Germany recognizes Bucharest as ‘open ghetto’ during Holocaust

Sursa foto: Jerusalem Post

More than 3,000 Holocaust survivors from the Romanian capital are set to receive some 42,000-56,000 euros compensation each, totaling up to 125 to 170 million euros, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Open ghetto

The German government on Saturday recognized t Bucharest as an „open ghetto,” during World War II, the Israeli Social Equality Ministry announced.

In addition, some 2,000 widows and widowers of Romanian-born Holocaust survivors could be eligible for compensation from the German government.

A delegation of Social Equality and Foreign Ministries officials, headed by Israel’s Social Equality and Pensions Minister Meirav Cohen, led the negotiations with Germany’s Finance Ministry over the recognition of Bucharest as an „open ghetto.”

Holocaust survivors

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid congratulated Social Equality and Pensions Minister Meirav Cohen for the achievement, also thanking the German government for its „commitment to Holocaust survivors.”

„It is our moral duty to stand by Holocaust survivors and their families and care for their quality of life,” the minister added.

In January 1941, there were some 100,000 Jews in Bucharest.  During the war years, Jewish refugees from surrounding cities continued to pour into Bucharest, believing it to be safer there.

Iron Guard

But the city was also the center of the nationalist Iron Guard, whose members were known as „Legionnaires.” Jews were terrorized, attacked in the streets, communal areas and parks.

On 21 January 1941, the Iron Guard rebelled against  the Antonescu government. Jews were seized from the synagogues and the streets, loaded on trucks, and murdered in different locations around Bucharest.

During the terror, there was a rampage against Jewish homes and businesses, with looting, raping and destroying. Some 127 died in the three-day killing spree, Yad Vashem said.

Elie Wiesel

The Elie Wiesel International Committee for the Study of the Holocaust published a report in 2004 saying that Romanian authorities were responsible for the deaths of 280,000 to 380,000 Jews and 11,000 Roma from 1940 to 1944 during World War II.

Some  135,000 Jews living under Hungarian control in northern Transylvania were also killed in the Holocaust.

Most surviving Jews emigrated to Israel under communism. There are about 3,000 Jews in Romania today.

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