Järngardet och den legionära andan


Vi återpublicerar här förordet till den första engelska utgåvan av Corneliu Codreanus The Prison Notes, tillsammans med introduktionen till första franska utgåvan och förordet från originalutgåvan. De försöker alla peka på vad som var själva kärnan i Järngardets vision och dess skribenter har tagit den otacksamma uppgiften på sig att förklara att vad denna rörelse trodde, levde och dog för inte var något tillfälligt och ytligt utan i stället själva orsaken till deras kamp.

Det engelska förordet är skriven av Derek Holland, känd nationell ideolog. Introduktionen är skriven av en av Järngardets intellektuella vid namn Faust Bradesco och originalets förord är skrivet av Horia Sima, den man som efter mordet på Codreanu blev rörelsens nya ledare.


Publishers preface by Derek Holland

Romania is not, geographically-speaking, at the centre of Europe. Its people and their history are largely unknown to those European peoples who do not have any direct or indirect contact with the country. In one sense, we might even say that it is a forgotten part of Europe. Yet although something might be forgotten, it does not logically follow that it is unimportant. Many things have been lost down the centuries in Europe, losses which have been to the great misfortune of the European peoples and to Christendom. It is for this reason that it is incumbent upon those who love Europe, her culture and her life principle to do all within their power to conserve those vital things which might so easily be forgotten. The publication of this short booklet is one practical act of conservation, for it brings to the attention of the English-speaking world, a text that is simple and yet profound, and which comes from the pen of a man that should be a model for revolutionary nationalists everywhere: Corneliu Zelea Codreanu.

In the Anglo-phone world, Codreanu, leader of the Legion of St. Michael the Archangel – commonly called the Legionary Movement or the Iron Guard – became something of an object of historical interest in the 1970s; during the 1980s, he and his movement became an object of study and fascination; and during the 1990s, the Legionary Movement became the political and strategical point of reference for the burgeoning Third Positionist movement. In other words, within the span of just 25 years, something that was forgotten – indeed barely known – has been resuscitated, to the benefit of the Movement and of Europe. And the thing that has been brought back to life has come from a country that is barely given a second thought in nationalist circles. This should be of no surprise, for things that are lost tend not to be found in the room that is used daily, but in the attic which is visited from time to time. Gems of all kinds have an uncanny habit of finding their way to the most unexpected places!

The text presented here, The Prison Notes, was originally published in Romanian under the title of Notes from Jilava, since it was the dungeon-prison of Jilava that gave birth, painfully, to the thoughts, reflections and agonies of mind and soul that the Captain scribbled down on scraps of old paper. They are a far cry from the Prison Notes of Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Marxist theoretician, who ‘suffered’ in a fascist prison during the reign of Mussolini – a ‘suffering’ that included a decent cell, good regular meals, a desk and ample supplies of writing materials! This is not to condone any real suffering that Gramsci may have suffered, but merely to highlight the fact that real suffering, physical and moral, frequently produces exquisite fruit – Codreanu’s text is such a fruit – whilst the ‘suffering’ of over-baked intellectuals frequently gives rise to unripened or even rotten fruit. From suffering and sacrifice comes victory. From Death comes Life.

To our knowledge The Prison Notes has never before appeared in the English language. In some respects, this is quite understandable, for it is unlikely that its importance would have been understood in the 1970s and 1980s. These were the days when militants were interested in the birth and life of the Captain and his movement; times have changed, however. Now, the importance of the suffering and death of the Captain is coming into its own, for the movement faces renewed repression everywhere. The days of the democratic illusion have passed from the face of Europe. We live in the lull before the storm. We live in the time that will give way to oppression, imprisonment and death. We live in the time when we must learn how to face Death, just as we have been learning how to face Life.

Death is no easy matter, even if it takes place in the comfort of one’s own bed. It is the junction point between two worlds, with paths that lead to Paradise or to Perdition. The fear lies in not knowing which path we are going to tread after we quit this mortal coil. But this lack of knowledge of the unknown is not a sign-post of predestination. Rather it is an encouragement to the search for religious truth, spiritual perfection and the deliberate following of the path to Calvary – for each of us will go to Golgotha, the Place of Skulls. But whereas Death will overtake some for eternity, Life will overtake others for time unlimited. The choice lies with us in the here and now, not in the random turn of a card in another time and place. In such a choice, we, as political militants, can draw much of real worth from the Captain’s text, for it is a text that describes his personal pilgrimage to Calvary in its final phase. The text has come down to us by the grace of God. We must profit from such grace by reading and re-reading a text that reveals its importance bit by bit.

What does the text reveal? In one sense everything, and in another sense nothing. It is the disposition and goodwill of the reader that determines whether or not full benefit is drawn from the text. The man whose whole political life is based upon democratic calculations and column inches in enemy newspapers will merely ‘see’ the text as one written by a man in a desperate situation. A tragic story, perhaps even a poignant one, but that is all.

The man whose political life, however, is based upon realities, upon sacrifice, upon struggle, will see in the text a means of deepening the level of struggle, of penetrating to the core of the struggle in its highest and ultimate sense. The nationalist bedazzled by the democratic irrelevancy will gain little of a practical value from the text; the militant, by contrast, will understand that Ideology and even Philosophy are not enough in themselves to bring Final Victory. Confronted by Death – one’s own in miserable conditions and probably alone – stoic thoughts and ideological nuances will provide nothing, either in the form of consolation or in the form of strengthening one’s resolve. Only religious truth can do that, and, as Codreanu says, the search for this truth and its incorporation into our daily life and activity is too frequently forgotten by nationalists, who allow the primary things to be overwhelmed by the secondary things. It is not the length of your life that counts, but how you have lived that life. It is not the Quantity but the Quality that the revolutionary nationalist can and must seek; it is the struggle between the Materialist Illusion and the Spiritual Reality.

Thus, this text will take on an extraordinary force and power in the hands of a nationalist who knows how to read and how to understand, even if he be of modest intelligence. Equally, it will be so many dry words on a page for a man who reads without understanding the essentials of what is written – and such a person is usually either a lightweight of little personality and substance, or a self-confessed ‘intellectual’.

In presenting this text in this way, it is not being suggested that it is definitive or that the publishers hold to every opinion that the Captain expressed. His opinion of Hitler or some of the confused Christological theology in one section of the text are purely incidental to the text; indeed, it is likely that if he had had time to rework the text, he would have amended the incidentals to fit in more closely with the general tone and direction of the text. Both the strength and the weakness of the text is that it is written by a man in dire straits, a man who feels the shadow of death looming steadily if unclearly. Read in this light, the flaws will take on their due proportion, and the merits of the work grow and sparkle.

The Prison Notes also provides a definitive answer to a problem that has long existed in European circles – especially in Italy – but which has only recently begun to rear its vile head in the English-speaking world. It is a question of how a certain school of writers and thinkers have sought to interpret the Legionary phenomenon in such a way as to obscure, diminish or even deny the centrality of the Christian religion to the Legionary example. This school – represented by people like Evola, Schuon, Guénon and Muti – likes to style itself as “traditionalist”, but the reality is that it is simply syncretist – that is, an effort to reduce all religions to an alleged primal truth to be found in all of them. It is, therefore, nothing more than one wing of the accursed New Age movement that is being promoted by the Powers-that-Be all over the world. The ‘Left’ is fed a diet of breathing exercises, relaxation music and bullshit about universal oneness – cosmic socialism in action – whilst the ‘Right’ is given Might over Right authors, mysteries and secret brotherhoods of infinite variety, and the search for the universal/communal soul. In other words, the ‘Left’ is given the materialist New Age to fit its psyche, whilst the ‘Right’ is given the spiritual New Age to fit its psyche – leading to a meeting of Body and Soul, Left and Right, and Unity without Dogma.

