National Legionary State

The National Legionary State was a totalitarian fascist regime which governed Romania for five months, from 14 September 1940 until its official dissolution on 14 February 1941. The regime was led by General Ion Antonescu in partnership with the Iron Guard, an ultra-nationalist, antisemitic, antiziganist, anti-communist, anti-capitalist and pro-Eastern Orthodox party. Though the Iron Guard had been in the Romanian Government since 28 June 1940, on 14 September it achieved dominance, leading to the proclamation of the National Legionary State.

On 27 September 1940, Romania withdrew from the Balkan Pact. On 8 October, German troops began crossing into Romania, and soon numbered over 500,000. On 23 November Romania formally joined the Axis powers. On 27 November, 64 former dignitaries or officials were executed by the Iron Guard in the Jilava Massacre. The already harsh anti-Semitic legislation was expanded, included the expropriation of Jewish-owned rural property on 4 October, followed by forests on 17 November, and finally by river transport on 4 December.[1]

On 20 January 1941, the Iron Guard attempted a coup, combined with a pogrom against the Jews of Bucharest. Within four days, Antonescu had successfully suppressed the coup, and the Iron Guard was forced out of the government. Sima and many other Legionnaires took refuge in Germany, while others were imprisoned. Antonescu formally abolished the National Legionary State on 14 February 1941.

National Legionary State

Statul Național Legionar
Romania 1940 1941 ro
Common languagesRomanian
GovernmentFascist one-party totalitarian duumvirate under a constitutional monarchy
• 1940–1941
Ion Antonescu
Horia Sima (leader of the Iron Guard, on an equal footing with the Conducător)
• 1940–1941
Michael I
• Established
14 September 1940
• Disestablished
14 February 1941
• Total
195,000 km2 (75,000 sq mi)
• 1941
13.5 million
ISO 3166 codeRO
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Romania
Kingdom of Romania
Today part of Romania


The Iron Guard first formed an alliance with the Romanian Government in early 1938, when the then-Prime Minister Octavian Goga concluded an agreement with the leader of the Iron Guard, Corneliu Zelea Codreanu on 8 February 1938 for limited cooperation. However, this political arrangement displeased the King Carol II, who dismissed Goga on 11 February and replaced him with Patriarch Miron Cristea.[2][3][4]

Between 28 June and 4 July 1940 Horia Sima, the nominal leader of the Iron Guard after the death of Codreanu, served as Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Education. The Iron Guard was brought into the Ion Gigurtu's cabinet, which took power on 4 July 1940, after the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. Three Guardists were appointed to the new government: Vasile Noveanu as Minister of Public Wealth, Sima as Minister of Religion and Arts, and Augustin Bideanu as Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Finance. However, Sima resigned on 7 July, because he was denied a purely Guardist cabinet, while his two colleagues retained their posts. An Iron Guard supporter and ideologue, Nichifor Crainic, became Minister of Propaganda.[5][6] Following Sima's resignation on 7 July, he was replaced by another Guardist, Radu Budișteanu.[7]

Territory and population

The territory of the National Legionary State amounted to roughly 195,000 square km (or just over 75,000 square miles). It had the same territory as modern day Romania, with the exception of Northern Transylvania, which had been ceded to Hungary in the aftermath of the Second Vienna Award.[8] It also possessed several islands in the Danube Delta, as well as Snake Island in the Black Sea. These have been part of Ukraine since 1948.[9]

A Romanian census was conducted on 6 April 1941 and recorded a population of 13,535,757.[10] Though the census was conducted almost two months after the dissolution of the National Legionary State, Romania's borders were the same.


Ion Antonescu and Horia Sima, the leaders of the National Legionary State

King Carol II was forced to abdicate on 6 September 1940, and was replaced by his 19-year old son, Michael. The first act of the new king was to grant General Ion Antonescu unlimited power as Conducător (leader) of Romania, relegating himself to a ceremonial role. A decree of 8 September further defined Antonescu's powers.[11] To maintain his grip at the helm of the country, while at the same time conceding the leading role to the Iron Guard, Antonescu had King Michael proclaim Romania a National Legionary State on 14 September. The Legionary Movement/Iron Guard became the "only movement recognized in the new state", making Romania a totalitarian country.

