Ambassador Hans Klemm at Future of Memory Conference

Madam Prime Minister, Mr. Ministers, Excellencies, my friend Dr. Florian, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

In an effort not to repeat the many powerful statements already expressed this morning, let me just note that any of you that have visited an institution such as the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, the POLIN Museum in Warsaw, Yad Vashem in Tel Aviv – and there are many other powerful examples of museums in many other countries – know what a transformative effect these institutions can have on a nation’s historical memory of their Jewish history and the Holocaust, but also the effect that it has on society, on culture, and of course inherently on the ability of a nation to ensure that events such as the Holocaust are appropriately commemorated and that education is provided to the children and the citizens of those countries about the horrors that occurred.

The United States Government, especially through the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, but also – I am proud to say – through the work and efforts of the United States Embassy in Bucharest, has strongly supported the creation of a National Museum of Romania of the Jewish People and the Holocaust.

Since my arrival in Romania in 2015, I have been inspired by the uniform and strong commitment of the institutions of the Romanian State – all of the institutions of the Romanian State – to this project. I was present when President Iohannis met with the Director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016, and he expressed his intent to see the realization of the Museum. I have been in multiple meetings with the President of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies as well as the President of the Romanian Senate where they have not only committed their support to the realization of the museum but also move to ensure that adequate resources are available. And then, I have worked with every Prime Minister since 2015 and learned from them of their solid and dedicated commitment to, again, the creation of this museum.

As my Israeli colleague and as Dr. Florian hinted at this morning, regrettably there was a setback on the realization of the museum in the timeframe originally envisioned, but I am convinced that the eventual opening of the museum will be accomplished here in Bucharest, and I am inspired by the restatement of their commitment that I heard this morning from the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, as well as the Minister of Culture.

Ladies and gentlemen, please know – and I am speaking as a member of the Advisory Council to the creation of the National Museum of the Jewish People and of Holocaust in Romania – please know that the United States, the United States Government, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and my embassy here in Bucharest remain fully committed to the realization of this very thoughtful and important objective.