Victor Frunză was a Romanian writer and journalist, who became known in 1978 for opposing the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu. Later, he became a major figure of the Romanian exile community, where he actively participated in the mediatisation in the West of the repressive or aberrant policies of the communist regime, in supporting dissidents in the country and, in particular, in the struggle of the exile community for the observance of human rights in Romania. On these themes, he published a series of articles in exile publications, took part in the broadcasts of Radio Free Europe, and wrote the first uncensored History of the Romanian Communist Party in 1984, as well as the volume For human rights in Romania.
Born in 1935 in Râmnicu Sărat, Victor Frunză graduated in Journalism, starting his studies in Bucharest in 1952 and completed them in Moscow in 1953–1958. He was a member of the Romanian Communist Party from 1956, an editor and performer of cultural programmes at Romanian Broadcasting and Romanian Television (1958–1978), and a lecturer at the Journalism Faculty of the Ştefan Gheorghiu Academy in Bucharest (1972–1978). Between 1958 and 1978 he made a number of trips abroad for work and as a tourist in the USSR, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, the GDR, and France. This last visit to France took place between 18 August and 11 September 1978, when he went to Paris with a tourist visa. During this time, he took two actions that radically influenced his later biographical trajectory. First, he wrote a letter and handed it to a representative of the Reuters Agency, leading to its publication in Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung and its broadcasting by Radio Free Europe. A copy of the letter was also sent by Victor Frunză, by post, to Nicolae Ceaușescu. Essentially, his letter was a critique of Ceausescu's dictatorship. The personality cult of Ceaușescu, the violation of human rights and the low standard of living of the population in Romania were the main issues raised. The second thing he did on the same occasion was to clandestinely pass the manuscript of his history of the Romanian Communist Party to a foreign publishing house for publication. The book had been written between 1971 and 1975, the sources used being texts that were either postponed or withdrawn after their publication, together with works in the Library of the Romanian Academy. The content of the book he transcribed on cigarette and Bible paper, with a very fine pencil, in letters that could only be read with the magnifying glass. At the time of his departure to France, he took the manuscript with him hidden in the pockets of a suit. Upon reaching Paris, he contacted several French publishers, receiving a positive response from the Flammarion publishing house. Although the book was announced in the autumn of 1978 to be launched at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1979, it did not appear at that time, but a few years later under the aegis of Victor Frunza's own publishing house, which he founded after his emigration.
He returned to Romania on 11 September 1978. He was not arrested, but only investigated for a month and a half. He was considered a "traitor" and was expelled both from the Communist Party and the Journalism Faculty, without the right to take up a job in his specialism anywhere in Romania. After his exclusion from the educational system, he occupied for a while various jobs that were not related to his training, and for a time he chose to remain unemployed. Until his departure from the country, he spent his time studying in the Romanian Academy Library. During this period, the Romanian political police set up a surveillance network for him and his family, installed surveillance equipment in his home, and intercepted his correspondence and phone calls. The aim of the Securitate was to create both in his family and in his entourage a state of disapproval towards his actions in order to isolate him, as well as tempering and discouraging him from taking actions similar to those he had taken in France.
In August 1979, following an invitation from the University of Tours (France) to teach journalism courses, he filed a request for departure with his family, which was initially rejected by the Communist authorities, but accepted after several delays. He left Romania on 21 August 1980, but the Securitate kept him under surveillance until March 1990. Victor Frunză settled in Aarhus, Denmark. Regarding his activity outside the country, during 1982–1989 he was a collaborator of the newspaper Curentul, in which he published both book reviews and political analyses that radiographed the situation in Romania, focusing on: the personality cult of Nicolae Ceaușescu, the violation of human rights, the low standard of living of Romanians, censorship, political police, the intimidation of foreign correspondents who came to Romania, and the situation of Romanian emigrants. He set up his own publishing house – Editura Nord – where he published his books: For Human Rights in Romania (1982) and History of the Romanian Communist Party (1984), and also some books by Romanians in exile; he published a journal focusing primarily on the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu, The Marathon Runner; and he offered a series of interviews to Radio Free Europe and read at the microphone of this radio station from his writings. He returned to Romania in January 1990, and founded the Victor Frunză Publishing House, where he published several volumes of poetry, prose, plays, and history, together with books by other authors. Also during the year 1990, at the initiative of Gabriel Liiceanu, the Humanitas publishing house published the second edition of his book History of the Romanian Communist Party, whose title was modified to History of Stalinism in Romania, a volume that is to be found in specialised bibliographies on the topic. Immediately after his return to Romania, he drew attention to the existence of censorship in the country and of only a certain state of freedom, and especially to the presence of Communists in power. He died in Aarhus, Denmark in 2007.
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- Râmnicu Sărat, Romania
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- Opriș, Andreea Iustina