Romania

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Posted by r2d2 04/12/2009 @ 04:09

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Romania's Transelectrica Q1 net down 42.5 pct - Reuters
BUCHAREST, May 14 (Reuters) - Romanian state-owned power grid operator Transelectrica TSEL.BX posted a 42.5 percent drop in first-quarter net profit on Thursday, below market expectations. Transelectrica posted a net profit of 47.3 million lei ($15.4...
EU warns Poland, Romania on budget deficits - Forbes
AP , 05.13.09, 10:40 AM EDT Poland, Romania, Lithuania and Malta received warnings from the European Commission on Wednesday for budget deficits that soared over the EU limit last year. The EU's 27 nations must keep the yearly gap between state...
Romania government wins parliament confidence test - Forbes
BUCHAREST, May 13 (Reuters) - The Romanian government on Wednesday survived a parliamentary vote of no confidence that tested its resolve to restrain budget spending ahead of a presidential election later this year. The opposition centrists criticised...
EIB Gives EUR600M To Ford For Activities In Romania, Germany - Wall Street Journal
(F) will get EUR400 million worth of loans to build and operate a plant in Craiova, Romania, and update an existing one, with an additional EUR200 million for the related research and development activities, taking place in Germany....
Romania Q1 trade deficit shrinks 61 pct y/y - Forbes
BUCHAREST, May 11 (Reuters) - Romania's trade gap shrank 61 percent on the year to $2 billion euros in January-March as imports fell faster than exports, cementing expectations of an economic contraction in the first quarter....
Wanted in California: Jared Ravin Yaffe for Child Sexual Assault ... - NewsBlaze
On March 26, 2009, Diplomatic Security's Criminal Investigation Liaison Office contacted DSS agents at Embassy Bucharest, Romania with a tip that Yaffe may have fled from California to Romania earlier that year. Those agents worked with host nation law...
Romanian Names (Dead Oceans) - SF Weekly
Romanian Names contains the requisite harmonic warmth, adventurous hooks, and halfway-private lyrics evincing irony and introspection. Kept in check by regular producer Scott Solter, Vanderslice makes room for tenderly arty aural shimmers and other...
Annual Collaborative Exhibition by the Romanian Academy: Spazi ... - Art Daily
The Romanian Academy announced the 7th edition of Spazi Aperti, the annual collaborative exhibition in a continuous expansion, opening on Wednesday, 27th May 2009. The exhibition is curated by Mirela Pribac and will take place in the alternative spaces...
APSU faculty member visits Romania, plays sold-out show - Clarksville Online
Austin Peay State University music professor and coordinator of guitar studies, Dr. Stanley Yates, visited Bucharest, Romania, for two concert performances. Both performances were held at the National Radio Hall, a major performance venue in the city,...
Romanian Mins Investigated For Possible Corruption -Agency - NASDAQ
BUCHAREST (AFP)--Seven Romanian ministers and four Bucharest city officials are being investigated by the National Integrity Agency, or ANI, on suspicion of corruption and conflict of interest, the agency said Wednesday. "I confirm that seven ministers...

Romania

The Palace of the Parliament the seat of Romania's bicameral parliament. Built in 1984, it is the largest building in Europe and the world's second largest administrative building behind the Pentagon[163] and 10% larger by volume than the Great Pyramid of Giza.[164]

Romania /roʊˈmeɪniə/ (help·info) (dated: Rumania, Roumania; Romanian: România, IPA: ) is a country located in South-East Central Europe, North of the Balkan Peninsula, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea. Almost all of the Danube Delta is located within its territory. It shares a border with Hungary and Serbia to the west, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova to the northeast, and Bulgaria to the south.

The territory's recorded history includes periods of rule by Dacians, the Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire. As a nation-state, the country was formed by the merging of Moldavia and Wallachia in 1859 and it gained recognition of its independence in 1878. Later, in 1918, they were joined by Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia. At the end of World War II, parts of its territories (roughly the present day Moldova) were occupied by USSR and Romania became a member of the Warsaw Pact. With the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, Romania started a series of political and economic reforms. After a decade of post-independence economic problems, Romania made economic reforms such as low flat tax rates in 2005 and joined the European Union in January 1, 2007. While Romania's income level remains one of the lowest in the European Union, reforms have increased the growth speed. Romania is now an upper-middle income country economy.

Romania has the 9th largest territory and the 7th largest population (with 21.5 million people) among the European Union member states. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest (Romanian: Bucureşti /bu.kuˈreʃtʲ/ (help·info)), the 6th largest city in the EU with 1.9 million people. In 2007, Sibiu, a city in Transylvania, was chosen as a European Capital of Culture. Romania also joined NATO on March 29, 2004, and is also a member of the Latin Union, of the Francophonie of the OSCE and an associate member of the CPLP. Romania is a semi-presidential unitary state.

The name of Romania (Romanian: România) comes from Romanian: român which is a derivative of the Latin: Romanus (Roman). The fact that Romanians call themselves a derivative of Romanus (Romanian: Român/Rumân) is mentioned as early as the 16th century by many authors, including Italian Humanists travelling in Transylvania, Moldavia and Wallachia. The oldest surviving document written in the Romanian language is a 1521 letter known as "Neacşu's Letter from Câmpulung". This document is also notable for having the first occurrence of "Rumanian" in a Romanian written text, Wallachia being here named The Rumanian Land - Ţeara Rumânească (Ţeara from the Latin: Terra land). In the following centuries, Romanian documents use interchangeably two spelling forms: Român and Rumân. Socio-linguistic evolutions in the late 17th century led to a process of semantic differentiation: the form "rumân", presumably usual among lower classes, got the meaning of "bondsman", while the form român kept an ethno-linguistic meaning. After the abolition of serfdom in 1746, the form "rumân" gradually disappears and the spelling definitively stabilises to the form "român", "românesc". The name "România" as common homeland of all Romanians is documented in the early 19th century. This name has been officially in use since December 11, 1861.

English-language sources still used the terms "Rumania" or "Roumania", borrowed from the French spelling "Roumanie", as recently as World War II, but since then those terms have largely been replaced with the official spelling "Romania".

The oldest modern human remains in Europe were discovered in the "Cave With Bones" in present day Romania. The remains are approximately 42,000 years old and as Europe’s oldest remains of Homo sapiens, they may represent the first such people to have entered the continent. But the earliest written evidence of people living in the territory of the present-day Romania comes from Herodotus in book IV of his Histories (Herodotus) written 440 BCE, where he writes about the Getae tribes.

Dacians, considered a part of these Getae, were a branch of Thracians that inhabited Dacia (corresponding to modern Romania, Moldova and northern Bulgaria). The Dacian kingdom reached its maximum expansion during King Burebista, around 82 BC, and soon came under the scrutiny of the neighboring Roman Empire. After an attack by the Dacians on the Roman province of Moesia in 87 AD, the Romans led a series of wars (Dacian Wars) which eventually led to the victory of Emperor Trajan in 106 AD, and transformed the core of the kingdom into the province of Roman Dacia.

Rich ore deposits were found in the province, and especially gold and silver were plentiful. which led to Rome heavily colonizing the province. This brought the Vulgar Latin and started a period of intense romanization, that would give birth to the proto-Romanian. Nevertheless, in the 3rd century AD, with the invasions of migratory populations such as Goths, the Roman Empire was forced to pull out of Dacia around 271 AD, thus making it the first province to be abandoned.

Several competing theories have been generated to explain the origin of modern Romanians. Linguistic and geo-historical analysis tend to indicate that Romanians have coalesced as a major ethnic group both South and North of the Danube. For further discussion, see Origin of Romanians.

After the Roman army and administration left Dacia, the territory was invaded by the Goths, then, in the 4th century by Huns. They were followed by more nomads including Gepids, Avars, Bulgars, Pechenegs, and Cumans.

In the Middle Ages, Romanians lived in three distinct principalities: Wallachia (Romanian: Ţara Românească—"Romanian Land"), Moldavia (Romanian: Moldova) and Transylvania. By the 11th century, Transylvania became a largely autonomous part of the Kingdom of Hungary, and became the independent as Principality of Transylvania from the 16th century, until 1711. In the other Romanian principalities, many small local states with varying degrees of independence developed, but only in the 14th century the larger principalities Wallachia (1310) and Moldavia (around 1352) emerged to fight a threat of the Ottoman Empire.

By 1541, the entire Balkan peninsula and most of Hungary became Ottoman provinces. In contrast, Moldavia, Wallachia, and Transylvania, came under Ottoman suzerainty, but conserved fully internal autonomy and, until the 18th century, some external independence. During this period the Romanian lands were characterised by the slow disappearance of the feudal system; the distinguishment of some rulers like Stephen the Great, Vasile Lupu, and Dimitrie Cantemir in Moldavia, Matei Basarab, Vlad III the Impaler, and Constantin Brâncoveanu in Wallachia, Gabriel Bethlen in Transylvania; the Phanariot Epoch; and the appearance of the Russian Empire as a political and military influence.

In 1600, the principalities of Wallachia, Moldova and Transylvania were simultaneously headed by the Wallachian prince Michael the Brave (Mihai Viteazul), Ban of Oltenia, but the chance for a unity dissolved after Mihai was killed, only one year later, by the soldiers of an Austrian army general Giorgio Basta. Mihai Viteazul, who was prince of Transylvania for less than one year, intended for the first time to unite the three principalities and to lay down foundations of a single state in a territory comparable to today's Romania.

After his death, as vassal tributary states, Moldova and Wallachia had complete internal autonomy and an external independence, which was finally lost in the 18th century. In 1699, Transylvania became a territory of the Habsburgs' Austrian empire, following the Austrian victory over the Turks in the Great Turkish War. The Austrians, in their turn, rapidly expanded their empire: in 1718 an important part of Wallachia, called Oltenia, was incorporated to the Austrian monarchy and was only returned in 1739. In 1775, the Austrian empire occupied the north-western part of Moldavia, later called Bukovina, while the eastern half of the principality (called Bessarabia) was occupied in 1812 by Russia.

During the period of Austro-Hungarian rule in Transylvania, and Ottoman suzerainty over Wallachia and Moldavia, most Romanians were in the situation of being second-class citizens (or even non-citizens) in a territory where they formed the majority of the population. In some Transylvanian cities, such as Braşov (at that time the Transylvanian Saxon citadel of Kronstadt), Romanians were not even allowed to reside within the city walls.

After the failed 1848 Revolution, the Great Powers did not support the Romanians' expressed desire to officially unite in a single state, which forced Romania to proceed alone against the Ottomans. The electors in both Moldavia and Wallachia chose in 1859 the same person–Alexandru Ioan Cuza – as prince (Domnitor in Romanian). Thus, Romania was created as a personal union, albeit a Romania that did not include Transylvania. There, the upper class and the aristocracy remained mainly Hungarian, and the Romanian nationalism inevitably ran up against Hungarian one in the late 19th century. As in the previous 900 years, Austria-Hungary, especially under the Dual Monarchy of 1867, kept the Hungarians firmly in control even in the parts of Transylvania where Romanians constituted a local majority.

In a 1866 coup d'état, Cuza was exiled and replaced by Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, who became known as Prince Carol of Romania. During the Russo-Turkish War Romania fought on the Russian side, in and in the 1878 Treaty of Berlin, Romania was recognized as an independent state by the Great Powers. In return, Romania ceded three southern districts of Bessarabia to Russia and acquired Dobruja. In 1881, the principality was raised to a kingdom and Prince Carol became King Carol I.

