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”Elie Wiesel” Institute`s Journal:
Holocaust. Studii şi cercetări, vol. XI, issue 1(12), 2019

Title:  Holocaust. Studii şi cercetări, vol. XI, no. 1(12)/ 2019
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List of Authors

*No more than two thirds of the authors published in the journal are from the same institution.

Alin Constantin is a PhD student in History at Stanford University, specializing in the history of the Jews in 20th-century East-Central Europe. E-mail:

Ana Bărbulescu, PhD in sociology, is a researcher at the INSHR- EW, and an associate professor at the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Department of Jewish Studies. She has published numerous studies in the fields of antisemitism, nationalism, xenophobia, negationism. She is the author of Evreul înainte si după Cristos (Curtea Veche Publishing, 2016) and co-editor, together with Alexandru Florian, of Munca forţată a evreilor din România (Polirom, 2013). E-mail:

Caterina Preda, PhD, is assistant professor at the Department of Political Science of the University of Bucharest, where she teaches undergraduate courses on Latin American politics, Art and politics, and a graduate course on Cultural memory in South America and Eastern Europe. Her research is interdisciplinary and deals with art in dictatorships, artistic memory in post-dictatorships in South America and Eastern Europe (Chile and Romania), cultural memory, post-communism, and Latin-American studies, the visual representation of the Roma. Her most recent book compares the relationship between art and politics during the dictatorships in Chile and Romania and was published by Palgrave in 2017. Her most recent research projects dealt with the case of the Romanian Visual Artists Union (UAP), the project “Transregional Remembrance of Dictatorships: Restoring Human Dignity through Artistic Practices in South America and Eastern Europe” (2018-2020), and the visual representation of the Roma (; E-mail:

Mihai Lukács is a theatre director, artist, and researcher based in Bucharest. He directed the performance Kali Tras (The Black Fear) at the Jewish State Theatre in Bucharest (2018) about the Roma genocide in Transnistria, based on the writings of Roma Holocaust survivors. E-mail:

Marius Cazan is a researcher at the “Elie Wiesel” National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania. He has received a BA from the University of Bucharest, Department of History in 2009 and an MA from the same institution in 2011. His research areas of interest are the Holocaust in Romania, Romanian communism, urban history, the history of Romanian higher education, the history of everyday life during communism. E-mail:

Nicolae Drăguşin, holder of a PhD in Philosophy (2013, Romanian Academy). MA in Human Rights and Democratization (2008, University Ca’Foscari of Venice and University of Uppsala). BA in Political Science (2008, University of Bucharest) and Law (2017, University Nicolae Titulescu of Bucharest). Postdoctoral Fellowship (University of Bucharest). Assistant and Lecturer at the Christian University Dimitrie Cantemir of Bucharest – Communication and Public Relations Department (2010 – present). Researcher at the „Elie Wiesel” National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania (2017 – present). E-mail:

Petre Matei is a historian and researcher at the “Elie Wiesel” National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania. He obtained his PhD in History at the University of Bucharest with a thesis on the 20th century history of the Roma in Romania, and received a Tziporah Wiesel Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the USHMM (2012) with a project on the role of the police in the deportation of Roma to Transnistria. Since 2014 he has coordinated the project “Roma Survivors of the Deportations to Transnistria”, and has conducted numerous interviews with Roma survivors. E mail:



The paper starts from the following question: How can the problem of conversion be analysed in legal terms? Hence, on the background of the Jews’ conversion to Christianity
during the Romanian Holocaust, the present paper focuses only on the legal situation. It argues that conversion represents a personal liberty protected by the human right to freedom of conscience. As long as this assertion is demonstrated, it follows that the state should respect this human right in its legislative activity and, correspondingly, the subjects ought to have the moral duty to disobey the legislation, whenever it violates the human right to freedom of conscience. The present paper analyses Decree-law no. 711 of 18 March 1941, that amended Law no. 54 of 22 April 1928, regarding the cults. That was the Decree-law responsible for banning the conversion of the Jews to other religious cults. The reason behind this amendment was stated by General Radu Rosetti, the Minister of Cults in Ion Antonescu’s government: “The ethnicity of our nation must be preserved from mixing up with Jewish blood. Nowadays, the Jews have the possibility to hide their ethnical origin by moving from the Mosaic cult to our national religions.”

Keywords: Holocaust, conversion, Christianism, human rights, antisemitism


The experiences the Roma underwent during World War II were not only complex, but also as diverse as can be. In order to fully grasp this complexity, one must understand the legislative framework, bureaucratic practices, their impact on the Roma, as well as the ways in which the Roma themselves tried to cope with these measures. Oftentimes, the criteria to identify the “undesirable” Roma were very vague and subjective, leaving a lot of leeway to the local authorities and allowing them to act outside a controllable legal framework. The same formal criteria used by the authorities to deport the Roma were later used by the Roma to prove that their deportations were abusive and that the deportees deserved to be repatriated. Interestingly, those who had the best chances of survival were not, in fact, those who only used the legal measures available to them, but rather those who fled Transnistria illegally. Once they arrived back home, they could use the loopholes of a complicated legal and bureaucratic system to get help and, eventually, to save themselves.

