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The Top Secret Athenee Palace

23 Jun 2014
Lush, pretentious, art nouveau-style, frequented by the high society of the interwar Europe, Athenee Palace was immediately connected to the Secret Service, as well as the world’s newspapers looking for first-hand information, straight from the source. Built in 1912 by a French corporation led by a Baron Marseille, Athenee Palace was fairly young compared to the top hotels in Rome, Paris and London. It caught up quickly, however, according to Ernst Latham: ‘Athenee Palace was instantly popular both during the First and the Second World Wars. Somehow, it has always managed to secure a key place in history.’During World War One, Ernst Latham adds, Athenee Palace was a front-page hotel: ‘Romania was a country with a fantastic historical positioning and the only European country where journalists from the neutral or allied parties could work in.’ If the German army was going South, it had to do it via Romania. If it was going East, it had to take the USSR route and set camp in Romania. In fact, Romania might have been one of history’s capitals. Here, at Athenee Palace Hotel, there was considerable political intrigue.’ The information overload at Athenee Palace Hotel is portrayed by Newsweek correspondent in Bucharest, Baroness Rose De Waldeck, who lived in the hotel throughout the most traumatizing 7 months in the history of Romania. Ernst Latham relates: ‘De Waldeck checked in in 1940, the day when France surrendered, which was a tragic event for Romania, historically connected to the West through France. Following this, France ceased to be a military force and flees Romania at the end of January 1941, soon after the rebel legion.On the 28th of June 1940, Romania received USSR’s ultimatum requiring the government to give up Bessarabia, Bucovina and Herţa and ...read more

Love and the Secret Service

07 Apr 2014
Rose De Waldeck (born 1898) was German, Jewish, and a banker’s daughter. She had a PhD in Sociology from Heidelberg and became countess during her third marriage. In the 1930s, De Waldeck moved over to the US where she practised journalism, travelling to the USSR and North Africa as a news correspondent. Due to her several visits to Germany post-1933 when Hitler ruled, as well as her various links to top figures around Hindenburg, she was under FBI surveillance as a potential German spy working for Canaris.However, across the pond, in Germany, De Waldeck was seen as part of the American, Russian or French espionage. In 1939, she became an American citizen and an adept of Catholicism. When Paris was taken over by the enemies, Rose De Waldeck checked in at Athenee Palace Hotel in Bucharest – a top spot for the high society, prime ministers, ambassadors, generals, writers and celebrities, as well as the frauds and members of the international espionage. She went to Bucharest in order to write about the events shaking Europe as a Newsweek journalist. In fact, she chose the best vantage point: a country at the crossroads between Russia and the Balkans. At the time, Romania was not occupied and had diplomatic links with all the countries at war. She lived in Bucharest for 7 months, a time when Romania went through its toughest moments. From June 1940 to January 1941 – when Bessarabia and Bucovina were occupied by the Red Army, the Vienna Treaty and the loss of Transylvania, King Carol II’s stepping down from the throne, the beginning of the military state led by Antonescu and Sima, the German troops entering Romania, the November earthquake, the Jilava killings and the rebel legion. At the end of January, De Waldeck rushes out of Bucharest. Back in New York, she wrote the book that made her ...read more

Athénée Palace – How Bucharest’s High Society Used to Party

24 Mar 2011
The English Bar, the Brasserie and the Restaurant at Athénée Palace were the venues most frequented by the capital’s high society between the two World Wars. Built in 1914 as per French architect Teophile Bradeau’s plans on the land of the former Ivanciu Gherasi Inn, Athénée Palace is Romania’s first building made with armoured concrete and a source of inspiration for writers worldwide. Construction began in 1912 and, once complete in 1914, the building comprised 149 rooms and 10 suites decorated in Louis 14th style inspired by the recurring styles in France and England at the time.‘Back when it was built, Athénée Palace used to pride itself with being the country’s only building featuring a foundation made with armoured concrete. The hotel has also benefited from a favourable position, right next to the Athenaeum and the Royal Palace, which is why the venue was well liked by the top figures of the society between the two World Wars’, says historian Dan Falcan for The Evening Truth. The English Bar, Bucharest’s Favourite Place Between the Two World Wars Historian Dan Falcan also says that, between the two World Wars, the hotel was used as shelter by war correspondents, German officers and even Spanish government officials coming to Romania during the Civil War. Throughout the years, the hotel – close to the Romanian Athenaeum – has hosted MPs, writers and numerous other high-profile figures. From Geo Bogza and Goga to Van Basten and The Rolling Stones Amongst the hotel’s most renowned guests were Romanian classicists Geo Bogza, Octavian Goga and Pastorel Teodoreanu, and – years later – football stars such as Marco Van Basten and Edwin Van der Sar, as well as famous musicians. Geo Bogza Checked in ...read more

Recently added items

The Top Secret Athenee Palace

Lush, pretentious, art nouveau-style, frequented by the high society of the interwar Europe, Athenee Palace was immediately connected to the Secret Service.

Love and the Secret Service

Rose De Waldeck (born 1898) was German, Jewish, and a banker’s daughter. She had a PhD in Sociology from Heidelberg and became countess during her third marriage.

Athénée Palace – How Bucharest’s High Society Used to Party

The English Bar, the Brasserie and the Restaurant at Athénée Palace were the venues most frequented by the capital’s high society between the two World Wars.

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