The President of the Federation of the Jewish Communities in Romania, Aurel Vainer, was awarded the Cross of Merit in rank of officer of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany by Ambassador Cord Meier-Klodt.
The recommendation was made by the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas.
“We honor, today, the remarkable political courage of Mr. Vainer, at times when such courage is by no means self-evident and yet more necessary than ever. At times when the proverb that happens to exist in all our languages proves to be still valid: “A friend in need is a friend indeed”. And I mean now (…) those incidents that happened repeatedly in the recent past, in which defamatory remarks and polemical accusations were made – including by high ranking Romanian officials – against the President of Romania, the whole German minority or the past of Germany in general. And no other voice outside the German circles was heard in public as clearly and distinctly as that of the leaders of the Jewish community. For what they were able to express, more convincingly than anyone else, it was the need to draw a clear line between political attacks in general terms – a kind of normality, especially during elections – and personal defamation with references to Nazism, Hitler or other inadequate references to the darkest chapter of the 20th century,” said the German ambassador.
Meier-Klodt also added that Vainer’s work is “an act of high political morality.”
“For it was not only about supporting another minority and even less self-defense, but it was an act of high political morality, based on the judgment that, if today we allow such a triviality to pass unchallenged in the case of a group of victims, we open the gates for them to be repeated tomorrow, in a different context. Which means that the real stake here is also the most relevant task of my generation, namely to keep the memory of the darkest chapter of our history alive and unchallenged. We owe it to future generations (…),” said the German Ambassador.
Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, who also attended the ceremony, appreciated that “Aurel Vainer is a special man, a true builder of bridges of solidarity within the Romanian society, as well as between this and the rest of the world.”
“Mr. Aurel Vainer is for all of us on the Romanian public scene a model of devotion to the right causes, a combatant without rest against intolerance, anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia in all the forms he addresses, a respected leader of the Jewish community. Fighting the false theses of the Holocaust denial, defending the rights of the community they represent, but, in general, those of the national minorities in our country, rejecting social and cultural discrimination, his reign has made a very important contribution to strengthening democracy in Romania,” stressed the head of the Executive.
They also sent messages Sergiu Nistor, presidential adviser, on behalf of President Klaus Iohannis, and MP Silviu Wexler.
Aurel Vainer appreciated that the distinction given to him was “a sign of great attention”.
“There are so many difficulties that we encounter in our daily life (…), but I have the same esteem and consideration for the work done, for dignity. (…) I am extremely happy about tonight’s event, I have received in life different medals, decorations, diplomas, but this decoration of the German democratic state seems to be a great sign of good being in the world. Germany, the country of culture, of true culture, created over the centuries, the country of an exceptional organisational and technical spirit, with its sins, this German nation, I never proposed not to love it. I have the best feelings for the Germans”, said the President of the Federation of the Jewish Communities in Romania, according to Agerpres.