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Extracts From The Book:

Princess Marthe Bibesco
Ana Blandiana
Smaranda Braescu
Madelene “Madi” Cancicov
Nina Cassian
Elena Ceausescu
Ioana Celibidache
Queen Elisabeth of Romania
Princess Gregoire Ghica
Princess Ileana of Romania
Dora D’Istria
Monica Lovinescu
Ileana Malancioiu
Queen Marie of Romania
Dr. Agnes Kelly Murgoci
Mabel Nandris
Countess Anna de Noailles
Ana Novac
Oana Orlea
Ana Pauker
Marta Petreu
Elisabeta Rizea of Nucsoara
Sanda Stolojan
Leontina Vaduva
Anca Visdei
Sabina Wurmbrand

"Blouse Roumaine" - Extracts from the Book
selected and introduced by Constantin Roman.

Sanda Stolojan (16),

Novelist, Translator, Poet, Personal Interpreter of the President of France,
Human Rights activist, Exile living in Paris

American vs. Russian Brutes:

“According to ‘Le Monde’ some three hundred people are forced to work on the gas pipeline project in Siberia. Detainees, relegated, deported people were camping in barracks along the pipeline, amongst them women and elderly. This is how the USSR works in June 1982, whilst the foreign governments negotiate with the USSR, selling them high tech and wheat without bothering about the fate of the individual in Russia. There is something monstruous in the idea of these American farmers who produce stupendous quantities of cereals, these limited but efficient folk, who feed the Soviet Union, ignoring the millions of slaves under a totalitarian dictatorship.
The monstruosity resides in the fact that such efficient brutes allow other types of ideological brutes to survive, thus extending the existence of slavery in Russia and in Eastern Europe: sheer cynicism of the world of trade facing the totalitarian world. We might well denounce Ceausescu’s madness – for as long as Russia will remain a world power, Ceausescu will manage to survive and keep himself in power. Hence this nausea when thinking of the misery and drama of Romania, caught up in this play, whilst being led by a madman, yet for a long time to come.”
(“Au balcon de l’exil Roumain a Paris”, Ed L’Harmattan, Paris, 1999)

Blacking out our the Romanian past:
‘I feel that, more than once, in Paris, I had come across people who had known my parents. Like this old lady whom I met the other day at a musical afternoon, a great-great grand daughter of Franz Liszt, an acquaintance of my mother’s from the 1930’s. Why on earth haven’t I ever tried to introduce myself to this circle, the mundane world which survived WWII in Western Europe, whilst the Bucharest society of 1940’s and 1950’s was wiped off? This is because Communism caused our lives to collapse, because such a trauma cuts off the thread, because we are actors of the next part, of the change in decor, of the last train… Actors destined to be exiles, after having experienced communism, without as such having known the great epoch’ of our parents’ generation. Or rather who got to know only the last stage of the last part, in which one played the demise of free Romania. To have had a glimpse at this epoch through the half-open door, puts me forever between the two, on the threshold of this door. As an intellectual proletarian, I swapped societies. I no longer felt the passion for this world which had survived in France, or for the events which turned Europe upside down. The precipice which openned behind me was far too deep for me to wish, over here, in Paris, to pretend as if nothing had happenned.”
(“Au balcon de l’exil Roumain a Paris”, Ed L’Harmattan, Paris, 1999)

Louis Aragon:
“Death of Aragon. Excellent obituary by Jeanne Hersch in ‘Le Monde des Idees” questioning Aragon’s much publicised fidelity to the Communist Party, as if the fidelity to one’s conscience might not be the first duty of a writer. The moral perversion of Aragon, his refusal to the bitter end of accepting the true colours of Communism, this is what she denounced.”
(“Au balcon de l’exil Roumain a Paris”, Ed L’Harmattan, Paris, 1999)

