Robert Weiner, review of Israeli-Romanian Relations at the End of the Ceausescu Era: as observed by Israel's Ambassador to Romania,
1985-1989, Journal of Cold
War Studies, Volume 6, Number 2 (Spring 2004).

Letter to the Editor by Yosef Govrin, Former Israeli Ambassador to Romania

To the Editor:

I was pleased to find in the Spring 2004 issue of your journal a review by Prof. Robert Weiner of my book, Israeli-Romanian Relations at the End of the Ceausescu Era: as observed by Israel's Ambassador to Romania,
1985-1989.

Although the reviewer is complimentary toward the book-for which I am grateful-he found, in his opinion, two mistakes that in my opinion are
incorrect and may therefore mislead the reader.

Prof. Weiner says: "Romania did not condemn the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956, despite what Govrin states. On the contrary, the Romanian authorities welcomed the invasion of Hungary. . . . Govrin gives the impression that more than 60,000 Romanians (p. 84 n. 34) perished in the 1989 revolution, whereas the actual number was only slightly over 1,000."

Permit me, please, to correct the reviewer:

1) True, that Romania in 1956-under strong influence of the Soviet Union welcomed the invasion of Hungary. But, my point was that Ceausescu who ruled Romania (from 1965 to the end of 1989) condemned it. On page 13 (the last paragraph, second line) I am noting, that the USA and the West had looked at Ceausescu "with particular note as the first leader in the Soviet bloc to introduce an independent foreign policy by not being blindly dragged after the USSR's policies and as the single Communist leader who had publicly condemned the Soviet invasion of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan." In other words, it was Ceausescu, in the last years of his rule, who condemned the invasion; I was not referring to Romania in 1956.

2) On page 75, last paragraph, I am mentioning the fact that "By the President's order, the Romanian soldiers opened fire against the demonstrators. The rumour that was spread about thousands of casualties (at a later stage their number was estimated at hundreds)." In other words, I am noting the rumour and afterwards the estimation. Where did I mention 60,000 casualties?-In the list of my notes, page 84 n. 34: "The verdict on Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu was announced by Radio Bucharest Broadcasting Service on 25 December 1989. It was said, inter alia, that their trial was held in a specific military court, in which they were accused of genocide (more than 60,000 victims fell during the revolution)" and so on. In other words, I simply noted the main points of the verdict, apparently, based on the rumours, which the leaders of the revolution purposely made known to the public, in order to justify the execution of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu.

I would be most grateful to you if you would kindly present my views on these two matters.

Respectfully,

Dr. Yosef Govrin
Former Israeli Ambassador to Romania

 

 

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