The Hotel Continental in Cluj (or as we know it The New York) was not only the location for a great cocktail, but outside its doors in December 1989 a massacre occurred during the Romanian Revolution.
For those of you who have followed my stories about Cluj it was a pleasant city in Paddy’s time and remains so to this day. However, like so many towns and cities in Romania, it experienced its fair share of discontent during the last days of Ceauşescu. I can’t be sure of the figures but around a dozen people were killed, mostly by the Army, and these events took place virtually on the steps of the Continental. The video below shows some of the traumatic scenes that took place twenty-one years ago this week.
On the main road out of Cluj to the south is a very interesting cemetery. Its inhabitants include not only the citizens of Cluj, but generations of soldiers from Europe’s great wars and revolutions of the twentieth century. There are Austro-Hungarian soldiers with names that seem to indicate that they came from all over that once great Empire. Romanian soldiers from the Second World War and around three hundred Russians from the struggles of the dying days of that conflict. But in a quiet corner stand some graves of those that died in the revolution of 1989, amongst them one or two young women.
As we prepare to celebrate the great gift of Christmas, let us take a moment to reflect on these momentous events, and those that continue to this day. Maybe we can give thanks for those that were prepared to lay down their lives for their friends, and for those that do so today.
This video appears to have a full Roll of Honour for those who came from Cluj and its environs who died not only in Cluj but elsewhere. It is very moving.