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Click here to view this topic in its original format Forum > Eastern Front (1941-1944) > Odessa bombing of the Romanian HQ

Posted by: Carol I November 06, 2003 04:24 pm
Can you give more details about this incident? As far as I know, the Soviet troops or partisans mined the building before their retreat. When the Romanians started to use the building as HQ, the Russians blew it up. Unfortunately this is pretty much all I know.

How many Romanian casualties resulted from the bombing? Were they mainly (high ranking) officers?

Did the killing of many General Staff officers have any effect on the efficiency of the Romanian army afterwards?

How soon did this happen after the conquest of Odessa?

Was the HQ building the only one mined? If yes, why did the Romanian troops use precisely that building as HQ?

How was it possible that the Romanian Engineers were unable to detect the mines before the explosion?

Where there any measures introduced afterwards in order to avoid similar situations?

What were the punitive measures taken afterwards on the local population by the Romanian Army? I think I remember Soviet sources mentioning the execution of 15000 hostages. Is this number correct? Where they prisoners, partisans or civilians? Where they Russians/Ukrainians or Jews? Who ordered the executions?

Posted by: Victor November 06, 2003 07:56 pm
On 22 October 1941 (Odessa fell on 16), at 17:45, the Romanian Military HQ blew up, killing 93 people (including 4 civilians). This did not affect the General Staff in a significant way, as the men killed were mostly part of the garrison command (the 10th Infantry Division). Anyway, the Romanian General Staff was not coordinating any military action (after the fall of Odessa) and its activity was reduced to providing logistic support, training troops, inspecting and filing protests to the OKW.

For the reprisals, see:

Posted by: Carol I November 07, 2003 10:42 am
Thanks Victor for the information regarding the event and the reprisals.

According to the topic you mentioned, the Soviet sources seem surprisingly accurate with respect to the number of executions. Does Gen. Macici’s report about the execution of 13000 Jews and communists within three days after the incident still exist or it was destroyed after 23 August 1944 as I understood it happened with other documents related to the Eastern Front?

Do you know if there has been any official enquiry into the circumstances of the bombing? How was it possible to happen? Was it negligence or simply bad luck? Where there any measures taken afterwards in order to reduce the likelihood of other similar incidents?

Posted by: Dénes November 07, 2003 01:57 pm
There is a book on the topic, written by Alexander Dallin, titled: Odessa, 1941-1944. A Case Study of Soviet Territory under Foreign Rule.. There are many details in it on the topic you're interested in.

Posted by: Victor November 07, 2003 02:40 pm
This happened in the aftermath of the occupation of the city. There were still groups of Soviet soldiers (in or out of their uniforms) hiding in the catacombs beneath Odessa. They attacked from time to time or planted bombs. Marshal Antonescu related at his trial the case of an officer and three soldiers, which had lost their arms and their sight, because of a booby trap planted on a school door. So the possibility of sabotage or an attack was big in those days.

The building in which the Military Command was installed (respectively the command of the 10th Infantry Division and its staff), was among the few left intact by the Soviets after their retreat. It was the former NKVD siege. Another source gives a number of 106 dead (but the figure includes also German casualties, so the previous 93 mentioned were probably Romanians). Among those was also brig. gen. Ionel Gologojeanu, the CO of the 10th Division.

The man responsible for the enquiry was gen. Nicolae Macici. If you would look carefully in the thread I mentioned, you will see that it was Dragos that brought up the reference to the document, not me. I did not even know it existed. I always thought the reprisals were much smaller.

From a story passed on from my grandfather by my grandmother, I know that a Soviet prisoner told several Romanian officers that the building was booby-trapped. My grandfather left the building just a little before it blew up.

Posted by: Carol I November 07, 2003 04:36 pm
Thank you Dénes very much for the reference. I was however interested in the events from a more or less “amateurish” point of view. There are many events in WWII that were talked about in a hushed voice and after this many years they may either be forgotten or become some sort of legends (for better or for worse). Thus I was very pleased to find this forum that I regard not only as a place for exchanging information, but also as a potential information portal regarding Romanian Army in WWII (I wonder if an inclusion of WWI would not be appropriate as the Romanian participation to it also seems known very little).

I also thank you Victor for your reply and for your grandfather’s story. It seems to point out either to negligence or to inexperience. I think that if we collect such small stories we might be able to piece the whole truth together. The scale of reprisals is a very good example in this direction.

