Bucharest (Dec. 8)
The special representative of the J. T. A. has just returned after investigating conditions in the province of Transylvania on the spot for several months. The Jewish minority in the province numbers about 250,000 out of a total population of six million. Mostly, they are concentrated in the towns,but there is a considerable Jewish population also in the villages; in the district of Marmaros there are a large number of Jewish peasants and about thirty to forty completely Jewish villages. In the towns of Szatmar and Marmaros Siget, the Jews form a majority of the population. In most other towns they are a very large section of the population. Jewish landed property in the province, which was at one time considerable, has been largely reduced by means of “land nationalisation”, which practically results in dispossession of the minorities.
When Transylvania was part of Hungary, the language of instruction in the schools was Hungarian. Under the Treaty of Trianon, the minority populations have been given the right to have minority schools with the language of instruction their mother tongue. The Government maintains that the Jews are not a minority in the sense of the Treaty, that they are Roumanians of the Jewish faith and are therefore obliged to use Roumanian as the language of instruction in their schools. They may have Jewish schools, but the language of instruction in those schools must be Roumanian. The Jewish teachers in the province, who received their training when Transylvania was Hungarian, are not sufficiently competent in the Roumanian language. The establishment of a Jewish teachers’ training college is not permitted, and the admission into the country of Jewish teachers from abroad is refused by the authorities. The Jewish children are therefore compelled to attend the Roumanian Government schools in which no attention is paid to the special requirements of the Jewish religious teaching, and where they are compelled to attend on the Sabbath and are subjected to anti-Semitic attacks by both teachers and pupils. Soon after the annexation of Transylvania, the Roumanian Government agreed to permit the establishment of Jewish secondary schools on condition that within a transition period of seven years the language of instruction in these schools should be made Roumanian or Hebrew. This provision has been withdrawn by the present Government and it is now demanded that Roumanian shall be immediately made the language of instruction.
Anti-Semitism in the secondary schools is at high pitch:
One of the books in general use as a reader in the secondary schools, “Carte de Limba Romana”, by the Roumanian poet Eminescu, speaking of Bukowina, says:
“What has become of this country? A swamp of degenerate elements, the gathering place of those who were not allowed to stay in other countries, the Babylonian crew. According to the ancient laws, the Jews have no right to built their synagogues of stone. To-day they have set up their synagogues in the centre of the capital. Like a black flight of crows they have invaded our country; they have sucked the life blood out of our peasants; they have pauperised them by their loans which the peasants had to take from them to be able to pay their taxes. And they have destroyed them by the usury of Judas ??? people whose only ability is to enrich themeselves by sly cunning and treachery. The freest people has bowed its head under the yoke of the most miserable race of slaves. The fairest land has fallen into the filthiest hands. Moldavia’s paradise is full of the most outcast nations. And because usury yield its recompense to the authorities, the Jews and the judges go hand in hand under the protection of a two-faced Christendom. Without spilling one drop of blood for it, without working for it, without brain and without heart, they lay their bands upon the holy soil for whose defence we have given rivers of blood, centuries of work.”
Jewish school children are systematically kept back in their classes. In one case in Arab, out of 23 Jewish children in various classes who took their examinations this year, 18 failed. At the School of Commerce in Marosvasarhey, not a single Jewish pupil managed to pass the examination.
The local authorities try to get the Jews to pay by bribes for protection by the police. Income tax demands are enrorced against Jewish doctors and lawyers which are often in excess of their total incomes. Refusal to pay is followed by prosecution and they have to give up their practices. Jews who have for years held licences for dealing in alcohol or tobacco, have practically all had them withdrawn. At one time Jews almost monopolised the timber trade here. There is hardly a Jew who has had his concession for timber dealings renewed. Attacks on the Jews by students and others are a common feature, especially in Cluj, the capital. People of Jewish appearance, many of them non-Jews, are always in danger of molestation in the streets. At one time there was a regular outburst of anti-Semitic attacks all over Transylvania. Jewish funeral processions were attacked. The windows of Jewish houses and Jewish schools were smashed, Rabbi Glasner walking through the street had stones thrown after him, Jewish travellers were attacked in the trains and many of them were seriously injured. In many places the Jews are afraid to venture out in the streets after dusk.
At the University of Cluj, the Jewish students are continually being assaulted by their fellow-students. At one time two Jewish girl students were thrown down the stone stairs of the University building. One sustained serious injuries. Three years ago there were 190 Jewish students taking their first-year medical course. This year there are only two.
Under the provisions of the Peace Treaty, all Jews resident in Roumania are entitled to citizenship. The Government has made citizenship dependent on the ability to prove domicile, which many Jews are unable to do because they have changed their place of residence. There are cases in Bukowina where Jews have been asked to produce their papers to prove their right to citizenship and have never had them returned. In reply to repeated requests they are told either that the papers have been mislaid, or that there is no proof of their ever having been received.