Monday, November 12, 2007

Nationalized houses

After World War II, the communists in Romania started nationalizing businesses and properties from the "enemies of the people". That basically meant everyone who was not a communist and had saved any money or properties worth taking.

Afterwards, they gave these houses away or rented them to different people, varying from members of the Communist Party to singers to people in the military.

The original owners now go through a lot of trouble to get their properties back. The problem is that the Romanian State has sold many of these houses after 1989. Therefore, both the original owners and the new ones have papers claiming they are the rightful proprietor. That lead to countless law suits, evictions and lots of unpleasant events. Most lawyers say the State is the only one to blame and that both the original owners and the new ones are victims of bad legislation and governing.

I've started a story on this topic. This past week, I've photographed a couple of people moving out of the apartment they have been living in since 1964 and had bought in 1997. The original owners live in the same building (that their ancestors rightfully owned when the communists abusively nationalized it), in pretty bad conditions (two families in a basement).

Constantin Darniceanu, 93 years old, reads the eviction note. He has been living in this apartment since 1964, when the Romanian government gave it to him because he was an officer in the Romanian army.

His wife, Paraschiva Darniceanu, 83 years old, sits surrounded by all their stuff, that they have to pack before moving out.

Constantin Darniceanu gets lost in the middle of an argument between his nephew and the rightful owners.

Mrs. Darniceanu watches the movers pack their stuff.

Mr. Darniceanu holds on to a bag while trying not to get in the way of the movers. In front of him on the floor lies his old closet, ready to be moved. Despite his age, he worked tirelessly to get things done that day.

Mrs. Darniceanu takes a moment to rest in the middle of what used to be their bedroom.


Amanda said...

This is amazing, beautiful, and an important untold story. It breaks my heart, and I want to see where they move to.

Ikuru said...

I like the last image, but 2,4,5,6 look a bit too similar. Will any of them be homeless?

Andreea Tanase said...

Si mie imi place foarte tare ultima. Spune tot. Abia astept sa vad povestea.

andrei said...

They will not be homeless. They're moving with some relatives, in a village about three hours west of Bucharest.

Tully said...

Holy shit. This is so sad, frustrating, and ridiculous. Please keep working on this because you're off to a great start and it seems like a pretty huge story right now. I haven't heard about it until now.

Spirache said...

foarte buna ideea. poate ai cum sa le faci poze si acolo unde se muta... succes

hasan said...

impresionant, iar pozele sunt foarte expresive.
Bravo !

Mara said...

multe din ele sunt luate pe nedrept de catre avocati oportunisti: ori se folosesc de un fals mostenitor, ori depisteaza mostenitorii care sunt demult in afara tarii si fac un act de vanzare-cumparare care de multe ori poate fi dovededit ilegal. mara

Jeronimo Nisa said...

Hey gangsta,

Yesterday, I had a couple of beers with Catalin and he told me about this story. So I've just taken a look at it. Please follow it up. This is not everyday stuff; this is damn important. Someone has to tell those poeple's stories, and that someone happens to be YOU!

Anonymous said...

mda... welcome to romania ... the stolen country ... si inca cate si cate lucruri se petrec in tara asta ... e trist