BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s agriculture minister said Thursday he did not intend to offend Jews when he compared the incineration of pigs with swine fever to the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz.
Petre Daea attempted to clarify remarks made in a televised interview this week in which he said the burning of thousands of sick pigs was “very hard work, it’s like Auschwitz.”
Daea said he respected “all members of the Jewish community,” and was merely trying to highlight difficulties face by pig farmers who have to incinerate livestock.
Two opposition parties— the Liberal Party and the Save Romania Union — and others have called for Daea to resign.
Israel’s embassy in Romania expressed “dismay and disappointment” over the remarks Thursday, saying the death of six million Jews in the Holocaust “should never be forgotten, trivialized or minimalized.”
Romania’s Anti-Discrimination Council said it would summon Daea to explain the comments.
The chairman of the ruling Social Democratic Party, Liviu Dragnea, apologized to the Jewish community, saying the Holocaust was “a tragedy that should never be repeated.” He added that Daea had not meant to be offensive, and urged him to avoid expressions “which can deeply offend.”
Romanian authorities have reported 400 separate outbreaks of African swine fever in the Danube Delta and near the Hungarian border.