Silviu Craciunas (in Romanian: Crăciunaș; 1914–1998) was a Romanian writer, best known for his 1961 book The Lost Footsteps. That is his account of imprisonment, torture and persecution at the hands of the communists. The book was heavily praised when it came out in the West in 1961, receiving strong reviews in The Economist and the Times Literary Supplement among others. However, it has since been alleged that Craciunas was actually a double agent in the pay of Romanian secret police, the Securitate.
Craciunas was born in Miluan in northwestern Romania, as the son of an Orthodox priest. He studied medicine and then law at Cluj University, receiving his doctor's degree in Law and Economics and Political Science in 1940.
He worked in the glass and sugar industries, prior to the communist takeover of the country. The communists nationalized all privately owned factories in 1948, and Craciunas ostensibly became involved in the anti-communist underground movement, helping to smuggle people out of Romania.
Craciunas was first arrested in 1938 for having fascist manifestos on him. In 1948, he was arrested again, this time for having helped people flee Romania, and after reaching an agreement with the Securitate, it seems, he was sent abroad posing as a refugee. In Paris, he took contact with the Romanian National Committee, a Romanian exiles' organization, and with its help, and with the help of Western intelligence agencies, he returned in 1949 clandestinely to Romania, where he submitted his first report to the Securitate regarding the Romanian exile community. After a few months, he was arrested again by the authorities under suspicion of being a double agent. He spent four years in the Malmaison prison, after which he was transferred to a prison hospital in Suceava, from where he managed to "flee". In 1955, he signed a formal agreement with the Securitate to work for them as an informer. In 1957, he returned to the West, where he obtained political asylum in Great Britain in 1959. In 1977, he emigrated to Spain, where he stayed for ten years, before returning to Great Britain.
Craciunas died in Brighton and Hove, in 1998.
- The Lost Footsteps, 1961, translated into several languages