Friday, December 10, 2010

AP: Romanian public TV apologizes for show that praised pre-WWII fascist leader

BUCHAREST, Romania - Romanian public television apologized Thursday for broadcasting a show in which a journalist praised a pro-Hitler Romanian fascist leader as a person of integrity.

In a statement TVR said the comments had "wounded the feelings" of people affected by "the virulent anti-Semitism and the crimes against humanity which marked a black period" in Romania's history.

Journalist Ion Cristoiu praised Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, who had founded the fascist Iron Guard legion prior to World War II as a person of integrity in a show aired on Nov. 21.

Dozens of Romanian intellectuals criticized Cristoiu and the show's moderator saying they had ignored the fascist and terrorist character of the Iron Guard.

The legionnaires gained notoriety for their vicious anti-Semitism. In 1941, they killed thousands of Jews in Bucharest. Codreanu was killed in 1938 on the orders of Romania's King Carol II.

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