“Blood Brotherhoods” and a Cult of Death: The Radicalization and Martyrdom of Romanian Lawyer Ion Motza across Interwar Europe


Summer Institute for the Study of East Central and Southeastern Europe


History & Humanities


Using the representative biography of Romanian activist Ion Motza (1902–1937), this research project tells the story of how a Sorbonne-educated lawyer became a notorious ideologue, criminal, and martyr in interwar Europe. The project aims to internationalize the local but seminal events centered on an otherwise obscure Romanian life story, resituating east-central European history within a broader story of European history; examining the role of the legal profession in turning individuals trained to uphold the rule of law into lawbreakers; and casting an eye to the present-day resurgence of extremist political movements and the dissolution of the political right, left, and center in Europe and America.