Vrancea National Archives

masonerieOne of the structures of Securitatea (name of Romanian Secret Service and Political Police) which used to intercept the correspondence of Romanian Masons with the ones from abroad and also of the people interested in Freemasonry, though the file had been closed since 1975, was Special Unit ”S” from the Comandment for Operative Technics and Transmissions. In the report no 00400452 from 9.7.1981, set by General Leutenant Diaconescu Ovidiu and Colonel Marinescu Constantin, document filed at National Council for Security’s Archive’s[1] archives, is shown that the named unit was following, at that time, the correspondence of 105 persons suspected of freemason activities. In the material it was shown that ”our atention was put on the exploit of the correspondence of some persons known in the past with freemason activity, aiming especially the eventual attempts to reactivate those by foreigners.”

On the date of 07.21.1981, there was intercepted a material sent by Brother MARCEL Marcel SchapiraSCHAPIRA, from France (attorney, Paris, 118-130, Av. Jeaun Jaures) to VASILE FLORESCU, from Bucharest (Calea Griviței,107, ap.17). The sender displayed conventionally the masonic activity he was acting and also his interest for the old Freemasons in Romania, attending to complete ”the necessary tierce for a representation”. ”In June, we had the celebration of our family, the banquet presided by me and the ”tombola” contest for a few ”good actions”… I have hopes to appease with my brethren in California, which is going to open a enlighted horizon to the rest of the big vegetables (that is: the personalities) in Washington and espeacially I will ease also the situation of my family’s French branch. Our prestige will grow ”beautifully” and we are becoming legendary (Dacian – Tracian – Latin – Intellect).

For the sake of the cause and by the force of circumstances, I took up the position of G.M. ad interim (provisory Grand Muck!)[2], which would make me feel more honest. Evidently, only the old ones interest me, like you and them. If you will be able to have a signature, two more, the jelly will be even better!…. I let you chouse alone the form of your letter’s expression. In this way I attend to complete the necessary tierce for a resemblance, that is my small family R.U.C.S. with ALFRED and N.G.L.R. and me. So it is the chess match!”

The addresee Florescu Vasile would answer to Marcel Schapira, on 12th of August, that he could not deliver the asked relations as in Romania the Freemasonry had been banished since 1948 and that he didn’t want to overpass the limits of prudence: ”Your frank letter ilustrates once more your human and universal conception, and also your honour to Romanian values… when the lims of your letters are coming up, they transpose me in my 35 years ago world. I want to say that I reverence R. Art and all what it radiates… Like in art too… in life it is difficult to tell the limits between prudence and inprudence or felony. I live in a discipline to which I conform in order to not fall the limits. One has to understand that I can not answer to the needs that require relationships about… That is why I did not answer to CANDREA.

At us, there are free the catholocism, protestantism and so on. Freemasonry not, although our press writes about it – with historical and legendary data. Hitler put it under interdiction, like fascism did it too. At us, after 23rd of August it worked authorized, and in 1948 – it dissolved itself – fell to sleep and the sleep continues.

To what you make obvious – I regret that I can not answer -, but SEVERIN KNEBEL – 82 years – lives in Viena, Possingergasse 31/9, is now Austrian citizen. I talked to him at telephone, he has telephone – 0222-9239372.” Special Unit ”S” would intercept, on 8.15.1981, inclusively the telephonical calls between Severin Knebel from Austria, Florescu Vasile and HULLES LEOPOLD from Bucharest, Radu Vodă str., no 209.

It seems that Marcel Schapira asked for certain informations in Romania to Brother PETRESCU NIC. EDMOND, from Bucharest, Dimitrie Cantemir Bld, 15, app. 187, who would answer in August 1981:

”I beg pardons for my backwardness… but after I was given the official delegation to study at Academy the publications and documents, my post as a counsel was annuled from schema! On savings reasons! I addressed to Ministery of Justice, soliciting my readmission… In this deplorable context, in which I have agonised for a few weeks, I tried to stand on the paper for Academy, but the female collegue is on vacation… But it is going to be absolutely necessary to communicate to me immediately: year, location and name of the publication, to not search for ”the needle in the hey”, especially in my situation!

Do not doubt my wish to make something constructive for you! I had hoped, as a ”lawyer”, to be able to deal here, directly and efficiently, with all the problems of the foreign citizens, including those you are interested in… I wait also a sign from the collegue from Timișoara. Count on all I will be able to bring from him!…” The political police – Securitatea – had also Brother PANAIT STĂNESCU BELLU under surveilence, Timișoara, 12 aprilie str., no 11, whom probably, Petrescu Nic. Edmond refered at in the above mentioned letter.

Petrescu Nic. Edmond corresponds again with Schapira after a few days letting him know he was readmited to work as a lawyer and promisses to this that he will deal with the solicited problems: ”You can send me for sure any problem, telephone no 23.38.69, at home … PORA is going to be in New York, between 27th of August – 2nd of September, at a Congres of the lawyers!”

According to the informations kept by Securitatea, Panait Stănescu Bellu had before payed a visit to France and Italy, when he had had a debate of ideas with Schapira and they had discussed various problems that bothered both of them. From the lines of letter sent to Paris by Bellu appears the decision of this to support and develop among the intellectuals, lawyers and artists from Romania the ideas he discussed with Schapira when abroad: ”If in our press the idea of developing the human values is increasingly used, it means that these values will be useful to society and the ideas exchange can but only use to the knowledge of these notions, which we too discussed about…

Dear brother Marcel… I now think at our friendly brotherly relationship and at our discussion about the universal problems of the intellectuals. About those feelings of brotherhood, unity and support to all the intellectuals… about the development of those ideas for the sake of an universal conscience’s accomplishment. …I discuss here with my intellectual collegues, both of lawyer profession and artistic, and find the wish for an exchange of impressions, knowledge, and my preoccupation with all we discussed… These could make the subject of some collective debates… Dear brother Marcel, I’m begging you to write to me if you have news from our mutual friend in Rome, for whom I expressed my joy to you to have met him. The thoughts expressed by you, I bear them with me, like from an older brother, for a worthy moral life and the cultivation of a superior conscience.”

The same Panaint Stănescu Bellu wrote, an 20th of August 1981, to professor CASTALDO AUGUSTO (Rome Lawyers Bar, Via Anapo 48), sharing some of his impressions after his visit in Italy: ”Very dear and Superior Master, I’m under the impression of the visit I payed to you in Rome. The first impression was that of a great master and, at the same time, the regret I latened this visit to you so long, contrary to my father-in-low’s indications. I found from the discussion with you that you have a clear foreknowledge on events and you wonderful country, Italy’s situation. I keep with great pleasure the medals I recevied in Italy and of course the last I recevied in Italy.” (We mention that in other letters addressed to a few persons abroad, Panait Stănescu Bellu reminds only of two distinctions he got in Napoli, for his paints).

”I am looking forward the confirmation of our mutual friend Marcel Schapira, who recevied your precious letter. You promissed me to write it to him, at Paris, valuable letter for my life… On the occasion of the discussions we had togheter, I found the secret of your great understanding on the things. Here at us, in Romania, I storied to you that the intellectuals have the opportunity, in multiple scientific circles,to discuss about the problem of existence and to reveal the ideas wich have to express the scientific progress. I wait from you a letter to contain your ideas for the wellness of humankind, for I saw you are a great humanist… I send my respectful brotherly accolade to you and wait for your answer”.

Another letter was sent by Panait Stănescu Bellu, on 3rd of September 1981, to PENESCU NICOLAE in France, Paris, rue Bertier, whom he also met during his visit abroad, the summer of the same year: ”The occasion we had to discuss about our country, about the common and sincere wish you too expressed for the wellness of our country, common Motherland, entitled me to write to you in emotions now. The years which departed us to each other, so since 1944 to our meeting again, were alike not a interuption over the decades, but a course in time of some parallel lines… of course, our mutual friendship with Marcel Schapira was also a reason of confidence in plus which constituted the joy of perfection to me.