Antonescu became the legion's honorary leader, with Sima becoming Deputy Prime Minister. Five other Guardists became ministers, among them Prince Mihai Sturza (Minister of Foreign Affairs) and General Constantin Petrovicescu (Minister of Interior). Legionary Prefects were appointed in all of the fifty Romanian counties.[12][13] The Guard was awarded four portfolios: Interior, Education, Foreign Affairs, and Cults. In addition, most of the permanent secretaries and directors in the ministries were also Guardists. As the dominant political force, the Guard also controlled the press and propaganda services.[14]

On 6 October 1940, Antonescu attended an Iron Guard rally dressed in Legionary uniform. On 8 October, German troops began crossing into Romania, and soon numbered over 500,000. On 23 November Romania joined the Axis powers. On 27 November, 64 former dignitaries or officials were executed by the Iron Guard in Jilava prison while awaiting trial (see Jilava Massacre). Later that day, historian and former prime minister Nicolae Iorga and economist Virgil Madgearu, a former government minister, were assassinated. On 1 December, another Iron Guard rally took place at Alba Iulia to celebrate 22 years since the Union of Transylvania with Romania. Antonescu again attended, and gave a speech.[15]

After the National Legionary State was proclaimed in 14 September, the Legion became the ruling party but had to share executive power with the Army. The new Legionary regime had a ritual basis based on the cult of the Guard's dead leader (Codreanu) and other Legionary martyrs. Exhumation, public burial and rehabilitation of Legionary "martyrs" was retrospectively regarded by Sima as the most important task justifying the Legion's accession to power. The exhumation of Codreanu's remains and subsequent reburial (21-23 November) reaffirmed Condreanu's charisma as the foundation of Legionary ideology. On the day of Codreanu's reburial, the main Legionary newspaper, Cuvântul (The Word), wrote: "It is the day of the Captain's resurrection. He is resurrected, as he promised, according to the Gospel. He is resurrected, rising from the grave to present to us Romania itself, buried by this sinful age.". A young Emil Cioran in his twenties strongly endorsed Codreanu's cult: "With the exception of Jesus, no other dead being has been so present among the living. Has anybody even thought about forgetting him? This dead man spread a perfume of eternity over our human dung and brought back the sky over Romania." Soon after Codreanu's reburial, however, the Legion committed the Jilava Massacre, killing over 60 former dignitaries. The Legion thus achieved its goals: the old order collapsed under its blows and all of the Legion's enemies were punished.[16] The reburial of Codreanu's body took place on 30 November, in attendance was Antonescu, Sima, von Schirach, Bohle and 100,000 Iron Guardists.[17]

The decree which established the National Legionary regime on 14 September placed Antonescu and Sima on an equal footing. On 28 October, Sima accused Antonescu of violating the decree by allowing democratic parties to function. He asserted that such political diversity was contrary to the principles of a totalitarian state. Sima also wanted to apply Nazi principles to Romania's economy in order to bring all of it under centralized control. He addressed a letter to Antonescu in this sense on 16 October, but the latter rejected the idea. Relations between Antonescu and the Guard reached breaking point after the Jilava Massacre. Despite the mounting tension, the two parties achieved a truce for the moment, which allowed a Legionary to keep the post of Bucharest Police Chief but provided for the public condemnation of the Jilava murders.[18]

Several antisemitic decrees were enacted by the National Legionary State. Jewish-owned rural property was expropriated on 4 October, followed by forests on 17 November, and finally by river transport on 4 December.[1]

On 10 November 1940, the National Legionary State faced a massive earthquake which destroyed 65,000 homes.

Outside developments

In early October 1940, 15,000 German troops were deployed to Romania to protect the oil refineries at Ploiești, which were essential for the German war effort. This unilateral German action, carried out without consulting Benito Mussolini (Hitler's Axis ally and leader of Fascist Italy), prompted the latter to launch an invasion of Greece. The ensuing Greco-Italian War resulted in a military blunder, as the Greeks counter-attacked and occupied parts of Italian-ruled Albania for half a year.[19] The entrance of German troops in Romania was not an invasion, however, as it occurred with Antonescu's approval.[20] The first German troops arrived in Romanian on 10 October, partly as a response to Antonescu's request for military assistance, in addition to their main goal of defending the Romanian oil fields.[21] Romania subsequently joined the Tripartite Pact and the Anti-Comintern Pact on 23 November and 25 November, respectively.[22] Despite this tightening of relations with Germany, the German minority in Romania (numbering 300,000 after Romania's territorial losses) was not entirely spared the process of Romanianization. While few Germans from Banat and Transylvania were repatriated to the Reich, the number of ethnic Germans from Southern Bukovina and Dobruja who were repatriated amounted to 76,500. The German-Romanian convention which sanctioned these repatriations was signed on 22 October 1940. According to the convention, the Romanian state received the real estate previously possessed by the repatriated Germans in exchange for paying compensation to the Reich. The newly-acquired property (lands and houses) would be used by the Romanian state to accommodate ethnic Romanian refugees from Bulgaria, displaced in the aftermath of the Treaty of Craiova.[23] On 4 December, a ten-year trade agreement was signed between Romania and Germany, providing for the "economic reconstruction" of Romania.[24]

On 27 September 1940, Romania withdrew from the Balkan Pact. That same day, a trade agreement was signed with one of the Pact members, Turkey. On 19 December, another trade agreement was signed between Romania and Yugoslavia, another member of the Balkan Pact. During the last days of the National Legionary State, on 10 and 12 February, Britain and Belgium severed relations with Romania.[25]

