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The Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile

The remains of Flore Tahâş, murdered by the communist authorities in 1950, were found

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Flore Tahâş

In an archaeological investigation campaign organized by the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and Memory of the Romanian Exile (IICCMER), in partnership with the National History Museum of Transylvania in Cluj-Napoca (MNIT), on July 14th-15th, 2014, in Sângeorz-Băi city, Bistriţa-Năsăud County, the remains of Flore Tahâş, shot dead on June 25th, 1950, were found. 

According to the civil status registry, Flore Tahâş was born in Sângeorz-Băi on July 22nd, 1927.  His parents were Tahâş Dănilă and Floarea, born Bulţa, who had 10 children together, seven boys and three girls, Flore being their fourth born. His father died in 1949 and his mother a decade later. Only two sisters, Victoria and Maria, are still alive today. Coming from a modest home, Flore Tahâş went to elementary school and then stayed with his family, tilling and taking care of the animals in the household. 

Information regarding Flore Tahâş’s past is little and uncertain, one of the more credible sources of information being the testimonies of his sister, Petroaie Victoria, born in 1925. In 1949, Flore received a conscription order to complete his mandatory military service, but he did not go to Bistriţa where he had been summoned. In the spring of 1950, he was ultimately recruited and probably assigned to a unit undertaking infrastructure works in the Salva-Vişeu area. After approximately two months of military service, he fled the army and came back to the area of his native city, hiding in the forests and with his acquaintances, who helped him along with his mother.  The exact reasons behind Flore Tahâş desertion are not known, but there is information that he had been previously involved with members of an anticommunist resistance organization from the Năsăud Mountains and that he had spent some time hidden with a partisan. His anticommunist beliefs, the ideas spreading around regarding an inevitable fall of the regime, as well as the living conditions in the army were probably the reasons determining him to leave his unit and turn into a fugitive.

In the spring of that same year, another young man from Sângeorz-Băi city fled the army, Niculai Maxim, who was married and who had been assigned to a military unit in Băicoi city, Prahova County. He and Flore Tahâş remained hidden together until the end of June in the households and hiding places from the mountains in the Sângeorz area, with the support of their relatives and acquaintances. 

Given their status of fugitives, they were being searched and placed under surveillance by the Securitate and the Militia, with several informers contributing to the task. The two were discovered in the night of July 24th/ 25th, 1950, in a barn belonging to the Anton family and Ana Buia, Niculai Maxim’s in laws. Their house was on the northern border of Sângeorz, on a hill from the Prihodişte area, their location being revealed to the authorities by a local, Nati Ioan, who was then the head of the field sector. An operative team formed by Militia and Securitate officers took part in the operation which started around 2 p.m. Caught by surprise, the two young men attempted to flee. Flore Tahâş hid in a corn field where he was shot. Niculai Maxim managed to escape by running down the hill, but he turned himself in a few days later.

According to sources, the body of the victim was left at the place of execution until Monday, June 26th, where it was guarded by an armed soldier. An official commission of three members came to the scene and approved the funeral based on the authorization of the Prosecutor’s Office. The family was not allowed to bury him in the local cemetery, as it was decided for the funeral to take place near the scene of the crime. Witnesses talk about the fact that Flore’s body only displayed a single gun wound in the front side of the head, in the forehead area. The grave was dug by a few friends of the departed on a hillside around 150 meters south-west from the house where the tragic event happened. The authorities allowed for a religious funeral to take place, with the participation of relatives and locals, which was extremely rare in this type of cases. The mother of the deceased had previously been allowed to wash the blood from the body and change his shirt with a clean, white one. The body of the victim was buried in a wooden coffin made by a local carpenter. The death of Flore Tahâş was registered at the Sângeorz-Băi City hall on June 26th, 1950. 

The exhumation operation was undertaken by a specialized team of archaeologists and historians from IICCMER, consisting of Gheorghe Petrov, Marius Oprea, Paul Scrobotă and Horaţiu Groza. The investigations were carried out in the presence of the representatives of the Military Prosecutor’s Office, which was notified by IICCMER regarding this assassination. Police representatives specialized in forensics, as well as a coroner, were also present at the scene.