it’s hard to kill the king


They dug up the body of Nicolae Ceausescu. Or did they? The Romanian dictator and his wife Elena were executed on Christmas, 1989. But there are those who still won’t believe it. So last month, Romania dug up the body in Ceausescu’s grave to perform DNA tests on it, and to pronounce Nicolae Ceausescu dead, once and for all. In “The Great Christmas Killing,” Hungarian author Peter Nadas wrote about the Ceausescus’ execution as he saw it on television, 10 years after the fact. He describes in stark detail the scenes before the killing and after, from the hasty trial to the hurried postmortem examination. “The captors of the dreaded Ceausescu couple…forced them into a space between the wall and the two steel-legged tables. Either it was cold in the room, or the uniformed members of the summary tribunal did not permit the tyrant and his wife to take off their coats.” He writes of the moment when the hands of the Ceausescus are tied behind their backs with clothesline as they protest, indignant, and the terror of the attending physician whose entire body shakes as he is called on to show the camera, the world, that Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu are gone.

more from Stefany Anne Golberg at The Smart Set here.