Romania: scandal over "homes of horror"
The Romanian anti-organized crime agency (DIICOT) is investigating a scandal involving three homes for the elderly on the outskirts of Bucharest whose residents have apparently been severely abused, starved and exploited. Several suspects have been arrested. There are suspicions that criminal gangs and politicians were involved. The Romanian press voices shock and is carrying headlines with the catchphrase ‘homes of horror’.
A blast from the very dark past
The Romanian Service of Deutsche Welle draws comparisons with the Ceaușescu era:
“What took place in the ‘homes of horror’, as the press has dubbed them, is reminiscent of the orphanages under the Ceaușescu regime, where over 100,000 children were starved, tied to beds, dressed in rags, overrun with lice and hosed down with cold water when they were washed. This was the first image of Romania that the international press conveyed to the West after the end of communism. Thirty-three years later, Romanian society and the international public are still being faced with the same picture of horror, this time in three private old people’s homes in Ilfov County.”
No one wanted to see this crime
If the neighbours hadn’t remained silent for so long the scandal would have come to light much sooner, says Spotmedia:
“In addition to the monstrous cruelty of the perpetrators, this case reveals other dreadful dimensions of our society. Locals walked past the homes every day, there are neighbours living next to these facilities — they’re not in the middle of the forest or a field. Some of the neighbours have now recounted on camera how they saw old people — dirty, some of them naked even in the middle of winter — standing at the gates begging for a slice of bread. The horror was unfolding where everyone could see it, not just behind closed doors. But how many of the eyewitnesses called the police?”