Ion Moța

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Ion Moța
Ion Mota.jpeg
Ion Moța
Born (1902-07-05)July 5, 1902
Orăștie, Austria-Hungary
(present-day Romania)
Died January 13, 1937(1937-01-13) (aged 34)
Majadahonda, Spain

Ion I. Moța [or Motza] (5 July 1902, Orăștie, Austria-Hungary—13 January 1937, Majadahonda, Spain) was the Romanian nationalist deputy leader of the Iron Guard killed in battle during the Spanish Civil War.


Son of the nationalist Orthodox priest Ioan Moța, who edited a journal called Liberty, Ion I. Moța studied law at University of Paris (1920-1921), the University of Cluj, University of Iași and University of Grenoble. His thesis, finished in 1932 at the University of Grenoble, was entitled "Juridical Security in the Community of Nations."

At Cluj, he founded Acțiunea Românească ("Romanian Action"), a nationalist group inspired by Charles Maurras' Action Française. This organization fused with A. C. Cuza's National-Christian Defense League in 1925. Moța met Corneliu Zelea Codreanu at a meeting of antisemitic students in August 1923. The two formed a plan to assassinate Romanian politicians and leaders of Romanian Jewry seen as traitors and corruptors of Romanian national life. They were arrested in Bucharest on 8 October 1923 and sent to Văcărești prison. Acquitted in March 1924, Moța shot Vernichescu, the member of their conspiracy who betrayed it to the authorities, seven times (but not fatally). He spent two months in Galata prison before being acquitted and released on 29 September 1924.

Codreanu made Moța leader of Frăția de Cruce, a group of peasants and students who would fight for nationalistic renewal (founded on 6 May 1924). Moța attended the World Anti-Semitic Congress in September 1925; upon the founding of the Iron Guard (the Legion of the Archangel Michael), on 24 June 1927, he became deputy Captain to Codreanu.

Ion Moța represented the Legion at the 1934 Fascist International meeting in Montreux. He was vice-president of the Iron Guard political creation, the Everything for the Country Party. From 1934 through 1936, he served as a correspondent for Welt-Dienst / World-Service, an anti-Jewish publication founded by Ulrich Fleischhauer in Erfurt, Germany. Fleischhauer was a staunch believer in the veracity of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and appeared as an "expert witness" for the pro-Nazis at the famous Berne Trial.

In late 1936, Moța formed a Legionary unit to fight against the Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War. He and Vasile Marin (another prominent Legionary) were killed on the Madrid Front on the same day of fighting (13 January 1937). Their funerals in Bucharest (13 February 1937) were an immense and orderly procession (see Funerals of Ion Moța and Vasile Marin), attended by the Ministers of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Francisco Franco's Spain, representatives of Portugal, the Japan of the early Shōwa period, and delegates of the Polish Patriotic Youth.

On the commemoration of the deaths of Moța and Marin, 13 January 1938, Codreanu created a special order in the ranks of the Legionary units: the Moța-Marin Corps under the direction of Alexandru Cantacuzino. The members of this elite corps had Ready to Die as their slogan.

A monument was erected at Majadahonda, on 13 September 1970, with support of Franco's government.



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