- Antonescu, Ion Victor
A Romanian soldier, authoritarian politician, dictator and convicted war criminal.
- 14-06-1882, Pitesti.
- 01-06-1946, age 63, executed, Jilava Prison, Ilfov county, Romania, near Bucharest.
Ashes scattered near site of execution near Jiliva Prison.
Antonescu, Ion Victor
Ion Victor Antonescu, born 14-06-1882 in Pitesti, was the scion of an upper-middle class Romanian Orthodox family with some military tradition. He was especially close to his mother, Liţa Baranga, who survived his death. His father, an army officer, wanted Ion to follow in his footsteps, and as such, he sent him to attend the Infantry and Cavalry School in Craiova. Antonescu became a professional soldier and served as a colonel in World War I. After the war he continued to advance in rank. In 1933 he became army Chief of Staff. He was Minister of Defence, 1937–1938. In 1940, Carol II appointed him Prime Minister with dictatorial powers. Hoping initially to rule with the Iron Guards to enlist some popular support, he destroyed the latter when they got out of hand, and created a full-blown military dictatorship. In June 1941 he joined World War II with Hitler (see Hitler) (did you know), when Germany attacked the Soviet Union. His troops were victorious at first, recapturing Bessarabia and the Bukovina. They captured Odessa, which without undue modesty he renamed Antonescu. However, his position changed after 150,000 of his troops were lost in the decisive battle of Stalingrad. Thereafter, he concentrated in vain on preventing eventual Soviet domination, pinning his hopes on a speedy Anglo-American advance in the West. Shortly after the Red Army crossed into Romania, he was deposed on orders of King Michael I, whereupon Romania changed sides. Placed in the custody of PCR militants, Ion Antonescu spent the interval at a house in Bucharest's Vatra Luminoasă quarter. He was afterward handed to the Soviet occupation forces, who transported him to Moscow. He was subsequently interrogated by prosecutor Avram Bunaciu,
, Bunaciu die d Bunaciu died age 73 in December 1983, to whom he complained about the conditions of his detainment, contrasting them with those in Moscow, while explaining that he was a vegetarian and demanding a special diet. He was tried and shot as a war criminal he refused a blindfold and raised his hat in salute once the order was given. The execution site, some distance away from the locality of Jilava and the prison fort, was known as Valea Piersicilor, "Valley of the Peach Trees"
His final written statement was a letter to his wife, urging her to withdraw into a convent, while stating the belief that posterity would reconsider his deeds and accusing Romanians of being "ungrateful". His ashes were scattered behind the Jiliava prison, close to the execution place.