Erik Andreas Mathias Biering on the Political Background of the Uprising in Romania in 1941



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Mr. Foreign minister,

Through the Hungarian National Radio Broadcasts, it was announced that, in mid-January, the Prime Minister, General Antonescu, had been on a 1-day visit with Chancellor Hitler. In Bucharest was the meeting not officially mentioned, and therefore gave rise to some remarkable rumours.

A few days after the General’s return, a German General Staff Officer, Major Döring, was murdered on the street in Bucharest. The killer is said to be a man with a Greek name, Dimitrie Sarandos, who had come from America with a Turkish passport and whose profession is stated as being a wrestler.

The cause of the murder has so far not been resolved; officials say that they are still investigating the crime.

However, this resulted in General Antonescu’s dismissal of the legionary Minister of the Interior, General Petrovicescu, who was accused of not taking immediate action for a thorough investigation. The Legionary Press protested against this dismissal, while at the same time emphasizing its strong association with the Axis Powers, calling for revenge on those who stood behind the killer.

It can thus be concluded, that the murder was not aimed at the presence of the Axis in Romania, as Romanian Patriots suggested it in a British Radio broadcasts, since the warring parties agree that only the Axis military precautions in Romania save them from further segregation between their hostile neighbours.

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One could not fail to notice that the Press controlled by the Legionnaires made propaganda for the Revolution, i.e. further looting of the possessive classes and especially of the Jews and new members of the Freemasons.

Finally, it was clear to the Prime Minister that he ruled with some Ministers in one direction, i.e. on the basis of the existence of evolutionary development, while the Deputy Prime Minister, Legionary Commander Horia Sima with other Ministers, ruled towards a Revolution and immediate looting and destruction of everything of endurance. The situation was unsustainable and as a first serious countermeasure from the Prime Minister’s site emerged on 21 of this month a decree abolishing the main efforts of the Legionnaires to militarize the Romanian institutions as well as important State enterprises. I have reported this in my above-mentioned report.

The answer to this relatively peaceful act was that the Legionary Party on the 22 of this month occupied a police barrack with 600 men, located right next to the Foreign Ministry, where the Prime Minister has his Bureau as well as his temporary residence. Thus, the rebellion had begun.

It soon became clear that the Legionnaires were well supplied with rifles and ammunition, and that they had prepared the action by pre-occupying houses taken from wealthy Jews in all districts. The garrison commanded by General Antonescu, finally succeeded in capturing the Police barrack, from which the Legionnaires attacked the Foreign Ministry with the purpose of killing the General.

On the first day, the military sought to avoid shooting and trusted the effect of their sole appearance. However, as Soldier everywhere where shot down, during the course of the second day, a common battle erupted throughout the city, during which the military, with guns, tanks and machine guns, damaged the fortified houses of the Legionnaires.

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There were many dead and wounded on both sides, but we do not know how many. However, the number of victims is hardly proportional to the periodic violent cannonade that lasted all day and night for more than 2 days.

All this time, Legionnaire gangs carried out gruesome pogroms, notably against the Jewish Proletariat in the suburbs, where large-scale assassinations and looting took place.

In short, the vast majority of the so fiercely proclaimed Legionary Movement people, i.e. The dregs of the City, took the opportunity to show who they really were, without the so-called leadership being able to limit the struggle to its true purpose, which was the creation of a pure Legionary government under Horia Sima.

Following the culmination of the Romanian Military’s efforts early on Thursday (the 23rd), Horia Sima sent out, via Radio and leaflets, an order to the Legionnaires to put down the weapons.

The fighters only partially complied with the order, but in the course of the afternoon, at least, they succeeded in establishing peace while motorized divisions of the present German Armed Forces demonstratively drove through the city obviously prepared to assist the Romanian military if necessary.

By Friday morning, the uprising was dissolved and the entire city occupied by the Romanian Military, which began searching for the Legionnaires’ hidden abode and large quantities of stolen goods distributed over many houses have since been brought to light.

Undoubtedly, the entire Rebellion has been planned and staged by General Antonescu’s closest Employees in the Legionary State’s leadership.

The police were searching for Deputy Prime Minister Horia Sima and it is said that he has been arrested today.

The appointment of a general government was generally expected, but so far, nothing has been published regarding the transformation of the government, let alone its dismissal.

In reality, it is fair to say that the country is currently administered solely the Governor, General Antonescu, currently administers the country with the help of the declared state of emergency.

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Intelligence from the Province suggests that rebellions of the same kind as here have been common in the larger cities, while the rural population itself has turned against the plans of the Legionnaires.

After the rebellion, General Antonescu issued a comprehensive Proclamation to the People. The general thanked the Army for its courage, describing the suffering he went through before it became inevitable to shoot at the people, he declares that from now on he will personally take charge of the youth’s education and that all who are guilty will be punished.

General Disarmament will now be implemented by the Military.

The Romanians here have stated to me that the proclamation is well suited to make an impression, especially within the large Romanian peasant population, but at the same time, it is found to be too lyrical and weak to deter future troublemakers.

Especially regarding the last point, it is apparent that the general now faces a number of challenges in setting up a new Ministry, but the situation is still too unclear to be overlooked.

H.m. King Mihai and the Royal family have before and during the rebellion period stayed in Sinaia without being directly involved in the events, as far as we know here in Bucharest.

With the honourable mention, I have the honour to remain Mr. Foreign Minister’s most reverent,

Erik Biering


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