Elisabeta Rizea
Elisabeta Rizea was a Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

n anti-communist
Anti-communism is opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed in reaction to the rise of communism, especially after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the beginning of the Cold War in 1947.-Objections to communist theory:...

 partisan in the Făgăraş Mountains
Fagaras Mountains
Făgăraș Mountains , are the highest mountains of the Southern Carpathians, in Romania. The highest peaks are Moldoveanu , Negoiu , Viștea Mare , Lespezi , Vânătoarea lui Buteanu , and Dara .They are bordered in the north by the Făgăraș Depression, through which the Olt river flows, and in the west...

 of Northern Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

. After the Romanian Revolution of 1989
Romanian Revolution of 1989
The Romanian Revolution of 1989 was a series of riots and clashes in December 1989. These were part of the Revolutions of 1989 that occurred in several Warsaw Pact countries...

, she became the symbol of Romania's anti-communist resistance
Romanian anti-communist resistance movement
An armed resistance movement against the communist regime in Romania was active from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s, with isolated individual fighters remaining at large until the early 1960s. Armed resistance was the first and most structured form of resistance against the communist regime...


Rizea was born in Nucşoara
Nucşoara is a commune in Argeş County, in southern central Romania. It is composed of four villages: Gruiu, Nucşoara, Sboghiţeşti and Slatina....

, a small village in Argeş County
Arges County
Argeș is a county of Romania, in Wallachia, with the capital city at Pitești.-Demographics:In 2002, it had a population of 652,625 and the population density was 95/km².*Romanians – 96%*Roma , and other.-Geography:...

 in the Southern Carpathians
Southern Carpathians
The Southern Carpathians or the Transylvanian Alps are a group of mountain ranges which divide central and southern Romania, on one side, and Serbia, on the other side. They cover part of the Carpathian Mountains that is located between the Prahova River in the east and the Timiș and Cerna Rivers...

, to a family of peasants who lived off plot of cultivated land. After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, as the Soviet Army
Soviet Army
The Soviet Army is the name given to the main part of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union between 1946 and 1992. Previously, it had been known as the Red Army. Informally, Армия referred to all the MOD armed forces, except, in some cases, the Soviet Navy.This article covers the Soviet Ground...

 imposed a Communist government
Communist Romania
Communist Romania was the period in Romanian history when that country was a Soviet-aligned communist state in the Eastern Bloc, with the dominant role of Romanian Communist Party enshrined in its successive constitutions...

 in Romania, the peasants had to give up their land in order to implement collective farming
Collective farming
Collective farming and communal farming are types of agricultural production in which the holdings of several farmers are run as a joint enterprise...

. Out of opposition to this, Elisabeta Rizea and her husband joined an anti-Communist guerrilla
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 group, Haiducii Muscelului, led by Colonel Gheorghe Arsenescu
Gheorghe Arsenescu
Gheorghe Arsenescu , was a Romanian army officer who led an anti-communist resistance movement in post-World War II Romania. He was born in Câmpulung....

. Her assigned task within the group was to provide food and supplies.

After she was captured by the Romanian militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

 in 1952, she was declared "duşman al poporului" (enemy of the people
Enemy of the people
The term enemy of the people is a fluid designation of political or class opponents of the group using the term. The term implies that the "enemies" in question are acting against society as a whole. It is similar to the notion of "enemy of the state". The term originated in Roman times as ,...

) and sentenced to death because she refused to give information about the other partisans. Eventually her sentence was commuted to seven years in prison. When Arsenescu was arrested in 1961, her sentence was extended by another 25 years, but three years later, in 1964, she was freed under the terms of a general amnesty.

During her twelve years spent in prison, she was subjected to various forms of torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

: she was hung by her hair from a hook and beaten until she fainted due to broken ribs, and was also scalped
Scalping is the act of removing another person's scalp or a portion of their scalp, either from a dead body or from a living person. The initial purpose of scalping was to provide a trophy of battle or portable proof of a combatant's prowess in war...

, burned, and beaten with a shovel. Upon her release from prison, she had no hair and she couldn't walk, as her knees had been destroyed by the torture.

Her story became known after an interview included in the 1992 documentary Memorialul durerii
Memorialul Durerii
Memorialul Durerii is a Romanian Television documentary series about persecution, the labor camp system, anti-communist resistance and the secret police in communist Romania. It started airing in 1991...

by Lucia Hossu-Longin
Lucia Hossu-Longin
Lucia Hossu-Longin is a Romanian TV producer/director, best known for the documentary series Memorialul Durerii.-External links:...

. In a 2006 poll conducted by Romanian Television
Romanian television
Romanian television may refer to:* Communications media in Romania* Televiziunea Română, TVR, the national television network* List of Romanian language television channels...

to identify the "greatest Romanians of all time", she came in 58th.

External links

Website dedicated to the memory of Elisabeta Rizea
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