Monday, April 15, 2019

Anti-semitism in Romania.

Vandals badly damaged 73 gravestones in the north-eastern town of Husi earlier this month, amid a surge in anti-Semitic attacks across Europe. The Husi cemetery attack occurred less than a year after the childhood home of Romanian Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel, a Nobel laureate who for decades fought against hatred, was defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti. he graffiti scrawled on his former home, now a museum, read: "Public toilet, anti-Semite paedophile" and "Nazi Jew lying in hell with Hitler."
"It's a very disturbing event, but it's nothing surprising," said Maximillian Marco Katz, founding director of the Centre for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism in Romania. "It shows that anti-Semitism is alive, it doesn't matter who did it," he told the BBC. "They didn't knock down two or three gravestones, they knocked down 73 gravestones - that takes some determination and it takes time.
Before the war, Romania had one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe. Today it is a fraction of its original size and most of the community are elderly. Romania's Jewish population has plummeted from 800,000 before World War Two to fewer than 10,000 today. During World War Two, between 280,000-380,000 Jews were killed on Romanian-held territory
During World War Two, when Romania was under the military dictatorship of Marshall Ion Antonescu, up to 380,000 Jews were killed in Romanian state-held territories. Thousands more were sent to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. In the decades following the war, anti-Semitism perpetuated under Romania's communist regime and thousands of Jewish families emigrated to Israel, the US and elsewhere in search of a better life.
"The real anti-Semitism is ignorance," says Vasile Dub, as the handful of elderly worshippers files out of the synagogue at Targu Mures. "Local people have no idea about the history of Jews." 
Data from 2015 and 2017, found that just only 39% of Romanians would accept a Jewish person as a family member.
Romania is not alone in witnessing anti-Semitic attacks. France reported a 74% rise in violence against Jews last year, while German police recorded a 60% rise.

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