This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
? \GZFRQU[IVX]YMSTEWHJKLNOP^\GZFRQU The Ambivalent Definition of Romania s Jews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
Benjamin Rogaczewski Dr. Lisa Silverman Holocaust and Memory
About a year and a half ago, I had the pleasure of taking a holiday in Romania. I was studying abroad in Rome at the time, and in fact, when I told one of my professors at John Cabot University that I was spending a winter break in Romania, he asked me ³why?´ The question was not so much concerned with the actual reason for my visit to Romania, but rather the question of ³why would anyone want to go to Romania?´ I wanted to see something different, something other than Western Europe. Considering Romania was close enough to post-Communist Europe, I was guaranteed to see something completely different, to enter a world I had never seen before. I must confess that before going to Romania, my main concerns were to find trappings of VladTepes, also known as VladDraculya. What I did not realize is that I would be traveling where the Holocaust had taken place. I did not know anything about Romania and its involvement with the Holocaust, and considered the Holocaust to be an affair within Central Europe, rather than the Balkans. While in Sighisoara, I had the chance to speak with a young Romanian, who I found out was named after governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. After talking about different cultural aspects, I brought up the topic of the ³gypsies´. Arnold seemed to be disgusted by the ³gypsies´, stating that they should be removed from the country. He even claimed that tourism would have increased if not for the ³gypsies´. Looking back upon the conversation, I could see faint similarities between modern prejudice against the Roma, or ³gypsy´ population within Romania, and that of the anti-Semitism of interwar Romania. An idea spreads from prejudice and the youth confess and profess it. In my final days within Cluj-Napoca, the capital of Transylvania, I decided to see a production of Turandot at the National theatre. Sitting in a box seat, looking down upon
3 the stage and the people, all the while I never thought that perhaps an ³Iron Guardist´ stood on that stage professing anti-Semitism and ³Romanization´. With the rise of the curtain, I noticed after watching a few minutes of the play, that I was not watching Turandot. Rather, it was a comedy mocking Communism. I could understand little parts of the dialogue, but the scene I had seen showed a Communist soldier getting information from his informant, a drunken country bumpkin. No doubt a farce upon the previous Communist regime. Everywhere I went I heard tales of the Communist regime and the proud collapse of said regime. I saw proud nationalism everywhere, from the tricolored flags waving, to the Ursus beer I drank. I would never have even guessed the Holocaust had a place among such proud people with a rich culture. I never thought about the fact that the railroad tracks I had been using could have carried freightcars full of Jews, or the fact that I could have been in a pub where members of the Iron Guard had met to discuss matters, or drink to their ³Captain´ Codreanu. In a way, my study of Romania¶s Holocaust has revisioned my memories of Romania. Certainly not the people, who I found to be some of the nicest people I have ever met. It is a revision of the importance of where I had been, and who had been there before I had arrived.
The argument of my paper is that since anti-Semitism in Romania wasfor the most part ambivalent and static, the definition of Jew was ambivalent and static as well. Romania was under three kinds of anti-Semitism before and during WWII. When A.C. Cuza took control of the Romanian government, his Romanian anti-
A famous beer of Cluj.
4 Semitism became policy adopted by Cuza s successors. However, since each of the new governments took control, each added their own ideals. For example, when the Iron Guard took power, they kept anti-Semitism within the government; but stressed an attack on all minorities. When Ion Antonescu took control of the government, he adopted NicolaeIorga s notions of anti-Semitism, utilizing it for antiCommunist purposes. Therefore, certain Jews were targeted above other Jews. In addition, a xenophobic sentiment became the adopted norm, and so other minorities were persecuted along with the Jews. Strangely enough, this did not end friendships in places such as Bucharest. For the most part relationships remained the same, albeit strained. However, Jews in Moldavia were targeted as Judeo-Communists , bearing the full brunt of the Romanian Holocaust. This is not to say that anti-Semitic legislation did not take place in areas like Bucharest, anti-Semitic legislation being national policy, all Jews were affected by the legislations forbidding higher education, the possession of radios, and the right to hold office.1 However, when considering pogroms, or other anti-Semitic acts of violence within Romania, no other region in Romania contains more pogroms than Moldavia. As for modern day historians, Romanian anti-Semitism affects the historiography of Romania s Holocaust. My paper will also stress this affect and the detriment of said affect. The first part will examine the origins of Romanian anti-Semitism in Iasi with A.C. Cuza, NicolaeIorga, and Codreanu. The second part will examine the diary of Mihail Sebastian, a Jewish playwright, for his connection with Iron Guardists of Randolph L. Braham, ed., The Tragedy of Romanian Jewry, ed. Randolph L. Braham (New York, New York: Columbia University Press, 1994). P. 119.
