The Rațiu Family is one of the oldest noble families in Transylvania, Romania. Rațiu family’s existence is recorded since the time of Sigismund of Luxembourg (XIV century). The family originates from a town in the northern County of Noşlac, bordered by the county Turda-Aries, on the left (south) of the river Mureș.
“Noşlac is inhabited by several noble families. During the reign of Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg (king of Hungary in 1387 and emperor of Germany since 1411), the Croats in southern Hungary became rebellious. The King reacted by calling and asking the Diet of Turda nobility to prepare a campaign to suppress the riot of the Croats. Legend says that Thomas of Nagylak (Noşlac), who was enrolled as a crusader, under the banner nobles Székely seat of Aries, took part in the campaign against the Ottomans. Returning victorious from this campaign, King Sigismund of Luxembourg was contempt with the nobles' intervention. After this, the neighbours of Thomas of Nagylak named him Rácz Thomas synonym for ,,Croatia “(Hrvace), because he had fought on land in Croatia. This formed the name, Rácz of Nagylak, which later turned to Ratz, and then Rațiu. Over time, the family received several noble ranking upgrades from King Rudolf II of Habsburg (1578), Stephen Báthory (1583), Sigismund Báthory (1585), Gabriel Bethlen (1625) and Michael Apafi I (1680). The Turdean branch of the Rațiu family comes from Stefan Racz of Nagylak (Noşlac) knighted in 1625 in Alba Iulia by Gabriel Bethlen of Transylvania. Due to conflicts between the noble families, George II Rákóczi withdrew the family’s title, banned them from Noşlac and confiscated their lands. Basil Rațiu and his two adult children, Basil and John, seek refuge with relatives in Teiuş. After this, the father and the third child, Coman, settled in Turda. The family’s noble title was renewed by Prince Michael Apafi I in 1680. Thanks to this, the family was able to settle permanently in Turda, a Hungarian noble city, where, according to medieval rules, only noble families who held diplomas were admitted. The Rațiu Family from Noşlac remained the only Romanians in Turda, while others were pursued to become Hungarian or disappeared from history.
Fr. Basiliu Raţiu
(December 25th 1783 -
December 12th 1870)
He was a leading figure of the Romanian Uniate Church. Professor and three times Chancellor of the diocesan Seminar in Blaj ( 1827- 1832, 1834- 1839, 1842-1845), Basiliu Raţiu wrote two books - “Drept Canonic”, which remained as a manuscript, and “Istoria Beserecesca”, the first manual of the Romanian Uniate Church history, published in 1854, both featured as text books in school for a length of time.
In 1867 he founded the Eforie Foundation that supported Romanian students by providing scholarships until 1948, when its funds were seized by the communist regime. The Eforie Foundation supported the establishment, in 1902, of Turda’s first “College of Arts and Trades” which survives today as ”Dr. loan Ratiu Technical College”.
She was Ioan Raţiu’s second wife, a woman standing beside him for over 40 years and loving mother of five children. She supported the political ideals of her husband, advocating herself for the rights and liberties of Romanians living in Transylvania. According to historian Cornelia Bodea, she was an “inspiring guide for all Romanian women”. During Ioan Raţiu’s incarceration in the Seghedin prison she moved in vicinity of the building in order to stay close to her husband as well as to pass the information friends and acquaintances wrote him.
Emilia Raţiu was one of the initiators of the feminist movement in Transylvania, an advocator for the increase in the professional and cultural level of Romanian women and girls.
Dr. Ioan Rațiu
(19 august 1828 - 4 decembrie 1902)
He was a descendent of the Rațiu Nagylak family in Turda, first documented early XIVth century, re-titled again in 1625 by Prince Gabriel Bethlen. Ioan Raţiu was a Transylvanian politician and lawyer, one of the founders of the Romanian National Party in Transylvania and its leader between 1892-1902.
Ioan Rațiu was an advocator for the rights of the Romanians in Transylvania, and one of the authors of the historic “Memorandum” to Emperor Franz Josef I on behalf of the Romanians living in Transylvania. He started his studies in law in Wien and in 1857 obtained his PhD in Budapest with the thesis Theses ex universa jurisprudentia et scientiis politicis. He acted as lawyer in Budapest, Cluj-Napoca and Sibiu.
Viorel Virgil Raţiu Tilea
Sibiu April 6th, 1896- London, September 20th, 1972
He was a Romanian politician and Romania’s Ambassador to Saint James’ Palace between 1938-1940. After the Ion Antonescu regime came to power, he refused to return to his native country and asked for political refuge in the UK. He studied law in Sibiu, Bratislava, Cluj-Napoca, London and Wien, where he also obtained his PhD. Following his decision not to return to Romania, he lost his citizenship and all properties in the country.
He is widely known for the “Tilea incident” that took place prior to the beginning of WWII. On March 16th and 17th 1939, Viorel Tilea declared at the Foreign office that the Romanian Government has all reasons to believe that in the months to follow Germany will try to split Romania as previously done with Czechoslovakia. The Romanian Government denied the existence of a “German ultimatum”, however the British office accepted and acted on his information. The outcome was the end of a conciliation policy between London and Paris on the one hand and Berlin on the other. The year 1940 confirmed his suppositions. He died in England and, following his will’s request, the memories he wrote whilst in office were published by his family.
(7 iulie 1884 - 2 decembrie 1970)
He studied law in Cluj and Budapest with the support of a “Șterca Șuluțiu” Foundation scholarship and obtained his PhD in law in 1909 when he applied for a lawyer’s license in Târgu Mureș. The same year, he opened his own office in Turda and became dean of the Lawyer’s Bar Association.
After 1918, he continued to support the development of local Romanians, acting as the first Romanian prefect of Turda County, Turda City mayor and councilor at both county and municipal levels. Augustin Ratiu’s civil administrations ushered in a period of prosperity, as Turda’s great glassworks opened soon after WWI. During Augustin Ratiu’s times, Turda quickly became the cultural melting-pot (where Romanian, Hungarian, German, Jewish and Roma populations meet) that to some extent remains to this day.