Mihai Lucia

Birthplace: comuna Balcescu

Vâlcea County

Birthdate: 01. 01. 1937

I have found you well, may the Lord bless you!

Today, the 1st of June 2004, we are in Sibiu interviewing my mother

Kindly tell us who you are?

May you have luck and be healthy! My name is Luludi wife of Piţu. My mothers name was Luba daughter of  Tomiţă the rich one. My fathers name was Urda and he was the son of  Tanasie, also a family of rich people. I have six children: one son and five daughters.

I have a daughter

I have a daughter who is a poet, Luminiţa and I have a boy, Florin, Cucu who is now the king.

My husband died and left me with the children.

They took our people from one place to the other, everyone was taken and we suffered and had lots of trouble. We were transported from one village to an other and were guarded on the roads and we had lots of hard times and hunger and trouble until we arrived there at the Bug. 

When we arrived at the Bug, they gave us some pathetic huts, with no windows, no doors, just dug out in the bare earth an there we encountered more trouble and suffering.

My father used to make us flower out of corn, he would crush them on an anvil and give them to us to eat so we would not starve to death. We stayed there for a long time, almost two years, and suffered a lot.

Our fathers and mothers stole wood, stole corn from the fields.

My mummy went and sold shirts, sold skirts to the Russian women and brought us food to eat. The Russian women gave her flower, cheese, meat and this is how my mother kept us alive.  

We were four brothers and were there was four of us, there was a lot of suffering. We had one little brother, my mother was pregnant with when we left. This one is called  Valerică  and he lives in  Piteşti.

My little brother was born there. My father and my mother began to argue because of this child, they said they could not take care for him too. We were four and they could only carry three children back, when we were to return to Romania.

 And my mother sent me to that “ituba” that the Germans had dug, that big pit. I took him in my arms and went with him there and I was sitting with him in my arms and said, “I’m not throwing you little brother, don’t be afraid.” He was small, he was two or three weeks old, “I’m not throwing you little brother, don’t be afraid, I’m sitting with you here, we’re both staying, I’m not leaving you.” This is exactly what I told him.

 And I was crying like that, with him in my arms. Suddenly my sister, Tinca, came along and as she saw us there near the pit, she said:

 “Throw him now, why are you sitting with him, you know that mom told you to throw him away, why do you still hold him in your arms?”

“You are the one who should leave here,  I’m not afraid, how can I throw him into this awful pit where there are dead people one on top of each other, in this darkness, how will we be able to get him out of there, you have no mercy, who will be able to get him out of there , out of this pit where there are so many dead people?”

She left crying back to my mother:

“Mother, my little sister did not throw my little brother away” And then my mother came crying. “Dear, you did not throw him away?” “No, mother, I did not, how could I dump him there as I pitty him #cause he is small and if he falls in that pit filled with dead people, he will die too. I will remain with him here, if you do not want him any more. I´ll stay here with him” So my mother took us both crying and she said: “No, honey, come home, both of you, I will keep you all. As Gods wish, If our Lord wishes, he will give a life to all four of you, if not, the Lord might know what to do with us all, as we have no power, only God has the power!”

And she took him in her arms and was crying and I walked along crying and my sister walked and she was crying too that we almost threw him in that darkness of the pit, so we took him back and brought him home.

My father was glad that we took him home. He smiled as se saw us bringing him back home. In the end our relatives came and as all of them saw him, thex said: “Oh, you didn`t  have mercy, not to throw this angel in that pit filled with death?!” and my mother answered: “Well if my husband was quarreling me, what was I supposed to do? I could not do it myself so I sent the girl to throw him away  for me and she stood there with the baby in her arms on the edge of that pit and would not let him die there but brought him back”

And then we remained there for a long time. My mommy would go and sell our clothes, romaia ones like these, skirts, shirts, she would bring them to the women in the village and the women would give her flower, she would go out in the fields and take corn, and my papa would crush it in an iron trey with the anvil and so they fed us. Our mother used to boil then and give us those unsalted graines and we ate, they did all they could.