Posted by: ocoleanui November 06, 2009 09:54 am
Of : Statul Major General in Arhitectura organismului militar romanesc 1859-2009 ''studii si comunicari prezentate la sesiunea stiintifica cu participare internationala [...]''

Centrul Tehnic -Editorial al Armatei 2009

At 226 page-229 page

Posted by: Petre November 06, 2009 02:17 pm
Brig.Gen. Ion Glogojeanu, the CO of the 10th Inf.Division (and city military commander) was killed in the explosion, together with sixteen Romanian officers (the chef of staff Col. Ioan Ionescu-Mangu, Col. Grigore Badulescu, Lt.Col. Davila, Lt.Col. Stefan Manescu...), dozens of soldiers and civilians employed by the military. Comandor Bardescu saved.
Four German naval officers were also killed :
Kapitän zur See i.v. Herwart Schmidt - Seekommandant 'U' (The naval authority in Ucraina),
Korvettenkapitän z.V. Walter Reichert-Facilides - Hafenkommandant Odessa (The harbour comander),
Hauptmann Walter Kern, coastal artilery,
Leutnant ??? with propaganda ?, also two translators, some soldiers.

Posted by: Victor October 01, 2010 08:51 am
Since redbaron was interested in the subject of the Odessa reprisals in another topic that is now closed, I thought of bringing back to life this older one dedicated to the subject and posting something I posted on another forum some years ago.

There is a chapter regarding this subject in a book about the Romanian Special Intelligence Service on the Eastern Front: Cristian Troncota, Glorie si Drama - Momente din istoria Servicilor de informatii si contrainformatii romanesti pe frontul de Est (1941-44), 2003.

Here is a timeline of the orders issued between 22 October 1735 hours and 24 October. What we know:

1. 22 October 2020 hours: telegram 3154 from marshal Antonescu's cabinet to the 4th Army, which called for drastic reprisals to be taken
2. 22 Ocotber 2040 hours: telephonic note no. 2: general Trestioreanu calls the cabinet and informs that he had ordered the hanging of Communists and Jews in the public squares
3. 23 October, between 0300 and 1100, 417 people were executed, as follows:
23rd Infantry Regiment: 102
33rd infantry Regiment: 85
38th Infantry Regiment: 100
3rd Artillery Regiment: 130
4. 23 October 1230 hours, Order no. 562 from the cabinet of marshal Antonescu, which instructed that 200 Communists should be executed that day for each dead officer and 100 for each dead soldier. Furthermore, all Communists in Odessa should be arrested and hostages should be taken from each Jewish family with the threat that they will be executed should another explosion occur.
5. 23 October, afternoon, telegram 3161 to the 4th Army, which hasn't been found so far.
6. 24 October, Order 563 from the cabinet of marshal Antonescu:
To general Macici [initially written Tataranu, then cut, then written Iacobici, then cut]
As reprisals, marshal Antonescu orders:
1) The execution of all Bessarabian Jews that took refuge in Odessa
2) All individuals that enter under the jurisdiction of order no. 3161 from 23 october, still unexecuted and others that may be added, will be directed to a mined building and blown up. This will happen in the day when our victims will be buried.
3) This Order will be destroyed after it is read.

Col. Davidescu, chief of the military cabinet

This order was kept only as a hand written translation of the encrypted telegram.
7. 25 October, general Macici reports the execution of roughly 13,000 people.

A report by general Constantin Trestioreanu on 25 October:
In the morning of 23 October 1941, after the bomb blew up the Odessa Military Command, I received through col. Stanculescu from the 4th Army an order from the High Command: Make mass reprisals in Odessa, execute Jews and Communists, 200 for each officer/public servant and 100 for each soldier killed in the bombing.
I ordered lt. col. Mihail Niculescu, the chief of the division's praetor, to execute this order, having at his disposal a company of the 10th Machine-Gun Battalion [the 2nd], the gendarmes and all the means to carry out the order.

