(JTA) — Corneliu Vadim Tudor, a Romanian member of the European Parliament, denied the Holocaust on television, the country’s National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust said.
The Bucharest-based Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of Holocaust in Romania said in a statement issued Monday that Vadim Tudor, leader of the nationalist Greater Romania Party, said Oct. 18 on the talk show "Romania a la Raport" on the Realitatea network that “in Romania there was never a Holocaust.” He reportedly added, “I will deny it till I die because I love my people.”
In the European Parliament, Vadim Tudor is a member of the Committee on Culture and Education as well as the Delegation to the European Union-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee.
The National Institute expressed “outrage” at the remarks. A statement signed by its director general, Alexandru Florian, said that Vadim Tudor’s words desecrated the memory of more than 280,000 Romanian Jews who perished in the Holocaust. The institute also called on authorities to investigate whether Vadim Tudor’s statements violated the law on hate speech.
Additionally, the institute called on the country’s Audiovisual Council to probe Realitatea TV for providing Vadim Tudor with a podium for alleged Holocaust denial. The network is owned by Elan Schwartzenberg, a Jewish businessman who had lived in Israel before moving to Romania.
In July, a Romanian politician who said that Romanians never participated in the persecution of Jews during World War II was appointed minister for parliamentary affairs. Dan Sova, a Social Democrat, added that only 24 Jews, not thousands, had died during the violent Iasi pogrom, which he attributed to the German army. Sova later retracted his statements.