Abstract: Public opinion polling on ethnic minorities has shown from the start that while negative or ambivalent attitudes to Jews in Romania are far from having vanished, they do not affect a spectrum as large as that of anti-Roma attitudes and prejudices. Subsequent surveying carried out in the late 1990s and early 2000s confirmed the earlier findings by studies measuring stereotypical perceptions or social distance. Yet it would be an exaggeration to state that antisemitism is not a factor influencing social attitudes or even the perception of politics by the population; The Romanian surveys available thus far did not measure latent antisemitism and they lack the sophistication inquiring what stands behind ”non-committal don’t knows” and ”no answers”. Holocaust-related surveys seem to indicate that only a small minority is interested in this aspect and even among its members information is often partial at best. It is therefore difficult to predict whether ”political antisemitism” could emerge in post-communist Romania as it did in neighboring Hungary. The Hungarian and other experiences, however, demonstrate that political antisemitism can become a factor when for reasons other than anti-Jewish attitudes political parties, influential intellectuals and other social entrepreneurs condone and utilize themselves implicit antisemitism of which they are not always aware. The last part of the article illustrates such potentially contributing factors and actors utilizing qualitative rather than quantitative analysis.
Rotten Apples, Bitter Pears: An Updated Motivational Typology of Romania s Radical Right s Anti-Semitic Postures in Post-Communism
Abstract: Post-communist anti-Semitism in Romania and elsewhere in East Central Europe is not necessarily driven by the same motivations. Basically, each of the categories I employ in the taxonomy (updating earlier endeavors) acts out of a different motivation and has a different temporal orientation. What they all share, however, is precisely the attempt to respond to the need to produce what Benedict Anderson called an “imagined community,” in albeit significantly different positive terms of reference. A distinction is made between the following taxonomic categories of “producers” of anti-Semitism: a) “Selfexculpatory nostalgic anti-Semitism;” b) “Self-propelling anti-Semitism”; c) “Neo-populist mercantile anti-Semitism”: d) “Utilitarian anti-Semitism”; e) “Reactive anti-Semitism; and, finally, f) “Vengeance anti-Semitism.”
Topics: Antisemitism, Antisemitism: Discourse, Holocaust, Holocaust Denial, Communism, Post-1989, Main Topic: Antisemitism
Abstract: This article analyzes contemporary antisemitism and Holocaust distortion in Eastern Europe. The main argument is that Brown and Red, Nazism and Communism, respectively are not at all equal. In Eastern Europe, in particular, antisemitic ideology is grounded on the rehabilitation of anticommunist national “heroes.” The history of the Holocaust is thereby distorted. Based on Maurice Halbwachs’s theory of “social frameworks,” the author shows how “competitive martyrdom,” the “Double Genocide” ideology, and “Holocaust obfuscation” are intertwined. Empirically, the paper examines these concepts in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, Serbia and Croatia, and Romania.
Topics: Antisemitism, Holocaust Commemoration, Holocaust Denial, Communism, Main Topic: Holocaust and Memorial, Memory, Trauma, Post-1989
Abstract: The Romanian Academy (and much of the country's historical establishment) is packed with Holocaust deniers and trivializers, many of whom indulge in Holocaust obfuscation against the background of the post-Communist “competitive martyrdom” between the victims of the Holocaust and the Gulag. Quite a few of these deniers and trivializers are also former secret police informers. On closer examination, however, it turns out that explaining the reluctance to face the country's “dark past” as being the independent variable resultant of the post “Romanianization” of the Communist Party and its Securitate is a partial explanation at best. A substantially more convincing one might be provided by scrutinizing the phenomenon as the product of post-mnemonic cultural traumas.
Between Denial and "Comparative Trivialization": Holocaust Negationism in Post-Communist East Central Europe
Varieties of Antisemitism in Post-Communist East Central Europe: Motivations and Political Discourse
Abstract: As in many other former communist countries of East Central Europe, antisemitism in Romania resurged almost concurrently with the demise of the previous regime. Empirical research on antisemitism, however, emerged only considerably later and did not become a main focus until the establishment of the National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania “Elie Wiesel” (INSHREW) in 2005. This does not imply that the subject of Jews, attitudes to Jews measured by instruments such as stereotypic perceptions and/or “social distance,” or attitudes toward controversial Romanian historical figures linked to the country’s antisemitic past were not tangentially or even directly tackled occasionally. What was lacking until 2005, however, was an effort to use a systematic method, such as a standard questionnaire capable of producing comparative results, that would permit focusing on the phenomenon of the strong reappearance of antisemitism in both its synchronic and diachronic unfolding. In other words, the task of gathering longitudinal data on antisemitism in the country to allow forging a “perceptual map” that would select in consistent aspects and select out inconsistencies is still just beginning.