ROMANIA’S PLOT TO STEAL TITAN-NADRAG-CALAN – PART II
Recently uncovered minutes of the Romanian government’s plot to steal
Titan-Nadrag-Calan from Jewish industrialist Max Ausnit in 1941 are
disturbingly similar to the recent efforts of the former Ungureanu
government to confiscate 85% of his descendants’ property rights in the
same steel plant (as described in the May 2012 issue of The Romanian
Digest™). Caught by the apparent misfeasance of Romanian bureaucrats
intent on depriving the family of what has long ago been adjudicated as
rightfully belonging to them, and abetted by an illegal and immoral
effort of the most recent former government to again confiscate the
family’s interest in Titan-Nadrag-Calan, the Ausnits have been blocked
at every turn in the restitution process by venal motives calculated to
deprive the heirs of Romania’s great Jewish industrialist and
philanthropist of their hard won property rights. The April and May 2012
issues of The Romanian Digest™ describe how the Romanian government has
trampled on the family’s human rights over the past decade. This article
demonstrates how cavalierly the Romanian government did it in 1941.
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Max Ausnit was one of Romania’s greatest industrialists in the inter-war
period. The jewel in the crown of his holdings was Uzinele Metalurgice
Titan Nadrag Calan which included a steel mill at Ferdinand, now known
as the Oţelu Roşu which, along with numerous subsidiaries such as
Magazinele Unite, and Socomet, employed about 10,000 people. It was
coveted by King Carol II for his personal wealth and, on trumped up
charges – as Marshal Antonescu admits below – Max Ausnit was unjustly
imprisoned by the King for his refusal to transfer ownership of the
company to the King’s personal holdings. After the forced abdication of
Carol II, Antonescu sought to coerce the still wrongly imprisoned Ausnit
to transfer ownership in Titan Nadrag Calan to the State, making a
point, set forth below, that this was different than Carol’s coercive
acts because it was in the interests of the State. Antonescu entered
into “negotiations” with Ausnit to force him to turn over Titan Nadrag
Calan in return for his freedom. The German Ambassador, Manfred Freiherr
von Killinger, notified Berlin of these “negotiations” and German
Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop personally cabled Bucharest
stating that under no circumstances should Ausnit be allowed to leave
the country. Below are the minutes of a meeting of Antonescu’s
Provisioning Council where the Romanian leadership plots to steal Titan
Nadrag Calan from the “kike” Ausnit:
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The Minutes - THE PROVISIONING COUNCIL
Tuesday, 2nd of December 1941
Discussions topics are: the gathering of cereals; the rationalizing
of the consumption of wheat; providing the markets with food products;
cleaning the Capital and cemeteries; the guarantee of Germany for the
Romanian Bank for the needs of the Germans in our country; gathering
clothing from the Jews for the purpose of dressing the students; the
Auschnitt case etc.
Wednesday, 4th of December 1941
The meeting was opened at 11.30, under the presidency of Marshal Ion
Antonescu, the Head of the State. The following took part in the
meeting: Professor Mihai Antonescu, vice-president of the
Council; General D. Popescu, Minister of the Interior; General
I. Sichitiu, The Minister of Agriculture and of the Domains; I.
Marinescu, Minister of National Economy; A. Pană,
Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Domains;
General C. Constantin, Undersecretary of State of Army and Civil
Population Provisioning; General C. Florescu, Mayor of Bucharest;
Al. Ottulescu, the Governor of the National Bank; Gh. Minescu,
General Director of I.N.C.O.O.P.; C. Sireteanu, Director of Army
Marshal I. Antonescu: The first issue on the agenda is the
gathering of cereals.
Marshal I. Antonescu: We can also complete phase three of the
expropriation, through the National Bank. I have asked since long ago
for this matter to be dealt with. We have money blocked in London, which
we cannot use now. But this money from London belongs to the National
Bank. And, then, we could begin to make it Romanian, in this way.
I believe that the value of all the Jewish goodwill in Romania
represents about one hundred billion lei. We have dollars and gold worth
16 billion lei in London. With this amount we can buy goods for triple
the value in Romania. Hence, we could buy 40-50 billion worth of
goodwill. Thus, we also have to take this possibility into account.
M. Antonescu: Let us take it into account, having in mind the
experience of the Germans, so as, through agreements with certain groups
of Jewish representatives, to obtain this capital outflow and this
exchange between the Jewish capital in the country and those blocked,
without paralyzing the economic activity, I mean by substituting the
Marshal I. Antonescu: This is the key to the problem.
M. Antonescu: …linking this obligation of payment with dollars and
foreign currencies, to the right of the beneficiary to continue
functioning in the enterprise, until the arrival of a Romanian
Marshal I. Antonescu: If I had been sure that I could complete this
third stage without destabilizing the State, I would have started with
it instead of the rural goods or with the shabby houses of the Jews from
Dudeşti and Văcăreşti, because this is no Romanian-making.
