Today, August 30th, we are in Pitesti, Arges County, at our uncle Vali. Live long and be blessed! I found you well!
Welcome and thank you in the name of God.
Please tell us who you are?
I am Vali from Piteşti. I am sixty years old.
Many more ahaead!
And to those who listen to us. #The word of God and our Roma life.
Please tell us whose child you are?
I am the son of Urda and Lubei, grandson of Diloda and Roca the old one who lived in Craiova.
God rest theyr souls!
Now I know that you are a great personality among the Roma, you are a writer. God has given you great talent so that you can work for God, and I know that you are also the child of God. Praise and glorified be the name of the Lord! All your life you have dedicated to the benefit of others of the Roma so that they may know God.
Now I know you’re working on a book about the Bug. Please tell us how this idea came to you, how did this desire to write this book come to you?
I was born at the Bug in the year 44. My father was telling me the story of the Bug and I was a kid. He told me his torments and troubles, and when he told me these things, tears flooded his eyes and he sighed as if he had lost something. In my heart then there was a longing and I thought: how can I preserve these stories for our nation, for our Roma, so that they will not be lost?
These torments that the Antonescu regime wanted us to disappear from this earth, we, the Roma and that no one of our kindred to be left on this earth. I thought I’d write, a book, a novel so that our people who will come from generation to generation would also know. I want them to think about how our elders lived and to make the difference between the life back than and the way we are living now. We were very tormented; we were lost people. We walked through villages, tormented. We slept on straw, in the cold, in sorrow, and we walked like this all over the world in search of a piece of bread, so that we could live.
Please, Uncle Vallii, tell us something out of the book you wrote. To tell us something that grieves your heart, something you could never forget. I know that you have heard these confessions from your mother from your father from your grandparents, from the old people.
I think that through all these misfortunes that our kind encountered, our people, and out of all these troubles at the Bug, all that remained in my heart is the story of a shot man, who demanded a larger piece of bread so that he could work in the camp.
Please tell us this story.
Those man, they went to work in order to work, but they didn’t give them anything so they could live. They would give them work to be able to work in order to die. That life that they lived, was hard. They had them dig some very large ditches to make some barns at that kolkhoz where they were sitting.
People could no longer dig, they starve to death, and wept on each other.
We die brothers! This is where our bones remain in these big fields.
These people do not care for us, they brought us here to die!
Then a man who was the wisest and loved people very much, Shandril, he always made them smile. He was a man who always brought joy to your heart and made you forget any trouble.
Then he thought of talking to these great people to increase their portion. At noon, 12 o’clock sharp, when that great man came to see how they were working, he took one step forward and said:
“Big sir, we can no longer work this fields, we can no longer dig as we no longer have power and we are hungry, dead. We can no longer live with a slice of bread. And what are you asking of us?
That you increase our portion!
That you increase our portion, big sir, so we can live as we starve to death and can no longer survive.
-What is your name?
Şandril is my name, said that man.”
So he wrote his name down on a notebook, On the second day, he brought more people, gendarmes.
Gendarmes were back then, and he asked: Which one is Şandril?
The man answerded. I am.
An when he said: I am. Someone told him to get out of that convoy. When he got out he said to him:
Why did you ask for a larger portion? You, want to make the others follow you so they don’t work? Look, we’re going to shoot you, this is why we came for, to shoot you.
– Don’t shoot me, big sir. Give us a loaf of bread so that we can live, that we may bring a piece of bread to our children so that we can live.
That’s when that man put up the platoon and shot it.
– Oh, dear God!
And he fell as the oak trees fell, and he cried out: You are shooting me, but you cannot shoot everyone, not all our Roma. This shooting will remain in the hearts of the Roma over time and will never be forgotten as well as the torments that we Roma have gone through, they will never forget.
Then he fell down as tree fall, and all the people wept.
In those days there was a big sadness in the camp and fear had overcome all their souls, fear. that they’re going to be shot. So, they worked hungry and tormented. Who could work would work, who could not, fell down from hunger and no one noticed. They would take the bodies by a hook and threw them into the trenches and put earth over them. That was our life.
I also remember that I was born there in the hut and my mother was telling me with tearful eyes how I was born. And I wrote this memory and the torment that she went through.
My mother cared a lot about me, but when I was born, my father was afraid because I had three more siblings and he had no means to feed us. During that time, people were starving to death, especially the old ones. They would take elders out the door of the hut and let them starve to death because they had no food to give them.
Then my father said to my mother:
-Do you want to keep this little baby? What will you give him to eat? How is he going to survive here? He needs fire, he needs milk, he needs water. Where do you get all these things so he can live, we have three more children?
