JTA — The appointment of a Romanian lawmaker who denied his countrymen’s complicity in the Holocaust “seriously concerns” Romanian Jews, a community leader said.
Dan Sova was appointed minister for parliamentary affairs on Monday. In March, Sova was filmed saying that Romanians never participated in the persecution of Jews. The Social Democrat lawmaker added that only 24 Jews, not thousands, had died during the violent Iasi pogrom, which he attributed to the German army. Sova later retracted his statements.
In an interview for the Romanian B1 television network on Monday, Aurel Vainer, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania, said that Sova’s appointment made him “want to wear a black armband” as a sign of mourning.
Historians say some 15,000 Jews from Iasi were murdered in the streets or asphyxiated in “death trains” in June and July of 1941. Some 250,000 Romanian Jews were murdered by 1945. Romania has a Jewish population of slightly over 6,000, according to the European Jewish Congress.
Sova’s promotion “raises questions” in light of his past statements, Vainer said. “It is hard to accept that a young, educated man would claim the Holocaust never happened in Romania,” added Vainer, himself a Romanian lawmaker.
Vainer also said that Sova’s promotion “did not send the correct message to young people.”