Border skirmishes with the Soviet Union spanned across the duration of the National Legionary State. In the autumn of 1940, the Soviets occupied several Romanian islands in the Danube Delta. Frontier incidents occurred on a daily basis. Soviet troops were concentrated on the Romanian border, Soviet aircraft made incessant incursions in Romania's air space, and - in January 1941 - Soviet vessels attempted to enter Romanian waters by force.[26] Tensions peaked in January 1941, when the Soviets demanded by ultimatum the control of the Danube Delta. Border clashes ensued near Galați (Covurlui County), where the Romanians were mining the Danube, during which between 26 and 100 were killed on both sides.[27]


On 20 January 1941, the Iron Guard attempted a coup, combined with a pogrom against the Jews of Bucharest. On 22 January, at the height of the Rebellion, the Iron Guard carried out the ritual murder of 200 Jews at the Bucharest slaughterhouse, while the Guardists were singing Christian hymns, "an act of ferocity perhaps unique in the history of the Holocaust".[28] Within four days, Antonescu had successfully suppressed the coup. The Iron Guard was forced out of the government. Sima and many other legionnaires took refuge in Germany, while others were imprisoned. Antonescu abolished the National Legionary State, in its stead declaring Romania a "National and Social State."

The suppression of the Rebellion also provided some data on the military equipment used by the Iron Guard, amounting to 5,000 firearms (revolvers, rifles and machine guns) and numerous grenades in Bucharest alone.[29] The Legion also possessed a small armored force of two armored police cars and two Malaxa UE armored tracked carriers.[30] For transport, in Bucharest alone, the Legion also possessed almost 200 trucks.[31]

On 14 February 1941, the National Legionary State was formally abolished. Over 9,000 people implicated in the Legionary Rebellion were subsequently arrested, of which almost 2,000 (1,842, to be exact) were sentenced to various terms, ranging from a few months to life in prison.[32][33][34]

Military production

Small arms

Between 1938 and June 1941, Romania produced over 5,000 ZB vz. 30 light machine guns.[35] This accounts for an average monthly production of over 120 machine guns, meaning that around 500 were produced by the National Legionary State during its 4 months of existence.

Artillery pieces

Between 1938 and May 1941, Romania produced 102 Rheinmetall 37 mm anti-aircraft guns.[36] This accounts for an average monthly production of 2.5 pieces, meaning that around 10 were produced by the National Legionary State during its 4 months of existence.

Between 1936 and July 1941, Romania produced 100 Vickers 75 mm anti-aircraft guns.[37] This accounts for an average monthly production of 1.5 pieces, meaning that around 6 were produced by the National Legionary State during its 4 months of existence.

Armored vehicles

Between the latter half of 1939 and March 1941, Romania produced 126 Malaxa armored tractors.[38] This accounts for an average monthly production of just over 6 tractors, meaning that around 25 were produced by the National Legionary State during its 4 months of existence.


During the National Legionary State, between October and December 1940, 20 IAR 39 light bombers were delivered.[39] Between April 1939 and March 1943, Romania produced 210 Fleet 10G trainers.[40] This accounts for an average monthly production of 4.5 aircraft, meaning that around 17 were produced by the National Legionary State during its 4 months of existence.


The National Legionary State ushered in Romania's Axis membership, first de facto by welcoming the German Army into the country, and soon afterwards, de jure through the signing of the Tripartite and Anti-Comintern Pacts. It also did away with most of Romania's traditional political class during the Jilava massacre before being suppressed itself in January 1941, then formally abolished in February. Several historically valuable footage survive from the National Legionary State era, such as a joint speech by Antonescu and Sima[41] and the funeral of the Guard's founder, Corneliu Zelea Codreanu.[42]

