Toma Arnauțoiu

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Toma Arnăuțoiu
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Toma Arnăuțoiu in the uniform of the Guard Regiment - 1946
Born14 February 1921 - Nucșoara – Romania
Died18 July 1959 – Jilava Prison – Romania
Cause of deathExecuted
OccupationArmy officer
OrganizationLeader of Nucsoara group of anti-communist resistance fighters
ChildrenIoana Raluca Voicu- Arnăuțoiu
Parent(s)Ion and Laurenția Arnăuțoiu

Toma Arnăuțoiu, (14 February 1921 – 18 July 1959) was a Romanian officer who led a small group of anti-communist resistance fighters in the Southern Carpathian foothills between 1949 and 1958. It ended up as one of the most enduring resistance groups in Eastern Europe.


Early life[1]

Toma Arnauțoiu was born in the village of Nucşoara, county Muscel (now Argeș), as the second son of schoolteacher Ion Arnăuţoiu and his wife Laurenţia.

He graduated from the Cavalry School “King Ferdinand I”, ranked fourth in his class and saw action in the autumn of 1944 when Romania joined the Western campaign against Germany, being awarded the “Crown of Romania” Order.

On 26 December 1944 Toma Arnăuţoiu was wounded in action in Hungary. After spending three months in hospital, he resumed military duties in the „Roşiori 5” cavalry regiment. On 20 June 1946 he was transferred to the King’s Horse Guard Regiment. Having been promoted lieutenant on 6 August 1947, he was discharged only days later in a political purge of royalist officers.

Resistance years (1949-1958)[2]

In January 1949, Toma Arnăuţoiu met Gheorghe Arsenescu, a discharged colonel who had fought in Russia, to discuss the possibility of mounting an anti-communist resistance. They both resented the way the communist regime had been imposed by Moscow and the strong Soviet presence and influence in the country. They believed a war between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union was imminent and partisans would be able to neutralise the local authorities and speed up the overthrow of the regime.

In March Colonel Arsenescu, having failed in a first attempt to organise a local resistance around Campulung and fearing arrest, joined Toma Arnauțoiu in Nucşoara to set-up a group of anti-communist partisans in the surrounding hills. They were followed by 16 villagers, including four women.[3]

The authorities got wind of what was being planned and first arrested Arnauțoiu’s parents. Securitate (security police) troops then ambushed four members of the group and in the ensuing shoot-out two sub-officers were killed and Toma Arnăuțoiu was wounded. The partisans managed to flee but from then on there was hardly any way back for them.

By July they split fearing the group was too big to be able to hide from the troops combing the area. Disagreements over tactics also played a part. Some villagers stayed with Colonel Arsenescu, while others followed Toma Arnăuţoiu. In November 1949 Arsenescu left his men most of whom were captured. He went into hiding at a farm until 1960 when he was caught and sentenced to death.

The Arnăuţoiu followers carried on for nine years. Constantly harassed by Securitate troops, their ranks were gradually depleted. Towards the end, the group was reduced to Toma Arnăuţoiu, his younger brother Petre, Maria Plop[4] (who had fled her village in Eastern Romania on the arrival of Soviet troops) and Constantin Jubleanu, whose mother had been killed while trying to flee a platoon and whose father was in prison serving a 25 years sentence.

They were constantly on the move and, with the support of villagers, managed to survive nine winters in the mountains. Their final hiding place was carved out on a rocky hillside[5] where a daughter was born in 1956 to Toma Arnăuțoiu and Maria Plop.

On 20 May 1958, the Arnăuțoiu brothers, Maria Plop and the two-years old child, were captured. Jubleanu died in a shoot-out with the Securitate troops. They had been betrayed by a former school mate of Toma Arnăuţoiu who had given the two brothers a laced drink.

A military court sentenced the Arnăuţoiu brothers to be shot alongside 14 villagers who had supplied them with food, medicine, clothing, a radio set or weapons. They were executed in the Jilava prison on the night of 18/19 July 1959.[6] More than 100 locals were sentenced to prison terms ranging from one year to hard labour for life.[7] Maria Plop and Toma Arnăutoiu’s parents died in prison.[8]



  • Voicu-Arnăuțoiu Ioana Raluca, Luptătorii din munți. Toma Arnăuțoiu. Grupul de la Nucșoara. Documente ale anchetei, procesului, detenției (ediție revizuită și adăugită). Editura Vremea, București, 2009.
  • Deletant Dennis, Romania under Communism. Routledge, London and New York, 2019
  • 50 years from the Trial and Execution of Members of Anti-Communist Partisans Group led by Toma Arnăuțoiu. Album of photographs and documents from the National Council for the Study of the Securitate archives (CNSAS). Edited by Ioana Raluca Voicu-Arnăuțoiu and Ioan Crăciun. Editura Ars Docendi Publishing House – University of Bucharest, București, 2009.
  • The Trial and Execution of Members of Anti-Communist Partisans Group led by Toma Arnăuțoiu. Album of photographs and documents from the National Council for the Study of the Securitate archives (CNSAS). Edited by Ioana Raluca Voicu-Arnăuțoiu and Ioan Crăciun. Ars Docendi Publishing House of the University of Bucharest, Bucharest, 2010.
  • Voicu-Arnăuțoiu Ioana Raluca, Rezistența anticomunistă de la Nucșoara. Portrete de familii. Editura Ars Docendi – Universitatea din București, București, 2019.
  • Povestea familiei Arnăuțoiu din Nucșoara – relatări de Elena Ion-Arnăuțoiu. Ediție îngrijită de Ioan Crăciun. Editura Ars Docendi – Universitatea din București, București, 2011.

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