Romania’s anti-Semitism czar on Friday filed a complaint with the police and prosecutors after a Romanian church commemorated Nazi-allied war criminal Marshal Ion Antonescu.
Former military officers, priests and others took part in the June 2 service which makes 75 years since his execution. It was held in the Saint Parascheva Church in the northeast Vasului region.
Parts of the service were broadcast on a local television station.
Anti-Semitism czar Alexandru Muraru called the ceremonial service „illegal.” He said he had notified the interior ministry and the General Prosecutor’s office with a view to pursuing charges.
„I watched the reportage with (a mixture of) surprise and disgust,” he said in a statement.
„Ion Antonescu was convicted of war crimes of a size that were unheard of in Romanian history.”
„The religious ceremony contained a series of speeches. Most of them were eulogies of a person who was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity. (They were crimes) he committed against hundreds of thousands of civilians,” the statement said.
Ion Antonescu was sentenced to death on June 1, 1946 at the end of World War II for war crimes and treason among other crimes.
Under his rule, hundreds of thousands of Romanian and Ukrainian Jews living in areas controlled by Bucharest were killed.
„We consider that the (service) which took place in a public venue grossly violated existing laws,” he said.
„Members of the clergy, retired officers, glorified a war criminal…..a character who in the 1940s initiated the extermination of the Jewish people.”
„I draw attention to what happened in a church. It is an attempt to rehabilitate a war criminal.”
Mr Muraru told Radio Free Europe in May that it was concerning that many Romanians don’t know how deeply implicated their country was in Nazi-era genocide.
Elie Wiesel Institute
Romania has at least 17 places in the country with streets, busts, or institutions named after war criminals. They include Marshal Antonescu, according to the Elie Wiesel Institute for the Study of the Holocaust.
The streets and busts exist despite a 2002 law making it illegal to honor war criminals or people connected to the country’s fascist regime during World War II.
Mr Muraru was appointed to the newly created post of special representative for promoting the policies of memory, combating anti-Semitism and xenophobia in January.