"By minting these coins we definitely did not wish to send a racist, xenophobic or anti-Semitic message," BNR governor Mugur Isarescu said.
He added the BNR was making "a clear distinction between the patriarch and the prime minister". But he stressed that after receiving a letter of protest from the Holocaust Museum he decided to set up a commission that will "analyze the situation and come up with a solution". The coin also sparked protest from Romania's Jewish community.
"The decision should be made public in a few days' time," Isarescu said.
In a study published in 2004, an international commission of historians said Cristea "demonized the Jews" and called for their deportation. The commission also established that some 270,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews died between 1940 and 1944, during marshal Ion Antonescu's pro-Nazi regime, while some 25,000 Gypsies were deported, half of whom died. Romania had long denied its participation in Nazi Germany's Holocaust, triggering criticism from Israel and Jewish organizations.
Source: Telegraph.co.uk, BBC, Reuters, Associated Press.
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