The US Holocaust Museum criticized on Friday a decision of the Romanian National Bank (BNR) not to withdraw a commemorative coin depicting Orthodox Patriarch Miron Cristea, who the Museum says had antisemitic views and supported the expulsion of Jews from Romania, the Associated Press reports.
A day before, BNR said the coin was issued at the request of the Romanian Orthodox Church Patriarchy to mark, among others, the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Patriarchy.
To mark the events, BNR issued a golden coin and five silver coins depicting symbols of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
The DC-based museum said in a press release on Friday that the period when Miron Cristea served as prime minister of Romania - 1938-1939 - marked the beginning of a sustained campaign of antisemitic persecution by Romanian governments that followed and which had devastating results on the Jewish community in Romania during the Holocaust.
For its part, BNR said on Thursday that the symbols printed on the six coins include all former Patriarchs of the Orthodox Church and were related strongly to the history and evolution of the Church. The inclusion of Miron Cristea in the issue of coins was not related to his short stay and activity as PM of Romania but only to his belonging to the Patriarchs who headed the Church, BNR added. BNR's issues of coins are not intended to hurt the feelings of any community or affect the interests of any group or send xenophobic, racist, antisemitic messages, the bank said.