Stamps from the era of the National Legionary State

Legionary stamp
Ion Mota si Vasile Marin

See also


  1. ^ a b Keith Hitchins, Clarendon Press, 1994, Romania 1866-1947, p. 484
  2. ^ Dennis Deletant, Springer, 2016, British Clandestine Activities in Romania during the Second World War, p. 33
  3. ^ Hans Rogger, Eugen Weber, University of California Press, 1966, The European Right: A Historical Profile, p. 551
  4. ^ Jean W. Sedlar,, 2007, The Axis Empire in Southeast Europe, 1939-1945, p. 20
  5. ^ D. Deletant, Springer, 2006, Hitler's Forgotten Ally: Ion Antonescu and his Regime, Romania 1940-1944, p. 51
  6. ^ R. Haynes, Springer, 2016, Romanian Policy Towards Germany, 1936-40, p. 147
  7. ^ Institute for Historical Review, 1986, The Journal of Historical Review, Volume 7, Issues 1-2, p. 213
  8. ^ Marina Cattaruzza, Stefan Dyroff, Dieter Langewiesche, Berghahn Books, 2012, Territorial Revisionism and the Allies of Germany in the Second World War: Goals, Expectations, Practices, p. 98
  9. ^ Grigore Stamate, Editura Militară, 1997, Frontiera de stat a României, p. 79 (in Romanian)
  10. ^ Enciclopedia de istorie a României, Editura Meronia, 2002, Recensămintele României: 1899-1992, p. 358 (in Romanian)
  11. ^ D. Deletant, Springer, 2006, Hitler's Forgotten Ally: Ion Antonescu and his Regime, Romania 1940-1944, p. 53
  12. ^ D. Deletant, Springer, 2006, Hitler's Forgotten Ally: Ion Antonescu and his Regime, Romania 1940-1944, pp. 57-58
  13. ^ Payne, Stanley (1995). A History of Fascism, 1914-1945. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 0203501322.
  14. ^ Keith Hitchins, Cambridge University Press, 2014, A Concise History of Romania, p. 204
  15. ^ Gh. Buzatu, Editura Mica Valahie, A History of Romanian Oil Vol II, pp. 366-367
  16. ^ John Lampe, Mark Mazower, Central European University Press, 2004, Ideologies and National Identities: The Case of Twentieth-Century Southeastern Europe, p. 40
  17. ^ Gh. Buzatu, Editura Mica Valahie, A History of Romanian Oil Vol II, p. 367
  18. ^ Keith Hitchins, Clarendon Press, 1994, Rumania 1866-1947, pp. 464-465
  19. ^ Richard Z. Freemann, Jr.,, 2016, A Concise History of the Second World War: Its Origin, Battles and Consequences, p. 100
  20. ^ Raphael Shen, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1997, The Restructuring of Romania's Economy: A Paradigm of Flexibility and Adaptability, p. 5
  21. ^ Keith Hitchins, Cambridge University Press, 2014, A Concise History of Romania, p. 205
  22. ^ David Nicholls, ABC-CLIO, 2000, Adolf Hitler: A Biographical Companion, p. 225
  23. ^ S. Ionescu, Springer, 2015, Jewish Resistance to ‘Romanianization’, 1940-44, p. 110
  24. ^ Gh. Buzatu, Editura Mica Valahie, A History of Romanian Oil Vol II, p. 367
  25. ^ Gh. Buzatu, Editura Mica Valahie, A History of Romanian Oil Vol II, pp. 366-368
  26. ^ D. Deletant, Springer, 2006, Hitler's Forgotten Ally: Ion Antonescu and his Regime, Romania 1940-1944, p. 280
  27. ^ Douglas M. Gibler, Rowman & Littlefield, 2018, International Conflicts, 1816-2010: Militarized Interstate Dispute Narratives, pp. 378-379
  28. ^ Norman Manea, Grove Press, 1993, On Clowns: The Dictator and the Artist : Essays, p. 92
  29. ^ Henry Robinson Luce, Time Inc., 1941, Time, Volume 37, p. 29
  30. ^ Auswärtiges Amt, H.M. Stationery Office, 1961, Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918-1945: The aftermath of Munich, Oct. 1938-March 1939, p. 1179
  31. ^ Roland Clark, Cornell University Press, 2015, Holy Legionary Youth: Fascist Activism in Interwar Romania, p. 232
  32. ^ Keith Hitchins, Clarendon Press, 1994, Romania 1866-1947, p. 469
  33. ^ L. Leustean, Springer, 2008, Orthodoxy and the Cold War: Religion and Political Power in Romania, 1947-65, p. 54
  34. ^ Rebecca Haynes, Martyn Rady, I.B.Tauris, 2013, In the Shadow of Hitler: Personalities of the Right in Central and Eastern Europe, p. 283
  35. ^ Mark Axworthy, London: Arms and Armour, 1995, Third Axis, Fourth Ally: Romanian Armed Forces in the European War, 1941–1945, p. 29
  36. ^ Mark Axworthy, London: Arms and Armour, 1995, Third Axis, Fourth Ally: Romanian Armed Forces in the European War, 1941–1945, p. 30
  37. ^ Mark Axworthy, London: Arms and Armour, 1995, Third Axis, Fourth Ally: Romanian Armed Forces in the European War, 1941–1945, p. 30
  38. ^ Mark Axworthy, London: Arms and Armour, 1995, Third Axis, Fourth Ally: Romanian Armed Forces in the European War, 1941–1945, p. 33
  39. ^ Mark Axworthy, London: Arms and Armour, 1995, Third Axis, Fourth Ally: Romanian Armed Forces in the European War, 1941–1945, p. 245
  40. ^ Mark Axworthy, London: Arms and Armour, 1995, Third Axis, Fourth Ally: Romanian Armed Forces in the European War, 1941–1945, p. 272
  41. ^ Horia Sima and Ion Antonescu speech (YouTube)
  42. ^ Codreanu funeral (YouTube)
Carol II of Romania

Carol II (15 October 1893 – 4 April 1953) reigned as King of Romania from 8 June 1930 until his abdication on 6 September 1940.

