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Lecca, Radú°

LECCA, RADÚ°

LECCA, RADÚ ° (c. 1902–c. 1980), Romanian agent of the German Nazi Party's Foreign Policy Department and "head of Jewish affairs" in various Romanian ministries. Lecca had ties to the Nazis well before the German-Romanian alliance. He had served as a correspondent for a Nazi Party paper and also for a German newspaper. In 1941 he became the liaison officer for the Antonescu regime with the German legation in Bucharest and in November 1941 Lecca was first put in charge of the "Jewish Problem" by the Romanian government in compliance with the orders of the German embassy in Bucharest. The embassy at this time was successfully pressing for anti-Jewish measures styled on the *Nuremberg Laws. It was Lecca who was to supervise and execute these measures, especially those involving economic despoliation of the Jewish communities. The "Jewish Center" (the only officially recognized Jewish body), which was established in January 1942 after the dissolution of the "Union of Jewish Communities," operated under his personal supervision. Lecca received his orders directly from Gustav Richter, *Eichmann's deputy in Romania. Lecca exploited his position to extort huge sums from the Jewish population, and apart from his personal gains he also used these sums to contribute to various institutions (such as the social welfare institutions under the direction of *Antonescu's wife) and to give gifts to individuals, thus enabling him to gain closer association with the ruling clique. Lecca supported plans for the deportation of Jews to death camps, but when Antonescu did not consent to the deportations, and planned their continued economic exploitation, Lecca in turn informed Richter of the details of decisions taken by the Romanian government regarding the treatment of Jews, notably, the plan of December 1942 to permit the Jews deported to *Transnistria to migrate to Palestine in return for sums of money. The plan was dropped as a result of immediate German pressure. The Jews, faced with financial ruin as a result of the antisemitic measures, were forced to sell even their last possessions in order to continue to pay the blackmail in the form of heavy taxes and special fines periodically imposed by Lecca. At the postwar trials against Antonescu's government in 1946, Lecca received the death sentence, but it was commuted to life imprisonment. After a period of time, that sentence was also commuted and he lived out his final years on a government pension as a former Romanian official.

bibliography:

T. Lavi, Yahadut Romanyah ba-Ma'avak al Haẓẓalatah (1965), index; Broszat, in: Gutachten des Instituts fuer Zeitgeschichte (1958), 102–83; M. Carp, Cartea Neagrǎ, 3 (1947), index.

[Theodor Lavi]

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