Family of Six Living Among the Dead for 16 Years

Two adults and three children – the youngest of which is only two years old. They live among the dead, in a cemetary close to Timişoara, in the Western part of Romania. The children play among the gravesm they grow in the shadow of tombstones and, at night, they go to sleep next to the dead.

Mr. and Mrs. Hojdea used to have a home, but they lost it 16 years ago. Their house had been nationalized in the 1950′s and its former owners reposessed it with a court order, throwing them out in the street. The only shelter they could find was in the former construction workers’ barracks in the churchyard. The priest allowed them to settle and it’s there they’ve been living for over a decade and a half.

“There is no shame in it”, says Mrs. Daniela Hojdea. “We had to survive. It’s not luxury, but it’s a roof above the head”, adds the woman, whose family lives off children’s state allowance and from the traditional handouts given by mourning relatives at funerals. Despite their poverty, the elder children want to go to college and make something of themselves.

Another family from Timiş has been living in the locker room of a village stadium. Every Sunday, their only form of entertainment are the village football matches.

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