5 Bucharest. The third and final part will examine the historiography of Ion Antonescu, and how A.C. Cuza s Romanian anti-Semitism , essentially antiCommunism, affects the historiography. When finished with this examination of Romanian anti-Semitism , I hope that the read receives an enlightening outlook on Romania, as much as I was enlightened with the research.
Part I: The Origin of Romanian Anti-Semitism
Of the 756,930 Jews reported in the 1930 Romanian census, more than 160,000 lived in Moldavia, the northeastern region bordering the Ukraine.2 According to Raphael Vago, the Jews of Moldavia resembled an Eastern type of Jewry, in both religious practice and distinctive clothing.3 It is no surprise than that the region of Moldavia was suspected to be inhabited by Judeo-Bolsheviks .4 It was men like A.C. Cuza, CorneliuCodreanu and NicolaeIorga, who gathered the prejudice of anti-Semitism, and rallying under xenophobia and anti-Communism. A.C. Cuzawas raised in Moldavia taught at the university of Iasi. Called the oldest and most virulent of Romanian anti-Semites 5, Cuza taught his anti-Semitic view to his students, and defended their own anti-Semitic actions. On November 10, 1926, a group of Jewish students was put on trial. During the trial, a student in the crowd shot one of the Jewish students, killing the student. The student who shot the
Ibid. pgs. 32-33. Ibid. p. 31. 4 Ibid. p. 17. 5 Eugen Weber, "The Men of the Archangel," Journal of Contemporary History 1, no. 1 (1966): 101-126. P. 114.
6 Jewish student was N. Totu. At Totu s trial, Cuza defended Totu, stating, Totu does deserve to be condemned, but rather to be canonized for all time to come .6Cuza taught anti-Semitism to his students, such as CorneliuCodreanu, but his views on anti-Semitism were different from Codreanu s, or even Cuza s compatriot, NicolaeIorga. For both Cuza and Iorga, nationalism was the song of the pulpits. However, Iorga was on an anti-Semite on the fence. On one hand, he is know to have coined the nationalistic phrase Romania for Romanians, and only Romanians ; while on the other hand, Iorga delivered statements such as
In the evening the decree to suppress the Jewish press is published. Unfortunately, it is founded on a totally unacceptable doctrine. You cannot createlegal principles through ministerial decisions alone. I am extremely determined to bring this matter to the attention of the King. I could not stay on in a country guided by such principles.7 NicolaeIorga was an anti-Semite, but he was an anti-Semite in a country in which anti-Semitism was socially accepted. This does not excuse the matter, but explains this nature and the nature of the country Iorga lived in. However, Iorga differs from Cuza in manner of morals and ethics. Where Iorga was willing to give audience to a Jewish electorate, Cuza would rarely give the time of day to a Jew.8So on one hand we have the militant monomaniacal anti-Semitism of A.C. Cuza, and on the other we have the ambivalent, non-violent anti-Semitism of NicolaeIorga.
I. C. Butnaru, The Silent Holocaust: Romania and Its Jews (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1992). P. 42. 7 Radu Ioanid, "Nicolae Iorga and Fascism," Journal of Contemporary History 27, no. 3 (July 1992): 467-492. P. 477. 8 Ibid. p. 474.
