Files from the Whispered History of Romanians (9)

At the Massacre from

the Penitentiary of Jilava,

on the night of September 26 to 27, 1940,

the Legionary Police killed 64 prisoners,

but no communist prisoner


In the movie “A Commissioner Accuses”, released on April 1, 1974, Sergiu Nicolaescu, in the quality as a director, but, especially, and as scriptwriter (n.a. Sergiu Nicolaescu was the scriptwriter of the movie together with Vintilă Dumitru Corbu Economu Popescu and Eugen Burada), slipped a lie in a style of a villain “culturnic”.

Surprisingly, perhaps due to my ignorance in some respects, obscure to ordinary people, it seems to me the fact that  much later, the “culturnic” Sergiu Nicolaescu,  one of the revolutionaries of the first rank, with televised appearances even since  December 22, 1989, he even led the Senatorial Commission Investigating the December 1989 Events, commission existing in the period  1990 – 1992, which did not satisfactory response to the question: who shot and made the 1,166 victims?

Also, surprisingly it appears to me that the other two “culturnici”, the co-scriptwriters Vintila Corbu (n.a. with the full name Vintila Dumitru Corbu Economu Popescu) and Eugen Burada fled the country illegally in 1979.

The lie in “A Commissioner Accuses” is that a guardian releases the communist prisoners from the Penitentiary of Jilava before a group of Legionnaire Police to begin the massacre on the night of September 26 to 27, 1940, when, in fact, nobody touched the communist prisoners, being shot 64 inmates, only those involved, in one way or another, in the execution of about 90 percent of the elite of the Legionnnaire Movement.

To better understand the Massacre from the Penitentiary of Jilava, I consider necessary to introduce some brackets

As a first bracket, the Legionnaire Movement or Green Shirts, was founded on June 24, 1927 by Corneliu Codreanu, nicknamed Captain. He was executed on the night of November 28 and 29, 1938, in an alleged escape action. Simultaneously were executed the “Nicadori” (n.a. a term coming from  the first two letters of Nicolae, Carinca and Doru) Nicolae Constantinescu, Ion Carinca and Doru Belimace, the Legionnaires who assassinated on the day of December 29, 1933 the President of Council of Ministers Ion Gheorghe Duca, who, on December 9, 1933, outlawed Iron Guard, in fact, the party of the Legion of the Archangel Michael, to not participate in the elections of December 20, 1933. On the same night were executed “decemviri” (n.a. a term coming from the Latin words “decem”, meaning ten, and “viri”, mining men) Ion Atanasiu, Bogdan Gavrila, Iosif Bozantan, Ion Caratanase, Stefan Curca, Stefan Georgescu, Ion Pele, Grigore Ion State, Ion Trandafir and Radu Vlad, the Legionnaires who assassinated the day of July 16, 1936 Mihai Stelescu, the legionnaire who had the courage to criticize Corneliu Zelea Codreanu.

As a second bracket, on September 14, 1940, the King Mihai I proclaimed Romania as a National-Legionnaire State, the Legionnaire Movement has become “the only movement (n.a. political party) recognized by the State”, and Ion Antonescu, who already on September 6, 1940, had deposed the oath of legionnaire, received the title of “conductor of state and chief of the legionnaire regime”.

As the third bracket, also on September 14, 1941, it was formed the General Ion Antonescu government (2), which was maintained until January 24, 1941. Ion Antonescu appointed Horia Sima as Vice President of the Council of Ministers, who was Minister of Religious Affairs and Arts between July 4 and 8, 1940, in the Ion Giugurtu government, in the period July 4 – September 4, 1940. Starting with September 6, 1940, Horia Sima was confirmed the commander of the Legionnaire Movement and the president of the Iron Guard Party. The same day, Horia Sima established Legionnaire Police, modeled  like Battalions of Assault in Germany (n.a. “Sturmabteilung”, with the acronym S.A.), also known as Brown Shirts, the paramilitary formation of the Legionnaire Movement, which acted alongside Romanian Police. The aim of the Legionnaire Police was, primarily, the liquidation of the political opponents.

