By Ruth Ellen Gruber
A new National Holocaust memorial, commemorating Jews and Roma killed in the Shoah, will be dedicated in Bucharest on Thursday. President Traian Basescu laid the cornerstone for the memorial in 2006 and is expected to attend the dedication. The Romania Ministry of Culture, Religious Affairs and National Heritage described the monument, designed by Peter Jacobi, as "a contemporary expression of a memorial, the bearer of a message, a visible sign, an active space with which the public can interact freely." It includes five sculptures symbolizing Jewish and Roma suffering, a central memorial site and two installations using tombstones.
Construction of the monument was mandated by an international commission on the Holocaust in Romania, headed by Elie Wiesel, which released a 400-page report in 2004. As many as 380,000 Jews, and thousands of Roma, were killed in the Holocaust in Romanian-occupied territories.
Until now, the only Holocaust memorial in Bucharest was one erected by the Jewish community in 1991 in front of the main Choral Synagogue.
Sam Gruber has posted a detailed article on Holocaust memorials in Romania on his blog.