7. George Alexianu, Governor of Transnistria
– A Glorious Chapter from The History of Romanian Humanity
At the end of the war, all eleven governors who administered Soviet territories under German occupation and its allies, were arrested, investigated and trialed for their actions, for the manner in which they ruled their assigned territories. The eleven governors were some Polish, some German, some Lithuanian, some Ukrainian, etc. Among those arrested was also a Romanian: University Professor George Alexianu, almost three years Governor of Transnistria. It appears that Marshall Antonescu did not know George Alexianu personally before he named him governor. His fame as a professional, the honesty and the loyalty to the nation of this professor of international law all contributed to that decision. The eleven former governors were all judged in the cities where they lived. In the case of Transnistria, this was Odessa. Of the eleven accused, ten were found guilty and executed on the spot, in front of the public who attended the trials and demanded the condemnation of the accused. Only a single governor was found not guilty! And he was George Alexianu. All of the witnesses who presented themselves, most out of their own initiative, had nothing but words of gratitude for the former Governor of Transnistria! And the investigation conducted by Soviet authorities did not find one reason for penal incrimination of war crimes! The jury, as well as thousands of Russians, Ukrainians and Jews from Odessa and surrounding areas demanded a verdict of acquittal, of innocence for George Alexianu! The verdict given by the People’s Tribunal at Odessa confirmed the evidence and George Alexianu was sent back to the Romanian authorities, together with the knowledge that Transnistria population had no reason to impute the former governor. The communist authorities in Romania, conscious of the fact that the acquittal of George Alexianu reduced the chances of incriminating Marshall Antonescu, did not consider the verdict given at Odessa as having “the authority of a verdict”, and thus George Alexianu found himself accused and condemned to die alongside Marshall Ion Antonescu, Mihai Antonescu, and Picky Vasiliu for “crimes against peace and humanity.” He was executed on June 1, 1946…
There is not sufficient space in this work for a proper biography of that great Romanian patriot and man who was George Alexianu. We will mention but a few facts and attributes of this persona completely unknown to the Romanian public and those who conceived and wrote Urgent Order no. 31/2002.
1. One of the measures taken by George Alexianu, from the moment that he was installed as governor, was to reopen all of the religious institutions of Transnistria that were closed by the Bolsheviks. Jewish synagogues were also reopened. As religious artifacts were missing from them, Alexianu appealed to the Romanian Patriarchy as well as the other leaders in Bucharest. Only the Jewish religious leaders of Bucharest did not answer his call. They did not invoke a single motive, nor did they give any other response. A personal opinion: only in this manner could the gesture of George Alexianu be hidden at a later time. If the Jewish community would have responded to George Alexianu, then this would have meant acts, letters, etc. and other written documents which sometimes remain for posterity.
2. On a personal level, George Alexianu had the best relations with particularly important Jews. The family doctor, who cared for George Alexianu’s three children, was Jewish, the father of Nicolae Cajal, who would eventually become President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania. In this capacity, Nicolae Cajal never ceased having the best of relations with Serban Alexianu, son of the “war criminal” George Alexianu.
Additionally, the head rabbi of Romanian Jews, His Eminence Alexandru Safran, would visit the home of Alexianu every week during the period that the latter was governor. Under the pretext of teaching German to the Alexianu children, Rabbi Alexandru Safran maintained a connection with the governor of Transnistria, evidently to better the lives of Jews there. Unfortunately, the Rabbi Safran did not hasten to participate at the trial as a defense witness for George Alexianu. Only after more than half a century would Alexandru Safran present Serban Alexianu the following letter: “To Serban Alexianu, our childhood friend, in the memory of his illustrious father, who, during his entire life and professional career, and especially during the dark days of the war, did so much for the Jewish Community of Romania, from the heart and totally disinterested. He paid terribly and absolutely unjustly at the command of the communists (emphasis added). May all his suffering be cleansed.” In sending this letter, the high rabbi of Geneva asked Serban Alexianu not to publish the text until “after my death”. What a lamentable pretension! From this, I allow myself to deduce a single conclusion, which is strictly personal opinion: Rabbi Alexandru Safran does not believe in God, nor in Salvation! Nor in humanity!
3. On the other hand, Pope John Paul II, when he held an official reception during his Romanian visit in 1999, named Serban Alexianu as one of those invited! Somewhat surprised, Mr. Serban Alexianu consulted with his friend Academician Nicolae Cajal, attempting to understand what precipitated this gesture from the Holy Father. His learned colleague discovered the answer: as His Eminence knew in 1943, the Papal Emissary Monsignor Andrea Cassulo, at the request of Pope Pius XII, visited Transnistria in order to see how the deported Jews were being treated. All that Monsignor Cassulo witnessed was contained in the report forwarded to the Holy Pope. Pope Pius XII, sensible to this cause (in spite of the lies later fabricated about his lack of concern – see the recent film Amen), honored the deserving Governor of Transnistria, decorating him with the esteemed Papal Honor Orbis et Urbis, which, in that year (1943) was given to a single person, the Romanian George Alexianu, Governor of Transnistria.
This gesture of the part of Pope John Paul II toward the son of George Alexianu bears a clear and unique significance: The Vatican, one of the most informed institutions on the planet, maintains in 1999 the appreciation that it made in 1943 with respect to the personality and actions of George Alexianu; this implicitly means that the Vatican rejects the trials by which George Alexianu was condemned to death and executed for imagined “crimes against peace and humanity.”
4. Let us also mention another contemporary appreciation to the activity of Professor George Alexianu while he was Governor of Transnistria. Addressing the Romanian Ambassador to Vichy France and Mrs. Cantacuzino, Marshall Petain declared, “Your greatest glory, that of Romanians, can be considered the civilized and humane manner in which you have administered Transnistria as well as the results you have obtained.” (see Verenca, Olivian, Administratia civila romana in Transnistria 1941-1944 (The Romanian Civil Administration in Transnistria 1941–1944), Bucharest, 2000, p. 254).
I end this section about George Alexianu convinced that the salvation of the Romanian People is not possible as long as we continue to accept that persons of quality like George Alexianu must be shamelessly considered examples of criminals who became men of power. It is appropriate that in all our school books we raise gratitude statues to persons such as George Alexianu, who God bestowed upon the Romanian People, offering them as examples of humanity to our descendants!
It is very good that the Minister of Education has decided to introduce in the school program lectures about the holocaust. The content of these lectures cannot exclude the truth about George Alexianu! The truth about Romanian humanity, the truth about recognition, particularly about the lack of Jewish recognition!