The Fate of Romanian Jewry under Fascism and Communism

In her recent book Les Exportés (“The Exported”), the French writer Sonia Devillers tells the story of her Romanian Jewish grandparents’ experiences in the Holocaust, and what awaited them after survival. Danny Trom writes in his review:

Devillers’ story plunges us into the world of her maternal grandparents, that of the upwardly mobile Jewish bourgeoisie of pre-war Bucharest: cultivated, polyglot, music-loving, a family of artists, entrepreneurs, academics, Jews in spite of their efforts to be the least Jewish they could be—but nevertheless reluctant to change their name [lest they break with Jewishness completely]. The rise of Romanian fascism in the interwar period, which was profoundly anti-Semitic, followed by a pro-Nazi [regime during World War II], made the record of the Shoah in its Romanian form open to all sorts of manipulations after the war.

By the greatest of coincidences, because the Romanian government, an early ally of Nazi Germany, sensed that the Third Reich could fail and switched in extremis to the side of the Allies, the Jewish population of Bucharest, unlike that of the Romanian provinces, was in the end not deported, even though the “evacuation” plans, [a euphemism for mass slaughter], drawn up by the Romanian government were ready. Sonia Devillers’ family escaped.

A large portion of the country’s Jews survived as a result, despite the fact that the Romanian fascist regime participated in the extermination of the Jews to a greater extent than any other of Hitler’s allies. Thus, Trom observes, post-war, now-Communist Romania had more Jews than any other country in Eastern Europe save te Soviet Union. Despite being loyal Communists themselves, Devillers’ grandparents were deemed guilty of the crime of “cosmopolitanism.” But by 1962, the rulers of this impoverished dictatorship discovered they could hold its Jews ransom, and exchange them for such goods as pigs.

Read more at K.

More about: Anti-Semitism, Communism, East European Jewry, Holocaust, Romania


Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security