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October 4, 2022

Bucharest celebrates 145 years since appointment of first Jewish officer in Romanian Army

The day of September 1 marks 145 years since the appointment of the first Jewish officer in the Romanian Army, the moment being marked, on Thursday, in the Constitution Square of Bucharest, by a ceremony attended by members of the Government, the President of the Constitutional Court, but also personalities of the Jewish community from the country.

The Minister of National Defense, Vasile Dincu (photo), said during the event that the National Museum of Jewish History and the Holocaust in Romania is under construction.

“Government specialists are currently working on an extensive programme to review Holocaust education programmes for the younger generation and to update training programmes for Holocaust teachers, professors and instructors who teach about the Holocaust,” Dincu said, according to Agerpres.

He added that each of us owes it to ourselves to act so that the horrors of the Holocaust are not forgotten.

“We can do this through active and systematic measures to prevent and combat, to sanction radicalism and hate speech, as well as other forms of denial and distortion of the Holocaust, anti-Semitic and xenophobic demonstrations and all forms of intolerance,” the minister said.

According to him, “collective assumption” of guilt is needed so that such crimes do not happen again.

The President of the Constitutional Court, Marian Enache, also addressed a message during the ceremony, stating that the event represents a symbolic landmark of the loyal cooperation between Romanians and Jews.

“This event, with a great historical charge, represents a symbolic landmark of the loyal cooperation between Romanians and Jews, through their joint service within one of the most stable and appreciated institutions of our state from the beginning of its establishment until today, the Romanian Army. Today (Thursday – n.r.) we have a special opportunity: to look at history in its major moments, on the thread of a man’s life, who through his deeds and sacrifice has become emblematic for all of us,” Marian Enache stressed.

He added that the remembrance of the event also has a deeply human significance and proves that in our common history the real state of affairs was that of a “peaceful and fraternal” cohabitation, even if, in various undemocratic political regimes, there have been some “intolerable slippages and excesses” on the part of individuals and political organizations that have promoted totalitarian ideologies of the right or the left, extremist ideologies that have been condemned by the reasons of history.

“Today, here, in front of you, at 145 years of distance, the dream of a community is fulfilled – to be honest, we hoped to be a more pleasant dream, of the hopes of some people for whom Romania meant everything, even when they had nothing. In a unique historical act, both during the War of Independence and the First World War, the Jews brought the supreme sacrifice, although they were not recognized as citizens of Romania. (…) Recent events, the ongoing war close to us and the huge suffering it has brought have reminded us how important normality is and how much effort is needed to preserve it,” said the President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania, MP Silviu Vexler.

The event was also attended by the Minister of Health, Alexandru Rafila, the Minister of Justice, Catalin Predoiu, the President of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR), Deputy Prime Minister Kelemen Hunor, the Minister of Labour, Marius Budai, the President of the Court of Accounts, Mihai Busuioc, the head of the General Prosecutor’s Office, Gabriela Scutea, ambassadors, parliamentarians, representatives of religious denominations.


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