That the ‘traditionalist’ school is a menace to Nationalism is a lesson that comrades everywhere must grasp. The works of Evola, Guénon and the like are to be found in New Age bookshops all over the world. The naive assume that this is either due to confusion amongst New Agers, or that nationalists are ‘penetrating’ another constituency. It is neither one nor the other. It is not confusion but comprehensiveness on the part of the New Age, which seeks to cater for all needs in the run down to the appearance of Anti-Christ. It is not we that are penetrating New Age ranks, but they that are penetrating our ranks.

The result of decades of distributing this poisonous rubbish in European nationalist circles is that it now feels itself strong enough to deny even the obvious. What does this mean?

Anyone who has ever read the Captain’s For My Legionaries, or Horia Sima’s The History of the Legionary Movement will know that the whole ethos, structure and direction of the Legionary Movement was Christian, and Christian alone, to the core. There is no easy-going “all religions are equal” quality to be found in any Legionary writing of any kind. The struggle between Christ and Satan, between Salvation and Sin, between the Cross and the Synagogue of Satan is at the very centre of Legionary life and practice. To take Christianity out of the phenomenon is akin to taking the backbone out of a man, and the result is the same. They both collapse.

And yet we find Claudio Muti, Freemason, Occultist and alleged nationalist, writing: “The spirituality of the legionary organization cannot be reduced simply to a Christian religiosity. For us what characterizes even Romanian legionarism is a spirit transcending the religious dimension in general and Christianity in particular, and for which the faith of the Christianized Romanian masses constituted the vehicle of a higher spirituality”. In other words the one million baptised souls that made up the Legion thought they were serving Christ and Romania – on the land, in their homes, in the universities, in the churches and in the gulag – when in fact, unbeknown to them, they were serving “a higher spirituality” of which they were wholly ignorant and which was above Christ. In other words, they lived, fought and died for an illusion, and only the likes of Muti and his kind, who have been ‘initiated’ into the “higher mysteries”, have understood the phenomenon. Clearly, the thousands of theologians, priests and bishops – Catholic and Orthodox – whose whole purpose in life was the study of the spiritual were missing the point somewhere along the line.

Such a position as that of Muti’s is many things simultaneously, but above all it represents an arrogance of quite stunning proportions. A peasant or professor suffering mental and physical torture in some hideous concentration camp turns to Christ for His intercession. It is the peasant and the professor who are there, who are acting, who are suffering, who are praying, who are dying. And then Muti, in the comfort of his study, in another time and in another place, undertakes to “explain” such events in a wholly different way. The ‘intellectual’ comes running to the assistance of the ‘ignorant’ victim, quoting obscure books and texts from vile and untrue heathen religions. It is adding insult to injury. I suffer for my beliefs and some ‘intellectual’ explains it all away in erudite, mystical, flowery language. Thanks, but no thanks!

Why? Quite simply because it is a lie. It is a lie because such ‘intellectuals’ and initiates cannot stand even the idea that one religion might be the true one, and all the rest false. Worse still, they cannot accept that the true religion is available to all, from peasant to priest, from mother to mechanic. It somehow offends the intellect of such ‘intellectuals’ that a simple shopkeeper may have greater spiritual insight and enlightenment than they. It won’t do! There have to be mysteries, and secret orders, and mystical ceremonies for the ‘intellectuals’ – and if the true religion doesn’t provide them, well then it cannot be the true religion! Who says so? Muti and all the rest of the spiritual cripples who want to constitute a spiritual aristocracy, and yet who are so spiritually barren and dull that they cannot grasp what a lowly peasant woman can grasp at the foot of a roadside calvary!

Such ‘intellectual’ drivel would be a cause for laughter were it not so dangerous to the life of the militant in this world and the next. Such a school of thought disarms the militant, leaving him without that which is essential if he is to triumph over adversity in this life and gain eternal happiness in the next. In talking of Jesus Christ, the Acts of the Apostles makes clear that “There is no other Name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved”, and the Captain explicitly repeats this truth in his Notes. He states what he knows to be true. And neither Codreanu nor we need Freemasons like Muti or Guénon telling us differently, using the mumbo-jumbo of Buddhism, Hinduism and all the rest of the false religions. The ‘initiated’ will condemn this as “blind fanaticism” or “sectarianism”, but it is neither. It is simply the defence of Truth when confronted by liars, hypocrites and Satanists.

