SOME SAD RECOLLECTIONS
Today we Romanians of Bessarabia could be happy, but we are not. Today we should celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Union of Bessarabia with Romania, our motherland, instead we mourn its loss once more to Russian greediness.
Anton Crihan s-a născut la 12 iulie 1893, în localitatea Sângerei, jud. Bălţi. A urmat şcoala primară şi liceul la Bălţi, iar după absolvire se înscrie la Facultatea de Ştiinţe Economice din Odessa pe care o întrerupe. După Unire absolvă Facultatea de Drept din Bucureşti (1924); obţine doctoratul în Ştiinţe Politice şi Economice, la Paris (1934). ***
În anul 1917, mobilizat fiind de frontul românesc, participă la o întrunire a militarilor basarabeni, aflaţi în zona Bârlad, afiliindu-se cu toţii la Partidul Naţional Moldovenesc din Basarabia. Este apoi delegat să înfiineze Comitetul Naţional Ostăşesc din Odessa, contribuind la organizarea primelor unităţi pentru Basarabia. Participă la Congresul militarilor moldoveni (2-26 octombrie 1917) şi face parte dintre membrii Biroului care organizează Sfatul Ţării. La 6 ianuarie 1918, protestând în gara Chişinău împotriva masacrului comis de ruşi, asupra foştilor prizonieri ardeleni ce mergeau să lupte alături de români, Anton Crihan este arestat. Evadează şi fuge la Iaşi.
La 27 martie 1918, ca deputat în Sfatul Ţării votează pentru Unirea Basarabiei cu România. În cadrul acestui organism, a fost vicepreşedinte al Comisiei agrare şi membru în comisiile: şcolară, de redactare, aprovizionare, combatere a anarhiei, declaraţii şi statute. După realizarea Unirii, este implicat în rezolvarea multiplelor probleme legate de Basarabia ca parte de drept a României Mari.
Militează pentru fuzionarea Partidului Naţional din Ardeal cu Partidul Naţional Ţărănesc din Vechiul Regat şi Basarabia. Face parte din Comitetul Executiv şi din Delegaţia permanentă a PNŢ.
A fost deputat în Parlamentul României, mai multe legislaturi, îndeplinind funcţii ministeriale, cât şi pedagogice. După reocuparea Basarabiei de către ruşi, rămâne în Ţară.
Odată cu instalarea comunismului în România, Anton Crihan începe să fie hărţuit pentru trecutul sau unionist. Pleacă la Teremia, în Banat (unde se aflau 3 din cei 6 fraţi ai săi), şi trece clandestin frontiera iugoslavă. După o serie de evenimente intempestive - arestat la Chiehinda, eliberat de Ambasada franceză din Belgrad, rezident la Paris - ajunge împreuna eu soţia sa, Olivia, la Saint Louis, Missouri, SUA, unde va locui până la sfârşitul vieţii.
La constituirea Asociaţiei "Pro Basarabia şi Bucovina", a fost declarat preşedinte de onoare. A fost decorat eu Ordinul Ferdinand, Ordinul Steaua Romaniei şi altele.
Printre operele ştiinţifice ale profesorului Anton Crihan amintim „Capitalul străin în Rusia” (1915), „Chestiunea agrară în Basarabia” (1917). În anul 1986, îi apare lucrarea, "Romanian Rights to Bessarabia According to Certain Russian Sources", iar în 1990 versiunea românească „Drepturile românilor asupra Basarabiei după unele surse ruseşti”
S-a stins din viaţă la 8 ianuarie 1993. Corpul neînsufleţit a fost transportat şi înmormântat în Cimitirul Ortodox Central din Chişinău.
Anton Crihan - Locul de veci, Chişinău, Cimitirul Ortodox Central
What happened to Bessarabia since it fell again under Russian rule is known broadly, I think, the world over, but it is not enough. More details about it are undoub¬tedly necessary, and that's what I intend to do today.
Here, to begin with, let us recall that the history of Bessarabia during the last 161 years has passed through the-following phases:
1. In 1812, Bessarabia was torn, by pure deception and without any right, from the body of the Principality of Moldavia, the easternmost part of today's Romania, and annexed to Russian Empire;
2. In 1856 the Paris Peace Conference returned almost all of southern Bessarabia to Moldavia;
3. In 1878 the Berlin Peace Conference hended back to Russia that southern part of Bessarabia, thus once again placing the entire province under Russian rule;
4. This situation lasted up to 1918, when, thanks to such events as the turn of the First World War, the Proclamation of President Wilson’s Fourteen Points, the Russian Revolution of 1917, and so forth, the people of Bessarabia were able to part with Russia and unite with Romania. The event subsequently was confirmed by the Paris Peace Conference of 1919-1920;
5. In 1940, the Soviet Union, acting in consequence of the notorious Ribbentrop-Molotov agreement of 1939, once again seized the whole of Bessarabia from Romania;
Anton Crihan - "Drepturile Românilor asupra Basarabiei, după unele surse ruseşti, 1990", (Romanian Rights to Bessarabia According to Certain Russian Sources,1986)
6. The following year, however, the entire province was retaken by the Romanians;
7. Then in 1944, Bessarabia once more fell to Russia and since then has remained under Russian rule to this day. The event marked a grievous injustice done to the Romanian people as a whole and to the people of Bessarabia in particular.
