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Constantin Iordachi and Ottmar Traşcă

This article focuses on the transfer of the Nazi legal and ideological model to East Central Europe and its subsequent adoption, modification and fusion with local legal-political practices. To illustrate this process, we explore the evolution of the anti-Semitic policy of the Antonescu regime in Romania (1940–1944) from an under-researched perspective: the activity of the Nazi ‘advisors on the Jewish Question’ dispatched to Bucharest. Based on a wide range of published and unpublished archival sources, we attempt to provide answers to the following questions: To what extent did the Third Reich shape Romania’s anti-Semitic polices during the Second World War? What was the role played by the Nazi advisors in this process? In answering these questions, special attention is devoted to the activity of the Hauptsturmführer ss Gustav Richter, who served as Berater für Juden und Arisierungsfragen [advisor to the Jewish and Aryanization questions] in the German Legation in Bucharest from 1st of April 1941 until 23 August 1944. We argue that, by evaluating the work of the Nazi experts in Bucharest, we can better grasp the immediate as well as the longer-term objectives followed by the Third Reich in Romania on the ‘Jewish Question,’ and the evolution of this issue within the context of the Romanian-German diplomatic relations and political interactions. By taking into account a variety of internal and external factors and by reconstructing the complicated web of political and bureaucratic interactions that led to the crystallization of General Ion Antonescu’s policy towards the Jews, we are able to provide a richer and more nuanced analysis of German-Romanian relations during the Second World War.