The press of the whole world has reverberated with the news: Romania, after persistently saying that it had incurred no personal responsibility in what is conventionally called “the extermination of the Jews” (or “the Holocaust” or “the Shoah”), has at last seen the error of its ways and is set to do penance. In France, Le Monde recently bore the headline, “Romania formally acknowledges its participation in the extermination of the Jews” (article by Mirel Bran, 17 November 2004, p. 7).
Yet, if there is one country that protected its Jews during the Second World War, that country is Romania. This truth could still be articulated twenty or so years ago. Today, we are required to conceal it, and thus to lie.
On the reality of the Romanian Jews’ fate during the war, let us first quote, as a foreword, the account published by L’Express in 1979 under the title “Les Roumains et les Juifs” (“The Romanians and the Jews”), then, for a more in-depth consideration, we shall look closely at a 1982 report that appeared in Le Monde juif, the periodical of the Centre de documentation juive contemporaine (CDJC) in Paris, under the noteworthy heading “La Roumanie sauvée de l’Holocauste” (“Romania saved from the Holocaust”).
“The Romanians and the Jews”
Here is the letter signed by one Constantin Mares that appeared in L’Express (week of 10 to 16 March 1979):
I am a Romanian living in the Federal Republic of Germany. I am 51 years old. When Hitler died I was 17. — I read with bewilderment in L’Express No.1440 that in Romania, during the Second World War (source cited and accepted without objection), 425,000 Jews are alleged to have died or disappeared, in other words 50% of a Jewish population of 850,000 (in 1939). — This is a grave error, a veritable slander directed at a people who have suffered far too much, who have never practiced hatred, political or racial mass killing, or invasion of territories belonging to other peoples. It is also the occasion to remind your readers that, during the Second World War, Romania was not led by a Fascist party but by a marshal who committed some errors, but who waged a struggle over invaded territories. — It is my duty to specify that, during the Second World War, my Romanian compatriots of Jewish origin were not made to wear the Star of David, that they had schools, that, in the capital of the country there operated a [Jewish] secondary school (the “Culture”) and a [Jewish] theatre (the Baracheum), the latter being attended by all inhabitants of Bucharest, Jewish or non-Jewish. In those years, on the stage of the Romanian national theatre, the play “Star without a Name”, written by the great Romanian playwright of Jewish origin Mihail Sebastian, brought full houses. In all Romania there existed no concentration camps for the Jews, with Marshal Antonescu having personally opposed Hitler’s request [to establish them], and, consequently, none of my compatriots were handed over to the Nazis.
Let us note three key points of this brief testimony: the Romanian Jews, unlike, for example, certain French Jews, did not have to wear a Star of David in public, were not put into concentration camps and were not handed over to the Germans for deportation to Germany or Poland.
“Romania saved from the Holocaust”
(introduction to the Popescu report by Le Monde juif)
Bearing the signature of Josif Toma Popescu, the report entitled “La Roumanie sauvée de l’Holocauste” (Le Monde juif, January-March 1982, p. 1-2 and 3-11) is all the more important as it received the approval of the CDJC, whose director was Georges Wellers, sworn enemy of the revisionists. The introduction by Le Monde juif (p. 1-2) to the report (p. 3-11) is laudatory and fairly honest. It is careful to recall that the Romanian government did not incur responsibility in the fate that may have been experienced by the Jews of certain territories that had been torn away from the country between 28 June and 30 August 1940 in application of the German-Soviet Pact and of the Treaty of Vienna imposed by Hitler and Mussolini. In the space of two months, northern Transylvania was annexed by Hungary, Bessarabia and northern Bucovina were annexed by the Soviet Union and southern Dobruja was annexed by Bulgaria. Consequently, to impute to Romania responsibility for the fate of the Jews in all of those regions amounts to a swindle. What is true is that in 1941 the Romanian government, allied with Germany, was to recover Bucovina and Bessarabia and then transplant many Jews of those provinces into Transnistria (the western part of the Soviet Ukraine) with the intention of sending them to the Urals should circumstances allow. The project of a transfer and settling of those Jews was to meet with disaster and, one year on, those of them who had avoided death from typhus, hunger and the cold — the main killers in the tragedy — were taken back to Romania. The staff of Le Monde juif specify: “The responsibility of the Romanian government in these hardships is a heavy one, although it is not easy to distinguish it from that of the German officials [Romania’s allies in the crusade against the Soviet Union]. Le Monde juif condemns the existence of ghettos (!) in the rest of the country and the anti-Jewish laws while adding that, on the other hand, there were no deportations to the camps in Poland or Germany. It goes so far as to acknowledge that General Antonescu (who became Marshal in August 1941), Deputy Prime Minister Mihai Antonescu (an Anglophile), the Queen Mother, and some high authorities of the Orthodox Church responded favorably to the numerous interventions by the chief rabbi of Romania, Dr. Alexandre Safran. As for Iuliu Maniu, former prime minister and president of the National Peasants’ Party, he played, in his relations with Marshal Antonescu, a decisive role in favor of his Jewish compatriots.
“Romania saved from the Holocaust”
(the Popescu report itself)
At the time, J. T. Popescu was a practising barrister in Bucharest. His report is rich in details confirming that, thanks in particular to Marshal Antonescu’s government, the Romanian Jews saw themselves spared all sorts of hardships inflicted on the Jews of various other European countries. A certain number of these Romanian Jews showed their sympathy for the cause of the Soviet Union, which was fighting Romania. At the beginning of the war, in the town of Iasi, a Romanian military formation, marching to the front and passing through a narrow street, had been attacked by some Jewish Communists: there ensued an engagement that cost lives on both sides as well as among the population; only the Jewish losses, considerably inflated by legend, have been recorded in history. J. T. Popescu does not bring up this affair but he does mention a related fact: the Romanian Jews were not mobilised in the Romanian army and thus did not take part in the Russian campaign, which was to cause Romania terrible losses. As compensation for this privilege, Marshal Antonescu had considered “a special tribute imposed solely on the Jews, considering that they were not participating in the military campaign” (p.7). Nonetheless, upon one of the many interventions of I. Maniu, the projected measure was abandoned. The Popescu report also mentions an astonishing Jewish privilege: the granting, with retroactive effect, of an old-age pension to foreign Jews who, having worked in Romania, had neglected to satisfy the formalities of naturalization within the stipulated time. With illegal Jewish immigrants flocking to the country from Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland, the government in Bucharest sought to take measures for the internment and forcible repatriation of such persons but ended up, once again, abandoning the idea. On 23 August 1944, when the fortunes of war had turned, Marshal Antonescu was arrested by order of King Michael I and handed over to the Soviets, who executed him in 1946.
The figure of Marshal Antonescu
For their part, the Romanian people after the war were to experience the rigors of Communism (1947-1989). Then, after the fall of Communism, they set about erecting statues here and there of their former Conducator. Far from appearing as a “fascist,” Antonescu at the time assumed the traits of a nationalist who, in 1941, had, at the extreme right, violently put an end to the Iron Guard movement and, at the extreme left, taken up arms against Communism. With respect to his German allies he had proved to be fiercely independent both in his refusal to hand over the Jewish communists in his country for internment in camps in Germany or Poland and also in the facilities that he accorded to the Jews, at the height of the war, in order to let them reach Turkey.
Today the Romanian Jewish community and its friends in the international community protest against the homage paid to the memory of the Marshal who was shot by the Communists. In December 2000, a right-wing leader, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, who received 28% of the votes cast in the presidential election of that year won by Ion Ilescu, stated: “I do not dispute the Holocaust, but I don’t think that grief should be exploited as a business. […] In [the case of] Romania, figures are exaggerated so as to claim a maximum of financial compensation […]. The Jews are asking us to demolish the statues of Antonescu as the Taliban have done with the Buddhas” (Mirel Bran, “L’autre mémoire roumaine”, Le Monde, 8 March 2002, p. 8).
Romania is a candidate for membership in both the European Union and NATO. But the first condition imposed on candidate countries is, as we know, the payment of an entrance fee to benefit the international Jewish organisations. The amount of the fee is not negotiable: it is directly proportional to these organizations’ tally of Jews who, they allege, perished during the war in the country in question. This kosher tax will have to be paid, cash on the nail, as the Swiss have paid theirs, even though they were not asking anything of anyone, and certainly not membership in the European Union or NATO.
