The "Elie Wiesel" National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania expressed its disagreement at the announced release of a postage stamp depicting Miron Cristea, the first Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
In a Monday release, the Institute's General Director Alexandru Florian asks Romfilatelia National Stamp Company to "revise the issue of postage stamps Great Union Founders - Part I in accordance with the civic values of the democratic society."
Citing Romfilatelia's announcement of the release on March 20 of the postage stamps issue Great Union Founders (I), that includes the stamp with a nominal value of 2.50 lei portraying Patriarch Miron Cristea, the Institute expressed its opinion that the year of the anniversary of the Centennial of Great Romania should be the year of the promotion of values of understanding, dialogue and cooperation between the Romanian majority and the various minorities.
"In this context, we cannot find an explanation for Romfilatelia's decision to put out this stamp," the Elie Wiesel Institute said in the release.
Alexandru Florian said that "there are two serious moments in the public activity of Miron Cristea, which affected both Romania and the Jewish population": Circular letter No. 2602 / 21.09.1916 targeted against "the new enemy who viciously seeks to dent and spoil the boundaries of our homeland" (referring to Hungary - ed. n.), signed by Miron Cristea in his then capacity as Bishop of Caransebes. The other moment was in 1938, "when the government headed by Patriarch Miron Cristea deigned the methodology for the enforcement of the Law-decree No.169 / 21.01.1938 on the revision of citizenship. Following the enforcement of this Law-Decree, 225,222 Jews - specifically 36 percent of the total Jewish population - lost their Romanian citizenship," the cited source said.
The director of the Institute also points out that another stamp features Alexandru Vaida Voievod, "the one who in 1935 advocated the imposition of the 'numerus clausus' criterion in administration. This approach resulted in Vaida being expelled from the National Peasants Party; in March 1935 Vaida set up alongside other extreme right groups The Romanian Front," reads the release.