Roma 0nian President - Holocaust
'Not Unique To Jews'

By Grig Davidovitz

BUCHAREST -- "The Holocaust was not unique to the Jewish population in Europe. Many others, including Poles, died in the same way," Romanian President Jon Iliescu says in an interview to Haaretz.
According to the president, "in the Romania of the Nazi period, Jews and communists were treated equally. My father was a communist activist and was sent to a camp. He died at the age of 44, less than a year after he returned."
As for the Romanian government's June 13 declaration denying that a Holocaust took place inside the country, Iliescu says "the government amended the declaration because its contents were presented inaccurately. The Holocaust was a general phenomenon in Europe ... and such events also took place inside Romania's territory; the massacres in Bucharest and Iasi (in Moldova) in 1941 and the sending of Jews to concentration camps in Transnistria took place in Romania, and the leaders of that time are responsible for those events. However, it is impossible to accuse the Romanian people and society of this," Iliescu stresses.
The Romanian president believes that in view of the country's current dire economic situation, the restitution suits demanding the return of Jewish property must be either postponed or rejected.
"People are struggling with shortages, and at the same time, people are coming forward with claims because in Romanian history during World War II and afterward, property was nationalized. Does that mean the wretched Romanian citizen of today has to pay for what happened then? Is it worth it to skin those who are living today in distress? And just to compensate others? I don't find that appropriate."
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