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Project to recover memory of political detainees who participated in restoration works of Constanta Casino

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Cazinou Constanța

The Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and Memory of the Romanian Exile (IICCMER) announced on Tuesday that it will start a large project to recover the memory of former political prisoners who participated in the rehabilitation of the Constanta Casino in the early 1950s.

After 70 years, a note signed by 16 political detainees was found in May this year in the walls of the building, during the rehabilitation works.

The piece of paper torn from a cement bag dates back to December 31, 1951, when the communist authorities were rehabilitating the monument on the city's seafront, destroyed by the bombings of World War II.

The IICCMER argues that it is possible that many other such messages are still built into the walls of the Casino, waiting to be discovered and take their rightful place in history.

Considering the purpose and objectives of IICCMER, the institution will get involved in conducting a professional investigation in this regard, which will involve:

* the reconstruction of the involved political detainees' biographies and the rendering as accurately as possible of the episode of the Constanta Casino refurbishment, at the beginning of the '50s. A report on what happened seven decades ago will be drawn up at the end of the investigation, a work that will highlight both the political context and the suffering and traumas experienced by those who worked on this project;

* the involvement in the mounting of a permanent exhibition dedicated to this episode, including the testimonies buried by political detainees in the walls of the Casino in the '50s and any other documents or pieces of heritage or historical value that will be discovered during the restoration and rehabilitation of the building, but also relevant documents, held by archival institutions in the country.

For the efficiency of the project, IICCMER will join an agreement concluded with Constanta City Hall and the Association of Former Political Prisoners in Romania. In connection with this topic, the executive president of IICCMER, Alexandra Toader, had a meeting, on Monday, with Apollon Cristodulo, the son of the architect Ion Cristodulo, who participated in the restoration works of the Casino from Constanta in the '50s.

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