When are we going to go back to Romania, instead of taking my big kids in my arms, am I supposed take this little one?
Throw him in the snow!
My mother said to him:
-How can I kill him? You are his father and I am his mother. We’re all dying.
Either we all die, or we all live. I don’t want to kill my child.
Then he, being annoyed by her words, beat my mother. He grabbed her by the hair and kicked her with his legs. My father took me in his arms and handed me over to my sister, saying:
-Go ahead and throw it into the death thing.
When she said, “go and throw him into the dead pit,” my sister didn’t want to and started to cry. She kept looking at my father hoping that maybe he would take pity on me and not throw me away. My father said to her again, looking quite hatefully at her: Go and throw him away!
My sister, Ludi, took me in her arms and went out with me in the dark around midnight. There was a snowy blizzard, big, heavy, and the snow was up high as the middle of the man. My sister had no help from anyone, only God from Above, and she went with me to throw me into the death pit. She was afraid of falling in the snow or of getting lost because the snow was high, and we could remain there, snowed in. She took me to the pit and looked inside the pit as deep as it was, and there were many people of ours, stiffened because of hunger, because of trouble, because of typhus…
They had no wood, no water, and they were very poor.
At that time, she said:
-I’m not leaving you here in the deadlock, little brother. We’d better both sit here on the edge of the pit and we’re both going to die. She grabbed me in her arms and held me with her back bent over me so that it would not snow on me, and she stood like that babytalking to me and crying with me in her arms.
My mother then said to my father:
-Did you send my kids into the snowstorm? I will no longer stay with you. I’ll let you starve to death, you and your old mother who wishes evil for my son and my family.
When my father heard this, he said to her:
-Go and call back the child, Luludi!
My mother got finally out and when she saw the blizzard and the cold she started yelling for me, screaming and shouting:
-Where are you Ludi! Where are you my children! Gosh, where are you!
She realised that we were in great danger, big trouble. She fell in the snow and got up againg and she called us loudly but she had no help in her search for my sister and I. When she got closer to the death pit, she saw a large pile of snow. Than she realized that we should have been death and that snow has covered us and with her last strength, a voice out of an other world she shouted:
-Luludie where are you?
Luludi heard my mother’s voice and said to her:
-I am over here mother. I’m alive. Neither I nor my brother died!
When my mother heard this, she shoveled the snow away, took me in her arms and grabbed me by the nose to see if I was still alive. Then I screamed and she squeezed me in her arms and said:
– God is alive! God is not dead! He found my children! He kept my children alive and didn’t let them freeze in the cold!
That’s when my mother took us home and into the hut. When my father saw us, tears began to flow from his eyes, and he said:
-What has gotten into me! …I nearly killed my own children. If we die, we will die all together!
And they were all crying in the hut.
When my parents told me all these things, they would go from my ear deep into my heart and I thought that when I will grow up, I would write a book and I would write these stories down, these misfortunes of our Roma, the torments that our people, our elders, went through.
And then I studied, as God gave me this talent to write about people and keep remembrance alive, and I wrote all down to leave a joy so that others might see through what troubles we experienced, and how then, there beside all of us was only God.
I think that wasn’t joy. This is to see the history you have gone through, this is sort of a pain, these are tears, torments…
Let me tell you, it was a joy that God was with them and got them out from this tribulation. They have gone through some very difficult times, through great troubles and the joy is that the Roma go through troubles and hardships and come out victorious. Roma never disappear from the face of the earth because their hearts are next to God.
Praised to be God!
God stood by them! They lived in tents, they survived blizzards, and their children were strong, healthy, and they were healthy. They overcame death. They overcame troubles, storms, and survived.
You see, by now we have overcome the greatest troubles of them all: the bullets, the hunger, the typhus.
We came back to our country, to our village where our grandparents died and their grandparents, and all our ancestors. .
I do know you grew up in a Romano tent. Your elders used to travel with their tents. Please tell us so that it can be known, so that the children, the children who will come over time, can know, tell us just as those people used to tell when they met by the fire in the evening after they returned from the village, after they sold their cauldrons, what were their stories ?
Our people came from the village in the evening, made a fire in the middle of the tent and we, the children, gathered around beside the fire and heard their memories of what they went trough, how they remembered the troubles, about the road to the Bug, telling with tears in their eyes.
They were crying and we were crying too. Even time cried over what troubles we went through.
God was in our midst and gave us strength and we went through these great tribulations.
