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6 Holocaust & Genocide Stud. 373 (1991)
The Pogrom of Bucharest 21-23 January 1941

handle is hein.journals/hologen6 and id is 393 raw text is: Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Vol. 6, No. 4, pp. 373-382,1991  8756-6583/91 $3.00 + 0.00
Printed in Great Britain                                  Pergamon Press Ltd
THE POGROM         OF BUCHAREST 21-23 JANUARY               1941
US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Abstract - The pogrom of Bucharest was not a typical event in the process of
the destruction of the Romanian Jews, since its authors were members of the Iron
Guard. This Romanian fascist organization was forced shortly after this pogrom to
go underground, the massive destruction of Romanian Jewry being carried out by
the regime of General Antonescu through the bodies of the army, police and
gendarmerie. The article describes the relationships between the Iron Guard,
Antonescu and their supporters in Berlin. It also describes the unfolding of the
pogrom and its results.
The pogrom of Bucharest in January 1941, which coincided with the Iron Guard's
attempt to overthrow Marshal Ion Antonescu, has been largely ignored by Romanian
historiography. There are two exceptions. One is Matatias Carp, the General Secretary of
the Federation of the Jewish Communities of Romania who in his three-volume Cartea
Neagra (the Romanian Black Book) documents at length the Bucharest atrocities.1 The
other is Lucretiu Patrascanu, a communist leader and an early victim of the Romanian
communist regime, who analysed in his writings the ideology and politics of Romanian
fascism and who, as Minister of Justice, organized the post-war prosecution of Romanian
war criminals. In his memoirs, despite his anticommunism, Rabbi Alexandre Safran praises
Patrascanu for having 'acted quite nobly' toward the problems of the Jewish Community of
Romania.2 The relationship between General Antonescu and the Iron Guard has been
treated by Romanian historiography according to the views of upper echelon Romanian
Communist Party (RCP) officials in charge of propaganda. During the 1950s and 1960s
both Antonescu and the Iron Guard were described as the Romanian 'fifth column' and
their conflict as a simple struggle among fascists. Starting in the early 1970s the writings of
Aurica Simion, Mihai Fatu and Mircea Musat rehabilitated Antonescu from charges of
fascism. Simion's book on the political preliminaries of the Romanian insurrection of
August 1944 is ambiguous.3 It denounces the repressive character of Antonescu's regime
but praises meanwhile the legality of Antonescu's measures. Simion completely ignores
the destruction by Antonescu of an important part of Romanian Jewry during World War I1.
In a study entitled 'Romania', part of a collective volume on the fascist regimes in
Europe, Mihai Fatu and Gheorghe Zaharia describe Antonescu as a dictator but also as a
progressive figure since he crushed the Iron Guard.4 One of the propagandistic henchmen
of Ceausescu, Mircea Musat, who now writes in the Romanian fascist and antisemitic
newspaper Romania Mare, presented Antonescu as the savior of Romania5 and
systematically denied the existence in Romania of a fascism with Romanian roots. In his
book Romania dupa marea unire (Romania After the Great Unification), Musat empha-
sized without proof, that rich Jews were one of the main financial sources of the Iron Guard
and whitewashed the extremely antisemitic political pair Octavian Goga and A. C. Cuza,
asking for their rehabilitation.6

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