On January 21 1941, Bucharest, the capital of Romania, is in chaos. A rebellion is created by Horia Sima and his Fascist Iron Guard, they have become dissatisfied with Romanian Conducător (leader) Ion Antonescu and vice versa. For three weeks, attacks and robberies of Jews by the Iron Guard have become part of daily life. The anti-Semitic Antonescu has no problem with this though he does have a problem with the stolen money going into Sima’s pockets instead of the Romanian state. Antonescu protests Sima’s actions, who only responds with more anti-Semitic violence.
All of this escalated yesterday when Antonescu replaced Iron Guard members from prominent positions with loyalist politicians, upon which, Iron Guard paramilitaries blocked governmental buildings. Meanwhile, Sima used the Iron Guard-controlled media to launch a campaign against "the Jew" Antonescu and calling for a national uprising.
That revolt erupts today when thousands of Iron Guard members take to the streets of Bucharest. Sima quickly gains control of key buildings and establishes Iron Guard strongpoints around the city. Antonescu flees to the presidential palace where he tries to regain control. Hundreds die in the so-called Legionnaire’s Rebellion. As Sima take over more and more of Bucharest, they carry out whatever anti-Semitic violence suits them. Therefore, simultaneous to the rebellion, one of the deadliest pogroms in Romanian history happens. Jews are beaten, robbed and murdered in the streets at the hands of the anti-Semitic Iron Guard with some even taking pleasure in sadistically torturing their victims. By midnight, Bucharest has descended into civil war with both sides trying to get an edge over the other.
Photo: Iron Guard members parading through the streets of Bucharest, ca. 1941
Source: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain
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