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Browsing by Author "Burgan, Camille"

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  • Burgan, Camille (2018)
    The Holocaust in Romania was not only perpetrated by military and government officials, but also by civilians who took part in genocidal acts. From 1930-1944, Romania’s increasingly antisemitic policies and attitudes led to the internment and murder of Romania’s Jewish population. Many Romanians participated in the pogroms that led to the murder of the local Jewish population while others either stood by or warned their neighbors. There has been very little focus placed on the role of ordinary Romanians in previous research on the Holocaust in Romania. Also, there has been little research on the narratives of Romanian survivors. Thus, this thesis combines both the narratives and the role of civilians in order to understand the Holocaust in Romania. Using video interviews to observe the acts to either aid or harm the Jews, this thesis examines how survivors remember the actions of ordinary Romanians during the Holocaust in Romania. The oral histories were chosen as a basis to focus on how survivors have created a narrative of their experiences and to better examine what impact pogroms had on their narratives, however, diaries and autobiographies are also used to provide background on the topic. From these, it can be observed that Romanians participated in the Holocaust through in a variety of ways, however, this thesis focuses specifically on the role of civilians in pogroms and how survivors remember them. Based on the evidence from previous research, pogroms have had the most significant impact on survivors as it represented a shift in the antisemitic attitudes and actions of their neighbors. Drawing from oral history archives, the narratives built by survivors in the 1990s were examined in order to answer the research question ‘how do survivors remember Romanian civilian participation in pogroms?’ Through an examination of the interviews, it was discovered that four themes emerged in the narratives of the survivors: education, religious identity, financial status, and community integration. Within these themes, patterns emerged that influenced the narratives of survivors. Therefore, this thesis concludes that the sample group of survivors remember Romanian citizens as secondary actors in pogroms. As the majority of the survivors blamed the Germans, Hungarians, Romanian officials, and Romanian soldiers for the worst acts during the pogroms, they considered Romanian citizens merely as participants. Those that described the role of civilians explained the emotions of betrayal, fear, and grief. This thesis aims to shed light not only on the memories and narratives of survivors, but also on the role that ordinary people partook in the Holocaust.