Ceausescu’s Wife Ordered Tank Attacks on Women
Nicolae Ceausescu ordered troops to fire on protesters at the start of Romania’s uprising, and his wife told soldiers who didn’t want to shoot a pregnant woman to run her down with a tank instead, the interior minister said today.
Interior Minister Mihai Ghitac, the former military commander of the Bucharest garrison and one of the first generals to side with civilians seeking Ceausescu’s ouster, spoke with tears in his eyes about the massacre in mid-December of unarmed demonstrators in Timisoara, 300 miles northwest of Bucharest.
The atrocity unleashed the popular revolution that toppled the dictator and his wife, Elena. They were convicted of “grave crimes” and executed Dec. 25.
Ceausescu “gave strict orders to shoot,” Ghitac said. “Special units had been sent” to infiltrate army ranks, “and these units provoked general genocide in Timisoara.”
Mrs. Ceausescu, the virtual second-in-command, was no less harsh, Ghitac said.
“They telephoned the wife of the despot that they could not shoot because there were women and children,” he said. “She was told over the telephone that a pregnant woman told the soldiers, ‘Shoot, and you will kill two people.’
“The tyrant’s wife said, ‘If you can’t shoot, go with tanks against them.’ ”
The daily newspaper Adevarul said today that Ceausescu’s youngest son, Nicu, a former party secretary in Sibiu, southern Transylvania, personally ordered army and police units to shoot on revolutionaries in the city last month.