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Work Camps, Commerce, and the Education of the 'New Man' in the Romanian Legionary

Movement
Author(s): Rebecca Haynes
Source: The Historical Journal, Vol. 51, No. 4 (Dec., 2008), pp. 943-967
Published by: Cambridge University Press
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? 2008 Cambridge
The Historical Journal, 51, 4 (2008), pp. 943-967
doi: 10.1017/S0018246X08007140
Printed in the United Kingdom

WORK
THE

University

AND

CAMPS, COMMERCE,

EDUCATION

OF THE

Press

'NEW MAN5

IN THE ROMANIAN
LEGIONARY MOVEMENT*
HAYNES

REBECCA

University CollegeLondon

abstract.

This article explores two aspects of the Romanian


legionary movement's organization in
die igjos,
namely work camps and commerce. These are placed in the context of the Legion's attempts
to construct a 'parallel society' that challenged the hegemony of the state and the dominant class of
Romanian politicians and Jewish
capitalists. The Legion's work camps and commercial ventures played a
educational role within
the movement. The work camps were regarded as 'schools' in which
was to be created and nurtured.
the legionary 'New Man'
Through its commercial ventures, the Legion
'*
aimed to educate a new generation of Christian'
entrepreneurs to win back the economic position which
the Romanians
had allegedly lost toJewish
traders. This new elite would
thus replace the decadent
crucial

as devoid
awareness. The
political and commercial classes which theLegion regarded
of national
success of the
counter-measures
which
culminated
in the
Legion's
'parallel society' provoked government
murder of the movement's leader, Corneliu ?elea Codreanu, in igj8, and diefragmentation
of the Legion.
archival sources, as well as legionary memoirs and
The article draws upon hitherto unused Romanian
articles.

Romanian

In the late 1980s Vaclav


society'
renewal

in
of

communist
the

national

Benda described
Eastern
community

Europe
...

the purpose of the emerging


as

along

'the

ensuring
with

the

defence

preservation
of

all

'parallel
or

the

the values,

institutions, and material conditions to which the existence of such a community


is bound'.1 In what follows, we will seek to explain two aspects of the Romanian

School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, 16 Taviton Street, London weih obw
r.haynes@ssees. uclac. uk
* The
research and writing of this article was made possible through the generosity of the AHRG
under itsResearch Leave Scheme. Iwould also like to thank Professor Dennis Deletant
(UCL-SSEES)
for his advice in the preparation
of this article, and Valentin Adrian S?ndulescu
for providing me with
a copy of his
into legionaries:
the quest for the
unpublished MA dissertation,
'Young Romanians
"New Man"
in the ideology of the Romanian
legionary movement
(1927-1937)'
(Central European
2003).
University,
Budapest,
1
Vaclav Benda, Milan Simecka, Ivan M. Jirous, Jiri Dienstbier, Vaclav Havel, Ladislav Hejd?nek,
'
and Jan Simsa, Parallel polis, or an independent
society in Central and Eastern Europe: an inquiry',
Social Research, 55 (Spring/Summer

1988), pp. 211-46,

at p. 217.

943

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REBECCA

944
legionary
terms
of

movement's
the

HAYNES
in the

organization
to

attempts

Legion's

1930s

and

camps

(work

construct

'parallel

society'

in

commerce)
that

challenged

of the state and the dominant class of Romanian


to found an alternative
capitalists, while endeavouring

the hegemony

politicians and
and
Jewish
competing
raft of economic and social institutions. As in the late 1980s, this aim acquired
a powerful moral dimension. Whereas Vaclav Havel saw the 'parallel society'
as providing
'a model of basing social relations on authenticity and moral
the Legion

responsibility',2
the Romanian

'parallel

the

'New Man',

and Corneliu
of the

society'

Romanian.

regenerated

spiritually

Zelea Codreanu,
its leader, saw
as
1930s
guiding the construction of

Despite the emergence of a considerable body of secondary literature relating


to the Romanian
legionary movement
(also known as the Legion of the
or
over
recent years, there has been littie
the
Michael
Iron
Archangel
Guard)
at a
discussion
of the Legion's
extensive
comprehensive
or commercial
Western
and
Both
Romanian
undertakings.

attempt
camps

of work

system

who

historians

have written about these legionary organizations have tended to see them largely
as tools for legionary
there is no doubt that the work camps
propaganda.3 While
and commercial outlets did serve as propaganda
tools, they also played an im
portant
were

role

educational
as

regarded

legionary
to be created.
to educate

moreover,

aimed,

The

in which

'schools'

was

Romanian',

the movement.

within

work

its commercial
Through
'
a new
of Christian
generation

win back the economic position which

in

camps

'New Man',

the

or

particular

'Tomorrow's

the
ventures,
'
entrepreneurs

Legion
and

had allegedly lost toJewish

the Romanians

traders.

In legionary thinking, the decadent Romanian


were

devoid

of national
and

materialistic,
Legion's
the

'parallel

'parallel

society'

society'
sought
forces
of both

the Jews were


prompted

They

liberal

Codreanu,

not

the Romanian

Additionally

Romanian

national
and

democracy

also believed

government

political and commercial

interests.

to protect

in the arrest, and subsequent murder,


in

served

economic

'Jewish',

disintegrative

sidious agents

awareness.

to be. The

counter-measures

of the Legion's

classes

nation

but
the

therefore,
elements

from
in

whose

communism,

success of the Legion's


against

it, culminating

founder, Corneliu

Zelea

1938.

2
Mikko Lagerspetz,
'From "parallel polis" to "the time of the tribes": post-socialism,
social self
and post-modernity',
organization
Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, 17 June 2001), pp.
1-18, at p. 4.
3
de la mit la realitate (Bucharest,
See, for example, Dragos. Zamfirescu,
Legiunea Arhanghelul Mihail
Petculescu, Miscarea Legionar?: mit si realitate (Bucharest, 1997), pp.
1997), pp. 83,197, 217-20; Constantin
M. Nagy-Talavera,
The Green Shirts and the others: a history offascism inHungary and Romania
60-2 Nicholas
;
Armin Heinen, Die Legion 'ErzengelMkhaeV inRum?nien:
(Ia?i and Oxford,
2001), pp. 367, 397-8,402-6;
soziale Bewegung und politische Organisation (Munich, 1986), pp.
G?rzii de Fier, 1919?1941: m?stica ultranaponalismului (Bucharest,

282?4; Francisco
1993), pp. 219-22.

229-30,

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Veiga,

Istoria

LEGIONARY

THE ROMANIAN

MOVEMENT

945

I
A brief review of Codreanu's
early student political activities is crucial to an
understanding of his desire to create a legionary 'parallel society'.4 Codreanu and
his nationalist student colleagues believed that the integrity of Great Romania
{RomaniaMare) and 'the fate of the Romanian
people were under threat from
the
of
liberal
and
the
'Judaeo-bolshevism
failings
political establishment. In 1919,
that

it seemed

the newly

Great

enlarged

state would

Romanian

under

disintegrate

and
forces of the territorial revisionism of Bolshevik Hungary
and of the communism which appeared to be gaining ground amongst

the combined
Russia
Romanians

to

due

the

commerce

of Romanian

penetration

and

economic

social

distress.

As

as

well

both inside and outside Romania,


communism
the Jews as a threat to the Romanian middle class, due to

identifying
Codreanu perceived
their

acute

country's

with

the Jews

and

and

industry

hence

urban

the

the large number of Jews entering the universities


Furthermore,
he
would,
believed, eventually ensure their complete domination of the Romanian
state. Codreanu
accused the politicians, who he described as the Tow-level
servants of Judaism', of failing to protect the Romanian nation from this fate.5
Codreanu's first political activities took place as early as 1919 in the city of
environment.

Ia?i

in north-east

in

Romania

the

nationalist

workers'

'Guard

the

movement,

of National Consciousness'
{Garda ConstiinfeiNationale). This movement
sought
to divert the city's workers away from communist
internationalism
(to which
of the Jews) and back
they had supposedly been lured by the machinations
throne and Orthodox
altar. Codreanu became
towards loyalty to the Romanian
that

convinced

the workers,

They

turn

should

became

introduce

government

to self-help

instead

involved

and

in student politics
a numeras

in general,

the Romanians

and

elite to ameliorate

help from the political

chusas

could

their subordinate position


cross-class

to reduce

demanding

the number

also

that the

of Jewish

students

in the universities to their proportion amongst the general population.


Codreanu believed, would prevent Jewish domination of the country's
middle
In

no

in society.

Codreanu

co-operation.

at Ia?i university,

expect

This,
future

class.
1923 Codreanu,

together

with

Professor

A.

C.

Cuza,

the

anti-Semitic

pro

fessor of political economy at Ia?i university, campaigned against the planned


constitution through which the country's Jews were to receive Romanian
citi
zenship. In October, following the failure of the campaign, Codreanu, and his
colleague

Ion Moja,

were

involved

in a plot

to

assassinate

the

politicians

re

sponsible for the new constitution, together with senior Jewish figures. The plot
failed and the would-be
assassins were imprisoned. The granting of Jewish
Romanian
the
citizenship by
parliament led to Codreanu's
increasing alienation
4
For Codreanu's
Cultural politics in Greater Romania: regionalism,
early career, see Irina Livezeanu,
nation building and ethnic struggle, 1918-1930 (Ithaca, NY, and London,
1995), pp. 245-96, and Corneliu
Zelea Codreanu, For my legionaries (The Iron Guard) (Madrid, 1976) (originally published as Pentru legionari,
5
Codreanu, For my legionaries, pp. 58-72, at p. 117.
Sibiu, 1936), pp. 3-117.

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HAYNES

REBECCA

946
the older

from

as Cuza,

such

of nationalists,

generation

who

had

remained

willing

to work within the traditional parliamentary


system.6 It also led to Codreanu's
complete rejection of liberal democracy. Not only did the party system divide the

majority.7
Codreanu
with

new

Romania's
set about

followers

student

his first work

established

camp

Bessarabian

he

believed

democracy

those of the Romanian

against

1924 at Ungheni

in May

Codreanu

Here,

province.8
'Christian

constructing

but

parties,

the interests of the Jewish minority

favoured

border

class-based

into warring

nation

Romanian

cultural

on the
and

his

In a speech

home'.

stressed the alienation felt by the


the opening of the camp, Codreanu
need for self-help in the batde
and
the
the
towards
of
Romania
politicians
youth
to mark

to create

state.

Romanian

regenerated

'The

destiny', he said, 'we will find only in ourselves.


work

there

camp,

was,

an

also

however,

to carve

power

'9
Beyond

'educational

ourselves

another

the practical aim of the


mission'

which

was

to

'ennoble manual work'.10 At the time, Bessarabia, which bordered on to the


Soviet Union, was rifewith Bolshevik propagandists.11 Codreanu hoped to render
communist
ideology less attractive to impoverished workers and peasants by
between manual workers and intellectuals through encouraging
the
rift
healing
the

to

students

place

greater

value

on manual

work.