Keywords: Roma deportations, categorization, survival strategies, resilience, petitions.


At the beginning of Operation ‘Barbarossa’, the 6th ‘Vânători’ (Huntsmen) Regiment was stationed near the Prut River, waiting for orders from the 14th Infantry Division to cross it into Bessarabia through the Sculeni border point. This article studies the involvement of soldiers belonging to that regiment in the earliest actions aimed at exterminating the Jews during the summer campaign of 1941. The study has two parts. In part one, I present the manner in which the withdrawal from Bessarabia, in 1940, was perceived by members of the regiment. At the same time, I present the ways in which the hatred against the Jews was fueled, through orders and intelligence reports sent by the higher echelons of the military to the members of the regiment. The last pages in the first part of the study about this unit of the Romanian Army aims at reconstructing the soldiers’ involvement in the extermination of the Sculeni Jews in the early days of the war. The other massacres in which soldiers of the 6th ‘Vânători’ Regiment were involved are focused on in the latter part of this project.

Keywords: Sculeni; Stânca-Roznovanu; mass graves; Holocaust; mass execution; Jews.


The paper approaches the topic of Transnistrian ghettos from a micro-historical perspective, reconfiguring the story of Djurin, in the Mogilev district, one of the ghettos administered by the Romanian authorities. The perspective is both historical, and sociological, with an emphasis on Bourdieu’s theorization of the field and capitals. Official documents and oral sources will be both considered.

Keywords: Djurin ghetto, Transnistria, field, social capital, cultural capital.


Although the Roma Holocaust in Romania has been documented, and there is an official policy to recall this historical fact, its memory is marginal in contemporary Romanian society. This article analyzes four recent examples of art of memorialization of the Roma Holocaust in Romania and argues these artistic forms of memory play an important role in the building of a more comprehensive public memory of the Porrajmos. The analysis uses an interdisciplinary approach, which combines theoretical resources that belong to the study of cultural memory with a focus on artistic memory, and the analysis of the relationship between art, politics, and memory. The examples of artistic memorialization have two aims: to render visible the historical trauma through the use of testimonies of the survivors and to provide further documentary sources of this historical trauma.

Keywords: Roma Holocaust, Porrajmos, artistic memorialization, memory.


This paper addresses the debates concerning Mircea Vulcănescu’s legacy in present-day Romanian public life. An important intellectual from the interwar period who wrote on a variety of topics ranging from theology to philosophy, Vulcănescu became a member of Ion Antonescu’s Cabinet and was directly involved in the economic spoliation of the Romanian Jewry during the Holocaust. Condemned for his actions in the postwar period, Vulcănescu was sentenced to prison and died before carrying out his sentence, as a result of improper living conditions. After 1989, Vulcănescu’s supporters have portrayed him as a martyr whose death was symbolic of the destruction of Romanian culture by communism. Notwithstanding his tragic death, the article argues that his conviction was in line with those pronounced by the international war-crimes tribunals. Looking at the attempts to obfuscate the true cause of the trial and Vulcănescu’s involvement in the Antonescu regime, the study shows that they impede the coming to terms with the past. Resistance to engaging with the memory of the Holocaust in Romania is shown to come from nationalistic and conservative public figures, intellectuals and officials in the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Keywords: Memory, Holocaust, anti-Semitism, communism, nationalism.


In the late 1940s, the Jewish theatre initiated the so-called performative reflection on the Holocaust in Romania, at a time when this art form simply did not exist internationally. This was possible due to the specific situation of the Yiddish theatre in Romania, including the large Jewish audiences which were familiar with progressive plays referring to actual issues of the Jewish community. Beginning with the IKUF Theatre, under the management and directorship of Iacob Mansdorf, in 1945, the Yiddish theatre displayed the devastating results of the Holocaust upon the Jewish communities and tried to provide an artistic formula so as to respond to the political necessity of condemning fascism, in anticipation of a world in which anti-Semitic atrocities were no longer possible. One such plays was Night Shift (the first performance staged by the newly established State Jewish Theatre in 1948). Following the tradition of Abraham Goldfaden’s theatre from the end of the 19th century, the Holocaust theatre made use of various aesthetic and narrative, innovative forms, from Stanislavski’s realism to Brecht’s techniques, but all this faded away in the late 1950s.

Keywords: Theatre, IKUF, drama, State Jewish Theatre, Mansdorf.

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