File prepared by Marshal Ion Antonescu in 1941 for the recovery of the Romanian Treasure from Moscow – found in an old piece of furniture

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A local from Brasov and an Iranian have found, hidden in an 80-year-old vintage cabinet, the file that Marshal Ion Antonescu sent to Moscow to reclaim the Treasure of Romania, ‘Libertatea’ reports.

The 200 original pages, plus a passport, were found in the double bottom of an old cabinet the source informs. The furniture had been rebuilt by an Iranian settled in Romania and sold to Attila Szocs, a Hungarian ethnic from Brasov. The two found the original documents and they have sent them to the National Bank of Romania in copies.

The file (photo 1)drawn up at the request of Marshal Ion Antonescu (photo 2) in 1941 contains a record of the Romanian Treasure evacuated in 1916-1917 (during World War I) to Moscow, plus other values ​​not known until now. In fact, no one knew until today that, confident that the Germans and Romanians would conquer Moscow, Antonescu had prepared these 200 pages to claim the Treasure, the quoted source notes.

“This is a file that Marshal Ion Antonescu had sent, when the Romanian army advanced together with the Germans in 1941 towards Moscow. Antonescu anticipated that the Germans would conquer Moscow, and the Government wanted to take the Treasury back from the Russians,” a BNR representative says in an unofficial statement, according to ‘Libertatea’.

A new sitting will be held at the BNR on Thursday between the representatives of the National Bank and the Ministry of Culture, who have analysed the documents. What was known was that the National Bank sent a report to Ion Antonescu about the Treasure. Historian Gheorghe Buzatu writes in the book “Romania and the Great Powers (1939-1947)” published in 2003 about the Letter of the National Bank of Romania regarding the Romanian Treasure in Moscow, which was submitted on November 13, 1941, by Marshal Ion Antonescu, the head of state at the time. The file contains all the values ​​already known, the rigorous situation, which BNR already has, but some of which are not known.

“The 1941 inventory is a bit more optimistic than the one we knew about from 1916-1917,” says the unofficial description of what BNR found in a first analysis.

The Romanian Treasure and Marshal Ion Antonescu

During World War I, since Bucharest was occupied by German troops, the Romanian administration moved to Iaşi (north-eastern Romania), and with them, the most valuable objects which belonged to the Romanian state. Fearing an eventual German victory, the Romanian government decided to send the Treasure abroad.

Among the ideas considered was to send it for safekeeping to the vaults of the Bank of England or even to send it to the United States, but there was the problem of transportation, since Germany and its allies controlled most of Central Europe and sending it via Northern Europe was dangerous, as the Germans could have intercepted it, informs.

The decision had to be taken by the Romanian Prime Minister Ion I. C. Brătianu. Although the banker Mauriciu Blank advised him to send it to London or to a neutral country, such as Denmark, Brătianu feared the German submarines of the North Sea and chose another ally of Romania in World War I, Russia, using the argument that “Russia would feel offended if we sent it to England”.

During the night of December 14–15, 1916, a train with 21 carriages, full of gold bars and gold coins (around 120 tonnes), departed the Iaşi train station eastward. In four other carriages, two hundred gendarmes guarded the train. The gold load of this train has as of 2005 a value of $1.25 billion.

Seven months later, in the summer of 1917, as the war situation was getting worse for Romania, another transport was sent to Moscow, containing the most precious objects of the Romanian state, including the archives of the Romanian Academy, many antique valuables, such as 3,500-year-old golden jewels found in Romania, ancient Dacian jewels, the jewels of the rulers of Wallachia and Moldavia, as well as the jewels of the Romanian royalty, thousands of paintings, as well as precious cult objects owned by Romanian monasteries, such as 14th century icons and old Romanian manuscripts. It also contained various deposits of the Romanian people at the national banks. The value of this train is hard to estimate, especially because most of its contents are art objects, but most likely nowadays it could even surpass the value of the other train.

Ion Antonescu was a Romanian soldier and authoritarian politician who, as the Prime Minister and Conducător (Leader) during most of World War II, presided over two successive wartime dictatorships. After the war, he was convicted of war crimes and executed.

On August 23, 1944, King Michael I led a coup d’état against Antonescu, who was arrested; after a brief detention in the Soviet Union, the deposed Conducător was sent back to Romania, where he was convicted of war crimes by a People’s Tribunal, sentenced to death and executed in June 1946. This was part of a series of trials that also passed sentences on his various associates, as well as his wife Maria. The judicial procedures earned much criticism for responding to the Romanian Communist Party’s ideological priorities, a matter that fueled nationalist and far right attempts to have Antonescu posthumously exonerated. While these groups elevated Antonescu to the status of hero, his involvement in the Holocaust was officially reasserted and condemned following the 2003 Wiesel Commission report.

photo 1: ‘Libertatea’ newspaper

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