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United States Senate special election in New York, August 1798

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The second 1798 United States Senate special election in New York was held on August 17, 1798, by the New York State Legislature to elect a U.S. Senator (Class 1) to represent the State of New York in the United States Senate.

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No doubt, many of you can remember those times when you had to watch over your shoulder for somebody that might follow you, or if there was somebody who could rat you out to "The Security" [the internal security force of Romania, set up in 1948 and officially disbanded during the revolution of December 1989] Tonight we've invited somebody who managed to study the files kept by Security and I'm convinced that tonight we have a lot to learn. Welcome Mr. Cristian Dumitrescu! Good evening, good to be here! You are an Andrews University Ph.D. student at the moment How did you manage to study the files kept by Security? It should be simple and easy for everyone to be able to read the Security's files. Unfortunately there is a selection process probably it has its reasons. I asked to read my mother's file and mine also when I went to Bucharest It took almost an year for the files to be found, and when I went to read them I was approached by an individual who's doing research for CNSAS (The National Council for the Study of the Security's archives) and I was asked if I'm interested in doing research in this area as I can see you are coming from an university outside Romania. I said I might be interested, who knows, maybe one day I'll have time for something like this. However, after I read my own file and my mother's file we received a searching raid from the Security in the past I realized we might find in these files more than we expected and sure enough, throughout the years, during the time we had access to these files I can say we find documents and informations there about the Adventist Church history throughout the Communist era which the Church doesn't hold in its archive. For how long have you studied these files? This year is the second one, the third summer. What we are interested in, on one hand, is the way the Security influenced the life of the Adventist Church On the other hand, we are also interested in their methods used to recruit members of the Adventist Church, something they were after. We will avoid to give names, we are not interested in this But we are interested in how they tried to cooperate, what were they really after because I believe there are many things which are worth to be known. One small observation: the names are important because those actions, those documents belong to individuals. But there is a law which compels the researchers not to publicize the individuals' names because it affects the life, the family and so on, of those who are still living. So I suppose our talk will be able to take place without names and probably, with time, the names will emerge. In order not to make mistakes, what other rules we should be aware of during our talk? I don't believe there are specific rules the private life of those involved needs, for the time being, to be protected. But why? Because there is a law. I, we didn't give this law, was given by others and unfortunately we can see the information is still not free We cannot say that today we have complete access to files. Secondly, CNSAS doesn't have all the files. SRI retained a certain number of files under the pretext that it affects the national security. So none of us knows for sure how many files are out there, which are the specific names or, in the case of some individuals of which we have access to some files, where is the rest of them. Regarding the collaborators with the Security which worked inside the Church do you see as beneficial for a church to know who were the informants? I believe the first important thing is for every church member to know his history and this is basically the reason for which I accepted and then I became interested in the documents which are there. We suspected and worked mainly with suppositions, hunches, rumors when is coming about knowing who was an informant, how things worked during the critical periods in the Church history but actual documents were very few. It's interesting the fact that these suspicions, because they are suspicions, can sometimes be utterly false. Yes, some can be validated, some invalidated. Especially when we know there was a certain Security strategy to butter up to influential individuals which, on one hand, didn't want to be informants, on the other hand they were very active in the Church So they were trying to make the public believe they were informants. Was this strategy real? There are different strategies. The Security wanted the cooperation with some influential individuals This was basically their interest. Individuals who have access to the system, who can influence or control the system. Because their basic philosophy was the control. They wanted to control everything that took place. With those with whom they were unsuccessful, they used threats. During the early period of Communism, they used force - arrests But there were also times, later, when those who rejected to cooperate were basically exposed in way which lead the local community or the church to have suspicions regarding them. and thus leading to their isolation. are there any differences in the way the Security worked during the time of Antonescu when compared with the Communist era? The CNSAS archive has the advantage that it doesn't hold just the documents from the Communist period. But also holds documents dating back to the beginning of the 20th century before Antonescu during the time the Adventist Church was not officially recognized as a Christian denomination but was considered to be a religious company/society. just like is the case today of the Jehovah's Witnesses or the Reform Movement. During that time, depending which government was in power the Adventists, like the Baptists, the Pentecostals, the neo-protestant denominations, was receiving the right to exist or the right to exist was taken, the churches were closed, and they were persecuted. Based on the documents, I reached the conclusion that the persecution of the Church before the Communist period was more harsh than that during the Communist period. More cruel somewhat. Maybe because there wasn't a control or manipulation system well developed so they used mainly force. The structure was different. I'm sorry to say but the documents of that period certify the fact that the orthodox priests were working closely with local authorities and many times were influencing them against the neo-protestant denominations. against the members of these churches. Just because of the simple fact that you were trying to speak about your faith with somebody, you could have been arrested. There were times, and I've seen documents, in my father's file for example, when he himself was traveling to another town and they tried to speak in a public square with other people they were arrested. They were arrested and warned that if they will speak again about their faith publicly, they will be thrown to jail. There were time when my grandfather, for example, was taken in chains from police station to police station up to the martial court because he dared to speak about his faith. So these are things which belong to a different structure than the Communist one. But my personal conclusion is that event the Communists learned something from there. They didn't appear out of the sky but they assumed some methods which probably were applied to them which later they themselves used. What was the Communist philosophy? The basic Communist philosophy was to control. and any method which could have been used to control, was used. I would like to speak a little bit about the period of Antonescu. It was an interesting one, the period of "Iron Guard". You know it was called "The Brotherhood". a certain document caught my attention. In it, a certain member was writing to the elder brother, when you'll come to visit us again, please bring this and that... That brother looked suspicious to a high raking official in the oppressive structure of that time which seized the letter and sent an arrest warrant. Because anything that sounded like "The Brotherhood" which was watched and was wanted it out of the politics, was suspicious. People which had nothing to do with politics they spoke to each other like the Christians do, using the term "brother". This is why I tell you the documents from that time can reveal how sensitive they were during the period before the Communism. You could have been arrested for anything. Yes. I would like to share a few more things from that period. In order to understand the background of the Communist emergence and the persecution that came with it. For example, there is a document dated in 1939 about a suit against the Union treasurer and its President. For the simple reason they have organized in the churches a fond-raising in order to help the Spanish people which endured a prolonged drought, after the Spanish Civil War The Adventist members, which were not many, were suffering and the Romanian Adventist Church set itself to help them. Just because the organized this fund-raising they were arrested, they were were put on trial following different "interventions" the trial was suspended and they were set free but you can see for what kind of reasons they could have been arrested. Or, another one, which is a sensitive issue. The dedication of a crucifix, in a certain town. The Adventist elder together with the regular members, refused participate It was the conscience based decision The orthodox priest denounced them as anti-national, because it is been said that any good Romanian is orthodox if you are not orthodox you are not Romanian not going into details on this one but the priest regarded them as spies for foreign agencies and they were arrested. Just because they did not participate at the dedication of a crucifix. another document is speaking about the Adventist school of Fagaras. Which I believe is the first established Adventist school. When it was established, the newspapers read only negative opinions. In documents, we can find paper clips in which it is said the Adventists are a dangerous cult, do not send your children at their schools a similar atmosphere with that from the Communist period although during the Communism the Church didn't have schools. The 1941 census again I found documents in which the adventists were accused of trying to convince orthodox people to declare them as Adventist so they increase in numbers in order to be considered a minority but, in the same time, the documents are showing that the orthodox priests were the one making these complaints. So you realize the relation which existed between the Orthodox Church and the authorities. During the Communist era, the reason for which they desired to have informants from the Adventist Church was one which had to to with their desire to control, to know what was taking place there, or there were religious reasons too? Communism never encouraged religion but desired to restrict it reduced, and finally, if possible, to disappear. The atheistic philosophy stood at the foundation of Communist religion. I use to say they had a motto in three words: reduce, restrict, repress. Because they basically wanted to reduce the number of churches, of members, the numbers in general. The liberties they've already restricted and this can be documented and persecution was a habit. The Communist didn't refrain themselves from nothing. Even where they had informants, they demeaned themselves many times to threats or physical violence and arrests, of course in order to intimidate the local community. So it will be submissive, obedient and not willing to go beyond the imposed limits. What recruitment strategies did they use? Let's talk for a bit about the methods used by the Communist in trying to control Firstly, if you remember, there was a State Department responsible with the denominations. How was it called the individual they were sending? The authorized one, the commissary, the inspector from Denominations State Department. Its role was to officially mediate between the State and the Church. But the Department did much more than officially mediate between the State and the Church. Basically, through this Department, they approved and inspect the Church budget the passports were sent, if there was someone who had to go "outside" Basically, for any activity the Church wanted to undertake, it had to receive the approval of the Department. at the beginning even for baptisms they had to ask for the Department's approval. Later, they were not seen as a big issue, although the Communism was always upset with baptisms. I would like to go back to the way the files from CNSAS are organized, in order for you to understand the research process. There is no precise index of all the files. There are a few million files there, we are speaking about the needle in the haystack. So how do you read the file you want to read? I'll explain to you. There is no electronic or paper filing system. which you can consult So you just go through files? SRI didn't give CNSAS the filing system. So there is a filing system. SRI has it. As far as I understood, SRI also has the micro-films of the files. At the end of the file there is usually a stamp which says, this file was micro-filmed this day and so on and there is somebody's signature. If we would have this, we could work easier and faster. There are three main types of files in the CNSAS archives. One is called "the general files" where there are all kinds of documents about the political parties, former political parties about dissidents, immigrants, churches What CNSAS is doing at the moment, and is doing it well, is to go through all these files and give us at least some basic informations relative to what can be found in any of these files. although it cannot give exactly the number, the title and so one, of the file. But we've began our research from there. I looked for files which had informations about the Adventist Church or the neo-protestant churches. and from there I began with either the code name or with documents about certain events from Church's life. which were linked to other files. So you've basically start from one end and from there you develop a whole network. There are also the individual files and, the third category, you have the penal files. The files from the general group are the starting point. Many times there are problems when is coming about the personal/individual files. There are problems because they are incomplete. I've found files which have their beginning in 1954 and they stop in 1969. But that individual didn't close his activity in that year. I've found in other files (individuals or belonging to the general group) the same code name which was used in later files. Which means the activity continued. When you are speaking about personal files are you speaking about the informants? They could have been informants or people which where the objective of the informants. What I can say for sure is that the code name of some informants can be found in different files which is a proof they continued to be active. But their personal file - the second or the third part of it - as an informant, can't be found. In other words, all the file is missing? Yes, it doesn't exist. So there are informants which did what they did and their file went missing. It's hard to say why the file cannot be found. I recently found a document with a list of individuals which files - and is confirmed by CNSAS - were burned. It hard to say how thick they were, who burned them and why how thick they were, how many documents were there, what periods of time they covered What is certain, we have a list with names and we can say that for those individuals, there was another file or a continuation of a file. But was burned. Which is hard to believe... maybe it's just well hidden. But is locked, is under key. Somebody who is familiar with these aspects told me that, in his opinion, the files were burned when the Ministry of Interior building was attacked and somebody set on fire some building, archives, and rooms. It's hard for me to certify this what is for certain, we have an answer. What surprised me was the fact that files of which I've been told exist or names, which I've been told about, yes, there is still a file about this name. Now there are on that list like their files burned. The information is contradictory. Very intriguing, really intriguing. are speaking about informants from inside the Adventist church? I'm speaking about Adventist informants because of the simple fact that, when I began my research, I resolved to study all the neo-protestant churches because there are similarities between them. and similar approaches can be seen. But because of the huge work volume and the number of files which I had to go through, I was able to set aside just a certain part of the year for research I had to constrain my research to just the Adventist area with the freedom to study from time to time other files which were related to certain names or actions. Are you allowed to make copies? The researchers are allowed to make some copies, you are not allowed to copy the entirety of a personal file but you can copy some documents. Can I ask you where you keep the copies? In a safe place. Until the day they can be made public. There is a possibility though, for the documents to be used in an academical research or scientific research with the specification the names should be erased and the informations which could harm the individual, to be left out. This is the way I worked, and even if I didn't give the whole document, I wrote at least some of the informations found inside without giving names, in order to help us form a bird's eye view of what happened at that time. Basically, my research is not about verifying or uncover somebody the justice is dealing with uncovering at this time I was interested in how the Security influenced the life of the Adventist church during the Communism. What conclusion did you reach? The answer is a positive one. Positive but negative in fact. Yes, the Communists, through Security, and the Department of Denominations, have controlled the church's life in an important measure. I could also say something else. That despite all these, the Adventist Church in Romania has grown. It developed during the Communist period. This paradox can be explained in just one way. Is there any possibility to have been an informant but you being the one on top of things, offering them informations which didn't not negatively impacted the church's activity or somebody's life somebody's peace. Something like a buffer between the Church and The Security? I've classified the informants, from this perspective, in few categories. There were people which, without any doubt, offered just positive informations. Meaning, everything they said was only the good part. Some of the Security officers were satisfied with these kind of informations later you'll see why they had a quota of informations, files which they had to deliver and probably for them was sufficient. They were not so much interested in what was taking place, they were interested in completing their quota. They were interested. but because probably the informants didn't have access to vital informations, it was maybe a quantitative issue, something accepted. There were informants which offered both type of informations. and here I would like to offer an example because it is linked to our family. Before the search raid, a retired pastor came into my father's office which usually was coming there to either take his retirement money or to speak with one or another and after saying something about the weather, about that day in general, about life's hardships he just whispered this: see that they asked about you. after which they've continued their talk like nothing happened. With the hindsight we have now, we realize, if it wasn't for his warning, when the search raid came upon us, we could have been found with materials which the Communists were suspecting were in our possession and they were after. What was taking place: my mother was involved in rejuvenating the Sabbath School for children. Materials which my father brought from outside, were translated, multiplied and then distributed throughout the country. But our apartment was the place were they were paginated, typed, and, many times, translated there it was the production house. When my parents received this news, they've loaded suitcases for a few nights and took them to individuals, usually old ones, which accepted to keep them for some time. There were books, booklets etc. When the search raid knocked on our door the place was clean. It's hard for me to judge a person like this which worked both ways because I know from my own experience what did it mean to have somebody, who gave informations The Security, to also warn you, be careful, they have you in their crosshairs. It mattered a lot for us. Of course, there is the third category, those who have informed with ill will. I refrain myself from judging people's intentions but in those documents can be clearly seen, and there isn't just one file, but a whole load of them, that individuals allowed their grudges to be introduced into the files so the Security will have an argument against that individual. For example, somebody didn't like somebody else gave only negative informations or even false ones just because he wanted that individual not to occupy any more a certain position or just wanted him to suffer. I'm sorry but the intention is pretty obvious in these cases. Shouldn't these persons be made known, public? Probably so. I'm not speaking about the ones from the first and the second category but about those from the third. They should be known. Or, probably, when was coming about somebody which they couldn't stand, they knew how to get rid of them, but he probably was positive towards somebody else. Yes, of course, the positive attitude was reserved only for friends But I've seen that, even in the case of those considered friends, after a certain time or some circumstances, negative documents come to light even about them. This is why I say, there are consistent documents which show the individual realized the Security can be used even by himself for personal interest. With this thing I cannot agree, it's painful. You're already making me curious, looking for ways to make you name those individuals. Where do we start from? Will you tell us about the recruitment techniques? Because there are plenty of things to talk about. Let's wrap up with the Communist philosophy and the way it affected the life of