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”Elie Wiesel” Institute`s Journal:
Holocaust. Studii şi cercetări, vol. XIII, issue 1(14), 2021

Title:  Holocaust. Studii şi cercetări, vol. XIII, no. 1(14)/ 2021
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List of Authors

Prof. Dr. Drs. h.c. Armin Heinen from the RWTH Aachen University. He studied history, political science, and maths in Frankfurt. Doctorate on the “Archangel Michael” Legion in Romania. Habilitation at the University of Saarbrücken with a study on the history of the Saarland as the third German state, 1945 to 1955. Following a guest professorship in Würzburg, Professor of Modern and Contemporary History in Aachen since 1998. Together with Victor Neumann, he established the „Reinhart Koselleck“ Graduate School in Timișoara. 2018 emeritus.
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Dr. Roland Clark is a Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Liverpool, a Senior Fellow with the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right, and the Principal Investigator of an AHRC-funded project on European Fascist Movements. He is the author of Holy Legionary Youth: Fascist Activism in Interwar Romania (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2015), Sectarianism and Renewal in 1920s Romania: The Limits of Orthodoxy and Nation-Building (Bloomsbury, 2021), and numerous journal articles and book chapters.

Dennis Deletant, OBE – Emeritus Professor, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College, London. Visiting Ion Rațiu Professor of Romanian Studies, Georgetown University, Washington D.C. (2011-2020). Author / co-author of: Attempting the Impossible: Iuliu Maniu, the British, and Romania’s Predicament During the War, 1940-1944 (Cluj-Napoca: Argonaut, 2019 – co-author with Attila Varga and George Cipăianu); Acțiuni britanice clandestine în timpul celui de-al Doilea Război Mondial (Bucharest: Humanitas, 2019); Romania under Communism: Paradox and Degeneration (Abingdon, UK / New York: Routledge, 2019; also e-book); as editor with Nicolae Mărgineanu, Witnessing Romania’s Century of Turmoil: Memoirs of a Political Prisoner (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2017); British Clandestine Activities in Romania during the Second World War (London: Palgrave, 2016); Ceaușescu and the Securitate: Coercion and Dissent in Romania, 1956-89 (New York: Taylor & Francis, 2016 – e-book).

Karel Berkhoff is the co-director of the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) and a historian of Eastern Europe (especially the Ukraine and the Soviet Union) and the Holocaust (particularly in Kyiv). He is a senior researcher at the NIOD Holocaust at the Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam and has published the monographs: Harvest of Despair: Life and Death in Ukraine under Nazi Rule and Motherland in Danger: Soviet Propaganda During World War II.

Paul A. Shapiro, Director of International Affairs, Director Emeritus, Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Daniel-Valeriu Boboc has been a researcher at the “Elie Wiesel” National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania since 2019. BA in History (1998) and Political Sciences (2002) at the “Al.I. Cuza” University in Iași. MA (1999) and Ph.D. (2012) in Contemporary History at the “Al.I. Cuza” University in Iași. His Ph.D. topic was “Universal Vote and Political Culture in Interwar Romania”. He has published articles in scientific reviews. His research areas of interest are the politics between the two World Wars, Romania in international relationships, the Holocaust in Romania, and the history of communism.

Michael Shafir is Emeritus Professor at the Institute for Doctoral Studies, School of International Relations and Strategic Studies, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1981. He taught Political Science at the University of Tel Aviv and was Chair of International Relations at the Faculty of European Studies, Babes-Bolyai University, till 2012. He was director of foreign news at Kol Israel, deputy director of Radio Free Europe’s Audience and Public Opinion Research, as well as chief of the Romanian Research Unit at Radio Free Europe Research Institute in Munich, Germany. Between 1995 and 2005, Shafir lived in Prague, his last position being that of European Affairs Coordinator at Radio Free-Europe/ Radio Liberty and editor of East European Perspectives, a journal published by RFE/RL and distributed on the Internet. Michael Shafir is the author of Romania: Politics, Economics, and Society. Political Stagnation and Simulated Change (London: Frances Pinter, 1985, translated into Romanian in 2020 as România comunistă, 1948-1985. O analiză politică, economică și socială [Bucharest. Meteor Press, 2020]); Between Negation and Comparative Trivialization: Holocaust Denial in Post-Communist East-Central Europe (Iași: Polirom, 2002), and X-Rays and Other Phobia (Iași, Institutul European, 2010). He has published over 350 articles on communist and post-communist affairs in American, Austrian, British, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Israeli, Romanian, Slovak, and Swiss journals, and has contributed chapters to books published in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the UK, and the USA. Shafir was chief of the Romanian delegation at the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance between 2005 and 2014.

