Historian and philosopher Neagu Djuvara passed away on Thursday, 25 January 2018, at the age of 101, the TVR public broadcaster informs. He used to celebrate his birthday twice, once on August 18 (in line with the old calendar) and once on August 31 (in line with the new calendar).
The historian died in hospital, where he had been hospitalised with pneumonia some time ago.
Born in Bucharest, on 18 August 1916, in an Aromanian family, Neagu Djuvara obtained his B.A. at Sorbonne in 1937. Three years later, he obtained his Doctor of Law degree in Paris. In 1972, he obtained a Ph.D. in philosophy, also in Paris, and in 1987 he received the Diploma of the Paris-based National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilisations.
He was a diplomatic courier during the peace negotiations with the Soviet Union, in Stockholm, where he left on 23 August 1944 and remained until 1947.
He then went in exile in Paris, where he was secretary general of the Committee of Assistance for Romanian Refugees. He collaborated with Radio Free Europe and with several foundations. He spent 23 years in the Republic of Niger, as diplomatic and legal advisor to Niger’s Foreign Affairs Ministry. In 1984 he returned to Paris.
After the 1989 Revolution, Neagu Djuvara returned to Romania, where he was associate-professor at the University of Bucharest until 1998.
Neagu Djuvara was honorary member of the ‘A.D.Xenopol’ Institute of History in Iasi, and of the ‘Nicolae Iorga’ Institute of History in Bucharest.
A supporter of research into the history of Romanians, mainly preoccupied with the philosophy of history, Neagu Djuvara wrote 20 books, including memoirs, such as “Civilizations and Historical Laws. Essay of Comparative Studies on Civilizations” (Paris, 1975), awarded by the French Academy in 1976, “Between East and West. The Romanian Lands at the Beginning of the Modern Era” (1995), “A Short History of the Romanians Narrated to the Young” (1999) and “Recollections from Exile” (2005).
He was a contributor to several volumes, such as “Aromanians: history, language, destiny” (1996, 2012) and “The Fundamental Books” (2010).
In 2006, he was awarded the ‘Faithful Service’ National Order, Grand Cross rank. In 2010, French ambassador to Bucharest Henri Paul conferred upon him the Order of Arts and Letters, Officer rank. On 9 August 2016, Neagu Djuvara was awarded the ‘Romanian Star’ National Order, Knight rank. In March 2017, he received the Excellence Award at the 26th Awards Gala of Radio Romania Cultural.
Historian Neagu Djuvara was 101. He spent 45 years of his life in exile. He became known in the country only after 1989. He was already 70 at the time. “I came back to the country to offer, not to receive. Destiny willed it that I would do at the age of 70 what I wanted to achieve at the age of 30: to be an academic, to publish books in Romanian,” he confessed.
In a 2008 interview, the historian stated: “I want to be buried here (in Romania – editor’s note). But I would like to die on a ship.”
Neagu Djuvara’s death deplored by politicians and personalities from the public space
Mihai Fifor: Romanian Neagu Djuvara guided us to morality!
Acting Premier Mihai Fifor issued a message of condolence after the death of historian Neagu Djuvara was announced, whom he called “an aristocrat of the spirit, through the generosity of animating generations.”
“Neagu Djuvara will remain in my memory an aristocrat of the spirit, through the generosity of animating generations, and through the power of inspiring the future. The historian wrote with his soul, the philosopher taught us the truth, the Romanian Neagu Djuvara guided us toward morality! God rest his soul,” reads the message of acting Premier Mihai Fifor.
MAE: Neagu Djuvara will remain for Romanian diplomacy a symbol of Romanian elite
Neagu Djuvara will remain for the Romanian diplomacy a symbol of the Romanian elite, a man of distinction who, by the delicacy of his spirit and respect for the authentic Romanian values will represent a model for the future generations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) shows in a press release sent issued on Thursday.
MAE voices “its profound regret over the passage into unknown of an exceptional personality of Romania, the historian, the diplomat and the man of culture Neagu Djuvara” and brought to mind his diplomatic career, which started in 1943.
