"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". (George Santayana) Mircea Vulcănescu (3 March 1904, Bucharest -- 28 October 1952, Aiud) was a prominent Romanian philosopher, economist, ethics teacher and sociologist.
Vulcănescu studied Philosophy and Law at the University of Bucharest, graduating in 1925. He was then more attracted to Sociology, due to his field experiences (monograph campaigns) under the coordination of professor Dimitrie Gusti. Gusti became one of his most admired mentors, alongside Nae Ionescu. He was also Gusti's assistant at the University of Sociology in Bucharest. He started working towards a Ph. D. degree in Law and Sociology at the University of Paris, but dropped out later, due to the coming of the communist regime and his imprisonment. In the winter of 1927 he started collaborating with Gândirea ("The Thinking", a Romanian literary, political and art magazine) . King Carol the 2nd and, later, King Mihai the 1st offered him awards and distinctions for the services done to the Romanian nation and its culture.
From June 1935 to September 1937 he was director of the Customs Service, while in 1940 he was director of Casa Autonomă de Finanţare şi Amortizare. From January 27, 1941 to August 23, 1944, he was Undersecretary at the Ministry of Finance, in the Ion Antonescu government.
After the establishment of the communist regime, he was arrested on August 30, 1946, tried as a war criminal, and sentenced on October 9, 1946 to 8 years in prison. Incarcerated in Aiud, he died after 6 years, due to the harsh treatment he was subjected to. Fellow prisoners told the story of his death: he and a group of 12 other convicts form his cell were all punished to stay naked, without any clothes or chairs, in a very cold and wet cavern in the prison's dungeon, for reciting poetry (poetry was very popular in prisons that communists used to condemn people just for being intellectuals; it was one of the few resorts of resisting the mental torture) . An young man fell to the floor, risking to die of a lung disease, and Mircea Vulcănescu practically forced him to stay on top of him, rather than on the wet stone floor, and thus saved his life. He said: "I'm an old man, how can I let a young man like you die?". Yet he was only 48, an age many do not regard as "old". Soon after this, the young man was better, but Mircea Vulcănescu developed pneumonia, and soon after he died. His last words to the world were: "Do not revenge us!"