08 September 2004
Tomorrow, Thursday, the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania will conclude its meetings at Yad Vashem. The Commission is meeting to review and discuss all the draft papers - based on an examination of the available testimonies and documentation - presented to it before the final report is presented to Romanian President Ion Iliescu in November of this year.
As per the Commission’s mandate, the final report will examine the Holocaust in Romania, including the responsibility of the Romanian leadership at the time, and analyze the relationship of Romania to its past, war crimes trials and the place of the Holocaust in Romanian public discourse. The Commission’s conclusions are expected to include recommendations on ways to foster Holocaust awareness in Romanian education as well as increased efforts to document names of Holocaust victims and events to highlight Holocaust Remembrance Day in Romania, October 9.
When the Commission was established the Romanian President pledged to disseminate the Commission’s findings to the Romanian public. The Government will publish them in Romanian and English; inform the public of them through the media, conferences for different target groups and decision-makers; create a website where the material will be available in Romanian and English; and disseminate knowledge about the Holocaust in Romania’s educational system via teacher training programs and the creation of educational materials. The Commission will also issue an analysis of current trends of Holocaust-denial in Romania and recommendations on ways to combat them.
In the course of their meetings Commission members toured Yad Vashem, including the “No Child’s Play” exhibition where an album donated by Lya Benjamin, herself a Commission member, is displayed. The album was prepared by Dr. Ardus Izor for his granddaughter Lya on her first birthday.
About the Commission
The International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania was created by President Ion Iliescu in October 2003. The Commission is chaired by Nobel Peace Laureate and Vice Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, Prof. Elie Wiesel. The Commission’s creation was backed by the American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Israel’s Foreign Ministry and Yad Vashem. Israel State Archivist Prof. Tuvia Friling, the Romanian Institute of Political Defense Studies and Military History’s General Mihail E. Ionescu, and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Dr. Radu Ioanid are the Commission’s co-chairmen. The Commission’s working group consists of leading historians and public figures from the United States, Romania, France, Germany and Israel.