the churches. along with the State Department for Denominations - together with the Security which was the muscle for Communism - there was the Ministry of Interior. but the Ministry of Interior and the Security basically overlapped. What could be seen from the document is the fact that immediately after coming to power, the Communists put together different commissions which were to study every single denomination. Under the pretext that every denomination has to be known and had to present it's guidelines and working policies the Communist put together these commissions which were allowed inside the intimate structure of any religious denomination in order to know how to act and manipulate. There are of course documents not only about the church's doctrines but also about it's organizational structure and policies how the church is organized, who's above who. It is obvious they were trying to identify the ropes which could be pulled The Security offered you two choices: you either cooperate or we will destroy you. This at the church level or at the individual level? At the individual level. With the Church, in general they didn't ... Officially they wanted to show, especially the Occident, the good things when was coming about religious liberty. So at church level, they didn't speak against them or threaten them. On the other hand, they were threatening the person. Whomever was in the church leadership of the time, had to endure a powerful pressure. But, even if you weren't a church leader or a pastor but a simple church member they were interested in informants even at this level. because they were always cross-referenced. In order to verify if you have given them the correct informations. and they needed these informations from multiple sources. in order to see who is correct and who is not. There are individuals which were excluded as informants because they were not honest, correct, they were lying. They offer erroneous informations. It's hard to say now if it was something to be proud of or something to be ashamed of. But if you were under their crosshairs, you had only two options: they didn't give up on recruiting you. The cases when the Security gave up on an informant because they were unsatisfied with him, are very rare. Most of the times, they were coming back to him, they reactivated him, either when he was moved to another district, if he was a pastor or something happened, when the circumstances were changing. What could they do to him? To somebody who wasn't willing to cooperate under any circumstance. It was simple. Regarding those who had money, who had tailor shops or other small businesses were put under the article no. 18 it was very simple. What is the 18th article? The 18th article didn't allow you to earn more that a certain amount of money because under Communism, everybody had to be equal. If you were producing more and had more, you were raising suspicions. Others were suspected of having gold or foreign currency which was forbidden during that time. There were multiple ways by which to destroy you or to remove you from the system. Because you didn't want to cooperate with them. Others were arrested under the pretext that they were opposing the rule of law. Which was the Communism. What could they do to a pastor? In this case, he could have lost the right to work as a pastor the State Department was the one approving the licenses, the Church didn't give you license, you couldn't do anything. Can we infer from this that all the pastor were Security informants, in a way or another? It wasn't mandatory but, as a pastor, you had to do at least with the State Department. You couldn't avoid it. The Stated Department inspector was the one you had to answer to. In a way or another. I want to mention here that not all the inspectors or the representatives of the State Department were harsh or ill intended. Some of them were reasonable. They had a heart. and you could deal with these differently. But there was also the possibility to be arrested. In the Communism museum in Sighetul Marmatei, which I visited there is a room dedicated to those in this situation: pastors, priests, religious leaders. and there is a long list of names. From those statistics, I understood more than 5000 priests and pastors were put in jail during the Communist period. Most of them until 1962-1965 when there were issues the pardon decrees. But almost 500 of them died either in jail or working on the canal [Ceausescu wanted to link Bucharest to the Black Sea]. and this just for the fact they refused to cooperate with the Communist authorities. Either they resisted recruitment as informants or they even refused to cooperate with the State Department for Denominations. Is it possible to have accepted to cooperate with them hoping that this will somehow help the Church? Thinking that if you will be in good relations with the Security, your activity in the church will not be too affected. Yes, there were these kind of situations. What surprised me the most was the fact that pastors, which were imprisoned and suffered for years, some of them even for decades accepted the cooperation after they were released. I don't know what happened inside, I rely upon the testimonies of those who wrote about it after they came out of prison but this was surprisingly enough for me. Maybe this was a condition of their release. It's possible although those pardons were pretty general. I can't say there were a lot who remained imprisoned. Also, not all who came out signed agreements of cooperation. Is it possible that their spirit of resistance to have been broken during imprisonment so as to when they came out they desired nothing else than to have a quiet life. How quiet could the informant life have been, it's hard for me to say. After 1965, after Nicolae Ceausescu came to power, after Stalinism has basically been renegaded the focus was moved from arrests, from physical violence, to recruitment of informants. I'm speaking now about the religious leaders, pastors. Many of them have their files started in 1960's. Did you encounter these kind of files? Yes, I did. Do you know the individuals? I know some of them, some I knew because they are dead now. But because I grew up during the Communist period and because I'm familiar with Church events during that time it's easy for me, when I find the files and read about those events, to see the connections and even if there are just code names, I recognize the individuals involved. So it helps me. Did you meet some of these individuals? Yes, I met some of them. How do they look at you? Knowing that you know. I don't know how many of them know, some know. I'm not bothered by the way I'm looked at I'm trying to control myself relative to how I look at them. And I try to treat them as human beings no matter what they did in the past. I say again, I'm not interested, in the first place, in revenge or in uncovering there are others who can do this. I'm really interested in finding out what really took place. I would say exactly but this is impossible to know, exactly it's a relative word in this context But I'll be happy if those who cooperated and are alive, would speak. If they will present their version of what happened. What could they say? That I ratted out one or the other? Let me give you and example. I met a colleague and a friend, which you also know Which was surprised to hear that he had a file. His answer was, I never cooperated. Informant file? Yes, informant file. Everything there is in that file is fluent, makes sense, the people are real, the events took place. Only that he says, I never gave any informations about these people. By the way, the documents are in handwriting or typed? Some of them are in handwriting and signed. Other are typed probably after documents in handwriting. In many instances, the Security typed or even copied by hand several copies because a document had to do with other individuals too so it had to be placed in their files too. So you couldn't ask the informant to write six times the same thing. Why not if he already did what he did? At least to finish what he started. The truth is we are to gain even the documents are typed. Because they give you a landmark or they send you to another file. and thus the network of informations is created which is necessary in order to find out what took place at that time. I said I would be happy if those who lived during that time, would speak. Because we would find out their version which might be the real one. I say this because The Security, at some point in time, asked the informants, more exactly, the officers a quota, a certain number of documents. When the officers didn't manage to... the informants didn't give enough informations, maybe because they had nothing to inform about nothing worth mentioning took place they themselves created documents. Or they've taken informations for other sources and credited them to their informants, some of them innocent They multiplied but with other names. They fulfilled their quota in order to save face before their superiors. Isn't possible for me to be an informant but I don't want the information to be written under my name so your name is used? Of course, it's possible, most of the times the officers... I'm not speaking about the officers, we are two pastors of the same church but my deal with Security is, I give you everything you want but it goes under Mr. Dumiterescu's name. I haven't met these kind of situations. I don't deny their existence The problem I see is that usually, the informant was scared threatened, blackmailed. He wasn't allow to know under whose name a document or an information was written. how the documents were created. At this level, the informants had limited knowledge. They were basically used to fish for informations and documents. But I can also say I found files in which, individuals from the church weren't just common informants, they were agents. What does this mean, did they receive ranks? All I can say for now, they were part of the Security structure. What level, remains to be seen. The informants were doing everything because they were scared? Did they also have benefits? Some of them had benefits, material ones. Some where for example, remunerated. a salary or... no, not a salary but a bonus from time to time for their "contribution" This is how it is written in the file. In the case of an informant... of a beloved brother... yes... when he was sick and was hospitalized his handler bought a bottle of champagne and flowers (which were settled) and visited him in the hospital but usually, it is clearly specified on the receipts, for informations... Wasn't the handler informed that the hospitalized informant doesn't drink champagne? Poorly informed... This is what can be found in the document, I just quoted what it's written there. I'm speaking about the agents because there is a special situation there The agents had access to their file, while the informant didn't know his file. At the end of the agent's file, just a few until now, I found a mention written on a small piece of paper, the agent read his file on this day. This says something. Enough. Which is to say, these individuals had access in the Security system and not only in the Church's system. Interesting. Did you find any rank? Did you find if an individual... No, I haven't find any document in which a church member or a church leader to be identified as holding a rank. But the fact that a church leader had access