Ion Caraion:
“On reading the poems of Ion Caraion I discover in them a ground of resentment which comes from afar, from the misery of the people, from the ancestral savagery, from the spirit of the Neolithic peasant still extant at the turn of the century,”
(“Au balcon de l’exil Roumain a Paris”, Ed L’Harmattan, Paris, 1999)

(Ceausescu) Assasin:
“It is awful to think to what extent we are attached to the parish church, to the houses and streets which no longer exist. The assassin who rases the sacred places is a total assassin who imposes a total death, the death which empties the living to the bottom of its memory. (Note written after having heard about the demolition on Ceausescu’s orders, of the Vacaresti Moastery, in Bucharest, 27th May 1987).
(“Au balcon de l’exil Roumain a Paris”, Ed L’Harmattan, Paris, 1999)

“What fascinates me about my (ex)compatriots is this: even amongst the most cultivated ones there is a proximity to the villain, the ruffian, the easy, possible and probable fall into the rabble. Even amongst the best “mannered” people one guesses this tendency of being prone to decay.”
(“Au balcon de l’exil Roumain a Paris”, Ed L’Harmattan, Paris, 1999)

Michel Foucauld:
“ The French television dedicated a whole programme to Michel Foucauld who died recently. One had recalled that his thought was at the antipody of the humanism inherited from the classic period, a humanism from which is derived the ‘humane’ trait, the sense of values and of the sacred which each individual preserves within his inner self. For Michel Foucauld, each epoch is an episteme, as to each epoch there is a corresponding network of relationships within which man is locked up, a prisoner of an enclosed system. There are no human links which transcend History, no links between yesterday and today, no traditions… For Foucauld to rediscover one’s identity is only relative and temporary. Michel Foucauld is one of those monsters of the French Marxist and structuralist Intelligentia, who discovered, of late, the goulag and who took part with us to our recent demonstrations (against Ceausescu’s dictatorship t.n.). The French society which became materialistic and bourgeois, since the 19th century, had produced intellectual terrorists, who resemble rationalist priests, converted to the Devil.”
(“Au balcon de l’exil Roumain a Paris”, Ed L’Harmattan, Paris, 1999)

Franco-Romanian Jews:
“I went to Beaubourg to the symposium on Benjamin Fondane, on whom I was writing an article in the ‘Cahiers de l’Est’. In the auditorium there were gathered many Romanian Jews, a world with which we other Romanians had few contacts, other than some personal friends. An old émigré, Claude Emile Rosen, read one of Fondane’s poems in Romanian. Stefan Lupascom who knew Fondane was there too. Generally the tone of the evening, imprinted by the philosopher Chouraki, a specialist in the Jewish mystique, was Hebraic and anti-Romanian, with pre-war Romania being painted in anti-Semitic colours all over. During the course of the evening I felt an odd sensation of being there only tolerated, marginalized, in spite of being at the core of a cultural space with which I was very familiar. In a certain fashion I was the “Jew”, the foreigner within this audience. In fact our manner of living our exile is aituated at the antipody of the sensitivity of these Franco-Romanian intellectuals of Jewish origin. All a matter of the past, a question linked to the antecedents of our lives, yesterday in Communist Romania, today in Paris. Much further back, a matter of ancestors, ours ensconced in the glebe of deepest Romania, in its believes and traditions, theirs errant for three thousand years; ours lost in the Neolithic mist, theirs mingled to the history of Babylone and Egypt. These are profound matters, old causes, as old as the biblical prophecies and their different interpretations which shaped us. And then there is the recent past, our situation and theirs under Communism, which forced us lately to take the road of exile, where we see them again, these old hands of errants. Today the experience of exile ought to bring us closer, but our contact with them, like the one of last evening only reveals to what extent we remained attached to our land archtype implanted in the Parisian milieu. What could be more foreign to their spirit than our obsessions, our reactions, our commitment. It is by rejecting this spirit of the glebe, that Cioran succeeded in placing himself above this sate of mind which is justly ours, that of provincials in Europe, a characteristic which was also his. And paradoxically, it is whilst strongly denouncing his origins that he discovered his profundity: for, as he said, ‘Nobody is in control of his own profundity’. How could one solve this dilemma? How could our exile bring us closer to the Jewish exile?”
(“Au balcon de l’exil Roumain a Paris”, Ed L’Harmattan, Paris, 1999)

