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Summary

In Romania, the period from 1944 to 1960 saw tens of anti-Communist groups and isolated fugitives. The topic fell under the scrutiny of researchers after the demise of the regime, when former members of these groups were available for interviews, and afterwards, when the files of the former Securitate also became available.

Most of these anti-Communist groups fought in the mountains, since the terrain offered them a better chance of survival. There were groups which organized resistance in hills or lowlands, but not as many.

The reasons for the emergence of these groups are manifold, mostly relating to the people’s opposition to the new political regime controlled by Soviet armies, the dissolution of the Greek-Catholic Church, the repression of the opposition and its potential leaders, the economic changes (especially the collectivization of agriculture), and the possibility of a new war between the West and the USSR.

One of the most relevant areas for such anti-Communist groups was the north-west of Romania. Some of the more important groups fighting in this part of the country, and which I will be presenting in this paper, were ‘Teodor Șușman’, ‘Capotă-Dejeu’, ‘Cruce și Spadă’ (‘Cross and Sword’), and ‘Garda Albă / Liga Național Creștină’ (‘The White Guard / National Christian League’).

The significance of these groups is revealed by the authorities’ attempts to dismantle them. The full force of the political police and its informants, of the army and other types of pressure on families and acquaintances was used. Thousands were detained, tortured and convicted. The members of these groups either died fighting the authorities or they were apprehended and executed or sentenced to death. Only a fraction of them were sentenced to many years in prison and survived the harsh conditions in the prisons and labour camps were they served their sentence.

The paper aims to present the causes which led to the formation of these anti-Communist groups, their political and social composition, their activities and the retaliation of the authorities, the involvement of the families and communities in these movements and the short- and long-term effects of their actions.

The paper relies on documents from the Securitate archives, oral history interviews with surviving members of these groups or their family members, as well as scientific studies dealing with the topic at hand.

In: Violent Resistance
From the Baltics to Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe 1944–1956
The end of the Second World war did not mean the end of violence for many regions in Eastern Europe. The establishment of Communist-led governments often met not only civil but also armed resistance. These actions were taken by partisan groups and paramilitary forces which in some cases had been formed already during the war to support axis forces. In other cases – like Poland’s Armia Krajowa – they fought Nazi and Soviet occupiers with the same fervour. The aims of the fighters were the end of Communist rule and – like in the Baltic region – independence from the Soviet Union. Difficulties in accessing sources and research taboos as well as a focus on other aspects of the Cold War are reasons why violent resistance in Europe after the Second World War is a topic yet rather underestimated and comparably little investigated by historiography. This book gives a comprehensive first overview of the ultimately futile attempts to end the rule of Moscow and her proxies.