Romanian Jews expressed outrage on Tuesday after a politician who made comments denying that the Holocaust impacted Jews in the country was appointed to a ministerial position.
Jewish parliamentarian Aurel Vainer criticized the government for making Dan Sova its new liaison to parliament, saying the Social Democratic politician’s comments last March that “No Jew suffered on Romanian territory” during World War II made him unsuitable for the job. “I am willing to wear a black band around my arm [in protest],” Vainer was quoted as saying by local media.
Sova drew criticism last March when he said the 1941 Lasi pogrom carried out by fascist forces allied with Nazi Germany resulted in the death of two dozen Jews, rather than an estimated death toll of between 13,000 to 15,000 historians agree upon.
“Historical data show that a total of 24 Jews were killed during the Lasi pogrom by the German army,” Sova said. He went on to praise Ion Antonescu, Romania’s wartime dictator who was in league with Berlin and was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Jews, for protecting the country’s Jewish community.
Sova was dismissed from his position as spokesman of the Social Democratic Party following his remarks and sent to the Holocaust museum in Washington by party leaders.
Romanian Jews on Tuesday said he had not expressed sincere regret.
“It’s hard to accept that a young gentleman, [who is] perhaps a trained legal professional and has a degree in history, was able to declare with such nonchalance that there was no Holocaust in Romania,” Vainer said.