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Romanian Says He Was Taken Hostage By Ceausescus

December 30, 1989

PARIS (AP) _ A Romanian washing his car was taken hostage by dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife as the couple tried to flee the revolt that toppled them, a newspaper said Saturday.

The man, who said he was forced to drive the couple around while Elena Ceausescu held what he believed to be a gun to his head, eventually was instrumental in their capture, the newspaper Liberation reported.

The Ceausescus were executed on Christmas Day.

The leftist daily, in a report from Bucharest, said Nicolae Petrisor, an employee at a merchandise distribution center in the city of Tirgoviste north of the capital, described the experience in an interview.

Petrisor was described as a man of about 40 years old, living in the village of Vacaresci, about four miles from Tirgoviste.

The Ceausescus had fled their palace by helicopter early on Dec. 22 in the face of a massive uprising by protesters and rebellious army units. They were reported captured a day later in the city of Tirgoviste.

Petrisor said the Ceausescus took him hostage as he was washing a car on Dec. 22, then forced him to drive them around Tirgoviste for several hours seeking a safe hiding place, Liberation reported.

The dictator, in the front seat of the black Dacia 1301 TX, was often in tears, such as when they were nearly captured by guards at a factory, Petrisor was quoted as saying.

″He kept saying: In my youth there was nothing here. I did everything for them. I did everything for them. I saw tears running down,″ Petrisor said, according to Liberation.

Elena Ceausescu, seated behind the driver, was much calmer, at times holding to his neck a cold metal object that he assumed was a pistol, the newspaper said.

Eventually, Petrisor stopped at a plant nursery where he knew people, and was told by Ceausescu to seek help, the newspaper said. He went in and told about a dozen people watching the revolution unfold on television that he had the Ceausescus outside in his car, according to the account.

″Everybody laughed, because the television had already announced the arrests of the couple,″ Liberation said.

But eventually his look of panic persuaded them, they invited the Ceausescus into an office, then locked them in and called the army, the newspaper reported. A convoy came quickly and took the couple away, probably to the nearby barracks, it said.

The Ceausescus’ trial and execution was announced three days later, on Christmas Day.

In Vienna, meanwhile, Austrian Interior Minister Franz Loeschnak said Marin Ceausescu, the late dictator’s eldest brother who was found hanging in the Romanian trade mission in Vienna on Thursday, was likely a spy.

Loeschnak said in an Austrian radio interview there were indications Marin Ceausescu was active in the intelligence service of his country.

Marin Ceausescu, 74, has been working as his country’s trade delegate to Austria since 1973.

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