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Romanian Jews protest court ruling

Jewish groups in Romania protested a court’s clearing of World War II leader Ion
Antonescu of starting a war against the Soviet Union.”In those times Ion
Antonescu was a faithful ally of Hitler, carried on a war which produced great
damage to humanity, with the loss of millions and millions of lives,” the
Federation of Jewish Communities and the Romanian Association of Jewish Victims
of the Holocaust said in a statement.A Romanian appeals court last month
ruled that Antonescu, an ally of Hitler, attacked the Soviet Union in 1941 in an
act of self defense because the Soviet Union had occupied parts of Romania in
1940. The court did acknowledge that Antonescu was guilty of war crimes and
deported thousands to death camps, as was revealed in a 1946 trial that resulted in his death sentence. The two Jewish groups that protested the
court ruling are concerned that the ruling will fuel nationalism and
detract from Romania’s efforts to improve Holocaust education. Even
after the end of the Communist era, Romanian officials were reluctant to deal
with their war-time past and persecution of Jews. A 2004 international panel
led by Nobel-prize winner Elie Wiesel, appointed by former President Ion Iliescu,
concluded that Antonescu’s government was responsible for the deaths of
280,000-380,000 Jews and more than 11,000 Gypsies, or Roma.

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