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Romania sells ex-dictator's luxuries

BBC News BBC News 8/04/2016

For the fifth year running a Romanian auction house is putting up for sale diplomatic gifts and other luxuries once owned by ex-communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena.

Nicolae Ceausescu held Romania in an iron grip as communist leader from 1965 to 1989. Anti-communist revolutionaries executed him and Elena in 1989.

The sale items include a pen holder made of stag antlers and a scale model of the dictator's childhood home.

There are also shoes that Elena wore.

A pair of designer bespoke shoes with matching handbag, made by Guban of Timisoara, have a starting price of €500 (£404; $571). Another set is going for €400.

A leather case used by Nicolae Ceaușescu to carry a double-barrelled shotgun on hunting trips is also up for sale.

The Artmark auction, called "Golden Age", also includes communist medals, posters and other memorabilia from the Ceausescu dictatorship. It will take place on 19 April.

An Artmark statement underlined the significance of Nicolae Ceausescu's model of his childhood home, which was in the village of Scornicesti.

The dictator sought to turn the village into an ideal town for "Socialist Man", Artmark said.

"So, in 1988, he began his plan by demolishing the traditional village houses and replacing them with apartment buildings, and changed the status of the place from 'village' to 'city'. However, the bulldozers did not destroy the leader's birth home."

Previously Artmark has sold a leopard skin, silver doves and a bronze yak that belonged to the Ceausescus.

The couple surrounded themselves with luxuries while most Romanians struggled with poverty, power cuts and constant surveillance by the secret police.

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