Life in Communist Romania: A First-hand Account

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This summer, sophomores at University School of Milwaukee read the historical fiction book “I Must Betray You” by Ruta Sepetys. The book chronicles communist Romania amidst the tyrannical dictatorship of Nicolae Ceau┼čescu. In support of that reading, students had the opportunity to speak with the USM’s database manager, Deanna Hausmann, on Thursday, Sept. 8. Hausmann was born and raised in Romania and was a teenager during the Romanian Revolution in 1989. She is also the mother of Olivia ’22 and Eden ’24 Hausmann. 

Hausmann was interviewed by Raya El-Hajjar ’25, and shared with students what it was like to grow up in a communist regime, the hardships she and her family faced, and how she adjusted to life in America. Students had many questions for her, both related to Hausmann’s opinion of the book and what life was like in Romania. 

“Reading the book this summer brought up a lot of memories and emotions for me,” said Hausmann. “Life in communist Romania was difficult, but it could have been much worse, as the book describes. I was happy to be able to share my story and I think it resonated with the students.”