My father traveled with the tent, and I was a child. We were ten years old when they started making houses and sending us to school.
Me, I went to eighty schools in eighty villages so that I could finish first grade. Wherever they traveled in the wagons, I would go with my backpack to school and say to the teachers, “I’m a kid from the tent caravan and I’m a Roma and I want to learn to read and write. Take me in the midst of your children to learn along with them.”
And would they let you?
Teachers would take me and they would give me a lot of attention. I was learning very well, and I was an example to the other children who were told, “Look, he learns in the tent, in misery, he does not have any conditions. He writes at night on the bottom of a caldron at the light of a lantern, while you, you have all conditions and you do not learn.”
Then a teacher said to me: „You shall learn to read and write, and become a great man, and then write down all these misfortunes that you went through and how you got educated. Those words touched my heart. When I finished four classes, I went to those people, to the heads of the school, and I said, “I want to learn more! I want to become a great man so that I will no longer live in trouble as my nation and my parents, and my grandparents lived.
-Then what shall we do to you?
Let me go to school. Send me to the big schools so I can get out a studied man.”
When they heard this, they phoned a higher gentleman. He called the commander of the county and said: *
-You see this kid wants to study and he’s a kid from that Gypsy camp in Ostroveni. What can we do with him as he wants to continue but his parents do not let him”
Then he told me.
–What do you want us to do?
-What I want you to do? Give me some help, do not leave me in the eagle’s claw. Rescue me!
-What do you want us to do to you?
-Let me learn to write about how my people have suffered, so I became a great man.
When they heard my wish, they picked me up and took me to high school. That’s where the Roma came, to that high school, after me. When they came after me, I ran to the headmaster, and I said:
Sir, they came to pick me up!
Then he said to me:
-Go to the library, in the basement and sit there and don’t go outside, as I will stay outside.
My Roma came and asked him:
-Sir where is our child? Give us our child back.
-There is no child of yours, with me.
They had dressed me in a student uniform, they had trimmed my hair. They had really made me a real student.
Then my mother said:
-I heard he is in your high school.
-He is not with me. Look for him in other places as he is not in my high.
And God did as he did, and we went to the market. I could hear how the Roma talked to each other about me: –
-Where is he?
– He drowned. Where could he be?
-How did he get rid of us?
They were crying. Some said:
-Let’s organize a remembering ceremony as there have passed three days since no one saw him anymore.
Then I went to a bookstore to buy a notebook, behind me there was … my mom… and I asked:
-Do you have notebooks? My mother saw my teeth when I opened my mouth, and she recognized me and said My boy and fainted. Immediately all the people gathered around her and asked her:
-Why did you faint?
-Did you get sick?
She just said, “My boy…”
When she recovered, she asked that lady, the saleswoman, what was written on his coat and the woman told her that it was Nicolae Bălcescu High School.
That’s how I woke up with all the Roma on my head and when they came there, they said:
-Sir, give us the child, if not we kill you.
I had no other choice. The police came. They beat up all my relatives: my father, my mother, and they didn’t take me away from school and had them give a statement that they were going to let me continue my studies in school and that’s how I managed to finish high school.
After I grew older, I wanted to write these words down and so I did. Now, I’m working on this novel that’s called, “With Death in Your Eyes.”
The novel describes the torment we experienced back there at the Bug. I can tell you that up to 90%, the novel is as written.
I think I’m going to publish it in 2005 and then it’s going to see the light of print.
What can you confess from this novel, can you read us a passage that you like. Can you tell us anything that represents the heart of this novel?
The novel as a whole is interesting, each page tells you about an aspect from people’s lives. When you start reading this novel, you live amid the Roma taking part at their troubles and joy. That’s where our customs and our law are seen. There people help each other and do not let themselves be in trouble and they overcome death together. There are many things to tell you from this book, but I let people read it first, to see more than I’m saying now.
God bless you in this! We wanted you to tell us so that all the Roma in all the world could know how God not only saved you and gave you a life to live but also how He chose you to be a servant of His.
God has made you a man who walks after others who foretell the Word of God. I know that you are the first man from the world of our Roma to repent, and you have thirty-seven years since you have been on this road. Through God, God has changed people’s lives a lot, and because of that I want you to tell us something about it.
You are very precious to God but also to men.
When I was twenty-three years old, God found me. He called me. I didn’t find Him. I think I was put from God to go through these troubles, and I passed through the Bug experience, through the many troubles, I was sentenced to die but only because of God I survived. God gave me a wonderful gift: To know Him truly and who He is. I now tell all people and you who God is.
God is the Light in our eyes!
