What the Securitate files say about Maria Tănase. How she came to be called “Gaița” by the secret services

In the early years after the communists came to power, a system of terror and fear was in place. It was a system imposed just as in the USSR by Stalin and his henchmen. The newly established Security checking and tracking everyone, from the smallest to the biggest. Among the files uncovered by the CNSAS is that of the famous Maria Tănase, nicknamed “The Blue Bird”by Nicolae Iorga in 1938. The file built by the communist state’s apparatus of reprisals was to name it Gaița. In its more than 200 pages, there is a great deal of controversy.

Maria Tanase and the questions and possible answers about her past

Without a doubt, Maria Tănase was one of Romania’s most beloved popular singers. From the very beginning of her career, in June 1934, she would be noticed by the public as a future star. She made her debut on the stage of the “Cărăbuș” theatre, under the guidance of the famous actor and theatre director Constantin Tănase.

Marie Tănase’s career was to become explosive. She was the second Romanian-born artist, after Zavaidoc, to record for the famous Columbia label. The recordings took place in 1937, a year after her stage debut. A year later, the famous Nicolae Iorga would be so impressed by the vocal qualities of young Maria Tănase that he named her “The Big Bird” of Romanian music.

But, come World War II. With it came the rise to power of the Communists, led by the propaganda machine in Moscow. After 1947, the new system set up the ‘Securitate’ service. The new repressive apparatus was to track down, arrest and disappear important names. All these episodes took place during the 50 years of communism.

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Maria Tănase

“Was Maria Tănase a Romanian secret service agent?”

Among the files created by the Securitate was to be that of Marie Tănase, who was suspected of links with other secret services, such as the British one at the time. In fact, research papers have appeared attempting to answer one question, “Was Maria Tănase a Romanian secret service agent?”

There are many who have rejected and reject this possibility. Others consider that the relationships she established within the high society of the time could be an argument in favour of this hypothesis. Historians have found fairly consistent evidence of Maria Tanase’s intelligence activities. In fact, the CNSAS was to announce the discovery of the artist’s file in the Securitate archives.

A hypothesis about possible links with state bodies appears in the memoir by Ivor Porter. Porter, a British agent who carried out intelligence operations in Romania during the Second World War, spoke of the existence of links between the head of the Romanian Secret Service, Eugen Cristescu, and Maria Tănase.

See also: Maria Tanase, from espionage and luxury in communism to adored diva: the untold story

The Securitate file and the codename “Gaița”

After 1990, with the establishment of the National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives, files were discovered. Most of them were processed by the old Securitate in the names of many personalities of the time. Among these files, says CNSAS, there is a file codenamed “Gaița”, which was in fact Maria Tănase’s file.

According to CNSAS, “File I 157076” was full of daily information about Maria Tănase and her relationships, meetings and even discussions. In one of the descriptions of the artist made by the Securitate informants it is said that “She is not a friend of our regime and I don’t think she is sincerely attached to the working class, although she knew it and lived among it as a child. She’s ready for any self-sacrifice to friends for whom she gives her last penny…“.

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Although forced by the regime to participate in all communist events of the time, Maria Tănase was written about as. “At the meetings she is very absent and putting unjust problems /…/ she would tell some of the gentlemen in our theatre that the director is a ribbon maker and a muslin merchant. In the collective he has a vulgar attitude.”

But according to the file, the real stalking and spinning of the artist took place between 1953 and 1956. This is the period when Maria Tănase frequented certain places, or received home visits from “dubious elements“. According to the information in the file, Maria Tănase’s house was bugged, and all her conversations with her visitors, such as Petre Ghiață, Nicu Bălău, Gabi Mihăilescu, the latter being the star’s artistic agent, were listened to.

See also: The pictures that show you how they spied in the Cold War. American spies, front row at USSR military parades

maria tănase espionage
Maria Tanase

“Tănase Maria was trained by her husband”

According to Historia.ro, there is a passage in the artist’s file that talks about how Maria Tănase was supposed to speak, the conclusion being that she had been instructed to do so by her husband:

“Tănase Maria was instructed by her husband to show, in case she was questioned, that she had no dubious relations, that only artists who came to her before came, that she did not make propaganda and that she had no connections with spies. From a reliable source, ‘Operational Technique’, it appears that even today Tănase Maria has no feelings of loyalty to our regime, often showing herself to be hostile”. (Lt. Maj. Cibu Florin, Head of Office; Lt. Pană Petre, 2nd Directorate; vol.2, ff. 73-75)

Security surveillance continued until 1957, according to the file, after which the decision was taken to imprison him. The order was to come from Lt. Col. Holingher Isidor, the document adds. That same year Maria Tănase and her husband decided to leave Romania, but the plan was foiled when, by chance, the conversation was overheard by the same informant in the file, Historia magazine said.

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