Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview
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Bobu, Emil(?-). Prime minister of the Ceausescu-clan, Bobu was a true sycophant, readily feeding the leader's latent megalomania in the 1980s. He was left behind with Elena Ceausescu and Manea Manescu (see Manescu, Manea) as a committee of three when Nicolae Ceausescu (see Ceausescu, Nicolae) left for a state visit to Teheran, Iran, on December 17, 1989, two weeks before his overthrow. Therefore, Bobu was partially responsible for the committee's order to the secret police and the regular police forces to fire on demonstrators in Timisoara (see Timisoara revolt). The order resulted in a massacre of civilians whose bodies were secretly cremated by the secret police.

Bobu then accompanied the fleeing Ceausescu couple in their last fateful helicopter ride from the roof of the Communist party's Central Committee building on December 22, 1989, and he was left behind by the couple in Snagov. Bobu was tried in late January 1990, together with three others, the closest confidantes of Ceausescu, and was convicted for crimes against the Romanian people. During the trial, only Bobu was willing to defend himself vigorously against the accusations. When the presiding judge asked him why he obeyed the obviously insane orders of the tyrant, Bobu's answer was that he did not want to face the consequences of a refusal. He was eventually sentenced to life in prison, a sentence which he currently is serving.


Almond Mark, The Rise and Fall of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu ( London, 1992). Behr Edward , Kiss the Hand You Cannot Bite ( New York, 1991). Pacepa Ion Mihai, Red Horizons ( Washington, DC-New York, 1987).

Bodnaras, Emil (1904-). Born of a Ukrainian father and a German mother in a prosperous middle-class family in Bukovina, Bodnaras attended the Romanian Cavalry School in the early 1930s and graduated at the top of his class in 1933 as a second lieutenant. He almost immediately deserted and appeared in the Soviet Union where he underwent training by the NKVD-KGB. In 1935, Bodnaras returned to Romania under false identity; however, a chance encounter with a former classmate led to his arrest. He was sent to Doftana prison, where all the communist leaders were kept. Bodnaras acted as a mentor to young Ceausescu (see Ceausescu, Nicolae and Elena) who arrived in the same prison.

In 1943, Bodnara's sentence ended and he was released. He was set up, probably with the help of the Soviet NKVD-KGB, as a lumber salesman in Braila, where his brother had a photographic studio. Bodnaras was soon in touch with the titular head of the underground Romanian Communist party, Stefan Foris, and he urged Foris to organize armed action against the Germans and the Romanian army, engaged at that time in the battle for Stalingrad. However, Foris knew how weak the communist organization was and he was slow to act.

Bodnaras then visited the imprisoned Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej (see Gheorghiu- Dej, Gheorghe) who violently opposed Foris and accused Foris of being a police informer. This accusation had no real basis; nevertheless, when Gheorghiu-Dej became


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