| I have found an interesting article about the seizing of Romanian ships by the Soviets, related by an officer on Marsuinul, in August-September 1944 at Constanta. Here are some excerpts:
|On 28 August 1944, nothing out of ordinary happened. Several Soviet aircraft surveyed the harbor, nobody fired at them and they did not attack.|
On 29 August 1944, 15.00 hours, a Soviet military jeep stopped at the main access gate e. It did not enter the harbor, nobody questioned its presence. The Soviet officer, standing up in the car, examined the harbor through field glasses for 2-3 minutes. The jeep left afterwards. Meantime, as a result of negociations between the Romanian Sea Navy Force and the Soviets, it was decided that on 30 August 1944, two speed boats, under the command of Cpt. Papzoglu Mircea and Lt. Apostolescu Emil, to go to Sulina, where they were to meet the Soviet ships and to lead them to Constanta harbor. During night, several vedettes of the Soviet fleet enetered the harbor. A Soviet officer was dispatched on every Romania ship to prevent any unauthorized movement.
The second day, on 31 August 1944, aboard the depot ship of which Marsuinul was tied-up, arrived several Soviet officers, mostly youths, who heard they will receive a good meal and a booze at the officers mess hall. Discussions in Russian, little in English. They were disapointed to see intact some of our ships they reported as being sunk. Such cases happened to us also!
On 1 September 1944, on the depot ship came uninvited a Soviet major, an intelligent, elevated and mannered man, who offered to read to us excerpts from "Pravda", because he learned that we were indoctrinated by the fascists and the nazis. Nobody knew it was about to start a lot of trouble for us. In the evening, the crew of the trailer charged with closing the harbor with net was a little to amiable with the Soviet officer, who, because of the euforia caused by the booze, forbid any movement of the trailer.
Because of this, in the night of 1-2 September 1944, a German submarine, who left the harbor 4 days ago and who knew the place very well, enetered the harbor and launched a torpedo which hit the commercial ship Oituz. The ship was sunk.
The second day, 3 September 1944, the quarrel started, because we were considered guilty. Our anti-submarine ships were ordered to exit the harbor, to search for the German submarine and to sink it. But a new tragedy occured. Our available anti-sumbarine ships were two-three trailers with underwater listening devices and depth grenade launchers, but not suited for heavy sea. At sea with average waves, the board was swept by water, and the mechansims were rusted. Therefor, each 2-3 months the grenades had to be returned to workshop to be checked. But during those troubled times, this thing was neglected. The anti-submarine trailers spotted a submarine, launched the grenades, but they did not set off. A new quarrel, this time we were charged with "sabotage".
On 4 September it was announced that a Soviet convoy with occupation troops is expect to arrive in Constanta harbor. The ship Amiral Murgescu was ordered to meet them and lead them inside the harbor. At sea, Amiral Murgescu detected submarines, and signalled the Soviet ships at mast the international sign. The Soviets, traveling in line, disregarded the signal, and continued in line istead of navigating in front. The torpedoes launched by the Germans submarine hit two transport ships, with hundreds of men aboard. A new quarrel started, using the same term of "sabotage". The following days, the waves brought to the shore many bodies, this thing setting off the Soviets.
In the morning of 5 September 1944, before sunrise, platoons of Soviet sodiers armed with SMGs approached Romanian ships. The access ladders were guarded by a sentinel with a rifle model 1914 and a bayonet. At an acousting and light signal, the Soviet platoons forced they way aboard the ships, disgraceful killing our sentinels in most of the cases. Once on board, they demanded the surrender of all officers. I was the officer on duty on the depot ship, near Marsuinul. I slept in the cabin, dressed up, to be ready in case. All the officers were bunched on the shore, were forced to surrender their weapons. The doors to crew compartments were blocked by armed Soviet soldiers. Once on shore, we, 10-15 officers, were escorted to the Marina Station, where we met 80-90 officers from the other ships.
We were seized, as between us there were soldiers armed with automatic weapons, and we couldn't figure what was happening outside because the windows of the Station were painted in blue, for camouflage.
Meantime, a Jewish Soviet officer, in NKVD uniform, who spoke Romanian, told us that we were gathered here because the Soviet admiral in charge of operation was to come and to propose us a colaboration in the war against the hitlerites.
From outside we could hear gunshots, trucks, and we thought that, according to their usual practice, we were going to be taken outsied the city and executed on the bank of garbage cesspits.
It was 5.00. We stayed under increasing tension until about 12.00. We heard that when the Soviets tried to board one of the R class destroyers, where it was the HQ of the destroyers flotilla, comandor Dumbrava, in order not to be dishonored, commited suicide. At 12.00, the NKVD man told us that the Soviet admiral is too busy to talk to us, and because of his good will, he allows us to go home, but not on the ships. At our protests, we were authorized to send an officer to go on board of each ship, to recover the luggage of the crew mates. Because in the cabin of the depot ship I had all my personal propery, including my ID papers, I was allowed to go there.
Arriving to the depot ship, we saw the Romanian sailors carrying on shore crates with kitchen waste. We learned thereafter that they were doing so in order to escape from the ships. When the Soviets caught on, they forbid this activity.
In my cabin I found everything burgled. My suit was emptied of papers and money, the stiletto and other personal stuff were missing, all the skirts in the dresser were missing, the watch on the nightstand, the pijamas etc etc. I found several minor things that I've gathered in a pillow cover, and I also found my parade sword.
After the officers have been taken away from the ships, the sailors were told that their officers run away, fact that upset them since they saw through deadlights what had happened. A soldier of my crew, the transylvanian Tarsoaga, asked me to take him with me to carry my luggage, in fact a reason to leave the ship.
Returning to the Marina Station, around 15.00 hours, we were arranged in a row and we were escorted to the railroad station, where a train was leaving to Bucharest at 16.00. The townsfolk of Constanta saw us and they were pitying and crying. The picture was sad. Of the about 100 navy officers that were leaving the Marina Station, only I and another younger comrade were dressed in navy officer uniform. The others, probably of fear, tore their rank insignia from the sleeves, took of their ties and every detail that could have been dangerous and were walking in row, sad, to the railroad station.
At 16.00 the train left the station to Bucharest.
Source: RIM 4(44)/1997