According

to Codreanu

the

'generated a revolution in the thinking of the day' because


Ungheni
'
a dominating concept crumbled : that it is shameful for an intellectual to work
with his hands, particularly at heavy labour'.12 The emphasis on manual work
work camp

was

to be

the

central

feature

of

the

1930s

legionary

work

camps.

II

In June
Michael

the ultra-nationalistic Legion of the Archangel


and his
{L?gitimaArhanghelul Mihail). The following year, Codreanu

1927, Codreanu

founded

7
views on liberal democracy,
For Codreanu's
see, ibid., pp. 302-26.
Ibid., p. 88.
were not influenced by foreign models, work camps,
the
Legion's claim that their camps
Despite
were a widespread
in communal
and experiments
amongst other fascist move
phenomenon
living
and the Croix defeu. In addition, in both Europe and North
such as the Nazi youth movement
ments,
6
8

the
work camps were often a response to mass unemployment
following
America,
state-sponsored
see Veiga,
Istoria G?rzii de Fier, 1919-1941,
claim to uniqueness,
On the Legion's
Great Depression.
see Kenneth Holland,
view on state-sponsored work camps in 1930s Europe,
p. 219. For an American
Youth in European labor camps: a report to theAmerican Youth Commission (Washington, DC,
1939). For a
on labour service and work camps in Nazi Germany
and the United
States,
perspective
comparative
see Kiran Klaus Patel, Soldiers of labor: labor service inNazi Germany andNew Deal America, 1933-1945
hotels, resorts, and
associations,
2005). For the Croix defeu and its various communal
(Cambridge,
summer camps, seeWilliam D. Irvine, 'Fascism in France and the strange case of the Croix de feu',
Journal ofModern History, 63 June 1991), pp. 271-95.
9
Codreanu, For my legionaries, p. 139.
10
Horia Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare (Timi?oara, 1994), p. 19.
u
see Rebecca Haynes,
intro
'Historical
threat to Bessarabia,
For a discussion on the Bolshevik
in Rebecca Haynes,
duction',
Studies 3, London,
2003), pp.

ed., Moldova, Bessarabia, Transnistria


12
Codreanu,
1-142, at p. 104.

(Occasional Papers in Romanian


For my legionaries, p. 141.

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THE ROMANIAN

LEGIONARY

MOVEMENT

947

followers returned to the Ungheni work camp and completed


the Christian
cultural home originally begun in 1924. In 1933 Codreanu began organizing
new camps and refining the educational principles that lay behind them. In July,
he drew up a plan for 500 legionaries to build a two-and-a-half kilometre dam on
the river Buz?u at Vi?ani commune in R?mnicu S?rat county. On 7 July, how
ever,

the

local

arrested

gendarmes

legionaries

arriving

at the

Undeterred,

camp.13

1933 Codreanu established another work camp in a Bucharest suburb


to build a 'rest home' for sick and injured legionaries. Once again gendarmes
intervened in the Legion's activities, and closed the camp. The building, the
so-called Green House {CasaVerde),was only finally completed in 1936, and served
in August

as

the movement's

Despite
of

the work

as

thousands

or non-administrative

home,

headquarters.14

these setbacks, by 1936 (which the movement


camp
of

') there
smaller

were
work

camps

seventy-one
sites

as well

the country,

throughout
The

Romania.15

throughout

to be the 'year

declared
work

camps

were

to a variety of tasks such as building or restoring churches, parish halls,


schools, bridges, roads, and other structures, building legionary hostels, or agri
cultural work. Raising crucifixes on the summit of mountains and building and
dedicating fountains were especially popular as small work projects.16 Of the six
most important work camps operating in 1935 and 1936, one was the Casa Verde
dedicated

camp;

two,

at Arnota

and

were

Susai-Predeal,

to

dedicated

to

purposes,

religious

which we

shall return. At the Cluj work camp the legionaries built themselves a
hostel and at the Rar?u camp in the Bukovina they set up another 'rest home' for
sick legionaries. The Carmen Sylva camp, located near the resort of the same
name on the Black Sea, was the largest of the work camps, and this will be
discussed below in detail.17
In May
1935, Codreanu clarified the organization
lating

that

commander
month.

The

they

should

appointed
camp was

have
by
also

for the 'spiritual education'

a minimum

the movement's
to have

of

thirty

of the work
legionaries,

camps,
under

stipu
camp

for at least one


working
to take
'missionary',
responsibility

headquarters,

legionary

of the legionaries.18 Such was

the importance

13

of the

Arhivele Nationale,
Sediul Central,
Bucuresti
(National Archives,
headquarters,
Bucharest)
de Interne, Diverse, dosar nr 4/1933, pp. 118?21, 15July 1933,
(hereafter Arh. NaJ.), Fond Ministerul
Construction
of a dam by the Iron Guard.
14
15
Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare, p. 116.
Ibid., pp. 117-42, at p. 142.
16
de
Zamfirescu,
Legiunea Arhanghelul Mihail de la mit la realitate, pp. 217-20; Arh. NaJ., Ministerul
of the Security Services, Information
Interne, Diverse, dosar nr 3/1936, pp. 300-21, Police Directorate
'All for the Country'
'fountain'
is the literal translation of the Romanian
Service,
party. The word
since it suggests a decorative
feature. Legionary
fontana. It is used in this article with some misgiving
fountains were, in fact, natural springs which were piped and presented
in stonework, usually with a
tap. They were thus vital to the village economy and infrastructure.
17
Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare,p. 118 ;Tab?ra de munc?, with a foreword by Mihail Polihroniade
(n.p.,
of the most significant of the
1936, pp. 17-21, 61-2. This volume, containing numerous photographs
to celebrate the 'year of the work
legionary work camps, was clearly produced
camp'.
18
Zelea Codreanu,
Corneliu
Circulari ?i manifeste, 1927-1938
(Munich,
1981, originally
publ.
Bucharest,
1940), 'Circular: the duty of the student', 31May
1935, pp. 39-42.

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REBECCA

948
work

as an

camps

educational

that no member

decreed

HAYNES
for

experience

the young

that Codreanu

legionary

was

to have a position within


a
through work camp.19

of the movement

legionary hierarchy unless he had passed

the

Ill
A police report on the Legion's attempt to establish its first work camp at Vi?ani
in 1933, ascribed it to the movement's
desire 'to raise its popularity in the villages
and amongst the general public'.20 The dissemination of legionary propaganda
was

of course,

not,

his

the primary

of camp

clarification

of

function
in

organization

the

1935,

As

camps.

Codreanu

'the work

camp

in

explained

has

the

character

of a school'.21 Within
this school, the legionary 'New Man'
{omulnou), a morally
and spiritually regenerated
would
be
As Horia
born.22
individual,
Sima,
the work

camps,
with

objective

all

leader

of

to our

people,

the problems

of

wrote

the movement,

the 'creation of the 'New Man'

regard

to resolve

able

as

successor

Codreanu's

was

this man,

because

in

[Codreanu's]
once

with

connection

principal
would

created,

be

the nation'.23

vision of the legionary 'New Man' was intimately connected to his


attitude towards the Romanian political establishment and the Jewish minority.
The Jews, he believed, were only able to dominate Romanian
society owing to the
Codreanu's

moral

and the consequent corruption of their political


failings of the Romanians
'A country has only the Jews and the leaders it deserves', he wrote.24 It

elite.
followed

that

and

love

and

as

of nation.
an

life could

political

individuals were

first perfected
'A new

indispensable

state
element,

not

be

transformed

by a return
', Codreanu
a new

wrote,
type

by

party

to Christian

unless

programmes

morality,

'presupposes
of man.'25
Since

in the
this

discipline,
first place,
'New

Man'

would

be forbidden from entering any political party, the political elite would
a corruptible and
be starved of'young blood' and eventually crumble. Without
so Codreanu believed, would
anti-national political elite, the 'Jewish problem',

19

Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare, p. 118.


de Interne, Diverse,
Arh. NaJ., Ministerul
dosar nr 4/1933, pp. 118-21, at p. 118, 15July 1933,
Construction
of a dam by the Iron Guard.
21
Circulan simanifeste, 'Circular: the duty of the student', 31May
Codreanu,
1935, pp. 39-42, at p. 41.
22
see Valentin
For an exploration of the nature of the legionary 'New Man',
'Fascism
S?ndulescu,
the case of the Romanian
and its quest for the "New Man":
Studia Hebraica, 4
legionary movement',
as a 'sub-myth' within
the concept of the 'New Man'
(2004), pp. 349-61. Roger Griffin has described
20

of transformation.
See Roger Griffin, Die nature offascism
political myth'
'palingenetic
(London, 1996), p. 35. For the 'New Man'
especially in relation to Fascist Italy, see George L. Mosse,
The image of man: the creation of modem masculinity (New York,
has
1996), pp. 154?80. Emilio Gentile
as fascism's 'anthropological
described
this attempt to create the 'New Man'
revolution'.
See, Emilio
'
and political religion :definitions and critical reflections on criticism
Gentile,
Fascism, totalitarianism
of an interpretation',
Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, 5 (winter 2004), pp. 326-75, at p. 356.
24
23
Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare, p. 143.
Codreanu, For my legionaries, p. 131.
25
C?rticica ?efului de cuib (Munich,
in
Corneliu
Codreanu,
1987), p. 65 (originally published
fascism's

Bucharest

in 1933).

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THE ROMANIAN
be

The
'
as
a

solved.26

therefore,

volutionize

legionary
great

'New

Man'

work

and

camp,

school

the

so much

not

...

MOVEMENT
a

strives

[which]

949

movement,
political
to transform
and

re

soul \27
was

to be

{cuib),which was

sisting of the 'nest'


the

was

movement

spiritual

the Romanian

Codreanu's

LEGIONARY

broader

educated

within

'a moral

con

medium'

the basic unit of legionary organization,


legionary

organization.

