The two chambers of the Parliament on Wednesday convened in a joint special solemn session to commemorate for the first time in its history the victims of the Iasi pogrom of June 1941 in which over 13,000 Romanian Jews were killed. Attending the meeting were the president of Romania, Government members, former presidents, foreign diplomats in Bucharest, the head of the Royal House, the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church and other religious leaders, representatives of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania, of the Romanian Army, of the Romanian Academy, as well as Pogrom survivors or relatives of the victims.
PM Citu: Today we remember what humanity called the darkest era of its existence
Prime Minister Florin Citu (photo) on Wednesday told the joint plenary sitting of Parliament that the June 1941 Iasi Pogrom represents a “black page” in the history of Romania, and also that Romania needs to take responsibility for its past.
He stated that the Pogrom of Iasi was the largest anti-Semitic massacre in Romania in the modern era.
“Today we remember what humanity called the darkest era of its existence. At the same time, we, as a nation, must openly take responsibility for the fact that our past has now always been glorious. Like so many other countries in Europe, in Romania too the decisions of those who held the political and military power at the time transformed the state, making it a machine of barbarism, annihilation of rights, unimaginable persecution and physical elimination of Jewish, Roma and other vulnerable communities. (…) Today’s solemn meeting is proof that Romania changes when there is will, solidarity for the truth, responsibility, commitment and especially a desire to defend the democracy and the society,” said Citu.
He paid tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.
“What happened in Iasi eight decades ago reminds us of suffering beyond imagination, reminds us of cruelty, savagery and murder. The death trains, the individual murders, the persecutions, the tortures, the humiliations, the mass graves, were all there. The image of the victims, of the atrocities, of the more than 13,000 male and female victims, of the hundreds of children, the elderly and of the broken destinies eight decades ago in Iasi, must remain an unshakable testimony about the need for truth, justice and memory. The abominable events ordered by the authorities in the 1940s under the coordination of the Antonescu regime represent a black page in our history today. We have the duty to talk about it, to protect the memory of the victims, to condemn the perpetrators and to pass on our struggle to all future generations, to show them that such tragedies should never be repeated,” the PM said.
Speaker Orban: The Iasi Pogrom is the bitter lesson of a history that must not be forgotten
Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Ludovic Orban said on Wednesday that the Iasi Pogrom is the bitter lesson of a history that, although it moves away from us, must not be forgotten.
“On such a day, I believe that we must put our humanity, compassion, heart and mind together to understand the meaning of the commemoration we are celebrating today. I am talking about humanity and the heart because beyond the terrible dimension of numbers, over 14,000 victims, beyond the cynicism of orders and the cruelty of deeds, lies the painful history of those who did not survive, and also of those who lived a life remembering the ordeal to which they were subjected without guilt by the very state that would have had to defend them,” Orban told the solemn session.
He added that the question we must always carry with us is “how a democratic society can collapse into the abyss of inhumanity.”
“Only by asking ourselves this question can we avoid going back in time and repeating such crimes. Today, we are talking in the Romanian Parliament, inside the central institution of our democracy, about the Iasi Pogrom. We have to ask ourselves that question, because we have an essential responsibility in preventing any such slippage. The Iasi Pogrom also marked a milestone on the path to moral bankruptcy of those years, a society that allowed the Jewish population to become the target of systematic persecution, exclusion, violence and daily humiliation, and ultimately genocide. It is the bitter lesson of a history that, although it moves away from us, must not be forgotten. On the contrary, it is our duty to preserve and pass on the vivid memory of this tragic episode because it is a warning from the past which importance we measure better today, when we see the political and moral havoc generated by intolerance, racism, xenophobia, the massive spread via the internet of hatred fueled by ignorance, frustration and resentment,” he said.
Compiled from Agerpres