MIHAI BANGA – 01.01.1918
MIHAI GABRITA – 11.07.1928
LMC: Be lucky and be healthy!
Today July 30th , 2004 we are at Tg Jiu. We are in the yard of our uncle Bango and our aunt Gabriţa.
God bless you! We came here to you to hear your confessions about the Bug. First of all, who are you?
Bango: I am Bango’s Gabriţa.
LMC: Whose daughter are you?
Bango: I am the son of Pusa. The rich one.
Gabriţa: His father was Ionişor. My grandfather was Oşo. Bria’s Oşu. Do you know him?
LMC: Live long and be blessed with luck!
Gabriţa: Same to you.
LMC: We came to you in order to hear your confession on the sorrow and pain at the Bug, so that the children, our children’s children and grandchildren, and all grandchildren who have to come over time, may also know.
Bango: They picked us up and took us. Let me tell you where they took us from?
LMC: Tell me what kind of Roma you are. What lineage you belong to? What is your craft?
Gabriţa: Căldărari – coppersmiths
Bango: We are coppersmiths. Didn’t your father make brandy boilers? Coppersmiths? Pullika he was doing the same,w asen’t he?
LMC: Were you travelling with tents?
Amândoi: With tents.
Gabriţa: We’re both talking?
Bango: You travelled with tents too.
LMC: Leave me. Now I will ask you.
Gabriţa: What we did.
LMC: The children of today and those of tomorrow do not know what that tent is and how you lived…
Bango: They do not know what a pogorniţa is, ad call it „rope”.
LMC: They do not know what belli means or koverkă. Neither what a poloveac is or a kapko.
Bango: They do not know…
LMC: What is cofa (*wooden bottle) ?I want to write the history of the Roma now, and that is why I am asking you. Of course, I do know what that tent is, I lived in my childhood in one. But I want to ask you and you will answer me. How many children were you?
LMC: What were their names?
Bango: They were called: Stănika, Birea, Persiga, Marica, Ilarii, Tono, Bulaşi, Bango, Istrati, Mițarii, Piparkă…
LMC: How were you travelling?
Gabriţa: We travelled with waggons.
Bango: We travelled from a village to an other. If we couldn’t find work in one village then we would go to the next one.
LMC: Where were you with the tents when the order came to pick you up?
Bango: We were in…
Gabriţa: Here in Teleşti.
LMC: Do tell us.
Bango: When they picked us up to take us there we travelled six weeks on the road.
Gabriţa: I wasn’t after him. I left from Turnu Severin with my parents and my kindred.
Bango: And they took us when we crossed…
Gabriţa: the Prut, the Dniester. We arrived in Dumanovca.
Bango: Dumanovca was it where there was thick hamp?
Gabriţa: Right, there it was. In Dumanovca and in Moldovca. Dumanovca was the name of the place. Now tell her how they took our horses and waggons.
Bango: They took our horses,
Gabriţa: Just as we arrived there.
Bango: They put us in the Valley of Weeping.
Gabriţa: That’s the name of that valley where they killed Mazilli.
Bango: Was the hemp there? …
Gabriţa: You could see the heads of the dead looking just like pumpkins in the field..
Bango: And they put us there and the order came…
Gabriţa: We stayed there for a month.
Banga: More than a month.
Bango: They took our mules, they took our wagons.
Gabriţa: Eventually they picked us up from there and had us walk.”
Bango: Following us, came some people with covered wagons, and took us and put us in the camp.
Gabriţa: They came from Trei Dube/Three Vans .
Bango: When they took us…
Gabriţa: We walked up there. We walked on our feet up there. Much pain and trouble we suffered. When we got there, they kept us there for a couple of weeks.
On the day of The Holy Archangel, we found that some wagons came from those villages to take us because they had finished our huts on the bank of the Bug.
Bango: And when we got there…
Gabriţa: There was a blizzard, there was a snow, what a trouble that was.
Bango: You see why people died?
Gabriţa: I would have the courage to go with you to that pit with dead people.
Bango: You still know that place?
Gabriţa: I know the place just as I know the one before me.
Bango: Can you still find it yourself?…
Gabriţa: When we woke up in the morning after that blizzard …Dead people stood stuck the snow, as wood lay stuck in the woods.
When the weather got better, they set up and dug a large hole.
LMC: Where was that pit??
Gabriţa: There was a deep hole left behind…. .
Bango: There was a deep hole where they took the earth for the huts for…
Gabriţa: Why did they left it?
