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|Foto: Felicia Waldman|
SIMON GEISSBUEHLER's THESES as he presents them:
"What happened in the first few days of the war in July 1941 in rural Northern Bukovina and in northern Bessarabia?
Not “only” descriptive/chronological/intentionalist, but
• taking the international scientific debates into consideration
• with some thoughts about memory and forgetting
Dynamic cumulative radicalization in interwar Romania which could no longer be stopped after Iasi (end of June 1941) (and nobody wanted to stop it); mass murder of Jews in July 1941 represented the continuation of a “successful” policy (from the point of view of the perpetrators) in the radicalized context of the war of destruction
The Iasi massacre was a change in paradigm – quantitatively and qualitatively. Approx. 13’000 Romanian Jews – men, women, children – were killed in Romania and mainly by Romanians.
The goal of the Romanian Eastern Cmpaign was by no means “only” the “liberation” of Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia; the “cleasing” of these territories from the Jews was an important goal. The murder of Jews was not a collateral damage of the war, but an integral part of it and a predefined goal.
At least 43’500 Jews killed in July/August 141 by Romanian army/gendarmerie; mixed groups of perpetrators and local perpetrators. Motives complex, anti-Semitism and economic motives crucial. There was sometimes group pressure, but the perpetrators killed Jews because they wanted to do so, not because they were forced.
Different forms of massacres by different perpetrators.
It is wrong the equalize the Holocaust and Auschwitz (“Holocaust by bullets”); neither modern nor structured, but bloody handiwork.
The mass murder of Jews needed more than the wish of a dictator or the signature of a bureaucrat. Soldiers, gendarmes and neighbors killed Jews. The Holocaust was not defined and steered solely from above. There were important impulses in the field, from below.
Mass murder of Jews by the local population: not just in eastern Poland, Lithuania, Galicia, but also in Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia.
The local population knew very well what was going on. There was almost no opposition.