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Home » 2020, Vol. I, No. 1 » Groza, Dăian
Mihai-Octavian Groza, PhD candidate, Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca
Diana-Maria Dăian, PhD, Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca
Through Russia, for the Romanian Cause: Vicar Iacob Popa and the Recruitment of Volunteers among Romanian prisoners

Abstract: The subject regarding the participation of Romanian prisoner soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian Army in theaters of operations of the Romanian Kingdom’s Army is very extensive and of great interest. General and specialty literature, memoirs, studies, articles, collections of documents, etc. issued during the war and, above all, in the post-war period, as well as rich archive sources allow a relatively original approach on this phenomenon. Starting from the contact with various archives, memoirs, and secondary sources, the present paper is an attempt to retrace the setup stages of the first Transylvanian and Bukovinian Romanian Volunteer Corps in Russia and the activity of Vicar Iacob Popa in enlisting and enrolling volunteers. Iacob Popa is an almost unknown and equally unstudied figure of historical Blaj. He lived and worked in a time of great national and political unrest for the Romanians in Transylvania in the first half of the 20th century. We attempted to outline several stages of his activity, starting with the moment he volunteered for the enlistment commissions in Russia and continuing with his propaganda work for enlisting prisoners from Transylvania, Bukovina and Banat in the Romanian Army, as well as with the records of his successes and failures in the mission he was entrusted with. The last part of the study is dedicated to the events that marked the end of the volunteer enlistment activity.

Keywords: captivity, volunteer work, military chaplain, propaganda, Russia

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