ANTONESCU, MIHAI ° (1907–1946), Romanian lawyer and politician. In 1940 Antonescu, as minister of justice, formulated several anti-Jewish laws. He was the legal representative of Ion *Antonescu (to whom he was unrelated). Upon the outbreak of war with the Soviet Union in June 1941 Antonescu was appointed deputy prime minister and foreign minister. He ordered the persecution and forcible deportation of the Jewish population of Bessarabia and Bukovina in order to achieve "ethnic purity." In July 1942 Antonescu concluded an agreement with Gustav Richter, Adolf *Eichmann's representative in Romania, to deport all Romanian Jews to Poland, but this plan was frustrated by the intervention of diplomats from neutral countries who acted on the initiative of Romanian Jewish leaders. Early in 1944 Antonescu established contact with the officially non-existent Jewish organizations, and particularly with A.L. Zissu, chairman of the Zionist Executive Committee. In June 1944 he permitted the Palestine Office to operate legally and supply identity cards to refugees bound for Palestine from Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. After the war he was tried with Ion Antonescu by a Bucharest People's Court. They were sentenced to death and executed.
See Antonescu, Ion.
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