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> General Gheorghe Avramescu
mabadesc
Posted: July 09, 2004 05:25 pm
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i would be interested in learning more about your grandmother's father's service in WW2.


CCJ,

Sure, I'll gladly tell you anything you wish on the subject, but what would you like to know specifically?

Victor wrote a short biographical summary of him in the "Generals" section. Just look for Lt.Gen Avramescu. Victor and I disagree on a couple of points, but the description is overall mostly accurate and well written.

Of course that brief summary only scratches the surface. I guess I could tell you about his personality, or various family anecdotes that I heard from people who knew him. Currently, there are two main issues which I'm still researching and in which I'm keenly interested. The biggest issue, of course, relates to his arrest (and disappearance/death) by the Soviets on March 2nd, 1945.
Briefly, in February 1945 he had been recalled to command the 4th Army at the insistence of Malinovsky and the Soviet officer corps who respected him very much. He returned to the front in Czechoslovakia and continued to be in good relations with the Soviet generals (Malinovsky threw a banquet to honor his return). Towards the end of February, some Romanian newspapers were talking about rumors of a new Romanian government led either by Avramescu or by Stirbey. On March 1st, 1945, he received written confirmation that he was appointed to high governmental post (either War Minister or prime minister) and he was instructed to return to Bucharest at once to start his post.
In return, he (Avramescu) wrote to his wife - I still have the handwritten note - to go to Romania and to get his parade uniform (uniforma cu fireturi) ready for the ceremony.
He was preparing to leave, when he was summoned to the Soviet headquarters for a military meeting. He went to the meeting and never returned. At the same time, his entire corps of "aides" was arrested, 43 people, among which: his personal doctor, his personal cook, his bodyguard corps (led by Lt. Doroftei, who I met), his chauffeurs, his personal assistants, etc...
Some returned from Siberia 10-15 years later, some did not.
Also on the same day, his wife was retained by the NKVD while en route to Romania (separate, funny story) and sent to Siberia for 11 years. At the time, she was accompanied by one of her two daughters, who commited suicide, and by my mother, who was on vacation and who was only 6 years old. My mom was also arrested and held prisoner with her nanny for 3 months until our family from Romania could claim her through an appointment with Visinsky.

There are speculations as to why he was arrested, and exactly how he died, but nobody knows yet. The whole thing was carefully covered up by SMERS officers because killing an active-duty general who had so much prestige could get them in trouble, especially because of the fact that they killed him before taking him to Moscow for interrogation.
For instance, I have the copy of a document signed by 5 SMERS/NKVD officers (colonels and one general) in which they all corroborate that Avramescu was being taken to interrogation with a car at night when a German plane attacked the convoy with machine gun fire. Somehow, the plane managed to hit only Avramescu, although he was seated in the back seat of the car, in the middle, surrounded by 4 other Soviet officers who weren't even wounded.
The whole thing smells rotten to me. It seems that they were covering their own butts for having lost an important prisoner before they could extract information from him.
Exactly how he died is still a mystery.

I could go into furhter detail and mention other documents, but it only gets more confusing...

Otherwise, what can I tell you about him as a person? After he finished War College and Officer school (this is before WWII started) he enrolled in law school in a part-time program (University of Iasi), so he was also a licensed attorney (lawyer). In his youth, he was also a champion wrestler and later on, played the flute in a local orchestra in Braila. From people who knew him, he had amazingly good powers of conviction, he was very kind to the troops and always took the time to talk to soldiers, he was kind with the enemy civilian population and fed them whenever he could. In battles, he often spent time in the first line of combat.

The most telling thing about him is that many officers who served under him continued to visit my grandmother (his daughter) every year out of respect. This happened every year for 50 years until last summer, when my grandmother died.

Well, there are tons more stuff I could go on about, but I'll stop here. Sorry if I bored you, but you asked... :)
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dragos
Posted: July 09, 2004 05:53 pm
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mabadesc, very interesting information you are sharing with us.

Exactly on which points you and Victor disagree on ?
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CCJ
Posted: July 10, 2004 03:08 am
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Not bored... You could start from birth and take it right up to the day he disappeared.
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mabadesc
Posted: July 10, 2004 11:32 pm
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Exactly on which points you and Victor disagree on ?