That Freemasons and Occultists are doing their damnedest to stamp out the knowledge and understanding of the fact that the Legionary phenomenon was and is an exclusively Christian phenomenon ought to tell comrades and the worldly-wise something very profound. That the enemies of Christ and Christendom are frightened of its potency and its militancy. They are frightened, quite simply, of the Truth. Hence their efforts to distort/dilute/obscure and deny the self-evident. There is a lesson here that all comrades must learn to their temporal and spiritual benefit. It is that Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Refuse to learn the lesson and life will be Hell on earth and in the hereafter!

Derek Holland




About the introduction

The Introduction which preceeds the text of The Prison Notes was originally written for the French edition of the Notes, which was published in 1986. It has been reproduced here because the publisher believes that it will be of great benefit to readers in understanding the context and importance of the Captain’s writing.

Faust Bradesco was one of the great Legionary intellectuals, who passed his life in exile in France, and who was forever seeking to make known the truth of the Legionary phenomenon – on a political, historical and spiritual level. He was the author of many books, pamphlets and articles, and an inspiration to legionaries young and old around the world.

To our knowledge, none of the good professor’s works have ever appeared in the English-language, and this is a great pity for they provide insights and perspectives which explain the Legionary phenomenon in a unique way. Of course, his works have appeared in German, French and Spanish, so readers capable of reading such languages ought to be on the look-out for his works. For our part, we believe that the two most important of his books are The Three Legionary Trials and The Iron Guard and Terrorism, and thus are highly recommended.

Introduction by Faust Bradesco

This short work, already translated into several languages, now brings to completion in French the knowledge/understanding of the tragic life of Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, the legendary leader of the Romanian Legionary Movement, otherwise known as the Iron Guard.

It is concerned with a very short period of time – April 19th to June 19th 1938 – during which he was incarcerated in the prison of Jilava in the most vile and discouraging conditions. A mere two months, but months which transformed the fine, proud hero into a Christian martyr.

His thoughts and his behaviour during this short time do not evoke a doctrinal attempt to explain the legionary phenomenon, or even to deepen that which made up his political thought. Rather there is an attempt: to put into practice the core of a doctrine which tears the individual away from the domination of matter, so as to bring him to spiritual fulfillment.

These brief notes, sometimes sketchy, marked by brief allusions to his private life and to his family, by details on his health or his morale, seem to record some facts which ought to be developed some day at leisure. It was not possible for him to do otherwise: the escape from prison of these small pieces of paper, written in haste in truncated sentences, sometimes badly written, is already miraculous.

In order to understand fully the meaning and importance of this short work, two phases must be identified:

  1. The despair of the hunted man, who feels the hatred all around him and suffers a moral torture. During this first phase, there is no depth to the text: just short notes and repetitions. One has the distinct impression that it is a question of points to be returned to at a later time, of the milestones of a suffering man who hopes to regain his freedom. Such is his state of mind until his shameful and unjust condemnation.
  2.  Then, the bursting forth of Christian enlightenment, when his soul finally realizes the importance of the spiritual change of the individual through the approach to and communion with the Godhead.

This is the phase where his inner transformation is effected, when he grasps fully the greatness of the divine presence in the life of Man and of Society. The sentences are more detailed, as if he felt that he would never have the time to look at them again and to blend them into a maturely considered and structured whole.

It urges on his death; he says so. But, as time passes, and as his thoughts bring him towards a metaphysical and spiritual understanding of human perfection, he is overwhelmed by peace, brought on not by mere wisdom, but by the purely theological.

