Sanda Stolojan Collection at IICCMER
The Sanda Stolojan Collection is an important source of documentation for understanding and writing the history of that particular segment of the Romanian exile community which was actively involved in the West in unmasking the communist regime in Romania. At the same time, this private archive contributes to an understanding of Romanian–French bilateral relations between 1968 and 1998. In particular, the collection illustrates the activity of the collector and other personalities of the exile aimed at promoting respect for human rights in Romania and stopping the demolitions imposed by the communist authorities as part of Bucharest's systematisation programme, and later at supporting the reconstruction of democracy in their country of origin.
București Strada Alecu Russo 13, Romania 030167
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Name of collection
- Sanda Stolojan Collection at IICCMER
Provenance and cultural activities
The Sanda Stolojan collection began to be compiled and organised by the collector after her emigration to France in 1961. It consists of documents concerning the organisation and activity of the Romanian exile community during the communist period in Romania. This private archive was continually enriched over the period 1961–2003, during which time Sanda Stolojan gathered both materials about the activity of the Romanian exile community and documents relating to actions taken by the collector and by other personalities of the exile community during the time Romania was under the communist regime. At the same time, this collection consists of a series of documents relating to Romania's foreign policy during the communist period, especially during the time of Nicolae Ceaușescu, and also after the collapse of the communist dictatorship. In particular, these documents refer to Romania's relations with France between 1968 and 1998. The Sanda Stolojan collection also includes documents reflecting the way Romanians from abroad got involved in rebuilding democracy in their country of origin. Therefore this collection is an important source for understanding and writing the history of that part of the Romanian exile community which was actively involved in the West in promoting media coverage of the repressive policies of the Communist regime and the country's political, cultural, social, and economic situation both under communism and after its collapse. In particular, this private archive illustrates the work of the collector and of other personalities of the exile community to promote respect for human rights in communist Romania and to stop the demolitions imposed by the communist authorities as part of the systematisation programme for Bucharest, which was carried out by the communist dictatorship after the earthquake of March 1977.
The multitude, diversity and importance of the documents in the Sanda Stolojan Collection are due to both to the nature of her professional career and to the attention and care she gave to the preservation of memory. Born in a family of Romanian intellectuals, writers, and diplomats, she received a fine education both in interwar Romania and abroad. She graduated from high school in Paris in 1937 and from the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy of the University of Bucharest in 1942. In Romania, Sanda Stolojan worked as a translator in a publishing house and as a clerk in a typography co-operative. In 1961, she and her husband emigrated to France when their right to leave Romania was bought by some of his relatives established in Paris. There, she was an official Romanian interpreter for French presidents Charles de Gaulle, Georges Pompidou, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, and François Mitterrand. One of the important moments in her career as interpreter for a French president was in May 1968, when she accompanied Charles de Gaulle to Romania. Afterwards she wrote a book about this experience. Documents relating to this visit can be found in her private archive. In this capacity, she had the opportunity to see Romania again before the collapse of the communist regime. This helped her to elaborate some important analyses and comments regarding the situation in the country, which she published in the exile press or in foreign publications, or about which she commented on Radio Free Europe or during meetings and correspondence with Romanians abroad or with Western political decision-makers. Some of these can be found in her collection. Also, the status of an official Romanian-language interpreter for the French Presidents gave her the chance to have access to a series of documents that she kept in her archive and which contribute to the understanding and writing of the history of Romanian–French bilateral relations between 1968 and 1998.
After her emigration, she was actively involved in the activities of the Romanian exile community. She organised a series of actions aimed at unmasking the communist regime in Romania, which materialised in articles both in exile publications and in the Western press, in comments on Radio Free Europe, in bringing to the attention of Western decision-makers the situation of communist Romania, and in organising the exile community for the purpose of defending human rights in their country of origin. Hence she set up and led between 1984 and 1990 the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Romania, based in Paris, in whose actions she involved herself by using the political friendships that she had established abroad, which proved extremely useful to the cause of the League. Due to her involvement in the struggle to promote media coverage in the West of human rights violations in communist Romania, this activity can be recovered and reconstructed from documents in the Sanda Stolojan collection. Sanda Stolojan’s activity in exile was not only political but also literary. She co-founded the literary magazine Les Cahiers de l'Est, dedicated to writers in Eastern Europe in particular, and published a series of poems and prose works in the newspapers and literary journals of the exile community, as well as volumes of poems. Some issues of such exile and Western literary publications were collected by Sanda Stolojan and can be found in her private archive. In addition, there are also some issues of exile publications with a political character.