7 For the most part, nationalism remained the focus of both ideals. To NicolaeIorga, a Bolshevik could never be Romanian; to A.C. Cuza, a Jew could never be a Romanian. For both men, nationalism and a new sense of Romanianism were the focal point. However, in this case, Iorga was an anti-Communist, and Cuza was an anti-Semite. Iorga s worry regarding Jews and Bolshevism was the influence of Bolshevik mysticism on foreigners, especially on the Jews. 9However, it was Cuza s protégé, CorneliuCodreanu, who would combine both ideals to create this new sense of Romanianism , or Romanian anti-Semitism . CorneliuCodreanu, like his mentors in reading (Iorga) and teaching (Cuza), was raised in Iasi, the capital of Moldavia. Codreanu, raised by a rabid anti-Semitic father, essentially created the Legion of Archangel Michael based upon the ideals of these men. However, due to Codreanu s actions, Cuza did not back up his protégé, and so Cuza and Codreanu split. While Codreanu recruited numerous members to the Legion, Cuza had joined with Octavian Goga to create the Goga-Cuza Party; a party which was not as popular as Codreanu s new movement. Although many Romanians had an anti-Semitic feeling of some sort, the Jewish Problem was not the only issue for Romanians, or even one of the highest priorities. Therefore, Codreanucombined a multitude of prejudices under one roof: Romanianism. Combining both ideals of Cuza and Iorga, Codreanu believed in a Romania cleansed off all minorities, including the Hungarians of Transylvania, the Bolsheviks of
Ibid. p. 475.
8 Moldavia, and of course the Jews of Romania.10Although the movement was popular, the chaotic violence of Codreanu s Legion spelled its doom and sealed its fate. As the Legion grew in number and popularity, unrest grew as well. When Codreanu s mystic inspired Legion began to infect city life, Iorga spoke out against the Legion s atrocities
I tell them that they are leading the country towards a precipice with their timid permissiveness: Codreanu marched like a king behind the hearse, the crowd dropped to its knees and crossed itself. You must take action before the killings resume.11 The action of the Romanians Iorga is referring to show a mystified and manipulated people. Clearly, a lack of control of the government, creating a sense of anarchy within Romania, allowed Codreanu s Legion to gain power. Even though Codreanu s Legion was dissolved, the government officials could not stop Codreanu from creating a vehicle of anti-Semitic atrocities: The Iron Guard. When King Carol II arrested Codreanu, along with several other Iron Guardists, and had them killed, the Romanian government believed they had destroyed the Iron Guard for good. However, as I approach in the next part, the ghost of Codreanu would haunt Romania, long after his death. A.C. Cuza relaxed his grip on the leash of a mad dog, and Romania would pay for it.
Part II: The Iron Guard Sentiment of Bucharest
Eugen Weber, "The Men of the Archangel," Journal of Contemporary History 1, no. 1 (1966): 101-126. P. 117. 11 Radu Ioanid, "Nicolae Iorga and Fascism," Journal of Contemporary History 27, no. 3 (July 1992): 467-492. P. 485.
When the Iron Guard found a stable headquarters in Bucharest, pro-Guard sentiments began to rise within the capital. Ion Antonescu was friends with Codreanu, and after Antonescu rose to power through the abdication of Carol II, the Iron Guard was given special placement in Antonescu s circle.However, our focus is not necessarily on the Iron Guard or Ion Antonescu at this moment. Our focus is a Jewish playwright of Bucharest named Mihail Sebastian. It is Sebastian s friendships with prominent Iron Guardists of Bucharest, even though he himself is a Jew. Mihail Sebastian was born IosifHechter, but changed his name to hide his Jewish ties. A poet, playwright and novelist, Sebastian writes his diary with an eloquent touch. However, his early entries do not leave the reader with a sense of fear from the anti-Semitism within Bucharest. Perhaps he sees this as a commonality, a passing fad not worth worrying about. When he does bring up notions of fear, those feelings are immediately replaced with a sense of urgency towards other aspects of his life such as the productions of his plays, and his plentiful love life. However, one main theme flows throughout Sebastian s entries: his strange relationship with anti-Semites. The anti-Semitism imposed by the political factors of interwar Bucharest clearly affects this theme. Sebastian describes the different political changes within Romania between 1935 and 1944 very well. Beginning with the anti-Semitic Cuza-Goga government set up by King Carol II, the reader is introduced to Sebastian s circle of friends. These include NaeIonescu, the Iron Guard Ideologist; MirceaEliade, a pro-Iron Guard
10 writer; and CamilPetrescu, a pro-Iron Guard writer. Each one of these friends shows animosity towards Jews, but never towards Sebastian personally. With NaeIonescu, Sebastian gives the impression of a student dignifying his mentor. However, there are moments when Sebastian clearly denounces his mentor s actions. One such example shows:
Nae has signed a declaration of solidarity with the 318 comrades from Vaslui . A facsimile of the text appeared in all the morning papers. When I saw Nae s handwriting in the picture clear, decisive, almost print-quality writing that I know so well.12
Even though Ionescu wrote Sebastian an incredibly degrading, anti-Semitic preface to his novel De douamii de ani, Sebastian still mourned his professor s death in March of 1940. Ionescu suffered illness due to his internment within prison for his connections with the Iron Guard. Camil, Sebastian s other friend, was anti-Semitic but to a point. One memorable situation from Sebastian s diary shows a humorous situation.
