Romania’s new anti-Semitism czar has called on authorities to prosecute a member of a new far-right party who said 35 Romanian intellectuals deserved to be executed for „‘treason.”
Cezar Victor Nastase published a list of so-called “traitors’” who “sold Romanian assets to foreigners.” Historians, intellectuals, diplomats, journalists and others figured on the list which was published on social media in February, but only came to light in recent days. Mr Nastase said his list was „short and incomplete.”
In his post, he said the people he’d picked out should face the death penalty if it were ever reintroduced. Romania abolished capital punishment after the execution of Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena during the anti-communist revolution.
Mr Nastase claimed the people on his list had facilitated „great corruption” which „impoverished and humiliated the Romanian people.”
There didn’t appear to be any politicians who had previously been involved in privatization deals on the list which seemed to be a threat against public figures who have expressed alarm about the rise of the nationalist party, rather than based on anything concrete.
Mr Nastase is a member of AUR, a far-right party formed in 2019 that came fourth in December 2020 parliamentary elections. The party is known for its nationalist line. Its also opposes mandatory masks during the pandemic and Covid vaccines.
AUR has not commented on the incident. Few personal details were available about Mr Nastase on his Facebook and Twitter accounts. His Twitter account shows him as a supporter of Donald Trump, the former U.S. president.
But Alexandru Muraru, the government special envoy for fighting anti-Semitism , Xenophobia and Promoting the Memory of the Holocaust called it “the latest case of extremist speech in the public arena.”
“This is a threat to the rights and freedoms won in the last 30 years,” he said in a statement on Sunday.
“In moments of crisis, like World War II for example, it wasn’t the peaceful majority that made a difference but the fanatic groups which promoted hate and intolerance,” the Liberal Party lawmaker said.
Elie Wiesel Committee
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.
In 2004, a commission of international Holocaust experts concluded that “Romania bears responsibility for the deaths of more Jews than any country except Germany itself.
Mr Muraru said that it was “ hard to fight fanaticism because it come from an almost mystical hatred. But it’s important to publicly condemn extremist positions… and for there to be moral (red) lines.”
“Romania has made progress fighting xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and other forms of extremism in recent years through laws and institutions,” he said.
He added that authorities should tackle, discourage and swiftly investigate those that promote hate speech and other forms of discrimination and extremism.
Mr Muraru who appointed to the post of anti-Semitism czar in January advises the prime minister on developing policies to fight anti-Semitism, extremism and hate speech.