Bango: They would take people and children and throw them inside there…. in that pit and then they covered them with earth.
Gabriţa: That’s where they kept us for one year.
Bango: More than a year.
Gabriţa: We remained there in that place.
So they came and took us with those big carts and took us there and then divided us. The ones from the county of Gorj in one place, Mehedinti in another place, Dolj in another place. They put the Moldavians in another place. They each assigned us where we were from each one with his men. His county,with his district…
LMC: Do tell, do tell. Do remember.
Gabriţa: And they picked us up and we stayed there from the fall until Shrove Thuesday and after that we left. We stayed there about two years.
After that the gendarmes told us, “Get ready, the war line is getting closer. ”
Our parents and our people went and worked in Crihoi. That’s where the big one was over us. It was like from here up to Cărbuneşti. There was the highest ranked man who led the gendarmes. He would take our people to work every day.
Suddenly I saw them slaughter the sheep, the pigs, everything they had and put them in barrels and pots and getting ready to leave.
“On the x day, buy wagons, do as you do, and join us we should run all together.”
Do you hear what they did to us? Now, what do you think our people have done there?
They bought mules, horses and carts from their kolkhozes. That kind of horses! To put a golden chain around their throats!
We sat and waited to see what to do. It will be tomorrow, no, the day after tomorrow, in the end the order came to leave.
We woke up in the morning got our stuff in the carts, made some covers for the carts and we set to leave. Wherever we came by on our way back, in front of us were those ….
My father-in-law was in one village, we were in another. We met them. We gathered in wagons and got on the road. When we arrived there in Crihoi, guess what. There was no gendarme left, there was nobody. People have left. So, we stopped there. We checked the place, there was nobody left. So, we set to continue our journey.
Where we go, where we passed by. Their carts were small, they were not wide like ours.
And the Germans took our beautiful horses. They took them from the wagons, took them from our hands and they were gone. We started crying, wailing. We remained without our travel means. My brother had taken two horses. We remained with those two horses. There was one horse to put golden coins around his neck. I grabbed him by the chain and went to hide him because I could see the gendarmes coming. They followed me. I fell in the mud crying. My brother, Ionikă came and said to us: “Wait, we give you another horse, as they will take him anyway and you will remain without horse “. So, they went and gave us a mare. This one was better than the horses. They took the beautiful horses. So, we were left with two small horses and that mare … well we continued our way. The mud reached up to our throats, Dirty, without clothes…
Bango: After we went like this we ended up in a Russian village, there was nobody in it.
Gabriţa: People had run away.
LMC: Let him say.
Gabriţa: There were no people there.
Bango: We took chickensm we took whatever we wanted…
Gabriţa: Those people had left their homes, Germans were in those houses.
Bango: There was noone left. I found in a trough bred dough, ready leavened.…
Gabriţa: Whoever passed by, took out of the trough and ate it, raw like that…
Bango: The Russian just knead it and run away. When we got there and saw the dough as yellow as a candle, one for cakes, we took and eat it like that.
Gabriţa: Chunks, raw as they were …
Bango: It was warm…
Gabriţa: And there were the barrels of wine, and we haven’t seen some liqueur for two, three years…
Mariţa, the old one, do you know her?
LMC: I do
Gabriţa: and Koliţa the daughter of Fudulaşi if you know her, we entered together and found a sweeter wine, we threw away what we had and took from that one. We drank so much that we got tipsy.
In those houses, that I tell you about, we were so drunk that we barely could find the road back to our people. When we got there, we arrived at a shore. It was a meadow like this where people had stopped and honored themselves by drinking wine.
Everybody had taken wine and put it in what they had found, in barrels, in pots, cans whatever they found in those houses.
From there again we travelled on the road and where do you think we ended up. We arrived at the Prut. The Prut was before or the Dniester?
Bango: We got to Căuşani. In this village, Căuşani, they shot Mardelo.
Gabriţa: We were not with you there, we were no longer together with you.
Bango: And when we arrived in Căuşani, we got there where they had shot Mardelo.
Gabriţa: They had stolen whoever had stolen some clothes.
Bango: In that bombing he was struggling, Mardelo, and they shot him.
Gabriţa: Tell her how you hid Miţa under the pillow and Marica.
Bango: An then, when we arrived in Căuşani, we wanted to prepare some food. Mens mouth gets him into fire! Piparkă, my brother had found some fresh pork and some cabbage. Yellow as a lemon, was that cabbage. My sister in law, Miţa, went and asked for some cigaretts from the Germans. When she asked for cigaretts„dung”. After she sked for cigaretts, the Germans kept her in mind and came and took the gun out. They shot twelfe bullets right at my ear so I give them the „parinca”. Where was the „parinca”? Hidden inbetween the sheets under a pillow.
LMC: What was „parinca”?
Gabriţa: Miţa it was. That was how the Germans called the maidens, teh young ladies..
Bango: When the German came to shoot us, he aimed with the machine gun that had seventy-two fires. Then came a soldier and he said: „Ne, ţihaia, ţihaia, rumînschi” And so that soldier told us to run away and spread and hide in all winds. And we ran away and hid.
Gabriţa: We were in another place we weren’t with them together.
LMC: Did he shot anyone elese?
Gabriţa: He did not shoot. He fired…
Bango: he did not shoot.
Gabriţa: Than that German…
Bango: Would I still be here if he had fired?
Gabriţa: Only. I was beaten by a gendarme when we went there. Thats why my hip hurts now? I gathered grass for the horses and he hit me with a pole so hard that I fell down.
Bango: You see we all experienced a great suffering and many who were there did not take any money.
Gabriţa: Did your mother get any?
LMC: Yes she did. Did you?
Bango: We got.
Gabriţa: Your father did not receive?
Gabriţa: Neither have I.
Bango: It will come.
Gabriţa: We went through great hardships and had many troubles. My kids ask me, mother why do you make so many skirts? I had just a hemp skirt on me…
Bango : It rub your skin …
Gabriţa: It rubbed so deeply, pardon my saying, so hard that I got blood trickle down my legs. That is why now I have a hundered skirts on. I keep collecting and making new ones so that I never ever experience the pain of not having anything to wear, I did not have a skirt. I did not have a shirt… I could bearly walk on the roads becouse of the mud, we had hard times until we reached the Prut? When we reached the Prut…
Bango: And we stayed in… Where did we stay? What was it called?
Gabriţa: They did not let us stay there.
Bango: What was the name of the place?
Gabriţa: In Larga. We ran away and hid and waited for an opportunity to cross. People agreed with a man to sneak us through.
Gabriţa: Potolli and your grandfather arranged it with that man to bring us by night in a boat over the river.
Bango: The water was not deep, but it was wide.
Gabriţa: The horses remained on the Bug shore. My borther Brati and Dodu remained with them. Don’t you know him? They remained there with the horses. The children were small, my sister Bria and Floarea were quite little. Pollu, my brother was also an infant. They would pay one-two golden coins to that man so he would take us on the other side of the river. And he did. The horses remained on the other side on the banks of teh Prut. Some people remained with them. I think I told you that my brother Brati and Dodo remaind with them? Did I?
LMC: You said that they remained with the horses.
Gabriţa: They remained on the banks of the Bug, on the banks of the Prut becouse there were some people comming. The guy who crossed with us got scared, he thought they would tell on him. You see ? The man was secretly helping us over.
Gabriţa: Yes. He was secretly smuggeling us.When those people passed by, they hid in the cattail and we crossed. Then we took it straight trough winyards cut fields and hills…
There were five people left. First the women crossed, and the men stayed behind, the women could not fight as they had small children in their arms. So, we walked for a while, we stopped for a while, we waited. Eventually my brother Ionică crossed too, with him there was also Tălmaci, and Kurko. Their women crossed with us together and did what we had done, so they caught up with us. The other men crossed the following night. They could not find us any longer as we went across fields, where there were no roads, and they did not know what way we took.
They arrived in Străhaia before us. They took trains…
They sold the horses and took only the luggage they could carry in their hands and got to Străhaia. Dumtama was with them. Do you know Dumtama?
LMC: I heard about him.
Gabriţa: Dumtama, no Zărianu was with us later on. When they got there, they raised the tents. They started to work for people whatever they had to mend and then they plenty ate and drunk. They brought hens from the village where they worked. It must have been about this time it was up to St. Peter.
It did not take long until it was St. Peters day and we arrived home too. We arrived on St. Peters day, and we ate and drunk
Now let me tell you how we came with the train, as we took a train from Bârlad, Tecuci.
