Bucharest, July 25, 2016. The Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile (IICCMER) in partnership with the Transylvania National Museum of History in Cluj-Napoca (MNIT) organize, during July 25-30, 2016, the third archaeological investigation Campaign in Periprava, C. A. Rosetti commune, Tulcea County. The operation aims to explore and recover the remains of the political prisoners deceased in the former prison colony which functioned nearby.

In September 2013 and May 2015, IICCMER organized and undertook two archaeological investigation campaigns in the perimeter of the current village cemetery. On this spot, during 1959-1964, a large number of political prisoners deceased in the Periprava labor colony were buried. Currently the surface does not show any indication of the graves.

At the beginning of the ‘50s, Periprava functioned as a section of the Chilia Formation, consequently turning into an independent prison unit on July 1, 1957 (Formation 0830). The official purpose of the colony was to build a 16.5 km long dam between Periprava and Sfiştofca in order to protect the fields about to be cleared of cane from the floods and use them as agricultural surfaces. Another objective was to heighten the road from Periprava along several kilometers. Thus, starting with 1959, thousands of political prisoners were brought to the colony until 1964 when the collective amnesties took place. The undeclared but implied purpose of the transfers was to brutally exploit their work and subject them to an extermination regime. The unfavorable conditions led to the death of 124 prisoners, mainly political, but also common law prisoners.

There are several persons responsible for what happened at Periprava colony, from commanders, departments’ managers, medical and administrative personnel to simple guards. The heads of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the state and party leaders of the time are also to blame, as the applied measures were taken at the top of the hierarchy.

During the two investigation campaigns, 11 graves were discovered and examined. The information obtained after the medical-legal examination will form a national data base which will gradually comprise all the information of this kind from the victims discovered on national territory and having an uncertain identity. IICCMER recently launched a public appeal regarding the drawing of DNA samples from the direct relatives of the victims died at the Periprava labor camp. The genetic analysis of the remains will be undertaken by the Institute of Legal Medicine in Iaşi.

During the archaeological investigation campaign this year the diggings in the local cemetery will be continued, in the area where the political prisoners were presumably buried, through the opening of new archaeological sections for the discovery and analysis of other graves.

Research will be undertaken by a group of archaeologists and historians with IICCMER and the collaborating museums (The National Union Museum in Alba Iulia and the Aiud Museum of History and Natural Sciences). The investigations will be carried out in the presence of the Bucharest Military Prosecutor’s Office which was previously notified by IICCMER and already opened a criminal file. The operation is supported by the Tulcea Prefecture and the C.A. Rosetti City Hall.

For further information, please call 0752 108731 or 0744 516108 (archaeologist Gheorghe Petrov, IICCMER expert and scientific responsible of the site).