A timely news story, following the review we published on Monday of Roland Clark’s book about the Romanian Legionary Movement of the 1930s and 1940s.
Romania’s Holocaust Institute on Wednesday protested the appointment of a well-known journalist to the board of the country’s public television station, saying the move is disrespectful to the victims of the Holocaust. According to the institute, the journalist in question – Oana Stanciulescu – has in the past written articles praising Legionaries killed in Spain fighting for Franco, as well as Nae Ionescu – one of the Legion’s leading theorists – and Romania’s wartime dictator Ion Antonescu.
In parliament yesterday – when Stanciulescu’s appointment was debated and approved – one MP, Cristina Anghel, praised the Legion, while another, Puiu Hasotti, recited the poetry of the notorious Radu Gyr, commander of one of the Legion’s death squads.
Just another day in Romania’s delightful parliament.
Here is the official statement from the Holocaust Institute (in Romanian).
PS Anyone who wants to deny the Holocaust in Romania and/or comment in support of the ‘good Christian boys’ of the Legion can read what follows (taken directly from pages 113-4 of the final report of the Wiesel Commission, which investigated the Holocaust in Romania).
Then they can fuck off.
The minister of interior ordered the burning of Jewish districts on January 22, 1941; this signaled the beginning of the pogrom. Yet, the attack on the two Jewish districts as
well as on neighboring districts inhabited by Jews had, in effect, been launched at noon the day before. Moreover, by January 20, 1941, the Legion had already started to launch mass arrests of Jews, taking those apprehended to the Bucharest Prefecture. Almost two thousand Jews, men and women from fifteen to eighty-five years old, were abusively detained and then taken to the Legions fourteen torture centers (police stations, the Bucharest Prefecture, the Legion headquarters, Codreanu’s farm, the Jilava town hall, occupied Jewish buildings, and the Bucharest slaughterhouse). The arrested included wealthy Jews and employees of Jewish public organizations.
The Bucharest slaughterhouse was the site of the most atrocious tortures. On the last day of the rebellion, fifteen Jews were driven from the Prefecture to the slaughterhouse, where all of them were tortured and/or shot to death. Antonescu appointed a military prosecutor to investigate the events. He reported that he recognized three of his acquaintances among the professionally tortured bodies (lawyer Millo Beiler and the Rauch brothers). He added, The bodies of the dead were hanged on the hooks used by slaughterers. Mihai Antonescu’s secretary confirmed the military prosecutors description and added that some of the victims were hooked up while still alive, to allow the torturers to chop up their bodies.
Evidence indicates that the CML actively participated in the pogrom torturing, killing, and looting. CML headquarters was a particularly frightening torture center. There, CML teams tortured hundreds and shot dozens of men and women. Also, members of the CML selected ninety Jews of the two hundred who had been tortured in the CML torture centers and drove them in trucks to the Jilava forest. After leaving the trucks, these Jews were shot from a two-foot distance. Eighty-six naked bodies were found lying in the snow-covered forest, and the mouths of those with
gold teeth were horribly mutilated. Rabbi Tzwi Gutman, who was shot twice, was among the few who did not die in this massacre. His two sons were killed. In all, 125 Jews were killed during the Bucharest pogrom. The Bucharest pogrom also introduced the chapter of mass abuse of Jewish women, who were sometimes raped in the presence of their families.
In addition to the slaughter, there were also severe Legionary attacks on synagogues during the Bucharest pogrom. The assault began in the afternoon of January 21, climaxed during that evening, and continued the next day. This was a predictable turn of events because, since its establishment in 1927, Iron Guard rallies typically ended in acts of vandalism directed against synagogues. The Legionnaires attacked all synagogues at the same time, burning Torah scrolls, pillaging religious objects, money, furniture and valuables, and vandalizing the interior of the synagogues. In some instances, the Legionnaires began their attacks during the prayer, which happened at the Coral Temple (those who were present at the time were taken to Jilava and killed). In the end, the perpetrators set the synagogues on fire, and two burnt entirely to the ground. One of these was the Cahal Grande Synagogue, one of the most beautiful in Europe. When fire brigades alarmed that the fire might reach adjoining buildings came to put it out, they were prevented from doing so by the Legionnaires overseeing the scene. Antonescu’s military prosecutor who investigated the events gave a graphic description of what he saw: The Spanish Temple seemed like a giant torch that lugubriously lit the capital’s sky. The Legionnaires performed a devilish dance next to the fire while singing The Aria of Legionnaire Youth and some were kicking three naked women into the fire. The wretched victims’ shrieks of despair tore through the sky.
Finally, the Legionnaires, their affiliated organizations, and regular mobs all participated in destroying and pillaging Jewish commercial and private property during the pogrom. Some homes were burned down or completely demolished. In total, 1,274 buildings commercial and residential were destroyed.