Here,

nascent

the

'be isolated from the rest of the world by the highest possible
'
spiritual fortifications ',wrote Codreanu,
[and] defended from all the dangerous
winds of cowardice, corruption, licentiousness and of all the passions' before
being sent out into the world.28 This need to protect the 'New Man' from society
'New Man'

would

reflected Codreanu's belief that the mainstream


educational and political system
was essentially decadent,
secular, divisive of the nation, and dominated by
'Jewish' interests.29 The 'New Man' was to be protected from such influences at
all costs until he was spiritually strong enough to be immune to the negative
influences of the outside world.
What
then were the educational principles which Codreanu believed con
ducive to the creation of the 'New Man' and which his supporters saw reflected
within the work camps? The first principle was that of manual work, which was
considered 'an educational means of the first order'. The camps, beginning with
the Ungheni
camp of 1924, were believed to have 'ennobled the notion of
work'.30 Work not only led to physical fitness and good health but also created
the intellectual middle
and peasants.
classes, workers,
solidarity between
to
Horia
Sima, the camps 'destroyed class prejudice' by bringing
According
together different sections of Romanian
society.31Work, however, was not to be
pursued for material
gain. 'Work every day!' Codreanu exhorted his followers,
'
'Work with love! The legionary would receive as his reward not 'profit' but the
knowledge that he had worked for the 'flowering of Romania'.32 At the same
time, through the camps Romanian youth had to learn that 'no one has the right
to live without work, using for himself in a parasitic manner the fruits of others'
work'.33

The
that

of

legionary

stress on work was


communal
camp

26
28

Codreanu,

Codreanu,
29
Codreanu

life.
system,

intimately linked to the second principle of the camps,

George

Macrin,

argued

that

For my legionaries, p. 133.


For my legionaries, p. 222.
considered
the state education

since man

contemporary
lives

27
Codreanu,

in relation

on

the

it was

by

commentator
to others,

C?rticica ?efidui de cuib, p. in.

influence'. See S?ndulescu,


system to be 'underJewish
'Fascism and its quest for the "New Man"',
p. 359.
30
G. Macrin,
1
'O nou? ?coal? rom?neasca:
taberele de munc?',
Insemn?ri
1935),
sociolo?ice, July
'Taberele de munc?:
tab?ra del? Carmen Sylva', Insemn?ri sociobgice,
pp. 16-23, at P- 16; G. Macrin,
2 (Oct. 1936), pp. 12-23, at P- x55G. Macrin,
'Taberele de munc?. Aspectulpolitic',
Insemn?risociologice,
2 (Aug. 1935), pp. 16-23, at PP- I7-!8.
31
32
C?rtieicas efului de cuib, p. 6.
Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare, p. 118.
Codreanu,
33
Tab?ra de munc?, p. 1. S?nduleslcu
notes that Codreanu's
emphasis on physical work was in part
meant
to address the Romanians'
'Fascism and its quest for the
alleged laziness. See, S?ndulescu,
"New Man"',
p. 359.

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REBECCA

950
within

working

the

of work'

'community
aims

and

HAYNES
created

the

by

that

camps

sense

and

individuals

nationhood.34

developed
higher
of'spiritual
community'
'
to the legionary intellectual, Mihail Polihroniade,
the camps were a
According
school of social solidarity and national fraternity' because workers, peasants, and
worked

intellectuals

gether
recendy

which
the

and

lived

since

Moreover,

together.35

legionaries from all regions of the country,


into Romania,

incorporated

they

transcended both class and regional

camps

as a reflection

of

the Romanian

a new

created

the

camps

some of which
sense

of

as a whole,

'

Romanianism

identity.36 In keeping with


nation

to

brought

had been only


'

women

the role of
were

also

present in the camps where they had responsibility for the preparation of food and
general housekeeping.37 In keeping with its name, 11.5per cent of the members of
the Legion's largest camp at Carmen Sylva were women.38 (Carmen Sylva had
been the pseudonym of Queen Elisabeta, wife of former King Carol I.)The camps,
although dominated by young people, were not devoid of older legionaries,
especially intellectuals, who shared the work and life of the camps. Children were
also

present

at

the Carmen

Sylva

camp.39

It seems,

that

moreover,

the

legionaries

from beyond the political borders of Great


sought to include ethnic Romanians
in the camps where possible. The Craiova gendarmerie reported in 1935
Romania
from the Timoc region
that the movement planned to include ethnic Romanians
in a work camp in the region.40
of Yugoslavia
principle of the camps was the cultivation of an austere
discipline and healthy body. Modern comforts and 'frivolities' were eschewed as
spartan and disciplined living, a
being conducive to 'national decline'. Through
The

third educational

well-balanced,
the

dition,
lead

to the

would

and

altruistic,
'natural
creation

physically
which

hierarchy'
of an 'ascetic

one day challenge

elite'

healthy
was
said
with

the traditional

an

nation
to

would

be
in

develop
'athletic
spiritual

elite which

created.

the

In ad

camps,

would

structure'

which

governed Romania.41

The

34
Macrin,

at pp. 17?18, and Macrin,


'Taberele de munc?:
'O nou? ?coal? rom?neasca',
aspectul
35
18.
Tab?ra deMunc?, p. 1.
p.
politic',
36
Leon "fopa, 'Taberele de munc? obligatorie
', Insemn?ri sociabgice, 2 (Nov. 1936), pp. 24-9, at p. 27.
37
on 19Apr. 2006.1 am grateful to Dr Milcoveanu
for the
Interview with Dr ?erban Milcoveanu
interviews he gave me on 19 and 20 Apr. 2006 regarding Legionary work camps. As president of the
worked with Codreanu
from 1936
Christian
Union of Romanian
Students, Dr Milcoveanu
to 1938 and attended the Carmen Sylva camp in 1936.
'
38
Tab?ra de munc?, p. 30 Maria
;
', inKevin Passmore, ed., Women, gender andfascism
Bucur, Romania
inEurope, 19^-1945
(Manchester,
2003), pp. 57-78, at p. 77.
39
It is clear from photographs
in the volume Tab?ra de munc? that older people were involved in the
camps. The elderly General Cantacuzino,
president of the Legion's political wing 'All for the Country'
even sometimes helped out. See Tab?ra de munc?, p. 31. For the children at Carmen Sylva, seeMacrin,

National

tab?ra del? Carmen Sylva', p. 21.


'Taberele de munc?:
40
al Jandarmeriei,
dosar nr 3/1929, pp. 189-223, at p. 204,
Arh. NaJ., Inspectoratul General
Information
bulletin regarding the internal situ
Gendarmerie
of
the
Craiova,
Inspectorate
Regional
ation for 1-31 Aug. 1935.
41
'Taberele de munc?:
tab?ra del? Carmen
'Taberele de munc?:
Macrin,
Sylva', p. 14;Macrin,
Circulan si manifeste,
'O nou? scoal? rom?neasca',
p. 20; Codreanu,
aspectul politic', p. 18;Macrin,
6 July 1937, pp. 161-3, at p. 162; Poru?ea Vremii, 30 July 1935,
'Campi?a
legionary camp', Tuesday
'Constructive

nationalism:

nationalist

youth's work

camp at Carmen

Sylva'.

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THE ROMANIAN

MOVEMENT

LEGIONARY

951

stress on austerity and discipline within the camps was intensified by the stricture
that legionaries were not permitted to leave the work camp during their stay,
except in emergencies or at the behest of the camp commander. In their free time,
members of the camps were to read enlightening legionary literature and receive
as

instruction

to their

the movement.42

within

duties

This brings us to the fourth principle held to be at work within the camps, the
educational principle itself. The aim of legionary education was not, however,
to
the acquisition of intellectual knowledge, but that which was conducive
Christian morality, good behaviour, and spiritual growth. Such education was
thus

as

regarded

of

being

than

rather

'spiritual'

an

academic

nature.43

Following the creation in 1935 of the Legion's political wing, 'All for the Country'
of General
the presidency
(Total pentru J'ara), which was placed under
Cantacuzino, Codreanu dedicated himself fully to legionary education. His em
phasis on moral improvement and good behaviour was evident in a circular
in July
to legionaries taking part in a work camp at Arnota monastery
informed them that 'this year the camps have the educational aim of
'
... the honest man
{omul corect) who would be honest in relation to
creating
his friends, country, and God. The legionary, Codreanu
himself, the movement,

written

1935. He

must

concluded,

in such

behave

a way

as

to

rise

to a

the

amongst

give
saying
'
" '44
In 1936, in a circular written
general public : "He is as honest as a legionary.
to

camp

commanders,

realized both

Codreanu

stressed

that

legionary

education

to be

was

communal

life, and through formal classes which took


through
had
finished
for the day. Discussions were to centre
after
manual
work
place
behavioural
which
could
such as the
issues
upon
adversely affect the movement,
'illness' of disunity and quarrels or insubordination towards superiors. Codreanu
set a good example to the legionaries and
that camp commanders
demanded
'
'
in society
that they should insist on the importance of legionary behaviour
outside the camps.45 Codreanu himself took part inmany of the work camps. He
spent the summer of 1936 at Carmen Sylva, the largest of the camps, where he
shared in the legionaries' life and work and led their discussions in the evening.46
Topics included practical questions, such as legionary behaviour towards other
nationalist

the church
42

as well

groups

and

as

the difference

Arh. NaJ., Ministerul

issues,

'spiritual'

between

de Interne, Diverse,

such

legionary

dosar nr 2/1936,

as

the Legion's

attitude

to

spirituality and democratic


p. 249, General

Directorate

of Police,

Note, nr 2324, 3 Aug. 1936.


43
'Taberele de munc?:
Macrin,
aspectul politic', pp. 18-19; Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare, p. 143.
44
Circulan si manifeste, 'To the legionaries in Arnota work camp', 20 July 1935, p. 47.
Codreanu,
45
10July 1936, pp. 76-7.
Ibid., 'Legionary education',
46
attended the Carmen Sylva camp
Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare,pp. 143-4. Dr ?erban Milcoveanu
in the summer of 1936 and witnessed
Codreanu
leading the question and answer sessions in the
'intellectual education' which followed their 'edu
evenings which provided part of the legionaries'
cation through work' during the day. Individual legionaries were often asked to present reports. In
a particularly
am
stress on morality
he commanded
and good behaviour,
keeping with Codreanu's
on 19
in daily life : interview with Dr Milcoveanu
bitious lawyer to report on the need for modesty
Apr.
2006.