Her collection also includes some materials that do not relate to the period 1961–2003, but to the years 1919, 1923, and 1926. These consist of pages in the Journal de L'Université des Annales regarding the activity of Elena Văcărescu (1864–1947), a Romanian writer who settled in France, where she had a rich political and literary activity. She was general secretary of the Romanian League of Nations Association between 1919 and 1939, an honorary member of the Romanian Academy, awarded twice the French Academy Award, and decorated by the French government as a Knight of the Legion of Honour. These articles were collected by Sanda Stolojan after her emigration to France. Sanda Stolojan was also interested in the studies and articles published by Marcel Fontaine (1888–1973), an officer in the Military Mission sent by France to Romania between 1916 and 1918 at the request of the Romanian government headed at that time by Ionel Brătianu. After completing this assignment, he returned to Romania in 1919, as part of the French University Mission, as a high school teacher in Turnu Severin, Craiova, and Bucharest. He remained in Romania until 1948, when his activities and courses were banned by the communist authorities, after which he was expelled with the other French teachers in the Mission. After the establishment of the communist regime in Romania, former students and teachers who kept correspondence with him were sentenced to jail in 1952 as part of the famous "French batch." In 1949 Marcel Fontaine set up the Romanian section of Radiodiffusion Française, the French national broadcasting institution. He was editor-in-chief of this section until 1956, and edited every Sunday either a French or a Romanian editorial about Romania's transformations under the communist regime. Due to the work of Marcel Fontaine in promoting media coverage in the West of Romania's situation under communist dictatorship, Sanda Stolojan was extremely interested in the articles published by him, which she collected and kept in her personal archive.
Thus, the Sanda Stolojan Collection represents an important historical source for the history of the Romanian exile community, for Romanian–French bilateral relations between 1968 and 1998, for understanding how Romanians in the diaspora were involved in the rebuilding of democracy in their native country after the collapse of the communist regime, and for the transformations that took place in Romania after 1989 from a political, cultural, social, and economic point of view.
Description of content
The Sanda Stolojan Collection consists of 285 archival units containing documents from her private archive. The materials in this collection cover the period 1919–2003. The oldest documents date from 1919, 1923, and 1926, and consist of pages in the Journal de L'Université des Annales in connection with the activity of Elena Văcărescu. Also, due to the work of Marcel Fontaine in promoting media coverage in the West of the situation of Romania under Communist dictatorship, Sanda Stolojan was extremely interested in the articles published by him, which she collected and kept in her archive.
The Sanda Stolojan Collection comprises newspapers and magazines, as well as excerpts from exile publications focusing on activities organised by the exile community and on the domestic and international situation of Romania during the Communist regime. At the same time, Sanda Stolojan's private archive consists of newspapers and magazines of the Romanian diaspora after 1989 up until 2003, dealing in particular with the situation of Romania after the collapse of the communist dictatorship. Regarding the publications of the Romanian exile community and diaspora that can be found in this archive, one may mention: Prodromos (1965–1968), La Nation Roumaine (1970), Revista Scriitorilor Români (issues from 1962–1990), Cahiers des Amis de Panait Istrati (1978–1980), Limite (1969–1986), L`autre Europe (1986), International Journal of Rumanian Studies (1984–1988), Apoziția (1992–1994), American Roumanian Academy (1984–1990), Revue des Etudes Roumaines (1953–1981), Ființa Românească (1963–1968), L`Alternative (1980–1985), La Nouvelle Alternative (1987–1991), Ethos (1973–1986), Chronique de la recherche minière (1978), Micron (1978), Mărturie ortodoxă (1984), Curentul (1986–1989), Buletinul Bibliotecii Române din Freiburg (1987), Perspective (1987), Cuvântul Românesc (1989), Catacombes (1989), Belvédère (1991), and Revista de istorie și teorie literară (1994).The Sanda Stolojan collection also comprises her articles and manuscripts on the Romanian exile community, as well as a series of documents on the work of the International Federation of Human Rights and the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Romania, based in Paris, which she coordinated between 1984 and 1989. Regarding these organisations, her private archive includes: statutes, programmes, reports, and speeches. The Sanda Stolojan collection includes the programme and addresses of the second session of the Romanian–French Joint Economic Commission for Economic, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation of 1970, as well as documents regarding the visit of Romanian Defence Minister Constantin Olteanu to France in 1985. The Sanda Stolojan collection also includes programmes and documentation on the visits to Romania of Presidents François Mitterrand, in 1991 and Jacques Chirac in 1997, and the latter’s visit in 1998 to the Republic of Moldova. At the same time, her private archive includes programmes and documentation from the Romanian visits of French defence ministers Pierre Joxe, François Léotard, and Alain Richard in 1991, 1994, and 1998, together with those of Romanian defence ministers to France in 1994 and 1995. Sanda Stolojan’s collection also includes lists of participants and programmes regarding the visit of President Ion Iliescu of Romania to France in April 1994; programmes of the visit to France of the president of the Republic of Moldova; programmes, lists, badges, and speeches from the visit to France of a delegation of Romanian military historians in 1995 and from the visit of Prime Minister Nicolae Văcăroiu to France in 1995; programmes relating to the work of the Franco–Romanian Joint Arms Commission in Paris in 1995; speeches, notes and questionnaires relating to the celebration of important events for the history of the Romanians, with the participation of Romanians in exile; programmes relating to the work of institutions, organisations and associations of the Romanian exile community; programmes for the tribute to Mircea Eliade in 1987; minutes, letters, statements, and press releases in connection with the establishment of the Association of Friends of Free Romania and the Paris-based Association of Romanian Journalists in the West (1991); programmes and lists of participants for scholarly meetings of Romanians in exile, and in Romania after 1990, together with biographies of some participants; invitations addressed to Sanda Stolojan to meet with the President of Romania, Emil Constantinescu, in 1997; correspondence of the Association for the Practising the Romanian Orthodox Faith in Paris (1978); and correspondence and Bulletins of the Romanian Orthodox Church in Paris on the problems of the Romanian Episcopate in Central Europe and Canada (1996).
