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Sighetu Prison Museum

 

The prison in Sighetu MarmaĊ£iei was built in 1897 and operated until 1977, confining 180 public enemies of the communist movement within 72 cells. Most of the prisoners here were over 60, meaning that their arrests often equated to a life sentence. Among these prisoners were Iulu Maniu leader of the National Peasants’ Party and former Prime Minister of Romania, and Aron Martu, a Hungarian Roman Catholic Bishop who spoke out against the persecution of Jews. The former of these prisoners was 73 when he was arrested and died in the terrible conditions in the prison.

In 1997 the prison re-opened as a museum with the official name: Memorial Museum of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance. The cells display pictures and information describing life as an inmate during the communist era and although there is little English, the cells speak for themselves.

A short walk to the west of the museum reveals a monument dedicated to the 38,000 Jews deported in 1944, and nearby is the only remaining synagogue in Sighet.

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