Kent Klich: Children of Ceausescu

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More than a decade after the fall of the Iron Curtain and the overthrow and execution of brutal Romanian dictator Nicholas Ceausescu, the worst AIDS epidemic among children in the world bears out its infamous legacy in Romania, still one of the poorest and most fractured societies in Eastern Europe.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, government hospitals and orphanages were told to systematically treat the malnourished and anemic children with a fast-fix “pick-me-up” consisting of transfusions of unscreened plasma, blood later found to be tainted with HIV. Over this last decade, thousands have died; but almost 10,000 children with AIDS remain, still alive. The tragedy continues.

Kent Klich, who began his career as a psychologist, traveled to Romania from 1994 though 1995 to document the appalling aftermath of Ceausescuís horror. In Children of Ceausescu, Klich gives us visceral images and brief life stories of the boys and girls who still suffer from the stateís mass experiment. Compassionate yet unflinching, these photographs give us a glimpse of the daily lives of these children, both terrible and mundane. They run and jump in puddles, they laugh out loud and draw pictures of flowers and birds, but they also know disease and death intimately and the realities of their infection are overpowering.

150 b/w images • Foreword by Herta Müller • Text by Kent Klich • Translation to Swedish: Boo Cassel • Editors: Gösta Flemming, Lesley A. Martin • Design and layout: Tina Enghoff, Fred Ritchin • Co-published with Umbrage Editions/Nan Richardson, New York, USA (U.S. and Canada) • Hard cover • 200 x 270 mm • 104 pages • Two editions: English (Europe) and Swedish • 2001

Shortlisted for the Swedish Photobook/Best Photobook Award 2002.