Kneeling and penitence
The Romanian government has bowed low, gotten down on its knees and made its act of contrition. “Under the pressure of the Jewish community of the United States, Romania, a candidate for NATO, has ended up reconsidering its past. In March , a new law notably prohibited […] statues of Marshal Antonescu. Three of these have already been dismantled,” announced Mirel Bran with satisfaction (Le Monde, 17 July 2002, p. 5). The said law, in its anti-revisionist provision, punishes “any public denial of the Holocaust” with five years’ imprisonment (in France the penalty is one year). In an open letter signed by Hillary Clinton, senatrix from New York, Romania has been summoned to remove the Marshal’s portrait from the gallery of portraits of all Romanian prime ministers. Octogenarians of Romanian origin, having become United States citizens since the war, have been declared former war criminals by American courts, stripped of their American nationality and handed over to Romania for trial and conviction there. Elie Wiesel has personally inaugurated a monument to the “Holocaust” in Romania and warned President Iliescu and Social-Democratic Prime Minister Adrian Nastase: “Do not turn your back on the past. […] Integrate it into your life and you will flourish. Forget it and you are doomed” (New York Times, 31 July 2002). Slightly less than a year afterwards, on 12 June 2003, the Romanian government, in an ephemeral movement of rebellion, declared: “This Government encourages research concerning the Holocaust in Europe — including documents referring to it and found in Romanian archives — but strongly emphasizes that between 1940 and 1945 no Holocaust took place within Romania's boundaries," which was accurate. Five days later, “yielding to international pressure,” to the wrath of the State of Israel and to the indignation of the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem, Bucharest rectified its position and, on 17 June, issued a statement confessing that the Antonescu government “was guilty of grave war crimes, pogroms, and mass deportations of Romanian Jews to territories occupied or controlled by the Romanian army,” adding that the wartime regime had employed “methods of discrimination and extermination that are part of the Holocaust” (http://www.rferl.org/newsline/2003/06/4-SEE/see-180603.asp). On 14 February 2004, the press announced the repentance of the “far-right” politician C. V. Tudor: “I am asking for forgiveness from all Jews. I've changed.” He stated his intention to “lead a group of [Greater Romania] party members to the site of the Auschwitz camp in southern Poland this year. He also promised that if he became president, he would introduce the study of the Holocaust in schools” (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1076744701710&p=1008596981749).
Thus, as we have seen, Le Monde of 17 November 2004 was able to trumpet in a three-sentence headline: “Romania formally acknowledges having participated in the extermination of the Jews. President Ion Iliescu assumes ‘the full responsibility of the State’ for the Shoah during the Second World War. About 400,000 Jews and 11,000 Gypsies were killed.” The latter figures obviously do not correspond to any historical truth; they constitute a mere indication of amount of the bill that will be presented to the Romanian taxpayer. The article recalled that, in the recent past, Ion Iliescu had tried to “minimize the tragedy of the Jews in Europe and especially in Romania” to such a degree that “the Jerusalem Post had called for the isolation of the Romanian Head of State on the international scene, likening him to the Austrian extremist leader Jörg Haider.” The Israeli interior minister, Avraham Poraz, himself born in Romania, had declared the Romanian president “persona non grata.” The Le Monde piece ended with the confirmation of three news items: a memorial to the Shoah is to be built by the Romanian government, then a museum of the “Holocaust” and, finally, “this dark episode of Romanian history will be incorporated in the school textbooks”.
If Georges Wellers were to return to this world and reiterate in Bucharest the remarks made in Le Monde juif of March 1982, he would incur on the spot a five-year prison sentence: the fact stands as a firm indication that that, year after year and from one country to another, the conquering character of Shoah Business and the Holocaust Industry is growing ever more forceful. Among the State of Israel, the Jewish diaspora, and the American superpower, there reigns in this matter an understanding, and quite a cordial one, of master racketeers.
Note: Today Romania is accused of having killed 400,000 Jews and, if one is to believe the press, she is also accusing herself. Yet, according to the most highly regarded Jewish historians, the number of dead (and not only of the killed) was quite smaller. Gerald Reitlinger proposes a total of from 210,000 to 220,000 dead, while specifying that “owing to the lack of reliable information at the time of writing, these figures must be regarded as conjectural” (The Final Solution, Jacob Aronson, North Vale, New Jersey, 1987 , p. 497, 501). Lucy Dawidowicz puts forth the figure of 300,000 (The War against the Jews, 1933-1945, New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975, p. 403) and Raul Hilberg that of 270,000 (The Destruction of the European Jews, New York, Holmes and Meier, 1985, p. 1220). Leni Yahil, for her part, refrains from giving any figure; her conclusion on the fate of the Romanian Jews is, in certain places, qualified to the point it amounts, if one may say so, to a defence of Romania (The Holocaust, the Fate of European Jewry, 1932-1945, translated from the Hebrew, New York and Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1990 , p. 344-348). For an interesting debate between two revisionists (Serban C. Andronescu and Mark Weber) on the subject of the Romanian Jews during the Second World War and for some quite different mortality figures, one may consult The Journal of Historical Review (Summer 1982, p. 211-223; Fall 1982, p. 233-238; Winter 1982, p. 357-358, 479).
November 23, 2004