You ought to see how the Jews have overrun the Corso. The whole café is full of them. They ve really taken possession What an anti-Semite you are, Camil! Come with me and I ll show you how wrong you are. I took him by the arm. We went into the Corse, did a tour of the café, stopped at each table, and counted up the suspect faces. In all, there were fifteen Jews in a lively and jam-packed café full of groups heatedly arguing. With a smile, Camil took everything back.13
Mihail Sebastian, Journal: 1935-1944 (Chicago, Illinois: Ivan R. Dee, 2000). P. 192. Ibid. p. 150.
11 Each deliverance is given as if between two close friends, and as such, the anti-Semitism is not taken seriously. However, when it comes to the anti-Semitism given by Sebastian s friend Mircea, it is taken with the utmost seriousness. Mircea is quite possibly the one friend who Sebastian speaks about the most. When the Iron Guard becomes a prominent political group within Romania, Mircea joins the group. Sebastian, upon hearing this, describes Mircea as neither a charlatan nor a madman. He is just naïve. But there are such catastrophic forms of naivete!
Although he does not agree with Mircea s decision to join the rabidly
anti-Semitic political group, he continues to be his friend. When King Carol II began to arrest Iron Guardists for their involvement in the assassination of the Prime Minister, Sebastian was at Mircea s home to make sure he was all right. However, when the anti-Semitic legislations are set in place, and rumors spread equating Jews with Communists, Sebastian s friendship with Mircea slowly dissolves. Sebastian writes many times throughout the diary about how sad he is that Mircea will no longer contact him. On the other hand, though, after the murder of the Iron Guard leader, CorneliuCodreanu, there seems to be rehabilitation to their friendship. Sebastian writes
This morning at the Foundation, Mircea was in a group with Cioculescu, Biberi, and Benador. I went up to say hello and, to my surprise, Mircea stood up and embraced me.15 Beyond all of these moments, it can clearly be seen that the anti-Semitic feelings brought on by political means caused a great rift within the social structure
Mihail Sebastian, Journal: 1935-1944 (Chicago, Illinois: Ivan R. Dee, 2000). p. 114. Ibid p. 192.
12 of Sebastian s friendships. However, the strange friendship between enemies of ideals brings about the question of what the Iron Guard considers a Jew. Obviously to the Iron Guard, Sebastian s Jewish heritage was not an issue. Otherwise, if it had been an issue, Sebastian s friends would have ostracized him. Therefore, a distinction must be made. When the Iron Guard brought its anti-Semitic ideals into Bucharest, it also brought along its ambivalence, as well. The ability to target certain Jews as foreigners came from Codreanu s xenophobic and anti-Bolshevik tendencies. However, as was stated before, Codreanu s violence created the undesired chaos within Romania, and so the Iron Guard was dissembled after the failed January Iron Guard Revolution. Once the rebellion was quelled, Ion Antonescu was free to take complete control over Romania, and forge a new sense of Romanianism .
