One such example must be the complicity of the Romanian government in the murder of more than 400,000 Jews, the vast majority of them in the villages and forests of the Ukraine. Among Hitler’s allies, the Romanians are all too often forgotten. Unlike Japan and Italy, Romania wasn’t driven by a global conquest complex. Its motivations for an alliance with Germany were not principled or ideological; they were simply based on what was viewed to be in Romania’s narrow national interest. Yet, the crimes perpetrated were no less evil and perhaps even worse than many other nations typically thought of as partners with the Nazis.
In 1939, at the outbreak of World War II, Romania adopted an official policy of neutrality. However the increasing instability in Europe and growing anti-Semitism lead a fascist political force known as the Iron Guard to rise to power. The regime’s policy platform was staunchly anti-communist and ultra-nationalistic. Members were known for their virulent anti-Semitism. During this period, the growing weakness of Romania’s main territorial guarantors France and Britain became increasingly obvious. The Iron Guard already favored an alliance with Nazi Germany and hoped their alliance would ensure similar territorial guarantees from the Germans.
The result was a tragedy for the Jews of Romania who consequently suffered inexplicable evils at the hands of their own countrymen and neighbors. In 1941, in one (of many) pogroms alone, 15,000 Jews perished in the city of Iasi. The horrific act was carried out by squads of Romanian soldiers and policemen. The Jews also suffered regularly from violent mobs in what amounted to state-sponsored genocide.