The spiritual sense of life, – social, political, or quite simply human – advocated by legionary doctrine, is no longer a potentiality, something to be brought into being. It is an actual fact, and of its nature holy. The three theologal virtues, Faith, Hope and Charity, which also make up the essence of legionary doctrine, opens up to the “New Man” (understood and put into relief by the Iron Guard) the path of moral perfection, right reason and spiritual improvement.


The two months of prison described in this work represent a period, not new but different, from so many others that the leader of the Iron Guard underwent behind bars. Different, not so much because of the moral agonies or the physical tortures, but above all because of the spiritual transformation which shows itself in him.

Interiorly he suffers a torment which affects him in his depths, because it is doubly distressing:

a) Physically: he is ill, suffering greatly which brings on fever; he is extremely emotional, given over to despair and to pessimism.

b) Morally: he is exhausted by so many battles and victories, reduced to ash by the hatred which is hunting him down. He is repelled and indignant at the injustice which overwhelms him and reduces him to a mere chained inmate.

He is on the point of collapse, at the difficult moment of struggle between the massive weight of calomnies and lies, heaped upon his weakened shoulders, and his moral conscience, sustained by his indomitable but chained will. Every effort at every moment seems like a merciless clash between Good and Evil, between the devouring forces of Darkness and the unending glory of heavenly light.

Reduced to the vegetative state of the condemned man by the good offices of the hidden forces which rule the world, He, the man of granite, of vision, of freewill, suffers the calvary of powerlessness and doubt. And this, as much for himself as for his family, for the Legionaries and for his country. Spiritual confusion weighs ever more heavily upon the society which he wants to save, and to which he has vouchsafed his life. His thought falters under the weight of despair. His distress brings him to the pitch of discouragement which is crushing him.

Feeling himself about to collapse, he reacts. He must regain the upper hand. His duty imposes itself upon his state of mind. His soul responds, and the cogwheels of his deep faith take on their rhythm once again. He hurls himself into the understanding of religious truth, which fills him with an ineffable bliss.

Through prayer and meditation, he plumbs the Christian mystery. His faith strengthens him. His spirit takes on other dimensions, which propel him above and beyond ordinary life.

In this inner reconstruction takes place the unseen spiritual transformation of Corneliu Codreanu, and it is in this that is to be found the importance of this work, which appears at first sight to be unremarkable. In the life of this exceptional man, a life during which action and faith have moulded the pillars of his existential reality, an unexpected and transcendant point opens to him an understanding of divine oneness Through reading the Gospels, in the spiritual state which was imparted to him by his arbitrary status as prisoner, he grasped the true depth of the presence of God.

The parallels that he makes between his calvary and that of Jesus Christ are hardly thoughts born of pride, but simply the dazzling understanding of the way which leads to redemption and fulfillment. He throws himself into it, fully aware of the good that this represents for the individual in himself and for society which, one day, is going to perceive the meaning. He considers his accomplishment in religious truth as a merit badge given to the cause of the Legionary Movement, whose objective is precisely the raising of the individual above contingencies and the human condition, an upward surging towards the supreme truth.

Thus, the few pages of this work show – in their painful forward movement, full of moral suffering, despair, doubts and bewildered questionings – the change of a soul which always believed and which, in the end, found the divine meaning of human worth and existence.

The whole philosophy of sacrifice, of suffering and of love, with which he had furnished his movement, received thereby a priceless meaning and scope. Thus, the personal perfection which each must seek, the respect of others that each must adopt, the fulfillment of duty that each must undertake, appears as an ideal to be achieved through the application of the virtues which make us in the image of God. The efforts, the sacrifices of love become the path of understanding of the biblical message and of improvement.


In reading these Notes, one must not expect some kind of political testament, full of philosophical thoughts or of practical advice for the future. Neither is it a politico-literary essay of the kind, Memories of Prison or My Days with the Outlaws. It is something altogether different, which is really important for every individual, whosoever he might be.

In these two months of tribulations, Corneliu Zelea Codreanu discovers, at the same time as the sad barbarism of our century governed by pitiless forces, the regal gates of human rebirth. He lives an experience which must remain an ideal model for all members of the Iron Guard.

