Romanian nationalist party faces criminal probe over Holocaust denial

Foto: Inquam Photos / Sabin Cirstoveanu

Romania’s general prosecutor’s office on Monday said it was investigating a nationalist party on suspicion of downplaying the Holocaust which is a criminal offense in Romania.

The office said a legal complaint had been filed on Jan. 6  referring to a statement  from the party in which the contents “obviously minimalized in public the Holocaust and its effects.”

On Jan. 3, the party known by its acronym AUR called for the Holocaust to be taught within other classes and not as a subject in itself, despite a recent law which makes study of the slaughter of Jews and Roma on Romanian soil compulsory learning in schools.

The party claimed that teaching Romanian school-age students about the thousands of Jews and Roma who died under Romania’s Nazi-allied government was “a systematic action to undermine the quality of Romanian education.”

There is widespread ignorance in Romania about the Holocaust and Romania’s role in the atrocities which is why Holocaust study has become part of the school curriculum.

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.

Alexandru Muraru, the government adviser on anti-Semitism issues, who often criticizes the party and called for it to be outlawed said it “persists in denying and relativizing the Holocaust,” which is illegal.

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