The Romanian exile after the Second World War. Hundreds of thousands of Romanians rejected communism and chose the path of foreignness

Hundreds of thousands of Romanians chose the path of exile immediately after the end of the Second World War. The phenomenon intensified in the following years and continued until the beginning of the 80s, when the communists no longer allowed Romanians to leave the country.

Romania's royal family in exile PHOTO Profimedia

The phenomenon appeared with the entry of Romania under the ominous sign of totalitarianism and ended in December 1989. The departure of Romanians to other countries initially had an anti-Hitler character, then, after 1945/48, anti-communist and experienced three main waves/periods, when the influx Romanians who left the country for political reasons was more intense.

“With the establishment of the Ion Antonescu-Horia Sima regime (September 1940), a number of Romanian diplomats refused to return to the country, and after the legionary rebellion (more precisely, after its defeat), also in January 1941, thousands of followers of of the legionary movement, many convicted and pursued by the authorities, chose to leave the country, mostly heading to Germany.

Following the Coup of 23 August 1944, Romania will side with the Allies and the Soviet Union, and the Red Army will occupy the country. In the new context, an even greater wave of Romanians take the path of wandering. “Antonescien” diplomats, prisoners of war, scholarship holders of the Romanian state, who were abroad in 1944, chose to increase the ranks of those who will not return. With the communists coming to power, new categories of people who felt threatened by the new power chose to leave the country, even though it had become increasingly difficult, the borders being hermetically closed”it is stated in a study carried out by the Institute for the Investigation of the Crimes of Communism (IICMER).

People of culture in France, politicians in the USA

The second stage of the formation of exile is related to the three decrees (No. 767/1963, followed by Decree No. 176 and No. 411, both from 1964), following which political prisoners were released from prisons. During the so-called “liberalization” period (1963-1971), a much larger number of Romanian citizens were able to leave the country and requested to remain in exile, for political reasons.

The third period, of the last two communist decades (but especially in the 80s), was generated by both political and economic causes. There were cases when those who arrived abroad were sent by the security agencies, with special missions, whose aim was to weaken the cohesion of the exile, to divide it, to recruit prominent members and even to kill some leaders of the Romanian exile.

“If France was the favorite destination of cultured people and the most important center of the entire exile, America (USA) was the favorite place for political activities. In Germany (Federal Republic of Germany) he activated the radio station Free Europe, and in Spain, considering the profane orientation of Francisco Franco, it was preferred especially by legionnaire refugees. Romanians also settled in Latin America, Portugal, Italy, England, Switzerland, where they founded magazines, associations, organized cultural and political events”it is also specified in the IICMER study.

The most important exponents of the Romanian exile were King Mihai and Queen Ana. On January 3, 1948, after the communist coup of December 30, 1947 that led to the forced abdication of King Mihai, he was forced by the new authorities to leave Romania.

Important moments of the Romanian exile:

April 6, 1950: the Romanian National Committee (CNR), the Romanian section of the Assembly of Captive Nations, is established in Washington, with the stated purpose of representing the Romanian nation and defending its interests until the moment of national liberation, the restoration of the democratic system in Romania and the coordination and provision of support for Romanian exiles . The composition of the CNR, also approved by King Mihai, was as follows: Nicolae Radescu (president), Cornel Bianu, Grigore Niculescu-Buzești, Grigore Gafencu, Alexandru Cretzianu, Iancu Zissu, Nicolae Caranfil, Constantin Vișoianu (members).

July 4, 1950: in New York, the first broadcast of the “Free Europe” radio station is broadcast. The first director of the Romanian section was Mihail Fărcășanu (1950-1951), and the first show in Romanian was broadcast on July 14.

March 1951: the newspaper “Românul” will appear in New York, press organ of the Association of Free Romanians in the USA (later of the League of Free Romanians), founded by General Nicolae Radescu, after the fracturing of the Romanian National Committee. In the framework of the League, leading personalities of the exile will be active, including: Monica Lovinescu, Virgil Ierunca, Brutus Coste, Neagu Djuvara. The publication appears until March 1963.

January 16, 1955: the Union of Romanian Associations in Germany (UARG) is established in Bonn with the aim of unifying the organizations and associations of the Romanian exile in Germany.

May 27, 1973: the Federation of Romanian Associations in Canada is established. The main intention was “to unite, in a single federation, the associations interested in the development of Romanian culture in Canada.

February 21, 1981: the attack on the “Europa Liberă” radio station, the Romanian Section, takes place, an action carried out by order of the Security and executed against the background of the well-known terrorist Carlos the Jackal. Fortunately, due to some misinformation, Carlos' attack severely damaged the Czechoslovak Ward, collapsing a two-level wall.

December 17, 1987: The League for the Defense of Human Rights in Romania organizes a demonstration in front of the Romanian Embassy in Paris, in protest after the uprising in Brașov on November 15, insisting on the immediate release of Doina Cornea and her son, Leontin Iuhas, of Radu Filipescu and the end of the isolation of the architect Mariana Celac-Botez.