Centre for Romanian Studies

Centre for Romanian Studies header image 1

Sanda Stolojan (1919-2005) – In Memoriam

August 20th, 2005 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Sanda Stolojan, essayst, poet, memorialist, journalist, Interpreter to all French Presidents since de Gaulle and political activist for democracy and human rights in Romania, has died in Paris, at the age of 86.
Extract from the forthcoming Anthology of Romanian Women entitled “Blouse Roumaine”

Sanda Stolojan belongs to a family of Romanian scholars and diplomats and, as such, she was from early childhood in contact with the Western European languages and cultures. Her grandfather was the writer and diplomat Duiliu Zamfirescu (1858 – 1922) and she was a great-niece of the architect Ion Mincu (1852-1912). One would have thought this advantage alone might have been sufficient ground for her career promotion in the People’s Republic, later to become the Socialist Republic of Romania. Quite the contrary: she was declared instead an ‘enemy of the people’ (dusman al poporului) and was lucky enough to have escaped the worst communist prisons, except for a spell at the Uranus Military prison, in Bucharest. Her husband was given, in 1958, an eight-year prison sentence of which he spent four long years in several detention camps, including at the infamous slave-labour gulag, at the Danube-Black Sea Canal.

Given such antecedents, Sanda’s career was sidelined. However, by the early 1960’s, as the bankrupt communist economy was in dire need of hard cash, in the slave trade which ensued, Sanda Stolojan and her husband were bought by a relation in France, for 25,000 dollars and were allowed to leave Romania for the West. Such shameless trafficking in human beings was common practice, as there was a constant flow of exit visas-for-dollars between Romania and Israel, or Romania and West Germany (never East Germany!), a practice that lasted for decades, until the fall of Ceausescu, in 1989. The Stolojans settled in Paris, since 1961.

Ironically, Sanda Stolojan became a Romanian interpreter for the French Presidency for thirty years, a period from de Gaulle to Jacques Chirac. This privileged position allowed her to return to Romania as part of the official French delegations (see Avec de Gaulle en Roumanie). At the same time, in France, she was one of the leaders of the anti-communist exile group, who tried to give Romania a dignified face. This was not without real risk to her own safety, at a time when the communist secret services of Soviet and satellite countries were extremely aggressive against the refugees who chose freedom. This milieu is presented in her recent Memoirs published in Paris and Bucharest (Au balcon de l’exil Roumain a Paris/Nori peste balcoane)

Sanda Stolojan was the president of The League for Human Rights in Romania (1984-1990). She was a constant anti-communist fighter and a close friend of Cioran, Eliade, Ionesco and other Romanian greats whose personality she evoked in her books. She also translated in French Cioran’s opus “Des larmes et des Saints”.

Sanda Stolojan might have still been with us today should it not have been for the negligence and for a long series of professional blunders and incompetence by the French doctors in whose “care” she was in one of the “best and most reputable” Parisian hospitals. She will be remembered by her friends and all people who knew her for her refined quality and immense generosity, a rare representative of the disapearing species of the “vieille Roumanie”
Her literary legacy, which includes a great many articles, is prodigious:

Stolojan, Sanda, Nori peste balcoane. Jurnal din exilul parizian, Humanitas, Bucharest
—, Avec de Gaulle en Roumanie, Éditions de l’Herne (Mémorables), Paris, 1991
Stolojan Sanda, Ceruri nomade – Jurnal din exilul parizian 1990-1996, Humanitas, Bucarest, 1999
—, Au balcon de l’exil roumain à Paris: avec Cioran, Eugène Ionesco, Mircea Eliade, Vintilà Horia, l’Harmattan, Paris, 1999.
—, La Roumanie revisitée (journal 1990-1996), L’Harmattan, Aujourd’Hui l’Europe Séries, Paris, 2001
—, Maison pour un Mirage, ( une maison à la campagne), Ed. Du Laquet, Collection terre d’Encre, Martel, 2003

Essays and poems published in periodicals:
‘Limite’, ‘Ethos’, ‘Fiinta româneascà’, ‘Revista scriitorilor Români’, ‘Journal de Genève’, ‘Esprit’, ‘Cahiers de L’Est’, ‘Le Monde’, ‘L’Alternative’, ‘Lettre Internationale’, ‘ARA Journal’: ‘Revue de Belles-lettres'(Geneva), ‘Création’, ‘Polyphonies'(Paris).

Stolojan, Sanda, Dans les Brisures, Éditions Rougerie, 1982
—, ‘Sur les abîmes verts (1985),
—, Bruine de nulle part, 1993

In English:
Stolojan, Sanda,
Duiliu Zamfirescu, Monograph, Twaine World Authors, Boston, 1980

Translation credits from Romanian into French:
Stolojan, Sanda, Emil Cioran, Lacrimi si sfinti (Des larmes et des saints), Éditions de l’Herne, Paris, 1986
—, Lucian Blaga, poems in the anthology: L’ étoile la plus triste, Éditions de la Différence, 1992.


Read more about  Sanda Stolojan in:

Blouse Roumaine – The Unsung Voices of Romanian Women

(Centre for Romanian Studies, London, 2009)

(1,100 pages, 160 Biographies, 600 quotations)


Tags: ······································································································································································

No Comments so far ↓

Like gas stations in rural Texas after 10 pm, comments are closed.