Carol was the eldest son of Ferdinand I and became crown prince upon the death of his grand-uncle, King Carol I in 1914. He was the first of the Hohenzollern kings of Romania to be born in the country (both of his predecessors were born and grew up in Germany and only came to Romania as adults). Carol, by contrast, spoke Romanian as his first language and was the first member of the Romanian royal family to be raised in the Orthodox faith.He possessed a hedonistic personality that contributed to the controversies marring his reign, and his life was marked by numerous scandals, among them marriages to Zizi Lambrino and Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark, daughter of King Constantine I of Greece. His continued affairs with Magda Lupescu obliged him to renounce his succession rights in 1925 and leave the country. Princess Helen eventually divorced him in 1928.

King Ferdinand died in 1927 and Carol's five-year-old son ascended the throne as Michael I. Carol then returned to Romania in 1930 and replaced his son and the regency that had been in place. His reign was marked by re-alignment with Nazi Germany, adoption of anti-semitic laws and ultimately evolved into a personal dictatorship beginning in 1938. On 6 September 1940, he was forced by his Prime Minister Ion Antonescu to leave the country and withdraw abroad into exile. He was succeeded by his son Michael.

Constantin Petrovicescu

Constantin Petrovicescu (Romanian pronunciation: [konstanˈtin petroviˈt͡ʃesku]; October 22, 1883 – September 8, 1949) was a Romanian soldier and politician, who served as Interior Minister from September 14, 1940 to January 21, 1941 during the National Legionary State.

A sympathizer and secret member of the fascist Iron Guard movement, he was also the royal commissioner involved in the 1934 acquittal of Guard leader Corneliu Zelea Codreanu. Petrovicescu was assigned his ministerial position by Codreanu's successor Horia Sima, serving as one of the main Iron Guardists in the conflicted cabinet headed by Ion Antonescu. In this capacity, he helped Sima obtain control of an armed structure, and, taking the party's side during the Legionnaires' rebellion of 1941, helped organize it in combat against Antonescu.

Captured and tried, Petrovicescu spent the longer part of World War II in confinement or house arrest. He was retried for war crimes two years after the King Michael Coup, and sentenced to life imprisonment. He died in Aiud prison almost two years after a Romanian communist regime had been established.

Corpul Muncitoresc Legionar

Corpul Muncitoresc Legionar or Corpul Muncitorilor Legionari (CML, the Legionary Worker Corps or Legionary Workers' Corps) was a fascist association of workers in Romania, created inside the Iron Guard (which was originally known as the Legionary Movement) and having a rigid hierarchical structure. From its creation until September 1940, the CML was led by Gheorghe Clime; afterwards, the position was filled by Dumitru Groza, who oversaw the Corps during the period when the Iron Guard was in power — the National Legionary State —, and involved it in the 1941 Rebellion and Pogrom. The CML had its headquarters in Bucharest, on Calea Călăraşilor.Together with the Iron Guard, it was outlawed by Conducător Ion Antonescu during the Rebellion, and dissolved itself. In time, the group formed around Dumitru Groza was drawn into collaboration with Antonescu, and later refused to become involved in talks with the Romanian Communist Party over the possibility of a political truce.


Cuvântul (Romanian pronunciation: [kuˈvɨntul], meaning "The Word") was a daily newspaper, published by philosopher Nae Ionescu in Bucharest, Romania, from 1926 to 1934, and again in 1938. It was primarily noted for progressively adopting a far right and fascist agenda, and for supporting, during the 1930s, the revolutionary fascist Iron Guard.

Dumitru Iuca

Dumitru Iuca (March 7, 1882 – November 27, 1940) was a Romanian politician.

Born in Giurgiu, he studied law in university before practicing as a lawyer with the Vlașca County bar. Entering the National Liberal Party (PNL), Iuca was named prefect of Vlașca in 1914, and also served as mayor of his hometown. In 1919, he was elected to the Assembly of Deputies. In the 1930s, he formed part of a relatively younger faction within the PNL, alongside Gheorghe Tătărescu, Victor Iamandi, Ion Inculeț, Richard Franasovici and Valer Pop. This clashed with the older wing led by Dinu Brătianu and was eventually driven to join the camarilla surrounding King Carol II.Iuca was deputy state secretary in the Interior Ministry from November 1933 to August 1936. This period was marked by violent clashes between the government and the Iron Guard, culminating with the latter's assassination of Prime Minister Ion G. Duca at the end of 1933 and the repression that followed. Iuca was part of the ministerial apparatus tasked with maintaining order. In August 1936, in a cabinet led by Tătărescu, he was promoted to Interior Minister, serving until the following February.As minister, Iuca oversaw measures to consolidate police forces in order to better face the Guardist threat. However, despite their breach of a provision in the 1923 Constitution that barred unauthorized service in foreign armies, he helped facilitate the funerals of Ion Moța and Vasile Marin, arranging for a special funeral train outside the normal schedule. Moreover, he was obliged to deal with separatism by Hungarian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian and Russian minorities. After Tătărescu himself took over the ministry, Iuca served as state secretary with ministerial rank but without portfolio. He resigned from this post in early April.He died in Bucharest in November 1940, during the National Legionary State.

