Muzeul Naţional al Unirii Alba Iulia
Muzeul Naţional al Unirii Alba Iulia
Cuvinte cheie: democraţie, dictatura regala, Carol al II-lea, cultul personalitaţii conducătoare, istoria saşilor, Transilvania, istoria vieţii cotidiene, secolul XX
Keywords: democracy, royal dictatorship, Carol II, cult of personality, Saxon history, Transylvania, the history of everyday life, the XXth century
Autoarele studiului au urmărit, prin intermediul paginilor de faţă, publicarea unui grupaj de 8 documente inedite, descoperite în 2013 la Seviciul Judeţean Alba al Arhivelor Naţionale ale României, în Fondul Rezidenţa Ţinutului Mureş. Ele se referă la acuzaţia de lèse-majesté adusă negustorului sas Carl Breitenstein, în anul 1937 şi la urmările acesteia. Desigur, publicarea interesantelor documente, care vorbesc despre atmosfera reală din Sibiu, din anii 1937-1938, inclusiv, direct sau indirect, despre relaţiile politice, administrative, poliţieneşti, judecătoreşti, sau doar de zi cu zi, ale românilor cu saşii, a presupus şi strădania de-a face nişte interpretări istorice. Acuzaţia adusă lui Carol Breitenstein a fost aceea de „ofensă a Regalităţii”, prin faptul că în 8 iunie 1937, cu ocazia zilei Restauraţiei a aşezat în vitrina magazinului propriu, din centrul Sibiului, în mod insidios portretul Suveranului României, între mulaje de picioare de damă, îmbrăcate în ciorapi fini de nailon (articole care constituiau de altfel obiectul negustoriei sale). Considerăm că actualul studiu contribuie la mai buna cunoaştere a atmosferei de epocă din perioada domniei lui Carol al II-lea şi la exemplificarea cu un caz concret, a modului în care s-a manifestat, în anii 1931-1940, cultul Suveranului, devenit Conducător al statului.
Merchant Carol Breitenstein (Sibiu, 1937)
This paper aims to publish a group of 8 unedited documents discovered during the year 2013 at the County Service of the Romanian National Archives, in the Mureş County Residency fund, referring to the accusation of lèse-majesté brought against the Saxon merchant, Carl Breitenstein by the municipal Police Station from Sibiu, in 1937 and to the events it led to in the subsequent year, 1938. Of course, the publication of the interesting documents depicting the authentic atmosphere of the city from the period 1937-1938 inclusively, directly or indirectly, the political, administrative, constabulary, judiciary or simply day to day relations between Romanians and Saxons, in Sibiu required also the effort of giving a primary interpretation of the documents by reviewing acquired historical knowledge of the period and the aforementioned urban environment.
However, the text of the analysed documents reveals the fact that the merchant from Sibiu faced, in the autumn of the year 1937, a charge of lèse-majesté but by the decision of the Prosecution Office of the Court of Sibiu, from November 11th 1937 (Annex II) the criminal prosecution was annulled due to formal procedural grounds which represented a happy ending for the accused although the repercussions of his act, incriminated by the urban authorities of the time, especially by the local Police Station but also by the Prefecture of Sibiu, did not limit to the aforementioned judicial resolution.
The charge against Carol Breitensteing was one of „offence to Royalty” due to the fact that on June 8th 1937, on Restoration Day (the National Day in interwar Romania, arbitrary instituted by the King, immediately after his comeback from 1930, starting from 1931, which represented the backbone of the entire cult for the Leader obstinately promoted by King Carol throughout his reign), he insidiously advertised a portrait of the Romanian Sovereign in the showcase of his store located in the centre of the city of Sibiu between a pair of leg casts dressed in fine nylon stockings (in fact the object of his commerce) which was considered to be an evident reference to the scandalous love life of the Romanian Sovereign. Carol Breitenstein’s defence was provided by the famous lawyer Traian Ivan, whose view on the matter clearly emerges from the text sent by the defendant on September 5th 1938 to the Mureş County resident, General Dănilă Papp, which was clearly written by the lawyer in the name of his client and not by the signatory of the document (Annex I). This text reveals the intellectual qualities of lawyer Traian Ivan as well as a probably dominant attitude against-Carol which may suggest the lawyer’s political orientation towards the right.
The accusers of Carol Breitenstein’s gesture of public ridiculing the Sovereign’s portrait were most likely employees of the Sibiu Police Station and part of the Romanian officers in the city, who were at the time royal sympathizers and were also required to support the Romanian authorities of the time. The unpleasant consequence of Carol Breitenstein’s act was the fact that during the next year (1938) his solicitation for the renewal of his gun permit was no longer honoured because the Police Station of Sibiu could not forget his gesture of public humiliation towards the image of the Romanian Sovereign as easily. This has direly offended the Saxon merchant who was exonerated the previous year in court and therefore addressed a complaint in this respect to General Dănilă Papp, resident of the Mureş County. The issue remains unsolved in 1938 and it can be assumed that it remained unsolved all throughout the Royal Dictatorship (1938-1940), but it might have been settled in the years following the war when the cult for king Carol II was no longer ruling, being replaced by the Antonescu regime.
A psychological and political explanation of Carol Breitenstein’s gesture from June 8th 1937 was attempted to be given, but this cannot be thoroughly achieved without additional documentary support regarding the day to day life, individuality and mentality or political options of the Saxon merchant. His case is interesting and illustrative of the attitude of the Saxons of Sibiu during the reign of Carol II even if some of its aspects can only be deduced or imagined from the limited documentary context of the present study due to the lack of a proper bibliography referring to aspects of the daily life from interwar Sibiu (or of Greater Romania).