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Ecaterina Teodoroiu (Romanian pronunciation: [ekateˈrina te.odoˈroju]; born Cătălina Toderoiu; January 15, 1894 - September 3, 1917) was a Romanian woman who fought and died in World War I, and is regarded as a heroine of Romania.
She was born in the village of Vădeni (nowadays part of Târgu Jiu), in the historical region of Oltenia, in Southern Romania. After studying for 4 years in Vădeni and Târgu Jiu and graduating from the Girls' School in Bucharest, she was to became a teacher when the Romanian Kingdom entered World War I on the Entente side, in 1916.
In October 1916, Ecaterina joined the Romanian Army during the first Jiu battle when General Ion Dragalina's 1st Army repulsed the 9th German Army offensive. A Scouts' member, she had initially worked as a nurse but she subsequently decided to become a front-line soldier, being deeply impressed by the patriotism of the wounded and by the death of her brother Nicolae (Sergeant in the Romanian Army). It was an unusual decision for a woman of that epoch, so she was sent to the front rather reluctantly. However, soon she proved her worthiness as a symbol and as a soldier. She was taken prisoner but managed to escape by killing two, or perhaps three German soldiers. In November, she was wounded and hospitalized, but came back to the front where she was soon decorated, advanced in rank to Sublocotenent (Second Lieutenant) and given the command of a 25-man platoon.
For her bravery she was awarded the Military Virtue Medal, 1st Class.
On September 3, 1917 (August 22 Old Style), she was killed in the Battle of Mărăşeşti (in Vrancea County), where she was hit in the chest by German machine gun fire. According to some accounts, her last words before dying were: "Forward, men, I'm still with you!"
- Bucur, Maria "Between the Mother of the Wounded and the Virgin of Jiu: Romanian Women and the Gender of Heroism during the Great War" Journal of Women's History - 12, 2, (2000), pp. 30–56, The Johns Hopkins University Press
- Constantin Kiriţescu, "Istoria războiului pentru întregirea României: 1916-1919", 1922