Romanian Holocaust documentary premiers in Israel

The documentary film “As the clock runs” depicting the turbulent history of the Jewish community of Odorheiu Secuiesc ran on January 26 at The Lev Cinema in Tel Aviv on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, organized by the Israeli representative of the Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR) to mark the 80th anniversary of the Holocaust of the Jews of Northern Transylvania.

The film tells the story of a rather small Jewish community in a rather small town but representative of the fate of all the Jews in Northern Transylvania, who, in the spring of 1944, was destroyed by what was called the “Final Solution” put in practice by the Hungarian authorities who administered the land in 1940-1944, ICR Tel Aviv says in a press release.

In an opening speech, Martin Salamon, director of ICR Tel Aviv, called the story of the Jews of Odorhei “the ocean in a nutshell” given that the extermination of the small local community followed the same stages, route and final destination, as millions of other European Jews: discriminatory legislation, then physical elimination through forced ghettoization and transportation to extermination camps. As for the fate of the Jews of Odorheiu Secuiesc, a Hungarian-speaking community, it was identical to that of the other communities in the lands administered by Hungary in 1944, including the over 160,000 Jews from Northern Transylvania : they were handed over to Nazi Germany near the end of the WWII, when the defeat of the Axis Powers was already inevitable.

Romania’s ambassador to Israel, Radu Ioanid – himself a historian and well-known researcher of the Holocaust – pointed to the fact that the Holocaust was a European project in which almost all European states participated, including Hungary and Romania. Ioanid gave as an example the small town of Carlibaba, composed of the villages of Carlibaba Veche and Carlibaba Noua. After the Vienna Dictate, Carlibaba Noua, located on the right bank of the river by the same name, returned to Hungary, and Carlibaba Veche remained under Romanian administration as part of Suceava County. The Jews from Carlibaba Veche were deported by the Romanian authorities to Transnistria in 1941 together with other Jews from Bucovina,, and those from Carlibaba Noua were deported to Auschwitz three years later by the Hungarian authorities.

At the end of the screening, which was also attended by Holocaust survivors from Odorheiu Secuiesc and their relatives, today residents of Israel, some of them interviewed in the documentary, director Zoltan Fecso – present at the screening in Tel Aviv – answered public’s questions. According to Fecso, the filming took place over several years, in different locations: Odorhei, Israel, Auschwitz. The director thanked ICR Tel Aviv for the material and logistical support provided both during the filming and for the presentation of the film in Israel.