After the night between November 28 and 29, 1938, when 14 legionnaire leaders were executed, imprisoned in different prisons, Horia Sima took refuge in Germany, where he received tasks related to the relationship with Romania of Legionnaire Command in Berlin.

On August 15, 1939, he returned to Romania. After September 21, when the President of the Council of Ministers Armand Calinescu was assassinated by a group of legionnaires, led by Miti Dumitrescu, formed of Ion Ionescu Ovidiu Isaia, Ion Moldoveanu, George Paraschivescu, Cezar Popescu, Traian Popescu, Marin Stănciulescu and Ion Vasiliu, have followed reprisals ordered by King Carol II, which took place on the night of September 21 to 22, when 242 legionnaire leaders were killed without trial, their bodies being displayed in public places.

Horia Sima escaped of the reprisals, he tooking refuge later, precisely on October 26 in Berlin, where he became head of the group of legionnaires from there. The fact that he was not among those killed seems a miracle, but the explanation may be the status of collaborator by big money of the Secret Intelligence Service of the Romanian Army, led by Mihail Moruzov, according to the charges of Ion Zelea Codreanu, the father of Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, and his departure from Berlin had been made for two reasons, not to arise suspicion among legionnaires and to do new espionage actions in Germany.

On May 5, 1940, Horia Sima again arrived in Romania. Shortly thereafter, on May 19, he was caught by the authorities, but after no more than a month, on June 14, he was released “surprisingly” from the prison. It seems that Sima’s last departure from Berlin was due to Wilhelm Franz Canaris, the head of the Intelligence and Counterintelligence of the German Army, felt that he has to do with a spy. Through Mihail Moruzov, Horia Sima was reconciled with King Carol II, he being agreed to enter in the Ion Giugurtu government. Horia Sima resigned from the Ion Giugurtu government after only four days to not arouse suspicion among the legionnaires, but remained in the entourage of King Carol II.

Shortly followed the territorial amputations ordered by Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, in June 1940, that led to manifestations of discontentment from the part of  the opposition parties, events confiscated legionnaires, which led to the so-called “legionnaire revolution”, which was held from September 3 to 6, 1940. Horia Sima advised Carol I to appoint General Ion Antonescu at the head of the government. King Carol II approved the nomination, but was forced to abdicate on September 6, his place being occupied by King Mihai I. The newly formed government, the general Ion Antonescu government (1), has functioned during the period September 6 – 14, 1940.

The brackets being closed, through the 64 prisoners executed on the night of September 26 to 27, 1940, were the following: 1. Mihail Moruzov, director of the Secret Intelligence Service of the Romanian Army, in the period  May 1, 1925 – September 5, 1940, who provided King Carol II with incriminating documents regarding Corneliu Zelea Codreanu and Ion Antonescu; 2. Gheorghe Argeşanu, general, President of the Council of Ministers during the period September 21 – 28, 1939, when, on the night of September 21 to 22, 1939, were executed without trial 242 legionnaires leaders; 3. Victor Iamandi,  Justice Minister in the government of Miron Cristea (2), in the period March 30, 1938 – January 31, 1939, when, in a judgment notified on May 27, 1938, Corneliu Zelea Codreanu was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor and to 6 years of the loss of civic rights, after what, legionnaire leader was executed on the night between November 28 and 29, 1938; 4. Gabriel Marinescu, general, interior minister in the government of Gheorghe Argeşanu, in the period September 21 – 28, 1939, when, on the night of September 21 to 22, 1939, were executed without trial 242 legionnaire leaders; 5. Ioan Bengliu, general, general inspector of the Gendarmerie in the period 1938 – 1940; 6. Constantin Sarbu, sergeant, who strangled Corneliu Zelea Codreanu in the night between November 28 and 29, 1938.