I embrace you with that brotherly accolade about which our friend Marcel Schapira enabled us to consider as a common tie”.

The officers of Securitate remarked the fact that, in the two letters sent to Castaldo Augusto, respectively Nicolae Penescu, Brother Panait Stănescu Bellu used to use beside his signature the three dots, the sign used by freemasons in their private correspondence.

Also from the interceptions of the Special Unit ”S”, we find that, in June 1981, a society in France, GROUP SALVIN (Unprofitable cultural asociation, founded in 1901), 83490 le Muy, chemin de Pinedes, sent masonic materials to a few persons in County Timiș. They were: Marinca Gheorghe, Timișoara, 6 Martie Bld, no 29, Mezin Emeric, Timișoara, Gheorghe Lazăr Str., app. 10, and Marnea Ioan, Ghecea Village. The material sent by ”Group Salvin” had ”I build a lightsome house and I live in it” as a motto and refered evidently to the edification of the masonic temple: ”The purpose in equally ours and of each of us who work consciously and strive to build his own temple, participating in the highest degree, through his own possibilities, at the unique, collective work.

Each of those who initiate themselves on the path of the development of consciousness, for a better expression of life, is a builder in temple and, fairly, he reckons then the only and grand Freemason Lodge… with the entire hierarchy of Apprentices, Fellowcrafts, Masters…

At the edifice of any authentic Freemason Lodge, which begins from the Unique White Lodge of Sirius, 7 grand Laws of Fire are in chair…”

At Galați, there was intercepted the correspondence of the named Boldeanu Mihaela, Furnaliștilor Str., no 4, who used to have preocupations in gathering materials about Freemasonry. In this respect, she wrote, on 24th of August 1981, to MARIN TARANGUL (emigrated writter in France, in 1979) – Paris, 21 rue d’Assas, asking for his support: ”I am sending to you the salutations… and the appeal to send to me the books of René Guenon, ”Studies on hinduism” and ” Studies on Freemasonry and the stage of apprenticeship”, which surely you will find at the René Guenon Library and cheaper at some antiquarians… I am not interesed in anything else by Guenon, for I have almost all”.

The reopening of the case file concerning Freemasonry (closed in 1975) was not ended in 1981. This was due to, most probably, the disputes between the various units of Securitate as regards to the department which would have dealt the issue. At the beginning, the issue was in the view of Military Unit 0544, but afterwards it came in the atention of the departments which dealt with internal problems (especially to those of internal intelligence and counter espionage, Direction I (Internal Informations) proposing, in 1982, the opening of the case file ”Persons evolved in masonic activity”, under the guidance of its employee. But Direction III (Counter Espionage) was going to decide, bringing as an argument to this solution, among others, the fact the Freemasonry was an organization with international character, based on severe conspirative principles and rules, similar to intelligence services’s activities. Initially, in March 1983, the case file was opened only at Direction III and the corespondent departments from 5 county inspectorates and at Bucharest Securitate, following that, according to the actions’s results, to be opened also at other inspectorates in country. Hardly in 1984, there was decided the opening of the file in all the County inspectorates from country. The coordination of the activity in country was ensured by Service 7 within Direction III, altogheter with the other problems given in the respective service’s duty – radioamateurs, stamp collectors etc. The case file was numbered 1780 – ”Prevention of freemasonry organization’s actions” – code name – Oculta.[3]

[1]  National Council for Study of Securitate Archives, Documentary Fund (Galati) ds. 004 806, f 16-25.


[2]  The addend in brackets belongs to the officers of Securitatea.


[3]  Ioniță Nicolae, Problema ”Oculta”, Securitatea și Maso­neria în anii ‘80, in CNSAS Notes (”Caietele CNSAS”, Ed. CNSAS, Bucharest, 1/2008/p.115)