History of Communism in Europe

Volume 12/13, 2021/2022

Labour and Global Solidarity during the Long 20th Century / Youth and the Continuous Construction of Communism

Cristian Vasile
Pages 143-164

Albatros – a Publishing House for the Romanian Communist Youth, 1970-1989

This paper examines the profile of the Albatros Publishing House in Bucharest (specialising in youth literature) and the activity of its director, writer Mircea Sântimbreanu. He held this position for almost two decades and recounted his experience in a volume of memoirs. I tried to explore these memoirs mainly in parallel with accounts from archival documents and secondary literature. The Albatros Publishing House was a micro-universe for assessing the impact of successive ideological offensives by the Romanian Communist Party on book production and on the youth in general (mainly the July 1971 Theses and the other party directives of the 1970s, as well as the Mangalia Theses of 1983). By the 1980s, the regime’s propaganda had acquired ultra-nationalistic nuances. This paper will also exemplify such developments by discussing the scandal generated by the 1983 publication of Saturnalii by Corneliu Vadim Tudor, a volume of poems with strong antisemitic tenor. Using mainly diaries, journals, secondary literature and archival documents, this article also analyses the strategies deployed by the communist regime in order to coerce the young generation – through the agency of publishing houses – to assume the new literary-political ideology of revolutionary humanism (the Socialist Realism of the Ceaușescu era).