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April 12, 2021

International Public Symposium „Memory’s Appeal: Casualties of Wars” – Câmpulung Muscel, Argeş county

Departure from “Henry Coandă” Airport of the Lithuanian guest, Mr. Kestutis Gesevicius, after visiting the National History Museum of Romania in Bucharest, officially closed the first edition of the International Public Symposium titled ”Memory’s Appeal: Casualties of Wars”, held under the spiritual patronage of the Romanian Patriarchate and the Academy of Romanian Scientists.

The successful Symposium, attended by 20 participants (1 Lithuanian, 3 Polish and 16 Romanian historians), was hosted by Câmpulung Muscel City Hall and Gymnasium ”St. James” (Câmpulung).

The Veterans’ Choir sang the Romanian National Anthem and the three-days Symposium officially opened its doors on Thursday, September 1, at 12:00, in the Festivity Hall of Câmpulung City Hall.

Welcoming addresses were delivered by Messrs Mărgărin Şerban Blidaru, deputy mayor, and Radu Petrescu-Muscel, co-organizer. Others sharing the rostrum, adorned with Lithuanian, Polish and Romanian flags, included His Eminence Calinic, Archbishop of Argeş and Muscel, Dr. Marcin Majewski (Institute of National Remembrance, Warsaw), Dr. Kestutis Gesevicius (Transexpedicja S.A., Vilnius) and His Excellency Mr. Nicolae Mareş, Ambassador, who delivered congratulatory speeches. His Excellency Mr. Andrzey Kalinowski, the Polish Consul in Bucharest, present at the event, represented the Polish Embassy in Romania.

Radu Petrescu-Muscel delivered messages of salute sent by His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel, Messrs. Adrian Muraru, Counselor to the Presidency, Mrs. Otilia Sava, State Secretary for Parliament Liaison (Ministry of National Defense),Eugen Simion, former President of the Romanian Academy, Adrian-Alexandru Badea, President of the Academy of the Romanian Scientists, Radu Ciuceanu, Director of the National Institute for the Study of Totalitarianism (Romanian Academy), Ioan-Aurel Pop, Rector of Babeş-Bolyai University (Cluj), and  Ernest Oberländer Târnoveanu (National History Museum of Romania).

Over 50 people in the audience had the opportunity to witness a short musical program featuring the Veterans’ Choir, violinist Teodora Ciurezu, a rising young star and native of Câmpulung Muscel, and Professor Grigore Leşe from Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest, who, significantly, interpreted a song of sorrow and regret (”doina” in Romanian, ”daina” in Lithuanian language).

Roman Catholic and Orthodox religious ceremonies dedicated to WW2 Polish military and civilian heroes who died in Romania were performed and four wreaths were laid at their Monument in the Catholic section of the main Orthodox local cemetery by the Polish Consul, Messrs Marcin Majewski and Radu Petrescu-Muscel, followed by the representatives of the City Hall and the City Council.

The program included an excursion for historical documentation. Wreaths were laid at the monumental complex ”Red Wall”, dedicated to the longest lasting Romanian anti-communist resistance, ”The Muscel Outlaws”, and at the Mausoleum Mateiaş, dedicated to the victims of the battles fought in the region in 1916. In Dragoslavele, Mayor Ion Băcioiu welcomed the participants at the Commune Hall and the car convoy passed through the gates of the compound where are located the Patriarchate’s Villa. Here, from 1939 to 1940, has been confined Marshal Eduard Rydz-Smigly, Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Army, who took refuge in Romania during the Second World War, together with approximately 100,000 military and civilians, deployed by the Romanian Government on the entire territory of Greater Romania.

The three-day Symposium included three scientific sessions:

1) Polish Refugees. Transit of the Polish Gold Stock and National Heritage; 2) Countess Livia de Dymsza Maiorescu (1863-1946); Scholar Nicolae Iorga, Muscel county and Father-Professor Gheorghe Cotenescu (1886-1965). The sessions were hosted by the City Hall and the Gymnasium „St. James”.

The lecturers from Lithuania, Poland and Romania (Bucharest, Câmpulung Muscel and Drobeta-Turnu Severin and Râmnicu Vâlcea), among them ambassadors, high-ranking officers, university teachers, researchers, archivists, college teachers, and students participating in national olympiads, were: Marcin Majewski, Kestuties Gesevicius, Nicolae Mareş, Florin Stan, Virgil Bălăceanu, Gheorghe Stroe, Dr. Silviu B. Moldovan, Dr. Preutu Cristina, Nicuşor Marian Pele Trăiloiu, Stoea Mariana-Claudia, Manuel Stănescu, Tiberiu Vlad Tudor, Lavinia Simona Bădulescu, Dr. Gheorghe Radu, Father Gheorghe Cîrstina and Radu Petrescu-Muscel.

