Deaths in Siret Horror Orphanage.

Siret is a town situated in Suceava County, North-Eastern Romania, only two kilometres from the border with Ukraine.  It is an isolated place; ideal to hide away children not considered ”normal”. In the 1980’s, during the Communist era, Siret was home to 2,000 orphaned, sick and abandoned children.

Criminal complaint for the death of 340 children, in the Siret horror orphanage, during communism. Valentin Nas shared the link.

The image of the children in the Siret Orphanage is from the personal archives of Ronald Federici.

BY FLAVIA DRĂGAN | Updated: June 25, 2018 – 5:21 PM

The Institute for the Study of Communist Crimes (IICMER) has filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office concerning the inhumane treatment of orphaned children confined in the Siret Hospital for Children with Chronic Neuropsychiatric Condition (HCCNC). 340 children died there between 1980 and 1989.

IICCMER has denounced the deaths which occurred in the last decade of the communist regime. The largest number of deaths, 81 children, was recorded in 1981.

According to IICCMER’s statement released to the editorial, most children died of illnesses that could be treated, and for most of them the deaths were caused by the inhumane way they were treated in the orphanage. A very large number of children have died during winter, most of them due to pneumonia, epilepsy, heart, kidney, and liver diseases.

Figure: Deaths in the Siret HCCNC, by age (Jan. 1980 through May 1991)
SOURCE: IICCMER

Most children died when they were between one and four years old. Many of the children admitted to the Siret orphanage were from Suceava County, but also from Bucharest, Bihor, Timiş, Dâmboviţa, Constanţa.

Figure: Evolution of deaths in the Siret HCCNC (1980-1991)

“Following the analysis of death documents and death certificates, carried out by IICCMER experts and by a team of forensic pathologists, we have found that, on the one hand, there were increased mortality rates in the case of easily preventable or early diagnosable and properly treatable pathologies, and, on the other hand, there were deaths that support, by their very nature, our conclusions regarding the existence of a regime characterized by inhumane treatments applied to minors in the hospital.”

309 employees at the hospital-orphanage in 1989

The HCCNC was operating under the Ministry of Health and was headed by a doctor/manager appointed by order of the minister. Since its inception in 1956 until 1991, the hospital has been administered by nine doctors, and the last of them has been running the hospital-orphanage for 24 years.

At the end of the 1980s, the orphanage included 14 specialist doctors, 109 nurses, 115 auxiliary staff, 12 administrative staff, 12 staff runing the school and 47 workers.

There is a legend that hundreds of children were left to die in a field.

Since the establishment of the hospital-orphanage in 1956 until 2001, 1,500 children have died of the total of 8,886 children who have been placed in the Siret institution.

After the death of 81 children in 1981, the number of deaths fell in 1982 and 1983 following the management’s decision to transfer out a very large number of children.

Figure: Main causes of death in the Siret HCCNC (1980-1991)
– Pulmonary affections 68%
– Epilepsy 13%
– Others 8%
– Heart conditions 3%
– Kidney problems 7%
– Liver problems 1%
SOURCE: IICCMER

Among the staff who worked at Siret HCCNC during the communist era there is a legend of an order coming from the Communist Party leadership regarding the fast release from hospital of a large number of patients, an order which was quickly executed at the end of November 1983. The hospital register has recorded the transfer of 750 children over just a few days at the end of November 1983. According to former employees, a large number of these children, especially those with unknown parents, have never reached their transfer destinations, being instead isolated on a field and left to die without being registered.

IICMER states that it could not confirm the information, but it continues the checks.

Criminal complaints to follow for the period 1956-1980

IICCMER said it would file criminal complaints for inhumane treatments for the period 1956-1980, but “given the high volume of work, we can not predict when the actions will materialize,” the Institute’s spokeswoman added.

Last summer, IICCMER has filed another criminal complaint with the Attorney General’s Office for the inhumane treatment of children hospitalized in the Cighid, Păstrăveni and Sighetu Marmaţiei home-hospitals. 771 children have died there from 1973 to 1990. In that case, the prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office have started in criminal investigations.

Credit photo: Monitorul de Suceava; photo of the Orphanage Building.

3 thoughts on “Deaths in Siret Horror Orphanage.

  1. I stayed in Siret for three months when I was 19 in 1999, as a volunteer in the ‘physio’ building of the ‘orphanage’. Haunted by the memories, I often look for articles to see how those children who are now adults are getting on. I recognise the children in the photograph. Dorina, who is tied up and blind from self abuse. Lucian. I have an album full of their photos. They’ve had an horrific life, it breaks my heart.

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    1. Hi Gwyneth. Thank you for looking at my website post and taking the time to comment. You were very young; only 19, as well. Izidor Ruckel sent me a copy of his memoir; ”Abandoned for Life” and I had nightmares after reading it. I recently learnt of abuse of children and criminal activity in an orphanage in Romania. Tragically, all these years later and some terrible things still happen, although there are a lot of N.G.O’s working hard to change the system.

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    2. As well as my website, I have a community Facebook page; thepromisekept.co which is dedicated to orphan advocacy and child welfare in Romania. I use it to advocate on behalf of N.G.O’s working in Romania and to raise awareness of the issues. Would love for you to take a look and like and share posts. Thanks so much.

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