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Abstract

An examination of Romania’s past reveals a historical pattern of anti-Semitic behavior which tragically culminated in the killing of close to 300,000 Jews during World World II. Under the fascist rule of Ion Antonescu (1940-1944), Romania actively participated in the persecution and extermination of the Jewish population. Initially, discriminatory laws were enacted, but that soon escalated to mass deportations and killings of Romanian Jews. Following the ousting of the fascist regime, a communist government gained control of Romania and ushered the country into a post-war era. This period predominantly focused on distancing the country from their anti-Semitic past using censorship and distorted history. Even today, despite irrefutable evidence, the Romanian public continues to deny the nation’s involvement, often blaming Hitler for the Romanian Holocaust. Although Hitler and the Nazis played a role, Romania’s long-standing anti-Semitic tendencies facilitated collaboration efforts, and resulted in crimes which were independent atrocities perpetrated by leaders and citizens alike. In spite of efforts by later governments to attribute fault solely to the Nazis, Romania must take accountability for its participation in the Holocaust.

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