French Socialists:
“Now that the Socialists are in the French government, we hear various statements which remind us of the Communist regimes (of Eastern Europe), where the mass culture is a weapon in the hands of the authorities. A French poet working for the ‘Esprit’ magazine as a director of adult training was challenged: ‘No more elitist culture, it’s all over… you may pack up your bags and go.’ Why should we imagine that the masses in France may be any different from elsewhere? The medicres hate intellectuals. To empower the masses means also offering them a suitable culture. But soon this is no longer convenient, as they want to become cultural leaders. From this point onwards there is only one step to make, one which was made in Eastern Europe, before the official anti-culture is all that should suffice. To what length would go the French Socialism on the road of demagogy? Maybe the old foundation of French culture might resist, but it will have to lower its prestige, when challenged by the assault of the mediocres.”
(“Au balcon de l’exil Roumain a Paris”, Ed L’Harmattan, Paris, 1999)

Jewish Friends:
“My interpreter colleague Edouard Roditti, poet, essayst, polyglot, homosexual and charming friend, hade paid us a visit the other evening. Edouard loves Dalmatia, the Serb peasants, the last of jewish villages (shtettls) of Moldavia… Presently he is translating poems from anciend Turkish (which is Persian); he laughs as he pretends being a descendant of Virgin Mary (who belonged to the house of David), through one of his ancestors Abravanel who came from Mesopotamia where the tribe of Judas took refuge, before they came to settle finally in France, at Narbonne. Such haunting of the past, such leanings for the Eastern world, this manner of laughing at one’s self, are a mixture, owing to which our jewish friends in France our our true interlocutors… with them ahlf the way is already covered. With everybody else one has to start again from the square one.”
(“Au balcon de l’exil Roumain a Paris”, Ed L’Harmattan, Paris, 1999)

Romanian Spirit:
“There is a certain quality in being detached, a merit in renouncing the worldly, which include also the territory of the Spirit. In order to find the Romanian Spirit one has to travel far into the desert, where it took refuge a long time ago, when confronted to the devastating violence of History. In the desert, in the void of scepticism, which wiped the table clean, it seems that it is there the remarkable Romanian Spirit. At this stage it seems that it may have something to tell, a superior message, but what it has to tell is of little interest to matters of History. One may percieve even grandeur and distinction in this Spirit which refuses to adhere to the world, even a certain superiority in this refusal. But who ever cares about refusal, about the non-resistence to the crime which now, more so than ever, is at the heart of History,? What may be the use of renouncing action? Maybe writing aphorisms like Cioran, meditating about the furility of action…… Finally, whatever may be its loftiness, compared to the values of the Spiri,t I still suspect there is something illicit in the smile of the Wise…”
(“Au balcon de l’exil Roumain a Paris”, Ed L’Harmattan, Paris, 1999)

Romanian Culture:
“In the company of the poet Horia Stamatu, a pessimist like all Romanians, we are asking ourselves: is there still any more to extract from the Romanian culture? Ionesco said the essential, introducing into his theatre plays a matter extracted from his origins: a genius of the absurd, of the derisory and of the derision. His super-Romanian genius allowed him this tour de force of succeeding to express himself in French. Cioran had imprinted to the classic French style a new tonality, a scepticism filtered through a West-European culture. Vintila Horia, introduced in French a certain Romanian ‘wisdom’. Perhaps his style would lack somewhat the tension. Would it be because the spirit of wisdom would not adjust so well in French, or rather the oppsoite because it may introduce in French a recitative character, closer to the story tale and the poetry?”
(“Au balcon de l’exil Roumain a Paris”, Ed L’Harmattan, Paris, 1999)