The official communiqué of the national – legionnaire government was as follows: “On the night of November 26/27, on the occasion of  the exhumation of the bones at Jilava, the  legionnaires working on this exhumation penetrated into the jail and shot some of the political prisoners who are there and considered the principal authors of crimes against Captain and the legionnaires under the former regime”.

It seems that the Legionnaire Movement was well satisfied with the result of the Massacre from Penitentiary of Jilava, because the Special Commission, founded on September 23, 1940, by Decree 3,321, was abolished on the basis of the Decree 3,009 on December 8, 1940.

Even Antonescu had, in his turn, at least one reason for satisfaction, that to know Mihail Moruzov killed, who supplied King Carol II with compromising documents about him and his family.

The movie “A Commissioner Accuses” brings to light some abominable crimes from the period of the National – Legionnaire State, with a Council of Ministers headed by Ion Anonescu and Horia Sima, president, respectively, vice president. Thus, in the movie appear also fictionalized sequences from the murder of historian Nicolae Iorga (n.a. adviser to King Carol II during Carol’s dictatorship) and of Virgil Madgearu (n.a. editor-in-chief of the review “Romanian Life”, of anti-fascist orientation) in the same day, but at different hours, in the afternoon, respectively, after the nightfall, on November  27, 1940, by a group of legionnaires, formed with Traian Boeru, Stefan Cojocaru, Tudor Dacu, Stefan Iacobuta and Ion Tucan.

Sergiu Nicolaescu had the opportunity to learn about the crimes of the Legionnaire Police during General Ion Antonescu government (2) even from Traian Boeru, who had became a wealthy businessman in the former Federal Republic of Germany. Their meeting held in Munich, during the Feast of October (n.a. in German, “Oktoberfest”) from 1972.

However, Sergiu Nicolaescu introduced in the movie the lying action, of the  release of eight communist prisoners from the Penitentiary of Jilava (n.a in the movie, the Penitentiary of Viraga) by a guardian. Two of the communist detainees are caught in the fight between prison guards and legionnaire policemen, led by a commissioner (n.a. in the movie, Commissioner Paraipan).

The movie has enjoyed a large audience, only from 1974 to 2007 recorded a total of 6,146,991 spectators, being on the place 17 in a ranking of the most watched Romanian movies.

It follows that to 6,146,991 spectators, to over a quarter of the population, it was induced the idea that during the Massacre from the Penitentiary of Jilava was intended to be executed and the communist prisoners, hiding them at the same time the fact that a good period of time, until 22 June 1941 the fascist regime in Nazi Germany has reconciled very well with the communist regime in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, following the Hitler – Stalin Pact, signed on august 23, 1939, and, as a result, the Legionnaire Police did not dare to touch a hair of the Romanian communists.

The “dejisto – ceausist” propaganda was from the begining in accord with the lie of Sergiu Nicolaescu, it ran like the devil from the incense from the subject of the Hitler – Stalin Pact, because it would have brought into the public eye the Moscow Ultimatum, from  June 26, 1940, when Romania was forced to cede without a fight Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina, and the Herta Region, territories incorporated in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, taboo subject, that would have upset very much the “big brother”.

And now, “nostalgici” for communism in Romania pass under silence the lie of Sergiu Nicolaescu, even from their reason, that what was done then was very good.

Likewise, the politicians with corruption cases, who see only approaching Moscow they will escape criminal sentences, they do not want to draw attention to their citizens on the lie of Sergiu Nicolaescu, because it would bring into discussion the Hitler – Stalin Pact and, implicitly,  the Moscow Ultimatum, from  June 26, 1940, unwanted subject to be discussed again by Russian Federation.


Doru Ciucescu


The text is part from the volume in course of translation “Files from the Whispering History of Romanians”

(The translation from Romanian and the adaptation are realized by the author himself)