to his own file, he would have had to be part of The Security's system otherwise you couldn't have had access. What does it mean to be part of the system because, I don't know the ranks, but you could be part in the sense you could receive a salary but in the Security structure to be really low so you wouldn't have access to your file maybe. I can't certify this informations, I don't have documents which could allow me to do this. I understand, OK. I could go on my suspicion but this is too vague. No, we will use only what you know because it makes no sense here to come up with ... You asked me about the recruitment methods... Let's speak about them. Most of the times, they approached the young ones using the letter sent to be called into the mandatory army service. You had the obligation to go. To be part of the army or... No, it wasn't the decision, you were called to the recruitment agency. The beginning of the process. Because you had to go the the recruitment agency, they had to make the files, it took some time until you were assigned to a military unit. But a letter like this could have been sent to those in reserve. So to the older ones, which finished their military service. You had to go. They knew that when people see this letter, they don't know exactly what is about and had to go Was the term used, concentration? Yes, concentration. Those who finished their military service, were "concentrated". The interest was to bring them on their territory, to talk with them there, under their conditions. For others, as was in my mother's case for example she received a letter by which she was called to the capital police with "the book of the building" This looked strange for us because this document was held by the building's manager We were warned, as I mentioned before, and were expecting something and we knew what was behind this but that was the method used. They were calling you, at the police precinct or at the capital police with your ID or with the document which showed where you were living. In my case, for example, I filled a passport request. When they tried to contact me, they told me to come to the capital police because they wanted to speak with me about my request. So another method. One of my colleagues filled a request for a typing machine. You remember they were requesting a page with all the machine's characters typed in order to approve it. When he went there, was very surprised to realize they already begun pressuring him into cooperation. Other were approached on the street. It was known when they left for work or when they left work, and they were approached on the street. My father told me, for example, that this was how they approached him. On the street, a car stopped, somebody came out of it and talked with him. Or when he left home, somebody was waiting for him outside, and when he went towards the street car station, the man with the raincoat, as it was known at that time Began to ask him questions or invite him to a talk. The refusal just made him come back a few times more until he realized this method, the street approach, is not bearing fruits. There were pastors arrested or called to interrogations just because they sent a letter "outside". without having the approval of the State Department for Denominations. The correspondence was strictly inspected and even in the general documents you can find whole files with just correspondence, out of which some of them are personal. This is the reason I'm saying that these kind of documents shouldn't be made public, personal information is private information. So the letter didn't reach its destination. Some of them were retained, but later they were just copied and were allowed to reach destination because they wanted to see also the reply But in some cases, some of them worked at Hope Radio in Germany during that time and Hope Radio was under the same category with any other foreign radio station which even if it was emitting just religious content, was under suspicions. His correspondence, both ways, with his relative which lived in Romania, makes up volumes. Here we can name persons, they are well known, it's not a problem, isn't it? I prefer not to, for now. There were enough individuals and pastors and regular members which didn't send their children to school during the Sabbath. Because of these reasons they were called to interrogations. And "the interview" was not so much to threaten them or to punish them but to make them to cooperate. So they used these methods too. In other cases, the approaches were diverse. In some cases, they promised to help them climb the church's hierarchical ladder. And here I'll have something to say. In other cases, they threaten them. With accidents, be careful, you child or your wife might not come back home. In some cases, it did happen. And again they pressured them saying, we are men of our words. If you don't want to cooperate... Can you offer some examples here? Let's speak in general and maybe latter we will touch upon some specific cases. If there were accidents... or it's not about dead people? Or it's came to that too? There are individuals which refused to cooperate and died in an accident. This is the case of some Baptist pastors I also know of an Adventist pastor in this situation The well known Adventist pastor? One Adventist pastor. But I would like to have more documents to base my case upon and give more details. A recruitment session like this took between 8-12 hours. You can see the psychological pressure exercised upon the individual. You can ask yourself, what did then speak for 12 hours? From my own experience, being exposed to this treatment, they came back regularly to the same question. After half an hour or an hour, they came back to the same question until you didn't know where they wanted to take you And you said yes just to get rid of them. How direct the question was? It depends on what was about. In my case, it had to do with a passport I asked in order to travel. What were they asking? They were trying to make you talk in order to see what you know. For example, they asked me, what assurances of my return I can offer them? I had to tell them, after they've asked the same question all over again, but I avoided an answer because I didn't want to play after their rules but I told them, when you'll give me the passport and I can travel, then we can talk. Just as you don't trust me with a passport in order for me to travel, I also don't trust you with the informations you're asking from me. For example, they were asking me, who is teaching at the Seminary? But you know very well. The State Department is present at the beginning of every school year. They know the students, the teachers and even the courses taught. I don't see the point of this question. You should have asked, don't you have as an informant Mr. X? I just said, the question is redundant because you already have the information. You know, they said, we allowed some of you colleagues to travel probably pastors at that time which left and didn't come back. What assurances do we have that if we allow you to travel, you will come back? I said, what do I have to do with those pastors? Everyone of us have our own plans for the future, I haven't manifested the desire to emigrate If I would have wanted this, I would have filled a request with the Ministry of Exterior My brother had filled a request like this so he was under their radar The questions were repeated all over again and they wanted to know what you know. in order to see where they can pressure you in order to give up. During my interview, they left me alone in the room a few times, a room with nothing on its walls white, with a stack of papers before me and a pen without telling me to write anything. He was just suddenly going out. It was just another form of psychological pressure upon you, to let you worry in a space without any windows or anything I don't know if you were bugged or followed, what is certain though, these were the methods used to pressure you. I would like to say something else. There were individuals which cooperated out of their own will. They went and offered their services. The considered they were smarter than the Security In the sense that if they will offer their services, they'll fulfill some personal goals. Some needed money, their need was a material one. Some wanted, and this is what is surprising most of the times, to climb the ladder (church's system). and they realized that only by doing this they can have access. Where they the ones which usually suggested this? I refer to the last period of Communist regime. 1970-1980-es There were individuals which clearly saw others, which were informants, being promoted. Thus they understood the method and didn't wait to be contacted, they just went and offered their services. It might seem strange but there is an expression in those documents, he signed without hesitation, at peace with his conscience, and without being in conflict with his religious belief. Because he was a patriot. Even happy. Are those individuals still pastors? I can't say that those are pastors but I can say there are still pastors which cooperated with the Security and are still part of the system. Their level of cooperation or if all the documents in their files are real this can be under questioning. This is why I said I would be happy if those who cooperated or were pressured to do it or didn't cooperated but were contacted would speak. would at least contact us (I'm not the only one with access to files) and would see together, what is the truth, what really happened Don't you think that, the moment there is a suspicion about somebody doesn't matter the arguments offered, even if you are innocent, people are more inclined not to believe than to believe? Doesn't matter if you come and say, I have an expert handwriting analysis, who knows whom you've bribed or what you've done You know, I have CNSAS testifying for me, ... Yes, anything is possible. For a historian, for somebody who is trying to study these documents objectively he needs more than the documents from CNSAS, or from the former Security. I repeat, as long as the Security had a quota and created and falsified documents they always had to be taken with a grain of salt. Because you never know from the beginning if the specific document is real or was made up. I repeat, there are files which were made up, people don't know they have a file. and never cooperated. This kind of files are real. There are documents which were made up by The Security. But there are also cases where there are whole volumes under one person's name and the documents are certifying the same intention. In these cases, we can't talk about uncertainty, we are heading towards a conclusion. I know that inside the Baptist Church there was a commotion of this kind there were names of informants made public individuals came and shared their version some died when they heard they are to face the members I don't remember something like this to take place inside the Adventist Church. Unfortunately. Unfortunately because the Adventist Church accepted another approach. She published a document in which every church employee had to declare if he cooperated or not with the Security under the threat of becoming unemployed. Allow me to say that, anyone faced with becoming unemployed, wouldn't have admitted they've cooperated with the Security. So it's not a method which can be used if you want to encourage people to open up. Anyway, they've done the same thing possibly under the same threat only that they signed yes, at that time, and now they've said no. I'm speaking for myself when I say the approach wasn't the best one. Of course, there are enough young pastors which can sign the document without any remorse because they were not exposed to Communism, they were children at that time. During the last church elections, one of the objectives suggested by the Planning Committee for the next mandate is exactly this, to clarify the situation of those who cooperated with The Security. I'm curious if, throughout these years, we will have the opportunity to clarify this issue The initiative is praiseworthy, I myself am waiting to see if it will materialize itself As far as I'm aware, those we were there really wanted for this to happen, now it all depends on the Union to fulfill what has been entrusted to them by the Church. This was just an introduction. Because I have here a few pages with questions which we didn't even begin to answer them. We've trying to understand the issue in general Maybe this time we will be able to come up with more examples. Good evening and welcome back to People and Point of Views. Good evening, good to be back! We've somehow ended our last talk by speaking about the fact that the Adventist Church didn't use the same method as the Baptist Church. Do you believe, in the near future, is it necessary to expose those who cooperated with the Security or it's not necessary or the truth will come out by itself. It depends on how the law will be modified. I personally believe we firstly need to know what happened. To know the history. And then on this structure the names and individuals will be added. When you know the history, it's easier to make the connections between the events and the ones leading the church, locally and nationally. and to also understand the context in which they've cooperated. Please tell us again why did the Security wanted to have informants from among the Adventist Church members. There are documents in which the Security is suggesting the recruitment of a specific individual or of more than one. because in that specific church or area it can be seen a reinvigoration of the Adventist activity. Pastors, sometimes young ones, which went into their field they had energy, vision, enthusiasm and they were doing their best in the present circumstances. When baptisms were taking place which weren't approved, or when religious literature or many more copies than those approved came to light the Security was getting involved and then was suggesting the recruitment of a new informant. More than this, when they were becoming aware that groups of young people were visiting each other's churches, with AY programs, or they were going camping during summer, were becoming suspicious and needed informants from among them. Other times, just because a group of people belonging to the Reform Movement were in the same town with the Adventist Church was motivating them to recruit informants from among the adventists in order to know what was taking place inside the Reform Movement. and this is a sensitive issue. Interesting. I've noticed that in a way, the structure of the Adventist Church was making Security's life easier Is it true and why? Any kind of centralized structure made their life easier. Because if they managed to infiltrate their people into the church's leadership or to have informants or agents there, there were almost 100% sure they could know what was taking place, they could control, they could forbid some things and limit the life of the church. The congregationalist churches like the Baptist, the Pentecostals, the Plymouth brethren, had and advantage although they had centralized leaderships, the local churches were independent. They were more difficult for the Security than the Adventists. Because every church was independent, the pastor was paid by the local church, it couldn't be imposed upon the church by the Union while in the Adventist Church the pastors were appointed and sent into the churches by the Conferences. The pyramidal structure of the Adventist Church is not useful in a period of crisis. This reality can be seen in all the Communist countries, present or past. like China, Vietnam, North Korea. Where there is a centralized structure the State can interfere and decapitate the structure. In the case of Baptists, if they would have decapitated the Union, the churches were anyway independent and they would have survived. You had to develop a system in order to get informations while in the Adventist church the system was already there, you just had to access it somehow. I believe that, from this point of view, those of us who grew up and were active during that time, we could learn a lesson for the future. and we can also share with the worldwide church the dangers of this kind of system in certain contexts like the Communism. Can we conclude that the Adventist pastors were easily recruited? No, I don't believe we can infer this. Because I've found in the files documents which point to the fact that Adventist pastors opposed, opposed not only the recruitment but also opposed their trying to control the life of the church. I remember documents which state that a representative of the State Department wanted to get his hands on lists with families which are not sending their children to school Saturdays. That pastor said, I'm sorry but I cannot provide you with this kind of information. He was threaten with not being allowed to work as a pastor anymore with not receiving his salary He repeatedly refused. Then they bypassed him and went directly to the local church. And I especially appreciated the position taken by the approached members and of the elder which said just over my dead body, these kind of list we will not provide. When the pastor and the church worked well together, as a team, The Security's attempts to control and suppress were annihilated. It's interesting the fact that the pastors were recruited and especially when is coming about diaspora the Romanians outside Romania. If I find that note which I read at some point, somebody was saying that the members were encouraged to trust and cooperate with their pastor I found it: the church members from Austria the location is given all the Romanian citizens outside the country have to be made to trust completely their pastors and that some of the more sensitive issues can't be solved without their interventions This suggestion is pretty strange. Because it assumes that they [the pastors] were The Security's people. Let's just say for the time being that the pastors couldn't leave Romania most of the times, not always, only if they received their approval. There were pastors which managed to leave without being informants. Visiting or for good? Visiting. There were regular members which were approved to leave for good with the condition they will remain informants among diaspora. What was their interest? To find out how did the Romanians manage to emigrate from Romania. their methods, the locations used, because they wanted to control. They also wanted to control the way the emigrants were speaking in the West about Romania. They had some well articulated plans to present the world a beautiful image of Romania and they wanted to control those who gave negative informations. With respect to the situation from Austria. I've found the file of a pastor in which is stated that the he was sent to recommend himself to the Romanian Church in Austria at that time The Romanian Church was organizing some religious presentations at the refugee camp in ... the refugee camp were all the refugees were received, all the Romanian emigrants. Because the local pastor wasn't able to continue or because there were some conflicts between the pastor and the church the church didn't support the Romanian pastor which lived there The visiting pastor, which was an informant, received this task to offer himself to go and hold those meetings in order to have access to the refugee camp. a very diabolic method. I gather that, before being recognized as a church, they were participating at the Austrian church services. They were encouraged to form a group in order to keep their culture, language and so on but in order to be easily controlled. after I personally talked with the Austrian leaders just after January 1st, 1990 some of them came to Romania with humanitarian aid. I find it's not true. They were not encouraged to constitute in a Romanian group. or Romanian church. On the contrary, the Austrian Union have constantly discouraged this tendency... Not the Union, the Security Yes, the Security did this because they wanted to have control This is what I had in mind. But we have to keep in mind, there were many who left Romania and didn't cooperate with the Security and were watched and were always suspecting the newcomers from Romania. Especially when was coming about the pastors This is the reason for which they said, try to make the Romanians to trust the visiting pastors. I dare say there wasn't a Romanian pastor traveling to the West, who didn't stop to visit Vienna. Willingly signed agreement: I consider it a patriotic duty and that of an honest believer to cooperate honestly and faithfully. The handler's note: He signed without any hesitation because he saw this as his duty which is in perfect harmony also with his religious teachings. He chose the code name... Very interesting. Nothing out of the ordinary. There were people, as in this case, whose obvious intention was that of climbing the "corporate" ladder. There are documents with respect to this individual in which he promised to be submissive obedient, docile with the condition of being promoted. Did it happen? It came very close. Up to were? It almost happened but 1989 came and the circumstances changed. Up to where it almost happened? I could say, at that time, he reached the Conference level. He was already there. Was necessary just one more step. Because we already spoke about diaspora, before talking about this plan of measures, do you have anything to say relative to diaspora? Unfortunately, the Romanian church leadership at that time sent letters, and I'm speaking about the US with respect to pastors which emigrated. Which left for different reasons. Some left for treatments, other just emigrated, legally. I've read very unpleasant letters. in which people who apparently were life long friends, were described in the lowest language. By whom? By Union leaders of that time. Or Romanian pastors which emigrated and contacted the General Conference in order to be employed as pastors. Romanian Union leaders sent letter in which they asked the GC not to employ them because they are not worthy, they were just trouble makers here in Romania, just negative comments. Unfortunately, GC personnel have listen to these insinuations for a few years. Probably until they were convinced those pastors were trustworthy and they were employed in the Church system here, in the US. We are talking about these things but, I don't know, sometimes you want to just... tremble. I found documents with respect to diaspora in which church members which left the country, have identified the informants which where either visiting or were passing through with some personal business One took place in New York, there were letters both ways, somebody else was thrown out into the street by his host after he discovered he was an informant. So