This is how they cared for us until the Romanian Army came. When the Romanian Army came they called: “All of you who can and have the meanings to live, take your children and let us go back to Romania”

And so my papa and my mummy, took us all and we were on our way back. We had a big strong donkey and a huge cantle bag. My father put in it my two brothers on one side and my sister on the other, And I was walking holding my papas hand. And he hold my tiny hand and airplanes were flying over our heads, planes were flying and brought great sorrow. Wherever people were in sight, the planes would kill them, those planes killed a lot of people. Is was a big trouble there. We were sorrow and famished and thirsty. Wherever we came we ended up drinking water out of puddles, from the gutter beside the roads or wherever we could find it, as we had no other option.

 And we cried a lot on those roads as there was no way to turn back.

Eventually we arrived at a large collective an the gendarmes took us. There we found Barkulikă, Pullika, these were our Bulibaşi, also there was Mîrado. They put us in a big barn where there was cattle and peoples horses and told us to stay there in that barn. We stayed over night for two or three days and the Russians would bring us food and water. Then came the Germans to shoot our Bulibaşas and then a gendarme stood in front of them so they could not kill them and he said:

“Do not kill them, as they are poor and they have no fault in all this, these are honest people, these people did not harm a fly they were brought here without having wronged anyone and that was why I want to bring them back to Romania”

Then the Germans stepped aside and did not shot at Bărkulikă,  Mîrado,  Pullikă,  Onilă.” All right,  Bulibaşa, I will let you go  with them, when the Romanian Army leaves you and your people may go with them.”

And so we walked on the roads and my papa kept water in a  wooden bottle (cofă) and my mother was crying on the roads fearing that they will be not able to take us back. And this is how we got to the Djnister. When we arrived at the Djnister, they took our wagons, the horses they took from us the first time we crossed the river, our gold coins too, the gold they took from us as first we went there, now we were waiting to cross back with the Romanian Army.  When they took our things we remained on the river banks. They took and gave big golden coins to the gendarmes so we could cross, then ten big golden coins and so they let us cross that water and put us in the trains. Those who had golden coins could cross on this side and could get in a train, the ones who had no coins would remain over there. Many people remained and died there on the banks of the river. 

We suffered a lot, we left behind our wagons and our horses. All our fortune was left on there near that Djnister in that place Burilovka, I do not remember exactly the name. Everything we owned we left there.

After we crossed the river, they got us in train carriages and brought us back to Romania.

Some descended in Craiova, others in Slatina, some in Piteşti, each of them got out wherever they could, from the ones who succeeded to return. We were left poor and suffered a lot.

There we left those people who died near the waters, on the roads we would step over bodies  as if they were wood. If one died, some other would take his clothes, one who had nothing to wear and would take the shoes from the feet of the dead and put them on and continue to walk.

There was a lot of sorrow until we finally reached Romania. Many people died, too many. All our fortune was left behind, our clothes, our gold, our wagons, our horses, all we ever owned was left behind near the water and we were left poor, with no income at all.

Our parents and our relatives took care of us and God helped us, as look, we are stil alive.

May the Lorg give health to all mankind and to us too!

What ele do you want me to tell you Light (Lumină)?

I want you to tell us more, about what happened back there. How old were you when you were taken to the Bug?

How old I was? Must have been 7-8 years old. I was the same as little David, if I remember it correctly.

I´d like you to tell us more, about how they took you, how was the travel, about how cold it was there, how you were walking more or less naked, I want you to tell me how your little brother Mello got lost…

You want me to tell you about my brother too?!

Yes, about your brother too. I want you to remember, to be there, to go back in time and see you being there and tell us how it was, so that we know what happened there, at the Bug!

We traveled on foot, from one village to the other, crossed some huge waters there where they took us. There at those big waters, they retained all our things that we owned. They took waggons, horses, our gold and all we owned remained there near the water. Only after that we crossed the water and they brought us to a large field, in a camp. And when we got to that camp we were put in the huts. 

There was a field far away, large and deserted. There were no roads, there was nothing there. People dug holes in the earth with an anvil and dug small wells so we could drink mud filled water, water with sand that was given to our children to drink so they do not die of thirst or hunger. 

When we arrived at those huts, some took the huts, some did not, dear.

The one who run first got a hut, the one who did not run, could not take hut any more as he was left behind and remained without a hut. They remained buried in the snow. It was late autumn, snow started to fall down, we were during Philip´s Fast, right before Christmas.

