Ion Gheorghe Maurer

Ion Gheorghe Iosif Maurer (23 September 1902 – 8 February 2000)[1] was a Romanian communist politician and lawyer, and the 49th Prime Minister of Romania. He is the longest serving prime-minister in history of Romania (12 years, 340 days).

Ion Gheorghe Maurer
Ion Gheorghe Maurer1.jpg
Portrait of Ion Gheorghe Maurer
President of the Presidium of the Great National Assembly
In office
11 January 1958 – 21 March 1961
Prime MinisterChivu Stoica
Preceded byPetru Groza
Succeeded byGheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej (as President of the State Council)
President of the State Council
In office
19 March 1965 – 24 March 1965
Preceded byGheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej
Succeeded byChivu Stoica
President of the Council of Ministers
In office
21 March 1961 – 29 March 1974
PresidentGheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej
Chivu Stoica
Nicolae Ceaușescu
Preceded byChivu Stoica
Succeeded byManea Mănescu
Vice President of the State Council
In office
PresidentGheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej
Chivu Stoica
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byEmil Bodnăraş
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
15 July 1957 – 15 January 1958
Prime MinisterChivu Stoica
Preceded byGrigore Preoteasa
Succeeded byAvram Bunaciu
Personal details
Born(1902-09-23)23 September 1902
Bucharest, Romania
Died8 February 2000(2000-02-08) (aged 97)
Bucharest, Romania
Political partyRomanian Communist Party
Other political
Radical Peasants' Party
Spouse(s)Elena Maurer (died 1999)


Maurer was born in Bucharest to an Alsatian father of German descent and a Romanian mother with petit-bourgeois background.[2][3] He completed studies in law and became an attorney, defending in court members of the illegal leftist and Anti-fascist movements.[4] Occasionally, as in the 1936 Craiova Trial of Romanian Communist Party (PCR) activists, including Ana Pauker, Alexandru Drăghici, and Alexandru Moghioroș, he assisted Lucrețiu Pătrășcanu).[5]

Before 1937, he was briefly active in the Radical Peasants' Party, formed by Grigore Iunian as a splinter group of the National Peasants' Party;[6] however, he was by then already a member of the illegal Communist Party[7] and active in the Agitprop section.[8]

In 1942-1943, during World War II he was imprisoned for his political activity (notably, in the camp at Târgu Jiu),[9] and, as a member of a paramilitary grouping,[10] played a secondary part in the events of 23 August 1944 that led to the downfall of the Ion Antonescu regime.[11] During this time, although present among the few active leaders of the Party around general secretary Ștefan Foriș,[12] he became a supporter of Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej's faction (dominated by imprisoned activists).[13] In 1944, he played a hand in Foriș's deposition, assisting Emil Bodnăraș and Gheorghiu-Dej.[14]

After the war, Maurer became a member of the Central Committee of the Romanian Workers' Party (the new name of the PCR after it had incorporated the Social Democratic Party) and took several ministerial positions in the new communist government of Romania — including that of undersecretary of the Communications and Public Works Ministry under Gheorghiu-Dej in the first Petru Groza government.[15] In 1946-1947, he was a member of Romania's delegation to the Paris Peace Conference (headed by Gheorghe Tătărescu) and was briefly employed by Ana Pauker at the Foreign Ministry, before being dismissed for having an unsatisfactory level of political conviction.[16] He was removed from the forefront for the following decade,[17] working for the Institute of Juridical Research.[18]

He supported Gheorghiu-Dej's nationalist policy, eventually becoming foreign minister of Romania in 1957 (replacing Grigore Preoteasa), holding office for six months, and serving in the delegations establishing closer contacts with the People's Republic of China during the Sino-Soviet Split and a détente with France in 1959.[19]

Ion Gheorghe Maurer and Joseph Luns in 1967

Regarded, according to the claims of dissident journalist Victor Frunză,[20] as Gheorghiu-Dej's chosen successor, he was head of state (President of the Presidium of the Great National Assembly of Romania) from 1958 to 1961. He took the seat previously occupied by Constantin Pîrvulescu on the Politburo,[21] and then replaced Chivu Stoica as Prime Minister of Romania in 1961.[22] In the latter capacity, he was the recipient of a 1963 letter by the British philosopher and activist Bertrand Russell, who pleaded with the Romanian authorities to free from jail Belu Zilber (a victim of the conflict between the Party leadership and Pătrășcanu, Zilber had been a political prisoner for sixteen years by then).[23] Ion Gheorghe Maurer was also one of three acting Chairmen of the Presidium of the Great National Assembly (heads of state) between March 19 and March 24, 1965.

