Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis gave the green light on Tuesday to the introduction of the nation’s first national Holocaust museum in Bucharest, over seven years following the conclusion of World War Two.
A global commission led by Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel concluded in 2004 between 280,000 and 380,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews were murdered in Romania and regions it controlled during the war, as an ally of Nazi Germany.
Romania has just recently begun to come to terms with its role in the extermination of all Jews, declaring for the first time in 2003 it had taken part.
The new museum, coordinated from the Elie Wiesel Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania, intends to foster the history, culture, and customs of Jews from the nation and emphasize their contribution to modernizing Romanian culture.
“The Romanian state shows consistency in fulfilling the aim aimed at regaining the memory of the Holocaust, strengthening the education about the Holocaust and combating anti-Semitism,” Iohannis stated in remarks to members of the Wiesel Institute and nearby Jewish community leaders.
The memorial will be located within an 8,000 square-meter, eight-storey building built on the fundamental Calea Victoriei route in 1943-1946 by global noodle manufacturer Banloc-Goodrich for its own employees.
Romania switched sides from the war in 1944 because the Soviet Red Army drifted down to the Balkans. The Communist regime that then took electricity did little to discover the killings of Jews.