The 1878-1914 period was one of stability and progress for Romania. During the Second Balkan War, Romania joined Greece, Serbia, Montenegro and Turkey against Bulgaria, and in the peace Treaty of Bucharest (1913) Romania gained Southern Dobrudja.

In August 1914, when World War I broke out, Romania declared neutrality. Two years later, under pressure from the Allies (especially France, desperate to open a new front), on August 14/27 1916, Romania joined the Allies, declaring war on Austria-Hungary. For this action, under the terms of the secret military convention, Romania was promised support for its goal of national unity for all Romanian people.

The Romanian military campaign ended in disaster for Romania as the Central Powers conquered two-thirds of the country and captured or killed the majority of its army within four months. Nevertheless, Moldavia remained in Romanian hands after the invading forces were stopped in 1917. By the war's end, Austria-Hungary and the Russian Empire had collapsed and disintegrated; Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania proclaimed unions with the Kingdom of Romania in 1918. By the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, Hungary renounced in favour of Romania all the claims of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy over Transylvania. The union of Romania with Bukovina was ratified in 1919 in the Treaty of Saint Germain, and with Bessarabia in 1920 by the Treaty of Paris.

The Romanian expression România Mare (literal translation "Great Romania", but more commonly rendered "Greater Romania") generally refers to the Romanian state in the interwar period, and by extension, to the territory Romania covered at the time (see map). Romania achieved at that time its greatest territorial extent (almost 300,000 km2/120,000 sq mi), managing to unite all the historic Romanian lands.

During the Second World War, Romania tried again to remain neutral, but on June 28, 1940, it received a Soviet ultimatum with an implied threat of invasion in the event of non-compliance. Under pressure from Moscow and Berlin, the Romanian administration and the army were forced to retreat from Bessarabia as well from Northern Bukovina to avoid war. This, in combination with other factors, prompted the government to join the Axis. Thereafter, southern Dobruja was awarded to Bulgaria, while Hungary received Northern Transylvania as result of an Axis arbitration. The authoritarian King Carol II abdicated in 1940, succeeded by the National Legionary State, in which power was shared by Ion Antonescu and the Iron Guard. Within months, Antonescu had crushed the Iron Guard, and the subsequent year Romania entered the war on the side of the Axis powers. During the war, Romania was the most important source of oil for Nazi Germany, which attracted multiple bombing raids by the Allies. By means of the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, Romania recovered Bessarabia and northern Bukovina from the Soviet Russia, under the leadership of general Ion Antonescu. The Antonescu regime played a major role in the Holocaust, following to a lesser extent the Nazi policy of oppression and massacre of the Jews, and Romas, primarily in the Eastern territories Romania recovered or occupied from the Soviet Union (Transnistria) and in Moldavia.

In August 1944, Antonescu was toppled and arrested by King Michael I of Romania. Romania changed sides and joined the Allies, but its role in the defeat of Nazi Germany was not recognized by the Paris Peace Conference of 1947. By the end of the war, the Romanian army had suffered about 300,000 casualties.

With the Red Army forces still stationed in the country and exerting de facto control, Communists and their allied parties claimed 80% of the vote, through a combination of vote manipulation, elimination, and forced mergers of competing parties, thus establishing themselves as the dominant force.

In 1947, King Michael I was forced by the Communists to abdicate and leave the country, Romania was proclaimed a republic, and remained under direct military and economic control of the USSR until the late 1950s. During this period, Romania's resources were drained by the "SovRom" agreements: mixed Soviet-Romanian companies established to mask the looting of Romania by the Soviet Union.

After the negotiated retreat of Soviet troops in 1958, Romania, under the new leadership of Nicolae Ceauşescu, started to pursue independent policies such as: being the only Warsaw Pact country to condemn the Soviet-led 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, and to continue diplomatic relations with Israel after the Six-Day War of 1967; establishing economic (1963) and diplomatic (1967) relations with the Federal Republic of Germany. Also, close ties with the Arab countries (and the PLO) allowed Romania to play a key role in the Israel-Egypt and Israel-PLO peace processes. But as Romania's foreign debt sharply increased between 1977 and 1981 (from 3 to 10 billion US dollars), the influence of international financial organisations such as the IMF or the World Bank grew, conflicting with Nicolae Ceauşescu's autarchic policies. He eventually initiated a project of total reimbursement of the foreign debt by imposing policies that impoverished Romanians and exhausted the Romanian economy, while also greatly extending the authority police state, and imposing a cult of personality. These led to a dramatic decrease in Ceauşescu-popularity and culminated in his overthrow and execution in the bloody Romanian Revolution of 1989.

During the 1947–1962 period, many people were arbitrarily killed or imprisoned for political, economic or unknown reasons: detainees in prisons or camps, deported, persons under house arrest, and administrative detainees. There were hundreds of thousands of abuses, deaths and incidents of torture against a large range of people, from political opponents to ordinary citizens. Between 60,000 and 80,000 political prisoners were detained as psychiatric patients and treated in some of the most sadistic ways by doctors. In 2006, the Presidential Commission for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania estimated the number of direct victims of the communism repression to be two million people.

After the revolution, the National Salvation Front, led by Ion Iliescu, took partial multi-party democratic and free market measures. Several major political parties of the pre-war era, such as the Christian-Democratic National Peasants' Party, the National Liberal Party and the Romanian Social Democrat Party were resurrected. After several major political rallies, in April 1990, a sit-in protest contesting the results of the recently held parliamentary elections began in University Square, Bucharest accusing the Front of being made up of former Communists and members of the Securitate. The protesters did not recognize the results of the election, deeming them undemocratic, and asked for the exclusion from the political life of the former high-ranking Communist Party members. The protest rapidly grew to become an ongoing mass demonstration (known as the Golaniad). The peaceful demonstrations degenerated into violence, and the violent intervention of coal miners from the Jiu Valley led to what is remembered as the June 1990 Mineriad.

The subsequent disintegration of the Front produced several political parties including the Romanian Democrat Social Party (later Social Democratic Party), the Democratic Party and the (Alliance for Romania). The first governed Romania from 1990 until 1996 through several coalitions and governments and with Ion Iliescu as head of state. Since then there have been three democratic changes of government: in 1996, the democratic-liberal opposition and its leader Emil Constantinescu acceded to power; in 2000 the Social Democrats returned to power, with Iliescu once again president; and in 2004 Traian Băsescu was elected president, with an electoral coalition called Justice and Truth Alliance. The government was formed by a larger coalition which also includes the Conservative Party and the ethnic Hungarian party.

Post-Cold War Romania developed closer ties with Western Europe, eventually joining NATO in 2004, and hosting in Bucharest the 2008 summit. The country applied in June 1993 for membership in the European Union and became an Associated State of the EU in 1995, an Acceding Country in 2004, and a member on January 1, 2007.

Following the free travel agreement and politic of the post-Cold War period, as well as hardship of the life in the post 1990s economic depression, Romania has an increasingly large diaspora, estimated at over 2 million people. The main emigration targets are Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, UK, Canada and the USA.

With a surface area of 238,391 square kilometres (92,043 sq mi), Romania is the largest country in southeastern Europe and the twelfth-largest in Europe. A large part of Romania's border with Serbia and Bulgaria is formed by the Danube. The Danube is joined by the Prut River, which forms the border with the Republic of Moldova. The Danube flows into the Black Sea within Romania's territory forming the Danube Delta, the second largest and the best preserved delta in Europe, and a biosphere reserve and a biodiversity World Heritage Site. Other important rivers are the Siret, running north-south through Moldavia, the Olt, running from the oriental Carpathian Mountains to Oltenia, and the Mureş, running through Transylvania from East to West.

Romania's terrain is distributed roughly equally between mountainous, hilly and lowland territories. The Carpathian Mountains dominate the center of Romania, with fourteen of its mountain ranges reaching above the altitude of 2,000 meters. The highest mountain in Romania is Moldoveanu Peak (2,544 m/8,350 ft). In south-central Romania, the Carpathians sweeten into hills, towards the Bărăgan Plains. Romania's geographical diversity has led to an accompanying diversity of flora and fauna.

A high percentage of natural ecosystems (47% of the land area of the country) is covered with natural and semi-natural ecosystems. Since almost half of all forests in Romania (13% of the country) have been managed for watershed conservation rather than production, Romania has one of the largest areas of undisturbed forest in Europe. The integrity of Romanian forest ecosystems is indicated by the presence of the full range of European forest fauna, including 60% and 40% of all European brown bears and wolves, respectively. There are also almost 400 unique species of mammals (of which Carpathian chamois are best known), birds, reptiles and amphibians in Romania.

There are almost 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi) (almost 5% of the total area) of protected areas in Romania. Of these, Danube Delta Reserve Biosphere is the largest and least damaged wetland complex in Europe, covering a total area of 5,800 km2 (2,200 sq mi). The significance of the biodiversity of the Danube Delta has been internationally recognised. It was declared a Biosphere Reserve in September 1990, a Ramsar site in May 1991, and over 50% of its area was placed on the World Heritage List in December 1991. Within its boundaries is one of the most extensive reed bed systems in the world. There are two other biosphera reserves: Retezat National Park and Rodna National Park.

Owing to its distance from the open sea and position on the southeastern portion of the European continent, Romania has a climate that is transitional between temperate and continental with four distinct seasons. The average annual temperature is 11 °C (52 °F) in the south and 8 °C (46 °F) in the north. The extreme recorded temperatures are 44.5 °C (112.1 °F) in Ion Sion 1951 and −38.5 °C (−37 °F) in Bod 1942.

Spring is pleasant with cool mornings and nights and warm days. Summers are generally very warm to hot, with summer (June to August) average maximum temperatures in Bucharest being around 28 °C (82 °F), with temperatures over 35 °C (95 °F) fairly common in the lower-lying areas of the country. Minima in Bucharest and other lower-lying areas are around 16 °C (61 °F), but at higher altitudes both maxima and minima decline considerably. Autumn is dry and cool, with fields and trees producing colorful foliage. Winters can be cold, with average maxima even in lower-lying areas being no more than 2 °C (36 °F) and below −15 °C (5.0 °F) in the highest mountains, where some areas of permafrost occur on the highest peaks.

Precipitation is average with over 750 mm (30 in) per year only on the highest western mountains — much of it falling as snow which allows for an extensive skiing industry. In the south-centern parts of the country (around Bucharest) the level of precipitation drops to around 600 mm (24 in), while in the Danube Delta, rainfall levels are very low, and average only around 370 mm.

According to the 2002 census, Romania has a population of 21,698,181 and, similarly to other countries in the region, is expected to gently decline in the coming years as a result of sub-replacement fertility rates. Romanians make up 89.5% of the population. The largest ethnic minorities are Hungarians, who make up 6.6% of the population and Roma, or Gypsies, who make up 2.46% of the population. By the official census 535,250 Roma live in Romania. Hungarians, who are a sizeable minority in Transylvania, constitute a majority in the counties of Harghita and Covasna. Ukrainians, Germans, Lipovans, Turks, Tatars, Serbs, Slovaks, Bulgarians, Croats, Greeks, Russians, Jews, Czechs, Poles, Italians, Armenians, as well as other ethnic groups, account for the remaining 1.4% of the population. Of the 745,421 Germans in Romania in 1930, only about 60,000 remained. In 1924, there were 796,056 Jews in Kingdom of Romania. The number of Romanians and individuals with ancestors born in Romania living abroad is estimated at around 12 million.

The official language of Romania is Romanian, an Eastern Romance language related to Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan. Romanian is spoken as a first language by 91% of the population, with Hungarian and Rroma, being the most important minority languages, spoken by 6.7% and 1.1% of the population, respectively. Until the 1990s, there was also a substantial number of German-speaking Transylvanian Saxons, even though many have since emigrated to Germany, leaving only 45,000 native German speakers in Romania. In localities where a given ethnic minority makes up more than 20% of the population, that minority's language can be used in the public administration and justice system, while native-language education and signage is also provided. English and French are the main foreign languages taught in schools. English is spoken by 5 million Romanians, French is spoken by 4-5 million, and German, Italian and Spanish are each spoken by 1-2 million people. Historically, French was the predominant foreign language spoken in Romania, even though English has since superseded it. Consequently, Romanian English-speakers tend to be younger than Romanian French-speakers. Romania is, however, a full member of La Francophonie, and hosted the Francophonie Summit in 2006. German has been taught predominantly in Transylvania, due to traditions tracing back to the Austro-Hungarian rule in this province.

Romania is a secular state, thus having no national religion. The dominant religious body is the Romanian Orthodox Church, an autocephalous church within the Eastern Orthodox communion; its members make up 86.7% of the population according to the 2002 census. Other important Christian denominations include Roman Catholicism (4.7%), Protestantism (3.7%), Pentecostalism (1.5%) and the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church (0.9%). Romania also has a Muslim minority concentrated in Dobrogea, mostly of Turkish ethnicity and numbering 67,500 people. Based on the 2002 census data, there are also 6,179 Jews, 23,105 people who are of no religion and/or atheist, and 11,734 who refused to answer. On December 27, 2006, a new Law on Religion was approved under which religious denominations can only receive official registration if they have at least 20,000 members, or about 0.1 percent of Romania's total population.

Bucharest is the capital and the largest city in Romania. At the census in 2002, its population was over 1.9 million. The metropolitan area of Bucharest has a population of about 2.2 million. There are several plans to increase further its metropolitan area to about 20 times the area of the city proper.

There are 5 more cities in Romania, with a population of around 300,000, that are also present in EU top 100 most populous cities. These are: Iaşi, Cluj-Napoca, Timişoara, Constanţa, and Craiova. The other cities with populations over 200,000 are Galaţi, Braşov, Ploieşti, Brăila and Oradea. Another 13 cities have populations over 100,000.

At present, several of the largest cities have a metropolitan area: Constanţa (550,000 people), Braşov, Iaşi (both with around 400,000) and Oradea (260,000) and several others are planned: Timişoara (400,000), Cluj-Napoca (400,000), Brăila-Galaţi (600,000), Craiova (370,000), Bacău and Ploieşti.

Since the Romanian Revolution of 1989, the Romanian educational system has been in a continuous process of reform that has been both praised and criticized. According to the Law on Education adopted in 1995, the educational system is regulated by the Ministry of Education and Research. Each level has its own form of organization and is subject to different legislation. Kindergarten is optional for children between 3 and 6 years old. Schooling starts at age 7 (sometimes 6), and is compulsory until the 10th grade (which usually corresponds to the age of 17 or 16). Primary and secondary education are divided into 12 or 13 grades. Higher education is aligned with the European higher education area.

Aside from the official schooling system, and the recently-added private equivalents, there exists a semi-legal, informal, fully private tutoring system. Tutoring is mostly used during secondary as a preparation for the various examinations, which are notoriously difficult. Tutoring is widespread, and it can be considered a part of the Education System. It has subsisted and even prospered during the Communist regime.

In 2004, some 4.4 million of the population was enrolled in school. Out of these, 650,000 in kindergarten, 3.11 million (14% of population) in primary and secondary level, and 650,000 (3% of population) in tertiary level (universities). In the same year, the adult literacy rate was 97.3% (45th worldwide), while the combined gross enrollment ratio for primary, secondary and tertiary schools was 75% (52nd worldwide). The results of the PISA assessment study in schools for the year 2000 placed Romania on the 34th rank out of 42 participant countries with a general weighted score of 432 representing 85% of the mean OECD score. According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities, in 2006 no Romanian university was included in the first 500 top universities world wide. Using similar methodology to these rankings, it was reported that the best placed Romanian university, Bucharest University, attained the half score of the last university in the world top 500.

Romanian high school curricula have recently been censored and restructured, owing to a growing trend of religious conservatism. In 2006, the theory of evolution, which had been taught since the country's Communist era, was dropped from the compulsory curriculum nationwide. Philosophical writers critical of religion, such as Voltaire and Camus have also been removed from the philosophy curriculum. Instead, students are taught 7-day Creationism in Orthodox religion classes, which under new proposals could become compulsory.

With a GDP of around $264 billion and a GDP per capita (PPP) of $12,285 estimated for 2008, Romania is an upper-middle income country economy and has been part of the European Union since January 1, 2007. After the Communist regime was overthrown in late 1989, the country experienced a decade of economic instability and decline, led in part by an obsolete industrial base and a lack of structural reform. From 2000 onwards, however, the Romanian economy was transformed into one of relative macroeconomic stability, characterised by high growth, low unemployment and declining inflation. In 2006, according to the Romanian Statistics Office, GDP growth in real terms was recorded at 7.7%, one of the highest rates in Europe. Growth dampened to 6.1% in 2007, but was expected to exceed 8% in 2008 because of a high production forecast in agriculture (30-50% higher than in 2007). The GDP grew by 8.9% in the first nine months of 2008, but growth fell to 2.9% in the fourth quarter and stood at 7.1% for the whole 2008 because of the financial crisis. Unemployment in Romania was at 3.9% in September 2007, which is very low compared to other middle-sized or large European countries such as Poland, France, Germany and Spain. Foreign debt is also comparatively low, at 20.3% of GDP. Exports have increased substantially in the past few years, with a 25% year-on-year rise in exports in the first quarter of 2006. Romania's main exports are clothing and textiles, industrial machinery, electrical and electronic equipment, metallurgic products, raw materials, cars, military equipment, software, pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, and agricultural products (fruits, vegetables, and flowers). Trade is mostly centred on the member states of the European Union, with Germany and Italy being the country's single largest trading partners. The country, however, maintains a large trade deficit, which increased sharply during 2007 by 50%, to €15 billon.

After a series of privatisations and reforms in the late 1990s and early 2000s, government intervention in the Romanian economy is somewhat lower than in other European economies. In 2005, the government replaced Romania's progressive tax system with a flat tax of 16% for both personal income and corporate profit, resulting in the country having the lowest fiscal burden in the European Union, a factor which has contributed to the growth of the private sector. The economy is predominantly based on services, which account for 55% of GDP, even though industry and agriculture also have significant contributions, making up 35% and 10% of GDP, respectively. Additionally, 32% of the Romanian population is employed in agriculture and primary production, one of the highest rates in Europe. Since 2000, Romania has attracted increasing amounts of foreign investment, becoming the single largest investment destination in Southeastern and Central Europe. Foreign direct investment was valued at €8.3 billion in 2006. According to a 2006 World Bank report, Romania currently ranks 49th out of 175 economies in the ease of doing business, scoring higher than other countries in the region such as Hungary and the Czech Republic. Additionally, the same study judged it to be the world's second-fastest economic reformer (after Georgia) in 2006. The average gross wage per month in Romania was 2023 lei in December 2008, equating to €470.22 (US$592.64) based on international exchange rates, and $1110.31 based on purchasing power parity.

Due to its location, Romania is a major crossroad for International economic exchange in Europe. However, because of insufficient investment, maintenance and repair, the transport infrastructure does not meet the current needs of a market economy and lags behind Western Europe. Nevertheless, these conditions are rapidly improving and catching up with the standards of Trans-European transport networks. Several projects have been started with funding from grants from ISPA and several loans from International Financial Institutions (World Bank, IMF, etc.) guaranteed by the state, to upgrade the main road corridors. Also, the Government is actively pursuing new external financing or public-private partnerships to further upgrade the main roads, and especially the country's motorway network.

World Bank estimates that the railway network in Romania comprised in 2004 22,298 kilometres (13,855 mi) of track, which would make it the fourth largest railroad network in Europe. The railway transport experienced a dramatic fall in freight and passenger volumes from the peak volumes recorded in 1989 mainly due to the decline in GDP and competition from road transport. In 2004, the railways carried 8.64 billion passenger-km in 99 million passenger journeys, and 73 million metric tonnes, or 17 billion ton-km of freight. The combined total transportation by rail constituted around 45% of all passenger and freight movement in the country.

Bucharest is the only city in Romania which has an underground railway system. The Bucharest Metro was only opened in 1979. Now is one of the most accessed systems of the Bucharest public transport network with an average ridership of 600,000 passengers during the workweek.

Tourism focuses on the country's natural landscapes and its rich history and is a significant contributor to the Romania's economy. In 2006, the domestic and international tourism generated about 4.8% of gross domestic product and 5.8% of the total jobs (about half a million jobs). Following commerce, tourism is the second largest component of the services sector. Tourism is one of the most dynamic and fastest developing sectors of the economy of Romania and characterized by a huge potential for development. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council Romania is the fourth fastest growing country in the world in terms of travel and tourism total demand with a yearly potential growth of 8% from 2007-2016. Number of tourists grew from 4.8 million in 2002 to 6.6 million in 2004. Similarly, the revenues grew from 400 million in 2002 to 607 in 2004. In 2006, Romania registered 20 million overnight stays by international tourists, an all-time record, but the number for 2007 is expected to increase even more. Tourism in Romania attracted €400 million in investments in 2005.

Over the last years, Romania has emerged as a popular tourist destination for many Europeans (more than 60% of the foreign visitors were from EU countries), thus attempting to compete with Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Spain. Romania destinations such as Mangalia, Saturn, Venus, Neptun, Olimp, Constanta and Mamaia (sometimes called the Romanian Riviera) are among the most popular attraction during summer. During winter, the skiing resorts along the Valea Prahovei and Poiana Braşov are popular with foreign visitors. For their medieval atmosphere and castles, Transylvanian cities such as Sibiu, Braşov, Sighişoara, Cluj-Napoca, Târgu Mureş have become important touristic attractions for foreigners. Rural tourism focused on folklore and traditions, has become an important alternative recently, and is targeted to promote such sites as Bran and its Dracula's Castle, the Painted churches of Northern Moldavia, the Wooden churches of Maramureş, or the Merry Cemetery in Maramureş County. Other major natural attractions in Romania such as Danube Delta, Iron Gates (Danube Gorge), Scărişoara Cave and several other caves in the Apuseni Mountains have yet to receive great attention.

Romania has its unique culture, which is the product of its geography and of its distinct historical evolution. Like Romanians themselves, it is fundamentally defined as the meeting point of three regions: Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans, but cannot be truly included in any of them. The Romanian identity formed on a substratum of mixed Roman and quite possibly Dacian elements, with many other influences. During late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, the major influences came from the Slavic peoples who migrated and settled in near Romania; from medieval Greeks, and the Byzantine Empire; from a long domination by the Ottoman Empire; from the Hungarians; and from the Germans living in Transylvania. Modern Romanian culture emerged and developed over roughly the last 250 years under a strong influence from Western culture, particularly French, and German culture.

The Romanian literature began to truly evolve with the revolutions of 1848 and the union of the two Danubian Principalities in 1859. The Origin of the Romanians began to be discussed and in Transylvania and Romanian scholars began studying in France, Italy and Germany. The German philosophy and French culture were integrated into modern Romanian literature and a new elite of artists led to the appearance of some of the classics of the Romanian literature such as Mihai Eminescu, George Coşbuc, Ioan Slavici. Although they remain little known outside Romania, they are very appreciated within Romania for giving birth to a true Romanian literature by creating modern lyrics with inspiration from the old folklore tales. Of them, Eminescu is considered the most important and influential Romanian poet, and is still very much loved for his creations, and especially the poem Luceafărul. Among other writers that made large contributions around the second half of 19th century are Mihail Kogălniceanu (also the first prime minister of Romania), Vasile Alecsandri, Nicolae Bălcescu, Ion Luca Caragiale, and Ion Creangă.

The first half of the 20th century is regarded by many Romanian scholars as the Golden Age of Romanian culture and it is the period when it reached its main level of international affirmation and a strong connection to the European cultural trends. The most important artist who had a great influence on the world culture was the sculptor Constantin Brâncuşi, a central figure of the modern movement and a pioneer of abstraction, the innovator of world sculpture by immersion in the primordial sources of folk creation. His sculptures blend simplicity and sophistication that led the way for modernist sculptors. As a testimony to his skill, one of his pieces, "Bird in Space" , was sold in an auction for $27.5 million in 2005, a record for any sculpture. In the period between the two world wars, authors like Tudor Arghezi, Lucian Blaga, Eugen Lovinescu, Ion Barbu, Liviu Rebreanu made efforts to synchronize Romanian literature with the European literature of the time. From this period comes also George Enescu, probably the best known Romanian musician. He is a composer, violinist, pianist, conductor, teacher, and one of the greatest performers of his time, in whose honor is held the annually in Bucharest, the classical music George Enescu Festival.

After the world wars, communism brought heavy censorship and used the cultural world as a means to better control the population. The freedom of expression was constantly restricted in various ways, but the likes of Gellu Naum, Nichita Stănescu, Marin Sorescu or Marin Preda managed to escape censorship, broke with "socialist realism" and were the leaders of a small "Renaissance" in Romanian literature. While not many of them managed to obtain international acclaim due to the censorship, some like Constantin Noica, Tristan Tzara and Mircea Cărtărescu had their works published abroad even though they got jailed for various political reasons.

Some artists chose to leave the country entirely, and continued to make contributions in exile. Among them Eugen Ionescu, Mircea Eliade and Emil Cioran became renown worldwide for their works. Other literary figures who enjoy acclaim outside of the country include the poet Paul Celan and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, both survivors of the Holocaust. Some famous Romanian artists musicians are the folk artist Tudor Gheorghe, and the virtuoso of the pan flute Gheorghe Zamfir - who is reported to have sold over 120 million albums worldwide.

The UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites includes Romanian sites such as the Saxon villages with fortified churches in Transylvania, the Painted churches of northern Moldavia with their fine exterior and interior frescoes, the Wooden Churches of Maramures unique examples that combine Gothic style with traditional timber construction, the Monastery of Horezu, the citadel of Sighişoara, and the Dacian Fortresses of the Orăştie Mountains. Romania's contribution to the World Heritage List stands out because it consists of some groups of monuments scattered around the country, rather than one or two special landmarks. Also, in 2007, the city of Sibiu famous for its Brukenthal National Museum is the European Capital of Culture alongside the city of Luxembourg.

The national flag of Romania is a tricolour with vertical stripes: beginning from the flagpole, blue, yellow and red. It has a width-length ratio of 2:3. Romania's national flag is very similar to that of Chad.

The Constitution of Romania is based on the Constitution of France's Fifth Republic and was approved in a national referendum on December 8, 1991. A plebiscite held in October 2003 approved 79 amendments to the Constitution, bringing it into conformity with European Union legislation. Romania is governed on the basis of multi-party democratic system and of the segregation of the legislative, executive and judicial powers. Romania is a semi-presidential democratic republic where executive functions are shared between the president and the prime minister. The President is elected by popular vote for maximum two terms, and since the amendments in 2003, the terms are five years. The President appoints the Prime Minister, who in turn appoints the Council of Ministers. While the president resides at Cotroceni Palace, the Prime Minister with the Romanian Government is based at Victoria Palace.

The legislative branch of the government, collectively known as the Parliament (Parlamentul României), consists of two chambers – the Senate (Senat), which has 140 members, and the Chamber of Deputies (Camera Deputaţilor), which has 346 members. The members of both chambers are elected every four years under a system of party-list proportional representation.

The justice system is independent of the other branches of government, and is made up of a hierarchical system of courts culminating in the High Court of Cassation and Justice, which is the supreme court of Romania. There are also courts of appeal, county courts and local courts. The Romanian judicial system is strongly influenced by the French model, considering that it is based on civil law and is inquisitorial in nature. The Constitutional Court (Curtea Constituţională) is responsible for judging the compliance of laws and other state regulations to the Romanian Constitution, which is the fundamental law of the country. The constitution, which was introduced in 1991, can only be amended by a public referendum, the last one being in 2003. Since this amendment, the court's decisions cannot be overruled by any majority of the parliament.

The country's entry into the European Union in 2007 has been a significant influence on its domestic policy. As part of the process, Romania has instituted reforms including judicial reform, increased judicial cooperation with other member states, and measures to combat corruption. Nevertheless, in 2006 Brussels report, Romania and Bulgaria were described as the two most corrupt countries in the EU.

Romania is divided into forty-one counties (sing. judeţ, pl. judeţe), plus the municipality of Bucharest (Bucureşti) - which has equal rank. Each county is administered by a county council (consiliu judeţean), responsible for local affairs, as well as a prefect, who is appointed by the central government but cannot be a member of any political party, responsible for the administration of national (central) affairs at the county level. Since 2008, the president of the county council (preşedintele consiliului judeţean) is directly elected by the people, and not by the county council as before that.

Each county is further subdivided into cities (sing. oraş, pl. oraşe) and communes (sing. comună, pl. comune), the former being urban, and the latter being rural localities. There are a total of 319 cities and 2686 communes in Romania. Each city and commune has its own mayor (primar) and local council (consiliu local). 103 of the larger and more urbanised cities have the status of municipality, which gives them greater administrative power over local affairs. Bucharest is also reckoned as a city with municipality status, but it is unique among the other localities in that it is not part of a county. It does not have a county concil, but has a prefect. Bucharest elects a general mayor (primar general) and a general city council (Consiliul General Bucureşti). Each of Bucharest's six sectors also elects a mayor and a local council.

The NUTS-3 level divisions reflect Romania's administrative-territorial structure, and correspond to the 41 counties, and the Bucharest municipality. Cities and communes are NUTS-5 level divisions. The country currently does not have NUTS-4 level divisions, but there are plans to make such associating neighboring localities for better coordination of local development and assimilation of national and European funds.

The 41 counties and Bucharest are grouped into eight development regions corresponding to NUTS-2 divisions in the European Union. Prior to Romania's accession into the European Union, these were called statistical regions, and were used exclusively for statistical purposes. Thus, albeit they formally existed for over 40 years, the regions are publicly a news. There are proposals in the future to cancel county councils (but leave the prefects) and create regional councils instead. This would not change the nomenclature of the country's territorial subdivision, but would presumably allow better coordination of policy at the local level, more autonomy, and a smaller bureaucracy.

There are also proposals to use four NUTS-1 level divisions; they would be called macroregions (Romanian:Macroregiune). NUTS-1 and -2 divisions have no administrative capacity and are instead used for co-ordinating regional development projects and statistical purposes.

Since December 1989, Romania has pursued a policy of strengthening relations with the West in general, more specifically with the United States and the European Union. It joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) on March 29, 2004, the European Union (EU) on January 1, 2007, and the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in 1972, and is a member of the World Trade Organization.

The current government has stated its goal of strengthening ties with and helping other Eastern European countries (in particular Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia) with the process of integration with the West. Romania has also made clear since the late 1990s that it supports NATO and EU membership for the democratic former Soviet republics in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Romania also declared its public support for Turkey, Croatia and Moldova joining the European Union. With Turkey, Romania shares a privileged economic relation. Because it has a large Hungarian minority, Romania has also developed strong relations with Hungary - the latter supported Romania's bid to join the EU.

In December 2005, President Traian Băsescu and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed an agreement that would allow a U.S. military presence at several Romanian facilities primarily in the eastern part of the country.

Relations with Moldova are special, considering that the two countries practically share the same language, and a fairly common historical background. A movement for unification of Romania and Moldova appeared in the early 1990s after both countries achieved emancipation from communist rule, but quickly faded away with the new Moldovan government that had an agenda to preserve a Moldovan republic independent of Romania. Romania remains interested in Moldovan affairs and has officially rejected the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, but the two countries have been unable even to reach agreement on a basic bilateral treaty.

The Romanian Armed Forces consist of Land, Air, and Naval Forces, and are led by a Commander-in-chief who is managed by the Ministry of Defense. The president is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces during wartime. Of the 90,000 men and women which are comprised by the Armed Forces, 15,000 are civilians and 75,000 are military personnel—45,800 for land, 13,250 for air, 6,800 for naval forces, and 8,800 in other fields.

The total defence spending currently accounts for 2.05% of total national GDP, which represents approximately 2.9 billion dollars (ranked 39th). However, the Romanian Armed Forces will spend about 11 billion dollars between 2006 and 2011, for modernization and acquisition of new equipment. The Land Forces have overhauled their equipment in the past few years, and today are an army with multiple NATO capabilities, participating in NATO peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Air Force currently operates modernized Soviet MiG-21LanceR fighters which are due to be replaced by new advanced 4.5 generation Western jet fighters, such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon, Eurofighter Typhoon or JAS 39 Gripen. Also, in order to replace the bulk of the old transport force, the Air Force ordered seven new C-27J Spartan tactical airlift aircraft which are to be delivered starting with late 2008. Two modernized ex-Royal Navy Type 22 frigates were acquired by the Naval Forces in 2004, and a further four modern missile corvettes will be commissioned until 2010.

Football (soccer) is by far the most popular sport in Romania. The governing body is the Romanian Football Federation, which belongs to UEFA. The top division of the Romanian Professional Football League attracted an average of 5417 spectators per game in the 2006-07 season. At international level, the Romanian National Football Team has taken part 7 times in the Football World Cup, and it had the most successful period throughout the 1990s, when during the 1994 World Cup in the United States, Romania reached the quarter-finals and was ranked by FIFA on the 6th place. The core player of this "Golden Generation" and perhaps the best known Romanian player internationally is Gheorghe Hagi (nicknamed the Maradona of the Carpathians). Famous currently active players are Adrian Mutu and Cristian Chivu. The most famous football club is Steaua Bucureşti, who in 1986 became the first Eastern European club ever to win the prestigious European Champions Cup title, and who played the final again in 1989. Another successful Romanian team Dinamo Bucureşti played a semifinal in the European Champions Cup in 1984 and a Cup Winners Cup semifinal in the 1990. Other important Romanian football clubs are Rapid Bucureşti, CFR 1907 Cluj-Napoca and FC Universitatea Craiova.

Tennis is the second most popular sport in terms of registered sportsmen. Romania reached the Davis Cup finals three times (1969, 1971, 1972). The tennis player Ilie Năstase won several Grand Slam titles and dozens of other tournaments, and was the first player to be ranked as number 1 by ATP from 1973 to 1974. The Romanian Open is held every fall in Bucharest since 1993.

Popular team sports are rugby union (national rugby team has so far competed at every Rugby World Cup), basketball and handball. Some popular individual sports are: athletics, chess, sport dance, and martial arts and other fighting sports.

Romanian gymnastics has had a large number of successes - for which the country became known worldwide. In the 1976 Summer Olympics, the gymnast Nadia Comăneci became the first gymnast ever to score a perfect "ten". She also won three gold medals, one silver and one bronze, all at the age of fifteen. Her success continued in the 1980 Summer Olympics, where she was awarded two gold medals and two silver medals.

Romania participated in for the first time in the Olympic Games in 1900 and has taken part in 18 of the 24 summer games. Romania has been one of the more successful countries Summer Olympic Games (15th overall) with a total of 283 medals won throughout the years, 82 of which are gold medals. Winter sports have received little investments and thus only a single bronze medal was won by Romanian sportsmen in the Winter Olympic Games.

1 Provisionally referred to by the Council of Europe as the "former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"; see Macedonia naming dispute.

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Romania during World War II

Coat of arms of Romania

In November 1940, after a brief period of nominal neutrality under King Carol II, the Kingdom of Romania joined the Axis Powers. Soon after, Romania became a member of the Axis under the government of Ion Antonescu. Under this new regime, Romania provided equipment and oil to Nazi Germany as well as more troops than all the other Axis powers combined during Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union. Romanian forces played a large role during the fighting in the Ukraine, Bessarabia, Stalingrad, and elsewhere. The Allies bombed Romania, particularly its oil production, from 1943 onward. Romanian forces were responsible for the persecution and massacre of hundreds of thousands of Jews inside and outside of Romania, though (albeit under harsh conditions) the majority of Jews living within Romanian borders survived the Holocaust. After the tide of war turned against the Axis, Romania was invaded in 1944 by advancing Soviet armies.

In August 1944, a coup d'état led by King Michael I deposed the Antonescu dictatorship and put Romania on the side of the Allies for the remainder of the war. Despite this association with the winning side, "Greater Romania" was not to survive, with territory lost to both Bulgaria and to the Soviet Union following the end of the war. Approximately 300,000 Romanian soldiers were lost during the conflict.

On April 13, 1938, Germany and the United Kingdom had pledged to guarantee the independence of Romania. But negotiations with the Soviets concerning a similar guarantee collapsed when Romania refused to allow the Red Army to cross its frontiers.

On August 23, 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Among other things, this pact stipulated the Soviet "interest" in Bessarabia (which had been ruled by Imperial Russia from 1812 to 1918). This Soviet interest was combined with a clear indication that there was an explicit lack of any German interest in the area.

Eight days later, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Romania officially remained neutral, but granted refuge to members of Poland's fleeing government. After the assassination of Prime Minister Armand Călinescu on 21 September, King Carol tried to maintain neutrality for several months more. But the surrender of France and the retreat of British forces from continental Europe rendered meaningless the assurances that both countries had made to Romania.

In 1940, Romania lost territory in both the east and the west. In July, after a Soviet ultimatum, Romania agreed to give up Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. Two thirds of Bessarabia were combined with a small part of USSR to form the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic. The rest (Northern Bukovina and Budjak) was apportioned to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Shortly thereafter, on 30 August, under the Second Vienna Award (or Vienna Diktat/Vienna Arbitration), Germany and Italy forced Romania to give half of Transylvania to Hungary. The Hungarians received a region referred to as "Northern Transylvania", while "Southern Transylvania" remained Romanian. Hungary had lost all of Transylvania after World War I in the Treaty of Trianon. They had never surrendered the ambition of regaining the territory. On 7 September, under the Treaty of Craiova, the Kadrilater or "Quadrilateral" (the southern part of Dobrudja) was ceded to Bulgaria (from which it had been taken at the end of the Second Balkan War in 1913). Given the relatively recent unification of all the territories Romanians have felt as historically belonging to them on one hand, and on the other hand the fact that so much land was lost without a fight, these territorial losses shattered the underpinnings of King Carol's power.

On July 4, 1940, Ion Gigurtu formed the first Romanian government to include an Iron Guardist minister: Horia Sima. Sima was a particularly virulent anti-Semite who had become the nominal leader of the movement after Codreanu's death. Sima was one of the few prominent legionnaires to survive the carnage of the preceding years.

In the immediate wake of the loss of Northern Transylvania, on September 4, 1940, the Iron Guard (led by Horia Sima) and General (later Marshal) Ion Antonescu united to form a "National Legionary State" government, which forced the abdication of Carol II in favor of his 19-year-old son Mihai. Carol and his mistress Magda Lupescu went into exile, and Romania, despite the recent betrayal over territorial cessions, leaned strongly toward the Axis.

In power, the Iron Guard stiffened already harsh anti-Semitic legislation, enacted legislation directed against Armenian and Greek businessmen, tempered at times by the willingness of officials to take bribes, and wreaked vengeance upon its enemies. On October 8, 1940, Nazi troops began crossing into Romania. They soon numbered over 500,000.

On November 23, 1940, Romania joined the Axis Powers. On November 27, 1940, 64 former dignitaries or officials were executed in Jilava prison while awaiting trial (see Jilava Massacre). Later that day, historian and former prime minister Nicolae Iorga and economist Virgil Madgearu, a former government minister, were assassinated.

The cohabitation between the Iron Guard and Antonescu was never an easy one. On January 20, 1941, the Iron Guard attempted a coup, combined with a pogrom against the Jews of Bucharest. Within four days, Antonescu had successfully suppressed the coup. The Iron Guard was forced out of the government. Sima and many other legionnaires took refuge in Germany; others were imprisoned.

Romania annexed Soviet lands immediately east of the Dnister. After the Battle of Odessa, this included the city of Odessa. The Romanian armies advanced far into the Soviet Union during 1941 and 1942 before being involved in the disaster at the Battle of Stalingrad in the winter of 1942-1943.

Romania's most important general, Petre Dumitrescu, was commander of the Romanian Third Army at Stalingrad. In November 1942, the German Sixth Army was briefly put at Dumitrescu's disposal during a German attempt to relieve the Romanian Third Army following a devastating Soviet offensive.

Prior to the Soviet counteroffensive at Stalingrad, the Antonescu government seriously considered a war with Hungary over Transylvania as an inevitability. Of course this new war would have to wait until after the expected victory over the Soviet Union.

Throughout the Antonescu years, Romania supplied Nazi Germany and the Axis armies with oil, grain, and industrial products. Consequently, by 1943 Romania became a target of Allied aerial bombardment. One of the most notable air bombardments was the attack on the oil fields of Ploieşti (Ploesti) on August 1, 1943. Bucharest itself was subjected to intense bombardment on April 4 and 15, 1944.

According to an international commission report released by the Romanian government in 2004, between 280,000 to 380,000 Jews in the war zone of Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transnistria were systematically murdered by Antonescu's regime.

Though much of the killing was done in war zone by Romanian troops, there were also substantial persecutions behind the front line. During the Iaşi pogrom of June 1941, over 12,000 Jews were massacred or killed slowly in trains traveling back and forth across the countryside.

Half of the 320,000 Jews living in Bessarabia, Bukovina, and Dorohoi district in Romania were murdered within months of the entry of the country into the war during 1941. Even after the initial killing, Jews in Moldavia, Bukovina and Bessarabia were subject to frequent pogroms, and were concentrated into ghettos from which they were sent to concentration camps, including camps built and run by Romanians. The number of deaths in this area is not certain, but even the lowest respectable estimates run to about 250,000 Jews (and 25,000 Roma) in these eastern regions, while 120,000 of Transylvania's 150,000 Jews died at the hands of the Hungarians later in the war.

Romanian soldiers also worked with the Einsatzkommando, German killing squads, to massacre Jews in conquered territories. Romanian troops were in large part responsible for the Odessa massacre, in which over 100,000 Jews were shot during the autumn of 1941.

Nonetheless, in stark contrast to many countries of Eastern and Central Europe, the majority of Romanian Jews survived the war, although they were subject to a wide range of harsh conditions, including forced labor, financial penalties, and discriminatory laws. Jewish property was made a part of the state for protection from loss during the war.

Of all the allies of Nazi Germany, Romania bears responsibility for the deaths of more Jews than any country other than Germany itself. The murders committed in Iasi, Odessa, Bogdanovka, Domanovka, and Peciora, for example, were among the most hideous murders committed against Jews anywhere during the Holocaust. Romania committed genocide against the Jews. The survival of Jews in some parts of the country does not alter this reality.

See also: Antonescu and the Holocaust.

Prior to Antonoscu's capitulation to the Axis Powers, in July of 1940, a small group of Ally-sympathizing Romanian diplomats defied the Antonescu regime and sold railroad cars of the national Romanian railway system to neutral Switzerland. This prevented the German army easy passage throughout Romania.

In February 1943, with the hugely successful Soviet counteroffensive at Stalingrad, it was growing clear that the tide of the war had turned against the Axis Powers.

By 1944, the Romanian economy was in tatters because of the expenses of the war, and destructive Allied air bombardments throughout Romania and even in the capital, Bucharest. Resentment of the heavy hand of Nazi Germany was growing in Romania. This was even true among those Romanians who had once enthusiastically supported the Germans and the war.

During April–May 1944 the Romanian forces led by General Mihai Racoviţǎ, together with elements of the German Eighth Army were responsible for defending Northern Romania during the Soviet First Jassy-Kishinev Offensive, and took part in the Battles of Târgu Frumos. This first Soviet attempt to invade Romania failed and so forth the Soviets did not manage to break the Axis defensive lines in Northern Romania until the Second Jassy-Kishinev Offensive, which took place in late August 1944.

On August 23, 1944, King Michael led a successful coup with support from opposition politicians and the army. Michael, who was initially considered to be not much more than a "figurehead", was able to successfully depose the Antonescu dictatorship. The king offered a non-confrontational retreat to German ambassador Manfred von Killinger. But the Germans considered the coup "reversible". The Germans tried to turn the situation around by military attacks. The Romanian First Army, the Romanian Second Army (forming), and what little was left of the Romanian Third Army and the Romanian Fourth Army (one corps) were under orders from the King to defend Romania against any German attacks. The king then offered to put Romania's battered armies on the side of the Allies.

This resulted in a split of the country between those that still supported Germany and its armies and those that supported the new government, the latter often forming partisan groups and gradually gaining the most support. To the Germans the situation was very precarious as Romanian units had been integrated in the Axis defensive lines: not knowing which units were still loyal to the Axis cause and which ones joined the Soviets or discontinued fighting altogether defensive lines could suddenly collapse.

In a radio broadcast to the Romanian nation and army on the night of August 23, 1944, Michael issued a cease-fire just as the Red Army was penetrating the Moldavian front, proclaimed Romania's loyalty to the Allies, announced the acceptance of the armistice offered by Great Britain, the United States, and the USSR, and declared war on Germany. However, this did not avert a rapid Soviet occupation and capture of about 130,000 Romanian soldiers, who were transported to the Soviet Union where many perished in prison camps. The Soviets, acting as if Romania was still an enemy, allegedly robbed and raped at will. Although the country's alliance with the Nazis was ended, the coup speeded the Red Army's advance into Romania. The armistice was signed three weeks later on September 12, 1944, on terms the Soviets virtually dictated. Under the terms of the armistice, Romania recognized its defeat by the USSR and was placed under occupation of the Allied forces with the Soviets, as their representative, in control of media, communication, post, and civil administration behind the front. The coup effectively amounted to a "capitulation", an "unconditional" "surrender." It has been suggested that the coup may have shortened World War II by six months, thus saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Some attribute to the complexities of the negotiations between the USSR and UK the postponement of a formal Allied recognition of the de facto change of orientation until September 12 when the Armistice was signed in Moscow.

In October 1944 Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, proposed an agreement with Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin on how to split up Eastern Europe in spheres of influence after the war. The Soviet Union was offered a 90% share of influence in Romania.

The Armistice Agreement of September 12, 1944 stipulated in Article 18 that "An Allied Control Commission will be established which will undertake until the conclusion of peace the regulation of and control over the execution of the present terms under the general direction and orders of the Allied (Soviet) High Command, acting on behalf of the Allied Powers. The Annex to Article 18 was made clear that "The Romanian Government and their organs shall fulfill all instructions of the Allied Control Commission arising out of the Armistice Agreement." The Agreement also stipulated that the Allied Control Commission would have its seat in Bucharest. In line with Article 14 of the Armistice Agreement, two Romanian People's Tribunals were set up to try suspected war criminals.

The Romanian Army ended the war fighting against the Wehrmacht alongside the Soviets in Transylvania, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Austria and Czechoslovakia, from August 1944 until the end of the war in Europe. In May 1945, the Romanian First Army and the Romanian Fourth Army took part in the Prague Offensive. The Romanians incurred heavy casualties fighting Nazi Germany. Of some 538,000 Romanian soldiers who fought against the Axis in 1944-45, some 167,000 were casualties.

Under the 1947 Treaty of Paris, the Allies refused co-belligerent status to Romania. Northern Transylvania was, once again, recognised as an integral part of Romania, but the USSR was allowed to annex Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. Parts in the extreme north and south became part of the Ukrainian SSR; the rest, together with a thin stretch of land on the left bank of the river Dniestr, became a new "Moldavian SSR". Since 1991, these territories are part of Ukraine and of the Republic of Moldova, respectively.

In Romania proper, Soviet occupation following World War II led to the abdication of the King and the formation of a communist people's republic in 1947.

This article contains material from the Library of Congress Country Studies, which are United States government publications in the public domain.

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History of the Jews in Romania

The Great Synagogue in Iaşi, built ca.1670

The history of Jews in Romania concerns the Jews of Romania and of Romanian origins, from their first mention on what is nowadays Romanian territory.

Minimal until the 18th century, the size of the Jewish population increased after around 1850, and more especially after the establishment of Greater Romania in the aftermath of World War I. A diverse community, albeit an overwhelmingly urban one, Jews were the favorite target of religious persecution and racism in Romanian society - from the late-19th century debate over the "Jewish Question" and the Jewish residents' right to citizenship, to the genocide carried out by Romania as part of The Holocaust. The latter, coupled with successive waves of aliyah, has accounted for a dramatic decrease in the overall size of Romania's present-day Jewish community.

Jewish communities on what would later become Romanian territory were attested as early as the 2nd century, at a time when the Roman Empire had established its rule over Dacia. Inscriptions and coins have been found in such places as Sarmizegetusa and Orşova.

The existence of the Crimean Karaites, an ethnic group adherent of Karaite Judaism, and apparently of Cuman origins, suggests a steady Jewish presence around the Black Sea, including in parts of today's Romania, in the trading ports from the mouths of the Danube and the Dniester (see Cumania); they may have been present in some Moldavian fairs by the 16th century or earlier. The earliest Jewish (most likely Sephardi) presence in what would become Moldavia was recorded in Cetatea Albă (1330); in Wallachia, they were first attested in the 1550s, living in Bucharest. During the second half of the 14th century, the future territory of Romania became an important place of refuge for Jews expelled from the Kingdom of Hungary and Poland by King Louis I. In Transylvania, Hungarian Jews were recorded in Saxon citadels around 1492.

Prince Roman I (1391-1394?) exempted the Jews from military service, in exchange for a tax of 3 löwenthaler per person. Also in Moldavia, Stephen the Great (1457-1504) treated Jews with consideration. Isaac ben Benjamin Shor of Iaşi (Isak Bey, originally employed by Uzun Hassan) was appointed stolnic, being subsequently advanced to the rank of logofăt; he continued to hold this office under Bogdan the Blind (1504-1517), the son and successor of Stephen.

At this time both Danubian Principalities came under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire, and a number of Sephardim living in Istanbul migrated to Wallachia, while Jews from Poland and the Holy Roman Empire settled in Moldavia. Although they took an important part in Ottoman government and formed a large part of a community of foreign creditors and traders, Jews were harassed by the hospodars of the two Principalities. Moldavia's Prince Ştefăniţă (1522) deprived the Jewish merchants of almost all the rights given to them by his two predecessors; Petru Rareş confiscated Jewish wealth in 1541, after alleging that Jews in the cattle trade had engaged in tax evasion. Alexandru Lăpuşneanu (first rule: 1552-61) persecuted the community alongside other social categories, until he was dethroned by Jacob Heraclides, a Greek Lutheran, who was lenient to his Jewish subjects; Lăpuşneanu did not renew his persecutions after his return on the throne in 1564. The role of Ottoman and local Jews in financing various princes increased as Ottoman economic demands were mounting after 1550 (in the 1570s, the influential Jewish Duke of the Archipelago, Joseph Nasi, backed both Heraclides and Lăpuşneanu to the throne); several violent incidents throughout the period were instigated by princes unable to repay their debts.

During the first short reign of Peter the Lame (1574-1579) the Jews of Moldavia, mainly traders from Poland who were competing with locals, were taxed and ultimately expelled. In 1582, he succeeded in regaining his rule over the country with the help of the Jewish physician Benveniste, who was a friend of the influential Solomon Ashkenazi; the latter then exerted his influence with the Prince in favor of his coreligionists.

In Wallachia, Prince Alexandru II Mircea (1567-1577) engaged as his private secretary and counselor Isaiah ben Joseph, who used his influence on behalf of the Jews. In 1573 Isaiah was dismissed, owing to court intrigues, but he was not harmed any further, and subsequently left for Moldavia (where he entered the service of Muscovy's Grand Prince Ivan the Terrible). Through the efforts of Solomon Ashkenazi, Aron Tiranul was placed on the throne of Moldavia; nevertheless, the new ruler persecuted and executed nineteen Jewish creditors in Iaşi, who were decapitated without process of law. At around the same time, in Wallachia, the violent repression of creditors peaked under Michael the Brave, who, after killing Turkish creditors in Bucharest (1594), probably enagaged in violence against Jews settled south of the Danube during his campaign in Rumelia (while maintaining good relations with Transylvanian Jews).

In 1623, the Jews in Transylvania were awarded certain privileges by Prince Gabriel Bethlen, who aimed to attract entrepreneurs from Ottoman lands into his country; the grants were curtailed during following decades, when Jews were only allowed to settle in Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia). Among the privileges granted was one allowing Jews to wear traditional dress; eventually, the authorities in Gyulafehérvár decided (in 1650 and 1741), to allow Jews to wear only clothing evidencing their status and ethnicity.

The status of Jews who had converted to Eastern Orthodoxy was established in Wallachia by Matei Basarab's Pravila de la Govora and in Moldavia by Vasile Lupu's Carte româneascǎ de învăţătură. The latter ruler (1634-1653) treated the Jews with consideration until the appearance of the Cossacks (1648), who marched against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and who, while crossing the region, killed many Jews; the violence, led many Ashkenazi Jews from Poland took refuge in Moldavia and Wallachia, establishing small but stable communities. Massacres and forced conversions by the Cossacks occurred in 1652, when the latter came to Iaşi on the occasion of the Vasile Lupu's daughter marriage to Timush, the son of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, and during the rule of Gheorghe Ştefan.

According to Anton Maria Del Chiaro, secretary of the Wallachian princes between 1710-1716, the Jewish population of Wallachia was required to respect a certain dresscode. Thus, they were prohibited from wearing clothes of other color than black or violet, or to wear yellow or red boots. Nevertheless, the Romanian scholar Andrei Oişteanu argued that such ethnic and religious social stigma was uncommon in Moldavia and Wallachia, as well as throughout the Eastern Orthodox areas of Europe.

The first blood accusation in Moldavia (and, as such, in Romania) was made April 5, 1710, when the Jews of Târgu Neamţ were charged with having killed a Christian child for ritual purposes. The instigator was a baptized Jew who had helped to carry the body of a child, murdered by Christians, into the courtyard of the synagogue. On the next day five Jews were killed, others were maimed, and every Jewish house was pillaged, while the representatives of the community were imprisoned and tortured. Meanwhile, some influential Jews appealed to Prince Nicholas Mavrocordatos (the first Phanariote ruler) in Iaşi, who ordered an investigation resulting in the freeing of those arrested. This was the first time that the Orthodox clergy participated in attacks on Jews. It was due to the clergy's instigations that in 1714 a similar charge was brought against the Jews of the city of Roman - the murder by a group of Roman Catholics of a Christian girl-servant to Jewish family was immediately blamed on Jews; every Jewish house was plundered, and two prominent Jews were hanged, before the real criminals were discovered by the authorities.

Under Constantin Brâncoveanu, Wallachian Jews were recognized as a special guild in Bucharest, led by a starost. Jews in both Wallachia and Moldavia were subject to the Hakham Bashi in Iaşi, but soon the Bucharest starost assumed several religious duties. Overtaxed and persecuted under Ştefan Cantacuzino (1714-1716), Wallachian Jews obtained valuable privileges during Nicholas Mavrocordatos' rule (1716-1730) in that country (the Prince notably employed the Jewish savant Daniel de Fonseca at his court). Another anti-Jewish riot occurred in Bucharest in the 1760s, and was encouraged by the visit of Ephram II, Patriarch of Jerusalem.

In 1726, in the Bessarabian borough of Oniţcani, four Jews were accused of having kidnapped a five-year old child, of killing him on Easter and of collecting his blood in a barrel. They were tried at Iaşi under the supervision of Moldavian Prince Mihai Racoviţă, and eventually acquitted following diplomatic protests. The event was echoed in several contemporary chronicles and documents — for example, the French ambassador to the Porte, Jean-Baptiste Louis Picon, remarked that such an accusation was no longer accepted in "civilized countries". The most obvious effects on the condition of the Jewish inhabitants of Moldavia were witnessed during the reign of John Mavrocordatos (1744-1747): a Jewish farmer in the vicinity of Suceava reported the prince to the Porte for allegedly using his house to rape a number of kidnapped Jewish women; Mavrocordatos had his accuser hanged. This act aroused the anger of Mahmud I's kapucu in Moldavia, and the prince paid the penalty with the loss of his throne.

During the Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774 the Jews in the Danubian Principalities had to endure great hardships. Massacres and pillages in almost every town and village in the country. When peace was restored, both princes, Alexander Mavrocordatos of Moldavia and Nicholas Mavrogheni of Wallachia, pledged their special protection to the Jews, whose condition remained favorable until 1787, when both Janissaries and the Imperial Russian Army engaged in pogroms.

The community was also subject to persecutions by the locals. Jewish children were seized and forcibly baptized. The ritual-murder accusation became widespread; one made at Galaţi in 1797 led to exceptionally severe results - the Jews were attacked by a large mob, driven from their homes, robbed, waylaid on the streets, and many killed on the spot, while some were forced into the Danube and drowned; others who took refuge in the synagogue were burned to death in the building; a few escaped after being given protection and refuge by a priest. In 1803, shortly before his death, the Wallachian Metropolitan Iacob Stamati instigated attacks on the Bucharest community by publishing his Înfruntarea jidovilor ("Facing the Jews"), which pretended to be the confession of a former rabbi; however, Jews were offered refuge by Stamati's replacement, Veniamin Costachi. A seminal event occurred in 1804, when ruler Constantine Ypsilanti dismissed accusations of ritual murder as "the unfounded opinion" of "stupid people", and ordered that their condemnation be read in churches throughout Wallachia; the allegations no longer surfaced during the following period.

During the Russo-Turkish War of 1806-1812, the Russian invasion was again accompanied by massacres of the Jews. Kalmyk irregular soldiers in Ottoman service, who appeared in Bucharest at the close of the Russo-Turkish War of 1806-1812, exercised terror on the city's Jewish population. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906), "They passed daily through the streets inhabited by the latter, spitted children on their lances, and, in the presence of their parents, roasted them alive and devoured them". At around the same time, a conflict emerged in Wallachia between Jews under foreign protection (sudiţi) and local ones (hrisovoliţi), after the latter tried to impose a single administration for the community, a matter which was finally settled in favor of the hrisovoliţi by Prince Jean Georges Caradja (1813).

In Habsburg-ruled Transylvania, the reforms carried out by Joseph II allowed Jews to settle in towns directly subject to the Hungarian Crown. However, pressured placed on the community remained stringent for the following decades.

By 1825, Jewish population in Wallachia (almost completely Sephardi) was estimated at between 5,000 and 10,000 people - of these, the larger part resided in Bucharest (probably as much as 7,000 in 1839); around the same time, Moldavia was home to about 12,000 Jews. In parallel, the Jewish population in Bukovina rose from 526 in 1774 to 11,600 in 1848. In the early 1800s, Jews who sought refuge from Osman Pazvantoğlu's campaign in the Balkans established communities in Wallachian-ruled Oltenia. In Moldavia, Scarlat Callimachi's Code (1817) allowed members of the community to purchase urban property, but prevented them from settling in the countryside (while purchasing town property became increasingly difficult due to popular prejudice).

During the Greek War of Independence, which signalled the Wallachian uprising of 1821 and the Danubian Principalities' occupation by Filiki Eteria troops under Alexander Ypsilantis, Jews were victims of pogroms and persecutions in places such as Fălticeni, Hertsa, Piatra Neamţ, the Secu Monastery, Târgovişte, and Târgu Frumos; Jews in Galaţi managed to escape over the Prut River with assistance from Austrian diplomats. Weakened by the clash between Ypsilantis and Tudor Vladimirescu, the Eterists were massacred by the Ottoman intervention armies - during this episode, Jewish communities engaged in retaliations in Secu and Slatina.

Following the 1829 Treaty of Adrianople (which allowed the two Principalities to freely engage in foreign trade), Moldavia, where commercial niches had been largely left unoccupied, became a target for migration of Ashkenazi Jews persecuted in Imperial Russia and the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria - by 1838, their number seems to have reached 80,000, and over 195,000, or almost 12% of the country's population, in 1859 (with an additional 50,000 passing through to Wallachia between the two estimates).

Despite initial interdictions under the Russian occupation of 1829 (when it was first regulated that non-Christians were not to be regarded as citizens), many of the new immigrants became leaseholders of estates and tavern-keepers, serving to increase both the revenue and demands of boyars - leading in turn to an increase in economic pressures over those working the land or buying products (usual prejudice against Jews accused tavern-keepers of encouraging alcoholism). At the same time, several Jews rose to prominence and high social status - most families involved in Moldavian banking around the 1850s were of Jewish origin. After 1832, following adoption of the Organic Statute, Jewish children are accepted in schools in the two Principalities only if they wore the same clothing as others. In Moldavia, authorities forced the community to abandon its traditional dress code through the 1847 decree of Prince Mihail Sturdza.

Before the Revolutions of 1848, which found their parallel in the Wallachian revolution, many restrictive laws against the Jews had been enacted; although they had some destructive effects, they were never strictly enforced. In various ways, Jews took part in the Wallachian revolt - Constantin Daniel Rosenthal, the painter, distinguished himself in the revolutionary cause, and paid for his activity with his life (being tortured to death by Austrian authorities in Budapest). The major document to be codified by the 1848 Wallachian revolutionaries, the Islaz Proclamation, called for "the emancipation of Israelites and political rights for all compatriots of different faiths".

After the close of the Crimean War the struggle for the union of the two principalities began. The Jews were sought after by both parties, Unionists and anti-Unionists, each of which promised them full equality; and proclamations to this effect were issued (1857-1858). In 1857, the community began issuing its first magazine, Israelitul Român, edited by the Romanian radical Iuliu Barasch. This process of gradual integration resulted in the creation of an informal Romanian identity assumed by Jews, while conversion to Christianity, despite encouragement by the authorities, remained confined to exceptional cases.

From the beginning of the reign of Alexander John Cuza (1859-1866), the first ruler (Domnitor) of the united principalities, the Jews became a prominent factor in the politics of the country. This period was, however, inaugurated by another riot motivated by blood libel accusations, begun during Easter 1859 in Galaţi.

Regulations on clothing were confirmed inside Moldavia by two orders of Mihail Kogălniceanu, Minister of Internal Affairs (issues in 1859 and 1860 respectively). Following adoption of the 1859 regulation, soldiers and civilians would walk the streets of Iaşi and some other Moldavian towns, assaulting Jews, using scissors to shred their clothing, but also to cut their beards or their sidelocks; drastic measures applied by the Army Headquarters put a stop to such turmoil.

In 1864, Cuza, owing to difficulties between his government and the general assembly, dissolved the latter and decided to submit a draft of a constitution granting universal suffrage. He proposed creating two chambers (of senators and deputies respectively), to extend the franchise to all citizens, and to emancipate the peasants from forced labor (expecting to nullify the remaining influence of the landowners - no longer boyars after the land reform). In the process, Cuza also expected financial support from both the Jews and the Armenians - it appears that he kept the latter demand reduced, asking for only 40,000 Austrian guilder (the standard gold coins; about US$ 90,000 at the exchange rate of the time) from the two groups. The Armenians discussed the matter with the Jews, but they were not able to come to a satisfactory agreement in the matter.

While Cuza was pressing in his demands, the Jewish community debated the method of assessment. The rich Jews, for unclear reasons, refused to advance the money, and the middle class argued that the sum would not lead to tangible enough results; Religious Jews insisted that such rights would only interfere with the exercise of their religion. Cuza, on being informed that the Jews hesitated to pay their share, inserted in his draft of a constitution a clause excluding from the right of suffrage all who did not profess Christianity.

When Charles von Hohenzollern succeeded Cuza in 1866 as Carol I of Romania, the first event that confronted him in the capital was a riot against the Jews. A draft of a constitution was then submitted by the government, Article 6 of which declared that "religion is no obstacle to citizenship"; but, "with regard to the Jews, a special law will have to be framed in order to regulate their admission to naturalization and also to civil rights". On June 30, 1866, the Bucharest Synagogue was desecrated and demolished (it was rebuilt in the same year, then restored in 1932 and 1945). Many Jews were beaten, maimed, and robbed. As a result, Article 6 was withdrawn and Article 7 was added to the 1866 Constitution; it read that "only such aliens as are of the Christian faith may obtain citizenship".

For the following decades, the issue of Jewish rights occupied the forefront of the Regat's political scene. With few notable exceptions (including some of Junimea affiliates — Petre P. Carp, George Panu, and Ion Luca Caragiale), most Romanian intellectuals began professing anti-Semitism; its most virulent form was the one present with advocates of Liberalism (in contradiction to their 1848 political roots), especially Moldavians, who argued that Jewish immigration had prevented the rise of an ethnic Romanian middle class. The first examples of modern prejudice were the Moldavian Fracţiunea liberă şi independentă (later blended into the National Liberal Party, PNL) and the Bucharest group formed around Cezar Bolliac. Their discourse saw Jews as non-assimilated and perpetually foreign - this claim was, however, challenged by some contemporary sources, and by the eventual acceptance of all immigrants other than Jews.

Anti-Semitism was carried into the PNL’s mainstream, and was officially enforced under the premierships of Ion Brătianu. During his first years in office, Brătianu reinforced and applied old discrimination laws, insisting that Jews were not allowed to settle in the countryside (and relocating those that had done so), while declaring many Jewish urban inhabitants to be vagrants and expelling them from the country. According to the 1905 Jewish Encyclopedia: "A number of such Jews who proved their Romanian birth were forced across the Danube, and when refused to receive them, were thrown into the river and drowned. Almost every country in Europe was shocked at these barbarities. The Romanian government was warned by the powers; and Brătianu was subsequently dismissed from office". Cabinets formed by the Conservative Party, although including Junimea's leaders, did not do much to improve the Jews' condition - mainly due to PNL opposition.

Nonetheless, during this same era, Romania was the cradle of Yiddish theatre. The Russian-born Abraham Goldfaden started the first professional Yiddish theatre company in Iaşi in 1876 and for several years, especially during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 Romania was the home of Yiddish theatre. While its center of gravity would move first to Russia, then London, then New York City, both Bucharest and Iaşi would continue to figure prominently in its history over the next century.

When Brătianu resumed leadership, Romania faced the emerging conflict in the Balkans, and saw its chance to declare independence from Ottoman suzerainty by dispatching its troops on the Russian side in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878. The war was concluded by the Treaty of Berlin (1878), which stipulated (Article 44) that the non-Christians in Romania (including both Jews and Muslims in the newly-acquired region of Northern Dobruja) should receive full citizenship. After a prolonged debate at home and diplomatic negotiations abroad, the Romanian government ultimately agreed (1879) to abrogate Article 7 of its constitution. This was, however, reformulated to make procedures very difficult: "the naturalization of aliens not under foreign protection should in every individual case be decided by Parliament" (the action involved, among others, a ten-year term before the applicant was given an evaluation). The gesture was doubled by a show of compliance - 883 Jews, participants in the war, were naturalized in a body by a vote of both chambers.

Fifty-seven persons voted upon as individuals were naturalized in 1880; 6, in 1881; 2, in 1882; 2, in 1883; and 18, from 1886 to 1900; in all, 85 Jews in twenty-one years, 27 of whom in the meantime died; ca. 4,000 people had obtained citizenship by 1912. Various laws were passed until the pursuit of virtually all careers was made dependent on the possession of political rights, which only Romanians could exercise; more than 40% of Jewish working men, including manual labourers, were forced into unemployment by such legislation. Similar laws were passed in regard to Jews exercising liberal professions.

