Sanda Budiș Collection at IICCMER
The Sanda Budiș Collection is an important source of documentation for understanding and writing the history of that particular segment of the Romanian exile community which was extremely active in supporting dissidents in the country and in disseminating information about the repressive or aberrant policies of the Ceauşescu regime. In particular, the collection illustrates the actions of the collector and other personalities aimed at putting pressure on the communist authorities in order to give up the project of systematisation of Romanian villages. Also, the documents in this collection reflect the involvement of Romanians abroad in rebuilding democracy in their home country.
București Strada Alecu Russo 13, Romania 030167
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Name of collection
- Sanda Budiș Collection at IICCMER
Provenance and cultural activities
The Sanda Budiș Collection was initiated and subsequently developed by the collector after she settled in Switzerland in 1973. It comprises documents produced from 1973 until 2007. The collection consists of materials related to her work and that of other personalities in the Romanian exile community dating from the period when Romania was under communist dictatorship, as well as documents related to her involvement, together with other Romanians, in rebuilding democracy in her home country after the collapse of the communist regime. Hence, these documents represent an important historical source for the history of the Romanian exile community.
In particular, this collection illustrates the intellectual evolution of Sanda Budiș, a Romanian architect who asserted herself beginning in 1973, when she first disseminated information about the violations of human rights in Nicolae Ceaușescu's Romania through letters and memoirs to Western political decision-makers, as well as to international organisations. Later on, she became actively involved in the organisation and activity of the Romanian exile community, adhering to a number of existing anti-communist associations and organisations and contributing to the establishment of new ones. Especially in the 1980s, she stood out for her struggle against the massive destruction of historic monuments in the country and of the Romanian villages, an activity carried out within the Association for the Protection of Villages, Monuments and Historic Sites in Romania, based in Switzerland. The Association, to the foundation of which she also contributed, was founded on 10 May 1989 in Romanel-sur-Lausanne (Switzerland). Among other activities, it dealt, from its very beginning, with the establishment of partnerships between Swiss and Romanian villages, organised by Opération Villages Roumains (OVR). This association was founded in December 1988 in Belgium with the aim of adopting all 13,123 villages to save them from the destruction planned by the Romanian communist authorities. OVR developed greatly in just a few months, immediately setting up OVR committees also in France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Norway, and Denmark. Basically, OVR followed an already existing model in post-war Western Europe aimed at creating partnerships between localities with a similar economic and geographic profile in order to find local development opportunities through joint efforts, as well as fostering transnational solidarity. Even though there were partnerships with localities in Eastern Europe, OVR had no match in the communist bloc, considering the magnitude and speed of its evolution. Therefore, given the involvement of Sanda Budiș in this European project, her personal archive contains a series of documents concerning the systematisation of the Romanian villages, as well as the Western intervention aiming at stopping this plan.
After the fall of the communist regime in Romania in 1989, Sanda Budiş was also involved in rebuilding democracy in her native country. Since 1990, she has often returned to Romania – without settling there – and has been involved in a series of projects. One of the most important was the support of young Romanian peasants for carrying out internships in Switzerland in order to practice modern agriculture, but also to experience a society with democratic values. The aim was to import good practices into Romania from the moral, civic, and agricultural points of view. Her activity in this respect can be assessed from the documents contained in the collection, which includes projects, personal sheets, internship contracts, activity reports, statutes, projects, and extracts from newspapers concerning the activity of the Association for the Restoration of an Independent and Free Peasant Romania.
The original documents and various publications in the collection are of particular importance for documenting and understanding the activity of the post-war Romanian exile community. In this respect, the Sanda Budiș Collection includes a number of exile publications, which though even they are only disparate and incomplete numbers, or extracts from them, nevertheless help one outline their profile as well as that of the Romanians abroad who published in their pages. The importance of these newspapers and magazines also derives from their analysis of Romania's internal political, economic, cultural, and social situation under the communist dictatorship, as well as after the collapse of the communist regime in 1989. These analyses are useful today in achieving a better view of the period. To these may be added some foreign publications that Sanda Budiș purchased before and after 1989, which focused on communist or post-communist Romania. In other words, the documents in the Sanda Budiș Collection help one document the activity of organisations and associations established in Romania after 1989 in order to support democratic consolidation in this country. In this respect, the Sanda Budiş Collection includes statutes, minutes, activity reports, reports, essays, calls, conventions, balances, agendas, invitations, and correspondence.
All the documents in the collection were donated by Sanda Budiș to the National Institute for the Memory of the Romanian Exile (INMER). They were opened for research in January 2008. The donation of this personal collection was possible due to the initiative of INMER, headed by Dinu Zamfirescu at that time, to identify, acquire and preserve such collections in order to open them for researchers and the general public.
Description of content
The Sanda Budiș Collection is made up of 111 archival units containing documents from the architect's personal archive. The materials in the collection cover the period from 1973 until 2007 and contain: Sanda Budiș's correspondence with personalities from the Romanian exile community; and newspapers and magazines, but also extracts from the exile community’s publications regarding its activity, as well as Romania's internal and international situation under the communist dictatorship and after the fall of the communist regime in 1989. As regards the exile publications in this archive, the following may be mentioned: Buletin Informativ al Românilor din Exil (BIRE), Credința, Cumpăna, Țara și Exilul, Perspective, Noi Tracii, Buletin Ortodox, Lupta, Liber, Căminul Românesc, as well as Radio Free Europe reports. At the same time, the collection contains extracts from the foreign press (for instance, The Times, Le Matin, L`Express) about Romania's situation between 1975 and 2007. In other words, the Sanda Budiș Collection is made up of: statutes, minutes, activity reports, essays, reports, calls, conventions, balances, agendas, invitations and correspondence with various foreign exile associations such as: the Association for the Protection of Villages, Monuments and Historic Sites in Romania, Opération Villages Roumains, The Association of Romanian Refugees in Switzerland, the Romanian Community of Switzerland, the Centre for Romanian Exiles for Human Rights, the Union of Former Political Prisoners in Romania, the Greek Catholic Church Support Group in Romania, Causa Europe, but also of other Romanian organisations founded after 1989: The Civic Alliance Support Group in Switzerland, the Association for Support of Physically Disabled Children, the Ad-Hoc Committee for the Organisation of Romanian Democracy, the Visual Arts Foundation, the Romanian Society for the Establishment of a National Independent Television Campaign, the Princess Margaret Foundation, the National Federation of Owners Earth and its Shareholders in Agriculture, the Association for the Restoration of an Independent and Free Peasant Party in Romania. The Sanda Budiș Collection also comprises: reports and correspondence of the UN Economic and Social Council on the human rights situation in Romania; the list of UN-edited non-governmental organisations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the reform programme for the regeneration and consolidation of the Romanian national economy; speeches and interviews of Western decision makers; and invitations, brochures, and press excerpts on the organisation of exhibitions, festivals, balls, meetings, and concerts.
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 500-999
- photos: 10-99
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 100-499
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Important events in the history of the collection
- visits by appointments
- Budiș, Sanda, 2012. Fata tatei și mama fetei:Istoria unei vieți între România și Elveția (Father's daughter and girl's mother: The history of a life between Romania and Switzerland). Iași: Polirom.
Author(s) of this page
- Opriș, Andreea Iustina
- Petrescu, Cristina
Budiș, Sanda, 2012. Fata tatei și mama fetei: Istoria unei vieți între România și Elveția (Father's daughter and daughter’s mother: The history of a life between Romania and Switzerland). Iași: Polirom.
Chebac, Andreea. 2013. "Interviu cu Sanda Budiș" (Interview with Sanda Budiș), February 12. http://www.bookblog.ro/interviu/sanda-budis-idealul-meu-in-romania-de-ce-ma-faceti-sa-plang/
Vodă, Eugenia, n.d. "Interviu cu Sanda Budiș în cadrul emisiunii Profesioniștii" (Interview with Sanda Budiș in the frame of the program Profesioniștii). http://www.eugeniavoda.ro/ro/emisiuni/diverse/sanda-budis
Zamfirescu, Dinu, interview by Opriș, Andreea Iustina, Petrescu, Cristina, May 14, 2018. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection