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The Origins and Onset of the Romanian Holocaust

Henry Eaton

European History, History, Holocaust, Jewish Studies

Published: May 2013
ISBN: 9780814338728
Pages: 224 Size: 6 x 9
Illustrations: 7 b&w illus.
Published: May 2013
ISBN: 9780814338568

A valuable addition to the literature in English on the Holocaust in Romania.

— Dennis Deletant

The first mass killings of the Romanian Holocaust in late June to early July 1941 brutally claimed thousands of victims and marked the beginning of the government's plan to "cleanse the land" of Jews. Moreover, of all the Third Reich's allies, only Romania undertook its genocide campaign without the intervention of Himmler's SS. In The Origins and Onset of the Romanian Holocaust, author Henry Eaton traces the historical path to this tragedy by examining both Romania's antisemitic history and looking at the initial mass killings in detail.

First, Eaton traces the roots of the Romanian government's decision to exterminate Jews in Romania and in its annexed areas through its long and often violent antisemitic past. While the decision to target the Jews might have been ordered by dictator Ion Antonescu and his top civil and military officials, Eaton argues that it found its basis in an entrenched cultural abuse of Jews dating back to the nineteenth century. In the second section, Eaton analyzes the Romanian government's first killing operations: the execution of 311 Jewish men, women, and children at Stânca Rosnovanu by men of the Romanian 6th Cavalry Regiment; the great pogrom in the city of Iasi triggered by agents of the government's intelligence service; and the two "death trains" in which some 2,700 pogrom survivors perished in freight cars turned into ovens by the summer heat. In the final chapters, Eaton examines the victims and perpetrators in detail and addresses the possible German connections to the killings.

The Origins and Onset of the Romanian Holocaust persuasively challenges the idea that Romania's adoption of murder as state policy was due to outside pressure. Eaton's volume will be illuminating reading for Holocaust studies scholars and readers interested in World War II history.

Henry Eaton is associate professor of history (ret.) at the University of North Texas. He has published a number of essays on Russian history and Romania. As a Fulbright fellow in Romania in 1990-91 he interviewed a number of survivors of the Iasi pogrom of June 1941.

A valuable addition to the literature in English on the Holocaust in Romania.

– Dennis Deletant, Visiting Ion Ratiu Professor of Romanian Studies at Georgetown University

A meticulous study of one of the most gruesome attacks on Jews just days after the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Eaton focuses on the Iasi Pogrom and the 'death trains' that killed thousands of Jews in June and July 1941. He contextualizes these tragic events by providing substantial background on the history of Romania's Jews, the city of Iasi, the history of Romanian anti-Semitism, and Romanian-German relations. This is an accessible and lively account that will do well in the classroom.

– Irina Livezeanu, author of The Politics of Culture in Greater Romania: Regionalism, Nation Building, and Ethnic Cleansing, 1918–1930 and president of the Society for Romanian Studies

Informed and informative, "The Origins and Onset of the Romanian Holocaust" is a significant and highly recommended addition to Holocaust Studies supplemental reading lists and academic library 20th Century Romanian History reference collections.

– James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review

Henry Eaton provides an accessible, clear, and sensitive account based on archival documents, published works, and the testimony of surviving perpetrators, witnesses, and victims. . . This book is clear, shocking, and illuminative of a little-known corner of the catastrophe that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of Romanian and Ukrainian Jews under Romanian rule.

– Robert Moses Shapiro, Jewish Book Council

– Diane Cypkin, Martyrdom & Resistance