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Ceausescu’s daughter, the eternal collateral victim 02/06/2012

Posted by allthingsro in history.
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Zoia Ceausescu, the daughter of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu, was subjected to pressure her entire life. From the outset, her destiny was in the hands of her parents, who wanted to control her and “arrange” her life. Even her name was politically motivated. Although he would later become an anti-Russian patriot, Nicolae Ceausescu named her Zoia in honour of the Soviet heroine Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, a partisan executed by the Germans. Born on 1st March 1949, Zoia entered adolescence just as her father was fighting to gain control over the Romanian Communist Party and the country.
Tensions between mother and daughter
As Nicolae Ceausescu was already a megalomaniac by then, and Elena gave herself carte blanche, one of the couple’s first victims was their very own daughter. Just like their parents, in the presidential couple’s vision, their children had to be “geniuses”, “fighters”, “heroes amongst heroes” and “great thinkers”. Yet Zoia Ceausescu was as normal as possible. While Nicu Ceausescu and Valentin were allowed to get away with much more, probably because, “Well, boys will be boys”, Zoia’s life was strictly controlled and the daughter of the General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party was practically locked away in a golden cage. Of course, she enjoyed material advantages that would have been beyond the wildest dreams of Romanians at that time. At the beginning of the 70s, she drove about in a white, two-seater cabriolet Mercedes, a present from the Iranian Shahanshah Reza Pahlavi. On the other side of the coin, however, her personal life was monitored, and she was forbidden from doing a whole host of things. Her romantic relationships ended badly: the Securitate “hacked into her entourage”. It was rumoured that Petre Roman, who served as Romanian Prime Minister after 1989 and was thought to be one of her first lovers, was “exiled” to study in Toulouse, so that he would no longer see Zoia. This potential son-in-law didn’t suit the Ceausescus: Roman was half-Jewish, half-Spanish, and, what’s more, son of a member of the communist old guard close to Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, leader of the Romanian Communist Party until 1965. It would also seem that she was separated for “national” reasons from another great love, namely the gynaecologist Dan Vincze of Hungarian origins. For the overseas correspondent Mihai Matei of the magazine Lumea (The World), his relationship with Zoia was fatal. Banished to Guinea as a press correspondent, he couldn’t adjust to the climate, contracted a tropical disease and died.
For her part, Zoia tried to defy her parents. She cultivated Bohemian circles of artists and writers, and attended parties with free-flowing alcohol. In contrast to her parents’ taste for monumental kitsch, she was a bibliophile and interested in the visual arts, and she would consult genuine experts before buying valuable works. She is alleged to have had a relationship of “love and art” with the novelist Petru Popescu, who was in vogue at the time. The Ceausescu family were very pleased when he fled to the USA.
“A Scientist”. Zoia’s personality suggests an inclination towards the humanities. But Elena Ceausescu wanted to turn all her children into “scientists”, like herself. Zoia was directed towards the mathematics faculty. Her colleagues say that she was a reasonable mathematician. In any case, she understood mathematics a lot better than her mother did chemistry. She became a university assistant and later a researcher at the Institute of Mathematics, but she refused to take the spotlight. She formed a circle of friends at the institute, spoke as freely as one could and would go for a drink with her colleagues, much to Elena Ceausescu’s consternation. The institute was closed in 1975. Zoia became director of INCREST (Institute for Scientific and Technical Creation), and stayed there until 1989. Those who worked with her say that she tried to gain more funding for the institute, even to convince the authorities to permit some colleagues to attend international colloquiums or conferences on mathematics.
Settling Down. At the start of the 80s, she met Mircea Opran, an engineer from Sibiu and an academic at Bucharest Politehnica (technical university). She fell in love with him. As Opran had a clean file, and their daughter was over 30, the Ceausescus agreed to their marriage. The couple lived on Calea Victoriei in Bucharest in a beautiful villa, now the central office of the Romanian union of theatre, and they led a relatively quiet life. They walked their two dogs and went to work. And, of course, the Securitate did not stop monitoring Zoia. Here is how the events of December 1989 caught up with her.
Golden Scales. As their villa was there for all to see and many people knew who lived in it, the revolution reached the Ceausescu-Opran home on 22nd December. What the revolutionaries found there would today appear to be completely normal. At the time however, a video, a jar of instant coffee or Kent cigarettes were proof of “enrichment”. A banal brass pair of scales was presented on Free Romanian Television (TVR) as made of solid gold and used to weigh out meat for the their dogs; meat which was probably destined for export and vacuum-packed. Zoia spent several months in prison, accused of “undermining the national economy”. Even though in 1990 there was an amnesty on the offences of which she was accused, charges against her were dropped, bizarrely, in 1996.
Discretion. After her release from prison, she tried to work for INCREST again, but she was not re-accepted. She went into early retirement on health grounds in 1996. And it would seem that in the same year she was treated for cancer for the first time. She appears to have had financial problems, but she refused to accept money offered by friends who had hit the big time. She lived together with Mircea Opran in an apartment they had purchased within a villa in Strada Marinescu in the up-market Cotroceni district in Bucharest. She made the news in the last three years of her life when she sued the Romanian state firstly to recover some books, paintings and jewellery confiscated in 1989 and secondly to exhume her parents. A court ruling granted her four pieces of golden jewellery, paintings that had ended up in the National Museum of Art and rare books that had become the patrimony of the National Library. Some of the books, as far as we know, had disappeared completely. The application to exhume her parents was unsuccessful in the first phase, but an appeal was granted. During the court cases, Zoia did not want to appear in public and communicated with the press through her lawyer, Haralambie Voicilas.
On 20th November 2006, Zoia Ceausescu died as the result of a metastasis of the colon. Since August, she had been hospitalised on several occasions in the oncology ward of Bucharest University Hospital. She wanted to be cremated, and her husband announced that he would respect her wishes. Finally, in death, Zoia Ceausescu got what she wanted.
Former Prime Minister expressed regret
Former Prime Minister Petre Roman expressed his regret that Zoia Ceausescu “left us so soon”. He said that Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu’s daughter was “an intelligent girl and unhappy with living conditions in Romania in the years during which her parents were in power”. He said that Zoia Ceausescu often acted independently of her parents. The former prime minister denied the rumours in the press that he had a close relationship with Zoia at the beginning of the 1970s. “All manner of inappropriate things have been said about a relationship between Zoia and myself. The truth is this: I was a PhD student in France, and a good friend from the Politehnica married one of the daughters of Paul Niculescu Mizil, a political figure at that time. Zoia Ceausesu went to the same wedding, we met, we talked, I remained in the country for a few days and we stayed together,” said Petre Roman.
By Toma Roman JR. This article appeared in Jurnalul on 22nd November 2006. Translation by Daisy Waites.



1. jason - 15/05/2013

I feel the swift way the trail and execution of her parents was held, was a sad day for romania. It’s also sad what happened to the children later in life, after the events.

2. lynns6 - 18/07/2014

They got what they deserved!

3. Jason White - 04/06/2015

She was a drunken, useless waste of a human being just like her brother Nicu. Her parents, especially her “chemist” mother, who was an illiterate joke, an insult to anyone who is a real scientist, “CODOI”, met their just faith. Good riddence to them. The entire family, with the possible exception of Valentin, should have been drowned a long time ago. Bunch of sadistic, useless, barbaric, selfish, arrogant, tyrants. All of them.

allthingsro - 04/06/2015

Just in case you were wondering, the title of my post on Zoia Ceausescu was taken from the Romanian article in Jurnalul. I think she is more complex than you suggest, but as far as her parents are concerned, I’m very much in agreement.

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