Friday, 20 August 2010

Oh la la Romania..

Romania's central bank has issued a coin commemorating Miron Cristea, the former premier who stripped Jews of their Romanian citizenship just prior to World War Two. This has a few people rather upset. After a "review" the central bank has confirmed refused to withdraw the coin.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has criticized Romania's central bank for refusing to withdraw from circulation a coin featuring an image of a prime minister who stripped Jews of their citizenship before World War II, calling the decision "insensitive" to the memory of hundreds of thousands of Holocaust victims.

The museum in Washington, D.C., said in a statement received Friday that Miron Cristea's tenure as Romania's premier from 1938 to 1939 "marked the opening of a systematic campaign of anti-Semitic persecution by successive Romania governments that resulted in the devastation of the Romanian Jewish community during the Holocaust."

As prime minister, Cristea was responsible for revising Romania's citizenship law, stripping about 225,000 Jews — or 37 percent of the nation's Jewish population — of citizenship.

Some 280,000 Jews and 11,000 Roma, or Gypsies, were killed during Romania's pro-fascist regime of dictator Marshal Ion Antonescu, who was prime minister from 1940 to 1944 and executed by the Communists in 1946.

Meanwhile, the Romanian government is very upset that France is deporting Roma who are in the country illegally. They are not French citizens and have not entered the country through legal channels. France is paying their transportation costs back to Rome (by plane) and giving each deportee 300 Euros. Naturally the Romanian government (and many others including the Vatican, shame) is crying racism. Forgive me if I find it hard to take seriously claims from Romania that France is racist for deporting illegal alien non-citizens when the Romanian bank has just issued a celebratory coin in honour of a guy who stripped Jews of their citizenship and supported the Nazi's final solution. Maybe France does have a problem with racism but this is not an example of that.

Not missing a beat, the Swedish-Minister of EU Affairs has suggested the EU might pursue sanctions against over their deportation of the Roma. Let's not worry about the fact that Swedish government has also deported Romas. What a pesky detail.

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Not exactly related: A mountain by any other name...