Dr. Zoltán Tibori-Szabó is a professor at the College of Political, Administrative, and Communication Sciences of the Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca and founding director of the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies of the same university.

Nicolae Drăgușin is a researcher at the “Elie Wiesel” National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania and a lecturer at the “Dimitrie Cantemir” Christian University in Bucharest. He holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy (2013, Romanian Academy) and is a Ph.D. student in Political Science (2020-present, University of Bucharest). He holds a Master’s degree in Human Rights and Democratization (2008, European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights from Venice) and one in Religious Studies – Texts and Traditions (2014, University of Bucharest). He is a BA in Political Science (2008, University of Bucharest), Orthodox Theology (2012, University of Bucharest), and Law (2017, “Nicolae Titulescu” University from Bucharest). He has published scientific studies and review articles in Holocaust. Studii și cercetări, Studii teologice, Sfera politicii, Revista Polis, Revista de Filosofie, Mediterranean Journal of Human Rights. He is an “Andrei Scrima” Fellow of the Institut für Ökumenische Forschung in Hermanstadt (“Lucian Blaga” University from Sibiu).

Petre Matei is a researcher at the “Elie Wiesel” National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania. He holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Bucharest, with a thesis on the history of Roma in Romania. He held a DAAD scholarship in 2006 and a Tziporah-Wiesel fellowship at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in 2012. He is the author of articles on the history of the Roma, a member of several research projects, and a project coordinator of the Roma survivors of Deportations to Transnistria project. With Vintilă Mihăilescu, he co-edited Condiția romă. Schimbarea discursului (The Roma Condition. Changing Discourse – Iași 2014) and Roma. Der Diskurswandel (Vienna, 2020). His research interests focus on Roma history, the Holocaust, compensation, and memory. Between January and July 2021, he was a research fellow at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies, with the project “Roma Deportations to Transnistria during the Second World War. Between Central Decision-Making and Local Initiatives”.

Daniel Buti is a lecturer at the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA) in Bucharest. He has a Ph.D. in Political Sciences and is the author and a co-author of several books and scientific articles regarding the post-communist Romanian political system. His research interests include: comparative politics, party politics, democracy, and public participation.

Adrian Constantin is a Ph.D. student at the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA) in Bucharest. He is working on his Ph.D. in Communication Sciences, and he participated in studies conducted by the Center for Civic Participation (SNSPA). His research interests include: political communication, Russian propaganda in Eastern Europe, public participation.

Ana Bărbulescu, Ph.D. – senior researcher and head of the research department at the “Elie Wiesel” National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania. Associate professor at the University of Bucharest, Department of Jewish Studies. Research interests: the social history of the Transnistria ghettos; forced labor of the Romanian Jews; anti-Semitism in interwar Romania; Holocaust public memory in post-communist Romania.

Corneliu Pintilescu is a researcher at the “George Barițiu” History Institute of the Romanian Academy (in Cluj-Napoca). He has a Ph.D. in History at the Babeş-Bolyai University, having authored two books and over forty articles and studies published in various peer-review journals and collective works. His research interests include: state coercion and dissent in communist Romania; the Romanian state’s nationalities policy during the post-war period, with a focus on the case of the Romanian Germans; the state of siege in interwar Romania.



