MINELRES: Romania: Bulletin DIVERS on Ethnic Minorities no. 37 (233) / October 16, 2006

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Wed Oct 25 19:44:06 2006


Original sender: Divers Bulletin <edivers_buletin-admin@mediafax.ro>


News

ROMANIA SEEKS GREATER HOLOCAUST AWARENESS 
BOOK WITNESSING ETHNIC ROMA HOLOCAUST 
FIRST LOCALITY IN ROMANIA TO BE LED BY ETHNIC ROMA 
SZEKLERS TO HOLD REFERENDUM ON AUTONOMY 
CONFERENCE OF ROMANIAN COMMUNITIES IN EUROPE 
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News

ROMANIA SEEKS GREATER HOLOCAUST AWARENESS 
BUCHAREST - Romania Romania commemorated its national Holocaust day on
October 9 with ceremonies marking 65 years since the beginning of
deportations of hundreds of thousands of Jews to death camps in the
occupied Soviet Union, AP reports.
President Traian Basescu laid the first stone of a national monument
being built to commemorate Holocaust victims in central Bucharest. He
reminded participants that Romania only recently began to confront its
role in the Holocaust after decades of denial.
"The Holocaust Memorial is a monument which confirms Romania's decision
to recover its real history," said Basescu. "It is a difficult process
which means changing mentalities and the capacity to accept reality
after 50-60 years when history was falsified," Basescu said.
Other events held Monday included laying of flowers at the Jewish Coral
Temple in the capital, a photo exhibit and the launching of books at the
Elie Wiesel National Institute for Studying the Holocaust.
Israeli Ambassador Rodica Radian Gordon hailed efforts by Romania to
confront its past.
"I believe that something profound is changing in Romania about the way
the country is dealing with its past," she said. "It was hard to
believe, when I arrived here in 2003, that this will happen in such a
short time."
During communist times, the country's official history taught that
Germans were the sole perpetrators of the Holocaust, ignoring the
involvement of Romania's wartime leaders.
In 2004 after a dispute with Israel over comments about the Holocaust,
then-President Ion Iliescu assembled an international panel led by
Nobel-prize winner Elie Wiesel to investigate the Holocaust in Romania.
The panel concluded that the pro-Nazi government of Marshal Ion
Antonescu was responsible for the deaths of 280,000-380,000 Jews and
more than 11,000 Gypsies, or Roma.
"This was a country where the Holocaust was a taboo subject," Paul
Shapiro, Director of the Center for Advanced Studies at the United
States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington told The Associated
Press.
Shapiro said Romania was now following the panel's recommendations by
creating an institution to study the Holocaust and a national monument
to commemorate the victims.
The U.S.-based museum has offered more than 1.5 million documents
related to the Holocaust in Romania to the Elie Wiesel institute and
helped design the monument.
Dozens of elderly Jewish and Roma survivors of the deportations were
present at the ceremonies and hailed the decision to build the monument.
"The fact that, despite the delay, the Romanian government has
acknowledged the responsibility of state authorities of the time for
what happened ... is encouraging for us survivors," said author Oliver
Lustig.
Lustig, now 79, was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau at the age of 17 with
his parents and six siblings by Hungarian authorities who controlled
northern Romania at the time.
Roma survivor Dumitru Tranca, 71, also insisted that new generations
"must know what happened, what we suffered." Tranca, was deported with
his family of coppersmiths to camps in an area in the occupied Soviet
Union, where his parents and two sisters died.
Author: DIVERS


BOOK WITNESSING ETHNIC ROMA HOLOCAUST
SIBIU - Luminita Mihai Cioaba, a well-known ethnic-Roma writer, launched
n October 7, a new book called "Romane Asva - Lacrimi rome" (Ethnic Roma
tears).
The volume has 13 chapters of shocking and original confessions of ehnic
oma survivors related to the deportation in Transdniester during
1942-1943.
The work was financed by the UNICEF Representative to Romania with funds
from Germany's National Committee for UNICEF and mainly addresses to
teachers and pupils, ethnic Roma or non-ethnic Roma.
Thus is an additional teaching material for classes of ethnic Roma
history and civic education, in general, to organize educative
activities on this issue in schools and high-schools. The book is
bilingual, in Romania and ethnic Roma. Israeli's researcher Jean Ancel
wrote the book's foreword, which is a survey on "Tragedia romilor si
tragedia evreilor din Romania: asemanari si deosebiri" (Tragedy of
ethnic Romas and of Jews in Romania: similarities and distinctions).
Author: DIVERS