God is our Family!
God is the Water that soothes thirst!
Without God we can do nothing. Because of God we are human and because of Him we live. That’s why I want to say to the whole world to believe in the name of Jesus. He who believes in the name of Jesus, he is a true man.
He is a wise man. That’s a rich man! The whole kingdom in heaven is his, says the Lord, “In my Father’s house there are many places, he who believes in me I will prepare a place up there where there will be no more death but eternal life.”
God entered into my heart and gave me this Grace so that I might turn people’s eyes to God and tell them that we cannot live without Him.
God is with all men, with the good and with the bad. God does not care about our color or face, He calls everyone to repentance.
I want to tell you that for thirty-seven years I have been serving God and I am a Pastor and I know many people to whom I have preached about God. I have many churches where people trust God: people who have been sick, God has healed them to be able to believe in Him. I am a Pastor in Pitesti. Many people came to repentance so that God would heal their pains.
In our church God has cured people with cancer. Seven cases we have where God cured people of cancer. We also had people from whom God brought out unclean spirits, ten cases. God healed them. That’s why I say to everyone: I do love God very much!
He gave me the gift of writing, and I wrote a Christian book called, “The Revelation of the Holy Spirit.” God has given me several parables so that people may understand who God is, that they may come closer to God and receive Him who works in their hearts.
You are a Solomon of Roma.
I am God’s child and I ask God to give me Grace so that I may confess Him to the whole world. I want to read to you from these secrets.
Can you tell us in Romanes?
I will read in Romanian. Maybe someone translates to them, as there is no way to rhyme them. Jesus is the Holy Arm who came down to earth,
He who believes in Him has life:
I wrote in Romanian, but now I have translated to Romanes for you.
I want to say to all the Roma to trust in Jesus and to return to God because God helps us. There is not much left and this whole earth will disappear, and God will make a new earth and a new sky, and maybe there, we will have a better fate, quieter sweeter than this one we lived on this earth. Therefore, God tells everyone to repent and will have peace in every man’s family. Let everyone, all men trust these words for they are not mine, but they are Gods.
God calls us, He wants to give us His Holy Spirit, he wants us to know Him, to seek Him better and to understand who God is.
God is all we love! God is the Thread of Life! The Lord of death! He is the Master of the Tribulation. He stops the fire, the wind. He stops the rain! He stops the mountains from coming to fall upon us. He is the Savior! He is the Lifeboat, as he says in the Bible! He who believes in Him is not ashamed.
I thank God, and I thank you too, as God has given you the power to come to us to say these things to the whole world, to say that between heaven and earth there are still people who seek God!
Amen! Praised to be God!
We’re going to try to look for people who have the money to publish these books and the novel called “See Death with your Eye” and these beautiful parables inspired by the Holy Spirit that serve the power of the Lord.
I want you to tell us how you did not know, and you did not do your paperwork and you could not benefit of the 7000 euros compensation offered by the German state, like the other people who suffered. What is this money? It’s nothing compared to what these people have been through. A salary in Germany. Why didn’t you get to this money? How is this explained?
Why did you not receive this amount although on your document, where you were born, on your birth certificate it says that you were born in the USSR, in Krasneanka. Also, on the ID card it says that you were born in the USSR.
You didn’t get this money; can you tell us why?
I made a request in 2001 and sent it to Germany to get this compensation as much as they considered but I did not receive any answer. Then….
Do you still have a copy of them?
I have them. So, I sent papers in 2003 on the 27th of Feb. I sent another file with documentation and with witnesses through the notary that I was born in the huts, and I sent them there: the id, with the birth certificate, the copies. And they still didn’t give me any answers. Then I made several files, look I have here the documents I sent, and so far, I have no answer coming from them.
Do you also have the documents from 2001?
The ones from 2001 I did not receive back.
A copy of the 2001 file you have?
I did not get anything, nothing.
These are from 2003 and 2004 and I sent them to the European Parliament, so they decide as I did not get anything.
And there was no answer?
No, they gave me no answer: neither that I get, nor that I do not get a thing. I wait. Maybe God will give them heart, so they send me something for those torments that I went through. I was no longer supposed to be a human on earth. Let them think that I was born there in trouble, I was born in the factory of death… Where men went as far as to eat their own meat, where people ate their children.
Where you were looking for water and you couldn’t find it and you were looking for life and you didn’t see it and I was born in the middle of it all. My grandmother threw me into the snow, and I spent twenty-four hours in the snow, and I didn’t die. Let them think of me too and help me in the last hour and I ask them all to make it known, to that Parliament in Germany to send me something, whatever they consider rightful. As I do not want to grief and feel wronged because I, the one who does have the papers from the Bug and writes down this book about life there and about all the people who survived, am the only one who got no compensation.
