If you browse the records of the ex Securitate (Communist Secret Service in Romania), you can sometimes find yourself bursting into laughter, although for telling the jokes registered by the ex Securitate officers the jokers spent long years in prison.
Apart from tragedies, the researchers working on the archive now in the CNSAS (National Council for Research on the Communist Secret Service Archive) have run into funny things: involuntary humor, funny questionings, joke-crimes or jokes because of which one would get behind bars. The ex Securitate officers and collaborators would diligently write down all the jokes told by those they would watch.
Here are some examples: "I promise to support the Securitate structures until I get completely exhausted" or "He carried a horn to Putna and he blew it. He is going to be investigated on the horn's significance."
Professor Belu Zilber spent 17 years in prison after having made a joke on Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej. The ex Securitate used to listen to every joke that Mircea Crisan, the well-known comedian settled in the West, would tell on Free Europe Radio. In today's Romanian edition of the newspaper you can read some of the jokes one used to go to jail for two decades ago. (...) (T.S.)