Survey suggests strong popular support for ‘Jew-free’ Romania

Over half of respondents view Nazi-era leader, who supported murder of Romanian Jews, as a "patriot."

By JTA
August 5, 2015 16:40
1 minute read.
Romanian Jews

Jewish community members from Romania hold Torah scrolls during the inauguration ceremony for the Holocaust memorial in Bucharest October 8, 2009.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Nearly a quarter of Romanian respondents on a survey on Jews said their country should have no Jewish residents.

The results of the survey among 1,000 Romanian adults were published last week by the Elie Wiesel National Institute for Holocaust Studies in Romania, which commissioned the Center for Opinion and Market Studies to conduct the poll in June.

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Eleven percent described Jews as “a problem for Romania” whereas 22 percent said they would like them only as tourists. Media reports about the poll did not specify its margin of error.

Romania used to have a Jewish population of over 750,000 before its pro-Nazi regime, led by Ion Antonescu, collaborated in the murder of about half of Romanian Jewry in the Holocaust. His troops also massacred 120,000 Jews in present-day Ukraine.

Nearly three quarters of respondents indicated they had heard of the Holocaust — a 12 percent increase over a similar poll conducted in 2007 — but only a third of those respondents who know about the Holocaust believe it happened in their country. Only 19 percent of respondents who knew about the Holocaust and said it occurred in Romania said Antonescu’s government was responsible.

Those Romanians who survived the Holocaust mostly left for Israel and now Romania has only a few thousand Jews, mostly living in Bucharest.

Slightly more than half, or 54 percent, of respondents in the poll said Antonescu was “a patriot.”


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