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> 27. The Reestablishment of the Romanian Administration
Posted: January 27, 2004 12:53 pm
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by Constantin Hlihor

Driving away the aggressor from Bessarabia and North of Bukovina in July 1941, the Romanian state regained, in fact, its own rights. The logical result was the reinforcement, within the liberated teritories, of the Romanian administration existent on June 28, 1940.

The conception and principles on the basis of which Bessarabia were to be administrated were established by the state leader, General Ion Antonescu, in his "Speech to the people of Bessarabia and Bukovina,"delivered on July 23, 1941. It was settled for these territories to be organized as two autonomous administrative entities, under the direct guidance of the personal representatives, entitled "The commissioner of general Ion Antonescu for the administration of Bessarabia" and "The commissioner of general Ion Antonescu for the administration of the territory in liberated Bucovina".

By the decisions made on July 15 and 25, 1941, General Constantin Gh. Voiculescu was appointed for Bessarabia and Lieutenant Colonel Alexandru Rioseanu was appointed for the North of Bukovina, the latter being soon replaced by General Corneliu Calotescu. Up to July 25 the Romanian administration was gradually reestablished everywhere in Bessarabia and North of Bucovina, depending on the progress of the military operations, and it was officially confirmed by the lawdecrees adopted on September 2, 1941.

The administration of the liberated territories was accomplished through the mediation of governors, directorates having under their command administrative services, and coordinative provincial councils. Local administration in Bassarabia and North of Bukovina was not essentially different from the one existent in other regions of the Romanian territory.
Bessarabia and the Northern part of Bukovina were again divided into coun-ties, small rural districts and villages.

The Romanian population from Bessarabia and North of Bukovina hopefully and confidently received the Romanian civilian and military administration. The minorities - Russian, Jewish, Bulgarian, Ukrainian - received the new state of things with , an attitude of reserve and coolness.

The warfare and the need of ensuring calm and security behind the battle front determined the state leader to take all due measures against the hostile elements, injurious to the Romanian state and administration.
The people who had been colonized by the Soviets in order to replace the Romanians deported to Siberia, were helped to go back to their native dwelling places. Those who carried on activities against the state security or disturbed the righteous administration of the liberated territories were confined into camps or deported to the leftbank of the Dniester river, irrespective of their nationality or religion. Most of them were communists acting in support of the Soviet Union; they used to perform a wide range of espionage, sabotage and terrorist activities, as well as diversions.
The Romanian administration in Bessarabia and North of Bukovina start-ed to work in dramatic condition, after one year of Soviet occupation. At the beginning of the war, the Soviet authorities, expecting to be driven away from the occupied territories during the summer of 1940, adopted measures in order to take all the material and financial resources to the Soviet Union as well as to destroy the goods, the equipments of the depots which could not be trans-ported and the commercial centres in the main towns.

The destroying action was carried out by special teams, preponderantly made up of representatives of the minorities and led by NKVD. Most of the cultural, political centres and villages from Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina were dynamited or burnt. In a report of the Police Department in Kishinev, dated September 15,1941, it was mentioned: "Day and night, NKVD trucks circulated all over the town, carrying certain teams specialized in placing dynamite and setting fires in order to maintain the arsons with inflammable materials as well as to counteract some natives' attempt to prevent the extension of the fire. Neither the commercial centres, nor the ordinary people's houses have been spared". According to the destruction finding reports written by Government officials and by office workers of the mayoralties Kishinev and Cernauti, approximately 75 per cent of the main markets and food industry units have been destroyed, thus being paralysed the supply of water, food gas and electricity.

The situation was dramatic and raised highly difficult problems to the new administration. The supply with water, food and other indispensable goods was carried out with the help of the Romanian armed forces, whose intervention alleviated the sufferings of the civilians.

Talking about the state of things found in Bessarabia and North of Bukovina when they were liberated, General Ion Antonescu declared to the Romanian and foreign press: "He who was destined to cross the Prut river, following the liberating armies, in order to take part in the new battle that started for reconstructing Bessarabia, he had the unique opportunity to see the image of a crucified region, along and across devastated of lives. Lots of village and towns were simply reduced to ashes and demolished. The people lie hidden, frightened to death by the persecution and destroying madness of Bolshevik hordes".

Overcoming all the difficulties, the Romanian administration did its duty to the utmost from the very first days. Step by step, as the battle front was moving away, life came back to the old routine in Bessarabia and North of Bukovina, as far as this could happen in a country involved in a war.

Prompt steps were taken for reconstructing the industry and agriculture on the basis of some administrative, organizational and financial measures. Results were commensurate with the eforts made, especially in agriculture. In a period when the whole Europe felt the effects of an acute lack of food stuffs, in Romania they surpassed the necessities, so that, at the end of 1943, their sale become a difficult problem and created a state of tension and dis-satisfaction among the producers. At that time, speaking of Bessarabia only, the cereals surplus was of about 69,000 tones. At the same time, the other fields of the socio-cultural life were not neglected. By means of the measures adopted in the field of education, they aimed at the reestablishing of the Romanian spirit. Important sums of money were allocated from the state budget for reconstructing the schools and reorganizing the educational system in Romania.

The Church, on whose influence the Romanian people in Bessarabia and Northern Bucovina have always leaned over for guidance, was seriously affected by the Soviet-Bolshevik regime and needed important efforts for its reconstruction. The Metropolitan Cathedrals from Kishinev and Cernauti were restored and all the 938 churches existent on June 28, 1940 resumed their activities.

Special efforts were also made in the field of health and social insurances.
The work started in Bessarabia and in the North of Bukovina during the summer of 1941 could not be fully carried out. In the last part of the Second World War, the progress of the military operations went on to the detriment of Romania and the Soviet Union occupied back, during the summer of 1944, the territories it had annexed on June 28, 1940. For another fifty years, Bessarabia and the North of Bukovina were to be under Soviet occupation.
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