Berne incident

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The Berne incident consisted in the brief seizure of the Romanian embassy in Bern, Switzerland, by a group of Romanian émigrés who opposed the communist regime. It occurred between February 14 and February 16, 1955.


The attack was planned and led by Oliviu Beldeanu, a sculptor born in 1924 in Dej. At the age of 15 he became a member of Frunză Verde ("Green Leaf"), a youth organisation associated with the fascist Iron Guard, but after the end of World War II he joined the anti-communist resistance movement. In 1949, he fled to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, only to return a few months later, allegedly as an agent of the UDBA. In 1951, Beldeanu arrived in Italy; he later settled in Konstanz, West Germany.

In 1954, Beldeanu began preparing the assault on the Romanian embassy: he travelled several times to Switzerland, acquired the needed weapons and tools, and held training sessions with the other members of the group (Ion Chirilă, Stan Codrescu, Dumitru Ochiu and Tudor Ciochină).

On the evening of February 14, 1955, the group drove from Konstanz to Berne, broke into the embassy around midnight and entered the embassy's driver's residence. The members of the group then proceeded to discreetly search for secret documents.

Around 2:00 AM, Aurel Şeţu, the embassy's driver (and most likely a Securitate agent) returned and entered into...
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