Peres’ Romania Comment Criticized by Simon Wiesenthal Center


peresThe Simon Wiesenthal Center criticized Israeli President Shimon Peres on Friday for thanking Romania for saving Jews, saying he should have condemned the Romanian state for the tens of thousands of Jews who were killed there during World War II.

On Thursday, Peres publicly thanked Romania for helping 400,000 Romanian Jews emigrate to Israel during the communist regime that ended in 1989. Peres did that while making the first visit to Romania by an Israeli head of state since 1948 when Israel was formed.

Peres was speaking at a news conference with Romanian President Traian Basescu, who said that Romania would be a loyal partner of Israel and NATO, if there was a conflict with Iran. During that event, Peres did not mention Romania’s role in the Holocaust.

In 2004, a historical commission set up to study the Holocaust in Romania found the country was responsible for the deaths of 280,000 Jews and 11,000 Roma during the Second World War under the regime of pro-Nazi Marshal Ion Antonescu.

On Friday, Efraim Zuroff, the Israel director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, issued a statement essentially saying Peres should have mentioned this.

“His failure to condemn the horrific crimes of the Antonescu regime against the Jewish people are likely to have very dire consequences, especially in Romania and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, where there is a growing tendency in post-Communist societies to deny or minimize the highly significant role played by local Nazi collaborators in the annihilation of the Jews,” said Zuroff, who also is a Holocaust historian.

During that time, Romanian administrators allowed the nation to become “a gigantic killing field for Jews,” said Zuroff, whose center is the world’s major Nazi-hunting organization.

On Friday, Peres made a comment while visiting the Holocaust memorial in Bucharest that appeared to address the center’s concerns.

Speaking in Hebrew, the Israeli president acknowledged that there was a “cruel and unfair” time in Romania during World War II “when men, women and innocent children were killed for the fault of being Jewish” at the hands of “Romanian assassins.”

But he also said Romania is a totally different today, a free and democratic nation that respects human rights.

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  1. Romanians have a mixed record with regards to their treatment of Jews. Some displayed incredible cruelty, but there have been many Gentiles who saved Jews. Jews regarded Romanians the best goym to deal with because they had little pride and therefore took bribes, both big an small, depending on how much a Yid could give. Of course, Hungarians and Germans also took bribes but they made it difficult in that they were arrogant and therefore one risked his life giving any of them small bribes. It had to be big to match their arrogance.

  2. There weren’t many gentiles who saved Jews – there were very few – I have no idea where you got your information from – But the record of the Romanians is completely unremarkable – there were not many – there were isolated incidents – my family comes from Satu Mare – Satmar – the entire Jewish population was enclosed in the ghetto and then deported to Auschwitz –
    Some who survived did so by escaping to Hungary where they couldn’t be denounced by their Romanian neighbors – and few came back from Auschwitz

    You are misinformed

  3. from child of Holocaust survivors to child of Holocaust survivors:

    First, most goym in Satmar during WWII were Hungarians. Most of the Hungarian Jews who crossed the border into Romania survived. Money did change hands to lubricate the “transaction” but the yikar is they survived. The big tainah against Rudolf Kastner was that he did not alert the Jews in Hungary and Transylvania of what was in store for them, especially in light of the fact that the border with Romania was just a few miles away from the large Jewish centers like Grossvardein and Klausenburg. A little gelt at both sides of the border saved those who had the forsight to cross the border.

  4. Are you trying to say that most of Romanian Jewry was saved – that’s absurd – grabbing facts out of the air is unfortunate – you are grossly misinformed – the reverse is true – Many crossed the Romanian border into Hungary where they thought they could survive if they had forged identification papers stating that they were Catholic – which some had – few had – the Hungarian gendarmerie was viciously anti-Semitic – Niloshes – however Hungary is where some Jews found refuge. From Pesach through Shavuous 1944 the Auschwitz crematoria were going around the clock decimating Hungarian, Czechoslovakian and Romanian Jewry – Romania was a hotbed of anti-Semitic fervor – The Romanians were never “chasidei umos ha’olam” nor were the Hungarians, but you did not stand a chance in your own town because your non-Jewish neighbors would denounce you – all of Europe’s citizenry took bribes – some choosing to denounce Jews to the Nazis after they pocketed the money – the Romanians deserve no thanks or praise – they did nothing to save their Jewish constituency