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REBECCA

952
spirituality,

and

legionary

mysticism.47

system, legionaries received a diploma


the

HAYNES
In

mimicry

of

the mainstream

educational

their time at

after successfully completing

camps.48

IV

The didactic principles behind the work camps were those held to be conducive
to creating the 'New Man' who would be the very antithesis of the materialistic,
individualistic democratic politician.49 'When the politician enters a party', wrote
that he puts is "What can I gain from
'the first question
Codreanu,
this"? ...When a legionary enters the Legion, he says "For myself Iwant noth
created by the camps would thus be 'a social hero',
ing."' The 'New Man'
the
work of others, which was in legionary thinking a
of
incapable
exploiting
'
characteristic of the politicians and their 'Jewish economic allies.50
In a similar vein, George Macrin argued that the political elite was a 'sick'
and 'parasitical class', dependent upon the 'foreign forces' of Judaism and
freemasonry,
retain

itself

as well
in power.

as

the

Macrin

constant
further

'state

of

argued

and

emergency'
that

since

the

censorship,

creation

to

of Great

both class conflict and re


the political parties had encouraged
and he contrasted the divisiveness of liberal democracy with the
gionalism
'
'
of the Romanian people taking place in the camps. Unlike
spiritual unification
the 'sick' and parasitic politicians,
the new elite being creating in the work

Romania,

camps was
not

on

'hardworking,

disciplined,

on

the Romanian

foreigners,

but

healthy
people.

in body and soul' and dependent


The

camps

were

thus

a school

and had finally provided


the
the creation of 'Tomorrow's Romanian'
with
'real civic education'
which
the democratic
of Romania
people
educational system, with its 'individualistic conception of life', was incapable of
for

47
'Taberele de munc?:
Macrin,
aspectul politic', p. 22. The broad didactic principles behind the
reaction
legionary work camps, especially the cult of work and the healthy body and the concomitant
were common
to all fascist movements.
For a comparison with
against soft living and decadence,
in the Nazi labour service, see Patel, Soldiers of labor: labor service inNazi Germany andNew Deal
education
America, pp. 190-261.
48
dosar nr 6/1935,
For an example of a diploma,
de Interne, Diverse,
see, Arh. Na{., Ministerul
at the
de Tab?ra,
awarded to loan Steg?rescu who spent twenty-five days working
p. 481, Diploma
as head of legionary education
and by General
and signed by Codreanu
legionary co-operative,
as head of'All for the Country'
on 14Nov.
Cantacuzino
1935. Printed on the diploma is the following:
of these days of work, of hard life and fraternity. Let it be for you a
'Comrade, retain a clear memory
duty of honour to remain at your legionary post to the end of your life, in the service of the Romanian
Silence and
people who will triumph through the work and sacrifice of you and your colleagues.
work!'
49
in the nineteenth
to Leon T?Pa> as a result of the Jewish infiltration of the economy
According
nation but only
century, the Romanian
political elite represented not the interests of the Romanian
lead the economy'
i.e. the Jews. See T?Pa>
interests and the interests of people who
'economic
'Taberele de munc? obligatoire',
p. 26.
50
C?rticica ?efului de cuib, pp. 62, 65. For the legionary belief in 'Jewish economic para
Codreanu,
'Fascism and its quest for the "New Man"',
sitism', see S?ndulescu,
p. 355.

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THE ROMANIAN
Macrin

providing.

concluded

LEGIONARY
that

work

'Honest

MOVEMENT
for

the

953
order

country,

results from the camps

and the natural hierarchy which

discipline,
death of politicianism.'51

and

signify the

that the camps had helped to rebuild the


furthermore,
thus
what
could be achieved in the absence of
country materially,
proving
was
some foundation. The camp planned
not
This
claim
without
politicians.52
at Vi?ani in 1933 had been a response to politicians' repeated failures to fulfil
election promises to build a dam to prevent the local river flooding peasant
holdings.53 Subsequent work camps were frequendy a response to the inability, or
unwillingness, of politicians and local authorities to maintain and expand basic
the expansion of the work camps in
infrastructure and public buildings. With
the
the
of
interior
ordered
local
authorities to begin work to repair
1935,
ministry
Macrin

claimed,

and build public buildings throughout the country, to prevent the Legion taking
matters into their own hands. This did not prevent the legionaries from setting up
the local authorities were failing.
camps and successfully stepping in where
the
and
inhabitants
of the commune of Laz in
Indeed,
priest, parish council,
Transylvania's Alba county specifically called upon the legionaries to build their
cultural centre instead of the local authorities.54
'
'
The legionaries clearly regarded the work camps as the school in which the
'New Man' was to be created to save Romania not only from its democratic
the collapse of B?la Kun's
politicians but also from the communists. With
in 1919, the possibility of the destruction of Great
Bolshevik regime in Hungary
Romania
through the combined revisionism of Hungary and the Soviet Union
receded. The Soviets did not cease, however, to exploit Romania's vulnerability
wherever

possible,

especially

times of intense political


return

France

from

exile

in

r930.55

the

through

instability,
The

in 1936, Foreign Minister

country's

discontented

minorities,

such as that surrounding King

formation

Nicolae

of

the Popular

Titulescu's

Front

attempts

Carol

government

or at

IPs
in

to incorporate

51
'O nou? scoal? rom?neasca', p. 21; Macrin,
'Taberele de munc?:
Macrin,
aspectul politic', pp.
tab?ra del? Carmen Sylva', pp. 12, 14, 17.The Romanian
'Taberele de munc?:
19?20, 22; Macrin,
Constantin R?dulescu-Motru
defined politicianism as a type of political activity whereby
philosopher
a 'means for fulfilling personal
and services became
in
institutions
interests'. Quoted
public
i
in inter-war Romania
Constantin
Iordachi, Charisma, politics and violence: theLegion of the ArchangelMichael
of the genuine
of the Romanian
2004), p. 42. For a discussion
(Trondheim,
political
shortcomings
see ibid., pp. 40-5.
system, and the shallowness of Romanian
democracy,
52
'Taberele de munc?:
tab?ra del? Carmen Sylva', p. 15.
Macrin,
53
Ion Banea, C?pitanul (Timi?oara, 1995) (originally published
in Sibiu in 1936), pp. 94-5.
54
Arh. NaJ.,
General
al Jandarmeriei,
dosar nr 19/1932, p. 401, Regional
Inspectoratul
Inspectorate of the Gendarmerie
Cluj, Gendarmerie
Legion Alba, Informative Note, nr 58 of 4 July
of the Gendarmerie
1935; ibid., p. 402, Regional
Cluj, Gendarmerie
Inspectorate
Legion Alba,
Informative note nr 59 of 4 July 1935.
55
at destabilizing
and loan Ciupea,
'Soviet attempts
Romania
George
Cip?ianu
during the
in George Cip?ianu
and Virgiliu far?u,
eds., Romanian and British his
"dynastic crisis", 1928-1930',
torians on the contemporary history of Romania (Cluj-Napoca,
of
2000), pp. 17-31. On Soviet exploitation
see Dan C?t?nu?, Cadrilaterul:
irredentism amongst, for example, the Bulgarian minority
in Romania,
id?ologie comintemist? si irredentismBulgar, 1918-1940

(Bucharest,

2001).

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the Franco-Soviet

into

Romania
in

HAYNES

REBECCA

954
Spain

to the

appeared

system
security
as a
prelude
legionaries

and
to

the outbreak
the

of

the

civil war

take-over

communist

of

a legionary meeting
in Ia?i, members of the move
Europe and Romania.56 At
to
ment were exhorted to attend work camps
strengthen them both physically and
spiritually.
the

said

main

are

communists

the

'When

'everyone

speaker,

France,

overrunning

has

to

be

well-steeled,

Spain

and

Russia',
and

hard-working

to come in the future.'57 The Legion's anti


disciplined for the fight which is
In
communism was closely linked to its defence of Orthodox
Christianity.
October
1935, General Cantacuzino wrote to the church hierarchy stressing his
the youth of Romania
towards
pride in the fact that the Legion had drawn
and away from 'parties, caf?
'sacred work for the Church and the Nation'
houses,
turned

and 'Bolshevism' which,

licentiousness'

'stables

into

churches

and

in neighbouring

countries,

had

cabarets'.58

strong Orthodox Christian character of the Legion, and the involvement of


are well documented.59 With the emphasis
the Orthodox clergy in the movement,
on Christian morality and spirituality within the work camps, and the fact that
the majority of them were dedicated to projects with a religious purpose, it is
not surprising that Orthodox priests were involved in the camps, officiating at
Some priests even
religious services and the blessing of finished constructions.
in keeping with the development of
acted as camp commanders.60 Furthermore,

The

the work
weddings,

camps
baptisms,

as

legionary
even

and

'parallel
funerals

society',
took

place

religious
in the

ceremonies
camps.

At

such
a camp

as
in

the village ofMorenii Vechi near Ia?i where legionaries were building a church,
of two legionaries
the wedding
conducted
the local priest, Leonid Miron,
who had met at the camp.61 At the Carmen Sylva work camp, the baptism of

56

see Rebecca Haynes, Romanian


foreign policy and reactions to itwithin Romania,
and
towards
2-14.
London,
pp.
2000),
Germany, 1936-1940 (Basingstoke
policy
57
a Polizei, dosar nr 46/1936,
Generala
Arh. NaJ., Directe
pp. 171-2, 20 June 1936, nr 1700, Note
on a meeting
held at the legionary centre in Ia?i.
58
a Polizei, dosar nr 239/1935, pp. 1-2, at p. 2, Letter from General
Generala
Arh. NaJ., Directe
the Bishops
head of the 'All for the Country' party, to Their Holinesses
Gh. Cantacuzino-Gr?nicerul,
2 Dec.
of good Christian
and to all Romanians
of Romania
1935.
faith, Bucharest,
59
The Green Shirts and the outers,pp. 247, 250-1, 265-8 ;Heinen, Die
See, for example, Nagy-Talavera,
'
in
Michael
317-21, and Iordachi, Charisma, politics, and violence, pp. 104-17.
Rum?nien,
pp.
Legion Erzengel
60
de
Zamfirescu, Legiunea ArhanghelulMihail de lamit la realitate, pp. 83, 217-20; Arh. NaJ., Ministerul
of the Security Services,
dosar nr 3/1936, pp. 300-21, Oct.
1936, Police Directorate
Interne, Diverse,
dosar
'All for the Country'
Information
alJandarmeriei,
Service,
party; ibid., Inspectoratul General
Information bulletin nr
of the Gendarmerie
nr 29/1935, pp. 258-63, Regional
Oradea,
Inspectorate
For Titulescu's

5of29Mayi936.
61
of the
dosar nr. 6/1935, p. 51, Regional
de Interne, Diverse,
Arh. Na$., Ministerul
Inspectorate
of a wedding
nr 10 of 24 Sept. 1935. See also the photographs
Gendarmerie
Ia?i, Informative note,
in Tab?ra de munc?, pp. 50-1.
in Transylvania
in Izbuc-Bihor
taking place at the work camp

