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Nicolae studied at the village school until at the age of 11, when he ran away from his extremely religious, abusive and strict father to Bucharest.He initially lived with his sister, Niculina Rusescu, and then became an apprentice shoemaker.In 1943, he was transferred to Târgu Jiu internment camp, where he shared a cell with Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, becoming his protégé.Enticed with substantial bribes, the camp authorities gave the Communist prisoners much freedom in running their cell block, provided they did not attempt to break out of prison.The revelation that Ceaușescu was responsible resulted in a massive spread of rioting and civil unrest across the country.Ceaușescu and his wife, Elena, fled the capital in a helicopter, but were captured by the armed forces after the armed forces changed sides.

In the rest of the Soviet bloc, there were a series of purges in this period that led to the "home communists" being executed or imprisoned.

– 25 December 1989) was a Romanian Communist politician.

He was general secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and hence the second and last Communist leader of Romania.

In 1952, Gheorghiu-Dej brought him onto the Central Committee months after the party's "Muscovite faction" led by Ana Pauker had been purged.

In the late 1940s-early 1950s, the Party had been divided into the "home communists" headed by Gheorghiu-Dej who remained inside Romania prior to 1944 and the "Muscovites" who had gone into exile in the Soviet Union.

After World War II, when Romania was beginning to fall under Soviet influence, Ceaușescu served as secretary of the Union of Communist Youth (1944–1945).