Ordinul „Leul Alb”

37441 (Collar), 116749 (Grand Cross), 162056 (Grand Officer), 116622 (Officer), 126488 (Knight)
Contemporary history
Interwar period
silver gilt, fabric, enamel
casting, enameling, sewing

    The Order of the White Lion

    Martin Tudor

    This decoration was instituted on 7 December 1922 by the young Czechoslovakian Republic, which had barely been established in 1918. It was initially destined only for foreigners, but in 1930 it became accessible to Czechoslovakian citizens, too. Following the example of most European orders, either older ones, either those newly created in consequence of the political and territorial changes brought by the First World War, the Order of the White Lion had five classes (Knight, Officer, Commander, Grand Officer and Grand Cross). In 1924 the sixth class was introduced, that with Collar, which was exclusively bestowed on heads of state.

    The Order of the White Lion was a military and civilian award, whose former division, which was introduced in 1945, was characterized by the crisscrossed swords placed within a wreath of linden leaves (for civilians, there were palm branches instead of swords). On the obverse there was a depiction of the Bohemian lion with Slovakia’s coat of arms on his chest, while on the reverse were the coat of arms of the provinces which then formed the country (Bohemia, Slovakia, Moravia, Silesia and Ruthenia). The motto of the civil order was PRAVDA VITEZI (Truth Conquers) and that of the military one was ZA VITEZSTVI (For Victory). The order continued to exist in this form until 1961, when it was re-organized, the number of classes being reduced to three, apart from the Collar, which was still reserved for heads of state. After the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, the order continued to be awarded only by the Czech Republic. The version which is nowadays being awarded was reverted to five classes, conferred both to foreigners and Czech citizens. The ribbon is red with white stripes on the edges. The order was made by the Karnet & Kysely firm in Prague and the Spink & Son Company in London.

    Among the Romanians who were granted this order are: King Ferdinand I (Grand Cross and Collar), divisional general Constantin Ştefănescu Amza (Grand Cross), diplomat Nicolae Titulescu (Grand Cross), diplomat Savel Rădulescu (Grand Cross), Foreign Affairs Minister Nicolae Raicoviceanu (Commander), general Eracle Nicoleanu – former mayor of Bucharest (Grand Officer), Cristache Dumitrache – director of the Post, Telegraph and Telephone Service of the Royal Palace (Knight), general Costin Ionaşcu (Grand Officer), general Dumitru Dămăceanu (Officer), general Mihail Racoviţă (Commander).