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King Mihai I, former presidents get Jewish community medal

President Traian Basescu, King Michael I, as well as former presidents Ion Iliescu and Emil Constantinescu, have received the Medal ‘Dr. Alexandru Safran’ on behalf of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania. The event, held at the “Romanian Youth” National Art Centre was held in the honour of late Chief Rabbi of Romania and Chief Rabbi of Geneva, Dr. Alexandru Safran.


The same distinction was also awarded to the General Mayor of Bucharest, Sorin Oprescu, the Apostolic Nuncio in Romania, Francisco-Javier Lozano Sebastian, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Jakob Kellenberger, as well as the ambassadors of France, the Swiss Confederation and the United States of America – Henri Paul, Livio Hurzeler and Mark Gitenstein respectively.


The 2010 ‘Dr. Alexandru Safran” Prize was awarded to Univ. Prof. Dr. Carol Iancu for his book ‘Alexandru Safran and the unfinished Soah in Romania. A collection of documents (1940-1944).” Heiress Princess Margareta, accompanied at the event by her husband, Prince Radu, received the medal on behalf of her father, King Mihai I. Elizabeth Gitenstein, wife of US Ambassador to Romania Mark Gitenstein, received the medal on behalf of the ambassador. French Ambassador Henri Paul received the medal in an intimate ceremony Tuesday evening, organizers announced. Councillor Ruxandra Voiculescu received the medal on behalf of Bucharest General Mayor Sorin Oprescu.


Also, a delegation of members of the Jewish Communities in Romania and Dr. Alexandru Safran’s family was received by President Traian Basescu at Cotroceni, Tuesday, who was offered the medal ‘Dr Alexandru Safran’. Emil Constantinescu and Sorin Oprescu too were awarded the honourary medal ‘Dr. Alexandru Safran’.


Chief Rabbi Dr. Alexandru Safran (Yehuda Alexandre Safran), was born on September 12, 1910 in Bacau and died on July 27, 2006 in Geneva. A thinker, theologian, philosopher, historian and man of letters. He was Chief Rabbi of Romania and Senator in Romania’s Senate (1940). After 1948, he had been the Chief Rabbi of Geneva. He contributed to the salvage of Romanian Jews during the Holocaust and had been an active supporter of Zionism, took and independent stand and rejected communist pressures in post-war years, which led to his dismissal and banishment from the country. Attached to the Romanian language and culture, he was an active promoter of the dialogue between Judaism and Christianity.

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