M. Antonescu: I have a third issue: it is the Auschnitt issue,
for which I would like a final decision to be made, especially since the
Governor of the National Bank is here.
As you all recall, we have begun the discussions with Auschnitt’s
representatives as early as last autumn, bringing it in the attention of
the Government that Auschnitt was pursued by the former King and by
those associated with the King at that time.
Marshal I. Antonescu: Auschnitt didn’t want to assign his assets
to the King. We are doing the same thing as [King] Carol, but in the
interest of the State.
Antonescu: In an attempt to show that he didn’t want to become rich
by using his assets to the detriment of the State – at least under this
regime – Auschnitt offered to assign, at first, 40% of the shares held
in Titan-Nadrag-Calan, stressing that he didn’t own the majority of the
capital, as it was divided among many foreign holders.
Following many discussions, Auschnitt offered to assign 51% of the
shares, by selling a part of the C.E.P.I. shares, so as to give 51% to
The Romanian State has no other obligation towards Auschnitt than to
allow – as to any other petty criminal – the reconsideration of his
case, because, in the meanwhile, through a reconsideration of the
commercial rights between Reşiţa, Titan-Nadrag-Calan and Auschnitt, it
would appear that the reasons for which Auschnitt was condemned do not
constitute fraud, that the transfers between Reşiţa, Titan-Nadrag-Calan
and Auschnitt personally are not frauds committed either by Reşiţa, nor
by the company Titan-Nadrag-Calan, nor does it breach the rules of the
Commercial Code, which would involve Auschnitt’s legal responsibility,
but is a pretext in order to take the majority of the shares from
Auschnitt, which he didn’t want to assign.
As the matter concerns an enrichment of the Romanian State, which
doesn’t give anything in return, having the conviction that, truly, in
the proceedings of Auschnitt with Reşiţa and the others, there were
direct interferences, which even the General Prosecutor himself, through
Marshal I. Antonescu: Through intentional imprudence.
M. Antonescu: …admitted before the Court of Cassation, in
Auschnitt’s second appeal, in order to show the judges how significant
the interest in condemning Auschnitt is, in any case, having the belief
that there was no impartial sentencing, having in mind, on the other
hand, the belief that the Romanian State has to use all occasions in
order to gain what it has lost in ten years of negligent management and
turpitude, I believe that it is in the interest of the Romanian State to
seek to gain these 51% which Auschnitt offers and to create for him, if
our courts allow it, the possibility to request the reconsideration of
If you share this point of view, I believe we should intervene at the
National Bank in order to obtain the authorization of the formal
operation that are necessary for a the shares that belonged to C.E.P.I.
to be bought by Auschnitt, of course, with all the necessary guarantees,
so that this assignment of shares and the completion of the operation
can be made at the same time with the donation made to the Romanian
State, so as, through these shares, with those that Auschnitt already
owns, the State could take possession of the 51%, namely the majority of
the shares of the Titan-Nadrag-Calan company.
Marshal, Ministers, Governor, I draw your attention to the fact that the
“Mannesmann” Group has bought, from abroad, I don’t know through what
means, a stock of shares of the Titan-Nadrag-Calan company, and this
morning Mr. Orghidan showed to me a letter in which the “Mannesmann”
Group asked him to register the transfer of shares in the register of
the company and Mr. Orghidan let me know that the operation has not yet
been approved by the Ministry of National Economy, so I draw your
attention to this new case of participation. [Mannesmann AG was a German
corporation with headquarters in Düsseldorf that produced seamless steel
Marshal I. Antonescu: The operation won’t be approved before we
get the 51%.
M. Antonescu: That is why I raised this issue for your attention. Please
do not approve the operation – although it is only stock representing
three or four percent – until the donation to the Romanian State is
Marshal I. Antonescu: This is the answer I gave a long time ago:
we must act with Auschnitt in the same phases as we have done with
Malaxa. Hold fast when you have it. First Mr. Auschnitt should give what
For the time being, I pulled him out of Saint Vincent and I have sent
him to Brasov prison, because there he used to meet with the
representatives of the “Mannesmann” Group and of other groups. I have
sent him to prison so as he can see how it is.
Al. Ottulescu: Well done, Marshal.
M. Antonescu: I gave this order two weeks ago.
Marshal I. Antonescu: The [Auschnitt] trial was a depravity of
the former regime. We are using it against this individual the same way
as against Malaxa, but we are using it to reimburse the State, not to
transfer the shares to our personal property or to that of our families
or our party. Hence, let us take from this gentleman what is convinced.
Secondly, for the remaining shares up to 51%, I kindly ask the National
Bank to perform the operations as quickly as possible. I have mentioned
this issue to you before, Mr. Ottulescu.
Thirdly, if Auschnitt finishes all these formalities fast and makes the
donation towards the State, his case can be reviewed. If he lengthens
the operations too much, it won’t be reconsidered.
