• Dan PRODAN Botoșani


Keywords: history of the intelectual elites; Romania; Botoșani; N. Iorga; youth; maturity; venerable age; 1886 - 1940; posterity.



In this contribution, I will approach the relationship the Town of Botoșani - N. Iorga for other stages in the life of the "Son of Botoșani": his youth, maturity, old age, from 1886 to 1940, specifying that during that period the historian no longer lived in Botoșani, but in other localities in the country (Iași, Bucharest, Vălenii de Munte, Iași, Sinaia), with frequent trips abroad. His visits to his hometown became, especially after 1900 (the year his mother moved to her family in Bucharest), a real career, logistics, and time challenge. The activation of the pair Botoșani - N. Iorga was a real challenge for the two actors (the town's administration and intellectuals - the famous son of the town), a real intrigue for the study of the life, work and personality of the genius from Botoșani.

  1. Botoșani and Nicolae Iorga in his youth (1886 - 1900).

In August 1886, the student N. Iorga moved to Iasi and enrolled at the "National" High School, in the 6th grade, being admitted to the scholarship exam. As a pupil at the high school (1886 - 1888) and student at the University of Iași, Faculty of Letters (1888 - 1889), in the first years of research activity - university teaching (1890 - 1900), N. Iorga returned to the hometown of Botoșani during the school and student holidays, where his mother Zulnia Iorga lived alone, at a cheap host, in modest peripheral houses.

  1. Botoșani and Nicolae Iorga in his maturity / adulthood (1900 - 1935).

In February 1901, N. Iorga married Ecaterina (Catinca) Bogdan who came from a well-known family of intellectuals in Brașov, a marriage that lasted four decades and that was destroyed only by the brutal murder of N. Iorga in the night of November 27/28, 1940, by a "legionary team of death". His mother Zulnia Iorga moved permanently to Bucharest in 1900, where she took care of the house, her nephews and nieces. As a result, N. Iorga's relations with Botoșani became of less importance to him, although the northern Moldavian town remained forever the birthplace of the incisive, active and volcanic university professor, historian, lecturer, journalist, politician, patriot, man of culture. Concrete outcomes of these categories of concerns were the visits of N. Iorga to Botoșani, in the years: 1903 - 1908, 1911, 1914, 1917, February and September 1922, July and December 1924, 1926, 1927, 1931. The links between Iorga and Botoșani, through some local institutions and personalities, or teaching staff, political supporters, painters or simple citizens manifested on several levels: civic, cultural, scientific, political, educational, journalistic, epistolary, preservation of local memory, communication.

In June 1931, N. Iorga had a solemn birthday in the hall of the "M. Eminescu" Theatre from Botoșani, a representative gift of the town for its celebrated son of his sixties, because "Honouring great people is a sign that we honour ourselves. And no one is more worthy of our honour than N. Iorga, who himself honoured the name of Romanian".

The son of the town mattered even more to the people of Botoșani when he was Prime Minister and Minister of Public Instruction and Religion (1931 - 1932), in the hope and illusion of obvious, palpable changes for the better in Romanian internal life and in the material, cultural, educational, spiritual situation of his fellow citizens. But N. Iorga belonged to the pre-war and inter-war Romanian political system, in which he specifically integrated and manifested within objective and subjective limits, according to his personality, individuality and political programme.

III. Botoșani and Nicolae Iorga in his old age (1935 - 1940).

In June 1938, N. Iorga visited again Botoșani and its surroundings at the National Congress of the Cultural League from Romania. Unbeknownst to him at the time, N. Iorga's visit to his hometown during the mentioned period was also the last of his life constantly agitated and full of activities and events with various origins and purposes. The brutal murder of N. Iorga, on the night of November 27/28, 1940, obviously shocked the inhabitants of Botoșani town and county. The impact of the news of the abominable murder was equally strong on the teachers and students of the "Laurian" High School, where the deceased was a student between 1881 and 1886.

After the suppression of the legionary rebellion from January 21-23, 1941, the arrest / flight to Hitler's Germany of the legionnaires involved in the tragic and bloody events, the social, political, economic, cultural, educational life became normal, so the religious, civic, scientific etc. commemoration of N. Iorga became possible. Thus, on Sunday March 16, 1941, at 11:30 a.m., “a memorial service for the repose of the soul of the one who was and always will be Neculai Iorga” was held at the Uspenia church-cathedral in Botoșani. Two months later in May 1941, the journalist N.D. Andrieș from Botoșani commemorated the personality of Nicolae Iorga, briefly highlighting the main milestones and achievements of the life and work of the encyclopedist titan born in Botoșani. Later, the Association of former students of the "Laurian" High School in Botoșani started the steps to collect the amount of money, through public collection, to erect a bust and then a statue of N. Iorga, to be placed in front of the high school building.