Informant or not? György Frunda’s Securitate files published
The long-time member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe asked for the help of the communist secret services at least once. However, the Securitate, hoping for a ‘compensation’, was not happy with the informations provided by Frunda.
„(Based on) this completely irrelevant sketch you cannot claim its author to be an informant. Everything points to the fact that he is not an informant and he will never become one. At least I am skeptical about it, but I am open to all arguments against it (…). It’s our duty to do everything in our powers to make this person an useful informant, one that he could become if he chose to.”
These sarcastic sentences were written by lieutenant colonel Roman Chercheş, the leader of the Counterintelligence Department of the Securitate in Mureș County, on the margins of a two-page report from November 12, 1987, in which György Frunda gave a detailed description of his trip to Western Europe.
Probably these frustrated lines describe best the ongoing cat and mouse game played by the Securitate and the young lawyer starting from 1979 until 1989.
One of the most prominent politicians of the Hungarian community
After the revolution, György Frunda had an impressive political career. As early as 1990, he became Member of Parliament on behalf of DAHR (the political party of the Hungarian community living in Romania).
Being a member of the Constituent Assembly in 1990-1992, he contributed to drafting the Romanian Constitution. In 1996 and 2000 he was the DAHR candidate in the presidential elections. In the ’90s his international career also took off: from 1993 to 2013, Frunda was member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), being a Vice-Chairperson of the European People’s Party Group.
The original piece in Hungarian:
In recent years, certain pieces of information have surfaced about Frunda’s collaboration with the communist secret services, the loathed Securitate. The former DAHR senator denied the allegations each time, saying that on the contrary, it was the Securitate that harassed him.
Based on Frunda’s Securitate files found at the National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives (CNSAS), we can say that the relation between Frunda and the secret services was not a straightforward one: every „rapprochement” was followed by „enstrangement”, and even though the lawyer has never rejected collaboration categorically, he was being careful and gave only general, not very useful information to the secret services.
He outwitted the Securitate
According to the documents at our disposal, the lawyer, who lived in a relative luxury during the ’80s in the Transylvanian town of Tîrgu Mureş/Marosvásárhely, asked the help of the Securitate once, if not twice when he intended travelling abroad.
After his return, he outwitted the Securitate officer who expected a ‘compensation’ of him: if he wrote reports, the information he sent in did not meet the expectations of the secret services. Sometimes he even failed to show show up at the meetings.
Based on the documents at its disposal, CNSAS has already declared, three times in a row, in 2004, 2005 and 2006 that Frunda did not collaborate with the Securitate. In April 2015 his case came up again, as new files were added to his case.
On the 21st of April 2015, CNSAS stated again, that despite the new documents, Frunda does not classify as an informant as he hasn’t reported on activity opposing the system, and his reports were not limiting any human rights.
However, the files clearly reveal that Frunda is not telling the truth when he says that he was not a collaborator, but on the contrary it was him who was harassed. He couldn’t have been the victim of Securitate as he asked the help of the secret services, making them believe that he would eventually return the favor.
A promising lawyer passionate about travel
The reports we have at our disposal follow the life of György Frunda during the ’80s. At this time Frunda was in his thirties, an led a relatively comfortable life as a young, talented and very popular lawyer.
At the invitation of a musicologist friend from New York, Frunda travels to the United States between the 3rd and the 31st of October, 1979. Following his return, in November he writes detailed reports about his travel (in those times, people traveling to the West were obliged to write these reports).
Besides the reports, the Securitate send several informants ato follow him and verify the content of his reports in order to exclude any possible contradiction. They wanted to find out his opinion about the US and see whether his behavior has changed, and understand the extent to which he was influenced by the connections acquired overseas.
Rejects to sign a written commitment with the Securitate
On the 5th of December, 1979 a report suggests Frunda’s recruitment in order to collect information on the activities, behaviors and concerns of foreigners visiting Tîrgu Mureş. He is recruited on the 19th of December, 1979 with the code name „Emil”, but he rejects to sign a written commitment.
During 1980 „Emil” writes eight reports about the foreigners who visit Tîrgu Mureş. He gives information about his neighbor with plans of marrying a foreigner and also reports on a visit of an American citizen born in Tîrgu Mureş.
According to his officer, captain Voșloban, these reports are short and factual. When he had to evaluate a person’s attitude, Frunda makes neutral or positive remarks.
He doesn’t show up at meetings
But the Securitate is not satisfied with „Emil’s” performance. On the 15th of June, 1982 they plan on give up on him, because
„since August, 1980 it is impossible to contact him and he hasn’t shown up at the meetings that were previously agreed on by all parties”.
Less than one month later, starting with July 14th, 1982 the Securitate starts following him more closely. This time he is given the code name „Furnea”. He has informants sent to follow him, his phone calls are intercepted, his correspondence is opened, and the conversations he has in restaurants with foreign visitors are wire-tapped.
Things change in January, 1985 when the Securitate seeks to contact György Frunda again. During 1985, a series of mostly positive evaluations are written about Frunda, and at the end of the reports Securitate officers give instructions on contacting him again and finding out whether he could be recruited.
Two years later, in 1987, Frunda wants to travel abroad again, this time to Western Europe. He asks for the help of Captain Puskás of the Securitate to obtain a passport.
Apart from contacting Captain Puskás on June 25th, Frunda writes to the Securitate as well. He makes a list of the people who would be hosting him abroad and presents the planned route of his trip, adding that
„Due to my vocation, I consider it my duty to inform authorities of cases of law infringement in the country (…) I do not need to be an informant in order to be fair and report about the possible attitudes that are against the law in case I become aware of it” – Frunda writes.
Securitate recruits him again in 1987
He must have been allowed to travel, because a handwritten, two page report on his trip, written on November 12, 1987 can be found among his files. In this report he mentions the people he met, the people who hosted him, and also talks about who they were and where they were working.
On October 30th, 1987 Captain Ferenc Puskás suggests Frunda’s recruitement, again, bringing up the following argument:
„We need to look for informants working within the justice system and recruit people with cultural and artistic interests, usually having a good network, especially because most of them maintain contact with suspicious foreigners and conduct activities that are of interest to the authorities.”
The recruitment takes place on the 30th of October 1987, in György Frunda’s home.
„Everything went as we planned: Frunda was very pleased and happy about the help received from the Captain, he gave a detailed description of his travel, talked about peole he had met and what he had seen (there are two reports about these), proving again that he has an exceptional memory and has a talent for summarizing facts and events.
We suggested that he collaborated with us on everything that might be of interest to us and help us the same way as we have when he requested it. The candidate declared that he was willing to help us, but we shouldn’t ask anything that falls within the category of professional secrecy. He also declared that due to his profession, he is familiar with his duties of notifying the competent bodies in case he becomes aware of any information that might be considered a threat to state security”.
Fails to show up, again
One year after his recruitment, on the 20th of December, 1988 an evaluation about his behaviour states the following: „the informant has not provided any information since the date of his recruitment and has not shown up to the meeting with the handler”. Moreover, as the report points out, Frunda maintains relations with his acquaintances living abroad,
Consequently, Frunda must be called in and must be told that he has to make a decision. Given that he is not working on important issues, he can be requalified to becoming a support person, if he is willing to collaborate. If not, we will observe him and deal with him later on – the report concludes.
In an interview given to Átlátszó Erdély, György Frunda denied categorically his collaboration with the Securitate.
Translation: Etelka Tamás-Blaha