Eugen Chirnoagă

Eugen Chirnoagă (1891–June 14, 1965) was a Romanian chemist.

A graduate of the Physics and Chemistry Faculty of the University of Bucharest, he followed up his undergraduate education with three years of study in London that led to a doctorate in 1925, and further specialization at Uppsala University, before he became a professor at the Bucharest Polytechnic. A prominent member of the Iron Guard, his term as rector of the Polytechnic roughly coincided with the time the Guard spent in power under the National Legionary State: October 9, 1940 to January 27, 1941. During this period, one committee, led by University of Bucharest rector Petre P. Panaitescu, examined the views of professors nationwide, its objective being the firing of those with anti-Nazi views. A similar committee, led by Chirnoagă, targeted the staff of specialized universities. Upon the outbreak of the Legionnaires' rebellion that would end with the Guard's fall from power, its leader Horia Sima sent Panaitescu and Chirnoagă to negotiate with Conducător Ion Antonescu. The latter showed himself open to concessions, which led Sima to formulate demands he found unacceptable. After the King Michael Coup and the fall of Antonescu, a purging committee was set up at the Polytechnic in the autumn of 1944. The following May, this committee removed Chirnoagă from his position as professor.

Gheorghe N. Leon

Gheorghe N. Leon (April 29, 1888 – December 29, 1959) was a Romanian economist and politician.

Born in Iași, his father was the biologist Nicolae Leon. He graduated from the law faculty of the University of Iași, followed in 1914 by a doctorate in political economy and finance from the University of Jena, where his doctoral adviser was Lujo Brentano. After World War I and the union of Transylvania with Romania, he was hired as to teach finance and statistics at the law faculty of the new Cluj University. He was also affiliated with the Cluj Commercial Academy, entering that institution in 1919 and rising to full professor in 1926. In 1935, he was transferred to the University of Bucharest. In 1926, he became general secretary at the Industry and Commerce Ministry, while from October 1934 to August 1936, he was deputy state secretary at the Agriculture and Domains Ministry. In 1936, he became a censor at the National Bank of Romania, and the following year joined the administration of the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Company. He belonged to the National Liberal Party, and was elected to the Assembly of Deputies in 1927. The president of the Romanian Economists' Society, in 1926 he founded and began editing Analele statistice și economice magazine.During the latter half of the year 1940, Leon held several ministerial posts. From July 4 until September 14, a period that spanned the Ion Gigurtu ministry and the first ten days of Ion Antonescu's rule, he was Minister of National Economy and interim Minister of Finance and of Agriculture and Domains. Additionally, from July 4 to 10, he was interim Foreign Trade Minister. After the founding of the National Legionary State on September 14, he remained as National Economy Minister until November 10. At that point, he resigned and resumed his university activity. In May 1946, under a Romanian Communist Party-dominated government, he was arrested, and in September 1947 was removed from teaching. Rearrested in 1948, shortly after a communist regime was imposed, he was tried for war crimes by a military court together with other members of the Gigurtu government and sentenced to prison. He was held at both Jilava and Sighet prisons, and after the latter was closed in 1955, was sent to Râmnicu Sărat prison. He died there in 1959.

Ion Macovei

Ion Macovei (August 25, 1885–October 12, 1950) was a Romanian engineer who briefly served in government in 1940.

Born in Nereju, Vrancea County, he attended a polytechnic institute in Germany and became an engineer. Hired by the state railway carrier Căile Ferate Române in 1911, he rose through the ranks from maintenance work at Adjud and Bârlad to inspector at Galați in 1919 to deputy department head (1931) and department head (1932), before becoming deputy general director in 1935 and general director in 1936. On June 1, 1940, he entered the cabinet of Gheorghe Tătărescu as Minister of Public Works and Communications. He replaced Ion Gigurtu, who in turn replaced Grigore Gafencu as Foreign Minister. The latter had resigned in protest against the backdrop of German victories in Western Europe. When Gigurtu ascended to the post of Prime Minister on July 4, Macovei remained in his cabinet. The final phase of his ministerial service lasted from September 4 to 14, from the time Ion Antonescu assumed power to the establishment of the National Legionary State. Arrested by the communist regime in May 1950, he died at Sighet prison five months later. His wife Ecaterina was arrested in 1952.