Part III: The Rehabilitation of Ion Antonescu-A Survey of Historiography
When Antonescu took control of Romania, he did not adopt the anti-Semitism of A.C. Cuza or the Iron Guard. The people of Romania had spent long enough amongst the chaos of the Iron Guard, and A.C. Cuza s sense of anti-Semitism was not at all beneficial to Antonescu s regime. Antonescu saw NicolaeIorga s ideas on antiSemitism as the best fit for his new government for several reasons. First, the Iron Guard murdered NicolaeIorga. With the Iron Guard disassembled and dishonored, who better to exemplify than the martyred nationalist, NicolaeIorga. Second, with Hitler s commencement of the invasion of the Soviet Union, Antonescu needed a
13 common enemy to rally his Romanian troops. Iorga s sense of anti-Semitism stemmed from a fear of Judeo-Bolsheviks . If one was a Bolshevik, one was not a Romanian. Essentially, Ion Antonescu adopted NicolaeIorga s sense of antiSemitism. This explains why certain Jews under Antonescu s control of Romania were targeted as Judeo-Bolsheviks , why Jews such as Mihail Sebastian held relationships with prominent anti-Semites, and why Antonescu was able to negotiate or listen to prominent Jews with concerns. This also gave the most evidence and reason for rehabilitation of Ion Antonescu. When the Antonescu regime fell in 1944, and King Mihail handed Ion Antonescu over to Soviet forces, Communism laid its claim upon the politics of Romania. Unfortunately, this affected Romania s Holocaust history as well. No one in Romania, not even the Jews, could know how Soviet-Communism would affect the Holocaust within Romania. Once Communism became the political norm, Romanian history concerningthe Holocaust was written with the Communist pen. The Soviets were declared the heroes within the post-war history books, while the Jews were left out as the victims. Rather, a nameless group was persecuted by the fascist and anti-Communist leaders of Romania. Closing the archives to historians and specialists, no one was allowed to study the Holocaust within Romania, nor the documents written by the previous anti-Communist regime. For decades, young Romanians were taught about their previous dictators, the role of the savior Soviets, but not Romania s involvement with the European Holocaust. Romanians were led to believe that there was in fact no Holocaust in Romania at all, and that the figures pertaining to the drastic change in population among the Jews, a
14 mere falsification of the census conducted by the Antonescu regime. For decades, the Jews of Romania were forgotten, a collective shadow displaced amongst the linear history of Romania. With the fall of Communism in 1991 for Romania, Romanians could breath easily for once, basking in nationalism from the revolution. It should be noted that Romania was one of the few, if not the only country under a Communist regime that rose up in revolution resulting in the death of the Communist leader, a fact that the modern-day Romanians profess proudly. The Holocaust historians were also glad for the fall. For the first time in years, historians could view documents from the Romanian archives. For the first time in years, the Jews would be remembered as the victims of degradation comparable, if not worse, than that of the Nazi persecutions of the Jews. However, these newly founded pieces of evidence raised a great issue of historiography: How to convey the Holocaust in Romania, and how to write about those who perpetrated the Holocaust of Romania, such as IonAntonescu? Antonescu especially has been placed within the spotlight recently and with great fervor. Many modern Romanians claim Antonescu as a Romanian hero, and a warrior of anti-Communism. The rehabilitation and revision of Antonescu s place within Holocaust history creates several issues including a surge of Holocaust Denial within Romania. Liberation from Communism gave Antonescu the right to historical revision due to his anti-Communist regime. This study examines different written histories of Antonescu s regime, some from the revisionist side, and that of the standard narrative.
The Silent Holocaust: Romania and its Jews by I.C. Butnaru
Within Butnaru s examination of Romania s Holocaust, a linear narrative of the Holocaust is given. Beginning with the origin of Jews within ancient Dacia, and followed by the rise of anti-Semitism within the Balkans. Butnaru then goes onward to speak about the origins of protagonists of anti-Semitism within Romania, including CorneliuCodreanu, the leader of the Iron Guard, a fascist group of Hitler admirers inspired by NicolaeIorga s slogan Romania for Romanians, and only for Romanians .16 While focusing upon the origins of Romania s contribution to the Holocaust, Butnaru notes the changes of political regimes within interwar Romania, from the Goga-Cuza government to Antonescu s regime. The main purpose of Butnaru s book is to show an honest presentation of what he considers the truth. Considering Butnaru was in a Romanian labor camp during the Antonescu regime, his narrative gives an honest picture of the situation in Romania, although his emotions are very much present within the narrative. As for his views on antiSemitism, Butnaru claims that
Anti-Semitism in Romania was not a product of the people, but of the leaders and the so-called intellectual elite.17 As the narrative explains throughout, Butnaru puts much blame upon professors such as NaeIonescu and A.C. Cuza who taught their anti-Semitic lessons I. C. Butnaru, The Silent Holocaust: Romania and Its Jews (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1992). P. 37. 17 Ibid p. xix.
