BUCHAREST, Romania — Neagu Djuvara, Romania’s best-known historian who spent decades in exile before returning home when communism ended, has died. He was 101.
Philosopher Gabriel Liiceanu remembered Djuvara on Friday for his “formidable oratory… infectious vivacity” and his “splendid diction.”
Djuvara died Thursday in the Victor Babes hospital in Bucharest where he had been admitted in December with pneumonia, the hospital said. He was a conservative, known for his wit and aristocratic air. He wrote: “From Vlad the Impaler to Dracula the Vampire,” and many books on history and his own personal exile.
Born into an aristocratic family, he went to high school in Nice in southern France, and in his youth was a supporter of the far-right Iron Guard.
Djuvara graduated in history and law from the Sorbonne in Paris and then returned to Romania, fighting for his country in World War II, before becoming a diplomat. He was posted to Stockholm, resigning when the communists came to power.
In communist Romania, he was charged in absentia with being a spy and decided to remain abroad where he got involved with efforts to aid Romania’s anti-communist resistance which was eventually crushed by the Securitate secret police.
In 1961, Djuvara went to Niger, where he was an adviser to the African country’s foreign ministry until 1984 and taught international law at Niamey University.
He returned to Paris where he worked with organizations of exiled Romanians. After communism fell in 1989, he returned to his native Romania where he was named an associate professor at the University of Bucharest.
A conservative at heart, he was opposed to European multiculturalism and claimed the Securitate still maintained a grip on power in post-communist behind the scenes.
A funeral will be held at an Eastern Rite Catholic cathedral on Sunday and he will then be buried at Bucharest’s Bellu cemetery. He is survived by a daughter, granddaughters and great-granddaughters.