What are the obstacles historical research on antisemitism in interwar Romania has to face? Two different narratives shape the memories of contemporary witnesses: On the one hand, Romania was a land of active, even violent antisemitism. On the other hand, Romanian antisemitism is described as a short-term upsurge in the context of peaceful coexistence. How can these different assessments be explained and brought together? every research overview needs guiding standards. For the purposes of this essay, the assertions of theories of antisemitism will be asked. How is antisemitism defined? What were its causes? What were the different types of antisemitism? As a result, a thoroughly differentiated picture emerges. research on Romanian history after 1989 has filled many gaps. This above all applies to the ideology of antisemitism, but also to broad areas of political antisemitism. Religious-institutional antisemitism has been well studied, with a focus on ecclesiastical publications. In addition, there are fields of research for which initial results are available (e.g. physical violence). Finally, there are whole areas for which studies 11 are still pending, especially on the regional, social, and cultural history of antisemitism. We cannot yet conjoin the two mentioned narratives on Romanian antisemitism in the interwar period. But it should be clear which research steps are to be followed.



Nineteenth – and twentieth-century Romanian public discourse was obsessed with the question of Romania’s place in Europe. Whereas some elements of Romanian culture might have reflected European forms without their substance (forme fără fond), between roughly 1880 and 1944, political antisemitism had both form and substance. Romanian antisemites were at the forefront of developments within European antisemitism and saw it as a way of demonstrating their Europeanness. Anti-Jewish rhetoric, laws, and violence during this period should thus be discussed as part of a broad transnational story of political antisemitism and not in terms of Romanian exceptionalism. This article situates the origins of antisemitic political organizing in Romania alongside similar developments in Austria, Germany, and France, showing that the Romanian antisemites were well connected with prominent antisemites abroad. Just as antisemitism entered urban politics during this period, it also shaped rural violence, which was provoked by the sort of propaganda and rumor-mongering seen in the Russian pogroms of 1881 and the Kishinev pogrom of 1903. In 1922, Romanian students protested to limit the number of Jews enrolled at universities, as did nationalist students in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, and elsewhere. Romanians corresponded with antisemitic students abroad and employed the same language, repertoires, and frames that were popular elsewhere in Europe. antisemitism shaped the way that Romanian fascists, from the Romanian national Fascists to A.C. Cuza, Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, Ion Moţa, and Nichifor Crainic, related to fascist movements abroad during the interwar period. Publicists such as Georg de Pottere and Ulrich Fleischhauser drew Romanians into pan-European antisemitic networks, and antisemitism sabotaged Eugenio Coselschi’s attempts to persuade the legion of the archangel Michael to ally itself with Fascist Italy. legionaries did find common ground with young antisemites in Poland, and their struggle against “Masonic Marxism” helped unite them with other fascists fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Ultimately, the Romanians` aspirations to become equals with European antisemites were dashed during the Second World War, as Nazi advisors dictated the shape, if not the scale, of the Holocaust in Romania.

Keywords: antisemitism; Romania; transnationalism; A.C. Cuza; Corneliu Z. Codreanu


Antisemitism was widespread and respectable amongst most Romanians in interwar Romania. This paper chronicles and examines the legislative measures taken against the Jews during this period and argues that King Carol promoted antisemitism for political expediency. It shows that under the Goga government of late 1937 antisemitism was raised to the level of state policy, a policy that was intensified under the National Legionary State headed by Ion Antonescu.


Based on a wide range of textual and audiovisual sources, in Ukrainian, Russian, and German, from the war period and the postwar decades, the article offers the first systematic attempt to trace how, in September and October 1941, Ukrainians and other non-Jewish persons in German-occupied Kyiv thought about, and interacted with, the Holocaust. From a broad look that actively seeks out varieties – both in non-Jewish perceptions of Jews and in behavior related to them, it emerges that there were cases of non-German involvement in persecution and murder and that many locals had antisemitic sentiments, with varying degrees of intensity. At the same time, however, no evidence is found that in the weeks of understudy, large numbers of Kyivans actively supported, in word or deed, the persecution, and murder of Kyiv’s Jews, be it at Babyn Yar or elsewhere in the city. These findings support the notion that there was a major difference in the stances of non-Jewish residents towards Jews east and west of the former Molotov-Ribbentrop line.

Keywords: Babyn Yar, Kyiv, antisemitism, pogroms, Ukraine.


