The opening of the National Museum of Jewish History and the Holocaust in Romania (NMJHHR) has been postponed for 2022, the Director of the Elie Wiesel Institute stated on Wednesday at the conference titled “Future of Memory: The National Museum of Jewish History and the Holocaust in Romania”, the second event of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council addressing the fight against anti-Semitism, xenophobia and all forms of intolerance, at the National Art Museum, conference in which Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, Minister Teodor Melescanu, Minister Valer-Daniel Breaz, as well as the Israeli and American ambassadors took part.
The museum project is a partnership between the Presidential Administration, the Government, and the Romanian Parliament.
The project is coordinated by the Elie Wiesel Institute, and its completion has been postponed by one and a half years, for 2022, Elie Wiesel Institute Director General Alexandru Florian stated on Wednesday.
The project will reflect the Jewish community’s role in the process of Romania’s modernisation.
“We are in the phase where the museum project, as a space of memory and education, is to be organized and operate in Romania – allow me to say publicly in front of you, to assume this – in a 3-year period – 3 years and a half. A year and a half ago, I used to be optimistic, I used to say that we will inaugurate it in 2021, since the ‘Elie Wiesel’ Institute through the decision of the Government of Romania, is the one which has to coordinate this project. Allow me today to assume – due to some objective elements – a new prolongation of this deadline by another year and a half. Any large project involves taking risks, entails a great deal of courage. I assure you that this project will materialize and that in 2022 you will be once again our guests, the Romanian Gov’t’s guests to attend the opening of this museum which is nothing but a museum of the civilization,” Florian told the conference dubbed “The future of memory: The National Museum of the Jewish History and the Holocaust in Romania”.
He brought to mind that in 2004 the final Report of the International Committee for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania, then chaired by Elie Wiesel, was assumed. In 2005 the National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust ‘Elie Wiesel’ in Romania was established, through a Government Decision, and in 2009 the Memorial of the Holocaust in Romania, financed and managed by the Government of Romania, has been inaugurated.
Dancila: Anti-Semitism represents a growing problem in European societies
The project of the National Museum of Jewish History and the Holocaust in Romania benefited and will benefit from the entire Government support, aiming at the ambitious objective to contribute to the promotion of Holocaust education in the entire Romanian society, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister reminded that between 2016 and 2017 Romania was the president of the International Alliance for the Holocaust Memorial.
“This experience has shown that additional measures are needed at national level both to promote Holocaust education and to establish in the public awareness of the Romanian society some elements related to Romania’s responsibility in the Holocaust events and the memory of the Holocaust victims in Romania. The project I mentioned, the opening of the National Museum of the Jewish History and the Holocaust in Romania, aims at the ambitious objective of contributing to the promotion of Holocaust education at the level of the entire Romanian society,” said the Prime Minister.
Viorica Dancila pointed out that “all relevant decision makers from the governmental sector to the local authorities, the Jewish community and international partners” are involved in this project.
The Prime Minister welcomed the presence at the conference of the representatives of some of the most important memorial museums and thanked them for their involvement in the realization of the project of the National Jewish History Museum and the Holocaust in Romania.
“This museum will be dedicated to the history, culture and traditions of the Jewish community and we want it to become a veritable place of reference for understanding and being aware of the contribution of Romanian Jewish communities to the progress of Romanian society throughout history.”
She talked about the Europe of joint values – efficiently fighting against racism, intolerance, xenophobia, populism, anti-Semitism, and deterring hate speech.
“Memorial museums play a particularly important role in this sense, because they combine, in an optimal way, the educational, memorialistic, academic and commemorative valences in the direction of combating the denial and downplaying of the Holocaust and, through this, they contribute to building the collective memory of the members of a society.”
Dancila mentioned opinion polls conducted at European level, which show that “anti-Semitism represents a growing problem in European societies.”
“History must be known and admitted. Our honour-bound duty is to fight, as part of a common front, against any expression of intolerance based on ethnic or religious criteria,” the Prime Minister added.