16 to the youths at their universities, spreading Iron Guardist ideas. To Butnaru, it is the teachings of these professors, which create the flame of political anti-Semitism. Butnaru does not give too much about Antonescu, and rather concerns his work with the actions and ideas of the Iron Guard; the Romanian army, of which there were many Iron Guardists ; and members of Antonescu s cabinet, such as MihaiAntonescu. Within his preface however, Butnaru refers to Antonescu as a fascist dictator , and brings up Antonescu s collaboration with the Iron Guard, and Antonescu s involvement with the Iasi pogrom and the deportations of Transnistria. Butnaru places Antonescu directly within the Bucharest pogrom of 1941, also known as the Legionary Revolution, stating that Antonescu knew about the Legionary revolt when it began, but did not try to stop the pogrom. Antonescu had called Hitler to see what actions he was to take. Hitler advised him to stop the revolt immediately, but Antonescu, needing the revolt to secure his authority, waited for three days before sending in the army to quell the rebellion.18 From this view of Antonescu, we see a leader who does not care for the concern of the Jews, but rather is concerned with his control of Romania. This idea is upheld through the writings of Mihail Sebastian, giving the view of Antonescu as an opportunist seizing power through the abdication of the throne, and a waffling antiSemite. This view of Antonescu changes slightly with the revisionist histories.
Hitler s Forgotten Ally by Dennis Deletant I. C. Butnaru, The Silent Holocaust: Romania and Its Jews (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1992). Pgs. 82-83.
Deletant gives the most recent revisionist view of Antonescu s regime and focuses more upon Antonescu s relationship with Hitler, and how it does not define Antonescu s regime. Within his introduction, Deletant states that he is concerned with the labeling of Antonescu s regime as fascist , based around the fact that Hitler s regime was considered fascist . Going against this labeling, Deletant states that Antonescu led the fascist Legionary state for five months before the Legionary Revolution ended in January of 1941. After this moment in history, Antonescu led a dictatorship, which according to Deletant was not necessarily fascist . Deletant also focuses on Romania s joining of the Axis powers as an inevitability, claiming that in order to keep Russia out of Romania, Antonescu had to join Hitler s Axis powers. When concerning Antonescu with the Holocaust in Romania, Deletant gives a balanced view of Antonescu s regime. He acknowledges that Antonescu s regime was responsible for the deaths of between 250,000 and 290,000 Jews, but also gives credit to the 375,000 Jews saved from the death camps of Poland.19Deletant explains that this was due to Antonescu s wish to retain Romania s sovereignty in the affair. Whatever the reason, it is true that Antonescudid not go along with the Nazi party s Final Solution , but still wished to rid Romania of its internal enemy, the Jews . Deletant gives a further revisionist view of Antonescu within his book. Antonescuis seen as a rationally concerned leader within the state, whether he is an anti-Semite or not. In one major statement, Antonescu stated at a meeting
Dennis Deletant, Hitler's Forgotten Ally: Ion Antonescu and His Regime, Romania 1940-1944 (New York, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). P. 2.
