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Anti-semitic Articles in Rumania

Violently anti-Semitic articles have recently appeared in two Rumanian publications, including the Communist Youth League weekly. The French news agency AFP reports from Bucharest that Rumanian Chief Rabbi Moses Rosen believes that these publications “have created a climate” which made possible the fire which recently broke out in a Moldavian synagogue.

The Rumanian authorities said at the time that the fire broke out as a result of a robbery attempt. But Rosen told the French news agency that he “doubted” this explanation. The Chief Rabbi said that in any case, the publication of the anti-Semitic material created a climate which made such acts possible.

The fire which damaged the Bohush Synagogue broke out during the night of October 30-31. Four young men were arrested a few days later and charged with robbery and arson. The news agency correspondent quoted unnamed Jewish and Israeli sources in Bucharest as describing the fire as “an anti-Semitic act.”

The Communist youth weekly recently published a poem describing the arrival in Rumania “of a poor and miserable people. We slashed their throats and hung them on hooks.” The word “Jew” does not appear in the text but it is generally assumed that the poem refers to the 1941 Bucharest pogrom during which three men, including the synagogue’s cantor, were murdered and hung on butcher hooks by neo-fascist partisans of the then dictator, General Ion Antonescu.

The popular weekly “Saptamana” published a “historic” study claiming that the 1941 Iassi pogrom resulted in the death of “only” 500 people while it is generally assumed that between 4,000 to 12,000 died in the mass massacre of the city’s Jews.

Several anti-Semitic articles appeared in the official press four years ago, most of them signed by a poet, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, noted for his close connection with the country’s top leadership. After Rosen protested, Rumanian President Nicolai Ceausescu promised that he would personally “see to it” that this sort of incident did not reoccur.

Ceausescu also promised to stop the publication of the anti-Semitic writings of a 19th-century poet, Eminescu, and formally condemned anti-Semitism and called on the Communist Party to combat it.

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