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Portugal Says No Country Has Asked for Trifa’s Extradition

Portuguese officials said today that they have received no request from any country for the extradition of Rumanian Orthodox Archbishop Valerian Trifa who was deported from the United States for his role in the fascist Iron Guard that killed thousands of Jews during World War II.

Trifa arrived in Lisbon last week with a short-term visitor’s visa and has applied for a permanent resident’s permit. The officials said “Portugal will apply the law,” but added that for the time being there are no legal obstacles for Trifa’s stay there. Portuguese officials said they were unaware of Trifa’s Iron Guard activities when they agreed to let him enter, but that they will investigate his past. Since entering Portugal, Trifa has denied any involvement in the pogrom in Bucharest in January, 1941.

Rumanian Chief Rabbi Moses Rosen said today that Rumanian Jews are “deeply grateful to the American government for having at long last exposed Trifa’s past and expelled him.” Rosen, who began a campaign against Trifa in 1961, also thanked the Rumanian government and the Rumanian Orthodox Church in Bucharest for constantly backing the demands for Trifa’s exposure.

Rosen told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that “43 years later it is legally impossible to punish Trifa for his crimes under the statute of limitations. The survivors of Rumania’s Jewry now wish him long life, a life of wandering across the world with the mark of Cain inscribed on his forehead.”

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