Why pay special attention to Bessarabia? The answer is based on realization of the following: all of the Romanian prejudices and rationales for wanting to “cleanse the terrain” of Jews came together in Bessarabia in a way that did not apply to any other territory under Romanian administration during World War II. These prejudices and rationales included, of course, the powerful and particularly virulent antisemitism that had characterized Romanian political and cultural elites, and broader Romanian society as well, from the emergence of the modern Romanian state in the mid-19th century.



The trials of the war criminals involved in the Iași Pogrom were part of the general trend, at the end of World War II, to punish those who had killed civilians during the conflagration, in order to prevent further massacres in future wars. Romania was among the countries committed, through the convention with the United Nations, to punish the perpetrators. A legal framework in accordance with the Romanian legislation and with the principles established at the end of the war was adopted for this purpose. Adopting legislation and its implementation was a cumbersome process, meaning that repeated changes and adjustments were needed. The most important trial, that of the Iași Pogrom, took place almost four years after the beginning of the investigations. It was followed by other trials, soon after. The communist authorities tried to turn the trials into an ideological construct through media coverage, which was speculated by those who claimed the trials were politicized. In reality, those convicted for the crimes were proven guilty in court, and those in power were forced to accept the extension of investigations and convictions to others, based on the victims’ testimonies. The delay in the trials was a factor for the large number of people who escaped conviction, while the adoption of decree no. 421/1955 entailed the release of a large number of convicted persons, before the end of their sentence. The profile of convicted persons can be outlined from the victims’ statements. Not only employees of state institutions took part in the Pogrom, but neighbors, friends, co-workers, etc. In the case of certain categories, the number of convictions was higher than in others. This was due to the fact that local perpetrators were easier to identify, while others had a special status, mainly the military.

Keywords: Iași Pogrom, war criminals, political trials, communism, People’s Tribunal.


Illiberalism dates way back to the aftermath of the french revolution but its post-communist resurrection may be approximately traced to the second decade of the new millennium. After reviewing several attempts to analyze the phenomenon and its causes, the article underlines the oft-neglected Carl Schmitt roots of the friend-enemy boundary common to illiberals such as Viktor Orbán, Jarosław Kaczyński, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Donald Trump. While illiberalism does not necessarily trigger antisemitism, it might foster it. Shared illiberal values may quash differences in attitudes towards antisemitism and official postures on antisemitism are insufficient to be guided by when examining differences between official and popular discourses.

Keywords: illiberalism, counter-revolution, usable history, friend-enemy, antisemitism.



Already during the Hungarian military administration of the fall of 1940, by coarse methods, in many settlements, the northern Transylvanian Jews were forced to leave for Romania, and where this was not possible, due to the resistance of the Jewish communities, they were gathered and thrown into Soviet territory. The first forced deportations affected the Bistriţa Năsăud, Sătmar, Maramureş, and Szekler counties, but later, in 1941 and 1942, they covered practically the entire territory of northern Transylvania. Under various pretexts, some were deported because they were too poor, and others because they lived in a better condition and their workshops, businesses, flats, and chattels were cast by local Hungarians or “paratroopers” who arrived from Hungary. The vast majority of the deportees became victims of the ghettos and mass murders in Galicia and Podolia, survived by very few of them. Based on press and archival materials from Hungary, Romania, and the West, I would like to summarize what happened, to present the nature and the extent of these actions, the memory of these deportations, as well as to describe the post-war fate of some war crime perpetrators.


The paper aims at exploring the contributions of orthodox clergymen to the radical-right Romanian Press during the Holocaust years (1940-1944), with particular focus on the newspaper Porunca Vremii (Command of the Times). Following this purpose, the research has three main objectives addressed in the corresponding sections of the paper: to identify the authors who contributed to Porunca Vremii in their capacity of clergymen (first section); to identify and to classify the topics they wrote about in Porunca Vremii (second section); to expose and to analyse what the clergymen wrote about Jews and the Jewish question (third section). Whereas the first two objectives are addressed in a merely quantitative manner, the last objective is developed by using qualitative methods that aim at identifying, classifying, and systematizing the ideas and arguments about the Jews (as a population) and the Jewish question (perceived as a problem) in Romania. The conclusion is that strong antisemitism was professed, varying from economic to religious with a unique emphasis on economical antisemitism motivated by a religious insight.

