Bucharest (Sep. 15)
(By Our Bucharest Correspondent)
The present split in the League of Christian Defence and the precarious position of Prof. Cuza as leader of this anti-Semitic body are explained by competent observers as an indication of a transition from biological anti-Semitism to political fa###ism in this country.
The Cuzist movement has always advertised itself as nationalistic, while the fascist idea was relegated to the second place and served chiefly as a means of combating the socialist and communist parties. Psychologically, the mainstay of Cuzism was anti-Semitism which found its expression in “direct action.” One pogrom was regarded by the Cuzists as of more importance than a hundred meetings or the distribution of thousands of leaflets. Jew hatred was the be-all and end-all of the Cuzists’ creed and fascism was merely an attitude, a phrase, which was intended to bestow on the movement a European character.
That was why Cuzism as a political creed was so poor and nebulous. The situation was made clear recently when Cuza appeared in triumph on the Parliamentary tribune. He was applauded as a talented orator, but his speech was received with a shrug, more like a matter sensational but very transient in its nature. Cuza’s doctrine–the outlawing of all the Jews and the confiscation of their property–this Bolshevism of the Right–did not impress any one. Everybody became convinced that apart from demagogic outcries against the “Jewish peril” Cuzism had nothing in it, nothing of a constructive nature.
Anti-Semitism, however, has all the chances of a success if it is worked into the shell of Fascism which pretends to be a great system of Government and possesses a certain degree of counter-revolutionary passion. It is this the young Cuzists are after. To them hatred of the Jews is but a common-place and they are desirous of introducing into Roumania the Imperialism of Mussolini. This has been plainly expressed in the manifesto published in the Nationalist organ, “Cuvintul.” The manifesto criticizes the present Government and all the political parties and concludes with the statement that the only possible solution is a national dictatorship. “The democratic regime,” it declares, “is an artificial thing forced upon the nation against its will.” The manifesto does not claim to be original and is really repeating by rote the platitudes of the “Action Francaise.” Still, even this feeble attempt at reasoning is a step forward in the process of differentiation within the camp of the Cuzists.
The publication of this manifesto was followed by the first political demonstration of the young Fascist movement. The movement was inaugurated at the celebration at Patne in Bukovina, where a memorial was unveiled to the Roumanian national poet. Eminescu. The celebration was attended not only by Codreanu’s group of young Fascisti but also by a few personages of official standing, including Princess Helena and the Minister for War, Hirtschescu. More characteristic of the movement than the speeches, however, was the inscription on the memorial.
“He who loves the alien,” it reads “may his heart be devoured by dogs, may misery befall his house and children.”
Dictatorship is in the air and the name of the Premier, General Averescu–the favorite of the army–is very much to the fore in this connection. The Roumanian Fascists have been spurred on by Mussolini who seeks to destroy the “little Entente” and promises that instead of it he will get Russia to recognize the Roumanian annexation of Bessarabia. Averescu is at present in Italy and the Roumanian press is full of praise for Mussolini and Italy.
The young Cuzists have accurately sized up the feeling of the moment and they are in a hurry to put on black shirts. This has been made clear enough in a speech delivered for the Parliamentary tribune by Deputy Valerian Pon who demanded the establishment of a dictatorship. “All Latin States,” he declared, “had dictators at one time or another. A striking example is Mussolini in Italy. From among our own ranks, too, a dictator will arise who with his mailed fist will bring justice to the Roumanian people!”
On whose head the mailed fist of this dictator savior is to fall first, that goes without saying. The anti-Semitic fascists make no bones about their hatred of the Jews and do not try to conceal their intentions.
Mendel Zagat, sixty-two, who died Thursday in Lebanon Hospital, was five years President of the Bronx Country Pharmaceutical Association and sixteen years prominent in civic affairs of the borough. He was born in Russia and had lived here forty-five years. Mr. Zagat was third Vice President of the New York State Pharmaceutical Association, had served two years as Secretary of the New York Pharmaceutical Association and was many years a member of the advisory council of the New York Department of Health.