Romania commemorates National Holocaust Remembrance Day

On 9 October every year, Romania commemorates the victims of the Holocaust, by virtue of Government Decision 672 of 5 May 2004. The day signifies the beginning of the deportation of Romanian Jews to Trandsniestria in 1941.

The official commemoration ceremony of laying of wreaths was held on 10 October 2019 and was organized at the Memorial of the Victims of the Holocaust by the Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ramona-Nicole Manescu as well as the IHRA Head of Delegation for Romania, Secretary of State Victor Micula, attended the event and laid a wreath.

Speeches were presented by the deputy representing the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania in the Romanian Parliament, the president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania and the Ambassadors of Israel and of the United States of America accredited in Bucharest. The speeches underlined Romania’s significant progress in assuming its past, commemorating the victims of the Holocaust and combatting antisemitism. Recent initiatives such as the adoption of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism in Bucharest in May 2016 and the recent adoption of the law setting up the National Museum of Jewish History and of the Holocaust in Romania were discussed.

Representatives of the Presidential Administration, Chamber of Deputies, diplomatic corps, Jewish and Roma communities, civil society, pupils from high schools and schools  attended the event and laid wreaths.

Apart from the official event, in order to mark this Memorial Day, many other events were held (exhibitions, conferences, movie screenings, cultural and educational events). Some of them are below. 

On 11-12 October 2019, the Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania will hold the international conference "Contemporary Memorialisation of the Holocaust in Central and Eastern European Countries" as part of the project Holocaust Memoryscapes, financed by the Ministry of Research. It is an interdisciplinary event that comprises experts from 5 countries that will debate on contemporary forms of Holocaust memorialization.

On 14 October 2019, the National School for Political and Administrative Studies is hosting the exhibition "Roma Genocide- remember to resist: the memory of Roma genocide in Romania." The exhibition is part of the project "Preserving and bringing forth the memory of Roma genocide in Ukraine and Romania." The project is implemented in Romania by the Elie Wiesel Institute and the Plural Association — a youth NGO dedicated to combatting hate speech and promoting diversity.

The Romanian national television channel will be promoting a documentary directed by Adrian Cioflanca, member of the Romanian delegation to IHRA and director of the Center for the Study of Jewish History of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania and Teodora Dragoi. The documentary will air in two parts, on 9 October 2019 and 16 October 2019 and is called "Holocaust by Bullets".

The Bucharest Jewish Film Festival will be taking place from 10 to 17 October 2019. During the week, 21 movies will be screened (among which the recent documentary Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles directed by Max Lewkowicz), debates and concerts will be hosted.

Photo courtesy of INSHR-EW/ Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania