Ecaterina Teodoroiu, born on January 15, 1894, in the village of Vădeni (now part of Târgu Jiu), Romania, grew up in a modest, hardworking family. Her birth name was Cătălina Toderoiu. The youngest of eight children, she displayed a resilient and determined spirit from an early age. Her education began in her hometown, and she later moved to Bucharest to pursue her dream of becoming a school teacher. However, the outbreak of World War I drastically changed the course of her life.

Romanian troops at Mărășești battlefield in 1917 | Source: Wikipedia


When Romania joined the war in 1916, Ecaterina’s two brothers were already serving in the Romanian Army. Driven by patriotism and a deep sense of duty, she initially worked as a nurse, tending to wounded soldiers on the front lines. The sight of suffering and the loss of her brothers in combat motivated her to take a more active role in the war.

Sketch pleading for the entry of Romania into war against Austria-Hungary | Source: Wikipedia

Ecaterina petitioned to join the Romanian Army as a combatant, an unusual and challenging aspiration for a woman at the time. Her persistence paid off when she was allowed to serve in the 18th Infantry Division. Her bravery soon earned her the respect and recognition of her peers and superiors.

Portrait of Ecaterina Teodoroiu | Source: Wikipedia

Ecaterina’s most notable military engagement occurred during the Battle of Jiu in October 1916. Leading her platoon, she demonstrated exceptional courage and tactical acumen, rallying her comrades and contributing significantly to their defensive efforts. Her valor did not go unnoticed, and she was promoted to the rank of Sublocotenent (Second Lieutenant). Tragically, her promising military career was cut short on September 3, 1917, when she was killed in action during the Battle of Mărășești, one of Romania’s most crucial battles in the war.


Ecaterina Teodoroiu’s legacy as a national heroine endures in Romania. She symbolizes bravery, patriotism, and the breaking of gender barriers in the military. Her story has inspired countless Romanians and is celebrated in various forms of media, literature, and public commemorations.

Photo of Ecaterina Teodoroiu | Source: Wikipedia

In recognition of her heroism, several monuments and statues have been built in her honor. One of the most prominent is the statue in Târgu Jiu, created by the renowned Romanian sculptor Milița Petrașcu. The statue stands as a testament to Ecaterina’s enduring legacy, capturing her determined and resilient spirit.


Ecaterina Teodoroiu’s image is also immortalized on the 20 lei Romanian banknote, issued by the National Bank of Romania. Introduced in December 2021, this banknote is a tribute to her significant contributions and serves as a daily reminder of her sacrifice and heroism.

Romania 20 Lei Banknote | 2023 | Ecaterina Teodoroiu | Source: Banknote World

The obverse design features flowers and a portrait of Ecaterina Teodoroiu, alongside elements reflecting her military career and national significance. The reverse side shows Archangel Gabriel and the Mausoleum of Mărășești.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *