Professor Eve Rosenhaft of the University of Liverpool writes to correct a historical error in a piece about the vandalising of Elie Wiesel’s house in Romania
The article on the defacement of Elie Wiesel’s house in Sighetu Marmaţiei contains a historical error (House of Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel vandalised in Romania, 4 August). The “150,000 Jews and 25,000 Roma people [deported] to … a part of the Soviet Union that was controlled by the Axis powers from 1941 to 1944” were not sent “to Nazi concentration camps there”. Rather, in Transnistria (as that territory is remembered with horror by both Jews and Roma), the deportees were in turn abandoned to homelessness, hunger and disease, interned, subjected to forced labour and physical abuse, and killed or allowed to die by the Romanian police and local authorities on the orders of the Romanian government. A further 100,000 Jews who were already living in Transnistria were murdered by the same agents. Elie Wiesel’s home town, Sighetu Marmaţiei, was in the part of Romania annexed by Hungary in 1940. Of the totality of Romanian Jews, it was mainly those subject to Hungarian rule who were deported to Nazi camps.
We honour the victims of the Holocaust best when we acknowledge the particularity of their experiences, and getting the facts right is the best answer to Holocaust denial.
Professor of German historical studies, University of Liverpool