“The Romanians have an attraction for the esoteric speculation. This aspect of their spirit is evident even amongst the very young. This stems from a very profound depth. They adhere to to believes and superstitions. The most evolved amongst our intellectuals often end up in hermetism.”
(“Au balcon de l’exil Roumain a Paris”, Ed L’Harmattan, Paris, 1999)

Romanians in a hurry:
“Romanians have always been in a hurry, thirsty of a quick success, always starting anew. Any means are good, time is short, each one of them is an ‘adventurer’, nothing is supporting him, nothing durable, no stable structure. The Poles have their Church, The Czechs and Hungarians have their traditions inherited from the Holy Roman Empire. With each generation, the Romanians had been left to their own devices. A single structure left – the village, now swept away. To cap it all, presently, the Communist ill luck.”
(“Au balcon de l’exil Roumain a Paris”, Ed L’Harmattan, Paris, 1999)

“The news from Romania is overwhelming: the people live in a kind of symbiosis, be it an atrocious symbiosis with the Securitate. Everything is a matter amongst ‘friends’: I was told how somebody, usually a young and agreable chap, invites himself to come and see you. After chatting with you, he offers some ‘friendly advice’. He knows all the details of your life. He is one to wish you well. ‘Let us be reasonable, let’s not do foolish things, just drop such and such action, or relationship…’ His infernal appearance is omnipresent long after he had gone. You feel that you are under surveillance, every day you experience a living nightmare, you are no longer in control of your life. Romania had become a prison for twenty million people.”
(“Au balcon de l’exil Roumain a Paris”, Ed L’Harmattan, Paris, 1999)

Yalta Conference:
“Whilst typing the text of the proceedings of a symposium convened by an American historian on the Yalta Conference, I came to realize what becomes of the events interpreted by researchers, in their dissertations, their references, their works on the Second World War following Yalta. There is an enormous gap between what the historians had written and what the people had experienced during this same period: the end of the war, the economic collapse, the prisons, the terror. Within such perspective even the humblest of Romanians ought to have the right of being heard. To recall such things during soul-searching moments when I am asking myself: why should I be concerned? What stops me from turning the back to this country? The academics enjoin the diplomats to be the spokesmen, the same diplomats who subscribed to the division of Europe. Who would bother nowadays to acknowledge what were the trails of human beings in Eastern Europe? The political disquisitions have nothing to do with the trials and the final death of millions of sacrificed individuals. Have pitty on the conquered, oh, injustice of History!”
(“Au balcon de l’exil Roumain a Paris”, Ed L’Harmattan, Paris, 1999)



Sanda Stolojan was for thirty years a Romanian interpreter for the French Presidency and one of the leaders of the anti-Communist exile group in Paris. This milieux is presented in her recent Memoirs published in Paris and translated into Romanian. She was the founder of a Paris ONG called “The League for Safeguarding Human Rights in Romania” (1984-1990). She was a constant anti-Communist fighter and a close friend of Cioran, Eliade, Ionescu and other Romanian greats of the Diaspora.


Sanda Stolojan, “Nori peste balcoane. Jurnal din exilul parizian”

Stolojan Sanda, “Ceruri nomade - Jurnal din exilul parizian 1990-1996”, Humanitas, Bucarest, 1999

Stolojan, Sanda, “Au balcon de l'exil roumain à Paris : avec Cioran, Eugène Ionesco, Mircea Eliade, Vintila Horia”, l'Harmattan, Paris, 1999.

Sanda Stolojan , “Avec de Gaulle en Roumanie”, Editions de l'Herne (Mémorables), Paris, ISBN : 2851972839

Stolojan, Sanda, “ La roumanie revisitee (journal 1990-1996)”,
L'Harmattan (Aujourd'Hui Europe), 2001 ; ISBN : 2747511413
Stolojan, Sanda, “
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