2 0
  • image-0-thumb
  • image-1-thumb
  • image-2-thumb
In Hitler's presence, Romanian ruler Ion Antonescu signs the Three-Power Agreement. Berlin, Germany, November 23, 1940. .jpg

Ion Antonescu signs an Agreement with Hitler. Berlin, Germany, 23 November 1940.


When, on 22 June 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union, the Romanian Army fought along side them.

The Romanian authorities collaborated with the Germans in the planned murder of the Jews. German and Romanian army units, carried out the extermination of 160,000 of Romania's Jews. Local Romanians and Ukrainians assisted in the murders.

Put on trial

After the war, Antonescu and officials from his regime were put on trial. Antonescu was convicted and executed.

However, most Romanian perpetrators were never brought to justice for the crimes they had committed against the Romanian Jews.

A History of antisemitism

As a result of the treaties that followed the First World War the territory and population of Romania doubled. During the 1920s the country saw the birth of a number of antisemitic political parties.

A 1930 census recorded 728,115 Jews living in the country.

After the Nazis came to power in Germany, they encouraged right wing nationalist parties in other countries to foster anti-Jewish measures. In February 1938, King Carol II of Romania established an antisemitic dictatorship.

Throughout 1939 Romania developed close ties with Germany

In September 1940, the fascist General Ion Antonescu forced King Carol II to abdicate. Antonescu established a government that included members of the antisemitic Iron Guard. In November 1940, Romania joined the Axis alliance.

The Iron Guard led physical attacks against the Jews of Romania. In January 1941, anti-Jewish riots resulted in 127 deaths. Adolf Eichmann assisted the Romanian government in setting up a ‘National Romanianization Centre’ designed to exclude Jews from every aspect of Romanian life.

Antonescu's government was overthrown

By the end of 1942, Antonescu was worried that Germany would lose the war and cancelled the deportation of 292,000 Jews to Belzec

Instead, he agreed to the emigration of 70,000 Jews to Palestine in exchange for money. However, Eichmann blocked the plan.

By 23 August 1944, Antonescu's government was overthrown by an antifascist group called the National Democratic Bloc. The new government signed an agreement with the Soviet Union that formally acknowledged that Romania was no longer allied with Germany.  

Some 420,000 Jews who had previously lived in Romania died during the Holocaust.