Holocaust Museum to Romania: scrap 'racist' coin


A director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is demanding that Romania's central bank withdraw from circulation a commemorative coin of an anti-Semitic former church leader who forced many Jews to leave Romania.

Radu Ioanid says he is "shocked" by the bank's decision to mint the coin, which depicts the late Patriarch Miron Cristea, who led the Romanian Orthodox Church from 1925 to 1939.

Ioanid said Cristea, who was prime minister from 1938-1939, was responsible for revising the citizenship law, which stripped about 225,000 Jews, or 37 percent of the Jewish population, of their Romanian citizenship. Ioanid sent National Bank Governor Mugur Isarescu a letter on July 29 demanding the bank withdraw the coin.

The coin is part of a collectors' series of five coins, minted in silver, with the country's five patriarchs who have headed the Romanian Orthodox Church since 1925.

Romania today has only 6,000 Jews. The country's governments have at times denied that the extermination of some 300,000 Jews and Gypsies during Holocaust happened.