The Senate sat in a memorial session for the public expression of compassion and respect for the victims of the Holocaust in Romania. According to Mediafax, the meeting began with the moment of silence for the victims of the Holocaust. The commemoration was organised by the Romanian Senate in cooperation with the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania, on the request of the ‘Elie Wiesel’ National Institute for the Study of Holocaust in Romania, on October 10, although October 9 is the day dedicated to the commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust. The institute notes that October 9 is the religious Mosaic Shima Tora holiday when commemorations are not allowed. Presiding was Senate Deputy Speaker Petru Filip, who remarked the presence of numerous senators. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Government, of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania as well as officials from Israel and the US. In his message on the Commemoration Day of the victims of the Holocaust in Romania, President Traian Basescu said the history of the Holocaust should be assumed as being a part of our national history, adding that there have been in Romanian history turning points which received a wrong answer. The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Valeriu Zgonea (photo) said during a ceremony at the Holocaust Monument, that that the Romanian state had promoted anti-Semite and racist policies at a troubled moment in its history and that the communist regime refused to address the issue. ‘With the deepest consideration and piety for the suffering of those who fell victims to the Holocaust, I am addressing you today to bring tribute to all those people who had to suffer from the discriminative, anti-Semite and racist policies promoted by the Romanian state at a troubled moment in our national history. The Holocaust was one of the serious issues of history, the addressing of which was avoided both during the communist regime and in the first years after the 1989 Revolution. Sometimes people sought to wangle facts, while other times the truth was distorted’, Zgonea noted. He also said the assumption of our own past, with the good things and with the bad things, is not just an exercise of honesty, but equally proof of democratic awareness and responsibility of the leadership of the Romanian state. At the same time, the American Ambassador in Romania, Mark Gitenstein, said during a ceremony at the Holocaust Monument in Romania that over sixty years before, a terrible crime had been committed in Romania and in Europe against Jews, in the context of the total collapse of legal institutions and of the rule of law. The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate, Mircea Geoana, also had something to say on the Romanian Holocaust Memorial Day. He said that the fascist and communist strands have not disappeared in Romania, but are recycled and are just as dangerous to stability now as they were once. ‘They are recycled and are as dangerous to our stability especially in the context of a country tat somehow swings in the balance, weakened, impoverished, with run down institutions’, said the senator, adding that it was actually the message that should leave from under the cupola of the Romanian Senate.
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