I want you to tell us your opinion about the money that has been given to the survivors, can they pay for the pain and grief of the people, for all they’ve been through?
No one can pay for the pain and the grief. The pain and grief that people experienced, cannot be paid in dollars or euros, nor in gold. What is more expensive than a human life?
But let them think about these people and let them bring some joy by sending them something because these people have been unjustly tormented.
We, the “Ion Cioabă” Foundation who film this documentary that will be called: Iasfa Romane that is, “Roma Tears”, through our searches to interview Holocaust survivors, have found many poor people. We found people who were born right there in the USSR and on their papers and on their IDs is written “born in the USSR”. These people didn’t take their money either. There are more people in the same situation you are in. Therefore, I want you to make an appeal on behalf of these people that we’ve interviewed and who haven’t taken any money from the German government. I want you to say something to the NY Court in America to have a decision on these files to give you a new deadline to get this compensation because they’re old people. they are poor, and this money would be very helpful in their old days.
I want to send a message, on behalf of all the Roma, to the hearts of those great people who are put there in Parliament to think about each soul and to do justice and to give them all a compensation as he has given to others and to help them. The EUR 7000 that they give is not much money and it is unjust that some get a compensation and others do not. We wait and ask them in God’s name to be patient and God to put them in their hearts to send us something.
How do you think that this money that was given to the people …. look for example what you do by writing a novel that will remain over time. What I do, this recording, for I am also a writer and I write, and this will remain over time too.
What would you think if we Roma in Romania had a museum. If we got some support to have a Roma Museum, one where you can enter and see the life of the Roma as it was at the Bug: to see their things, to see their pictures. A museum where in two hundred years a nephew can watch his grand grandfather telling his memories about the life at the Bug? What is your opinion about this idea of a museum, what it is like to be able to have a Holocaust Museum would be good for us Roma?
This is a drop of water in the mouth of a thirsty man who pulls to die. This is a quite big help. May God bless whoever thought of it! God bless all those people who will help building all you said you set your mind to do
A museum for us would be like a spring that quenches thirst. So may God help us to fulfill this desire and to make us a museum as you said where we would gather testimonies from all over the world so that the nation of Roma would not be forgotten.
Our discussion today will be a testimony that will be in the museum. Now you have entered this museum and all that we did today October 31, 2004.
He who wanted to make a museum, God gave him a blessing! He is up in heaven!
My father, Ion Cioabă, wanted to build a museum.
The man who was Ion Cioabă, was working with God and God had a plan with him. Then God called him to his right because he needed him; But He left, He left a heir of his on earth to fulfill his wish. As I was.
When I went to school, I wanted to become a teacher, that’s what I wanted at the time.
I did not become a teacher because God made me a pastor of repentant.
Then this wish of mine was realized through my daughter who is now a teacher for Spanish and Romanian.
That is true.
She is now doing what her father was supposed to do.
God bless her!
May God bless you too and bless him there in heaven, for He gave him this wonderful thought of making a Romano Museum, which will be a memory for all the people who will enter this museum.
Not only did he plan to build this museum, he also poured the foundation and built the basement of this museum. in Sibiu. He built a church and a museum and poured the foundation and built the basement, but God called him to Him.
We need this museum for the life of the Roma.
People who listen and the Roma around the world have museums. Let them think about this as well and give us some help so that we can finish this museum. God will bring them to see this museum that they too have put their shoulder to build. It’s a really big thing to do something sustainable over time. A testimony that is not just for our children but for our grandchildren, the grandchildren of our grandchildren, and all grandchildren to come.
I want you to tell us now, something that will stay over time, tell us something for all of us. Tell us how many children you have and what you say to them and to your grandchildren, to your grandchildren who will come in a thousand years’ time.
First of all, I pass myself to them and I ask them in the name of the Lord, I make an appeal that they may know Him and God may be in their midst as the first violin. Let him be in their hearts and work. And I pray to God to do so that my children may know him, and they may come near God and do what their father did for thirty-seven years.
And many more and many more!
I ask God to be in their midst! I ask God to give us health and to stand by us and help us follow His Word! And I also ask God to give you strength to continue the works he has put in your heart and to help you in everything you think!
Amen! Stay with God and God bless you!
God bless and bless you and my sister in Sibiu and my grandchildren and my nephews and my nieces and all the people who will watch this recording. Amen!