Al. Ottulescu: Mr. Demetrescu, who took care of this matter, told me he
wanted to make transfers of some receivables, which Mr. Demetrescu
We are completing the operation, but not based on fictitious things.
What is not true, we cannot do.
Marshal I. Antonescu: Once a kike, always a kike.
Al. Ottulescu: I haven’t checked personally but this is what Mr.
M. Antonescu: For the Romanian State it is not fictitious if we
obtain the majority of the Titan-Nadrag shares.
Al. Ottulescu: But for this matter I have to perform the
transfers of receivables. Mr. Demetrescu says that he wants to make
transfers of fictitious receivables.
We agree, Marshal, but only for real and legal actions.
Marshal I. Antonescu: For the time being, let’s take from
Auschnitt what he has offered first, 40%. Let’s sign an agreement for
M. Antonescu: I draw your attention, Governor and Ministers, to
the fact that Mr. Auschnitt has only a few months left in jail. If we
don’t use this time, we will lose the 51%.
Al. Ottulescu: This is what Mr. Demetrescu says. And he knows
Marshal I. Antonescu: He knows a bit better than I would have
known if I were in his position.
Al. Ottulescu: He is honest.
Marshal I. Antonescu: I am also honest. But he has subordinates
that give him interested advice. This is the whole problem. We, the
leaders, are all honest – and also many of the ministers, who are blamed
without being guilty, were honest, but they were the victims of those
that I have mentioned earlier. So Mr. Demetrescu shouldn’t try to pass
as a banker and give his opinion, because he had no money from his
This matter shall not be delayed.
The meeting was closed at 13.47.
Shorthand writers: D. Fierăscu, A. Ionescu
The Directorate of the Central National Historical Archives, the
Presidency of the Council of Ministers fund, The Ion Antonescu Cabinet,
dossier 489 (ex 484)/1941, pages 259-331.
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The similarities are, sadly, striking. The Ungureanu government’s
concern for the Ausnit family’s human rights was non-existent while its
pecuniary interest in grabbing 85% of what belonged to the family was
its only concern – not dissimilar from Marshal Antonescu and his
government that wanted the same factory and gave no thought at all about
compensating the “kike” for its confiscation.
As we noted in our April 2012 issue, the final straw in a long series of
abusive acts by past Romanian administrations was the Ungureanu regime’s
proposed draft law to confiscate 85% of the property rights of thousands
of victims of Romanian communism and fascism in total disregard of
Romania’s constitutional provisions prohibiting such acts and in
violation of Protocol One of the European Convention of Human Rights to
which Romania is a signatory and which recognizes property rights as
human rights. There are legitimate issues with respect to how
restitution should proceed in Romania, but permissible limitations on
restitution rights are never to the value of the right itself, but to
the method by which compensation might be obtained and a reasonable time
in which to pay it or deliver it. No civilized system of law condones
the willful appropriation of a person’s property without fair, equitable
and just compensation as a justifiable limitation on property rights –
and Romania is no exception. Just as the Romanian government cannot take
back a building that was restituted to the family from whom it was
stolen without paying its fair value, so it cannot confiscate another
family’s right to receive a different building in restitution by payment
of a mere pittance of its true value.
Reasonable limitations on the delivery of future restitution awards –
not on their actual value – can be contemplated. Below are several
alternatives which all contemplate the continuation of in-kind
- Creation of a second Property Fund. This could be done quite
quickly, since it would be created through a Government Decision.
The assets of such fund would consist of shares that the Government
owns in listed companies.
- Granting compensation in the form of shares in listed companies
in which the state maintains an interest.
- Payment through state bonds with a face value that reflects the
actual value of a bond payable at a future date.
- The grant of compensation through state-owned land, subject to
- Payment of cash in installments would be acceptable if made over
a reasonable period of time and, obviously, with no cap. The
installments must be subject to interest and inflation.
- With the exception of claims that have already been evaluated,
claimants awaiting cash compensation could be provided with the
choice of taking a capped amount of money immediately or delayed
payment of the full amount, not to exceed 7 years, in equal
installments plus interest at the prime rate and subject to
But blithely suggesting, as the Ungureanu regime did, that principles
of justice and decency must give way to those of economic expediency
smacks of 1941. To his great credit, the new Prime Minister, Victor
Ponta, derided Mr. Ungureanu’s draft law before Parliament for the
abomination that is. Whether Ungureanu’s draft law and the bureaucratic
lies that have generated a decade long ordeal for the Ausnit’s was done
out of greed, indolence, sheer prejudice, or a combination of all, the
result of Romania’s conduct for the family is tantamount to yet another
confiscation of the property of Max Ausnit. One grossly shameful chapter
in Romania’s war against the Ausnit’s resonates once again today in the
inexcusable acts of persons entrusted by Romania to protect the rights
of citizens and restitution claimants.
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