Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Plea from the East

In the spring and summer of 1944 the allied American and English bombardment forces swept in swarms over Romania bombing Bucharest, its industrial centers, the oil fields around Ploiesti and the main industrial towns of the country.
The overwhelming forces were met by the very few fighter pilots of groups 9, 7 and 8 recently returned from the Eastern Front, from Odessa, from Stalingrad, from the Don*. They did not hesitate to face the enemy whatever its force and number.
Martha Greceanu, a student in Bucharest at that time, knew that whenever she heard the air raid alarm and she ran to the refuge, her brother Tudor Greceanu, one of the very few, was up in the sky fighting with his squadron to defend Bucharest, to defend their country, to defend her.
Later on the same year, the same brave fighter pilots were involved in a second war on the Western front. The country had turned coats. It was an unnatural war in which they went fighting arm in arm with their former worst enemies, the Russians, against their allies of yesterday, the Germans. Still they fought; they sacrificed themselves to the end of the war. They had new victories, worn new medals.
When they came back in their country, the same very few fighter pilots that survived, arrived in a communist country, and were soon put out of the ranks of the army for having fought in the East, and very soon, for a reason or another, they were imprisoned in the communist prisons.
Tudor Greceanu survived sixteen years of imprisonment in the communist prisons of his country, but soon after he died of the consequences of the imprisonment.
Now, Martha Greceanu is trying on her own to raise a monument for these brave fighter-pilots in a little square in Bucharest, which at present bears the name of the flying commander Tudor Greceanu, fighter-pilot.
Will anyone help her knowing that the spirit of this monument does not belong to Romania alone, it belongs to all countries in which, in World War II “so few did so much for so many”**


* See the book “The way of the very few” – the war memories of the fighter pilot Tudor Greceanu, published by Martha Greceanu in Romanian and later translated in French at the publishing house VREMEA
** Sir Winston Churchill, August 1940