Ion V. Gruia

Ion V. Gruia (November 14, 1895–November 14, 1952) was a Romanian jurist who briefly served in government in 1940.

Born in Roman, he obtained a doctorate in law and practiced as a lawyer. He was also a professor of constitutional and administrative law at the law faculty of Bucharest University, where he became dean in 1941. He was a member of the Assembly of Deputies. He served as Minister of Justice in two cabinets during the summer of 1940: under Ion Gigurtu from July 4 to September 4, and under Ion Antonescu from September 4 to 14, until the establishment of the National Legionary State. While minister, Gruia helped introduce an anti-Jewish law. Taking up a discourse articulated by eugenicist Petru Râmneanțu in 1935, he declared in a statement published on August 9, "We consider Romanian blood as a fundamental element in the founding of the Nation." He proceeded to invoke historical motives and "the realities of Romania" in order to justify the law, which banned Jews from owning rural properties, using Romanian names or marrying ethnic Romanians; segregating Jews in schools and dismissing all Jewish state employees within three to six months (a process that had already begun in July). Removed from teaching in 1948, shortly after the communist regime was established, he was arrested in 1949. In 1950, he was sent to Sighet prison, where he died two years later.

Iron Guard

The Iron Guard (Romanian: Garda de fier pronounced [ˈɡarda de ˈfjer] (listen)) is the name most commonly given to a fascist movement and political party in Romania founded in 1927 by Corneliu Zelea Codreanu as the Legion of the Archangel Michael (Legiunea Arhanghelului Mihail) or the Legionnaire movement (Mișcarea Legionară). The League was ultra-nationalist, antisemitic, antiziganist, anti-communist, anti-capitalist and promoted Eastern Orthodox Christianity. In March 1930 Codreanu formed the "Iron Guard" as a paramilitary political branch of the Legion, and in 1935, the Legion changed its official name to the "Totul pentru Ţară" party (literally "Everything For the Country" Party). It existed into the early part of World War II. Its members were called "Greenshirts" because of the predominantly green uniforms they wore.When Marshal Ion Antonescu came to power in September 1940, he brought the Iron Guard into the government, creating the National Legionary State. In January 1941, however, following the Legionnaires' rebellion, Antonescu used the army to suppress the movement, destroying the organization, but its then commander, Horia Sima, and some other leaders escaped to Germany.


Jilava is a commune in Ilfov county, Romania, near Bucharest. It is composed of a single village, Jilava.

The name derives from a Romanian word of Slavic origin (žilav, which passed into Romanian as jilav) meaning "humid place".

In this commune there is an operating prison and also the Fort 13 Jilava.

Jilava massacre

The Jilava Massacre took place during the night of November 26, 1940 at Jilava penitentiary, near Bucharest, Romania. Sixty-four political detainees were killed by the Iron Guard (Legion), with further high-profile assassinations in the immediate aftermath. It came about halfway through the fascist National Legionary State and led to the first open clash between the Guard and conducător Ion Antonescu, who ousted the Legion from power in January 1941.

Michel Sturdza

Prince Mihail R. Sturdza (August 28, 1886 – February 5, 1980) Romanian nobleman and diplomat. He was a descendant of the wealthy and influential Sturdza family of Romanian landowners, politicians and boyars. Played a brief role in Romanian interwar politics.

Mihail Sturdza, originally a conservative and nationalist, was a member of the Iron Guard. As a supporter of the leader of the Iron Guard Horia Sima, he was a brief period (September 14, 1940 - January 26, 1941) Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania during the so-called National Legionary State after the abdication of King Carol II.

After several diplomatic posts (e.g. in Vienna, Budapest and in Washington as chargé d'affaires) Sturdza was in 1929 appointed as minister plenipotentiary for Latvia, Estonia and Finland, in Riga. In that capacity he acted in 1932 as Romania's representative in the negotiations with Soviet Russia about a non-aggression agreement. The negotiations failed, due to the Soviet demand to discuss and annex the disputed territory of Bessarabia, which was apart of Romania.

Sturdza was from 1938 Romanian ambassador in Denmark.

As Foreign Minister Sturdza attended with the German minister of Foreign Affairs Joachim von Ribbentrop the signature on November 23, 1940 of the Tripartite Pact with nazi-Germany between Adolf Hitler and the Romanian head of government General Ion Antonescu. In December 1940 Sturdza obtained the replacement of the German ambassador Wilhelm Fabricius with Manfred Freiherr von Killinger, perceived as more sympathetic to the Iron Guard. After the clash between the Iron Guard and General Ion Antonescu in January 1941 (see Legionary Rebellion), which was won by the latter, Sturdza had to resign. Antonescu took over leadership of the ministry, with the compliant diplomat Constantin Greceanu as his right hand.

