The Romanian Orthodox Church and the Holocaust

9780253029560: Hardback
Release Date: 11th September 2017

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 256

Series Studies in Antisemitism

Indiana University Press

The Romanian Orthodox Church and the Holocaust

Hardback / £43.00

In 1930, about 750,000 Jews called Romania home. At the end of World War II, approximately half of them survived. Only recently, after the fall of Communism, have details of the history of the Holocaust in Romania come to light. Ion Popa explores this history by scrutinizing the role of the Romanian Orthodox Church from 1938 to the present day. Popa unveils and questions whitewashing myths that concealed the Church's role in supporting official antisemitic policies of the Romanian government. He analyzes the Church's relationship with the Jewish community in Romania and Judaism in general, as well as with the state of Israel, and discusses the extent to which the Church recognizes its part in the persecution and destruction of Romanian Jews. Popa's highly original analysis illuminates how the Church responded to accusations regarding its involvement in the Holocaust, the part it played in buttressing the wall of Holocaust denial, and how Holocaust memory has been shaped in Romania today.

List of Abbreviations
1. A dangerous "symphonia": the church-state relationship and its impact on the Jewish Community of Romania before 22 June 1941
2. Perpetrator, Bystander or Saviour? The Romanian Orthodox Church and the Holocaust (1941-1944)
3. The Jewish Community of Romania and the Romanian Orthodox Church in the aftermath of the Holocaust (1945-1948)
4. Cleansing the past, rewriting history: The Romanian Orthodox Church from active involvement in the Holocaust to the whitewashing process
5. Forgetting the truth, forgetting the dead: the use of the Holocaust for political and religious agendas and the persistence of anti-Semitism (1945-1948)
6. Behind religious harmony: The Romanian Orthodox Church and the Jewish Community during the communist era (1948-1989)
7. The Romanian Orthodox Church, Holocaust memory and anti-Semitism during the communist era (1948-1989)
8. Nationalism, anti-Semitism and the Romanian Orthodox Church after 1989: Understanding the context of Holocaust memory’s re-emergence in post-communist Romania
9. The Romanian Orthodox Church and Holocaust memory after 1989

Ion Popa is Claims Conference Saul Kagan Postdoctoral Fellow in Advanced Shoah Studies and Honorary Research Fellow of the Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Manchester, UK.

Especially valuable for our understanding of the institutional antisemitism of the Romanian Orthodox Church, the Iron Guard, Ion Antonescu, and communism under the regime of Nicolae Ceausescu.

Dennis Deletant
author of Romania Under Communist Rule

Ion Popa has done an excellent job finding strong support for the constant antisemitism of the Romanian Orthodox Church, its militantism, and its mostly negative, bleak, and sad record during the Holocaust in not helping the Jews of Romania.

Radu Ioanid
author of The Holocaust in Romania

Ion Popa’s book makes a welcome contribution to the debate on the Holocaust in Romania by focusing on the largest religious confession, the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Journal of Orthodox Christian Studies

This study presents a wealth of interesting material and the verve and consistency with which the argument is presented makes for a convincing and readable account. As the first exploration of its kind on this politically, socially, and culturally relevant and historically significant subject for an English-speaking readership, it is unquestionably an important contribution to scholarly literature.


The Romanian Orthodox Church and the Holocaust is an important book. Its value is found in the fact that it exposes the extent to which the thread of continuity that runs through Romanian Christian nationalist discourse from the 1930s and 1940s, through the communist period, all the way to the present, is sustained by a systematic and organised process of forgetting. It also demonstrates how carefully orchestrated silence and selective remembering of the national past are instrumental in sustaining antisemitic ideas and attitudes in contemporary eastern European society.

Antisemitism Studies

The present book is an important addition to the study of the Holocaust in Romania and also fills a major gap in scholarship on the Romanian Orthodox Church, the country's largest religious denomination.

Reading Religion

Popa has brought to light an impressive volume of archival data unavailable to researchers and the general public until recently.

Holocaust and Genocide Studies