Dragos, when Victor and I talked about this subject some months ago, we only disagreed on a couple of minor points such as:

1. I am convinced that Avramescu was promoted to full General some time between Nov. '44 - Feb. '45. Most articles and books written by military historians mention him as "General de Armata". Even his statue in Cluj is inscribed "General de Armata", while Dascalescu's, which is next to it, is inscribed "General de Corp de Armata" although they both led the 4th Army. My uncle even told me he has a copy of the promotion order. Victor doesn't seem to believe this.

2. Surrounding the events of 23 August, 1944, Avramescu was in command of the 4th army but on August 20, he got into a huge argument with Antonescu in Bacau, I believe. Avramescu was vehemently stating that the front could not hold without the German Armored divisions which had been withdrawn. He insisted on an immediate retreat to the Oriental Carpathians-FNB line. He and Antonescu got into a screaming match, Avramescu said "I resign", Antonescu said, "No, I relieve you of command". In retrospect, Antonescu could have had him executed on the spot (you can't "resign" your command in the middle of the battle), but since they had mutual respect, he just relieved him of command. In any case, Avramescu had warned on Aug. 9 that a Soviet offensive would occur within the next 2 weeks and he continuously protested the German withdrawal of armor and pushed Antonescu to either get the armor back or to retreat to FNB. Victor's summary skips over these events in his summary, and when I wrote to him, I had the impression he didn't believe me.

3. In the biography, Victor writes: "Some believe that he was actually executed by the NKVD". The truth is, there is no doubt that he died because of the NKVD/SMERS. The chief of his bodyguard crew, Lt. Doroftei, made it back to Romania after 15 years. He told us that right after their arrest, they were locked up in separate cells. He also told us that every afternoon, he heard the distinctive sound of Avramescu's footsteps walk by his cell door (Avramescu had a slight limp and used a cane, plus Doroftei was very familiar with the general's walk - that was his job as bodyguard).
Anyway, he said that his happened for 3 days or so, and then he stopped hearing his footsteps. Shortly after, they were all taken to Moscow in the same cargo plane, but Avramescu was the only one missing in the plane. He was never heard from since.

4. At the end, Victor puts in question whether Avramescu wanted to side with the Iron Guard and defect with the 4th Army to the Germans. As an objective writer, I certainly don't blame him for mentioning this possibility. But I can tell you for sure that this was not the case. Instead, what happened (and Ilie Sturza, the guardist defector recognized this) was that members of the Iron Guard tried to recruit him by blackmailiing him and by spreding rumors that Avramescu was an Iron Guard sympathizer (which he wasn't at all, quite the contrary, actually). For instance, undercover Iron Guard members went to our family's residence and tried to convince my great-grandmother (the general's wife) that the Soviets were going to kill them and that she should convince her husband to defect (she told me this herself). So, in effect, I think they were spreading rumors in order to discredit him in front of the Soviets and thus leave him no choice but to defect and join their side (the exiled Iron Guard).

5. A while back, I asked Victor to include in his summary that Avramescu was also a law school graduate and a licensed attorney, although he never got the chance to practice law, but I think he forgot to add it (not a big deal).

Well, these are really the points of disagreement, but none of what Victor wrote is false. He's just trying to be as objective as he can, and he's looking for hard proof before mentioning the stuff I mentioned above.

If it interests you, maybe I'll post his handwritten note or the note written by the 5 SMERS officers.
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CCJ
Posted: July 10, 2004 11:57 pm
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Thank you for all you have shared mabadesc.
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dragos
Posted: July 11, 2004 12:17 am
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1.  I am convinced that Avramescu was promoted to full General some time between Nov. '44 - Feb. '45.  Most articles and books written by military historians mention him as \"General de Armata\".  Even his statue in Cluj is inscribed \"General de Armata\", while Dascalescu's, which is next to it, is inscribed \"General de Corp de Armata\" although they both led the 4th Army.  My uncle even told me he has a copy of the promotion order.  Victor doesn't seem to believe this.


In the book "Armata romana 1941-1945", 1996, published by the collective of the military museum, there are several comprehensive lists of the commanders. According to this work, in 1945 there were only two full generals (general de armata): Petre Dumitrescu (since 18.07.1942) and Vasile Atanasiu (since 11.04.1945). There is a photo showing Avramescu in December 1944, where his shoulder ribbon has the rank of "general de corp de armata". I tend to agree with Victor on this. If only you can talk to your uncle to give you a copy of the promotion order.
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dragos
Posted: July 11, 2004 12:36 am
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Regarding your 2nd point, the presumed conflict between Gheorghe Avramescu and Ion Antonescu was not singular. Another example was the conflict between General Iosif Iacobici and Antonescu.
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Victor
Posted: July 11, 2004 11:20 am
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1.  I am convinced that Avramescu was promoted to full General some time between Nov. '44 - Feb. '45.  Most articles and books written by military historians mention him as \"General de Armata\".  Even his statue in Cluj is inscribed \"General de Armata\", while Dascalescu's, which is next to it, is inscribed \"General de Corp de Armata\" although they both led the 4th Army.  My uncle even told me he has a copy of the promotion order.  Victor doesn't seem to believe this.


