There were something like 350,000 Jews in Romania before the outbreak of the Second World War, today it’s something like 3,500. A large number of Romanian Jews who survived the war went to live in Israel, with Romanians forming their second largest population. Anyway, all of this meant that the Jewish population was somewhat forgotten about and there was no memorial to those who lost their lives during the Second World War. It was only in recent years that the Romanian Government accepted that some of the country’s own people were complicit in what happened to the Jews during the Second World War.
This Holocaust Memorial building was completed in 2009, at a cost then of around £5 million. It’s quite a brutalist design, although that stark look is what the designers were looking for.
These are grave stones from Odessa Cemetery which were part of a consignment of 24 railroad cars being sold as construction material. Some of these stones were salvaged by the Romanian Federation of Jewish Communities and were kept safe. There was another display of grave stones saved from the Bucharest Jewish Cemetery, but the glass in front of them was so dirty that it neither possible to see them clearly, nor take a photo. That probably needs fixing, as the memorial was otherwise beautifully maintained with the exception of one small piece of graffiti on a sign.
This symbolises the Roma wheel, a community who also faced the hate of the Nazis.
These stones represent those who lost their lives after being taken by rail to concentration camps.
And the Jewish symbol. It’s a rather different memorial and there’s a limited amount of information for visitors to read to understand what happened during the Second World War. However, the memorial is a bold statement that those who died won’t be forgotten. After many years of delay, the Government announced in the last few weeks that the city is going to get a Holocaust Museum, which is expected to open in around 2024 and will be at the Banloc-Goodrich building in Bucharest.