We walked and walked, how do i tell tis? Hundreds of kilometers. I had sores on the soles of both my feet even in my heels. I could no longer walk barefoot, I could no longer because of the pain.…
What my mother did then? She tore the skirt she had on her and wrapped it on my legs. We had no shoes, we had nothing… This is how we got to a train, we heard a train. I could not walk any longer. My mother said to me:” Now you want to remain here, all other little girls got home, washed themselves and got dressed and you want to remain here?” She walked crying, she pretended to walk away and leave me behind. I could have used a thick bat to support me so I could walk.
Bango: Well, where were you than?
Gabriţa: Near Tecuci. Pasarabia …
I kept walking as I could hear the train. „Au mother, now can hear the train too.” My legs had healed a little bit.
So we went and stood there. Directly near the tran station manager we stood. We gathered there and stood all piled up in a ditch. There were about ten, fifteen families, or maiby more. Our people did not let us get in the train wherever we could, they asked for a vagon just for us, so we stood there all together in the ditch waiting. Eventually they hardly gave us a wagon and left us waiting on the dead line through several stations. We traveled for a day, or two and the bombing continued above our heads. Then we arrived in Bucharest.
Bango: What was Iaţa the old one saying?
Gabriţa: Iaţa the old one? He climbed naked on the coal wagon.
The poor man, put a bat in my hand so I could lean on it and use it to jump in the train. We arrived there, as I told you. We took that train wagon and it kept going as it went and kept stopping in train stations.
Bango: So people could see…
Gabriţa: We got on and got off the trains and got on people transport trains. Romanians were throwing so much money to us! My father filled a bag with money. There was that money made of zinc, twenty lei, five lei coins, ten, whatever people gave us. We raised a lot of money.
I had a nice bracelet on my arm and the ladies wanted to see my bracelet and threw money at me. There was a woman Tena, where was she from…from Strehaia. That woman ran infront of the train, next to the locomotive. Until we got there, she already filled a box full of money. We hurried and run over the poor woman and scattered all the money she had collected. Her husband came and started to hit us…
We arrived in Craiova and when we got there,
Bango: Where did you take the money?
Gabriţa: Well, when we arrived in Craiova, there we parted. We contiued our jurney. We took an other train vagon, we, the ones from Mehedinţi. When we got ther, the ones from Gorj got down, Iaţa the old one, Lemi, who else was ther, God? They were many, The Mărconis. They got down there and we continued the travel. We traveled until we arrived at Lunca Banului. Have I told you about Lunca Banului?
Bango: Where to say.
Gabriţa: When we got down in Lunca Banului, we got in those trains with compartments. We did not have our vagon any more. We first travelled on one of those trains for goods. Your aunt Ludi was with me and with Parnea. Suddenly she fell asleep. Around Craiova she fell asleep.
Licuţa was small, in her arms. When we arrived there, and we all got down from the train, back then there was no electricity to buy. Because of the bombings there was no light, people have cut off the light. So we all got ou and jumped from the train. She remained in the train, your aunt Luludi, or how you call her Kopidi. She remained in the train, dear. When we got off, my father asked: “Are you all here?” „Here we are”. „But where is Lucica?” We started to call her out everywhere. We started crying and wailing…
Bango: And where was she?
Gabriţa: She remained in thjat train. My father went to the head of that train station and said to him: :„Sir, look this, look that, one of my people remained in the train”. „Do not worry” said the man. And he made a call and they did what was necessary and got her off that train in Ciocăuţa. They kept her there until the morning and put her on the train that came from Timişoara.
Bango: She should have remained there.
Gabriţa: Where could she stay there? Well she came back. The train took her much further. But she returned. There were she was, she was found by the people from Străhaia, becouse she descended in Străhaia and did not come with us any more. We remained. We criyed not knowing what she will do with the small girl that was with her. Then we heard that man: „We got her on a train so she will come back” Ei, but she went in search of her man, becouse Tanasia the old one, that she encountered there in Străhaia, told her:„Go, as your man is in Slătinco, Dumtama is with him” and he sent her to go there. She went there, but did not come back to tell us what she decided. And we were waiting for her, dear, we were waiting…. Where is she? Who knows where she is? Maybe the man lied and they put her on an other train? .. What did we do?
We set to walk on foot. What shall I tell you? Five, or six kilometers were to that village. Devilish big road. On that road there were rows and rows of holes. Our feet were hurting. It felt like dying. It seemed as we would never arrive. The hard roads we came on, did not seem as painful as this one was. And then we finally arrived. When we arrived, Lumină, the gendarmes came to pick us up as we raised the tent. We were happy to finally come to rest. What was my father supposed to do? He went to a man in the village, took a carriage, we got inside with all we could carry, this was in Vânju Mare. And as we travelled with that carriage, bombs were flying above us. They threw an empty barrel from high up there and we had no place to hide, there was nothing on either sides of the road. Here there was a hill, and they threw that barrel. Those who threw it, were our ones. We were scared to death. As the threw that barrel so loudly on the field. Well, no problem. To hell with the airplane as all children run to see the barrel. It was empty.
