Redeeming memory: Neo-Protestant churches and the secret police archives in Romania

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Cindrea, Iuliana
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This article examines the manner in which members of the neo-Protestant churches dealt with the past of their own communities, the importance they ascribed to the archives of the former secret police and how they utilized state security files in order to write histories of their communities during the communist regime. While some have used the archives as a means to highlight the sufferings and persecutions that the neo-Protestant communities endured in an effort to fill the pages of history left blank, others have seen it as the sole repository of the truth about the past and took the responsibility upon themselves of exposing the names of all those community members who collaborated with the Securitate. Unlike the Orthodox Church, which has been accused of trying to keep under lock and key documents that could bring to light controversial issues, the neo-Protestant communities rushed into the archives in a quest for a true history of their own past. The article analyses some of the most important and controversial books that were written by members of various neo-Protestant churches, in which the subject of collaboration was more or less thoroughly addressed. Taken out of context, some of these works seemed like vengeful attempts to purify the neo-Protestant communities of their weakest individuals. For some members it was difficult to comprehend that such an endeavour could come from within the communities themselves, while for others these attempts were nothing more than an attack against the neo-Protestant churches. The nature of the secret police archives, its uses and abuses, as well as measures of transitional justice are other subjects that are dealt with in the present article.
This research is part of the project Creative Agency and Religious Minorities: Hidden Galleries in the Secret Police Archives in Central and Eastern Europe. The project has received funding from the European Research 2020 research and innovation programme No. 677355.
Secret police , Communism , Archives , Eastern Europe , Religion , Neo-Protestant , Securitate
Cindrea, I. (2021) 'Redeeming Memory: Neo-Protestant Churches and the Secret Police Archives in Romania', in Kapaló, J. A. and Povedák, K. (eds)., The Secret Police and the Religious Underground in Communist and Post-Communist Eastern Europe, Routledge, pp. 316-334. doi: 10.4324/9780429331466
Link to publisher’s version
This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in The Secret Police and the Religious Underground in Communist and Post-Communist Eastern Europe on 13 August 2021, available online: