Teohari Georgescu

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Teohari Georgescu
Teohari Georgescu1.jpg
Interior Minister of Romania
In office
March 6, 1945 – May 28, 1952
Preceded by Nicolae Rădescu
Succeeded by Alexandru Drăghici
Personal details
Born (1908-01-31)January 31, 1908
Bacău
Died December 31, 1976(1976-12-31) (aged 68)
Bucharest
Nationality Romanian
Political party Romanian Communist Party
Profession Typographer

Teohari Georgescu[1] (January 31, 1908 – December 31, 1976) was a high-ranking member of the Romanian Communist Party.

Life[edit]

Born in Bacău,[citation needed] he was the third of seven children of Constantin and Aneta Georgescu. Georgescu, whose formal education ended after the fourth grade, began his career as an assistant in his father's store. In 1923, he was sent to the main printing house in Bucharest, Cartea Românească, to apprentice as a typesetter. Three years later, his father now dead, he joined the Gutenberg printers' union and secretly began to read Communist leaflets. He soon joined the Communist party, then illegal. He became a member of the party's Central Committee and its Secretariat, participating in secret meetings, organising strikes, and spreading leaflets. Siguranța Statului, the Kingdom of Romania's secret services, began to keep an eye on him, and he was first arrested in 1933 for authoring leaflets that were spread in the typesetters' room at Cartea Românească. A young and capable lawyer, Iosif Schraer, ensured that Georgescu was released after only two months in prison and a few beatings.

Further arrests followed; finally, after being detained in April 1941, the next month he was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment at Caransebeş. Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej named him leader of the prison's communist group before being transferred to Târgu Jiu prison in 1943. He was released after the arrival of the Red Army in 1944, and at Ana Pauker's suggestion he became undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Interior on November 4. He was well-qualified for the clandestine work the job required: in 1940, in Moscow, Georgescu had received training, coordinated by Georgi Dimitrov, from NKVD agents; he learned both the secret code for corresponding with the Comintern and a special technique for writing its messages on glass. In Bucharest he communicated, either directly or through Gheorghe Pintilie, with General Dmitri Fedichkin, a Soviet adviser who gave him orders to infiltrate and Sovietize the security services: Siguranța Statului, Jandarmeria and Serviciul Special de Informații.

As a reward for accomplishing this mission, Georgescu was promoted to Minister of Interior once Petru Groza's government took power on March 6, 1945. He also served on the Politburo, was the Secretary of the Party's Central Committee, and ran the United Workers' Front, which coordinated the handling of the social democrats and party cadres.

One of the chief figures responsible for the destruction of Romania's interwar political élite, Georgescu was a fanatical communist who ruthlessly applied terror toward any form of opposition. As Minister of Interior he contributed to the country's Sovietization, to the persecution of the peasants and to the establishment of a system of concentration camps in Romania. Along with Gheorghiu-Dej, Pauker and Vasile Luca, he was part of the ruling quartet responsible for the implementation of the Soviet strategy of imposing communism on Romania. Their role was encapsulated in the propaganda slogan, "Ana, Luca, Teo, Dej / Bagă spaima în burgheji[2] (Ana, Luca, Teo[hari], Dej / Scare the bourgeois").

In January 1952, General Secretary Gheorghiu-Dej traveled to Moscow to seek Joseph Stalin's approval for purging the leadership of the Romanian Communist Party, accusing Pauker, Luca, and Georgescu of fomenting factional intrigue; Vyacheslav Molotov intervened on behalf of Pauker, whereas Lavrentiy Beria defended Georgescu.[3] Together with Pauker and Luca, Georgescu was purged at the plenum of May 26-27, 1952, simultaneously accused of left-wing and right-wing deviationism. He was also accused of a conciliatory stance regarding Luca's deviation and, ironically, of insufficient militancy against the class enemy and revolutionary vigilance. He was thus dismissed from his ministerial post on May 28, losing all his other party and state posts as well: vice-premier, member of the secretariat, politburo and orgburo.[4] Unlike the other two, he had not spent World War II in Moscow, but the Comintern's suggestion in 1940 that Georgescu be made General Secretary kept Gheorghiu-Dej wary of his influence. Furthermore, as Luca and Pauker began to fall from grace in early 1952 (their fate having been decided in Moscow), he made the mistake of standing by them. Initially "assigned to work at a lower level", he was arrested on February 18, 1953 and investigated by his former subordinates at the Securitate for three years. At one point, his wife and two children (one of them an infant) were arrested in order to induce him to give evidence against Lucrețiu Pătrășcanu. He confessed guilt to all charges, but was nevertheless released in April 1956.

Georgescu returned to his old workplace, Cartea Românească, now called "Întreprinderea 13 Decembrie", first working as a proofreader and then being appointed manager before retiring in 1963. After Nicolae Ceaușescu came to power, he was rehabilitated at the April 1968 plenary. He was appointed candidate member of the Central Committee at the party's 1972 national conference, holding the post until 1974. He died in obscurity; after cremation, his ashes were placed in the Monument of the Heroes for the Freedom of the People and of the Motherland, for Socialism in Bucharest's Carol Park, being removed after the Romanian Revolution of 1989.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Some sources claim that he was a Jew named Burach Tescovici (or a similar name), but he was an ethnic Romanian baptised into the Romanian Orthodox Church. Further evidence that he was not Jewish lies in the fact that his Securitate file makes no such assertion. In a general atmosphere of hostility toward "rootless cosmopolites", the files of other Jews who had changed their names did mention their ethnic origin. His second wife, the former seamstress Eugenia Samoila, was Jewish. See Levy, p. 340 for details.
  2. ^ The correct spelling of this word is burghezi.
  3. ^ Hodos, p. 103
  4. ^ Tismăneanu, p. 130

References[edit]

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