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The paper solution: jewish emigration from Romania during the Holocaust

[journal article]

Chioveanu, Mihai

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Abstract With late 1942, and the continent wide Holocaust in full swing, Romanian decision makers decided to return to and promote emigration, a former, long-abandoned by that time Nazi strategy and policy, as the only acceptable solution to the Jewish Question. The Romanians made no secret out of their intention to continue their ethnic cleansing operations by other, more civilized means, and with more profitable ends: funds from ransoming Jews, containing German protests, signaling the allies that Romania took a different path. However, none of the goals was achieved by the end. Episodical and incoherent, Jewish emigration from Romania during the war went rather slow as the government refused taking major risks and any direct involvement in coordinating the operations. Considering the rather small number of Jews that left Romania as to reach Palestine after a long and unsafe voyage, one can only conclude that emigration did not mattered much in saving the Jews, nor when it came to ethnically cleanse Romania. My chief interest is with delineating the reasons and motivations behind the decision of the Romanian government to move back to emigration, to understand the twisted and paradoxical decision-making process, and the metamorphosis of cleansing nation statism. Attention is given not only to the Romanian government, but also to the Nazi perspective on emigration, the attitude of the Allies and the neutral countries, and the efforts of the Jewish leadership and international organizations to rescue the remnants of the community at large. Analyzing the actions and attitudes of the above-mentioned actors in a wider European context might shed some light on the controversial issue of Jewish emigration from Romania during the Holocaust, an issue that was often abused in a desperate attempt to diminish or overlook the dimensions of extermination and the radical nature of Romanian state anti-Semitism. Living apart several aspects that were not addressed, the main problem comes with the general view on emigration as a practice to be honored and not a policy to be reconsidered and critically assessed, as it aimed but for the destruction of the group.
Keywords emigration; antisemitism; war; genocide; Romania; historical development; persecution of Jews; Nazism; World War II
Classification Migration, Sociology of Migration; Social History, Historical Social Research
Free Keywords Holocaust
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
Page/Pages p. 425-444
Journal Studia Politica : Romanian Political Science Review, 9 (2009) 3
ISSN 1582-4551
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works