Codreanu, Corneliu Zelea°

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CODREANU, CORNELIU ZELEA ° (1899–1938), founder and leader ("Capitanul") of the antisemitic *Iron Guard in Romania. Codreanu began his political activities in Jassy in 1919 as an anti-Jewish and "anti-Marxist" student leader. In the years 1923–25 he was secretary of *Cuza's party and head of Cuza's antisemitic student movement. An active terrorist, he assassinated the Jassy chief of police who resisted an antisemitic students' campaign (1925). As head of the "Legion of Archangel Michael," which he founded in 1927, he incited the student movement to a pogrom in which the synagogues in Oradea-Mare were burned and Torah scrolls desecrated. The Legion, known as the Iron Guard from 1930, was shaped by Codreanu into a rabidly antisemitic paramilitary organization. He also demanded a Christian-nationalist, totalitarian system. In 1938 he was arrested by order of King Carol, who feared his influence after his party achieved 16% of the vote in the 1937 elections. He was sentenced to ten years' forced labor, but was shot in November. During the Iron Guard rule in Romania, he was the object of the Guard's mystic veneration. He was the author of Eiserne Garde (1939).


P. Pavel, Why Rumania Failed (1944), index.

[Bela Adalbert Vago]