“As an outstanding member of the Romanian exile, but also after his return to the country, Neagu Djuvara was a relentless promoter of the national values and historic truth. The Romanian diplomats will remember Neagu Djuvara as one of the close people to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, always open to share from his experience as a young diplomat, attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1943, as also from his academic activity carried out in highly prestigious institutions at global level. And for the generations of diplomats who started their activity in the past years, he will remain one of the keepers of history, as a symbolic witness, and also the voice who talked to them to tell and interpret for them the Romanian history, as he made it in the volume “A short history of Romanians told to the young people,” added the source.
MAE also showed that, at the meetings and conferences organized by Neagu Djuvara, he managed to captivate the audience with his frankness, humor and open spirit, as he talked about the history he lived for more than 100 years,”which many discovered through his documents of archive.”
“For the Romanian diplomacy, Neagu Djuvara remains a symbol of the Romanian elite, a Man of distinction, through the delicacy of his spirit and respect for the authentic Romanian values he will represent a model for the future generations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sends sincere condolences for the mourning family. May God rest him in peace!”, MAE also added.
British Ambassador Brummell: Sad to learn of the death of Romanian historian Neagu Djuvara
UK Ambassador Paul Brummell sent on Thursday a message of condolences for the death of Neagu Djuvara, conveying that his thoughts are with the Romanian historian’s family and friends.
“Sad to learn of the death of Romanian historian Neagu Djuvara. My thoughts are with his family and friends,” Paul Brummell stated in a message posted on the Facebook page of the UK Embassy to Romania.
Basescu: You left for the stars, but you left us your work, your love for the country, for culture, for the people of this land
PMP President Traian Basescu stated on Thursday that historian Neagu Djuvara left “for the stars” but bequeathed his work to the Romanian people, “his love for the country, for the people of this land.”
“Goodbye, Neagu Djuvara. You left for the stars, but you left us your work, your love for the country, for culture, for the people of this land. A man who departed with his soul at peace because he loved us, Romanians, maybe more than all of us loved him,” PMP President Traian Basescu wrote on Facebook.
Liviu Dragnea: Neagu Djuvara, a landmark of morality and civism
PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on Thursday that Romania has lost one of its greatest values, Neagu Djuvara representing a landmark of morality and civism, a man who fought his entire life for the interests of Romania and of Romanians.
“Romania lost today one of its greatest values! An accomplished intellectual, Neagu Djuvara represents a landmark of morality and civism, a man who fought his entire life for the interests of Romania and of Romanians. God rest his soul!” Liviu Dragnea wrote on Facebook.
Cristian Diaconescu: Neagu Djuvara was a character from a different Romania
Former Foreign Minister Cristian Diaconescu stated on Thursday, for MEDIAFAX, that historian Neagu Djuvara was “a character from a different Romania,” adding that a long time will have to pass until another personality of his magnitude appears.
“He was, in fact, one of the few representatives of a Romanian elite that expressed itself literarily, historically, but especially in diplomacy. The moments Neagu Djuvara experienced, everything he remembered, represents today teaching material for any kind of diplomat who wants to represent his country with honour and especially with a certain elegance. A character from a different Romania and one who, obviously, experienced periods and moments he understood, which he assessed and felt with that elegance that only superior personalities have. From this standpoint, a long time will have to pass for Romania and its representatives until another personality of such magnitude appears again. God rest his soul,” Diaconescu stated for Mediafax.
Gabriela Firea: I join those who mourn this irreparable loss
Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea labelled historian Neagu Djuvara “a remarkable personality, contemporary of all the important events in recent history,” pointing out that she joins those who mourn this irreparable loss.
“Historian, writer and diplomat Neagu Djuvara has left us, at the venerable age of 101, a remarkable personality contemporary of all the important events in recent history, from the Great Union of 1918 to Romania’s accession to the European Union. As a sign of profound respect for his life and activity, when turning 100, Mr Neagu Djuvara was awarded the title of honorary citizen of Bucharest. I hereby join those who mourn this irreparable loss and convey my sincere condolences to the family. God rest his soul,” Gabriela Firea wrote on Facebook.
Mircea Cartarescu: Another light has passed away
Referring to philosopher and historian Neagu Djuvara, who passed away on Thursday, at the age of 101, writer Mircea Cartarescu wrote that “another light has passed away.”
“Neagu Djuvara has died. Another light has passed away. Rest in peace,” reads the message that Mircea Cartarescu posted on Facebook.