After the defeat of the Iron Guard in January 1940 Sturdza followed party leader Horia Sima into exile; first in Sofia, Bulgaria and afterward in Germany and Denmark. Sturdza became again Minister of Foreign Affairs in a Romanian government in Vienna from 10 December 1944 until the end of World War II.

After WW II Sturdza fled first to Denmark, where he stayed till 1947. Afterward he found refuge in Spain and later in USA, where he kept strong ties with other members of the Iron Guard in exile. He wrote several publications about the history of his native country and international affairs. In later years he was involved in rightwing organisations. In 1968 he published his memoirs, which took approval in rightwing circles for the cold war- and anti-communist points of view.

National Fascist Movement

The National Fascist Movement (Romanian: Mișcarea Națională Fascistă, MNF) was a Romanian political movement formed in 1923 by the merger of the National Romanian Fascia and the National Italo-Romanian Cultural and Economic Movement.

With its roots in an avowedly pro-Italian group, the MNF also became close supporters of the Italian model of Fascism - although the movement also admired the methods of Action Française. The movement did not enjoy the success that it had hoped for, largely because of its attachment to foreign influences, and it was ultimately superseded by the Iron Guard, which offered a more domestic form of fascism.

National Romanian Fascio

The National Romanian Fascio (Romanian: Fascia Națională Română) was a small fascist group that was active in Romania for a short time during the 1920s.

Led by Titus Panaitescu Vifor, the group emerged from the short-lived National Fascist Party in 1921 and, at its peak, had around 1,500 members. It defined itself as national socialist, although generally it pursued a policy of corporatism, land reform and support for the creation of agricultural cooperatives. It was critical of capitalism and also espoused antisemitism. The movement's main areas of influence were Western Moldavia, Bukovina, and Banat.The party merged with the National Italo-Romanian Cultural and Economical Movement in 1923 to form the National Fascist Movement, although a small rump movement carried on, with little significance. Both groups shared a close affinity to Italian fascism which facilitated their merger.

Second Antonescu cabinet

The second cabinet of Ion Antonescu was the government of Romania from 14 September 1940 to 24 January 1941. On September 14, Romania was declared a "National-Legionary State." On 23 November 1940, Romania joined the Axis powers. The cabinet ended in a failed coup.

Stan Ghițescu

Stan Ghițescu (June 2, 1881 – February 25, 1952) was a Romanian politician.

Born in Mârzănești, Teleorman County, he attended a normal school and entered Alexandru Averescu's People's Party. He served as mayor of Roșiorii de Vede from 1920 to 1921. In 1926, he was elected vice president of the Assembly of Deputies. He later joined Octavian Goga's National Agrarian Party, which subsequently merged with the National-Christian Defense League to form the National Christian Party. He became general secretary of the new party, and while Goga was Prime Minister from December 1937 to March 1938, served as Minister of Cooperation. He took part in the 1938 formation of the National Renaissance Front, the sole party under King Carol II. He served as Minister of Labor in two cabinets during the summer of 1940: under Ion Gigurtu from July 4 to September 4, and under Ion Antonescu from September 4 to 14, until the establishment of the National Legionary State. Arrested under the new communist regime, he was sent to Sighet prison in May 1950, dying there nearly two years later. He was buried in a mass grave.

State Jewish Theater (Romania)

Teatrul Evreiesc de Stat (TES, the State Jewish Theater) in Bucharest, Romania is a theater specializing in Jewish-related plays. It is the oldest Yiddish-language theater with uninterrupted activity in the world. Its contemporary repertoire includes plays by Jewish authors, plays on Jewish topics, and plays in Yiddish (which are performed with simultaneous translation into Romanian, using headphones installed in the theater in the 1970s). Many of the plays also feature Jewish actors.

A precursor, the Teatru Evreiesc Baraşeum operated as a Jewish theater through most of World War II, although they were closed during the few months of the National Legionary State, and thereafter performed in Romanian rather than Yiddish through until the fall of Ion Antonescu.

Viața Românească

Viața Românească (Romanian: [ˈvjat͡sa romɨˈne̯askə], "The Romanian Life") is a monthly literary magazine published in Romania. Formerly the platform of the left-wing traditionalist trend known as poporanism, it is now one of the Writers' Union of Romania's main venues.

The magazine, dedicated to literary and scientific issues, was published from March 1906 to August 1916 and from September 1920 to September 1940, first in Iași and then, after 1930, in Bucharest. The magazine was under the leadership of Constantin Stere (in charge of political content), Paul Bujor and, later, Ioan Cantacuzino (for scientific matters), Garabet Ibrăileanu (until 1933), Mihai Ralea and George Călinescu (for literary matters).

Suppressed by the fascist National Legionary State in 1940, Viața Românească resumed publishing, first in a transitional form, from November 1944 to July 1946, when it was edited by Ralea. Finally, the present magazine was published from July 1948 as a monthly magazine of the Romanian Writers' Society and, from March 1949, of the Writers' Union of Romania.

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