Sunday, November 02, 2008

Anti-Semitism in Romania today 

Anti-Semitism is alive and kicking in Romania

By Cellu Rozenberg
Sun., November 02, 2008 Cheshvan 4, 5769

"Anyone in need of additional reminders of how much Romanians love the Jews could have found it in the recent destruction and desecration of some 200 graves in the great cemetery in Bucharest. Even though there are almost no Jews in Romania (their number is estimated at a mere few thousand, excluding Israelis who have gone there on business), anti-Semitism is nevertheless alive and kicking.

The graves that were destroyed and desecrated - a reminder of the large Jewish community, numbering some 800,000 people, half of which was destroyed in the Holocaust not by the Germans, but by Hitler's loyal allies, the Romanians - give no rest to some Romanians. This is not the first time such things have happened in Romania, but everyone keeps quiet, as if this were merely a bit of mischief.

The roots of Romanian anti-Semitism are planted deep in the country's soil, which is soaked with Jewish blood. In almost every city and town where Jews lived, they were routinely subject to murder and looting - carried out by ordinary citizens, but backed by the regime - both before World War II and after it. It is no wonder that historian Hannah Arendt described Romania as the most anti-Semitic country of all.

On the morning of June 29, 1941, 12,000 Romanian Jews, who were almost blindly loyal to the state, were led through the streets of the city of Iasi, humiliated and hungry, to the local police station, which became their slaughterhouse. It was the government that ordered the terrible massacre, in which my family, too, was murdered when the security forces began shooting in all directions. That, we will never forget.

By the end of World War II, most of the rest of Romania's Jews had also been systematically deported and eliminated. Thus following that war, many of the surviving Jews preferred to abandon communist Romania and move to Israel, albeit shorn of all their possessions. The communist regime did a thriving trade in Jews, demanding thousands of dollars for each one. They thereby stole additional money and property from the Jews. Under the communist regime, the Holocaust was never taught in Romanian schools. Only in 2004, due to external pressure, was the subject added to the curriculum.

But if anyone thought that a change had finally occurred over the last few years, if anyone hoped that anti-Semitism had been relegated to the boors who desecrate graves rather than pervading the government, then President Traian Basescu's remarks at a press conference at the Bucharest Airport upon his return from Syria a week ago reminded us that there is another Romania besides that of pastrami and wine - the Romania of anti-Semitism. Syria, Basescu said, is bordered by the following countries: Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine.

It is well known that Romania's president is not particularly well-educated, but as a former sea captain one would have expected him to at least know a little geography and history. Has it escaped him that there is as yet no country called Palestine, but that another country, admittedly small, nevertheless exists on Syria's border - one called Israel? It is a pity that the Foreign Ministry did not see fit to respond sharply to these remarks. It is still not too late.

Cellu Rozenberg is a historian who specializes in national security."

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This is outrageous! Except for that brief period of time, when the country was a German ally, the jews have always been welcome and well integrated into the Romanian society. There are numerous jews in Israel that still speak Romanian and they still visit Romania and they still reffer to Romania as "my home country".

It seems that you are some right-wing extremist looking for subjects. You managed to see something in the news regarding some graves and jumped head-first.

If you really are a journalist, you should verify the authenticity of the data, first. Second, you should put data into context: are you aware of the number of desecrated graves in Romania? I think you're not! Why? Because if you were, you would have known that the number of Jewish desecrated graves is a very small percentage of the annualy desecrated graves in Romania. Most of them are Christian, manyof them are Muslim. Would you say Romanians are anti-christians? Or anti-muslims? I'd rather say you are an uninformed extremist posing as a reporter. By the way, how come there is no information regarding your person on your blog?
Hi Ketherius, thanks for your comments.

This is just an article from HAARETZ.com at http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1033348.html and it was written entirely by Cellu Rozenberg and I have nothing to do with it. I was interested in it so I posted it. That's all. If you wish to complain about the articleor its contents contact its author and the Haaretz paper in Israel via http://www.haaretz.com/

Thank you again.
I apologize, the blog where I found the reference to your blog was presenting the article as yours.