In 1893, a piece of legislation was voted to deprive Jewish children of the right to be educated in the public schools - they were to be received only if and where children of citizens had been provided for, and their parents were required to pay preferential tuition fees. In 1898, it was passed into law that Jews were to be excluded from secondary schools and the universities. Another notable measure was the expulsion of vocal Jewish activists as "objectionable aliens" (under the provisions of an 1881 law), including those of Moses Gaster and Elias Schwarzfeld.

The courts exacted the Oath More Judaico in its most offensive form - it was only abolished in 1904, following criticism in the French press. In 1892, when the United States addressed a note to the signatory powers of the Berlin treaty on the matter, it was attacked by the Romanian press. The Lascăr Catargiu government was, however, concerned - the issue was debated among ministers, and, as a result, the Romanian government issued pamphlets in French, reiterating its accusations against the Jews and maintaining that persecutions were deserved in exchange for the community's alleged exploitation of the rural population.

The emigration of Romanian Jews on a larger scale commenced soon after 1878; numbers rose and fell, with a major wave of Bessarabian Jews after the Kishinev pogrom in Imperial Russia (1905). The Jewish Encyclopedia wrote in 1905, shortly before the pogrom, "It is admitted that at least 70 per cent would leave the country at any time if the necessary traveling expenses were furnished". There are no official statistics of emigration; but it is safe to place the minimum number of Jewish emigrants from 1898 to 1904 at 70,000.

Land issues and predominantly Jewish presence among estate leaseholders accounted for the 1907 Romanian Peasants' Revolt, partly anti-Semitic in message. During the same period, the anti-Jewish message first expanded beyond its National Liberal base (where it was soon an insignificant attitude), to cover the succession of more radical and Moldavian-based organizations founded by A.C. Cuza (his Democratic Nationalist Party, created in 1910, had the first anti-Semitic program in Romanian political history). No longer present in the PNL's ideology by the 1920s, anti-Semitism also tended to surface in on the left-wing of the political spectrum, in currents originating in Poporanism - which favoured the claim that peasants were being systematically exploited by Jews.

World War I, during which 882 Jewish soldiers died defending Romania (and 825 were decorated), brought about the creation of Greater Romania after the 1919 Paris Peace Conference and subsequent treaties. The enlarged state had an increased Jewish population, corresponding with the addition of communities in Bessarabia, Bukovina, and Transylvania. On signing the treaties, Romania agreed to change its policy towards the Jews, promising to award them both citizenship and minority rights, the effective emancipation of Jews. The 1923 Constitution of Romania sanctioned these requirements, meeting opposition from Cuza's National-Christian Defense League and rioting by far right students in Iaşi; the land reform carried out by the Ion I. C. Brătianu cabinet also settled problems connected with land tenancy.

Political representation for the Jewish community in the inter-war period was divided between the Jewish Party and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania (the latter was re-established after 1989). During the same period, a division in ritual became apparent between Reform Jews in Transylvania and usually Orthodox ones in the rest of the country (while Bessarabia was the most open to Zionism and especially the socialist Labor Zionism).

The popularity of anti-Jewish messages was, nevertheless, on the rise, and merged itself with the appeal of fascism in the late 1920s - both contributed to the creation and success of Corneliu Zelea Codreanu's Iron Guard and the appearance of new types of anti-Semitic discourses (Trăirism and Gândirism). The idea of a Jewish quota in higher education became highly popular among Romanian students and teachers. According to Andrei Oişteanu's analysis, a relevant number of right-wing intellectuals refused to adopt overt anti-Semitism, which was ill-reputed through its association with A. C. Cuza's violent discourse; nevertheless, a few years later, such cautions were cast aside, and anti-Semitism became displayed as "spiritual health".

The first motion to exclude Jews from professional associations came on May 16, 1937, when the Confederation of the Associations of Professional Intellectuals (Confederaţia Asociaţiilor de Profesionişti Intelectuali din România) voted to exclude all Jewish members from its affiliated bodies, calling for the state to withdraw their licenses and reassess their citizenship. Although illegal, the measure was popular and it was commented that, in its case, legality had been supplanted by a "heroic decision". According to Oişteanu, the initiative had a direct influence on anti-Semitic regulations passed during the following year.

The threat posed by the Iron Guard, the emergence of Nazi Germany as a European power, and his own fascist sympathies, made King Carol II, who was still largely identified as a philo-Semite, adopt racial discrimination as the norm. On January 21, 1938, Carol's executive (led by Cuza and Octavian Goga) passed a law aimed at reviewing criteria for citizenship (after it cast allegations that previous cabinets had allowed Ukrainian Jews to obtain it illegally), and requiring all Jews who had received citizenship in 1918-1919 to reapply for it (while providing a very short term in which this could be achieved - 20 days); in 1940, the Ion Gigurtu cabinet adopted Romania's equivalent to the Nuremberg Laws, forbidding Jewish-Christian intermarriage, and defining Jews after racial criteria (a person was Jewish if he or she had a Jewish grandparent on one side of the family).

Between the establishment of the National Legionary State and 1942, 80 anti-Jewish regulations were passed. Starting at the end of October, 1940, the Iron Guard began a massive anti-Semitic campaign, torturing and beating Jews and looting their shops (see Dorohoi Pogrom), culminating in the failed coup and a pogrom in Bucharest, in which 120 Jews were killed. Antonescu eventually stopped the violence and chaos created by the Iron Guard by brutally suppressing the rebellion. By the time Romania entered the war, however, atrocities against the Jews had become common, most notably in the Iaşi pogrom, where over 10,000 Jews were killed in July 1941.

After the fall of the Iron Guard, the Antonescu regime, allied with Nazi Germany, continued the policy of oppression and massacre of Jews, and, to a lesser extent, Roma.

In July-August 1941, the yellow badge was imposed by local initiatives in several cities (Iaşi, Bacău, Cernăuţi). A similar measure imposed by the national government lasted only five days (between September 3 and September 8, 1941), before being annulled on Antonescu's order. However, on local initiative, the badge was still worn especially in the towns of Moldavia, Bessarabia and Bukovina (Bacău, Iaşi, Câmpulung, Botoşani, Cernăuţi, etc.).

According to an international commission report released by the Romanian government in 2004, Romania murdered in various forms, between 280,000 to 380,000 Jews in Romania and in the war zone of Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transnistria.

In 1941, following the advancing Romanian Army after Operation Barbarossa, and alleged attacks by Jewish "Resistance groups", Antonescu ordered the deportation to Transnistria, of all Jews of Bessarabia and Bukovina (between 80,000 and 150,000), who were considered "Communist agents" by the official propaganda. "Deportation" however was a euphemism, as part of the process was to kill as many Jews as possible before deporting the rest in the "trains of death" to the East. Of those who escaped the initial ethnic cleansing in Bukovina and Bessarabia, only very few managed to survive trains and the concentration camps set up in Transnistria. Further killings perpetrated by Antonescu's death squads (documents prove his direct orders and involvement) targeted the Jewish population that the Romanian Army managed to round up when occupying Transnistria. Over one hundred thousand of these were in massacres staged in such places as Odessa (the Odessa Massacre - when Romanian troops shot of over 100,000 Jews during the autumn of 1941), Bogdanovka, Akmecetka in 1941 and 1942.

Antonescu did halt deportations despite German pressure in 1943, as he began to seek peace with the Allies, although at the same time he levied heavy taxes and forced labor on the remaining Jewish communities. Also, sometimes with the encouragement of Antonescu's regime, thirteen boats left Romania for the British Mandate of Palestine during the war, carrying 13,000 Jews (two of these ships sunk, and the effort was discontinued after German pressure was applied).

Half of the 320,000 Jews living in Bessarabia, Bukovina, and the former Dorohoi County in Romania were murdered within months of the entry of the country into World War II during 1941. Even after the initial killing, Jews in Moldavia, Bukovina and Bessarabia were subject to frequent pogroms, and were concentrated into ghettos from which they were sent to concentration camps, including camps built and run by Romanians. The number of deaths in this area is not certain, but even the lowest respectable estimates run to about 250,000 Jews (and 25,000 Roma) in these eastern regions, while 120,000 of Transylvania's 150,000 Jews died at the hands of the Fascist Hungarians later in the war (see Northern Transylvania). Romanian soldiers also worked with the German Einsatzkommando to massacre Jews in conquered territories. Antonescu's government made plans for mass deportations from the Regat to Belzec, but never carried them out.

Nonetheless, in stark contrast to many countries of Eastern and Central Europe, the majority of Romanian Jews survived the war, although they were subject to a wide range of harsh conditions, including forced labor, financial penalties, and discriminatory laws. The number of victims, however, makes Romania count as, according to the Wiesel Commission, "Of all the allies of Nazi Germany, for the deaths of more Jews than any country other than Germany itself".

Romanian Fascism had been all too viciously and murderously antisemitic; however, unlike its Nazi ally, it had not formulated a "Final Solution" of systematically hunting down and killing every single Jew, and there was no Romanian equivalent to the Wannsee Conference. The killing of Jews was unsystematic, taking place in some places and times but not in others - especially, far more intensively where the Romanian Army was acting as an occupying force rather than in Romania's own sovereign territory. Fortunately for the Romanian Jews, the Nazis never got a chance to take direct control of the process and "systematise" it, as they did in Hungary at mid-1944.

According to the World Jewish Congress, there were 428,312 Jews in Romania in 1947. Mass emigration ensued, much of it to the British Mandate of Palestine and later Israel, and much of it technically illegal (see Berihah). By 1956, there were 144,236 Jews in Romania. From 1948 until 1960, more than 200,000 Romanian Jews went to Israel, reducing the population in Romania to less than 100,000 by the 1960s.

During the period of transition towards a communist regime in Romania, following Soviet occupation (see Soviet occupation of Romania), Jewish society and culture were subject to the same increasingly tight control by the authorities. The community leader Wilhelm Filderman was arrested in 1945, and had to flee the country in 1948. On April 22, 1946, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej attended a meeting of Jewish organizations and called for the creation of a new body, the Jewish Democratic Committee, which was in reality a section of the Romanian Communist Party (PCR).

After the proclamation of the People's Republic, the government formed by the PCR outlawed all Jewish organizations at a meeting on June 10–June 11, 1948, stating that "the party must take a stand on every question concerning the Jews of Romania and fight vigorously against reactionary nationalist Jewish currents ". In 1952-1953, the Stalinist anti-Semitic charge of "rootless cosmopolitanism" brought the purging of the party's own leadership (including Ana Pauker); the charge was then inflicted on the larger part of the Jewish community, beginning with a trial engineered by Iosif Chişinevschi. Jews who were perceived as Zionists were given harsh labour sentences in communist prisons such as Piteşti (where they were subject to torture and brainwashing experiments; several died). The 1952 trial of engineers made responsible for the failure of the Danube-Black Sea Canal project also involved allegations of Zionism (notably aimed at Aurel Rozei-Rozenberg, who was eventually executed).

The situation for the Jews of Romania later improved, but the community has shrunk, mainly through aliyah - today only 9,000-15,000 Jews live in Romania.

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Source : Wikipedia