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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 June, 2003, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK
Romania sparks Holocaust row
People imprisoned in a Nazi camp
Israel said the statement ran "counter to historical truth"
Israel has protested to Romania over a statement made by the authorities in Bucharest suggesting no Holocaust had taken place in Romania during the World War II.

Romania's ambassador to Israel was summoned to the Israeli foreign ministry on Tuesday to explain the comments, made on Saturday.

The Romanian Government issued a statement saying it encouraged "investigation into the phenomenon of the Holocaust in Europe, including allowing access to documents found in Romanian archives".

But it went on to insist that inside Romania - which was allied with Nazi Germany - "there was no Holocaust between 1940 and 1945".

Correspondents say the controversial remarks by the Romanian Government, which has had good relations with the Jewish community, have come as a surprise.

Romanian Culture Minister Razvan Theodorescu later clarified the remarks.

He said the Romanian regime during the World War II had taken part in the Holocaust in territories it had occupied in Trans-Dniestr, but that no camps as such had been set up on Romanian soil.

He admitted that racial discrimination was made state policy, and pogroms had taken place.


Israel said it "considers with seriousness" the Romanian declaration, which it said ran "counter to historical truth".

"The Romanian Government should find the means to correct this unfortunate declaration so as to put bilateral relations back on the right track," the Israeli foreign ministry said.

According to the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania, the then dictator of Romania, Marshal Ion Antonescu, was directly responsible for sending 250,000 Jews to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps.

The group says Antonescu was also responsible for inciting a massacre of between 3,000 and 10,000 Jews in the north-eastern town of Iasi in June 1941.

Antonescu was arrested in August 1944 by then King Michael. He was tried and executed in 1946.

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