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March 30, 2023

70 years since pogrom against the Jews, commemorated in Iasi

For two days, Iasi hosted several events, marking 70 years since the pogrom against the Jews. The manifestations were opened, on Monday, by commemoration ceremonies held in the Podu Iloaiei and Targu Frumos cemeteries, where speeches were delivered by the mayors of the two cities, representatives of the Jewish Community in Iasi, the US Ambassador to Romania, Mark Gitenstein, representatives of the German Embassy and of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and the chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania, Aurel Vainer. On the same day, during a reception taking place at Moldova Hotel, six survivors of the Iasi pogrom were declared Citizens of Honour of the city by the mayor of Iasi, Gheorghe Nichita. Also on Monday, the exhibitions “Destine intrerupte. 70 ani de la Pogromul din Iasi” (Broken Lives. 70 Years since the Iasi Pogrom) and “Cum a fost posibil?” (How was it possible?) were inaugurated, at the Union Museum and, respectively, the “Dana” Art Gallery.

Yesterday, wreaths were laid at the city’s Jewish Cemetery and a roundtable addressing the Iasi Pogrom was organized at the “Al. I. Cuza” University. Two memorial plaques were set up, yesterday, one on the monument-building which hosted the old Police Headquarters in the inter-war period, where hundreds of Jews were killed or tortured, and a second on the Railway Station building, the place where those who survived the torture were forced to climb in two freight train carriages, aboard which over 2,500 Jews died.

The presidential advisor Iulian Fota delivered, during manifestations in Iasi, a message from the president Traian Basescu. “The Iasi Pogrom, June 27-29, 1941, is one of the most tragic moments in the history of the Jewish community in Romania. The actions of physical annihilation against the Jews in Iasi were carried out at the express order of Ion Antonescu, enforced by the local public authorities,” the head of state’s message reads. “No one, no individual or authority, could ever find a justification or excuse for what happened in Iasi, in June 1941, or for any other similar deeds, such as the ones carried out in Bucharest, in January 21-23, 1941,” the president further argues, adding that, during his term in office, “the state constantly opposed manifestations of anti-Semitism and xenophobia”.

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