Our Foreign News Letter

Disregarding the League of Nations, the Treaty of Trianon and promises made on more than one occasion, the Roumanian government is depriving thousands of Roumanian Jews of their status as citizens.

The Treaty of Trianon was drawn up with a view to securing the position of those Jews living in territories annexed by Roumania as a result of the war and it stipulated for their naturalization “with full rights, without any formalities,” provided they had been domiciled in the new provinces or had been born there without being domiciled in them.

But history repeats itself. Acting in the spirit of her famous breach of faith in 1878, the Roumanian Cabinet, in contradiction to the text of the Treaty, which the Roumanian Parliament has ratified, inserted in the basic law on nationality (Feb. 1924) a paragraph which destroys almost entirely the benefits conferred by the Treaty and the Constitution.

“This paragraph no longer recognizes the citizenship of those domiciled in the country but only of those who are able to show that they possessed in 1918 ‘the communal rights of a native’ in these provinces. Many of these inhabitants, however, actually domiciled or natives of these regions, had to remove or flee between 1916 and 1918 for all kinds of reasons explained by the war. Many others, who were actually domiciled, were not entered on the administrative registers, the communal rights of a native being in no way necessary in order to acquire national rights. Thousands of inhabitants who comply with the conditions of the Treaty are not able to give proof of ‘the communal rights of a native’ which were never even mentioned in the constitutional law. According to both the spirit and the letter of the Treaty, naturalization was a question of fact, pure and simple, and easy to prove by evidence. The Roumanian Government professes to impose a new condition, proof by means of administrative documents, which are either non-existent or have been destroyed and, in any case, are almost impossible to produce.

“This legislative innovation enables the Government to exclude from citizenship a mass of persons, who are already, registered on the lists of voters and have acted as citizens in the Greater Roumania; they were formerly citizens of the Austro-Hungarian Empire or of the Russian Republic, they will have no national status and will become ‘persons without any native country.’ They are thus creating here a class of pariahs such as the Peace Conference and the International Treaties intended to abolish forever. Nor is this all; the Jews of Transylvania, of Bukowina, of Banat, of Bessarabia, who succed by exceptional privileges in proving their ‘communal rights of a native’ will not have come to the end of their troubles. They will encounter another provision in the new organic law which sets up a committee for the purpose of determining and registering the list of citizens. Those ‘forgotten or omitted’ will have forty days in which to find proofs and to furnish them. They will then be compelled to prove their nationality for the second time.

The representative of the Joint Foreign Committee and of the Alliance Israelite furnished materials calling the attention of the Roumanian delegates at Geneva, M. Duca and M. Titulesco, to the wrong interpretation placed on solemn international undertakings and on a fundamental Treaty. These two Ministers were too shrewd not to see the risks which might be incurred by their country: they have promised to promote the appointment of a Committee of Inquiry.

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