FIRST LOCALITY IN ROMANIA TO BE LED BY ETHNIC ROMA
BARBULESTI - Barbulesti commune, Ialomita county, is the only locality
countrywide with ethnic Roma administration and mayor. The most
important ethnic Romas' party in Romania, Pro-Europe Ethnic Roma Party
won the local elections held on October 8. The mayor, vice-mayor and
most of the local council's representatives are members of this party.
Some 95% of the inhabitants of Barbulesti commune are ethnic Roma. Ion
Cutitaru, the new mayor of the commune, has been councillor and a
vice-mayor in the past. Cutitaru aims the commune receives funds to
repair and equip the schools in the commune once with Romania's
accession to the European Union. He also aims to set up a local police
station and gendarmes' subunits in Barbulesti.
Author: DIVERS


SZEKLERS TO HOLD REFERENDUM ON AUTONOMY
COVASNA - The representatives of the National Szekler Council has
attended last week along with the Hungarian Democratic Alliance (UDMR)
the events marking the 500th anniversary since the passage of the
Szekler Constitution by the National Assembly of Szeklers in Lutita.
The head of the Szekler Council, Csapo Jozsef, said his organization
will participate in the events, which took place on October 15 and 16,
where it will represent "the fight for territorial autonomy through the
legal creation of Szekler County, as an autonomous administrative
region."
His comments came as recently, UDMR leader Marko Bela announced that his
party will initiate procedures to obtain autonomy for the Hungarian
communities in Szekler County, a region largely inhabited by ethnic
Hungarians in Covasna, Harghita and Mures counties. 
He said autonomy is the only solution to the problems of the Hungarian
minority in this region.
His initiative was praised by Szeklers, but was contested by most
politicians and Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu. In the past, the
Szekler Council has criticized the UDMR, accusing the party of not doing
enough for the Hungarian minority. Last week, the council decided to
hold an unofficial referendum on the autonomy issue in Covasna, Harghita
and Mures. The referendum will be held before November 4 and the council
called on all local officials in the three counties to support the
public consultation.
Csapo also said the council will have consultations with the UDMR, the
Hungarian Civic Union (UCM) and the National Council of Hungarians in
Transylvania (CNMT) before initiating the referendum. Csapo added that
the referendum must be held before Romania's European Union accession on
January 1. "Before accession, expressing the Szekler people's legitimate
will based on local referendum is an absolute necessity," he said.
Author: DIVERS


CONFERENCE OF ROMANIAN COMMUNITIES IN EUROPE
BUCHAREST- Department for Relations with Romanians Abroad, or DRRP,
within Ministry of Foreign Affairs, holds the first Conference of
Romanian Communities in Europe, at the International Centre for
Conference at the Palace of Parliament, during October 13 and 15.
This first institutional communication exercise with the members of the
Romanian communities abroad aims to ensure a direct dialogue between the
Romanian authorities and the standing representatives of Romanian
communities in Europe and the awareness of specific problems of the
ethnics, according to each geographical area.
The organizers aim to find the adequate solutions for the problems of
the Romanians abroad and to reconfigure the relationship between Romania
and the Romanian communities neighbouring the country and throughout the
Balkans.
Topics concerning the normative act of DRRP actions will be approached
in order to enforce the policies in the field.
Author: DIVERS

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DIVERS - News bulletin about ethnic minorities living in Romania is
edited every week by Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, with the
financial support of King Baudouin Foundation, Belgium and Ethnocultural
Diversity Resource Center. Partial or full reproduction of the
information contained in DIVERS is allowed only if the source is
mentioned. You can send messages and suggestions regarding the content
of DIVERS bulletin at Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, at the
e-mail address:
marian@birn.eu.com

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