18 If we remove the Jews, this enormous void is created in the Romanian economy, which produce a general, irreparable catastrophe for our state and its recovery will be impossible.20 Rather than deporting all of the Jews right away, Antonescu realizes the importance of the Jewish population to the economy. However, since the Jews were the greatest minority of Romania, this perhaps gives breadth to the stereotype of the rich Jew, a common stereotype allowing Romanians to state that economic downturns were the result of Jewish thieves. As for Antonescu s contribution to anti-Semitism, Deletant gives us the view that Antonescu was not inheritantly anti-Semitic himself, but rather adopted antiSemitism, which had become political policy during his rise to power. Antonescu does have a history of aiding Jews, while it is incongruent since he was the dictator to persecute them. With Antonescu s concern of the death trains , Antonescu explained them to be humanitarian stating
It is a military principle: along the front and in the proximity to it the civilian population must be moved. It was a measure taken for the political security of the state, a question of military scrutiny and of military operations and even a matter of saving their lives. Mr President, had I left them [the Jews] there where they were, not one of them would be alive today.21
Ibid. p. 107. Ibid. p. 132.
19 The irony of this statement is that if he had not moved them, they would have survived. Instead, out of several thousand, only 824 Jews survived the death trains , being tried and found innocent of crimes against the state.22 The revisionist view of Ion Antonescu s regime by Deletant sheds some positive light upon where Antonescu lies in Holocaust history. The work does not extinguishAntonescu s involvement in the Holocaust. Rather, it shows some ways I which Antonescu rationally considered Jews to be human beings, while still adhering to some of the Nazi ideals, albeit loosely. For example, Deletant brings up the legislation in which the Jews of Romania had to wear a distinctive mark, i.e. the Star of David. However, after Dr. Wilhelm Filderman, referred playfully as the Jew s Fuhrer, spoke with Antonescu to prohibit the distinctive mark, Antonescu cancelled the distinctive mark, with the exception of Transnitria.23 This exception is no doubt allied with Antonescu s feelings of anti-Communism along with anti-Semitism, considering Transnistria bordered Communist territory. Anti-Semitism continues to be a problem for many places affected by the Holocaust. With a place Romania, some historians have issues with the geography of Romania, since sections of the country were annexed. This changes many scholars view of a Romanian Jew. However, the thing to look at is who killed those Jews, not so much, where the Jews had died. The Romanians began their country s Holocaust based upon an ever-changing idea, this sense of Romanianism . This sense shows us the dangers of things like nationalism and xenophobia. With my own studies, I I. C. Butnaru, The Silent Holocaust: Romania and Its Jews (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1992). P. 98. 23 Dennis Deletant, Hitler's Forgotten Ally: Ion Antonescu and His Regime, Romania 1940-1944 (New York, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). p. 114.
20 found that Romania had experienced three types of anti-Semitisms, based around the three nationalists that created them: A.C. Cuza, CorneliuCodreanu, and NicolaeIorga. All of these different types of anti-Semitism affected the Jewish population of Romania differently, as the definition of Jew changed as well. This allowed the ambivalent nature of anti-Semitism to remain within Romania. Unfortunately, this same ambivalent nature allows Romanian anti-Semitism to survive in today s age. As historians of Romania s involvement in the Holocaust take up historiography, issues arise from the chance of exonerating me who allowed the deaths of thousands of Jews. Whether these men can be exonerated is questionable. The deaths and memories of the Jews of Romania are unquestionable.
Braham, Randolph L., ed. The Tragedy of Romanian Jewry. New York, New York: Columbia University Press, 1994. Butnaru, I. C. The Silent Holocaust: Romania and Its Jews. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1992. Deletant, Dennis. Hitler's Forgotten Ally: Ion Antonescu and His Regime, Romania 1940-1944. New York, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Ioanid, Radu. "Nicolae Iorga and Fascism." Journal of Contemporary History 27, no. 3 (July 1992): 467-492. Ioanid, Radu. "The Holocaust in Romania: The Iasi Pogrom of June 1941." Contemporary European History (Cambridge University Press) 2 (July 1993): 119148. Sebastian, Mihail. Journal: 1935-1944. Chicago, Illinois: Ivan R. Dee, 2000. Weber, Eugen. "The Men of the Archangel." Journal of Contemporary History 1, no. 1 (1966): 101-126. Yavetz, Zvi. "An Eyewitness Note: Reflections on the Rumanian Iron Guard." Journal of Contemporary History (Sage Publications, Ltd.) 26 (September 1991): 597-610.