September 2003  
  During World War II Romania was a satellite state of Nazi Germany and actively participated in the implementation of the Final Solution in Romania and in the territories it annexed, as well as in the Ukraine. In fact, the Romanian government under Marshal Ion Antonescu played a leading role in the mass murder of Romanian Jews, and tens of thousands of Jews in the Ukraine.

Despite the active complicity of Romanians in the crimes of the Holocaust, Romania has had considerable difficulty in facing its World War II past, as clearly evidenced by the following facts:

1. Not a single Holocaust perpetrator has been investigated, let alone prosecuted, in post-Communist Romania
2. The lack of a special unit to investigate and prosecute such cases;
3. The numerous instances of the commemoration and glorification of fascist Romanian leader Marshal Antonescu who committed terrible crimes against civilians, primarily Jews, during his rule as leader of Romania during World War II;
4. Recent comments by prominent Romanian leaders and officials, including President Ion Iliescu, minimizing the severity and scope of the crimes of the Holocaust and the complicity of Romanians in these crimes.

Under these circumstances, the Wiesenthal Center believes that the implementation of “Operation: Last Chance” in Romania can have a beneficial effect both in terms of facilitating the prosecution of Holocaust perpetrators and the sensitizing of Romanian public opinion regarding the severity of the crimes committed by Romanians during World War II.