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

Lucica Nicoleta Păcurar
Pages 165-196

S.R. Romania’s Western Border - the Battlefield between Two Categories of Young People
The Fugitives and the Border Guards

The young generation of the ’80s was born and entirely educated under communist ideology. And yet indoctrination failed for some of these young people, who saw the West as a symbol of a better society to aspire to. In order to escape from S.R. Romania, some of them risked their lives in the “adventure” of crossing the border illegally. The main opponents of the fugitives, the border guards, were part of the same age group. In many cases, they behaved brutally toward the fugitives. Did they come to see them as traitors, or was it just the context in which this adversity manifested itself mixed with the soldiers’ fear of their superiors’ punishments? The study is part of a more extensive research regarding the phenomenon of illegal border crossing during Ceaușescu`s dictatorship. Through this study, I aim to analyse the two situations in which some of the young people of the ’80s could find themselves: opponents of the regime (when fleeing to the West was a form of protest) and involuntary “servants” of the system, such as border soldiers, respectively. Also, I focused on identifying the reasons for the conflict between the two categories of young people belonging to the same generation.