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 500-999
- photos: 10-99
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 500-999
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- Letter of invitation from the French Foreign Ministry to Sanda Stolojan, in French, Paris, 9 May 1968
- Protest message of the International Association for the Protection of Monuments and Historic Sites in Romania, in French and English, Paris, 1985
- Report by Constantin Cesianu for the General Assembly of Carol I Royal University Foundation, in Romanian, Paris, 1971
- visits by appointments
Stolojan, Sanda. 1994. Cu De Gaulle în România (With De Gaulle in Romania). Bucharest: Albatros.
Stolojan, Sanda. 1999. Ceruri nomade: Jurnal din exilul parizian 1990-1996 (The nomad skies: Diary from the Parisian exile 1990-1996). Bucharest: Humanitas.
Stolojan, Sanda. 2006. Sub semnul depărtării: Corespondență Constantin Noica – Sanda Stolojan (Under the sign of the distance: Correspondence between Constantin Noica and Sanda Stolojan). Bucharest: Humanitas.
Stolojan, Sanda. 2007. Amurg senin: Jurnal din exilul parizian 1997-2001 (Sunny twilight: Diary of the Parisian Exile (1997-2001). Bucharest: Humanitas.
Stolojan, Sanda and Vlad Stolojan. 2009. Să nu plecăm toți odată: Amintiri din România anilor 1950 (Let's not go away all at once: Memories of Romania in the 1950s). București: Humanitas.
Author(s) of this page
- Opriș, Andreea Iustina
- Petrescu, Cristina
Bârlădeanu, Lucreția. 2005. Dialoguri pariziene cu Monica Lovinescu, Jean-Louis Courriol, Bujor Nedelcovici, Sanda Stolojan, Cicerone Ionițoiu, Aurora Cornu, George Astaloș, Ilie Constantin, Matei Vișniec, Mihai Popov, Nicolae Lupan, Victor Voinicescu-Sotchi, Virgil Tănase, Françoise Taguet (Dialogues in Paris with Monica Lovinescu, Jean-Louis Courriol, Bujor Nedelcovici, Sanda Stolojan, Cicerone Ioniţoiu, Aurora Cornu, George Astaloş, Ilie Constantin, Matei Vişniec, Mihai Popov, Nicolae Lupan, Victor Voinicescu-Sotchi, Virgil Tanase, Françoise Taguet). Chișinău: Arc.
Cazacu, Matei, and Ștefănescu, Chrisula, ed. 2007. George Ciorănescu și exilul românesc: Documente din arhiva Fundației Regale Universitare Carol I (George Ciorănescu and the Romanian exile community: Documents from the archives of the Carol I University Foundation). Bucharest: Institutul Cultural Român.
Manolescu, Florin. 2003. Enciclopedia exilului literar românesc 1945–1989: Scriitori, reviste, instituții, organizații (Encyclopaedia of the Romanian literary exile community 1945–1989: Writers, magazines, institutions, organisations). Bucharest: Compania.
Marcu, George, ed. 2009. Dicţionarul personalităţilor feminine din România (The dictionary of female personalities from Romania). Bucharest: Meronia.
Pelin, Mihai. 2002. Opisul emigrației politice: Destine în 1222 de fișe alcătuite pe baza dosarelor din arhivele Securității (The list of political emigration: Destinies in 1,222 entries based on files in the Securitate archives). Bucharest: Compania.
Stolojan, Sanda. 2007. Amurg senin: Jurnal din exilul parizian 1997–2001 (Sunny twilight: Diary of Parisian exile (1997–2001). Bucharest: Humanitas.
Stolojan, Sanda. 1999. Ceruri nomade: Jurnal din exilul parizian 1990–1996 (Nomad skies: Diary of Parisian exile 1990–1996). Bucharest: Humanitas.
Stolojan, Sanda. 1994. Cu De Gaulle în România (With De Gaulle in Romania). Bucharest: Albatros.
Stolojan, Sanda and Vlad Stolojan. 2009. Să nu plecăm toți odată: Amintiri din România anilor '50 (Let's not all leave at once: Memories of Romania in the 1950s). București: Humanitas.
Stolojan, Sanda. 2006. Sub semnul depărtării: Corespondență Constantin Noica – Sanda Stolojan (Under the sign of distance: Correspondence between Constantin Noica and Sanda Stolojan). Bucharest: Humanitas.
Zamfirescu, Dinu, interview by Opriș, Andreea Iustina, June 07, 2018. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection