date of the Revolution. The institution verifies, on its own or on demand, whether persons that run to be elected or appointed to public office were members of the Securitate’s political police bodies, as agents or collaborators. Each citizen has the right and the legally-guaranteed possibility of seeing his or her Securitate file in case there is one.
CNSAS is led by a College made up of 11 members appointed by Parliament for 6-year terms. The institution has 3 main purposes: of having a dialogue with citizens and institutions, of analyzing, verifying, classifying and rendering systematic all information, of researching the documents of the former Securitate and publishing studies about the structure of the Securitate, its victims, the work methods of the former political police etc.