ADL Praises Elie Wiesel for Returning Romanian Honor Now Conferred on Two Anti-Semites
New York, NY, December 16, 2004 …The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today praised the bold action of Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel for returning an award he received from Romania in protest of the same award being bestowed on two anti-Semites.
Prof. Wiesel decided to return the Star of Romania Award, his native country's highest honor which he received from President Ion Iliescu in 2002 after the same honor was conferred on Corneliu Vadim Tudor, head of the Greater Romania Party, an extreme nationalistic political group, and Gheorghe Buzatu, another party member on December 13. The party has a long and entrenched history of anti-Semitism, anti-Jewish conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial insofar as it relates to Romania.
"We were troubled and disappointed that despite the significant steps Romania has taken to ban Holocaust denial, President Iliescu has chosen to bestow his country's highest honor upon two individuals who have outwardly expressed their anti-Semitic views and have personally or through their affiliation to their political party denied the appalling events of the Holocaust in Romania," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "No one knows the history of the Holocaust in Romania better than Elie Weisel. To link him with Tudor and Buzatu by virtue of the award is an affront and we commend Prof. Wiesel for his action."
Mr. Foxman added that, " awarding the honor clearly contradicts recent attempts by President Iliescu to educate his people to the atrocities of the Holocaust and the role Romania played in it," referring to an investigation initiated by the President which conclusively found that Romania was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of its Jews.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.