there were also these kind of situations. Diaspora was in a delicate situation because they were happy when somebody was coming from Romania, thus giving them news about the church life from there but, in the same time, they were very suspicious because they didn't know who was an informant. Before speaking about the plan of measures, I have a very interesting note here with respect to church elections. I'm afraid we won't have enough time but we really need to... The list with suggestions for the elections at the conference level. I suppose was the same at the Union level. In two columns there are just two names which suggest the fact that changes were made only with the approval of the State Department or the Security. The lists with suggestions for changes were coming back with one of the names crossed with red. Yes there are these kind of documents, and they go both ways: in and out of the State Department so the difference is obvious. There was given list, you can choose out of these. Something like this? Yes. Sometimes the list had just one name for a certain department. Sometimes there were two names. And they crossed the one they didn't like. What was taking place, were you able to correlate...? There is an interesting situation which took place at one of the Conferences in 1988 The State Department representative at that time, Carstoiu, was present as usually, they had to be present, had to control and it seams the State Department sent back the note with their favorite. But the General assembly of that Conference, rejected the proposal The inspector pressured the officials and upon the General assembly but they didn't vote for that person. They remained there until after midnight. because the people had decided not to accept the Department's suggestion and at the end, they voted the person they wanted. Was it obvious this was the Department's suggestion? Even if it wasn't obvious, it was obvious the fact that the inspector pressured in a certain direction There is a document given by an informant regarding that session in which is stated that when the assembly voted the other person, Carstoiu, black with anger, stood up, slammed the door and left. So it became obvious their suggestion was rejected. I only find these kind of documents at the end of Communist period. Vt an earlier date, I didn't find these kind of situations. Most of the times, it seams, the suggested names were accepted. Were they suggested only informants or other were allowed too? From what I have seen, those in key positions, were informants. One way or another. I'm not debating now what kind of informants but they had a certain relation with The Security. When was coming about position which were not so important, they had accepted individuals which were not informants but were docile. Interesting. I can also say there are individuals for which I didn't find any files. But I found in the general files that small note which was given at the request to go travel outside. and on that note was written with the same words almost all the time, we recommend this individual for traveling outside because he's our informant. On the same note, sometimes it's written the real name and the code name. Are they still using today the list at election time? I left Romania a long time ago so I don't know You don't have access to these files... It didn't interest me for the time being Very interesting. I would ask something not directly related with our issue, what about the Holy Spirit, prayers and other things which are taking place in these contexts? My personal explanation is that the Holy Spirit is present, is trying to influence the mind of the people. In which direction... you know how it is... the wind blows wherever it wants and you don't know where it goes You know how they say, it seemed right to us and to the Holy Spirit Why did God allow to have informants or agents as church leaders it's really hard for me to explain. We are facing a reality, we're taking it as it is for now, and, at least in my case, I would like to understand it. Still, keeping in mind the context, can't we offer them an excuse they were there to also help the church? Don't know if we can accuse them all the way keeping in mind the fact the context was a challenging one. They were cannon fodder ultimately. So the church will go through. This is a possibility also. I don't want to judge anybody because God is the only one which knows all the intentions. But I can say after reading volumes under the name of some individuals that they went beyond what they were asked to do so... Obviously... There are individuals who tried to protect the church but in the same time they offered informations up to a point to the State Department and The Security. I would also like the say, the pastors, many times, were not directly approached by The Security. but the informations the Department asked, were redirected toward the Security and added to their files. I spoke with some of them and they told me, I never gave any informations to the Security but to whom did you give them? I gave them to the Department, because they asked me. It's obvious they used the Department so the Security could remain in the background. How were the Adventist intellectuals treated? They were looked at with suspicion. Anyone could have become an opinion leader and the intellectuals had in general their opinions, theologically, musically, poetically. They were not looked at with trust. Some of them were not bothered but they were watched. In order not to become opinion leaders. Others who either filled a travel request or were very active inside the church were singled out and they tried to isolate them. I found something very, very interesting on your website by the way, what is its name? It's a blog called "" There can be found more informations, notes, annotation... There you could find fragments from documents or documents in almost their entirety without the names and the identifying details. Something really interesting I found there is the note probably written by yourself "On the other hand, the files contain whole AY programs, including the names of those reciting a poem or conducting the choir, or reading some prose. There is also an impressive quantity of (almost) verbatim sermons." "The boys" were very diligent in their reports, probably, as you are saying, we should study these because they will allow us to know more about our church's history. This is one of my arguments when I'm asking the church leadership to either appoint somebody as a researcher of those files or to allow us to make the connections and rediscover the church history during the Communist era. In church's archive you can't find these kind of materials. If you want to understand the theological orientation of the isolated church during the Communist period or things about the regular activities of the churches you can find them in those files, at CNSAS. There are magazines and other publications which I haven't found anywhere in the Church's Archives. there are copies. There are materials which doesn't affect somebody in particular but had to do with our history. It's sadly that, during this time while we still have access to the files, we are missing the opportunity. So there is no official church appointed researcher at this time. I'm not aware of these plans. Vt least this it should happen. I would like to point something out relative to the sermons. There are specified places were people recorded the sermons in audio format. If there are still somewhere, I don't know but they specify this. In other places, just the main ideas from a sermon are mentioned. What is funny, is the fact that the Inspector from the State Department would come into the church and listen and after the sermon would call the pastor. and asked him: what did you talk about today? Didn't you hear? No, this was just on the surface but beyond your words, what did you want to say? My father was telling me that he preached in church from Bucharest on the Talents object lesson. After the sermon, the inspector waited for him and asked him, what did you speak about? No, no, no, you spoke about talents, which we know are the American dollars. Even the members understand this coded language. Or, in other cases, sermons about Moses. and going through the Red Sea. The informant, in this case, says, this was the outside message but in fact he wanted to say... the Red Sea is the Communism (Red = Communism) and from here all kind of associations. So you can find not only the material which is useful but also the interpretations which were given. Which are very interesting. There is a situation mentioned there when the young people from Labirint Church used to come together to pray Saturday morning. a meeting which didn't have the approval of the State Department. Somebody informed them and the inspectors came just before the meeting was supposed to begin. Fortunately, they didn't start because the leader was late so the people said, come and see. Nobody is there, nobody is praying, yes, we are here but they didn't manage to... After the inspectors left, they had also reasons for prayer. Do you know there is a note which also speaks about me? It's probable. Is it possible? I'll read it to you. It says like this: Orban Cornerlia is involved with activities for children. I was one of the children, at Craiova. It was indeed a special time. If I had to find today somebody who did what Ms. Orban did, with children from that time, I don't think we will be able to find somebody who did the same. She was on the list of the intellectuals which should be watched. Because she was active inside the Church. I find interesting another document about Adventist children from a school in Galati. And about the school principal which it seams it was an adventist. I don't know how the Adventist principal managed to become principal What is for sure is that he was allowing the students not to come at school during the Sabbath or that he was going with the children in other churches or places with AY programs. and because of this he was watched. There are names, if you will check my blog, you will be able to identify more individuals. There is here a list with suspicious youth activities in the neo-protestant churches. nothing about the adventists. This is a strange document, there are all the neo-protestant churches excepting the Adventist Church. My question regarding that document was, were the adventists too quiet? and easy to be controlled so the young people from that area didn't distinguish themselves. If I remember well, it's about Teleorman area where the Adventist presence was numerous, more numerous than that of the Baptists, Pentecostals and so on. This is why it looks suspicious the fact the adventists are not mentioned. We have here a case which seems interesting. Being an employee of the Adventist Union, the Security decides to contact him and to reactivate him back into the red. The individual accepts, pretty easy in fact, and it seams he faced remorse. after some time. His code name was Valer Cucu. What happened after? His case it's also on my blog page and has many episodes. He was recruited for the first time while he was in the army. in order to give informations about a colleague which had origins in the circles of a certain party [The Peasant's Party]. which was a forbidden party at that time and were watched. There are no documents with respect to that individual, just the mention that he was recruited