Wiesenthal Center Urges President of Moldova to Remove Monuments Honoring Anti-Semites and Nazi Criminals
April 16, 2023
Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today appealed to President Maia Sandu of Moldova to remove two monuments which honor fanatic Romanian anti-Semites and Nazi collaborators.
In a letter to President Sandu , the Center's Director for Eastern European Affairs, Holocaust historian Dr Efraim Zuroff appealed to her to take the necessary steps to remove the offensive monuments.
According to Zuroff:
It has come to our attention that unfortunately several monuments have been built in Moldova which honor notorious anti-Semites and commemorate events which led to the mass murder of Romanian Jews.
In Chisinau for example, in the Alley of Classics in Stephan The Great Central Park, a statue (bust) was recently unveiled of former Romanian Prime Minister Octavian Goga. Goga who was Prime Minister of Romania prior to World War II, was a notorious anti –Semite who enacted laws stripping one third of Romanian Jewry of their citizenship and was the co-founder of the National Christian Party, which had a swastika on its logo and engaged in ant-Semitic violence.
In an interview to the New York Times, he justified his anti –Semitic policies by saying that his country "had far too many Jews". A little more than a year ago, a bust of Goga in Iasi, Romania was removed by the government for the above reasons.
A second monument which is extremely offensive and insulting is located in Valea Morilor Park as part of a larger memorial, partially funded by the Romanian government to commemorate the "liberation" of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina by the Romanian Army. But that Romanian "victory" led to the mass murder of 150,000 Bessarabian Jews within one month and the subsequent ghettoization of the remaining Jews, which had lethal consequences. In 1939, Bessarabia had 205,000 Jews and in May 1942, only 227 Jews remained alive.
Dear President Sandu, we are well aware of your respect and friendship for Moldova's Jewish community, which we greatly appreciate and hope that you will take the necessary steps to correct this shameful and painful situation in the near future.
For additional information, contact Dr. Zuroff as per the details above.
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).