Romanian Parliament votes to make the study of Holocaust and Jewish history mandatory

The Romanian Parliament passed a private members’ bill which will make the study of the Holocaust and Jewish history mandatory in all high-schools throughout the country.

The bill was introduced by the representatives of the Jewish and German minorities, MP Silviu Vexler and MP Ovidiu Ganț and was co-sponsored by the leaders of the main political parties and parliamentary groups in Romania – MP Marcel Ciolacu (Social Democratic Party), Senator Sorin Cîmpeanu (National Liberal Party), Senator Anca Dragu (Save Romania Union), MP Kelemen Hunor (Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania) and MP Varujan Pambuccian (National Minorities Parliamentary Group).

The curriculum, textbooks, teaching materials and specific methodologies for the “History of the Holocaust and the Jewish people” subject will be developed by the Ministry of Education in cooperation with the “Elie Wiesel” National Institute for Studying the Holocaust in Romania.

“This is an historical moment not only for the memory of all the victims of the Holocaust but also for Romania. We are setting the foundation for our common future, a modern framework through which young people can learn and understand what happened in the past as a central part in their formation as citizens. Education and understanding are our best tools to cultivate democracy and freedom, to fight antisemitism, intolerance and extremism.

This Law also has a symbolic importance through ensuring that the history and identity of the Romanian Jews is being recovered. A moral imperative for repairing the injustices of the dictatorial regimes that ruled Romania during the Holocaust and a public gesture to further recognize the terrifying suffering of people who have been through the darkest of moments,” declared MP Silviu Vexler during the discussions that took place in Parliament.

The bill also establishes the “Constantin Karadja” National Prize. Named after the Swedish-Romanian diplomat and Righteous Among the Nations who is credited with saving thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, the Prize will recognize special achievements in protecting the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and fighting antisemitism, the development of educational and research programs concerning the Holocaust in Romania, promoting the history, culture and traditions of the Jewish communities in Romania, as well as presenting on a national and international level the Jewish contribution to the evolution and modernization of the Romanian society.

In the recent period, the Parliament of Romania passed several private members’ bills expanding the financial support for the survivors of the Holocaust in Romania, establishing the National Museum of Jewish History and the Holocaust in Romania, warranting that all antisemitic acts are considered criminal offences punishable with a prison term from 3 months to 10 years and ensuring the declassification of the State Archives covering the period between 1938-1989 and concerning Jews, the Jewish religious life, the Jewish Communities and Jewish organizations in Romania.


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