Celebrated British historiographer of Romania receives Romanian citizenship
Acclaimed historiographer of twentieth-century Romania, Dennis Deletant, recently received Romanian citizenship in recognition of his work. The ceremony took place on the premises of the Romanian Cultural Institute in London, where Romanian ambassador to the UK Laura Popescu handed Deletant his citizenship certificate.
Born in Norfolk in 1946, Deletant studied the Romanian language and had his first direct contact with Romania at the age of 20, when he attended the Sinaia summer school organized by the University of Bucharest.
In 1969, he received a scholarship from the British Council to study in Romania. Deletant frequently visited the country until 1988, when the communist regime declared him to be persona non grata following his criticism of the Ceaușescu regime. The Securitate, the regime’s secret police, had kept tabs on him during his previous stays.
However, Deletant was not going to be kept away from Romania for long. Immediately after the 1989 revolution, he returned to Bucharest as a BBC consultant. A year later, he consulted for the British Government’s Know-How Fund and its activities in Romania. He would receive the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his service.
Dennis Deletant is currently the Ion Ratiu Visiting Professor of Romanian Studies at Georgetown University in Washington DC., and Emeritus Professor of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College in London.
His academic career and major works focus on twentieth-century Romanian history and politics, 1940s labor camps in Transnistria, the “Bessarabia question,” the Soviet influence on Romanian communism, language policy in Soviet Moldova, as well as the place of Romania in Eastern Europe today. Deletant put his lens on the Romanian dictatorship, the Securitate, Romanian identity, propaganda, but also literature and culture. He studied Romania’s wartime military authoritarian leader, Marshall Antonescu, and the personality of the post-war communist leader Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej.
Doctor Honoris Cause for numerous Romanian universities, Deletant declared that, absorbed by his research, he never found the time to begin citizenship application proceedings.
His latest book, In Search of Romania, came out last month and tackles Romania under the communist dictatorship.
(Photo source: Dennis Deletant Facebook page)