Alongside Emil Bodnăraș, Maurer was an important member of the Politburo in opposing the ambitions of Gheorghe Apostol and, together with Bodnăraș, helping along the establishment of the Nicolae Ceaușescu regime.[24] Among others, Maurer helped silence potential opposition from inside the Party by withdrawing his support for Corneliu Mănescu and welcoming Ceaușescu's directives, before being himself criticized and sidelined (at the same time as his collaborator Alexandru Bârlădeanu).[25] Pensioned in 1974, he was still present in the forefront at most Party ceremonies.[26]

A prominent member of the nomenklatura for much of his life, he was known for his latent conflict with a large part of the PCR hierarchy.[18] He accumulated a sizable wealth and was known for his ostentatious lifestyle.[18] In 1989, Maurer's earlier support for Ceaușescu led the sidelined PCR members who were planning to state their opposition to the regime by drafting the so-called Letter of the Six (Gheorghe Apostol, Alexandru Bârlădeanu, Silviu Brucan, Constantin Pîrvulescu, and Grigore Răceanu) not to enlist his assistance in the process.[27]

He died in Bucharest a decade after the Romanian Revolution of December 1989, leaving a son, Jean. He was 97. From 13 July 1998, when former Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Kollias died until his own death, Maurer was the world's oldest living former head of state.


  1. ^ Profile of Ion Gheorghe Maurer
  2. ^ Dennis Deletant (1999). Romania under communist rule. p. 22. ISBN 973-98392-8-2.
  3. ^ Partoș; Deletant indicates in passing that Maurer's father was an Alsatian French language teacher, and that his mother was Romanian (Communist Terror..., p.19); he also states that Maurer was of "German origin" (Ceausescu..., p.69)
  4. ^ Betea; Deletant, Communist Terror..., p.19; Tismăneanu, p.298-299
  5. ^ Deletant, Communist Terror..., p.19; Tismăneanu, p.298-299
  6. ^ Alexandrescu et al.
  7. ^ Deletant, Communist Terror..., p.19; Tismăneanu, p.99, 298
  8. ^ Tismăneanu, p.99
  9. ^ Frunză, p.468; Tismăneanu, p.298
  10. ^ Tismăneanu, p.298
  11. ^ Frunză, p.129
  12. ^ Tismăneanu, p.119
  13. ^ Tismăneanu, p.37, 298, 323
  14. ^ Tismăneanu, p.151
  15. ^ Frunză, p.188, 217; Tismăneanu, p.112
  16. ^ Tismăneanu, p.239, 298-299
  17. ^ Frunză, p.437; Tismăneanu, p.299
  18. ^ a b c Tismăneanu, p.299
  19. ^ Frunză, p.240, 439, 448, 452; Tismăneanu, p.215, 219, 299, 342
  20. ^ Frunză, p.462
  21. ^ Tismăneanu, p.207
  22. ^ Tismăneanu, p.207, 299
  23. ^ Griffin, p.572
  24. ^ Frunză, p.463-464, 475-478; Tismăneanu, p.213, 221-222, 299, 323, 344
  25. ^ Deletant, Ceausescu..., p.69-70; Frunză, p.479-480, 483, 510-511; Tismăneanu, p.37, 299
  26. ^ Tismăneanu, p.239
  27. ^ Tismăneanu, p.299, 343


Party political offices
Preceded by
Petru Groza
President of the Presidium of the Great National Assembly of Romania
11 January 1958 – 21 March 1961
Succeeded by
Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej(as President of the State Council)
Preceded by
Chivu Stoica
Prime Minister of Romania
21 March 1961 – 29 March 1974
Succeeded by
Manea Mănescu
Preceded by
Konstantinos Kollias
Oldest living state leader
13 July 1998 – 8 February 2000
Succeeded by
Michail Stasinopoulos