Confiscated religious material smuggled into Romania



Confiscated religious material smuggled into Romania
Confiscarea unor materiale religioase strecurate în România


These photos were taken in 1984 and depict religious materials that were confiscated from three West German citizens who were trying to smuggle them into Romania. The first photo depicts the inside of the trailer that the tourists were driving. The material was carefully hidden inside it so that it would not be easily discovered by the Customs Officers. Based on the report that was attached to the photos, the materials were found in a specially designed place in the ceiling of the trailer.
The second and third photos depict all the materials that were confiscated from the German citizens. Among them we can see many Bibles, New Testaments, brochures, calendars, cassettes and songbooks. The report mentions that they were bought from a printing house in Stuttgart and were destined for so-called Neo-protestant churches (in Romania smaller Evangelical or new churches are referred to using this term).
According to the report present in the file, the three people belonging to the Evangelical Church tried to enter Romania in July 1984. The books and brochures that they were smuggling were supposed to reach the Evangelical Christian churches in Romania, as they had a lack of such materials. The officers rejected this assertion as fake propaganda that was being spread in Western countries. As usually happened in such cases, the materials were confiscated along with the list of names that they were supposed to be delivered to. The tourists were fined and not allowed to return to the country. Based on the information contained in the report, it seems that this case posed some problems for the Customs Officers and for the authorities. It made them ask for more thorough investigations in such cases in order to better understand the channels used by Western countries in order to smuggle these materials.

The photos can be found in the file CNSAS, D 00003, vol. 1. Apart from these three photos, there is one other photo referring to this particular case, 25 photos concerning two similar cases, as well as other police reports and instructive materials for the officers on how to act in these types of situations.

For related entries see:


Religion and State--Europe
Religion and Politics-- Europe
Secret police (secret service)
Romania. Securitatea
Communism and Christianity--Europe, Eastern
Communism--Europe, Eastern--History--20th century
Material culture--Religious aspects
Religious groups
Evidence photographs
Underground literature


Iuliana Cindrea


Consiliul Național pentru Studierea Arhivelor Securității
CNSAS, D 00003, vol. 1.


This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme No . 677355




Copyright for these images belongs to CNSAS
Consiliul Național pentru Studierea Arhivelor Securității


Image/ jpg






CNSAS, D 00003, vol. 1.

Bibliographic Citation

Iuliana Cindrea, "Confiscated religious material smuggled into Romania"

Date Created