The governor of Romania's central bank said Friday that it was not anti-Semitic despite minting a coin commemorating a prime minister who stripped Jews of their citizenship before World War II.
Governor Mugur Isarescu set up a commission to analyze the coin depicting late Patriarch Miron Cristea, who led the Romanian Orthodox Church from 1925 to 1939 and was prime minister from 1938 to 1939.
The commission will issue its findings in a few days and could recommend scrapping the coin if it is considered to be anti-Semitic, which is illegal in Romania. The coin is one in a series issued by the bank in July to commemorate five Romanian Orthodox patriarchs.
Last week, Radu Ioanid, who runs the Holocaust museum's international archives, called for the withdrawal of the coin commemorating Cristea.
The patriarch was responsible for revising the citizenship law, stripping about 225,000 Jews – or 37% of the Jewish population – of citizenship.
Isarescu said the memorial coins were made to celebrate Romania's Orthodox Church.
"We respect the values of the nation and democracy" he said.
Romania today has only 6,000 Jews, and the country at times denied that the extermination of some 300,000 Jews and Gypsies during Holocaust even happened.
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