We travelled sometimes on foot, sometimes in the carriage, however we could. We were many families. Three or four families with a single carriage. Well, hardly we arrived in Vânju. There was with us Zăria of Duţa of Piparka. Maybe you heard about him? Well, what did he do? He stood there in the wagon silently, not a word came out of him, he just laid, you would not see him eat a crust of bread.
Bango: But why?
Gabriţa: Death came upon him.
Gabriţa: Well, when we arrived there in Vânju, we camped there near a bridge end. There lived a great man called Moldoveanu, he had been gone to Bărăgan. He returned just then. He put us we settled there nar him, by the road, at a bridge’s end, in a ditch just like that on its banks. We had no place to put our heads down to sleep. We had nothig to put under us to sleep on, we had nothing. We just had some blankets that we used for a tent and one blanket to put on the ground and one to cover. What did we do? I went and gathered weed sheaves, made kind of pillows out of them and put them under my brother’s heads, and those of my parents, and for us all there, to have. God … it was verry cold.. we cut more grass, and put there under us.…
Well now, that man was working. He was with my brother Brati working. They hang a blanket as a shelter against the wind and worked there together. They had been previous in the village and found a lot of work, things to be repaired. There was a woman, Lepădatu ‘s Dudam tell your aunt about her, as she knows her.
Bango: That Lăpădatu one, was a great man, pour soul.
Gabriţa: Dear, Lăpădatu was filled with typhus. They smelled the garlik, they smelled the garlik. Tthe wind blew and the stank came. That one was further away from them, only the smell came and as the wind blew that man Zărie got typhus and later my brother Brati got it too. What were we supposed to do now? We moved from there, we went to a coppice and made tents out of weed, just like that. We styed there in the field without roots or God. We made some kind of food wareabouts. What else to do? One today, one tomorrow, men fell like dust. My brother was ill too. What to do, God? We were crying that Brati dies.
Bango: What was enzymatic typhus, do you knoww what that is?
Gabriţa: He fell too. I took a chicken, cooked it and brought fed him with it. I fried it and put it in garlik souce. How to eat?! Where to eat. He did not eat at all.
I ate after him and as I ate, I did not catch a thing. When he died…
Gabriţa: Zăria died. On that day we took my brother to the hospital. He did not know that his friend died. My mother took a cart pulled by oxen and put him inside and took him to the hospital. In that village there was a hospital, a large hospital was in Vânju.
We brought him there. We remained in the village. The man died, we burried him. After we burried him, what did we do? My father went and took a carriage from a man, we gathered all our things and left that village.
Bango: You run away?
Gabriţa: We run away. Went to an other village and entered in n old house. My mother, pour soul remained in that village. We were far away, as we went far away. The pour thing remained. She remained there.
So we got in an old house that belonged to a man. We had to stay there as we had no other place to go. The man came, dear, on me. On me and on my father. The other children were sleeping, they were younger. And as I just woke up. My father woke up too. He was awake, he was not sleeping. That devil of a guy had been on him just before and now had put himself on me.
LMC: On who?
Gabriţa: On father. On my father.
Av, God! Father, look what happened to me.
„Keep your mouth shut you silly girl. You are silly! What did you do?!” He got up and went to the village early in the morning. He went to find a place to get us out from there. And he found a beautiful place, in a coppice, peoples houses were near to us. Beautiful land. There were some big, beautiful acacia trees there. What he did? He went and took the carriage from a man and came and we loaded up our things once more and went to that beautiful place he found. That is when I understood …. it happened to him just as it happened to me.
My father brought a large bucket from the village and I put the whole bucket filled with water on fire so it gets warm so I can wash my little brothers becouse they were quite dirty and I needed to get the dirt out of them . …
“Wash your head too and take a bath as you stayed dirty for too much time, don’t you see that we wash and clean ourselves daily. The typhus was calling Licuţa , she had been weak already and now she got it too. The small one was two years old and just started to walk on her feet.