In the following I want to expose briefly what happend to Bessarabia in 1940-41 and since 1944.
Here are the main misdeeds the Russians carried out in Bessarabia 1940-41:
1. First of all, they cut from the northern and southern parts of the territory of Bessarabia, which covers 17,000 sq. mi., two strips of land totalling approximately 5000, sq. mi. and incorporated them into the Soviet Ukraine. At the same time they cut an area little more than 2000, sq. mi. from the territory of the Moldavian Autono¬mous Republic, which they had purposely founded in 1924 on the left bank of the Deniester river and which was 3200, sq. mi., and transferred it likewise to the Soviet Ukraine.
As for the remaining 12000 sq. mi. from Bessarabia and 1100, sq. mi. from the Moldavian Autonomous Republic, they put them together to form the so called since then Soviet Socialist Moldavian Republic, which is one of the fifteen republics that constitute the U. S. S. R. of today;
2. The famous Soviet arrests, made in the middle of the night, began as soon as the Russians established themsel¬ves in this unfortunate Romanian province, and with them also the barbarous executions, after a mock trial or even without any trial, of the thousands and thousands of innocent people who had the misfortune to fall under their domination:
3. At the same time began the no less famous deportations of equally innocent people to the labour camps, scattered by thousands over Russia's vast territory, which kept them busy until the last days of June 1941, when they were forced by the Romanian army to put an end to their grip on Bessarabia.
The census, made by the Romanian authorities after the departure of the Russians, revealed a loss in the population of the province of over 300,000 people.
There were many other Russian misdeeds which I shall pass over.
Here similarly are the main Russian misdeeds in Bessa¬rabia since 1944:
1. As soon as the Russians were once more reinstalled in Bessarabia, arrests, executions, deportations and so on of innocent people reappeared with even more violence than before;
2. Besides that, all young men from 15 years up were immediately conscripted and, without any training, sent to the German front, where, even without arms in their hands, they were brutally pushed to the front line and, with rare exceptions, were uselessly killed to the last man;
3. During the winter of 1944 - 1945 a terrible flu epidemic broke out in Bessarabia. Well, the Russians, instead of helping the unfortunate population, force them to carry their sick people to the so called “Centres of isolation”, which mot infrequently were installed even in forests where they held in incredible conditions of hygiene, and absolutely without any medical care, and naturally most of them died like flies;
4. When, the war was over, the Russians gathered together the remnants of young people of Bessarabia - this time males and females alike -, put them by force in freight cars and sent them under escort to Donbas and Krivoi Rog, where they were forced to work day and night in coal and iron mines. Whoever dared to disobey or tried to escape was shot to death on the spot. The living, as well as the working conditions were so bad that nobody could stand more than three or four weeks. The occasions when someone of them was able to escape and to return to Bessarabia were exceptionally rare;
5. In 1945 and 1946 there was a drought in Bessarabia. The crops were lost and the famine was awful. In that terrible situation the Russian authorities helped everyone except the Romanians. The latter were deliberately left to die of starvation. There were even known instances of cannibalism;
6. The crops of years that followed were good and little by little the remnants of the Romanian population of Bes¬sarabia began to recover. But this situation did not last very long. In 1955 the already almost forgotten deportations started again under a new guise. In fact they were resumed under the name of so called "voluntary emigration". But it was voluntary only by name. In reality it was a forced deportation, because the lists of people who "wanted to emigrate" were prepared by the soviet administration in advance and in great secrecy, then at selected dates assembled together, each of them being allowed to take only a few personal belongings, and taken under heavy escorts to Central Asia "to develop virgin soils and to build socialism". The distance from Bessarabia to Central Asia is at least of 3000 miles. The living conditions in that area are frightful and very different from those of Bessarabia. Also most of those unfortunate "volunteers" died either before reaching "the promised land", or after they got there.
Naturally it is difficult to give in figures the loss of Romanian lives during those fateful years, but certainly it was very high. By some it was estimated at one half million.
