Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Iron Guardists Slay Premier Calinescu; Rumania Put Under Martial Law

September 22, 1939
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Virtual martial law was enforced throughout Rumania tonight following the assassination of Premier Armand Calinescu by a band of young pro-Nazi Iron Guardists who, upon capture, described themselves as free-lance “Knights of Death.”

Two of the band, who ambushed the Premier’s automobile at the approach to Dembovitza Bridge, committed suicide rather than be taker prisoner. One was captured at the scene of the crime. Five others, all young medical students, were overpowered and arrested after they broke into the Bucharest radio station and broadcast an announcement of the Premier’s murder.

Questioned at police headquarters, the six prisoners insisted that they had acted of their own volition as a “gesture.” Premier Calinescu, who also held the war, interior and health portfolios, was responsible for suppression of the Iron Guard, anti-Semitic and pro-Fascist group.

The six Iron Guardists described themselves as members of the “Knights of Death,” organized to avenge the death of Corneliu Zelea Codreanu. Codreanu, former Iron Guard leader, was killed when, according to authorities, he attempted a prison escape in Nov., 1938.

The Iron Guard leader, Victor Dimitrescu, one of the six arrested, was believed to have engineered and directed the assassination. He was understood to have returned to Rumania six weeks ago from his exile in the Carpatho-Ukraine.

Recommended from JTA