“Come take warm water and wash yourself ”
But she (*Brati’s wife) went and sat in her tent, hiding so that people woun’t see her sick little child and taker her away from her. Brati, I think, was already back from the hospital. She never ever wanted to wash her head. She went and sat there and came to me. „Look, take this money here and go and buy me from the sheepfold some cheese.” There were some people there who were still selling cheese. ”Here, we’ve got a bucket full of cheese. Go get a piece and eat.”
„I do not want it. Go and bring me from there. ”.. taht was when I realised that something was not all right. „Why do you do this?” She came and she had money in her hand so I would go and get her cheese from there. She then went back to her tent. Has any one ever seen her return or get out? My brother came, who was gone in the village. What will we do now? The illness cought up with her. The woman, that was a doctor in the village, used to come every day by on the road near our tents. What was we to do, as there were no means to survive. The doctor lady saw the woman sitting in the weeds. And then sent a van to pick her up as she was ill.
Those people brought with them gas and vinegar and all they needed: “Where is the sick one? Where is the sick one?” She was in her tent. And that doctor woman went and showed them where the sick woman was. When they laid eyes on her they immediately took her from there.
Bango: That disease was danger.
Gabriţa: There was a pit there, before our tent, where my father used to make coals. So they started to search for here over there. :„Auuu, looks like pigs live here…”
She had a pair of thick braided hairtails, the size of a hand and black like blackberries. And they took the scissors and cut them off. They cut the hair up to the skin of the head…
They cut her hair and threw the tails with all the silver coins that were breaded in it. She had a silver chain too, one she bought when we were back there at the Bug, from the old Moldavians , that was thrown too in that coal pit. What was I doing because of her hair: I threw myself on the ground and I was jumping around… I was so annoyed that I could die… …
Bango: You were stupid….
Gabriţa: Mother was not home, she was in the village, no, I do not know where she was… Where did they come from, they came……
Bango: Who? Brati?
Gabriţa: Yes. The rumor got to the village that the doctors had come to us. So, he came there too. When the doctor saw him with a carriage, they put her inside and took her away. There were no cars like nowdays. They caught him too:”…Aa!, may the devil.. you son of a… I told you to stay a little bit longer in the hospital, but you instead come back and now, you ifected everybody” And they caught him ad hit him a cupple of times, I see it as it would happen now, my heart whipes whenever I remember. The doctor hit him. Took him, Put him in the carriage, with Licuţa and with all his family and took them to the hospital.
Half a degree more, and he would have died so they kept him two more months in the hospital. He suffered a lot, pour soul, sorrow and bitter…
We on the other hand took some land and built the way we could houses.
LMC: You spoke very well. You still remember well what happened at the Bug. Live long and be lucky!
Now please tell us too.
Bango: Who, me?
LMC: All you remember about the Bug, tell us.
Bango: when we came on the road, we arrived at Căuşani. Just like Cărbuneşti, that was Căuşani.
Gabriţa: You already said that.
Bango: It seems to me that I have said it before.
Gabriţa: Where they took Miţa.
Bango: I told you about it..
Gabriţa: Say it again..
Did he tell you how they took Miţa from under him where she was hidden?
LMC: Yes, he said.
Gabriţa: He said.
Bango: Then what more can I tell you?
LMC: What else do you remember?
Bango: We left there, and we arrived… in Larga.
Bango: when we left there, we arrived …
Gabriţa: We arrived at the Prut. They didn’t let us cross the river and told us to go somewhere else.
Bango: We then went through Lunca, walked up and got to Larga.
Gabriţa: You didn’t tell me about this story.
Bango: In Larga we stayed for another six weeks. Back there died Luba, my brother Ilarie’s wife. He collected planks from the village and made a coffin out of them and buried her. He remained hidden with her in the cattail while we passed the Prut with boats by night.
Gabriţa: What do you say, do you see how much trouble?
Bango: What was that cattail like? To go through it and not be able to get out.
Gabriţa: he carried her on his back…
Bango: The cattail was as high as a house as, pardon me, as thick as an arm .. And they stayed there as they got lost…
The Prut it was…
Gabriţa: On the baks of the Prut. Those were very big waters.
Bango: The army troups came just when we arrived there, they wanted to shood each other with pistols. There was so much mud there, you could not escape from it …And they pointed the pistols towards each other, it’s like I see it now in front of my eyes: when they were ready to shoot, a German came and he said: „No, no, no …”
We stayed there for a while until the roads got better. And then we gathered our things and left and arrived in Zărneşti.
LMC: Were there many Romanians and Germans?
