The issue of the “Jewish question” during the years of World War II appeared to have a central role in the policy of the dictatorial regime of Romania which established under the power of Ion Antonescu and the fascist regime in Germany under the authority of Hitler. In both cases, the Jewish population was targeted, persecuted and annihilated with an unprecedented rage. In both cases, the overturning in the Jewish status didn’t happen from one day to another. It was a process that developed gradually and started with the establishment of an anti – Jewish legislative. The laws that both regimes applied, marginalized the Jews as stigmatized persons who appeared as “aliens”, or potential “threats” for the optimal functions of Romanian and German societies. The atrocities that the Jews had to suffer were the result of a policy which became racial into its every aspect. The purpose of that policy was to give an answer to the “Jewish question”; an answer to a problem which was reflected upon the presence of the Jewish population. Being the largest minority group, the Jews had been sentenced just because they existed. It is difficult to determine historically when the term “Jewish question” appeared in Hitler’s and Antonescu’s agenda, if the term had initially a significance which was orientated to the physical extermination of the Jews or it was something which developed as an outcome of the process which started as the mass deportations of the Jews.
Apparently, as we will see below, the more we try to “dig” into the facts the more complex the reality appears around these answers. There is, of course, a solid ground that indicates that Antonescu’s policy was formed after the instructions of Hitler. The racial policy of the Nazi regime gave to some extent the pattern for the development of the racial policy which Antonescu established during the years of World War II. If we would like to understand better the policy against the Jews that both regimes followed as they were trying to answer to the “Jewish question”, then we must go deeper. We must go back in past to examine if an anti – Jewish “sentiment” existed in previous years in both countries, and if so, in what form and in what it has consisted. That is why we will begin by examining and describing the status of the Jews in those countries before the rise of Antonescu and Hitler to power. After we create a small “picture” of that, we will describe the Romanian and the German solution to the “Jewish question”.