MINELRES: Romania: Bulletin DIVERS on Ethnic Minorities - 41 (124)/2004

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Divers Bulletin no. 41 (124) / November 22, 2004




BUCHAREST - The International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania,
has presented its final report to Romanian President Ion Iliescu in a
special ceremony at the presidential palace. The 400-page report details
the history of the Holocaust in Romania as well as the commission's
conclusions and recommendations on how the government can foster
Holocaust awareness, remembrance, research and education in Romania.

Among its key findings: 

The Holocaust in Romania had deep Romanian roots in a century-long
history of widespread anti-Semitism in the country's political and
cultural elites. 

Directives to degrade and destroy Jews and Jewish institutions came from
the highest authorities in Bucharest. 
Between 280,000 and 380,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews were murdered or
died at the hand of Romanian civilian and military authorities and in
territories under their control. 

Approximately 340,000 Romanian Jews survived because the government
terminated deportations in 1943, 16 months before Romania ended its
alliance with Nazi Germany and entered the war against the Axis. 

Over 25,000 Romanian Roma were also deported during the Holocaust, and
over 11,000 perished, resulting in the disappearance of some
centuries-old Roma communities. 

Irrefutable and abundant documentary evidence shows Ion Antonescu's
personal responsibility for the deportation and the physical destruction
of the Jews and Roma under Romanian jurisdiction. 

Approximately 135,000 Romanian Jews living in Hungary-controlled
Transylvania and 5,000 Romanian Jews living outside Romania also
perished in the Holocaust. 

In addition, the Commission has provided a set of recommendations to the
Romanian Government. These include: 

- The annulment of war criminal rehabilitations, of which there have
been a number of cases over the last 15 years 
- The establishment of a national Holocaust Remembrance Day, which has
since been implemented (Its inaugural observance took place on Oct. 12,
- The construction of a national Holocaust memorial and museum in
- The documentation of the names of every Romanian Holocaust victim 
- The creation of a special working group to review, correct, revise,
and draft appropriate Holocaust-related school curricula and textbooks 
- The establishment of Holocaust education curricula and Holocaust
courses in secondary schools and universities, and for professional
groups and associations 
- The establishment of a central archive and foundation dedicated to
Holocaust education and research in Romania 

President Iliescu established the commission in November 2003 and named
Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel, as its chairman. Organized with
the assistance of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Yad
Vashem, the American Jewish Committee and B'nai B'rith International, it
is comprised of Holocaust scholars, social scientists, historians and
public figures; leaders of international Jewish and Romany
organizations; representatives of the Romanian-Jewish community, and
representatives of the Romanian Presidency. Commission members came from
Romania, Israel, the United States, France and Germany.

In presenting the report to President Iliescu, the Commission's
chairman, Elie Wiesel, expressed his hope that it would have a broad and
lasting impact on the Romanian society:

"The various pogroms in Bucharest and Iasi as well as the torments
inflicted on the Jews in Bucovina, Bessarabia and Transnistria must and
will not be forgotten. Nor will your impressive efforts to atone for
those atrocities with the overall desire to strengthen democracy and
freedom in this land which has had its share of oppression and

In response, President Iliescu reiterated his remarks delivered at the
first Holocaust Commemoration Day in Romania on October 12:

"The terrible tragedy of the Holocaust was made possible by the
complicity of leaders of some institutions of state - the secret
services, the army, the forces of public order, etc. - as well as by the
quasi-inexistence of civil society. The brutality of the dictatorial
regime made possible the suppression of all forms of protest, and a
regime of legal repression against the Jewish community was intended to
impose passivity at the macro-social level regarding all of the varied
aspects of the Holocaust."

The work of the Commission was facilitated by three vice-chairmen:
Tuviahu Friling of Israel, Radu Ioanid of the United States and Mihail
Ionescu of Romania. A full list of members of the Commission is
attached. Joining those participating in the meetings in Bucharest were
Sarah Bloomfield, Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial
Museum, and Irena Steinfeldt, representing Avner Shalev, Chairman of the
Directorate, Yad Vashem.
Author: DIVERS


ARAD – The inauguration of the Romanian –Hungarian Reconciliation Park
in Arad was postponed for December, though the local authorities have
initially announced the objective will be accomplished by half-November.
The mayor of Arad county seat Gheorghe Falca announced the inauguration
could not take place as the works at the Triumphal Arc are behind

"The sculptor who designed the project of the Arc had some health
problems and has not managed to finalize the statuary group that must be
placed under the monument. We could only accomplish the technical
checkup of the works but the inauguration is due after December 1",
stated Falca. For the time being, the project is in an advanced
construction stage, the Triumphal Arc was built but the statuary group
symbolizing the Transylvanian revolutionaries from 1848-1949 has not
been emplaced under the arc yet. The park reunites, besides the Statue
of Liberty – the symbol of the Hungarian revolution of 1848 – the
Triumphal Arc, flags-carrier for Romania, Hungary and the European
Union, pedestrians’ alleys and benches.

The planning works of the Reconciliation Park cost over Leu 130 bn (some
Euro 3.1m), of which about one hundred billion were allotted for the
construction of the Triumphal Arc.
Author: DIVERS


BAIA MARE – Association of Ruthenians in Maramures (Western Romania)
launched on November 15, the first compact disc with Ruthenian-music,
local press reports.

This is the first CD with Ruthenian music ever registered in Romania,
which was made in collaboration with the Coral Folklore Group in
Darmanesti commune, Suceava county.

The songs were written by the music teacher Dragos Paulic and the verses
belong to poet Ivan Moisiuc. The CD "Cint ruteneste" (Ruthenian songs)
was launched in the presence of the pupils with the Art and Music High
School in Baia Mare and of the vice-president of Ruthenians’ World
Council Gheorghe Firczak, who is also a member of Romanian Parliament.
Author: DIVERS

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