Partners in this event were Câmpulung City Hall, The Polish Institute (Bucharest), Dragoslavele Commune Hall, The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bucharest, Gymnasium „St. James” (Câmpulung), and History Research Center „Father Cotenescu I. Gheorghe”.

His Eminence Calinic pointed out that today’s context of the waves of refugees constantly penetrating the European borders brings back to the attention of the younger generations the hospitality shown by the Romanian people toward all those who, during a conflagration of such immense proportions – leading to the taking of refuge, in Muscel county as well, by large numbers of military and civilians, foreign and Romanians -, did not hesitate to share their meager means with them, a humanitarian and dignified attitude, acknowledged and appreciated as such by the guests “in dire need”.

In the presence of His Eminence Calinic were inaugurated commemorative plaques for Countess Livia de Dymsza Maiorescu (70 years since her death in Câmpulung) and Father Gheorghe I. Cotenescu (130 years since his birth).

In a logical sequence of historical moments, Radu Petrescu-Muscel approached the possible blood relations between Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) and the Lithuanian Princess Ringala (Rzmgajla Anna Gedyminaitis, cousin of King Vladislas II Iagello and cousing of Alexander the Good, Ruling Prince of Moldavia, was his second wife; their daughter, Vasilisa Călţuna Chiajna Muşat, becomes the second wife oa Vlad II Dracul/Drăculea, giving birth to several children, one of them being the “infamous” Vlad the Impaler!).

In another academic paper, Radu Petrescu-Muscel described the distress and sorrow felt by Nicolae Iorga as Poland’s friend, offering to the audience his temerary translation of the first stanza of “Wavel”, a famous poem written by Iorga, a collateral damage in WW2, right after the entry of German troops in Krakow:

“Lie the aforetime kings under the granite dome.

Feeling enemy’s pressure upon their bones.

Weighed down by the whole tragedy of their country,

And their soul burns as cinder in the clench of flames”

Radu Petrescu-Muscel informed the audience that the Polish people who took refuge in Câmpulung and Muscel county have been comforted by the solidarity shown by their Romanian hosts, and strengthening their hope to return home. He read stanzas translated by him from “Câmpulung’s Ode”, a poem published by Jacek Jedlinsky in August 1945.

“O quiet town hidden thru the mountains,

Shelter from the storm, us broken by the war,

Receive tithes from the waifs,

From ancient Lechia, all thru the mourning beeches.

Snow-capped, fog cutting needles,

Mateiaşul, the hanging boulder, starts

Bundling an arch of peaks, old as the rock,

The granite chains of Tatra mountains,

Binding us to homeland, as shallow waters do,

Tothe country overran by tyrant Huns.

Troubles at home, endless illusions,

On your hilltops, oh, Câmpulung, I hide,

And there, lonely in the forest groves,

I strain my ear to listen the more and more crystal-clearer,

Loudly beat coming from the North:

Begs Poland: come to rebuild”.

His Eminence Calinic considered that this temerary project was a success and urged the organizers to publish the academic papers presented, hoping that this first editions shall turn into a perennial event.

The participants adhered to a motion consisting of such proposals as twinning of Câmpulung Muscel with Rokiskis (Lithuania), where used to live for many years Countess Livia de Dymsza Maiorescu, and Michalowice (Poland), where a monument was raised, in the 30s, reminding the crash of a military plane, when two Poles and two Romanian died during a test flight, honoring Titu Maiorescu’s daughter in Câmpulung Muscel by renaming a street and a honorary citizen award, affixing a bilingual commemorative plaque to the wall of the Patriarchate’s Villa where Marshal Edward Rydz-Smigly has been confined from September 1939 to December 1940, renaming a street and a honorary citizen award, in Dragoslavele, to this former Commander-in-Chief of the Polish army, and affixing a memorial plaque on the wall at the entrance to the churchyard, preserving the memory of the villagers from Stoeneşti who helped “The Muscel Outlaws”, the anticommunist fighters led by Lieutenant Colonel Gheorghe Arsenescu from Câmpulung Muscel, an organization helped, among others, by a Polish war refugee.



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