The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism

Holocaust institute opposes journalist on TV board

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Romania’s
Holocaust institute on Wednesday protested the appointment of a well-known
journalist to the board of the country’s public television station, saying the
move is disrespectful to the victims of the Holocaust. 

 

The
Elie Wiesel Institute for the Study of the Holocaust said that Oana
Stanciulescu is unsuitable for the position due to her criticism of a recent
law that punishes Holocaust denial or the promotion of the fascist
Legionnaires’ Movement with prison sentences of up to three years.

 

Her
place on the 13-member board, approved by Parliament Tuesday, has generated
strong reactions in a reflection of the difficulty Romanians have had in coming
to terms with their history in the quarter-century since communism ended.

 

In
a reflection of that turmoil, the party that represents the interests of ethnic
Hungarians walked out of Parliament ahead of Tuesday’s vote, and the head of
the Jewish community, Aurel Vainer, also protested.

 

Romania
only began to commemorate the Holocaust in 2004 and some Romanians still doubt
the Nazi-allied government’s responsibility and the extent of atrocities that
happened on Romanian territory.

 

During
World War II, about 280,000 Jews and 11,000 Roma, or Gypsies, were killed in
Romania and areas it controlled as an ally of Nazi Germany. Holocaust denial
refers to refuting Romania’s role in exterminating Jews and Roma between 1940
and 1944.

 

The
legislation, which came into effect in 2015, also bans fascist, racist or
xenophobic organizations and symbols, and promoting people guilty of crimes
against humanity.

 

It’s
only in the past couple of years that Romania has begun to prosecute the former
prison commanders who ran lockups for political prisoners who had fallen foul
of the communist regime, a cause that Stanciulescu champions.

 

Stanciulescu’s
supporters respect her anti-communist views and her outspokenness on political
issues.