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Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center's Director of Eastern European Affairs, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, was quoted extensively in the Romanian media this week in connection with an attempt by the extreme right-wing political party Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR) to prevent the implementation of a plan to teach the Holocaust in Romanian schools. Zuroff was called upon to respond to a statement by the neo-fascist party that opposed Holocaust education since the subject was "of minor importance" and constituted "a systematic action to undermine the quality of Romanian education."
In an interview by Radio France International, Zuroff emphasized that the issue raised by AUR was a problem throughout post-Communist Eastern Europe, where right-wing political forces refuse to honestly confront the role of local Nazi collaborators, and anti-Communists are glorified as national heroes, even if they collaborated with the Nazis and were active participants in Holocaust crimes. Asked whether AUR should be banned, Zuroff said that such a step could be helpful, but the key to combatting Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism is the strict implementation of the existing laws against these phenomena.
In conclusion, Zuroff emphasized that:
"The Holocaust was the most terrible genocide in human history. It was a tragedy that could have been prevented if the West had stopped Hitler before he launched the Final Solution. It is a page of history from which we can all learn if we want to maintain democracy and freedom."
For additional information please contact the Israel Office of the Wiesenthal Center: Tel: 972-2-563-1274 or Tel: 972-50-721-4156, follow the Center on Facebook, or @simonwiesenthal and @EZuroff for news updates sent directly to your Twitter feed.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families 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).