Romanian actress Maia Morgenstern says she was shocked when someone addressed her using a pejorative term for Jews during an official meeting this week.
The 58-year-old actress said during a meeting of theater directors and local officials that an unnamed person turned to her and said: “Let’s do that, Jid….” using a racial slur.
The popular actress said in a post on Facebook on Thursday that she was stunned by the remark and didn’t immediately react. She didn’t name the person who uttered the slur, and said that the person later claimed it was merely a joke.
„I froze. What did you say? The response which came immediately was relaxed. ‘Hey, don’t get upset. I said it as a joke. „No, I can’t not get upset! Not when it’s said by people who work in the field of culture. Not when it’s said in an official meeting. And nobody seemed bothered by it,” she wrote.
Romanian director director Victor Ioan Frunza called it „an unacceptable racist remark,” while actor Manius Manole said he had no tolerance „for any form of racism.”
Actress Oana Pellea said that „any racist attitude, any racist insult….. is unacceptable and should be condemned.”
Ms Morgenstern is known both for her outstanding work in theater and film, and is perhaps the most renowned actress in Romania.
Her parents were Holocaust survivors and her grandfather died in the Auschwitz death camp.
Under the pro-Nazi rule of Marshal Ion Antonescu, 120,000 Jews were deported from Romania to Trans-Dniester in the Soviet Union.
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.
Romania’s culpability during the Holocaust is a delicate issue in some quarters. There is latent anti-Semitism in Romania even if people sometimes refrain from expressing their views publicly.
Ms Morgenstern played Mary in Mel Gibson’s 2004 passion-stirring biblical epic “The Passion of the Christ.”
She defended the movie against criticism that it would fuel anti-Semitism.