War hero Ecaterina Teodoroiu to become the first woman on a Romanian circulating banknote

The National Bank of Romania will put into circulation a banknote featuring Ecaterina Teodoroiu, hero of the Romanian Unification War (WWI). It is the first legal tender banknote that features a female personality. The institution wants to promote the major role played by women in Romanian history and society.

The banknote with a face value of Lei 20 will be put into circulation through the regional branches of the National Bank of Romania in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Constanța, Craiova, Iași and Timișoara, when making cash payments to credit institutions/the State Treasury.

The new banknote will be presented to the public in a press conference on Friday, 26 November, by the Governor of the National Bank of Romania, Mr. Mugur Isărescu.

The first woman to be featured on a banknote issued by the National Bank of Romania was Maria, Queen of Greater Romania, whose face is next to King Ferdinand the Unifier’s face on the anniversary banknote issued for the Centennial of Romania’s Unification (1918-2018). The banknote was not put into monetary circulation and it was issued in a limited series of 10,000 copies.

This banknote was issued for the Centennial of Romania’s Unification (1918-2018). It features King Ferdinand the Unifier and Queen Marie of Romania. Photo: National Bank of Romania

Who was Ecaterina Teodoroiu

Sublieutenant Ecaterina Teodoroiu, the first woman who became a combating officer of the Romanian army, heroically fell in the battle of la Mărășești, while leading her platoon, on August 22, 1917.

She was the third of a Gorj county family with eight children. She volunteered to fight in the army after she lost three brothers in World War I, the third dying right in her arms while she was a charity nurse.

“At that moment, she changes the nurse clothes with her brother’s military effects,” recounts Ioana Moruș, daughter-in-law of Ecaterina Teodoroiu’s youngest sister.

Ecaterina Teodoroiu wearing the Scout uniform, which explains the presence of the badge of the Romanian Scouts on the banknote. In this photo, she is still wearing the plaits she would cut later, after her brother’s death. Her hair is displayed in her memorial house in Tg. Jiu. Photo: Facebook / Liga Studenților – LS Iași via Daniel Siegfriedsohn

Ecaterina Teodoroiu was repeatedly and gravely wounded, last time to both legs. She returned to fight, although she did not need to, in the summer of 1917. The German attack in which she lost her life was defeated by the Romanians.

In 1921, her body was moved into a dedicated memorial built in front of the Târgu Jiu Cathedral, with national funerals. Her coffin was made of cannons captured from the enemy and the memorial was made by famous Romanian sculptor Milița Petrașcu.

The woman hero’s resting place in the city of TTârgu Jiurgu – a memorial sculpted by Romanian avant-garde artist Milița Petrașcu.

Description of the 20-Lei banknote

The banknote with a face value of lei 20 is printed on polymer substrate, with a mix of flat and raised printing techniques, 136 x 77 mm in size and with the predominant colour olive green.

The obverse of the banknote shows the following representative graphical elements:

  • the portrait of Ecaterina Teodoroiu, her birth and death years (1894-1917);
  • a floral element depicting a bouquet of crocuses (Crocus flavus);
  • in the background, the central area features a badge of the Romanian Scouts.
  • the face value in figures and letters, “20 LEI DOUĂZECI” printed horizontally;
  • the signatures of the Governor and the Chief Cashier;
  • the coat of arms of Romania;
  • the name of the issuing central bank “BANCA NAȚIONALĂ A ROMÂNIEI”;
  • a stylised depiction of the infantry insignia – where the hero served;
  • the NBR logo in a medallion;
  • on the right, vertically, the face value in letters “DOUĂZECI LEI”, the circulation date “1 decembrie 2021”, the face value in figures “20”.

The reverse of the banknote features a graphic composition showing:

  • a depiction of the winged figure of Victory on the Victory Medal;
  • an image of the Mărășești Mausoleum and, behind the Mausoleum, a lily flower;
  • the face value in letters and figures;
  • the name of the issuing central bank “BANCA NAȚIONALĂ A ROMÂNIEI”;
  • the NBR logo printed at the top right and bottom left in a rectangle;
  • the text “FALSIFICAREA ACESTOR BILETE SE PEDEPSEȘTE CONFORM LEGILOR” (Forgery is punished according to the law);
  • the serial number printed in black ink with same-size fonts on the left side, vertically, and in red ink, with fonts of ascending height on the top right side, horizontally.

To protect against forgery, the banknote includes a series of security features, some for the public, others traceable only when using special equipment, intended for employees in the banking system.

Photo credit: NotaBn

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