And, if there is a message to be taken from these pathetic lines, we find it in these two phrases:

– mankind needs ” a school for great improvement and profound Christian morality”.

– “Pain upon pain, suffering upon suffering, agony upon agony, wound upon wound in our bodies and in our souls, and fall after fall: thus shall we conquer.”

Faust Bradesco



About the foreword

The Foreword presented here was written for the original edition of The Prison Notes by Horia Sima in June 1951. He was the immediate succesor of the Captain in leading the Legionary Movement, and was to remain so until his death in Spain in 1993.

Although he faced an almost impossible task in replacing the Captain in the aftermath of a terrible and bloody repression by King Carol, he managed to bring order from chaos and to help form the government of the National Legionary State during World War II. From the outset, he refused the title Captain, saying that it could only ever apply to one man in the history of the Romanian Legionary movement, with the result that he became simply the Commander of the Legion.

Throughout his years in exile, he, like so many legionaries, was intensely active in keeping the Legion alive, and striving to bring a new and younger generation to the truth of the Legionary phenomenon. He wrote a great many books and articles during his long life, but most of them have never appeared in the English language. A welcome exception is the first volume of his The History of the Legionary Movement, which was printed by The Legionary Press in 1995; the second volume is ready to be printed, though there are still another 14 volumes of The History in Romanian! Another of his more influential works is The Future of Nationalism, an extract of which will be appearing in the third volume of our series, Yesterday & Tomorrow: The Tradition of National Revolution. Naturally, both texts are recommended to students of history and to political militants anxious to know the truth about the Captain and his unique movement.


Foreword by Horia Sima

Thirteen years after the martyrdom of the Captain at Jilava, we are publishing his notes of the time when he was locked up in prison. They were published for the first time in Rostock, Germany, in the form of a booklet made upon stone. It was impossible for us to have them printed properly at that time. The German government had agreed with Antonesco to keep us in concentration camps, and also to prevent any legionary manifestation in the European press. A Dutch language edition of Corneliu Codreanu’s book, For My Legionaries, was forbidden and the edition prepared in French suffered the same fate. It is only in Spain that the Captain’s book received another kind of reception. The Europe which pretended to be nationalist barred every possible avenue of expression to us and, by a paradox of history, it is only today that we can assert our ideas freely.

Notes from Jilava is a pathetic human document. They recount the witness of a man who knows that he can no longer expect anything from other men, and that for his life and his struggle, from the moment the King put himself at the head of the clique of evildoers, he places himself in the hands of God. His physical and moral suffering are confided to posterity with the sweat of death upon his brow. Those who follow the Captain’s stations of the Cross feel that his existence is tested by the doubts, sadness, and despair, which assault his generous soul.

Then, suddenly, in the darkness of Jilava, the light of another world flickers. The far distant past emerges when Christ carried His Cross to the place of his condemnation. The Captain is no longer alone. The Truth witnesses for him. And the Truth will triumph over all the efforts of those who swore his death. “God sees and rewards”: such are the words by which he finishes his last entry, given to other judges than those who condemned him.

The value of these notes is also important from another point of view. Notes from Jilava makes clear, in a form leaving no doubt, of the deep meaning of legionary wisdom: the spiritual cannot be disconnected from politics; the interior attitudes of the individual, his supernatural desires, must find expression in the aspirations of communal life.

“The mark of our time – said Codreaanu – is that we are above all concerned with the struggle between ourselves and other men, and barely at all with the struggle between the commandments of the Holy Ghost and the desires of our earthly nature. The Legionary Movement is an exception in concerning itself also, however insufficiently, with the Christian victory in man for his salvation.”

“The responsibility of a leader is very great. He must not flatter the eyes of his troops with earthly victories, without preparing them at the same time for the decisive struggle, from which the soul of each person can emerge crowned with an eternal victory or a total defeat.”

The whole tragedy of mankind stems from the dislocation of these two elements, from the false conception of a History that exists without God, under the pretext that social laws should be different from those which govern the inner man.

Horia Sima