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THE ROMANIAN

LEGIONARY

MOVEMENT

955

a child took place in the summer of 1936 with Codreanu acting as a godfather.
A wedding and funeral also took place there in 1936.62
The most popular small work project with a religious purpose was the setting
up

of

on mountain

crucifixes

tops,

usually

to commemorate

events

or

persons

significant in legionary, national, or church history. Thus, inAugust 1935 a group


set up a crucifix on the
of legionaries from Bu?teni in the Carpathian mountains
to
commemorate
mountain
the
first
nearby Jepi
legionary 'martyr', Virgil
Teodorescu. Once completed, a religious service took place, officiated by an
priest.63 The following year, legionaries set up a crucifix in H?lmagiu
on the spot where seven Orthodox
in Arad county, Transylvania,
the
had
been
executed
Horia, Clo?ca, and Crisan rebellion of 1784.
priests
during
A group of priests blessed the crucifix on its completion, in a ceremony which was
as president of the political wing of
also attended by General Cantacuzino,
Orthodox
commune

the movement,
the Prahova
commemorate

'All for the Country'.64 In October


1936, legionary workers from
erected a particularly spectacular monumental
crucifix to

valley

Romanian

soldiers

who

had

died

on

the

Soroca

mountain

near

in the Carpathian mountain


range during the First World War. The
Azuga
crucifix was apparendy eight metres high and could be seen from distant towns. It
had been especially designed by an architect and carved from a massive oak tree
by the legionary workers in their spare time with materials provided by a local
manufacturer. The figure of Christ crucified was five metres high and had been
painted by a legionary artist. The blessing of the crucifix was a highly popular
event with a number of Orthodox priests officiating in the presence of General
Cantacuzino, Gheorge Clime, head of the legionary workers' corps, and a num
ber of legionary commanders. Also present were 600 legionary workers from the
Prahova
some
distant

as well
as a
veterans.
of war
The
attracted
ceremony
valley,
delegation
as
as from
of
members
the
from
well
the
the more
4,000
locality,
public
to
cities
of Bra?ov
In addition
and Bucharest.65
and
up crucifixes
setting

the building or repairing of churches, some work camps were dedicated to larger
religious building projects. At Buga work camp in Bessarabia, Romania's frontier
100 legionaries were engaged in building a
with the atheistic Soviet Union,
monastery

to train Orthodox

missionaries.66

Of the sixmost
at Arnota

important work camps operating between 1935 and 1936, two,


and Susai-Predeal, were dedicated to religious purposes. In July 1935,

62
Arh. NaJ., Ministerul
de Interne, Diverse, dosar nr 3/1936, p. 5, 2 Sept. 1936, conf. 1194;Macrin,
tab?ra del? Carmen Sylva', pp. 22-3.
'Taberele de munc?:
63
Tab?ra de munc?, p. 22
64
Arh. Na(.,
General
at p. 306,
al Jandarmeriei,
dosar nr 29/1935,
pp. 303-8,
Inspectorate
Information bulletin nr 9 of 29 Sept. 1936.
Oradea,
Regional
Inspectorate of the Gendarmerie
65
loan Scurtu,
ed., Ideologie si formapuni de dreapta ?n Romania 1919-1938
(4 vols., Bucharest,
rv (7July 1934-30 Mar.
nr 120, 27 Oct.
1996-2003),
1938), p. 220, document
1936, Cluj: article
in Poru?ea Vremii regarding the blessing of a crucifix on Soroca mountain.
published
66
Poru?ea Vremii, 4 Aug.
'Constructive youth: monasteries,
1935, I. Diaconescu,
churches, hermi
'All for the Country' work camps'.
tages and roads

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HAYNES

REBECCA

956
sixty-six

legionaries

Gheorghe

Doar?,

southern

Romania.

'in green

teachers,

including

and

shirts

in military

to undertake

arrived
Between

and

July

students,

workers,

led by

formation',
at Arnota

work

restoration

over

September,
and peasants,

200

the priest,
in

monastery

in all,

legionaries
on
the project

worked

to

to the church where Matei


repair the mountain road leading from the monastery
Basarab (ruler of the Romanian principality ofWallachia between 1632 and 1654)
was

buried.

Codreanu's

Horia

brother,

whose

Codreanu,

army

regiment

was

located in the region, was simultaneously involved in successful discussions with


at nearby
the church hierarchy for the erection of a church by the movement
a
a
had
had
miraculous
vision.
Doubtless
where
peasant
apparentiy
Maglavit
these discussions were helped by the fact that many priests living in the vicinity of
the

camp

were

activists

for

the movement.67

in the Carpathians was set up to build a


camp at Susai-Predeal
to house the bones of Romanian
mausoleum
soldiers who had died on Susai
in 1916 defending the border between the Old Kingdom
of Romania
mountain
The work

and Transylvania,
then under the jurisdiction of the Habsburg monarchy.
and
Codreanu had personally discovered the bones on a walk in the mountains,
was appalled that the soldiers, who had given their lives for the creation of Great
Romania, had not received Christian burial and due honour by the Romanian
establishment
authorities. It only served to confirm his opinion of the Romanian
as an anti-national force. The church hierarchy was directly involved in the
Susai-Predeal
camp which was inaugurated with a requiem and stone-laying
ceremony
1936,

presided

however,

completion,
in the
selves
inauguration
as
'sacrilege'

the

over by Metropolitan
local

throwing
process.68

gendarmes
away

icons,

Cantacuzino,

ceremony,

demanded

committed

towards

a
'the

of Bessarabia. On

the mausoleum,

destroyed

crucifixes,

General

Gurie

candles,
had

who

government
holy

and
been

enquiry

which
even

5 September
was

the bones

present
into what

at
he

the

nearing
them
camp's

described

bones'.69

VI

such as Gurie of Bessarabia,


metropolitans,
the legionary work camps during the 1930s, the church hierarchy was
often equivocal in its response to the involvement of the clergy in the camps.70
in July 1935, the
Following the establishment of the camp at Arnota monastery

Although
endorsed

a number

of Orthodox

67

al Jandarmeriei,
dosar nr 3/1929, pp. 189-223, at pp. 201-4,
Arh. NaJ., Inspectoratul General
Information bulletin regarding the internal situ
of the Gendarmerie
Craiova,
Regional
Inspectorate
dosar nr 3/1929, pp. 81-120, at
ation for 1-31 Aug. 1935; ibid., Inspectoratul General al Jandarmeriei,
Information
the
bulletin regarding the
of
Gendarmerie
Craiova,
pp. 99-114, Regional
Inspectorate
internal situation for 1-31 July, 1935; Tab?ra de munc?, pp. 31-44.
68
Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare, pp. 152-3.
69
of Susai camp', Bucharest,
Circulan si manifeste, pp. 77-8, 'Dissolution
9 Sept. 1936,
Codreanu,
General Cantacuzino-Gr?nicerul.
70
On the ambiguous
relationship between
Charisma, politics and violence, pp. 114-17.

the Orthodox

hierarchy

and the Legion,

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see Iordachi,

MOVEMENT

LEGIONARY

THE ROMANIAN

957

Orthodox Patriarch apparentiy forbade the clergy from collaborating with the
Legion on the restoration or building of church properties because he believed
the movement was exploiting its links with the church for propaganda purposes.71
The ministry of the interior clearly shared the Patriarch's opinion. A report of
October
1936 pointed out that the majority of camps were dedicated to projects
'
connected to developing religious sentiment and strengthening Christian belief,
factors considered to be most beneficial in aiding the propagandistic aims of this
were frequentiy personally involved
organization'.72 Indeed, the Orthodox clergy
The
in disseminating
priest, Leonid Miron, for example,
legionary propaganda.
who was responsible for the legionary wedding at the work camp near Ia?i, edited
a newspaper

as an

used

he

which

outiet

for

legionary

propaganda.73

Clearly, the Legion fully exploited their links with priests, as well as local
lawyers and teachers, who lived in the vicinity of the camps. It was, after all,
this sector of society which enjoyed 'an unchallenged
authority amongst the
drawn
the
and
up by
police
gendarmerie reveal how the
population'.74 Reports
as
as
folk dance, to spread their
well
music
and
used
these
links,
legionaries
'All
that
for
the Country',
and
of
their
influence,
amongst the
political wing,
largely rural population in the vicinity of the camps. In July 1935, for example,
a group of seventy legionaries, thirty-three in legionary green shirts, and the
remainder

in national

arrived

costume,

town

in the

of Baile

in south

Herculane

singing legionary songs. After taking part in a religious service in


the town, they set up the national flag on the outskirts of the town and took part in
a further religious service. This was officiated by a local priest as well as one from

west Romania

Bucharest,

even

and

a church

included

choir.

Some

150 spectators

also

took

part.

At the end of the service, one of the priests gave a speech in which he expressed
his admiration for the movement, which he described as 'the hope of tomorrow'.
He

that,

explained

as a result

of

the work

camps,

ruined

buildings

and

neglected

land had been transformed for the benefit of the Romanian people. The church
choir then sang the 'Hymn of the young legionaries'. A retired colonel from
Bucharest
legionary

subsequendy
concluded

songs

spoke
the

in favour

of

the movement,

and

a round

of

stirring

event.75

71

a Polizei, dosar nr 239/1935, pp. 1-2, Letter from General Gh.


Arh. Na$., Directe
Generala
head of the 'All for the Country'
the Bishops of
Cantacuzino-Gr?nicerul,
party, to Their Holinesses
2 Dec.
and to all Romanians
Romania
of good Christian faith, Bucharest,
1935. Iordachi points out,
that the hierarchy refused publicly to repudiate the Legion. See Iordachi, Charisma, politics and
however,
violence, p. 116.
72
Arh. Na?., Ministerul
dosar nr 3/1936, Oct.
de Interne, Diverse,
1936, pp. 300-21, at p. 315,
'All for the Country'
Police Directorate
of the Security Services, Information Service,
party.
73
Arh. NaJ., Ministerul
de Interne, Diverse,
dosar nr 6/1935, p. 51, Regional
of the
Inspectorate
Gendarmerie
Ia?i, Informative note, nr 10 of 24 Sept. 1935.
74
Arh. Na$., Inspectoratul General al Jandarmeriei,
dosar nr 29/1935, pp. 8-14, at p. 13,Regional
of
the
Gendarmeriei
Information
bulletin regarding the internal situation, nr
Oradea,
Inspectorate
9 of 30 Sept. 1935.
75
Arh. NaJ., Ministerul
Police, Note

nr 2326, 3 Aug.

de Interne, Diverse,
dosar nr 2/1936,
work camp.
1936, B?ile Herculane

pp. 244-5, General

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Directorate

of

HAYNES

REBECCA

958

The following month, legionaries from the work camp at Ineu inArad county,
utilized their links with Orthodox
priests in the communes of
Transylvania,
T?rnova and Chier, taking part in open-air prayers with the priests and villagers
and in folk dances. On 8 September, a group of legionaries from the same camp
arrived at H?lmagiu near Arad where the local priest organized accommodation
for them. The next day they opened a small work camp to set up a crucifix. Food
was provided by the local inhabitants and the priest brought the twenty-strong
church choir to the camp 'who sang different songs in honour of the legionaries'.
in the priest's house, and that of a
The latter apparently held nighdy meetings
local

in Bihor

monastery
in the

to

in order

lawyer,

county,

result of these activities,


Country',

'a great

gained

were

Transylvania,
camp.

the Legion,
number

of

of

Members

recruits.

