International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania

  • Purpose
  • Goals of the Commission
  • The Commission’s mandate
  • The Period of Examination (1937-1951)
  • Identification of Victims
  • Geographic Areas of Examination
  • Identification of Perpetrators
  • Outline of Topics for Study
  • Presentation of the Commission Report
  • Dissemination of the Commission’s Work
  • Budget and Administration and Work
  • Members of the Commission


    An international commission created by the President of Romania will examine the history of the Holocaust in Romania for the purpose of establishing the facts of this event and disseminating its findings in Romania and abroad. The Commission will consist of recognized historians and public figures whose scholarship and participation are intended to insure its credibility and authority. It will be chaired by Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel.

    The Commission will study the events that took place between December 1937 and May 1945 and that relate to the discrimination, isolation, internment, deportation and physical destruction of Romanian Jews. The Commission will also study the persecution of parts of the Roma population in Romania between 1942 and 1944. The Commission will likewise examine the post-World War II (1945-1951) trials of the perpetrators accused of crimes related to these events. The Commission’s findings will reflect the expertise of the historians who are its members and will rely on archival documents found in Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, France, Germany, Israel, the Russian Republic, the United States, and other countries.

    For the purpose of the Commission, the following definition of the term Holocaust is considered authoritative:

    The Holocaust is the state-sponsored systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany, its allies and collaborators between 1933 and 1945. Not only Jews were victimized during this period. Persecution, arrests and mass murder was perpetrated against ethnic groups – such as the Sinti and Roma – people with mental and physical disabilities, political opponents, homosexuals, and others.

    Goals of the Commission

    To establish the facts about the Holocaust in Romania based on existing research,
    To fill gaps in the knowledge about the Holocaust in Romanian by commissioning specific research by experts into topics which have not yet been sufficiently investigated. Issues such as the agreements between the Romanian authorities and the RSHA and the German Foreign Office starting May 1941, government decisions in June 1942 regarding the deportations of Jews to Belzec, etc. The commission will define the list of topics and commission expert researchers.

    The Commission’s mandate

  • The commission will be independent and the research will be performed in accordance with scholarly standards alone.

  • The commission will submit a report. The Romanian Government commits to adopt the report and the findings of the commission.

  • The Romanian government pledges to open its archives and decree the opening of all pertinent archives, and to make all necessary documentation available to the scrutiny of the commission’s researchers and to all researchers in the future.

  • The Romanian government pledges to disseminate the information generated by the International Commission to the Romanian population in order to raise awareness to the subject and to promote the understanding of the subject:

  • To publish the Commission’s report in book form in the Romanian and English languages.

  • To inform the public by means of the media, conferences for different target groups and decision makers and by creating a website where the material will be made available in the Romanian and English languages.
    To disseminate the knowledge about the Holocaust in Romania in the educational system by teacher training programs and the creation of educational materials.

    The Period of Examination (1937-1951)

    It is necessary to begin in December 1937, when the National Christian Party came to power. At this time the Romanian state began a consistent and systematic policy of discrimination against the Jews. These policies continued until the fall of Ion Antonescu’s regime in August 1944. However, since the Holocaust continued to affect the lives of its survivors years after the persecution ended, the Commission will continue its examination through the period of war crimes trials ending in 1951. Not only do the records of these trials contain a wealth of information on the events of the Holocaust; they are also essential to assessing the influence these trials had on the public and key segments of society.

    Geographic Areas of Examination

    The Commission will investigate events that took place under three jurisdictions:

    A. Romanian jurisdiction over the Regat (Romania in its pre-World War I borders), southern Transylvania, Bukovina, Bessarabia, and Transnistria.

    B. Hungarian jurisdiction over Northern Transylvania.

    C. German jurisdiction over part of the Berezovka district of Transnistria (German villages), Reichskommisariat Ukraine (relates to the Romanian Jews deported over the Bug), General Government (relates to the deportation, internment, and mass murder of the Jews from northern Transylvania), and Western Central Europe (relates to the mass murder of Romanian Jewish citizens who lived in those areas).