During the same time the Russians began to pour into Bessarabia thousands and thousands of people of their own stock, whom they brought from all parts of their vast empire. The collectivisation of the farmlands, on the other hand, was very helpful to them on that occasion.
The situation of Bessarabia, I must emphasize, is not unique. A Russian refugee from Caucasus, Alexander Uralov, the author of a very interesting book published in West Germany under the title: "Genocide in the U. S. S. R.", who certainly knows them better than anybody else, is of the opinion that since the last war the Russians have adopted Hitler's racial theory, according to which there are superior and inferior races, valuable and valueless ra¬ces, friendly and enemy races and so on, and put it into practice, I don't know if this opinion is to be accepted on its face value, nevertheless it is a fact, as reports the same Uralov, that during the last war the Germans - approximately 2,000,000 - and the Kalmucks - 200,000 - of the Volga region, the Tartars of Crimea -1,100,000-, the Chechens, the Ingush, the Karachais and the Balkars from the Cau¬casus disappeared forever from the map of Russia. There also were, as it is known the world over, ceaseless deportations since the end of the last war of Finns from Karelia (finally they disappeared altogether), of Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians from the Baltic countries, and so forth. The name of this performance towards peoples which had the ill luck to fall, at one time or another, under Russian domination, is genocide. What is strange enough, is that the Russians practice it in the view of the entire world, without anyone noticing it. There are people who believe that the fate of those unfortunate nations is sealed. As for me, I do not think so. The situation is tragic, I concede, but it is not irreparable. History teaches us that in this world nothing is eternal. Even empires are not everlasting. History has witnessed innumerable collapses of them. My own generation has witnessed the collapse of the Empire of the Czars and some others no less resounding. So, let us hope that sooner or later the Soviet Empire also will collapse, when, we can be sure, all those countries, and also our Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, will be free once again and forever.
*** *** ***
Anton Crihan, între membrii Comisiei Agrare - 1932
Anton Crihan şi contribuţia sa la cultura exilului românesc
After World War I and the Communist revolution in Russia, Dr. Crihan, was among the handful of campaigners who succeeded in annexing most of Bessarabia to Romania. He became politically active in Romania, which was then governed by a constitutional monarchy. Trained as an economist, he served on the Central Committee of the National Peasant Party, , was elected to several terms in Parliament and was appointed Agriculture Minister.
Bessarabia was recaptured by the Soviet Union in 1940 but was retaken by Romania a year later with the aid of Nazi Germany. It was ceded to the Soviet Union with the defeat of the Axis powers.
After the Soviet takeover, Dr. Crihan went into hiding and then fled on foot. He made his way across Europe and finally arrived in the United States in 1949, where he delivered lectures and wrote articles and books championing the reunification of Moldavia and Romania.
New York Times
Curios lucru, dar numele acestuia (n.n. Anton Crihan) nu ţin minte să-l fi văzut încondeiat undeva în periodicile timpurilor şi nici în literatura de specialitate...
Făceam această constatare încă la începutul anului 1981, într-o convorbire telefonică cu Anton Crihan, a carei contribuţie la întregirea neamului a fost mult mai decisivă decât a multor altora. Fie şi prin faptul ca el a fost organizatorul curajos a cohortelor „moldoveneşti” de la Odesa care au stat la baza a ceea ce urma să se cheme Sfatul Ţării. Avea respectabila vârstă de 88 de ani...
Cu câteva zile înainte primisem de la el o scrisoare în care imi comunica printre altele: „Ieri 11 martie 1990, am expediat caseta cu salutul meu pentru aniversarea Unirii Basarabiei. Cred că va veni la timp, alăturat aveţi mesajul care să fie citit la serbare (n.n. Sărbătorirea Zilei Basarabiei, Bucureşti”
Ceea ce am şi făcut cu emoţie, căci caseta nu sosise. Şi iar aplauze îndelungate! După care îi aducem public plecăciunile noastre şi urări de sănătate, propunând să fie ales, prin aceleaşi frumoase aplaude, Preşedinte de Onoare al comemorării celor 72 de ani ai Basarabiei Româneşti.
Prof. Anton Crihan şi-a dăruit întrega viaţă ţării sale, poporului basarabean. Ajuns la vârsta patriarhală, el a stat mărturie unei istorii zbuciumate, care nici până în zile noastre nu şi-a regăsit liniştea.
A întâmpinat cu bucurie evenimentele din decembrie ’89, dar a plecat întru Domnul cu suferinţa şi regretul, că în această împrejurare favorabilă Basarabia nu s-a alipit Ţării Mamă.
Pentru arhiva EXILUL CREATOR