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Horia Sima (July 3, 1907 – May 25, 1993) was a Romanian nationalist-fascist politician. After 1938, he was the second and last leader of the fascist-nationalist para-military movement known as the Iron Guard.
Sima was born near Făgăraș, in Transylvania (part of Austria-Hungary at the time). Between 1926 and 1932, Horia Sima was a student at the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy of the University of Bucharest. After this, he started to work as a local high-school teacher of logic and philosophy. In October 1927, he joined the newly formed Iron Guard and became responsible for the Banat area.
Sima became commander of the legion after the founder and leader of the Iron Guard, Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, was imprisoned. Tension built following a series of assassinations of Iron Guard members, including Codreanu (who was killed in prison), in late November 1938. In early 1939, Sima was able to flee to Nazi Germany through Yugoslavia. In the summer of the same year, he was sent back in order to prepare and conduct the assassination of the Romanian Prime-Minister, Armand Călinescu, on September 21, 1939. On July 4, 1940, he joined the cabinet of Ion Gigurtu as Minister of Religion and Arts, alongside two other Iron Guard members, but he resigned four days later.
In September 1940, King Carol II abdicated and the Iron Guard entered a tense alliance with the general Ion Antonescu (the National Legionary State). At that point, Sima was able to return from exile as vice-premier in the government and commander of the Legionary National Socialist and para-military movement. The Romanian territorial cessions in the summer of 1940, secretly instrumented by his Nazi protectors, offered him the pretext for sparking a huge wave of xenophobic and antisemitic attitudes. As a member of the government, Sima initiated a series of brutal pogroms, assassinations and de-possessions among Jews and competing politicians.
In January 1941, during the Legionnaires' Rebellion, Antonescu made Adolf Hitler choose between the military wing of the Romanian government and the Iron Guard. When Hitler decided to back him over the Guard, Antonescu proceeded with the suppression of the Legion from the government.
With the tacit agreement from Antonescu due to Hitler's influence, Sima was able to leave Romania for Germany, where he was imprisoned in a special, humane, section of the Buchenwald concentration camp, one meant for Iron Guard members. Meanwhile, Romanian authorities sentenced him (at 16 June 1941) to 12 years hard labour in absentia, in order to ensure his permanent exile. In 1942, once again he was able to escape and flee to Italy, but was soon extradited back to Germany on the orders of Galeazzo Ciano.
While interned, Sima was faced with the dissent of several groups of Legionnaires. These distanced themselves from Sima's policies, stating that they did not approve of the way in which he had run the country and the movement, and were starting to appeal to the German supervisors for distinctions to be made in their case. It was to be the beginning of a split which is still present in the political legacy of the Iron Guard.
When Romania changed sides in World War II, joining the Allies in August 1944, Sima was released and he ended up building a pro-Nazi puppet government in exile, in Vienna. As the Soviet offensive proved unstoppable, he fled to Altaussee under the alias Josef Weber. Living in Paris, in Italy, and finally in Francoist Spain, he was sentenced to death in Romania in 1946. At the same time, his activities in Germany and Romania got him the attention of the Kriminalpolizei.
During his time in exile, Sima attempted to form connections with the mainstream ideologies of Anti-Communism, insisting on the Guard's allegiance to the Free World. The party oriented itself towards denunciations of the realities inside Communist Romania.
- Europe at the crossroads: war or capitulation? Munich Verlag "Vestitori" 1955 (view here)
- The Rumanian situation after 19 years of Communist slavery and policies of the western powers, 1944-1963; a declaration by the Rumanian Legionary Movement Rio de Janeiro? 1963?
- Hunger In Romania 1964
- Articole politice, 1950-1963 1967.
- XLth anniversary of the foundation of the Rumanian legionary movement, 1927-1967; declarations of the legionary movement concerning the fate of the free world and the tragedy of the Rumanian people 1968
- Ce este comunismul? Madrid, Editura Dacia, 1972.
- Histoire du Mouvement Légionnaire, Rio de Janeiro, 1972 (The History of the Legionary Movement, Legionary Press, 1995)
- An interview with Horia Sima, Commander-in-chief, Legion of the Archangel Michael "Thule of Palermo", 1977
- The Truth About The Legionary Movement
- The Natural World Order
- Romanian Nationalism: The Legionary Movement by Alexander E. Ronnett ISBN 0-8294-0232-2 Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1995.
- The Green Shirts and the Others: A History of Fascism in Hungary and Rumania by Nicholas M. Nagy-Talavera, 1970 ISBN 973-9432-11-5 & ISBN 0-8179-1851-5
- Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890 edited by Philip Rees, 1991, ISBN 0-13-089301-3
- Zamfirescu, Dragoș: Legiunea Arhanghelul Mihail, Editura Enciclopedică, București, 1997.
- Troy Southgate, From Lightning: Corneliu Codreanu, Horia Sima and the Story of the Romanian Iron Guard (Black Front Press, 2016).