Gheorghe Alexianu – The Governor of Transnistria

Alexander Dallin – Larry L. Watts (Introduction)
Odessa, 1941-1944: A Case Study of Soviet Territory Under Foreign Rule
Iasi-Oxford-Portland: Center for Romanian Studies, 1998
CHAPTER II: Transnistria: Theory and Practice

“[…]The civil governor was Professor Gheorghe Alexianu. The holder of a chair in administrative law at Cernauti University, a close friend of the “Number Two Man” of Romania, Mihai Antonescu, (Alexianu and Mihai Antonescu had co-authored the volume on Romanian law in comparative-law series published in Paris before the war. Alexianu had the reputation of being both “the only liberal” in the Romanian government and the sponsor or the anti-Semitic measures under the Goga regime a few years earlier. Alexianu was apparently a Western-type intellectual with megalomaniac tendencies, some administrative ability, and a good deal of vitality. His secretary-general was Emil Cercavski.[…]

In the civil government there were, as a matter of policy, a considerable number of Bessarabians who knew the Russian language and were familiar with the cultural background and special problems of Transnistria. There were also ambitious young Romanians who had studied under Alexianu or his colleagues and obtained draft exemptions to serve in this way. In the hope of attracting “good people” -and making it possible for them to give up other jobs-Antonescu, in his first decree, provided that officials in Transnistria were to receive double the corresponding salary in Romania plus a subsistence allowance up to the basic salary. A Romanian civil servant transferred to Odessa would thus receive three times the pay he drew in Iasi or Galati. A number of Transnistrian officials were Romanians who had been attracted by high pay.[…]Governor Alexianu occupied a middle position. He sought to build up Transnistria and to convince the authorities in Bucharest to pour in funds and goods, perhaps, in part, to enhance his own power. But his attitude was basically patronizing, almost hostile, toward the native population; he widely proclaimed the need for radical re-education, for developing political understanding; though the peasants disliked them, he claimed that it was impossible to abolish collective farms; his formula, “freedom and labor” gave to the average citizen a freedom that was distinctly limited, and labor that was plentiful. Yet comparing his with extremist views and with German practice in the neighboring Ukraine, Alexianu was a moderate.[…]”

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