the work

surrounding

villages

new

gain

also

According

the work

Izbuc

in similar
activities
engaged
as
to the
gendarmerie,

their political

and
adherents'

at

camp

in Arad

'All for the

wing,
and

Bihor

counties.76

on fertile soil. Following the


Legionary propaganda did not always, however, fall
a
at
inMarch
in
fountain
of
Vinjul dejos
1936, a number
Transylvania
blessing
the
in
criticized
which
of legionaries made
country's political
they
speeches
to make promises as to what the 'All for the
parties. They then proceeded
would

Country'

party

audience

accused

them

do

once

of making

it came

to power.

empty

members

Unconvinced,

of

the

promises.77

VII
The Legion also utilized photographs of the work camps as a means of propa
were circulated widely.78
ganda. Individual photographs of life in the work camps
Scenes

from

Carmen

Sylva

work

camp

were

particularly

popular

and

used

as

the

background for 'All for the Country' election posters in 1937, the year of the
was by far the largest and most highly
general election.79 Carmen Sylva camp
work
of
the
camps. It was in itself an example of the larger
Legion's
organized

76

al Jandarmeriei,
Arh. NaJ., Inspectoratul General
Information
Oradea,
Inspectorate of the Gendarmerie

dosar nr 29/1935,
bulletin

pp. 8-14, at p. 13,Regional


the internal situation, nr 9 of

regarding
dosar nr 29/1935,
al Jandarmeriei,
General
p. 22, Regional
1935; ibid., Inspectoratul
of the Gendarmerie
Oradea, Note on the activities of the legionary work camps within
Inspectorate
this inspectorate.
77
dosar nr 19/1932,
al Jandarmeriei,
General
Arh. NaJ.,
p. 516, Regional
Inspectoratul
Informative note nr 39 of 23 Mar.
the
Gendarmerie
Gendarmerie
of
Alba,
Legion
Cluj,
Inspectorate
30 Sept.

1936.
78
of
dosar nr 8/1936, pp. 109-10, General Directorate
de Interne, Diverse,
Arh. NaJ., Ministerul
the Police to the minister of the interior, letter of 5May
1936.
79
One election poster, for example, showed a line of bronzed legionaries in swimming trunks, lined
them was written
'Look at them! Burned by
formation with their work tools. Beneath
up inmilitary
at work amongst his
showed Codreanu
the sun, tough, rugged, the heralds of a new life ... '.Another
a pick-axe breaking up the soil with the slogan 'All that is putrid and evil will crumble
with
legionaries
dosar nr 13/1937,
de Interne, Diverse,
the tempest of your destiny': Arh. NaJ., Ministerul
beneath
pp.

117, 119.

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LEGIONARY

THE ROMANIAN

MOVEMENT

959

'parallel society' which the Legion was creating through the work camp system as
a whole. The Carmen Sylva camp was thus described by George Macrin as 'a
state inminiature'.80 Between July and September 1935, 800 legionaries, led by
in person,

Codreanu

established

the

on

camp

coast

Sea

the Black

two

kilometres

away from Carmen Sylva resort. At the work camp the legionaries built a number
of stone chalets and huts, as well as six kitchens, a cellar, five fountains and a hen
house. Orderly paths were cut between the buildings, and small terraces and
flower beds created which were laid out with tables and benches. The legionaries
even laid down a 200 metre road from the camp to the beach, which they named
The shore line was also consolidated in
'the Road of Tomorrow's Romanian'.
order to protect the camp, and deep drainage channels were cut into the
reveal a series of impressive and orderly
banks. Contemporary
photographs
Over

constructions.
were

vegetables

trees were

500

on

planted

land

at

planted

at

the

Tuzla.

nearby

camp,

Horses,

and

cereals,

donkeys,

and

beans,

and

carts were

kept in the camp for transportation of provisions.81 In addition, between 1935


and 1936 the legionaries built over a kilometre of main road leading from the
camp and running parallel to the sea. This was built using stones which the
had

legionaries

taken

from

the

sea

and

once

was,

again,

to

designed

show

that

the Legion could do better than the country's politicians who had planned to
construct a road along the coast using stones brought from the Carpathian
.
on
mountains.

The break-down
claim
Legion's
out
substance.
and

workers,

priests,
Women

at

any

of foreign
time

made

also well

the

visitors.
to

During

several

dozen

the

up

represented,

as well

camp,

Sylva camp reveals that the


was

not with

group,
largest
single
to teachers,
in addition

artisans,

of

composition

and even pilots

at

one

cross-class

students
were

professors,

number

the

Although
peasants

worked

of the Carmen

of membership

regarding

and members
as older

the

of

who

children

camps

lawyers,

of the artistic professions.

supporters

summer

the

1936,

of
the

worked

the movement,
was

camp

with

the

and
also

home

legionaries.83

Legionary organizations throughout the country sent children from poor families
to stay at the camp for up to twenty days to benefit from the healthy life by the sea
to imbibe legionary propaganda. The children received free
and, doubdess,
care

medical
while

the

from

legionary

the legionary
women
acted

taken, as well as the diverse

80
Macrin,
81
Scurtu,

'Taberele

de munc?:

doctors

who

as nurses.84

worked
The

variety

in

the

camp's

of work

infirmary,
being

under

social and regional origins of the camp's members,

tab?ra del? Carmen

Sylva', p. 23.
nr
de dreapta in Romania: 1919-1938,
rv, pp. 123-4, document
station at Constanza
51, 17 Aug.
1935, Constanza:
report from the municipal
police
regarding
the legionary work camp at Carmen Sylva; Tab?ra de munc?, pp. 31-44; Codreanu,
Circulan si manifeste,
pp. 73-4, Carmen Sylva 24 Apr. 1936, 'To the legionary family'.
82
Interview with Dr ?erban Milcoveanu,
19Apr. 2006.
83
'Taberele de munc?:
tab?ra del? Carmen Sylva', pp. 19-21.
Macrin,
84
Arh. Nat-, Ministerul
de Interne, Diverse, dosar nr 2/1936, p. 274, General Directorate
of Police,
Note, nr 2374,10 Aug. 1936, Focsani legionaries to send sixty to seventy sick children to Carmen Sylva.
ed., Ideologie si?rmapmi

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REBECCA

g6o
prompted

without

to describe

Macrin

George

(o cetate id?ala) inwhich

HAYNES
Carmen

as

Sylva

'an

city'

archetypal

all social classes and age groups allegedly worked

together

antagonism.85

camp was run with military precision by a 'service officer' selected every
Codreanu.
Under his direction, legionaries rose at 5.30 a.m. every day for
day by
followed
gymnastics,
by manual work with brief pauses for singing and bathing
and a frugal breakfast and lunch. Meat was served only twice a week. Following a
rest in the afternoon, work continued from 4.30 to 8 p.m., to be followed by time
for discussion, singing, prayers, and supper. Visitors regularly entered the camp,
even taking part in the evening discussions, and on Sundays and feast days, the
The

gave

legionaries

demonstrations

regular

of work,

and

and moral

prayer

seems

not

gave

competitions,

of Carmen

description

in the open air in which

immense monastery
nation'

Macrin's

earnestness,

held

its austere discipline, dedication

recitals and displays of folk dancing. With

Sylva

choral

to song
'
an

as

the legionaries pray for the whole

inappropriate.86

VIII
of Codreanu's

Evidence

in

interest

commerce

was

also

at Carmen

apparent

Sylva. In addition to donations of food by supporters, the crops grown in and


around the camp, the sheep and pigs tended, and the fish regularly caught in the
sea provided food not only for the legionaries but also for a buffet which was open
to

the public.
The
food
here was
the buffet
attracted
many

hence

donations
which

made
was

The

by supporters,
to set up the

used

so-called

'Battie

1935

September

and

the

for

Carmen
legionary

As
Sylva

camp

Commerce'
run

by

the Carmen

result

co-operative

Legionary

co-operative,

at

than

cheaper
visitors.

the

of
made

this,

resort
and
Sylva
and
the financial

a small

profit

in

1935

in Bucharest.87
was
legionary

inaugurated
was
women,

on

14

opened

85
tab?ra del? Carmen
'Taberele de munc?:
Macrin,
Sylva', p. 23. The existence of the so-called
'Carmen Sylva law' for settling disputes and ejecting miscreants
suggests that relations between
were not always as harmonious
as Macrin
Circulan si manifeste,
members
imagined. See Codreanu,
pp. 151-2, 1July 1937, 'The Carmen Sylva law'.
86
tab?ra del? Carmen Sylva', p. 23. For a comparison with the daily
'Taberele de munc?:
Macrin,
schedule in a Nazi work camp, see Patel, Soldiers of labor: labor service inNazi Germany andNew Deal
America, pp. 210-11.
87
tab?ra del? Carmen Sylva', p. 22. Food for members
of other work
'Taberele de munc?:
Macrin,
camps was

and the sites for the camps were often


usually donated by local supporters. Materials
was
influential supporters. The Rar?u camp, for instance, where
the movement
by more
to the estates of Prince Nicolae, King Carol IPs
building a 'rest home', was set up on land belonging
the movement
had close relations. The furniture and bedding were provided by
brother, with whom
de Interne, Diverse, dosar nr
local legionaries and legionary railway workers. See Arh. NaJ., Ministerul
nr 11444 of 7 Oct.
to
the Regional
of
1937
p.
730,
Inspectorate
6/1937,
police
C?mpulung-Bucovina
for the building of Casa Verde, as well as other work camps, was
Police Cern?uji. Construction material
a
Ion Gigurtu.
donated by the industrialist and nationalist politician,
Generala
See, ibid., Directe
provided

Polizei,
regarding

nr 264/1937,
p. 327, General Directorate
the 'Mica' society and the legionary movement.

dosar

of the Police,

nr

1569,

1Dec.