Col. Radu Dinulescu, the chief of the 2nd Intelligence Section of the General Staff, wrote in his memoirs:

Immediately after the bombing, the new commander of Odessa ordered reprisals. A certain percentage of individuals had to be arrested in the sector of each regiment [of the 10th Division]. The execution had to take place by hanging at each of the main crossroads. The number of victims did not seem to surpass with much the number of victims in the bombing. [the 417 people mentioned in the previous post]
But just as these measures have been implemented, another, more drastic order, arrived from the marshal's train, which was at Cetatea Alba. This order called for the execution of 150 citizens for each officer and 50 for each soldier.
Coca [Mihail] Niculescu, who put these reprisals in practice, declared that 12,500 people were arrested, out of which 3,000 were handed over to the Germans, for their 15 dead. They took them to the AT ditch outside Odessa, shot them with the machine-guns and then buried them there.
He was left with 9,000 he had to execute. It was a difficult problem, because the soldiers refused to fire, according to his own words. Because the people were gathered in some empty warehouses outside the city, he chose a different solution: he brought gasoline, poured it on the warehouses and set them on fire. NCOs with submachine-guns were posted by the doors and windows and shot anyone who tried to get out.

Here is a letter of Gherman Pantea, appointed mayor of Odessa, addressed to marshal Antonescu:


I woke up in the morning [23 October 1941] witnessing a terrifying scene. On the main streets and at the crossroads were 4-5 hanged men and the frightened population was running around the city. Revolted, I asked who was responsible for this barbarity, which we will never be able to wash in front of the civilized world. No one knew anything. However, on the walls was posted an unsigned communiqué of the military command that ordered all the Jews to leave Odessa and head for Dalnik.The terrified Jews left their homes and belongings and went by the thousands to Dalnik. Behind them, the remaining population started to plunder their homes. Realizing that as appointed mayor of this city I have a duty towards its citizens and, being informed that general Macici, the CO of the 2nd Corps, was in town, I went to see him. The general had the mission to investigate the events. I found him at the site of the blast and I asked if he gave the order to evict the Jews from the city. The general said that he knew nothing about this and he did not give such an order. I showed him the consequences of this inhuman eviction and asked for his approval to take the necessary measures to return them to the city. He approved and I left for Dalnik. There are approximately 50,000 Jews in Odessa today. I caught with the thousands of people marching and told them in Russian that there was a mistake and that the marshal ordered them to return to their homes. A moving scene followed. They were kissing our hands, our clothes, our cars, yelling "Long live marshal Antonescu, our savior!" It was a just act, because the population had no implication in the catastrophe of 22 October. The forward column was retained by the military officials. I was told that they were to be executed as reprisals by your order. I am convinced sir that if you were informed correctly about the situation and that is that everything was prepared by the NKVD and the local population played no role into what happened on 22 October, you wouldn't have ordered the reprisals and innocent people would not have been punished. I am not the defender of Jews, but I am convinced sir that these hasty and unfair measures will cause us many problems later. Even now the situation isn't better. General Ghineraru, the new commander of the 10th Division, has retreated with his division at Tatarka and ordered the city hall to be evacuated, because he has information that all the main buildings are mined. I told him that the retreat of authorities from the city will cause even more panic and the situation will become more serious. Insisting that I was remaining on my own responsibility, re added: "I don't need the city or your citizens. If I was the Marshal, I would burn this infected city and its inhabitants in 24 hours". I replied that probably the Marshal has a distinct opinion since he sacrificed so many men to take it.


Forgive my daring, but with such military commanders at Odessa and with such mentality we cannot bring peace to the city. I wanted to lead Odessa with kindness, as you yourself recommended when you gave me this difficult assignment, but all my good intentions are ignored. Under these circumstances I am put into the position in which I am not able to fulfill my mission as mayor of Odessa and I kindly ask you to find someone else to do it.

Source for the letter:
SRI Archives, "Y" Fund, File No. 21401, vol. 4, unspecified page number, published in Cristian Troncota, Glorie si Tragedii - Momente din istoria serviciilor de informatii si contrainformatii pe Frontul de Est, Nemira, 2003

Posted by: MMM October 01, 2010 09:14 am
There are enlighting references too in Alex Mihai Stoenescu's book, "Armata, mareşalul şi evreii. Cazurile Dorohoi, Bucureşti, Iaşi, Odessa".
The sources also come from archives, although they may be "selected" to fit some purpose. This often happens... sad.gif

Posted by: Petre November 23, 2011 09:09 am

Posted by: MMM November 23, 2011 10:58 am
Yeah, old story... The problem seems to be what followed, aka the "Odessa Massacre"... sad.gif

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