Comparable to various other East-European countries, a critical assessment of the own national history during the Second World War, only became possible in Romania after the collapse of the communist regime. With the first attempts to establish a democratic political order Romania met with intense challenges.
During the 90s, the dramatic figure of Mareschal Ion Antonescu, who has been directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of up to 400,000 people, had for the first time again been partially elevated from a war criminal to a national hero. The death toll claimed by the Romanian dictatorship in the context of the Holocaust has only been surpassed by the Third Reich itself.
With this fact in mind it becomes evident, that it is of paramount necessity to find a way to give thought-provoking impulses on this dark topic that reach all layers of society.
Only with the ambitions to gain accession to NATO and the EU, substantiated efforts to acknowledge the historical national crimes and create a culture of remembrance were promoted. However, these efforts were mostly limited to initiatives that had been dictated from the institutional level and only reached a selected layer of academics and scholars.
Even 25 years after the fall of communism in the country, the broader civilian population remains largely unintegrated in the process of dealing with this challenging past. The breeding grounds of this ignorance enable extreme-right winged and neo-Nazi movements to gain a foothold.