Gherman Pântea (1894 – 1968)

Posted on Posted in Personalities Basarabia

Teacher; officer during the First World War. He met with Alexandr Kerenski (the head of the Russian provisional government) and then with I.V. Lenin to persuade them to create Moldavian military units. He was elected vice-president of the Congress of Moldavian Soldiers (October 20, 1917) and in the first autonomous Bessarabian government he was vice-minister of War. After the Union he was mayor of Chisinau (1923, 1927-1928, 1932) and during the Second War mayor of Odessa (1941-1944). He was included on the list of war criminals, although he was one of those who protested against the anti-Semitic policy of the Antonescu government; his case was closed by the Allied Control Commission following the intervention of Marshal Tolbuhin, whose sister he had rescued during the war. He hid in Craiova, Sibiu and Bucharest with false documents, but was arrested in 1949, investigated by Alexandru Nicolschi and sentenced, after 3 years of imprisonment, to 10 years in prison. He was incarcerated in Jilava, Aiud, Ocnele Mari, Pitesti, Poarta Albă. He was pardoned in 1955; even though he was permanently surveilled by the Department of State Security, he refused to be used for propaganda purposes; he died, under suspicious conditions (apparently poisoned), on February 1, 1968.