Maramureş

Barsana Monastery church I’m attaching a couple of photos from Romania, where we went in September. One is a wooden church in the Maramureş style. It’s part of the Barsana Monastery. Another was one of many hitchhikers we picked up. Our old Dacia wasn’t much as a car, but it beats walking or horse-drawn cart when you’re tired. We had learned enough Romanian to figure out that the man is 82, has 9 children, and knows the woman who works in the post office and runs our B&B. We also saw what may be the oldest, and is certainly the longest-running Unitarian Church (in Cluj-Napoca). I spent an hour with the pastor, learning about their history and the church building and furnishings.

In Maramures, we saw Elie Wiesel’s home/museum. As you friend in Botizamay know, Maramureş was one of the worst holocaust sites, with over 20,000 Jews from Sighetu-Marmaţiei alone sent to Auschwitz. Later, Communists in Romania sent tens of thousands of “Saxons” (ethnic Germans) to work and die on the Danube canal construction. Roma people managed to be persecuted throughout, and still suffer from prejudices today (although projects such as Şanse Egale are working to improve opportunities).

We also saw the museum sometimes called the “Museum of Suppressed Thought”, which made me aware that my imagination is limited in conceiving all the ways people can oppress one another, and all the different ethnic prejudices that can be realized. Maramureş and Transylvania in general have seen more than their fair share. That’s especially disturbing to think about in a country which is otherwise so beautiful, friendly, and welcoming.

I gave a talk on Dewey, Hull House, and Paseo Boricua at the Philosophy of Pragmatism: Salient Inquiries conference at Babeş-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca. I’d certainly value any comments or suggestions on the draft.

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