This photo taken in 1950 in Moldova shows the ghosts of the past

I was browsing the flea market of Chisinau (the capital of Moldova, a small country in Eastern Europe) last week when I came across an envelope with an old photo inside taken in 1950. It was representating a man posing in front of a monument. It looked like someone had just cleared out the contents of an old apartment, but I am fascinated by old photograph, so I bought it for almost nothing.

Checking more closely the picture, I noticed that the background was actualy the statue of Stefan Cel mare. This guy, a national hero in the local culture, was the “voivode” (or prince) of Moldova from 1457 to 1504. He defeated several times the Ottoman Empire and protected the country from the invasions. His statue, located in the center of Chisinau and erected in 1928..  is still there.

So, what do you think I did ?

I decided to take a photo in the same exact location today. Here is the result. Then and Now.


collage- stefan cel mare 1950-2017
Then and Now. On the left, the photo taken in 1950 with a soviet made camera and on the right, a photo taken with my smartphone in 2017. Same location. The garden changed.


Stefan Cel Mare 1950-2
The back of the photo: “For a good and long memory. For sister Martha from brother Mitea – 17 october 1950” – Translation: Corina Ersov


Who was the identity of the photographer ? Quite impossible to know. Is he still alive 67 years later ? Maybe but behind this pacific and calm photography, the context was special and… dark. Back in 1950, Moldova was part of the Soviet Union and the dictator Josef Stalin was still on power. During this period, deportations of locals to Siberia, and northern Kazakhstan occurred regularly.

Nowadays, in 2017, Moldova is an independant country (since 1991), a parliamentary republic and a member state of the United Nations.


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Autor: Robin Koskas