Her 1940’s trauma – The Ip Massacre

Believe it or not, that young little and sweet girl you see in this picture is today 82. Her name is Floare Negrean and she was born in 1936. She now lives in a small village called Valcău de Jos, but she was born Ip, a village in Sălaj County. At the time, half of the people living in Ip were Romanians and half of them were Hungarian.

In the 13th of September 1940, an unforgettable massacre happened in Ip. Hungarian troops, together with the locals, killed 157 Romanians, young and old. They even killed an unborn child. The reason for killing the Romanian ethnics was the fact that two Hungarian soldiers died in an accidental explosion, and the rumors spread that they were killed by Romanians.

Negrean Florea was only 4 years when the massacre happened. I got the chance to hear her personal confession, in which she said to me: “It’s a memory and a trauma I can never get rid of”.

It may seem crazy that even though she was so young at the time, she can still remember everything. While she was telling her story, her eyes swept away in the past like it had happened yesterday. Her story begins like this.

“In the middle of the night, while I was sleeping next to my mom, I heard a hard knocking on the door. It was my uncle, soaking wet and dirty. He came to wake us up to run as far as we could and hide. He was breathing heavily while trying to tell us that they are killing all the Romanians.There was a big group of Hungarians dressed in army clothes, they all came from their mother land.

I was scared, I didn’t know what was happening. The terror in my mother’s eyes was clear. I felt unsafe and unprotected, as my father had been long gone from home.

They started the killings from house number 1, where a mother and her few days old baby were living. With no mercy, they killed the baby, as I was hearing the mother scream for her child. After that, they killed her too.

The neighbors heard the shots and they went looking. In this way, the Hungarians had a way to kill everyone faster. Some of them got to run fast back in their house for their wifes and children, others were killed by trying to make it in. Shoots, screaming, crying and the church bells was all that could be heard. Everyone was running to hide somewhere.

My mother was holding me so tight, not to mention that she was late pregnant with my brother I couldn’t wait to see. Her fear went to the deepest of my heart, as my uncle was running behind us to reach a safer place.

I could see and hear all these flashlights because we were running and hiding from a house to another, until we made it to the cornfield. There was a “safer place” to hide and run further to another village.

We ran further into the woods, together with other locals I didn’t know. I didn’t have any shoes on, so my uncle carried me on his back until we reached the village of my grandmother’s brother. He had a big barn were he welcomed us all to stay safe. We were all trying to sleep on thick hay, which was no problem. But nobody was actually sleeping, not even me.

Every time I closed my eyes, flashes were haunting me, things I didn’t understand, but made me so scared. Even if my mother was holding me to her chest, I couldn’t stop crying.

After a few days, when it was all safer, we turned back to our home. It was traumatizing to see the people carrying the dead from each house on carts and throwing them all in a deep grave which they dug.

This picture of me (article photo) was taken that day. It was on that day we had to attend the funeral. That grave was huge in my eyes, as I was so small, and I didn’t know much, except that something scary is going on.

I had a dress on, and I remember the flies bothering me. I was scratching continuously and my mother kept telling me to be serious and quiet. I didn’t know then why the flies were bothering me, but now I know: I was because of the blood around us, blood from the dead who didn’t stop bleeding. The picture was taken right after the funeral, as we all had to do it in the memory of the massacre.

The 1940’s bring me memories I never forgot, feelings I didn’t understand then, in the scary chaos. This trauma I kept with me since then and I am sure I will die with it as well. At least we were lucky enough to have survived and be given a chance to live.”

Military forces committed several massacres during their occupation of Romanian territories, killing several hundred residents of the villages of Treznea, Ipp and Marca between September 9 and September 15, 1940.