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Ausnit Fellow
"A History of Denial: The Romanian Orthodox Church and the Holocaust, 1938-Present"

Professional Background

Ion Popa is Ph.D. Candidate in Religions and Theology/Holocaust Studies, University of Manchester (United Kingdom). He received his M.A. in Religion and Political Life from the University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom. In 2010, Mr. Popa was awarded the Saul Kagan Claims Conference Advanced Shoah Studies Fellowship. In 2012 he received the University of Manchester/School of Arts Languages and Cultures Award. While in residence at the Center, Mr. Popa conducted research on his project entitled, “A History of Denial: The Romanian Orthodox Church and the Holocaust, 1938-Present.” He is a native speaker of Romanian and has language skills in English and French.

Mr. Popa is the author of “Miron Cristea, The Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church: His Political and Religious Influence in Deciding the Fate of Romanian Jews (February 1938-March 1939)” in Yad Vashem Studies (December 2012) and of “Visarion Puiu, the former Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan of Transnistria – A historical study on his life and activity before, during and after the Holocaust (1935-1964)” which will be published in the autumn of 2013 in the Holocaustul. Studii si Cercetari (the journal of the Elie Wiesel Institute for the Study of Holocaust in Romania). His review of the book The Night of Broken Glass: Eyewitness Accounts of Kristallnacht was published by the European Review of History (March 2013).

He presented papers at several conferences at the USHMM, Yad Vashem and the University of Manchester and participated in training courses that include the “Lessons from Auschwitz” Project hosted by the Holocaust Education Trust in the United Kingdom (fall 2011), and the Sixteenth Institute on Holocaust and Jewish Civilization organized by the Holocaust Educational Foundation and the Northwestern University (2011).

Fellowship Research

For his Ausnit Fellowship, Mr. Popa researched the way in which the Romanian Orthodox Church responded to its own involvement in the Holocaust and its role in shaping the Holocaust memory in Romania. Mr. Popa analyzed the church-state relationship as a way of shaping nationalist ideology and national memory as well as the Orthodox Church’s dilemma in relation to the Holocaust during and after the Communist era. In addition to looking at church journals and documents in the Elie Wiesel Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania and other important archives in Romania, he examined several archive collections at the Museum that include documents recording priests’ actions during the Holocaust, as well as the relationship between the Jewish community and the Romanian Orthodox Church during and after the Holocaust.

Mr. Ion Popa was in residence at the Center from June 1 to August 31, 2013.