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Publication in France:
15 February 2018


The Child and the Dictator

Xavier-Marie Bonnot
Marion Le Roy Dagen

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‘If you can’t look after your children, the state will take care of them for you.’ This motto of the Ceausescu regime resulted in thousands of children being sent to children’s homes and virtually being left to die. Marion was one of them.

1989. In the midst of the Romanian revolution, the world’s television cameras revealed one of the most sombre facets of the concentration camp world of Nicolae Ceausescu’s communist regime, and it came as a genuine shock. The images showed children rocking backwards and forwards behind the bars of their filthy beds. The sickest children were at death’s door.

Marion was born into this dictatorship. Abandoned by her mother when she was not yet one, she was placed in one of Ceausescu’s orphanages, the dictator having made abortion illegal and contraceptives difficult to obtain in a formidable drive to boost the birth rate and increase the country’s population.
Marion was one of the statistics, and this is the story of a quest for identity, a search for the self, in the wake of a truncated childhood. Adopted at the age of six by a French couple, Marion has never stopped looking for her biological parents and trying to reconstruct her life.


Marion Le Roy Dagen was born in 1976 in Romania. She lives in Toulouse and works in the field of community education. She is the co-founder of the French NGO Orphelins de Roumanie. L’Enfant et le Dictateur is her first book.

Born in 1962, Xavier-Marie Bonnot is a writer and documentary filmmaker based in Paris. He won the 2016 Prix Cognac for his detective novel La Dame de pierre (Belfond, 2015), published in Italy by Edizioni del Capricorno, and with L’Enfant et le dictateur he turns his talents to non-fiction.

More information in french