The Holocaust Remembrance Day in Romania

This year October 9, the Holocaust Remembrance Day in Romania, was marked by a series of events designed to underline its importance.

Thus, the day started with the opening of the works at the site of the future Holocaust Memorial, placed at the crossing of Anghel Saligny, Mihai Voda and Splaiul Independentei streets. The Romanian President himself, Mr. Traian Basescu, laid the first stone of the construction, mentioning that this monument is intended as a public reminder of the errors made at the time when anti-Jewish discrimination was a state policy in Romania should never be repeated. His eminency made a brief review of the recent developments in this field, from the setting up of the Wiesel Commission to the recent publication of the first optional high-school textbook “History of the Jews. The Holocaust”, which reveals students the true history of wartime Romania, and ended with the need for continual research, assumption of responsibility but also reconciliation efforts.

Further on, the President accompanied by various other officials laid flowers to the memory of the Holocaust victims at the Coral Temple in Bucharest, in the presence of the leaders of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania.

The day’s agenda continued with the opening of the exhibition “Killed because they were born Jews” and the broadcasting of the documentary film “The Forgotten Holocaust” at the “Elie Wiesel” National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania. The event was followed by the launching of a series of newly printed books, in the presence of an audience made of public personalities, academics, journalists, etc., for whom the hall was too small. Among the new things presented was a guide for the use in schools and high-schools, in Holocaust education, of the documentary film “Hidden Sorrows”, produced by Michelle Kelso and Alex Alexe, which renders the history of the Roma people deported to Transnistria and the webpage Holocaust Learning Resource Center on the already known site Both the film’s protagonists and the webpage creators were present and answered the public’s questions.

The day ended with an extremely challenging lecture by Serge Klarsfeld from the “Fondation de la Shoah”, Paris, who spoke about the fate of the Romanian Jews in France during the Holocaust, which triggered a lively debate.

During the week of October 9-13 a number of other cultural and scholarly manifestations took place: confereces, round tables, broadcasting of reference movies, radio shows, and especially events organized in schools and high-schools.