On the other hand, creating a blog to write about anti-semitism... What if you run out of subjects? What if nothing anti-semitic happens? Or anti-semitism must exist, because right-wing Jews must justify their existance? This is a little blurry for me, as all my life I've had Jews as friends, all of them with good social and professional achievments (artists, bankers, doctors) and none of them ever complained of being discriminated.
Hi Ketherius, I have added quotation marks (" ") to the article to make it clear it is a verbatim quote.

You say:

"I apologize, the blog where I found the reference to your blog was presenting the article as yours."

Ok, no problem.

"On the other hand, creating a blog to write about anti-semitism..."

Why not? It is a huge subject. Does it not exist and have Jews not suffered from it? It is still a problem, as all the news reports I cite on this blog prove.

So far I have only had time to merely post reports about antisemitism from reliable media sources without adding my own personal views. The stories and articles speak for themselves mostly.

"What if you run out of subjects?"

Not likely to happen in our lifetimes!

"What if nothing anti-semitic happens?"

Then the papers and the media will not report on it and I will not read about it and will have nothing to post, and if they will stop discussing it in universities and writings books and articles about it, which will not happen any time soon, ther will be nothing to say.

So if suddenly the world stops allowing antisemitism everywhere by anyone, then maybe we will study the topic as pure academic history as one studies the events of the past when Jews were victimised and expelled from so many lands, even though it may not have happened to people in the present.

"Or anti-semitism must exist, because right-wing Jews must justify their existance?"

Wow, now that is a really funny "theory" -- where did you learn that kind of crooked and distorted and false (non) "thinking"? It's like saying Europe created the Nazis because they need to justify how the Nazis came to conquer Europe, or other such fantasies.

"This is a little blurry for me, as all my life I've had Jews as friends, all of them with good social and professional achievments (artists, bankers, doctors) and none of them ever complained of being discriminated."

Ok, that is fine too. But have you not studied the history of the Jews in Romania during World War and the Holocaust and what happned to them under Fascism and the Nazis? Is that not a good point to look into? True, in many instances Jews have lived well and in comfort and peace. But that is like saying why talk about illness and disease and death when most of the time people are well and live. Unfortunately, Jews in particular have been victims of tough treatment and harsh words from gentiles amd the surrounding cultures. Just look at what comes out of the mouths of Nasrallah of Hizbola in Lebanon and Ahmadinejad of Iran when they utter profanities of "death to Israel" when Israel is home to half the world's Jews today, or to deny the Holocaust and claim it was a "hoax" when these people are such blatant antisemites themselves.

Think of what happened to Jews in the Holocaust, the Pogroms, the Inquisition, under the Cossaks and Chmelnitzki, the Refuseniks in modern Russia, the Jews expelled from Arab lands, and going back to the days of the Romans as recorded by the historian Josephus, not to mention Biblical times, and much more.

As one historian has put it: "A people that forgets is past is destined to repeat it" -- so it is better to remember the past when we can do it so easily with a blog on the Internet care of Google's magnificent Blogger system, and even if things are going great for some Jews, there are nevertheless lessons from Jewish history, that the good times can turn into bad times quite quickly.

Thanks for responding.
I agree that we must not forget the history. I also agree that Jews from Romania have been sent to German camps. But you should never forget that those 2-3 years are just a blink of an eye compared to whole period of time Jews have lived in Romania. Do not forget, those were the orders of the pro-German leader, which was later arrested, judged, condemned and executed.

Also, it is kind of twisted humor to accuse of xenophobia (antisemitism is a broader kind of xenophobia) a people that, in the last 2000 years has received several waves of migrating nations, has resisted the aggressive neighborhood of three empires and in the present days includes more than 40 ethnic minorities which live in peace and harmony.
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