New York, N.Y., July 25, 2003… Calling his claim that the Holocaust was not unique to the Jews of Europe, "deeply troubling," the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today asked Romanian President Ion Iliescu to publicly renounce his comments and "take steps toward an honest reckoning" of what happened to the Jewish people during the Holocaust.
In a letter to President Iliescu, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said:
We are deeply troubled by comments you allegedly made in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz in which you claimed "the Holocaust was not unique to the Jewish population in Europe." Your comments appear to downplay the atrocities that befell the Jews during the Holocaust and the role Romania played in carrying out the deadly policies of the Nazis.
While many other groups suffered at the hands of the Nazis, Jews were singularly targeted for extermination. Six million European Jews, including 1.5 million children, were deliberately and systematically murdered as part of the Nazi "Final Solution" for one reason only – because they were Jewish.
In recent years, Romania has done much to come to terms with the Holocaust, during which more than 250, 000 Romanian Jews were deported or killed. Statues venerating Marshal Ion Antonescu, who collaborated with the Nazis and arranged for the deportation of Romanian Jews, have been banned and Romania recently announced an important partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Last month, the Romanian government issued a clarification correcting a previous statement and acknowledged that the country's former leaders participated in the Holocaust during World War II by deporting and exterminating Romanian Jews.
We strongly urge to publicly renounce your comments and take steps towards an honest reckoning of what happened to the Jewish people during the Holocaust.