    Identification of Victims

    With regard to victims of the Holocaust, the Commission will examine the fate of Romanian and Ukrainian Jews who were under the jurisdiction of the Romanian state, as well as of Romanian Jews who were under Hungarian and German jurisdiction. The process of professional and juridical discrimination with its impact on various aspects of the life of the victims will be analyzed. The Commission will likewise study the process of physical isolation, internment, deportation, forced labor, and extermination of Romanian Jews under the three above-mentioned jurisdictions. The Commission will also examine the round-up, deportation, and forced labor of two categories of Romanian Roma—sedentary and nomadic—who were under Romanian and sometimes German jurisdiction.

    Identification of Perpetrators

    The Commission will investigate the actions of the perpetrators (Romanian, Hungarian, and German administrations or individuals) who were involved in the persecution of the two above-described categories of victims.

    Outline of Topics for Study


    a. Romanian Jews

    b. Local Jews

    2.The fate of the Romanian Roma 1942-44

    3. The role of the Romanian political leadership in general and Ion
    Antonescu in particular in the destruction of Romanian Jews and Roma and their involvement in decisions that resulted in the survival of parts of these communities.

    4.The fate of the Romanian Jews living abroad:

    a.Northern Transylvania (Hungarian jurisdiction)

    b.Western and Central Europe (German jurisdiction)

    5.The War Crimes Trials

    Presentation of the Commission Report

    It is anticipated that the formal report of the Commission, including commissioned essays, findings of fact and summary conclusions, together with supporting documents, will be presented to the President of the Romania by the end of June 2005.

    Dissemination of the Commission’s Work

    At the same time as the final report is presented to the President, the Commission will also issue an analysis of current trends of Holocaust-denial in Romania and recommendations on ways to combat them, as part of the public dissemination of the report and recommendations for its use in the areas of education, culture and the media.

    Budget and Administration and Work

    Shortly after the announcement of the Commission’s creation, it will be necessary for the Government of Romania to establish an administrative office to facilitate the work of the Commission and to fund its activities. This would include translation and circulation of draft documents, the periodic convening of the Commission membership in whole or in part, the organization of appropriate conferences and seminars and other means to disseminate the findings and implement the recommendations of the Commission.

    Members of the Commission

    – Prof. Elie WIESEL – President

    – Radu IOANID – Vice-president

    – Tuvia FRILING – Vice-president

    – Mihai IONESCU – Vice-president

    – Ioan SCURTU – “N. Iorga” History Institute, State Councilor, Coordinator of the Presidential Chancellery

    – Victor OPASCHI – State Councilor, Representative of the President of Romania to the Commission

    – Viorel ACHIM – “N. Iorga” History Institute

    – Lia BENJAMIN – The Center for the History of the Jews in Romania

    – Liviu BERIS – Representative of the Association of the Jews in Romania Victims of the Holocaust

    – Irina CAJAL MARIN – The Federation of the Jewish Communities in Romania

    – Adrian CIOFLANCA – “A. D. Xenopol” Institute, Iasi

    – Ioan CIUPERCA – “Al. I. Cuza” University, Iasi

    – Alexandru ELIAS – The Federation of the Jewish Communities in Romania

    – Alexandru FLORIAN – The Institute for Social and Democratic Studies

    – Vasile IONESCU – The Roma Organization

    – Corneliu Mihai LUNGU – The National Archives

    – Andrei PIPPIDI – University of Bucharest

    – George VOICU – University of Bucharest

    – Jean ANCEL – Yad Vashem Institute, Israel

    – Colette AVITAL – Deputy in the Israeli Knesset

    – Andy BAKER – American Jewish Committee

    – Randolph BRAHAM – CUNY, US

    – Mihai Dinu GHEORGHIU – Paris II University, France

    – Hildrun GLASS – Germany

    – Dan MARIASCHIN – Vice-president of B’nai B’rith International

    – Paul SHAPIRO – United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

    – Michael SHAFIR – Radio “Free Europe”, Israel

    – William TOTOK – Germany

    – Leon VOLOVICI – Israel

    – Raphael VAGO – Israel