at that time. When he was employed at the Union, was elected or employed? He was employed. Vt that time they had also employees which were not elected. He worked at the Church's Publishing House. and there he had to do publishing work. From that position, it seems he gave some informations which they considered to be unsatisfying. He was after something, to obtain the passport to travel outside to visit his relatives. and to contact the publishing house in Germany and bring some hardware from there and learn new methods. in editing, typing... It's difficult for me to put him in a precise category if I keep in mind on one hand his intentions to develop the Adventist church which were praiseworthy. On the other hand he asked The Security's help in order to go outside. I believe he left two times after which the Security didn't allow him to travel. But he was continuously watched, ratted out by other Union employees with respect to his activity with books And it can be said that because of him, in a good measure, the churches had, especially during the end of the Communist period, hymnals and other song books the quarterlies, those three year span volumes The Department approved just 3000 copies but they were printed around 30 000-35 000 copies. I've seen there were many activities in Bacau area Craiova, Arad area. Where the informants from these areas more diligent? I can't say if the informants were more diligent or the church's activities were more visible Something was happening in those areas If we are speaking about Arad area, there was a higher concentration of adventists there. also in Bacau. Teleorman, Mures, these were areas known to have a higher concentration of adventists. Something was taking place there. I would like to talk about the demolition of the Grant Church [Bucharest]. Is it interesting what you've found, I'm just reading The informant is accusing the President of Muntenia Conference that he agitated the members to resist the demolition. He called the US embassy which video-taped, he also phoned the Union President which was in RDG at that time and the radio Free Europe screamed. It seams this informant didn't like the President as he continues with personal attacks which are too embarrassing to be made public. Was he really using vulgar words? Yes. Like? If I wasn't able to made them public there I can't do it here also. But had to do with his person. Was the informant pastor? I wasn't able yet to identify the individual. who was the informant, but the documents exist. What is for sure is that these informants did their job impeccably during the demolition of Grant church. Very interesting what is following: "The information dated 22 Oct 1986 about the not ideal situation after the demolition of Grant Church The source points to the fact that the members have lost their faith in the leadership of the church." Here you ask a very pertinent question. Wasn't in fact the authorities intention to demolish the faith of the members? Yes, the observation is correct, this was the intention of The Security. The documents don't tell how the situation developed up to that point. It was enough in a volatile situation like the Grant demolition, for somebody to launch a rumor. Or to just say, the church leadership doesn't care about us. It was enough to give birth to suspicions. The fact is the church leadership did all that was possible at that time, and this is something which can be seen in the documents also but the final decision belonged to the Presidential couple which couldn't take an offense like this. If you remember, the young people climbed the building's roof, when they first try to pull it off in order to protect the building. But the Grant bridge was close, there were cars running, people saw what happened, the Security was on alert I believe in 10-15 minutes the Ceausescu couple passed by car on the bridge This is why I say, the offense against the system was to great for Ceausescu to accept... There were negotiations taking place to translate the building to another location which didn't take place. One last question relative to the demolition of Grant Church. If the informant was so upset with the President of Muntenia Conference [Bucharest Conference at that time] Why nothing to say about the pastor of the church? It's an interesting silence. Because the pastor of the church was together with us; I was a child, I grew up in that church and it was easy for the Security to recognize him as the leader because he was right there with us. The Conference leadership was not so much involved there, their involvement being with the authorities. with the Bucharest Security office. Gianu Bucurescu I believe was the Chief Security Officer, Bucharest branch. So they were involved with negotiations at a higher level. Present with the church members was the pastor. Most of the times, the Security "was decapitating" the leader. Or was punishing the one which was the leader. Or was promoting when was accomplishing a mission entrusted by The Security. and was cooperating with them. The suspicion regarding that individual was aroused when he encouraged the members to accept among them a so called engineer from the group which was surrounding the building in order to help the member living inside to survive - they didn't have running water, electricity, basic hygiene services, the conditions were unfavorable. I don't remember the arguments exactly The fact is that engineer was the one which unlocked to gate for the outside group to come inside the building gate which was always locked and guarded. So the pastor encouraged the acceptance of the so called engineer. On the other hand, after the building demolition, after they were able to come inside the building, the pastor emigrated. This was my next question. Is it true? Is it what I remember; documents... we still have to study. Suspicious, in my opinion, is also the fact this pastor had a file dedicated to watching him. until he was transfered to Bucharest. Not long before the Grand's demolition. The rest of the file is missing. This is another question mark. There is nothing to point to the fact that he was an informant. No, I can't say this. The documents are not showing this. I have my reasons to believe this but until the finding of the documents, I wait. I have to wait. Interesting. Let's see about that plan of measures they had for the Adventist Church, but I suppose not only for the Adventist Church. All the other churches. I haven't find a similar plan for the other churches which is very, very interesting. Other researchers which wrote books or published articles also make reference to this plan of measures because it belongs to the general files. It's not part of some secret files. It can be found in the general files. It's very detailed, it's an extraordinary document. It says here, the extension and diversification of the influencing methods of denigration, misinformation and of methods use to discourage. These were some of the things they were after. It's normal, they wanted first to influence, and if this didn't succeed, they were proceeding with the other methods. The annihilation of the activity and influence of the reactionary elements and hostile and here are even given names. Probably these names should be public, they deserve this because they were the ones fighting against, as far as I can see. It should be noted the name of one individual which appears repeatedly, Balota Costica. He was a lay member which took refuge in Cyprus initially then he asked for or was offered asylum, following some circumstances, in Switzerland. He constantly sent letters from there, some of them in a very broken Romanian but he sent letters. for Ceausescu family, Division, Union, Radio Free Europe He was in his own way a militant, a voice which was speaking about what was taking place in Romania. He had relatives in Romania, which were providing him with informations so he was able to offer them. the Security was upset with him. This is the reason for being on the list of those who should be converted, and if not possible, he should be silenced. Vs far as I know, he survived, they weren't able to do anything to him they threaten him but after January 1st 1990, he came to Romania so he was alive. Is he still living? No, he died. But there are others who spoke against or sent letters to Radio Free Europe Voice of America about the situation of the Adventist Church or about the liberties or restriction which were in place at that time. Another thing they had prepared in their plan of measure, was that, together with UM 0... [a military unit] informants will be trained and sent "outside" with missions like names probably follow but you are not giving them here from Cluj, Mures, Sibiu, Dolj, Bacau and others. In general, they were pastors from those specific areas which had influence in their area of activity which had received... When was this taking place? The plan of measure was made for 1982-1983. So for the '80-es. I'm asking because I know somebody who left and I wanted to... You can contact and ask him... The watching of those who are multiplying, distributing or storing mystical or hostile materials There are names given, plain enough. Vt a certain point in time, the Adventist Church, at least in Bucharest had a network, something like an underground church. a clandestine network, of which there were part Neacsu Ion, Sima Alexandru Coconcea Octavian, Grigorescu Cornel These people constituted themselves in a close-knit group and I had the impression, even at that time because I knew them and what was taking place they had a crazy, desperate courage. They saw the need of literature of the Adventist Church but they were basically risking their life. Some of them were caught in the act, others emigrated at some point so the network ceased to exist. But they produced a lot of literature which brought joy to the churches of that period. Shouldn't these people be made public, put in the front row, have their names spoken with respect, be made known in a way or another? I don't want to disappoint you to but it's possible that some of them to have helped the church this way, but, on the other hand, to have been informants too. So when you'll use a name like this, and try to promote him as a hero and his file will see the light, a terrible confusion will be in many minds. The best way, in my opinion, when using a name like this, to have presented both sides in a balanced way. This is why I believe some of them have cooperated in favor of the Church. Was it possible something different? It was possible. This is why I said that individuals who were part of the church leadership and enjoyed financial benefits and took revenge on those whom they didn't like have used The Security, so it was possible. Was it possible, at that time, not to cooperate with the Security in any way? Yes, there were people who refused. They refused but maybe they weren't in key positions. I'm thinking that, and I've said this before, these persons, in a way, were sacrificed or sacrificed themselves cooperating with the Security in a way or another thinking that, OK, I'll give you something but I know that, on the other hand, I gain something for my church. I personally decided not to give a verdict regarding those individuals but to try to present the situation in a balanced way. Everyone can decide for themselves. I believe this to be the best way. I don't think was easy at that time. No, it wasn't. This is clear