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1937, Note

MOVEMENT
961
'
'
two months later.88Horia Sima described the Battle for Legionary Commerce
'
'
'
as a non-violent war, pursued by legal means
against what he described as the
'
invasion of the Jews in the national economy.89 Although the initial purpose of
the co-operative had been to provide funds for the unpaid legionary workers at
THE ROMANIAN

the movement's

administrative

LEGIONARY

on

headquarters

Strada

in Bucharest,

Gutenberg

the initiative quickly acquired an educational mission. Codreanu not only wished
to overturn the prevailing Romanian mentality which disparaged trade in favour
of a career in the professions and bureaucracy, but also the idea that the Jews had
a talent for commerce which was lacking in the Romanians.
In the wake of Jewish
of Romanian

penetration

Codreanu

towns,

the Romanian

accused

authorities,

of abandoning Romanian
traders.
supposedly easily corrupted by Jewish money,
'
'
The latter, isolated in the face of the organized offensive of the Jews had, he
claimed,

been

There

to desert

forced

train a Romanian
was

their

Codreanu's

shops.

solution,

was

therefore,

to

'army' of traders against the 'Jewish bloc'.90


a moral

also

to Codreanu's

imperative

to arms.

call

He

considered

traders guilty of both profiteering and selling substandard goods.


he believed the new 'Christian' commerce should be established
Consequently,
on principles which would serve the needs of the whole national community,
the Jewish

rather than that of 'a greedy minority'.91


and

commerce,

new

the

Codreanu
should

co-operative,

be

that legionary

stipulated
on

based

fresh

selling

and

high-quality goods at normal prices. Although the seller had the right to make a
small profit, since he performed a special function in society, there should be
honourable

between

relations

the

and

buyer

seller.

he

commerce',

'Legionary

wrote, 'signifies a new phase in the history of our commerce defiled by the Jewish
spirit : it is called Christian commerce, based on the love of people, not on robbing
It was,

them.'

he

In the autumn

for thirty to forty


who

worked

Strada

with

produce

of

the

1935,

'commerce

the movement

at

Codreanu

as well

co-operative

who

as

honour'.92
a

and,

cooked

like

canteen

legionary

to include

the fifteen

administrative
those

working

on legionary business. The

visiting Bucharest
legionary

opened

were

the movement's

in Bucharest,

of the legionary women,

on

based
also

legionaries. These

Gutenberg

and members

concluded,
of

the

co-operative,

at

catering

legionaries
at

headquarters
the co-operative

canteen utilized
was

the

the preserve

and served the food.93 Plans were

also

88
Circulan ?i manifeste, pp. 84-5, 20 Sept. 1936, 'For
Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare, p. 119; Codreanu,
89
the buyer from the cooperative'.
Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare, p. 202.
90
Circulan si manifest?, pp. 48-51, Bucharest,
Codreanu,
29 Sept. 1935, 'First circular regarding
Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare, pp. 119-22, at p. 121.
legionary commerce';
91
Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare, p. 120.
92
Circulan si manifeste, pp. 48-51, at p. 51, Bucharest,
Codreanu,
29 Sept. 1935, 'First circular
regarding legionary commerce'.
93
on 20 Apr. 2006 in Bucharest. Dr Milcoveanu
Interview with Dr ?erban Milcoveanu
confirmed
that the legionary women
camps in preparing

as a result of their role in the


heavily involved in legionary commerce,
food and general housekeeping.
See also, Codreanu,
Circulan si manifeste, pp.
were organized within their own units of
7Oct. 1935, 'The legionary canteen'. Women
52-5, Monday
'
known as a 'fortress (cetapiie), but it should by now be clear that women played
legionary organization,
were

work

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REBECCA

962
for

unveiled
to

next
'the

the

a
shoemaker,
hairdresser,
legionary
were
to form
canteen.
These
part
in other

family',

legionary

movement's

HAYNES

central

and

those

words,

who

to work

tailor

of what

Codreanu
in

worked

in

rooms

described

as

around

the

and

administration.94

IX
new

No

'year

were

ventures

commercial

of

the work

The

camp'.

set up

in 1936 which
of

expansion

as we

was,

the work

have

and

camps

the

seen,

their

obvious

led to the government's


decision to ban privately organized work
popularity
autumn
in
The
the
of
camps
following April, the government passed a
1936.95
state-run work
of work of public utility, making
law for the organization
the
of
for
between
and
ages
camps obligatory
twenty-one. Severe
eighteen
youths
was

punishment

out

to be meted

to

circumstances,
instead

was

Codreanu
his

concentrated

to
on

close

the

who

organizations

the permission

forced

attention

or

'persons

labour service on their projects without

the

to use

seek

of the state '.96Under


work

legionary
of

expansion

these
and

camps
commerce,

legionary

a general store in the Black Sea resort of Carmen Sylva. This


apparently proved popular with visitors because prices were cheaper than in local
shops. This was followed by the opening of a restaurant at Carmen Sylva resort in

beginning

July

with

1937.97

was

restaurant

also

at

opened

the movement's

administrative

headquarters at Strada Gutenberg at the end of June, presumably on the site of


the legionary canteen. The autumn of 1937 witnessed a rapid expansion of the
commercial

Legion's

activities.

These

included

a restaurant

for

legionary

workers

in the working-class district of Grivija in Bucharest, the scene of strikes which had
in 1933, a boarding
been bloodily suppressed by the Romanian
government
house

in Predeal

the Obor
Bulevard
monger's
a suburb

region
Basarab

in the Carpathian
mountains,
two further
of Bucharest,
and

store was
of Bucharest,

and

Bulevard

also

established
and

Elisabeta
at

co-operative

general
restaurants

(the

the movement's
in Bac?u

Lazar
Casa

store

and

restaurant
on

in Bucharest
restaurant).

An

Verde headquarters

in
the
iron
in

in Moldavia.98

financial benefits of this new phase of expansion of legionary commerce


were, however, held to take second place 'to moral principles and the greater
the movement's
Sima described
administrative
national
interest'.99 Horia
The

a significant role in various aspects of legionary activity within and beyond


the work camps. For a
of the far right in France, especially the
discussion of the important role of women within movements
'
the tricolor in the citadels of communism":
women's
Croix defeu, see Kevin Passmore,
"Planting
social action in the Croix de feu and Parti social fran?ais', Journal ofModem History, 71 (Dec. 1999),
pp. 814-51.
94
Circulan si manifeste, pp. 56?61, Bucharest, 17Oct.
1935, 'The legionary family'.
Codreanu,
i
95
inRum?nien, p. 283.
Heinen, Die Legion Erzengel Michael
96
Youth inEuropean labor camps: a report to theAmerican Youth Commission, p. 279.
Holland,
99
98
97
Ibid., p. 197.
Ibid., p. 195.
Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare, pp. 194, 196.

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and

restaurant,

headquarters,

MOVEMENT

LEGIONARY

THE ROMANIAN

on

co-operative

Strada

963
as

in Bucharest

Gutenberg

of professional education, of honesty


being Tike a new citadel of Romanianism,
In his circular written for the opening of the Strada
and of morality'.100
Codreanu

restaurant,

Gutenberg

school'

economic
at

for

their

gionaries
core workers

Romanians,

headquarters,

as well

were

harmony'.

to one

school

whatever

in the

behaviour,

good

brotherhood

their wives

'Here

another.

of

for

aimed,

and

at

however,
and

'an

the

for

le

whose

the

realization
to sit

professors

and children, and not to be ill at ease or


T want

he wrote,
warm

and

furthermore,

'Be

food

the movement

workers

expected

as

to act

being

cheap

honest',

with

'New Man',

legionary
to be both decent

expected
wrote

Codreanu

a real

to create

camaraderie,

legionary

are of the nation.'101 The

his social origins, was,

appearance

also

provide

money

restaurant',

elegance

all who

between

to

raising

Codreanu

to eat together, with

rude

as

as

its purpose
and

restaurant

The

unpaid.

social

of'legionary

down

described

young

in his

circular,

in
and

trustworthy.
'
do not leave without paying. Not because I will be robbed of twenty lei, but
'
because I will be ashamed of my people. He also expected all customers to be
clean

and

even

neat,

if their

were

clothes

old.102

restaurant arose from Codreanu's


A novel feature of the Strada Gutenberg
decision to take in ten peasant children who had completed their elementary
education and who were either orphans or from impoverished families. These
children were to grow up within the 'legionary family', work at the restaurant,
and imbibe the values of legionary commerce. It appears that Codreanu's request
names

relevant

for

The

successful.

to be

to

sent

movement

ended

the movement's
with

up

was

headquarters
shoeless

twenty-five

too

only

and

coatiess

children who became 'the children of the Legion'.103


at the legionary restaurant at Carmen Sylva on the Black Sea the
Meanwhile,
was

public

on

waited

members

of

lawyers,

and

Bucharest

by

the movement.
engineers.104

These
As

took

place

and

to the

restaurants

the

included

in the work

artists,

writers,

university

Codreanu

camps,

to

and

suggest

that

there

who

professionals

sought

classes to place a value on the manual

the intellectual and middle


in

and

intellectuals

was

no

were

professors,
to encourage

work which
as

such

thing
'
'inferior work'. His philosophy was that all work has nobility when it is executed
with honesty and love, and in the conviction that it brings service to those close by

The
by

collectivity'.105
restaurant

Grivija
lawyer

and

student

in Bucharest,
in a

with

conscious

its working-class
attempt

by

customers,
Codreanu

100

to

was

run

encourage

Ibid.
101
Circul?risi manifeste, pp. 152-4, at pp. 152-3, 3 July 1937, 'Words for the public at the
Codreanu,
legionary restaurant'.
102
Ibid., at p. 154; Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare, p. 196.
103
Circulan si manifest, p. 143, Bucharest,
Codreanu,
15June 1937, Circular nr 77; ibid., p. 155, 3July
de Interne, Diverse, dosar nr 9/1937, p. 77, Section I-a,
1937, 'To heads of nests'; Arh. Naj., Ministerul
104
106
nr 3, 28 June 1937.
Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare, p. 196.
Ibid., p. 200.

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HAYNES

REBECCA

964

at the disposal of workers

to place themselves

intellectuals

and thereby promote

social solidarity.
With the expansion of legionary commerce in 1937, Codreanu was at pains to
stress that legionary 'Christian' commerce was to be based on different trading
principles to those on which the Jews allegedly based their trade. This was ap
parent

in his speech to celebrate

quarter

of Bucharest

of

other

were

in Obor

traders

the

of

parts

the

would

'conquerors'

and

legionary
sent as

be

some

to Codreanu,

non-Romanians

described

store in the Obor

of the general

1937. According

now

city. He

Romanian

which

the opening

in October

the
store

as a

traders

to

'small
'the

cent

50 per

was

situation

from

fortress'
lost

in

similar

citadels'

i.e.

those town and cities in the country now dominated by Jewish traders. The
Legion, he went on, rejected the current belief in the 'right to enrichment'.
The

he

and merchant,

shopkeeper

was

argued,

more

a mere

than

in

provisioner

society and 'must be a disseminator of goodwill, a nucleus of moral health and


enthusiasm in the body of the nation'.106 The 'right to enrichment', which, he
believed, could only be realized through the exploitation of others, would thus
give way to the idea of 'service for the collectivity'.107 At the opening of the
Grivija restaurant, Codreanu made a direct attack on what he described as the
economic

therefore,

thinking,

legionary

of 'lust for profit'

principle'

'Judaeo-materialistic

activity

'hunger for gold'.108 In

and

was

an

not

in itself,

end

was

but

regarded as a support for higher aims and was to serve the health of the individual
and the collective. One example of this, according to Horia Sima, was the
in the
legionary boarding house, opened at Predeal in the Carpathian mountains
autumn

of

as a sanatorium

1937,

In September
Codreanu
made

up

professional

within

provisionally
and

to

was

106

also

mission
our

nation

after

years

female

It was
than

to

was
has

'to
lost.