Well I have changed my mind in teh meanwhile, as I found a mention of his promotion to 4 star general in 1944. I am presently revising the all the general biographies (Dumitrescu and Mihail had already been modified, without it being announced on the forum), including Avramescu's promotion to general.
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Bernard Miclescu
Posted: July 11, 2004 11:31 am
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a little bit off topic, but since Victor speaks about gen Mihail: Did you know that one of his uniforms is in the Ivalides Army Museum in Paris??? How did it get there?

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Carol I
Posted: July 11, 2004 11:39 am
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a little bit off topic, but since Victor speaks about gen Mihail: Did you know that one of his uniforms is in the Ivalides Army Museum in Paris??? How did it get there?


If I remember correctly it is the white uniform in the photo below and it has the third class badge of the Order of Michael the Brave.

(IMG:http://www.invalides.org/images/imagescollections/SecondeGuerremondiale/uniformes.jpg)
Source: Musée de l'Armée
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CCJ
Posted: July 11, 2004 02:22 pm
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Is someone nearby this museum so that they can take a good quality picture of his uniform for the forum?

Would be great if each generals bio had a larger photo gallery and possibly a list of awards and promotion dates.
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mabadesc
Posted: July 11, 2004 07:38 pm
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Well I have changed my mind in teh meanwhile, as I found a mention of his promotion to 4 star general in 1944. I am presently revising the all the general biographies (Dumitrescu and Mihail had already been modified, without it being announced on the forum), including Avramescu's promotion to general.


That's great, Victor! Could you please share with us your source? I'm very interested in exactly what/where you found. Thanks.
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Victor
Posted: July 11, 2004 09:07 pm
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There was an article in a recent Dosarele Istoriei about his personal medic, who mentions Avramescu as a general and so does the book of Al. Dutu & F. Dobre.
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mabadesc
Posted: July 12, 2004 03:25 am
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Thanks, Victor. I know you and all people on this forum are busy, but if you could please take 5 minutes and scan the article and email it to me, I would be extremely grateful. I'm obviously very interested in all articles that mention Avramescu and I try to collect them.

It's very frustrating for me though, because my hands are tied here in Chicago, 10,000 miles away from Romania.

Just something to please keep in mind when you have a little free time. If you or Dragos don't have the time to get around to it, I completely understand - no problem whatsoever.
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dragos
Posted: July 12, 2004 03:36 pm
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2.  Surrounding the events of 23 August, 1944, Avramescu was in command of the 4th army but on August 20, he got into a huge argument with Antonescu in Bacau, I believe.  Avramescu was vehemently stating that the front could not hold without the German Armored divisions which had been withdrawn.  He insisted on an immediate retreat to the Oriental Carpathians-FNB line.  He and Antonescu got into a screaming match, Avramescu said \"I resign\", Antonescu said, \"No, I relieve you of command\".  In retrospect, Antonescu could have had him executed on the spot (you can't \"resign\" your command in the middle of the battle), but since they had mutual respect, he just relieved him of command.  In any case, Avramescu had warned on Aug. 9 that a Soviet offensive would occur within the next 2 weeks and he continuously protested the German withdrawal of armor and pushed Antonescu to either get the armor back or to retreat to FNB.  Victor's summary skips over these events in his summary, and when I wrote to him, I had the impression he didn't believe me.


"Meanwhile, the II and the III Fronts' armies had launched, on August 20, 1944, the offensive on the Jassy-Kishinev front and they had deeply advanced into the Romanian and German's troops disposition, though Marshal Antonescu ordered, on August 22: "the law must be strictly applied, and all those who are running away from the enemy's face are to be executed". The approval Hitler gave him on August 22, 1944, for a retreat of the front's line, came too late; moreover, General Erich Wohler even further delayed the fulfilment of such an action, fact that drove to despair General Gheorghe Avramescu, who asked, in the evening of August 22, to be replaced in the 4th Army's command."
Source: Romania in World War II 1941-1945, ISOSIM, 1997
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