Gabriţa: There were many Germans and Romanians.
Bango: Our ranks were our ranks
Gabriţa: When we arrived
Bango: The German rank was larger.
LMC: And you were walking side by side?
Gabriţa: Together with us.
Bango: Our Romanian soldiers, they had not even polenta to eat, and the Germans would eat chocolate ad bread out of square trays. And marmalade.
LMC: And the Romanians?
Gabriţa: Ther was a coocking on wheels traveling along them and they ate what they found there, pour souls.
Bango: Beans, that’s what they were eating.
Tell him about the pepper where he found it…
LMC: Were they giving some to you too?
Gabriţa: What to give? They did not give us anything.
Bango: Who should have, dear?
Gabriţa: They barely had any food for themselves…
Bango: My brother found a pepper on the rail way … Pardon my words, where people pissed, and he was picking bread crusts from there …
Gabriţa: He picked up everything he found in the train vagons.
Bango: Now then, there was also a big pepper…
Gabriţa: You, what you tell…
It was only sorrow and pain.
Bango: The place we arrived now is golden…
Gabriţa: undressed, barefoot through the mud…
How many golden coins do people nowadays give to their daughters, compared to what we have been experiencing?
LMC: Praised to be God! If we do and live in God’s will, we will reach true beauties. We will walk on the streets of gold. Isn’t it nice that there we meet with all the people, our people?!
Praised to be God that he had mercy with us too!
Bango: God is great!
Gabriţa: Only God gave us money!
Bango: And we arrived in Basarabia in a village. It was German that village. Hens…
Gabriţa: Should I tell this once again?
Bango: The vines. You’d catch her, you’d tie her to her leg, you’d put her on your shoulder, and you’d come home with her. I found a kneaded dough, just like that. I would tear out of it, like that, and eat.
LMC: You’ve told us about it before.
Gabriţa: Have I told you what happened with the wine?
LMC: What else do you remember? Tell us something that your eyes could not forget. You must have seen the people, the women?… Children…
Gabriţa: They left their children on the roads. They would leave them and cry for them, poor souls.
Bango: That one, what was his name, son of Gânceoana?
Bango: Valodia was shot by the germans at the end of the bridge. They threw a bunch of rifles over him…
LMC: Who shot him?
Gabriţa: The Germans.
LMC: Tell us, why they shot him?
Bango: There was a pregnant woman, she was walking down the road and they put up a gun and shot her.
Gabriţa: Hoses Horses that could not walk any longer, they shot them.
Bango: I was once shot too.
Gabriţa: You couldn’t walk on the road…
Bango: But I survived..
LMC: How that?
Bango: I was riding a horse. The horse was called Marcel.
Bango: I remember it as if it happened today, good Lord. They took a bat, one just like birchwood, with the white shell, they grabbed me by the leg Lumină and they put the gun in me…
Gabriţa: I sufferd a lot, even when I tell this to gaje, all that I have been trough, I cry.
Bango: Eventually they took the horse…
Gabriţa: I was shot here in the arm..
LMC: You were also shot, in your hand.?
Gabriţa: Yes. I was shot in the arm. Look, I have no bone here. It’s not that visible anymore, but I have no bone here. It’s not as crushed as it was.
LMC: So you could not use your hand propperly any more?
Gabriţa: The ceolovici took us to work, in the corn field, to the hemp fields and they carried sticks in their hands and hit us. Wherever they could, they hit. They hit us with those sticks.
Bango:„ Puşaika ku.” So that we work.
Gabriţa: „Kanci puşaika.” We went with the Russian women to work. There were no Russian men. Women were alone and the men were at war. We went along with them from dust till dawn, working, gathering hemp, potatoes. We woultd tear the hemp out of the earth.
LMC: You were goinig too, you were merely a child?
Gabriţa: Pff…I was fourteen years old, almoust fifteen.
LMC: And at fourteen, they would take you to work.?
Gabriţa: I had to work. If we were to go there we would find people who would know us. We do not know our papers with our names, the ones we had before, because the bag with our papers was put on a donkey and got lost. The bag fell off the donkey and got lost back there at the Prut when we crossed the river by night. There in that bag was also fathers ID and we were all mentioned on it. ”Wifem this paper should never ever get lost or we will be doomed becouse of it. ” Still it was lost. I do not know what was my fathers name. I wrote Iorgu as I knew him, and an other name Radu, Gheorghe, an other name, so you know , I gave. He was right as we had lots of trouble to make these papers. My own name, I do not know which it was in the certificate. What else did we have there in that bag? The candels from the batisms. Lullikas father had died.
