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March 16, 2008



Julian, you are absolutely right about the necessity for revisiting the Romanian history between the two world wars of last century. I need to make an observation though: if you make reference to the Iron Guard movement, their symbol was not swastika but the triple cross. There is no resemblance between the two symbols. The swastika is an old Christian (and many other cultures/religions) sign rarely used in Romania as a protection symbol. Swastika itself was not invented in Germany after war world I, but because of its association with the Nazi movement it is easy to understand why nowadays it gets such a bad rap. My best guess is that shirt is most likely not Romanian for the following reasons: 1 -it does not have the traditional Romanian motifs and colors, except the small add-on golden motif on the sleeve; and 2 -you could hardly find any Romanian supporting the German Nazi Party or even the Iron Guard where you live since Romania was forced to let Hungary take over Northern Transylvania after the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact during the national legionary state that lasted about 5 months and ended in January 1941, with very, very harsh consequences for the natives there. As a collection item it may have value though, but it would really be interesting to find out its origin. Can you get any clue about how old it is or how it might got there from previous owner?


Wow, That's pretty interesting......And so is Emil's comment. I've often seen a simular symbol used in Native American needle work.


I don't have time to trawl through the Yad Vashem report on the Holocaust in Romania to find which party used the swastika. It wasn't the Iron Guard, as Emil rightly says. Still, I wonder whether that shirt originated either with the Saxon population, or was created during that period when the Iron Guard had appropriated folk culture? The people who owned the house before me belonged to a powerful local family. Oral history suggests a history of Iron Guard support in the area, and one man still carries the very un-PC nickname "Hitler" because his grandfather was a fascist.

The official guide to this village, published about five years ago, goes into great detail about all the wrongs done by the Hungarian occupiers in the period 1940-44, giving names, dates and places. There were many wrongful acts, and clearly it was a period of violence and oppression. The shipping of the village's Jews to Auschwitz was, however, dealt with in one sentence without even naming the majority of the victims. Clearly this is a raw point: I have even received a mail from a Romanian schoolteacher telling me that "there was no Holocaust". I've met other educated people who clearly believe that a "world Jewish conspiracy" is against Romania, although one has to look no further than a corrupt political class at home to find the real villains.

I've been helping a teenage neighbour with his school homework, and had the chance to read part of his history textbook. It's a post-communist book, however the section on the Holocaust completely omits the third of a million Romanian Jews who perished. And this in a village from where several dozen residents were sent to Auschwitz.

I know that this is all rather off-subject for a horse blog, however truth does matter to me so I want to write about this.


The rubbish littering roadsides and rivers was quite disturbing during our visit to Romania. Here in Australia one man, Ian Kiernan, started "Clean Up Sydney Day"in 1989,which grew to "Clean Up Australia Day", and now "Clean Up The World". Clean Up Australia Day is timed to clean up at the end of summer before rains wash rubbish into streams and rivers.Our Rivers and Roadsides are very clean now. Ian Kiernan was Australian of the Year in 1994.
Perhaps a great use of funding and organisational skills of charitatable organisations wishing to donate in Romania would be to kick off the movement as it is desperatly needed.


Red: the rubbish out here has grieved me for years. I am glad that Australians have tackled this problem, it is inspiring to hear of a success story. Where one man led, others were willing to follow, and that is a sign of a modern Western society compared to Romania's Balkan mentality. I can only hope that the EU mandates a clean-up here.

Mike Mathis

The Iron Guard was not in power when Northern Transylvania was given to Hungary (August 30, 1940)

The shirt is likely the rival of the Iron Guard, the Christian Nationalist party which was headed by Poet Octavian Goga before he died in 1938. The Christian Nationalist party was anti-Semitic like the Iron Guard but had more upper middle class members. This party received 10% of the vote in the election of 1937.

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