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September 19, 2021

Holocaust Remembrance Day in Romania: Conscious and honest assuming of a painful episode of the national history

*Foreign Ministry renders its homage to the memory of the victims

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) renders its homage to the memory of the victims of Holocaust worldwide and voices its solidarity with the survivors of the tragic events of World War II.
The Holocaust Day is official commemorated in Romania on October 9, the day when the deportation of Jews to Transdniester began in 1941.

Holocaust Remembrance Day in Romania was first celebrated on October 9, 2004, created under Government Decision 672 of May 5, 2004, upon a proposal from the International Commission on the Holocaust headed by Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel and the Federation of Romania’s Jewish Communities.

In a release on the National Day of Commemorating the Holocaust on Friday, Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu (photo) stated: “By remembering the victims of the Holocaust in Romania, we mark the beginning – not the end – of our responsibility in assuming the recent history, so that the tragedy of the Holocaust victims is never repeated. The Foreign Affairs Ministry fully supports the efforts of educating the young generation in the spirit of the fundamental human rights and freedoms, so that they understand the consequences of discriminatory, anti-Semitic and racist actions. The commemoration on October 9 marks the conscious and honest assuming of a painful episode of our national history.”

According to him, the National Day of Commemorating the Holocaust is also “an occasion to mediate on the tragic consequences of extremist manifestations on community relations and on the values of human solidarity, on the permanence of democracy, of legality and of the respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms.”

Aurescu also reminded that the memory of the Holocaust is one of the main topics debated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), whose presidency will be held next year by Romania.

“The taking over the IHRA presidency by Romania in 2016 expresses an acknowledgement of the efforts of Romanian authorities to preserve the memory of the Holocaust through legal and administrative instruments developed nationally and locally, including by cooperating with the civil society and the domestic and foreign Jewish organizations. I am fully confident that our country will significantly contribute to the implementation of the mandate of this organization: promoting the education about the Holocaust, its commemoration and research,” the top Romanian diplomat added.

Within this context, the MAE “hails the 10th anniversary of the foundation of the Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania, a forum that offers an example of good practices in implementing the Final Report of the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania.”

PM Ponta hails Elie Wiesel Institute activity on National Day of Commemorating Holocaust

Prime Minister Victor Ponta hailed on Friday the activity of Elie Wiesel Institute on the occasion of the National Day of Commemorating the Holocaust in Romania, saying the work exerted in the 10 years since the institution was set up has been “crucial to the promotion of tolerance and solidarity”.
“The National Day of Commemorating the Holocaust this year marks the 10th anniversary of the official opening of Elie Wiesel Institute. Congratulations for the activity exerted so far by all the special people who have put themselves to the service of historical truth and have vigilantly guarded the Romanian society from dangerous behaviour or ideas! The work done in the last ten years has been crucial to the promotion of tolerance and solidarity, to the proper functioning of Romanian democracy, to the country’s image in the world and mostly the restoration of justice towards the families of those who stood to suffer”, Ponta wrote on Facebook.

The prime minister said the memory of the innocent victims of the Holocaust will remain forever and such a tragedy must not repeat.

“I thank you and I assure you we will always carry in our souls the memory of the innocent victims who suffered that dark time of history – a tragedy that must never repeat”, Ponta added.

Liberal Party co-chair Alina Gorghiu on Holocaust: We must not forget history lessons

The commemoration of the Holocaust is the symbol of the fight against hatred, discrimination and totalitarianism, says the National Liberal Party (PNL, Opposition) co-Chair Alina Gorghiu, underlining that the history’s lessons should not be forgotten.

“Today it’s a sad reminder, both for the Romanians’ history and for the history of the Holocaust. Many innocent peoples have paid dearly and completely unfairly for the ‘guilt’ of being Jews or Roma ethnics. Unfortunately, there are several tragedies in the history of the peoples resulting in millions of innocent humans who have suffered. By remembering the Holocaust we not only praise the memory of the ones murdered and persecuted because they belonged to a minority; he Holocaust’s commemoration is more than that: it is the symbol of the fight against hatred, discrimination, totalitarianism of all kinds,” Alina Gorghiu wrote on her Facebook page on Friday.

She added that the history’s lessons must not fall into oblivion.

“All of us who love freedom, democracy, all of us who believe that the humans are born equal and have the same rights no matter their ethnicity, race or religion, must not let the history’s lessons to oblivion. The fight for the values we believe in is a daily fight,” the Liberal leader concluded.

Ombudsman Ciorbea sends message on Holocaust Remembrance Day

In a message on the National Holocaust Remembrance Day in Romania, Romanian Ombudsman Victor Ciorbea voices hope that such tragic events will no longer take place in the life of the Romanian nation or the entire world.

“October 9, 1941 is a clouded, sad day when reasoning and respect for human dignity were perfectly absent. It is the day when forced deportation of Basarabia and Bucovina’s Jewish population to Transnistria started. Today, 74 years after the tragedy of the Jewish people, I would like to bring my pious homage to the victims of the xenophobic, racial, anti-Semitic and discriminatory attitudes and measures of that dark time in the history of Romania and the entire world. In my capacity as Ombudsman, a defender of fundamental rights and freedoms, but also as a human being, I want to voice hope that such tragic episodes will no longer happen in the life of the Romanian nation and of the world. May the remembrance of the victims always stay within our hearts!” reads Ciorbea’s message.

Roma organizations throw wreaths in Somes river in tribute to Holocaust victims

Several Roma organizations marked on Friday Romania’s National Holocaust Remembrance Day by a wreath-tossing ceremony at a bridge across the Somes river in Cluj-Napoca.

Leaders of the organizations gathered on a bridge in downtown Cluj-Napoca, where they observed a moment of silence in the memory of Holocaust victims who were deported during WW II, and threw wreaths into the water.

“For us, the Roma community of Romania, October 9 is an extremely important day, as we commemorate Holocaust victims. 25,000 Roma fell victim to the Holocaust since 1941, as they were beaten and deported to Bug in Transnistria. There is a 90-year old woman still living in Cluj, who was deported and sent away in a cattle train along with other Roma. In memory of these victims we threw flower wreaths into the Somes,” said chairman of the Roma Humanity Foundation Aurel Pascu.

He added that even today “certain forms of discrimination against the Roma” still persist and that the Roma must have their say in the Romanian society.

“We must make efforts to integrate Roma ethnics and prove maturity in order to fall in line with the society we live in. We, the Roma living in Romania, are more than 1.5 million, and must have our say. We would like a broader representation of our community, even with the Presidency of Romania, where we request to have a Roma advisor appointed,” Pascu said.

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