attempt
Each

legionary

new

commerce,
was

Battalion

in the movement's

worked

recruits recommended

to prepare
recruit,

naming

commerce
ventures.

commercial

conquer,
Its

The

in

personnel
was

therefore,

by

a more
to

work

for one year before being fully accepted. The

co-ordinate
for

had

additional

an

hitherto.

new

who

tuberculosis.109

legionary

Commerce'.

legionaries

but with

from

suffering
of
inauguration
youths

the

of Legionary

the Battalion

markets

analyse

Battalion's
which

and

hierarchy.
manner

for urban

'Battalion

undertakings,

legionary

Battalion

the

the male

commercial
the

1937,

created
of

two

metre
is a

by
call

metre,
to war,

throughout
As

Codreanu
the
not

the

country

wrote,

economic
to business.'

the

position
The

of the legionary general


Circulan ?i manifeste, pp. 189-91, at pp. 190-1, 'Inauguration
107
Obor'.
Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare, p. 198.
"Workers from
Circulan' si manifeste, p. 209, 10 Nov.
Codreanu,
1937, 'The Captain's words:
" '
to battle ! The menu for the Grivija restaurant had various comments on the
throughout Romania,
such as 'To be great a nation must be honest, have faith and be ready for sacrifice at any
margins
store
108

Codreanu,

at

de Interne, Diverse,
moment.'
Tips were not accepted at the restaurant. See Arh. NaJ., Ministerul
dosar nr 21/1938, pp. 10-13, at p. 12, Legionary
restaurant, Calea Grivija
198,Menu.
109
Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare, p. 198.

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LEGIONARY

THE ROMANIAN

Battalion was even to include a provisional


oversee

the movement's

commercial

MOVEMENT

965

inspector of commerce

legionary

to

activities.110

1937, and early 1938, were to prove to be the high-water mark of


legionary popularity and expansion. The 12,000 legionary 'nests', the basic unit
of legionary organization, which existed at the start of the year, had risen to some
the Legion's political wing, 'All for the
34,000 by December
1937.111Although
came
of
all
the
third
Country', officially
political parties in the elections of 20
December
1937, there is evidence that the Legion in fact came second, after
The years

the government party, before the authorities falsified the election results. When
further elections were scheduled in the New Year, the ministry of the interior
a
predicted a legionary victory.112 Under these circumstances, Codreanu planned
large

of

expansion

pharmaceuticals,

the

scheme,

and

legionaries

waste

land,

metals

had apparendy

and

roads,

By December,

the Legion
the autumn

during

manufacturing

to collect
huge

iron

scrap

did,
of

of

quantities

1937.

The

legionary

from
iron

for

these

this

gardens,
other

and

confiscated by the
some

make

nevertheless,

electricals,

capital

1937. Under

been collected, only to be subsequendy

It appears

authorities.113

textiles,

to raise

Iron' in September

were

supporters

houses.

as

such

In order

industry.

'Operation Old
their

areas

into

construction

he inaugurated

ventures,

commerce

legionary

and

inroads

co-operative

into

was

not

but a legionary team


by the movement,
only selling toothpaste manufactured
was also visiting Romanian pharmacies recommending
their 'SimhoV toothpaste
as a Romanian product, superior to foreign equivalents or those made by the
ethnic

minorities.114

In view of the banning of the legionary work camps late in 1936, Codreanu was
also forced to find new ways of developing legionary education. There seems to
have been an attempt to create a party school inMay
1937, under the guise of
'

'

rest

camps

for

sick and

legionaries.

injured

banned by the authorities.115 Given


were
the

to

predicted

cadres

necessary

announced

his

provincial
Courses

result

in a

became

intention

to

legionary
critical.

open

rest

The

that the elections

victory,
In January
school

to

the

train

capital, together with a school in Bucharest

were

to take

place

under

Codreanu's

camps

were,

also

however,

scheduled forMarch
need
1938,

for

schools

therefore,

legionary

mayors

to

1938
train

Codreanu
in

each

to train legionary prefects.

direction.116

110

Circulari si manifeste, pp. 170-1, at p. 170, Bucharest,


13 Sept. 1937, 'For
Ibid., p. 202; Codreanu,
of "The Battalion of Legionary Commerce"';
the establishment
ibid., pp. 171-2, Bucharest,
13 Sept.
of the Battalion of Legionary Commerce'.
1937, 'The organization
111
The Green Shirts and the others, p. 293.
Nagy-Talavera,
112
2 Feb.
Constantin
Insemn?ri zilnice (7 vols.,
1935-22 Nov.
1939) (Bucharest,
Argetoianu,
in, pp. 295-7, 21-2 Dec.
1937; ibid., rv, p. 70, 28 Jan. 1938.
1998-2003),
113
Sima, Istoria misc?rii legionare, pp. 200-2.
114
de Interne, Diverse, dosar nr 28/1937, p. 64, Section i-a, nr 28,4 Oct. 1937.
Arh. NaJ., Ministerul
115
a Polijiei, dosar nr 264/1937, p. 348, Section i-a, nr 38, 20 May
Arh. NaJ., Directe
Generala
116
20 Jan. 1938, Circular nr 126.
Circulari si manifeste, pp. 240?1, Bucharest,
Codreanu,
1937.

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REBECCA

966
The

movement's
was,

victory,

and

rapid
expansion,
too much
for

however,

HAYNES

the

the

country's

of

possibility
political

election

legionary
and

elite

for

especially

King Carol II. On 10February 1938 the king established his personal dictatorship
and set about abolishing the political parties. Codreanu, however, believed that
this

not

need

restrain

since

activities,

legionary

could

these

be maintained

under

the cover of the movement's


commercial organizations which he believed the
not
He thus announced his intention of expanding
would
dissolve.
government
the movement's

ventures

commercial

try.117The new constitution


the

and

powers

royal

The ministry
taurants

a series

introduced

of the interior, moreover,

because

their

of

of

workers

government's

the Legion.

against

and

the movement's

indus

greatiy strengthened

aimed

to shut down

politicizing

timber

legionary

1938, however,

decided

the

founding

of measures

dissolved

to pre-empt

in order

the Country'

in

role

therefore, Codreanu

February,

and

of 20 February

the legionary res


artisans.

'All for

political wing

the move

of

suppression

21

On

ment

and imprisonment of his followers. He did not, in any case, believe the royal
dictatorship would have sufficient support to be of long duration. Once political
parties resumed a legal existence, he believed that the country would vote for the
Legion.118 When the legionary restaurant on Strada Gutenberg was shut down in
Codreanu

March,
but

we

will

tomorrow.

do

come

labour.
the

ership,

in

1940

was

'What
time

has

we

did

not

'u9
rapidly.

to be without

we

yesterday,
come.
yet

The

But

was

He

murdered

the

by

murder
subsequent
the organizational

royal

its founder.

regime
into exile

or

flight
structures

created

cannot

do

sure

be

today,
that

legionary victory when


was

Codreanu

1938 and, as a result of his trial inMay, was sentenced

16April
and

Our

is approaching

legionary victory
however,

that

announced

in November
of most

by Codreanu

on

arrested

to ten years' hard


his

1938. With
of

the

it did,

death,

the movement's

lead

dissolved.

effectively

X
In

its pursuit

munity,

of

commerce,

'parallel
and

society'
the

which

education

alternative

embraced
of

the

'New

Man',

forms
the

of

com

Romanian

interwar
the mainstream
of European
lay well within
legionary movement
fascism. Indeed, in his book, The anatomy offascism, Robert Paxton points out the
importance of the 'parallel structures' created by fascist movements. With these
of power and 'after
the state's monopoly
the fascists could first challenge
structures
its
could
substitute
the
for those of
party
achieving power,
parallel
the

state'.120

Paxton

sees

these

structures

as

being

replications

of

government

or the Nazi
the
such as party police,
foreign policy agency,
agencies,
not
set
movement
in the 1930s, however, did
Aussenpolitisches Amt. The legionary
117
Arh. Na?., Ministerul
dosar nr 19/1938, pp. 54-5, Detectives'
de Interne, Diverse,
Corps,
Section i-a, nr 4, 11Feb. 1938.
118
Arh. NaJ., Ministerul
de Interne, Diverse, dosar nr 1/1938, pp. 25-7, C. D., 24 Feb. 1938.
119
Circulan si manifeste, p. 281, 15Mar.
Codreanu,
1938, 'Closure of the legionary restaurant
12?
Robert O. Paxton, The anatomy offascism (London, 2004), p. 85.
Gutenberg'.

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LEGIONARY MOVEMENT
967
'
a
about to create
'parallel society which mimicked government agencies. Indeed,
although the movement was certainly armed, it did not even attempt to establish
a legionary police force until it had actually come to power in 1940. Instead, it
sought to direct its activities down a less conventional route, but one entirely in
THE ROMANIAN

keeping with earlier criticisms of Romania's historical development.


'traditionalists'
One of the criticisms often made by Romanian
teenth

and

cultural

early

twentieth

institutions

centuries

possessed

'form

was

that

without

the

country's

social,

political,
In

substance'.

in the nine

other

words,

and
while

Romanian
institutions had the outward form of such structures in theWest, they
lacked a true foundation and roots in Romanian
society, which was still over
and
therefore, sought to
rural, illiterate,
un-politicized. Codreanu,
whelmingly
up, starting with the individual's moral and spiritual
to empower the Romanian people spiritually to enable
aimed
composition.
to
in
establish
institutions which would, in his thinking, con
due
course,
them,
to
form
the genuine needs of Romanian
with the
society. This entirely comported
'
was
Mussolini himself who wrote that fascism was an educator
spirit of fascism. It

build

from the bottom


He

and a promoter of spiritual life. It aims at refashioning not only the forms of life
his character, and his faith.'121 The legionary 'parallel
but their content-man,
society'

was

thus

not

simply,

as Paxton

an instrument for taking power. Rather


its founder,

vital

moral,

regenerative,

assumes

for

it performed,
and

educational

fascist

as a whole,

institutions

in keeping with
functions.

Or,

the views of
as Vaclav

Havel might have asked, was not the 'parallel society' of the legionary movement
a kind of 'rudimentary pre-figuration'
of those 'more meaningful
"post
democratic" political structures that might become the foundation of a better
society?'122

121

Benito Mussolini,
Fascism: doctrines and institutions (Rome, 1935), pp. 13-14.
in Paul Wilson
From Vaclav Havel,
'The power of the powerless',
ed., VaclavHavel Open letters:
selectedwritings, 1965-1990
in Lagerspetz,
'From
(New York, 1978/90), pp. 125-214, at p. 213. Quoted
"parallel Polis'" to "the time of the tribes'", p. 4.
122

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