Anti-Semitism in Moldova
25.11.2009, Xenophobia and anti-Semitism
There has not been noticeable activity of any political parties the program or propaganda materials of which incorporate anti-Semitic ideas. There are no anti-Semitic periodicals with even small influence. However, an absence of organized political anti-Semitism does not imply an absence of judophobic individuals.
The peculiarities of the Holocaust in the Rumanian-occupied zone are the probable main topic for historical anti-Semitic statements in Moldova. The rehabilitation of Antonesku's regime is a top-priority task for pro-Rumania ultranationalists, and its successful completion would make it considerably easier to propagate anti-Semitic views.
Negations views – the denial of the Rumanian Holocaust on the territory of Moldova and Transnistria – are popular even among the historians of the republic. A negations view of the Holocaust, attempts to prohibit teaching its history in schools and universities are also a peculiar form of the rehabilitation of Fascism and are naturally anti-Semitic. A negative attitude is noticeable among certain experts towards Dr. Sergei Nazaria's book «The Holocaust on the territory of Moldova and adjacent Ukrainian territories in 1941-1944», recommended for print by the State Institute of International Relations and the Association of Moldovan Jews – Who Were Former Prisoners of Fascist Ghettoes and Concentration Camps.
One of the famous negations representatives, Romanian professor Ion Kozh put such a question point-blank when speaking from a Chisinau tribune: “You state that the Romanian Army murdered Jews of Bessarabia in 1941-1942, and then prove it. Where are the bodies? Show them to me and I will believe you.”
The Moldova republic has known cases when some historians have avoided interpreting such “delicate” subjects as the Holocaust or the creation of the State of Israel.
Despite the solid monograph about the Holocaust in Moldova, Bukovina and Transnistria (territories under the Romanian Administration during World War II, despite the history textbooks recently written for 9-12 grades of the republic lyceum, which include chapters on the Holocaust, few schools have systematic classes dedicated to the Holocaust tragedy. This is a matter of utmost importance, as it is concerns the upbringing of the next generation, which cannot know the truth about the Holocaust, when the teachers pass it over in silence. The main task of adding knowledge on the Holocaust into the school program is to avoid future repetitions of such tragedies. It must note that youth have the opportunity to become acquainted with a wide and varied anti-Semitic bibliography through the Internet, which is widely used to spread man-hating ideas.
In recent years, certain anti-Semitic and nationalistic publications have appeared in bookshops. For a long period, a number of Moldovan bookshops carried the evidently anti-Semitic book called “The Red Week: 28th of June – 3rd of July, 1940, or Bessarabia and the Jews”, written by Romanian author Paul Goma, who currently resides in Paris. This essay, contains groundless accusations towards the Jews of Moldova, who allegedly «attacked retreating Rumanian forces» in 1940, during the annexation of Moldova by the Soviet Union. The Holocaust, the author thus states, was merely the vengeance of the Rumanian against the Jew based on the “eye for an eye” principle.
The Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities petitioned the public prosecutor-general of the country to outlaw this book, after which it was withdrawn from circulation.
The widely respected Bureau of Inter-ethnic Relations acts as executive authority in our state. The task of the Bureau is to protect the rights of the residents of the Moldova republic, who belong to national minorities, support their national cultures, to work on a legal base to regulate ethnic relations, relying on the approved Concept of state policy on minorities, the main principles of which is formulated as follows: “Ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity, mutual tolerance and inter-ethnic peace are Moldova's greatest asset.”
During the last months of 2008, there were many big events organized by the republic community, particularly by the Jewish Community RM and Moldova Jewish Congress.
There was a delegation from the Berlin Anti-Semitic Study Centre in Moldova (25 members) in September 2008. The Jewish organizations took part in the preparation and hosting of the German specialists' visit. The program included a visit to the Dubossar Memorial Complex, the meeting in memory of 18000 anti-Semitic victims, who were shot there. German guests also visited the Tiraspol town to see measures taken by the authorities to avoid any repetition of the acts of vandalism in the Jewish graveyards. In Chisinau, the guests met the members of the Association of Former Prisoners of Fascist Ghettoes and Concentration Camps. The main event was the participation of the German specialists in a “round table” dedicated to the problem of anti-Semitism and the part Jewish organizations can take in its solution. Representatives of other ethnic groups also took concerned part.
On November 10, 2008, there was a large memorial event dedicated to the 70 years since “The Crystal Night” of 1938, which is considered to be the beginning of the Holocaust in Europe. There were hundreds of people at the requiem meeting, besides the Memorial, where the gates to the Chisinau ghetto once were. Among those making speeches rebuking modern anti-Semitism were the mayor of Chisinau and representatives of the diplomatic corpus.
November, 17, 2008, saw the International Academic Conference on “The Role of Historic Memory and Holocaust Study in Youth Upbringing.” Famous scholars from four countries (Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Israel) took part in the conference. At the plenary meeting, Dr. Anatoliy Podolsky, the Ukrainian Holocaust History Study Centre director and member of the General Board of Eurasia Jewish Congress, gave the lecture “Eastern Europe and the Memory of Holocaust”.
On December 7, 2008, a monument was opened in the Fryasin village of Edinetski district of Moldova. This event was organized by the teacher Yurii Zagorchi. The whole village participated, alongside with leaders and activists of the Moldova Jewish Community and Peace Corps (USA) representatives and the representatives of the State of Israel diplomatic mission in Moldova.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTORATE OF
JEWISH COMMUNITY RM AND
JEWISH CONGRESS OF MOLDOVA