Keywords: antisemitism, Holocaust, orthodox clergymen, Jews, the Jewish question, Porunca Vremii.


This article focuses on the 1937 episode of collaboration between the antisemitic National Christian Party (PNC) and Calinic I. Popp Șerboianu and George A. Lăzurică, important leaders of the interwar Roma movement. As a result of Octavian Goga’s support, these two Roma leaders were able to publish a special edition for Roma of the Țara Noastră newspaper. They were given a headquarters and entered a mutual support agreement: the two Roma leaders agreed to support the PNC candidates against the promise that members of the Roma minority would run on the PNC lists at the next local elections. At the same time, an antisemitic radicalization of these Roma leaders took place. How this alliance was possible, what this episode says about Romanian nationalism, and about the way the Roma were perceived by Romanian nationalists are some of the questions addressed by this paper. My article consists of three parts. The first part reviews the most important interwar Roma organizations and the context of their emergence, the second part deals with the discourse of Roma organizations, including their attitude toward other minorities and toward Jews in particular, and the last part deals in more detail with the episode of the electoral alliance between the Roma and the National Christian Party.

Keywords: Roma movement, Romania, fascism, antisemitism, nationalism, identity.



Starting from the examination of the scholarly literature, this study proposes an analysis of the political program of the party called the Alliance for the Union of Romanians, within the conceptual framework of fascism. Based on a descriptive research design, the paper identifies a series of defining elements of fascist ideology and follows the way of reflecting them in the party’s programmatic document. The analysis reflects the existence of convergence areas between AUR’s political program and the ideology of the extreme right, which marks the return of the radical right to Parliament and into the mainstream of Romanian politics.

Keywords: fascism, AUR, far-right parties, right-wing extremism, Romania.


Following the Jews’ deportation to Transnistria, the Romanian authorities at central and regional level began receiving a sustained correspondence, from as early as December 1941, from the families of the deportees and from those ghettoized in Transnistria. That type of correspondence peaked in the latter half of 1942, as the dramatic situation in Transnistria became known, and information on the deported reached the home country. The stories contained in those petitions illustrate the arbitrariness of the deporting actions, the extreme life conditions in Transnistria, the set of arguments brought to the fore by the petitioners, and how the State authorities treated those administrative undertakings. All these aspects will be dealt with in this study.

Keywords: Transnistria, petitions, ghettos, deportation, repatriation.


The state of siege turned into an almost everyday experience in interwar Romania. From 1916 until 1928 and from 1933 until the end of the Second World War, Romania was either partially or entirely under state of siege. this abuse of the state-of-siege mechanisms heavily contributed to the routinization of political violence and fuelled the crisis of the liberal order during the 1930s. Thus, it is no surprise that one of the vehicles of installing the dictatorship of King Carol II was Decree no. 856 from February 1938, which officially turned the state of siege into a permanent reality. In this context, General Ion Antonescu found, when seizing power in September 1940, a complex legal and institutional framework in charge with implementing the state of siege, entailing: the state-of-siege legislation, the secret services, the military prosecutor’s office, the military courts, and the political prisons. During Ion Antonescu’s rule, this legal and institutional framework was extended and turned into an effective tool for ethnic cleansing. Emergency narratives and state-of-siege legislation were used for carrying out deportations, for establishing and operating ghettos and concentration camps, and for the activity of the military courts. Drawing on Ernst Fraenkel’s concept of “the dual state”, this study aims at investigating the connections between the state of siege legislation and the institution of the camp in Romania under Antonescu’s regime. Because the issue of the camp under Antonescu’s regime is a complex one, which needs more space to deal with than an article could offer, this contribution will focus only on the case study of the Tȃrgu Jiu camp, as a model inspiring the development of other camps. The study is divided into two parts: (1) the former provides an overview of the state-of-siege legislation, its use in interwar Romania, and the instrumentalization of the narratives of national emergency during Antonescu’s seizure of power; (2) the latter part analyzes the role played by the state-of-siege legislation as a legal framework used to establish and operate camps during Ion Antonescu’s regime.

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