Gabriţa: Ristika. Poor thing came shouting: „ Kantă do you still have some piece of caddle left?” She could not say correctly candle. And my mother gave her a candle.
An old woman died too with our candles. Mother was collecting them and keeping them, from our baptisms; and we were many children.
Bango: Why was she keeping them?
Gabriţa: She kept them hidden. That was the custom. Nowadays no one keeps a candle anymore, they do not keep a thing.
LMC: Now Jesus is the Light! Praised be God!
Gabriţa: Now I’ll never die. I also wanted to repent. I was blessed!
LMC: How not be blessed? We all are. Praised be God!
Gabriţa: I did go too, but then I did not go any more as I was upset that my daughter in law died. When I was going there, I dod not cry any more.
LMC: Which one?
Gabriţa: My Istrate’s Kîmpeana.
Bango: Did you knew her?
LMC: How not to.
Bango: Daughter if Titai.
Gabriţa: Daughter of Titai.
LMC: yes, I do know her.
Gabriţa: She died. That is why I did not go any more.
LMC: Do not keep grunge on God. In this life we live as long as He wants us to. This is not the true life…
Gabriţa: This is why I did not go to church any more, so i do not have to see a woman who hated her. And who made her mad.
LMC: What else do you remember from the Bug?
What do you say about the fact that gaje, pay compensations to those who had been there?
Gabriţa: It is good. We appreciated that they gave us too some money in our old days. It is good.
LMC: Do you have a pension?
Gabriţa: No pension at all, we have nothing.
LMC: I will fight for you to get pensions. TOmorrow.
Gabriţa: God may help you to make some for us as look, we have no income at all.
We are alone.
LMC: Show us, let us see are your legs damaged, does this comefrom the Bug travel?
Gabriţa: yes, since we retunred from the Bug.
Bango: From the Bug.
Gabriţa: When that guy hit me with a pole, dear. Look, it hurts from here up to here, dear. We were walking on the road, our Romanians hit me. Why aren’t we asking ours to pay, Antonescu was the one who took us there, our Romanian?
LMC: Were they beating you too?
Gabriţa: Well who took us there?
Bango: Romanians were deadly strong.
Gabriţa: With tranfer, from one post to the other, who took us there?
Antonescu. Don’t you know this? Has no one explained it to you?
Bango: When we got there, the Russian women took us in their houses to hide us and the Romanians would whip our buttom twenty five times.
Gabriţa: They took the women. Wherever they cought you they would … If there were twenty men with you, God forgive them, .. Did you hear this? And they would beat the women up. They would mock them, rape them … one man … God may forgive him… You know? They forced him to rape his own mother.
LMC: Were they many?.
Bango: When we returned, we came with the Russians now.
LMC: You said the army was good to you?
Gabriţa: Antonescu must too, The Romanian has to pay us becouse he sent us there. Didn’t he sent us there? Just ask all people?
LMC: I need to tell you that this is what I now work for on this documentary, so that people find out what happened back there, so that this will never happen again. You may know that two days ago it was sixty years since you were at the Bug.
Gabriţa: So many years have passed?!
LMC: There are sixty years since this big tragedy and I would like to ask you if you’d like us to have a museum of our own. To have a museum in Romania?
Bango: To have a treasure!
LMC: Indeed a treasure like that, aplce where children can come, grandchildren and thery grandchildren over thound years to see you telling these memoriesWould you like it?
Bango: So, they will see us then just as we are now?
LMC: This is what we are doing right now.
Gabriţa: We’d love to, how not to.
Bango: So we have a pension too.
LMC: God bless you and may He give you His peace in your hearts.
Gabriţa: He may!
Bango: May he give it to you too!
LMC: And make you come to the congregation for Jesus is the way. There is no other way. I know you believe in God.
Bango: Who do we believe in?
LMC: Jesus says for he alone is the way and only through Him can we reach the Lord and He says that we must repent. We have to say this to all people. We have kept the law of the elders until now, but now we must keep the law of God! The elders are no longer with us. From now on, let’s give primacy to God! Live long and be lucky!
Gabriţa: You too!
Bango: You too!
Gabriţa: have a long life and be blessed with luck so you can do us good and we can receive the pension as we have no income.
LMC: God will help you. You only need to have faith. Stay safe with God!
Gabriţa: You too, walk with God!
LMC: Live long and be lucky!