Romanian secret police investigative methods Operation Leaflet



Romanian secret police investigative methods Operation Leaflet


The four images of documents selected here come from a documentary file on the “Catholic problem” and represent clues and evidence used by the Secret Police in order to identify the culprit who wrote a leaflet that requested that at a certain hour on the feast of the Virgin’s Ascension all Greek Catholics, Roman Catholics and friends of the Church should go into the former Greek Catholic churches and say a prayer so that God would grant Nicolae Ceaușescu wisdom to legalize the Greek Catholic Church. The four documents come from volume 6, 10 and 39 of the file and represent forensic sketches used by the Secret Police in identifying the culprit who wrote the leaflet, two typed pages with typewriter alphabet and text, picture of fingerprints on photos from suspected individuals. All these were part of Securitate’s arsenal of methods in capturing the person that initiated the original leaflet.
Operațiunea Apelul (Operation Leaflet) was the code name the Securitate gave to the search for the Greek Catholic person or group that wrote a leaflet/ series of leaflets signed by the Committee for the Salvation of the Romanian Greek Catholic Church in 1977. The leaflets were mailed to hundreds of addresses and spread to numerous catholic communities, apartments, churches quickly papering the whole country. Having the underground bishops and most of the more problematic voices of the Greek Catholic dissenters under surveillance the secret police was taken by surprise by this action especially because they had no idea who could have signed the leaflet and orchestrated this operation. From that moment onwards a huge sweep up operation began. The Securitate interrogated all their informants and all the underground bishops and priests. The secret police reactivated all their former informants and created new ones just so they could find who was responsible for the leaflet. For a long while they could not find anything, since nobody knew or was willing to talk about who the Committee for the Salvation of the Romanian Greek Catholic Church was. Thus, the Securitate officers changed tactics. They knew the post offices where the original letters were mailed from and had the original leaflet typed. They interrogated the post office employees and together with criminalists and a sketch artist they drew up several portrete robot (forensic sketches) that presumably represented the people who posted the letters and leaflets. They started to call in Greek Catholics, reactivating several databases of underground believers and clergy, to check their typewriter fonts so they would match the text the secret police had with the typewriter it was written on. This whole process extended over seven years with numerous resources put into the operation. Several arrests were made before they narrowed the search down to Fr. Mihai Pop, a Greek Catholic priest from Cluj.
The images come from file CNSAS D69 (volume 6, 10, 39). The file has over 100 volumes on the catholic problem in Romania and documents and photographs on Operation Leaflet appear throughout the file. Along with these images there are interrogation reports, personal files, surveillance reports, surveillance images, confiscated leaflets and propaganda materials.


Secret Police
Communism and religion
Evidence photographs
Minority religious groups
Communism--History--20th century
Religion -- History -- 20th century
Catholic Church--Byzantine rite, Greek


Anca Sincan


Consiliul Național pentru Studierea Arhivelor Securității (CNSAS) D69, vol 6, 10, 39


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




Anca Sincan


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










20th century, Romania

Bibliographic Citation

Anca Sincan, Romanian secret police investigative methods Operation Leaflet