Nazi-allied leader Marshal Ion Antonescu was ‘patriot, dictator, responsible for murder of Jews and Roma,’ survey finds


Romanians are conflicted about Nazi-allied wartime leader Marshal Ion Antonescu, a survey shows.


Some 59% consider him to be a ‘great patriot,’ but many said he was responsible for the deaths of Jews and Roma.

Antonescu led Romania during World War II from 1940 to 1944 when it was allied with Nazi Germany. He was executed for war crimes in 1946.

The Elie Wiesel Institute for the Study of the Holocaust found 53% of respondents considered him a great strategist and 46% admired him for his anti-communist credentials, the survey found.

However, 41% were opposed to him being rehabilitated, the study found.

Not everyone  interviewed was in favor of the military leader who was allied to Adolf Hitler.


Half of the respondents said he was a dictator, 50% said he was responsible for the murder of Roma and 46% said he was responsible for crimes against Jews.

Opinions were split over whether he was a war criminal. Thirty-six percent said he was and 38% disagreed.

Public opinion is also divided on who bears the greatest responsibility for the Holocaust in Romania.

Some 31% said Marshal Antonescu bears the blame, while 53% point the finger at Nazi Germany.


Apart from Antonescu, the Legionnaires were considered responsible for the Holocaust as was some of the press, the police and the army.

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.

Jews were either killed in Bucharest and Iasi, deported on trains to Trans-Dniester or sent to their deaths on trains within Romania.

Others were left to die of hunger, cold and disease. Most Jews and Roma died in 1941 and 1942 and Antonescu acted without the urging of Nazi Germany.


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