miercuri, 10 octombrie 2007

Romania marks Holocaust Day

BUCHAREST (EJP)---Romania marked Holocaust Day on Tuesday by organizing a ceremony in the presidential palace during which president Traian Basescu decorated a dozen survivors.

"It is about a gesture of repair, certainly insufficient, which confirms our desire to know and respect the truth,” Basescu said at the ceremony which honored several members of the Federation of Jewish communities in Romania.

"We have today more and more the conscience of our responsibility towards history by reminding us the horrors and crimes against the Jewish communities, including those living on the Romanian territory,” he added.

October 9 1941 marks the beginning of massive deportations of Jews from south Bukovina, a region under the Romanian administration.

Between 200,000 and 400,000 Jews died in the Romanian Holocaust.

For a long time Romania hesitated to recognize its participation in the Holocaust during the regime of pro-Nazi leader Ion Antonescu. In 2003, the country decided to set up an international commission of historians led by Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel.

Holocaust Day was marked officially for the first time in Romania three years ago.

The day has been set by a governmental decree.

Local authorities also inaugurated Tuesday the National Institute of Study of Holocaust in Romania which is due to host an annual international meeting called “From anti-Semitism to the Holocaust in Romania.”

During the ceremony, Jacques Fredj, director of the Shoah Memorial in Paris, said he was very pleased by the progress accomplished in education of the Holocaust in Romanian schools.

Fredj, who granted 500 books on the Shoah to the Romanian institute, called on the researchers "to write all pages of this history, so that nobody could say that he did not know.”

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