Romanian nationalist party opposes teaching Holocaust in schools

AUR co-leader George Simion (right) during a demonstration in Bucharest, January 2021. Photo: EPA-EFE/Robert Ghement

The Alliance for the Union of Romanians party, AUR, said on Monday that the Holocaust and sex education represent “minor problems” and that their teaching in schools would “damage the quality of education In Romania “.

The AUR was reacting after the upper house of the Romanian parliament passed by a large majority in November 2021 a law making it compulsory to teach the Holocaust and Jewish history in schools from 2023.

“The ideological experiments on children in Romania must stop! True education is classical education, which makes citizens aware of their rights and responsibilities, their culture, their history and their origins,” the AUR said in a statement.

The party argued that introducing new classes on the Holocaust and sex education would reduce the importance of subjects such as science, Romanian language and literature, and national history.

The AUR has 13 representatives in the Romanian Senate of 136 members and 30 in the Chamber of Deputies of 330 members. She seems unlikely to change the law but hopes to put pressure on the Ministry of Education.

National Liberal Party MP Alexandru Muraru said it was not the first time the AUR had “attacked on symbols of democracy”.

He added that the AUR continues to deny and minimize the Holocaust, and that its members promote so-called neo-legionist ideas and nationalist revisionism. Holocaust denial is illegal, he noted.

“It unequivocally demonstrates that this party has long since gone beyond the legal framework in which it operates,” Muraru said.

The National Legionary State was a fascist regime proclaimed by the Iron Guard Movement (Miscarea Legionara) in Romania, which held power for several months in 1940-41. In 2015, Romania passed a law banning the Iron Guard movement.

Responding to comments from the AUR, the Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania said that “Holocaust denial, behind parliamentary immunity, only perpetuates anti-Semitic hatred, of which the political consequences led to the Holocaust”.

Helen D. Jessen