People were left out and they were crying on my fathers hut: “ Let us get inside, or we will die. Have mercy, or we will die!”There were four families inside, there was no place to put a needle. In our hut there were also the family of my fathers brother, his uncles and all our relatives.

We gathered all in a bunch and were crying one on the others shoulder in the darkness, we had no light, as it was dark… There was nothing there … just freezing and no fire. 

On the following day when the sun rose and we had light … what did we see above our hut?! The dead laid with their hands outstretched with their faces crying in pain, they were stiffened by the bitter cold. I saw my father pulling them down from the hut and throwing them in that huge pit … Those people , the ones who made the huts, they dug out a huge whole in the earth where they threw inside the ones who died … (sighing strongly)

Our poor head …. they were walking behind and gathered wood from the forest, they did what they could. And the gendarmes shot them, killed them, because they were stealing from the corn fields in order to survive. They crushed the corn grains and then they boiled them and gave them to the kids as they had nothing else to feed them so they would not starve to death.

Mother, were they allowed to exit the camp?

They got out ,  however they could, as there was only field out there…

Stealthily?

Well, how else, in sight?! They went however they could and took cucuruz ( corn) and gave us corn grains, unsalted just as they were and my father would crush them with the anvil and my mother cooked them in a sort of paste and that is what we ate full of sand and garbage and we ate it as it was because we had no other chance to survive hunger.

You had no water, how were you washing yourselves there?

We had no water at all. What We had no water. What were we washing ourselves with? Did you not  hear that my father had made a hole in the ground like a kind of well and we were taking water out of there with a bucket.

Many dug some wholes like that in the ground, not only my father, and they built wells for us to drink water.

Was the Bug close by?

The Bug was far away from us, not close at all. We were put on a large field in a desert where there was nothing at all but us. There they dug holes in the ground and we got out water with same small cups and gave it to the children to drink so they would not die of thirst. They sneaked out to grab some corn from the fields. Some of them got shot, some got away, some lived and some died. A camp of death…

My mother had this kind of Romaia clothes. She took them and brought them secretly to the Russian women in the village and sold her clothes to them. She talked to the gendarmes, as we were guarded by Romanian gendarmes and gave them gold coins and they would let her go out in the village. She was walking 20-30 kilometers up to the village.

Where the Romanians good to you, where they beating you up?

No, Romanians would not beat us up. There was your grandfather Bărkulikă, Mîrrado, Pullikă, all of them were allowed to go to the village and bring food from the Russians. They would pay the gendarmes with golden coins and so the gendarmes let them freely go to the village.

The Russians came with the carriages and they would get in the carriage and left with them  and when they returned, they brought food and sold it to the others: corn, meats, flower, salt. They would sell a spoon of salt for one golden coin. 

Mother, how did your little brother got lost in the camp?

My little brother was left alone, and he was about one year and a half. Not older then Violetas Edi, or no as Lilianas little one, just as Leo. My mother went to the village, or I do not know where she went, but she left him alone. His shirt stood up like this on his bottom….

Not bigger that Lilianas little one. So he wandered along and got lost and was taken in by some Moldavian Rroma. My mother, my sister and I were crying and searching for him calling: “ Where are you Mellu, where are you Mellu?” Wherever that Moldavian found him, he took him home and said to his kind: “If this is the child of a rich man, he will not eat much, but if his from a poor family, he will eat a lot” So they put two plates of food in front of him. He, on the other hand, did not eat, as he was crying. So that man, who was a rich man too, said: “Let him be, his parents will come and get him as he is of the good lineage, as if he were a poor mans child, he would have eaten all the food, but this one did not even touch the plates”

Should I continue or should I cry?! ..

Please tell us more so we find out all that happened there, the sorrow and the trouble you went trough. Tell us so the nieces and nephews of our children do not forget what you´ve been trough.

Who could pay for what those men did to us? No one can repay that sorrow.

And how did they live there?

Illness came upon them and they were all infected with typhus. They were devoured by lice, God forbid!

They were coughing because of the cold and had caught tuberculosis in their lungs.

The history of the Rroma must be known.

History? The sorrows we have been trough, dear.

As is known about the history of the Jewish people, the history of the Roma people must be known too.

Tell us something for closing, what is it you wish for?

May God bless all the people with health, and us too!