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Aurescu: We are witnessing intensifying anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, Holocaust distortion

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Bogdan Aurescu

Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu says that "we are currently witnessing intensifying anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and Holocaust distortion."

He participated on Tuesday in a commemoration of the Bucharest Pogrom victims and the observance of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day organised by the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice at the Choral Temple in Bucharest.

"We cannot passively witness the spread of anti-Semitism, and we are under an obligation to the victims of the Holocaust and to future generations in this country to fight against this phenomenon.

"We will continue to publicly condemn, without hesitation, any attempt to deny or distort the Holocaust.

"We will continue to use concrete tools we have to defend the Romanian society," said the head of the Romanian diplomacy.

He said Tuesday's event honoured the memory of 6 million people who fell victim to a repressive regime just because they were Jews.

"Today's event, however, has a double commemorative significance: we also remember the victims of the Bucharest Pogrom.

"81 years ago, in and around Bucharest, more than 1,000 people were arrested and tortured, and more than 120 lost their lives.

"It was just a first episode of the Holocaust in Romania, a dark page in the history of Romania, which we have a duty not to forget," Aurescu said.

He added: "The Holocaust in Romania, which made hundreds of thousands of victims among the Jewish community and tens of thousands of victims among the Roma community in Romania, took place amidst growing anti-Semitism manifested throughout Europe.

"It is our responsibility to remember the victims of these tragedies and to make sure that such tragedies will not happen again," Aurescu said.

He added that in 2021, on the 80th anniversary commemoration of the Bucharest Pogrom, he drew attention to the worrying rise of anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and distortion, including online.

He added that the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs continued to get involved in developing policy proposals for preventing and combating anti-Semitism in Romania, as well as in promoting worldwide initiatives that would allow us to fight against this scourge.

Thus, within the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Combating Anti-Semitism, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinated the drawing up of a first national strategy for preventing and combating anti-Semitism, xenophobia, radicalisation and hate speech and an action plan for the implementation of the strategy, in May 2021.

The minister also said that Romanian diplomats have been involved and have significantly contributed to the development and adoption of important instruments at an international level, such as the first European Union strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life, adopted on October 5, 2021; updating the European Commission's recommendations against racism and intolerance in combating anti-Semitism, of July 1, 2021, as well as Council of Europe's draft recommendations on combatting hate speech.

In terms of bilateral diplomatic relations, Aurescu said: "We have continued to promote cooperation with Israel, the United States and France in the areas of Holocaust education, research and remembrance, and we have maintained an intense dialogue with partners in Ukraine and Moldova identifying and carrying out projects in the field of Holocaust research and remembrance."

He said that another objective pursued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the past year was the identification of cultural and religious assets of the Romanian Jewish community that had arrived illegally abroad and their repatriation.

With support from the Romanian Embassy in Tel Aviv, a document of great cultural and historical value, belonging to the Jewish community in Timisoara was handed over to the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania. "This success was both a diplomatic success and a concrete example of the results of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' partnership with the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania," Aurescu said.

"Romania will continue to act to prevent tragedies such as the one we are commemorating.

"We will promote tolerance and mutual respect as fundamental values of a democratic society, including through our foreign policy action," said Aurescu.

January 27, 1945, marks the release of prisoners from the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp and the international commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust.

According to UN General Assembly Resolution 60/7 of 2005, nations are encouraged to commemorate Holocaust victims and to develop Holocaust educational programmes.

The Bucharest Pogrom took place between January 21-23, 1941, Agerpres informs.

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