to me. And probably not all should be placed in the same category. I agree, but in order to reach a sound conclusion, you need many informations. Vt this time, we still have just few of them. When the big picture will become clear, and we will be able to say, this is what took place, broadly then maybe we can draw some conclusions. We are still at the point were we are taking different pieces of informations and trying to make sense of them. May I present something from that recruitment plan which to me looks very interesting? There is a part which mentions the recruitment of foreign students. which frequent the Adventist churches. I remember well how the Romanian adventists were receiving very warmly into their churches the foreign students. Especially in the areas with Universities. Without even suspecting these as possible informants. I've seen on your website that Akeen was he himself watched by the Security and they were checking even his luggage. I have no specific informations about any foreign student. Akeen was our guest here and maybe some remember him from that time, this is why I made reference to him. But Akeen indeed was watched for the simple fact that he traveled through Romania. Although not forbidden, but they were told to stay in the University area, they are here to study and have nothing to do with other areas of the country. What other interesting things did you discover? There is a mention in this plan of measures by which is specified that they had a recruitment plan. Every year they had to have a certain number of recruits. And there are even numbers. What were they doing with the others? It was about developing the network of informants. They clearly specify, relative to the Adventist Church, this year you need to bring 22 new informants. and 12 more from the Reform Movement. and "the boys" had to materialize themselves, the files had to be made. This is the vulnerable issue. When those contacted in order to be informants refused, or gave them problems they had to come up with files. so at the end of the year to report, mission accomplished. This is why there are files under names of individuals which never gave any statement of signed any agreement. Because there was a quota. In the same document, there is something interesting They've decided to recruit future pastors, even while they were Seminary students. Because they realized, a well "educated" informant, if you start early, will be easier to control, to manipulate later when you send him to a specific area. They were schooling him while he was in school. The fact is, some of them have files from even that time, either network files or informant files. There were individuals which refused and, to my and others surprise, they did nothing to them Did you find a name which really shocked you, of which you said, I really didn't expect this. I believe I've became immune, I'm not shocked by... So nothing impresses you anymore... No, it doesn't because I went through enough files and I read about enough names in order to realize how spread the cooperation with the Security was. especially among the pastors. How many of them, in percentage points? It's hard to estimate but roughly, just around 80%. Just 80%, did you say "just" 80%? Why, isn't it enough? To me it seems huge! I say just 80% because their final goal was 100%. Because they weren't able to reach their goal, I would say this number is a pretty positive one. God forbid, really! This was the reaction a lady from CNSAS had when she saw the list of the files I've researched seeing a certain file, she said, even Mr. ... Ms. ... you shouldn't be surprised by anything, this is what you're doing for living, you're working in an institution which reveals the people's past. I just want to say, goodbye, let's finish here... I believe this is a reality which we need to live with no other way around it. We have to get used with the idea that, yes, inside the Adventist Church were informants at all the levels. No, the Security didn't manage to completely control the Church but the fact is they managed to control it in a good measure. I could also give a generic information, almost all the Union presidents which files or reference to their files I've discovered had been in contact with the Security were part, one way or another, of their system. And I say this because the Adventist Church in Romania went through some critical times when the Communist government, The Security, intervened and "decapitated" The Church. Probably you remember some of these events. Sacking President Crisan [Union President], or the arrest of... Regarding President Crisan... They were saying, he's eating from the Church and he's working for the Devil. This kind of interesting expression can also be found in the documents. I apologize, but they were right. For example, at the arrest of President Nailescu and treasurer Vacareanu the Church was decapitated at that time. Basically, all the leaders, from the Union and Conference level, were arrested. Subsequently, they released all the others except the first two which remained incarcerated. But even this was a move of the Security calculated to intimidate which the Church felt it pretty acute. Maybe you remember and maybe it will be good to speak about the fact that the Church finances were controlled by the State Department for Denominations. You were not allow to spend anything if it wasn't approved by the Department Although it was your money, belonged to the Church, to the church members. You were not allow to fix your church building without the Department's approval. The approval took time, sometimes it didn't even come. You needed their approval even if you wanted to buy wood necessary to warm the building during winter. Their intention was to restrict the religious activity. They were doing all in their power not to encourage the gathering of the members. If it was possible to keep them in cold, they were doing it. So the Church, many times, decided to build an underground financial system in which some of the money were following their regular route were going into the Bank and were spent only with the approval of the Department but the rest was written in parallel books and of which the State was not aware. Looked like financial evasion but this was the only way the Church could have survived. The fall of Nailescu and Vacareanu was linked directly to this parallel system. The Security found out about it and watched and watched until it had solid proofs which allowed them to bring these to justice officially for fiscal evasion. Something like this. We don't have much time, your conclusions, impressions even if you became immune because of what you've seen and read The impressions are positive ones. I personally prefer to see them like these. Because my passion is to rediscover the Adventist's Church history. especially when I stumble upon details related to events I've been part of. individuals I knew, I can make connections. I would be happy if the Church will have a similar initiative saying, yes, we are interested we want to do something with respect to the past of our Church. Don't forget about the fact that we have an inspired statement which says, the only danger which face is to forget our past. But if we don't even want to discover it, we don't have anything to forget. a final, are there any informants today? Active? I don't have documents when is coming about the current situation. I suppose you couldn't have them. But don't forget, every State has a system in place to protect the informations, to control any country in the world has something like this. I don't know if the informants are needed just as they were in the Communist era. But certainly there is a way for them to collect their informations. One last question, Why doesn't the Union take a position in this situation? Maybe you should ask them this question. My personal opinion is that it was easier to ask every pastor or church employee to sign a non-cooperation statement One possible reason is the image of the Church. It's possible. But do you think it's beneficial to cover up something of which you are not proud of? I can offer you examples where it's obvious was better if they did something at that time to distance themselves, to publicly disapprove a certain act or attitude we don't agree with X individual even if he's occupying a certain position in the church leadership for the following reason we, as a Church, distance ourselves from these kind of acts. When you neglect them and allow for the years to pass and have them put on your shoulders at a certain time later, I believe it's worse. If I correctly remember, the Corina case, the teacher, if the things were made clear from the beginning the situation wouldn't have degenerated the way it did. I also believe we have a biblical based theology, as Adventists, which says a confessed sin can be forgiven. What we see now is, a covered sin... I'm afraid we don't even respect our theology in the sense we don't even want to discover these sins. It's true, individuals will be involved, relations will be affected anything which can be expected following a disclosure like this But if we really want the truth to be known and relations to be mended we need to accept the uncovering of these informations. Moreover, I've seen in the churches a rising distrust towards the pastors. Because of exactly this reason, how can I know you were not an informant in the past? Oh, you don't have a file, or wasn't discover yet, but if tomorrow... This suspicion is even between the members. Which they know something from the past but nothing solid. In order to eliminate these suspicions, it's necessary, with tact and wisdom, to bring to light these informations. In order to be able after to mend the relationships and regain the trust. a church which is loosing faith in its leadership, in the pastors, and them regular members with one another has only one end. Thank you very much for your transparency in offering these informations



Federalist John Sloss Hobart had been elected in January 1798 for the remainder of Philip Schuyler's term (1797–1803) but had resigned on April 16 after his appointment to the United States District Court for the District of New York. Federalist William North was appointed by Governor John Jay to fill the vacancy temporarily, and took his seat on May 21, Congress being in session until July 16, 1798.

At the State election in April 1798, Federalist majorities were elected to both houses of the 22nd New York State Legislature which met from August 9 to 17, 1798; and from January 2 to April 3, 1799, at Albany, New York.


Ex-Speaker James Watson, a State Senator until the previous session, was the candidate of the Federalist Party.

First Judge of the Albany County Court John Tayler was the candidate of the Democratic-Republican Party.


Watson was the choice of both the State Senate and the State Assembly, and was declared elected.

August 1798 United States Senator special election result
Office House Federalist Democratic-Republican
U.S. Senator State Senate (43 members) James Watson 30 John Tayler 9
State Assembly (108 members) James Watson 57 John Tayler 48


Watson took his seat on December 11, 1798, but resigned on March 19, 1800, after his appointment as Naval Officer of the Port of New York. The State Legislature held a special election in April 1800, and elected Gouverneur Morris to fill the vacancy.


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