After an international outcry in reaction to a Romanian Government statement on June 13, 2003 claiming that “within the borders of Romania between 1940 and 1945 there was no Holocaust,” the Government of Romania acknowledged that the country’s former leaders participated in the Holocaust during World War II by deporting and exterminating Romanian Jews. The Government issued a statement on June 17, 2003 that Romania “was guilty of grave war crimes, pogroms, and mass deportation of Romanian Jews to territories occupied or controlled by the Romanian army” during World War II and that the pro-Nazi Romanian regime employed “methods of discrimination and extermination, which are part of the Holocaust.”
The Romanian Government assured ADL that the statement was formally denounced and retracted by the government. In a letter from Mircea Geoana, the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, the government called the incident “regrettable.”
“I personally pledge for my Government’s interest and determination to facilitate the historic study and research of the persecutions to which the Jewish citizens have been subjected in Romania during 1940 – 1944 and to assume responsibility over these actions of ethnic intolerance,” Mr. Geoana said in the June 17 letter. “Furthermore it is our desire to foster cooperation with the international institutions and organizations interested in this issue and with which we have always had an open dialogue.”
New York, N.Y., June 16, 2003 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called claims by the Romanian Ministry of Public Information that the Holocaust did not take place in Romania "outrageous" and urged the government of Romania to immediately address this matter.
In a letter to Prime Minister Adrian Nastase, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said:
We are deeply troubled by the statement issued by the Romanian Ministry of Public Information that there was no Holocaust within the borders of Romania between 1940 and 1945.
In recent years, Romania has done much to come to terms with the Holocaust, during which over 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 to concentration camps, have been banned. Last week, Romania announced an important partnership with the United States Holocaust Museum.
Unfortunately, the Government's most recent statement gives unprecedented legitimacy to those who seek to deny or downplay Romanian and Marshal Antonescu's deadly policies during the Holocaust.
We strongly urge the Government of Romania to address this matter and take steps towards an honest reckoning of what happened in Romania during the war years.